Her hair was soaking wet, the small duffle
bag hanging over her shoulder dripped from the torrential rain outside. Yet it didn’t faze her. She had a plan, she was going to execute her
plan but first, she needed a place to stay.
Lifting her hand up, she pressed the palm of her hand against the apartment door and contemplated what she was doing. She had been there a few times before, mostly with Derek, but now she was standing outside of his home, alone and soaking wet with no where else to go.
Taking a deep breath, Sydney knocked on the door, three firm wraps of her knuckles before she straightened up and brushed her wet locks back, over her shoulders. The small droplets of water were starting to soak into her leather jacket but the shine was still there, sparkling in the dimly lit hallway.
When the door opened just seconds later, she raised her eyebrows and squared her shoulders. Peter took one look at her, the soaking wet beta, and leaned lazily against the doorframe, crossing his arms over his chest and smirking at her, clearly amused by her presence.
“Forgive me but I wasn’t expecting guests tonight.” He drawled, his eyes roaming over her sopping wet body.
“I need a place to crash.” She forced the words out before she could rethink what she was doing. He nodded his understanding at her, clearly knowledgeable over what had happened between her and Derek. She figured he’d know already, for if Derek didn’t tell him, he’d have known anyways. Peter always knew.
“What makes you think you’re welcome here?”
“I don’t know where else to go.” She admitted sheepishly, hating that she had to ask him for anything.
She was always adamant on being independent but she didn’t know of anywhere else where she’d be able to stay. Scott was out of the question, he liked her about as much as a stick in the eye. Stiles, maybe, but she’d then be asking the young man for way too much, they barely knew each other and plus, his father was the sheriff, that posed to be potentially problematic.
She wanted to show Derek she was every bit as competent as she could be, maybe leaving his pack was for the better. But she was now an omega, without any allies, except, she was hoping, Peter Hale.
“Naturally you go to the uncle of the alpha who you’re trying to get away from.”
“Okay well you tell me where I’m supposed to go. I have no money on me, no friends, nothing useful to my name except my damn car and if I sleep in it, I’ll most likely be hunted down and slaughtered by morning.”
“Feisty. I like that.” He purred at her, uncrossing his arms and shifting his body away from the door.
“Can I stay here or not?”
He turned sideways in the door and waved her in, bowing briefly as she crossed the threshold. He reached out and set his hands on her shoulders, grabbing at her jacket slightly. She tensed in his hold, dropped her bag to the floor and then shrugged her shoulders backwards to let the leather jacket slip down her arms, Peter taking a firm hold of it in his hands before tossing it at a chair just inside the door. He bent over, snatched up her bag and wandered in front of her, motioning for her to follow him.
Sydney flipped her wet boots off and left them at the front door before taking a few long strides to catch up to him, falling in step just behind the older man. He glanced back at her, but turned his focus forward again as he stepped into a bedroom, a bedroom she could assume was his.
“Shocker, why would you have a spare bedroom.” She muttered with a roll of her eyes, still watching him as he gingerly set her bag down on the bench seat at the end of his king sized bed.
“I never have company.” He chirped back at her, turning to face her. “And certainly no one that would ever spend the night.”
“At least I hope your couch is comfy.”
“I’ve never had to find out personally.”
“Well, thanks.” She mumbled, hating herself more every second she was in his apartment.
She crossed her own arms over her chest and felt the wet fabric now press against her bare forearms, quickly being reminded that she was absolutely soaking wet. Peter cocked his head to the side and studied her, watching as she let out a loud and frustrated sigh. She was a strange woman, one of Derek’s good friends, or at least she was. Peter originally wasn’t entirely sure why his nephew hadn’t scooped her up when he had the chance, but he was starting to piece it together, and only after her being in his apartment for a few minutes.
Sydney wasn’t a good match for Derek. She was feisty, didn’t take anyone else’s shit and most definitely would not just lay down and take orders, especially not from the incompetent alpha that was his nephew. No, she’d be much better suited to someone who wouldn’t take for granted her personality, her skills. No, she would definitely be better with a superior alpha.
Her lithe little body was perfect in every aspect, not an ounce of fat on her bones, just enough muscle to be visible, letting others know she was strong and proud of her body. Her curves we positively delicious, tiny little waist, wider hips, lean yet powerful thighs. He couldn’t tell due to the cut of her jeans but he just knew the rest of her legs would be perfection. She was the perfect tool, a welcome addition to any pack, if only his stubborn young nephew knew what he had.
