--Four Days Later--
“Sir, does this jacket belong to you?”
Lukas looked away from his mug and at the maid’s brown eyes.
He briefly examined the item she held in her hands. “That’s Zena’s,” he replied without a second thought and shifted his eyes back to the folder that sat on his lap. The council meeting was three days away and he was investing time in preparing his argument.
“S-sir?” the blonde stuttered.
Lukas glanced back up, now confused, and got a proper look of the cloth. She held the ripped and dirtied jacket he traveled throughout Canada with.
Why did he claim it was Zena’s?
An image of her smaller frame getting engulfed by the oversized jacket made an appearance in his mind.
He shook his head. “Throw that out,” he ordered.
She nodded obediently. “Yes, sir.”
He diverted his attention back to his paperwork and shoved his mate to the back of his mind. He needed to get his head together. He was going to obtain Red River no matter what.
Later that evening, his beta walked into his office with a cellphone in-hand. Lukas looked up from his laptop and stared expectantly.
“A Canadian woman claims she was robbed of her car and is seeking compensation. What should I do?” he questioned.
Lukas sighed. “Pay her back and remind her to keep her mouth shut.”
The beta gave a single nod before turning and leaving. Lukas leaned back in his chair and recalled Zena’s outraged expression when he robbed the human.
Craving a break, he locked his laptop and made his way into his bedroom. He took a shower. Afterward, he called his physician and scheduled a meeting for the following day. He wanted to investigate why the drug that was slipped into his drink in the Canadian bar shut down his wolf so easily.
That night, he tossed and turned for what felt like hours. His king-sized bed felt no different than the caves he slept in. He knew exactly what the issue was, and that made it all the more irritating.
He woke up in a grouchy mood due to the lack of sleep. He was stressed from all the work he had to deal with and needed all the sleep he could get.
With a groan, he ran a hand through his hair and dragged his feet into the bathroom.
“Good morning alpha,” his maid greeted when he joined her downstairs in the kitchen.
“Good morning Jesse. What’s for breakfast?” he grumbled tiredly.
“I hope pancakes are alright, sir,” she chirped and placed a plate stacked with the meal on the table. Lukas nodded wordlessly and sat down. He tended to eat alone since his parents and brother lived in a separate house.
“Oh no,” Jesse giggled.
He turned and found the maid by the sink. Sticky syrup was now dripping from her top. Lukas’ breath got lodged in his throat when he noticed the expression on her face. Jesse was bubbling with laughter. A huge, innocent grin was spread on her young face. A smile that he found himself comparing to another female that had black hair instead of blonde and was argumentative instead of submissive.
He remembered the night on the mountain when Zena screamed out like a madwoman, alerting him. Her hair seemed to have been radiating and her smile did a better job at lighting the night than the moon itself.
Why was he having all of these episodes? For the past three days, Zena occasionally slipped into his thoughts. Little triggers would jog his memory and print out her face.
Jesse ceased her laughter when Lukas stood abruptly from his chair.
“Alpha?” she called out worriedly.
“I’m not hungry,” he huffed and walked back upstairs into his office.
He shoved his head in a political book for three hours. It was exceptionally hard to think of Zena while reading about communism. And he was just fine with that.
He put the book aside when his doctor showed up for his scheduled meeting.
“Come in,” he welcomed.
The middle-aged man stepped into the office with a smile.
“Hello alpha,” he greeted respectfully.
Lukas gestured for him to grab the seat opposite of his desk.
“I called you in today because I experienced a side effect of a wild Canadian plant I consumed a couple of days ago,” he explained.
“Do you know the name of this plant? What were the side effects?” the doctor inquired.
“I don’t know. They were sweet berries. I was hit with a strong headache and sleeptalked. But that’s normal and not what I’m concerned with. A few days after eating the berries, a human female slipped a human-made drug into my beer that made me as weak as a child. You and I both know that human drugs aren’t supposed to affect us.”
The doctor nodded. “I understand. I don’t believe this caused any irreparable damage but I’d like to collect a blood sample to examine if that’s alright with you,” he explained.
Lukas nodded and placed his arm on the table, offering it to him. The doctor opened his briefcase and took out his tools.
“So I’ll look for any abnormalities in your blood. Is there anything else that you want to address?” the doctor asked patiently and placed the vial of blood securely in his bag.
Lukas shook his head.
“Alright then, I’ll contact you as soon as I get the results back.” He offered a smile and got off his chair.
“Wait,” Lukas called out before he got to walk through the door.
“Yes?” the doctor asked and returned to his seat.
Lukas ran his hand across his jaw. “I’ve been... getting reoccurring thoughts about a female for no apparent reason. I could be drinking water one second and thinking of her the next. What is wrong?” he demanded sternly.
The doctor turned a light shade of pink and coughed to disrupt the thick silence.
“Alpha, I’m not a trained psychologist but I am a father of three lovely teenage girls... Excuse my lack of professionalism here, but have you considered that these thoughts are caused by emotional... attachment?” he suggested awkwardly.
“What do you mean?” Lukas blinked cluelessly.
“I mean... a crush sir,” the nervous doctor clarified.
“Robert I kept you around because you served my father excellently but right now I am heavily unimpressed by your medical skills. A crush? What am I, sixteen? I was expecting you to tell me that the mate bond was messing with my head but this is ridiculous!” Lukas raged.
“The... the mate bond is responsible for causing a physical attraction between mates. But the feelings... those come from the human side,” Robert fearfully debated.
“Bullsh*t!” Lukas snarled.
“I’m sorry sir. I can prepare an MRI exam to look for neural abnormalities if you wish,” the doctor fidgeted.
“No! Just forget it!” Lukas ordered and pushed himself to his feet with so much momentum that his chair tumbled to the floor.
An emotional attraction to Zena? The woman whose death he had mentally planned more times than he could count?
No. It was not possible.
Zena glanced at her watch for the fifteenth time that evening and sighed. It was two hours past 3PM.
“Looks like something came up. We’ll have to reschedule. Thank you for coming, Alpha Zena,” Vance said dismissively before standing and walking out of the conference room slowly due to his aged back. The other councilmen followed him.
During the entire week, Zena prepared herself for this meeting. She drove to Chicago that morning expecting to fight for her alpha title and defend her claim on Red River.
But Lukas didn’t show up.