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

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Chapter Twenty-One


A few hours late and Thea found herself back in the packhouse scavenging for good. Except this time, she had perfectly timed it so it was lunch time and the pack was thriving with wolves whom had all taken a break from their busy day to sit down and eat together.

While she was sure that the whole pack wasn’t eating lunch in the packhouse right now, both the dining room and the kitchen were packed with only an empty spot at the head of the table which she could only assume was specifically reserved for the Alpha.

Just like before, no one spoke to her and instead, just resorted to staring at her, as if they had never seen a human before.

After she had plated food for them both, Thea turned around and headed out of the dining room and into the living room, choosing to sit and eat their lunch away from everyone else. While she would have enjoyed making conversation with some of them and getting to know people, it appeared that they still weren’t over the shock of the Alpha returning with a mate and son that no one knew he had before so instead, she reached for the remote and turned on the TV, using the quiet sound of it to drown out their voices.

Malik ate his shredded chicken and pea with his eyes transfixed on the TV while she sat on the sofa and played with the food on her plate, not having much of an appetite. Other than sitting around all day and playing with Malik, Thea had done absolutely nothing and she had hated it. While she absolutely adored spending time with her son, the both of them were used to a timetable and in the morning, she usually multi-tasked spending time with him as well as working on her laptop but as he had taken away all of her electronics, she was sure that she had fallen behind on work; meaning that it would be difficult and a rush for her to catch up and meet all the deadlines that had previously been agreed and set in place.

When she felt the sofa dip next to her and a knee brush against hers, Thea looked up, her breath hitching in her throat as none other than the Alpha wolf opting to join them in the living room instead of at his designated spot at the head of the dining table with the rest of the pack.

If anyone was surprised by his actions, they didn’t show it.

“What are you doing?”

“Having lunch.” Orpheus stated simply and shrugged before getting started on the large pile of food on his plate.

By this point, Thea was immune to the vast amounts of food that werewolves ate so the mountain piled upon his plate didn’t faze her at all.

“Shouldn’t you be in the dining room with everyone else?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

Thea pursed her lips but chose not to comment further on the matter. She figured that he was a big ass man and clearly, he could make his own decisions. Even though she wasn’t overjoyed at the fact that he was trying to make an effort and spend time with the both of them, there wasn’t anything that she could do about it.

Not in the mood to converse with her rapist for any longer than necessary, Thea turned her attention on the cartoon that was playing on the TV, nibbling on a small portion of her food while moving around the rest of it on her plate.

“Your parents never tell you to not play with your food?” He leaned in to whisper into her ear, smirking as she pulled a face and moved to lean away from him, almost as if he found it funny.

“Your parents never tell you to ask for consent before hand?”

“For both of our sakes, I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear that.” He growled lowly before moving away from her, angrily stabbing at a potato on his plate, clearly not fond of her underhanded comment, not that she could bring herself to care in the slightest.

Before Thea could respond, Malik turned around to show them that he had finished off his plate.

“Mummy, can I go play?” Malik asked as he tugged on the bottom of her hoodie, staring up at her with big, innocent eyes.

Even though she wanted to say yes, Thea bit her lip as she contemplated over the thought. With this sudden change in their lives, she couldn’t help but worry about every little thing and with her son being at the centre of her world, his safety came first. Despite the fact that playing with other children was something very innocent, she couldn’t help but worry that he wouldn’t come back, or someone would try to do something to him the moment she looked away and if he was in another room, there wasn’t much that she could do to stop anything from happening before it actually happened.

“It’ll be okay.” A quiet voice murmured from beside her, encouraging her to not overthink so much. “Let him go play with the other pups. No one will dare to even look at him funny.”

Sighing, she leaned back against the sofa and nodded her head. Although she wasn’t completely onboard with the idea, she knew that she couldn’t hold her son just because she was scared of what could possibly happen, but probably wouldn’t happen.

