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

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Chapter Forty-Two

ALPHA MARCELLUS STORM

“What have we got to talk about?”

Instead of answering her rather futile question, Marcellus snorted in response and walked past her to head back into the living room. However, he didn’t stop there as he breezed past the sofa and headed into the kitchen where all the food, no doubt, had turned cold now.

“What are you doing?” She asked in a quiet, curious voice from her position in the doorway of the kitchen, watching as he sat in her previous seat and began eating off her plate, not even bothering to change the cutlery that she had used.

“I had been on a run before coming here so I’m absolutely starved.” He mumbled through a mouthful of tomato pasta, reaching out to dish some out onto a second plate before sliding it across the table, moving Harvey’s plate of rice out of the way; just as he had removed the rogue wolf from the situation. “Why don’t you join me?”

“I don’t understand what’s going on here.” Anastasia shook her head, not daring to take a step closer as she knew that once she was back under his charm, it was near impossible to leave.

That extra week she had remained at the pack after their big argument, she was constantly fighting herself to stay away from him, not that this past week away from his and the pack house had been any easier. On more than one occasion every day, she had felt the need to get into her car, drive over there and demand to see him; not that he wasn’t willing to bend over backwards for whatever demands or asks she had.

If Raphael and Justas hadn’t visited her with baby Alistair a couple of times this past week, she was sure that she would have caved in despite how much of a bad idea she knew it would turn out to be. Not only would she be disappointing herself by giving in, but she would be going back on her word to truly teach him a lesson – not yet sure if that took rejection off the table or not – and not only would that be sabotaging herself, but the both of them and the potential that they could be. If she gave in now, she would only be showing him that what he had done was okay; something that he would be able to repeat in the future – either intentionally or unintentionally – and get away with as he had done so in the past.

“I’m asking my mate to have dinner with me.” He shrugged, placing his fork down on the table, almost as if refusing to continue until she joined him. “Is that so wrong?”

“Yes.” Anastasia sighed and rolled her eyes. “It’s terribly wrong, especially since you’ve just kicked out my friend. The same friend that has brought this dinner for us to enjoy.”

“If I remember correctly, you were the one that ordered for him to leave.” Marcellus pursed his lips and watched her carefully, almost as if daring her to deny it. “I simply did you a favour by closing the door.”

“You forced me.”

“I would never force you to do anything you wouldn’t want to do, and we both know that.”

“Do we?” Anastasia cocked a questioning brow and crossed her arms over her chest, a frustrated sigh passing her lips. “If I remember correctly,” she began, choosing to throw his words back at him. “You forced me to believe in a lie with absolutely no intention of telling me the truth that we’re mates.”

“That’s not fair.” Marcellus frowned slightly, blinking up at her from the chair he was sat on, still holding onto the hope that she would join him.

“I believe that you withholding some very valuable information from is also unfair, yet you didn’t hear me complaining.” Her lips curled up at the corners, though the expression on her face was far from pleasant or the least bit friendly. “Maybe that’s because you decided to keep me completely in the dark.”

A few moments passed as the mated couple simply stared back at each other, unable to look away despite the uncomfortable tension in the air.

“Can we please talk about this later?” Marcellus asked quietly, finally breaking the silence as his eyes trailed away from her and back to his plate.

“Why can’t we talk about this now?”

“Let’s just eat something first, and then we can talk, okay?” He audibly pleaded with her, not bothering to make the desperation in his voice. “I’ll promise I’ll answer all of your questions after that, okay?”

“I’m not hungry.” Anastasia denied simply, though wandered into the kitchen and took a seat at the dining table across from him.

Watching her now sitting across from him, his lips twitched into a small smile but when he reached for the bottle of champagne to pour her a glass, she placed her hand over the top of the glass and shook her head; needing to be completely sober for the conversation that would ensue later.

“You’re really not going to eat?”

When she refused to dignify his question with a response, only blinking blankly back at him, he had his answer.

Despite having said that he was starving earlier, Marcellus was barely able to work his way through a few mouthfuls of pasta, resorting to push the rest around on his plate until she abruptly stood up, packing away the leftovers in the fridge.

“You barely ate anything. I thought you said you were starving.” Anastasia murmured quietly, shooting him a questioning glance from over her shoulder as she finished packing away all the food and moving to get started on the dishes.

“It didn’t feel right eating without you.” Marcellus murmured quietly, glancing down at his now empty glass of champagne, not trusting himself with another glass, especially since it was evident that she had a lot to ask him. When he noticed her moving toward the sink, he rose to his feet, adjusted the towel around his waist to make sure he was still covered – not that he cared, though she had made a point of asking him to stay covered earlier – before he moved to join her.

“What are you doing?”

“The dishes.” He shrugged as he bumped her slightly with his hip, reaching to take the sponge out of her hand before she could protest. “I think it’s the least I could do after everything.”

Anastasia pursed her lips and watched him carefully, though didn’t say anything further on the matter, allowing him to clean up while she took a seat at the kitchen island and helped herself to a soda.

