Chapter 1: Gabriel's Blood
People walked around the streets of New York completely unaware that the supernatural existed. Over hundreds of centuries, werewolves have wandered these lands without being discovered. They hid in plain sight as regular business employees, lawyers, doctors, cops and even drug dealers. In this secret society of werewolves there’s also a hierarchy, and no matter where one went on this planet, a hierarchy always called for trouble. The shifter world is ruled by the strongest alphas, and their packs have been following them since beginning of their creation.
However, for this system to run smoothly, all the alphas must follow a code which was created by their ancestors. And no one knew that better than the Centauri pack. They were the last original family that has the pure blood from the first werewolf ever created by Maya- the moon goddess. She is the deity all werewolves- evil or good worshipped. If someone ever wondered why a wolf howled towards a lonesome moon? It’s because that beautiful beast knows that Maya would always listen to his prayers.
The Centauri family has been a strong threshold for all werewolves to follow as an example. Gabriel Centauri was the eldest son and the most ruthless alpha known today. He, alone raised his siblings to not only be honourable warriors and righteous protectors, but also great leaders themselves. Their territory was the safest and largest; women could walk alone at night and kids could freely play without having to look over their shoulder. The five siblings stood united and that’s because they always trusted each other, and more importantly, they loved each other… even more then their own father had.
Still, behind that prestigious name hid many secrets and bloodshed.
The outside world admired the Centauri’s for staying strong and supporting each other no matter what came their way. Everyone praised Lord Robert Centauri for raising remarkable children who were not only the strongest pack leaders, but also billionaire businessmen, philanthropists and practically golden children of this age. However, what everyone didn’t know was that their time was running out. They have a ticking clock that forces them to find a mate soon. Although, that was easier said than done. Finding mates was nearly impossible for these siblings, since everyone had their eyes on them and not entirely for the best of reasons.
The five heirs of the Centauri pack better find the mate that the moon goddess destined for them, otherwise saying goodbye to this prestigious bloodline, they so proudly protect will just be a matter of time.
Shards of electric-blue lightning cracked like a whip through the foreboding grey clouds. Nature’s cry threatened, that a storm was about to begin, so please beware. Except on this Midsummer’s day, on a field, everyone was dressed in black and they held dark umbrellas, where the trickle of rain streamed down the top of the smooth canopy. The people gathered at the graveside were here to commemorate the memory of Rose Centauri; the late alpha-female of the Centauri pack.
The entire pack filled the plain green countryside, and friends from all over the world visited the grave today too. But the one who stood at the front was Gabriel Centauri. Lady Centauri’s first-born son, and his siblings stood next to him like they always had. He didn’t shed a tear nor did he show what he was thinking, although every time he came to this grave, his past flashed in front of him. The rush was greater than the rain that poured down on his umbrella, and the disarray in his heart was louder than any thunder that blared on top of his mother’s grave. Gabriel hadn’t said a word all day since they arrived at the grave. His younger brother, Vincent handled all the guests and the memorial procedure, since he had the more patient nature from all his siblings.
The umbrella shifted, and from under the dark cover Gabriel’s ferocious gold eyes revealed. The concentration that burned inside those eyes explained the nature behind his ruthless reputation in the shifter world and the human world.
Gabriel silently stood in front of his mom giving his regards, like he had done for the past decade. The heavy silence around the grave spoke all for itself. No one was able to express the loss they felt when Lady Rose passed away. However, the only person Gabriel was worried about was his baby brother.
Klaus quietly stood next to their brother’s mate Hailey, his green eyes blank and his skin paler than the moon. Gabriel released a heavy breath that felt like it was choking him. More than anyone else on this field Gabriel and Klaus had the hardest time.
At the end of the ceremony, the guests promptly returned to their cars. But the Centauri family stayed back. That was when a black Rolls Royce pulled up. Their family’s butler who had grown old and weary from taking care of Gabriel’s father, Cedric got out of the car to open the door for Robert Centauri. The retired alpha of the Centauri pack got out the car dressed primly in a suit. Even though his eyes were blood-shot red, he still looked like the powerful alpha he was during his time. None of his kids made the attempt to greet him when he approached the grave. Robert laid a single white rose on top of the grave where no one else had placed it. Cedric put his own flower too before he returned to holding the umbrella for Robert.
None of the kids spared their father a glance or a moments’ worth time. Gabriel didn’t feel the need to either because he wanted solace as he thanked his mom for being in his life, even if it was only for a short time. Gabriel never shared this thought with his siblings, but deep down he pitied their father. Robert had lost his mate, and for a wolf, that wasn’t something they could just easily move on from, because the mating-bond for a wolf was for eternity.
Gabriel understood their father’s grief, but Gabriel never understood their father’s abuse. Instead of finding peace and loving his kids, Robert had turned bitter and evil. In doing so, Gabriel had lost all trust in their father a long time ago. There was no love between them, even though they were the only two people who remembered Rose Centauri the best.
