Bound by Duty

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Imposing Restraint

Alex saw her sit very still on the dining table. Her knuckles were white from grasping the cutlery too tightly. She wasn’t moving her hands at all, staring blankly at the plate that was slowly filling up. Finally, he had to stop them from serving her more. He cleared his throat, hoping she would come to, but it had no effect. Sighing, he leaned forward and put his hand over her tightly gripped one.

“Darling,” he murmured. At the endearment, she snapped back to reality. Her blue eyes stared at him expressionlessly.

“Maybe this is a mistake,” She declared. Alex froze, knowing what was in her mind.

He was very afraid to ask, “What... is a mistake?”

She gestured between them. “This. Us. Our mating. Maybe the goddess was sleepy when she chose me for you.”

Alex took in a shuddering breath. “It was one argument, Dani. We can resolve arguments. You don’t have to doubt our being mates for the sake of a small dispute.”

Her eyes widened and he instantly knew he had made some mistake. “A small dispute? Do you think that my identity as a Wanderer is a small issue? And it doesn’t matter that you’re so intrinsically prejudiced against my kind?”

Alex felt his anger and despair rising. He controlled his rage and gripped the table with both hands. He said through gritted teeth, “You’re not a wanderer. You have always been in a pack, pack-link or no. And I’m not prejudiced. It’s a fact that Wanderers are dangerous beings that should not—”

“That’s enough!” she thundered. The stoic guards flinched at the tone, shocked to their core about the way she spoke to her mate and king. Surprisingly, Alex complied. But she couldn’t see that he was simmering with rage. She whispered, “This is why. This is the most fundamental part of myself that you’re refusing to accept. Why should I accept any part of you, then? Why must you be my mate?”

The dining table broke and all the crockery crashed on to the floor, making a commotion. The maids wanted to hurry and clean it up, but they were terrified of the king’s wrath.

“Don’t say that,” Alex warned. “Don’t test me, Danielle.”

Danielle didn’t seem the least bit surprised or scared. “I could as well reject you now,” she said in a blasé manner. As if she didn’t care one bit that she was riling him up, “and we could go our separate—”

CRASH!

The rest of the table broke with all the cutlery and crockery breaking because of the shock of Alex’s hit. His eyes were now glowing gold. He was only partially in control, now.

He stalked towards her, shoving her towards the wall. She continued to look in his eyes defiantly, but not resisting. ”I have been nothing but patient with you, my love," Lycan said smoothly, dangerously. ”And you have tested my patience again and again. I haven’t even marked you, even though I want to desperately sink my teeth into your delicious skin. Yet, you defy me at every turn...”

"I never asked you to wait," she said, matter-of-factly. “I was ready to be marked the first day. But now, I’m glad you didn’t.”

Alex roared in anger. All the wolves in a ten-kilometre radius shivered in fear. Raising his head with an animalistic howl, he swiftly came down on her neck, about to sink his teeth in when she slid her leg between his, twisted his shoulder around and tripped him up, placing a knee on his back and a hand on his head.

“You will calm down.” She ordered, her voice doubling with Lupa’s. The guards around were stunned silly. They couldn’t believe that their king was being disrespected right in front of their eyes but they couldn’t do anything because the one doing the disrespecting was their queen. They felt like they should do something, tell someone, but they decided not to intervene, afraid to make either werewolf unhappy.

Alex struggled a little, growling and snarling uncontrollably. Then slowly, his breathing became ragged, his teeth retracted and he began to calm down. His breathing finally evened and he lay down still on the ground, exhausted, depleted and even slightly ashamed. Danielle didn’t let go of her grip the entire time. Once she decided that he was no longer a danger to her or himself, and wouldn’t do anything stupid, she slowly loosened her grip.

“How are you feel—”

“Brother dearest!” A man burst into the room jovially, walking very fast. “It seemed like you were furious so I, like— what is going on?” He said incredulously, absolutely bowled over by the scene before his eyes.

Danielle looked at him calmly. She was slightly surprised that someone could have the audacity to barge in like that, but when she looked at him, she realised who he was. Andrew Remington, the younger brother of the king. The man had silky black hair a mop of which fell on his forehead carelessly. He wore a suit and trousers and looked like he was just returning from official business. Overall a handsome guy, but she had seen many handsome men and this one didn’t unnerve her.

“A little bit of anger management,” she commented flippantly.

“A-anger management?” He choked out.

She let go of her mate, finally. He quickly stood up and dusted off his clothes. He looked drawn and tired. She knew this was not the time to give him comfort. And she was right.

Humiliation and shame were coursing through Alex’s veins. He wasn’t even able to look his mate in the eye. He knew a great deal of this was his fault but he wasn’t ready to accept it right after being thrown on the ground unceremoniously. His honour and dignity as the king had just been trampled and stomped on by his own mate in the last fifteen minutes, so he wasn’t ready to see any more of her for a while.

He turned to look at his brother. “Andrew, let’s go.”

Seeing the palpable tension in the air, Andrew obediently followed his brother, turning back to look at his sister-in-law with a hint of awe on his face.

Danielle leaned against the door that shut behind them and slid down on the floor, covering her face in her hands. What had she done? "Don’t feel bad about it. I’m sure he is already regretting being impulsive. The only thing you need to feel bad about is for provoking him, knowing he was angry." Lupa advised her.

Danielle resisted the urge to declare that she had been angry too, but she knew better than to defend herself. She had been angry, yes. But that didn’t warrant her upsetting her mate when he was already upset.

With the issue of the Wanderers, she decided to let it go for a time. She would slowly try and remove that huge bias he had towards them... and maybe then he would accept her for who she was in her entirety. Currently, he was in love with a dream, an unreal woman. A real person, in her opinion, came along with her or his past. Each person was a sum of his or her experiences. If he disliked, despised her experience, then there would be no point in forcibly staying together as mates.

To her, her individuality was paramount. So what if the kingdom had a Wanderer queen? She wouldn’t give up on her identity and she wouldn’t give up on what it had turned her into, mate or not.

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