Chapter 5: Elizabeth
Elizabeth sat in Vincent’s office while he spoke to the Alpha of Canyon Pack on the phone. Her hair spilled past the shoulders of a red tank top. She was sitting cross-legged in a pair of jean shorts in the chair opposite of Vincent. Vincent’s brown hair fell loosely to his shoulders, his brown eyes closed in frustration. He was wearing a black muscle shirt with a pair of jeans. From what she could gather of the conversation, Canyon Pack’s Alpha wanted to visit after Michael’s pack had re-located to ensure a smooth transition. Due to their similar demeanor and their approach to rule their packs, Canyon and Mountain were rather close, and neither of them were overly fond of Oceanside. The two packs were so close that the Alphas were practically brothers.
It had been three days since Elizabeth’s ocean encounter with Michael. The following day, construction had started on the development. He left every morning before sunrise to retrieve his male wolves to aid the humans, and he would not return until well after sunset after returning his males to Mountain. His hope was that the development would become habitable in weeks, rather than months. With werewolves working construction from sun up to sun down beside the humans, Elizabeth was sure that Michael’s hope would become a reality. Even after he returned to Vincent’s home, he was non-existent in the house. He may not be human, but twelve hours of physical labor in the sun exhausted him. Grayson had made a comment that at least he would not have to worry about Michael around Elizabeth like this, but she brushed it off.
Elizabeth was not sure what it was, but she felt relaxed around Michael. She knew the stories of the horny, bloodthirsty wolf that lived inside of him, but there was a tenderness inside of him that she could see. He had not shown malice or made advances to bed her, which furthered her curiosity of him. He did not even try with her. Maybe he knows that his attempts would be useless, she thought. After meeting Grayson, she noticed that Michael was more hesitant to touch her than their first night. He could also just be being respectful, she thought. My Alpha is the one giving his people refuge. She had enjoyed being around him, and a part of her had actually missed him over the last few days. She kept scolding herself to remember that he could just be wearing a mask, that this could all be a façade to get into her pants. An Alpha that ruled with brutality and fear could not be the same Alpha that showed tenderness and compassion. It did not make sense.
“Yes, I will let you know once they’ve settled and we will coordinate your visit,” Vincent’s exasperated voice said. He opened his eyes as he rubbed his forehead. “Yes, talk to you soon.” He hung up the phone and sighed.
“You could just say no,” Elizabeth teased.
“Keeping the peace with the other Alphas is more important than keeping my sanity. If it wasn’t, Mountain wouldn’t be residing with us in the first place.”
“You know that your refusal to keep the peace would not break the Alpha unity. You’re just a nice guy,” Elizabeth grinned. Alphas had a general unity amongst them, like a business relationship. None of the Alphas would take it personally if another denied assistance; packs had grown so larger over the years that assistance was hard to provide. At the end of the day, each Alpha was only responsible for his own pack’s well-being.
“Well, Matthew and Michael have a different perspective of me in that regard.”
“Fuck them, you can’t please everyone.”
“Exactly. I only care what Oceanside truly thinks of me,” Vincent said. “Unfortunately, Matthew and Michael are so close that I worry that Matthew will unleash hell if I don’t allow a visit.”
“After Michael leaves, right? I’d rather not live in the same house as three Alphas and one Beta.”
“Can’t handle the masculinity?” Vincent grinned.
“I can handle yours fine, Vinny,” Elizabeth said. “It’s the power couple that I worry about. I might just beat the shit out of one of them.”
“Michael doesn’t seem to have bruised yet. Have you lost your touch, Lizzy?” Vincent asked as he stretched his arms over his head.
“He hasn’t been around long enough to piss me off, now, has he?” Elizabeth responded. She decided to keep Michael’s mask a secret for now. Revealing that he had been nice to her during his stay would only worry Vincent more than knowing that Michael irritated her. Vincent had more to worry about than whatever game that Michael was playing with her. Vincent was protective of Elizabeth, but not to the same extent as Grayson. It was ironic to her that her Beta was stricter with her actions than her Alpha. A knock on the door forced her to shake her head. “Come in,” Vincent said.
