Riding with the Pack

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Chapter 16

Tessa

I’m so dead! I thought briefly as I threw my arms up to shield my face.

Sam snarled viciously as she hurled herself toward me. I wasn't exactly sure what I did, but I suppose that didn't matter anymore. She was gonna kill me, that much I knew. After several seconds of nothing happening, I stole a quick peek to see where Sam was.

To my horror, I opened my eyes just in time to see one of her claws fly past my face, missing me by centimeters. I jumped backward instinctively, slamming against the cheap metal frame of the bunk bed. Upon further inspection, I was thankful to see that Embry had managed to restrain her before she could sufficiently murder me. Of course, the idiot just had to open his big mouth.

“Ladies, ladies,” he attempted to soothe as he planted a soft peck against Sam’s ear. “No need to fight over little ’ol me, there’s plenty to go around.”

Jokes, the moron thought this was the perfect time for jokes.

Sam didn’t seem to find his little jest amusing whatsoever, as she spun around faster than either of us could register. She lifted her left hand high into the air and brought it down in a blink. Embry wailed out as blood splattered the room like a deadly sprinkler.

He released her and stumbled backward, clutching his cheek. Crimson dripped steadily from his face as he pulled his hand back to examine it. His fingers were drenched in the scarlet liquid that continued to paint the withered wood floors of our bedroom.

“Uh huh,” he nodded while staring at his bloody palm. “I’m sensing a bit of jealousy.”

“Jealousy?!” Sam shrieked, angrier than before. “Jealous of what? Some HUSSY?!”

Oh, ouch.

“Okay look,” Embry tried to reach out to her but she smacked his hand away. “It’s not what it looks like. Nothing happened-”

“Bullshit!” She snapped venomously. “You pathetic son of a bitch! You slept with her?!”

“No! Never!” Embry denied, giving a straight answer for once. “Well, I mean unless she wants to. But I really don’t think right now is a good time.”

That seemed to do it. Sam had completely forgotten about me and focused all of her misplaced rage on Embry. She hurled herself forward, tackling him to the ground with a massive THUD! I watched helplessly as she clawed and bit at him repeatedly. He was struggling to get a hold of her when our eyes met.

“Run!” He ordered sternly.

Gladly!

I hopped off of my bed and bolted out the bedroom door without a hitch. I threw myself over the couch in the living room and decided to glance behind me as I launched myself through the front door. Big mistake. I slammed right into something hard and unmoving.

Did I forget to open the door? I wondered as I fell backward, busting my sorry ass in the process.

Cat,” a deep, husky voice snarled from above me.

I looked up in horror to meet the golden eyes of the LAST person I wanted to run into! Beta Nick towered over me like a freaking gargantuan! He bared his sharp canines and stepped forward, closing the distance between us quicker than I would’ve liked.

Him too?!

“S-sorry,” I stammered as I began to crawl backward. “I d-didn’t see ya there.”

Another boisterous snarl erupted from his chest as he continued to stalk me. The muscles beneath his skin rippled and contorted in unnatural directions as I guessed his wolf was very close to surfacing. Another vicious growl shook me to my core, only this one came from behind me. I didn’t have to look back to know that it was Sam.

I was trapped!

I began to accept my dire fate, as it was just around the corner. In hindsight, joining a biker gang full of werewolves may not have been my best idea. I probably would’ve had a better chance making it on the streets. Hell, I’d have a better chance back home with Ethan!

Nick was less than a foot away by now, and I swore I could feel Sam’s breath on the nape of my neck. I prayed for the floor to swallow me whole in that very moment. I’d much rather become a permanent member of the Earth’s crust than a late lunch for a couple of Lycans! Just as all hope seemed to be lost, my knight in shining armor appeared out of nowhere to save the day.

“That’s ENOUGH!” Dean shouted from the front porch with enough Alpha dominance to make me flinch.

Sam fled the scene instantly, cowering behind Embry with a petrified expression. Nick on the other hand, didn’t move. He stood his ground, looking as though he might pounce at any moment and rip my throat out. I gulped as an image of those yellow eyes being the last thing I’d see as I choked on my own blood popped into my head.

“Stand down, Beta.” Dean ordered as he stepped into the cabin carefully. “I won’t tell you twice.”

But he didn’t stand down. He didn’t even acknowledge Dean’s presence whatsoever. He just stood there, staring at me with enough hatred in his amber orbs to melt metal! I half expected a fight to break out between the two men, but a tiny latina swooped in before that could happen.

