Chapter 23: Confession
Hailey worked around her kitchen keeping Hunter engaged in an easy conversation, so his attention would stay on her and not what he was battling in his head. He may not have shared what went through, but she was sure that it was tough. Hailey recognized the blank expression Hunter had when he looked at her. It was the same look her parents had when they would come back from work. She didn’t know what they did for a living, but she did remember how they used to comfort each other.
Hailey was only a fourteen at the time, but she remembered how her dad or mom would come back from work with dead eyes, that looked like all the life had been sucked out. And whenever that happened her parents would distract each other with conversation or food. So, when Hunter appeared at her door, she knew how to handle him.
“Pass me the sprinkles,” she held her hand out.
Hunter gazed at her hand for a moment. “Hmm?”
“The sprinkles,” she repeated.
“Oh. What colour?” asked Hunter as he viewed all the canisters.
Hailey considered the vanilla birthday cake, that had rainbow funfetti inside the bread and white-chocolate ganache and decided; “Give me blue, pink and yellow.”
“Here,” Hunter passed her the three bottles.
Hailey poured the three different coloured sprinkles in a bowl beforehand. She then grabbed the thick whipped cream piping. Carefully, she turned the large square and outlined it with thick white frosting at the top and the bottom. “How does it look?” she asked Hunter.
“Looks delicious,” he said kindly.
“Can you put the sprinkles?” she asked. “I need to prepare the pink frosting for the writing. And I need to look for candles-” Hunter didn’t even hesitate before he grabbed the bowl and followed her example- “I swear I had some candles around here somewhere.”
“Look on top of your fridge,” suggested Hunter.
Hailey opened the top drawer and saw them sitting at the back. “How’d you know they were there?” she astonished.
Hunter was surprised himself. “Wild guess.”
Hailey put them on the side so she could take them tomorrow. “It’s coming together nicely,” she pointed out after she saw the rainbow sprinkles surround the square. Hailey grabbed the extra whipped cream and put pink food colouring in the cream. The bubble pink popped cutely on the white frosting as she wrote ‘happy birthday’ in cursive. The kids were going to love it and so were the staff members.
Hunter took a moment to observe his contribution to the cake. “It does look really nice,” he said. “We make a good team.”
Hailey chuckled. “It’s because I’m a great leader,” she said proudly.
“I think it’s because I’m a natural at this,” remarked Hunter.
Hailey patted his shoulder that was held back proudly. “You make a great side-kick,” she jested. “Whenever I need someone to put sprinkles on my cake, I’ll call you.” Hunter sharply put the bowl down surprising Hailey. He closed the space between them. Her back hit the counter telling her there was nowhere to escape. The kitchen around her felt really small when Hunter blocked her view of everything with his body.
Hunter laid his lips gently against the side of her mouth. “You smell of cream and sugar,” he growled, “so fucking tempting.”
Hailey secretly dipped her finger in the whipped cream bowl. And Hunter had no idea when she brought her finger to his lips. Hailey mischievously wiped the frosting on his mouth. “You’ve got a little bit of cream on your lip,” she mocked without holding her laughter back.
Hunter licked some of the cream off. “You’ll regret that, baby,” his eyes darkened and he stopped her laughter with his lips.
Hailey tasted Hunter’s dark, tantalizing taste that was mixed with the sweet cream. She moaned against his mouth when Hunter took control of her. She grabbed his shoulders for support and pressed her body closer to his. Hunter was desperate and eager to get to her, his lips searched hers and he devoured her until he was satisfied.
Hunter steadied her with his strong arm that circled her waist. He pulled her up to mold her soft curves against his muscular built. Hailey circled her arms around his neck and matched his passion that was all-consuming and sensually chaotic. She gasped when Hunter’s hands crawled under her apron.
“Let me pack the cake first,” she said between his kiss.
“You have five minutes,” he growled against her mouth.
Hailey would have worked faster putting the cake away if Hunter hadn’t interrupted her so much. One moment she was putting the dirty bowls away and then the next she had spent a long moment kissing Hunter. The only reason they let each other go because they lost their breath. Hailey moved around him and packed the cake securely in a cardboard box for tomorrow.
Hunter approached her from behind. His hands worked at the bow of her apron and he quickly removed it off of her. His lips kissed her neck and his teeth nipped the skin as he tasted her to his heart’s content.
“Upstairs, baby. Right now,” Hunter’s voice shivered down Hailey’s entire body.
She led the way and took Hunter to her bedroom. The room was dark but the bedside lamp brought sufficient light for them. Hunter tore off her blue blouse and she unzipped her white skirt. They ripped through the layers with their eager hands that were desperate to feel the other’s hot skin.
Hailey noticed that Hunter’s clothes had changed. Instead of the blue jeans and dark shirt, he had a red flannel on paired with dark black jeans. She wondered what had happened that his mood had grown so distant, she didn’t recognize this part of him that was so lost and closed off. Hailey could see the predatory behind those amber eyes, but they weren’t deadly, instead they looked broken.
“Let me,” whispered Hailey.
