The Alpha's Vessel [The Alpha's #2]

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Chapter Twenty

THEA PETROVNA

Almost as if he had been listening to her the whole time, Orpheus returned to unlock the bedroom door as soon as she had finished folding his last piece of clothing and putting it away in his closet.

Without so much as murmuring a word to her, he turned his back to her and walked downstairs, but not before gesturing that Malik was awake by gesturing his thumb toward the door. Once she began down the hallway and the sound of her son’s quiet murmurs as he entertained himself, waiting for his mother to drop by after having woken up, Thea knew that Orpheus had been speaking the truth.

As he continued talking to himself, Thea couldn’t help but rush down the hallway, relieved to hear that he was completely fine after having had a much better night than her own.

“Malik, baby?” She couldn’t help but call out to him in a relieved voice as she squeezed down on the door handle to push open the door, sighing when she found for it to be open and unlocked.

“Mummy!” Her son called out to her with a large grin on his face, throwing the covers off of him as he began making his way off the bed.

Meeting him in the middle, Thea reached down to swing him up into the air and rest him on her hip before proceeding to dust kisses over his little face.

“Good morning, Malik!” Thea greeted him with large smile on her face as she walked the both of them over onto the bed before taking a seat. “How did you sleep?” She asked with him now sitting on her lap, running her fingers through his hair.

“Good.” He smiled up at her, such an innocent, childish look about him. “I had pancakes for dinner last night.”

“What?” She laughed softly with an amused glint in her eyes. “Do you mean for breakfast?”

“No.” He shook his head. “Breakfast.”

“What do you mean, baby?” Thea questioned quietly, the smile slipping off her face as she watched him carefully, surprised that he was insisting upon something so random.

“I woke up last night and couldn’t find you, so Orphi came to see me.”

“Orphi?” She couldn’t help but question even though she had an idea of whom her son was referring to, yet she struggled to believe it.

“Orphi.” He confirmed with a nod, not the least bit aware of what she found so wrong about his earlier statement.

“And he brought you pancakes?”

Malik grinned and nodded his head enthusiastically. “We ate pancakes and then brushed our teeth together?”

“And then?”

“He said he was sleepy so I did some more colouring.” He grinned up at her, moving to get off her lap. “Do you want to see?”

“Of course.” She smiled down at him even though it failed to reach her eyes.

As she watched Malik scramble off the bed and over to the small desk in the room where he had done some more colouring last night, she couldn’t help but slump over in fear.

When Orpheus had stated last night that Malik was fine and still asleep, she had just assumed that he had been able to sense that out, not having expected him to drop by with some pancakes and a nickname. The fact that he was calling him Orphi just made her feel even worse.

Thea wasn’t sure how she felt about Orpheus spending time with Malik, let alone unsupervised time with him. To think that he had been alone in here with Malik, able to tell him and convince him of anything, the thought alone sent shivers down her spine. While she was afraid for her life when in his presence, she was most definitely afraid for the safety of her son.

As Thea glanced around the room, she was surprised to see a group of familiar bags by the door that she missed earlier; the very same ones that she had brought along with them to the Lupum Griseo pack. Except then, she had only packed enough clothes to last the both of them for a week.

“Mummy, is everything okay?” Malik asked in a concerned voice as he returned with his colouring book in tow.

“Everything’s perfect.” She forced a grin for him, not wanting the little boy to worry about something so serious and out of control. The fact that all of this was also out of her own control just made everything all that much worse. “Let me see your colouring book.”

After adding in a few appropriate oohs and ahs in the right places to indicate that she loved his colouring, Thea deemed that there was no point in wasting the morning so instead of hiding out in his room, she held Malik’s hand and together, they headed into the bedroom at the end of the hallway, the one that she was forced to sleep in.

While she was sure that there was probably another bathroom upstairs, she didn’t exactly know where it was and as she didn’t want him to accuse her later of snooping through his stuff, she decided his ensuite bathroom would be the best option. The fact that it was already fully stocked just sweetened the deal.

“Bath or shower?” She asked him even though she already knew that he much preferred the former while she preferred the latter but as this was a losing argument, she sighed and sat down on the edge of the tub to run the taps and begin filling up the tub.

While he climbed into the tub, Thea laughed quietly to herself before she rushed out of her room and into his to grab some clothes for the both of them.

After a quick rummage through them, she wasn’t surprised to see that both her laptop and iPad were missing but as Orpheus wasn’t around right now, she had no choice but to have to wait to question him about their whereabouts before demanding her return them. Thea was sure that, that would be a very colourful conversation, especially considering their track record. Once she had gotten changed in his room, she also grabbed both of their toothbrushes before heading back to the bathroom.

By the time she had finished washing her face, brushing her teeth and fixing her hair up into a messy bun, lacking any will or motivation to actually do something with it, Malik was just about done so she helped him out of the tub and helped him dry up and get dressed.

“How long are we going to stay here?” Malik asked as she handed him his toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom, allowing him to squeeze it out himself.

“Just for a little while.” She murmured back quietly, unsure of the answer herself but not wanting to worry her son.

“Why are we here, mummy?”

“We’re just visiting a friend.”

