The Calm Before the Storm
Six months after the fight...
“She’s dead because of us.” I took a hard sip of whiskey and threw the bottle to the wall. I was already one bottle in and there was no end in sight. Ever since she disappeared, we were endlessly searching, spending all of our resources, trying to keep each stone unturned, but it always ended up the same.
A dead end.
I wanted to think I wouldn’t lose hope, but on some nights, when I couldn’t sleep, I would call her number just to hear her voice mail. Her sweet voice that always rung in my ears kept me hopeful. Hopeful one day she would reappear.
If she wasn’t dead, I was worried that she was all alone, confused of her Lycan abilities. I wish I could show her… I wish I could guide her through it all. Containing her beast, controlling her emotions, wielding her power so she would be able to protect herself from others that were hunting for her. But what type of guide would I be when I often spent nights in the basement of my private distillery, drinking myself into a coma.
I couldn’t take it anymore. Xanos would often find me in the early morning where he would drag my ass back to my pent house to sleep it off. He was growing frustrated with my destructive behaviour, but I couldn’t help it. I was going insane without her here. I marked her without her consent, and now I was being punished for it. I fucking regretted it every single day, and I deserved this torture.
I wouldn’t blame the mating pull anymore, only my impulsive behaviour. I often wondered how she kept in all the past tortures of James, and now she had to live with the fact that I betrayed her. It killed me inside that I did it, and if I could kill myself to take it back, I fucking would.
I would rather her love me dead, then hate me living.
“She’s not dead, we’ve gone over this a thousand times.” Xanos’s voice snapped me back from my dazed state. I shook my head lightly to recompose myself.
I looked over to my brother.
He was sitting in the dark corner, casually sipping a clear liquid from a crystal glass. He looked like he always did, professionally tailored suit, Italian leather shoes, and of course, neatly groomed hair, but I could see obvious signs of stress in his face. His eyes had bags in them like he hasn’t slept in a while, and sometimes I would catch him trembling. It was unlike Xanos to lose control, and seeing his hands shake at times sent chills down my spine. He was always under control, but Hunter marked him, and not completing the bond was killing him inside too. It was taking a toll on his mind and body, but of course, we both dealt with it in different ways. Sometimes he would go missing days on end, and I often wondered where, but I was probably drinking too much to pursue him.
And when he did finally re-emerge, he was a little more contained, but it would only take a few more days to repeat the same cycle. I was tempted to ask him what he did to release the stress, but he would never answer me. He would stay quiet, and I wouldn’t question him further. I was beginning to suspect that I really didn’t want to know the answer to my question. Xanos was quiet, but he had his dark tendencies that he would hide away from the world, and as for me, it was on fucking display for everyone to see.
I drunkenly smirked at him, “You still drink that pussy water you call alcohol?”
He placed his drink on the rusted metal table and got to his feet. “At least I’m not an animal drinking from the bottle.”
“If we are going to find her, then at least try to stay a little sober.”
“I don’t need you telling me how to live my life.”
“Your about to kill her.” He bent over to look at the red headed woman tied to the metal pillar. The warehouse was the best place to do our daily interrogations, because let’s be honest, it always got a little messy.
“Tell us who hired your team, or I’ll make a phone call you’ll regret.” I kicked her leg to get her to awaken from her semi-conscious state.
Her face was swollen, and she was beginning to look like a grotesque pig, a vast change from when we first met. I knew something was wrong with her the moment I set eyes on her. On the day of the fight, I remember her serving us drinks a mere 2 feet away. She was right under our noses, and we were too distracted to catch her.
She was a fucking human rat, a rat that worked for the king of rats.
“You better make that phone call then.” She spat out more blood to the floor and smiled, revealing gaps in her bloodied teeth.
I got down to her eye level and she immediately pulled her face away. I latched my hand under her chin and tightly squeezed her face, pulling it towards mine so we were in direct eye contact. “If there is no need for you now, I’ll hand you over to my pack in the red-light district. We’re running out of fresh human pussy. I wonder how much they will pay to have a human such as yourself?”
“Fuck you,” she gasped and spat out more blood to the floor.
“Or maybe I should remove your tongue. It will probably save them the trouble after their done with you.” I extended my shifted claw to her face in a teasingly manner.
I applied more pressure to her cheek with my sharp nail.
She screamed and squirmed, but my knee dug into her body, holding her completely still. I started to drag my nail through her reddened skin. She screamed louder, and she tried pushing me off with her legs, but I was a brick wall, and she was a mere insect.
She screamed to the point my eardrums started to shake, but they were screams that I wanted to hear. I wanted for them to all suffer for getting her killed. We both thought she was still alive, but at the same time, I saw how many bullets they put in her.
“Alright! Alright!” She screamed.
“I’m waiting…” I lifted my claw from her face and stood back up, allowing her to catch her breath.
“We don’t know…” She kept her eyes to the floor and watched the drips of blood falling from her cut.
“What do you mean you don’t know? You don’t know who hired you to assassinate three Alphas?!” I was growing impatient with this woman and it was only a matter of time until I lost control.
“Please!” She kicked her legs back and pulled her face away again. “He wanted to remain anonymous. We turned a blind eye because he was going to pay us fucking millions for the job! He is a werewolf. That’s all we know, I swear!”
“There must be more,” I growled.
“THERE MUST BE MORE!” I stepped onto her exposed shin, slowly putting pressure on it.
“He wanted Hunter after she shifted! ALRIGHT! This is all I know!!”
“Interesting, what would he want with our mate.” Xanos walked over to the woman, looking down to her with cold dark eyes.
