Even though Thea had insisted that she wasn’t hungry and would just eat later, Marcellus had refused, most probably thinking that she felt weird being the only human in a house full of werewolves, especially when some weren’t used to having humans around.
Both Anastasia and her had tried to reason with him but it was no use, the stubborn Alpha even going as far as to place her on his right, claiming that if anyone had an issue, then they could raise it with him.
While she knew that Marcellus meant well and didn’t want her to feel left out, especially after how difficult it was for him and Anastasia to move past their initial problems, Thea wasn’t in the right mind to appreciate his kind nature.
Despite wanting nothing more than to grab Malik and run, she knew that was no longer possible, at least not in the immediate now. The fact that Malik was sat next to her and the rapist sat directly in front of her just made everything all that much worse.
When Marcellus had given him a general overview of everyone sat around their table, most of them Alpha’s, Luna’s and other higher-ups that had travelled far to attend their Mating ceremony. When his eyes had drifted across her, she hadn’t even bothered to do anything other than nod her head and look away immediately.
For the duration of the pack lunch, Thea kept her head down and focused on her plate, moving her food around with her fork since she wasn’t hungry anymore, especially since she could feel Marcellus send her a strange look every now and again while Anastasia didn’t all but stared a hole on the side of her head.
While she appreciated their concern, she couldn’t bring herself to look up in fear that she would have to look at him again. Just sitting across from him at the table torture enough
“Mummy?” Malik tugged on her sleeve to gain her attention.
“Yes, baby?” Thea forced a gentle smile on her face a she turned her head to face him, laughing softly as she spied the smudge of gravy on the side of his mouth.
Reaching for her napkin, she refused to lift her head as she dabbed at the corner of her mouth
“Can I have two more potatoes, please?”
“Sure, you can.” She leaned in and pressed her lips to the crown of his head, her hand subconsciously reaching out to flatten that one strand of hair at the top that refused to be tamed.
Before she could do just that, the man across from her decided to inject himself into the conversation; as if he hadn’t done enough already.
“Here, let me.” The gruff voice sounded aloud as he beat her to it and leaned across the table to spoon a few potatoes onto Malik’s plate.
“Thank you.” Her perfectly polite son beamed up at his father – not that anyone but her and Anastasia knew, though she wasn’t sure what was running through the rapist’s mind.
Thea merely pursed her lips in response, refusing to thank him for anything, not after what he had done to her and who knew how many other women.
If once a cheater, always a cheater was applicable, then so was once a rapist, always a rapist.
When her lips turned down in a deep scowl, she didn’t even bother try to hide the roll of her eyes before going back to pushing food around her plate. He could pretend to be as nice and helpful as he wanted, but she knew better.
She knew that he was a rapist and there was nothing that could change that fact; nothing to conceal or sugar coat the ugly truth that was him.
Very aware of the fact that Marcellus had been watching her for the past few minutes and Anastasia was trying to keep him at bay and from asking her what was wrong since she knew what she was going through. Thea sighed and stabbed her fork into a chunk of chicken before lifting it to her mouth, forcing herself to eat something so as to not raise too many suspicions.
As proud and overjoyed as she had been with her roast potatoes earlier, the same could not be said now as everything in her mouth felt dry and bland, though she was sure that was not credited to the chef.
While she continued to pretend to eat the food on her plate, Thea desperately wracked her brain for the perfect time and excuse for her and Malik to leave the table, needing to get as far away from this man as soon as possible.
The longer she spent in his presence, the more she felt like she was dying inside, and the fact that he sent her a purposeful look every few minutes wasn’t helping the situation any. In fact, it was just making her feel worse but with no one having left the table yet, she didn’t want to be the first one to leave and grab any unnecessary attention to themselves.
As if she didn’t stand out enough with being the only human around or more specifically, the only human with a werewolf pup.
