Someone You Love...
I sagged back in my office chair, finally finished with all the business of the day. I sighed, turning my attention to the view outside. It was still early afternoon, turning the city below into a buzzing frenzy of people trying to rush back and forth before the rush hour really hit.
I couldn’t believe how my seemingly uninterested and plain life suddenly had been turned upside down. All because of Lexi--- and well, Kara!
But what the hell did I do with that?!
I didn’t need to dig deep to know what – or who – I wanted. I wanted Lexi! There was no doubt in my mind about it. Just thinking about her made me smile and grin like an idiot.
And then there was Kara’s voice in my head. Her offer and the reasoning behind it.
“You can’t have a human mate,” she’d said with a stern voice, that was lace with concern. “A werewolf pack can’t have a human Luna! Not to disrespect the human race, but they’re weak compared to us. They’ll eat her alive, Don!”
I groaned, hating that she had a point. But she made one mistake in her accusation! It was based on the assumption that I would be alpha.
I didn’t want that!
But I also knew – like Kara so kindly had pointed out before – that LJ wasn’t coming back to Black Lunar and Luka physically couldn’t take the position, because he didn’t have a wolf. Sure, he was a werewolf, but---
Never mind! His story to tell…
DJ could be alpha, although she was a female (sexist as shit, but werewolves were still part animal-kingdom). But I knew she didn’t want it and why she didn’t want it (also her story to tell). I would take the alpha position. If not for anything else, then for her!
As for my parents…
I hated this feeling. Feeling like I owned them. That I had to do something I didn’t want to because someone expected me to. They weren’t my parents but had raised me. They loved me unconditionally, despite who my biological father was and now---
It felt like payment was due…
I turned back to my desk, eyeing the white surface for no particular reason. My eyes stopped at a picture of all of us. The Stone’s kids.
We were all around 14 or 15 years old, shortly after we’d all shifted for the first time. Already then, I was towering over my siblings, with black hair and bright red eyes. LJ looked like a carbon copy of our dad, with bright red hair and a muscular build. But he had mom’s eyes. Bright green--- and freckles. He had outgrown them, but on the picture, I knew he hated them with a passion.
And we never grew tired of teasing him for it…
Luka was the shortest of us – just barely an inch above DJ on the picture. But already then, his shoulders were wide and arms big and bulging. He looked like he ate steroids for breakfast, even back then. His hair was light brown, but his eyes were a pale gray, with a gaze that looked like they could see your soul. And while everyone else was smiling, he remained serious. I think I could count on one hand the times I’d seen him smile.
Then there was DJ…
She was beautiful! The very definition of perfect! She had that vampire allure surrounding her, making her irresistible to any male who laid eyes upon her. Something she grew to hate eventually! But I couldn’t really blame the jerks that approached her. She had dark, chocolate brown hair, that looked smooth and shined like silk. One eye was red – like mine – while the other… a crystal blue. Another vampire trait, that captured even more attention from her admirers. Add in the fact that she was tall, slim, and had curves in all the right places…
Yeah, I couldn’t really blame them--- until they overstepped!
That’s when I – along with my brother’s – had killed them all…
We all knew dad knew, but he never did anything about it. Turned a blind eye and pretended it hadn’t happened. It was his form for justice…
I leaned forward and picked up the picture.
Dad had always been like that. Protective of all of us. His wolf was one crazy son of a bitch and protected the people he loved with a passion and possessiveness that killed and murdered anyone who dear harm us. Yet, he loved and cared for us, like we were precious gems. He wasn’t unfair. He was firm and strict, but he was that way with all of us. He ran his household like he ran the pack – but with a little more caring, love, and laughter thrown in the mix…
I furrowed my brows.
Dad was fair!
He didn’t see me, DJ, or Luka as anything less than his children. I knew he’d never do that. It was just my feelings that had been poisoned from outside voices. I needed him. I needed him to sort through this…
I put the picture down and picked up the phone. He could help me. I knew he could…
The phone rang twice when a baritone grumbled greeting met me on the other end. I almost rolled my eyes. He hadn’t checked the caller-ID.
He never did…
“Dad! Hi,” I breathed, trying to gather my thoughts.
“Landon,” he replied, his tone instantly light. Or as light as the constantly raging wolf would allow him to be. The only time he actually became soft, was when mom was around… “What can I do for you?”
