Chapter 20: Wolf and Night
Hailey walked out onto the patio where everyone had eventually gathered. Something Hailey noticed about Hunter and his siblings was that they didn’t like sitting inside a lot. Wherever they were, they looked for fresh air, nature and trees. They liked to be under the sky (day or night) and bask in the glint of the moon or sun. It was so wolfish of them to sit lounge around in chairs and silently enjoy the nature sounds. And it wasn’t a surprise either when Vincent and Ryder tackled one another in their wolf forms. A challenge was always accepted with honour in this pack, even if it was for fun.
Hailey took a seat on the bench next to Hunter. “Why are they attacking each other?”
“They were playing blackjack and Ryder cheated when Vincent explicitly told him not to,” said Hunter who seemed quite bored from watching the brawl in front of him.
Hailey chuckled at them.
Azura also came back outside with the last slice of cake. She carefully sauntered around Gabriel, Viola, Lupin and River. Hailey grew aware of how Azura moved around everyone like the most precious thing to her was the cake on her plate. Azura pushed past the card table and took a seat on the empty steps.
“They should be careful,” Hailey warned as Vincent and Ryder started to get too close around the patio. Intuition told Hailey that Azura would kill them if anything happened to her cake.
Vincent’s and Ryder’s wolves didn’t pay any attention to their surroundings. Vincent’s wolf grabbed Ryder and they toppled over the wooden table which held their card game. Ryder pawed and kicked Vincent off of him. And exactly what Hailey hoped wouldn’t happen did. Vincent slammed into the steps where Azura was. The wolf crashed the table and bumped into Azura. Her cake slice flopped onto the ground between the grass and mud.
The entire gang stopped when Azura stood up.
Azura lifted her cold eyes. “I’m going to kill you two.”
Hailey gasped when Azura ripped into her beastly form and lunged on top of Vincent. She brutally clawed the two male wolves. Even if Azura was outnumbered, she surely wasn’t outmatched.
Viola laughed. “Those two have done it now!”
Azura’s wolf put her mouth around Vincent’s neck. She grabbed Ryder’s wolf with her paw when he tried to help Vincent. They both struggled for air as everyone cheered on Azura to knock them out.
“That looks serious,” muttered Hailey as Azura tossed Ryder to the side like he weighed a sack of potatoes. “Shouldn’t you step in?”
“They had it coming,” sighed Hunter. “Don’t worry. They fight like that all the time. It gets their blood boiling and saps all their extra energy out before dinner.”
Azura finished them off with a good paw to the face. Luckily none of them drew any blood. But Hailey guessed that they all had some restraint even if they were fighting so viciously.
“I’m starting dinner preparations,” announced Klaus from inside the house. “So, you might want to freshen up before I’m done.”
Hailey got out of her seat. “Where are you going?” asked Hunter curiously.
“I’m going to go help Klaus,” she said. “How is he alone going to cook for all of us?”
“But your injuries,” reminded Hunter.
She smiled. “I’m fine,” she sauntered inside and found Klaus in the kitchen. “What are we cooking?”
“Lasagna,” he said, “it’s everyone’s favourite.”
“And mine too,” she said firmly. “Here, let me help.”
Klaus shook his head. “No. You should rest and sit down,” he instructed. “Maybe even take another nap and fully heal.”
Hailey put her hands on her waist. “Keep telling me what to do and see what happens,” she challenged lightheartedly.
“You’re hurt, Hailey,” his eyes saddened.
Hailey smiled brightly to cheer him up. “Cooking will lessen the pain,” she said. “Let me help, pretty please.”
“Okay, but only with the sauce and toppings,” he said. “No using a knife, and definitely do not touch the dishes or grate the cheese.”
“Got it,” she chuckled.
She grabbed the extra apron from the hook behind the pantry door and got started. Klaus and she worked around the spacious kitchen, which was completely different from the one in her cabin; but the sensation fluttering in her heart was the same. Whenever things were tough or people had to come together the kitchen was always the answer. Great food and drinks always solved any bitter or sad mood.
Although, Klaus told her not to, she still secretly cut up the bell peppers and mushrooms. But she was quickly scolded and warned. She rolled her eyes and went back to stirring the sauce with her working hand.
Klaus laboured around the kitchen efficiently. His broad shoulders and height filled the space and it proved how very handsome he was; and he reminded her of Gabriel. He may have blonde hair and green eyes, unlike Gabriel’s more darker features, but they both had the same energy of command and control.
As they worked together, she could see the qualities Gabriel harboured into Klaus as a kid. The only difference Hailey noticed was that Gabriel emitted authority that surpassed the force of a storm. This quality was definitely in Hunter. As beta, he controlled every single action. Every muscle in his body moved with his permission. Hunter’s eyes were deep with secrets and knowledge about everything he learned in his life as a man, a wolf, a brother, a beta, a fighter, and most definitely, a survivor. The power Hunter emitted was because he trained to be a skilled protector, and that he most certainly got from Gabriel.
“Do you love cooking, Klaus?” she asked as he piled a thick layer of cheese of the first tray of lasagna.
“I love it,” he smiled.
“Hunter told me that you started cooking when you were still very young,” she said. “Did you like it then too?”
