Chapter 11: A Restless Night
Dan and Luca were gone for so long that I could barely stop my wolf from barging in there and demanding to know what they were discussing. I’m sure Dan was telling him about my past, but I hope he didn’t paint too glum of a picture about the poor girl with the lost memories.
What if he tells him about our…curse? I thought feeling panic.
His wolf is strong, he will accept us for our strength as well, my wolf spoke with confidence, reassuring me. I nodded, deciding not to push my thoughts in this further.
Jarrod and Mara were sitting opposite one another on the couch, signing away. Even Diego was smiling, watching them for a moment I realized Jarrod was telling them about the embarrassing pranks that he and Jac would pull on Orion and the other warriors. This one was something about putting itching powder in Orion’s spare bag of clothes for after shifting back from his wolf form. I smiled, watching them. If I was right and Jarrod was Mara’s mate, I was glad that Diego seemed to approve.
Suddenly, Jarrods eyes went blank, the smile falling from his face in an instant. He signed his apologies to Mara and Diego, rushing to the back of the house towards Dan’s study. He emerged with Luca less than a moment later, both men looking on edge.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, my voice laced with anxiety.
“Nothing to be concerned about.” Luca spoke to me reassuringly. “We just need to return to our camp for pack business,” he continued.
“Pack business?” I inquired, my tone now betraying my frustration.
“It’s just a report from our wolves securing the perimeter of the camps” he relented, taking my hands in his own. “I’m sorry, we have to go but I will tell you more later.” His eyes pleaded for understanding. I signed, nodding in acceptance.
Rose emerged from the kitchen with a plate of cookies in each hand. “Oh no, you can’t leave before dessert!” She said with a frown, just as Cole and Chance skipped up completely claiming one plate of cookies for themselves.
Luca bowed in apology, “Thank you for the wonderful dinner and generous hospitality, but Jarrod and I must leave to handle some urgent matters.” She nodded in understanding, Dan moving across the room to put his arm over her shoulders.
“Jac,” Luca said with authority. Snapping out of his bad mood, he stood at attention. “I need you to stay here and ensure everyone gets safely back to their cabins.”
“Yes, Alpha.” He replied with a practiced submission. Nodding, Luca turned his eyes back to me.
“I will see you tomorrow,” he promised, placing a kiss on the back of my hand. I smiled despite disliking this turn of events. “Until then” he whispered, moving towards the door.
They both left quickly, as that all too familiar tug started to pull deep in my chest. I sighed, suddenly losing my appetite for dessert. I tried to corner Dan to interrogate him on what he spent so long discussing with Luca, but he avoided my questions, only relaying that ‘it’s his role as my guardian to make sure my mate was worthy.’ To which I rolled my eyes heavily. He chuckled, shrugging, but wouldn’t say any more.
After the rest of the younger children decimated the cookies and settled in for the night. Jac offered to walk Mara, Diego and I back to our cabins. He promised to return and spend the night in the main house with Rose and Dan before we made our goodbyes.
Dropping Mara and Diego off first, we walked in silence before he took a deep breath. “Red, you know I love you like a sister.”
I rolled my eyes, “Jac, you really don’t have to do this.” I said in frustration.
He stopped walking turning to face me. “I have to make sure he’s going to treat you well. While I have not seen it first hand, there are stories of the way –“ He hesitated. “The way he was before he founded the Arctic pack.”
“Jac, I know your just trying to protect me, but I can handle myself.” I said with a smirk, “You know I can.” He smiled at this.
I continued, “I have seen his wolf, I know that he will never hurt me.” I gripped his hand tighter, trying to convey some sense of comfort.
“Red, he’s stronger than you can imagine. Not even I know how old his wolf is, and the stories of the original group of Arctic wolves, they –“ He faltered.
I shook my head, “Jac, it doesn’t matter. Whatever he was, do you trust him now? He’s your Alpha.” I pressed, I knew the answer, I just needed him to know it too.
He sighed deeply, “Yes I do, I trust him with my life.”
