Part 1 - Chapter 4
I still couldn’t figure out why George had sent me here with urgency. Everyone was getting along, as far as I could tell there was no talk about being allies yet. Perhaps the Alpha’s didn’t talk about that because I was always hovering around.
Or maybe this was just a genuine gathering and we could just be as social as humans. Then again I was also just meant to watch over them, so that’s what I did as I watched them have a picnic of all things.
Damien’s territory shared some land with the neighbouring National Park. It meant that parts of it were stunning, like this massive lake that was stretched along one side that ran into a waterfall a few kilometres down the road. Maybe if I had some free time I could follow the lake and see the waterfall, I wonder how big it was.
People were chatting, kids kicking a football with each other. It all seemed really normal, almost orchestrated. I hadn’t been around packs for a few years so maybe there was development and all packs acted more like humans than wolves.
However, humans wouldn’t have wolves patrolling the area as a ‘just in case’. From where I was standing, I could see four grey wolves just running around the border, most of the time they were behind the trees but every now and then, some would come out and pause for a few moments.
I could smell the sausages grilling on the barbecue and made my way over to them, it was Smith in charge and I couldn’t help but laugh at the way he was making sure each sausage was grilled to perfection.
“You won’t be laughing if you get a raw sausage,” he said as I grabbed a slice of bread.
“I’ll take my chances seeing as they’re pretty much burnt,” I said grabbing a sausage from the pile earning a glare from him.
“They are not burnt Hill, they are grilled and smoked.” He pointed out as he added some cooked onions onto it.
I smothered it in mustard and tomato sauce and added a light amount of shredded cheese on top. My stomach grumbled in anticipation, now this was more my style of food. Not the sit down four course meal last night of fancy dishes that barely filled anyone up. Not to mention that I wasn’t part of that sit down four course meal as I opted to eat back in my room after everything was packed up.
I bit into it sighing and nodding my appreciation of a good sausage and bread, the most Australian thing you could do at a BBQ.
“Good?” Smith asked me as he placed the cooked ones onto the tray and placed more raw ones onto the grill.
I nodded, “Better.” I took my spot next to Smith as others came to get their ones.
I reached for another one, I was getting full but I just couldn’t help it. They were so delicious.
“Save some for the rest,” someone joked and I looked up surprised when I realised it was Damien joking with me.
“You snooze you lose,” I shrugged, even though this was just my second one and clearly there were plenty that still needed to be cooked.
I reached for the mustard sauce and Damien wrinkled his nose at me.
“You’re putting mustard sauce on?” he asked me.
“It’s not very Aussie.” He said.
“Have you tried it?” I asked him. Damien shook his head. After putting some mustard sauce on mine, well more than some, I leaned over offering to put some on his.
“Don’t knock it till you try it, it’s really good,” I said. Damien grabbed my wrist, pushing it away from his hot dog.
“Tomato sauce all the way, don’t taint it.”
I rolled my eyes placing the sauce back next to the other condiments.
He bit into his sausage and cracked a grin at me, maybe being out in the fresh air made him seem a bit more jovial with me than the last few times I had to make conversation with him.
“So Hill, what do you like about your stay so far?” Damien asked.
“I think it’s a bit too soon to make that call,” I said, awfully too soon as I was barely here for a full day.
Damien went back to Alpha mode as people approached him and started talking, and I moved away from the BBQ so I couldn’t grab more and ate what I said was my last sausage from a distance.
I just loved them.
Crispy yet soft onions, hot melted cheese, the smell of perfectly cooked meat, soft bread, and, oh god and mustard, it was pure heaven. But heaven was too much for my jeans apparently as the button was straining against my full stomach. Why did it feel like you just put on ten kilos when you ate something?
I continued my watch, some were still eating, I could see a group of females in the distance on picnic rugs or chairs in busy deep conversations. The kids were still running around, the sausages probably fuelled their energy again.
If I hadn’t known otherwise it seemed like a perfect human birthday party, and that made my stomach turn knowing that I would probably never interact like the rest of them. I wasn’t capable of interacting like them. I could barely hold a conversation for more than five minutes.
I looked over my shoulder at the sudden sound of an engine, two cars pulled up into the clearing, Black SUV’s and both Damien and Smith rushed over together. It must be Alpha Lachlan.
Lachlan was like a kid in a candy store no matter where he was, he was full of boundless energy and never really took things seriously. Well... he took them seriously in a non-serious way. That’s why I really liked him, he could always make a stressful situation very unstressful.
I could recognise that big smile, wildly overgrown blonde hair and copper eyed man anywhere.
Smith, Lachlan and Damien together would have the largest packs in terms of population. So it was interesting that they were all meeting up, however neither of the packs had a strong army per say.
Lochie raised an arm waving when he recognised me and he started to walk towards me, so I also started walking towards him, meeting him halfway.
“Hill!” He greeted me enthusiastically, wrapping his arms around me tightly and I was pretty sure I could feel the sausages move back from my stomach to my neck with the amount of pressure he was applying.
“Hey Loch,” I patted his back awkwardly, not really sure how to react in this situation. I could feel Damien’s narrowed eyes on me, no doubt wanting to know what we were talking about.
“Good to see you kid,” he ruffled my hair and I slapped his hand away.
“I’m not a kid.” I told him.
“Oh... I know.” Lochie said as he the rest of the group caught up to him and then he headed back towards the BBQ with Smith. Damien halted in front of me and I shifted on my feet.
“What?” I asked when he didn’t say anything.
Damien shrugged, “You seem to know everyone well,” he commented. I walked back with him towards the BBQ.
“Well I do travel a lot for my job. It’s almost my requirement to know everyone,” I pointed out.
“Where’s your friend?” Smith asked Lochie as we neared them.
“He’s on his way, he had to drop something off and will be late,” Lochie answered.
I leaned over to Damien, “Who else are we expecting?” I asked confused. George mentioned there were three Alphas present but he wouldn’t have been aware that Lochie was bringing a friend. So who could possibly be the third one?
“Alpha Ryder,” Damien said.
At the mention of his name, I realised that maybe that’s why George wanted me to come. Alpha Ryder wasn’t a man that would come just for a BBQ and some chit chat.
“Hercules Ryder?” I asked just to get some more assurance, making Damien raise an eyebrow at me and give me a curious look. When a girl’s gotta clarify, she’s gotta clarify.
“Why? Do you know him as well?” He asked.
I shook my head, “Never met him, just heard a lot about him,” I lied.
Hercules Ryder was a different type of Alpha altogether, sure his pack was not as big as theirs, it was tiny with only three hundred people the last time I heard. Damien, Smith and Lochie all had over a thousand members.
But it wasn’t the quantity, it was about the quality, and that Hercules Ryder had.
Just like his first name he was known to have a legend that he was lethal. His pack took after him, they were the best fighting pack you could ask for. Packs only wanted Hercules on their side when they were going to war.
If you weren’t in a war, you didn’t need him. It was that simple because his pack was a killing machine. If you had a death wish, you confronted him. If you wanted a broken bone, you simply had to look at him, well not literally.
Which is why George might get even more curious when I passed on this message, four Alphas and a possible alliance? This could be very bad news.
There was something strange after all.
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