Chapter 8: Michael
The fight had been two weeks ago, and Michael had not seen Elizabeth since. The morning after the fight, Michael had told Vincent that he was going to return home. He would use the weekend to help his people pack, and, during the week, it made more sense for him to be home since he was going to be transporting his men back and forth each day for the construction. Vincent understood, and that was the end of it. Construction had blossomed beautifully; his pack was going to be able to use this weekend to settle into their new homes. The humans were pressed at the progress; but when Michael had ordered all seventy-five of his able-bodied males to help, it moved quickly. His pack consisted of one-hundred and fifty members: seventy-five males, sixty-five females, and ten children.
Michael barreled through the woods of Mountain in a pair of red basketball shorts. The moon above him was almost full as the night sky welcomed him. He had made sure that Elijah’s body had been properly disposed of, burned and the ashes scattered elsewhere. While the humans were not expected to begin construction until after Michael’s pack moved, he did not want to risk the chance of humans stumbling upon it sooner. Not to mention, a pack of wolves had been able to keep bears away; with the pack moving, a bear could discover the body, and the last thing that he wanted was for bears to develop a taste for flesh and begin attacking the humans.
Michael ran harder and faster, his legs ablaze. He had pushed his muscles to their breaking point over the past two weeks, but his wolf made sure that he recovered before the pain was too severe. He ran every night at midnight, after spending twelve hours each day enduring the labors of construction. His mind kept drifting to Elizabeth, and he needed an outlet for her. His feelings for her kept threatening to re-surface, and physical pain was the only way to take the edge off. He loathed the fight that they had, but he had been grateful for it. She was better than he would ever be, she deserved someone so much better. He had let his emotions blind his judgement that night when he finally succumbed to them. His wolf was irate for leaving her. He wanted her in every way; he wanted to claim her as his, his one and only. He could not understand what was so unique about her, but him and his wolf craved her. Being away from her was torture.
Michael reached a clearing and ceased running. He dropped to the ground and began doing push-ups. His legs were screaming at him, so it was time for his upper body to suffer. He breathed in the pine scent of the ground deeply as he worked his arms. He was excited for the moon tomorrow. He had contemplated shifting sooner but decided against it with everything else going on. His pack would begin moving their belongings to their new homes at sun-up, settle in, and then return to Mountain afterwards for the shift.
When his arms finally felt like magma pudding, he pushed himself to his feet and began his journey back to his house. His body ached, and he welcomed the pain blissfully. The pain that he felt when he thought of Elizabeth was worse than any physical pain that he could sustain, but at least it provided a distraction. I’ll be doing even more running after tomorrow, he thought. Matthew was arriving the day after tomorrow for his visit, which meant Elizabeth would be staying with him as well. Part of him had hoped that she would not be involved during her stay, and the other part longed for her to be as involved as possible.
What is it about her? Michael thought in frustration. I’ve been with countless she-wolves, and none of them have affected me like this. She had only given him a hand-job, but it was the best orgasms that he had ever experienced. He craved her touch, her laughter, her spark. His wolf snarled suddenly. Michael shook his head as he reached his house. He slowed his pace to a walk and ran a hand through his hair. Liam was undoubtedly awake by now, he thought. His new Beta was smarter and more attentive than his previous ones; Liam knew that something had changed in Michael. Michael brushed off Liam’s questions, but he would not be able to avoid it for much longer. The reason for his change would be in his own house.
Michael patted his black Chevrolet Silverado as he walked by it. The bed of the truck was full of boxes. His bed would be one of the last things to be brought down, but he contemplated just buying a new one in town. He had not been able to sleep in it since he returned; too many bitches had been fucked in his bed, and his wolf despised lying in the scent of another bitch now. The couch had become his new best friend, something else that Liam had attempted to confront Michael about. Michael entered his house and walked into the kitchen. Shit, he thought.
Liam sat at the kitchen table with a water bottle in his hand. His brown hair had been pulled into a loose bun, his brown eyes studying Michael curiously. He was shirtless with a pair of green sweatpants. “Another night of no sleep?” Liam asked.
“Been having a lot of those lately,” Michael mumbled. He grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. He sat in the chair opposite of Liam and unscrewed the cap. “Just a lot on my mind.”
“The move?” Liam asked.
“For starters,” Michael nodded after he drank. “I’m needing the shift tomorrow night. Maybe I’ll finally be able to relax and get some sleep.”
“Seriously, what the hell happened in Oceanside?” Liam asked as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “Something happened to you.”
“It’s nothing that concerns the pack,” Michael said as his body tensed.
“Not my Beta, either.”
“As your friend, jackass,” Liam said as he rolled his eyes. “I’ll never worry about you as my Alpha, but I’ll always worry about you as my friend.”
Michael sighed and took another drink of his water. “I trust you, Liam,” he said slowly. “Don’t make me regret this.”
“When have I ever abused your certainty in me?” Liam snorted.
“Fair,” Michael sighed. “A friend of the Alpha’s helped me acclimate down there. She taught me how to drown out all of the noise, and when the best time to relax is.”
“So, you fucked the Alpha’s tour guide. That’s nothing new.”
“I didn’t, though,” Michael said through clenched teeth.
“What?” Liam choked on his water. “Well, that is new. Is she his?”
“He’s too blind to make her his, in any form,” Michael said. “She would be a great Luna for him.”
“Does she belong to his Beta? To anyone?”
