Chapter TWO: Morning regrets
The morning dawns crisp and clear, the Sun’s rays piercing the gap in my bedroom blinds warming my cheek as the birds twitter a merry tune in the tree in my front garden. I crack open one eye to check the clock on my beside table and close it again slowly, happy I get to lie in bed for another thirty minutes or so.
"ELLIS. DOWNSTAIRS. NOW!"
Elijah’s voice, like a sudden clap of thunder on a clear Summer’s day, is loud enough to make the birds nesting in the tree fall silent and the glass in the window shudder slightly. I groan, opening my eyes slowly as I wonder what he’s yelling about. I didn’t come home late. I didn’t cause any problems. And as far as I’m aware, Tony and Max made it home safely too. Not wanting to give my father another reason to yell at me, I roll tiredly from my bed and race downstairs to meet him.
Outside, my father is standing on the porch step waiting for me. His arms are crossed over his chest and there is a stern expression on his face. He’s still in the red T-shirt and jogging bottoms he wore to bed and his feet are bare. He exudes Alpha power in waves meaning at least one of the three of us who went out last night is about to be in serious trouble. It can’t be me, I silently hope, because if it had been why didn’t Elijah come and speak with me privately about it?
“What’s the matter Dad?” I ask him with a slight shrug, confused as to why he’s out here in the first place.
“See for yourself.” He replies calmly, nodding his head in the direction of the front lawn. I look over to where he indicates and almost wish I hadn’t.
“MAX?!” I exclaim startled, barely recognising my best friend as the man who stands dancing in circles around my front lawn, waving his hands in the air like a mad man.
His hair is tousled and wild as though he’s been running non stop through the night whilst racing against a storm, and his eyes are covered by a pair of bright red heart shaped sunglasses with pink tinted lenses. He’s lost the clothes he wore to the club, his green shirt and plaid trousers having been replaced with a pair of white briefs and a pastel pink tank top. There’s a floral tattoo marking the bicep of his right arm and a rainbow painted on his face, covering his exposed forehead and ending on his right cheek with a puffy white cloud. He’s not wearing any shoes either, his bare feet slightly muddy from where he’s spent the night in the wild.
“ELI!” He screams as he waves enthusiastically back at me. “I FUCKING LOVE YOU BRO!” He begins dancing again and it takes all of my willpower not to groan out loud.
“What the fuck Max?” I bury my face in my hands in embarrassment for his behaviour. Beside me I hear Elijah snort back a laugh. At least one of us is getting some amusement out of this situation.
“YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL ELI!” Max blows me a kiss through the air as he continues to shout as though he hasn’t a care in the world. “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH BROTHER!”
Elijah nudges me in the ribs with his elbow to get my attention and nods silently in Max’s direction, indicating that I should go over and deal with the situation head on. Of course he’s going to make me do it. I’m ascending Alpha and I went out with Max last night and I should have kept a better eye on what he was doing.
“Are you fucking high right now?” I ask as I near him. There’s a stale smell in the air that has nothing to do with the club we visited last night. It’s like a mix of incense and fresh blossoms, but I’m unsure of what plants the smells belong to.
“I... I think I’m coming down Eli.” Max’s head drops suddenly and rolls slightly to one side. He sways drunkenly towards me. “Hold me.” His arms fly out to wrap around my waist, catching himself before he face-plants the ground. The sudden push has me stumbling back slightly but I remain upright, not wanting Max to knock me on my ass in front of my dad. I’ll never hear the end of it otherwise.
“Get the fuck off me Max!” I snap at him as I attempt to unwind his arms from me, but like a desperately hungry snake suffocating its prey, Max holds on tighter.
“This is fucking priceless!” Tony chuckles from the porch. I manage to loosen Max’s grasp on me enough to turn and scowl at the pair of them, both Tony and Elijah grin back at me with laughter threatening to burst forth any second.
“I’m glad you two think this is funny.” I shout at them bitterly. “Max seriously, get the fuck off me.” I try to pull away, but he won’t let go. I don’t even care if he falls on the floor anymore, I just can’t stand having Max clinging onto me.
“You have really pretty eyes Eli.” He whispers in my ear and I growl when Tony and Elijah laugh at us again. I’m not surprised that they could hear Max’s outburst from where they are standing. He currently has no concept of volume control.
“If either one of you wants to step in and help me, I’d appreciate it.” I shout at the pair of them.
“Consider this an early morning Alpha training session.” Elijah calls back as Tony continues to laugh at Max and I. “I told you yesterday you needed to reign Max in or else he was going to walk all over you.”
“I think he’s going to do a lot more than walk over you if you don’t hurry up.” Tony pipes in unhelpfully, punctuating his words with a chuckle.
“You’re not helping Antonio.” Elijah raises an eyebrow sceptically at my brother and he quickly sobers, even though there’s still a hint of amusement glittering in his eyes. “Time to show me what you’ve learnt Ellis.” He continues seriously. “Are you going to let Maxwell walk over you again, or are you going to deal with the situation?”
I inhale a deep breath as I turn within Max’s crude embrace to face my friend, and summoning a little of my ascending Alpha strength I punch Max right in the face. He finally lets me go as he stumbles backwards knocked completely, and understandably, off guard.
"Ow.” He mutters. “What was that for Eli? I thought we were brothers?” He whines as he wipes fake tears from his cheeks. His hands are shaking uncontrollably, either because he’s feeling the cold from being practically naked, or because he’s running on pure adrenaline.
“MAX YOU’RE FUCKING HIGH.” I shout sternly at him, enunciating each of my words clearly hoping he’s paying attention to me. “YOU NEED TO STOP CALLING ME ELI AND AS YOUR ASCENDING ALPHA YOU NEED TO SHOW ME A LOT MORE RESPECT!”
Max straightens as he draws in a deep breath to compose himself. He opens his mouth to say something, but quickly covers his mouth with his hand as he starts to gag.
“Don’t you fucking dare!” I warn him, stepping back in alarm. Having the sense not to anger me further, Max turns and doubles over as he pukes, a smelly and disgusting river of vomit erupting from his mouth to splatter on the grass beneath him. Before I can catch him he teeters forward, loses his balance and lands heavily on the ground, right in his pool of puke. He groans tiredly, his body curling slightly into the fetal position and he shivers involuntarily. It’s a pitiful sight.
“I see you need more training.” My father observes, Tony’s outburst of hysterical laughter not helping to make the situation better. Although seeing Max passed out in his own vomit is pretty funny. “Bring Max inside, then get your asses to the gym. We’ll meet in my office later so we can have a little chat about this.”
“Can’t I leave him here to stew in his own puke for a while?” I ask hopefully. It’s not as though Max is heavy, but it might be a good lesson for him to learn what happens when you mix drink and drugs.
"No.” Max mutters from the ground.
“At least give me a hand Tony.” I plea with my brother. If he wants to keep laughing at Max and I, he might as well make himself useful while he’s at it.
“Fuck off Ellis, he’s your friend and this is your problem.” Tony shoots back angrily. He crosses his arms tightly over his chest as he scowls at me.
“You are going to help Ellis too, Tony.” Elijah exclaims taking Tony aback. His eyebrows furrow further together as he stares disbelievingly at our father.
“How can you penalise me for this? I didn’t do anything wrong.” He replies defensively.
"You took the pair of them out last night and you should have been keeping a better eye on them.” Elijah explains calmly. When it looks as though Tony isn’t going to retaliate he continues. “Let this be a lesson to the three of you. Being Alpha and the Alpha’s Beta’s isn’t all parties and drinking. It’s also about communication and teamwork. This will be good practise for the three of you for the future.”
