Mary's picture in the Classification system did not reveal the hints of precious freckles on her cheeks and over the bridge of her nose. Seeing her up close in broad daylight was different from seeing her under the moonlight. Those soft lips that he had painstakingly sought and conquered were slightly even with a soft tremble to her fuller, bottom lip.
Then there were those golden-brown eyes that paired so well with the mousy brown hair that fell to the middle of her bottom. Nothing about her popped out as attractive, yet Ryker found his focus was solely on her throughout the meeting.
Honestly speaking, she didn't look ghastly, no quite the opposite. She had a shapely body---one with the right amount of curves, perfect sized breasts, and hips. She hid them underneath a t-shirt and track pants today. Something that was different from what she wore at the Mating Ball.
When he looked at her, he could only describe her as a natural--plain jane for she was neither beautiful or unpleasant. She wasn't the type of woman that Ryker would have gone for.
Ryker was in the middle of watching her talk to her brother from a distance after their meeting. Then he caught an exchange between them that swiftly cast a look of outrage on her face.
Abruptly, Abraham appeared next to him. Diverting his attention to his brother, Ryker looked at Abraham's amused expression. His brother, obviously, caught him staring again.
"She recognized you," Abraham mentioned, with a nod in her direction.
She did recognize Ryker but she also looked thoroughly surprised but he felt it wasn't entirely because of his sudden appearance. It was something else. He didn't really understand.
The party picked up pretty quickly and Ryker found himself being pulled away from multiple females. They all fluttered their eyelashes, baited him with enigmatic seductive sways of their body, and light conversation about their life and mating expectations. Honestly, he felt like he had somehow signed himself up for speed dating.
The sun began settling over the horizon and orange, red, purplish hue colored the sky. Festive lights were now hung from tree branch to tree branch. Soft music played in the background. Drinks and appetizers were brought out for everyone to enjoy.
When Ryker finally pulled away from his most recent pursuer, he searched for his brother and the rest of his pack members. He walked away from the back porch and down the steps toward the large group of members who were enjoying the party.
When he couldn't find them, he decided to head around to the front. Maybe they walked away from the party for a breather. He wasn't sure but knew it could be the reason for their sudden disappearance. He followed closely to the shadows of the night. Hiding from unwanted attention. His black suit blended in completely with the shadows.
His eyes were not really paying attention to his surroundings. He thought he was alone but was surprised when he heard a female voice cursing underneath her breath. His gaze lifted from the ground to look toward the offender who had evaded his privacy and stopped him from attempting to escape the crowds and perfume.
He found Mary muttering curses while staring at the ground. She was walking his directions. Straining his ear, he prayed to catch word of what she was saying.
"Damn you, Marcus, you left me with no car," she growled angrily. He caught a shiny glint just as she turned her head. She was speaking into a phone. There was a moment of silence before she spoke up again.
"You made me come here. I left my car at your house and now I have to run back home. I'm so mad at you right now, I could very well strangle you!"
Ryker was amused at her frustration. It was refreshing to see someone like her. She threaded her hands through her silky hair and lifted it away from her face, revealing pale skin and proud, glistening eyes. Her brother must have made a snarky remark back because her eyes flashed with fury.
"No, he's not here. No, I would not talk to him. No, Marcus, he is busy talking to all the females in the pack," she gritted through her teeth and then threw up her hand, releasing her hair back to frame her face. "I don't care, Marcus. He doesn't need to know. Oh lord, don't give me that talk. No, I'm going to hang up right now."
Ryker thought she was going to do just that but instead, she stopped talking but her attention was still pointed to her phone. He heard her brother talking distantly in the background. Suddenly, Mary dispelled a heavy sigh, her shoulders sagged in defeat. Her angry eyes softened a little.
"It's already embarrassing enough, Marcus. I didn't mean to kiss him," she grumbled like a child admitting that they did something wrong. "What do you want me to say to him? No, I would not approach him. I'm going to avoid him.'"
Her brother said something to her that transformed her anger into one of pensiveness but she made no quick comment. She moved to lean against the side of Ivan's house. Her back pressed against the wall.
Again, she threaded her hair through her long mousy brown hair but she didn't complete the action all the way through. She stopped halfway with her hands still in her hair. Her eyes never lifted from the ground too.
