The stranger gaped at me. After being so confident, he seemed to be rendered speechless now. He searched my eyes as if he was finding answers there, but I already told him everything he needed to know.
I moved out of his grip, and this time, he didn’t stop me. He remained silent, his brows furrowed. I didn’t wait for him to figure out what to say and ran home.
With aching legs, I slammed the door shut behind me. My breaths were fast and shallow, and my lungs hurt with every breath. I pulled the curtain to the side and glanced outside, making sure he didn’t follow me. When I didn’t see anyone, I closed the curtains again, followed by all the other curtains in my small bungalow.
I lowered myself onto my bed, hands shaking. I promised myself to never talk about what had happened. No one was supposed to find out about my past. The wolf inside me was never to be brought up again. I thought if I would never speak about it, the memory would disappear eventually as well. And with it, all the pain.
Now, this man popped out of nowhere and made me spill my deepest secret. He thinks just because he is an alpha, he can treat me like one of his omegas. I’m not part of his pack. How even? I’m not a wolf anymore!
Frustrated, I let out a puff of air and peeled myself out of the clammy clothes. The last sprint made me feel horrible. I’m a long-distance runner, not a sprinter. But I used to be an incredible sprinter.
I shook my head and cursed under my breath. “Don’t think about this.”
Whatever my wolf was good at didn’t matter anymore. She was gone, and I was still here. It took years to get this through my head, and one conversation ruined everything.
I walked into the bathroom and took a hot shower. The scorching hot water left red marks on my skin, but I didn’t care. The pain made me forget about the things I didn’t want to think about. At least temporarily.
When my skin reminded me of raisins, I stepped out of the shower and jumped at the sound of the front door opening. My heart was beating up in my throat, imagining the man breaking into my house.
“Mia?” George called.
I sighed in relief. “I’m here!”
He entered the bathroom and kissed the back of my head. “It’s pretty stuffy in here.”
He opened the window and took off his clothes, ready to take a shower as well.
I dropped my eyes from him and concentrated on a stubborn knot in my long hair. “How was your day?”
He stepped behind me and folded his hands over my belly. “Many loud and hyper little guests again.”
I laid my hands on top of his and smiled.
“I can’t wait to have some of our own.” His breath tickled my skin when he nibbled my right earlobe softly.
My heart sank. “I’m sorry. I had a bad day today.”
He stopped and searched my eyes in the mirror, concern written over his face. “Are you alright?”
I leaned into him and enjoyed his warmth and trust for a moment. “Yeah, but I need to get a good night of sleep.”
He nodded and pressed a kiss on my neck before entering the shower. I looked back at my stomach and frowned.
We had been trying to conceive for one year already. So far, we hadn’t been lucky. I know it might take a little longer until it finally happens, but it worried me. We tried all the tips and tricks. Nothing worked. We were certain none of us was infertile, but there still seemed to be a problem. I knew George still loved me the same, and he would never blame me, but I couldn’t help to feel like a failure. It was his biggest wish to become a father one day, and I can’t seem to live up to his dream. What if it never worked out?
I shook my head. This day was bad enough already. I didn’t need to cloud my mind with more negative thoughts. And who knew? Tomorrow, everything might look a lot better already.
In the morning, we walked to the archery site together. George bounced up and down with every step, a broad smile on his face. “The day couldn’t start any better!”
I smiled, but an uneasy feeling settled in my stomach, unable to share his excitement. I didn’t know what it was, but something told me this day would not be a lot better than yesterday.
George and I worked at the archery site together frequently, but it had been a while. I had other many other tasks to do. That’s the thing about being an all-rounder here. You can’t choose what you would like to do the most. You work where you are needed. At least it wasn’t another day of complaint management.
George picked up a few arrows and warmed up. I watched the arrows soaring through the air, hitting the bullseye. I smiled when he whipped his head towards me. A bright smile stretched over his face, sparkles in his eyes.
His smile grew even larger, and he puffed up his chest. I chuckled. It was so easy to make him happy sometimes.
It didn’t take long before the guests slowly arrived. I greeted each of them with a smile until I spotted the man from yesterday coming my way. I held my breath, hoping he came here by mistake. One boy and two girls ran around him, jumping up and down. He ignored them, as he had only eyes for me.
My heart sped up, and I held my breath, watching him coming closer until he was right in front of me. We stared at each other for a moment, and all the anger from yesterday boiled up inside me. I cleared my throat and glanced over my shoulder at George, making sure he didn’t see our encounter. I wouldn’t want him to worry.
The man looked back and forth between us, arching a brow. He was about to say something when George started his introduction. I threw the stranger one last glare before joining George with a smile plastered on my face. It felt fake. But what do they say? Fake it till you make it.