Hunter dropped his hands and let her take over. She knew how hard it was for him to give her control, but he did it without complaint. She gazed deep into those eyes that told her that he had no desire to stop her. Hailey stripped him out the rest of his clothes before she guided him on the bed. Hailey crawled over his body and straddled his waist, her hands roamed over his chest and hard abs. Hunter simply watched her, didn’t speak or demand, just laid back silently letting her study him. Hailey didn’t realize until later, how much her wolf enjoyed the submission of her mate. Hunter and his wolf laid under Hailey handing her power over him, even though he was clearly not a submissive wolf.
Hailey bent down, her lips hovered over his. “What do you need?” she asked timidly.
“You,” he replied. “I just need to feel my mate.”
She caressed his lips against her and seduced him to open his mouth for her. Her tongue slipped into his mouth and she angled her face to get more. Hunter’s hand rested on the small of her back, and the other, collared her nape to bring her closer to him. Hailey lost her breath, mind and soul as she fell under the spell that Hunter weaved through her. His kiss, touch and passion were craved by her now. She couldn’t see past him and she didn’t want to anymore.
Hailey separated from his lips. Her hips rose and she felt his hard shaft probe the entrance of her hot, slippery core. She moaned as her core consumed his shaft bit by bit. She could feel her channel spilt apart and swallow his size, that was very much intimidating. Hunter gripped her small waist like he couldn’t handle the slow tantalizing torture. His eyes grew dangerous as they held her hot gaze. Hailey ignored his gripe, she didn’t want him to gain control of himself again. She ignored taking it slow and slammed home.
“Fuck,” growled Hunter viscously.
Hailey gasped, her core was drenched and her body was throbbing from wherever she touched. When she regained some sense, she started to move her hips in an erotic pace. Her body moved in harmony with Hunter’s, which proved why they made a special mated pair. Hailey worked to pleasure Hunter, but her own arousal consumed her and drove her wild. She rode Hunter until her core convulsed around his hard-aching shaft. Hunter pulled her down and crushed his lips against hers. He took control and thrusted deep inside her. He lost himself when his release thundered through him and her.
Hailey dropped on his chest. Her limbs felt sluggish and her breath was erratic. “Hunter,” she called out.
“Hmm?” he asked.
“What happened at work today?” she asked him.
Hunter stiffened underneath her. His got up and took her with him. She sat on his lap as his arm supported her back when he sat at the edge of the bed. “Do you want me to tell you?” he asked her firmly. “It’s a lot to handle.”
Hailey was about to answer when her stomach growled. She pouted and laid her hand on her gut, that was begging for some attention as well.
Hunter chuckled. “Let me make dinner you,” he offered, “and I’ll tell you everything.”
Hailey got off of Hunter’s legs and quickly put a nightgown on. Hunter just put his jeans on and ditched his shirt. They made their way down to her kitchen. Hunter opened her fridge and started pulling out ingredients. From the bell peppers, mushrooms and little chicken bites, Hailey guessed he was making stir-fry noodles with chicken.
Hailey perched herself on the kitchen counter, her legs swinging on the edge, she enjoyed the view. Shirtless, Hunter walked around her kitchen comfortably. Whenever he needed something he’d ask her, and she’d just point where to find it. The moment the noodles were put on a boil and all the vegetables were cut, he came beside her.
“I had a mission today,” he began. “A mission that requires the skills me and my team specialize in. Do you remember the day we were followed on our date?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“We found out that those men were back,” said Hunter. “So, Gabriel ordered that we bring them in and get some answers. We did what he ordered. We found the men and brought them here to interrogate them.”
Hailey quietly listened. She didn’t interrupt him or give him any sort of reaction because she didn’t want him to stop.
“To interrogate them, I was sent because I do that part of the job the best,” he said gravely. “I never hesitate or falter with my motive. When I need answers, I get them.”
Hailey felt a terrible chill crawl down her entire body. She didn’t let Hunter see, but she could feel the threatening force emanate from him. “Interrogating is a part of your job as beta,” said Hailey. “I understand that.”
Hunter shook his head. “I don’t just ask them what I need to know and they tell me, Hailey,” he said. “I make them confess because if they don’t, then the consequences are severe.”
Hailey tilted her head. “Do you kill them?” she asked hesitantly.
His eyes met hers when he slowly shook his head. “I do much worse,” he said softly.
They were interrupted when the water started to boil erratically and the noodles were ready. Hunter strained the noodles before he moved to the fry pan. He poured some sesame oil then he pushed the plate full of vegetables and meat onto the frying-pan.
Hailey realized now why he had that blank expression on his face when he came to her. His mind was recapping all of the horrific events from today’s mission. “Those men aren’t alive, are they?” she asked a very simple question. A question she felt like she knew the answer to.
“No,” he answered. “I killed them after I got what I needed.” Hunter stopped stirring the veggies and meat. “Cold-blooded murder was I committed before I came to you tonight.”
Hailey stiffened by his dark, menacing voice. “What did those men want from us?” she asked.
Hunter seemed like he was caught-off guard by her sudden question. “They were tailing Gabriel,” he answered nonetheless. “Apparently a bounty has been set to kill Gabriel for five million dollars.”
