A wooden oak table, broad and sturdy, was the only thing that stood between Mathew and Xerxes. The eyes of persons in the room darted back and forth between the two, me sighing when Mathew sneered tauntingly, Easton rubbing at his brow when no one spoke.
I stood behind Mathew, silently begging Xerxes not to do anything out of anger. Flynn was by the doorway of the room, arms folded tightly across his chest, silently sizing up the human male in annoyance.
It was frightening, seeing Xerxes have little to no countenance, making it extremly difficult for me, or anyone to read him. He had said nothing when I had rapidly explained why I invited Mathew over to the home.
"You really need to speak with these guards around here. They're way too rough." When Xerxes gave no response, Mathew turned to me. "They pat me down three times and questioned me multiple times before I was allowed inside the neighborhood. I thought you told them I was coming."
I swallowed, dragging my eyes from Xerxes' sudden stone cold face. "It's the procedure they have to carry out. It doesn't matter if I informed them earlier."
Mathew grunted, nodding his head in appreciation as Greta dropped off a glass of water for him, his eyes flickering to Kesley as he raised it to his lips. "Who's this fine lady?"
No one said anything. Kesley blankly stared down at the man who was atleast ten years younger than her, not reacting to any of his flirtatious actions. Mathew released a sigh, reclining in his chair. "You people are so much fun."
We all watched as Mathew finished off his water slowly and I could feel Xerxes' patience ebbing away, being replaced by a dangerous darkness that had me reaching across the table to place a hand over his own, trying to soothe it away. My touch didn't work.
"Get to speaking about what we need to really hear, kid." Xerxes voice was a rough snarl, an echoing sound that sent shivers down mine, and I'm sure everyone else's spine. I moved my hand away and faced Mathew, who met my eyes before speaking.
"Rebecca told me that my mother, Claire Johnson, was brought up yesterday when she interrogated some guy. So me, being the very good friend I am to Becca here," He patted my shoulder. "Decided because of her request, to attend some of my mother's meetings and listen to what was being said. Soon aft-"
"How did you know that it was his mother?" Xerxes directed the question to me, ignoring Mathew's frown.
"They have the same last name, so I took a guess and asked Mathew during a phone call if the person mentioned was his mother, which turned out to be true." I answered quickly, wanting Mathew to continue speaking before he decided to lapse back into his goofy ways.
"Right." Mathew cleared his throat. "No more interrupting, wolf man. It's awfully rude."
I muffled my groan with my palms. Xerxes was in no playful mood and I knew Mathew was treading dangerous waters. The chair which The Alpha sat on creaked as he leaned forward, bracing his hands against the handles, a slither of rage crossing his face as he stared down Mathew.
"Continue, please." I muttered to Mathew.
"So I managed to get some info, and it's a bit confusing to say the least. The Insurgency group was formed roughly three months ago. I'm not sure who it was that created it. Anyway, my mother was hired by this guy called Sinclair and a lady named Idina to help gather some humans to join the group. They all had to have the same mindset of hatred towards The Alpha in order for them to be apart of the group. Basically, Sinclair told my mother that with the assistance of some of the humans, they'd manage to overthrow Xerxes by using whatever force necessary and have him move out of town. They know a lot of humans are not fans of the big boy," Mathew gestured to Xerxes. "But my mother had suspicions about Sinclair's and Idina's plans and found out that they also want to switch back the ways humans and werewolves lived."
Mathew paused, clicking his tongue, straightening. "Do you guys have any food? I'm feeling slightly famished."
There was silence. Kesley looked upwards in exasperation and Flynn's lips flattened, unimpressed. Irritation crept up, making me fix Mathew with a glare. "Are you fucking serious, Mathew?"
Mathew shrugged. "Yes, actually. I haven't eaten since this morning. Could I have some pizza? Preferably with pepperoni."
A muscle ticked in Xerxes' jaw and I reached for my phone, jabbing in a message for Greta.
"It'll be here in fifteen minutes." I snapped. "Now carry on about your findings."
Mathew smirked. "So bossy. But anyway, mother dearest decided to try and construct her own plan and decided that she'll find some folks who are completely anti-werewolf so they can all somehow run werewolves out of town. The thing is, she still has to give the impression towards Sinclair that she's encouraging people to join the group, because she's being paid a lot of money to do so. She claims that with that money, she'll be able to buy the weapons needed to help force out the werewolves from town. The people she gathered still attend the meetings which are hosted by Sinclair, but they know the truth. They're just there to keep up with the facade that they hate Xerxes when in fact, they actually hate all werewolves. Also, they know my mother needs to make it seem like she's bringing in new people for Sinclair's cause, so they attend."
He jabbed a thumb at a poster which I had seen outside of my college. "Those were put up only in heavily populated areas that mostly humans reside in." He looked at me. "And those rings you mentioned to me? They were gifted by the founder to the ones viewed as having a large roles in the Insurgency Club."
"So you have never seen the founder?" The question came from Easton. Mathew shook his head.
"Nope. In fact, few people have apparently."
"How have you managed to get all of this information?" Kesley asked abruptly. Mathew hesitated, a guilty expression on his face.
