Evangelica followed Artemis out of the library, through the hallways and out the front door.
“What time is it?” She asked as they stepped out. The clouds overhead were dark and ominous. A few sprinkles fell here and there. The smell of rain blew through her hair with the cool autumn wind.
Artemis pulled out his phone, “Almost three” he said before stuffing it back into his pocket.
Keeping in step him she sighed and glanced up at the sky, “it’s feels so much later than that”
“In a few weeks it’ll begin to get darker sooner and then it’ll snow” he said. She picked up a hint of excitement underlying his tone, “I can’t wait to play in the snow with you”
She glanced up at with surprise and wonder, “You want me to stay long term?” She asked biting down on her lower lip. Transferring packs had crossed her mind, but she hadn’t wanted to push her presence on him. Anxiously, she awaited his answer.
“Of course. I have no intention of sending you back although we do have to take a trip to get your things” he said glancing down at her. He seemed to study her reaction.
She let the huge smile that she’d considered holding back, grow across her face. Turning she made a quick decision and jumped into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and was thankful he’d reacted quickly, his arms came around her helping to hold her up.
He chuckled burying his face in the crook of her neck. His own smile spreading wide across his face.
A throat cleared and both of their heads turned towards Malcolm.
Artemis set Evangelica back onto her feet.
“What?” He barked out, his eyes distant once more. The smile was gone and the tension in his shoulders were back.
With her brows furrowed, Evangelica didn’t understand why he had to be so... uptight with his pack mates. Especially when he was so different with her.
Where she saw, the kind, gentle and caring side of him, his pack mates saw the rude, arrogant, and impatient side. How could two different personalities live in one being?
“Alpha, we’ve been in contact with Alpha Elijah”
As his name crossed the deltas lips, she tensed, her whole body flushing with renewed pain. She held her breath as he continued.
“Ah, the young Alpha” Artemis said rocking back on his feet, his lips stretched into a firm line.
“Yes sir. He stated, he will not cause any problems. He wants you both to come get her belongings and get out”
Evangelica wanted to puke. It was such a strong reaction from hearing that bit of information, however he’d almost ruined her belief in love with his selfishness. As a mate, he should have cared for her. He should have given her everything she’d been denied and instead had been given to the female that had taken her place.
Eva pushed those thoughts and feelings aside.
The bond that shouldn’t be there was a treacherous thing. If she had the option to cut it out, she would. She’d cut it from beneath her skin and stomp on it.
If she was ever going to move forward she had to face him and move on.
While she’d been here, a part of her had almost forgotten about him.
It had been a relief to say the least.
“Alright” Artemis turned to her, his gray eyes guarded as he asked, “Are you ok with going and getting it done now?”
She nodded and as he went to turn away, she reached out and took hold of his arm, efficiently halting him, “Wait. What about what you wanted to show me” she said.
She wanted to know what the big secret was. Why he worked so hard to keep her from the house and why he ran off the way he did.
He shrugged, “It’ll have to wait until we come back. This needs to get done. You need clothes” he said, taking a quick glance down at her apparel. She blushed, her entire face flaming with embarrassment. She had completely forgotten that she had on his clothes and now stood outside in front of his entire pack to see.
This must look terrible, she thought.
As her head dropped and her eyes scored the ground, Artemis placed his thumb beneath her chin, lifting her head, “Don’t” he said, a new foreign emotion shining behind his eyes as his wolf peeked out at her, ” Stand tall. Hold your head high. You look beautiful, the pack knows you’re in my bed. They know you’ve come from a different pack. They’re not going to judge you and if they do... I’ll kill them” he said simply.
Her back straightened and her head held firm as she met the eyes of the pack various members that stood around the grounds. She held each of their eyes until they looked away, tucking tail and submitting.
“Artemis you can’t kill everyone who says something...mean about me.” She sighed.
He scowled as if he didn’t understand why he couldn’t commit murder , then letting out a loose growl he said , “Watch me”
It was her turn scowl as she mirrored him, “Artemis , stop acting as if I matter to the pack. You can’t just kill pack members for picking on one lone wolf. When I transfer packs I’ll be just another pack member, no one special. Just another she wolf”
Clayton chose that moment to interrupt. Slinging the keys around his finger he sidled close to them, smiling.
It appeared genuine and she wondered what had changed. A simple smile could hide so much and yet it was the eyes that almost always gave away someone’s true emotions. Clayton often smiled but it never reached his eyes, today however, it did.
“Are you ready?” He asked lightly, his blonde hair ruffling with the breeze.
Artemis gave a curt nod, placed his hand possessively on her back and escorted her to a black SUV she’d never seen before.
“Where’s your truck?” She asked.
“In storage. The truck wouldn’t hold us all”
“Us all?” She questioned before her eyes caught the movement of two unknown male wolves moving towards the SUV. “Who are they?”
