I sat in the soft grass, enjoying everything that was happening around me. Critters in the trees and birds in the skies sort of thing. For once there wasn’t an event, I was force to participate in or party I had to entertain. To be honest, I was glad I was only Luna for a week. I couldn’t stand being in tight dresses and force a smile every day. Not to mention all the awkward run-in’s with Derik and Mindy. Ever since our ‘talk’ on the first night, people had been starting to look at me strangely. I think someone – and by someone I meant Mindy – took great pleasure in telling people of my past. Of what I was…
I sighed and laid back. The skies were blue, with dull white clouds moving slowly across the realm. For once I had time to listen to the birds sing and smell the grass. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, feeling my body relax into the soft ground. It had been so long since I last just took time to relax, I’d almost forgotten all about what it felt like. Just taking some time off, sit back and enjoy myself. No guilt, no hate, no destructive thoughts… Just taking a deep breath and let me enjoy myself.
“What are you doing?” Xyen’s roaring voice abruptly disrupted my ‘me-time’. I opened one eye and noticed a black figure standing like a tower above me. I couldn’t see him, but his mood was rather obvious. The anger radiated off him and his whole body was shaking. Like he’d been running to get here…
“Nothing,” I replied calmly and sat up. It was the truth, although I think he took it as me trying to push his bottoms. I did leave the packhouse right after breakfast and went for a run. I found a trail I followed for a while but decided to go of exploring and ran into the woods. I grew up in a Hunter Compound and had since lived in a wolf pack. There was nothing in these woods that scared me.
“I can see that!” he barked, clearly pissed. He murmured a string of curses under his breath while mind-linking someone. I frowned. Had they been looking for me? As if hearing my thoughts, Xyen snarled: “I was looking for you!”
“And I have a phone,” I calmly remined him, fishing out my phone just to prove my point. “You could have called.”
He was about to say something but changed his mind. Instead he huffed, pushing his hands into his pockets and glared into the grass as if it just offended him. I grinned.
He forgot about the phone!
“What are you doing here?” he growled like a toddler, who just had his pride injured. Again, I grinned. Well, the bigger they are, the harder they fall…
“Well, you see,” I teased, putting my phone away, before turning to Xyen with a serious expression. “Sometimes humans like to do absolutely nothing for hours on end. That’s what I’m doing.” Yes, I was kind of pushing my luck with the angry brute right now, but I had had SO much fun doing it! “And I’m doing it so hard, had it been a competitive sport, I’d be a champion.”
“I get it,” he gruffly replied and to my surprise sat down next to me. “No need to get all smartass about it!” He took a deep breath and a quick look around before turning to me again. “So you just sit here? Staring?”
“Pretty much,” I replied, trying not to sound as smug as I felt. He clearly wasn’t used to doing nothing and just enjoy the moment. Not that I could teach him much about that, but back in Derik’s pack, I used to spend hours in the woods. It was my own form for meditation, to get to terms with thoughts and memories I’d rather be without. Over time, my visits became sorter – much thanks to Kevin – until they stopped completely.
And then I left…
Xyen took another deep breath and tried to relax. But failing miserably! His feet kept tapping against the ground, he couldn’t keep his fingers calm and his eyes constantly roamed the woods. I remembered Derik getting the same way, when he was away from his pack for too long. He’d get restless, snappy and like the turn of a switch, he’d be fine the second we were back home.
But we weren’t off pack ground – were we?
“Too far away from the pack house?” I asked with a frown. Sure, Xyen wasn’t the person who went all ‘torches and pitchforks’ whenever a rogue came around, but I was not about to test his theory about not all of them being bad…
“No,” he replied without taking his eyes from the woods. His tapping and stoic expression making me nervous.
“Are the woods not safe?” I asked again. Confused he eyed me, and it wasn’t until I made him aware of his ‘ticks’ that his moth formed an innocent ‘O’.
“They’re fine,” he assured me and smirked. Another one of those stupid smiles that didn’t reach his eyes, making him look partly crazy. “I’m the deadliest thing here, don’t worry!”
I nodded and tried to relax again. But barely two seconds in Xyen started his nervous tripping again. I groaned, forcing myself up to sit, staring daggers at the huge man next to me.
“What’s wrong?” I snapped--- and strangely caught him off guard. I frowned. He was so tense and focused, how the shit did he miss something moving right next to him?! Before he had time to say ‘nothing’ I warningly placed a finger under his nose: “And I swear if you say nothing, I’m sapping you!”
And as if I’d slapped him, he tensed up. His eyes left mine, looking almost lost in his own mind. He took a deep breath and sighed, pulling out a handful of grass.
“It’s been a while since I was out here,” he confessed, looking like the grass in his hands held the answer to eternity.
“Isn’t this your land?” I asked confused.
“Yes,” he replied. “But I don’t go the woods much.”
“This is where she died.”
My heart dropped.
I gulped, feeling my mouth getting dry and suddenly understanding--- well, everything better! His reaction, why he was so tense, why he’d been looking for me…
“I’m sorry,” I offered my condolences, hating that I was the one, reminding him of the pain he’d suffered. The loss of his mate. “Do you---do you want to go back?”
“No,” he replied and before I knew what was going on, he pulled me into his lap. “Just stay like this, yes?”
I didn’t know if he was ordering me or asking, but I remained in his embrace for now. I don’t know if it was just me, but he seemed to relax into my being and I even found myself enjoying this.
