Chapter 11: Wolf's Night
Hailey was settled on the bleachers under the large fluffy clouds in the blue evening sky, which were as pink as the cotton-candy Hailey devoured from the stick. All the students and teachers and some of the pack had joined from hearing the loud commotion of music and bustling kids. Most of the parents began the preparations of the barbecue, which quickly turned into a feast when families brought their homemade dishes to add a bit more magic to the dinner.
Everyone sat back to enjoy the burning red sun which fell asleep behind the horizon of the lake that glimmered like liquid gold. Hailey didn’t remember the last time she had been so mystified by the magic of night-break, she rarely spent time to enjoy the creations of mother nature. It was only until she joined the Centauri pack did she break that cycle of despair and enjoyed the life which was gifted to her. Hailey lived with a lot of regret whenever the thought of her parents came to her mind, they died because of her carelessness and she had never forgiven herself since then. However, she got herself through school like they wished and built a successful career, she found a strong mate who had undeniable honour and the love he had for his own family was indisputable, she belonged to a pack that even her parents were never a part of in their life. Hailey surpassed their wishes. So, was it alright for her to settle down and find forgiveness once and for all? She wondered solemnly.
“Where’s Viola?” A voice snapped her out of her thoughts. Hunter prowled onto the bleachers and climbed up towards her.
“She went to get more cotton-candy,” said Hailey.
Hunter joined her on the bench. “That kid always had a sweet-tooth,” he added fondly. His gold eyes brightened with that small smile that creeped onto his lips and softened his stern face.
Hailey ripped off a piece of the sweet pink fluff and presented it in front of Hunter’s lips. “Don’t you have a sweet-tooth too?” she jested with a grin.
Hunter turned his gaze towards her with mischievousness twinkling in his radiant eyes. Hunter grabbed her hand and the blistering sensation shot threw her arm, he bent down and put his lips around her fingers that gently held the cotton-candy. “Delicious,” he said huskily.
Hailey pulled her hand away like his touch was hotter than a flame. “Did you enjoy yourself today?” she asked casually to divert his attention and his dark intentions that she could see right through his eyes.
His eyes never left her face. “More than I planned to,” he revealed. “You see, I shared this amazing kiss with my mate.”
Hailey’s eyes widened. “Wh- what?” she was baffled by his candor. Hunter leaned closer until his arm brushed hers and the heat from his body was all she could feel and sense. Her body immediately grew more aware of his presence, the strong wave of their bond swam around them and swarmed them in a bubble that was impervious.
“You do know what’s going to happen tonight right?” he asked very gently.
Hailey’s heart was in her throat. “The barbecue,” she choked out her reply.
Hunter’s laugh slithered down her entire body. “Don’t be nervous,” he reassured.
“Aren’t you?” she asked him suddenly and he looked at her surprised. “How can you be so sure that you want to mate with me? I’ve never done anything to impress you and you don’t know anything about me. So, why do you want me? Or is it just the obligation you’re fulfilling because you found your mate. Because if that’s what you’re doing than I’d rather you wouldn’t, you’ll only regret it.”
Hunter grabbed her hands. “Slow down,” he whispered. Hunter turned towards her, his sharp gold eyes bore into her nervous and hesitant eyes that were letting him know how unnerved she truly was about all of this. “I want to mate you because I want to show my family that we can be happy too,” he told her.
“What?” she asked taking a moment to comprehend what he just told her. “I don’t understand.”
Hunter glanced at the group near the barbecue station, his siblings were laughing and talking with the pack members and students. “My siblings have given up on finding love, especially Gabriel. I did too, but then you showed up and that changed everything for me. I’m not fulfilling some obligation, but I am honouring our goddess Maya that chose us to be together.”
Hailey’s eyes stung from the threat of tears. She couldn’t believe what Hunter was sharing to her so openly, he was so honest that it broke something inside of her. He shattered all defences she had put up to keep everyone at arms-length so she wouldn’t be the cause of anyone’s demise again. However, Hunter was sure of what he wanted and he told her exactly that he wouldn’t back down from the bond they shared. He pulled her out of the heavy black waters that was drowning her for years, and she couldn’t be more grateful and scared.
A shift occurred inside of Hunter and Hailey sensed it instantly because his eyes darkened grimly. “To ensure the safety of my family and the pack I have done things that others refused to do,” he said very carefully so Hailey would make sure to listen to every word. “I’m not proud of those choices, but if I had the option to do them all over again, I would, because that would mean that my family is safe and that’s just who I am.” Hunter’s jaw tightened and Hailey could tell that it was getting hard for him. “I didn’t choose when I wanted my mate, but Maya did. And when I laid eyes on the girl chosen for me, all I could see was her pure heart. I couldn’t ignore it and I didn’t even try to because I knew deep down what I was looking for was you.”
It was painful to see him like this. He opened his heart and showed her what he really desired and it was so pure, so true. Hailey vision blurred and hot tears fell from her eyes that filled up on their own.