"Fine.” I sigh heavily. Kneeling down I attempt to hoist Max back to his feet but he’s acting like a dead weight, either because he can’t move, or more likely he’s doing it to spite me. “Get up you jackass.” I shout at him when he remains unresponsive.
It’s going to be a long morning.
I wake the next morning feeling as though I haven’t slept at all. I couldn’t get that strange man - I mean Ellis - out of my head. I still can’t believe that someone who barely knows me would be so willing to fight for me; to fight for my freedom. To throw his own life on the line for mine. There’s no denying that Ellis and Zack know one another, but how, where, when or why is still a mystery to me. I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore, after last nights escapades the chances of me ever getting to leave the compound again will be slim to none. As for Meg... Well, I’ll have to ask her later.
I roll melancholy from my bed and cross to my wardrobe. As much as I’d love to spend the day hidden away in my room beneath the comfort of my covers I can’t. I have an important job to do. It’s time for me to meet with my Alpha.
It’s time for me to face my fate.
I dress myself in some of the most plain and ordinary clothes I own before padding downstairs and through the compound. Not that anyone would care if I walked around in the lace shorts and black tank I slept in. Especially Zack.
The hallways are deserted, the dull thumping bass guitar emitting from our own private bar the only sound aside from the soft pat-pat-pat of my bare feet against the polished wood floor. The room isn’t full but there’s a crowded atmosphere. The fire burning low in the corner letting out a stifling heat into the room, the dancing flames casting ominous shadows amongst the patrons. I stroll solemnly towards the Alpha’s chambers, keeping my head low hoping to avoid recognition.
“Watch where you’re going bottom feeder.” She screams violently at me making me startle. I had been too focused on where I was going I haven’t noticed I’ve almost walked head on into Valentina. “Where are you off to in such a hurry, hm?” She continues snidely, her perfectly styled right eyebrow rises as the left one lowers.
She stares down at me, which isn’t hard when she’s a head taller than me to begin with, her nose twisting slightly upward in disgust. Her purple dyed hair is cropped short and naturally wavy making it stick out at weird angles. She crosses her arms beneath her ginormous breasts, the leather of her dress rubbing together. It’s long sleeved and zips up at the front, but it cuts off just beneath her bottom partially revealing the snake and rose tattoo on her left thigh.
“I’m here to see the Alpha.” I respond after a moments hesitation. “It’s about what happened last night at-”
“I’m well aware of what happened Bella,” she snaps, jabbing a sharp, perfectly manicured finger painfully into my chest making me recoil further, “but the Alpha is busy at the moment. You’ll have to see him later.”
“He told me to come right away.” I protest. Valentina might hold rank over me, but she’s not the boss. If the Alpha commands it I must obey, the same as she does.
“DO NOT CONTRADICT ME BOTTOM FEEDER!” She screams, her voice loud enough to bring all conversations in the room to a halt and draw all eyes onto us. So much for me keeping a low profile.
“Now go and get changed out of those ghastly clothes. You have a job to do.” She glowers at me and I instantly feel like a rat caught in a trap. There’s no use in me arguing with my Omega-Alpha, I wouldn’t be able to win with my words. Valentina is blind to anyone other than her own agenda.
“Yes Valentina.” I sigh defeatedly and slink away with my tail between my legs.
Back in my room, I rifle through my wardrobe looking for something appropriate to wear. It doesn’t matter to me, or our clientele what I wear, but I don’t want to give Valentina any more reasons to shout at me. I finally settle on a black halter top with blue and purple flowers, a black skirt and a black denim jacket just for the hell of it.
The harsh knocking on my door takes me by surprise. It can’t be Meg, she never knocks. Maybe it’s the Alpha come to finish me off. I walk slowly across the room, stopping when the door opens and Zack enters purposely, a satisfied smirk plastered upon his cruel lips. His eyes roam up and down my body, a low growl of approval rumbles through his throat and I wrap my arms around myself in an attempt to cover my exposed cleavage.
“Looking beautiful as always Bella.” Zack saunter towards me, his hands sliding into the front pockets of his jeans as he eyes me up once again. His tongue wipes across his top lip when his gaze settles on my breasts longer than I am comfortable with.
“What are you doing in here you pig? Haven’t you squealed on me enough?” I question bitterly, my teeth clenching together slightly as the words pour from my lips. Zack chuckles drily with amusement.
“Loveable old Val didn’t forget to tell you the good news, did she?” He winks suggestively at me, rising goose flesh over my entire body.
“What good news?” I ask hesitantly, although I probably already know what his answer is going to be.
"Really Bella? Do you need me to spell it out for you?” He grabs my waist so quickly I wasn’t expecting it. His right hand cups my chin, tilting my head up and forcing me to look at him. “I’ve come here to claim you as my reward.”
I feel the gorge rise in my throat as the meaning behind Zack’s words became apparent. His thumb begins to draw small circles on the bare skin of my hip as he licks his lips slowly; lustfully.
“Get your fucking hands off me.” I growl angrily, but I might as well be talking to a brick wall for all the good it does me.
“Don’t play games with me Bella, you know I’ll always win.” He caresses my face, his fingers trailing down my cheek and across my bottom lip. I don’t know what possesses me to do it, I just know I have to get away from Zack before he takes things too far. I manage to rise my knee and feel it collide satisfactory with Zack’s groin. He releases me as he doubles over and I have a second or two before he recovers to make my escape. I reach the door, but I’m already too late. Zack catches me before my trembling hands can turn the doorknob and he throws me clear across the room. My head slams into the wall, and had I been a regular human I would have cracked my skull or severed my spine. My shoulders and back ache. My head feels like it could split in two. I’m too stunned and too afraid to move.
I hear Zack’s boots as he storms over to me. Dazed and confused I can’t raise myself from the floor in time. He sits on top of me, straddling my hips as he grabs my wrists and pins my hands either side of my head. His lips brush mine and I turn my head away disgusted. That doesn’t deter Zack though as he begins to chase kisses along my jaw and down my neck.
“You’re so beautiful Bella.” He mumbles against my neck, the stubble of his chin both itching and tickling the sensitive spot where my neck connects to my shoulder. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
His teeth graze my collarbone and I shiver. His hands release my wrists but I’m too terrified to move. Zack strips off my jacket, the touch of his fingers against my skin leaving a line of rising goose flesh in their wake. He smiles down at me, eyeing me up like a predator observes their captive prey just before they make the fatal bite.
Zack kisses the exposed part of my left breast and I moan, not because I’m enjoying having him paw over me, but because I feel like I’m going to throw up at any second. Zack misinterprets it as something else. His hands roam lower, down my waist and over my hips. He rips the skirt from my body, before he lies flush against me. I can feel every inch of his muscled body heavily against mine, and when I say every inch I mean every inch. Zack turns my head to face him and claims my lips, kissing me hungrily with lust.
“Get... Off of... Me.” I manage to groan through his lips and mine. My voice cracks with the threat of tears. I don’t know what’s come over me. I’ve dealt with many pushy men just like Zack, but no one has made me feel as broken as he does right now. Maybe it’s because of how easily he tossed me across the room, like I weighed nothing; like I was a worthless piece of trash. Zack chuckles as he leans back. I can finally breathe a breath of fresh air. He’s got a feral and possessive look in his eyes.
“You can’t run from me forever Bella.”
Zack presses one more kiss to my lips before he climbs off, making a show of adjusting his trousers and smiling suggestively at me. He leaves without another word, leaving me lying stunned, half naked and shivering alone on the floor.
I wait several minutes after Zack’s left my room before I dare to get up off the floor. My entire body trembles with shock. I can still feel the ghostly touch of his hands on my skin. The way his teeth grazed me, wanting to bite me and claim me as his own. The way his tongue tasted me. I rest my hands on my knees as I double over and empty the small contents of my stomach onto the rug that we have just been led on, but I still felt sick.
