The Alpha's Surrogate [The Alpha's #1]

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Chapter Eighteen

ALPHA MARCELLUS STORM

For what felt like the millionth time in the past few minutes, Marcellus shook his head and groaned audibly, not even trying to hide how frustrated and done he was with the conversation that had just started.

Oh, how he wished he could hang up the phone and drift back off to dreamland where his dream awaited him, residing in a completely different reality where she wasn’t pregnant and everything was perfect; where they were perfect.

Too bad life just didn’t work that way.

“Alpha Marcellus.” Elder Malachi, the head of the council, tutted for what also felt like the millionth time in the past few minutes, his voice demanding attention. “Are you still there?”

Marcellus clenched his jaw tight and stilled his breathing, sinking further into his bed and burying his head into the pillow, beyond frustrated even though he had barely been able to say anything before the elder had demanded that he calm down before proceeding.

“I can hear you breathing.” Malachi deadpanned and Marcellus was sure that he was rolling his eyes.

His wolf growled at that.

These old bats think that they know everything but there’s a reason that they’re not in positions of power anymore.

And there’s also a reason why they became elders. He sighed and reached up to run a frustrated hand down the side of his face. They’re were so good at being in power that they’ve become elders.

Or they’re so power hungry that they just couldn’t give it up.

Well, there’s that too. Marcellus audibly chuckled before turning his attention back to the phone.

Marcellus didn’t put it past elder Malachi to complain about him to his father, elder Maverick as some of the elders had done a few times in the past. Whenever they believed Marcellus to be difficult or non-conforming, they tattled on him like he was a child. Not that his father could do anything other than try and convince him to be more pleasant on the phone with the distance between them.

“The line cut off there for a while.” Marcellus lied expertly, refusing to apologise even if he was being rude. “I couldn’t quite hear you but it’s all good now.”

“Sure.” Malachi hummed on the other end of the phone, not falling for the blatant lie for even a second. “But I believe you got my message from your Beta?”

“Yes, Dalton told me all about the pleasant conversation the both of you had last week.” His frown deepened as he thought of the way he had avoided calls from the council all week, choosing to deny the problem instead of acknowledging it in hopes that it would disappear even though from his ten years as Alpha, he knew denial was never the way to go.

It was only because the call had come in through private number, and mixed in with the fact that he had been asleep that Marcellus picked up the phone, expecting it to be either one of his wolves or employees.

“And it took you a whole week to get back to us?”

“Yes.” He replied dryly, not bothering to hold back the urge to roll his eyes. “I’ve been busy running a pack and a business to keep this pack afloat, but I’m sure you already know about all of that.”

Marcellus didn’t bother hold back his snicker on that last statement, a direct jab at the elder who had only been a Beta in his time during the pack. The former Alpha of his pack had been the head of the council for many, many years but after he had passed – under slightly suspicious events which Marcellus doubted was very thoroughly investigated – elder Malachi had jumped to take over and since he had been his Alpha’s right-hand man for his entire life. He had won with a unanimous vote.

The motherfucker has never been in a position of power his whole life so the power has gotten to his head. His wolf growled. Who the fuck does he think he is? Speaking to us like that?

Marcellus couldn’t help but agree.

“If you have an issue with me Alpha Marcellus, feel free to talk about it. As an adult, I prefer to solve my issues head on with conversation and clear communication instead of running away from them.” Malachi paused to laugh softly, almost as if he just hadn’t been indirectly insulting him again, taking a jab at the fact that Marcellus was still quite young. “Running away from problems seems kind of childish, if you ask me.”

“Well, thanks for the speech but let’s steer back on track, okay?”

“Yes, let us.” Malachi hummed and Marcellus was sure that he could hear the smirk in his voice; mocking him.

Next time we see him in person, I’m going to rip his throat out.Don’t even think about holding me back. His wolf warned with a deep growl. A few minutes alone with him is all I need. He won’t dare speak to us like this anymore.

You won’t see me complaining. Marcellus grunted before rolling onto his side and placing his phone down on the pillow, having put it on speakerphone so he wouldn’t have to keep it pressed to his ear the whole time.

“Our concern is that you’ve been running the pack without a mate for too long.” The elder began, but Marcellus was quick to cut him off with a snort and roll of his eyes, not that Malachi could see.

“Is that the council’s concern, or just your own personal concern?”

“Everyone’s concern.” Malachi replied, though Marcellus highly doubted it. “Do you have any more questions or can I continue?”

“No, please continue.” The Alpha wolf replied dryly, resisting the urge to reach over and end the call but ultimately, he knew that if he were to do that, Malachi would continue to class him as immature and incapable of running the pack, further proving his argument against Marcellus in front of the other council members.

