Chapter 8 ~ Ryder VS Arlene
I explained everything we had heard and seen, in great detail, including the codes I heard over the phone calls - everything laid out from the moment we met them. Maybe leaving out some minor details such as how utterly sexy Ryder is.
“Do you think they will hunt us?” I question him.
“I’m not sure, she did say wolves don’t attack humans unless provoked, correct? Maybe she is the same?”
“That’s what she said,” I confirmed.
“Then I think, for now, we can assume her and Claire are safe and no threat to our pack, but I want them watched, every second they are here. Isla will be at every training session and you boys will keep an eye on them, outside of that okay?”
“Yes Alpha,” the boys repeat.
“That definitely explains a few things, including why she had impressed your Luna so much.” His final statement was a little unnerving, mum had been completely impressed but what if this meant that as a ‘hunter’ she would reject me? The thoughts that plagued my mind were crippling and all centred around losing my mate.
Walking back to my cabin, on the east side, near a babbling brook - the only spot on the entire property that ever gave me comfort - I mulled over everything in my head desperately seeking answers.
Tomorrow, we will talk, no matter what.
When I arrived at the men’s ninja warrior equipment, I instantly spot her getting the training yard set up with Claire. Roland had decided not to speak to Claire until she came to him with her excuse - despite him knowing the truth and I guess I followed his lead.
Arlene, as usual, was parading around the men in tight pink yoga pants and a matching pink crop, spurting out comments about how useless my mate was with her group of followers.
“You better watch your mouth Arlene,” I warn.
“Why? You going to kill me?” She threatens me to act. “No, not in front of your pathetic human.”
“You’re pushing it, she is your future Luna,” my gaze was deadly.
“Oh, is she just? Well, let’s see what this bitch has got? I refuse to bow to a weak and pathetic Luna, just because you enjoy her pussy, Ulric.”
“You know you can’t challenge her, it’s unfair and you have supernatural strength from your wolf. She is flesh and bone only - completely human.”
“Then you agree, she’s not strong enough to lead this pack,” I growled at her comment.
Ryder had already started the beginners and Claire had started the medium group, Arlene was waiting for me to react. The truth was, how do you react to that? If I challenged her back, I would be putting Ryder directly in harm’s way and if I intervened, she would be seen as weak by the pack members, Arlene knew she had me on a tightrope.
“Will you be joining us this morning?” Ryder had somehow snuck up on our glaring contest.
“You are pathetic, you have nothing to teach me.”
“The hate you harbour towards me, is it jealousy?” Arlene spins on her heels and glowers menacingly at her.
“Jealous?” She spits, “jealous of you, a nothing and a nobody?” Her voice had raised but I could not do anything. I knew Ryder was not weak but she was a human up against a wolf and she needed to hold her own in front of the pack if she was to be taken seriously as a Luna - even if she didn’t know it yet.
“You seem to really hate me, yet, we have never been formally introduced?”
“Damn right I hate you, Ulric belongs to me!” My eyes burn with anger. Her yelling and declaration had caught the attention of everyone, including my mother.
“Funny that, I did a fine investigation of his body and didn’t find your name anywhere?” Yep, that comment excited me.
“How dare you touch what’s mine? I will kill you,” her threat springs Claire into action.
“Why you fuck...” but Ryder’s arm goes out to silence Claire.
“Fine, how about a challenge? You win, I’ll leave Ulric alone. I win, you come to training every morning at 10 am for next the next month with no complaints and backchat?”
“You couldn’t possibly win against me?” Arlene laughed in her face.
“So there’s no harm then? This is where the men train, how about the first one to reach the winner’s podium, well - wins?”
“It’s unfair, I don’t exercise on here,” she cockily replies, “you may be a man underneath all that clothing...” she gestures towards Ryder’s covered body, “but I am all woman, a man against a woman is unfair.”
She brushes off the insult as if it were nothing, “look, I don’t train on this equipment either, so both of us are in the same boat.” She throws her hands up in defence, “however, if you’re scared too than you forfeit and I win.”
“Ulric stop this,” my mother warns.
“I can’t and you know why?” I shot back.
“Taking bets, $10 punt - $1000 down on Ryder to win,” Claire screams out with a scowl from Roland.
“What are you doing?” Roland asks.
