In the Shadows

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Thirty Three

Spring was officially here. The flower buds were coming up, the rivers were thawed and running rapidly with the melted snow from the mountains and the birds were returning from wherever they'd flown off to. Most importantly, the sun actually provided some warmth so I could finally sunbathe.

There was something about the rays of the sunning hitting your face that was very satisfying.

The best part of it all was that I got Hakota to come with me. I picked the biggest rock I could find for us to lay on which happened to be very near the central hub of the territory, much to my mate's chagrin. For some reason he found that laying on a rock in the company of his mate while 'napping' would not help him establish dominance and rule over the territory. He commanded me to find somewhere else, preferably where no one could see. However, I'd only childishly pouted and told him that he could stand in the middle of the territory growling at anyone that so much as breathed wrong all by himself. He'd looked ready to cave at that but I had then also added a comment about getting Syn to come with me instead because he wouldn't mind spending time with me.

Guilt and jealousy. Check and check.

Needless to say, Hakota had then become very determined to lie on that rock with me and practically dragged me up there with him.

I smiled, my fingers entwining with my mate's. Moments where it was just him and I were few are far between. He was either dealing with werewolves, making rounds through the Red Zone, or his pesky beta was with him. Honestly, Sitka was such a hover mother. He was always giving me the stink eye like he was just waiting for me to rip Hakota's throat out when I whispered to him or sink my claws into his chest when I touched him.

Sometimes I did it just to be an instigator, running my hand down Hakota's chest stopping for just a second to brush my fingers over his heart while smirking at the beta who could do nothing but silently fume.

Hakota had made it clear to his pack that no one was to say a word about our relationship. He didn't want me to be dissuaded because I was intimidated by his pack members. Please, as if that would scare me off. The only ones who seemed to care were Sitka and Innoko. Sani had gotten over it and was just plain rude most of the time but he had lost his aggressiveness.

Rolling over onto my side, I propped my head up with one hand and stared down at my mate. "Guess what?" I asked him, poking him in the ribs. He grunted in response but didn't open his eyes. I jabbed him a little harder, causing him to flinch away. I got a half mumbled, "what?" in response this time.

I rolled my eyes and flicked his nose, "You're supposed to guess."

His lids finally opened revealing his deep blue eyes. "You are such a child sometimes."

I stuck my tongue out at him, "I'm practically an infant compare to you old as dirt lycans." I grinned, showing off my canines, "I can't help but sometimes feel like I'm being ogled at by a pedo–"

Hakota pushed a finger to my lips. "No pedophile jokes, Cleo. Seriously, you make me feel like a perverted old man sometimes."

"Well..." I began about to make another joke but stopped when I saw my mate's unamused face. I pinched his cheek and cooed, "Now who's the child? Pouting isn't attractive you know."

Hakota reach up and cupped the back of my skull, bringing our foreheads together. "Sometimes Cleo," he said.

I let out a breathy chuckle and threaded my fingers through his dirty blond hair. We were so close, our lips just a hairsbreadth away. We had yet to share a real kiss. It seemed like such a huge step for me, one I wasn't quite ready to take. But with his eyes staring at me like that, I was damn hard not to. "You still haven't guessed," I whispered, not moving forwards or away.

Hakota's grip tightened on the back of my head, "I don't know Cleo, what?"

"It's been three months to this day since I left my pack," I said, my eyes moving to his lips. They were right there so tempting. Surely a small peck wouldn't hurt?

His lips quirked up and I looked back to his eyes to see some humor in them. "Oh, so we are finally admitting you left and weren't savagely stolen away from your non existence friends and limited family by some old perverted barbarian?"

"Rude," I replied.

"Truth hurts sweetheart."

I smiled, leaning closer so that our lips brushed, "Indeed." The word was breathy and quiet but Hakota still heard it.

"Do you want me to kiss you?" He asked, his lips touching mine with every word he uttered.

"Do you want me to kiss you?" I countered, my brain short circuiting at our closeness and only being able to echo back his previous statement.

"Hell yes," he admitted.

"Then do it," I challenged and closed my eyes waiting for the sure to be heavenly bliss only to be halted by a snappy voice.

"Hakota," the female voice I had come to associate with the obnoxious cawing of a crow came from below us.

My lycan mate let out a dark curse, his forehead thunking against mine as the moment was ruined. With a controlled breath he turned his head to the side, not moving away even slightly so that my nose was buried in his hair. "What do you want Sky?" Hakota snapped, clearly irritated by our interruption.

Sky—the infamous she wolf that was proving to be a pain in the ass and had caused enough trouble just by the mention of her name—shot me a poisonous look. I just ignored her, waiting to hear her answer.