I opened my mouth--- and that’s when my mind decided to go blank.
Why? Why now? I had something to ask – something serious! – and I needed to talk to him. It was about Lexi and my future and---
My brain refused to form one reasonable question – or even a sentence…
That’s what all my intelligence and hulk-sized brain would come up with.
If I ever became alpha, the pack was doomed!
“Yeah, we’ve established that,” Dad replied in a duh-like tone, while I mentally groaned. “Is everything alright?”
His voice was now worried and instantly I was reminded about the time when he had to come to school and pick me up because I had been beaten bloody by some older bully. Dad showed up. The bully’s dad had cowered before him, as he and his son asked for forgiveness from the alpha.
Dad ignored them.
He came to me. Asked if I was alright before he picked me up and took me home. He let mom patch me up, rinse my wounds while he went back to the school. I didn’t know what he did or said. The boy came back to school, but he never laid a hand on me again.
I learned that day…
I could count on my dad!
“Can we talk?” I asked--- hoping that knowing would one-day trump feeling. “Face to face?”
“Sure,” he instantly agreed. “Want me there or…”
“I’ll come to you,” I cut him off, knowing I wanted to talk to him as soon as possible. It took about 3 hours to drive, but I ran, so 20 minutes later, I was in my childhood home. Shoes in hand and clothes covered in mud, leaves, and dead bugs.
I thanked the goddess that mom wasn’t home before I scrambled upstairs and hit the shower. I went to my old room and got dressed in some old clothes. I then walked over to the packhouse, meeting all the people I grew up with. They smiled and nodded, but most of it was out of respect because I was the alpha’s son. Not because of me.
I could never really feel at home here.
“Landon!” Dad greeted me, getting up from his chair, and hugged me. “How’s life in Sin City treating you?”
I could sense he’d missed me. I came home every Sunday – because that was LAW! As in nothing short of being DEAD was an acceptable excuse not to show up for Grand Sally’s Sunday dinner! – but I could sense that with everything going on recently, the alpha in dad wanted us all closer. He wanted to protect us.
“It’s called Rossville,” I said, before thinking. “Because the founder was a human called Roswell and---” I trailed off my words. What the hell was my brain doing now?! I looked up and met Dad’s gaze. He just raised his eyebrow, indicating, that he really didn’t care!
“Never mind…” I muttered, feeling heat rise to my cheeks.
“I’m sure you didn’t come here to give me a history lesson,” he murmured, leaning back in his office chair, his expression serious. Typical Dad. He never was one to beat around the bushes much.
“No,” I sighed, letting my tall frame ease into the old couch in his office. I took a deep breath and continued: “I’m--- at a pass.”
“How so?” Dad frowned, sounding even more worried.
“I’ve--- I’ve met someone,” I confessed--- and goddess help me, I still reddened like a 12-year-old! “Two someones’s actually.”
“That’s trouble,” Dad smirked teasingly while raising his signature eyebrow. I had a love/hate relationship with that gesture. It meant everything from disappointment, to question and teasing. And no matter the form, he always successfully managed to get his point across.
And right now it was saying: You’re an idiot if you’re following in your Dad’s footsteps…
Sure, we knew of the reputation Dad had before he met mom. Goddess, he hated when Uncle Mick reminded him and--- well, that’s an argument that never ended pretty. Not until Mom and Aunt Rita stepped in and ENDED it.
“I know, but…,” I sighed, trying to get him to not judge me. “I just---” I grinded my teeth, hating that I had promised Kara to consider it. If for nothing else, then to get her to leave the office before I let my beasts loose and tear her to pieces for speaking ill of Lexi.
“With Kara, everything would be perfect,” I muttered, although I hate the idea. I like the idea of me and Kara being friends, sure. We’ve always been friends and I’ve always seen her a such – a FRIEND! “My wolf likes running with hers, we get each other and I feel like I can be myself around her…” I trail off my words.
Because--- What more could I say?
“But?” Dad huffs. Confused I looked up--- but was met with a blunt stare. “There’s a but!” he continued in a duh-like tone.
