The bus ride couldn’t take any longer. So many thoughts were running through my head. Was Kendra a wolf? Why did she lie to me about her father?
I looked down at my phone.
Marcus: “Had a great time last night, anxious to see you again 😘 – love your Wolfie”
I smiled as I read the text. I still found it hard to believe how quickly everything was moving. I was scared to tell Troy and the I was curious how his reaction would be.
I started typing a message back.
Me: “Glad you did, and thanks again for everything. Breakfast and that big ass piece of bacon LOL 👅”
Marcus: “I have to go for a meeting now, just wanted to tell you to have a good day. Love you.”
Just reading the word love from Marcus felt surreal. My heart fluttered as I kept rereading the message. I couldn't believe I was typing the very words in my next message. It's so soon, so quick, but it came so naturally.
Me: “Almost home, I’ll talk soon. Love you too. 😘”
Marcus: "I'm visiting an old friend after this, maybe I’ll stop by at the Rogue and check up on things, see if you are working like a good little girl. 😜”
Me: “I don’t need you to look over me, I am a fine worker!”
Marcus: “Yea, you will see there is no point on working anymore... But I promised you the week, so for now you do what you have to do. Got to go now my love.”
I sighed as I placed my phone down. I was almost at the gym and I was praying the Troy made it time with my gear. It wasn’t like me to be running late like this.
The bus driver announced the next stop through the speaker system.
“Next stop, St. Claire.”
I stood up from m seat, mentally playing out how today was going to go. I had to get through this practice with a straight face, speak to Troy, go to work, then speak to Kendra.
Today was going to be fun.
“You did good today kid; I’ve never seen you this... - " Coach handed me a towel from the corner of the ring. My face was drenched, and maybe I looked like complete dog shit, but I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I sparred with five different fighters today, all from gyms across the city, and all of them were a cake walk. One woman even left half-way through the training session in mere frustration.
“Energetic?” Troy interjected.
I narrowed my glance at Troy standing on the perimeter of the ring.
“Who was asking you?” I kept wiping the sweat dripping from my body, it was everywhere, my legs, my head, my arms. I was in urgent need of a shower.
“You’re ready, I have no doubt in my mind.” Coach laughed.
“We’ll see.” I raised my eyebrows and looked to my feet. I couldn’t help to feel the guilt of second guessing myself. Everyone was so confident in me; they were so damn excited for me to fight.
How could I back out?
Physically I felt ready, but was it the right thing to do considering the man that wants me as his mate will be attending the very fight I’ll be competing in? To top it off, I’m lying to him. I couldn’t feel more guilty. It was eating me up inside.
“You literally kicked the ass of everyone that stepped into the ring.” Troy leaned in against the ring as he checked out some of the woman working out in the weight room.
Andrew roared with laughter, “Just because you got your shit together doesn’t mean you know what the hell is going on, all those women in the weight room, you know they are werewolves right?”
“What?!” Troy glanced up at me, wide eyed. “Well, if Hunter can have a werewolf, maybe I should try.”
“What?” Andrew glared at me, it was another secret I’ve kept from him. I was hoping to avoid this conversation today, but I suppose Troy pushed the subject.
“We need to talk, do you mind?” Coach looked over at Troy, who was still ogling at the women across the room.
“Troy, why don’t you put on your charm and go for it?” I was hoping he would get the hint.
“Well, I could get my balls bitten off.” He smirked and saw that I was uncomfortable, it was almost like we could read each others mind.
He sighed as he jumped down from the ring, “If you insist, I’ll take a chance.” He started walking towards the weight area, giving coach and I privacy.
“What the hell is he talking about?” I could see Andrew’s eyes beaming in my direction. I’ve never seen him so pissed off.
“I’ve met someone, so what’s it to you?” I crossed my arms and stood tall. I understood why Andrew had his concerns, but I had a feeling it was because he was a werewolf.
“WHO IS HE? What pack does he belong to?”
