VIII. Do You Want to be Mine
Resting my head on his chest, Ian continues walking through the forest. His shoes crunch against the leaves, and thin branches as the sun beamed into our eyes. There was a light chirping in the air, and a wave of birds fluttered in the blue sky. I heard the whisper of the little leaves dancing in the breeze. Inhaling a deep breath, the scent of nature invaded my nostrils.
“Where are we going?” I ask.
There’s a small part of me that desires to go back into the dark room and shove myself in the corner.
He glances down and smiles, “Guess.”
I roll my eyes, too weak to hit him on the shoulder. “I’m not in the mood to play games.”
“Four letters,” he replied and began whistling.
I lifted a brow, “Huh?”
Ian leaps on top of a log and automatically grabs his shirt. He jumps down and chuckles, “We will be getting something with four letters.”
“Ohh...Are we going to fu-”
He looked at me with wide eyes and gasps, “Fudge no!” His face scrunches down into a double chin and shudders.
I laid in his arms and stared at him.
Ian stops walking, dark skin flourishing against the light. “W-Well, it’s not like y-you aren’t attractive Luna Isabella, because you are! B-But, you’re not my mate, and I like my organs intact-” he began sputtering out numerous words, lips refusing to clam shut.
After what seems to be forever listening to Ian complimenting my eyebrows, I cover his mouth with my hands. “I have nice eyebrows, I understand,” I said
Ian chuckled and shrugs, “You do.”
Slowly, I raised a hand and felt my eyebrows. No one had ever given me a compliment on my eyebrows before, it’s always been how decent my kill was. However, compared to other subjects, I’m still lacking.
“We will get you some food,” he glances down and gives me a playful glare, “And you shall eat under my command!” he attempted to sound threatening, but I ended up laughing.
I chewed my bottom lips and tucked my head closer to his steadily beating heart. “Thank you, Ian,” I whispered, feeling his warm embrace.
His chest vibrated, “Anything to make our Luna happy.”
I look at him as his eyes fixed at the path in front of us, “I’m not your Luna.”
Ian smiles, “But, you are our Alpha’s mate.”
I closed my eyes, embracing the natural environment while it lasts. “I don’t want to be your Alpha’s mate.”
There’s a long pause, while the branches continue snapping along with the crunches of leaves under his shoes. “Then, do you want to be mine?”
There was a skip inside my chest, and my eyes fluttered open, meeting his flourishing orbs as the air rushed against his hair. The edge of his lips tilted up into a teasing smile, “Just kidding,” he said and continued walking. “You belong to Damien,” he mumbles.
The grip on his shirt tightens. “I belong to no one.”
He didn’t respond.
Soon, we entered the vibrant town filled with werewolves. There was a smile on every individual face that greeted Ian, who respectfully responded. I dug my face into his shirt, feeling the awkward, intense stares from the greeters.
“They’re just wondering who you are,” he said, as someone held the door open for us to enter a building. Ian looks at him and nods, “Thank you.”
A woman came towards us, glancing at me than her attention diverted towards Ian. “Hello, Gamma Ian.” she bowed, the smile still on her face.
“Table for two please,” he says, and she nods, leading us towards a table.
Cautiously, Ian settled me down on a wooden chair. My eyes scan the restaurant realizing the light hung on the ceiling, turned off, due to the natural rays from the various large windows—the table covered with red and white pattern cloth, with a small pink flower in the middle.
The woman handed us two menus. “Thank you,” Ian said.
“I’ll get you two some water,” she said and began walking back towards the counter.
My eyes didn’t leave the menu with many dishes, not entirely sure what to pick. Soon, the woman came back with two cups of water, and she clicked her pen. “Ready?” she asks, brushing her blonde hair back.
I bite my lower lips, dried fingers playing with one another, not quite sure what to eat.
“Yes,” Ian said, and she nodded, placing her pen near her small notepad, “I would like two steaks, medium-rare. My new pretty best friend over there would like your soup of the day with some fruits on the side. We want to keep one menu just in case,” he said, and she nodded, scurrying off with one menu.
I look at Ian, who smiles. The feature seems permanent on his face. “Yes, I’m in control,” he said in a deeper voice than usual, and I raised a brow. He sips his water then smacked his lips twice. “Eat some soup and fruits, it’s better for you since you haven’t eaten for a while and we wouldn’t want to upset your stomach, but-” he slides the menu towards me, “If you think you’re ready for other food, feel free to order.”
Ian scratches his neck, “I hope you don’t mind that I order for you.”
I smiled and shrugged, “I didn’t know what to order, anyway.”
“So, other than Damien being a dick and locking you up after he sends me to the hospital. Did anything else happen?” He casually asks.
