Fever Claim

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Eight

Rose


Judah sat on one side of the elevator and I sat on the opposite. An awkward exchange of silence between us while we waited. He had finished eating the snacks I have given him.

After ten minutes of the elevator not moving and us pressing the alarm button and call button like crazy, we resorted to sitting opposite from each other. Every now and then, I will furtively glance his way.

Honestly speaking, Judah isn't all that bad looking. At first glance, he looks very intimidating with his towering height, dark piercing olive eyes, and thinly pursed lips. He has that serious looking face all the time. The textured longer hair on top and short sides haircut match his whole bad boy look.

His eyes flitted to me and I averted my eyes to stare at the closed metal doors. I can feel his eyes burning through my face, but I refuse to look his way. He huffed and from the corner of my eyes, I see him run his hands through his hair roughly.

I needed a distraction besides Judah. So, I opened my purse and pulled out a book to read. Opening to where I marked the page, I have barely read the first sentence before Judah spoke up.

"What else do you have in that purse? Anything that can get us out of here?" he asked.

I looked at him and see annoyance flash across his face.

"It's none of your business what's in my purse," I replied before attempting to read again.

"You're always reading a book. Every damn time," he muttered with a scoff.

Snapping my book shut, I set it on my lap and pinned him with an irritated look of my own.

"Has my reading somehow offended you?"

He shook his head in disbelief and I watched his jaw ticked with annoyance. Lifting one leg up to rest his arm on one knee before standing up to pace.

"I can't do this," he growled.

"Someone will find us."

He threw a glare my way.

"It's been ten minutes. How the fuck have they not tried to get us out or noticed we are gone?"

"You don't know that they aren't trying," I responded.

He started pacing and I could see he was starting to get anxious. He rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck to relax but nothing was helping. His wolf did not like the containment and staying here this long was driving them both crazy. If I don't stop him, his wolf might just come out and bring this whole elevator down.

"Hey!" I tried catching his attention but none of that was working.

I stuffed my book back into my purse and stood up too. I grabbed his arm which stopped him in his frantic pacing. His eyes flew to mine.

"It's okay, we will be fine. Breathe."

When he didn't seem to register what I was saying. I did the only thing I knew.

"Inhale." I inhaled and watched him take a deep breath.

"Exhale," I whispered, still holding onto his arms. He exhaled along with me.

We did that a couple of times before he dropped back onto the ground and covered his face.

"Fuck, I can't stand this," he grumbled, "I swear to god, I will never take an elevator again."

I dropped to the ground hesitantly beside him. I decided to sit next to him just in case he decides to hulk out and kill us both. My wolf was also getting antsy but in cases like this one of us had to be the calm one and Judah was anything but calm.

We fell into silence once again but this time it was a little more comfortable than before. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. I watched him inhale deeply before exhaling slowly.

"Talk to me," he murmured, his eyes still closed.

I didn't want to talk because I didn't know what to talk about. I don't know him. We sleep in one room together and follow each other around all day but there is nothing personal that we know about each other.

I cleared my throat, "I don't know what to talk about."

He opened his eyes and tilted his head up to look at me.

"You have talked to me more than you have ever done back at home." He pointed out.

"Because I have no choice, we are partners here."

"Talk to me, Rose." There was a slight desperate plea to his voice and I could see he was still fighting to not go crazy in this enclosed space.

"Ok, ok. Alright." I agreed.

"The book I am reading is an autobiography of a black woman who was enslaved for a very long time. It talks in detail about the hardships she had to go through because of the color of her skin. She was beaten, raped, and even gave birth to children of her rapist. Her children were raised knowing their status, working in the fields, and then sold off to other farmers or rich person."

I glanced at him to see he was still breathing slowly. His hands fisted at his side. I folded my hands together in my lap.

"What happened to her?" he said out of nowhere.

I looked up at him, "She tried escaping, running away with her kids at night, fleeing to a place where it promised that there will no slavery."

"Did she make it?"

I smiled, "I haven't gotten to that part yet, I am assuming she did since she wrote the book herself."

"Why do you like reading?" he asked.

I shrugged, "I don't know. When I read, it takes me someplace else. I am seeing everything through the eyes of the author. I feel what they felt, I learn from their mistakes, and I just like reading. It brings me joy."

"I only read when I have to."

I snorted, "I kind of expected that."

He opened his eyes then and I turned my head to see him looking at me.

"It's not that I don't want to read. It's because I can't read. I have responsibilities unlike you."

