Lukas woke up early that day. His fingers were numb from playing endless amounts of video games with Marcus. While Lukas was talented in a multitude of areas, he had to admit that gaming was not one of them.
The drive to Red River was short. Partly because there was little to no traffic but mainly because he was rushing down roads. He had shown up empty-handed because he had absolutely no idea what to gift Zena.
At first, he considered buying her the most massive ruby he could find. The jewel was a perfect representation of her- beautiful, fiery, and tough. As tempting as the idea was, he knew that it would be no better than getting her flowers. An expensive jewel would imply that he was trying to buy her, and Lukas wasn’t a fool. He knew that the female alpha wouldn’t appreciate that.
The gift would disappoint not only Zena but Eva.
He drove his car to Red River’s territory line and waited patiently for a wolf on patrol to appear. Zena hadn’t welcomed him to Red River’s land so waltzing in would be considered trespassing. It only took minutes for a wolf to sniff him out and come investigating.
The wolf shifted to her human form, not caring about her nakedness. Lukas wasn’t phased by it either and zeroed his eyes on her face.
“Alpha Lukas,” she acknowledged respectfully.
“Hello,” he curtly replied.
“How may I help you?” she asked. Her face remained professionally blank.
“Well, letting me in would be a good place to start,” Lukas shrugged.
She shook her head. “I’m sorry but the alpha has not cleared your entrance. I’m afraid I won’t be able to let you in.”
Lukas sighed. He was hoping that his identity would’ve been enough to get him past security.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. After dialing Zena’s phone, he pulled the device up to his ear.
“Yes?” Zena cut right in, skipping past the formalities.
“Here? As in Red River? Why?” Zena asked with a frown that he clearly couldn’t see.
“I have business with one of your pack members,” he bluffed.
Yeah... the business was playing Xbox and the pack member was 9 years old but those were only small details.
“Okay. Come in,” Zena replied.
He passed the cellphone to the wolf patrolling the border.
“Hello alpha,” she greeted.
Zena delivered a couple of instructions and then disconnected the call. After handing Lukas his cellphone, the woman smiled and welcomed him in.
Lukas hopped back into the car and drove to Zena’s house.
The sound of wheels rolling over dirt and rocks grabbed Zena’s attention.
“Well, the day is about to get ten times more interesting,” Zya smirked beside her. Her sister, too tired to speak, ignored the comment and remained in her position.
The car came to a stop nearby. “What are you doing?” a deep voice who she had unfortunately become familiar with asked.
“Go away Lukas. Please,” Zena grumbled.
A shadow cast over her eyes. This was enough to make her look up and glare at the interruption.
She found Lukas standing beside her, his shadow cast over her body and cut off the sun which she had been enjoying seconds earlier. “Didn’t miss me?” the infuriating male asked cockily.
“To be honest, I forgot you existed,” she snarked.
This, of course, was a lie. Although she had been busy with her duties, Lukas occasionally slipped into her thoughts. More specifically, the confession which he had shockingly dropped on her lap.
Zena had given up on Lukas’ redemption a long time ago. Particularly, that day in the mountains in which he made his atrocious business proposition: a child in exchange for Red River. She wasn’t bluffing when she told him she was done with him.
It was great to know that she had helped transform him into a better man. It was just a shame that his timing was too late.
Zena knew better than to jump into his arms after he flashes a pretty smile and gives her exactly what she wants to hear. People don’t change in a matter of days. Lukas had hurt her before with his cruelty and he had the potential to do it again.
“Come with me,” Lukas asked.
“I’m busy,” she scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Zya watched the scene amusedly. The two knuckleheads were like cats and dogs.
“You’re laying on the ground in front of your house,” he challenged with a raised brow.
“And your corpse is about to be laying in the bottom of the river if you don’t go about your business,” she snapped.
Zya covered her mouth with her hand to stop the laughter that bubbled in her.
“Zena, get up,” he pushed again.
“I said no. Don’t you have somewhere to be?” she sighed frustratedly.
“Yeah, in your pants. I’m working on it,” he laughed. The comment mixed with the rage on Zena’s face was enough to make Zya join in.
“Asshole,” she glared.
“I’ll keep being one if you don’t come with me,” he grinned.
Zena threw the water bottle that had been resting beside her at him and got up. She stomped to his car and pulled the door open, nearly detaching it from the vehicle.
With a smirk, Lukas nodded at Zya and entered the car.
“Where are we going?” Zena asked grouchily.
“To the pack member I have business with,” Lukas replied without looking away from the road.
“You could’ve just told me that you needed me for business and I would’ve come willingly,” she scolded.
“I’ll keep that in mind next time.”
Zena didn’t notice that this implied he planned on continuously visiting Red River.
Lukas drove to the pack house, where he had dropped off Rex. As he neared the wooden building, he spotted a group of children playing soccer. He instantly spotted Rex’ black hair.
He stopped the car and stepped out. Zena followed, confused about why they were approaching the children.