Her shoulders were broad yet still feminine, her t-shirt was tight enough that he didn’t have to guess what her upper body looked like but loose enough that he wasn’t presented with every curve, dip and line of her abdomen. Her soaking wet hair was behind her shoulders, pushed out of her face and he took a minute to take it all in.
Her face, like the rest of her, was absolute perfection. Every inch of skin smooth and flawless, no freckles, no moles, not a single mark. Her lips were enticing, a scrumptious tint of pink to them, not too large, perfect for her face. Suddenly he found himself wondering how easy it was to read her simply based on the position of her lips. She took her bottom lip into her mouth, lightly biting it as he continued to study her. She was nervous, a little uncomfortable maybe, anyone could see that, he didn’t need her biting on her lip to tell.
When his eyes finally connected with hers, the vibrant electric blue sparkled back at him. Where the irises were normally a simpler brown colour, the eyes of a killer flashed, the steely cold of someone who had taken the life of an innocent.
“I had no idea.” He murmured softly, now moving to step around her, getting ready to inspect the rest of her. If she was going to be staying with him, he’d at least make good use of the perfect woman standing in front of him.
“I was seventeen, it was an accident.” She growled back at him, feeling the urge to defend her actions. He didn’t know her story; he didn’t have the right to judge her.
She twisted her head, craned her neck to follow him as he stepped around behind her, his eyes moving up and down her body. The muscles in her shoulders tensed under his gaze, such obvious power in her shoulders, Peter nearly shivered at the ideas forming in his head. She’d be a wonderful addition to his non-existent pack, the first of many. With just a few small tweaks to her behaviour, she’d be the perfect beta. Derek clearly had no idea what she was capable of in the right hands.
“Have you ever considered alpha status?”
She jerked her entire body around and stared at him in utter disbelief. She had never been anything but loyal to the Hales, whoever the alpha was, it didn’t matter. First Talia, then Laura, in a way, and Derek. She hadn’t been in Beacon Hills during Peter’s first reign at alpha, hearing stories was different than living them, but she had no doubt she’d follow him loyally. Killing people responsible for the fire, sure she knew it wasn’t exactly the right thing to do but it didn’t matter to her, as long as someone paid for their crimes.
“No.” She answered shortly.
“Oh calm down, I didn’t mean stealing it from dear old Derek.”
“Right, fine, but why would I consider alpha status when I have an alpha.”
“I think the correct word would be had, isn’t that right Sydney?”
“Either way, I’ve been without an alpha for all of two hours, do you really think I would have considered alpha status in that time because I’m pretty sure I was frantically trying to find somewhere to stay.” She growled at him, leaning forward in a lame attempt to intimidate Peter. She knew it wouldn’t even fizz on him.
“So much potential.” He bared his teeth, smirking at her
“Right, I’ll just go after one of the alphas running around Beacon Hills, kill them and steal their alpha status, because that’s not a suicide mission at all.” She shot back, her voice laced with sarcasm.
“That’s where I come in.”
“I don’t want to be an alpha if it involves teaming with you.”
“I can respect that.”
“Good, now if you’ll excuse me I’m a little wet.” She huffed at him, glancing down at her soaking wet clothes.
“Oh I bet you are.”
“Gross.” She rolled her eyes.
Peter shook his head at her before wandering out of his bedroom, leaving her alone to change into something a little less waterlogged.
Fairly early the next morning, Sydney tugged the door on the fridge open and poked her head inside, looking for some sort of breakfast. It wouldn’t have taken much to satiate her hunger, a lot of times she skipped breakfast, either because she slept in later or simply because she wasn’t hungry at such an early hour.
Her eyes scanned the shelves inside the fridge and she knitted her brows together, wondering what the hell Peter Hale ate considering there wasn’t much in his fridge. She dropped down into a squatting position, trying to get a better look in the appliance and found something she could at least work with to create some sort of decent breakfast.
She cradled the eggs in her palm as she rose up to her feet, the fridge door swinging shut. She glanced backwards to meet Peter’s curious gaze. He had perched himself on the tall bar stool at the island. She had noticed the small stack of books resting on the top the night before but hadn’t said anything. This morning, one of the books was open in front of him, as well as the local newspaper. It was barely past eight in the morning and he was already showered, dressed and reading the paper. Sydney let out a sigh, loving the feel of her pajamas in the mornings and not understanding why anyone, especially the man in her presence, would give up the comfort willingly.
“If I make French toast, will you eat it?” She asked, unsure of his feelings towards her being in his kitchen, using his food to make herself breakfast.
“French toast sounds good.”