“Yeah,” I admit, again both loving and hating that he knows me so well. “Big but!” I took a deep breath--- and had to literally strain my lips from curling into a smile. “Lexi is---” Damn it! I couldn’t stop the smile! “Everything I could dream of,” I grinned like a mad man. “My wolf is relaxed and loves to be around her and my vampire side it’s---it’s calling to her. Like-like a magnet. And when we’re together, I feel like I could share everything with her.” I glance up at my dad. “It feels like she belongs to me.”
Yeah, it’s weird. Or just me… Probably just me, but that’s how I feel, nevertheless. When she’s with me, it’s like the air in the room shifts and suddenly she’s the oxygen I need to live. Sometimes it feels like I need her more than my next heartbeat. My entire being craves her and a feeling in my gut tells me it is so.
She belongs to me!
Now, if I could just tell her that without sounding like a slave-trader from another century or a sexist pig, I’d be the happiest hybrid in town…
“Oh,” Dad’s gruff voice reaches me and pulls me from my thoughts. I look up and realize that a conflicting frown is plastered on his face. “She’s your---erm?”
I sighed, hating that this was a part of my vampire side that Dad would never really reconcile with.
“Pet, Dad,” I say irritated. I never had a pet, although I did need blood to live. Not often – or at least not as often as my sister – but I did occasionally feel the craving come to life and my blood-beast demand blood. I’d quench the thirst by--- well, go to the vampire nest and pick out whatever type of blood I felt like. Being the Master of the clan – or the closest thing they had – it was my responsibility to ensure that the “pantry” (don’t judge and just go along with it!) was stalked with blood. But Dad assured me, once upon a time I did consider taking a pet, that he’d be OK with it.
Just as much as any old-school-world-war-veteran would be OK with his son being gay, I suppose…
“They’re called pets and no!” I mumbled--- until I realize, that I have no idea what Lexi is to me. I mean, I want her – more than want her! I just don’t really know in what way yet…
“Or yes, I don’t know…,” I confess, and bug the back of my neck in a nervous gesture.
“But she’s human,” Dad deadpanned.
“Yes,” I tell him truthfully, gathering the courage to say the next bit: “And she’s someone I can imagine becoming---” I bite my tongue, having almost said ‘beloved’. But I can’t say that! Can I?
“My mate,” I say instead. It’s not wrong, but it feels sort of wrong on my lips. And to my surprise, even my wolf scoffs and puffs. My blood on the other hand--- I almost grin at the humanoid facepalm feeling I get…
“Then – and excuse me if I sound dumb, but…,” Dad said and crossed his still huge arms over his chest. “What’s the problem?”
“You’ve trained us all to be alpha and to lead,” I explained, annoyed at all these feelings that are being pushed into me from outside forces; making me doubt my own decisions and capability. “My wolf doesn’t submit easily – except for LJ – but he’s--- LJ!” Dad nods and makes a nonchalant shrug, knowing what I’m saying. I’m pretty sure even before LJ left Black Lunar, Dad knew that LJ’s wolf didn’t submit to him out of need but because he chose to submit to him. “My point is, that if you chose me as alpha…,” I quickly move on, wanting nothing more than to have this over with. “Would the Pack even accept a human Luna?”
I know of absolutely no pack in the world, where the luna of the pack had been anything but a werewolf. And as if reading my thoughts, Dad furrowed his brows once more and things about it.
“Does she know about--- us?” he asked after a while. Because, of course, werewolves have strict laws about telling humans about us. Big ‘no-go’ and a gruesome death to all who betray their kind, and yada-yada-yada… But vampires don’t have such rules – or at least not in that degree, which in turn made Black Luna a gray-zone for the whole human-knowing-about-us-bullshit…
“No, I haven’t told her. I wanted to talk to your first,” I confess – and while we’re confessing things: “And I sort of invited her to have dinner with us this Sunday.”
“You think she’s ready for the family?” he smirked with a knowing smile. And I really want to tell him that she already met me and didn’t bolt into the mountains. The rest of the family will be child’s-play.
“Hmm, bringing a human into our world is always risky,” Dad muttered after a while, his serious mask back on. “No one can predict how they will react.”
“In other words,” I asked, feeling deflated. “Let it go?”
He sighed, leaning back in his chair, and studied me for a while. A while that felt like an eternity. I really didn’t want to go against my father, but for Lexi, I would…
“Do you love her?”