“They are our guardians. They’re going to escort you to your room to pack your things”
“And what about you?” She asked slightly irritated that he wasn’t coming with her. She needed him to lean on.
“I’ll be there Angel.But I can hold my own against the young alpha, Zedrik and Ryan will be there for you specifically”
Her body and mind relaxed. She was happy he wasn’t leaving her to face her mate alone because even though he said he wouldn’t cause a problem, a part of her was warning her that, that was exactly what he was going to do.
She huffed and planted her hands on her hips, her green eyes narrowed as she glared at him, “What makes you think I can’t hold my own? I’m not human you know, I do have the same animal instincts that you do”
He gazed down at her with curiosity, “Ok, so maybe I was wrong and you don’t need the extra protection. Maybe you can take care of yourself but if you’d do this alpha a favor and let Ryan and Zedrik accompany you, I’d be grateful” he said grabbing her hand and kissing the back of it.
She shuddered at the touch and nodded.
He’d sweet talked her, she was very well aware of it. Besides she was thankful that he was having his guardians protect her as she still was iffy about the intentions of her true mate.
Maybe she’d get lucky and he’d send her on her way without any trouble. Luck never seemed to be on her side when it came to that male though.
Artemis helped her into the car and slid in beside her. Malcom began to pull out of the driveway and she realized they were missing someone.
“Where is Clayton?”
“He has to stay behind, I can’t leave the pack without a leader and Clayton is my second in command therefore he-”
“Takes over for you. I know. I was just wondering where he was.” She said laughing. Sometimes she wondered if he forgot she was also a wolf who had in fact lived within a pack.
Artemis’s cheeks darkened a bit and he looked away not saying anything. She realized he closed himself off whenever he was around anyone other than her, Clayton and Malcolm.
She wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about that.
“So which one of you is Ryan?” she asked, turning her attention away from Artemis .
“That’s me” a voice rumbled from behind her.
Evangelica turned and met the dark brown eyes of who she now knew as Ryan. He was an averagely handsome werewolf, most wolves were exceedingly more beautiful than your average human. It was a trait they’d been blessed with. However not every wolf soul was as beautiful on the inside as they were on the outside.
Ryan had short cropped dark black hair, his brown eyes were as dark as tree bark. His skin was slightly darker, a nice caramel color. His shoulders were broad and encased in a simple black t shirt.
“Hi, I’m Evangelica” she said rearranging herself quickly to stick her hand out in greeting. He shook it gently giving her a slight smile.
She turned back into her set and eyed the male sitting next to Malcolm, “So then that means you’re Zedrik”
He turned slightly, his skin was lightly tanned from the late summer sun. His hair was slightly longer than Ryan’s, the blonde strands holding a light red tint. His blue eyes were light and intense. His body was slightly smaller than his fellow guardians.
Handsome wolves just rained from the moon.
“Yes ma’am” he said.
She leaned forward and offered her hand, the same way she’d done with Ryan. He shook it in greeting before letting go and turning forward.
The rest of the ride was silent. They traveled across the highway for almost two hours before they pulled off and drove through the back roads until they came to the small hidden entry way that led them through the trees towards her old pack.
Her wolf paced heavily in the back of her mind as they were once more on the packs territory.
Malcolm parked the car near the pack house and they all stepped out.
“Eva!” someone screamed. She’d know that voice anywhere.
Her mother and father came barreling towards her. Grinning she stepped away from the males and was instantly engulfed in hugs and kisses from her mother and father. Their wolves shining through their eyes as they recognized their pup.
Her wolf pranced and shined back through her eyes at them.
“We missed you so much” her father said kissing her forehead, his arms hugging her tight.
“I missed you guys too,” she said her voice thick with emotions, her eyes weighing heavily with unshed tears. She could feel the love and warmth they gave her.
Their scents surrounded her, curling around her. It was like walking into your childhood home and feeling at ease. All life’s worries, drifting away with that simply known scent.
“Mr. And Mrs Roads, it’s nice to meet you.” Artemis interrupted, his eyes roaming over the family. He appeared tense and distant.
Her father pulled away first, his eyes shining back with flecks of gold as his wolf checked over the male that had been taking care of his pup. When he felt the male in front of him wasn’t a threat he stuck his hand out in greeting, a small smile appearing at the corner of his mouth.
Artemis inclined his head before reaching out and giving her fathers had a firm shake. The alpha male was oozing out of Artemis , his entire being seemed to puff up. The stench of his dominance creating a barrier around them, warming away anyone wanting to approach with malice intent.
“Thank you,” her father said, taking an appreciative glance up at Artemis . They shared a knowing look and she knew they were referring to her happiness.
He nodded and turned to look directly at her, his eyes pierced her, causing her heart to miss a beat and her breath to catch, ” I would do anything for her. She’s mine and I will always protect and take care of what’s mine.”