The Hunter

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Chapter 6 ~ Happy Birthday

…Ryder’s P.O.V…

It wasn’t so much of a jealousy thing that had me storm out, okay, let’s be honest, I was a little jilted but it was more that I should never have been there in the first place. I know what my future holds and freedom to fall in love was not in my cards; her kissing him just confirmed that.

I had accepted my fate a long time ago and I never allowed myself to entertain the idea of love before him. Before Ulric sat there, looking absolutely divine with a pool stick in his hand and a whole bad boy, sexy as hell, image going on. Before he sent me endless texts about how he thinks of me, asks me how my day was? And what I was thinking? I was fine with my life. Fine… Just fine, not happy, just okay.

Ulric was funny, kind and made me feel things I feared to feel before, he was unique, intimidating yet encouraging, he wanted to know me, but I could never let him in, he would never understand. My family were bred a certain way and life was full of rules and responsibility, I could not drag anyone into that chaos.

“Can we continue our night?” He asked sheepishly.

“I don’t want to back in there.” Truth was, I didn’t want to see that girl again, I was created to kill and if she pushed my buttons, who knows how far I’d go?

“Roland, let’s take the girls to our ‘special place’ I’ll grab the towels.”

“Yes, what special place?” Claire shouts.

“Towels?... what?” I asked and was pulled by my hand, into the passenger’s seat of a big black, Ram 2500 Big Horn 4x4 with a squealing Claire in the back seat.

“Hey, Ry?” She taps me on the shoulder, “I wonder if Ulric’s is as big as Roland’s?”

“You are such a pervert!” I smack her and she laughs as Roland opens the door.

“Hey cutie, I grabbed some drinks for all of us and snacks… do you think we’ll need anything else?” I watched as Claire’s heart melted. Myka had never cared what Claire thought, how she felt or showed her any affection in public and despite it being such a small gesture, I could tell it meant the world to her and she thanked him by swallowing his face… eww, I thought.

“Ready?” Ulric climbed into the truck and started the engine.

“Why were you having a party anyway?” I asked after driving for a bit.

“It’s Ulric’s birthday,” Roland chimes in.

“Oh my god, we have to go back, it’s for you and you can’t leave your own party, turn around we have to go back,” I panic.

“No, I’m exactly where I want to be.” He reaches over and entwines our fingers, squeezing firmly with a smile on his face.

“Happy birthday,” I reply and blush at his action… Why am I blushing?

“Thank you.” His eyes leave the trail to focus on mine, for just a brief moment, then snaps back as my cheeks flush wildly.

We pull up to the most amazing stream I’d ever seen, the moon shone brightly, illuminating the crystal clear water.

We exit the car and the other two go running toward the water stripping off on the way there, while I awkwardly stand, trying to remember what underwear I put on? Ulric throws a blanket onto the ground and pulls the picnic basket out of the back before sliding out of his shoes and slipping his jeans down, revealing thick and muscular legs. My mouth fell slack as I crossed my legs, squeezing my thighs together, perving as he grasped the hem of his shirt, exposing bonds trunks and slowly lifted as my mouth went dry. His impeccably toned and taut back, every curve expertly carved, my breaths became short and laboured, pants and puffs, unveiling my lack of any control.

“You coming?” He requests holding out his hand.

“Mmmhhhhmm,” I manage, walking toward the blanket, my heels sinking into the ground. I slip out of them and onto the blanket, shucking off my jacket. I turn my back to him and undo my buttons, pushing the denim down my long legs as they pooled at my ankles and I step out. I had not been practically nude in front of any man in years and certainly not shown anyone all of my artwork. I could feel the cold air brushing lightly against my arse cheeks, lifting up my white shirt, I stood there in my matching white bra and G-string, I hear him gasp. My nerves were going crazy and I was shaking slightly as he ran his fingertips down my back, that was completely covered in purple and blue angel wings.

“You are remarkable,” he whispered against my shoulder.

“C’mon you two?” Claire screams out.

“Yeah, the waters beautiful,” Roland cries.

Ulric slides his hand over my shoulder and down my arm as I turn ever so slightly around, he pulls out my arms, revealing a tree with Elvish writing under one arm and a howling wolf under the other. He bent down and lightly kissed the wolf, no saliva could be found in my mouth, his light brown eyes gazed down towards my owl that sat underneath my breasts and flashed a dazzling smile.

“You are exceptional.” He whispered again and cupped my hand gently, moving me to the water. My body was humming in ecstasy from his touch, the light caressing of my skin had set me on fire, I had no control over my body, mind or soul… all there was, was him.

As we enter the unusually warm water, I find my body relaxing, something it had not done since I found out my fate. The brook was a sanctuary, heaven on my tired and overworked muscles.

“Why do you hide your body?” He asks as we stand in shoulder deep water.

“I don’t,” confusion written on my face.

“You do, everyone tonight, including Claire was in revealing dresses, yet you show up in jeans and a jacket…”

“I’m sorry my attire offends you so,” I cut him off with a pronounced crease in between my brows.

“No, that’s not what I mean… I like that you’re different but you have an incredible body, I wondered why you choose to cover it?”

