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

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Chapter Twenty-Three


“Do you want to wake mummy or should I?”

“Me!” Malik cheered loudly but was quick to quieten, even going as far as to shoosh himself. “I think I was too loud.”

Instead of chastising her son like she expected him to, Orpheus chuckled in response.

“Same here, kid. Seems like mummy is already awake.”

Opening her eyes, Thea groaned lightly and turned around to lay on her back instead of on her side, surprised to find two pairs of identical dark eyes and matching grins staring down at her. When she turned her head to look at her son, Thea couldn’t hold back the smile that threatened to take over her face.

“Morning, baby.” She greeted him happily, her smile only growing larger in size as he leaned down to place a kiss on her cheek.

“Mummy, you need to get up.” Malik insisted as he reached down for her hand before proceeding to tug her off the bed, almost as if he expected to be capable of such strength.

Not wanting to break his little heart, Thea pulled a surprised face and sat up in bed, allowing him to believe that he had been the one to lift her.

When Orpheus chuckled, it broke the little bubble that they were in and she turned her head to face him but immediately, a thoughtful expression took over her face. Glancing between the both of them, her lips turned down slightly at the sides, having to blink a few times to realise that she wasn’t just seeing things.

“Are you guys wearing matching outfits right now?” She asked while continuing to glance between them.

Dressed in a black shirt and grey joggers, Thea felt like she was seeing double; like she already knew what her son would look like in twenty years. With the same tan complexion, obsidian black eyes, sharp nose – though the elder man’s nose was slightly bent out of place, no doubt from a physical altercation – dark curly hair, Thea was reminded of the fact that yet again, the paternity test was a complete waste of time.

One of the many reasons that she wasn’t able to forget the few glimpses she had caught of him that night was simply because other than a few unnoticeable features, her son hardly looked like her and more than on a few occasions people had questioned their relationship, unable to believe that they were mother and son.

“Yes.” Orpheus grinned at her boyishly, clearly proud of his accomplishment; if you could even call it that. “I think I did a pretty good job.”

“I wouldn’t give you that much credit.” Thea snorted as she leaned back in the bed, crossing her legs underneath her. “It’s a pretty basic outfit.”

He grinned and didn’t comment further but when Marcellus slipped off the bed to sit on the floor and do up his shoes, Orpheus took advantage of the situation to get her attention.

“I did some thinking last night and I’m really happy that you asked about us praying and Lord Erebus. I understand that all of this is fairly new to the both of you right now and that you probably don’t understand it yet, but I’m really glad that you’re showing an interest.”

Instead of responding, Thea forced a smile on her face before sliding out of the bed, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable.

“That’s good to hear.” She mumbled awkwardly after a few moments of silence, realising that he was patiently waiting for her to say something.

“I thought we could start easing the both of you into it all.”

“Easing us into it? How?” Thea couldn’t help but question with a small frown on her face, glancing back at him on her way to the bathroom so they could get started for the day.

“The both of you are going to join us in morning prayer.” Orpheus clapped his hands together, a wide grin on his face in excitement. Either he was blind or he was choosing to turn a blind eye to the baffled expression on her face, one which indicated that praying first thing in the morning wasn’t part of her morning routine.

Despite having grown up in a pack and surrounded by werewolves, her father being a werewolf himself, Thea simply didn’t hold much believe in a God or religion. While she did acknowledge that there must be a higher being that had created the universe, the world and so much more, she struggled with the concept that the Moon Goddess existed but chose to punish her by not giving her a wolf just because she was only half-wolf. The fact that the werewolf gene was supposed to be dominant had always made her feel all that much worse, alienating her further wherever she went.

While she wasn’t opposed to the idea of Malik wanting to pray and partaking in a religion if that was what he wanted, she didn’t like the idea that it was forced upon either one of them.

As much as she wanted to tell him no, that she and Malik weren’t about to start praying to anyone, especially a deity she knew absolutely nothing about, the sinister glint in his eyes despite the somewhat friendly smile on his face indicated that, that was simply not an option.

Instead of turning him down, she forced another uncomfortable smile, her head moving up and down slightly; not pleased in the least bit.

“Are we going to eat breakfast before or after praying?” She couldn’t help but ask, not really sure what else to say.

“Before breakfast today.” He grinned at her. “I was thinking we could grab some breakfast at a local diner before we drop Malik off at school today. How does that sound?”

Before Thea could bring herself to answer, the little boy in question sprang into the air from the ground, very excitable with the idea of going out to eat, and she had a feeling she knew why as it was always the same request.

“Can I get pancakes?”

“Of course, sweety.” Thea chuckled and reached a hand out to smooth his hair back although she already knew there was no use. That one strand at the back was always going to stand up regardless of what she tried, so she wasn’t sure why she bothered anymore.

“While you get dressed, Malik and I will wait downstairs.” Orpheus announced as he reached out for the little boy’s hand, the both of them turning around to head out of the bedroom, leaving absolutely no room for discussion or compromise.

Even though Orpheus was technically Malik’s father, Thea couldn’t help but worry so she rushed to pull on a simple outfit of a plain dark jumper, blue flared jeans and ankle boots. After having already washed her face and brushed her teeth, she tied her hair back in a pony tail as she made her way down the stairs.

“Ready to go?” Orpheus called out to her from his spot on the sofa, not looking up as his thumbs tapped away at the screen; obviously texting someone.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” She couldn’t help but chuckle in response even though being pressured into praying was not exactly something that she had planned for this morning.

“Alright. Let’s get going then.” He hummed even though he was the only one still left sitting, Malik and Thea already waiting for him impatiently by the door.