“Good, then we have nothing to worry about.” I said smiling, continuing to walk to my cabin. I could hear Jac’s footsteps disappear into the woods shortly after I closed and locked my door.
Earlier as we left, Rose handed me a pack of groceries and art supplies that she knew I liked to keep for the long nights I spent in my studio. I didn’t think anything of it until I got back and started putting things away. At the bottom of one of the bags was a full box of condoms and a note that if I should ever need “the talk” she was here for me. My cheeks flaring as red as my rogue paint, I quickly stuffed the groceries in the small pantry of my kitchenette and raced upstairs to hide the box of condoms in my nightstand.
I mean while we were not in touch with the wolf communities, we still had wifi. I certainly knew how the birds and the bees worked, even if I had never had a boyfriend.
Ughh, I hung my head in my hands, I hope my inexperience would not be a problem. Luca, was, well to put it bluntly, god-like, so I’m sure he has girls throwing themselves at him. Just thinking about other women had my wolf growl deep in my chest. Calm girl, I told her. We’ve never had a reason to feel jealousy before but now with Luca, I felt like I would happily tear the throat out of any female that dared look his way.
Laying on my bed, sighing, I thought about how I missed him already. The distance from Luca made my heart ache. If it was this bad before he even marked me, I didn’t want to imagine how it would be later.
He should mark us soon, I want to hear what his wolf’s voice sounds like. I heard my wolf’s words echo in my head.
You know to hear his voice, he will have to see us shifted, I don’t know if we’re ready for that, I cautioned her. She growled lightly but let the topic drop.
I fell into a restless sleep, tossing and turning all night until I saw the first light of morning stream in through my window. Shaking my head, I stood and returned to my studio, I wanted to get some ideas at least sketched on paper before the images in my memory started to lose details.
Jarrod and I packed away our clothes and shifted as soon as we reached the tree line outside Red’s family’s main cabin. Racing back to our camp to meet with Christian, we found Orion already there waiting for us. Changing quickly into stealth clothes, we emerged from the tree line to meet his overly frustrated glare.
“Where were you, Luca?” He questioned me annoyance lacing his tone. “And what is this that your men won’t tell me where you were?” he questioned Jarrod and I further.
Unphased under his stare, I retorted not acknowledging his questions. “What is going on with Nicholai? What is the emergency?” Orion sighed, relenting to continue this line of questioning further after dealing with this mess.
“Some of Nicholai’s men got drunk and started infighting that spilled over to Alpha Kean’s group.” Orion said, pinching the bridge of his nose in obvious frustration. “I knew this was going to happen,” he relented exasperated.
I smiled mischievously. “Now Orion, you know as well as I that Nicholai and his men only respond to strength.” I felt a smirk overtake my features. Surprised, he narrowed his eyes.
“Where are they now?” I questioned.
“They started a bonfire by a lake about a mile south, last word is that Kean was being alerted by his Beta to go and break up the fighting.”
“Hmm,” I mused. “This sounds like a problem that you and I should handle…personally. After all we should set an example for what happens when infighting breaks out among packs under the protection of Atlas.”
Orion smiled, his eyes glinting in the low light. “And here I thought you would want to be diplomatic about this?”
I shrugged, “What can I say, I’m in an excellent mood tonight.”
Jarrod mind linked us angrily. “There’s no way that you both are leaving me if you’re going to go knock a few heads.” He seethed, removing a role of tape from our prep bag, beginning to wrap his wrists and knuckles. He smirked at my nod of acceptance.
“What do you think Christian? Wanna let off some steam?” Orion questioned, now downright giddy at the turn of events.
“Nah, you all go have fun. I’m going to go rest for the tournament tomorrow.” I nodded in understanding. The first few rounds of the archery trials were tomorrow. Bow combat was Christian’s specialty and his passion.
“Well then, let’s go break up a fight,” I said, cracking my knuckles, smiling as my own eyes glinted with ferocity. My wolf purred, he was going to enjoy this immensely.