On the island is where your 3 souls will mate together.
Poppy gracefully walks away after dropping Baden, Chase and I, this bombshell.
The moment I’m left with my shirtless mates, their equally impressive abdominals staring me in the face and a golden claw attached to my middle finger... I gulp and raise the weapon.
“Well, this sucks,” the clarity in my tone breaks as I swivel from my mates and stare intensely at the forest, “Let’s go for a walk... yeah?”
“Yeah...” Chase murmurs in agreement while I start to walk away with a determined stride.
Poppy’s words still echo around us, leaving a very strange atmosphere. ‘Mating’ was a strong word to suggest. I was still in partial denial of the three-way bond anyway. As for the two young men... well, these two young Alpha’s who were rivals mere days ago, were both still mere acquaintances with me... regardless of the bond we recently found to share between us. I still barely knew anything about Chase and Baden was still just a plain asshole. Yet suddenly, Poppy was putting the idea forward that mating all together was a great next step in the equation. I just didn’t think a shared awkward naked experience was the correct next step in the relationship. If you could even call it a relationship. Hell, no.
I shiver with denial and think about how we have the rest of the day to ourselves.
We literally have hours left to work out what to do next before tonight. I watch now as Baden is the first to stalk off towards the forest, muttering curses to himself.
“...this is bullshit,” I hear him say.
“Chin up, little wolf,” Chase gives me a quick pat on the back and heads off after Baden while I reluctantly follow them.
All of us end up walking tensely for some time. We don’t get very far when Baden, in the lead, accidentally trips on a large root and in response to Chase’s demonic laughter, Baden punches the innocent tree that root was attached to which has me rolling my eyes to the sky.
“Shut the fuck up!” Baden snarls at Chase, his wolf showing through in the rough rumble from this throat.
“You need to calm down,” Chase smirks and ignores Baden. Chase instead walks to one tree and leans against it, hands in his jean’s pockets.
I stand back and hold up my golden claw, long and awkward.
“I really don’t want this on my hand-” I start off, but apparently I’m not allowed to talk.
Not with the way Baden intervenes.
“Maia, you’re nothing special,” Baden growls, “You’re just some wolf they put the Golden Claw on. It means nothing. It’s not like you’re going to do anything important with it. We’ll find a way to take it off and return it to the mages.”
“Holy Moon, you have got to be kidding me,” Chase seems to stick up for me, until I listen to how he quickly changes the subject, “You haven’t changed an inch. You’re always angry when you’re not getting your own way.”
“I’ve been banished,” Baden holds up his hand and counts off his fingers, “My arch nemesis wants to pretend our friendship is repaired, we’re both mated to her-”
“What do you mean when you say it like that?” I ask, exasperated.
“It’s his Pack Moon blood. He’s an entitled piece of shit,” Chase shrugs, “Get used to it.”
“I’m just saying, being mated to someone like Chloe would have been damn easier,” Baden snaps, “A normal fucking life.”
“Ah, Chloe, Chloe, Chloe,” Chase mimics Baden’s tone, “I know why you got so attached to that sweet thing, Baden. Chloe’s purpose was simple - so you can forget we nearly fucked and how that turned your whole family against you,” Chase blurts out, raising an eye brow and waiting for the bomb to explode.
Ironically, Baden just goes silent.
His cheeks, however, tint a little pink.
“Me next,” I hold up my hand, feeling a cruel need to interrupt and distract from Baden and Chase’s moment, “I’m mated to two Alpha’s who have more of a chance fucking each other than considering me as an equal partner. Even if you did want some female company, you both clearly like Chloe and her raven dark fur. So silky, unlike mine. I also have a weapon stuck to my hand, which will cause vampires to incessantly want to kill me before I kill them. Oh, don’t forget, I don’t know how to fight besides some basic shit. I don’t have friends to back me up. I don’t have a pack to back me up. I have no home to go to and to top it off, if I don’t stick next to Baden’s arrogant side by the time we return... my whole deranged stupid pack who wandered into Moon Territory - are set for execution. So, you two can both shut the fuck up,” after my little speech I rip off my top, tearing it in the process with the Golden Claw.
I turn into my wolf within seconds, hoping this causes the ring to fall off.
To my disappointment, I look down to see one of my claws glowing gold. Like it’s been painted.
I shiver off my anger through ruffled, irate fur and I prepare to turn and leave... eager and hoping to escape the presence of Chase and Baden - even for a little bit.
The only problem are the words that come out of Baden’s mouth next.
“Maia,” Baden coos my name with provocation, before adding, “...where the hell do you think you’re going? You’re not leaving without asking for permission first.”
