He watched as Zena collected her things and walked away without sparing him a final look or word. The cave was now nearly empty. Only a pair of shoes, ashes of an exhausted fire, and an angry alpha remained.
He noted that she took his shirt, not that he cared. The cold hardly bothered him.
Lukas gave her a five-minute head start before he trailed after her. Her injuries would severely slow her down. She had no chance of escape.
He pulled his shoes on then stepped outside. With a sigh, he followed her footprints.
As expected, it didn’t take long to find her. She was following the river.
Lukas lurked from a safe distance. He was close enough to reach her side within seconds if another wolf tried to snack on her or if she decided to go for another swim.
She was wearing her dress, shoes, his shirt, and his jacket. The thin articles of clothing were barely providing any insulation. She was going to have to stop and rest soon.
Lukas watched her stomp through the snow. She wrapped her arms around her dainty figure, rattling from the cold.
Her anger was obvious. He was half-expecting her to be in tears. After all, the offer he made was... crude.
He knew he sounded like an obnoxious jackass but quite frankly, he didn’t care. He was a businessman. For him, mating was just another opportunity to obtain resources for Mountain Hill.
If Zena outgrew her rebellious nature and ridiculous notion of building a warm and loving family, then she would also benefit from his offer. She could become his luna once the packs merged. Lukas would remain faithful and look after her and their child. The only thing he couldn’t offer her was authority or love.
He could never love the foul-mouthed woman. She had too little class and too much temper.
Sure, he was eager to bed her; but he wouldn’t take a bullet for her.
He followed her for twenty minutes, never making his presence known.
She was currently sitting on a rock, resting. She breathed hot air into her hands then violently ran them up and down her arms. Minutes later, she was back on her feet.
The process continued for three hours. It was about 3 or 4PM when she ventured into the woods. Lukas didn’t miss a beat.
He watched her drop to her knees and inspect the snow. She then stood and followed a trail. She was led to a tall tree with a hole in its bark.
She eyed the entrance for a couple of minutes. When she spotted movement, she sent her knife flying. It cut through the air and penetrated the white coat of a rabbit, instantly killing it.
Zena collected the animal along with a branch of the red berries it was feeding on.
She walked for another two hours, snacking on the berries as she journeyed down the valley.
Lukas noticed that the sun was starting to descend. It had to be 6PM. The night was coming. If Zena had any sense in her, she would look for shelter. The temperature would drop beyond bearable conditions.
Lukas broke apart from her and entered the woods. He collected as many sticks as he could carry, knowing they would need it for the fire. He was on her tail as soon as he was finished, wondering what her next move was.
Thankfully, she made her way toward a large collection of rocks. The entrance looked incredibly small. He hoped it was wider on the inside.
She peeked in. Seeming satisfied, she crawled in.
Lukas followed her.
“Lukas!” she sneered once he graced her with his presence.
He looked around and approved of what he found. The area was wide and high enough for his liking.
He dropped the wood on the ground and ran a hand through his curly brown locks. “I told you I wasn’t going to let you get yourself killed. I let you have your space all day but I don’t plan on sleeping outside tonight,” he grumbled.
Zena glared. “Well, at least I won the fight and got you to move after all,” she spoke nonchalantly.
Lukas didn’t reply. He wasn’t in the mood for a second argument.
“Skin the rabbit and I’ll start the fire,” she ordered. He raised an eyebrow expectantly.
“This dress cost a good $300, we wouldn’t want to ruin it now would we?” she asked sarcastically.
He scanned her figure. The dress was muddied, ripped, and bloodied beyond repair. The shirt and jacket she wore only worsened the look.
Wordlessly, he grabbed their dinner and the knife then proceeded to remove the fur.
Zena re-arranged the wood. Since Lukas was using the knife, she grabbed her metal container and started to stuff it with snow. She planned on exposing it to the flames to obtain water.
Once he finished skinning their dinner, he passed her the knife. She slashed a rock with the blade expertly and had a fire blazing within minutes.
Lukas ate berries and watched her slice a piece of meat off the dead animal.
“Zena,” he called out.
“I shouldn’t have thrown myself at you. That was a mistake. I got carried away,” he spat flatly. The memory had been crossing his mind all day. He didn’t regret his words, but the feeling of her cold lips and stiff body against his plagued his thoughts. Personally, he liked having his personal space. He knew it was hypocritical of him to violate someone else’s.
“Is this your way of apologizing?” she chuckled.
“Don’t worry, that kiss meant nothing to me. You’re a terrible kisser,” she continued.
“I can add tongue next time, just say the word. And by the way, my offer still stands,” he retorted.
“I’m not exchanging my pack for your sperm, Lukas,” she sighed.
“Why not? It’s a fair trade,” he laughed conceitedly.
She didn’t reply. It truly bothered her that he would hold his children with such disregard. He was willing to trade his offspring for a couple of thousand square acres. He was sick.
She held her stick over the fire to cook the meat. She made sure the wood was thick so that it wouldn’t burn as quickly. Lukas sat beside her with crimson-cloaked hands.