I held my breathe, I didn’t want to say his name, I was too scared. I wasn’t sure what Andrew was going to say if I told him. I already had so many other things on my mind.
I had to play this cool.
“It’s just a casual fling, nothing more Andrew, you are my coach, not my father. There’s nothing to worry about.”
“He’s a werewolf.”
I furrowed my eyebrows, “SO ARE YOU.”
“WHO IS HE?!” Andrew’s voice was raised his eyes darkened; I’ve never seen him like this.
Suddenly, there was another voice that came behind us.
We both turned our faces to see a short Latino woman; professionally dressed, wearing a dark brown pea coat, black pencil skirt, thick rimmed classes, and a tightly pulled bun without a hair out of place.
She was well put together, but I could barely remember who she was.
“Dr. Rosalie.” Coach’s face lit up as he locked eyes with her.
“Oh doc, hey how’s it going?” I felt bad I couldn’t remember, but now that I look back, I was pretty fucked up when she treated my wounds.
“I’m surprised to see you so...”
“Energetic?” I smirked.
“Yes, I suppose…So Andrew tells me you are going to fight, and I’ll tell you my professional opinion, you’re...-”
“Crazy?” I threw the towel over the ropes and stepped down from the ring.
“Andrew said you are well enough, and I’m just a doctor, so what the hell do I know.”
“She’s a stubborn woman.” Andrew smirked in my direction, probably taking a jab at our previous conversation, but two can play that game.
“I am Coach, THAT, I am. I am also a woman who can take care of herself and make her own decisions.”
“We can have a chat later about that.” Andrew stepped down from the ring following my direction with Dr. Rosalie.
“So, doc, time for these staples to come out?”
“You got it.” Dr. Rosalie lifted her black suitcase, probably filled with tools and supplies.
“Thanks again for making the time.” Andrew smiled in her direction again, and I was starting to get the vibe there was a past between them two.
She blushed, “That’s what I’m here for Andrew.”
“Where should we do this?” I scratched my head awkwardly as the doc and coach remained locked in on each other.
“My office is free, but there’s a lot of boxes around… Sorry my boss has a lot of storage issues these days.”
“You’re Alpha you mean? Not your boss.” I scoffed.
“He’s actually stopping by today, you should meet him, after all, you are fighting for his pack.”
“Hmm, I think I will pass on meeting. Thanks, but NO THANKS.”
Andrew chuckled at my remark.
“Was it something I said?” I furrowed my eyebrows as his response. He obviously knew something I didn’t.
“Well, I didn’t’ want to tell you, but he was insistent on meeting you.”
“And why’s that?”
“He bet ten million on your fight.”
Dr. Rosalie and I turned to each other wide eyed.
“Wait a minute. The beloved Alpha of Coach Andrew bet for me, and to top it off, for 10 MILLION DOLLARS?”
“Well, not exactly.”
I stood silently, tapping my foot. Was he going to say what I thought he was going to say?
“He bet against you Hunter.”
“What a dick! I mean, why would I want to meet him after he bet against me? How pathetic. Why would he think he would want me to meet him now?” I hissed from the pain as Dr. Rosalie took another staple out of my back.
“Hunter, give Coach a break. He’s trying to keep the peace, and besides, you should just be focused on your fight. Nothing else. You are less then a week away.” Troy said.
“Since when did you have an interest in my fight? You hate the idea of me fighting Troy.”
“I was thinking about it a lot while I was away, and well, you should pursue your dreams, you are more then capable. You are the strongest bad ass I know.”
“Hunter, I’m shocked how your body as recovered. Your ribs, even your back… I should have taken these out long ago.” Dr. Rosalie placed her extractor tool on the bench next to me.
“Good healing genetics.” Troy chuckled.
“Yea, what he said.” I rolled my eyes as I braced on the bench.
“Just cleaning it up now then we are done.”
“Perfect, how’s it looking?”
“Umm.” Dr. Rosalie hesitated.
“It's a large ass Omega symbol.” Troy blurted out.
