Until Dawn

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CHAPTER 8 - LILAC

I slipped out of the bedroom and made my way back down the stairs to the kitchen. I haven’t eaten yet and I am hungry-for food not for something else. I hurried my way into the kitchen and open the fridge. I almost cried when I saw leftover steak and mash potatoes. In a quick manner, I heated up the food and sat down to eat within five minutes.

My fork stabbed into the steak and I began cutting it with a steak knife. It smells so good-garlicky good. I cried when I saw that it was the juiciest steak ever-medium rare. Perfection.

My world is complete. I devoured the piece of delicious meals in minutes. Getting up from the stool I was sitting at, I walked around the counter and to the fridge where I pulled out strawberries and matched it with some whipped cream cheese. I dipped my hands into the cream cheese and brought it to my mouth.

Dear lord, I might not be a fan of sweet but did this cream cheese tastes good. He had mixed Nutella into the cream cheese. I walked back to my seat and sat down, dipping my strawberries into the cream cheese.

The kitchen door opened and Peyton entered looking more exhausted than he was yesterday. His eyes met mine briefly before he walked to the fridge and pulled out a beer.

“Good evening, Luna.” He greeted me.

“You don’t look so good,” I commented.

He chuckled but it didn’t appear in his eyes. I watched him run a hand through his blonde hair. His eyes were sunken from lack of sleep.

“Yeah, well the pack is in chaos right now. Pack members are afraid of attacks. The city might look serene from a human’s eyes but in our world, we are vulnerable.” He sighed as if the whole weight of the world rests on his shoulders.

Is this how Dominic feels daily? The weight of his many pack members. I’m sure they all had questions.

“Is there anything that I can do?” I offered, feeling like I should say something.

“Actually, there is a pack meeting tomorrow at the Wolffang Casino that I could really use your help. Over a hundred of our pack chiefs will be there,” he said.

Pack chiefs are representatives who govern a few parts of the territory. They report to the Alpha on any activities that are happening. They are also known to be demanding and arrogant just like all leaders.

“I was just being kind,” I deadpanned.

He chuckled and the laughter reached his eyes. The dimples in his cheek deepened. Sad that Dominic only has one dimple and it was located on the right side of his cheek.

“Well, I am being serious, Luna. I could use your help,” I can hear the pleading in his voice.

“Yes, well, I am beginning to see that this is how you work. Always asking me for help,” I grumbled and dipped my finger into the cream cheese before bringing it to my lips. Might as well double dip. This cream cheese is all mine. Its fate has been decided already.

“It is best if I ask you. Alpha-he is-temperamental.” He chose his words lightly.

“Hot-headed and cynical,” I added. I am more talkative around Peyton. He has a certain friendly air about him.

“He is a good Alpha though.” Peyton defended him. He slipped into the chair next to mine.

“Your father leads a pack of a hundred werewolves. A hundred wolves are easily manageable. Imagine leading over twenty thousand wolves who live in a big city. As a wolf, you should know the desire to shift. The need to create chaos and disrupt order.”

True. Although in the city, we are in our human skin most of the time. Occasionally, our wolves will have the urge to run in the wild. Sometimes, it is hard not to give in the of the overpowering desire of our wolves. Our wolves are natural predators. They are temperamental but enjoy the company of friends. We like to play around and sometimes it sends us into a little trouble. Especially here in the city.

There are three stages to a werewolf shift. The first stage is their human skin. The second stage is a half-shift. The second stage could vary to lengthen claws, canines, hints of fur, or even the colors of our eyes. They change color. The irises enlarges with a dark gold rim around it that spreads out and the color changes to midnight blue and light grey. Every werewolf has the same eye color when they half-shift. In this stage, we are strong. We can break walls, rip trees from the ground, and kill with inhumane speed.

The third stage is when we shift completely into our wolves. Humongous beasts that are about five feet tall. This stage is where we are most powerful. Almost unstoppable.

“Do you know what happened?” He switched the subject. Right away, I knew what he was talking about.

“Not really,” I replied.

He took a huge gulp of his beer before placing it in front of him. Slowly, he twirled the beer bottle in circles on the counter.

“There is a group of nonconformists that entered into our city. These men were ruthless and heartless. They knew exactly what they were doing. Involving themselves in human mafias in Southern California. Selling illegal drugs and kidnapping women to become prostitutes. The group of nonconformists caused chaos. Shooting, arm robbery, raping and beating the humans along with a few of our pack members.