I grab my cup, which seems to slip in my shaky hand. Ian raised his hand, and the woman came back. “Yes, Gamma Ian?”
He held up two fingers, “Can we have two straws, please?”
She smiled and pulled out two straws from her apron then left. Ian unwrapped it then put one in my cup and the other in his, “Try to drink as much as you can, but don’t overdo yourself.”
“Nothing,” I responded.
He tilts his head, rolling the small papers between his fingers. “Huh?”
“Nothing that I know of happened.”
Ian picked his lips, resting an elbow on the table. “You’re a boring person Isabella,” he hums lightly, “May I give you a nickname?”
He nods, holding up a single finger. “From forth today, I shall call you Izzy.”
Soon, the food came out, and Ian continued talking about random things while I slowly consumed it, moaning slightly in delight.
“Why are fruits called fruits? Isn’t that weird?” He asks.
He pointed a knife at me, “Then there are vegetables! Why are they called vegetables?”
I take another bite of the watermelon and nod. Soon, I realized I couldn’t even finish the bowl of soup or fruits, but I didn’t want to waste it. So, I forced the food to go down.
“Are you finished with those? If not, can I have it?” Ian pointed at the bowls.
I bit one side of my cheek. “I’m finished,” I mumbled.
He grinned and took my bowls, “More for Ian.”
Soon, he finished and went to the cashier to pay for the food while the woman cleaned up our table. She laughed while I stared at her, “Gamma Ian ate fruits!” she said ecstatically.
“That’s good?” I respond in almost a questionable way.
She chuckles, “Gamma Ian hates eating fruits.” She stacks the plates and heaves it into her arms. “You are one lucky lady. Our Gamma is the nicest member of the pack.” she winks.
What does she mean by-one lucky lady?
“Thank you,” she whispers.
“Gamma Ian wasn’t in the best shape when his mate passed, and now he has you.”
“What do you mean?”
She lightly pushes my shoulder, causing me to tilt back. I brushed my hand against my arm. “You know what I mean.” She giggles and leaves towards the kitchen, leaving me stunned.
What does she mean?
Ian heads back, tucking his wallet in the back of his jeans, and I wonder how the werewolves do not lose it when they shift.
I mean, don’t their clothes tear into pieces?
He clasped his hands together and held it out, “Jump on.”
My eyes searched the room and noted some werewolves taking peeks at us. I shake my head. “I think I can walk,” I mumbled, holding onto the table and pushed myself up.
He retracted his hands. I twist my ankle lightly, closing my eyes automatically. I didn’t feel an impact and looked up to see Ian through my messy locks. His eyes sank deeply into mine, and after a few seconds, he cleared his throat. He took a step back then lightly held my hand placing it on his biceps. “I won’t carry you, but allow me to be your temporary pillar.”
I smiled, and he began walking us outdoors. Ian’s pace was slow and steady, allowing me to take my time. We started walking back into the forest, and Ian rambled again. I continued nodding my head, pretending to listen, but we both knew I wasn’t.
Ian sighs, “Izzy; you aren’t listening!” he whines.
I puff my cheeks, “I was,” I intoned.
He lifted a brow doubting me. “Uh-huh. Then what was I talking about?”
My eyes laced away from his eyes, “Shirts?”
Ian stops walking, “Really? Izzy, are you even trying?” He shakes his head. “I was talking about pants!” he pointed at his own “How pants should have more than a few sizes,” he scoffs, “And here they say girls are good listeners.”
I tilted my head, “Who says girls are good listeners?”
He snorts, folding his arms, and I can feel his flexing muscles, causing my cheeks to warm up. “Girls. Duh.”
My brows pinch together. “Girls say girls are good listeners, and you listen to them?”
“My mama told me to always listen to girls when they talk.”
“Because your mama is a girl?”
He bit his tongue that was sticking out slightly, “Yes.”
I nod, slightly confused with the conversational exchange. “You’re a good listener,” I mumbled.
Ian smiles, “Of course.” he bumps into me, and I stumbled a little, but he held my hand so that I wouldn’t fall. “Girls dig guys who listen well.”
The air scattered against my skin as we continued walking to an unknown location. Soon, I heard the splattering of water. Ian swept some branches away, and a waterfall came into view. The force of nature, beautiful and vicious. The cascades of water, one after another, were breathtaking. I held my hands over my mouth and looked at Ian, who grins.
“I knew you like this place,” he said, holding my hand gently. My heart skips a few beats, blood pumping into my cheeks as he leads us closer. We sat on the edge of the cliff, feeling the cold droplets of water trickling on our skin. Our hands were near each other, but we were no longer making contact. Ian shut his eyes and inhaled a deep breath through his nostrils and sighed in contentment.
