I inwardly cringed when I recognized the female voice behind me. I turned around and sure enough, it was Kara coming towards me. Instinctively I knew she was a werewolf, but it wasn’t the fact that this woman could probably – and with the look in her eyes definitely wanted to – kill me without breaking a sweat that made me slightly tremble. She was looking just as stunning in her work outfit as she did when she dressed up. Her hair was flowing flawlessly down her back and as she speed-walked towards me, it was a miracle her full breasts didn’t bounce out of her tight, button-up blouse.
And she had her eyes set on MY Landon…
“Erm, Kara, right?” I said hesitantly and deliberately furrowed my brows. I hadn’t forgotten – as if I could ever forget! – and yes, you may call it petty, but it was nice to see her pride take a blow!
“So,” she said coldly, all traces of pleasantries gone, as she walked up to me and stopped--- way inside my personal space. “He finally told you.”
It wasn’t a question – just a statement. And I could practically see the fume steaming from her ears. And this might just be me going out on a whim but---
I don’t think she likes me much…
“Landon’s claimed me as his,” I replied holding out the small insignia around my neck--- and tried to ignore the pain of regret that shot through me. It was strange. It should make me feel objectified – being claimed and owned like a freaking porcelain vase! Like I wasn’t human…
But when it was Landon saying it, it…
“Too bad,” Kara smirked with a dangerous promise in her cold tone and crossed her arms under her chest, making them press into my face. I took an involuntary step back, because--- I don’t roll like that, lady!
I frowned, as I looked up at her again. I wasn’t small by any standers – ok, I was completely mediocre in height! – but with this she-wolf, I had to crane my neck up just to be able to keep eye contact. I mumbled a sweet curse under my breath. I wasn’t a very confrontational person, actually, I hated fighting, but I knew confrontation when I saw it. And I wasn’t the kind of person who’d put up with shit, because people decided that they could take advantage of my kindness. So, I took a deep breath and mentally steadied myself for whatever was coming. And when I didn’t make a move to confront the woman in front of me, she let out a huffed breath in annoyance.
“Listen I won’t beat around the bushes,” she said idly since she hadn’t been able to provoke the reaction out of me that she’d hoped for. “I’ve come to tell you to back away from Landon.”
“Oh really?” I shot back, crossing my own arms, and mimicked her stand. I might just be human, but I wasn’t about to just roll over because some bitch told me so.
“Yes, really!” she hissed, getting into my personal space again. “Listen, you’re getting in his way,” she snarled--- and for a second I could have sworn that her eyes flickered amber. “He’s meant to be the alpha of our pack, but you keep dragging him back, holding him in his vampire side.”
I didn’t know much of anything, which – when you took into consideration that not long ago, I didn’t even know about the supernatural world! – was saying a lot. But I didn’t need a doctrine in sociology to understand that “alpha” meant “top dog” and that werewolves and ordinary wolves may share similarities in said social structure.
In other words: Landon was important to his pack!
But what was all of this ‘holding him to his vampire side’-nonsense?!
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked feeling both naïve and vulnerable to expose my ignorance on the matter. “It’s part of who he is…”
“I wouldn’t expect a human to understand this,” she cut me off, sighing in exaggeration for effect. “But Landon’s wolf is a pureblood alpha wolf! If he doesn’t lead a pack, he’ll go mad. Do you know what happens to a wolf that goes mad?”
She chided me like a flabbergasted mother would a child.
“No,” I gritted between my teeth, hating that she held all the cards. And the fact that she’d actually woken my genuine curiosity.
“When a werewolf goes down that road, they’re called a Bloodlusted Wolf,” she explained, pretending to be the patient teacher. “Can you guess why everyone is afraid of wolves like that?”
“They lust for blood,” I deadpanned for her and against my will, feeling my heart rate go up a twig. Bloodlusted Wolf? I gulped at the sound of that.
“Landon’s father, Alpha Stone, he has a wolf-like that,” she explained--- and I almost choked on air. Levi Stone?! The man that so gently and sweetly kissed his wife and who loves his kids so much, they still talk about him in awe?
THAT Levi stone?!
“He didn’t want to lead but his wolf was too strong,” she continued, unaware of my astonishment. “You know what he did once he lost control of his wolf?”
“No---” I replied before I could stop myself.
“He killed his father, mother, and all his siblings,” she barked bluntly--- like she was talking about the freaking weather! I couldn’t contain a gasp.
“He took over the pack, killed the old alpha and now he kills rogues for breakfast,” she continued, as if she wasn’t satisfied with the terror, she’d evoked in me. “He became too strong for any wolf to take down. This is also why he was able to single-handedly take down Sin City and kill the Vampire King – THE most powerful vampire in the world.” I gulped. A killing machine! That’s what Pat had said about the man who’d killed Landon’s biological father… “The supernatural world is bloody and brutal and primal,” she continued. “If the strong don’t lead…” she trailed off her words, paused, and shrugged, crossing her arms as to emphasize her point. “If you want what’s good for Landon,” she continued – and this time she didn’t make any attempt to hide the threat in her voice.