Simple words. Implying my disgraced blood; that I should ask permission from him. It was a cheap shot. Nothing more.
But why does my heart kick up and start to release adrenaline that makes me want to fight?
Before I even know it, I’m digging my claws into the dirt as a loud growl omits from my throat.
I turn back to Baden.
I ignore Chase and I focus on Baden as I slowly lower my snout, my fur standing on end and my lips curled back in an aggressive snarl.
“Well, isn’t that cute...?” Baden smirks down at me but I’ve already pounced.
I aim for his smug face but he tries to smack me down, which I simple avoid to sink my teeth into something else. His ankle. Somehow, I manage to get the perfect grip; and I hear a satisfying snarl of shocked pain.
I crunch down my jaw, hoping my teeth can contact with the bone.
I shake my head, eager to cause damage. At some point Chase turns into his wolf and bites my fur on the back of my neck, pulling me off Baden in one easy move of strength.
After I’m swung off, I slide along the grass and shake off any dirt, now facing Chase’s large Alpha form - I run for him instead. I just wanted to release some steam.
Chase avoids me by dancing around me and eventually he sits down to watch me wearily. His bushy brown tails swishes still and he tilts his head down at me.
I stop circling him to glance at Baden, who is preparing to shift after inspecting his bloody ankle.
Once I realise I’ll have two Alpha’s in their true form to deal with, I turn and scurry away into the forest.
I quickly hear Chase running up to stay beside me. He is calm and simply keeping me company. I don’t mind this.
When I glance over my shoulders I see Baden scampering to catch up, an angry fire in his gaze. I automatically speed up, but there is no way I can outrun his long strides for long. When Baden does catch up, he strategically runs in on my other side, nipping my fur with a growl as I try to lean more into Chase’s stride.
After I’m forced to run between them, we run until we can’t run any further. We’ve eventually reached the edge of a cliff overlooking more of the forest.
I transform first, plopping myself down naked on the edge. I sit with my knees drawn to my chest, my arms wrapped around my legs as I watch the forest far below the grey cliff.
I ignore both my mates as they stay behind me.
For some reason, my Golden Claw is gone. I don’t know where or how but I am relieved that it’s no longer on my hand.
Now, I just pray for an answer. Everything about this situation plainly sucked.
The apology comes from Baden and it makes my spine stiffen.
Next, I feel a tug from my hair and I glance to see Baden slip a piece of my hair through his fingers as he sits next to me.
He doesn’t say anything else and he can’t look me in the eye.
“Piece of shit,” Chase murmurs and slides to my other side. For some reason, both naked Alpha’s decide being elbow to elbow with me is okay.
However, the fact that I am so tense, doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Are you okay, Maia?” Chase asks, quietly.
I’m silent and ignore him. Eventually Chase puts a hand on my back, giving me a comforting rub.
Unfortunately the rub only lasts a few seconds because apparently Baden gets the same idea. As the second hand pats my back - Chase and Baden accidentally collide in their efforts to console me.
They awkwardly pull away from each other and an awkward moment ensues - but it gives me my light bulb moment.
I suddenly understand what the actual problem is.
And I know how to fix it.
I raise my chin and I purse my lips as my idea unfolds.
“Guys, If you didn’t realise, I need some space,” I explain softly, no longer aggressive, “I’m going to head back to the camp. But, I want you both to talk properly with one another. Interact. Have some time together. I’ll see you both on the island tonight. We don’t have to do what Poppy said, but I’m not interacting with either of you anymore until you sort out whatever issues are lingering between the both of you. For the record,” I look at Baden first, and Chase second, “I don’t give a shit if you’re still in love with each other-”
“For fucks sake...” Baden growls, attempting to stop my speech.
“I’m leaving,” I snarl over the top of him, “And you’re speaking with Chase until you work something out,” I swing to Chase last of all and he seems the most relaxed. He winks at me as I snap, “Don’t come to me until you find a middle ground.”
“The middle ground is you, Maia,” Chase smoothly replies, “Go.”
“This isn’t necessary-” Baden tries to start, but Chase jumps on my initiation of their proper reunion.
“Why not?” Chase asks, “Let’s... talk.”
I take the opportunity to slip backwards.
I stand and turn, changing into my wolf, I lope into the forest.
I run for some time before I realise my nose is taking me slowly back towards them... mostly because the wind is flying over the cliff, pushing their scents toward me.
I raise my head and consider... spying on them. Eavesdropping.
Because I know they wouldn’t pick up on my scent, I’m too curious, so I head back.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly wanted space, but in this moment I am curious to know if my mates will work something out.