She'd tried numerous times to get under my skin by bragging about her past with Hakota and informing me of all the things she knew about him. According to the other lycans, she and Hakota had hooked up a few times in the past. Sky let it go to her head because it wasn't a one time thing, but it had never been serious between them.

Their past didn't bother me, Hakota hadn't even know about me when he was with her. I certainly didn't expect Hakota to have stayed celibate all this time while waiting for his mate. Sky was about five years my senior, maybe a bit older, and pretty though she may be, she wasn't Hakota's mate. I'll admit that I got irritated when she and Hakota would be around each other for an extended period of time, but I wasn't about to act like a jealous girlfriend. I wasn't controlling, Hakota could talk to who he wanted as long as he extended the same curtesy to me.

Besides, I found it more entertaining to show Sky how unbothered I was by her antics. I wasn't an idiot. I could clearly understand her motives when she would tell Hakota she needed to 'talk' with him, and I knew better than to take her bait when she'd talk about the whole day they spent together trying to make it seem like more than patrolling the Red Zone when at least five other werewolves with them. I mean seriously did she think I was stupid?

Hakota was his own person and he could make his own decisions. No female was going to seduce him unless he let himself be seduced. Sky could do anything she wanted but until Hakota made a move of his own, I wasn't going to get mad. Hakota knew what he wanted, his mating mark on my shoulder. And until that happened I wasn't worried about Sky.

The she wolf flicked her hair over her shoulder, trying to hide her annoyance at my lack of emotion. "There's a strange scent by the border. You should check it out, no one can identify it."

As much as it perked my interest, I wasn't in the mood to haul my ass ten miles to only find out it had been a made up bluff by Sky to get Hakota alone. Hakota could deal with her because Lune knows I've suffered enough because of her. She was like the fly constantly buzzing around your head you could never kill.

I pecked the top of my mate's head, ruffling his hair. Hakota humphed and slumped against my shoulder. I guess he wasn't in the mood to haul his butt over there either. Oh well, maybe he'd finally bite Sky's head off if this was another false alarm.

I pushed his sluggish body off of me, patting his cheek. "Duty calls," I sang beaming at him.

"You should come with," he muttered. I peeked a glance down at Sky to see her hands curling into fists.

"Not a chance." I pushed my mate a little to get him going.

He slid off the rock, looking back up at me as I sat crossed legged on the sunny boulder. "We will resume where we left off," he vowed.

"We'll see," I answered.

Sky snatched Hakota's hand and dragged him away before he could change his mind about leaving me here. I snickered as I watched them go.

By the moon, it was impossible for me to be jealous of someone who was so desperate. I'd let her exhaust herself trying everything she could think of to get a rise out of me, nothing would work. Even if she kissed Hakota square on the mouth I wouldn't get upset. Until Hakota showed sign of reciprocation she could do whatever she wanted.

Stretching my arms up high above my head, I arched my back and yawned. The sun was still high in the sky, signaling mid-day. My stomach gurgled, telling me it was time for lunch. I stood up on the rock getting one last stretch before leaping down from the boulder and making my way towards the lycan house.

"Hunter!" A voice hissed and I whipped towards the sound. The older werewolf named Sage who was in cahoots with Little Cloud signaled for me to follow.

I looked around, debating on getting lunch first anyway but with another stern look from her I sighed and followed. She lead me into a building in the housing area located in the central part of the territory.

The moment the door closed behind me I turned to the woman. "A little bit of warning in advance? Maybe send a note or something? Better yet we could stop sneaking around which just makes this seem that much more suspicious and difficult?" I crossed my arms, quirking a brow.

Sage dismissed me with a sneer, "It would be more helpful if you didn't spend every waking moment in the company of those lycans."

"What else am I supposed to do? You werewolves aren't exactly welcoming and I don't think Sitka would be to happy with the idea of me always being alone." He probably would think I was plotting some evil plan which was partially correct.

The werewolf only glowered at me. I glared right back, I wasn't exactly impressed by her either. "So what do you want? Did Little Cloud finally form the next step in his very vague and very pointless plan?"

Giving me a long look she finally muttered, "I suppose you could say that." She turned away from me at that, heading towards the adjoining room and leaving me by myself.

"Hey, where are you going?" I demanded.

She waved her fingers over her shoulder, "You've got a visitor."

My head snapped around towards the slight movement from the corner of the room. Having completely missed the male reclining on the chair with an amused look an his ever familiar face I let out a gasp, unable to contain the huge smile that crept across my face.


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