“You’ll stay away from him!”
I gritted my teeth, hoping that she didn’t notice the shiver that crawled down my spine. I knew it! I don’t know how, but somehow, I knew that Levi Stone was a very dangerous wolf. Is was in the way he carried himself, the way he commanded attention, and how the atmosphere changed in the room he walked in.
Because it was freaking Landon! The awkward, funny, honest, and kind half-vampire, a half-werewolf man that somehow had snuck his way into my heart. I refused to believe that he was capable of hurting anyone he cared about! Heck, I doubt he was cable of any kind of evil…
But then again, what did I know?
It wasn’t so long ago, I thought vampires and werewolves were mythical creatures. But not only did they exist, they also had ‘pets’ and ‘packs’ and ‘laws’ that forced them to kill anyone who knew about their existence.
I didn’t really know anything, did I?
Well, not entirely true…
I did know ONE thing…
I stepped forward and this time it was me invading Kara’s personal space. I straighten my back and looked her straight in the face.
“What’s between me and Landon,” I gritted between my teeth. “Is none of your goddamned business!”
Landon was MINE!
And there was no way in hella, that I was going to be intimidated by this overachieving she-dog! I didn’t know much about this supernatural world, but something inside me assured me, that whatever was ahead, it would be me and Landon – against the world if necessary!
His wolf needed to lead?
Then his pack better be ready for a human alpha female!
I still wasn’t sure about all of this beloved/mate situation and I sure as sunshine wasn’t comfortable with the whole ‘pet’-thing. But if that’s what it took to be with him – to be with the man that I loved – I was going to make the jump.
Now, I only prayed that Landon would catch me…
“Have a nice day, Kara!” I spat, before turning on my heels and walked away.
I couldn’t wait to get off work. I needed to talk to Landon as badly as I needed air. I had to tell him about my decision. The heaviness in the pit of my stomach had finally subsided and had been replaced with a hoard of butterflies that threatened to lift me off my feet and fly me to his penthouse.
I practically waltzed into the base office and hurried to the changing room, wanting for nothing more than to strip out of my stupid outfit and run home to Landon. It may only have been one day, but I was ready to break the three-day self-imposed rule of mine and just go ahead already and tell him that I loved him. That whatever would happen, I’d accept it, because it meant we’d be together. I knew in my heart that no matter my title, Landon would never treat me as a ‘pet’ or anything less than what I deserved. He was kind, gentle, and sweet. And he loved me…
That’s all we’d need…
I snapped my head around--- and just like that, my good mood vanished, and my stomach dropped. Edna was standing by the door to the changing room with a glare that could make the dead stir. And if the two cops at her side wasn’t an already bad enough omen, her hands were on her hips, like an exasperated 1800’s mother ready to but-thwack her child.
I was in deep…
I followed Edna back to her office and sat down. My heart was beating a million miles a minute and I had to force myself to breathe calmly. Although I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, the two cops didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. What had I done? Run a red light? Or was it something else?
I shuttered when another possibility suddenly arose.
The shooting incident!
When that crazy man had shown up and shot Landon. I gulped thinking about it all over again. Funny, how suddenly THAT had become completely insignificant compared to what Landon had done to me after! But was that the reason why I’d been dragged into Edna’s office by two cops? If so, what should I say? Spinning cover stories for the supernatural wasn’t really my thing – yet! But in that case, wouldn’t they have asked me to come downtown? And how did they even know I’d been there? Was there some surveillance footage?
The possibilities were vast and as they ran through my head – as well as possible cover stories – I almost missed the question directed at me by my boss.
“Ha?” I muttered, feeling afraid and confused.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” Edna exclaimed, sounding almost annoyed.
“Erm--- I’m…,” I started, wetting my dry lips and cursing myself for not paying more attention to all those cops-shows mom loved so much. Guilty until proven innocent? Or wat the other way around? Darn it! I wasn’t sure, but heck--- when in doubt, fake innocence!
“I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about?” I confessed, hoping that none of the cops behind me were werewolves and could smell that bunch of bull-crape.
“I got a call this morning,” Edna explained, her eyes narrowing at me. “Saying that you’ve been fraternizing with some high-end customer of ours at Stone Pharmaceuticals.”
I gaped. Was-was this about me and Landon?!
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it,” I replied cautiously--- because let’s be honest, I still had no idea what I’d agreed to that first day when I sighed all those papers! But if that’s all that it was, I could just calmly explain to them that this had all been a big misunderstanding…
“You didn’t think…?!” Edna echoed, her eyes wide in surprise before they suddenly seemed to darken with anger. “HA!” she finally barked, making my stomach clench at the menace in her tone, and disappointedly shook her head. “Lexi, I expected a lot of you, or at least a good reason,” she frowned at me, leaning over her desk in disbelief. “But you didn’t see anything wrong with it?!”