Michael entered the office and Elizabeth cursed herself silently as she felt excitement bubble in her chest. His black hair was disheveled, and he was wearing a white muscle shirt with a pair of basketball shorts. The sheen of sweat that had soaked into his shirt created a transparency to the fabric, making the outline of his distended chest and ab muscles prominent. Elizabeth fought the urge to bite her lip as her eyes trailed over his body. It was the first time since the ocean that she had seen him, and it was damn good to see him again. His muscles in his arms flexed as he crossed his arms over his chest. She noticed a sparkle in his emerald eyes as he glanced at her, but the sparkle burnt out as quickly as it had ignited when he looked at Vincent. His demeanor hardened as his body tensed in front of Vincent.
“Speak of the devil,” Vincent said.
“I just wanted to touch base. Apparently, humans take weekends off, so there won’t be construction for the next two days. I can’t say that I’m disappointed; my men and I can use the rest as well,” Michael sighed. “I think that I will bring more wolves next week to help speed along the construction.”
“I have another incentive for the completion. Matthew called me today and demanded that he visit when your people have settled.”
Michael’s face broke into a grin. “That’s a damn good incentive. I haven’t seen that asshole in a while. He can stay at my place when it’s built.”
“Having you two live together seems like a bad idea. Vincent has offered him your room here after you leave,” Elizabeth nodded.
Michael’s smile faltered as he looked at Vincent. “No disrespect, Alpha, but do you really trust him around the humans?”
“I trusted you, didn’t I? I would much rather have Matthew under my roof than under yours. You’re keeping your pack, but it is still my land.”
“I still don’t think that it’s a good idea.”
“What if I stay in Michael’s house while Matthew visits?” Elizabeth asked. “We can keep Matthew at a distance while keeping an eye on him.”
“Absolutely not,” Vincent stated.
“No fucking way,” Michael growled.
“Look, neither of you trust him around the other, right?” Elizabeth asked as she stood up. She fixed her eyes on Vincent. “Like you said, Michael’s pack but your land. But Matthew won’t see the arrangement that way, and you damn well know that Grayson and I will rain hell on Matthew if he hurts you.”
“So, we send your brother to my home instead,” Michael said.
“Not a chance,” Elizabeth snorted as she faced Michael. “Just your presence alone puts him on edge. He has a temper, in case you haven’t noticed. Send me, just some random Oceanside wolf, to keep an eye on him. We can use my hidden nature as the Beta’s sister to our advantage.”
“Lizzy, once your brother finds out—”
“I’ll tell him myself,” Elizabeth interrupted Vincent.
“The hell you will,” Vincent shot back. “Because you damn well know that I’m the next person that he is coming to after he talks to you.”
“Afraid of your little brother, Vinny?”
“Afraid of making a mess with his ass after I make him shut up,” Vincent grumbled.
“Is that even possible? I’ve seen how he is about her, and he’s very vocal,” Michael said.
“First and foremost, she is my Beta’s next of kin; if something should happen to him and she needs to assume his position, she needs to do some Beta duties every now and then. Unfortunately, this would be one of them,” Vincent sighed. He rubbed a hand over his face, then looked at Elizabeth. “I need to trust you with this, Lizzy.”
“Can’t you always trust me?”
“Matthew is more…vocal about his dislikes than Michael is.”
“He’s a dick, you can say it,” Michael said. “That’s why him and I get along so well. I’ll watch out for her.”
“Actually, I’m more worried that she’ll hurt him first,” Vincent said.
“I don’t need a babysitter for Matthew. I can handle him on my own. I have for years,” Michael said tersely.
“Think of me as attractive back up for you, then,” Elizabeth stated as she crossed her arms over her chest. “I won’t hurt him unless he hurts me first, and I’ll let you handle him on your own if he hurts you. It’s not like he’ll be staying long anyway.”
“No, just a week,” Vincent confirmed.
“If we’re done here, I need a shower and some sleep,” Michael said.
“Goodnight, both of you,” Vincent added as he nodded to Elizabeth. “You’re both relieved for the night.”