“Let’s take a walk,” Dawn suggested as she tugged on her mates arm. “Come on.”

Nick stood strong for a few more seconds before allowing his wife to lead him out of the cabin. No one said a word as the two of them walked straight into the woods, hand in hand. Once they were well out of sight, Bobby and Shane entered the living room, closing the front door behind them. They both just stared at the ground in horror.

Shane eventually met my gaze and motioned for me to go over to him. I couldn’t understand why at first, but did so anyways. I climbed to my feet slowly and scampered over to the omegas standing silently in the corner. Only once I had tucked myself securely between them did I dare look up at Alpha.

I call him ‘Alpha’ because at that moment, the friendly Dean I had met yesterday was long gone. In his place stood a brooding, dominant werewolf who looked absolutely furious. He had fixed his deadly gaze upon Sam who was trembling behind a fearless Embry. He stood tall even though I guessed he was terrified, his eyes pointed to the floor.

“Alpha please,” Embry pleaded solemnly. “This was my fault.”

“I told you not to let her out of your sight,” Alpha snapped at him. “You were supposed to protect her, not get her into more trouble!”

Protect me?

“I know, sir.” Embry's jaw clenched. “It won’t happen again.”

“You’re damn right it won’t!” Dean snarled, causing Embry to flinch slightly.

I’d never seen anything like this before, the entire pack dynamic had changed in less than a minute. Alpha was terrifying, Sam was terrified, and Embry was acting like a mature adult for once. It was weird, and scary. I was thinking about how much I hated seeing everyone in such a somber mood when Dean turned his attention to a quivering Sam.

“And you,” Alpha spat the words at her viciously. “I’ve had about enough of you!”

Dean stepped closer to Embry, causing Sam to collapse and crawl away as fast as she could. Her shoulders shook uncontrollably as something told me this wasn’t the first time he’d been this angry with her.

“Wait!” Embry begged as he stood firmly between them. “She didn’t-!”

“Don’t make me move you.” Dean warned. I highly doubted he’d have any trouble doing so.

Nonetheless, Embry didn’t move. I prayed that he would but I knew his feet would remain planted to that spot. I didn’t know what type of weird relationship he and Sam had, but I knew without a doubt he’d die for her in a heartbeat. It seemed he would have his chance to prove my theory true as Dean took another large step toward him. I couldn’t just sit back and watch this happen any longer.

“It was my fault! I started it!” I blurted loudly. “All of this was my fault! Not theirs!”

As soon as I opened my big mouth, Shane and Bobby parted like the red sea and dove away from me. The cowards left me! Dean’s green orbs seemed to stare right through me as I spoke, but I ignored them. I knew better than to hold eye contact with him in front of everyone like this. Instead, I glanced at Embry who was giving me a ‘what the hell are you doing?!’ look that I completely ignored.

“I managed to piss everyone off all on my own,” I continued, staring at Dean’s boots. “I instigated everything. Blame me, not them.”

“Outside.” Alpha ordered quietly. “Now.”

I trudged toward the door as fast as my unsure legs would allow. Shane and Bobby were now hiding behind pieces of furniture as I took my walk of shame. I could hear Dean’s boots clamber across the creaky floors behind me and feared that this may be my last few moments in this pack. For all I knew, these could be my last moments on this Earth!

“Come on, it’s her first strike!” Embry called out from inside the cabin. “Don’t do this!”

“Enough, Delta!” Dean demanded.

I pranced down the porch steps and waited patiently for my next order. I decided I wasn’t going to do or say absolutely anything unless he told me to. I was thoroughly convinced that I was about to die. He motioned for me to follow as he passed silently and marched right over to his motorcycle. He climbed on top of the beautiful machine and waited for me to do the same.

I’m gonna die.

I hopped on the back and tried to ignore my shaky hands. I knew I would have to hold onto him if I didn’t want to fly off when he started driving, but I was too afraid to touch him. Much like the first time I had ridden with him, he sped down the road without warning. This of course caused me to latch onto his waist in a blind panic.

We rode for a good thirty minutes before the scenery began to look familiar. I recognized the cracked parking lot that he pulled into and knew that he had returned me to the bar.

Is he dropping me off? I wondered. Is this his way of kicking me out?

He stopped his bike and climbed off. I shadowed him like a scared puppy as he strut through the wobbly doors of the establishment. The scent of old beer and cigarettes polluted the dim room, making it difficult to breathe. I didn't complain as I was just happy he had taken me to a place with witnesses in case he tried to kill me.

