“Serena, get your ass over here!”
My stepmother's voice rang out, sending a shiver down my spine. I put down the broom I was holding and hurried towards her. Sweat was trickling down my forehead as I approached her.
“I-I’m here. What c-can I do for you?” I stammered nervously.
Her hand struck my cheek sharply, and I felt my face go numb. She looked at me with utter disgust. “What took you so long, you good-for-nothing bitch?”
“I-I’m sweeping the floor, Mother. I didn’t mean to let you wai—”
Another slap interrupted my words. “How many times do I have to tell you never to call me your mother?! Your mother is a whore, you hear that? You are disgusting, ugly, and nothing but a burden in this family!”
My eyes filled with tears as fear consumed me once again. Each day, my stepmother made it clear that I was unwanted in her home. It was difficult to believe that I was the daughter of the Beta of this pack, yet I lived in a situation worse than that of a slave. All of this was because of Mathilde Mitchell, my father's mate, whose hatred towards my mother, my dad's first wife, was so intense that she had sworn to make my life a living hell as revenge.
My name is Serena Mitchell and welcome to my goddess-forsaken life.
Seeing me cowering in fear, Mathilde smirked wickedly and went on with her demands. “Give me my fucking bracelet!” she commanded with a stern tone. She kept her eyes locked on mine.
Terror gripped me as I tried to respond. “W-what bracelet, madam? I d-didn’t know w-what you’re t-talking about.”
“Don’t test my patience, you piece of trash! Hand me the fucking bracelet you stole! Now!”
I reasoned, trying to convince her with my words. “I swear, madam. I didn’t steal anything.”
“Not confessing, eh?” My body tensed as I braced myself for what I knew would come next.
The Beta wife grabbed a handful of hair on my head and pulled it violently. My scalp had almost torn apart. I was in extreme pain as she tanned my hide without remorse.
“P-pleeasee m-madam..I-it h-hur-ts..”” I whispered in agony as I could no longer take the blows she was inflicting on me. What I could only do at that moment was beg the woman to stop. I was expecting she would at least think about her action as I expressed how much pain she was inflicting on me at that moment. And yet, as expected, my words seemed to energize her more as she made continued to smack me in the face harder and faster.
“I a-m begging y-you, madam, pl-please stop.”
“I won’t stop until you give back what you stole from me! Give me my fucking bracelet or I swear to break your ugly face until you became unrecognizable!”
My stepmother continued to hit me until my strength slowly depleted. I could already taste blood in my mouth as my vision became shaky and blurry. I grew oblivious to my surroundings, my skin numbing with each passing moment. And just when I thought I would lose consciousness, I felt a pair of strong arms holding me.
“Mathilde! What the hell are you doing?!” My father, Beta Janus Mitchell, arrived at the scene. I felt a glimmer of hope as he stepped in and took me away from his wife’s grasp.
“Why are you hitting her?” Dad continued to question her.
My stepmother’s face frowned, painting her fingers at me. “This filthy garbage stole my golden bracelet! And now, she was denying it!” Mathilde's face reddened with anger.
“Golden bracelet? Which one?” Dad queried.
“The one you gave me on our 10th-year anniversary!” Her eyes glared at me once again as she uttered those words.
"But, honey, have you forgotten that you donated that bracelet to the council for a charity auction last year? It's been gone from this household for a year now!" my dad pointed out.
Mathilde realized her mistake and, embarrassed, left the room after giving me one last slap
I observed my father's clear disapproval of my state but sadly, he felt powerless to change the situation. Mathilde was his mate, and the mate bond between them was so strong that even a single tear rolling down his wife's cheek was sufficient to make him entirely oblivious to my presence.
“Are you okay, Serena?” Dad asked as he scanned my injuries. I smiled bitterly at him.
"I'm good, Dad. The beating is just a regular thing for me."
Dad said no more as he continued to scan my face. He touched the side of my lips, and I flinched. 'Does it hurt?”
I wanted to say yes but I stopped myself. Even if I said so, nothing will ever change. I already accepted that I am at the bottom of my dad’s priorities. In his world, Mathilde and their child Tori, come first.
Dad headed to the medicine cabinet and handed me some antiseptic cream. "Make sure to apply this on your scratch wounds, okay?" he said with his voice laced with concern.
I took it with a smile. "I will. Thanks, Dad," I said gratefully.
Afterward, he gave me an apologetic look, but we didn't say much. I just nodded, completely understanding what he was trying to convey as I headed back to my room. It's his way of saying he loves me, but he feels helpless to protect me from the abuse. He was trapped in Mathilde's love, like a slave who was willing to do everything to make her happy and satisfied.
Even if it means sacrificing me, his own flesh and blood, in the process.
I continued to drown in my solitude until I heard a gentle knock on the door. Slowly, I went to open it, and when I did, the unexpected visitor immediately wrapped her arms around my neck.