Dream Walker

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Chapter 3 - Demetri

Demetri

He sits on the amber colored leather couch beside his adopted sister, his discomfort was clearly noticeable as he rubs a thumb over the stiff cuff of the suit he was wearing. He hated the tie, the cuff links, the smell of the starch that was basically baked into the stuffy button up shirt and anything else formal that he had to wear to these damn meetings. Demetri couldn’t wait to go back to his room and take them off, making sure to take a very hot shower to remove the smell that the Armani suit left on him. He preferred the smell of leather over starch. Hell, at this point he would rather be naked than wear this damn suit. But he was the only son of the Pride Father and when he said wear a suit, you didn’t argue.

Across from them was his father Sergei, the Pride Father of the largest panther pride of the southern reaches of Russia, with his broad shoulders and large frame who looked much more comfortable in a suit than Demetri did. He was speaking to another man who was just as built but slightly smaller, his short cropped dark hair streaked through with silver and his face wore a serious expression as he answered with a gruff tone. Something on the edge of his mind told him that he knew who the man was but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Knowing his father, it was probably for the best that he didn’t know, or remember, so he settled on just folding his hands in his lap and looking at them as if they were the most interesting things in the world. Anything to keep him preoccupied from the sheer boredom of it all.

He feels a nudge to his left, the long and slender fingers of Polova resting on his forearm. Great, now she’s going to try and get fresh...again. He had lost count of the times during this meeting alone that she had found some excuse to touch or rub up against him and he gave her a side glance with his narrowed, storm grey eyes. She just smiles to herself, removing her hand slowly. It was all he could to keep from giving her a warning growl when she tried to rub her leg against him again while she moved her hand away. He was half tempted to take his large foot and stomp on hers just to make her quit, his foot starting to rise when he heard someone clear their throat loudly. It was soon followed by the deep rumble of his fathers’ voice.

“What do you think of it, Demetri? Any thoughts?” Both his father and the other man were staring at him intently, the smaller of the two had what looked like a bemused smirk on his face.

Fuck, I have no idea what they said. He clears his throat a bit, trying to think of an answer quickly and comes up empty. He only had a second or two to improvise, but being the son of one of the most prestigious and powerful shifters of the area gave him a bit of advantage. It was best to just go with the option of feigning ignorance and put a small dash of hope into it that they wouldn’t notice.

“I wasn’t aware that your quiet conversation included me, Pride Father. Forgive me if I don’t know what the answer is that you are asking of me.” While it was true that they had been speaking in hushed tones, he knew that he could have easily overheard them. Demetri had just been so preoccupied with trying to keep Polova away from him that he hadn’t paid any attention to them at all. The smirk that crossed both of their expressions this time was not lost on him though.

“My business associate and I were discussing our newest antique gallery in the United States. We are going to need someone to go overseas and provide management for it.” His father tugs at the end of his sleeve at the cuffs and adjusts the cuff link that was similar to his own. “As my oldest child, and only son, it would be an honor to have you go in my stead. Perhaps you could also negotiate with the local Alpha to secure a pride as there is one lacking in the area there as well.”

Demetri fights back the urge to grimace, keeping his face as stoic as he can before he straightens up slightly where he sat on the couch. How he hated this. His father knew how much he despised being a part of the whole “family business”, even if it did seem legitimate and now it felt like he was tossing him into the fire to watch him burn. He was getting tired of no one ever listening to him. The only problem is that no one ever told the Pride Father no…at least not more than once and that had included him. It wasn’t until after he had grown older that he had found out that he had no chance in hell of beating his father in hand to hand combat. That was a brutal lesson that he only had to learn once. But if it got his father off of his back, perhaps he would play along for the moment.

“And is it just the one gallery we are talking about? Will the location be in the midst of a massive city with dirty air or someplace else with at least passable breathing space? Unless there are more than one and they all require… managerial attention.” Demetri leans forward and takes the top off of the decanter in the center of a round glass coffee table between him and the two men and pours himself a few fingers worth of amber liquid into a small glass. Placing the top of the decanter back, he leans back against the couch and takes in a soft breath of the leather’s smell mixed with the bourbon and takes a sip of the drink as he watches the eyebrow of his father raise ever so slightly. It was quick and he barely caught it. Score one point to me for catching the old man off guard.