“Dominic didn’t hear about it until several female pack members approached us. The city news channel went viral. When Dominic approached the chief of the area. He admitted to not reporting because he was bribed by the nonconformists. Million-Dollar cash for him to keep quiet. Allow them to enjoy their time,” Dominic explained.

“So, what happened to the chief?” I asked.

“Captured and turned over the Werewolf Affiliation.” Peyton picked up his beer bottle and sipped. “After all, his name is in the systems.”

We are documented citizens of this country. If we weren’t, humans will be suspicious. So, our names are documented under the Census Bureau and in our system. Killing a life is a death sentence but death sentence needs to be proven guilty in the Werewolf Affiliation court system. The name will be wiped off the Census Bureau in secrecy without any traces.

I nodded my head in silent understanding. The chief deserved what he got. Who told him to take dirty money?

“What about the nonconformists?” I inquired.

Peyton smirked, “Dominic took care of their leader. Killed him in half-shift.”

“But-”

Peyton raised a hand. “But they got to him before he could kill them all. One of the gang members threw ground silver dust into his eyes. He was bleeding heavily from the injury. His eyes were dripping blood. The pack doctors here had to act fast and administer a drug to counter the silver. Sadly, it didn’t save his eyes.”

Together, he and I sat in silence. I looked down at my bowl of cream cheese and realized I have lost my appetite.

Guilt.

Guilt was eating me. Dominic risked his life to save his people and protect his territory. I can argue that I am also doing the same thing. Risking my life and my guilt to help my sister.

It’s the same thing, right?

“So, tell me a little bit about yourself, Luna,” Peyton asked.

I stiffened and looked at him from underneath my eyelashes. My defense shields are up. I am holding back from speaking too irrationally.

“There isn’t much about me. I like reading. I don’t like attending social events. I like to be alone and uninterrupted.” I answered.

Peyton chuckled. “Then you will match our Alpha just fine.”

I looked up at him in surprise. What did he mean by that?

His laughter died down but the smile remained on his face.

“Alpha isn’t very talkative too. Authoritative but not very talkative.” Peyton shrugged. “I mean, he talked to women and men when he needed. Dated here and there but he likes his space.”

“I bet he isn’t as boring as me. I like listening to classical music and reading American literature in my free time.” I offered.

Peyton made a face. “You’re right. You are boring.”

“I even like to play Sudoku.” I pointed a finger at him.

“Terrible!” Peyton exclaimed in a sarcastic voice but it returned to normal when he added, “but you will fit right in with our Alpha. He also likes to play Sudoku and do word searches.”

When I heard that, all I wanted to do was yell at Peyton to stop pairing me up with Dominic. However, I bit the inside of my cheek and removed my hands from the table to my lap.

“We are nothing alike,” I whispered.

Truth is, I am scared. From what Peyton had said so far about Dominic-him and I were very much alike but that wasn’t what really scared me. What really scared me was the fact that I liked hearing about Dominic.

Peyton’s voice jerked me out of my thoughts.

“You’re right. Although our Alpha hasn’t done much research about you. I did my fair share of digging before I asked your father to comply with the blood contract,``he admitted.

“What?” The surprise was evident in my voice.

“I needed to know if you would be able to save our Alpha. We have never met you. The contract only bound you and Dominic but you two never met each other. You don’t know him and he doesn’t know you,``he explained.

“And?” I asked.

“I didn’t find much. Your father is a good Alpha. He does what he needs to do to keep you all alive. He protects you. He goes to state assigned meetings as required. He listens to the laws but he never goes beyond what he needed to do. Therefore, I didn’t find out much about you. I only know that Alpha John has two daughters. Both with very clean backgrounds.”

After hearing him say this, I felt very much relieved until he spoke up again.

“But you know what weird-”

Dominic walked into the room and stopped our conversation. We both turned to look at him. He was shirtless and only had a pair of black sleeping pants. His hair is still damp from the shower he just had. As natural as he walked in, his eyes moved to where we were. I am assuming he could smell our scent easily.

“Good evening, Alpha,” Peyton greeted Dominic.

Dominic gave him a nod before walking over to me. He placed a hand on the stool I was sitting. The side of his hand burning against my thigh. I tried shifting away thinking he thought this seat was empty. Instead, his other hand settled on the other side of me. He shifted me over and away from Peyton.