She said the words like they were sour on her tongue!
“It was just lunch,” I shrugged, both surprised and taken aback at the tone in her voice. She talked to me like I was some sort of poison! Tainted goods. And yeah, sure! Edna had always been bitchy and expected nothing less than perfection from us, but she was also kind and generous. Seeing this side to her, was an entirely new and rather scary thing…
“And ten thousand dollars!” she screeched, throwing her hands out in frustration.
I blinked. My body froze and all thoughts drained from my mind. Ten thousand dollars?! What was that? What did it mean? But instead of asking these questions, my brain went mush and all these thoughts turned to a jumbled mess inside my head. It felt like I’d just entered another dimension, where nothing made sense anymore…
Because--- if they did, I’d just been accused of theft!
Edna didn’t reply. Instead, she gestured to one of the cops, as to say “she’s your problem now”. I slightly turned my head and noticed a woman stepping forward, looking at me with a frown on her face.
“We’ve received a report that several thousands of dollars have disappeared from a credit card account,” she then laced her hand around my collar--- and the ruby I got from Landon. “As well as some expensive jewelry.”
“These were a gift,” I protested and for some reason, I suddenly only had a singular focus: to keep the collar and necklace.
Without it, I was a sitting duck for anyone supernatural…
My heart was pounding and my palms were getting clammy. I tried to focus on the problem in front of me, but a big part of me only wanted to curl into a ball, call Landon, and wait for him to pick me up.
But this wasn’t the time for that!
I had to figure out what was going on and what to do next. To prove that they had the wrong person and that this had all just been a huge misunderstanding…
“You got the wrong person,” I said as calmly as I could, without breaking eye contact with the female cop. “I’ve never stolen anything in my life.”
The two cops exchanged a look--- that definitely didn’t bode well for me. I gulped, unable to stop myself from feeling like that thing caught between a rock and a hard place.
“Is that so?” the male cop asked from behind, and I had to whirl around to face him. “In that case, you wouldn’t mind us going through your personal belongings, now would you?”
Everything inside me screamed no! Not because I had anything to hide, but because that was MY freaking personal belongings! Emphasis on personal! I didn’t come to work ready to have my locker ransacked by strangers. Not to mention that I sometimes hid my mother’s medical bills there so she wouldn’t feel guilty about me having to provide for her.
Thousand of dollars missing and medical bills in my locker?
Yeah, I could already see where this was going!
But if I didn’t let them, I’d just look that more suspicious.
Yeah, rock and a hard place…
“Of course, I would,” I snapped, feeling furious. And on some level violated. Why? Why was I in this situation? Who’d sent these bloodhounds after me? “I like my personal stuff to remain personal.”
“The locker room is part of the company grounds,” Edna suddenly chimed in--- helpful as ever! “You don’t need her permission to go through the lockers. I’ll show you which one.”
I snapped my head back around at Edna, unable to believe she’d just throw me under the bus like that. But then again, she had no reason to show loyalty towards me. I was an employee, and she was the boss. She could fire me for no reason if she wanted to and it’s not like I’d ever been one of her favorites…
Edna was already out of her seat and with the male cop on her heel, they left the room. I’d gotten halfway out of my chair to follow them when the female cop placed a hand on my shoulder and pushed me back down.
“For your own good, I’d remained seated and cooperate,” she warned in what I supposed was a comforting tone. “Trust me,” she continued in a low whisper. “You do not want the Stone’s to be your enemies.”
My heart dropped, and my insides turned to ice.
And just like that, everything made sense. I knew, that everything in this investigation would point to me being the guilty party. That somehow Edna and the male cop would come back holding evidence that without a doubt picked me like the criminal.
Because right now, I was up against forces far beyond me…
The werewolf jealous none-girlfriend!
And sure enough, as I was being led outside – handcuffed like a common criminal, while my rights were being read out loud – I caught a glimpse of the person in question. Standing smug as a bug on the other side of the road, winking at me.
In the police car, I did realize – with a rather discouraging sigh – that this was the worst case of cliché-maid-move ever! I was fired and on my way to prison for something I hadn't even done because that’s how you always get the maid!
But darn it, it was efficient!
From jail, I tried to call Landon--- but for some reason, the phone had been disconnected. I had no way to reach him. I just had that one phone call.
I don’t know why, but I somehow always imagine that no matter what, Landon would come for me. But as one day in a yellow jumpsuit turned to two, I lost hope. I curled into a ball on the metal bed and started crying. It was illogical, but the sense of betrayal overwhelmed me. That deep, heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach returned and I felt physical pain, thinking, that I’d never see Landon again…