Abraham stuffed his keys into his jean pocket as he stepped out from his car. On instinct, he did one quick scan of the busy crowd around him. People were rushing around. A few were shopping and doing their daily business leisurely.
The sun shining brightly above them and there was a hint of cold air from last night that still lingered in the early morning.
If he wants to think that way, she'll allow it. Why would she allow it? He wasn't anybody significant she needed to prove herself to. There was no reason to contend with him. Yet this proved to her that she needed to keep her distance from him. Honestly, she wanted nothing to do with him at this point.
"Now, that you are all fed, I'll be going," she announced while washing her hands.
After wiping them on a hand towel that she brought. She stuffed her washed cooking utensils into a tote and slid it over her shoulders. She turned to look at the group of men and forced a smile to appear on her face.
She could see it on their face. Some of them were looking at her with pity on their faces. Alpha Ryker's face was voided of emotions. She could the deep-set of his eyes drilling holes into the side of her face. Yet she refused to give him the satisfaction of looking at him—even acknowledging him. He was ungrateful. A pain in the ass. She has quite a few colorful vocabulary words she could describe him, none of them very nice.
She nodded her head once before speed walking out of the Alpha's house as fast as she could. Not a minute she would spend here. She'll avoid him throughout his stay here. If the Alpha calls her back, she'll feign sickness or perhaps she would take a long vacation. It's been a while since she traveled. Heck, she hasn't traveled anywhere. Now, was a good time than any—
A strong hand on her elbow stopped her thoughts, just as she was fishing in her pants to grab her keys. Heat and sexual desires inundated her entire body—compromising her nervous system and her sanity. The smell of sweet cardamom and cloves bearing down on her like cardamom cake. Sweet and sticky deliciousness. Sometimes, it even reminds her of cardamom French toast.
"What are your plans this afternoon?" Alpha Ryker's said from behind me.
"Hm, perhaps I'll find another male to kiss. I heard the bars around here are swarming with unmated male wolves because you know, I'm desperate to be mated," she said pettily.
He looked at her but didn't say anything to her petty response. Their eyes collided on a silent stare down. Ryker was almost taken aback by how long she held his gaze. There was a defiant shine to her brown eyes and it excited Ryker in a way that he couldn't understand.
"I see I have offended you." He broke the tense air between them.
"Oh, not at all, Alpha Ryker. Honestly, you are completely right. I'm nothing but a shallow unmated female. Now, if you would excuse me, I would like to remove my insignificant self out of your royal presence."
"Now, you're just being rude," he replied.
Her lips pinched into a thin line. She was frustrated with this male. What was it about him that spikes her irritation?
She tried pulling her arm from his grip, but he only held on tighter.
"And you can call me Ryker," he added at the end.
Ryker—sounds awfully intimate which she was trying so hard to avoid. She cannot call him Ryker. However, the name did make her body react in ways that she couldn't control. She hadn't even said it out loud, only in her head, and her heart was skipping laps.
"Alpha Ryker is the proper way to address you," she refuted.
He seemed to be having trouble finishing his sentence. Mary's eyes flew from staring at his chin to look into his hazel eyes. Although it was hard for her to comprehend what was going on inside of his head, his eyes were almost always a portal of meadows and forest. They were filled with the deepest and lightest colors of green and copper. His hand tightened harder around her elbow. She could feel the firm prints of each one of his fingers on her skin.
Suddenly, he sighed and released her elbow. Shoving a hand through his thick lengthy hair, he looked towards the edge of the woods before turning back to look at her.
"I'm sorry if I offended you in the house," he said each word carefully. It was barely audible. She wondered if he truly meant it but the uncomfortable look on his face revealed that he was lying neither was it an easy thing for him to say.
She wasn't offended. She was upset because deep inside she knew it was the truth. She did go to the ball to find a mate. He didn't say anything to offend her. It was more along the lines of her spinster age and undesirable looks. She has become deeply insecure and the second she hears the opposite sex question about why she was still at the Mating Ball looking for a mate, it hurts her, and she wanted to run away to lick her wounds even if it wasn't their intention to hurt her in the first place.
"It's fine," she said the words that she had mumbled a million times. "I have to leave anyway. I start work in an hour and need to run home to get ready."