“I choose to wear what I do out of how I feel that day and if I choose to wear a revealing dress, I will do so, only to capture the attention of the man I am with. My body is not something I share very often but it doesn’t mean I don’t ever dress with less decorum, I don’t wish to have all eyes on me, just one pair, the eyes of my lover.”

“I just don’t think you realise, how alluring you are?” He floats closer to me, “I’ve never met anyone like you.”

“My allure is inconsequential, my body is a tool, I was taught that pleasure comes from doing the right thing, my body is a weapon to create life and that’s it.” If you don’t count the killings, I think to myself. “Claire has always been more girly than I, so I should warn you now that there better be a damn good reason for me to be in a dress in the first place,” I smirk at him.

“It seems like you are not happy?”

“Arrow and I were given opportunities that others can only dream of; we have been all over the world, studied all over the world, with Myka, Claire and William plus a few other family friends.”

“Are you happy?” I pondered his question for a moment.

“I don't know how to answer that?” He moves to cup my cheeks.

“I want to see you happy.” He leans in closer, his hooded eyes trained on my lips.

“Ryyyyy?” Claire interrupts us, “what was that professors name that wore the tin foil hat?” we pull apart.

Clearing my throat, “Mr Dodson?”

“Yes, that one.”

“Tin foil hat?” Ulric arches his brow.

“Eccentric, taught history, believed he was being monitored.” I laugh, “he was fun… Ulric, are you happy?”

“You ask it like happiness is a foreign concept… yes, I am, we are of Chawaii decent so, we all grew up together, my father is the chief of this land and we all have cabins on the property and keep a tight bond within our community. We all work as one, a team, supporting and caring, a family. Our tribe grows together, laughs together, I am very happy but I’m missing one thing… a love to share my life with.”

His words left his mouth so easily, he needed no opportunity to think, he just spoke from his heart, continuously, without caution or reservation. To my parents and in fact, all compound parents, we were tools, used for the eradication of other species, used to satisfy their thirst for blood, they did not care about feelings, emotions were a weakness, a liability, a useless human glitch in our genetic make-up that with enough training and manipulation could be bred out of us, yet, here in front of me floated, a god, that used his feelings to strengthen his character. He spoke the truth, I realised just how much I craved that type of honesty and I was relishing in his openness.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” my raspy exhale didn’t go unnoticed.

“Sorry, if I’ve said too much?”

“NO!” I move suddenly forward, “No, I just… I…” inhaling deeply, “I’m just getting chilly.” I was not cold, I was weak. I couldn’t share my feelings with him, I didn’t know how too.

He creased his brow, he knew exactly, that I was hesitating but chose to brush it off and grabbed my hand, walking us both out, picking up a large towel and wrapping it around me. My breath and voice had been stolen, this man had completely rendered me useless and lost. I stood there confused, terrified but utterly consumed.

I watched with unshed tears gathering in my eyes as he smiled while drying me with a giant fluffy towel before drying himself. His touch was so tender, so loving and gentle.

“Here, it’s mine, so it will be too big for you but it’s dry.” He handed me a spare shirt he had pulled from his car and slipped it over my body, my gaze watching his every delicate movement completely speechless.

I gathered his shirt in my fists and inhaled… it smells of him.

He clasped his strong large hands around my waist and pulled me down, in-between his legs. His chest was warm despite wearing no shirt as he leant up against the tire with his arms wrapped around me. I still had not said a word as he pulled me into him, my head rest against his muscular pecs. I had never felt so safe, so comforted, yet so incredibly scared, all at the same time, I was in desperate trouble.

I swallowed the lump gathering in my throat and reached up and gently brushed my lips against his cheek.

“What was that for?” He asked looking down at me with glistening eyes, fear consuming my heart, not afraid fear, but fear of love. He was perfect and all of his tiny actions were breaking through every wall I had unconsciously built around myself.

I knew what was in my future but at this moment - under the stars - in his arms - I didn’t care, I would give up everything to stay exactly where we were.

“My god, I love it here.” Claire interrupts flopping on to the blanket. “Ry, are you going to take up the offer from Ulric’s dad?”

I sat there with everyone’s eyes on me, breathing heavily, I had forgotten how to talk.

“Ryder… Ryder? Are you listening to me?” I blinked frantically.

“Sorry, um…what?” Thankfully, I found my voice.

“Are you okay?” She arches her eyebrow.

“Yes Claire, I’m fine.”

“So, are you? Gonna take up Leonardo’s offer?”

“Maybe, I won’t know what he expects until Monday.”

We spent the night laughing and carrying on. Before we knew it; it was time to head back. Claire threw me the keys and Ulric held my door open.

“You made my birthday,” he looked down at me.

“You flatter me so,” I sucked in a harsh breath between my teeth, gnawing at my bottom lip.

“You deserve to be worshipped every day.”

He leaned forward pressing his lips against mine, holding still before withdrawing with a smile, rendering me speechless once again. He closed my door and waved as Claire and I drove off in my red Mustang.

“Hey, Ry?”

“Yeah Clay?”

“You deserve to be worshipped every day,” she mocked.

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