Chapter 6 - Time Crunch
Colorful strobing lights are flashing in tune with the upbeat modern music. The decor is classic and very rich in silk and velvet. Overhead, glittering chandeliers are hanging from the ceiling by steel chains and women in sparkling heels, tiny shimmering g-strings and nothing else are swinging and dancing on each one of them.
Half-naked bodies of beautiful lycan patrons are swaying on the dance floor everywhere. This club is exclusively for lycans but once in a while, you’ll spot a werewolf in the mix.
I’m glad that here, I’m just another lycan. Nobody knows that I’m a prince. Somewhere in here, my security detail is watching me. They’re so good at being discreet that even I can hardly spot them.
I stare at the brooding man sitting in front of me. Commander Darius Rykov, one of my very few trusted friends. He just arrived this evening. His face is unreadable but I can tell that his mind is miles away. More precisely where his erasthai is right now. His erasthai, Penny totally ignored him, left the house not ten minutes after his arrival to go to some frat party. I dragged him here after Penny left. I can see that this is the last place he wants to be.
Penny is a werewolf and we are a pack of lycans. Lycans are different from regular werewolves. We are smaller in number compared to humans and werewolves but we are the strongest.
We, lycans, also live for centuries. While Fae folks grow normally like humans until they hit the age of sixteen, we lycans stop aging like humans at the age of eighteen.
We are the direct descendants of the moon goddess, so we are treated with reverence in the werewolf world. However, we’re not given mates chosen for us by the moon goddess like werewolves. We are blessed or cursed, depends on how you look at it, with erasthais. The one that our souls call for. The one that could be the end of us or the one to make us whole. Our erasthai could be anyone; another lycan, a werewolf, a human, or a faery. We could claim them, mark them, and take them away, no matter if they’re already mated or married to another. Of course, we’re free to mate with anyone other than our erasthai, but the bond would never be as strong as or the same as with our erasthai. Once we marked them, the werewolf, human, or faery of our choosing would gradually turn into a lycan.
Penny and Darius met each other three years ago and felt the erasthai pull right away. Penny was crazy about him but for some reason, he refused to mark her. Darius even went as far as telling her that he’s marking another woman. The idiot. She waited for him. She tried everything to try to get him to accept her. My brave Beany. Something must have happened a couple of months ago that made Penny finally stopped trying. She’s out there trying to move on and forget about him.
I take another sip of my drink and realize that it’s empty, so I lift two fingers up to beckon a passing waitress over.
Her smile turns seductive and her hips sway even more when she sees us. Her black silk waitress uniform barely covers any essential parts of her body and her eyes are a pure invitation.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” she says. “What is your poison? Just name it.” Her tone implies that she is also on the menu.
“Dirty martini, wet, shaken, straight up,” I tell her, curving my lips up into a tiny smile.
Always be nice to people who handle your food and your drinks.
“And what about you, sir?” she directs her question to the stony-faced warrior.
“Whiskey, neat,” answers Darius. His tone is curt and his face doesn’t encourage any flirting. Yup, this is the last place he wants to be right now and I’m the devil who brought him here.
“Right. I’ll be right back, mon chérie,” she says with a lilt to her voice. If she notices his curt and unfriendly demeanor, she’s doing a good job at ignoring it. She winks and walks away with that exaggerated sway of her hips. She glances back over her shoulder after a few steps and when she sees that my eyes are still on her curvy ass, her coy smile widens.
I steeple my fingers together and turn my attention back to my friend, Darius. “So, why are you really here, Commander Rykov? Personal or official, my friend? Is there really a new serious threat to our safety?”
I know very well that whatever threat we’re having, my pack and our own security team are capable of handling it. Whatever brought him here, to the USA all the way from Russia, must have something to do with our conversation a week ago when I let it slipped that his erasthai, Penny is out partying with random human men. The slip might or might not be accidental.
It’s true. She comes home reeking of cheap booze and various human men every weekend. I try not to interfere, but Penny, or Beany as I call her, is miserable. Even though his demeanor is unreadable, his feelings impenetrable, I can tell that the warrior in front of me is miserable as well.
Before he has the chance to answer me, two women approach our table. “Hello there, gentlemen,” purrs one of the ladies.
“Would you two fine gentlemen mind if we join you?” asks her friend. Already, one of her hands dances over Darius’s broad shoulder.
“I’d rather you not,” says my friend coldly and I hide my smile behind my joint fingers. I have to give it to the man, though, he’s composer is flawless. Not a single muscle betrays how he really feels. Only his tone indicates that he’s pissed off and wants nothing to do with any other females, which is typical with lycans who’ve met their erasthais. He’s smitten with my Beanie. If only he stopped being stupid and mark her already.
The woman looks offended and grabs her friend’s hand to drag her away. Her friend gives me a lingering look and I give her a smile and a wink before she reluctantly follows her friend back to their table.
“So, does she bring men home with her after every party?” asks Darius. Ahh...now we’re talking about Penny.
“No,” I tell him. I watch his jaw and shoulders relaxed a tiny bit. “But then again she might spend time at their place. Who knows.” I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly.
I suddenly feel the heat of his fury. “Hey, where are you going?” I call out to him when he stands up suddenly. My own smile growing.
I suspect that if I wasn’t one of his closest friends and also the next king of werewolves and lycans whom he supposed to protect, he would have snapped my head off for being an *sshole and for bringing him here.
“Out of this hellhole,” he growls, walking away. I hope he’ll make the right decision soon. I want them both in my pack. In my mind, Beany is already ours.
I rub my face and my neck after he disappears behind the swaying crowd. What am I still doing here? We’ve been in California for close to a month now and I still haven’t seen any indications that my erasthai is here. I’d like to just up and go but I know my friends, especially Penny would have my head. We just moved to California but my erasthai is not here. If she’s here I would’ve seen her.
Still, my lycan is restless. I normally trust my lycan instinct. It has never steered me wrong. Something doesn’t add up but I can’t stay here forever. Like it or not, very soon I think we’re moving on. Another dart on the map, perhaps? Beany is going to kill me. If she didn’t get to me first, I suspect, Red would.
I didn’t tell my pack mates but I’m in a time crunch. I’ve made a deal with my mother, Queen Sophia that I’ll take Lady Celeste as my mate and take my rightful place as king if I didn’t find my erasthai within the next three years. My mother talked my father, King Alexandros into agreeing to Rule of Seven to find a new King if I refused. It’s a barbaric, outdated rule. Hell, I know what that would do to our kind. The violence could spill to the human world. I might be an *sshole, but I’m an *sshole that can’t let that happen. I will not let that happen.
Very soon, the same waitress appears with my drink.
“I’m back, as promised,” she says. “Oh, your friend is gone?” she asks as she places our drinks on the table beside me. “Well, too bad. Anything else I can get you, sir?”
“No, that’s all,” I tell her.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything else?” Her voice becomes breathier in my ear and she slinks into my lap while her hands slither across my chest and my shoulder.
I sit back, rest my arms on the armrest of my chair, and slide my index finger across my lips. Watching her. She presses her breasts against my chest and grinds her lower body against my crotch. Her eyes flicker up to look at me with a naughty glint and she licks her lips seductively as she grinds harder.
I’ve made up my mind. “Yeah, I’m sure.” I sit up and guide her to stand up. I raise the glass to my lips and drain it in one gulp, then I throw some money on the table. I think it’s time to go home. Alone.
Truth is, I’m tired of all this. Bored and restless. Different centuries, different countries. Same shit.
*My next update next week will be earlier (Tuesday). This chapter will tell you the approximate timeframe if you’ve read Fighting Darius.