“Rex,” Lukas called out. His voice was heard over the masses of young laughter.
Zena watched as Rex turned around. His surprised expression fell and his bottom lip pouted out. He angrily glared in their direction.
Zena was unsure why the child was upset but the question was answered once Lukas walked to his side. “Hey Rex,” Lukas smiled.
“I’m mad at you,” Rex declared, not bothering to beat around the bush.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come, buddy. I was busy. But I’m ready to play with you,” Lukas offered.
Zena couldn’t see his face and wondered what his expression looked like.
Rex kicked a small pebble. “I don’t know,” he muttered.
“I brought a friend to make it up to you,” Lukas continued, desperate to earn the forgiveness of the smaller human.
Rex’s eyes moved past Lukas and he spotted his alpha standing there. “Hi alpha!” he waved animatedly.
Zena’s eyes widened. He was the pack member Lukas was here to speak to?
“Hey Rex,” she smiled kindly.
“It’s great that you met Lukas. Do you think you can get him a job? He doesn’t have a house and he’s really nice,” Rex pleaded on Lukas’ behalf.
Lukas was unable to contain his laughter. The rich sound made Zena’s eyebrow arch.
“He’s already employed, Rex. He’s a certified pain in my- uh, nevermind,” she trailed off when she remembered that she was in the presence of a child.
“Let’s go,” Rex cheered. He waved at his friends who had resumed their soccer game. He then snatched Lukas’ hand and pulled him toward Zena. He grabbed his alpha’s hand when he walked past her.
“Wait. What’s happening?” Zena voiced her confusion when the eager boy began pulling his pair of friends toward the game room.
Rex was too excited to reply. He dragged them into the house and b-lined to the room beside the living room. It contained dozens of games and electronics to keep the kids entertained.
Both alphas were pushed on a couch in front of a plasma TV. Rex was quick to grab controllers and shove them into their hands.
“Oh no Rex, I haven’t played this thing in years. I should get back...” the frown the child-directed at her halted her sentence.
“Okay. Just one game,” she warned. Satisfied, Rex smiled and plopped down next to Lukas.
Thirteen games later, both Lukas and Zena were ready to haul Rex out of the room, regardless of how cute he was.
The kid handed their assess to them in every single game. They played various rounds of a shooting game and were now racing. Zena snorted mockingly when her car rushed past Lukas’. Unsurprisingly, they were both behind Rex.
Lukas grunted and tried to use his limited sets of skills. The control was too small in his hands, making it hard to press the correct buttons.
“You should stop playing and jot down some notes Luke. Maybe then you’ll learn how to play,” she laughed.
Lukas’ angry hold on the X button slacked. He stared at Zena’s concentrated face with shock. She had called him Luke. Not Lukas or alpha Lukas or a colorful insult, but Luke. It was a nickname only Marcus used. The name was personal and to hear Zena use it hit home.
Zena didn’t notice the effect the nickname had on him. She didn’t even process that she had called him Luke in the first place. She was too busy trying to drive her bright green car past Rex’s.
She had to admit... this game was fun.
Lukas escaped his distracted state and started fussing with the control again, annoyed that he had fallen behind.
“Honestly, why are you even trying anymore? How about you go get Rex and I some water?” she teased when she saw his car attempting to catch up. Lukas growled, not fond of her jabs.
Refusing to lose, he pushed his broad shoulder into hers, causing Zena’s body to jerk to the right and her remote to rattle to the floor. She offered a growl of her own and picked up her control. She slammed her heel onto his foot to return the favor.
Lukas yelped from the pain but didn’t make the mistake of releasing the control. He slammed his right thigh onto her left to throw her off once more. Zena’s legs swung to the right. She groaned loudly when her fingers shifted to the wrong key, making her car move in reverse.
Tired of Lukas’ foul play, she threw her shoulder to his in an attempt to get even. Lukas saw the attack coming and laid his back on the couch. Zena, unable to change trajectory, ended up collapsing on his chest.
Lukas gripped her shoulder to prevent her body from rolling onto the floor. She stared at his eyes with a startled expression. Lukas had a smirk curving his lips. This was the second time she fell into his arms, the first being when Zya hauled her off her balcony.
He bent down, making Zena’s body become tenser than a rock. She was sure the brute had every intention to steal a kiss from her.
Lukas was smarter than this. Kissing Zena would either earn him a black eye or a knee to the balls. All he was interested in was whispering a flirtatious comment so that Rex wouldn’t hear it.
Speaking of Rex... “Yes! I won!” the young boy celebrated.
Zena, now fully functional again, sat upright. “I’ve got things to do. You two have fun,” she snipped in.
Lukas watched as she got up and walked away.
“Meet me at the river at 8PM. It would be nice if you showed up this time!” he called after her.
Zena flipped him off and made her way out of the room.
Something told him she wasn’t going to show. And this was fine. He would ask her again and again until she finally gave in.
Lukas was a loser when it came to gaming but he would be damned before he became a loser at love.