I had already concluded Baden wouldn’t relax until Chase and him solved whatever issues remained between them.
I slow down to a silent walk, eventually scooting under a bush and watching from the roots. I inhale a big breath and exhale in relief when I see them facing one another, even if they’re still sitting down by the cliff. My ears twitch in the wind as I pick up their conversation.
“...it doesn’t matter!” Chase is pissed off.
“If a whole pack fucking disowns you, of course it matters,” Baden snarls.
“Why do you care so much what people think?”
“Look what they did,” Baden lowers his tone, “You and I... we were best friends. Everybody admired us and then-”
“You know what.”
“Say it,” Chase provokes him, “Fine, I will. We both got as jealous as all hell when we attempted acquiring seperate girlfriends. You always stepped into my scene... I always stepped into yours. Don’t you get it? We were trying to share. No wonder - we’re mated to Maia together. We were born to have the same mate. But you can’t use her to pretend we aren’t also mates. The reason our bond was always so strong, was because we were mates from the very beginning. You didn’t know until you kissed me.”
“I was really fucking drunk,” Baden growls.
“So was I!” Chase rolls his eyes, “I’ll admit right now, Alpha to Alpha, since we never talked about it... just acted on it... that we both enjoyed it. In fact, nothing was weird about it. So... why the fuck is it weird now?”
“They planned to seperate us and it worked.”
“Yeah, it did, because we didn’t know any better,” Chase agrees, “...but now we do know better.”
“Nothing about Maia, you and I... will work,” Baden is the cynic regardless, “Maia comes from nothing, you and I are loathed; where is the respect?”
“You are too old fashioned,” Chase shakes his head, pissed off, “Respect comes from commanding it. The moment you give in to others, you lose all that respect; especially when you sacrifice your own fucking mind, thoughts, ideas and how you feel. Maia is losing respect for you quickly. She won’t respect either of us soon, if you keep acting like a spoilt pretentious brat. You need to start acting like an Alpha. Like me,” Baden goes silent with Chase’s words, “...it’s okay, you know,” Chase continues, “If you’re having a hard time embracing your genes. Your right to Prime Alpha. Trust me, Baden - you won’t grow into who you are until you tell everyone to fuck off... and stop pushing me away and Maia... Maia is...”
I hold my breath.
What was he going to say?
“If I ‘embrace’ you and... Maia...” Baden buds in, “What the fuck does that mean for my future? How can we be respected as Alpha’s if no one accepts what we like?”
“You got to have faith that not everyone is as bad as you think,” Chase grins, “Besides, we have a job, as Alphas. We teach. We punish. We lead. We accept the pack. We progress. We learn and we survive.”
“You’re correct. But I do find it difficult to embrace the Alpha genes, to be perfectly honest,” Baden adds, more quietly, “For me it’s more than you and Maia. It means I have to surrender to my instincts... they’re powerful and basic. It’s fucking terrifying because they’re so fucking strong when I admit to them.”
“Just say what you want, Baden,” Chase urges Baden to realise something.
I’m not sure what it is but I can see Baden about to answer.
I’m on the edge of my seat... would he admit to a secret?
Would he -
"I want to fuck Maia.”
Seriously? After everything he said about me so far? Alpha’s made no fucking sense!
“That makes the two of us,” Chase smirks, “...and if I’m not careful, you’ll be next on the list.”
“Fuck off,” Baden and Chase actually chuckle... they are relaxed for the first time.
And starting to stand up.
I quickly scamper backwards before turning and sprinting away.
I had mixed emotions mixed into a rush of adrenaline.
I was overjoyed they came to a middle ground - somewhat. Some of their differences seemed clear now.
However, I was also a little worried. About their last statements regarding me.
I had no idea Alpha’s were so... bold in their desires.
But, I would be lying. Everything I knew of wolves was true. Alpha’s were bold in their desires.
I guess I just didn’t see Baden and Chase as Alpha’s beyond their physical strength and height.
Probably because they hadn’t asserted their dominance over me yet, as Alpha’s do.
In fact, they had been politely distant enough to treat me as an equal so far. Well... somewhat.
But that is why I was nervous.
I had a distinct realisation that that was about to change.
Once they started to co-operate and stopped avoiding the three way bond... the final destination was now far more important.
The island was suddenly a looming, all encompassing thought. I had been confident nothing would happen.
Now, after their chat; I wasn’t so sure that would still be the case.
You see, Alpha’s had to learn to conquer issues, mental or otherwise, before they fully matured.
Baden’s first obstacle had been Chase. Chase’s first obstacle had been Baden.
They seemed to have crossed it together.
And I was next to fall.