“You turned twenty-eight last month, I believe. Is that correct?”

Marcellus merely hummed in confirmation.

“You’ve been running the pack on your own for ten years now and while you’ve been doing a decent job,” Malachi paused to chuckle quietly, almost as if he found the situation funny. “Eventually, you won’t be able to continue going on like this without a mate.”

“And who says that?”

“Like I said, the entire council has come to this decision.” The elder informed him in what sounded like a snarky tone. “We are all concerned that in a few years, or even less maybe, you won’t be able to continue without a mate, and we wouldn’t want to see the Lupum Griseo pack suffer like that when it could have very well have been avoided.”

“Are you insinuating that I’m unfit to be Alpha?” Marcellus growled lowly, daring the wolf to disrespect him one more time.

If he could, he would reach into the phone and strangle the old man until he was gasping for breath and begging for mercy, and then he would squeeze just a little harder.

“No, but I am insinuating that you will soon become unfit to be Alpha if you continue going on like this.”

“Like what?”

“Mateless.”

“It’s hardly my fault that I haven’t met my mate yet, and not for lack of trying either.” Marcellus scoffed, referring to the many packs that he had visited during the first couple years of him becoming Alpha in hopes of finding his mate and the next Luna of the Lupum Griseo pack.

“I didn’t say it was your fault.” The elder denied though Marcellus refused to fall for any of his tricks.

“Then why does it feel like I’m being punished?”

“You can choose to look at it that way, or you can choose to look at it in a more positive light.”

“And how could I possibly look at the situation in a positive light?”

“Well, you could view this conversation as us simply helping along the process of you finding a mate.” Malachi tried to reason but Marcellus wasn’t falling for it. Not even for a moment.

“It’s a good thing I don’t need your help then, isn’t it? I’ll find my mate when I find her. There’s no rush and I’ve been leading the pack by myself for the past ten years so I’m sure I can handle another couple until she gets here.” Marcellus scowled deeply, glaring daggers at his phone. “Now if that’s all, I’m rather busy today so could do without you wasting any more of my time.”

Before he could hang up, elder Malachi was quick to speak up, the words rushing out of his mouth.

“Alpha Marcellus, I’m afraid you can’t keep avoiding the conversation like this.”

“What are you talking about? I’m not avoiding anything.” Marcellus denied with a growl even though that was exactly what he was doing. “I’ve just told you what my plan of action is.”

“Since you refuse act like an adult, I’m just going to lay it out on the table for you. If you don’t find your mate within the next two months, then we’re going to have no choice but to take the pack away from you and give it to someone more capable.”

“What the fuck do you mean, more capable? How am I not capable? What part of me is not capable?” Marcellus all but shouted down the phone at the utter disrespect as he propped himself up into a sitting position, pressing the phone to his ear even though it was on still on speaker. “And who do you think you are, Beta? Trying to take my pack away from me!”

More capable, my fucking ass! His wolf growled, agreeing with his human counterpart. Tell him to come down here and we’ll show him just how capable we are!

“That’s the thing, Alpha Marcellus.” Malachi cleared his throat, his voice wavering slightly at the Alpha voice that had been used on him. “I mean no disrespect, but you must find your mate.”

“I haven’t found her in the last ten years. How on earth do you think I’m going to find her in two months?” He growled deeply, his wolf having completely risen to the surface now.

“That’s the thing. We’re not expecting you to find your fate destined mate.”

Marcellus paused as he pulled the phone away from his face and stared down at it, surprised with what he had just heard.

While it wasn’t as uncommon as it used to be when two wolves that were not mates, mated together however, he had never heard of an Alpha and Luna pair that were not paired together by the Moon Goddess herself. What the elder – and the rest of the council, he could only assume – was suggesting was nothing short of absolute blasphemy!

You could solve all of this right now if you wanted. His wolf hummed quietly, seemingly calm in comparison to the state had had been in a few moments ago.

You know I can’t do that.

Yes, you can. His wolf urged him. They’ve given us two months to find a mate, but we’ve already found her. If we tell him that, he and the rest of the council will get off our case.

They’re not going to stop until they have physical evidence that we’ve already found our mate. Marcellus groaned into his hands, completely stumped with the situation that he had just been thrown into.

We have a mate. That’s physical evidence enough. His wolf protested but Marcellus was quick to cut him off, already frustrated enough with added pressure from his wolf who was so evidently a love-struck fool; in love with their mate without even getting to know her.

The perks of the mate bond.

