Chapter 4: Stay
The Centauri siblings sat in Gabriel’s living room since they needed to discuss the urgent news about Hunter’s sudden mate.
Klaus informed them all that he had a class so he couldn’t make it to this abrupt meeting, whilst Vincent and Viola got comfortable on the couch and Gabriel poured himself a drink.
They all watched Hunter with sweet curious smiles, but he abhorred the sudden attention. The light chatter masked his grim mood, but through the thick morning air and blazing sunlight that showered through the tall glass windows, he found a pair of strict eyes observing him; it was Gabriel. He stared at Hunter with a gaze that thawed through his soul and peeled through the layers he tried so hard to cover up. The intense golden gaze that glistened like honey was as sturdy as marble. Hunter peeled his eyes away from his brother and leaned on the cool wall, his body instantly calmed down, but his mind was racing as fast as a horse.
“Viola filled me in,” Gabriel spoke first. “I’ve met Hailey Swan a couple of times myself. She’s a sweet girl who works very hard at the Institute and I respect that. I even heard she topped her classes in University, which is very impressive.”
“She’s great with kids too,” added Viola like a plus point.
“And she’s drop dead gorgeous,” Vincent remarked.
Hunter silently listened as they all discussed Hailey like she already became a part of the family, which Hunter wasn’t angry about or did he find it odd. He was quite pleased that his family approved and that they opened their arms for Hailey, even though she wasn’t even here yet. But despite all of their kindness, a dreadful sickness crept its way into Hunter’s heart. Would Hailey even accept him and his past? Hunter was no less from a killer, and for sweet innocent girl like Hailey, she would rather fear him than love.
Hunter’s wolf clawed inside of him.
Hunter could tell that his wolf was growing more angsty now that he had found his mate, so was Hunter for that matter. A lot told him that he didn’t deserve a mate, but how was he supposed to forget the one that had already stolen his heart and bonded with his wolf. He may not deserve a mate, but he darkly craved one.
Gabriel tipped his glass back that had strong whiskey swirling in it, and then, poured himself another. “I’m so happy for you,” he shared openly. His hard gaze captured Hunter’s eyes again.
Hunter faked his smile for his brother. “Er- thank you,” he said. “But I still have to tell her.”
“She doesn’t know,” said Vincent. “I thought mates could tell on their own.”
“Not Hailey,” said Viola with a playful grin. “She’s way too gullible for our bad-ass brother.”
Vincent chuckled and remarked, “Either he’s going to become a little pup or Hailey’s going to turn into a beast.”
“I’m thinking it’s our brother that’s going to have to change if he wants to court Hailey,” suggested Gabriel.
“Great,” groaned Hunter towards Gabriel. “Not you too.”
“Relax,” assured Vincent. “She’ll be thrilled to know that a Centauri is her mate.”
Those words chilled down Hunter’s spine. “Will she be though?” Those words slipped out of Hunter before he got the chance to stop them.
All of them silenced like he dropped a glass on the floor and it shattered into a thousand pieces with the sheer force of truth.
“Should being part of our family be something to be happy about,” he continued. “We’re all hunters and I’m nothing less than a cold-blooded killer. We mark our prey and kill whoever stands in our way. That isn’t a life I want to give her, especially with a father like ours.”
The young ones stayed quiet because Gabriel stepped forward.
His golden eyes bore into Hunter; they spoke a thousand different emotions, which was always Gabriel’s quality since he didn’t waste many words. “My heart aches to know that you feel this way,” he said. “But we aren’t killers, Hunter.” Gabriel threw the drink down his throat and placed the glass on the counter, he tucked his hands into his pants’ pockets and strode right next to Hunter. “I raised you all to be the fighters that protect their family at any cost. You don’t kill innocent lives and I would never let you, your code would never let you. We have always made sure to cleanse this city of the evil that preys on people that can’t protect themselves, our pack members know that and so do our enemies. And as for your mate, Hailey will be proud to know that you’re her family because I know I am. And I always will be.” Gabriel laid his strong hand on Hunter’s shoulder and gave one of his rare smiles, that only some were fortunate enough to see.
Hailey left Centauri property behind her as she drove towards the local supermarket to get some groceries and class supplies. She drove down the smooth road that she was familiar with, since she always came to this area. Light music played in her car and there were only a few cars on the street beside her. Hailey would usually feel a bit nervous but that happened every time she got in a car. Although, her fear of cars had lessened a lot since high school, but she could always imagine the car-crash she was in with her parents without even having to close her eyes. Hailey’s wolf was less distraught as well, and she knew it was because of the small conversation she had with Hunter Centauri at the end of class today.