When Malik was finished with his food, only eating the one extra potato and leaving the rest that was given to him – something which she had learnt about her son was that if he said he only wanted one potato, then he really meant he wanted just the one and most probably, wouldn’t touch any of the others – the little man excused himself from the table to play with the rest of the kids
If only she could join them.
“Thea?” The Alpha wolf called out to her in a small, barely-there whisper as he leaned over so she would hear. “Is everything okay? You’re acting a bit strange.”
“Sorry, what?” She blinked up at him with confusion evidently swirling around in her eyes, glancing between the Alpha and Luna duo who were evidently staring at her. If the situation wasn’t so serious and Thea wasn’t in such a foul mood, she probably would have laughed at the way Anastasia was pinching Marcellus under the table to get his attention – clearly not yet used to having the mind link – but to no avail, her mate was stubborn and completely oblivious with what
When the former sent her a weird look, Thea couldn’t help but frown and glance around the room, looking for an escape but that quickly ceased as soon as she caught eyes with the man sitting directly in front of her.
“Thea?” Marcellus murmured quietly again, strategically moving his hand over his mouth but in a room full of wolves, there really was no point as anyone that was paying attention would be able to hone in on what they were saying.
“I didn’t hear what you said.” Her cheeks heated as she admitted honestly, yet another reminder that she wasn’t a supernatural being like the rest of them.
“Everything’s okay, right?” Anastasia spoke slightly louder with her lips turned up at the corners slightly, though the look in her eyes spoke volumes.
“Yes.” She nodded her head rigidly, unable to help it. “Everything’s fine. I’m just not very hungry.”
Marcellus hummed with a thoughtful look on his face as he kept alternating between glancing between Anastasia and Thea, very much aware that something was going on and they were keeping it from him.
“You sure that’s it?” He asked but when Anastasia swiftly jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow and quickly followed it up with an empty apology, it appeared that he understood now was not the time for questions.
“Yes.” Thea confirmed with a nod before rushing to finish off the food on her plate even though most of it had started to go cold.
Perhaps not eating was not the right choice of plan. The sooner she finished her food, the sooner she had an excuse to leave the table or more specifically, get away from him.
“Thea, right?” A voice sounded from their side of the table and as she lifted her head in curiosity at the sound of her name but very quickly, she found herself come to regret it.
“What?” She sounded in surprise as she blinked up at his dark onyx orbs, momentarily caught off guard, especially since she was struggling to swallow her mouthful; currently stuffed with a mash of potatoes and meat.
As she reached out for her glass of water to wash it all down with, her eyes scanned the room for an escape route but when she couldn’t find one that would be easily accessible on such last notice, she shamelessly came up with using her son as bait.
Before the half-hearted excuse could roll off the tip of her tongue, the criminal in question jumped to the opportunity before she had a chance to leave, especially since it was evident that she looking for a way out.
“Your name is Thea, right?” The man chuckled again as he wiped his mouth on a napkin, seemingly finished with his meal.
“Yes.” She replied in a nonchalant manner, not planning to stick around, especially now that he had dropped staring at her to talk to her instead.
As if she would want to talk to him after what he had done to her all those years ago.
While she had been near certain before that he didn’t remember who she was or even recognised her for that matter, mostly because it had been over five years since then and he had given absolutely no indicating of knowing who he was, she couldn’t say the same now. With the way he had chosen to sit directly in front of her and his eyes kept drifting back to her every few moments, Thea was certain that it had all been an act earlier or he suddenly recognised her from that dark night in the alleyway.
When their eyes locked again and he flashed his thirty-two pearly whites at her, a disgusted shiver ran down her spine and she was quick to avert her eyes but unfortunately, that was not the end of their encounter.
“I didn’t get a chance before but Thea, this is Alpha Orpheus Vladimir of the Apo to Chaos pack in Canada.”
Her frown deepened as she glanced between both of the men whom stared back at her expectantly, almost as if they were waiting for her to say something but all she could do was blink back at Anastasia, both of their eyes wide in surprise and shock.
