I try my best not to think about Kat's words during the drive to my house. She doesn't look at me, only watches as the rain pelts the window, an arm on the door.
"I apologize for anything Eric says or does," I tell her once in park. She studies me.
"Don't apologize for that asshat." I kiss her on the cheek. We get out of the car. Show time. She has no idea how nervous I am. This could go so many ways...
When we walk in we're greeted by silence. I set my bag on the stairwell and turn to see her studying every inch of the place. The house is large, yet not as large as her own. She lives surrounded by wood. This is brick.
With a hand on her back I guide her into the living area closest to the kitchen and towards the sliding glass door. That's when I see why no one's in the house.
"What are they doing?" She asks, crossing her arms over her chest. I sigh.
"Well the wolf on the right is Bogey, and the one on the left is Sam." She looks at me, scrunching her face. "So I'd say, Bogey took something from Sam's closet."
"What kind of name is Bogey?" I shrug. "And why would grown ass men fight over clothes?"
"A nickname." his real name's Robert. "They're brothers. And it's not about clothing. It's Canibus." She snorts and mutters under her breath something about men.
"Your entire pack's red wolves?"
"No, there are two gray wolves. I don't see them though." They're probably on Patrol. I turn away from the window and walk over to the kitchen. There' s a note with a list of things that need to be done around the house.
It's a long list.
"They know I'm here, right?" She asks, shifting closer to me. Kat's uncomfortable. These scents are unfamiliar to her. I doubt she's ever felt out of place.
"Yes, they're just making a point." She stares at me. "That I'm not high on their list of priorities." Kat moves in for a hug, and smiling I don't object, placing a kiss on the top of her head.
The front door slams shut, and we pull apart, a good foot, as Alaric enters. He stops when he sees me. Slowly his eyes trail to Kat. He smiles, and extends a hand.
"You must be Katalina. I'm Alaric." She takes it without hesitancy.
"Nice to meet you." She lies. He looks at me.
"Where's Eric?" He asks with a bite as he addresses me. I glance outside. He looks too and sighs. Without a word, he storms outside, about ready to beat some ass. It takes thirty seconds for the group to disperse. Kat's pressed up against me again, her back snuggled into my chest.
"Kat," I ask her as Eric and Alaric approach the glass doors. "Have you ever met another Alpha besides your Dad?" I can't see her face to busy watching them.
"There are meetings every great while but I've never met one, no."
I find comfort in Cameron's touch. The second I'd walked into this home I'd gotten bad vibes. The scents are overwhelming.
Part of me want to start negotiating on Cameron's behalf to get him over to my pack, but it's not my place even as his Mate. When my Dad's decided it's the right time, he'll start the negotiations. Cameron's Seventeen, the same age as me so he's a minor. Most likely he'll be stuck here another year. He has the right to leave when he's eighteen and I'm sure he planned to do it even before I came into his life.I'm going to play nice only because I'm a representative of my pack.
I know who Eric is before he even enters the house and not just because he's next to Alaric. He's tall and muscular with wide shoulders and a harsh face. He screams Beta, not Alpha. He probably had been, before the fire. It was his right to take over the pack, though only to train Cameron for it. Obviously, he'd neglected that responsibility.
Even though there's nowhere else to go, I find myself backing up further into Cameron's chest. He puts a hand on my wrist, where my skin peeks out under the jacket I wear.
Eric slides the door open and enters, unsmiling.His green eyes go directly to the face above my own, and I have a feeling- no I know for a fact- Cameron's adverting his gaze in submission.
I've said it before but it breaks my heart.
Then at long last, he sticks his hand out. "So you're the wolf that's been distracting my dog." My eyes sharpen, and I bite my snarl as he insults Cameron, who's taut beside me, his grip tightening on my wrist. He says nothing. Part of me wants him to defend himself, but I understand pack structure. He can't. I take his hand, then say eyes locked on his,
"And you're the Asshat that's dick is so small he has to put pups down to feel better about himself," Eric growls. A moment of silence passes between us, then Alaric's laughing.
"I like her Eric." He says, a huge grin plastered on his face. Eric says nothing. I'm waiting to see who looks away first. He does, turning to take a seat in one of the gray chairs. Alaric, tall and thin lounges on one of the couches, one leg over the other. Glancing at Cameron while their backs are turned, he's white as a ghost.
"Come," Eric says. "I won't bite." Why is it I don't believe him? I take a seat carefully in one of the chairs across from him. Cameron doesn't sit. He stands beside the chair. Is he even allowed on the furniture? The house is spotless, I notice. I'm sure he does all the cleaning.
"Cameron said you thought I wasn't real." Eric shrugs.
"He makes shit up to get out of trouble." I cross a leg over the other.
"Yet here I am,"
"Here you are." He leans forward, resting his arms on his legs. "I talked to your Father this morning." He adds. It doesn't surprise me. Dad had suspected he'd call. "He did confirm you two have an attraction toward one another." I cock my head to the side.
"I'm his only child," I tell the Alpha. "I think it's understandable that he's a little bit in denial." Eric studies me.
"You two smell like each other." I shrug. "You're together for one day and he comes back here smelling like feminine perfume." Alaric snorts.
"I'm not going to apologize for anything."
"I don't expect it." The silence dredges on. He looks at Cameron. "Why don't you make yourself useful and get started on that list." It isn't a question.
"I'm not leaving her here with you." A defense. Though his voice is soft, a submissive soft, he's defending me. Eric's eyes harden.
"Boy-" He growls
"I said No." I tense, my teeth clenched as I wait for Eric to explode. But he looks at me and sees my glare and settles down. Alaric is smiling slightly.
"You say you're their only child?" Eric asks, changing the subject. "So you're expected to become Luna." I nod, my eyes sharpening at the word expected.
"It is my bloodright."
"And you expect this shrivel of a wolf to be Alpha?" Every insult thrown at Cameron, makes my blood boil hotter and hotter.
"He is only that way because he was raised to be it." I snap.
"Kat," Cameron whispers. I ignore him.
"Cameron can learn. It's already in his blood." Alaric's watching Eric now. He's enjoying this battle. Seeing his big bad Alpha lose a fight.
"Kat," Cameron says again.
"Oh?" Eric bites out.
"My Mother could smell it the second he walked into the house. Starving, leashing, and degrading an Alpha Wolf can damper its pride but it can't hide its scent." Eric and I stand at the same time. Cameron immediately grabs my arm.
"Thanks for meeting with me. I had a wonderful time." I seethe, turning for the door. We're halfway there when Cameron stops dead in his tracks, pulling me to a stop. "What's wrong?" Eric's saying something through the pack's mindlink. I can tell by the way Cameron's eyes have glazed over. One tug on his arm and he's following me again. He doesn't tell me what his Alpha said.
It isn't until we're parked in my driveway that he says anything to me. He unbuckles his seatbelt and rests his head on the headrest, his eyes closed. Just breathing. A minute passes by. Five. Then he looks at me, his head in the same position his eyes focues on me.
"I love you." He says.
That one sentence, the one damn word opens the cage I use to leash my wolf. That caution and gentleness we'd been using disappears. I'm on his lips before I can even think.