"I..uh...I actually had to get her a bit drunk. She's usually a bit of blabber mouth when that happens and is willing to open up to anyone about anything personal. Also, as I said before, I attended a meeting early this morning and was able to get the information from a few people. I had my own inklings that she wanted to do something like this." Mathew sighed, all playfulness gone. "I feel horrible knowing that I had to make her drunk, but I would also feel bad if a whole bunch of werewolves were killed. Sure, I mean they're some assholes who I wouldn't mind dead," He glanced at Xerxes. "But they're some who are so kind and nice. Not all of them should be categorized as evil just because some are."
"Indeed. Now, is there anything else we need to know?" Flynn asked, his voice far more gentle than when he had first spoken to Mathew, his stance less intimidating.
Mathew shook his head. "No." He paused and rubbed his chin. "Well, yes actually. But I'll tell you that as soon as I get my pizza."
And Flynn was back to the frosty glaring. I looked towards Xerxes at hearing the sound of him standing. No one said anything as he left the room with purposeful strides. Mathew turned slowly, looking at me in question. I leaned forward and rested my forehead against the table, listening to the sound of Xerxes walking downstairs, Greta quipping something.
When we heard the noise of Xerxes returning, all attention fell on him. A box with the logo of pizza dripping with cheese rested on the box, which was dropped down on the table.
"Tell us what we need to know." Xerxes commanded. There was no withholding any emotions now. All of his anger was at full force, completely directed at the surprised human who eyed the box and then him, the slight recoiling he did not going unnoticed.
Mathew opened the lid of the box, licking his lips at the hot, delicious smelling pizza. I couldn't help but look over his shoulder to take a whiff of it, my mouth watering at the scent and sight of it.
"Well, you got me what I wanted, so I guess I'll tell ya what you need to know." Mathew lifted the slice of pizza, nibbled at it. "Right. So according to one of my mother's journals, there is some important meeting being held later this week. On Friday I believe. It's gonna be at Charles Street in Gemma. You know, that glass building?" At my nod he continued. "It's going to start around midnight, so don't look out for me. There's no way I'm gonna drag my-"
"Thanks for everything, Mathew." I cut him off, standing, taking his arm and hauling him up as well. "Greta will show you to the door."
Mathew snorted, taking up the pizza box. "I was hoping for more than a 'thank you' from you, if you know what I mean."
I heard Flynn's loud exhale behind me, could feel Xerxes' wrath through the bond. The Alpha stepped forward, his hand raising to grip the back of the young man's neck, stopping Mathew from taking any other steps, any further movement. The once smug look upon Mathew's face disappeared, quickly being replaced with a sharp grimace of pain. Fangs showed as Xerxes gave a dark smile. "You have disrespected me many times in my house, Mathew. I have little patience for fools and I am developing a growing need to kill. It would do you best to leave quietly."
Mathew was pushed forward out the door, not by Xerxes, but by me. I feared that I would not be able to save him if he decided to come up with genius idea to make another snarky comment and be attacked.
The uncomfortable silence left behind Mathew's departure instantly made me regret not slipping out the door behind him. Xerxes had retreated back to a chair, his eyes fixated on a window. Anger still bounced off of him in waves, and I knew that it was probably best that I give him some space.
The crackling noises from the fireplace was the only sound that came from the room; Easton and Flynn communicated through mind linking, something I guessed because of the way they both stared at each other quietly. Kesley slipped a bag over her shoulder, nodding her head at me as she left. The two men standing also left, and I made to leave as well, my footsteps halting when I heard Xerxes call out my name.
Squaring my shoulders, I faced him. I knew, when Mathew had first shown up, that Xerxes was angry that I had invited Mathew to the house without telling him first. However, at the time when I had placed the call to Mathew to summon him over, I believed that it was best that I not tell him, because there was little to no chance that Xerxes would have permitted him to come over.
His anger had calmed somewhat when I partially explained that Mathew had valuable information, only to rise again when Mathew decided to drop snide remarks about Xerxes throughout conversations, when he would wink at me occasionally when he thought no one was looking.
I sat on the arm handle of the chair opposite Xerxes, watching him watch me, his face a mask of composure. It made no sense for him to try and hide his emotions. I could feel them through the bond we shared.
"That boy is not to come to this house again." He spoke bluntly, a snarl lacing his words. "Understood?"
I said nothing for several seconds, continuing to watch him. There would be no reason for Mathew to come back, but I wasn't taking well to the way in which Xerxes was speaking to me. When I stood, he did as well, the action so fast, so smooth, that it had me stumbling backwards, brows furrowed in confusion.
"Understood, Rebecca?" His voice was dangerously low, electric eyes never leaving me. My nod was subtle, but he caught it. As soon as he received my non-verbal response, the tension in his body lifted, eyes softening as he saw my wary expression.
"Greta has prepared some food for us below." Xerxes said, moving to the table and lifting, searching through files. "I believe it was filet mignon and shrimp."
"I'm not very hungry. I think I'll just take a quick shower and head to bed."
Xerxes paused, assessing me. "Are you certain?"
I nodded. This whole evening, the conversations that took place tonight and me silently begging Xerxes not to launch across the table to throttle Mathew had exhausted me.
"Night." I called over my shoulder when Xerxes began to walk to me, my pace fast as I hurried to my room. It was probably rude of me to do so, but my tiredness often had a habit of making me a bit short-tempered.