“If you need anything, I’ll be right here, okay?”

“Okay.” He grinned up at her, a little dimple poking through on both of his cheeks.

As she watched him run away from her and out of the room, he paused to glance back at her one last time. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she blew him a kiss and couldn’t help but laugh softly when he made a show of blowing one back.

She couldn’t help but laugh at his actions, finding it highly amusing but when the deep, throaty sound of his laughter joined hers, she couldn’t help but clamp her mouth shut; a natural bodily reaction, especially with having him so close as sitting right next to her.

“Malik told me you and him had pancakes last night.” Thea couldn’t help but whisper as she watched her son disappear from her line of sight and into the next room.

“And you’re concerned that I was trying to poison him?” Orpheus cocked a questioning, teasing brown in her direction. When she shook her head, he chuckled and continued. “I was joking but just so you know, if I wanted either of you dead, then you’d be buried six feet under by now. You’re far more valuable to me alive than dead so as of right now, neither of you have anything to worry about.”

Despite his words of assurance, Thea couldn’t help but feel as far from assured as possible. Instead, a chilled shiver ran down her spine, and not a pleasurable one.

“Thank you.” Thea forced the pleasantry out of her mouth. Even he had done something as kind as feeding her son while she had been asleep, thanking him just felt so wrong.

“You don’t need to thank me for feeding Malik.” He groaned lightly, reaching a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, frustrated from the difficult morning that he had been presented with so far. “He’s my son too and I’ll appreciate it if you could remember that.”

Thea merely hummed back in response to indicate that she had heard him and acknowledged his words, but refused to verbally agree. As far as she was concerned, Malik was her son and her son only; Orpheus being nothing but a sperm donor.

“You’re really good with him, you know?”

“I’m his mum. I have to be good with him.” Thea didn’t bother hiding the fact that she rolled her eyes.

“Not necessarily.” Orpheus denied with a gentle shake of his head. “From what I’ve seen, you’ve done very well for yourself considering the circumstances.”

“The circumstances?” Thea couldn’t help but question even though she had picked up on what he was referring to, but she desired to hear it from the horse’s mouth itself.

“Being a single mother. Raising him on your own.” He shrugged as he explained. “That’s something to commend. Not a lot of people can do that. Not to mention the fact that you’re human while your son is a werewolf.” He paused to chuckle, a light glint in his eyes. “I’d love to know what was running through your mind the moment you realised that you were bringing up a pup and not a human baby.”

“So, you’re finally admitting to the rape?” Thea couldn’t help but stop herself when the perfect opportunity arose, silently hoping that he would fall for the trap and finally admit the truth, even if they didn’t have an audience to witness the confession.

While Thea had absolutely no doubt in her mind that Orpheus had raped her that night, she was tired of being constantly told by him that, that was not the way things had transpired that night. Even though she firmly believed in her truth, gaslighting was a thing, as was Stockholm syndrome, two very valid concepts which she feared she would fall subject to if she spent too much time in the Apo to Chaos pack.

“Don’t put words in my mouth.” Orpheus chuckled as if she had made a joke when her question couldn’t be further from a joke even if she had tried with all of her might. Shuffling around on the sofa, he turned his body so he was facing her now, playfully knocking his knee against hers; either unaware or uncaring with how uncomfortable and anxious it made her feel. Knowing him, it was probably the former as she had very quickly learnt that Orpheus acted without any regards to other people or what the impact his actions would have to those around him.

“But I’d still like to know what was your reaction when you found out Malik was a wolf.” His lips pulled up into a small smile as he watched her carefully from under dark, hooded eyes.

Unable to tolerate the feel of his knee against hers any longer, Thea made a show of sliding down the sofa just a little, putting just enough distance between them, before she addressed his question.