And once they see her, they’re going to sense straight away that she’s pregnant with someone else’s child. What are they going to think then?

His wolf snorted. When have you ever cared what those old bats think of you? She’s our mate. Pregnant or not, that doesn’t change what she is to us, and us to her.

When Marcellus refused to answer, his wolf jumped at the opportunity to vocalise his thoughts, tired of denying his mate when she was all he ever wanted. And if that required him to be a step-dad, then so be it. He would love that child like it was his own, but it was unfortunate that his human counterpart didn’t see it the same way.

You can’t keep denying her like this.

Watch me.

It’s not fair on us, and it’s certainly not fair on her either. His wolf growled, urging his human counterpart to open his eyes and smell the fresh air, all but pleading with him to stop the suffering. The council isn’t completely wrong, you know?

What do you mean? Marcellus asked sharply, surprised.

They’re wrong about us not being able to run this pack without a mate. We’ve done it for ten years already without any issues and we’ll do this for another ten years if need be.

Then what’s the problem?

I need my mate. His wolf sighed. It was different then because we hadn’t met her yet but now, knowing that she’s so close but you refusing to accept her, it’s driving me crazy. We might be fine today but eventually; I won’t be able to go on. Knowing that she’s so close but we can’t have her, that’s all I can think about these days, and it’s only been a couple of weeks. I feel like I’m slowly growing crazy.

Marcellus sat speechless, completely at a loss of words as he had never heard his wolf speak such heartfelt words before. While his views on his mate hadn’t changed, it definitely gave him some food for thought.

When the elder spoke up, they both turned their attention back to the phone, seemingly forgotten that they were in the middle of a call during their internal battle.

“We’ve never had an Alpha run a pack without a Luna for so long and from this conversation alone, I can see that we’re correct with our fears.”

“How do you expect me to stay calm when you threaten to take my pack away from me?” He growled down the phone, even going as far as bare his teeth. “No Alpha would be able to remain calm after such a threat, so don’t you dare try my words and play them to your advantage.”

“Please try to be reasonable, Alpha Marcellus.” Malachi requested, pleading slightly. Even through the phone he could feel the power radiating off from the Alpha wolf, and he didn’t dare imagine how intense it would be like in real life. “The fact that you’re such a strong wolf makes it all that much worse.”

When Marcellus didn’t comment or say anything, elder Malachi took that as a prompt to continue.

“It may not have any effect on you now, and it may not have any effect on you in another ten years either for that matter but eventually, living without a mate for so long is going to drive you crazy and when that does happen, because it definitely will, we need to protect the pack. Keeping you as Alpha without a mate just isn’t a possibility anymore so if you want to keep the pack, I suggest you do as we say and utilise these next two months otherwise, we’ll have no choice but to step in.”

“Is that a threat?”

“No, it’s a warning.”

Momentarily silence sounded on both sides of the phone before Marcellus broke it by groaning loudly, so many thoughts running through his mind.

“What about Alpha Orpheus? He’s much older than me and doing this for longer yet I don’t see you breathing down his neck, trying to force him into choosing a mate when his destined mate could very well much be out there.”

“Alpha Orpheus is none of your concern.” Malachi snapped, eager to put an end to that conversation.

“That means that you have a personal vendetta against and that’s the sole reason behind you targeting me like this.” Marcellus growled.

An elongated sigh sounded on the other end of the line before elder Malachi continued speaking.

“I am not in the position to be speaking about Alpha Orpheus or his situation to you but Alpha Marcellus, I hope you’ve considered the fact that since it’s been so long, it may very well be that your mate has passed away and, in that case, you’ll never meet her so waiting around for a mate that doesn’t exist is a waste of time. But you would simply be able to overcome that by finding your own mate. That way, you will have a mate and your pack will finally have a Luna. We’ll get off your back too and everyone is happy.”

Marcellus threw his head back and roared loudly, the ground underneath his bed shaking but he didn’t care. His eyes shifted between his usual hazel and the deep gold of his wolf as he half transformed, unable to control his rage.

“You have the audacity to say our mate is dead!” He roared again, breathing heavily into the phone.

Before Marcellus could start spouting profanities or worse, a quiet click sounded and when he glanced down at his phone, he saw the screen was blank.

The fucker actually had the nerve to hang up on us! His wolf growled, pacing back and forth in pure rage; seething. Just wait until I get my paws on him! That’ll teach him to say our mate is dead and then hang up on us!

Marcellus grunted in agreeance, still seeing red after the way that the elder had decided to end the conversation.

We should wait out the two months just to get him down here, and then we can go in for the kill.

That doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

-

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Layla Knight

17.10.2020

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