“No one,” Michael said. He would keep her secret; he would destroy someone that tried to take her as a ploy to harm Oceanside if her secret escaped. She was not a pawn to be used. It’s part of the reason that I can’t have her, he thought. He had created a number of rogues, and one would love an opportunity to hurt him. Liam uncrossed his arms and leaned forward as he looked at Michael curiously. “What am I missing here?” Liam asked. “Surely you’re not hung up on the bitch that got away. You have plenty of options here to fill that void.”
Michael groaned and leaned back in his chair. He scrubbed both of his hands over his face as he closed his eyes. She-wolves had tried to bed him since his return from Oceanside, but he could not bring himself to act on it. They could not fulfill his desire, because his desire extended past sex now. “It has to be her,” he said as he rubbed his forehead. He opened his eyes and found his friend’s brown ones fixated on him intensely. Of course he is concerned, Michael thought. When the hell was the last time that I was picky about a she-wolf?
“Explain,” Liam spoke after a moment.
“What?” Michael asked in surprise. “That’s your response?”
“Explain,” Liam repeated.
“I can’t,” Michael muttered bitterly. “I just know that my wolf won’t let me sleep in my bed because it smells like other she-wolves, and I feel immense fucking pain any time that I think about her.”
“Why didn’t you fuck her?”
“I…didn’t want to. I mean, I did, but it was different. I wanted to do more. I wanted to claim her, to make her mine so that no one else could have her. She’s different.”
“Claim her?” Liam mused. “Not just fucking?”
“That’s what I said,” Michael answered in annoyance. “My wolf and I want to claim her.”
“Mike,” Liam spoke slowly. Michael cocked an eyebrow curiously. Liam usually only ever called him that out of frustration or concern. “You don’t see any of the past bitches as wolves that you’ve claimed?”
“Not a chance,” Michael snorted. “Just notches on the headboard.”
“And she wouldn’t be?”
“She thinks that she would be, but no.”
“Can’t blame her there,” Liam nodded. “Smart wolf.”
“It’s part of what I like about her. She’s blunt.”
“Does she feel the same?”
“I don’t know,” Michael said. “I haven’t seen her in two weeks. We got into a fight.”
“My not pursuing her. She deserves better.”
“Mike, I think I know what this is,” Liam said. He hesitated, then continued. “I think that she is your mate.”
“Cut the shit, Liam. Mates are a myth,” Michael growled as he drank his water.
“Myth is derived from truth.”
“You don’t actually expect me to believe that she’s my mate?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Would you rather hear that your man-whoring ass developed a soft sport for some she-wolf, and you admitted that you’re a piece of shit to her?” Liam snapped. “I’ve known you over a century, Mike. Not once did you express any real concern for a bitch’s feelings or what she deserves.”
Michael simply took another drink of water, but his wolf was anxious. Mate. He had heard stories of how mates craved each other, how they endured physical pain when they were kept apart. He had been drowning his emotional pain with physical exertion, so testing that symptom was out of the question. As doubtful as it was, it seemed to be the only thing that made sense. She had to be someone special for him to care about her as much as he did. He smiled lightly as he remembered how hard-headed she was. Of course, his mate would be someone like her; mates were meant to complement each other but to also challenge each other. She would push him to his limits, but would also be his only true form of peace.
“I see the pieces falling into place in your little brain,” Liam grinned.
“Shut it,” Michael said as he rolled his eyes. “I stand by my decision. She deserves better.”
“Clearly, for whatever reason, it’s you that she deserves. Are you going to tell her?”
“I doubt that she’d believe me.”
“You didn’t when I told you, and look at you now,” Liam shrugged. “She deserves to know.”
“After Matthew,” Michael nodded. “Alpha Vincent is having her stay with us for the first week to monitor Matthew’s behavior. I don’t want Matthew knowing.” Matthew and Michael had frequently shared she-wolves that the other was interested in. It became a game of who could fuck better. If Michael showed any interest in Elizabeth, Matthew would pounce. He could probably persuade Matthew from pursuing Elizabeth on his own, but it would be game on the second that Michael showed any type of liking for her. He had never fought for a wolf before; he knew that his wolf would not hesitate to rip Matthew to shreds if he tried anything.
“You’re joking. You can’t allow Matthew to stay now,” Liam stated.
“If I cancel, then he will know that something is wrong. Her and I fought, so it’s already going to be tense between her and I. Let him think that I can’t stand her. I’ll sell that.”
“You’ll hurt her by ignoring her.”
“Do you have a better alternative of how to protect her from Matthew?” Michael growled. “I’m not overly fond of hurting her, either, but he cannot know who she is. Since you live with me, you can help keep everything calm.”
“You can trust me to help you, Michael,” Liam nodded. “I will help protect our future Luna.”
“Thank you,” Michael said. “It goes without saying that this conversation does not leave us.”
“Of course,” Liam nodded. “I won’t betray you.” Michael nodded and finished his water. He pushed himself to his feet and walked into the living room. He settled into the couch and fatigue began to creep up on him. He trusted Liam with his life, and Liam knew that he would lose his own life if he disobeyed. Michael automatically killed those who disobeyed him, but his creativity would maximize if that betrayal resulted in harm coming to Elizabeth. Liam was like a brother to him, but that did not change his standpoint; Matthew was also like a brother to him, but none of that matter anymore. His mate was his priority now.