“I don’t know, but none of this makes sense. It must be one of the Alphas, so who ever this client is, he’s a fucking dead man.” I walked over to table next to the wall and dipped my hands in a cold ice bucket, cooling down my knuckles that ached from shifting.
Shifting was painless if you did it enough with practice, but during these interrogations they would start to ache from the amount of shifting between human hands to claws. I didn’t mind it, but the cool water always helped.
“She’s given us enough.” Xanos kept his eyes on the red headed woman as she started to lose consciousness again. Her face was practically painted red from the amount of blood from the cut.
“I’ll finish it.” I turned to see Xanos, still calmly looking at the woman as he stood over her.
I approached him, “Xanos? Want me to…?”
There was a loud gun shot, it caught me off guard to the point I flinched down, not realizing it was a gun shot from Xanos.
He was holding a gold magnum to her head. There was still smoke wisping from the gun barrel. Her head fell down, and her body went limp.
It was unlike Xanos to kill with a gun. I haven’t seen him use his handgun since the night we killed Kane.
“She deserved to die. I read into her file. She was a fucking murderer during the war. They were hired mercenaries that destroyed entire villages. She was only concerned with money and herself.” Xanos remained calm, emotionless as he blankly spoke over the woman.
I scratched the back of head and raised my eyebrows, “Well then, I can’t argue with that.”
“Don’t you think we are the same brother?” Xanos slowly turned his head to me, his eyes blackened, but there was a strange twinkle in his face.
Was that a tear?
“What the hell are you talking about? We don’t kill innocents aimlessly, and we no longer live for ourselves brother. We live for her. We live for our fucking mate Hunter, and if I have to throw all this shit away to have her I will! I’ll fucking die for her! And if that means doing these interrogations every day until I find her, I fucking will!” My mind was at battle, I kept telling myself she was dead, but deep down, I felt her beating heart.
Suddenly, there was light knocking on the metal door.
“Alpha.” Christian spoke lowly as he stepped through the door. His eyes were sunken in, and he was wearing civilian clothes. Black t-shirt, leather jacket and denim jeans, an odd sight from the usual MO of suit and tie, but he had to dress like this. I had him tailing a few leads that had new information on Derek, which required him to go undercover.
“What is it? I’m a little busy at the moment.” I looked back to Xanos who was already cleaning his magnum with a white cotton cloth.
“Its James. He wants a meeting,” Christian replied.
“My ass! What the hell does that weasel want?!” Every time I heard his name I would fume. He should have been dead long ago, not requesting to meet like we were in business together.
“Its ok Marcus, I got this.” Xanos stepped forward, “why does he want to meet?”
“It’s - It’s the loads coming in from over seas…”
“What the hell does that mean? Hiro ensured us that he would continue the manufacturing.” Xanos looked to me with raised eyebrows. I was unaware of any load interruptions, and as far as I understood, everything was moving swiftly in terms of product imports from Japan. Alpha Hiro ensured that our agreements would remain the same as soon as his son took his place.
“It’s not Hiro, its another Alpha,” Christian muttered.
“Well, then we will speak to Alpha Kai, we don’t need to meet with James. He can stay out of our business until this parley is done.”
“Well… That’s the thing, its not Alpha Kai.”
Xanos and my eyes lit up. “Who is it then?” I asked.
“A new Alpha, I don’t even know his name. He’s putting a stop to all our shipments. We are bleeding from the loss. We can’t go on like this. I need to stop this revenge hunting with all due respect. By the time we are done tailing half of Elysium, someone will come after us…”
Xanos looked to me, and I gave him a nod. Ever since Christopher took a bullet for Xanos, he has been using Christian as his temporary fill in. Christian was good enough to serve two of us for now until he found a new Beta.
“Good work Christian, find out who this new Alpha is, and since the parley doesn’t cover beyond Elysium borders, send him a message, and don’t hold back. I want this asshole to know who he’s dealing with.”
“Consider it done Alpha.” Christian nodded.
“Thanks.” I nodded back and he started to walk away.
“He’s right you know,” Xanos sighed heavily.
“Right about what?”
“Hunting. It’s distracting us.”
“So are we accepting that she is dead?” Just saying the words made my throat tighten up.
“I don’t know anymore…”
I took my half drunken whiskey bottle and analyzed the contents. Then I began pouring it out onto the floor. “We will leave the leads with your private contractor, because we need to get back to business.”
Xanos nodded lightly, “Agreed.”
“So who is this contractor? Can we trust him?’
“He’s another ghost, and a dear friend of mine.”
“Yea, we need more of those running around.”
“He will get the job done Marcus. He is the only one that can do it.”
I slammed the empty whiskey bottle on the table then looked to Xanos, “Well, that covers that, so what are we to do about this new Alpha?”
“Send a convoy. I want this Alpha’s head on a platter. We will use his resources and take over the manufacturing. It’s a big task that will require a lot of time and planning, but if we play our cards right, we can rule over this entire city, including each and every Alpha combined. There will be no more parleys after. No more politics. Just you and I ruling over all of them, including James.”
I was surprised how quickly I agreed to this plan, but it was our best option. The parley kept tensions high between all the Alphas, and it was only a matter of time until one of us cracked under the pressure. We had control the other Alphas to save Hunter if she was still alive, because the hunt would never end until she was captured.
I kept imagining my brother and I, creating the rules for the Alphas that wanted to bend us to our knees. No more parleys, and no more playing nice at these social events, it was an ideal situation.
A large smile grew on my face the more I thought about it.
“Let’s get started.”