If she, but, looked up she would be staring right at him. Ryker wondered why she hasn't noticed yet regarding his presence. It could be due to her occupied mind or the fact that he was holding his breath and trying to control his heartbeat. He didn't want to reveal his presence yet. His scent masked expertly to not reveal his location.
"There are so many females here, Marcus. They are all either very talented or very beautiful, " she grated before letting her hand fall back down to her side.
Her long hair fell to frame her face. Ryker found himself yearning to run his nose through her hair or see if it felt as silky as it looked. Her brother said something to her.
"Marcus, please, I have suffered enough humiliation to last me a lifetime. I just--I don't like to compete nor do I feel like I should," she murmured.
Instantly, she had won Ryker's respect, if not his trust. Her pride and dignity were thicker than some of the people he met here--men included. People always seemed to expect something from him. Someone of his position with such flexibility should be fortifying relationships or something.
Yet Ryker knew that most people's mindset was selfishly self-preserving. He didn't get here by birth. Ryker was a male wolf who succeeded to his rank by salvaging through hard sweat and sacrifice.
In the werewolf society, although he has succeeded to a high rank, he was still not good enough. He was only good for all the goods and resources he could bring. Trusting people was not easy for Ryker at all.
"You know what? It doesn't matter. I don't know why you and I are arguing about this. I'm coming home," she finalized before pushing off the wall.
Her eyes lifted from the ground. Their eyes clashed and Ryker watched a look of surprise cross her face. She didn't expect to see him there much less him eavesdropping. He couldn't hide it now that she caught him.
Stepping out from the shadow, his eyes swept their surrounding to find them alone. Although they can still hear the music and the lively party coming from the back of the house.
Neither of them wanted to speak first but questions quarreled between them like a loud, intuitive battle. Ryker respected her before but was impressed the next second she continued to stare at him. She didn't shy away now as she did before.
He took a step closer. If he reached, he would be able to grab onto her. He observed her closely now. Without any interruptions. At the Mating Ball, he mostly felt but now he was able to pin every curve to every feeling.
A strong desire to kiss her throbbed through him and he reached for her. Touching her jawline, tracing it to the back of her neck, and pulled her closer.
"Are you afraid?" He asked, his voice dropping an octave.
"Yes, " she breathed in a bare whisper.
Her voice shook with fright and uncertainty. His eyes slid back to her wide golden ones. Her phone slipped from her hand and thumped onto the grassy ground.
"Good, " he growled but it wasn't an angry growl. It was throaty, raspy with wild desires.
She had initiated their first kiss. It was innocent and damn refreshing. Ryker remembered particularly well how she tasted.
Fresh spring water from the mountain spring. Sweetest water one can drink. It was resonating and addicting. He tugged with his hand and she stumbled into his body. Her hands pressed up onto the lapels of his suit but it burned holes through all fabric and touched his very skin. He felt it to his soul.
Thrusting his tongue inside, he invaded her mouth like it was home. She got passed her initial shock and kissed him back. He moaned softly. The sound was pleading but it quickly changed. With a growl, one arm wrapped around her waist and lifted her body against him. Taking a careful step back, he pushed her up against the wall. She was trapped between him and the wall yet she wasn't afraid.
He was overwhelming her with his presence. Caging and towering over her like a cat chasing a mouse. Perhaps that was his intent, to kiss her till he reached his fill. Until he no longer craves the taste of her.
Abruptly, he broke the kiss and dropped her back down to her feet. He took a step back.
Breathing heavily, she wanted with every fiber in her body to look down or run away but instead, she stood her ground and looked at him with obvious lust polluting those simmering golden irises.
A look of confusion appeared on his face. His eyes sweeping over her face as she appeared out of nowhere like he was trying to figure out who she was.
"Christ, " he growled and shoved a hand through his hair.
Ryker walked away from her with obvious anger. He regretted kissing her again because now he just didn't want a one kiss. He wanted another one. In fact, he wanted to strip her down to her naked body and explore slowly.
Her responses to his kisses were confusing. The kiss they shared was not one where he would label unfeeling. In fact, he felt everything.
He struggled to control his body reaction to her kisses. Urging his breathing to regulate again.
He found his brother talking to his pack members in the front. Obviously, they were also avoiding the crowds. They turned when they saw him but no one mentioned why he was in such an ominous state.
His mind momentarily wandered back to her and Ryker was beginning to debate if coming here was a good decision after all.