“Oh, so now I’m good enough to speak too?” Claire’s eyes narrow into slits at him.
“You can’t do this?” He implores.
“Yes, she fucken can.” Ashley pushes him to the side, thrusting money at the tiny firecracker while Arlene warms up.
“Do you know what you are doing? She is strong and she has lasting stamina,” I pull Ryder by the elbow.
She rips her arm back with narrowed eyes, “now, how would you know about her stamina unless you fucked her? Is this the reason she’s so possessive over you? Cause you used to bury your cock in her?”
“I would never touch that thing,” I sneered as my temper flared.
“Yeah right,” she scoffs back, “how about, rather than doubting me, you get the fuck out of my way.”
“Look, I don’t doubt you damn it. I need to know you’ll win, I can’t not have you in my life and if you lose that’s what happens, you leave me alone.”
“I never challenge unless I know I can win,” I nod at her response.
“$1000 down on Ryder to win,” I yell, pulling gasps from the crowd as we square off against each other.
“Come on then bitch, I’ll be sure to send you a picture as I fuck Ulric’s brains out,” I see Ryder’s jaw clench and her hands squeeze tightly into fists at her comment. She is jealous, I smile to myself.
“Leon is on his way, stop this immediately,” my mother again attempts to halter the event.
“You know that if I do that, she looks weak, I can’t mum and neither can you.” I yell whispered to her, she knows how it goes, it would have been different if my little Rocky wasn’t a human and she knows it.
Ryder stands at the starting line, she curls her caramel hair up into a bun while slipping off her shoes. She unzips her red hoodie and rolls down her black yoga tights, revealing tiny lycra booty shorts. She lifts her red bonds singlet over her head and stands there in just her booty shorts and sports crop. Its now, in the light of day, where I really get to examine her delectable body. Her skin softly tanned, her tattoos stand out more in the sunshine but still take my breath away, her round plump and eatable arse, shapely hips and thighs but when she turns, I observe her toned abs that make my knees weak. Her arms were well defined without being overly muscular and my soldier was as stiff as a metal rod at the sight of her. I linked all the men to stop drooling over my mate before I ripped their cocks off.
Okay, jealousy was making me a little crazy.
Jason steps up to the starting line, his blue eyes failing to not rake over Ryder’s body but as usual, she doesn’t even notice while I snap him from his thoughts with my Alpha energy presence.
“Right, so you both know this is a fair competition. You will run, as fast as you can, around the border of the obstacle course, along the zigzag balance beams, jump across these six quintuple steps before sprinting up the warped wall. Once at the top, you have to climb the spider web netting, across the monkey bars before propelling yourself onto the vertical pipe bombs. Next, you climb the salmon ladder before you swing from the trapeze onto the pendulum swing and finally, onto the winner’s podium. Remember, if you fall at any stage, you have to start again from the beginning of that particular obstacle... any questions?”
“Leon, stop this?” My mother shrieks as dad strolls casually up to the action.
“Ryder, Arlene did you both agree to this?” He questions.
“The mutt is going down,” Arlene snarls.
“I did sir, it was my idea,” Ryder states looking directly at him.
“Wow, respect, maybe you could learn a thing or two Arlene?” Dads comment causes Arlene to throw daggers at Ryder, “then continue. Claire?”
“Yes, sir?” Claire replies startled.
“What’s the current rate?”
“$10 a punt sir but Ulric and I laid down $1000 each on Ryder.”
“Hmm, I see, well in that case... $1000 down on Ryder.”
“Oh my god, you’ve all lost your minds,” mum huffs in frustration but I grin ear to ear.
I have no time to fantasize over Ryder’s body anymore as Jason raises his shirt above his head and then drops it. They both shoot out like a bullet, Arlene, naturally has speed but Ryder was hot on her heels, quickly falling into step behind her. They both reach their balance beams but fly across it with ease, then jump from step to step over the quintuples. Ryder slightly pauses, taking a breath before scaling the wall just as Arlene reaches the spider web netting, climbing it like you would a ladder.