The question hit me like a ton of bricks and for a second, I forgot to breathe. But as soon as the question sinks in, the answer is as clear as day. There was no doubt in my mind, about this. I didn’t need to think, to pause, or anything. And both my beasts were on board with me instantly.
And I grinned when the realization hit me. I love her! It’s fast, early, and completely out of character for me, seeing that it takes forever and a day for me to trust anyone. But I don’t have any reservations when it comes to Lexi. Even the first time I met her, I just realized the time and instinctually I---
I made her lunch!
“I do,” I replied, knowing I was grinning like an idiot! All thoughts of Kara long gone and like a light in the dark, thoughts of Lexi consumed me. It wasn’t until I heard my Dad’s rough chuckles, that I even realized where I was and who I was with.
“Landon,” Dad smiles at me, leaning in over his old, comfortable, and worn our desk. “No matter what, never give up on something – or someone – you love,” he carefully lectures me. I recognize his words in my heart – like he and mom never gave up on us or treated us any differently. But it’s nice to hear him speak the words anyway: “And trust me, my choice in the future alpha of Black Lunar, will not be affected by who your mates are, but your own quality to lead,” he glances at me – that knowing look he always gives me when there’s something he knows that I don’t. I hate it and frown, but this only results in a smirk--- and I know he won’t tell me but will let me discover it for myself.
Damned parenting that never ends…
“As for the pack,” he continued and shrugged, leaning back in his chair; the aura of cockiness and smug confident he always carried around with him present in the air. “If they respect you and trust you to lead, they’ll respect your choices as well.” A wide grin spreads across his face. “At least that’s my experience.”
I grinned and think back on all the stories that mom and dad used to tell us about how they first met. How dad made her the alpha’s maid and how the love between them slowly bloomed. Which made me in turn think about Lexi and I couldn’t help but compare the situations. My dad had taken his maid to be his maid and me --- Well, I was about to make my maid my beloved.
“You’re thinking of her now, aren’t you?” Dad said, making me realize that I’m grinning like a madman. He chuckles again, before leaning forward, looking at me with an honest expression. “Well, if it’s my advice you want, I’d say go for who makes you happy.” My heart was about to jump out of my chest of joy upon hearing his words. “Vampires have had humans in their midst before and we’re all still here, so it can’t be that bad…” he shrugs and then turned serious. “My main concern would be…”
“What will happen when my wolf marks her,” I finish his sentence, as this had been a main concern of mine too. Werewolves and vampires didn’t have human mates/beloved and to complicate things, I was a hybrid. There was no telling what would happen when I claimed her…
“I’ve never heard of a human mate before,” he sighed but was quick to shrug it off and grinned. “But I hadn’t heard about hybrids before either. Guess anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.”
I nod, not wanting to talk about the king right now. I’m happy. Thrilled to have my Dad’s blessings and knowing that I didn’t have to go behind my family’s back to make Lexi mine.
Without thinking, I got up and was ready to leave – to go to Lexi – when Dad’s voice once again entered my mind and pulls me to the present.
“Landon! Another thing,” he said, his expression grim and serious. “Beware a woman scorned,” his warning sounded. “If Kara thinks that she has some kind of ownership over you…”
“I haven’t led her on,” I quickly tell him. It’s the truth! She came to me, not the other way around. But add just for good measures: “Or at least I don’t think I have.”
“Just be careful,” Dad said in a low, warning tone. “A jealous person doesn’t target you, but the person you love.”
“I didn’t know you were a poet,” I can’t help myself but tease--- although his words sent a chill all the way into my bones. My wolf growls and my blood boils. If anyone even thinks about hurting Lexi, I’ll…
“I have my moments,” Dad shrugs--- like the cocky arrogant bastard he is. And if you ask, he’s damn proud of it.
“I’ll be careful, Dad,” I said, hugging him for goodbye, once again feeling grateful for having HIM as my dad. “I promise.”
“Peter,” I asked, unable to get my mind off women and on my job. I was deep under Stone Pharmaceuticals and in my underground office, taking care of and listening to my clan’s worries and problems. My favorite part of the day, but right now something else is nagging at my mind.
Peter glances up, his cold blue eyes easily finding mine, with a look of amusement. If I hadn’t been so used to him taking pleasure from my obvious discomfort, I’d drop the question entirely and just Google the darn thing. But more often than not, Peter was more useful…
“How do you let a girl down gently?”