“I didn’t start picking up on the fact that he wasn’t human until his second birthday.” Thea admitted honestly, her eyes dazed and her lips curling up into a small smile as she thought back to the fond memory. “All the other kids in the neighbourhood were a little older than him and they all had a bike or scooter or something. I saved up to get him a tricycle for his birthday and when he saw it in the morning, he got so excited that he started running around the room.” She couldn’t help but momentarily pause the story as a few giggles escaped her at the reminder of one of her favourite memories.

He couldn’t help but watch her with a warm smile on his face as she laughed, and it was only once she calmed down that she was able to continue on with the story.

“Like I was saying, he was so excited that he was running all over the place and I’m not exactly sure what happened, but when I finally managed to catch him, he had sprouted fur all over his arms and back. I had no idea what was happening at first but when he saw himself in the mirror, he asked if we were getting a dog, too.”

“As offended as I am that he thought he was a dog, that is definitely one funny story.” Orpheus threw his head back and laughed, having not expected the story to have taken such a humorous turn.

For once, it felt they were both on the same page but Thea was sure that with his track record, it wouldn’t last long.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t around.”

Not in the right mindset to have a heart to heart with him right now, Thea shook her head gently, quick to change the topic before things got too serious between them. It appeared that whenever things took a serious turn for them, it was always her that was on the receiving end of all of the suffering, him being the one to dish it all out.

“Since you’re adamant of us sticking around for a while, I want Malik to start going to school here.”

Orpheus hummed quietly as he rubbed a hand under his chin and mulled over her words, having not expected that from her.

“He’s five, right?”

Thea nodded her head in confirmation.

“Do 5-year olds even go school?”

She sighed and resisted the urge to roll her eyes, not wanting to piss him off when she needed him to agree to what she wanted.

“He started kindergarten last month at our pack, so I’d like him to start going kindergarten here, too.” Thea stated firmly with her arms crossed over her chest, indicating that this was not up for discussion but rather something that she required of him. “Despite the circumstances of what happened between us and how we ended up here today, I want things to be as normal for him as possible, and school tops the list.”

“I can make that happen.” His lips twitched at the corners, evidently amused with the way she was making demands. “Anything else?”

“Actually, yes.”

“Go on.”

“Just like you have some rules in place for me to follow, I have some demands of my own.” Internally, she released a grateful sigh when her voice didn’t waver, not showing any fear or hesitation.

If she wanted to get her way with him, then she needed to remove fear off the table otherwise he would always have the upper hand over her.

“Demands?” Orpheus echoed in a low murmur, rubbing a thoughtful hand down his jaw as he reclined back on the sofa, his other arm stretched over the back of the sofa, gently and nonchalantly playing with her hair, almost as if she wouldn’t notice what he was doing.

“Yes, demands.” She resisted the urge to roll her eyes at his tone. “I’m not just some plaything for you to keep around for whenever suits you best, and I refuse to be treated with nothing with the utmost respect like anyone else.” She paused and turned her head to watch him, surprised that he hadn’t cut her off already. When he neither moved or said anything, she took that as a sign to continue. “If you demand that we need to start acting like mates, not saying that that’s what I want, then you need to start treating me like a mate. That means treating me like an equal.”

When the sound of his chuckle met her ears, Thea’s lips turned down into a frown as she stopped, not nearly finished with all that she had yet to say to him. In fact, she had barely grazed the surface of all that they needed to talk about.

“I have some business I need to tend to right now, but this was a good talk.” Orpheus hummed as he lifted himself off the sofa and reached down to grab all of the plates, intending to place them in the dishwasher before he left. “Let’s talk some more tonight. I would love to hear some more of your demands.”

And with that, Alpha Orpheus winked at her before making his way out of the room and just like his son, he paused, glanced over his shoulder and blew her a kiss.

Even though Thea tried to convince herself that she was disgusted and force her lips to twist down into a scowl, she couldn’t stop the laughter from bubbling up to the surface.

With all of these conflicting emotions running through her body in that moment, Thea no longer knew what to think.


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Layla Knight


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