Ryder, however, uses only her arms for the netting and quickly gains the lost time from her pausing. They both are neck and neck, as they swing on the monkey bars, two a time, which is difficult as it descends, rather than being horizontal. They propel themselves onto the vertical pipe bombs, leaping from one to the other. Arlene’s pace has slowed while Ryder’s remains consistent. She springs into the air, gripping the bar and propels her entire body weight up the salmon ladder with ease, swinging her legs back and forth then landing in front of the trapeze.
Arlene is struggling massively with the salmon ladder as Ryder fly’s through the air like an artist, clutching the pendulum swing tightly. The entire pack is completely silent, all you can hear is Claire screaming in excitement. Ryder launches herself off the pendulum and onto the podium before collapsing and rolling onto the tarp slide and tumbling down. I run to her lifting her to her feet as she gasps for air. Shaking slightly, she walks to below the salmon ladder, where Arlene fell - but no one noticed.
“See you... tomorrow morning... 10 am sharp.” And she shuffles off to her car, flopping onto the bonnet drenched in sweat, with Claire following.
“Fuck yeah, Ry, that was beyond awesome and now Ulric, Sir and I are loaded because no one else bet on you.” The tiny pocket rocket, moonwalks and then robots in celebration.
I hand her a water bottle and pick her up off the bonnet, wrapping her legs around me and walk us to my cabin as Claire attempts to follow.
“Whoa, Clay, we have some talking to do,” Roland stops her before she can follow.
“I can walk, you know?” Ryder snips, unimpressed by my carrying her.
“I know, but carrying you is much more fun.”
We enter my cabin and I throw her onto the couch before remove her shoes.
“Ulric, I need to go home, I’m sweaty and smell.”
“So, shower here, you can wear my clothes,” I shrug. “We need to talk.”
“You wanna know what happened last night?” She sighs, getting up and walking into my kitchen, “I’m hungry, what have you got?”
“Cornflakes, yes, I want to know, one minute we were having the most epic kiss of my life and the next you’re driving off?”
“Cornflakes it is, do you want a bowl?” She reaches in the fridge for the milk, taking a double glance at my completely empty refrigerator, I really only ever eat cornflakes here.
“No, I want an answer?” She pours a bowl full and milk before grabbing a spoon and jumping up onto the counter, swinging her legs as she takes a mouthful.
“This is going to happen, a lot.” She begins and places the bowl to the side, “I have a duty, an obligation to my family. Since we are not together, I don’t have to tell you but you have been so honest with me, it’s only fair that I answer your questions as best I can.”
“Do you want to be with me?” I shoot straight at her which takes her by surprise.
“I like you.”
She hangs her head and wipes her face in frustration, “I’ve known you for just over a week.”
“Fair enough, we’ll date and take it slow,” she smiles, “where did you go last night?”
“To see an old friend.”
“An old friend?” I question knowing the truth, let’s see how she worm’s out of this?
“An ex-boyfriend,” she exhales in defeat.
“Do you still love him?”
“No, but I care for him,” she admits.
“Why did you go see him?”
“Arrow found out something and I had to make sure he wasn’t apart of it,” well that’s technically true, she’s smart in the way she reveals her answers without exposing the truth.
“Will you see him again?”
“Every once in a while, probably.”
“Do you have any other jobs besides personal training?”
“Working for my family.”
“Business, let me ask you something?”
“Well, that question was expertly avoided but go ahead.”
“Have you ever slept with that woman?”
“Arlene? Never but we did go out for two weeks in grade 9,” she laughs and shakes her head.
“Are you telling me, she’s been crushing on you since then?”
“Yes and don’t laugh, it’s sad.” I move in-between her legs, “how did you know you’d beat her?”
“Her physique... she looks like she runs.”
“She is extremely athletic,” I retort.
“Right... I outsmarted her. If she had of challenged me to a race alone, I would have had my arse handed to me but because she had no upper body strength, I knew the obstacle course was perfect. But she also underestimated me with her gigantic ego and misguided hatred.”
I was in awe of her observation on Arlene but had to stay focused, “you know you really didn’t clarify much?”
“Please Ulric, I like you, I want to get to know you but I will disappear and I won’t have any excuse for doing so, you have to trust me without requesting reasons. It is simply my family requiring my attendance, for their work.”
“You want me to just accept it?”
“If you can’t then there is no reason for us to continue. I will hand back the payment made to me from your father and disappear from your life, so you can move on.”