Chapter 20: Michael
Michael growled as he heard his cell phone ring. He slowly opened his eyes and rubbed a hand over his face. He lay alone in his bed. He had found Elizabeth’s wolf curled up on the floor and decided to give her some space. He had draped a blanket over her body for when she shifted back to her counterpart. Whenever she does wake up, we need to talk, he thought numbly. He had believed that not announcing her as Luna, that keeping her as a secret to his pack, was the right decision, but it was hurting her. I can’t blame her, he thought. If the roles were reversed, I’d be livid. She probably thinks that I’m ashamed of her, which could not be further from the truth. I just want to keep her safe.
Michael quickly rolled out of bed and slipped on a pair of sweatpants. He snatched his cell phone off the dresser and exited through the sliding glass door. Sunlight poured against his skin as he looked at the name that was screaming at him from his phone. “Matthew,” Michael answered the phone.
“How’s the bitch recovering?” Matthew asked.
“What?” Michael growled through clenched teeth. There was no way that Matthew meant Elizabeth; Matthew was in another state, and his mate was sound asleep. She was safe.
“The bitch, Elizabeth. Or are you not keeping an eye on her?” Matthew spat.
“What are you talking about?”
“All of this boasting about skinning me for harming her, yet you do not even pay enough attention to her to notice when someone else actually does.”
“What the fuck did you do?” Michael snarled. He spun around and gazed at his mate through the door. She was nestled deeply beneath the blanket on the floor. She appeared fine. Then again, she would have healed by now, he thought. I should have been with her last night.
“I didn’t do anything. I just relayed to a rogue that I took in about a bitch that you claim is your mate, but not worthy enough to be your Luna. The rogue has quite a fondness for you; she jumped at the possibility of eliminating Elizabeth from the running of assuming Luna.”
“How does she even know who Elizabeth is?” Michael snapped.
“You didn’t think that all of that blood on my shirt was mine when I fought her, did you? Or did you forget that I fucked her up pretty good, too?”
“You sent a fucking bloodhound after her,” Michael seethed. “Why?”
Michael’s wolf was scratching for freedom. His claws descended and he balled his hands into fists. Blood poured from his palms as his claws penetrated his skin. I’m going to fucking kill him, Michael thought. “She’s compromised you an Alpha, do you not see it? She made you think that she’s your mate. You must see it on some level since you have not yet made her your Luna. I’m doing you a favor—”
“Don’t finish that fucking thought,” Michael snapped. “Why does it matter to if you if a bitch has clouded my judgement? I don’t question your tactics.” Rage boiled his blood as it burned through his veins.
“A bitch comes along, and you catch feelings? Fine. But advertising that she is your mate, and then neglecting to make her your Luna? You’re lying to everyone. A nobody she-wolf cannot be your mate, even if mates truly do exist. I’m not going to be the first to doubt you. Your pack will, too. If she truly is your mate, who is she? Why haven’t you announced her yet? Unless she has compromised you and you see it,” Matthew stated. Michael growled deeply. His claws shredded the skin of his palms as his wolf was beginning to be harder to control.
Matthew was right. An Alpha’s mate could not be some common she-wolf, that was not how a mate was destined. She had to be someone of power as well to be his true mate. And her entire life was structured to hide her true nature because of Grayson, Michael thought. Grayson may not have been born as a Beta, but he was fated to be appointed as one, which resulted in Michael’s true mate being the Beta’s sister. But no one knew any of this about Elizabeth, just that Michael was claiming some random she-wolf as his mate.
Michael snarled and closed his eyes briefly. He should not have been so naïve to think that everyone would just accept his newfound happiness without question. A mating bond, a true mating bond, had not been awoken between a pair of wolves in over a century. Matthew’s skepticism was valid, which mean that more would begin to express their concerns about him as well. Keeping her a secret is making her a target, Michael realized as he opened his eyes. This is my fault. “Why send a rogue after her?” Michael asked darkly.
“For the truth, whatever that may be. If you actually allowed some bitch to compromise you in an attempt to make her Luna, you need to be stripped and your pack needs a new Alpha. If she is your true mate, admit whatever it is that makes her so goddamned special to be your destined, and give your people a Luna. If you choose to not address the issue at all, you will be stripped regardless, and your pack will be forced to re-locate again. I am not the first Alpha with doubts of your reign right now, and I won’t be the last,” Matthew said. “Ruling with fear is honest, at least. Ruling with dishonesty endangers us all; instead of a few rogues, we could have a pack of them if your people turn against you.”
“I’ll talk to her and call you back. Who was the rogue?” Michael asked. He craved vengeance for his mate.