“Perfect.” I sarcastically remarked.
“You know, hopefully over time, it will barely be there.” Dr. Rosalie still had hesitation in her voice, she was obviously lying.
“You don’t need to make light of it. It’s a hideous scar for everyone to see, and it will be there for the rest of my life.”
“Hunter,” She sighed heavily, “I’m not sure how your ribs have healed so quickly, but to be frank, I’m worried, you shouldn’t be fighting.”
“Doc, you don’t need to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. There’s too much money for me to win to back out, I never had to luxury of a silver spoon in my mouth.”
Did I go too far with that comment?
“Ok you’re done.” She tapped me on the shoulder.
“Thanks…” I got up from the bench and glanced into the mirror. Hideous was an understatement. This was a red glaring obscenity that I would have to look at every day.
“Just think about it ok?” Dr. Rosalie looked at me with concerned eyes, it was a look that possibly my mother would give me if I were about to make a bad decision, but that was a lost opportunity that I would never have since she died. I was too small to even barely remember her face.
“All done here?” Coach Andrew popped his head in the changeroom, “Sorry not the best place, but my office is too crowded with shit.”
“Speaking of shit,” I pulled my sweater over my head, “I have to go before a certain somebody waltz in here.”
“Come on Hunter, its not like that, he just wants to meet you. Alpha –" I cut Andrew off before he could say the bastards name.
“Don’t speak of him, I want nothing to do with him, he bet against his own fighter, I might as well fight under no pack. If I was a god damn werewolf I might as well be a rogue. I can’t trust anyone. Everyone is out for their own interests, and for him to bet against YOUR fighter...” I breathed heavily as I placed my bag over my shoulder, “Is an insult.”
“Its not like that.”
“Oh, no? Tell me, if he knew that I wasn’t fucked up by Alpha James, you think he would be betting against me?”
“It’s just business Hunter, THAT’S IT. Doesn't mean I don't think you'll win. He has no idea what you are capable of. Look at what happened today, I've never seen you so damn aggressive. Its like you have a new fire burning inside you."
"Too bad he doesn't share the same opinion." I rolled my eyes.
"By the way we still need to talk about your little fling you got going with… What’s his name?”
“None of you god damn business, that’s his name. Let’s go Troy, better get out of here before dick head Alpha whatever-his-name is, shows up.”
Coach held his hand to his forehead, obviously annoyed at my banter, but I was too pissed off to even care, “Today is your last training session until the fight, I hope you know that.”
“This is your first fight Hunter; you need a few days rest before competing. Standard procedure.”
“Maybe if I was a werewolf, I wouldn’t need the rest.”
“Don’t be a smart ass.” Andrew furrowed his eyebrows and crossed his arms at the doorway.
“Well, I’ll see you Saturday morning then. I’ll make sure your Alpha gets a run for his money.
Another text, most likely from Marcus. I pulled out my phone slightly from my pocket to see his message.
Marcus: How’s your day going? Just wrapped up my meeting.
I quickly typed a message.
Me: Another day at the office LOL
Marcus: Did you speak to your brother yet?
Shit, the thought almost slipped my mind, I was so distracted with everything else going on in the gym today.
Me: I’ll let you know later.
“Hunter, I’ll see you Saturday, just cool it.” Andrew sighed heavily.
I was so mad at this point I didn’t know what else to say. I had to leave and sort out the rest of my life.
“I’ll see you then, oh by the way, tell your ‘Alpha’ the drugs he likes to keep in this gym is starting to stink up the place. Will you do that for me?”
“Will do.” Andrew annoyingly rolled his eyes and growled.
“Good luck Hunter, I’ll be there Saturday just in case anything happens.” Dr. Rosalie picked up her suitcase and headed towards Coach by the doorway.
“Don’t worry something will happen, I’ll assure you on that. Thanks again doc.”