Peyton raised an eyebrow. I turned my head to look behind me. He placed to hands on the counter, locking me in. His front pressed against my back. I cleared my throat.

“Did you want a seat?” I asked.

“No,” He answered.

“Do you mind?” I pushed a little on his chest to indicate that I wanted him to back off.

“I do mind,” He replied, unmoving.

Peyton smirked before finishing his beer. He stood up from his seat and walked to the recycling bin where he tossed the empty bottle in.

“Well, I think I am heading home. I’m exhausted tonight. I’ll report back to you tomorrow, Alpha, if you do not mind.” Peyton excused himself.

Peyton must have gotten the answer from Dominic because he left the room a second later. Leaving me alone with the overbearing Alpha behind me. His front is radiating heat all over my back.

I pushed the cream cheese away from me before turning in my seat. He leaned back enough for me to turn and face him. I didn’t realize how close we were. I leaned back a little. My back now against the counter to stop me from toppling over.

He leaned forward, his face inches from mine.

“I wondered where you were. I should have known you would be hanging out with Peyton. Keep in mind, little Luna, that you are mine. You shouldn’t be around males at night.” His voice dropped an octave lower. I licked my lips at the memory of our most recent kiss.

“I-I need to take a s-shower.” I placed a hand on his chest and applied pressure.

“Now, you want to go to bed?” He cocked an eyebrow.

“I need space, Dominic,” I answered.

“And if I don’t give you that?”

The chair stool slipped and I felt the weight under me go away. I closed my eyes, preparing to fall but Dominic’s arms wrapped around my waist. He lifted me up and settled me on my feet.

“I guess that is what you would do.” He murmured.

“I wouldn’t have fallen over if you didn’t insist on being so close,” I grumbled before moving to walk away from him.

He grabbed my elbow to get my attention. It was then I realized I was going to leave him behind to walk his way back upstairs. I waited for him to walk next to me. His hand still firmly wrapped around my elbow.

Together, we headed back to the stairs to go to his room.

“Sometimes, I wondered if you truly are blind,” I grumbled while giving him a side glance.

“Why do you say that?” His eyebrows scrunched together in a cute confused look.

“How did you find your way down here?” I asked.

“This is my home. I know my way around this place. Besides, the lights are on. I can see bits and parts of everything if I walk slowly enough,``he responded.

I stopped midway up the stairs. He also stopped next to me as soon as he realized I had stopped moving. I waved a hand in front of him but there was no reaction. I brought my middle finger to my thumb and raised to his forehead, ready to flick him. His hand came out and wrapped around mine.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“Nothing.” I tugged on my arm for him to release my wrist.

After a minute, he let me go and we walked the rest of the way up the stairs. When we appeared in front of the bedroom, again, the guilt settled in. Last night shouldn’t have happened. Tonight, also shouldn’t happen.

“What?” He asked again.

“I still don’t think we should be sleeping together until...”

He sighed. “Are you always this worried?”

“You don’t understand,” I replied.

“That again?” He shook his head.

“I can’t sleep in the same room as you.”

“Why the hell not?” He snapped in anger from my persistence.

“It’s not right.”

“You are my mate.” He growled.

“It’s not that-” He grabbed my arm and pulled me close to him. His face is mere inches from mine.

“What are you so worried about, Violet?”

I’m worried about a lot of things...

I didn’t reply to his question.

“Are you going to tell me?”

“I can’t...” My loyalty to my sister won over.

“Violet,” His voice held a note of warning.

I’m not Violet.

“Stop,” I struggled to escape his hold. He turned and pushed me up against the bedroom door. His body pressed up against mine to stop me from struggling.

“Please, Dominic.” I pleaded.

“If it is hard for you to be with me, then say it. I don’t like guessing. I don’t like secrets, Violet. You either tell me you are in it or you leave.” He growled.

I didn’t respond and it gave him the answer he needed. He pushed me away from him and the door. I stumbled before turning to look at him. He had his back to me. Tension stretched his bare muscular backside.

“I want you gone in the morning, Violet. I don’t like these games. I have no time for these games.” He whispered before opening the door and entering.

I stood feeling completely conflicted. My loyalty to my sister is so much stronger than I realized. The bond I have with her...it is unwilling to let me admit the truth.

Dominic is right. I can’t keep hiding from him. He deserves so much better.

I took the steps down the stairs two at a time before running out the front door and down the driveway.

Fleeing.

It is what I do best.

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