“Don’t cry… Hailey…” Hunter was flustered and spoke gently in her ear. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
Hailey smacked his shoulder. “Why’d you have to go and say such sweet things then,” she scolded him and wiped her tears. “Ugh! I hate crying.”
All Hunter could do was embrace her and let the torrent of her tears to soak through his shirt. He could feel her clench her fists, not knowing whether to be mad or to give up hope all together. Hailey knew that he could hear her silently crying, suffocating with each breath she took holding onto herself looking for strength. Hunter ran his fingers through her hair, time and time again, in an attempt to calm the silent war within her heart.
“Hunter!” a voice interrupted them.
“It’s Vincent,” whispered Hunter as he pulled away Hailey missed the feel of his body around hers almost instantly. “What is it?” he asked his brother as Hailey hid her face away because she knew her eyes would be red and puffy.
“I need you to start the grill and cook the meat,” said Vincent, and then, he simply walked off without raising any questions, which she guessed Hunter had a part of. She could just imagine the glare he gave his brother to walk off quietly. Poor Vincent, he didn’t even know what his fault was, thought Hailey.
“Are you alright?” asked Hunter.
Hailey’s head hung low. “Just go,” she groaned. “I’m too embarrassed to face you.”
Hunter laughed; it was the sweetest and sexiest sound. “Come on, let’s get some food in you,” he said. “You’ll need a lot of energy if I’m going to fuck you senseless.”
Hailey tripped over her feet and gaped at Hunter. “What is wrong with you?”
Hunter smirked. “It’s true,” he admitted smugly.
“You’re insane,” Hailey laughed from disbelief.
Hunter grabbed her by the waist and helped her off the last step of the bleacher. “A smile suits you better,” he said softly. “I’m sorry I made you cry.”
“It’s fine,” she waved it off. “Let’s just start the barbecue already.” Hunter’s golden eyes sparkled like the stars that showered over them tonight. He laced his hand with hers and they walked together back to the camp. No one raised any questions or made it awkward, which Hailey was so grateful for because she couldn’t handle any more embarrassment.
Hunter flared up the coal and started the grill, she grabbed the tongs from his hands. “I’ll cook the meat,” she said firmly. “I don’t want you burning it.” He chuckled and moved right next to her, he made sure that the fire under the grill was strong, controlled and running to cook the food to perfection; if it wasn’t already clear, everyone in this pack took their food very seriously.
The long table was prepared for everyone to sit and enjoy the feast, everybody had gathered and light music played around them. The fairy lights glimmered over the table and created a comfortable and romantic mood, with pups running around and friends and family laughing wholeheartedly it truly was the perfect way to end this night.
“The first batch is up,” said Hailey as she passed a massive tray with crispy sausages, sizzling beef and seasoned pork. Hunter took the tray and placed it between the hungry werewolves that didn’t waste any chance to devour the meat.
“I wouldn’t want to get in the middle of that,” said Viola as she dodged a group of hollering pups.
“Where did you disappear to?” asked Hailey. “You went to get food and then disappeared on me.”
“They were out of cotton-candy,” she said. “And when I came back I saw you with Hunter, I didn’t want to disturb you so I returned to my other brothers.”
Hailey released a deep breath. “Oh,” she said simply.
“Hailey,” Viola’s deep jade eyes were earnest and true. “I want you to know that you can tell me what’s on your heart. We may have just become friends recently, but you can trust me with anything.”
“Thanks,” said Hailey. “You don’t know how much that means to me.”
“Viola,” Klaus appeared with a small smile. “You guys can start eating now, I’ll take it from here.”
“Alright then,” Viola patted her brother’s shoulder. “Let’s eat, Hailey.”
“Thank you, Klaus,” Hailey passed him the silver tongs, and then joined the long table to eat dinner with the people who were complete strangers when she first set foot on this property, and now, they were closer than family.
Gabriel and the rest of the pack had joined them and the barbecue broke into a party. Many people transformed into wolves and started wrestling in the middle of the field, it was quite the show and as usual no one could beat Azura, River or Hunter. This was completely normal, a brawl or two was healthy for this peculiar Centauri pack according to all the elders, Hailey couldn’t disagree with them either. No matter who was knocked down they still got up with a smile and with no malice for their opponent.
“Ms. Swan,” a young man came up to her. She recognized his sharp hazel-green eyes and the light brunette hair; it was Leo Cavill- his younger sister Naomi was in her class. He had grown into quite a handsome man, and it was clear because he was standing over her shirtless and covered in sheen of sweat.
“Yes, Leo,” she got up. “What can I help you with?”
“Some guys and I need to grab our gym clothes from the locker-room,” he said. “Dante told me you had the keys.”