“Not that much,” Klaus grew stiff and she most definitely noticed that. “I had to find fun in it, only then I was able to enjoy cooking.”
She kept her expression light and easy. “Why didn’t you just stop?” asked Hailey.
“I didn’t like it when someone else had to cook for me,” he sighed heavily, “made me feel like a kid.”
“You were just a kid,” said Hailey.
He chuckled. “None of us were ever kids,” he said with a little resentment. “Gabriel took care of us all day, every day. He never complained about being tired or that he was too busy for me. So, the least I could do to help him out was be able to give him hot food.”
“You learned to cook for Gabriel,” she said sweetly.
“And everyone else,” he smiled happily this time. “They could barely pack their lunch for school on time. So, I just took charge and made sure they all had what they needed.”
Hailey patted his back. “You did good, Klaus,” she said chirpily. “You must have been through a lot, but you held on for your family.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” he teased, “they drove me insane most of the time.”
Hailey laughed. “I’m sure they did.”
“And your mate was the worst,” he remarked.
“How?” asked Hailey from disbelief.
“He would scare all of my friends and sometimes even my teachers,” Klaus shared with a pout, “and he would always forget things around the house for me to pick up. I would always run after him to take his lunch or textbooks. He was a difficult brother to handle.”
Hailey laughed until her gut hurt. She had to stop or she’d break a rib. She wiped the tears that pooled at her eyes. “You’re so cute,” she squeezed Klaus’s cheek.
“Is food ready?” asked Viola as she came down the stairs freshly bathed.
“Almost,” answered Hailey.
Hunter came down after Viola. His hair was wet from a shower and he was in loose pants and a black t-shirt-that clung to his shoulders and chest. His longs legs stalked forward as he met Hailey in the kitchen. He came around behind her and left no distance between them. “Smells delicious,” he said against her ear.
“Sure does. Klaus did an amazing job with the sauce,” she complimented.
She felt his smile on the crook of her neck. “I was talking about you,” he whispered hotly for her ears only. Hailey blushed enough for her cheeks to turn redder than the sauce. “I can’t wait to take you to my bed after dinner.”
“I have an injury,” she said it like it proved to be a sufficient excuse.
Hunter circled his strong arm around her waist. “I have my ways around that,” he whispered. “Don’t worry about it at all-” Hunter bit her neck playfully. She gasped and pushed him away embarrassingly- “Is dinner ready?” he asked teasingly like nothing happened. She hated that composure on his face whilst she was blushing like crazy with everyone around. The scent of her arousal was probably very strong because of his teasing, but she thanked Maya that the room smelt thick of lasagna.
They all gathered in the dining room as everyone helped prepare the table. Gabriel came down last and joined them too. She was glad that everyone loved the steamy, hot lasagna with enthusiasm. Klaus placed another slice whenever someone finished and they gladly ate another. The cheese was thick over the pasta and meat filling, which went spectacularly well with the sauce that was spicy and rich in flavour.
The moon was high up in the sky after dinner. Azura, Lupin and the Drakov twins thanked Klaus and her for the food; they wished Hailey well; and then said their goodbyes to Gabriel. Hailey tried to help clean up in the kitchen, but Hunter, Viola and Vincent just kicked her out saying that the rule in the house was; ‘whoever cooked never cleaned’ that was also why Klaus was sitting on the couch with a beer and a book.
“Hailey, can I talk to you for a moment?” requested Gabriel.
“Of course.” Hailey pulled herself away from the kitchen and followed Gabriel onto the porch, where crickets sang and the night breeze cooled the light sheen of sweat on her body.
His gold eyes were sharp and controlled. “Usually, the elders of the family would have this talk,” said Gabriel sternly. “But in our case-”
“I understand, Gabriel,” said Hailey, “you don’t need to trouble yourself.”
As much of a smile Gabriel could conjure, he did. “I’ve raised and trained Hunter. He may look tough, but he feels the most from all of us.”
Hailey leaned on the porch bannister. “I know what you mean,” she said. “He’s the one who convinced me that this mating was fate,” she chuckled, “he’s quite poetic your brother.”
“My parents may not be here,” said Gabriel. “But I am. And I think it’s my duty to say that you are family to all of us now, especially after you protected Klaus.”
Hailey’s throat tightened. “You don’t know how much that means to me,” she said.
A heavy silence drifted between them. They both understood the deeper meaning of all of their bonds that were weaved together now. And maybe even unbreakable.
“We should head inside before your mate starts causing a rampage looking for you,” remarked Gabriel.
“Thank you for accepting me,” said Hailey as she bit back her tears. Gabriel laid his hand on her cheek; his gold gaze bore into her and it was like she could feel his pure heart. Gabriel’s eyes really were the windows to his soul, so pure and resilient.
The door swung open and Hunter’s eyes found Hailey first, she was sure he saw her wet eyes and reddened cheeks. “What did you saw to her?” asked Hunter.
“Nothing, you goof.” Gabriel put his hands in his pockets and moved passed Hunter. Gabriel closed the door behind him and left them alone.
Hunter came to her side. “Did he say something?” he asked her.
“Just something really sweet,” she smiled.