An hour later and Aria almost sprinted out of the restaurant. She looked around and saw Luke's tall frame leaning against a big black car. She smiled at him and walked over.
"Hey" she said shyly.
"Long time no see, beautiful." He said in a playful tone. He opened the car door to let her in, shutting it after her and coming round to sit in the drivers seat.
"Where are we going?" She asked.
"Just a small place I know." He smiled secretively.
"Haha... man of mystery I see." She chuckled, buckling her seat belt and taking the opportunity to stare at his gorgeous profile while he drove.
The atmosphere in the car was electric. It was like each particle between them was charged, his magnetic force drawing her closer. She felt an almost uncontrollable desire to place her hand on his leg, run her fingers through his tousled hair. Every breath she took, she inhaled his intoxicating scent.
Snapping herself back to reality, Aria tried to distract herself by asking questions.
"So... what do you do for a living." She said.
"I own a few companies in the city."
"Oh wow... so big boss man then?" She joked.
"You have no idea..." he said mysteriously, turning to look at her. His caramel eyes flashed brightly.
"And...do you...do you have f-family?" She said, stuttering under his intense gaze.
He smiled. Warmth returning to his features. "Yes...quite a big family actually. And you? Any family?"
Aria kicked herself for bringing this up. It was the topic she hated talking about the most.
"Erm no. Not really." She looked down at her hands. Luke paused, waiting for her to elaborate.
Aria took a deep breath. "I never knew my dad. He died when I was a baby. And my mum... she... well she was killed when I was ten." Aria wiped a way a tear at the memory.
She had been ten at the time. Living with her mum in a small house outside the city. Her school had been just down the road, so her mum would let her walk it alone. Aria remembered always smelling cookies for the last 20 yards and practically running the last bit, bursting into the kitchen where her mum would be singing, fresh plate of cookies on the table.
On that day though, there was no smell of cookies. Just a faint metallic smell that gave Aria a sinking feeling in her stomach. Walking up to the house, she saw the front door had been kicked off its hinges and lay on the hallway carpet, almost broken in two. Smashed glass was everywhere and the kitchen table lay in pieces on the tiles.
Calling for her mother, Aria ran through the house. In her bedroom, she saw her. Her face was covered in blood, her vacant eyes stared up at the ceiling. A smashed photo frame of a younger Aria was in her crushed hand.
Aria didn't remember what happened next. Later she was told her screams alerted the neighbours who called the police. She had no other family that she knew of so she was taken into foster care. Her mother's killer was never found. One police officer suggested it could have been an animal attack as claw marks were found across the body. But with nothing definitive, they had no choice but to close the case.
These memories were difficult for Aria and she barely spoke of them. She was relieved, therefore, when Luke did not press her to expand and moved the topic on to talk about other things.
After a short while, Luke pulled up outside The Plaza Bar, the most expensive and exclusive place in the whole city. There was a long line outside of people waiting to get in. Aria didn't say anything, but she knew they wouldn't be able to get in. You had go book months in advance to get to this place!
Luke let her out of the car and lead her up to the front of the bar. The bouncer took one look at him and bowed his head in a deferential manner, muttering "Good evening, Sir." He let them straight in.
Aria could only gape as they were lead to a private booth at the back by a tall, blonde waitress with very white teeth who flashed her killer smile at Luke.
"How? You have to book months ahead to even get in this place?! Let alone get a private booth. We only met a week ago!" She said, not even trying to conceal her shock.
Luke chuckled. "That you do, beautiful. Except if you own the place."
Aria remembered he had said he owned several businesses in the city. She had no idea the best bar for miles around was one of them.
Sitting across from him in the booth, Aria took the opportunity to study his perfect face. She imagined running her fingertips over his strong brow, down his sharp cheekbones to his angular jaw.
Her day dream was broken by the waitress asking them for their drink orders. Aria felt a twinge of jealousy at the way her gaze lingered a little too long and her smile was a little too wide when she looked at Luke. But Aria couldn't blame her, he was gorgeous.
When they were alone Luke leaned back in his chair, his abs straining against his Tshirt. To stop herself from drooling, Aria distracted herself by asking:
"So... a large family? Tell me about them."
Luke eyebrows furrowed and he seemed to pick his words very carefully.
"Family is everything to me. My dad died about five years ago, I've been in charge ever since."
"In charge? That's a strange thing to say about a family." Aria asked.
Before Luke could respond, the bouncer from the front approached the table, leaning down to whisper something into Luke's ear.
Aria watched as Luke's eyes flashed orange again and his expression became dark. He muttered something back to the bouncer who disappeared off.
"Problem?" Aria asked.
"None that concern you." He almost snapped back. When he saw Aria jump a little at his tone, he inhaled deeply, some of the tension fading from his face.
"Sorry, it's nothing. Just a work thing."
Once their drinks arrived, the conversation turned to lighter topics. Luke asked her about her music tastes, her job, her relationship with Harper.
"She's the closest thing I have to family." Aria smiled while talking about her best friend.
Before Luke could respond, the bouncer returned to whowhisper once more into Luke's ear before moving to stand just a couple of metres from the booth.
Luke sighed. "I'm truly sorry to end the evening here, but something is up back at the... office." Aria noticed the brief hesitation.
"Let me take you home." He stood up, guiding Aria out of the booth and to the door. As soon as they stepped onto the pavement, Luke stiffened. He grabbed Aria round the waist, pulling her close to him. Aria looked up to see the tension pulling his brows together. She looked around for the source of his tension and saw two muscled men leaning against Luke's car.
"Alpha Luke. What a surprise to see you off your pack lands." Sneered the larger of the two. He glanced at Aria "You seem to have found a distraction."
Aria just felt confusion. Alpha? Pack? These words meant nothing to her. She could feel the anger radiating off of Luke.
"Paul" said Luke with a curt nod. "You seem to be far from you territory. I suggest you return home. Immediately."
The force of his voice made Aria take a step back. She could tell that something else was happening here, like a certain part of her could sense the danger she was in.
"Certainly. I'd hate to provoke a conflict. I was just curious to meet your new... interest." At this, the tall one named Paul looked at Aria, a dark smile on his face.
Luke stepped in front of her and growled. "Leave. Now".
With a sneer, the two men sauntered off down the road. Luke pushed Aria towards the car, shutting the door behind her. He got in the driver's seat and turned to her with an almost pleading look on his face.
"I'm sorry, Aria. I can't take you home."