“The gallery is located in the state of Colorado, so I am sure that the higher elevation won’t be a problem. It is not located in Denver so you will not have to worry about the… dirty air.” The other gentleman had a distinctively different accent than he and his father did. Although he still spoke his Russian perfectly, there was still a definite difference to the way he pronounced his words. Perhaps he was Romanian? His features led Demetri to think that he was right in that assumption but his attention was diverted the woman beside him when she placed her hand on his knee. Again.

“I think it is a wonderful idea to have Demetri go overseas, especially if there is a chance for him to become a Pride Father. I would love to be his second if that happened,” said Polova as she gave her father and the other man a sly grin, her sultry voice practically purring with satisfaction as her fingers made languid circles on Demetri’s knee. “Perhaps I should accompany him just to make sure he follows the correct protocols.”

The smile that snaked its way across her ruby lips made his gut twist. There was no way in hell he wanted her to go with him if he went. Absolutely not.

“I am not some untrained cub, Polova.” Demetri lets a slight snarl escape with his comment. “I do not need a nursemaid to coddle me while I take care of things for our Pride Father. I am sure, since you are so inclined to do so, that you could find someone to tide you over in my absence. Or at least, I would greatly appreciate someone to do so.”

“Such vehemence, brother,” she practically purred in his ear. “Are you sure you wish to go without me?”

Demetri quickly downs what is left in his glass and sets it on the glass table with a loud thud of the heavy glass, standing up so abruptly that Polova almost falls over onto where he had been sitting. His tall, six foot five frame loomed over her and he rolled his grey eyes as he adjusts the front of his suit jacket. His skin was starting to itch and he wanted nothing more than to just stop this ruse and bolt out of the double doors and go back to his own room. However, he hadn’t been given permission to leave yet so he was stuck here to deal with her.

“If anything, I would accept their proposal in order to get away from you.” He turns to look at the older man and his father. “If memory serves, Pride Father, women are not allowed to be present at important meetings, unless the meeting involves them being naked and chained to a wall so the men can sample them before purchase.” He sneers at Polova when she peers up at him as she straightens up to a sitting position, some of the color draining from her already pale face.

“You wouldn’t dare. I am the daughter of the Pride Father, your sister. To be debased in such a way-”

“It would be more than suitable for you!” Demetri interrupts her with a snarl. “If you continually act like a slut in heat when you are around me then I will be more than happy to treat you like one.” He steps forward as she stands up, looking up at him only slightly as she was also tall and was wearing at least five inch stilettos. “But just realize, it won’t be my bed you are tethered to. I can deal with using you if it would make more money for me to spend on a cunt that I would actually enjoy being inside of.”

“Enough!”

They are interrupted by the loud booming growl that emanates from the other couch as Sergei stands and gives them both an angry stare. The huge barrel of his chest was making the buttons of his suit jacket strain as he stood there seething. His mouth had formed a set of fangs and there was a slight tuft of black fur emerging on the tips of Sergei’s ears. “Both of you are embarrassing me! Would it be possible for you two to be civilized while in the same room together for once?”

Demetri turns and bows his head to his father, a lock of his thick black hair falling out of the low ponytail at the base of his neck. “My apologies, Pride Father.” His eyes darted to the side and he could see that she was still standing there gaping at him. Another point won for him as he had managed to make her speechless but he kept his head down with his eyes averted as he turned the triumphant smile inward. He watched her turn to face their father with her head held high. He was definitely not going to be in the crosshairs today if she decided to try and argue, which she did. Stupid girl.

“I am insulted that Demetri spoke of me this way! It is-,” she begins with a sputter but it is cut off by the Pride Father.

“It is your own fault as you continue to act this way! While I understand that he is not your brother by blood, he has made it abundantly clear that your advances are unwanted.”

Sergei looks at her and narrows his eyes, the deep roll of an inner growl fills the room as he wraps his alpha command around her like a vise. She lets out a small, almost strangled sound as he steps over to her and Demetri keeps his head down.

“At least he has the ability to see the folly in his actions and has apologized, even showing his deference to me as his Pride Father. But you…”

Demetri can hear her fight for air and he can see from his position of his still bowed head with his eyes towards the floor that her feet had left her shoes behind as she is lifted from them. He wonders if the hand of his father is around her face or her throat and he has to fight even more to keep from looking, his lips curling into a smile that is hidden by his hair.

“No, you have to keep pushing your luck. I took you in out of respect for your father as he was no longer able to care for you. His service to Mother Russia as a soldier is infallible, may his soul rest as he returns to the arms of Morena. All he asked of me was that he wished to have you properly schooled and taken care of.” Demetri could hear her fighting for breath and a small part of him wished for his father to stop and let her go. A very small part. If he intervened now she would make things even worse and he would never be rid of her. As her body falls to the floor he keeps his eyes averted as he hears her choking and gasping for air.

