Bound by Duty

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Green Doesn't Suit You

Danielle looked at him from the corner of her eyes. She didn’t really want to elaborate and recall the incident, but she owed him that much after all the trouble she was going to bring him. He was also a concerned friend, which made it all the more difficult to reject his request.

She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. “I was in my office, taking care of my affairs. There was a Wanderer problem in the north-east that I would have had to handle. I had my hands full. But as the hours went by, Lupa suddenly became anxious. She began fretting and telling me to get out and find someone. I followed her directions and reached the spot.” Here, she opened her eyes.

“And then?” Sean asked curiously.

“Who would have thought that that man, Gerald Cohen,” She spat out his name, “was... taking advantage of his own niece. She was crying silently and struggling against him. He had torn down her clothes and was pawing at her like... like a beast.” Danielle’s voice became lower and lower. It was a sign that she was becoming angrier. “I saw red, Sean, I couldn’t stand still there. I couldn’t remain silent. A haze washed over me and before I knew it, his head was gone from his body.”

“What happened next? Did they find you?” Sean asked in a repressed voice. He was feeling furious about what that man had done.

“I had enough time to pack my things and run,” she said. “You know I couldn’t have stayed for a ‘fair trial’ or whatever. It would only have been stupid of me to have stayed back. They are after my blood. They have always been.”

She leaned back against the couch having finished her story and looked at Sean waiting for his reaction. For a time, only the sound of the clock ticking was heard. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Sean honestly didn’t know what to say. He only knew that she had been noble. She had been sticking to the values of werewolves of protecting their own. She had rid the world of one disgusting paedophilic pervert. But why, in the end, was she suffering? Why did she have to fight those battles which shouldn’t have been hers to fight? Sean didn’t know that his wolf was getting agitated and angry. He also didn’t know that this agitation was felt by his mate.

Danielle sensed his increasing agitation and fury. Even as a child she was quite sensitive to the emotions of the people around her. Walking to Sean, she placed a hand on his arm and rubbed it up and down gently, soothing him with her powers. At that moment, the door opened, and an unfamiliar woman walked in. The woman looked at the both of them and suddenly froze, her eyes not leaving Danielle’s hands which were touching Sean.

Realising who the woman was and understanding her immediate displeasure, Danielle removed her hands and stepped back, leaving some space between her and Sean. He looked at her quizzically and she shook her head slightly in response.

Not able to comprehend, Sean stretched out his hand and welcomed the woman. “Grace,” Sean smiled slightly. “Come in. Let me introduce you to one of my best friends, Danielle Ward. Danielle, this is my mate, Grace Grant.”

Grace looked at the both of them with an uncertain, yet stricken look. She slowly walked forward and grasped Sean’s hand tightly. “Hello, Danielle,” she said in a slightly high-pitched tone.

“Hi, Grace,” Danielle smiled a little. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Likewise,” Grace said in the same tone. Sean looked at her oddly, wondering what was wrong with her. She was acting so strangely that he didn’t even recognise her.

“What’s wrong, Grace?” He asked her, feeling concerned.

Grace shook her head, managing a strained smile. “It’s nothing, I’m fine.”

He looked at her dubiously. “Okay, why don’t you sit down with us for a while?”

Very deliberately, Grace went over to Sean’s side and sat down on his lap. Sean naturally snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her against him, although he was feeling rather confused.

Grace couldn’t be as oblivious as her mate. The shock to her wolf had been so sudden that she wasn’t able to recover in time. Her shock had emanated from the fact that her mate had let another woman touch him and that same woman had the ability to calm him down.

She perused the ‘other woman’ top to toe not very discreetly. She then pressed her lips together and turned to Sean, asking, “So,” she began, “what was happening before I came?”

Sean sobered, saying, “Dani has come to our pack for a temporary stay.”

Grace raised her brows. “Is that so?” She said, her voice rising. “How long will you be staying?”

Danielle glanced at Sean before telling Grace, “About two or three—”

“She can stay as long as she likes, isn’t that right, Grace?” Sean said in a deceptively soft tone. “She is our guest and will be treated with the respect she is due during her stay.”

Grace was startled. She had heard that tone of his before. It was used during negotiations, pack meetings, and meetings with other alphas. But never, never had he used that tone with her. “I see the news, Sean, I know she is an expelled Wanderer," she spat out. “I don’t see why you think so highly of her. I don’t think it’s wise to harbour a fugitive and a Wanderer in our pack.”

There was a deathly silence. Sean removed his arm from around Grace. Danielle smiled. “I didn’t know your mate was judgemental and a bigot, Sean,” she said, standing up and swinging her bag across her shoulder. “I won’t be anywhere I’m not wanted. I’ll let you know when I reach Misha’s.”

Sean lifted Grace off of his lap and stood up hurriedly. “Danielle Ward, you stop right there! I will never forgive you if you step out of that door!” Sean threatened. Danielle stopped her steps without turning around.

“I’m listening,” she said.

Grace was breathing heavily, her fury rising every second. She had been summarily dismissed and pushed off by her mate for the ‘other woman’. This was unbelievable. Was that all their mating was worth? And the woman had the audacity to act as if Grace owed her an explanation.

“Dani, she isn’t like this! I don’t know why— in fact, you better tell me why you’re acting this way!” He swung towards Grace and growled at her.

“You growled at me? For her?” Grace asked shrilly. “I am acting this way because somehow it’s okay for my mate to be touched by a random woman and that too in my presence. What gall!”

Suddenly, it was as if all the air was sucked out of the room. Sean looked at his mate slack-jawed. Danielle broke the silence, giggling. “All this because... you are jealous?” Sean asked incredulously. “Of Danielle of all people?”

“Of course I’m jealous! Any mate would be jealous if they walked into what I saw!” Grace said, exasperated. Her anger was soaring progressively every second.

Danielle walked up to this woman who had become momentarily irrational and put her hand around her neck lightly. Grace flinched back but when she realised that she wasn’t hurting, she looked puzzled. Slowly, a sense of calm began to seep into her being. Her agitation, fury, jealousy, everything settled down to make way for reason.

And when reason returned, Danielle took her hand away and stood near the door, observing the woman.

Grace could now understand that Sean and Danielle’s relationship was truly platonic. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to Danielle. Her face was red and flushed with embarrassment. She couldn’t believe that she had lost control of her emotions that quickly.

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