He led me to a run down booth in the back of the room and sat down. I slid in across from him and stared at the warped table intently. My nerves were completely shot as I did my best at controlling my breathing, which was quite difficult being under his intense gaze. I remembered what Embry had said about Lycans being able to hear heartbeats, and did everything I could think of to lower my pulse.

"I need you to tell me what happened back there," Dean spoke softly. "Word for word."

"Where should I start?" I asked sheepishly.

"Well, things seemed fine when I saw you in the kitchen earlier." He reasoned. "Start there."

"Okay," I took a deep breath before continuing. "Well, after you left I decided to go lay down for a while. Embry was already napping and I accidentally woke him up when I went in."

"He was angry?" Dean questioned.

"What? No, not at all!" I assured him, not wanting to get Embry in anymore trouble. "He was actually in a really good mood so we joked around for a while and, um."

"And?" He probed.

And, he started teasing me about having a massive crush on you!

"And he just, well he's Embry. He can get kind of annoying sometimes," I admitted hesitantly. "Anyways, long story short I started beating him with a pillow and he stopped me."

"You beat him with a pillow?" Dean looked seriously annoyed now. "Why? And how did he stop you?"

"Well, he was teasing me a little so I hit him." I explained. "I tripped when he grabbed the pillow."

So I stretched the truth a bit, sue me.

"I see," he nodded. "So why would any of this lead Bobby to believe that you two were sleeping together?"

Welp, I didn't expect that.

"Well, for starters Embry sleeps in his underwear." I filled him in realizing that he likely wouldn't notice, having his own room and all. "So he wasn't wearing a whole lot of clothing to begin with, and we were sort of wrestling when Bobby came in."

"He could break you in half without blinking. He had no business wrestling you to the ground." Dean boomed.

"I was already on the ground!" I argued, hoping that I didn't just fuck Embry over. "This whole thing was just a huge misunderstanding anyways. I would've never even considered napping in there if I knew he and Sam were together."

"Why would you think that?" Dean asked.

"Because she-," I stopped, realizing that I was heading into very dangerous territory. "It was my fault, plain and simple. So if you're gonna punish anyone, punish me."

"You could have been killed today," he uttered while looking directly into my eyes. "Do you realize that?"

"Yes," I lowered my gaze. "It won't happen again, I swear."

"You can't know that," he shook his head.

"You're right," I agreed. "But I'll still do my best to stay out of everyone's way. I won't step on anymore toes, scouts honor."

I raised my right hand the same way he had done the night before. I didn't get the full chuckle that I had been hoping for, but he smirked a little.

"Jokes. You've been spending too much time with Embry," he scoffed. "I still need someone that I can trust to keep an eye on you. He can't do that properly if you're sleeping together, so if the two of you are involved I need to know."

"What?!" I gasped. "You don't actually think-! Absolutely not! Never! Ew! No, we're not!"

"You can be honest," he tried to sound assuring. "What's said during this meeting stays between us."

"I am being honest!" I stressed. "We're friends, nothing more!"

"Okay, I believe you." Dean raised his hands in defeat. "But if that changes, you need to let me know."

"It won't," I assured him and fake gagged. "Never in a million years."

"Good," he seemed.. Relieved? Hm. "Now onto Nick, has he been bothering you?"

"No, not really." I tried to remember. "Not until today when I smacked right into him. Again, totally my fault."

"You don't have to protect him," he said firmly.

"I'm not, it really was my fault." I promised. "He was just trying to enter the cabin and I ran into him. I should've been paying more attention to where I was going."

"He shouldn't have reacted so severely to you running into him," Dean pinched the bridge of his nose in exhaustion. "I'll have to have another word with him."

"Another?" I blurted without thinking.

I had absolutely no business questioning this man, especially considering the fact that he could kill me or kick me out of the pack whenever he felt like it. For whatever reason, he answered my question.

"I warned him about being too aggressive with you before the pack run," he explained. "Instead of listening, he puts an attempt on your life a day later. I can't let that kind of disobedience go unpunished."

The fact that he had already spoken to Nick about me was kind of scary. I knew the guy hated me but I never realized he actually wanted to hurt me! Suddenly, I didn't feel as safe sharing a room with him anymore. As if reading my mind, Dean relinquished my deepest fears.

