First time in three years.
The two chairs waited for her in the same spot as yesterday, and Rey recognised the guy seated on one of them almost immediately. She breathed out a small breath of relief. If nothing else went right today, at least, she wouldn’t have to run around the village trying to find him.
“Does your hand hurt?” She asked as she came near, her eyes scanning the bandage for any leaked blood.
“I - what? Oh, no. Not at all. Your ointment works wonders. It’s just ....”
Great. Rey cursed.
She would recognise that look in his eyes anywhere. If she were to get a coin every-time someone would look at her with pity, her grandchildren would never suffer from hunger.
“I am so sorry,” the guy whispered. “I had no idea, it was you.”
Rey scoffed, her hands untying the masterpiece they created yesterday: “It is not exactly something to brag about.”
“I can’t even imagine what it must be like to ....”
Rey had no intention to dig into her past and certainly not with a total stranger, so she interrupted him: “I like to think that whatever happened, happened. And the only way we should look is forward.”
“Yes, of course,” he nodded and hissed.
The latter might be Rey’s fault since she pressed on his wound a little more than was necessary. But if he felt the need to rummage through her privacy, it was only fair for her to rummage through his inside a bit too.
The wound looked ten times better than yesterday. It wouldn’t take more than two re-bandages for it to heal completely.
She shared this information with the man as well and for a while, their conversation died, but as she was finishing the knot on the bandage, he opened his mouth again: “As you already know, I am not a big fan of pig’s feet, but I would never say no to a good old-fashioned chicken or maybe even some more conventional part of pig’s body as well. If you would like, me and my wife would love to have you over for dinner sometime.”
Was pity the drive of his invitation, or was it genuine interest to spend more time with her?
Rey didn’t know.
But she knew she didn’t want to risk him asking any more questions, she wouldn’t want to answer. She forced a smile and said: “That’s very kind of you, but I might not have much free time these following days. And I am afraid that when I will finally have enough time, we will already be moving to the next place.”
The guy nodded: “Yeah, I guess that makes sense. But if circumstances change, just let me know.”
She forced one more smile, while he stood up and instructed him to come back tomorrow morning. He returned the smile and waved her goodbye, right as somewhere from behind a rich velvet voice reached her ears: “Can I talk to you?”
Rey didn’t need to turn around to know who the owner of the voice was. Even after all those years of separation, she knew him by a heartbeat.
And oh god, how much she hated it.
Could they talk?
Rey didn’t know.
His back still had to remember the aftermath of the last time someone caught them talking. And yet here he was. Not a trace of fear in him as he stood in front of the pack that would rather kill one of their own than let him be its alpha three years ago.
Every cell in Rey’s body screamed at her to say no to him, and Rey wished she could. But sending him away now would only make her look weak and even more pitiful.
“Yes, we can. But please make it quick. There are people here in need of my attention.”
As she still made no attempt to turn around, he took the first step. He walked around her, the action making them stand face to face once more.
It reminded Rey of yesterday, and her heart rate spiked up. He had to notice the sudden change because he spoke out quickly: “I am very sorry if I scared you yesterday. But I promise, there is nothing to be afraid of now.”
He even rose his hands in surrender to emphasize what he was saying, but the crowd of people that circled around them, didn’t really help the situation.
From the looks of it, they were all werewolves capable of fight and Rey guessed they were trying to play it out as only waiting for their alpha before they would leave to guard their territory. But she couldn’t shake the feeling, they were all here to avoid the repeat of recent events.
Rey could see so many emotions running through his eyes as she stared into them for the first time in years.
Surprise. Confusion. Anger. Rage. Even Regret.
They were all fighting for control and it was enough for Rey to know, she wasn’t the only one left in the dark about their little family reunion.
Alphas were trained to be masters of self-control. It was very important not to let anyone know what the alpha was really going through inside. In front of his enemies. And sometimes even in front of his allies.
But even worse was the fact that when a human would lose control over his emotions, his wolf side would take over. An ordinary wolf on the loose was bad enough, but it could be dealt with. Especially if his alpha was around.
Alpha on the loose? A recipe for disaster.
Her name leaving his mouth again sounded so surreal, it sent shivers down Rey’s spine and it pulled her out of her memories. She realized, she had to stare at him without saying anything for quite some time, so she quickly said: “Don’t worry about it. I know the tension was already running high after everything that happened before and I guess my presence didn’t exactly help the situation.” She smiled a small smile, hoping to show him what she said was sincere.
He nodded: “Thank you. And I also wanted to thank you for coming to help. I know it couldn’t be an easy decision to make.”
Rey shrugged her shoulders: “It was the right thing to do.”
Someone from the crowd cleared his throat and the new alpha flinched a little: “I wish, I had more time to thank everyone from your crew, but we have to leave now. Please do tell them, I am very grateful and will come to talk to them as soon as the circumstances allow me to do so.”
It was Rey’s turn to nod: “Sure.”
Their conversation seemed to reach a dead-end and even though he himself said they were in a hurry, the alpha made no attempt to leave.
Rey averted her eyes from his face a long time ago. She chose his chest to be a safer place to look at. Her heart squeezed too much when her eyes stared into his.
“Rey, I ....” He whispered her name again, this time with something very close to pain hidden behind his words.
“You should go. You all already lost enough time.”
She didn’t know what he was about to say and maybe stopping him would turn out to be a mistake, but Rey wasn’t ready. Not yet anyway.
She rose her head to look at him one more time and even though she could read in his eyes, he desperately wanted to say something else, he only apologized again: “I am very sorry, if I scared you yesterday.”
He added the last part, but Rey couldn’t help but feel he was apologizing for something entirely different. Something way more painful.
The corners of her lips lifted in another smile and he turned around to leave. The guy, whose name Rey guessed was Mac, waited for him and as the alpha came closer, he put his hands around his shoulders.
Rey noticed the alpha’s hands were shaking, but it was already an improvement that one guy was enough to calm him down. Yesterday, ten of them were barely enough.
Rey released a deep breath to calm her own nerves down a little bit and then she yelled out: “Next.”