“But my reason for helping them was pretty selfish,” said Hunter.
“Wh- what was the reason?” She asked.
“I think you know,” he whispered.
“No,” she shook her head. “No, I don’t.”
“Well, why don’t I leave you for today to think about it,” he said huskily.
Hailey’s kept replaying that part in her head for the past ten minutes she’s been on the road. Hunter was definitely a sexy man, his rare smile directed towards her caused a hurricane of butterflies in her stomach. He had a gaze that could seduce anyone with one glance, and she was mystified by him.
This was the first time they actually spent time together. She didn’t know what to think of it, except that she guessed it was wise not to assume anything for her own good. He was just doing his job and was being polite to her like the beta of any pack should. But then, she did feel like he was flirting with her, although he never flirted with anyone; she knew that and the whole pack knew that too. All the females in the pack stayed away from his frozen glare and permanent scowl. But in one day, he had given her a genuine smile and a kind gaze that weakened her knees, that can’t be something to be considered common, especially for Hunter Centauri.
Hailey exited the main street and turned the car to enter the parking-lot. She drove away from the small crowd and parked far from anyone because she never liked the rush of cars anywhere. Hailey grabbed her bag before she locked her car and crossed the parking-lot. She desperately wanted to forget about the interaction she had with Hunter, but the butterflies in her stomach just didn’t want to do that for her. And on top of that, her wolf was prancing around. Hailey truly didn’t understand why her shy wolf was suddenly acting so audacious and dominant.
Hailey entered the store and quickly grabbed everything she needed, so she could get home before it could get dark.
Hailey drove back down the same road, she passed the first ring of the Centauri property when she noticed something hostile move in alleys of the buildings. She didn’t recognize the men, but she recognized that smell anywhere; they were werewolves like her. She found it unusual since not many had the guts to linger around the Centauri property out in the open. Hailey may have ignored it but something just didn’t sit right with her, she had to tell Gabriel or Hunter. But how was she going to face him again without embarrassing herself? She pondered desperately.
Hailey parked her car and didn’t waste any time before she approached the Centauri mansion. This was probably her second time coming here; the first time was at last year’s Christmas party but never did she come here alone. She tried to call Viola, but her phone was on silent.
Hailey’s finger hesitated over the doorbell, but then she remembered the werewolves outside their territory, she swallowed her anxious nerves and pushed the doorbell.
The door opened almost instantly, and it was Cedric.
Hailey calmed down. “Hello, Cedric,” she greeted.
Cedric smiled. “It’s wonderful to see you, Hailey,” he said. “What brings you here?” Hailey’s frown unsettled him.
“Who is it, Cedric?” It was Hunter who approached the door this time. Hailey’s eyes locked with his, and it was like he read her mind. Hunter’s amber gaze darkened and his frown turned into a scowl. “What’s wrong?” His eyes examined her from top to bottom.
Hailey’s grip on her bag tightened. “I had to tell you something,” she said.
“Come inside,” Hunter’s enormous body moved from the door, and he didn’t even let her decide for herself because the last thing she wanted was to be alone with all the Centauri family.
“No, I’d rather just-” she noticed his deep smoulder when he cocked a brow at her minor defiance. “Alright then, sorry to intrude,” she mumbled as she entered the house.
Hailey mentally patted herself on the back for swapping her dirty clothes into a fresh summer dress before leaving for the supermarket today. Her heels clinked on the marble floor that was polished and more expensive than her whole house. The Centauri residence had tall ceilings and a crystal chandelier in each room, the walls had intricate moldings and the wood was rich oak, the velvet drapes matched the mahogany wallpaper. This house was truly a beautiful creation and worthy of the Centauri name.
“Hailey,” Hunter called her name to get her attention, and for some reason it felt so intimate coming from his mouth. “This way,” he extended an arm towards the small parlour room.
Suddenly, the door burst open again. “What happened I heard there was an emergency!”
Hailey froze and gaped at Klaus’s dishevelled state.
“Klaus,” Hunter’s voice instantly alerted Klaus to notice his surroundings.
“Oh, Hailey,” his emerald eyes spotted her. “What are you doing here?”
“I had some news,” she said cautiously.
“She was just about to tell me,” said Hunter as he shared an odd look with Klaus. “Gabriel’s upstairs, they’ll fill you in.” Klaus disappeared behind the wall.
After that abrupt interruption, Hailey slightly calmed down and found herself much more comfortable.
“What did you want to tell me?” Hunter’s gaze fully concentrated on her now.
Before anyone got the chance to interrupt her again, she quickly spoke, “I saw a few werewolves on our borders,” she told him.
“That’s what you wanted to tell me?” asked Hunter.
