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Elena wanted to cry her heart out to whoever would listen, but her heart was dry. She couldn't even find it in her to do anything other than smile, nod politely and recieve the insults and abuse dished out to her. Afterall, she believed that there was nothing she could do. She was above the age of mating and she was still unmated. Each blood moon came and went and the moon goddess in some sort of joke or irony refused to grant her a mate. It wasn't just her lack of a mate, she also couldn't wolf out. No matter how much she tried, it just didn't work. What came to every werewolf so easily ran away from her. Elena felt tired and defeated. Even if she wanted to fight her uncle how would she do it? Physically she was almost the weakest in the pack. Malnutrition had told on her leaving her with extremely pale skin and a skinny body. Sometimes to herself she wondered how she was still alive.

Chapter 1

"Just one more chore to do, one more and I can have breakfast in peace."

Elena chanted the words like a mantra to herself. Her hands worked frantically as she scrubbed the tiled floors of her uncle's room. This was the last room to clean for the morning, before her cousins returned and made a mess of it. She worked with speed and efficiency, conditioned by years of doing house work. At this point, she hardly felt the harsh cleaning chemicals eating into her skin. She was used to it, too used to it.

The sound of the door slamming open made her jump and rise to her feet instantly. Her uncle Elijah, stood in the doorway. Elijah was the alpha of the Ash pack. Elena could tell from just one glance that he was in a foul mood. That was bad, just this morning he had been in a good mood, he even smiled. What happened?! Even if she wasn't the cause of his bad mood he'd still take it out on her!

She smiled, a gesture that betrayed the internal turmoil brewing inside her like a hurricane. "Good morning sir, how may I be of help?"

Elijah sneered. "How may you be of help?! How about you start by getting your lazy bum off the ground and doing some real work around here?!"

"I'm sorry, I .."

"Shut up!" He roared. "I wasn't done talking!"

She flinched and lowered her head. She could already tell that breakfast was looking bleak.

"You were supposed to clean the training hall today, why haven't you done it yet?!"

Elena raised her head, a slight furrow in her brow. "But I did, I did that first thing this morning."

His eyes narrowed. "Are you calling me a liar?"

She felt her blood run cold. "No, no, of course not. I'll clean it, right away."

He raised his chin, a look of smug satisfaction on his face. "Good. Now hurry up and get to it!"

Elena nodded. "Of course sir."

He stormed out if the room and slammed the door in his wake. Elena discovered that he'd tracked dirt into the room with him. A lonesome sigh left her lips as she bent down to continue cleaning. The vigour she had when she started, fueled by the promise of a warm breakfast had vanished, leaving her feeling exhausted. The biting hunger she'd ignored successfully was back full force, leaving her feeling even more tired.

When will this end?

An hour later, she was done with the room. Everywhere was squeaky clean. She felt a twinge of satisfaction as she gathered her cleaning supplies and left the room, heading to the training hall. As she approached, she could hear voices talking and laughing from inside. Her stomach flipped as she recognized the voices. She controlled the urge to roll her eyes. She walked into the training hall and the chattering stopped, all eyes turning to her.

"Oh look, it's our maid!" A high pitched female voice said, followed by a giggle that sounded like a fork being scrapped on a china plate. Elena stared at Susan, her cousin, and she just sighed.

"Hi Susan." She said and set down her supplies. "And Herald and Malia,"

"What happened? Did daddy dear have a row with you!" Malia said, skipping over to Elena's side. Elena wished they'd just go away and let her clean in peace.

"Do you care?" She said as she turned and stared into Malia's brown eyes.

Malia laughed, her voice was more pleasant to listen to than Susan's. "Oh come on now, no need to be rude."

Elena sighed heavily. She met Herald's eyes from across the hall. She couldn't place if he was looking at her with pity or disgust. "Please I just need to clean in peace okay, can you all kindly give me thrifty minutes?"

"But of course!" Susan announced with fake cheer. She turned to her siblings and said "let's go now, give the maid some alone time okay?"

Elena felt Malia sneak something init her pocket. Confused, Elena touched it. It felt like a sandwich. Malia winked at her and mouthed 'enjoy.' The three of them walked out of the hall, talking as they did.

Elena took out the sandwich. It was a simple bread and ham sandwich wrapped in foil. She said a silent thank you to Malia and devoured it in two bites. Her energy returned a bit. The cleaning went smoother than she'd expected.

Later that afternoon, Elijah exploded. Elena was done with her chores for the day, so she was in her room which was the attic, reading a book. She could hear her uncle's scream from her room. Her heart dropped and she rushed down to see what was going on. And so did Malia and Susan. They exchanged worried glances with Elena.

"What's going on?" Elena asked, wondering why Elijah was fuming in the kitchen.

Malia shrugged. "Daddy is upset about something I guess. Did you do all your chores?"

Elena nodded.

Elijah was pacing the kitchen. "Someone stole food from this kitchen." He said, his angry gaze travelling between the three of them. "Does anyone have any idea who?"

Elena shook her head. She was never assigned to clean the kitchen, so she hadn't neared it all day.

"Daddy, I know who did it." Malia said. Elena watched as Elijah's anger dissolved when he looked at his daughter.

"Yes sweetie, who was it?"

Malia turned to Elena. "It was her daddy. I saw her eating a sandwich in the training hall."

Elena felt like a bucket of ice had been dumped on her head. Ah, she should've know. She should've known that there was no way Malia would feel sorry for her and give her a sandwich. She should've known that it was a trap, that no one in this house wished her well.

Elijah's fury returned ten fold as he stormed up to Elena. "Elena," He said, his voice strangely calm. "Is what she says true?"

Elena turned to Malia. "But it was you who gave it to me!"

"Liar!" Malia screamed. "Daddy she's lying! Why would I give her anything?! She lying!"

"Malia!" Elena cried. "It was you..." She couldn't finish her sentence as the next thing that happened was she found herself on the floor with half her face numb and her ear ringing. It took her a while to realize that she had just been slapped.

She could hear Elijah yelling but his voice sounded muffled. She looked up through tears to find Malia smiling smugly at her. She couldn't even bring herself to react as Elijah pulled her up and slapped her again, holding her in place as her neck whipped to the side from the force of his blows.

She knew she was done.

Tears rushed down her eyes unbridled. She couldn't bring herself to stop them. After he had his fill beating her up, Elijah dragged her out if the kitchen and threw her in the hallway. She shakily rose to her feet, the pain starting to register. And register did it do.

She felt like her head was on fire, ready to explode at anytime. With tears clouding her vision, she walked back to her attic room and collapsed on the bed. She wiped her eyes and tried to treat her bruised face as much as she could do.

Her life was hell, she knew that since forever and she'd accepted that.

Chapter 2

Elena knew no peace after the kitchen incident.

Elijah took every moment of the day to remind her that she was lying, disgusting thief. Elena went back and begged Malia to just tell her father the truth, say that oh it had been a mistake and she hadn't seen Elena take the food.

"Why would I do that?" Malia had sneered. She knocked Elena's hand off her. "You deserve to suffer for being the dent on this family. Aren't you even ashamed to call yourself a member of this family?"

Malia wouldn't listen, wouldn't do anything.

Elijah made Elena's life even worse. He seemingly manufactured chores out of nowhere to make her life worse than hell. He cut her food portions so she was working more but eating less.

Elena wanted to cry her heart out to whoever would listen, but her heart was dry. She couldn't even find it in her to do anything other than smile, nod politely and recieve the insults and abuse dished


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