Homewrecking Alpha (Edit)

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Three

Mark replied first, he was so used to me asking him the question that it became as normal as breathing to him these days. “Yeah, I’m fine, honey. Just needed some fresh air and something to nibble on. Did the trick!” There was a stiffness to him that I was unfamiliar with. His eyes were trained on me, but he was well aware of everyone else in the room.

The fact that he did not mention taking the medication did not go unnoticed, and I wondered if he had hoped that his explanation would be left without challenge. Now, though, did not seem to be the time to bring up this little oversight.

I looked from Slate to my husband. Everyone there was now watching us as though their lives depended on it, and it was very discomforting. Between Slate’s dark expression and my husband’s humble appearance, I was ready to pack everyone back in the car and leave.

Still holding the boys’ hands, I stepped next to Mark. The intention of showing them all to the restroom was nearly forgotten as I watched the two men before me. Deliberately brushing up against Mark, I asked in whispered tones. “Is everything…” I stole a glance at Slate, “alright?”

Slate’s eyes were narrowed on my husband, and there was a threat there that made no sense to me. Mark, on the other hand, stood with his head bowed slightly before he cocked his head sideways toward me. The small smile on his lips was anything but reassuring, but he reached out and patted my arm. The coolness of his hand through my shirt startled me before he said, “Yeah, everything is going to be just fine now.” The choice of his words struck me, but I did not get a chance to question them. “Go on ahead.” He smiled at me gently. “I know Hayden won’t be able to last much longer.” His gaze fell on our youngest, who was fidgeting slightly more than normal. “We both know the potty dance is next.” He chuckled, and the tension within me eased slightly as I snickered.

“Yeah, okay.” The darkness across Slate’s face had only faintly diminished, but at least he did not look like he was ready to pounce. Did they know each other? “Be right back,” I promised. Mark squeezed my arm, and his eyes dropped from me to the floor below him.

Leaving the two men, I let my feet move a little faster to steer the boys away from them. Mark and Slate had already started to speak to one another in hushed tones, too low for me to hear. Maybe Slate was not as pleased as he initially let on about us being there.

As I guided my little ones away, the air momentarily changed as a wave of energy slammed against me, making me gasp. The others in the room grew quiet as a deep, throaty growl echoed against the walls. Clutching the boys’ hands even tighter, I propelled us forward while trying to look for the creature that made the noise. The sound made my insides quiver, though it was not entirely fear that resonated within me.

Soon enough, the atmosphere in the room returned to normal, and the tension eased up allowing me to breathe once more. No one else seemed bothered by the fact that it sounded like a feral beast was with them in this building, and conversations livened up the room once more. Maybe it was all in my head, a side effect of hunger and sleep making me delusional.

We had made it to the restroom, and I pushed an over zealous Hayden into the larger than normal powder room. As was his nature, he wanted to explore everything before he did his business. It took me nearly holding him down before I could settle him enough to finally perch on the seat. Once he was there, I felt comfortable enough to leave him...briefly.

On my way out, I wanted to remind him of the rules. “Don’t forget to…”

Hayden grumbled at me from his throne. “I know, mommy.” His words lowered to little more than a panicked whisper. “But you need to shut the door, before they see me.” His little eyes went big momentarily, then he seemed to have remembered something important. “Please.” The goofy grin that spread over his face let me know that he was proud of himself for remembering his manners.

For years, the boy was not even remotely concerned with his nudity. Seemingly overnight, the boy became as modest as a monk. Okay, so maybe no one could actually see him, but he was more than ready to defend his modesty. As long as he didn’t forget the little things, flush the toilet and wash your hands, I would be happy to meet his request.

The room beyond was buzzing loudly as people spoke amongst themselves, with the atmosphere being punched with laughter periodically. It was a huge contrast to only moments before.

My husband and Slate were still in deep conversation. Watching them, I was not sure how well it was going. Slate’s expression had lightened to some degree, but he still looked...dangerous. Mark’s whole frame remained as taut and humbled as before. Their body language spoke of something important transpiring between them, but what could be so important between strangers? There was a familiarity there, but I could not fathom how they might know one another. However, the company that Mark once worked for was an international company, so it was possible that met as part of company business. Would that explain some of the hostility from Slate?

The man that had been so kind to show me the restroom in the first place was heading my way once more. His pale green eyes were practically smiling at me while his straight, blonde hair flopped across his brow. The very charm he exuded reminded my of times when the boys were ready to burst with excitement about a secret they wanted to share. It must have been the wide smile perched on his lips, along with the blush of excitement that coated his face like a fine sheen. Admittedly, his charm was slightly more mature than my sons, but there was no hiding that he was delighted about something.

He was certainly as attractive as any of them standing around the room. Genetically speaking, these people seemed to have been gifted the best of the genes, at least physically.

Just before he reached us, he was already issuing an invitation. “We are about to have dinner in the dining hall. We would love to have you all join us.” For some reason, my face stuck in an expression that was nearly blank, like I didn’t understand what he was saying to me. In fact, I heard everything that he said, but my brain had yet to determine an answer to give him.

I must have been idle in thought and speech a little too long, for the man started to speak once more trying to convince me of the invitation. “It is getting rather late. By the time you reach the closest town, I imagine most of the places that serve anything edible would be closed.” He beamed at me. There was something so friendly and good natured in his whole demeanor, something that made him instantly likeable. Though he stood almost as tall as Slate, he was still able to convey an almost boyish charm. His eyes held a constant sparkle, although I questioned whether it was excitement or mischief that made them glitter so.

The need to tease this man was too much to contain. “I don’t know. Can you come up with a more convincing argument?”

Hayden nearly popped out of the restroom at the most well timed moment. “Mommy, you should see the foamy soap they have. It smells like strawberries.” Well, at least I did not have to ask him if he washed his hands. Aaron took that moment to enter the room that Hayden had just left. “When are we going to eat? I’m hungry,” Hayden whined.

Before I could respond, the man replied, “You are going to have dinner with us tonight, if you would like.”

When I looked at the man who offered the invitation, his mouth was curved into a victorious little smile. Our little bottle of energy started to bounce as Hayden eagerly agreed to the invite. Touche!

“Looks like we have dinner plans,” Mark grinned as he approached us, only a slight strain showing at the sides of his mouth. Whether it was from his illness or his conversation was anyone’s guess.

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