George shot a few arrows after his explanation before handing the bow to a woman in his group. I turned to my group and tried to act like the man didn’t exist, which was impossible. The power radiating from him was way too strong to be ignored.
The three children he brought all looked rather similar to him. I was certain those were pups in his pack, and they might be his children. I wanted to be indifferent about it, but the thought caused a whirlwind of emotions in me. Why could he have children, and I couldn’t?
“Are you okay?” The taller girl asked, and I realized I had been staring at them for an awkwardly long time.
I smiled. “Of course. I was lost in thought for a moment. Would you like to start?”
She nodded eagerly, her long curls jumping up and down. I handed her the bow and explained to her how to shoot one more time before handing her an arrow.
I stepped back and watched her focus on shooting. Her brows were furrowed, and her tongue was sticking out of her mouth slightly. It felt like minutes before she finally shot her first arrow, hitting the target. It didn’t hit the bullseye, but she was at least inside the mark. Her performance was a lot better than the ones from most adults coming here. I glanced at George’s group, seeing an arrow crashing into the ground not too far from the shooter.
Turning my attention back to the girl, I clapped my hands. “Very nice! Great job.”
She beamed at me and shot a few more arrows, getting increasingly better with each shot. After a while, she handed the bow to the boy. It didn’t surprise me he was as good as her. He roared with every arrow, hitting the target, and bantered with the girl.
I had little to do with my group. They behaved well and always took turns. Only the little girl with pigtails was hiding behind the man, who had still his gaze locked on me. I tried my hardest to ignore the piercing stare, but it made me break out in a sweat. I hadn’t been under the looming eyes of an alpha in years, and I can’t say I missed it.
Wiping my hands on my jeans, I crouched down, smiling at the little girl. “Do you want to shoot, too?”
She shook her head and tried to hide behind the man even more, gripping his jeans for dear life.
I glanced up at the man and stood up. “And you?”
I raised a brow and shrugged. I wonder why he paid for the activity if he didn’t plan to shoot. But it’s his money being thrown out of the window, not mine.
I turned around to the two other children again. They now hit the bullseye more frequently, and I smiled to myself. The joy on their faces reminded me of myself when I was a young pup. It was such a carefree time.
When the time was up, George and I bid farewell to the people who joined us and shot a few more arrows ourselves before packing things together again.
“You seemed to have fun today,” George said and pulled the last arrow out of the wood.
I wondered what gave him the impression. All I focused on was the stare from that alpha. I shrugged. “The kids were cute.”
He turned to me with that look on his face again. The ‘I wish we would have children too’ face.
He walked towards me and placed his hands on my stomach again, almost as if he wanted to pretend it was going to happen soon. “Our children will be cute, too. Some day.”
A pang in my chest made me lose my breath for a moment. I forced a smile and stepped away, not answering. My mouth went dry, and I wasn’t sure if I could have said something, even if I wanted to.
We cleaned up in silence and exited the area together. I cleared my throat. “What are you going to do next?”
George didn’t answer for a moment before he smiled at me. But it didn’t reach his eyes. “I will go to the climbing wall now. And you?”
“I’m done for today.”
He pressed a kiss on my forehead. “I’m glad to hear you can relax a bit. You have been working a lot more than usual recently.”
“Many people are ill right now.”
He nodded. “Also, I won’t be coming over later. I’m visiting my parents tonight.”
A heavy feeling settled in my stomach. “Oh, okay.”
“I would invite you to join me,” he said, staring at the ground.
I kissed his cheek. “It’s alright, don’t worry.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s not. But I will try my best.”
I nodded, but I knew whatever he did, it wouldn’t work. His parents hated me the moment they laid eyes on me. Whatever he would do, they would never accept me.
We walked to the storage room and put the equipment away. He pulled me into the room and held me close, a grin on his face.
“Remember this one time?” He whispered, his hand sliding up my leg.
I chuckled. “Of course, I do.”
He pushed me against the wall and kissed me feverishly. I gasped for air, almost getting lost in the moment when I remembered where we were.
“Bad timing,” I said.
He bit his lip and nodded. “You are right. I really need to go. Take care.”
I watched him hurry out of the storage room, taking his warmth with him. I sighed and locked the room. Unsure about what I should do now, I wandered around the compound for a while, without a direction or plan in mind. When I passed the archery site again, I spotted the alpha coming towards it, too. A cold shiver rushed through me, and I turned around, trying to avoid him.
“Don’t hide,” he said.
I groaned and stopped in my tracks. I knew this day would be awful, too.