“Wait one second,” she strode to the lonely table on the side of the gym and grabbed her purse from the table, she quickly searched for the spare key and pulled it out. She looked dead into Leo’s eyes and warned him. “Make sure you return the key straight back to me.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he grabbed the keys and left towards the gym with his friends who had just finished the brawl and were covered in dirt too.
“Those boys sure grew up fast,” said Hunter as he suddenly appeared beside her after his own fight with River and Ryder had ended.
Hailey agreed and turned around, she found Hunter shirtless and dirty right in front of her. “Oh Maya,” she muttered under a breathless sigh. This man was chiselled like a Greek statute, every single part of him was raw muscle and strength. No wonder he won every fight and was a formidable opponent. His broad shoulders glistened with sweat and it glided down his lean waist that had a pair of jeans hanging low on them, which tempted her entire being to surrender to him. His body was beautifully built with the long, efficient lines of a weapon, every inch twisted with tough muscle. She noticed the light brush of scars on his hip and chest, they were old and pale against his taut bronzed skin.
Hunter rolled his stiff shoulder. “River really did a number on me,” he groaned and that noise shot right through Hailey’s quivering hot core. “That man does not hold back at all.”
Hailey ripped her eyes away from his hard abs and tried to cover up her wolf’s excitement and her own arousal. “You did great out there,” she said with a smile even though she was panicking on the inside. “I could never handle fights like that.”
“I could teach you some moves,” he offered.
Hailey internally screamed. “Nope, no thank you,” she hastily denied his offer because that would mean that she would see him shirtless, and she didn’t think she could handle it again.
Hunter’s eyes shifted with something dark and carnal. “Don’t tell me that a few shirtless boys aroused you,” he assumed.
Hailey gaped at him and her breath froze in her lungs. “I- Uh- No- Er,” she stuttered and fumbled over her own words that always seemed to happen whenever this beta was involved. “It wasn’t the boys,” she quickly explained and then froze. “What am I saying?” She censured herself before she said something utterly humiliating.
Hunter’s brow arched and he gazed at her haughtily like he already knew what she meant, and as usually, he was just teasing her again. “It’s good to know that you like my body,” he grinned and his smouldering gaze melted her limbs until they weakened and failed to support her. Hunter placed his hand possessively on her hip; it didn’t go overlooked that he was branding her with his scent and touch. He reached up and unzipped her jacket until her neck was revealed, a low growl reverberated from deep inside his throat and strong chest. His finger skimmed across the mark and his touch sizzled against her bare skin that flared alive, she bit her lip and moaned into his touch as his irresistible lips inched closer to hers.
“Ms. Swan!” Hailey’s eyes snapped open and the boys from earlier returned with their swim shorts on. “Can you unlock the pool for us?”
Hailey shoved past Hunter and followed Leo. That was close, she almost had the urge to let him strip her right on the table. Resisting him was getting harder by the minute, she didn’t know how long she could hold out against this sexy, smouldering but extremely sweet beta. Hunter promised that he would claim her tonight, Hailey was completely ignorant to what he’d do to her, but her wolf was more than ready for Hunter Centauri.
“Ms. Swan,” Leo called out. “We’re here.”
“Huh,” she looked around and found that she was standing in front of the swimming-pool doors. “Oh, my bad.” She unlocked the door and a lot of the kids ran inside. “Don’t run!” she yelled, but they were too frenzied by the clean pool to pay any attention to her warning. Most of the kids had either left for their homes or had joined the party in the pool. Hailey handed the spare-keys to Klaus and joined the everyone around the bonfire.
Hunter grabbed the empty seat next to her, this time he had his shirt on; she couldn’t tell if she was relived or disappointed. “Are you cold?” he asked her.
“No,” she said because the last thing her body needed was more heat.
“I think Gabriel’s going to call everyone for a pack run later,” said Hunter. “Will you join me?”
Hailey gazed at him. “Yes.”
The sweet night grew as shooting stars sliced through the navy-blue sky that was enchanting to watch. Everyone returned from the pool and joined the rest of the pack around the blazing warm fire, light chattered filled the air but everyone was contempt from just listening to the dancing flames, crackling wood, crying crickets and hooting owls. The night was still young when Gabriel rose from his seat, he stripped his shirt off and transformed into his majestic wolf form, the black beast howled and called towards the crescent moon and his pack. No one needed another call from their alpha, his siblings rose and followed Gabriel and so did everyone else.
Hailey sat back and handed the reigns to her wolf, the beast unleashed its glory and stepped forth from the shadows. Her body transformed into her wolf and her paws padded through the grass which felt heavenly. The sensation of running freely with a pack by her side was undeniably beautiful, she breathed the fresh night air which was crisp and cool. Hailey picked up her pace and bolted through the trees following the pack closely, when her wolf grew alert and stopped amidst the run; it was odd on its own because her wolf liked nothing better than a run. However, Hailey realized later what had captured her wolf’s attention; it was her mate.
A black wolf emerged from the dark trees with blazing gold eyes.