The beaming mid-afternoon sun ray kissed my skin gently like the soft brushing of butterfly wings. It warmed my skin and lightened the weight on my chest. Adjusting to change for these past few months was harder than I thought but I had learned to accept it.
I took a deep inhale of the summer air. Loving the smell of the freshly mowed grass and the gentle breeze billowing underneath my hair.
It has been almost a year since the kidnapping incident. Every time I think about it, my heart feels heavy with many dark emotions but then I remembered he was here with me. One way or another, he was here standing before me.
I opened my eyes to look at Liam. He stood next to his sister who had his baby nephew wrapped in her arms. His midnight hair grew long and rested just to his shoulders. Although there were dark circles under his eyes, his eyes were soft and human. Moreover, the way he looked down at the little pup was adorable. He stared at it with awe and adoration as if it was the purest creation in the world.
He shields it with a carefulness that told you he would protect the little pup with his life.
My mom touched my shoulders to get my attention away from the crowd that was beginning to gather around the new Alpha. Looking to my right, I see my mom looking down at me with a soft smile. She brushed my hair back.
Her light russet eyes looking me over tenderly like a mother should.
"Are you alright, Sage?" she asked.
It took a while to get here. To finally see Liam be surrounded by people and not want to run away. So many nights of soothing and talking. I realized that building our relationship again, it allowed us a chance to truly know each other.
It felt strange the first few times but by being open, I was able to build trust between Liam and me.
"I'm alright," I replied, and she cupped one side of my cheek.
"I've never been prouder of you, Sage. You are so much like your father," she added just as my dad appeared from behind her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him.
"We finally have a new Alpha," my dad said in relief and then chuckle out loud. "I've been meaning to take your mom on a vacation. I think this is the perfect time to request a leave of absence."
"But what about me?" I asked.
My dad looked my way before releasing my mom to dishevel my hair. "You'll be fine, Sage."
He said it so casually. Anybody that knows my parents know that my dad was more than eager to spend time alone with my mom. I snorted at his response before quickly recovering.
"But you won't be here-" I started.
"And I taught you everything you need to know," he interrupted.
I looked back at the crowd before us. He was leaving his duties to me. I felt anxiety settle deep in the pits of my stomach.
"You just have to remember that teaching and disciplining does not need to be the same as how I have done it. Be creative. Be you, Sage. You can do this because you have Collins's blood flowing through you," my dad assured and then chuckled. "You know, your grandpa did the same thing to me. He educated and trained me until all I could think about is my job and when it came to it, he pushed me right into the position without any guidance."
He glanced my way and then winked, "If anything, you'll fuck up a few times and then learn your way around it."
"Wow, okay, dad. Thanks for the guidance. I feel so loved," I grumbled.
My mom laughed at our quick banters. Everything felt right and normal. Like it was a normal picnic with the family on a sunny day. It had been a while since we exchanged light banter and conversations.
Suddenly, my attention tore away from my parents when from the corner of my eyes I caught sight of movement. Liam emerged from the thick crowd of people that had surrounded the new Alpha. They were bringing new gifts and presents to celebrate the birth of our new Alpha.
Immediately, his eyes landed on me. I felt heat stir inside of me. Among everybody, he was the tallest. He probably grew a few inches since the kidnapping. Liam has gained some color in his cheeks again and has gone through a month without any nightmares. The dark circles under his eyes were still there but had slowly faded over the months.
Some hair in the front fell over his forehead and he smoothed it back behind one ear. The stubble on his jawline hasn't been shaved for a couple of weeks now but I found I liked the look on him. It matched his long hair and broad shoulders.
The white t-shirt stretched tautly over his shoulders and fell just above his dark denim jeans. Without a second thought, he started walking my way. I turned to look for my parents but noticed they had disappeared. Frowning, I turned back just in time to see Liam standing in front of me. He pinched my chin to lift my eyes up to his eyes.
My heart fluttered at the tingling touch of our bond fluttering between us. I watched his eyes dilate with wonder and amazement each time he touched me. It was the tiny little reactions from him that I enjoyed seeing.
It wasn't just that.
I've noticed he was touching me more without asking for permission and this made me more than elated. I was in Heaven each time he touched me.
"What are you doing over here alone?" he asked.
"I wasn't," I murmured under my breath.
He took a step closer.
"Who were you with then?" Humor lit up his eyes.
"My parents," I replied almost a little out of breath.
