When I wake, Ryker isn’t sleeping next to me, the spot next to me is cold. My heart starts racing but Ryker is immediately opening the door coming to my rescue, he’s always rescuing me.
“I just was speaking with your doctor, he cleared you. We can go home now.” Swinging my legs over the edge of the bed my toes meet the ice cold tile, sucking in air through my teeth I push them back down to acclimate them.
My ribs are angry when I try to stand on my own, hissing in pain I fall back onto my ass, seeing black. Hands are at my side guiding me up tenderly, my cheek rests against his peck, his scent invading my body.
“Do you want a shower before we go?”
“No I’m ready to leave and forget about this place.” pulling away from his chest, I start moving for the door, his body holding most of my weight but I know I cannot leave this room being supported by him, I’m a luna, I refuse to leave this room showing them I’m weak. Even with the crutches I felt like a weak female.
“Alethea, don’t. Let me help you.”
“No, I will not show any pack that I’m weak. What kind of luna would I be if I made Oneida seem weak? Our pack is anything but weak.” My teeth are clenched tightly, Ryker doesn’t respond and I’m grateful that there won’t be a fight.
Ryker opens the door for me and places his palm against the small of my back, I know it’s a pity hand and I’m slightly annoyed.
Multiple wolves stand outside the room including Grayson and Brian, it’s nice to see their faces even though they remain blank. Ares eyes penetrate into my soul, like he’s trying to link apart of his soul to mine.
I stumble but gather myself quickly, but not without grunting in agony. Ares is next to me within seconds, grabbing my elbow to stabilize me but I shake him away immediately, frowning over at him I hope he finally gets the clue that I don’t want nor do I need him.
The SUV is parked close thankfully, Brian and Grayson are already seated in the front and now they just wait for me to climb in but I don’t think I can pull myself up into it. Ryker is behind me lifting me up by my hips as carefully as he can, it hurts but I don’t yelp out in pain, as soon as my butt hits the leather seat Ryker is in the seat next to me and we are pulling out of the driveway. Gazing out the window, Ares catches my eye, his face is angry and I don’t like the way it’s making me feel.
Sliding over to my mate I rest my head against his shoulder but he’s distant with me. I know somethings wrong because nobody has said a word to me and every single one of their faces show despair.
“What the hell is going on?” Nobody answers immediately, making my stomach hurt.
“Ares is challenging me, for you.” Rykers face turns toward me
“He can’t challenge you, I already hold your mark and nothing can take that away including the Alpha king.” my voice is venemous
“He’s claiming that he has a way to erase my mark. I will fight for you Alethea, he’s not stronger than me.”
“Turn the car around. Now.” I command Grayson who does so immediately. I’m sick of dealing with this Alpha kings bullshit and it needed to end now, I’ve made myself clear plenty of times before but he was just not getting the damn message.
Skidding to a stop, I find Ares in the same place he was standing when we left for the first time. Hobbling to him, I muster all the strength I have left in me, which isn’t much at all.
“You will not be challenging my mate Ares, I am claimed for, you have no right to come into our lives and try and take me away from my soulmate! Don’t do this please! I’ll do anything you want as long as you let me leave with Ryker alive.”
“You don’t think too highly of your mate if you’re out here begging me to spare his life.” his smile is sickening.
“Ryker could end you in minutes, I have complete faith in his ability but I don’t want to fight anymore, he’s still recovering from his accident Ares, would that be a fair fight?”
“Fights are never fair Alethea, if you want to leave, all you have to do is kiss me in front of all these people, including your mate.” my breath stopping in my throat, he really wants to put me through this after I was just tortured and beaten?
“Alethea don’t.” Ryker moves forward but some of Ares’ guards hold him back, Grayson and Brian are both being detained as well.
“If I do this, you’ll never speak to us again?” my wolf is angry with me for even entertaining the idea.
“I’ll never speak to you again unless it’s official King business.”
“Fine.” I search Rykers eyes that are lit with fire, he’s angry again but I know he’s in a weakened state when 4 wolves are able to hold him down, I need to do this to protect him. I apologize to him in advance with my eyes but I know this won’t be easy for him to see nor will it be easy for me to do.