“Why were you having dinner with Harold?” Marcellus asked as he turned around to face her, having just finished with the dishes.

“I thought I was supposed to be the one asking the questions.” She frowned lightly before taking a sip from her soda which had gone slightly flat now. “Also, his name is Harvey.”

“I don’t care what his name is.” He growled as he took a seat at the counter directly in front of her, stretching his arms in front of her. “It still doesn’t explain why you’re on a date with him.”

“Did you not hear what I said earlier?” She rolled her eyes, eying his hands which passed the halfway mark of the counter, only a few inches to where she was clutching the can of sofa which she was no longer interested in finishing off. “This wasn’t a date and we’re nothing more than friends.”

“He didn’t seem too convinced.” Marcellus pursed his lips, watching her carefully.

“Well, that’s not my problem. I’ve made it clear from the very beginning that I’m not looking to be anything more than friends with Harvey so there’s nothing else I can do about that.” Anastasia huffed as she sent him a pointed look. “Anyway, I don’t see why it’s any of your business what I do or who I see in my free time.”

“You’re my mate. That’s what makes it my business.” He stated simply, almost as if that mere statement would solve all of their problems.

Unfortunately, nothing was ever that simple.

“Am I your mate?”

“Of course, you’re my mate. How can you even ask that?” He growled through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw, watching her through dark, smouldering eyes which kept flashing between hazel and a deep ember which insinuated that his wolf was rising on the surface.

“Perhaps because you decided to keep it secret from me for two months?” Anastasia scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest to hide her shaky hands, not wanting to show him just how much this conversation was affecting her.

Marcellus groaned aloud and bowed his eyes, squeezing his eyes shut.

“I’m so sorry.” He murmured quietly after a few moments, his shoulders shaking slightly with laboured breaths, almost as if struggling to hold back his wolf.

“Can I speak to him?”

His breath caught in her throat as his head snapped up to watch her carefully, almost as if he believed to have misheard her.

“You want to speak to my wolf?” He asked slowly, purposely emphasising on each word and syllable, watching her carefully for any sign of apprehension or hesitation.

“Yes.” Anastasia replied confidently, refusing the urge to roll her eyes. “Since I can’t trust you to tell me the truth now, I want to speak to your wolf and see what he has to say.”

While she couldn’t be completely certain, Anastasia had an inkling that if she wanted to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth, more of an unbiased recollection of events, then it was better to speak to his wolf as he would probably have a greater aversion lying to his mate.

Marcellus appraised her quietly with a stormy look in his eyes, considering her words even though they hurt him.

“You can always trust me to be truthful with you.” He replied quietly after a few moments, his eyes not once wavering from hers.

“I don’t agree with that.”

“And speaking to my wolf will make you believe me?”

“Not necessarily.” She denied with a soft shake of her head. “But it’s a start.”

“I’ll take it.” He replied almost instantly, his eyes now burning the deep gold which she had come to know signalled that his wolf was in control.

“Hello, mate. You’re quite the little spitfire, did you know?”

“I think the word is sassy.” Anastasia cocked a teasing brow, her lips tilting up slightly.

“I think you’re a whole lot more than sassy.” The Alpha wolf chuckled lowly as he leaned forward against the counter, resting his crossed arms on it as he stared deep into her eyes. “I think you like being called my little spitfire.” He hummed quietly and when she confirmed his theory with the slight hitch of her breath, his lips curled into a devilish smirk.

She scowled at that, but it quickly slid off her face as his gaze on her intensified, even going as far as to cock his head to the side, almost as if trying to figure her out.

“What are you looking at?” Anastasia asked quietly after a few moments, squirming underneath his gaze, especially when he hadn’t said something for so long.

“You.” He murmured quietly, blinking to snap out of it, not wanting to make her even more uncomfortable than she already was. “I’m also always thinking about you.”

Even though she had asked the question, she couldn’t help but wished she hadn’t after hearing his answer; his words much more intense than his gaze.

“You wanted answers, so ask whatever you want to.”

As she wracked her brain for what to ask despite having so many running through her mind only moments ago when she was speaking to Marcellus and not his wolf, so much so that she didn’t even flinch when he reached across the table to grab her empty soda. Uncaring of the fact that the coke had gone flat and was no longer that appetising, he held her eyes over the rim of the can as he placed his mouth over where she had drunk from.

Tingles ran down her spine and then she squirmed in her seat again, forcing herself to look away from him as she got started on the questions, needing to make the most of this opportunity while she had the chance.

“Why didn’t he just tell me the truth?”

“Honestly, I don’t really know.” His wolf shook his head. “I’ve been trying to get him to tell you the truth from the very first day, but he was very hesitant. I don’t know why he couldn’t just tell you the truth, but what I can confidently say is that he didn’t mean anything menacing by it.”

“Is there anything else that he’s lied to me about?”

“No. He’s come clean about anything.”

“Even about the council?”