The tears I felt so hard to restrain finally start to fall, and I sob quietly wishing there was something - anything - I can do to make this feeling of worthlessness go away. I sit down on the bed before my shaking legs can give out beneath me and I fall into the pool of vomit.
I don’t know how long I’ve be sitting here in silence staring at the blank wall for. It could have been hours, or maybe a manner of minutes. I can’t sit here any longer knowing that asshole’s hands have violated my body the way they have.
I rise from the bed, my knees still shake but at least they support my weight. I lift the soiled rug from the floor and carry it with my when I leave the room. It’ll need to go in the wash, I can’t have it fermenting in my room any longer. I also need to shower and get moving before I give Val, or the other members of my pack another reason to want to rip my head off.
I return to my room a little while later, cleaner but not feeling fresher. As soon as I step back into my room I feel my eyes roll inside their sockets. Sitting on my bed, arms crossed and with an unimpressed look on her face is Meg. She’s wearing a body hugging ruby red dress and matching heels.
“Seriously Meg?” I sigh disapprovingly. “Is this going to become a regular thing with you breaking into my room every time I need a shower?”
“Valentina’s busting all of our asses downstairs because you’re M.I.A.” Meg explains as she crosses the room to stand before me, her heels clicking slightly against the wooden floor in my bedroom. “What’s going on chica? It’s not like you’ve ever let that bitch get you down before.” Her perfectly styled eyebrows knit together in a worried scowl, her eyes searching mine for some spark of emotion, but I’ve been feeling empty since Zack attacked me.
I exhale a deep breath as I decide to tell Meg the truth. I tell her everything that conspired in this room between myself and Zack. I tell her about how he threw me into the wall, and how he touched me all over with his hands and lips. Understandably she doesn’t take the news very well.
“I can’t believe that asshole would try and take advantage of you like that.” She practically screams as soon as I’ve finished talking. “Have you talked to the Alpha about this? Surely he could do something about Zack.”
“Zack’s his fucking Beta.” I throw my hands up in the air in protest. “It was probably him who sent Zack here just to mess with me.”
I stare downcast at the ground, looking up only when I feel Meg’s arms wrap comforting around my tiny body.
“You can’t hide out in here forever Bella. If you do you’re letting Zack win. You’re letting him know that he has dominance over you.” She whispers softly in my ear.
“He does have dominance over me.” I remind my best friend bluntly.
“You know what I mean.” She responds defensively as she steps back, giving me some room to breathe. “You’re a strong, independent woman Bella. You’d have to be to want to break pack rules and sneak off the compound with someone like me. If you hide up here in your room, you’re giving Zack every excuse he needs to treat you like a piece of meat rather than the beautiful she-wolf you really are. You need to show him you mean business.” She punctuates her speech by flipping her hair over her shoulder.
“And you’re not just saying this because you’re scared of Val?” I fire back, raising one eyebrow and crossing my arms over my chest, more to stop my towel from sliding down than anything else.
“I’m not scared, the bitch fucking terrifies me.” Meg’s words come out muffled where she’s buried her head in her hands and I can’t help the giggles that trickle from my lips.
“So, what do you say Bella? Are you a sheep, or a wolf?” Meg quickly sobers, her light brown eyes boring into mine as she begins to bounce slightly on the balls of her feet. I draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“You’re right Meg. I can’t let that asshole rule my life forever. “And I’m not going to let that bitch boss my bestie around either.” As I square my shoulders purposefully, Meg claps her hands enthusiastically.
“I’m so glad you agree with me.” She beams. “I chose some dresses for you to wear while you were in the shower. You’ll look good and you’ll keep Val happy.”
I psychically roll my eyes and sigh internally. “Forgive me if I’m a little sceptical about your choices.”
“Have a little faith in me Bella. I don’t make the same mistakes twice.” Meg folds her arms over her chest crossly, her eyebrows creasing sternly as she pouts her bottom lip.
“Oh sure and I’ve never heard you say that before.” I reply sarcastically. Meg’s scowl deepens as she stares unmoving back at me.
“Just get your cute butt downstairs before Val literally bites my head off.” She finally concedes defeat and leaves me to get dressed. I can’t help winding Meg up sometimes. She’s been my best friend through all the good times and the bad. There’s no one I have any trust in other than her and myself.
Alone again I drop my towel, feeling unashamed of my nakedness as I cross to the wardrobe and dare to peek at what Meg has chosen for me. Three different dresses have been hung over the back of the door, with matching shoes standing on the carpet beneath them. Each dress is low cut with a short skirt and made of the most exquisite material money can buy. One is pink, embroidered with a flower pattern over the breast and bows on the elbow length sleeves, another is pale blue with a corset style bodice, and the final dress is black silk, shimmering in the light like a full moon’s reflection on a dark lake. These are pretty good, considering Meg chose them.
I slip on clean underwear and take down the black dress. It cups my breasts, hugs my curves and accentuates my hips. I apply a light touch of mascara and eyeliner before pulling my hair into a loose ponytail. The shoes are glittery black heels. I’d prefer to wear flats, but I need to make a decent impression if I want to keep Val off my back, so sliding them on I half-stumble from my room and joining Meg in the hallway outside, we make our way downstairs together.
The bar area appears much clearer than it did when I came down earlier, but there is still a buzz of excitement in the air, mostly from the number of Omegas that are gathered here to entertain the Betas. I begin to fidget nervously with the hem of my dress when I catch sight of Zack staring at me from across the room. His eyes widen and his eyebrows rise as he absorbs my appearance. I feel goose-flesh rise over my skin and subconsciously rub my arms in an attempt to tame it.
"Ignore him and stay close to me.” Meg whispers soothingly in my ear when she realises who has been staring at me. I breath in deep and exhale a sigh as I follow Meg in the opposite direction to Zack. I try my best to ignore him, but I can still feel his dirty hands groping my body and I feel his eyes stripping away my clothes as they follow me across the room.
Meg leads me over to a younger looking pair of wolves. They’re deep in conversation until Meg disturbs them flirtatiously and their hands are immediately upon us. Dark, sensual expressions coat their features, their eyes widening with pleasure as they gaze upon Meg and I. I try to distract myself in my work by making the Beta’s feel as though they are being well looked after and appreciated, but I can feel both Zack and Val’s eyes boring into my back. Watching me. Judging me. Waiting for me to screw up. I try to keep a low profile, shadowing Meg whenever I can, but in this line of work, that’s never guaranteed.
As soon as the wolf Meg is talking to pulls her away for more privacy, Valentina pounces, stalking behind me and shrieking in my ear.
“The Alpha wants to see you.”
The wolf I was flirting with makes himself scarce, either because he is afraid of Val, or because he doesn’t want to get into any trouble with the Alpha I’ll never know, but I’d rather be anywhere than in his presence right now.
Ever since I was a young boy who had just learnt how to read, I have always found my ancestor’s journals fascinating. Whilst I was training to be Alpha, I spent many a late night reading and rereading the amazing accomplishments of my great-grandfather’s and past Alphas. It was something I instilled in Tony when he was training, to teach him not to repeat the mistakes of the past and help him to grow. I tried with Ellis too, but my youngest son was never interested in reading the great deeds of the past in books, but rather by listening to the dramatic retelling from my father Giovanni.
I’m in the middle of reading a fascinating passage written by Alpha Osiris when there’s a rough knocking on my office door.
“Come in.” I call, folding the ribbon bookmark down and closing the journal I place it on the sofa cushion beside me. The door opens as I rise and closes with a soft click, the gentle tap-tap of heels on the floor announcing her presence before I even settle my eyes upon her; Cassandra.