“Orphi is your friend?” Malik’s eyes lit up as she glanced at her through the mirror, his mouth smeared with toothpaste. When she prompted for him to continue, he giggled quietly.

Thea couldn’t help but gulp at his question. “Kind of.” She forced the words out of her mouth despite just how sick they made her feel and before he could ask her anything else, she instructed him to continue brushing his teeth while she busied her hands with towel drying his hair since she couldn’t spot a hair dryer anywhere.

“How about we go make some breakfast? How does that sound?” Thea suggested as they headed out of the bedroom and began down the hallway.

“Can we have pancakes? With chocolate chips?” Malik blinked innocently up at her as he skipped along beside her, his little fingers curled around her pinky finger.

Despite the severity of the circumstances that they were in, Thea threw her head back and laughed, unable to believe the cheek of him.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, baby.” She chuckled quietly while shaking her head. “You had pancakes twice yesterday.”

“But they’re so yummy.”

“Maybe tomorrow but not today.” She hummed, sending him a pointed look so he wouldn’t ask again. “How about some eggs?”

“With ketchup.”

“Sure.” Thea replied, unable to hold back the grimace as she absolutely detested ketchup but it appeared her son loved it and akin to pancakes and chocolates, just couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

When her mind drifted to Orpheus, curiously wondering if he loved ketchup as much as Malik did, she hated herself for it.

Despite her promise of eggs for breakfast, Thea couldn’t quite keep her word as after a quick rummage through the kitchen, she couldn’t find anything but some yoghurt, a few cans of expensive looking bear and a bottle of ketchup. As she stared back at the red condiment bottle, she sighed as it appeared that she had been able to answer her own question.

“I think we need to head to the packhouse, baby.” She murmured quietly before taking a second look through the cupboards to see if she had missed anything.

“Okay.” He grinned up at her but before they could leave, she knelt down on the ground and did up his laces so he wouldn’t trip over his own two feet.

As she didn’t have a key, Thea simply closed the door behind her as they walked out of the house, down the few steps and across the grassy path as they walked toward the packhouse. Since the backdoor was closest from the direction that they were coming from, they headed in that way instead of walking around all the way to the front of the grand house.

“Do you think we can find some eggs in here?” Malik asked in a hopeful tone as they headed into the kitchen only to find it completely and utterly empty.

As her son hoisted himself up onto a chair so he could watch her cook, Thea couldn’t help but glance around with a puzzled look on her face. While the fridge and all of the cupboards were fully stocked, she was surprised to find no one in sight, not even when she backtracked out of the kitchen and into the living room.

After having a quick snoop downstairs only to find not a single person in sight, Thea headed back into the kitchen with a sigh to get started on some eggs for the both of them.

While she cooked some eggs and toasted some bread for the both of them, more so for herself than him, Thea hummed quietly and listened to Malik blabbering to himself, high amused and entertained by his childish musings. Once she had finished plating up breakfast for the both of them, she sat next to him at the kitchen counter and together, they enjoyed their breakfast.

“All done?” She chuckled as he leaned back in his chair and rubbed his stomach, indicating that he was full and couldn’t eat anymore.

Thea chuckled and leaned in to press a kiss to one of his chubby cheeks before she stood up. It was only when they had finished eating and Thea headed over to the sink to get started washing up the mess that she had made that she realised just where everyone was.

While she couldn’t say that all of the rumours Raphael had indulged her in were true, Thea could confirm that this one was at least true. Having grown up in a pack and then spent a lot of time between both the Lupum Griseo pack and the Lupus Rapax pack, not once had she seen a group of wolves kneel down in solidarity on the ground with their heads bowed and their hands clasped over their hearts in silent prayer.

And in front of them all was none other than Alpha Orpheus, leading his pack in prayer.

Thea wasn’t sure how long she had been staring at the pack in prayer but she couldn’t help but wonder who exactly they were praying to.

The Moon Goddess or Erebus?

When Orpheus rose to his feet and everyone quickly began to join him, Thea couldn’t help but panic as she struggled to decide what to do next. Either stick around or run back to the house but either way, they would all know that Malik and her had been there only moments ago.

Deciding to suck it up and stick her ground, especially if she was going to be around for a while, Thea continued washing the dishes, even when the large group of wolves made their way into the packhouse.

As she wiped her hands dry on a dishcloth and moved to return the dishes and the pan where she had found them, she finally turned around to face the few wolves that had wandered into the kitchen.

As the kitchen had smelt like coffee earlier, Thea could only assume that they had all eaten before the prayer session and as she blinked back at the three warriors currently stood in the doorway of the room, their eyes travelling between Malik and Thea in a questioning gaze, she couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable and squirm on the balls of her feet.

She hated to admit it but she felt very small under their gazes, especially since not one of them said anything.

Other than Orpheus, Thea didn’t know anyone else in this pack but as she couldn’t see him anywhere, it appeared that she had no choice but to wait to get her questions answered.

Not wanting to stick around in the packhouse as everyone kept openly staring at the both of them, almost as if they were caged animals in a circus, Thea helped Malik down from the chair and followed closely behind as they walked back to Orpheus’ house or rather, their new home for the unforeseeable future or more specifically, however long he desired to keep them around.

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Layla Knight

11.12.2020

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