“Good.” She nodded firmly, hating how it felt to be invading someone else’s space.
It didn’t matter that he had agreed to let her stay in his apartment, or even that he had told her to ‘make herself at home’, sarcastically she was sure, but poking her head into his fridge searching for something to eat just felt wrong. She wasn’t comfortable being invasive, but Peter hadn’t made any move to suggest he’d be a gracious host.
“I’m sure there’s bacon or sausages in their somewhere if you feel up to it.”
“Bacon?” She cocked her head to the side, wondering if he was teasing her for being in his kitchen, acting as if it were her own space.
“I’m not saying you have to make it but I’m sure it’s in there if you want it.”
“Do you want bacon?” She shot back, trying to figure out what his angle was.
“If you’re offering to cook it, yes.”
“I guess I can make bacon.”
There was an awkward air between them. She was trying to tread lightly in his presence, not wanting to give him a reason to kick her out, especially since she hadn’t had time to find somewhere else to go. For now, she’d stick to trying not to be invasive or annoying and hope that he’d not get fed up with her and let her stay. Especially not now that she had already spent her first night on her own in the safety of his apartment.
Setting the eggs on the counter, Sydney then twisted her body, moving back to the fridge. She pulled the door open and crouched down, her eyes scanning the shelves once again. Spying the meat drawer, she pulled it open and shoved a few packages of cold cuts to the side, her gaze landing on the aforementioned bacon.
Minutes later, standing in front of the stove, Sydney worked two pans, one with bacon frying in it, the other with three pieces of French toast cooking up nicely. She held a spatula for the French toast in one hand, which she had rooted through the drawers to find, and a fork for the bacon in the other. Her hips shifted from side to side as she moved her feet, sidestepping to and from each pan.
She could feel his gaze on her backside, something she wasn’t too uncomfortable with, not yet anyways. He was a man after all and she was a decent looking woman. It came with the territory, most of the guys she knew had checked her out at least once, now that she wasn’t soaking wet and covered in damp clothes, it was the perfect opportunity for Peter to study her.
Jamming the spatula under one of the pieces of bread in the frying pan, she picked it up and flipped it onto a plate residing on the counter beside the stove. Quickly, the other two pieces followed suit and she dunked three more pieces of bread into the French toast mixture, dropping them into the still heated pan.
The fork was abandoned on the counter now as she picked up the plate with her free hand and stepped across the kitchen before setting the plate in front of Peter, right on top of the newspaper. Throwing him a sly grin, he nodded his appreciation of her making him breakfast and took in the sight of the fluffy, scrumptious looking French toast.
“Thank you.” He said, meeting her pride filled gaze.
“It’s the least I can do, I mean for letting me stay here.”
He nodded again at her, still studying her body as she turned around, stepping back to the stove to watch over the rest of the food still cooking in the pans.
His eyes never left her now, not even to pick at his breakfast. She seemed to have a new spring in her step. Last night she had been angry and desperate, now she wiggled her hips and was even humming a light little tune as she flipped bread in the frying pan and fried bacon in another. It was a pleasant sight, someone using his kitchen for more than just a place to read up on mythology, mostly of the werewolf variety. He couldn’t help but wonder if she had been a very domestic person before arriving back in Beacon Hills, maybe with a roommate, or a boyfriend even.
At the thought of her having a boyfriend, he let a small growl slip out of his throat. What was he thinking? Jealous, no, there was nothing to be jealous of. Sydney was his nephew’s best friend, who just so happened to be a gorgeous woman. When he brought himself back to reality, she was gazing back at him, a worried look etched on her face. She must have caught his growl.
“Do you not like it? I can make you something else if you want.” The tone of her voice was desperate, obviously seeking approval from him, fearful that he might kick her out solely based on the taste of her French toast.
“No, it’s fine, something in the paper caught my eye.” He lied, so smoothly that he believed himself. His heart remained steady; as it would from the years of practice he had with lying.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure the world’s going to hell.” She joked, trying to lighten the mood, his mood, so as not to bother him. She needed him to want her around, even if it was because she made a mean breakfast.
“It’s what happens when good people go bad.” Peter added, turning his attention back to the newspaper.
Sydney pressed her lips together and went back to cooking breakfast. She slipped her own French toast onto a plate and turned both burners off, collecting the bacon in the pan into a pile before adding it to the plate of cooked bacon on the counter. Grabbing both plates, making sure she had a fork on one, she made her way across the kitchen, a little hesitant to sit at the island beside him but there wasn’t a table anywhere else. He lived alone, probably having no use for a table.