“Alpha, can I talk to you?” She questions, standing nervously in the middle of the room. Her eyes are downcast, a look of worry embedded in their depths as she shifts her weight from foot to foot. “It’s about something that happened last night.”
Now she’s peeked my interest. I approach her slowly, cautiously. Cassandra has always been a loose cannon, someone who can change personality at the snap of your fingers. If I do anything to frighten her, she won’t open up to me.
“What’s on your mind?” I ask her carefully, keeping a respectful distance between us. Cassandra is a foot shorter than me even in her heeled shoes and beautiful, with flowing dark locks and bright, intelligent eyes. She’d be the perfect mate for either of my sons, if only she could get past her own ego.
She doesn’t answer me straight away her eyes searching the ground as her mind concocts what words she’s going to say. I don’t notice the tears filling her lower eyelids until a couple roll from her jaw to drip lightly on the ground and she wipes them away dramatically with the back of her hand.
“Uh, Cassandra... Are you okay?” I question hesitantly. I might be the Alpha and have faced my fair share of turmoil during my reign, but nothing is more frightening than an upset she-wolf.
“I... I’m sorry Alpha. I... I should have come straight to you last night but...” She wipes the remainder of the tears from her face and draws in a deep breath to settle the shakes in her hands. “But I didn’t want to get Ellis into trouble.”
“What happened Cass?” I cross my arms over my chest, daring to use my Alpha voice on her. When it comes to my son’s well being there is nothing that will deter me from doing what is best for my boys. Especially Ellis.
“I saw him talking to two girls in the club last night and-” she draws in another breath to calm herself “-And I think they might have been dealing wolfsbane. I think Ellis might have bought some.”
She can’t be serious, can she? Wolfsbane is one of the most prominent drugs known to wolf kind. It acts like a relaxant, pain relief and an aphrodisiac. In small doses under a doctor’s care it’s perfectly legal, but if its used outside for recreational purposes it could cause a monumental threat, even deadly repercussions to whomever takes it.
“When I confronted him about it he told me that what he chose to spend his money on was his business, and then I saw Max outside this morning and... And I think he might have taken some to.”
That certainly would explain the erratic behaviour and strange odour omitting from Max this morning, but I can’t and won’t believe what she says about Ellis taking drugs. My son knows better, particularly after what happened with his brother Tony.
“Do you honestly expect me to believe you Cassandra?” I answer her sternly, continuing quickly before the tears have a chance to refill her eyes. “After everything you put Tony through. Playing your little mind games with him, only to ditch him for Ellis the moment he really needed you. Now you come into my office and accuse my son of buying and taking wolfsbane.”
My words are met with a brief silence as Cassandra contemplates her words.
“I know I haven’t given you much reason to trust me, but you can’t deny what you saw on the front lawn this morning.” She finally replies, a little shiftily. “I know I’ve never seen Max act that way before.”
As difficult as Cassandra is to tolerate, she does make a valid case. I never understood how Max and my son Ellis came to be best friends. Max has always been loud, erratic and as easily excitable and prone to mistakes like any good Omega should be. Ellis, on the other hand, was always shy and reserved when he was growing up, but there was something about hanging out with Max that helped to bring out the inner Alpha inside my youngest son. There was nothing I could say, or do, to separate the pair, where one helped boost their confidence, the other helped to keep them calm and down to Earth, and over time I grew to liking Max more and more, even adopting him like a son of my own.
“Okay Cassandra, I’ll talk to the boys about this later. You can go now.” I sigh.
“Actually, there was one more thing.” She lifts her gaze slowly from the ground, meeting mine steadily as she shifts uneasily on the balls of her feet.
“This had better not be any more of your wild accusations.” I raise an eyebrow sceptically, unconvinced there is anything else she wishes to discuss with me.
“N-No...” Cassandra stammers. Breaking our staring match she begins to shift uncomfortably. “There was a... confrontation between Ellis and some other wolves in the street as we were leaving the neutral zone.” She draws in a deep breath before continuing. “I can’t be certain, but I think there was violence involved, and I think Ellis might have launched an unprovoked attack on one of the other wolves.”
I feel my eyes widen in surprise. Even though he’s part wolf, my son Ellis considers himself non-violent. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him raise his voice, let alone launch a supposedly unprovoked attack against anyone. And in the neutral zone of all places? Cassandra’s story doesn’t sit right with me, but as Alpha I have no choice other than to investigate.
“I see.” I mutter. “Well, you’ve given me a lot to think about Cassandra and I’ll make sure to talk to all three of my boys later. You can go now.”
“Of course, Alpha.” Cassandra sighs dramatically before she leaves.
I watch as Cassandra saunters melancholy from my office. I didn’t appreciate her accusing my son of taking wolfsbane at the club last night. But Maxwell? That was plausible.
"What the fuck am I going to do?” I mutter aloud, massaging my temples with the thumb and forefinger of my right hand. If I didn’t have a headache before, Cassandra has definitely given me one now.
A soft knock on the office door disturbs my inner musings.
“Come in.” I exhale exasperated, certain it’s Cassandra come back to rattle my wolf’s cage some more, but that agony is short lived when the door opens and my father Giovanni walks purposely into the room; a grim look on his otherwise boyish face.
“Everything alright in here son?” He questions cautiously. “I just passed Cassandra in the hall and she looked a little down.”
I stifle an exasperated sigh. “She was just in here accusing Ellis of taking drugs and telling me he was starting fights with other wolves on the street.”
“Do you believe her?” My father’s response surprises me.
“I don’t want to believe her, but after that show Maxwell put on this morning and that whiff of blood I scented last night I don’t know what to believe.”
I never want to second guess my sons, but there are times as a parent when you cannot doubt what you see with your own eyes, and just because Max was showing signs of not being himself that doesn’t mean that Ellis and Tony are in the clear. Everybody’s immune systems work differently after all.
“Have you spoken to Ellis about this?”
“Not yet.” I reply half-hearted. “I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I also understand the nerves and frustrations that come with being the ascending Alpha. I’d be calling myself a hypocrite if I said I’d never done half of what Ellis has this past year and a half.”
I feel my anger building with every word that leaves my mouth. It’s true that once we ascend to Alpha it’s wise for us to never leave our territories, the risks are too great, so it’s normal for most wolves to roam a little wild in their last year before their ascension. Myself included.
Giovanni stares back at me with a straight face, but there’s a sparkle in his eyes and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards in betrayal. He tries to cover it as him clearing his throat, but I know he’s laughing at me.
“What’s so funny?” I demand. Giovanni really clears his throat this time to help sober himself.
“You have nothing to worry about son, believe me.” He explains calmly. “That grandson of mine has his head screwed on straight and I suspect this is just Cass up to her regular tricks. If it will put your mind at rest talk to Ellis or Tony, you know they’ll be honest with you.”
“What about Max?” I ask, rising an eyebrow doubtfully. I trust my sons, but Max isn’t my son. Not literally anyway.
“There was definitely something wrong with him this morning.” Giovanni taps his chin thoughtfully as he stares up at the ceiling. “I’ve never seen a wolf act the way he did before.” Looking back at me he catches my furrowed brows and clenched fists. He quickly continues before I can interject. “So the boy’s went out to blow off a little steam there’s no harm in that.” He continues calmly. “Come this time next year there won’t be time for them to drink and party and flirt with pretty girls. As you well know, Elijah.” He concludes in a stage whisper. I feel heat rising to my cheeks as my dad laughs at my dumbfounded expression. Of course he would have to bring my early relationship with my wife and mate into this.
“I know you’re right dad.” I massage my temples with my right hand again. “I guess I’m just looking for flaws where there aren’t any.”
“That’s my boy.” Giovanni claps his hand to my shoulder in a fatherly gesture. “Trust your boys Elijah, they have a great teacher.”