“Make sure he watches the entire time.” Ares commands the men who hold my mate.
Ares stands before me, his scent making my stomach churn violently. Hot hands meet my cheeks holding my face steady, ocean blue Iris’ search my eyes deeply, eventually they leave my eyes and trail down my nose and then they rest on my lips. Gulping the lump in my throat down, I feel my heart beating rapidly in my chest. Warm lips press into mine and it takes everything in me not to pull myself away,
“Enjoy it or else he pays for it.” his teeth grazing my earlobe.
I press my mouth into his more firmly, hating every second our bodies are touching, but he loves every second of it. Ares’ moans loudly just to piss off Ryker, his tongue pressing against my lips trying to slide his tongue in with mine but I refuse to let his nasty tongue touch mine.
Pulling away I wipe my mouth on my shoulder trying to rid my lips of his saliva.
“Are we finished here Alpha king?” I question without making eye contact.
“You didn’t feel anything toward me, did you?” he responds curiously
“Of course I didn’t, I belong to another male that you want to hurt constantly.” I haven’t been able to bring me eyes to meet Rykers but I can feel the pain inside my soul, he’s trying to block his emotions but the pain is so immense he cannot keep it hidden.
“Ryker is one lucky male to have you. You would do anything to protect him in his vulnerable state including having another’s mouth on your own, that takes a whole deal of strength that I admire, I will allow you to go but I am not convinced that you don’t feel anything for me.” he whispers pressing his lips into the shell of my ear. I pull my right arm back and swing but he’s quicker than I am in my broken state, instead of hurting me even more, his lips press into my knuckles and he turns away, leaving me alone to suffer the after affects of his request.
All Brian and Grayson reach me first grabbing ahold of each of my elbows to steady me, Ryker stands a distance away yet, not sure of how to react to what just happened.
“Wait in the car please.” I whisper to the males holding me up.
After quite some effort I stand in front of my Alpha male, my mate, my lover.
“I’m sorry.” I whisper reaching my hand out to touch his skin, he doesn’t pull away from me but hisses when my skin connects with his.
“Please Alethea, go wait in the car. I can’t be trusted around anybody right now.” his jugular vein poking out with his effort to keep the wolf at bay.
“No I’m not leaving your side.” I wrap my arm around his waist, praying that he won’t be as upset as I believe he is.
“Please.” he begs grabbing my wrist trying to pull me off him.
My teeth elongate and sink into his neck, his body stiffens but he grumbles appreciatively. Sharp teeth sink into my neck and we hold each other like that for a couple of minutes, I’m the first to pull away but he continues to bite into me. It hurts but I won’t say anything to him, he needs this from me and I will gladly accept it.
When Ryker pulls away his lips search for mine and desperately clash against me. Our lips smashing together almost painfully, he’s trying to erase Ares, his tongue sliding into my mouth caressing my own, his chest rumbles and my legs start trembling.
“Take me home Ryker.” I moan in between kisses
“Let’s go baby.” Instead of me walking to the car, he hitches my leg so it’s around his waist and my other follows, he carries me to the car holding me carefully. I don’t fully fall asleep but everyone in the car thinks I have.
“I don’t understand how she does it Ryker. Jasmine was never able to keep the wolf calm, nobody but her has ever been able to keep you human.” Brians voice is as quiet as it can be. Ryker nuzzles into my hair taking a deep breath, he’s still trying to calm himself.
“I don’t know how she does it either. A goodness surrounds her even with all the evil that tries to tear her down, after Orion died and her family she still was able to make it through that, you know how I was after Jasmine died. I don’t know what she does but she’s special, so special that Ares is staking a claim over her.”
“You know she’d never leave you for Ares.”
“She’s left before Brian, nothing is stopping her from leaving again.” he responds stiffly. I had hoped he was over me leaving him, unfortunately it still affected him more than I thought.
“Ryker the only reason she left was because she just found out that you were the one who killed her mate, she loved you even when she knew you were the one to take Orions life. Alethea went and found who she was without you, just so she could come back to be with you, she never once left you because she didn’t love you.”
“I know, i know. It just sits in the back of my mind that she’ll realize I’m not good enough for her, nobody in the world is good enough for her.” he pauses kissing the top of my head.