He nodded his head before allowing her to leave. She quickly got into her car and drove off. Although every instinct in her encouraged her to look in her rearview mirror, she kept her gaze ahead. Strength was what would get her through it.
Ryker watched her drive away from before he turned to greet his brother who was hovering nearby.
"She really does seem like a nice female, Ryker," Abraham said casually while walking to Ryker's side.
Ryker's eyes flew back to the bend where he saw her car disappeared. She was a strange one. He has half a mind to chase after her but he held back. There was no use in chasing after her.
"So, you want to tell me why you walked in this morning in a grumpy mood?" Abraham asked him.
That reminded Ryker of his intention of leaving. There was no point in staying here. With all that he had already talked about with Alpha Ivan, he could probably finalize their contract at home. Everything else can be done through video or phone conferencing.
"We head back home tonight," Ryker announced, turning away from him and walking back inside the house.
He didn't even stop to watch his brother's reaction but by the silent response, he had stunned his brother speechless.
"Are you sure we are ready to return?" Abraham said, bounding behind him.
"Alpha Ivan wants to put a hand into investments but he has never done it before. He wants us to show him the ropes and in return, he'll provide us with the necessary resources that we lack in our territory," Ryker responded, not missing a step up the stairs.
"Wait. Wait a minute! Hold on, we are lacking resources now?" Abraham grabbed his brother's shoulder and turned him around.
In all actuality, no.
They were not lacking any resources. Their land was tended to with care. They only take what they need and never obsessively destroy natural resources. He could go without Alpha Ivan's resources.
Abraham's narrowed eyes slackened a little. He released his brother's shoulder only to chuckle to himself. Scratching at his own growing beard, he looked at Ryker again.
"I see what your doing," Abraham said smugly.
"I'm not doing anything," Ryker growled.
"Who you trying to convince, brother? I know you better than anyone. We don't hide secrets from each other. We sure as hell don't need resources, as you so stated. Why don't you admit the real reason why you established this contract?" Abraham gloated.
"You're really starting to irritate me, Abe. Back off," Ryker threatened.
Abraham snorted and shrugged his shoulders. He stretched his upper body before turning to look at Ryker.
"What time we leaving?" he asked.
"Six," Ryker nearly barked the answer at his brother.
"Ah, just enough time," Abraham sighed.
Ryker knew what his brother was doing and while he didn't want to succumb to his brother's idiotic charades, he knew his brother was up to something.
"You know, you're right. Life is too short. I think I should ask Miss. Carter to join us back home. If I find that I like her, I may just mate with her," Abraham said, stuffed his hands in his pocket and began rocking on his feet.
In a blink of an eye, Ryker had his brother shoved up against the opposite wall. One arm across his chest. Abraham wasn't phased at all. In fact, his laugh grew louder. It boomed and rumbled deep in his chest.
"Stop fucking around," Ryker growled.
"I'm not," Abraham said while looking at his brother straight in the eyes.
Ryker gazed into them and couldn't find a hint of humor inside his brother's eyes. Suddenly, doubt began to set inside of Ryker. Did his brother like Mary? He may have joked and laughed about it but Ryker knew that Abraham never got along with females before. Both brothers dealt with females differently. Abraham slept around but it was solely to appease his sexual appetite. Otherwise, no feelings were involved.
Another thought flashed across Ryker's mind. Abraham wouldn't be thinking about sleeping with Mary. Even the thought caused an unnecessary churn to Ryker's stomach and it extremely bothered him.
Ryker released Abraham and stalked off. Not another word was spoken to his brother. He needed to drink badly and possibly a few runs in the woods because the last few images of Abraham and Mary together may as well turn him into a sadist devil. He wanted to rip his brother into a million pieces.
Growling, he headed down the stairs, removed his shirt, tossed it by the door and jogged out the front door.
"Boss!" He heard his pack called out to him.
Picking up speed, he ran straight into the nearest woods before shifting immediately. His jeans tore into pieces. He couldn't simply wait to undress. He needed to leave before he says or does something stupid. Usually, a good run would clear his mind. He can't be around anyone right now.
His paws thumped on the ground. The wind whipped and slid underneath his fur like a gentle caress. Fresh air invaded his nostrils and his muscles stretched and ached to the new change in shift and speed.
How is everyone doing under COVID conditions? I hope you are all doing well and are staying safe. Please abide by government laws and stay indoors.