He turns on his heel and waltzes from the room, leaving me alone to brood over his words. My father has certainly given me a lot more to think about. I need to give my sons a chance to explain themselves, and that includes Maxwell. There’s just one more person I need to speak to before I call the boys into my office.
Crossing to the other side of my office, I take a seat at my desk and lift the lid of my laptop computer. I drum my fingers against the desk top as I wait for the ancient machine to load. It’s not long before I’m met with the video chat app Tony recently installed for me. It’s state of the art and much easier to use than the previous one I had. I don’t need to scroll through the endless list of contacts on the left hand side, as the person I’m looking for is listed at the top under the most frequently called tab.
Double clicking her name, I drum my fingers against the desk top again as I wait for her to answer, hoping I haven’t cornered her in a meeting, or sleeping. She answers immediately, her beautiful smile brightening my dingy office with its radiance.
“Hi Honey, how’s the conference going?” I greet her casually, and proceed to listen as she tells me all about what’s happening in regards to our son’s future as Alpha. I’ll eventually get to the reason behind my phone call, but for now I’m happy just to listen to the melodic sound of my beautiful wife’s voice.
I expected the Alpha’s chambers to be empty. I can’t help, but feel nervous as I enter the room. Zack’s here; staring at me with his lust filled eyes, but so too is our Alpha. This man isn’t just attractive, he’s deadly. He leans back on the sofa, arms crossed over his chest nonchalantly with a bored expression etched upon his modelesque face. His dark hair is tousled and his darker eyes brooding. The sleeves are rolled up to his elbows revealling his toned arms and the skull and rose tattoo that adorns the skin of his right arm. Whatever Zack is saying, he seems to lose interest the moment his dark, calculating eyes fall upon me and I have the same sense that he’s undressing me the same way Zack had done moments ago.
Zack approaches me, a wide smile leading across this slimy face.
“Don’t threat beautiful. I put in the good word for you.” He whispers in my ear as he passes, and winks flirtatiously before he leaves. His words don’t fill me with confidence, in fact they do just the opposite. A small part of me wants Zack to stay, just so I wouldn’t be forced to be alone with the Alpha and whatever punishment he has in stall for me.
“Come here Bella.” The Alpha commands, his deep, authoritative voice sending a shiver racing down my spine. I walk over as slowly as I dare, unable to meet his gaze for even a second as I focus on placing one foot in front of the other. I immediately sit on the sofa beside him and we remain there side-by-side in complete silence. I fiddle with the hem of my skirt nervously. He sits beside me, pensive and alluring. The only sounds in the room that of our breathing and the rapid beating of my heart.
“Do you know why you’re here Bella?” He breaks the silence suddenly, startling me slightly. “Do you want to know why I haven’t killed you for disobeying pack rules?”
“I... I...” I avoid looking at him as I answer, gripping the hem of my dress so tightly in my hands that my knuckles turn white. I feel his weight shift beside me as he closes the distance between us, pinning me to my seat. I force myself to look upward at him now. His hands like molten rock rest on my hips and he stares at me with hunger and desire in his dark eyes.
“Are you scared Bella?” His words are laced with a growl, hinting that both the man and the beast are angry with me. I turn away, overwhelmed by his overbearing presence.
“Look at me Bella.” He cups my chin as he turns my head back to face him, forcing me to look him in the eye. His face is an unreadable, emotionless mask apart from the burning desire in his eyes. “I should kill you for disobeying pack rules, to set an example to the others not to fuck with me, but I want to offer you a chance at redemption.”
I swallow back the bile rising in my throat as my heart races erratically inside my chest. I’m not going to lie, the Alpha is an attractive male and any woman would be lucky to have him as her mate, but he is also vile and cruel; a man you don’t want to double-cross in a hurry.
“Do I have much of a choice?” I retaliate. A low growl vibrates from his chest; the sound of a cruel and calculating laugh.
“Not unless you’d prefer me to rip the heads of both you and that bottom feeder friend of yours off in a public execution.” He grins sickly at me. I wish I could say that he is joking, but he isn’t. He would genuinely tear our heads off without feeling any sense of remorse.
“She-wolves as beautiful as you don’t arrive on my doorstep everyday. It would be a wasted opportunity if I were to kill you.” His hand caresses my face as he speaks, his fingers leaving rising trails of goose flesh in their wake. “I want you to be mine, Bella.” His hand travels down my neck as he speaks. “I want you to please me, and only me.” I shiver as his fingers tickle my collarbone. “The other males in the pack don’t appreciate you the way I do. They have no idea how much of a treasure you truly are.” I feel my heart skip a beat as his calloused hand trails over the curves of my cleavage. “You are more precious than a mine full of Painite, and if you were to be mine I’d treat you the way you deserve to be treated.”
“I meet his eyes steadily, finding nothing but a deep seated desire shimmering in their depths. This man may exude power, but I can’t say I’m interested in a position of authority. He could give me everything he desires, but not what I truly crave.
“I... I don’t mean to sound ungrateful,” I stammer, “but you’ve never show this much interest in me before.”
Another beastly laugh vibrates from his chest.
“You’re a feisty little she-wolf.” He leans in further, his lips tauntingly close to brushing against my own. “I’m not expecting you to make this decision lightly Bella, we’re not talking a short-term commitment here.”
I draw in a deep breath to settle myself.
“I’m flattered, but-” I try again, but before I can finish, his lips clash with mine demolishing all sense of reason. My mind overtaking my instinct to push him away and I’m glad it did.
Kicking Zack in the balls was one thing, but kicking the Alpha... Well, that would be guaranteed trouble.
His fingers deftly unzip my dress, leaving me crushed beneath him in just my underwear. His kiss turns feral, his extended canines graze my bottom lip drawing small beads of blood that he licks away hungrily. He presses himself flush against me, every inch of his body in tune with mine. He radiates warmth, passion and power; everything a good man should, but he is not a good man. His lips leave mine, his tongue teasing my neck as he expertly unclasps my bra with one hand before he lowers his mouth to my breast. He takes my left into his mouth, sucking hard on my stiff nipple as his hardened cock penetrates me swiftly.
I can surrender my body to him, but he will never own my soul.
Being Alpha is hard, but having your mate living miles away is even harder. I love my wife dearly, but her constant travelling for these ridiculous council meetings is taking its toll on our relationship. At least we’ll be able to work everything out once Ellis ascends as Alpha and I can retire. Maybe we can take an around the world trip like my parents did after my ascension. Whatever we decide, it doesn’t matter to me, so long as I have my wife by my side.
I’m just finishing up an email to the head of the council when there comes a knock on my office door. I lean back in my chair, stretching my arms above my head when the knocking comes again.
“Come in.” I call. The door opens as I rise. In walks Ellis dressed in his gym attire and he doesn’t look too pleased.
“You’re here early.” I observe. “I hope you have a good reason for missing your training session.”
“Gramps just came by the gym. He told me Cass has been to see you. Something about wolfsbane.”
"Of course he did.” I sigh exasperated. “I was waiting until after your training to talk to you all about it.”
Ellis’s eyebrows pull into a tight scowl as he regards me coolly. The door opens suddenly and in storms Tony, looking as equally confused and agitated as Ellis.
“Whatever Cassandra said to you it’s a lie.” My eldest son almost shouts at me. I can understand his frustration towards Cassandra, the pair have quite a colourful history, but I can’t let that cloud my judgement over her accusation towards my sons.
“Sorry Elijah, but I couldn’t lie to them.” My father mutters as he closes the door, giving the four of us some privacy. I repress a groan.
“Alright, we’ll talk about this now.” I reply crossly. “Where the hell is Maxwell?”