I felt bad for him. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like losing a mate – the other part of your soul. But I also noticed--- I noticed, how he said, ‘this is where she died’ and not ‘this is where I killed her’. Only confirming that he didn’t kill his mate. That whatever happened in these woods weren’t as simple as people made them.
“Why are your eyes closed?” Xyen suddenly asked in a completely different tone. Like he was offended that I was ‘hiding’ my eyes from him.
“It’s better if you close your eyes,” I replied with a smug grin, not opening mine. I felt him shift under me.
“My eyes are closed,” he announced, and I looked up--- surprised, when I noticed his eyes actually were closed. “Now what?”
Now what?! I grinned and shook my head.
“Count how many different species of birds there are in the woods,” I challenged him, hoping it would keep him occupied for a while at least.
“13,” Xyen replied after a while.
“14,” I corrected him smugly and pointed at a tree close by. “There is an owl sleeping in that tree.”
His eyes flew up, quickly following the direction I was pointing.
“That’s cheating!” he exclaimed and frowned. “Your eyes weren’t closed!”
I laughed. Sure, it had taken me more than an hour to figure that out and it took Xyen less than 5 minutes. But the look on his face…! I was definitely letting him think that I simply was that good…!
“I didn’t say count them with your eyes closed I just said count them,” I reminded him, tilting my head, so I could see him.
He laughed. A laugh that was honest and sincere and sounded like the most angelic thing I’d ever heard.
“Fine, you got me,” he laughed, pulling me into him and kissed the top of my head. His head dropped to the crouch of my neck and he inhaled deeply, resulting in a shiver trailing down my spine.
“If you’re restless you’re not obliged to stay you know,” I said quickly, trying to distract him from the fact, that he was turning me on – in the middle of the woods! “We don’t own each other, remember?”
“Wrong,” he growled, his anger returning with a vengeance. He roughly gripped my chin, forcing me to look at him. For a second, I was scared he’d snap my neck. “You don’t own me, but I’m paying you to be mine, so I own your ass. And if I hear any differently from your smart mouth, I’ll fuck it so hard you’ll be tube feeding for a month.”
His eyes were black as night and rage was dripping from his pores. His grip around my face was painful. He could crush it any second. And yet---
“You promise?” I smirked.
I couldn’t help myself…! The second this guy mentioned sex, I was all in! I didn’t care about the consequences or the potential threat on my life. If it ended with his dick inside my vagina, I’d at least die a happy lady…
“Lizzy!” he warned, his eyes suddenly dark for an entirely different reason. I grinned. I swear, something it’s like he can read my mind…
“Sorry,” I replied and winked. “Force of habit.” He growled, warning me that he wouldn’t be able to keep his wolf in check if I continued to push his bottoms. I gently patted his chest: “And don’t worry! Everyone here is apparently so afraid of you they wouldn’t touch me even if I paid them to.”
“Good,” he gruffly replied, his eyes returning to their normal blue color. “At least I’m doing something right.”
“By doing everything wrong,” I muttered, knowing he’d hear me.
“What do you mean?” he frowned. I sighed.
“Your pack is afraid of you,” I replied, sort of just pointing out the obvious.
“That’s the way I want it to be,” he said--- and now it was my turn to frown. I turned to him, catching him by surprise.
“But you’re supposed to take care of it,” I countered. I mean, sure! I didn’t know much about being alpha or running a pack, but even I knew some of the most basic things. Like how a pack depended on their alpha for more than just leadership and stability. “If people are afraid of you, who will they then turn to for protection? For justice and support?” Being alpha was a symbol of prosperity and hope. Of a future! “If your pack is afraid of you, the problems created inside the pack will only cascade into a down spiraling mess, leaving you the alpha of fucking shit!”
In an instant his eyes were black as tar and a loud roar echoed among the trees. Before I knew what hit me, he threw me on the ground, pressing me against the earth. His huge figure on top of mine and I could feel his massive weight press down on my body.
“I don’t appreciate your tone,” he growled to close to my face. His hand lightly pressing against my throat. As if his huge ass body wasn’t already suffocating me!
“And here I was thinking that it was something I said,” I replied sarcastically, apparently not knowing when to quit. Warningly he gently squeezed my neck a little harder.
“My pack!” he growled, his claws gently digging into my flesh, piercing my skin like needles. I tried not to wince when they broke my skin. “MY BUSINESS!”
I bit my lips not to let the tears fall. Why? Why did it hurt so bad when he hurt me? Why did it feel like such betrayal? Hadn’t I learned? Didn’t I know better than let people get to me?
“Whatever,” I cried out, refusing to let the tears fall. “Alpha!”
I was done with this shit! Two more day and I’d be rid of this monster! Until then, he could do what he pleased. Hell, he could run his pack to the ground for all I cared! I still didn’t get why I cared. They were werewolves and they would all go fuck themselves!
I was not afraid of him!
A menacing growl roared right next to my ear. His hot breath tickled my skin, but I refused to even flinch. I was not scared. I wasn’t giving him that power over me!
I was not afraid!
He pulled me off the ground and roughly dragged me back to the house. Inside he went straight for our room, not caring who saw us in the process. Everything happened so fast, I was barely registering what was going on around me. My vision was blurred, but I could make out Xyen moving around.
I forced my eyes to the ground, trying to blink the tears away.
They’d never see me cry! They’d never see---
Suddenly he slammed me against a wall, hard.
“Are you scared of me now?” he asked, pressing his body against mine. I noticed something in his hand. Feeling it press against my temple I didn’t need to see it to know what it was.
Xyen was holding a gun to my head!