She blinked once. Twice.
Lukas leaned down, failing to hide the smirk that curved his pink lips. “I should be the one thanking you. I enjoyed that view,” he whispered seductively.
Zena crashed back down to earth. She jerked her legs to the floor but her chest remained stapled to his since his other arm hadn’t released her.
Adrian watched with knitted eyebrows. He heard the suggestive comment Lukas made but wasn’t used to seeing this flirtatious side of him.
“Is that my shirt?” Adrian asked when he recognized the logo on the blue T-shirt.
Zena didn’t reply and tugged the cloth down to cover her goods.
“Seems like you have a habit of collecting men’s clothing. You owe me two jackets. Then again... the sight of your *ss was kind of priceless so I guess we’re even,” Lukas teased, the smirk making a comeback.
“Go die,” Zena retorted and tried to pull his tree-trunk-like arm off her waist. Lukas roared with laughter and released her.
“Zya if you throw my luna off that balcony I will drown you in gasoline and then set your corpse on fire,” Adrian promised.
“That’s if I don’t get to her first,” Zena joined in.
“You know, I threw you into the arms of a guy with an eight pack. Another woman would be thanking me,” Zya argued.
“She has a point,” Lukas chimed in.
“Why are you still breathing?” she grumbled.
Lukas chuckled, enjoying their bantering. Riling Zena up never failed to entertain.
Adrian watched from the sidelines with a knowing look. There was some chemistry between the two alphas that hadn’t been there before. It seemed like Lukas was most affected while Zena was still indifferent.
The two-minute conversation made something clear: Something was happening to Lukas. If there’s someone that knew about change, it was Adrian. When Eva walked by him all those months ago, his head snapped in her direction and never snapped back.
Zena retreated into the house with her famous frown.
“So, where were we?” Lukas asked when he turned back to face him.
Five days later, Lukas returned back to his normal routine; shoving his head into paperwork and neglecting anything to do with Zena. This included messages from the council summoning him to their headquarters to address the pending rejection.
Instead of dealing with the stress of figuring out what to do with his life, he took comfort in avoiding his issues.
He stopped writing mid-sentence when his office door opened. His mother stood there in a floral top and a tight black pencil skirt. She looked as composed as usual.
“Your dad wants to speak with you. He’s downstairs,” Lucille informed him with a smile, noting how sulked-in his face looked. He had been gloomier than usual.
“I’ll be there in a second,” Lukas nodded.
Lucille brushed her bangs aside and turned to leave.
“Mom,” Lukas called out before she left.
“Yeah?” she replied and stepped back into the room.
Lukas stared for a second. His mother was a wonderful woman. She dedicated all of her life to taking care of her family once she met her mate. Lucille was the ideal luna. She looked after the pack’s social life while the alpha handled more significant aspects like politics and business.
Lukas’ expectations for his luna were inspired by his mother. He had always wanted someone who would nurture him and the pack with tenderness while he dealt with the more challenging issues. Zena could do this just fine. The issue was that she was capable of juggling much more. She wasn’t the kind of woman who limited herself. She took care of Red River’s social, financial, and political status.
“Why didn’t you go to college? You loved biology and you did well in school. Why didn’t you pursue a career in it?” he quizzed.
Lucille seemed taken back by the question. She curled her fingers and sighed.
“I didn’t love biology. I loved the stability that I knew a degree would get me. When I met your father, I was a senior in college. He told me he would support me if I wanted to finish school but I didn’t see the need for that. He’s rich. What’s the point in working?” she explained shamelessly.
The word shot through his mind automatically, completely overstepping the respect he had for her.
His eyes flickered down to her manicured hands. He wondered when she last held a pen.
Lucille was a smart woman. Until now, he never questioned why she wasn’t exercising her knowledge in the science field. She could be out there contributing to society through her degree in biology. Maybe educating students, doing personal research, even working at a firm. But instead, she chose to dedicate her time to cooking and planning outfits.
“Don’t you get bored? Your only purpose has been smiling at crowds and cleaning a house since you met dad.” He asked boldly, not considering if the phrasing of the question would hurt her.
“Sometimes... yes,” Lucille nodded.
Lucille’s relationship with her mate was oddly both functional and dysfunctional. She was unhappy at times but she never did a thing about it. She maintained peace by avoiding arguments. The thought of rebellion made her stomach turn. She gave him comfort and children and in exchange, he showered her with money. They had this system for years. While she felt belittled at times, she didn’t care. She was in love with her designer clothes, expensive vacations, and fame. So she swallowed her pride to avoid disrupting the flow of these gifts.
Lukas ended the conversation with: “I’ll be down in a minute.”
Lucille gave her eldest son the smile she had practiced for decades and then left.
Lukas never went downstairs. He busied himself with reaching the bottom of his whiskey bottle.
Maybe having a kind and quiet woman wrapped up in a bow by his side wasn’t what he needed. After all, Ophelia nearly put him to sleep. On the other hand, Zena made him see red and challenged his sanity. But he preferred this over a nap any day.
Did he want a picture-perfect luna? To relive his parent’s dull, boring fate?
No. The thrill of being around Zena was far superior. He was tired of sitting in an office reading numbers, letters, and symbols. He needed the occasional adventure here and there. And if there’s one thing Zena’s crazy self can offer, it’s adventure.
His body and mind came to a consensus. His hands moved from his bottle to his doorknob. He found his father scrolling through an iPad on his couch.
Their identical blue eyes met but Lukas made no move to join him on the couch.
“I’ll have to take a raincheck, something came up. I’ll be back in a few hours or tomorrow,” Lukas explained as he walked to the door.
“Alright. Where are you going?” Cairo- the former alpha asked.
“Connecticut. I have a meeting with Alpha Zena.”