Hailey didn’t expect that response from him. “Did you think I came here for something else?” Hunter may not have said anything, but his eyes told Hailey everything. He was referring to the conversation that has been bothering her all day.
Another pair of heels echoed through the halls. “Hailey, what brings you here?” asked Viola as she appeared from the top of the stairs with a bright smile. She rushed down the stairs and stood by their side. “Did you want to meet someone?” she asked with a knowing grin that Hailey didn’t know the meaning of.
“I was just letting Hunter know that I saw some strangers at the border,” said Hailey.
Viola stiffened and her eyes shot up to Hunter.
“Could you have mistaken them for the Centauri patrollers?” asked Hunter.
Hailey shook her head. “I know everyone that works those shifts,” she stated. “Those werewolves were not part of our pack.”
Viola and Hunter shared a grim expression.
“Get Gabriel,” Hunter ordered Viola. “Come with me, Hailey.”
She followed him up the same flight of stairs as Viola, but they separated on the second floor. They approached a single door that had a key hanging on the side, he unhooked it and then unlocked the door. A private room was exposed; it was pitch black but a few multiple screens lit up the dark room. She wasn’t surprised to see that they had their own personal security surveillance system built in their home.
“When did you see them?” Hunter asked her softly.
“Around 3 p.m.” answered Hailey. She was quite thankful that Hunter was calm in front of her, she was sure that he would be slightly concerned about the sudden threat. But he covered it very well for her, so she wouldn’t freak out too much. Hunter clicked a few buttons on the centre keyboard, and the screens changed to an old footage. “Right there,” she found the men in the large screen and pointed for Hunter.
“Waldorf,” he growled a foreign name.
Hailey had heard that last name before, she swear she could have seen it in the paper with Gabriel, but she wasn’t fully sure. “Who are these men?” she asked him.
“They belong to the Waldorf pack,” said Hunter.
Hailey stiffened at his biting tone. “What are they doing here?”
Hunter’s jaw tautened like stone. “Lucas better have an explanation for it, otherwise Gabriel will slaughter them right here and now.”
A chill crawled down Hailey’s back and it wasn’t because of Hunter’s deadly threat that was as powerful as a promise. She felt the surge of power only one can emit at such an immense level, she turned to find Gabriel blocking the door frame. His gold eyes were hard and severe like his strong jaw. Gabriel looked just as deadly as Hunter, maybe even more with his colossal height and sturdy built.
Hailey straightened. “Gabriel,” she greeted him.
Gabriel’s eyes strangely softened. “Hailey, it’s nice to see you again,” he greeted her back.
“I’m sorry it had to be for such an ominous reason,” she said. “I’m sure you have a lot to discuss. I’ll leave you two alone.”
“Hailey,” Hunter’s voice stopped her. “Stay.”
“I would like you to stay as well,” said Gabriel and Hailey knew she couldn’t leave after he asked.
Gabriel turned towards the footage Hailey examined earlier, but Hunter’s gaze lingered on her face for a long moment.
“Are those strangers outside my borders,” said Gabriel.
“They’re Waldorf’s men,” said Hunter. “I thought you cleared this with Lucas. No werewolf of theirs was supposed to come close to our land after the treaty.”
“That asshole better explain himself,” grumbled Gabriel.
Hailey winced at Gabriel’s sharp tongue.
Gabriel dialled a phone number. “Lucas!” he snarled. “Why the fuck are your wolves around my borders.” He wasn’t asking the man on the phone. “They’re your wolves, why the fuck wouldn’t you know where they fucking are!”
Hailey slightly felt bad for whoever was on the phone with Gabriel. He truly did not care who he was talking to; if you angered him then you better be ready to stomach the consequences.
“I want those wolves off my fucking turf, Lucas!” Gabriel cut the phone line. “Pull the surveillance up again,” he raked his dark hair and gritted out the order.
The screen shifted to a new camera and those men still stood near the building closest to their borders. A few seconds went by, when the men suddenly ran away. Looks like their alpha called as soon as Gabriel warned him.
Hailey shifted when Hunter’s gaze landed on her again. He suddenly left Gabriel’s side and stood next to her, but he didn’t say anything.
Gabriel released a harsh breath. “I apologize for that,” he said as he closed the security room’s door behind him.
“It’s perfectly fine,” said Hailey. “I’m just glad I was able to let you know.”
“Thank you,” said Gabriel. “Come, we’re all about to have some lunch.”
“No, I don’t want to intrude,” said Hailey. “Besides, I should be heading home.”
Gabriel didn’t force. “Alright,” he said. “Hunter, drop her off.”
Hailey didn’t want that either, but she couldn’t decline Gabriel twice.