Once she heard him join them in the hallway where he proceeded to slip on his shoes, she didn’t dare turn around as she could feel him glancing her up and down, taking his sweet time. The fact that her body heated from the simple look made her feel sick to her stomach which made her glad that she hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

“You look nice.” Orpheus murmured after a few moments as he joined them, slipping his phone into his pocket.

Thea pursed her lips in response as she walked ahead, already knowing that the morning prayer took place in the field as she spied them in action yesterday morning.

The closer they got to the field, the more Thea dragged her feet and it was only when he glanced over his shoulder and sent her a funny look that she was forced to up her speed, unable to hold off the inevitable any longer.

Just like yesterday, all of the wolves were kneeled down on the ground with their heads bowed, awaiting their Alpha so they could get started with the morning prayer which took place at nine am sharp every morning.

Thea had expected Orpheus to leave them both at the back since this was their first prayer but when he chuckled and gripped his fingers around her elbow, he tugged them both to the front.

“What are you doing?” She whispered quietly even though she knew that all of these wolves would be able to hear her regardless of how quiet she tried to be.

“You thought I’d leave you at the back?” He laughed softly before turning to kneel on the ground, his lips tipping higher as Malik watched carefully and followed his actions.

When she nodded, he cocked his head to the side, silently suggesting that she join him on the other side. Unsure of what else to do and not wanting to deny him in front of his entire pack, scared and wary of what the repercussions would be, Thea dropped herself to her knees on the ground, following everyone else and bowing her head.

Thea wasn’t sure what she should expect, but when silence engulfed them, she couldn’t help but wonder if she was supposed to feel a certain way. As the moments passed and she didn’t feel any different, not even in the slightest, only thinking of how long this would last, the way her knees felt uncomfortable with kneeling on the ground and the fact that was grass was a little wet, dampening her jeans which she knew would dry into a grass stain later.

When she least expected it, Orpheus opened his mouth and began chanting loudly.

Having not witnessed this yesterday – most probably as she hadn’t heard from being in the packhouse – she couldn’t help but jump in momentary fear, but was quick to catch herself as she didn’t want to offend anyone with her sudden actions.

His indiscernible chanting grew louder and more powerful as he spoke until finally, the sound ceased, allowing time for a few more moments of silence.

Before she knew it, the prayer was over and everyone was rising to their feet. Without any time to ponder over what had happened and the way she felt, Orpheus reached down for Malik’s hand and grinned down at her, gesturing for her to follow as it was time for that diner breakfast that he had promised.

Just as he had stated earlier, the diner was less than a five-minute walk from the packhouse and the moment they stepped in through the door or rather, the moment Orpheus stepped through the door, the manager rushed over to greet his Alpha and direct them toward what appeared to be his favourite table, right next to the window.

As promised, Malik ordered pancakes along with Orpheus while Thea opted for eggs and waffles instead. As the little boy was very much interested in the sweet breakfast and Orpheus was far too interested in talking to whoever was currently texting him, Thea was forced to focus on her breakfast even though she wasn’t very hungry.

While the eggs were cooked to perfection and the waffles just the way she liked them, the maple syrup making everything better by tying it all perfectly together, she couldn’t bring herself to eat; not with so many thoughts, feelings and emotions running through her mind.

During the prayer, Thea had felt absolutely nothing, only worrying about worldly things which she had assumed would take a back seat during that special time. It was only when Orpheus had started chanting in an unknown language that she felt shivers run down her spine, though she was sure that had something more to do with the fact that she couldn’t understand him; but Thea was known to lying to herself as living in denial was her life motto.

“Finished?” A voice sounded aloud, demanding her attention.

Even though Thea had only managed to make her way through half of the food on her plate, she nodded her head and stood up, joining the both of them as they made their way out of the booth. She would have offered to pay but it appeared that he already had a tab at the diner.

“You ready for school, baby?” She couldn’t help but coo at Malik as the car pulled up outside the building.

Malik nodded and grinned, though she was sure it had more to the fact that he was still ecstatic from the pancakes he had been treated to for breakfast but either way, she was happy that he was happy.

As Orpheus helped Malik out of the car, the both of them watched as he took a few shy steps at first, but as the other kids made their way into the classroom, he glanced back at his parents one last time. Orpheus beckoned for him to go ahead but the little boy bit his lip, not yet convinced.

When Thea cocked her head to the side and blew him a kiss, his whole world lit up and just after he had blown one back to her, he joined the others in the classroom, still nervous but now excited too. Even when the classroom door closed to indicate that their school day had started, Thea couldn’t help but stare, worried about how he would settle in; if he would settle in.

“He’s going to be okay; you know?” Orpheus hummed quietly as sat down in the driver’s seat, turning his head to send her a soft look. “The teacher has been teaching kindergarten for years now and she’s great with kids. You have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“I’m his mum. I can’t help but worry.” She sighed and tugged on the end of her pony tail, sincerely hoping that he fit in fine

“And I’m his dad, but you don’t see me making myself sick with worry.” Orpheus chuckled as he started up the car, glancing behind as he began peeling out of the parking lot. “But I guess that’s the difference between a mum and dad.”

Not in the mood to complicate the situation by stating the obvious truth, Thea bit her tongue and merely hummed in response. There was a lot she could say about the difference between a mum or dad or more specifically, the difference between her and Orpheus, the obvious one being that she had been around from the very first day while he got to pick and choose when he wanted to insert himself into their lives, but she simply didn’t have the time nor the patience to focus on something so negative right now.

Similar to the way the rest of the morning had been, they rode back to the packhouse in an uncomfortable silence, not that Orpheus seemed the least bit bothered or concerned by it, completely unaware to the ruckus running through her mind.


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Layla Knight


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