"I'll have him and Dawn sleep in the living room from now on," he spoke more to himself than to me. "Bobby and Shane will have to find other arrangements."

"They can take my bunk," I offered. "I wouldn't mind sleeping on the floor."

"There's no need for you to sleep beneath an omega," Dean waved my offer away. "But I'll leave the three of you to work that out amongst yourselves."

I nodded while keeping my eyes low. I didn't feel as comfortable meeting his gaze as I had the previous night. Something in me doubted that he and I would ever have the close friendship I had been hoping for, and I tried to ignore the sadness that came with such a thought.

"I could use a drink," he blurted out, interrupting my self pity. "What about you?"

"Don't you need to drive?" I asked without thinking. "Not to sound rude, I just don't want you getting hurt when you leave."

"Well, I appreciate your concern." He winked. Damn that winking! "But Lycans tend to have a very high tolerance for alcohol. I'd have to down half a bottle of bourbon before I felt anything."

"Oh," I muttered, feeling a blush coming on. "Wish I could say the same for me. Half a glass of wine and I'm hammered."

This caused him to laugh loudly, drawing the attention of everyone in the bar. He didn't seem to notice as he asked the bartender to bring him an entire bottle of scotch with two glasses.

I'm not quite sure when we had agreed to start day drinking, but I decided not to complain. I would much rather indulge in some free booze than getting the third degree. He held his cup up expectantly and I met it with my own hesitantly.

He smiled and knocked his drink back in one swig, refilling his glass with more of the amber liquid. The man wasn't kidding when he said his tolerance was high, because I felt pretty tipsy after my first shot!

Several refills and a good hour later, I was beginning to loosen up quite a bit. He seemed to be a lot less stressed when he was away from the pack, and I guessed the man grinning in front of me was the real Dean.

"How are you enjoying the pack so far?" Dean asked, as he poured himself another drink.

"Honestly, I love it." I swooned. "You guys have been really welcoming. Thank you for-"

"If you thank me for taking you in one more time, I'm gonna make you walk home." He joked. "I didn't even have to think twice about it, you belonged with us."

"That means a lot," I smiled. "Thank you."

"Ah, don't get all soft on me now. I'm supposed to be mad at you remember?" He chuckled. "Alpha punishment and all that crap."

"Whoops!" I shrugged. "That's right, I'm supposed to be quaking with fear."

"Maybe not quaking," he said lowly, making my heart flutter. "Simply begging for mercy would suffice, I'm sure."

"Oh, is that all?" I snorted. "I don't understand why everyone is so terrified of you. I mean I get that you can be super scary when you want to be, but for the most part you seem like a really nice guy."

"Thanks," he gave a wry smile as he studied his cup. "But I'm usually not like this. Things have been complicated recently. Hell, I haven't laughed this much in years!"

"You call that dry chuckle a laugh?" I teased. "You sound like a dog getting his tail stepped on."

"Ha!" He choked out, spitting some of his drink on the table. "Is it really that bad?"

"No," I assured him. "It's worse, I was just trying to be nice. Did you seriously forget how to laugh? I mean come on, you live with Embry for crying out loud."

"I don't tend to find his idiocy funny," he rolled his eyes. "It's more annoying than anything. I enjoy sarcasm more than cheesy jokes anyway."

"Well, it's a good thing I'm here then." I flipped my long hair over my shoulder. "You're looking at the master of satire. Years of living with two sisters have given me a degree in bitchy humor."

"I don't doubt that," he coughed. "Not that I'm calling you a bitch!"

"Oh, ouch!" I chided merrily. "This was going so well too!"

We continued to joke around until we had finished the entire bottle. I originally wondered if his goal in bringing me here was to get me drunk in hopes that I would blurt out more information than I had meant to, but the longer I spent getting to know him the more I realized that couldn't be true.

If I was being honest, the guy just seemed lonely. In the short time that I had spent with this pack, he never smiled. He hardly talked to anyone around me, and I couldn't imagine him being any other way when I wasn't around.

Maybe I was taking all of this personally because I was wasted, but I didn't care. I liked the guy, and if he wanted to whisk me away to get hammered at two in the afternoon then that was fine by me.

We loaded onto his bike, which he had named Roxy, and took the scenic route back to the pack house. Being this tipsy, I didn't even think twice about wrapping my arms around his waist as we sped down the road. Sure, he was way out of my league and this would probably be the closest I'd ever get to him, but a girl could dream.

I love it here, I thought enchantingly.

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