“Do not make me regret my decision to keep you here, Polova.”

Demetri could feel her eyes looking up at him but he refused to look at her. Until he was given permission by his Pride Father to lift his gaze he remained still. This was her transgression, not his. A large hand on his shoulder made him shift his gaze and he lifted his head up to look into the still angry eyes of his father that were blazing with an intense orange fire, the white hair above his ears catching the glow and illuminating his face even more. A thick finger tipped with a long claw is pointed at his face as he keeps his body still.

“I will let you think about our offer but do not keep us waiting. You have one month to think it over as that is how long it will take to make sure that all the paperwork necessary and the itinerary for you to travel is complete as well as proper accommodations while you are there. No more than that. Am I clear?”

Demetri nods as his jaw clenches. Now, more than ever, he just wanted to get out of this suit and out of this room. Sergei nods and pats his shoulder roughly but Demetri doesn’t move or flinch. The last thing he wanted was for him to be seen as weak or timid. The Pride Father waves his hand at them both and the double doors are opened up by two large men in crisp suits and dark glasses.

“Leave us.”

Demetri doesn’t wait for Polova and makes his way to the open doors quickly. He is already down the long hall and around the corner, pulling the tie out from under the starched collar of his shirt when a hand pulls at his arm to stop him.

“What the hell was that Demetri? Why are you so hateful?” Her eyes were slightly bloodshot and her normally impeccable make up was smeared and running down her cheeks. “I know you are not my brother by blood, but in my heart and soul I know you are mine and we are meant to be.” She grabs a hold of his suit jacket front and turns him around to look at her. He looks down at her with an incredulous look as he tries to back away from the smell of her perfume and tear stained make-up. The smell was not a good mix and it only served to sour his mood even more.

“Why am I hateful? If I was hateful I would have physically beaten you for your actions back there. Be thankful that I, or your Pride Father, did not.” He shoves the tie into the pocket of his pants and glares down at her as he grips her fingers in his hands and squeezes hard to try and make her let go. “If your heart and soul have claimed me then they are both blind. You are nothing more than an aggravating pest in my house and one that I barely tolerate. The fact that I accepted you as an adopted sibling when you first arrived should count for something. However, I am beginning to think that it was not a very good decision to do so.”

Demetri shakes his head, pushing her hands off of him after she finally lets go as he starts walking down the hall again. She is still walking alongside him, rubbing her hands and her voice pleading as they round a corner and begin to ascend one side of a graceful staircase.

“Demetri please, just give me a chance! Is that too much to ask for?”

He ignores her and continues up the stairs and turns to the left to go down the hall. Her cries for him to turn and talk to her is akin to the buzzing of a mosquito in his ear, one that he would love to pinch between his fingers and kill. He stops in front of the dark mahogany double doors of his room, his hands resting on the polished handles before opening them up and stepping inside. He turns quickly, his own tall frame filling the small space he left open with the doors.

“Fuck. Off. Polova.”

Demetri then slams the doors closed in her face and locks them, thankful to finally be alone. The suit comes off quickly, as he throws it over the high back of a large chair to the right of his door. He could always go back and get it later...right now he just wanted to be out of the stuffy thing. Not soon after that, he had changed into a loose pair of sleeping pants that he tied in front, the soft fabric settling against his skin and making him let out a sigh. He had opted to leave the shirt off so his skin could breathe after the stiff and scratchy starched shirt.

“Much better,” he mutters to himself as he goes over to one of the large wardrobes in his room, pulling the tie out of his hair and letting the thick, jet black mop of loose curls fall over his shoulders, partially covering a tribal tattoo that spans across his back from one shoulder to the other. Once at the doors he pulls them open and brings out a large, triangular shaped case from it. Setting it gently on his bed, he frees the ornate clasps on the front and sides, opening the lid until it rests behind the box itself. He pulls out the gusli, a large stringed instrument that had belonged to his mother and cradles it against his bare chest as he eases onto the floor to sit cross-legged by the edge of his bed. Reaching behind him into a side pocket of the case, he gets two dark and glossy metal picks that he slides easily onto the index finger of each finger. Then, he rested it on his lap and began to play.

The sounds of the delicate strings echo off the walls of his large bedroom as he plays a haunting melody, the distinct thrum of his deep voice mixing with it as the stress of the day melted away into the music.

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