Planting her butt on the stool next to his, she flashed him a nervous smile as he looked at her. When the plate of bacon hit the top of the island, his hand moved right for it, throwing her a smirk right back.
Settling in next to him, she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Her body relaxed, he didn’t say anything to her, no scolding for invading his kitchen, no snide remarks about her wasting his food, not a single word. Maybe staying with Peter Hale wouldn’t be so bad after all.
After making sure he wasn’t going to go out and leave her without a key, Sydney had left the apartment, a fairly large list of groceries in her jacket pocket. If she was going to be staying with him, eating his food, using his space, she was going to make sure he didn’t feel like she was taking advantage of it all. So, after finishing breakfast, doing the dishes and cleaning everything up, she sat down and made a list.
Arriving back at the apartment, juggling seven plastic bags full of groceries, Sydney struggled to wrap her fingers around the doorknob. She barely gripped it but twisted it enough that it disengaged and the door opened slightly. Using her foot, she gently forced her toe against the bottom of the door and walked into the apartment, catching Peter’s curious look.
She let out a nervous chuckle and marched through the apartment into the kitchen, gingerly setting the bags of groceries on the top of the island. Before he could scold her for leaving her shoes on, she jogged back to the front door, made sure it was shut tight, locked it and quickly flipped her boots off, leaving her jacket on for the time being.
He shifted on the couch and stood up, following her into the kitchen as she pulled the fridge door open. Peter moved around the island, glancing into each and every bag, taking a mental inventory of what she had brought back to the apartment.
“I used most of the bread this morning.” She admitted shyly. “So I went to buy you a replacement loaf.”
“And what about the other six bags?” He teased her, implying the bread was in a bag of its own, even though, simply by the sight of the bags, he knew they were all as full as could be.
“Well, eggs and bacon took up another two bags right, and then when I was in the bathroom this morning I just kept thinking like ‘man this guy is going to notice his toilet paper supply dwindling faster than normal’ so that’s another bag.”
“That still leaves,” he paused, mentally counting the amount of bags on the island, “three more.”
“Well I’d like to make dinner for you, so ground beef in one, noodles in another and in the last one, tomato sauce.” She smiled back at him, not expecting him to be so, well, normal. Derek had always told her that his uncle was pretty much a psychopath, but she was starting to doubt he was that bad.
“If you’re trying to earn your keep-”
“Just don’t worry about a single meal while I’m here. I want to do it.”
“That’s not necessary Sydney.”
“It’s the least I can do.”
“If you insist.”
Sydney nodded her head yes. She wasn’t going to back down, making him breakfast, and dinner, maybe even lunch depending on the day, was something she could do and she could do it well. She was a decent cook, thanks to years of living with her grandma, and it was almost exciting for her now being able to actually cook again, in a decent kitchen no less. For the longest time after she showed back up in Beacon Hills, there wasn’t any place where she could cook.
Derek’s loft had a shitty kitchen, barely more than a fridge and even if she wanted to cook there, he’d tell her not to bother, that she’d probably just stink up the loft, or make every werewolf in the place hungry. He didn’t want hungry werewolves, even if she would have subdued their hunger by cooking them food too. She knew he didn’t want her to have any control of his pack, and by not letting her cook, he could make sure that wouldn’t happen.
“If there’s anything else you want me to do, like maybe laundry or vacuuming or-”
“Sydney.” He cut her off, his tone firm and commanding. “I can take care of myself.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t implying that you couldn’t-”
“Stop.” He cut her off again, a softness to his features that took her off guard.
“So just the food.” She said, nodding her understanding.
“Just the food.” He agreed.
A blanket of silence fell over them as he went through the bags of groceries, pulling out item after item, handing them to her. She took the items from his hands and put them in the fridge where she believed they should go. After ten minutes of emptying the groceries, Peter flopped down onto the stool and looked at her, wondering how her and Derek interacted.
He couldn’t picture her grocery shopping for his young nephew, nor could he imagine her cooking for him, cleaning his loft like she offered to do with his apartment. Would she have taken on the job of doing Derek’s laundry, if his nephew even did laundry? It seemed there were far too many pieces of his clothing that would be destroyed with rips, tears, even blood, maybe laundry at the loft was unnecessary.
He took in the sight of her in his kitchen once again. It wasn’t something he was used to, having lived by himself since the fire, but the more he drank in the sight of Sydney waltzing around the kitchen, the more he found himself getting used to the thought of her staying with him.
Taking her in was starting to seem like a really good idea.