Hailey’s mouth dropped open. “By who?” she astonished.
“Another pack leader we’ve been enemies with for years,” he sighed.
Hailey remembered. “The Waldorf Pack?”
Hunter nodded as he added the noodles to the fry-pan. “Lucas Waldorf wants Gabriel dead.”
Hailey didn’t know how to process this without feeling herself crumble away. Like her parents, someone is targeting her family again. “Those men today told you all of this?” she asked.
Hunter closed the stove. “Yeah,” he answered grimly. “But we don’t know how many rogue wolves have been given this job.”
Hailey forced Hunter to meet her gaze. “How’s Gabriel?” she asked eagerly. “Is he alright?”
Hunter nodded. “No one will hurt him on my watch,” he reassured her because he sensed her panic.
Hailey’s panic didn’t settle, but she trusted Hunter and that calmed her down. “That’s what you’ve been thinking about since you came here?”
Hunter poured the portion of noodles on two plates. “Pretty much,” he let out a drained breath that told her that he was nervous and angry.
Hailey jumped off the counter. She grabbed two glasses of wine and set up the table in the living room. Hunter brought the food and put it on the low glass table. Instead of turning on the lights, Hailey lit the three tier candles. Hunter joined her on the warm rug as they enjoyed the plate of food.
“This is delicious,” she moaned when she took the first bite.
Hunter smiled. “Good.”
Hailey sipped some wine. “If those men were after Gabriel, then why did they follow us?” she asked him.
“We were just bonus points to kill and claim,” he said.
Hailey gut lurched. “That’s sick,” she muttered.
Hunter put his fork down after taking a few bites. “Hailey, do you understand what I told you earlier?” he asked.
“Yes, Hunter. I do.”
He gazed into her eyes. “And you’re not revolted?”
“Why would I be?” she asked him. “Those men would have killed us and Gabriel for money. I understand your position and the demands that come with it.”
Hunter opened and closed his mouth. “I tortured and killed two men today, Hailey,” he repeated. “And I didn’t feel anything when I did it. No sadness or guilt.”
Hailey drew in a deep breath. She caressed Hunter’s cheek with her hand. “It’s just your job, Hunter,” she said. “Your job requires you to be cold because others can’t. But that part of your life doesn’t define who you are. You’ve never killed to hurt innocent lives or the weak, but to protect your family and the pack. That’s who you are, and you need to remember it.”
Hunter leaned into her touch. “After all of that was over,” he said, “my first thought was come to you. And I know I made the right choice.”
Hailey chuckled. “We should finish eating before this amazing dish goes cold,” she said, “and you know I can’t have that happening.”
Hunter didn’t eat, but he drank the rest of the wine. Hailey was sure that his appetite would return soon. “It’s nice to see you eat,” he said. “You always make everything look so delicious.”
Hailey blushed. “I make sure to eat every meal like it’s my last,” she said.
“Kind of feels like that every time I see you,” he teased.
She put her empty plate back on the table. “That’s how it was for me for a very long time,” she shared. Hunter tilted his head. “A hot meal was very rare when I was a kid.” Any amusement that was on Hunter’s face fell. “I barely had time to cook myself food or eat a proper meal. I was always working or eating on the go.”
“I’m sorry I-”
“No,” Hailey held Hunter’s hand. “It’s fine. Besides, I don’t mind sharing with you.”
“What were your parent’s like?” asked Hunter.
Hailey smile saddened even though she didn’t want it to. “My parents were kind people, but I never felt close to them. I was a kid and thought other stuff was more important than getting to know them. Boy, was I mistaken,” she laughed from disbelief. “They had tough jobs, and we were always on the road moving one place to another. I hated that the most as a kid. I was never able to make friends at any of my schools or get familiar with the land, because before I knew it, we were moving again.”
“What job did your parents have?” asked Hunter.
Hailey shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said. “They never told me, thought it was safer.”
“Your parents didn’t belong in a pack?” inquired Hunter.
She shook her head. “Nope, they were rogues.”
Hunter blinked with curiosity swimming in his eyes. “So then, what made you choose to join a pack?”
Hailey’s smile returned. “I wanted a home,” she said. “A place to call mine.”
“Something you didn’t have as a kid,” said Hunter. “But why Centauri pack?”
“I’ve always heard great things about this pack,” she told him. “And this pack was the only one my parents would mention. Otherwise, they barely discussed other wolves with me.”
Hunter attentively listened to her as she shared some of her stories growing up. She stuck with the lively, light-hearted ones and steered clear of the ones she knew would be difficult to share.
“Do you miss them?” asked Hunter.
Hailey grew quiet. “I don’t miss them as much as I feel guilt when I do recall their memory.” The candle flickered when her weary breath exhaled from her. “Do you miss your mom?”
“Even though our time was cut short, I enjoyed every day with my mom,” he said. “So, I don’t feel in vain when I think of her.”
Hailey matched his small smile. “Should we have some dessert?” she asked abruptly.
Hunter stopped her from leaving. “I have a better idea.” Hunter got to his feet and swooped her off of her own. He took her upstairs and closed the door behind them to shut themselves in their own passionate world for the night.