Chapter 15: Weakness
Walking in the direction I saw Nicholai’s men wander, I knew I would find Orion’s guard following them. Christian was right, news about Red was bound to spread quickly and I wanted to be the one to break it to Orion.
Was he going to cause a scene? Most definitely. Hopefully with how hung over he was bound to be, it would help the volume level.
After speaking with the guard, we headed towards the caber toss area. I was not one for theatrics but Orion supposedly had money on one of his guys in this event.
Approaching the large crowd, we heard hollering and cheering. Pushing our way to the front of the event, we had arrived just before the final match.
There were four men that had made it to deciding round of the log toss. One of them was the shorter, stout Alpha Darren who I recognized from the races yesterday. The second was an ash blonde man who looked to be from Alpha Kean’s pack. The third I did not know the name of but recognized as Orion’s man.
The fourth was none other than Nicholai, who was gloating and showing off his muscles to some of the unmarked she wolves along the sidelines.
I felt a growl deep in my throat, but I was able to hold it in with Red’s hand securely in mine, her touch calming my wolf. I squeezed Red’s hand for reassurance.
Spotting Orion speaking with his large, burly man, my thoughts were interrupted by a sweet small voice.
“Luca, it’s been a while.”
Standing before us beaming up at Luca and I was a petite woman with straight shoulder length light brown hair.
He smiled warmly, “Hello, Poppy.”
“Well don’t stand on ceremony, give me a hug!” She giggled, wrapping her small arms around his torso.
Embracing her with his hand not holding onto mine, I met his embarrassed smile with a confused expression.
Clearing his throat he stepped from her embrace, “Poppy, I would like to introduce you to my Red.”
“Your Red?” I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
He flushed deep red, I winked at the woman as we both broke into giggles.
“Hello Poppy, I’m his Red.” I extended my hand, smiling.
She pushed my hand away hugging me tightly. Pulling back slightly, she eyed me with her large brown eyes. She brought her small hand town to grasp the bare skin of my arm.
“Wait, Luca, is she?” She let her words hang in the air.
Now it was my turn to blush. How did she know already? Was Luca never with another female that my presence was conclusive enough to make people know we were mates?
Luca smiled widely, nodding.
She squealed loudly, “Oh my gosh, does Orion know?”
“We were just looking for him.” Luca said.
“He’s over there giving Ronnie a pep talk.” She pointed in the direction of the contestants.
“You better go warn him, you know he’s going to freak when he finds out.” She winked at me. “Don’t worry, I’ll get to know Red a little better, now shoo.”
I laughed at Luca’s surprised expression, despite being petite, Poppy had fire. I had a feeling we were going to get along well.
“Go on, find us later.” I smiled, encouraging him to go.
Pulling me chose, he placed a soft kiss on my cheek. “I’ll be back,” he promised.
I blushed deeper, nodding. “Now go!” I pushed him away giggling.
“Soooo how do you know Luca?” I asked once we were alone.
“I’m Alpha Orion’s mate.” She said simply. “We have known each other for a few years now.”
“Oh,” was all I could say. I knew she looked familiar, she was standing by Luna Margarete yesterday at the opening of the games. I guess I would have to get used to meeting all these high ranking wolves, but right now it all seemed overwhelming.
She took my hand, gazing deeply into my eyes. “Please don’t worry, Orion has known Luca for a lifetime and he is a wonderful man. They are best friends, honestly I’m a little jealous of their bond sometimes. He will be good to you as his Luna.” She smiled sweetly.
“It’s just –“ I swallowed. “All a little sudden, we just met yesterday.”
“I know how you feel, I was just a normal teenage girl from one of the American packs before I met Orion.” She smiled with a far off look in her eye, her hand gently caressed her stomach. As quickly as the action was, I smiled, I had an idea what she was thinking about. That would explain the blissful glow she seemed to emanate.
“Just be honest with Luca and he will take things slow, his pack is well established and strong, you can take your time before taking your place as Luna.”
