Chapter 14: Old Friends
The announcer ended the break and called for us at the waiting line. Flipping a coin, I won, deciding to let Christian go first. I was curious what kind of questions he wanted to ask me.
He took his first shot. “So you have no pack allegiance now, where are you from initially?”
I raised my eyebrows, that was an interesting start. “I don’t actually know; I was found by my adoptive parents north of here when I was very young.” I answered honestly. Releasing the arrow, I matched his shot.
He didn’t pause, seeming unphased by my response. Maybe we could be friends in Luca’s pack, I found conversation with him to be pleasant and easy. He didn’t judge me for my circumstances, and I liked that.
“Did you always live in the arctic circle?” I asked.
“No, I met Luca in France actually. I was at a bit of a low point and he helped me out of it.” He replied.
“France? I’ve always wanted to go there. I would love to visit Europe, I’ve spent my whole life right here in these woods.”
He smiled sincerely. “You should always travel before you settle in a pack,” he advised me.
I nodded, “I have a feeling I will be traveling a bit soon, which honestly scares me.” I hadn’t thought much about having to move to where my mate resides, as I honestly wasn’t optimistic I would find my match. I guess that’s another conversation I’ll have to have with Luca.
He paused thoughtfully. “How long have you known Alpha Luca?”
I blushed from the memory, “We met after the races yesterday.”
“That recent?” He commented. “Sorry meant that as more of a statement, not another question.” He chuckled, nocking another arrow.
“Alright, how long have you known Luca?” I questioned, taking another shot.
“I’ll give you a freebie, I’ve known him as my alpha for about ten years, but I knew him decades before as a friend.”
I almost dropped my arrow. “Wait, decades? How old is he? Luca I mean?” I stammered.
“That’s two questions. And besides, it’s my turn.” He said smugly.
“I – I’m sorry, that just caught me off guard.”
“Who trained you in archery?” He questioned, loosing another arrow.
“I’m self-taught.” I replied simply.
“Hmmm, so you’ve never been formally trained then?”
“Tsk, tsk. That’s another question.” I winked at him, waving a finger head in mock disapproval. “But, no I’ve never been formally trained.”
“You’re doing quite well then.” He complimented.
“Knowing that you could easily wipe the floor with me after that display earlier, I’ll take it.” I replied with a smile.
“Soooo…” I let the word draw out. “Back to my question.” I eyed the target as I readied my arrow.
He shrugged his shoulders, “I honestly don’t know how old Alpha Luca is. I can say that I’ve known him for, well, more years than I care to think about. I met him in Paris at the turn of the century. But why don’t you ask him yourself.”
Turning, I was caught off guard by Luca’s frame standing behind our positions, his eyes hungrily taking in my body, poised in my closed bow stance. I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my features at seeing him finally here. I told you he would come! My wolf pranced around in my head.
Taking in Luca and my expressions, Christian sighed and released another arrow. “I think our conversation must draw to a close.” He said woefully.
I struggled to pull my eyes from Luca’s when I drew another arrow. Losing my train of thought for a moment, I shook my head before positioning my bow. “Wait did you say turn of the century? As in the 20th century?”
With a knowing smile, Christian just nodded. My eyes went wide, my expression dropping as I glanced at Luca, who was now staring angrily at Christian.
“Christian.” I heard Luca release a warning growl.
Blinking away my confusion, I turned back to see Christian, unstrapping his wrist and arm guards. “What are you doing? We’re not finished.” I demanded.
He just chuckled. “I came here for the joy of the art, not the award of a victory. Besides, I’m not about to make him more angry by causing his mate to lose.” He winked nodding in Luca’s direction.
“Two can play at that game.” I chided, lining up my shot, purposefully striking an outer circle.
Christian looked startled as I threw the round, causing him to be declared winner.
“When I beat you, I want it to be because of my own skill, not because you let me.” I stated, my tone laced with authority.
“Well well, I guess I should have expected this. As his destined female, you definitely match Luca’s stubbornness.” Christian smiled.
I smiled in return, bowing slightly. “Thank you for an excellent match.”
“My pleasure, and we’ll set a rematch once I’ve properly trained you.” He chuckled, extending his hand. I raised an eyebrow and nodded in acceptance.
“I would like that,” I said, shaking his hand before removing my own arm guards.
I watched them round back to exit the archery field, still seething that Christian had told her so much. After my conversation with Dan, I knew Red was young, but I didn’t need her fearing my true age before I had a chance to explain things.
“Red, I’m so sorry I am late. I did not know that you were such a skilled archeress.” I embraced her, taking one of her hands in mine.
She smiled, relishing in the still new feeling of skin-to-skin mate contact. “Yes, well, there is a lot we still do not know about each other.” She winked, pulling my arm across her shoulders.
Christian just chuckled, “Late night Luca?” My eyes narrowed in return. He clasped his hand on my shoulder, “I am happy for you, old friend.”
Red is an excellent marksmen, despite being untrained and so young. She is a perfect match for you. He said through mind link.
I smiled genuinely, nodding to Christians kind remarks. “Thank you, brother.”
“So…am I the first to know?” he asked, waving his hand between us.
“No, Jac and Jarrod know.” I answered.
Red nodded, “Jac is my adoptive older brother.” Adding to my statement.
Christian scoffed, his chuckle deepening to a full-on laugh. “Jac’s younger sister, what are the chances. Truly the Moon Goddess does have a sense of humor.”
We all ended up laughing, it truly was remarkable.
Our humor was cut short as several of Nicholai’s men stalked across the fairgrounds, leaving gasps and whispers in their wake. A few were limping, some had arms in slings and most were heavily bruised, still looking rough from the beating they took last night. Even with our wolf’s increased healing ability, it would take them a few weeks to be completely back to normal.
“What happened to them?” Red asked.
Christian and I shared a look. “What am I missing?” She demanded, turning to face me. “Does this have to do with why you had to leave so abruptly last night?”
“Ummm, I best be off.” Christian stepped back, chuckling. “It was a pleasure meeting you Red, I’m sure you’ll get along great with the rest of the guys.”
Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll round them up to meet her, if word hasn’t spread about her already. He added, linking with me directly.
I gave him a swift nod before turning to Red. “Yes, Jarrod and I had to…break up a drunken brawl last night. Involving many of those men,” I said waving my hand at the group.
“Ahhhh, and Jarrod fared as well as you then, I’m guessing?” She questioned, smirking.
I nodded, pulling her closer to me. “I missed you,” I whispered.
“I missed you too,” she whispered, suddenly looking very tired. “Did you have as much trouble as I did sleeping, or not sleeping?”
I nodded. I would tell her about everything, my dreams as well as my nightmares, but that didn’t have to be right now.
“I’ll walk you back to your cabin to go get some rest, but I’d like you to meet someone before we leave if that’s alright.”
“Of course!” She replied, instantly moving to run her fingers through her hair. “Is it another pack member?”
“You look gorgeous, don’t worry.” I kissed the top of her head. “No, it’s a very good friend who will be very happy to finally meet you.”
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