Chapter 9: Jamie/Max
“You two, get out,” Alpha Hunter said with a displeased tone, motioning for the two omegas from the Whitecrest pack to leave. They hesitated only for a moment, then they headed for the door without so much as a bow of the head. Jamie stared at them with shock, wondering if they were anywhere else, whether Alpha Hunter would have killed them on the spot or beaten them to the brink of death just to bring them back and do it again.
“Tsk, look at them. No respect at all,” Beta Jack sneered as the door closed. Even without a supernatural hearing, Jamie was sure the two omegas heard him. “What is the point of giving them all those privileges when they can’t do anything? The only difference between omegas and humans is that omegas can heal faster and know about our world. What is there to respect?” he added, glancing at Jamie with a scowl. “What are you looking at? Bring the food here.”
“Yes, Beta,” Jamie replied with a brisk bow, hurrying towards the table where the breakfast waited on several plates covered with lids. The alpha and beta of the Whitecrest pack had disappeared after the beta’s quick apology and they had been gone for more than ten minutes. Jamie had no idea what exactly happened since he had been looking down at that moment, but as the two men headed for the door, he glanced after them and he could swear he saw red eyes looking at him.
That was impossible, of course, only rogues past the point of no return had red eyes, so it must have been his imagination playing a nasty trick on him. But the look of hurt and rage on his mate’s face wasn’t imaginary. Was it what Alpha Hunter had hinted that triggered him? It wasn’t impossible with the way he acted last night — even Jamie felt sick to his stomach when he thought of his mate being with someone else. With that alpha blood enhancing his emotions and instincts, he was probably preparing to jump Alpha Hunter. That was probably why his beta dragged him out.
This couldn’t go on much longer or something terrible was going to happen. It didn’t look like Alpha Hunter had figured out what was going on yet, but it was only a matter of time. Jamie could only hope he hadn’t noticed him flinching when he caught his arm earlier.
Jamie served the food on the table in front of them, refilling their cups and stepping away while they dug in like they had been starved for months. Jamie retreated to the wall again, keeping his head down and his presence to minimal as they devoured the food while bad-mouthing the Whitecrest’s alpha and beta.
At least there was one good thing that came out of this whole thing — he learned the name of the Whitecrest pack’s alpha. Maxwell. Maxwell Black. Even his name suited him.
“Is that all the food?” Beta Jack asked with annoyance, turning around and leaning his hand over the back of the chair before scowling at Jamie. Beta Jack was one of the few unmated men in the pack that never sought him out and always got this disgusted expression when Jamie was around. Jack wasn’t stupid enough to call him names or bring up his bed habits since Jamie was sleeping with the alpha, but nobody would stop him from treating Jamie like trash or reminding him every time what a disappointment of a man he was, even for an omega. “Go bring more.”
“Yes, Beta,” Jamie said readily, immediately heading for the door.
“Wait,” Alpha Hunter called and Jamie rooted himself in his spot, glancing over his shoulder just as the alpha got up and circled his chair. The others had stopped eating and were watching them intently, as if expecting something interesting to happen. Jamie swallowed the lump in his throat, bowing his head lower. The alpha’s fingers caught his chin, pushing it up so Jamie had no choice but to meet his eyes.
“Before you go, I just want to make sure you’re not getting some funny ideas from these stupid northerners,” he said, and Jamie quickly shook his head. “All these talks about equality and better treatment… you’re not buying it, aren’t you? Order exists with purpose, otherwise, there won’t be alpha, beta, and omegas, isn’t that right? You understand where you belong, isn’t that right… omega?”
“Yes, Alpha. I understand,” Jamie replied readily, his chest tightening as he saw the dangerous flame in the alpha’s eyes.
“I am not quite convinced you do,” Alpha Hunter said, letting go of his chin. “I’ll be expecting you later in my room for some… reminding.”
“Y-y-yes, Alpha,” Jamie stuttered with a second delay, bowing down low to hide the disgust that sneaked into his face. Ever since the mate bond got activated, just the thought of someone else touching him was making him sick. But it’s not like he had the luxury to refuse. He just had to bear it as usual and put a little more effort into pretending. “I’ll go bring more food immediately.”
“You do that,” Alpha Hunter said, already turning his back on him and sitting down.
Jamie rushed to the door, opening it carefully and stepping out. As the door clicked into place, he let out a silent sigh of relief, rubbing his head when he noticed he wasn’t alone in the corridor.
He lifted his head, staring with surprise at the two omegas from the Whitecrest pack who were standing by the nearby wall and staring at him with a mix of shock and pity. The taller of them licked his lips nervously and made him a sign to follow. Jamie hesitated but eventually followed, since he needed to find the kitchen in this place and there was a chance the other omega was taking him there.
That theory was disproved the moment they turned the corner and the Whitecrest omega stopped, turning to face him. He stepped closer and Jamie braced himself instinctively, but the guy just leaned towards him, lowering his voice.