I swallowed, nodding. This was the first time someone had spoken to me about being a Luna. Suddenly I felt a little dizzy. We are not weak, my wolf reminded me confidently. I shook my head, she was right, we had overcome so much already that no one knew, we could handle this.
“Plus, I can tell that you are strong enough to match Luca perfectly.” She winked. We both giggled as I followed her to he refreshment stands.
Chatting, we walked around the edge of the event. My eyes wandering over the contestants, the man that arrived at the fairgrounds and caused such a commotion yesterday stood among them. He was wearing a tight fitting white muscle tee and red gym shorts.
Catching the gaze of some of the women in the crows, he winked, pulling his shirt over his head, his muscles glistening with sweat in the afternoon sun. Our mate is more attractive than this peacock, my wolf gloated. I smiled, agreeing with her.
I noticed that several of the injured men Luca, Christian and I had seen earlier were collected around the edges of the event, they were throwing back beer like it was the last liquid on earth.
“Poppy, can I ask you a question?” I inquired sipping my drink.
“Of course! Anything!” She beamed.
“I was with Luca yesterday when that man arrived with his men, what’s all the fuss about?” I nodded towards the guy in question.
Her expression darkened. “He is Nicholai, the new Alpha of the largest Russian pack.”
Vaguely we heard the announcer shout a warning as a giant log was hurled past us into the crowd. People jumped out of the way to avoid being bludgeoned by the stripped tree as it bounded in our direction.
Pushing Poppy out of the way, the massive trunk clipped my shoulder causing me to fall to the ground.
Pain erupted down my left arm, I’m fairly certain my shoulder was out of place. Pushing myself up from the dirt, I winced as my arm hung limp at my side. It was definitely displaced, I cursed under my breath.
“What do we have here?” A voice purred, stepping forward to lock his eyes with mine he offered me his hand.
It was Nicholai. Just my luck.
“No thanks, I can manage on my own.” I met his eyes with a cold look.
“Have we met before? I never forget a face.” He continued, invading my space further.
“No, I’m sure we’ve never met,” I stated, flinching I cradled my left arm across my stomach.
“Oh but you look so familiar kiska, are you sure we haven’t met before?” His eyes grew darker as he lowered his voice. “Perhaps in a more intimate setting?”
I gulped, he dripped danger. “No, I am sure we are not acquainted.” I said with authority.
Grabbing my good hand, he kissed the back of my knuckles, his hot breath heating my skin. Inclining his head, his eyes never leaving mine. “Alpha Nicholai, at your service.”
“Red!” Poppy squealed. “Oh my gosh, are you hurt?” She pushed her way through the crowd, gently touching my injured arm.
“I’m fine.” I smiled through the pain.
“You can leave now Nicholai” she growled, making her tiny voice as threatening as possible.
A deep snarl tore through the crowd as Luca pushed through the people and Orion appeared at Poppy’s side.
“Nicholai!” Luca growled, stepping between us. I could see his canines elongate as his face contorted into a snarl.
“Alpha Luca.” Nicholai said smoothly, eyeing Luca’s protective movements. “I heard you met up with some of my men last night. You don’t look nearly as hung over as Orion.”
My eyes flicked to Luca, is that why he was so late today? My wolf growled in my mind.
“Don’t worry little Kiska. Not all Alpha’s treat women as flippantly as the cold White Wolf.” He jeered, his own canines growing in length.
Luca shielded me with his body, a menacing growl rumbling through his chest.
I gripped onto his arm, trying to calm him down.
“I would think that you would be more conscious of your…weaknesses.” Nicholai sneered.
My eyes flashed in anger, my wolf snarled taking control. In a second I moved forward and slapped him across the face, hard.
I took him by surprise, that much was clear. The crowd was silent as he brushed away the spot of blood the force of my blow had left in the corner of his mouth.
“I am no one’s weakness.” I growled, my eyes flashing the clear dark grey color of my wolf’s.
Nicholai smirked, “My mistake.”