Chapter 19: Deception
I finally regained consciousness, my throat throbbing from the punishing hold Knox had on it minutes before. My mom helped me sit up while my dad just stared at me in contempt. I swallowed with a wince, pain ricocheting up and down my throat from the small action.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” My father sneered angrily. My hand came up to my throat, knowing I’d be unable to actually speak in the moment. I think he knew that too and just didn’t want to give me the chance to defend myself.
“You’re the biggest idiot I’ve ever met, Corbin. I know for a fact I didn’t raise you this way,” He spat.
“Aaron, that’s enough,” My mom hissed before eyeing him seriously. My father ground his teeth before turning to look away from me.
“Someone get him to the infirmary and make sure Knox didn’t do any permanent damage,” he ordered with a dismissive wave of his wrist. I kept my head down as the Beta and Gamma helped me walk out, my face burning with embarrassment as I watched the ground, knowing the rest of the pack was watching me with judgmental eyes.
My anger and humiliation continued rising higher and higher, the final straw being the pack doctor telling me that a fight between Knox and I would be comical and suicidal at the same time. Everyone in this pack has looked at me like I was a joke ever since Knox turned up. I used to be the Golden boy - the standard for all men in our pack because, I mean, just look at me. What’s there not to love? Now I’m just the laughing stock.
I stormed out of the medical wing and beelined for my father’s office, my body hot all over from my anger.
We’ll see who has the last laugh. We’ll see…
Throwing the door open, I slammed it behind me before locking it. I ripped the office phone off the hook before viciously flipping through my father’s contact book that was sitting right next to it. Finding the number I was looking for, I punched it into the phone and listened to the dial tone as my hands shook and my legs bounced. My breathing quickened as my heart began to pound in my chest as a wave of adrenaline washed over my body.
“Alpha Rhymes speaking.”
“Alpha Rhymes, this is Corbin, future Alpha of the Silver Fang pack. How are you this evening?” I asked, clearing my throat to rid it of the slight quiver.
“I’m extremely busy right now, what is it you need?” he gruffly spat out. I licked my lips nervously before laughing half-heartedly.
“Well, Sir, I’ve got just the news to cheer you up, but I think you might want to also get your Beta in the room for this,” I answered confidently, a malicious smirk overtaking my face.
If I couldn’t have her, then neither could he…
I tossed and turned the rest of the night, unable to stop thinking about what Knox had said and what his motive was. I felt slightly guilty for keeping him up too, being the cause of his lack of sleep, but then again I wasn’t; he brought this on himself. Rolling over with a huff, I checked the clock one final time before determining that it wasn’t worth it and decided to just get up. Eight a.m. or not, there wasn’t anyway I was getting to sleep.
I slid my legs off the bed and slumped into the bathroom, rubbing my hands over my tired eyes. I sighed heavily when I felt Knox’s presence behind me, his chest pressed up against my back.
“I don’t understand why you’re so worried,” Knox started, his fingers beginning to rub circles into my hips. I huffed angrily and crossed my arms over my chest.
“How could I not be worried, Knox?! You say something ominous about basically taking care of my father and old Alpha, then brush off my concern like it’s nothing!” I fretted before spinning in his loose hold so that we were face to face. “I know you think you’re indestructible, but you have an uncle out there that is just as much a Lycan as you! If something happens to you, I don’t know what I would do!” I sniffled, suppressing the thoughts that caused a bad taste in my mouth.
“This is all part of the plan,” he replied cryptically. If I were a cartoon, I was sure steam would be billowing from my ears.
“And what the hell is the plan?!” I burst, screaming so loud he winced and jerked his head back.
“It’s nothing you need to concern yourself with,” Knox stated defensively. I growled, so angry I was seeing red, before shoving his hands away from me. If he was going to treat me this way - keeping me out of important things that pertained to me - then I didn’t even want to look at him right now. I turned and stormed off, leaving him behind.
“Poppy,” he said, a hint of a warning in his tone. I completely ignored him as I grabbed his pillow and rooted around for a spare blanket as well. I threw both items on the couch, fully aware that he was watching my every move.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he demanded while following me as I made my way back to our bedroom.
“If you want to treat me like I’m not your mate - keeping things from me and such - then you can spend the day without one and you can go to bed tonight without one,” I hissed before slamming the bedroom door in his face, content to spend the rest of my day in our room alone, reading. He immediately began banging on the wood, demanding I unlock it and let him in.
“Poppy, you will open this door and let me in right this fucking minute!” Knox demanded, his Alpha tone seeping in and causing my body to robotically follow his command. I glared at him as we came face to face, making it known how livid I was with him for using his power over me.
“I didn’t want to tell you because I know you’re going to try and stop me from going through with it,” he huffed out before entering the room and sitting on the ledge of the bed.
“Then don’t you think it’s something that deserves further consideration, Knox? If your mate will be so against it that you’re keeping it from them completely, then that means it’s something you also know you shouldn’t be doing,” I insisted.
“In the next few days I will be making the journey to your birth pack,” he started without warning. My brows immediately furrowed together in worry, already disliking this plan of his. “When I arrive, I will do unto your father everything he’s done to you. I will then challenge your Alpha for his position as he is unfit for the job. He’s put innocent pack lives at risk due to his own paranoia, and that is simply unacceptable,” he stated with confidence.
My whole body was trembling with worry; for him, for my mother, for my sister. If I guessed correctly, and I know I would, my father wouldn’t come out of this retribution alive. Then what? What would happen to my mother? My sister? What about the contract Knox had with this pack? He can’t just leave and become the Alpha at another pack, could he?