“Not my secret to tell,” Mathew said. A sharp click followed his reply, and the call ended. Michael snarled and squeezed his cell phone so tight that it threatened to snap in half. His muscles in his right arm swelled at the restraint of demolishing the small piece of technology that relayed such troubled news to him. He inhaled and exhaled to attempt to extinguish his rage. I’m going to find that rogue and skin it alive, his wolf thought with a purr. Matthew was known for taking in Michael’s rogues, but, unfortunately, Michael had exiled many rogues during his reign. He assumed that the rogue that had attacked Elizabeth was already in route back to Matthew. I’ll have to plan a trip to him, Michael thought. I need a chaperone, or I’ll tear Matthew apart and cause an even bigger mess.
Michael entered his bedroom and sighed. But first, we need to talk, he thought. He knelt beside Elizabeth. She was splayed out on her stomach, her hair sprawled over her face. The blanket had fallen to the middle of her back. Michael gently traced his fingers along the bare skin of her shoulders. He softly pushed the hair out of her face and growled. Blood stained her chin. He slowly rolled her on to her back and snarled viciously. Blood stained down her throat and along her ribs. His eyes observed her body and he breathed in relief. She must have won the fight, there were no bite marks on her. He gently stroked his fingers down her ribs.
Elizabeth’s eyes shot open, and her hand attacked his hand suddenly. She exhaled as her eyes settled on Michael, and she released his hand. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“Don’t be, baby,” Michael said. “I understand. Are you okay?
“Yeah, it was just a bitch,” Elizabeth sighed. She propped herself up on her elbows. “It must have been one of yours, it wasn’t an Oceanside wolf. Michael, look—”
“I need to announce you,” Michael finished for her. Her eyes widened slightly. “This shouldn’t have happened to you. This is all my fault.”
“Michael, you didn’t send her after me—”
“Matthew did,” Michael growled lowly. “One of the rogues that he accepted must have been a bitch of my past. He said that she wanted to eliminate you with the possibility of becoming my Luna since I had not announced you yet.”
“Well, your ex-girlfriend was in for a surprise,” Elizabeth said. “I shattered both of her shoulder blades with my canines.”
“You bit her?” Michael asked with a small smirk. “Good, she will be easy to identify now.”
“So, sending an ex-girlfriend to fight me was his retaliation for kicking his ass? Pussy,” Elizabeth snorted as she stretched.
“If only it was that simple,” Michael sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “He needs proof that you’re my mate, especially since you’re not announced as Luna yet.”
“And that justifies an attack because?”
“It jeopardizes my status as Alpha over my pack. My true mate has to be equal in power, and telling everyone that you are just a she-wolf from Oceanside—”
“Has people thinking that you’re lying about me,” Elizabeth said softly as the realization crossed her face.
Michael simply nodded. Elizabeth sighed and pulled herself into a sitting position on her knees in front of him. His wolf’s rage was instantly converted into arousal as her breasts freed themselves from the falling blanket. Now is not the time, he scolded himself. His flourishing erection disagreed with him. “I’m holding a meeting with Mountain after they awaken,” Michael said as he forced his voice to remain level. “Oceanside already knows about you; they believe our claims of being mates. We have a lot of people to update but we have to start with my pack first.”
“I agree,” Elizabeth said. “I’m sorry.”
Michael looked at her in surprise. “For what?”
“Announcing me before you were ready,” Elizabeth said.
“Baby, I’ve been ready. I’m the one who should apologize.” He cupped her face and locked his eyes on to hers. “I am not ashamed of you or doubt you as my Luna whatsoever. I meant what I said, I will never lie to you. I thought that hiding you would be the best way to protect you, but I was wrong.” His thumb grazed her lower lip softly. “You were attacked because of it, because of me. No one would dare attack my true mate, my Luna, and I failed you in proving that you are both to everyone. Please, don’t doubt how I feel for you.”
Michael’s heart ached at the knowledge that his attempt to protect her had resulted in her harm instead, both physically and emotionally. He felt the ache extend throughout his body, and his wolf whimpered softly. He had been responsible for harming wolves before, but the responsibility of his mate’s pain made him nauseous. He saw her blue eyes soften as she smiled at him. She placed one of her hands of his. “My mate,” she whispered. “I should know better than to doubt you. You have always been honest with me.”
“And I always will be,” he promised. “Especially with tracking down the bitch that hurt you and making her understand who she fucked with.”
Michael pulled Elizabeth’s face toward him and devoured her lips passionately. She melted into him as she kissed him back. No one will take you from me, he vowed. His wolf growled possessively, furiously, with the knowledge that a bitch was trying to eliminate his mate from his life. That bitch will pay with her life for even trying.