“Do you miss her?” those words slip out of my lips.
There splashing of water overruled all other sounds. “Everyday” a single edge of his lips tilted upward as he opened his eyes, facing the blue sky.
Ian laid down, resting his arms below his head.
I stay quiet, regretting what I said.
“Don’t worry, I’m not mad or anything.” he exhaled then chuckled deeply. “I mean, I was mad, but that was a long time ago. Now-” he swallows, “I’m just living for the both of us. After all, that was her last wish.”
Steadily, I slide down beside his body facing his, “She is a fortunate woman to have a mate like you.”
His head turns towards me, “I’m the lucky one.” the rest of his body follows, “You know what is one thing I think werewolves take for granted?”
I placed my hands beneath my head, “Having a fast metabolism?”
He laughs, laying his arm beneath his head. “Soulmates.” his eyes soften. “Being blessed to find your one and only. It is something we should be grateful for, but so many werewolves take it for granted. They don’t appreciate what’s given to them. What many others wished they’d had.” slowly, he lifts a hand, tucking a strand of hair blow out of proportion from my face.
“Soulmates,” he whispers.
He brushed his thumb against my cheekbones. “Are supposed to cherish each other.”
His meaty breath grazes against my senses.” Love one another with all their hearts.”
He ran his fingers through my hair, twirling it around his forefinger. “But, there are exceptions.”
Ian’s eyes lock onto mine.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
He stays quiet.
I chuckled, laying on my back while the lock of my hair swirled around from his finger. I bit my tongue, feeling my heart racing as I thought about him. “You’re talking about Damien, aren’t you?”
“Give him a chance Izzy. He is a good guy.”
I bent a single leg while laying the other on the dirt. “I thought the chance would be when we met each other. That was the chance for him to prove his worth as my so-called soulmate.”
“There is no such thing as an instant result.”
I shake my head, “You have no right.” my voice was unexpectedly cracked. Damien’s image rushed through my mind, causing a painful sensation to emerge.
“To intervene in whatever it is between us.” I released a puff of air, “If Damien wants something from me, then he should be the one who confronts me about it, not you.”
He chuckles, “You’re right. I’m sorry to intervene.”
The tension between us began thickening, unsettling.
We laid there, listening to the sounds the forest offered. My eyes followed a puff of clouds that seemed to look like a tree, a very messy tree. “Why are you so loyal to him?” I ask.
He exhales, “Because he is like my little brother, my lost brother.” he bit his lower lips. “When I was younger, I wasn’t the strongest kid in the playground.” he chuckles bitterly. “Before I got my wolf, I was the weak, thin kid who was constantly bullied by others despite being the future Gamma.” he shakes his head, “Kids can be cruel.”
Images of children in the facility flashed inside my mind. How weak they look-malnourished and miserable. At such a young age, they were all trained to be killers, ending other lives to continue theirs.
“Damien, despite being so much younger than me, a baby practically stood up for me and threatened to send anyone to jail for bullying me.” he laughs. “Actually, he sent some of them into jail!” his laughter only increased.
The heavy air seemed to lighten as the joyous sound echoed inside my ear. I began chuckling along with him, wondering how it would be to meet the younger Damien, the one who isn’t distant.
Soon, the laughter died down, and Ian wiped off the single tear lurking down his temple. He bit his inner cheeks and sighed heavily. “Or maybe it’s the guilt.”
He cleared his throat, covering his eyes with his forearms. “If only, that day, I asked him to stay at my house a bit longer instead of ditching him for my older friends. He wouldn’t have to witness that.”
He was quiet.
I hate how I feel at the moment. Even with everything Damien had done, I wanted to know about his past. The reason how he became the person he is today; no one can merely wake up and behave so broken.
“Please, tell me, Ian. I need to know.”
Ian inhaled a sharp breath. “The day his mother, Luna Charlotte, killed his father, Alpha Drake.”
I sat up, staring at him with wide eyes.
His chuckles were slow and bitter, “And that wasn’t the worst of it.”
I swallow, “It wasn’t?”
He sat up, staring at his hands. Slowly, he looks up at me. “No, his mother murdering his father wasn’t what cracked him.” he ran his fingers through his messy hair, “Back then, he believed in soulmates. He still had a kind heart until-”
A loud, vicious growl cut him off.
My heart began beating unbearably loud, as my eyes steadily traced towards the sound behind me. He stood there, a muscle twitching involuntarily at the corner of his right eyes, mouth formed a hard scowl. Hands were tightening on both sides, his toes dragged deeply into the dirt. His eyes were continually flickering from one color to another.
“How dare you touch what belongs to me?”
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