And then there’s the issue of his uncle finding out. New leadership due to a challenge hasn’t been heard of in decades!
“As for my uncle,” he continued, clearly having read my mind in that moment, “you’re forgetting three things that are so crucial, Flower. Firstly, my father was the first born male of all his siblings. He’s stronger and better than my uncle in every way, and I am my father’s son. Secondly, I have ten years of betrayal and anger built up. My wolf has wanted revenge since the first second I shifted. And lastly, I am now a mated male. My body and mind are in their peak. I’m not just doing this for my family or for myself. I’m doing this for our future together. For the safety of you and the pups we will have,” he rasped out huskily, reaching for me and pulling me into his body after he finished. My breathing picked up as a rush of hormones passed over my body, urging on my primal instincts to mate with him, but I forced them down.
“What about what you said to me before? You said you never wanted power,” I whispered, stroking his cheek while worrying about what claiming the Alpha title could do to his mental state. I didn’t want him to hate himself or be able to draw any similarities between him and his uncle.
“I still don’t,” he grumbled out, “but this is necessary. Once I’ve dealt with your father and ex-Alpha, and I’ve dealt with my uncle and found my family, I will host a challenge for my position. Until I find someone worthy, I will have to keep the position. For now, this plan is the only way,” he insisted. The look in his eyes told me that he was speaking nothing but the truth. He believed this wholeheartedly, so who was I to question him?
“Alright,” I whispered out. He licked his lips before eyeing me skeptically.
“Alright?” He questioned, slightly confused.
“Yes, alright. If this is what you need to do, then I will stand by your side and support you in whatever way you need,” I hummed before smoothing my hands over his chest. He let out a relieved sigh before bending down - yes, bending because even sitting on his lap he was still slightly taller than me - and ravaging my mouth. I gladly let him take over, his tongue massaging against my own as his hands began to explore my backside. I squeaked out as he squeezed my rear in his hands just as a rapid pounding at the front door echoed throughout the cottage.
“I’m getting so fucking tired of people interrupting us,” Knox growled in annoyance. I huffed, agreeing with his frustration before threading my fingers with his own as we headed towards the front door. We were both caught off guard seeing a crying and frantic Grace upon opening it.
“What in the world?” I asked while stepping in front of Knox, who wrapped and arm around my front protectively.
“Poppy! Poppy...your dad…” she huffed out, sounding like she’d just finished running a marathon.
“What about him?” I asked my voice strained. This can’t be good.
“He’s...he’s here!” she hissed while staring me dead in the eyes. I gasped and my knees shook. Had it not been for Knox behind me, I would’ve fallen without a doubt.
“What?” I asked breathlessly, not wanting to believe what she’d just said. If my dad was here, that could only mean one thing…
“And so is Alpha Rhymes,” she continued while grabbing my arm and latching on, “you have to come quick, Poppy!” She demanded while pulling me towards her. I jerked forward, but stayed rooted in place due to Knox’s arms around me.
“Come,” Knox demanded while walking away into the house with me in tow. I had no idea what the heck he was doing, and it seemed Grace didn’t either as she followed us into the cottage. Knox grabbed a pair of leggings before crouching in front of me to help me dress. I held onto his shoulders to steady myself as I slipped my feet in. After I was done, he shoved one of his thick sweatshirts over my head and pointed to my shoes. I nodded and slipped them on as he himself dressed in record time. Once ready, Knox gave Grace a single nod to lead the way.
Everything was a blur as my mind became muddled with scenario after scenario involving the two men I never wanted to see again being in my new pack at the same time. It’d been...wait, how long has it been since I’d run away?
“What day is it?” I asked monotonously, staring at nothing in particular ahead of me.
“What?” Grace asked from the front seat. I could feel Knox’s penetrating gaze from beside me, obviously having no idea why I’d asked that question.
“What day is it?” I repeated, voice betraying none of the havoc that was going on inside my mind.
“The...the 14th. November 14th,” She replied, confusion and worry lacing her tone. Her answer shocked me out of my comatose-like state. I floundered for something to say.
“You mean to tell me that within twelve days of leaving my old pack I managed to mate and be found by my father and ex-Alpha?” I deadpanned. There was no way that was freaking true. There’s just no way. It’s been five days - give or take a day, they all seem to kind of blend together a bit when you spend most of your time in the bedroom...preoccupied - since Knox marked me and we consummated our bond.
“Oh my God,” I gasped in slight horror.
“What is it?” Knox asked, eyes roaming over my entire body in worry.
“Within two days of me properly meeting your skin side, you mated me!” I exclaimed, staring at Knox in wonder. Regardless of my loveless past, I’d never been the kind of girl to give it up easy - not that I judged anyone that did, it was just a personal preference - I always figured it’d wait at least a few months before letting a guy even take me on The Run.
Yet, here I was. Kiara would be proud.
I watched Knox intensely, noting that he seemed equally perplexed over this revelation.
“Oh yeah, by the way, thanks for calling your best friend after you screwed like bunnies you bitch!” Grace jabbed from the front seat, half-joking but half-serious. I sent her an amused look before focusing back on Knox.
“I hadn’t realized I’d made my move that quickly,” Knox mumbled before a smug grin made its way to his face, “my dad would’ve been proud,” he stated. I scoffed and shoved him with my shoulder. I was about to reply but the breath was stolen right from my lungs as we pulled through the treeline and came into the clearing filled with people.
Two specific people, more importantly. My stomach flipped at the sight as I screamed.