Chapter 18: Michael
Michael jolted awake at the insistent pounding that was being issued on his bedroom door. He jumped to his feet and flung his door open in only a pair of black sweatpants. Liam stood before him with wild eyes and a terrified expression burned into his face. Michael’s wolf instantly growled. “What happened?”
“Matthew snuck out. He said that he wanted to rest after the run last night and retired to his room,” Liam answered hoarsely.
“And?” Michael asked as he cocked an eyebrow. He was not thrilled that Matthew was alone amongst the humans, but it was bound to happen. As much of an animal as Matthew was, he abided by the wolf laws that were set forth to protect humans. “He visited Vincent, there’s been a fight,” Liam said.
“Fucking hell,” Michael groaned. He rubbed a hand over his face. “All right, I’ll head over there now and smooth shit over. How’s Vincent?”
“Alpha, it wasn’t Vincent that Matthew fought with,” Liam said slowly.
“Who the fuck else—” Michael snarled in realization. Elizabeth was meeting with Vincent right now. I’ll fucking kill him, Michael thought as his gold eyes burned brightly. He slammed both of his hands into Liam’s chest to vacate the doorway. Liam’s back hit the wall in the hallway and Michael sprinted out of the house. The world blurred by, the sounds dulled to an annoying buzzing. His gums ached as he fought his wolf. His canines craved descension to rip Matthew’s throat out. He knew that Elizabeth could take care of herself, but the thought did very little to settle him. My mate was attacked while I slept, he thought irately. He reached Vincent’s house and threw the door open.
Grayson had his arms wrapped around Elizabeth’s waist from behind to restrain her. Vincent stood between her and Matthew, and Vincent had his claws drawn. Vincent’s bottom lip was split, which gave Michael slight satisfaction. Vincent had intervened. Matthew’s nose was twisted horribly as blood poured from it over his lips. “What Alpha strikes another over some bitch?” Matthew snarled. Vincent punched Matthew’s progressively healing nose, re-breaking it.
“Leave him out of it!” Elizabeth roared as she struggled against Grayson’s grasp. “What Alpha disrespects his host, you inconsiderate ass?” That would do it, Michael thought as he approached. She cared too deeply for Vincent to allow him to be disrespected.
“Matthew,” Michael growled darkly. He stood beside Grayson, and Elizabeth turned to look at him. His heart cracked at the sight. She had a split lip, a black eye, and a broken cheek bone. She was already healing, but her beautiful face beaten so horribly stirred darkness in his wolf. His canines broke free, his claws itching in his hands. Her blue eyes met his gold ones, and he felt pride. She was more collected than he was at the moment, and she was the one who was hurt. Michael approached Vincent, his eyes burning into Matthew’s. “Tell me that you are not so ignorant as to disrespect the Alpha who has offered you hospitality.” Michael said lowly.
“I didn’t disrespect you, Mike—”
“Vincent, you jackass! In his own house, nonetheless.”
“And then he proceeded to attack the wolf that I asked to be my Luna,” Vincent growled darkly. Michael flinched slightly. So that is what their meeting was about, he thought.
“I didn’t notice her mark until after I hit her. What Alpha hides his mate? That isn’t my fault. Your bitch attacked first,” Matthew spat.
The room fell silent. Vincent’s jaw clenched and he looked at Elizabeth curiously. Grayson’s grip tightened on his sister protectively, his own canines exposed. “Darling,” Vincent spoke softly. His rage is directed at himself, Michael realized. He unknowingly disrespected her mate by asking her to be his Luna.
“I was going to tell you, both of you,” she said as she squeezed Grayson’s arm.
“She’s not yours?” Matthew asked.
“Unfortunately, not,” Vincent said bitterly then turned his attention back to Matthew. “But you did attack a dear friend of mine, who does happen to be my Beta’s sister.”
“I don’t fear you or your Beta.”
“Do you fear me?” Michael asked lowly.
“What?” Matthew asked in surprise. “Mike, the bitch hit me first—”
“Enough!” Michael roared. He charged Matthew and wrapped a hand around his throat. He slammed Matthew against the wall, and the wall splintered under the force. Michael squeezed Matthew’s throat as he brandished his claws. Matthew’s eyes widened as Michael’s claws began to penetrate his neck.