“I’m sorry if I am overstepping, but you… you don’t need to go to him if you don’t want to,” he whispered, taking Jamie by surprise. “He should not be forcing you to do anything just because you’re an omega. You have rights. If you are afraid or you need to escape somewhere, you can come to our pack. I’m sure our alpha will accept you if he hears about your circumstances. And you won’t get such treatment here. Ever.”
Jamie opened his mouth to reply, but he was still too shocked to find the right words. Why was everyone here so nice? Why were they treating him like a friend when they didn’t even know his name?
Not that it mattered. If Alpha Hunter heard him even thinking about leaving the pack, Jamie would be dead before he declared his intention. He could even be listening in right now. He had excellent hearing, even though they seemed to have almost reached the other end of the house.
“Thank you for your concern, but I really am fine,” he laughed awkwardly, forcing a broad smile to his face and raising his hands. “Don’t trouble yourself with me, I’m not…”
The other omega’s eyes left his face and locked on something behind Jamie, widening a second later. The intoxicating smell that had quickly become painfully familiar wrapped around him like a hug, and even before he turned, he knew exactly what he’d see.
“Alpha,” the Whitecrest omega said quickly. Jamie swallowed the lump in his throat, turning around and glancing up at his mate before quickly looking away, but it was enough to see the murderous look in his eyes.
Alpha Maxwell didn’t say anything, and he didn’t move either. And even though Jamie was looking down, he had the nagging feeling he was being watched. His heart was already racing like crazy and his chest was so tight, it was hard to breathe.
Had he heard what the other omega said? Or was he mad about what happened last night? He didn’t look mad when he was in the room talking with Alpha Hunter, so it had to be something else. And why wasn’t he doing anything?
“Max, let’s go,” his beta said with a strained voice, pulling his arm until both of them were moving down the corridor. The omega next to Jamie moved, but Jamie waited until he was no longer hearing their steps before looking up.
“We should get going before heads start to roll,” the other omega murmured, glancing toward Jamie. “They wanted more food, right? I’ll show you where the kitchens are.”
The pen snapped in two in Max’s hand, ink smearing his fingers and dripping on the paper on his desk. He had been fighting to stay focused on anything all afternoon and he had been failing miserably. They had disbanded the meeting after lunch since Max couldn’t get himself back under control and Hunter had complained he ate too much, so he wasn’t in the mood for serious talk. The other alpha had reluctantly agreed to reconvene tomorrow morning so they could go over their questions and make their decision, but Max already knew what the answer was going to be.
Hunter never had the intention of accepting. He was there to look, assess and save face. There was never a chance of them joining; they had just taken the opportunity to get into the heart of his pack and search for weaknesses. And with the way he had been acting, they had probably thought Max and his pack were an easy target. He wouldn’t be surprised if they tried something tonight.
Maybe not tonight, since their alpha was going to be busy. Busy fucking Max’s mate.
Max sent the pieces of the pen towards the other end of the room, trying to calm his anger. Even with his eyes wide open, he could still see it. He could see Hunter holding Jamie’s hands above his head while pounding into him, he could see him gripping and squeezing and grunting in pleasure while Max’s mate trembled in fear, eyes full of tears like that night.
Why was his mind doing this to him? Why was the Moon Goddess doing this to him?
He had a pack to think of, people he cared about who were counting on him. If he took James from Hunter, the Ironclaw pack would definitely retaliate by using his overstepping as an excuse. And by announcing their bond, he’d be putting his mate in even more danger by painting a big, red target on his back.
He had to reject him, for everybody’s sake. Even James was preparing for rejection that night when Max hadn’t even mentioned it. When he told Logan about it, he had stayed silent with a grave expression before telling him to reject him if he didn’t want their goal to meet a premature end.
But every time he tried to say the words, his mouth turned dry and his traitorous mind kept pushing forward Jamie’s image in the smallest details. His silky sand-blond hair that was shorter on the sides of his head and longer on the top. His fair skin that had felt so soft and hot under Max’s fingers when he touched his face. The weird, awkward smile James had when someone was being nice to him. His small mouth and cracked lips, which he unwittingly licked from time to time. All of that and more images plagued his mind, accompanied by that feeling of the completeness he felt when James kissed him. He hadn’t expected something so bold from an omega, so by the time he realized what was happening, he was already kissing him back.
And if that wasn’t enough, his scent was now everywhere.
He needed to make a decision, or he was going to lose it. But what could he…
Max ran his hand through his hair, licking his lips.
Maybe… maybe he could use this opportunity to decide.
One of the omegas serving today had told him what he overheard from their conversation. Hunter had summoned James to his room tonight, so there was still time. All he had to do was ask James to go somewhere with him instead and wait for his mate to make his choice.
If he came with Max, that was it. He was going to accept him and protect him within his pack, whatever the consequences. If he chose to go to Hunter instead, then maybe Max would find the determination to reject him. He was going to put the choice in Jamie’s hands because, for all his strength, he wasn’t sure he had enough to make the decision by himself. He only hoped the Moon Goddess knew what she was doing.