His close proximity was making it hard to breathe. His domineering and powerful presence was intoxicating and infectious. Liam's eyes dropped to my lips that parted the second he paid attention to them.
"You seem different today," I mentioned. I hoped that the change of conversation would distract me from his presence.
One corner of his lips lifted and an eyebrow shot up.
"How?" he asked.
His response seemed innocent but his eyes were twinkling with mischief. What was going on?
His thumb grazed my bottom lip with clear interest and it tingled to life. While I became speechless. I'm slipping and losing control in front of him.
Liam released his hold on my chin and took a step back. He moved to stand next to me. I dropped my gaze to the crowd before me and tried to gather my wits.
"Dr. Sorenson said something today to me," he said while staring at the crowd before us.
I turned to look at him but he didn't look at me. Liam's arm rubbed against my shoulder innocently and for a moment it looked like he was miles away.
"Remembering my past has it is good and bad. It may bring me closure to questions that I had been seeking but one thing to remember about the past is that it's just the past. If dwelling in it brings darkness to my present, why search for it?" he said.
After several months, he agreed to meet with Dr. Sorenson, one of my mom's work colleague who has a minor in werewolf biology and psychology. Dr. Sorenson has been helping Liam learn to control his wolf and animalistic instinct.
"Katya gave birth, Sage. Do you understand how hard that was for her? I've watched her cry in her sleep. I watched her fight her own demons in her nightmares. She puts on a brave face and would die for me but inside, she was just a child. Just like me. So, for her to be able to become a mother, that is something worth celebrating," he continued.
I watched Alpha Hunter walked toward the crowd. The pack members cleared a path for him to walk through. As soon as he saw his mate and pup, he wrapped them into his arms. Kissed the top of Katya's forehead before leaning down to kiss his son.
It was a beautiful sight to look at. I imagined Liam and me in their place and holding our pup. I knew without a doubt that Liam would be an amazing father. He would be overly protective and sweet.
I turned to look at him, only to find him looking at me already. His eyes were deep with emotions. It swirled with love and devotion. I felt my heart flutter once again.
Why was he looking at me like that?
A commotion near the crowd caught my attention again. Both Liam and I looked toward the crowd again. Everyone was talking loudly. They were closing in again but not around Alpha Hunter or Katya.
A second later, the crowd moved away and I saw Ellie appeared. She wore a beautiful yellow sundress that complimented her soft bronze skin. Her ebony hair straightened and flowing beautifully down her back. Her eyes found me immediately and a smile spread across her face.
Next to her was Tommy. Immediately, I broke into a run. She ran and met me halfway. I threw her arms around me and hugged me tightly.
"Oh my god! You're back!" I screamed in happiness. Tears streaming down my face.
I pulled back to look at her and then I looked at Tommy. So, this was one of the reasons why he has been gone for the last couple of months without a word. He had gone to retrieve Ellie. He grinned at me and I felt like everything was going to be okay again. My friends...they were here.
"I miss you so much," Ellie said and pulled me back into a hug.
"Oh my god, tell me you didn't come back for me. Tell me you didn't cut your trip short for me," I began.
She laughed. "Nope. Not because of that. I came back because I missed you guys and most importantly, I now have a reason to return. I hear we have a little Alpha to train. He'll be needing his Beta and Gamma."
I cried harder and pulled her into my arms. "Oh god, I missed you so much."
I looked at Tommy and pulled him into our hug. "I missed you too!"
Growling from behind me, jumped me back to reality. I pulled away from them to look at Liam. He was glaring at Tommy.
Apparently, even with the little memories, he can recall, he still doesn't really like Tommy very much.
"I have so much to tell you, Sage," Ellie told me.
I was pulled back into Liam's arm. He wrapped an arm around my waist possessively and ducked his face into the crook of my neck. Nobody realized it but I can feel his body shaking. He was trying to control his wolf.
Ellie giggled and elbowed Tommy. "It seems we may have to meet up later to talk."
She pulled Tommy away to join the crowd again.
Liam didn't waste a second. He swept me up into his arms. I let out a surprised yelp as he carried me away from the crowd and toward the direction of our cabin.
Afraid that he was still angry and trying to control his beast, I pulled back to look at him with arms still wrapped around his neck.
He didn't look down at me. Instead, he continued to look ahead. I debated if I should say something or let him figure it out himself. Usually, when he was angry, he becomes quiet and refuses to talk until he has calmed down enough.
I decided to wait until we were further away from the group before I speak up or ask if he was okay.