“They were pressuring him to find a mate, but that was under the impression that he didn’t already have a mate.” He nodded his head, taking another sip. “He said he didn’t have a mate and they jumped at the opportunity, wanting for him to be more stable as an Alpha.”

“And having a mate would make him more stable?”

His wolf nodded again.

“There’s not much of a reason really as to why they’ve decided to target pressuring him into finding a mate, but it sounds like Alpha Orpheus, the only other single Alpha, is next on their list.” He shrugged and sighed; their current conversation being quite mentally draining.

“Why didn’t he just tell them that he’s already found his mate?” She asked and when he pursed his lips and trailed his eyes away from her, she already knew the answer. “It’s because I was pregnant, wasn’t it?”

He merely nodded his head in response, though quickly snapped his head up to face her, almost as if a thought had just sprung to mind.

“The fact that you were pregnant never changed things for me.”

Anastasia merely hummed in response. While she believed his wolf, that didn’t mean that it still didn’t hurt. At the end of the day, Marcellus and his wolf were both part of the same being; one body but with two minds. She couldn’t really be sure what had gone on in there as he made the decision to completely disregard her as a mate, but chose to believe his wolf as he had never given her a reason to not believe him before.

“Is he even sorry or is he just sorry that he got caught?”

“Marcellus is genuinely sorry, Anastasia. He knows he’s messed up and he wants to fix things, but he doesn’t know how.” His wolf murmured lowly, his eyes flashing hazel which suggested that their time together was coming to an end. While she had felt a real connection with his wolf and wanted to spend more time with him, she knew that there were more pressing matters and at hand, only something that Marcellus himself could answer.

She just wished she would have this opportunity again in the future.

“I don’t know how either.”

When his wolf finally gave back control to him, Anastasia sighed and looked him straight in the eye.

“Your wolf told me some very interesting things.” She hummed quietly while playing with her fingers, aware that he had heard and witnessed their whole conversation. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

The second ticked by as he opened and closed his mouth, struggling to come up with a defence, especially when he knew that he didn’t deserve one.

“You’re a fucking hypocrite, you know that?” Anastasia scoffed and rolled her eyes. The longer she stared at him, the more she felt herself growing angrier.

“I know.” Marcellus sighed, the sound heavy and distraught. “I know I’m a hypocrite but seeing you with him, even if you claim to just be friends, I felt like I was losing my mind.”

“And how do you think I felt after realising that we were mates yet you were planning to take a choice mate without even telling me the truth?”

“The council was pressuring me.”

“Yes, and you could have told them that you’ve already met your mate.”

“It’s a bit more complicated than that.” Marcellus insisted but even he knew that he was fighting a losing argument, even more so with the livid state that she was in.

“Can you please explain to me how this is so complicated?” She groaned in frustration and threw her hands up in the air. “I’d love to hear whatever bullshit story you have prepared.”

Anastasia knew that her words had sparked something in him, but was surprised that he seemed to bite his tongue and instead, took in a deep breath before doing as instructed.

“You were pregnant when we first met.”

“Yes.” Anastasia rolled her eyes. “And if you had simply asked me, I would have told you that I was a surrogate.”

“I know I should have asked you, but I didn’t and then things just kept spiralling out from there.” He sighed and shook his head in dismay. “I know that things could have been contained and probably wouldn’t have been so hard if I just asked you directly or even just told you that we were mates, but in the moment, I just couldn’t do it.”

“You couldn’t tell me that we were mates but you could sleep with me?”

“That’s not fair. That’s a two-way street.”

“Yes, but I didn’t lie to you about anything.” She pointed out in a sneer, not the least bit bothered about sparing his feelings. “Just admit it! You took one look at me and decided that I wasn’t good enough for you. You took one look at me and made a judgement without even giving me a chance.”

“That’s not true.” Marcellus denied though even he couldn’t deny it.

Despite how much he didn’t want to admit it, too ashamed with himself, there was no denying the fact that he had done wrong by her, and it had all started out that first day when he had spied her asleep in Justas and Raphael’s bedroom, unable to believe that he had met his mate; his pregnant mate.

“I’m so sorry.”

“I know.”

“I really messed up.”

“Yes, you did.” Anastasia agreed, not trying to sugar coat the situation just to make him feel better. “You really messed up.”

Marcellus Storm was a grown man, and an Alpha wolf at that. If he couldn’t own up to his actions and face the music as a consequence, then there would be absolutely no hope for the rest of his pack. And while she was glad that he was now owning up to his actions and apologising to her, she just felt like it wasn’t enough.

The seconds quickly turned into minutes and without either of them realised, ten minutes of pure, comfortable silence had passed; one where he continued to stare at her while she refused to return the gaze; unable to stomach the sight of him anymore, not after everything that he had done.

“What can I do to fix this?” Marcellus bowed his head and sighed; the desperate plea evident in his voice. “What can I do to make all of this go away?”

“I don’t think there’s anything to fix.” Anastasia answered in a small, quiet, mystified voice. “Since we weren’t really a thing in the first place.”

-

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Layla Knight

11.11.2020

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