“Alpha Orpheus, this is Thea Petrovna. She’s a dear friend of ours from the Lupus Rapax pack, just a few hours away from here.”
When his smile tipped higher at Marcellus’ over-indulgence of personal information, Thea’s eyes widened in a mixture of shock and fear.
As soon as the words passed his lips, Thea wanted to elbow Marcellus in the ribs but since he was Alpha and he she couldn’t reach that far as he was at the head of the table and she was sat to his right, she couldn’t. However, on top of that, she couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
“Did you just say Alpha?” She couldn’t help but emphasise on the title, unable to believe her ears, and this time not because she was a human surrounded by werewolves with enhanced, supernatural abilities.
“Yes, Alpha Orpheus. It’s nice to meet you, Thea Petrovna.” He grinned back at her while extending a hand in what others would believe to be a friendly, polite gesture but she knew better.
“Likewise.” She forced a smile, not the least bit bothered that her face had scrunched up in a tight grimace instead. “I would shake your hand but I’m really quite starving.” Thea lied smoothly as she gestured to the half-eaten food on her plate.
“I’m glad to see you have a healthy appetite.” Alpha Orpheus smirked as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest, blinking back at her, almost as if she was some sort of circus show that was so interesting and entertaining that he couldn’t take his eyes off of it.
She merely hummed in response before turning her attention back to her plate, wanting nothing more than for this conversation – one which she never wanted to be a part of in the first place – to be over.
While it was bad enough that this man had raped her and he had coincidentally appeared today, it would have been nothing to worry about in a few days once she returned back to her pack and most probably would never have to see him again. But now that they had all but exchanged names and location, it had all gotten so much more personal.
That, and the fact that before today, Orpheus was nothing more than a nightmare to her, but now, she had found out that he was an Alpha. Before today, he had been nothing more than a regular wolf but now, he had such a grand title, one which came along with a ridiculous amount of power and strength; two things that he could very easily use against her if he so much as wished to.
Before she had suspected that his wolf had somehow sensed that Malik was his son but now, she was absolutely certain of it.
He was an Alpha which in turn, made Malik an Alpha too. Since it appeared that he had turned up to this event alone, she could only assume that he didn’t have a mate. If he didn’t have a mate, she could also assume that he didn’t have any children.
Well, other than Malik.
If that was the case, and she certainly hoped it wasn’t, then she feared that there was so much more to the situation than what was evidently visible from the surface. If Malik was first-born, then that meant that he was the rightful heir to the Apo to Chaos pack and while something like that was usually a matter to celebrate and rejoice about, Thea couldn’t help but worry about their future.
Was that the reason he had shown up today? While it appeared that he was here to attend the Mating ceremony just like everyone else, Thea still couldn’t help but worry, not when there was so much at stake.
Almost as if he was waiting for this moment, Orpheus chose to spoke up the moment she placed her cutlery together on the plate; having eaten just enough.
“Forgive me if this is too forward, but I can’t help but wonder what a human like you is doing in a werewolf pack. Especially with a wolf pup.”
Not that she had any intention of answering, but Marcellus was quick to jump to her defence.
“I believe that may just be a little too forward, Orpheus.” He chuckled awkwardly and glanced between the both of them.
While the observation was very valid, Thea agreed that it was far too personal to ask a stranger. However, the fact that Orpheus knew the answer just made her even more uncomfortable and everything far worse.
Orpheus chuckled in response but before he could voice aloud any more of his thoughts, Anastasia was quick to jump in and save her.
“Yes?” Her head snapped to the left the moment her name sounded aloud.
“Could you come with me? I need your help with something.” Anastasia lied smoothly and Thea rose to her feet before she had even finished nodding her head and together, they hooked their arms together and rushed out of the large dining room, not daring to spare a glance back at the two males that had watched the encounter closely, though for two completely different reasons.
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