Lukas felt the unmistakable feel of a poke in his left arm. He opened his eyes and immediately located a boy who couldn’t be over 10 years of age.
“Are you ok mister?” the child asks.
Lukas chuckled. “Mister? I’m only twenty eigh- yeah... I guess I’m old,” he replied with a scratch to his jaw.
“Are you hurt?” the kid asked with a crooked head.
“My pride is. Your alpha is an impossible woman.” Upon running his hand through his hair, he discovered that the back was caked with dirt.
He wasn’t surprised that she didn’t show up but he was shocked that he fell asleep waiting for her. It was a move of desperation and Lukas had no experience with neediness.
“Alpha Zena is nice and powerful. My dad told me that when her dad died the pack was in trouble but Zena fixed it,” the kid puffed out his chest proudly.
Lukas made a mental note to dive into Red River’s history.
“Lets get you home. You shouldn’t wander alone. You could’ve fallen into the river,” Lukas scolded.
He stood up and the young kid threw his head back to maintain eye contact. The man was tall and strong, like an oak tree. He was even bigger than his dad.
Rex couldn’t shift yet but he decided then and there that when he grew up he wanted to look like the stong and strange man that slept by rivers.
Lukas tried to and failed to straighten his wrinkled black tee. Looks like sleeping on the ground wasn’t a good idea after all.
“Whats your name?” Rex asked the blue-eyed tree.
“Lukas, you?” he replied, dusting his black pants.
“Rex. You’re not a rogue, right? I’ve never seen you before,” he asked warily.
Lukas chucked again. “No, and please don’t ever ask that question again because I promise you that rogues would not answer it honestly.”
“Ok!” Rex cheered. With newfound trust, he slipped his much smaller hand into the tree’s.
Lukas wasn’t at all surprised by how well he got along with the boy. One would expect a man who barely got along with adults to struggle with children due to their hyperactiveness.
When Marcus was born, he immediately fell in love. He spent much of his teenage life playing with him. Children were the best comedians on earth. He found it amusing how nearly everything flew over their heads.
Lukas began walking to the packhouse, hand-in-hand with Rex.
“Why were you on the ground?” Rex asked curiously.
“Well your alpha stood me up... sort of,” he grumbled. Zena didn’t agree that she would show up, but she didn’t say she wouldn’t either.
“How? You’re so tall and heavy,” Rex asked with a scrunched brow and pouted lip.
Lukas busted out laughing. “That’s not what I meant... standing someone up is... nevermind. Do you want to be tall?” Lukas asked.
“Yea so I can sneak food without needing a chair. My mom said I need to wait a few more years to stop being small. I’m 9 so I’m almost there,” he informed his new friend proudly.
Lukas stopped walking. He grabbed Rex’s waist and pulled him up to his shoulders where he seated him. Rex whooped loudly when he noticed the view.
“This is cool, Lukas!” he gasped.
Lukas silently disagreed. Being tall wasn’t so amazing when it gave you an aerial view of Zena’s bounty chest and all you could do is stand there while fighting the urge to pull her into the nearest unoccupied room and have your way with her.
“Do you want to play video games with me?” Rex asked with hands high in the air, loving how the wind caressed his arms. Lukas made sure to grip his knees.
“I would but I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty and I have work to do at home,” Lukas replied.
“Ok! How about tomorrow?” Rex asked.
Lukas chuckled once more. “No can do. I’m a... busy person.”
“What do you have to do? Maybe I can help,” the disappointed child suggested.
“As sharp as you are, I don’t think you know much about politics or accounting,” Lukas smiled.
“I sure don’t! I can’t even spell that account-thing. But if you need help with baking, let me know! I helped Alpha Zena bake pie once. She’s really nice. Maybe you should meet her,” Rex pushed.
Lukas scoffed. He had become fairly familiar with the subject of discussion but this niceness of hers was nowhere in sight. All he had seen was anger and hatred.
“Oh! Maybe she can give you a job so that you can make money and build a house! You won’t have to sleep on the ground anymore!” he gasped.
Lukas laughed at his innocence. “I think you may just be the next Einstein. Smart thinking Rex,” he praised and pat his knee to congratulate him.
“Thanks, Lukas! Whats your pack and rank? Are you a warrior? You’re very strong,” he reminded him
Lukas had a quick mental debate. People tended to shut down when they realized they were in the presence of unknown alphas, including children. Their parents drilled into their heads that they had to remain respectful at all times to keep their heads situated on their shoulders. This wasn’t necessarily an exaggeration since alphas were short tempered.
Lukas thought of all the trouble his alpha position brought him. He had to dedicate years of life to paperwork, struggled to control rage, and attracted insincere people from all directions. Both genders wanted nothing but his money. He only had two friends in college who he genuinely trusted, and this included his beta.
“I’m not a warrior. I’m a... doctor,” he finally replied.
Yeah. Maybe if he had healing capabilities he would’ve had an easier time fixing his broken relationship with his mate.
“Thanks for taking me home, Lukas. Can you come play next week?” Rex asked excitedly as they stood by the entrance of the pack house
Lukas nodded. “Actually, I can.” He grinned at the excuse he’d use to return to Red River. Zena couldn’t complain since he technically wouldn’t be there to see her.
“Ok! See you!” Rex waved a final time and ran inside to tell his parents all about his new homeless friend.
Well, at least Lukas got a date after all. It was a playdate instead of a romantic date but beggars can’t be choosers.
He started walking toward his car, texting as he approached the vehicle.
Hey, think you can teach me how to play Xbox? he sent the text to Marcus.
Marcus promptly responded with: Get ready to get destroyed.
Zena watched Lukas’ retreating figure, wondering why he was still on her land and why he was covered in dirt.