Tony shrugs, either not knowing or, more than likely, not caring where Ellis’s missing Beta is. Ellis on the other hand has a smug look on his face, and I can’t help wondering if he’s finally gotten a handle on the wayward Max.
I push open the door and tiptoe stealthily into the room. It’s not necessary though, you could chase a herd of stampeding elephants through here and still not wake him he’s snoring that loudly. I choke back a laugh. I’d still do this even without Ellis asking me to. Any excuse to pay back Max for waking up the entire compound this morning is fine by me. I creep closer to the bed, dodging around discarded comic books, crisp packets and stuff even I’m too grossed out to mention. Even as I crawl across the bed and lean in closer to his head, Max still doesn’t hear me.
And Ellis wants him to be his Beta?
“Maxwell...” I stage whisper in his ear. One eye flutters, but doesn’t open. ”WAKE UP!" I scream as loudly as I dare, and laugh with satisfaction when Max drops to the ground on the other side of the bed with a loud thud! Good. I hope it hurt.
"Ffffuuuu-” Max mumbles into his carpet.
“Enjoy your trip?” I ask him as he rolls onto his back, his eyes still half closed and he’s clearly in a daze.
“What the fuck Steph?” Max demands, rubbing his eyes and yawning. ”What time is it?”
“It’s almost four in the afternoon you lazy ass.” I reply condescendingly, flipping my legs over the side of the bed as I watch Max rise slowly from the ground. “Nice boxers by the way.” I giggle. He’s wearing a pair of pale blue, polka dot boxer shorts that are tauntingly tight and I can’t help giving Max’s package a quick glimpse. He smacks his lips, his mouth dry, and scratches at his chest casually.
“Seriously though, what the fuck are you doing in my room Steph?” He questions sleepily. I mentally roll my eyes.
“Ellis asked me to come wake you, and you know I could never resist your pretty face.” I give him a cheeky wink, but Max barely registers it as he rubs at his eyes again. That’s when I notice it, the intricate art work adorning the tight skin overlaying Max’s right bicep.
“I love the new tattoo by the way. It’s very... Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“What tattoo are you talking about?” Max folds his arms over his naked chest crossly. Oh, so me shouting in his ear wasn’t enough to sober him up, but mentioning a tattoo is?
“Uhh... The one on your arm.” I indicate with a lazy nod of my head, feeling one of my eyebrows raising in confusion. Max stares back at me equally as confused, just before he races into the bathroom across the hall.
"FFFUUUCCCKKK!” He screams almost as loudly as he did this morning and I can’t help the laughter that escapes me.
Rising from the bed I race into the bathroom. Max has his hands leant on the counter, gripping the edge of the sink tight enough for his knuckles to turn white, and he has his right arm twisted slightly so he can see his new tattoo more clearly in his reflection. His eyes are wide with fright, his mouth slightly agape as he watches me enter the room through the mirror.
"This is real.” He mutters matter-of-factly. ”How the fuck can it be real?”
“You’re making an awfully big deal out of this Max.” I comment, crossing my arms over my chest as I cock an eyebrow at him.
“Are you freaking kidding me Steph?” He shouts over his shoulder. “When the guys see this they’re going to rip into me, and I don’t mean with their teeth and claws.”
“You’re a fucking idiot Max.” I pinch the bridge of my nose between the forefinger and thumb of my right hand. “They’re your friends. They’re not going to give a shit.”
“You don’t know Ellis and Tony. I’ll never be able to live this down.” He screams exasperated. “Unless...” His lips twist up on the left side of his face as he thinks, but before I can ask him what’s on his mind, he drops his boxers and stands butt naked right in front of me.
“Perhaps another shower will help.” He states, but I’m barely paying him any attention. I’ve turned away, but I won’t be getting that mental image of Max’s semi-erect penis out of my head anytime soon.
“Next time warn me before you strip off.” I scream back over my shoulder. My hands clench into involuntary fists when Max laughs at me.
“Nothing you haven’t seen before, eh Steph?” He says mockingly.
“Don’t fucking remind me.” I snap, pinching the bridge of my nose again as I feel a migraine threatening to set it.
“Perhaps you’ll let me fuck something else.” Max comments smoothly. I feel warmth as his hands graze my hips and goose flesh rises all over my bare arms and legs. His rock hard body presses lightly against my back, and I feel his dick press against the lower part of my spine. My heart beats erratically inside my chest, and I almost give into the temptation until my brain overrides my feminine urges and I feel my legs carrying me from the room on autopilot.
“I’m good.” I call over my shoulder, my words met with more laughter from Max. Of course he’s going to take this as a joke, everything is a joke to Maxwell.
I stop just around the corner and lean my back against the wall, my breaths coming in heavy pants that has nothing to do with my little sprint. I breathe slow and deep, attempting to control myself. I touch a hand to my chest, counting the rapid beats until they slow to a normal pace.
I jump involuntary when I hear the bathroom door open, and I sneak a glance around the corner. Max crosses the hallway dressed only in a towel which is tied tauntingly low on his waist. Drops of water drip slowly from his scruffy blonde hair, down his broad shoulders and down, down, down to his slim hips. His bedroom door slams shut and I shake my head to clear it of any unnecessary thoughts. I already made that mistake once and I don’t plan on making it again. I wait a few minutes before I head back into Max’s room. If I don’t, you can guarantee he’ll fall back to sleep. Again.
My brother and grandfather are calm as we wait for Max to arrive, sitting side by side on the sofa they converse in low voices. My father on the other hand... Well, he’s been pacing the room for some time now, often catching glances up at the clock he has hanging above the door, but I swear only a few seconds have past each time he does it.
“I swear Ellis, if Maxwell doesn’t show in the next two minutes-” He startles me slightly when he speaks, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen my father so agitated. “About time you got here Max.”
I’m saved from a further grilling by Max’s arrival, or should I say Steph storming into the room. She’s understandably pissed, but I can’t quite fathom why. She loves tormenting Max. Waking him up shouldn’t have been that difficult, should it?
“I’ve just seen more of Max than I care to admit.” Steph growls at me through clenched teeth. “You owe me more than a beer.” She adds loudly for everybody’s benefit.
The room is silent, all eyes are in us. Even my father is stationary, one eyebrow slightly raised and a smirk of amusement on his lips.
“Uh... Yeah... Sure thing Steph.” I agree begrudgingly, shuffling my feet uncertainly and hating that everybody is staring at us.
“Where the hell is Max?” Elijah demands, breaking the slight tension in the room. I breathe a sigh of relief, Steph breathes a sigh of exasperation.
“MAX GET YOUR ASS IN HERE!” She screams so loudly that even my father recoils.
He enters the room then, dragging his feet as he walks solemnly. His hair is damp from a shower, but his eyes are still half closed. He’s dressed in white work out shorts and a dark blue pullover hoodie, and he walks slightly slumped as though he hasn’t woken up at all. What the fuck did Max get up to last night?
“Jeez Steph, can you yell any louder?” Max questions sarcastically, his mouth opening wide as he tries to suppress a yawn. “I don’t think the people in the Western Territory heard you.”
“I don’t think they heard you this morning either.” I growl defensively. He can’t accuse Steph of being loud given how he was acting earlier, and he’s been in bed practically all day.
“That’s enough, all of you.” My father growls authoritatively. “Steph, you can go now.”
“A pleasure as always Alpha.” Steph stretches into a mock bow. ”Good luck Ellis.” She whispers in my ear just before she waltzes from the room, closing the door softly behind her.
“You two sit down.” My father growls even before Steph has left us. He crosses his arms over his chest, the muscles in his biceps pulling taught and his jaw twitches. He’s not happy with us at all.
Max and I obey, we don’t want to give him more of a reason to shout at us. We pass my grandfather as he heads towards the exit. He gives me a smile of encouragement, but I’m too unsettled to return it. He stops to mutter something to my father, Elijah’s eyebrows rising slightly at whatever my grandfather tells him.
