Zena huddled the jacket’s collar over her nose to block the stinging wind from further numbing it. She kept her eyes on Lukas’ back, ready to regain her composure if he turned around. She had lost the feeling in her toes a long time ago and her face seemed to be going down the same route.
For twenty minutes, the only sound that could be heard was snow crunching under their feet and the howling of the wind as it ricochetted down the icy valley. Lukas walked ahead, his long legs cutting through the snow and unknowingly paved a path for her.
Their environment had changed dramatically. Tall and thick trees hovered above them and the snow they trailed over had deepened to two feet. They were following a vast and nearly frozen river, hoping it led them to some sort of civilization.
Zena exhaled hot air into the jacket, wanting to warm her face. She bit her tongue to prevent her teeth from clattering. She was awfully cold but it wasn’t the most terrible thing she had endured in life.
When Lukas stopped walking, she released the jacket and stood straight to cover any trace of her frozen state. Lukas turned around to face her, clearly irked.
She stared back indifferently. He had lost his tie and his thin white dress shirt was wrinkled and wet from the snow. His pants were in a worse state- muddied and bloodied. Zena was sure that his wound had healed by then. Since his genetically enhanced body was secreting as much heat as an oven, he didn’t have to worry about the weather.
Lucky bastard Zena thought; holding back the urge to tremble.
“We should stop and continue tomorrow, it will get dark soon. This looks like a good place,” he said and pointed to their left. Zena glanced in the direction and scanned the tall wall of rocks. At the base sat a narrow opening: a cave.
She nodded, not wanting to reveal the shakiness of her voice.
“Where are you going?” Lukas asked once he realized she was headed in the opposite direction.
“Getting wood for a fire.” Her voice thankfully sounded stable.
She neared the tall trees and scanned the ground for any usable branches, pulling any promising ones into her arms. The snow was deep and hardened, making it strenuous to walk. When she called quits, she made her way back to shelter with fatigue-scorched thighs.
The cave’s exterior was very misleading. The opening was small, giving the illusion that there wasn’t much inside. She was surprised to find a spacious area with a small body of water near the entrance.
She threw the wood down and looked around, making it seem like she was examining the space while in reality, waiting for her frozen fingers to regain feeling.
Lukas was sitting on a corner, busy cleaning the blood off his leg. She sat across him in an awkward position that was prompted by her dress which was not fit for the occasion.
“Do you have your phone?” she asked. Lukas shook his head and her shoulders slumped upon being denied the key to freedom.
Minutes later, she reached down and removed her left shoe, revealing her thin white sock. Lukas stared at the weird woman in confusion when she shoved a hand in the shoe. He was convinced she hit her head at one point and lost her sanity.
When she retracted her hand, a small blade came with it. She placed the tool on the ground and then started to arrange sticks for the fire.
“You know, I’m surprised you went to Nathaniel’s event,” she mused as she worked.
“And why is that?” Lukas replied, watching her uninterestedly.
“He’s black,” Zena replied, thinking of Alpha Nathaniel’s handsome face and friendly smile. The statement made Lukas raise an eyebrow.
“Yes, and?” he urges.
“Well, you hate women. It wouldn’t surprise me if you hated anyone who wasn’t white as well” she stated nonchalantly as she grabbed more sticks from the pile.
Lukas rolled his eyes at the stupid comment, not surprised by the question. “I don’t hate Nathaniel for the color of his skin and I don’t dislike women. What I do dislike is women like you,” he clarified.
“And why is that?” she questioned. She felt a wave of relief slam into her when he certified not being a racist. He was still an asshole but her wavering faith in his humanity increase slightly.
She looked at a fragment of her reflection printed on the knife. Her Asian features stared back. She was Korean-American, and while this wasn’t a problem for Lukas, her gender was.
“Because you’re loud and abnormal. Not to mention that you like playing alpha, which is a man’s role.” Lukas explained calmly, watching her reaction. He half expected her to throw her blade in his direction.
Zena chuckled. “Don’t like it? Reject me,” she challenged and turned to look at his stoic expression.
She grabbed the blade, fisted her ponytail and then started sawing through the locks as she closely watched his expression. She had never been a fan of long hair and having the strands flock around violently in the wind, smacking her with every opportunity they got proved their worthlessness.
Lukas felt a small flame of anger flicker when she started to cut her long dark hair. She somehow managed to defy him with a simple action. He liked women with long and styled hair, light makeup, and neat attire. Zena... couldn’t manage a single one of those things even if you put a gun to her head. She now lacked another thing he found fitting for a Luna.
“If I reject you then I lose Red River. We don’t want that now, do we?” he asked.
Uncaring of his disapproval, she shook out her hair to show off her new sloppy hairstyle.
She grabbed a portion of the discarded hair and placed it in the middle of the pile of wood to help get the fire going. She then grabbed a rock and started striking it with the knife, hoping to create a spark.
“How resourceful,” Lukas commented sarcastically.
She soon had a fire roaring, breathing light into the darkened space. She removed both shoes and left them by the fire to help them dry. When she laid against the opposite wall, she pulled out a bag of chips from her pocket and started eating, not bothering to ask him if he was hungry.
Lukas laid on his back and rested his head on the rocky floor. He closed his eyes, hoping to fall asleep. He found the task to be extremely difficult since Zena was loudly crunching potato chips.
She couldn’t even chew normally.
“Can you close your goddamn mouth?” he snarled.
“I should say the same thing to you, all you do is talk shit,” she replied with a mouthful of the salty treat.
Lukas growled. “I’m not one to shy away from the idea of shoving you into the fire if you keep disrespecting me,” he riposted.
Instead of replying, she started to chew more obnoxiously and moved to sit on the ground.
Her eyes widened considerably when Lukas crossed the room within milliseconds, grabbed her shoulder, and pulled her to the ground. Her jacket and the thin strap of her dress ripped, revealing a large portion of her right breast.
Not bothering to register the panic that had stricken her, she grabbed her blade which sat near the water bottle and sliced his leg. Lukas responded with a growl. Expecting retaliation, she grabbed the jacket with her free hand and covered her chest, all while pointing the promisingly sharp knife in his direction.
If he planned on hurting her then he had another thing coming for him.
“What the hell is your problem?!” he demanded and returned her glare. She didn’t lower the blade and he noticed her left hand which held the top of her dress together was slightly shaking. This was the only indication of her nervousness. Her face only showed anger and a promise to drive the knife through his body if he attempted to touch her.
Lukas felt his body tremble with rage when he realized why she had lashed out. She thought he was going to force her.
“I may be many things, Zena, but I’m not a fucking rapist!” he yelled and looked at his bleeding thigh. The gash was deep but it would heal.
Zena felt her muscles slightly loosen. His rough hands had startled her. She knew that in her current form she was fragile. Humans couldn’t hold a light to a werewolf’s strength. If Lukas wanted to shove himself inside her, there wasn’t much she could’ve done to stop him.
That didn’t mean that she would sit there and not fight back. She would’ve stabbed the prick as many times as her knife allowed.
“What was I supposed to think?” she hissed, lowering the knife and moving away from him.
“Anything but that. I only pulled you away because you were about to sit there” he replied defensively and pointed to the ground. Zena turned and found a pointy rock protruding out of the ground.
Instead of replying, Zena sat on the floor and turned her back to him. She wasn’t going to apologize because he never bothered to do so after insulting her either.
With a final growl, Lukas returned to his spot and closed his eyes, knowing that sleep was definitely not going to come his way now.
The two alphas sat in silence with only the crackling of the flames disrupting the tense nothingness every now and then.