“Be well Hunter.” Dr. Rosalie stepped out of the change room and left with Andrew, subtly whispering, thinking my crappy human hearing wouldn’t hear them, but I knew they were talking about me.
“What the hell was that about? What’s with this new attitude of yours?” Troy caught up to me as I stepped out of the change room.
“Long story.” I rolled my eyes.
“What’s with this Alpha? Do you know him? Or maybe Marcus does…”
“NO. Marcus doesn’t know anything about this. DON’T SAY ANYTHING.” I gave Troy a look as we walked outside. It was raining, but it was only a light drizzle.
“What do you mean he doesn’t know!? Are you serious Hunter?”
“That’s not all Troy…”
“What?” He could read my eyes. We knew each other too well to avoid this conversation even further.
I stopped walking; the bus wouldn’t be here for another few minutes. I didn’t want to tell him in a crowd of people.
“He asked me to move in.” I blurted out.
Troy was silent for a moment. His raised his eyebrows and flickered his eyes like he was dreaming. “What?”
“He asked me to move in. He wants me to be his mate I guess.”
“I-I-I don’t know what to say.” Troy’s muscles tensed as his eyes went everywhere but my direction. He didn’t need to explain how he was feeling in this moment. I could read his body, his eyes, his everything.
“So, what did you say? You can’t be kidding right? You’ve known him for such a short time!”
“I feel like I have no option at this point. I’m TORN Troy!” My eyes began to water. I felt like my soul was being ripped in half. I felt like I was deciding between my brother and Marcus and it killed me.
Suddenly, I felt troy bring his arms around me, I could feel his tears falling on my neck as we embraced each other. He was so warm, he reminded me of Marcus, his arms like a blanket I could wrap myself in.
I was so damn proud of him, and all I wanted him to do was to succeed. I wanted him to be safe, I wanted him to have a normal life.
He deserved it.
All he’s done his whole life was take care of me like a little sister. He was only 6 minutes older than me, but he felt years beyond it. Yes, he had a drug addiction, but we all have our issues, and his was eating him inside, bubbling over until he couldn’t handle anymore. He fucking killed someone for me, and I was too dumb to see it. He was my caretaker, my protector, my guardian, and my best friend.
Why shouldn’t he deserve the normal life?
“I’ll be ok Hunter.” He whispered in my ear.
Hearing the words send shockwaves down my spine.
“What?” I sniffed.
He looked down at me as rain trickled down his face.
“I’ll be ok. Whatever you decide.” He gave a small smile. I could see tears forming in his eyes, but the rain was starting to pick up and it was hard to tell.
“I can’t leave you Troy.” I kept crying. I was in denial. I thought he would fight me on it, I thought he would be enraged, I thought he would be...devastated.
“I don’t want you to leave but look at the life you could have. This is something we both dreamt of since we were little kids, when we were jumping from foster home to foster home, scavenging for food, hunting for our next score, don’t you want it to end?”
“But – "
“But what Hunter? You will be safe with Marcus; you will have the life we thought was never possible. I found a job, maybe its shit pay, washing dishes, but hell, its enough to take care of myself. I can do it; you can do it and that’s that.”
“You’re not going to fight me on it? Do you really think you can be on your own?!” I was almost screaming, I was so upset, realizing how that Troy was accepting our impending separation.
“Think about what you’re saying! That’s all, but I know what you will choose, so don’t try to convince me other wise. I have to go to work now, its my first shift." He glanced down at his watch.
Since when did Troy wear watches?
"Don’t want to be late.” Troy kissed me on the forehead before walking in the opposite direction of the bus stop.
“You’re already working? I thought we were going to hang out after my shift. I may leave work early.”
“I’ll be later than you Hunter. Sorry, next time. I gotta go, its only a couple blocks away.” Troy waved me off before jogging away, trying his best to not get drenched in the rain that was beginning to pick up.
“Be safe.” I whispered to myself, knowing that he couldn't hear me.
Suddenly, I see the very bus I had to catch pass me by, I had to run if I was going to make it to work on time.