“You see how she’s wrapped around you? Do you really think she’d be doing that if she didn’t want you? You are enough for her and you will always be enough for her. The two of you are mated Ry, it’s time to stop doubting yourself.”
Rykers arms tighten around me but he’s careful not to squeeze too hard, I stay silent the entire ride home but fall in love with the way he holds me. When we get to our land, the car comes to a stop and I pull myself away from his chest, I have to go out on my own without his assistance again and my ribs were protesting painfully.
“Dammit!” I hiss through clenched teeth
“Let me help you, they aren’t going to think anything of it if you let me help you.”
“Nobody can see my weakness Ryker, we’ve had enough challenges of our reign already and I’m not about to set us up for another. I have to be strong for our pack.”
“They know you’ve been injured Al.” he whispers against my earlobe.
Shaking my head I step out of the vehicle without assistance from either of the men, the members from the pack house are all standing along the driveway, they all stand stoic straight staring at their luna who refuses to show a sign of weakness.
Every one of them bow their head for me, something that hasn’t been done for decades in the wolf community, they’re respecting me. I turn to see Ry’s face, he’s smiling down on me, he’s proud that they love me as much as I love them. Bowing my head for them I show them the respect that they truly deserve, they are the warriors in this pack and without them, we wouldn’t be alive.
A male helps me up the stairs as does Ryker, I appreciate the help but at the same time I was almost inside the pack house without needing help.
“You can go to my old room, or sit on the couch while I make you something to eat.” he removes his hand from my lower back and heads for the kitchen, I sit on the stool by the counter watching him prep for a grilled cheese sandwich, I smile.
My eyes are trained on his body, I can tell by the way starts cooking that he isn’t a very good chef, the heat is on too high and he forgot to spray the pan with non stick spray.
“Dammit.” he mumbles trying to flip it but it’s stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Scooting to the edge of the stool my crutches press against the ground, moving to him, I wrap my arms around his waist. It’s the thought that counts... except I’m actually really hungry.
“I can fix it babe, this ones mine and I’ll make you another one.”
Ryker steps away from the stove and drags the chair over so now I can sit next to him and show him the correct way to prepare it and how to cook it.
“So it only has to be on medium heat instead of high?” nodding I can’t believe that I’m teaching the big bad Alpha to cook. My head rests against his tricep, moving only when he moves. Sliding off the chair once more I rummage through the drawers searching for pain killers, even breathing hurts at this point.
“I have Oxycodone in my bathroom upstairs.” he turns toward me, pulling my grilled cheese off and slides it on the plate.
Ryker heads to his room for the pills and I scarf down the grilled cheese, this is probably one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had. My work here is done, At least he can properly make this now.
Handing me two oval shaped pills and I swallow them down eagerly.
“Was it okay?” his lips pressing against the shell of my ear
“Delicious.” I whisper breathlessly, gripping onto his forearms, his lips kiss my forehead before he pulls away from me completely.
“Do you want to stay here or go home? Those pills will kick in pretty fast and you’ll be ready for bed.”
“Here Ry.” I already am feeling the affects of the pills. Growling he pulls me into his arms.
Setting me down Ryker strips me of the scrubs the hospital lent me, his eyes raking down my body taking in the discoloration of the bruises, they’re hideously yellow and purple.
“I thought I lost you again.” he turns away from me, hiding his face. Grabbing his shoulders I spin him back around so he’s facing me, dark eyes are filled with fresh tears and it makes my heart pause for a moment.
“You never lost me Ryker, never once have you lost me and you never will and I can promise you that.” I whisper reaching up to brush the tears off his cheeks.
“Alethea..” his husky voice giving me goosebumps, his fingers trace my jawline slightly pulling me toward him. Our lips meet frantically, as if he’s trying to force the way my lips feel into his memory.
Ryker lifts me off the ground setting me gently onto the bed, tugging us under the covers. I tug on the bottom of his shirt, my body is craving his skin, he lets me pull it off but grabs my wrists when I reach the button on his pants.
“Not tonight.” is all he says before his lips are back on mine. And that’s how we fall asleep, in each others arms, making love to each other with our mouths.