She noticed that his torso was also decorated with small droplets of blood. The hard planes of his chest reflected the soft orange hue of the fire.
Lukas sure gave ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ a whole new meaning. Unfortunately, whenever he opened his mouth, she forgot all about his delicious eight pack. Nearly everything he said made her want to push him off a cliff.
They ate the stale meat in silence, not interested in striking up a conversation.
Zena was nearly full when a skull-shattering dizziness struck her. She laid back, trying to get the world to stop spinning. She prayed to the heavens her leg wasn’t infected. It hadn’t been hurting terribly but it wasn’t healing either.
“What is it?” Lukas asked once he noticed her position.
“Dizzy. Fever,” she huffed.
Lukas rinsed his hands with the water in the container. He then brought his hand to her forehead, searching for an abnormality in her temperature. “You’re cold. I don’t think it’s a fever.”
“I just need to lay down for a second.” She kept her eyes closed and urged the dizziness to fade.
Lukas turned to his dinner. She stayed quiet for about ten minutes before she spoke again.
He turned to face her. Her eyes were now wide open and a lazy grin curved her rosy lips.
His brow scrunched in confusion. Her expression no longer looked distressed but playful.
“Yes?” he replied curtly.
“What did the duck say when it bought lipstick?” she asked with a careless giggle.
“Excuse me?” Lukas replied, astonished by the absurdity of the question.
“Put it on my bill!” Zena squealed before laughing ecstatically.
“What?” Lukas asked incredulously.
“How does NASA organize a party?” she wheezed.
“What are you talking about?” questioned, exasperated.
“They planet!” she laughed tearfully and went as far as slapping her knee.
Lukas didn’t get what was so funny and simply stared blankly.
“What did the-” she doubled over from laughter before she could share her next masterpiece.
Lukas could only watch in horror. This behavior was strange even for her. He knew the dizziness was somehow connected to her hysteria.
“Zena, come here,” he urged.
Tears of amusedness streamed down her face from the delirium. With a sigh, he moved to her side and pulled her down. She was too weak from the laughter to resist his tug.
Lukas placed her head on his lap and started to skim his fingers through her soft hair, looking for an injury.
“Lukas,” she squeezed out.
“What is it? Will you stay still?” he demanded and pushed her hand away when she reached up.
“Your face has hair on it. That’s silly!” she giggled.
“It’s just stubble, crazy woman,” he muttered.
“Can I touch it?” she quizzed.
“No!” he roared.
Zena burst into another fit of crackles, much to his irritation.
He was surprised to find her scalp free of bumps or cuts. He mused on the problem before a new thought hit him. The berries!
They picked and ate every berry on the branch. There must’ve been some agent in the food that triggered this reaction. He hoped his system had a defense mechanism for the drug. Zena’s was as good as a human’s so her body easily gave in.
Now giggling, she tried to sit up.
“What are you doing?” he asked, annoyed by her restlessness.
“My arm is itchy,” she whined.
Lukas could only stare as the intoxicated Zena pulled her jacket and shirt off.
She scratched her arm vigorously with enough strength and speed that had him worried.
“You’re going to break skin!” he scolded and slapped her hand away. Zena pouted and ignored him.
“Stop it!” he ordered her.
Once she didn’t stop, Lukas pinned both of her arms to her side with his hands. She thrashed around, wanting to get free and tend the itch.
“But its itchy!” she groaned.
Lukas was floored. This new Zena was impossibly childish. He already knew she was a bit crazy. Now she was crazy plus drugged.
It was then that a dizziness hit him. He closed his eyes for a second, feeling disoriented.
“Shit,” he hissed and rubbed his temple.
Now free, Zena started scratching her arm some more.
“Zena!” Lukas growled.
“Oh, do that again,” she gasped.
“What?” he asked.
“Growl,” she instructed with an eye-roll.
“Because your chest shakes and if feels funny,” she grinned and placed her forehead on his shoulder, all while scratching her arm.
“Stop scratching. You’re going to draw blood,” he sighed, infuriated.
“But it itches. Hey, what did the fish say to the water?”
“It said to go to sleep,” he retorted before crushing her torso to his. He made sure her arms were pinned to her side so she could no longer scratch herself.
He laid on his back with Zena on top of him.
“You’re warm,” she commented.
“My arm is itchy,” she continued.
“If you say my name one more time I’ll shove you in the river,” he growled. The action made his chest vibrate and Zena squealed excitedly.
She stayed quiet for multiple minutes. He basked in the silence, glad the dizziness was reaching its end.
“Once upon a time, a horse walked into a bar. The bartender said ‘hey,’ and the horse replied ‘sure’!” she snickered.
Lukas chuckled. Not only was the joke stupid, her behavior ridiculous, but somehow he ended with her on top of him in a non-sexual manner for the third night in a row.
He had specifically told her earlier that day that he wouldn’t cradle her to sleep ever again. Yet here he was, on the ground with a drugged Zena in his arms.
“Did you just laugh?” she gaped.
“Shut up,” he snapped.