I gave him a disbelief look.

"I have responsibilities too," I argued.

"And that is?"

"I might not have your kind of responsibilities, but I have a mom to take care of. She doesn't tell me anything because she's afraid I will worry. One time, she came home tired and exhausted. On her face, you can tell she didn't want to do anything. She just wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep but one look at me and her face forced a smile on and she asked me if I am hungry. She can cook something for me. She carries so much weight on her shoulders and I am her responsibility but then I realized I am not.

"She raised me and now I can do things on my own. I cook my own dinner which consisted of sandwiches or anything that doesn't involve the stove . I do laundry, so she doesn't get to do it. I clean the house from top to bottom, so she doesn't have to do it. When she's working late at night, trying to bake desserts for a pack ceremony, I am up late with her, helping with everything I can. I see now that me helping her has helped her a lot. She's no longer that tired. She gets more sleep at night before waking up early to go back to work.

"I don't want her to worry about me. So, I am responsible for myself. I am also responsible for her. I want her to lean on me when she needs to and know that I am safe when she's not there."

I fell silent, angry that I revealed so much to him. I have never spoken to anyone this way because I don't have friends.

"I'm sorry," he said at a bare whisper.

I turned to look at him, "I don't want you to pity me. We take care of our own."

He gave me a long look before he nodded in agreement.

"You're right and I am not pitying you. I am trying to be understanding and that we do take care of our own. I will help you and your mom out. I will let Alpha Hunter know and reduce your mom's work hours as well as give her higher pay," Judah said.

"Wait? You would really do that?" I asked, turning my body to face him.

He nodded, "We take care of our own. You and your mom are our responsibility. Everyone deserves to live comfortably."

I am shocked. Judah is going to talk to Alpha. He's going to try and help my mom and me out, but I am completely puzzled by this. Why would he do this? What would he benefit out of this? He said that we take care of our own. He is doing this out of duty and understanding. I guess, either way, I am grateful because my mom deserves the best.

"I don't have that kind of relationship with my dad. He is a good teacher and tells me what to do. All my life, I am told how to grow up, how to act, how to become a Gamma. There wasn't much, love or affection," Judah said.

"All parents love their children," I replied.

He scoffed, and one corner of his lips lifted, "My dad is one that never shows affection or love. When we talk, it's about pack matters and my duty. He's constantly scolding me on how to improve."

"I'm sorry to hear." I didn't know what else to say but it didn't explain how Judah became the man that he is.

Suddenly, the elevator shook. My eyes widened, and I grabbed onto Judah's arm. He looked up just as the elevator started descending.

I gave a relieved sigh. He tried standing up, but I realized that my hands were still firmly wrapped around his arm. We both glanced down at where I was touching him before I pulled back quickly as if he burned me.

"Sorry," I grumbled.

After he stood up, I followed him. The elevator was working, and we will be free. Our eyes remained on the numbers that were counting down until the elevator dinged that we have reached the main level.

Sighing with relief, I smiled and turned to face Judah who ignored me and stepped out just as the door opened. I pursed my lips while I watched him walk away as if nothing has happened. People were looking at us, quickly realizing we were stuck in the elevator.

I scanned the faces of the crowd quickly before stepping out and scampering away. I did not want to be the center of attention a second longer. I noticed Dana and Bethany glaring my way. Their disgusted face and accusing eyes. When I walked right past them, I heard Bethany coughed, 'slut' out loud enough for me to hear.

I decided to brush it off. Words can't hurt me. I will not allow myself to be involved with her. Alpha Hunter said no problems, or we will be sent home and my mom will be upset if I was sent home early for causing trouble.

I guess Bethany still has the hots for Judah. I do not understand exactly why. Who am I kidding? Judah is hot and strong. Plus, he is the only guy besides Beta Ace and Alpha Hunter, that ignores her. Guys in our school are obsessed over her and hoping she was going to be mated to them. Unfortunately, Bethany's mate was not within the pack nor to anyone here.

Some people are just more stubborn. They want what they can't have. Doesn't matter if they are a boy or girl. Some people are just wired that way.

She can call me names all she wants. Judah is not mine and I have no intention of pursuing after him like her. I already have a mate waiting for me and if I don't find him right away, I am perfectly fine on my own too.

On another note, Judah is an ass! Brushing me off like that when I helped him not shift into his wolf. I growled in irritation before following his round behind to the kitchen because we all know he will be angry if I did not follow.

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