“Shut the fuck up, and listen,” Michael seethed. “There are some clarifications that need to be made regarding your ignorant statement. First, you did disrespect me when you disrespected Vincent,” Michael growled and squeezed Matthew’s throat tighter when Matthew attempted to protest. “My pack is only here because of him. You put my entire pack in danger because you think your balls are bigger. Strike one. You then decided to attack a she-wolf. I don’t give a fuck if she started it, she was not your she-wolf to harm. Vincent would have dealt with her. Strike two. And not only is the she-wolf that you attacked the Beta’s sister, she is also a Luna. Strike three.”
“She’s not,” Matthew choked out.
“She’s not Vincent’s,” Michael corrected.
Matthew’s eyes brightened in fear as realization etched horror into his face. Michael heard Vincent and Grayson inhale suddenly. “I did not trust you enough to tell you in person, and apparently my mis-trust was valid,” Michael said. “You beat a she-wolf that you thought was no one, I can only imagine what you would have done to my Luna to satisfy your ego. That said,” Michael snarled darkly. He squeezed Matthew’s throat even tighter and blood blanketed Michael’s fingers as his claws penetrated deeper. “Consider this your warning. If I catch you around her again, I will skin you on principle. Your pack may fear you, but I promise that they will fear me even more for what I do to you.”
Michael tore his claws from Matthew’s neck and Matthew crumpled to the floor. Matthew wheezed as blood poured down his neck. “Never thought—I’d see the day—when you are blinded by a bitch.”
Michael snarled and slashed his claws across Matthew’s face. “Get your shit, and leave. If you are still here when I return home, I will force your wolf to emerge so that I can skin the fur off your pathetic body and send it to your pack in pieces. I will make them aware of what happens when you cross me or mine.”
“Just to be clear, Oceanside stands with Mountain,” Vincent said. “If you retaliate, your pack will face the wrath of two others.” Michael nodded in appreciation but kept his eyes on the wolf beneath him. With his hand pressed to his face, Matthew rose to his feet. His jaw was clenched tightly, his gold eyes ablaze with rage. Decades of friendship was shattered. I should have realized it sooner, Michael thought. Had Matthew been a true friend, I would have trusted him with the knowledge of Elizabeth. He thinks she’s blinded me, but I’ve never seen so clearly.
As soon as the front door closed behind Matthew, Michael rushed over to Elizabeth. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that she had fully healed. He cupped her bloodstained face and Grayson released her from his grasp. “Are you all right?” Michael whispered.
“I’m fine,” Elizabeth smiled. She placed a hand on his. “I just couldn’t allow him to disrespect my Alpha. I warned him.”
“I know, baby,” Michael said as he kissed her softly. He released her and turned back to face Vincent. “I’m sorry.
“Don’t be,” Vincent smiled lightly. “You were just trying to protect her. I should be the one apologizing to you. After I extended the offer to become my Luna, I kissed her.”
Michael felt Elizabeth’s fingers lace with his and she squeezed his hand. He looked at her and smiled. “She was yours first, for years. I understand,” Michael said as he looked at Vincent again. “And you did not know. Now, you do.”
“Matthew didn’t, either,” Elizabeth said. Michael looked at her in surprise. “That was the whole point, remember? For me to be just a common she-wolf.”
“It was,” Michael nodded as he brought her hand to his lips to kiss it. “But he continued disrespecting you after the knowledge. I will not allow that degradation to be targeted at my Luna. My mate.”
“Which means, by default, that I’m no longer your Alpha, Lizzy,” Vincent spoke. “Nor Grayson your Beta.”
“You will always be my home,” she said. “Regardless of where I go, I am still a member of Oceanside.”
“Are you happy?” Vincent asked softly. Grayson stood beside him and looked at Elizabeth intently. Michael forced the growl down his throat. His wolf was upset at the insinuation that he made her anything less than happy, but he understood their concern. Decades living in their pack to be uprooted and taken to another. To be taken by me, he thought. “I am,” she smiled. “He’s got his moments, but I do, too.”
“If you hurt her, in anyway—”
“I will give you full permission to beat the shit out of me,” Michael finished for Grayson. “I will not even fight you back. If I ever hurt her, I will deserve it.” Grayson’s jaw ticked but he nodded. Michael saw approval flash through Grayson’s eyes briefly. Michael had meant every word of it. If he ever managed to hurt her, he wanted to be beaten within an inch of his life, and then beaten again after he healed. Death would be the easy way out of a life of harming his mate. He turned to Elizabeth. “I need to make sure that Matthew leaves. I will bring you home after he has.”
“You’d better hurry,” Elizabeth smirked as her eyes flashed gold. Michael growled and kissed her suddenly, then exited Vincent’s house to begin his way back to his own house.