I sit on the sofa next to Tony. He’s tense, his arms crossed and his eyebrows pulled into a tight scowl. He’s staring disapprovingly at Max who actually has some speed in his step this time, but I expect he was just walking slowly before to wind Steph up. Tony stares around me as Max sits down on my other side, leaning back in the chair casually as though this is an ordinary everyday conversation and we’re not about to get our asses handed to us.
“Alright boys,” Elijah begins as he closes the door firmly behind our grandfather, and turns to face us sternly. “What really happened last night?”
“Why am I even here? I didn’t do anything wrong.” Tony answers immediately. I resist the urge to punch my brother in the arm, but I can also understand his frustration. It wasn’t him or I who messed up, but when I steal a quick glance at Max it becomes obvious that he isn’t going to speak up for himself anytime soon.
“You’re here for the same reason I mentioned this morning.” Elijah sounds exasperated, almost like he’s had this conversation thousands of times before with Tony alone. Which he probably has. “When you decided to take Ellis and Max out, you were responsible for them Tony.” He approaches us and leans back against his desk opposite, his arms folding neatly over his chest as he regards us coolly. “You won’t make a good Beta if you continue to pass the blame every time something doesn’t go your way.”
I see Tony’s muscles twitch in my peripheral vision, and intervene before he begins a shouting match between himself and our father. “You can’t blame this entirely on Tony Dad, I was there too. We all should have been keeping a better eye on one another.”
Elijah’s lips twist up at one side as he contemplates my words.
“No, you were too busy keeping an eye on that girl.” Max chuckles drily beside me.
"Shut up Max!” I elbow him in the gut for good measure. He sits up suddenly, massaging his stomach and scowling at me. He can’t say he didn’t deserve it.
“I’ll assume this was the same girl that Cassandra mentioned.” Elijah watches the three of us thoughtfully. “The one who supposedly sold you wolfsbane Ellis.”
“You can’t believe a word that bitch says. She’s a back-stabbing, compulsive liar.” Tony is quick to come to my defence, and I’m grateful to him. Dad’s words have stunned me. Wolfsbane? Seriously? Is that the best excuse Cass can come up with?
“I understand you have personal vendetta against her, Tony-” Dad pinches the bridge if his nose with the forefinger and thumb of his right hand “-But as Alpha I have to take all accusations seriously, regardless of who is telling me and who they’re telling me about.” He looks at each of us in turn as he continues. Even Max has sobered enough to pay attention. “How do you think the rest of the pack will react if they found I didn’t investigate accusations made against my sons?” He looks directly at Max. “How many do you think would try and walk over me if they thought they’d get away with it?”
Max fidgets under his intense gaze, his eyes downcast with shame.
“I don’t know what web Cass is trying to spin you dad, but those girls I met were lovely.” I reply heatedly. It’s bad enough that Cass is accusing me of taking drugs, but she’s striking below the belt by bringing Bella and her friend into this. “If anything Cass is just trying to brown nose her way to being Alpha.”
“I don’t appreciate you taking that tone with me Ellis.” Dad grumbles, the muscles in his jaw twitching as he suppresses a growl.
“Then try talking to me father to son, instead of Alpha to pack.” I retaliate feeling my muscles tense. “I can’t honestly believe that you’re taking Cass’s side in all this, given how quickly she ran away when she heard about Tony’s dyspnea.”
Tony snorts back a laugh. My dad sighs exasperated.
“I’m not taking anybody’s side,” he massages his temples as he speaks, “but I can’t just sit idly by and ignore the fact that there was potentially drugs sold to and used by members of my pack. Right, Maxwell?” He cocks an eyebrow in my best friends direction. Max has been sitting silently throughout the entire conversation, and I’m convinced he’s fallen asleep until he jumps slightly under the intense gazes of myself, my father and my brother.
“Why is everybody looking at me?” He asks, genuinely confused.
I bury my head in my hands to suppress a groan. It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that Max wasn’t even listening, he hardly ever does, but I thought he might have done this time given the circumstances.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Tony screams, and for once I am glad I’m sat between them otherwise I guarantee my brother would have hit Max by now.
“Are you still fucking high?” I lean back in my seat, my words slightly muffled by my hands still over my face. I lower them from my eyes. Max stares at me, his head cocked to one side.
“I don’t think so.” He shrugs one shoulder thoughtfully. A low growl vibrates from Tony’s throat and his lips twitch back from his clenched teeth.
"We’re banned from going out for life, aren’t we?” I mutter at Tony.
“There’s no fucking way I’m being placed under house arrest because your stupid ass got spiked last night.” Tony shouts accusingly at Max.
“I didn’t get spiked.” Max’s eyebrows pull into a tight scowl and his nose twitches up in disgust. “At least, I don’t think I did.” He stares at the ceiling thoughtfully.
“Max, shut the fuck up before I kill you myself.” I grumble at my best friend. I’ve never been drunk enough to forget what I’m doing, and I’ve never taken drugs so I don’t know what it’s like to be high, but I know Max and if he doesn’t shut his mouth he’s going to say something stupid that will get us banned from going out for life.
Tony chuckles beside me. Then he coughs. He tries to cover it as him clearing his throat, but then it happens again.
“Tony you okay?” I sit up, looking at my brother worriedly.
The room is suddenly quiet, even Max is no longer making a mockery of the situation. Dad straightens looking concernedly at my brother. Tony draws in a deep breath, but he coughs it back out. He slides from the sofa, hitting the ground with a dull thump.
“TONY!” I drop to my knees beside my brother. My father is on the ground too, and together we help Tony roll onto his side to try and help him breath better. Max remains seated, understandably uncertain of what he should do. He’s never seen Tony have an episode, and I’ve never seen him have one this bad. Normally Tony can keep his dyspnea under control. I don’t understand what’s wrong.
Tony finally draws in enough air to control his breathing, and together my father and I get him back on his feet. He teeters slightly, his chest rattling slightly with every breath he inhales and he looks like somebody who has ridden a roller coaster one too many times in a row. His parlour has paled considerably and there’s a light sweat coating his forehead, clinging his reddish-brown hair to his skin.
“Deep breaths son. I’ve got you.” Elijah instructs. He has his arm around Tony to support him, and if my brother was in a more stable state he’d probably shout at our father for it. Tony coughs in response as he struggles to draw in a life reserving breath of air. It’s a good thing Elijah is holding him.
“You need to go to the infirmary.” Dad states authoritively.
“I’m fine. I-” Tony begins to protest, but is quickly cut off by another bout of coughing. He doubles over as he struggles to breathe, his hands clenching into fists over his knees. He hates showing weakness, we all do, it’s due to the beasts inside us, but my brother is going to have to accept that he needs help this time.
“Like hell you’re fine. I’m taking you to the infirmary, whether you want to or not.” My father growls with finality. He’ll psychically carry Tony if he has to. He barely ever curses, so we know he means business.
“You two get back to the gym. I’ll come find you once Tony’s been seen to.” Dad commands and I nod my head in acceptance, watching solemnly as he escorts Tony from his office. Seeing my brother dragging his feet is eerily similar to watching Max enter earlier. It would have been comical if his life wasn’t at risk.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, Ellis.” Max attempts to console me. His hand falls lightly on my shoulder.
“I’m still pissed at you.” I shrug off his hand as I turn to face my best friend, my arms crossed over my chest. If I’ve hurt his feelings, he keeps a sober mask over his face.
“Ellis, I honestly have no recollection of taking any drugs.” He looks and sounds genuine and I want to believe my best friend, but I’m not sure if it’s because of Cass’s wild accusation, or my brother’s recent dyspnea episode that makes me question everything Max says.