I – surprise, surprise – blush!
But in all honestly, it was Peter’s unwavering and a-matter-of-fact-ly reply that has my blood stopping in my veins.
“You stick a fork in your eye,” he replied – instantly and without batting an eye! And then he returned to his papers. As if he’d just given me everything, I need to do this.
“And that’s helpful---? How exactly?” I asked--- confused and uncomfortably horrified!
“Then you’ll know the pain when she does it,” he explained without looking up. Nope, still not making any sense! Not to me anyway…
I groan his name, demanding his attention again. He sighs as if I was an annoying toddler and I sense one of those stupid lectures coming on. You know, the ones that’ll be useful but make no sense.
“Listen, there is NO way to let a girl down gently,” he deepened for me, leaning down on his crossed legs and holds a serious, but annoyed expression. Which makes me think he’s been down this road a couple of times… “Especially not when you’ve led her on.”
“I didn’t,” I defended myself, still feeling the need to cover my eye and check if it was still there. “She came to me…”
“It doesn’t matter!” he cut me off, and as usual his hands speak with him, making big, exaggerated movements. “In the battle of the sexes, we’re always at a disadvantage.”
“Well, technically…” I mutter, having a very long history lesson at the tip of my lips. That Peter obviously didn’t want to hear, as he cut me off again.
“Oh shut up ‘little miss always politically correct’,” he snorted and rolled his eyes at me. “The only reason we get those high paid jobs is to pay for their shopping addiction and to develop cardiopathy. That way they can put us in an early grave and replace us with a newer model. Literally!”
I couldn’t contain a laugh. Well, I guess that’s a debate that won’t end any time soon.
I know Peter isn’t a sexist moron – his affection and concerns for Pat let me knows that, as he tries to give her everything she wants in any way she wants it. The only thing he can’t give her is freedom, but I don’t think she craves that as much as she once did.
I still remember the horrified and angry expression when he came home with her the first time. When he told me, that he won her at the turn of a card--- his eyes were flaring red, angry at the men who’d allow for their pets to be treated like cattle. He’d decided to bet for her to get her away from her then Master because he wanted to protect her.
And he asked me. Asked me as his Master for permission to kill them.
We did it together.
And I didn’t have any regrets about that…
“But why are we talking about letting a girl down,” Peter said with a frown, crossing his arms. “I thought you really hit it off with Lexi?”
“Oh, I did,” I instantly replied, unable to stop the smile that spread across my lips at the mention of her name. “I-I mean I do--- I’m-I’m not talking about Lexi. I’m talking about Kara.”
“Kara?!” he exclaimed horrified and I can almost see the shiver of disgust that rolls down his spine. “I didn’t know you two were an item.”
“We’re not,” I replied and he visibly relaxed. “I mean, we like each other, but only as friends--- Or I just like her as a friend-friend, but she wants to be bed-friends and-and…” And I’m getting tangled in my words again. I groaned, trying to sort through my messy mind and stay on track. “She came to me, asking if we could be mates. Something about us making a strong alpha couple…”
“Ah-huh?” was Peter’s suspicious reply, his eyebrows in a deep furrow. I’ve always known that Peter didn’t like Kara, but--- I guess he REALLY didn’t like Kara…
“Anyway, I’m not---,” I reassure him. “I’m not interested, but…”
“Thank God!” he let out in exaggerated relief.
“I would kind of hope that we could remain friends,” I continued, ignoring his annoying anticks.
“Not happening,” he grinned--- like a kid who was just told that Santa IS real!
“Oh,” I muttered--- surprised at the lack of feelings this is creating in me. I mean… Kara has been my friend for as long as I can remember and sure, when talking about the alpha and luna position in a pack, some people do go for a logical mating rather than a loving one.
But I also know in my bones, that I’d never make Kara happy--- because I’d constantly be lusting for and wanting Lexi. Lexi is my choice and although it saddens me to possibly lose a friend, I know I gain so much, much more with Lexi.
“So yeah,” Peter grins and returns to his paperwork. “Fork in the eye!”
I roll my eyes at him.
Like that’s helpful…!
I shake my head--- but can’t stop myself from thinking:
I hope not…