“I’m not the one you need to convince.” He might not have said a lot, but I could tell by the way my father was looking at us that he was suspicious. He wanted to believe us, but given the way Max has been acting he didn’t appear convinced.
“Come on. Before we give Dad another reason to shout at us.”
I lead Max from the room. He pads on bare feet as he follows me back towards the gym, neither one of us saying a word. The gym is the last place I want to be while my brother is in the infirmary, but on the plus side maybe Dad will let me beat the shit out of Max as part of my training.
At least I can hope.
I’ve really put my foot in it this time. I always told myself to never get involved with the Alpha - again! - And given the fact that I find myself lying in bed with him proves I’ve failed to heed my own advice. I’m not going to kid myself, this man is good looking and the way he makes me feel is something out of this world, but he takes advantage of me. Like he’s taken advantage of so many more before me.
He yawns suddenly, startling me, his arm tightening around my waist as he draws me flush against his rock hard body. A lowly chuckle escapes him,
“Well, well, well.” He chuckles. “It’s not everyday I wake to find a beautiful girl still in my bed.” He leans over me, using his elbows and powerful forearms to support himself. “Are you looking for trouble, little she-wolf?”
He grins down at me, his extended canines brushing his bottom lip. His eyes search mine before they travel lower, glancing slowly over my bare chest.
“I... I thought that this is what you wanted.” I stumble under his intense gaze. Perhaps staying the night was a bad idea after all.
“You think you have me all figured out, little she-wolf?” He brushes the hair back from my face, tucking it delicately behind my ear and making me shiver. He caresses my face, his hand travelling across my cheek and down my neck, over the bump of my collarbone and following the curve of my breast. His hands grab my waist, his fingers digging into my skin as he pulls me closer.
His lips are like molten lava against mine, our kiss a passionate and lust-filled dance and his calloused hands feel rough against my smooth skin. He’s naked, his cock fully erect as it slides against the inside of my thigh. His hands travel lower, spreading my legs wider for him to fit between them. His right hand cups the back of my neck as his left steers his dick inside of me, his thumb massaging my clit, teasing me as he fills me with his impressive length. This man wants me, but I don’t want him. At least not in the way he wishes. He wants me to be his mate; his lover and nobody else’s.
I suppose I already set that train in motion the day I chose him to lose my virginity to. Or as Val so politely put it ”Lose it, or I’ll lose it for you.”
I groan against his lips, my back arching as he slides in deeper; deeper than he has ever been before. I could write a list as long as my arm the names of all the girl’s who have claimed to have bedded the Alpha, but only a handful are telling the truth. Myself included. I don’t know what possessed me to pursue the Alpha as the man to be my first. Maybe it was a deep seeded fear of Val and what she’d do if I didn’t. Maybe it was because he was interested in me at first, but once he’d had me he moved on to other pursuits.
His thrusts come heavy and fast; the Alpha doesn’t like to mess around. He bites my bottom lip, the coppery taste of blood contaminating my mouth as his tongue glides across both my bleeding lip and my own tongue. His thumb on my clit goes into overdrive and my legs wrap around his as my climax threatens to break through my jumbled mind.
He cums heavy and fast, a low growl rolling from deep within his chest, but even then he’s not done with me. His dick remains housed inside me as his tongue lashes mine and his thumb continues to assault my already engorged clitoris. He thrusts into me, slow and taunting, he wants me to cum but I’m not willing to give him the satisfaction of my orgasm.
His lips chase kisses across my jaw and down my neck, his tongue tasting me and his teeth nipping me on occasion. I surrender myself to his desire, my own needs being met in the bitter sweetness of his embrace. I know what I’m doing is wrong and goes against everything I believe in, but for now its kiss or be killed. And if I was given the choice one thousand times over, I know what I’d choose every time.
Satisfied that this is as good as its going to get, the Alpha rolls from on top of me and slides from the bed. He stands naked and proud as he reaches for the small white packet and the lighter on the bedside table. He casually lights a cigarette and inhales a long drag from the stick.
As werewolves we’re not susceptible to human diseases, so we can smoke and drink as much as we want without fear of messing up our internal organs. That still doesn’t make up for the foul smell it leaves in my nose, or the horrible taste that settles on my tongue.
“That will be all for now.” He turns to me, his face a sober mask as he takes another drag of his cigarette. “I’ll call you when I need you next.”
“Uh... Right.” I mutter with uncertainty.
Sliding from the bed, I recover my discarded clothes and after dressing I run my fingers through my hair in an attempt at taming the mess. Glaring at the Alpha in my peripheral I find he’s still naked and smoking, but he doesn’t seem to be paying me any attention. I sigh internally. I shouldn’t be surprised that he was only interested in me for sex, but it still hurts a little bit. Why can’t I find myself a nicer guy to settle down with?
Leaving the Alpha’s chambers, I walk slowly back through the bar. The area is empty this early in the morning, the only sound my slow breathing and the gentle click-click of my heels against the wooden floor.
“Where the fuck are you going whore?” I’m so focused on getting away that I almost don’t see her until I walk right into her. Again.
Valentina materialises out of the shadows, followed by her two Omega-Betas. She’s wearing a robe, one shoulder hanging low, almost flashing her bare left breast and the hem is just about covering her bottom. Her hair is dishevelled as though she’s had a rough night’s sleep, or more likely a rough fuck with some unsuspecting victim, but her eyes burn with a passionate hatred towards me.
“I’ve got a special job for you, Bella.” She beams snidely, her two cronies cackling with laughter. “I hope you enjoyed your fling with the Alpha bottom feeder because that’s the last time you’ll be using him to escape your duties.”
She stands with her arms crossed looking disgusted down her nose at me with a slightly crooked grin upon her plump lips. Normally I have a better head on my shoulders and I never rise to Valentine’s bait, but there’s something about her this morning that has seriously irked me.
“How can you say I’m escaping my duties when you sent me to the Alpha in the first place?” The words slide from my lips like acid before my mind can comprehend what I’m doing. Valentina storms over to me, unimpressed that I’ve snapped back at her.
Her hand is like a whip, snapping through the air and striking me with the force similar to that of a fully loaded freight train travelling at top speed. My head whips to the side, the sound of her palm striking me echoes through the cavernous bar. Even Valentina’s girls recoil in horror.
“You’re already treading on thin ice Bella,” she growls warningly, “so don’t question me again. Understand?
I cross my arms over my chest, burying my hands under my armpits so Valentina can’t see how badly they are shaking. I don’t want to give her the satisfaction that it’s not just my face, but my pride and confidence that she’s shattered in a microsecond. I draw in a deep breath, but it does little to settle my erratically beating heart.
“Yes, Valentina.” I sigh defeated, my head dipping forward allowing my hair to partially cover my face and for my eyes to focus on the ground, avoiding Valentina’s judgemental stare.
“Good.” Valentina cups my chin, forcing my head up as she grins victoriously down at me. Her canines peeking out from beneath her upturned upper lip. “Now get upstairs and get changed out of that hideous dress,” her nose twists up in disgust as her dark eyes glance over my body, “you’re expected in the mines in five minutes and I don’t want to hear if you’re late. Got it?”
She pinches my jaw when I remain silent a heartbeat too long.
“Yes, Valentina.” I reply sadly and she let’s me go.
I fast walk from the room, my head lowered and eyes focused on putting one foot in front of the other, I don’t want to fall flat on my face in front of Valentina. I hear them giggling at my back as I stalk into the corridor and have to repress a sob as tears spring unexpectedly to my eyes. I quickly wipe them away with the back of my trembling hand. The last thing I want is for Valentina to see me crying like a scolded and beaten puppy. I’m stronger than this.
Or at least I thought I was.