Gabriel always tried his hardest to train, teach and love his siblings because they didn’t receive it from their parents. The little love Gabriel had acquired from their mother, he distributed between all the kids, leaving him with the painful void his mom left inside him. However, Gabriel never expressed his pain to anyone because he didn’t feel the need to bleed the poison in him on others- not like how their father had done. Gabriel took care of his family and made sure no one hurt the pack his mother cherished.
The Centauri pack. His pack was unlike any other wolf clan, because his pack was a family built up of wolves who were loyal to Gabriel only. He stood as a lethal weapon, that protected his wolves who chose to follow him. That was the code that he abided by; anyone that threatened the safety of his family would face his punishment too, which would be fast and cruel. Danger didn’t pass the threshold of the Centauri family’s territory for good reason too.
Slowly, the rain started to pour harder on the field. Gabriel touched his mother’s grave once more before he walked off the field with his siblings following closely. Their father stayed behind on the grave, standing as still as the dead expression on his face. Gabriel snapped his umbrella shut and then got into his Mustang with River beside him. Gabriel shifted the car into gear and didn’t go in the direction of their pack property.
“Where you going?” River asked from the passenger seat.
“Bobby’s restaurant,” Gabriel told his strict bodyguard and childhood friend. “Tell the others to head there too.”
River would’ve argued against going on a normal occasion, but not today. He simply pulled out his cellphone and texted all of them their next stop before home.
The dark, fast cars glided down the busy streets. Finally, the rain clouds let-up and the blue skies peeked through brightening the day. Gabriel and the others reached Bobby’s restaurant in no time. They were all terribly hungry so they didn’t object to Bobby’s delicious food. Gabriel sauntered inside the restaurant, and as always, his table was available. The moment he arrived, the friendly and comfortable atmosphere shifted into a dangerous weight, which always happened when Gabriel walked into a room. The wolves sitting around the restaurant took notice immediately, and they silenced as they blatantly watched him move across the room.
Bobby rushed out from the kitchen at the back because he was always made aware of when Gabriel arrived. The whole family gathered around two booths, the busy restaurant got even rowdier with their group filling the limited space. Bobby quickly set up their table with hot food and refreshing drinks.
“Thank you, Bobby,” said Gabriel.
Bobby’s blue eyes spoke the pain in his heart because he knew what day this was for the family. “Don’t worry about it,” he said with that smile, that always made Gabriel feel like when he used to come here after school. “You just eat some good food and stay strong.”
“Always have, Bobby,” Gabriel told him.
Although the mood in the morning was grim, his family always had the knack to lighten the tense air. They all ate with gusto and enjoyed each other’s company. Gabriel sat back in the booth watching his siblings and friends enjoy themselves. Hunter was with his mate Hailey, who had the magic to calm the domineering beta. Gabriel adorned his sister-in-law because she was proof that even his family could find love and have ordinary lives. Gabriel wished the same for all his siblings and friends, but for himself he doubted that he could find love or even a mate for that matter.
All his life he’s made sure that he was prepared for any outcome, any pack war or threat. That was his responsibility as alpha. He needed to be the front-line of defence for his pack because he was the only one who could protect the smiles on their faces. He needed to keep them in the light, but he drowned himself in the darkest depths of waters. Gabriel protected his family because that’s who he was as a wolf and a man. And whoever came in his way from protecting the people he loved, always paid a heavy price.
The chatter around the booths increased. Vincent and Ryder purposely teased Hunter, when the door to Bobby’s restaurant opened and the bell chimed over the door. A cool breeze that smelt of rain on this warm spring day carried through the air. Gabriel didn’t remove his gaze from the door because it was a strong sensation in his gut, that blatantly told him to see who had arrived.
A sparkling gold heel stepped inside first, revealing a whole leg that was bare until the thighs. A short black dress sutured to the curves of a tall, elegant woman. Gabriel recognized the woman’s striking green eyes, that were as pale as jade but darkened with every turn of her head. The woman’s thick and shiny hair was the colour of mocha chocolate, the shorter bangs fanned her angular face and strong jawline. But it was those dimples at the side of her plush pink lips, that was held in a smile and it spoke wonders to Gabriel, but more importantly it sparked his wolf’s attention, which never happened before.
Sabrina Sinclair had strolled into Bobby’s restaurant, like she was fresh off the runway. The supermodel took long and confident strides, her heels clinking to her each step and her silky hair bounced. Her radiant smile was the same one she had when she was at the wedding of alpha Isaiah Iron and Ashley Hartling in December. Gabriel remembered that she came as Ashley’s guest. They only talked briefly, before Vincent and Ryder talked their way into the conversation.
In December, the alpha of the Iron Blood pack had mated Ashley Hartling. Gabriel was thrilled for Isaiah who had endured hell and thrived as an alpha, that Gabriel knew him to be. Isaiah had assassinated his abusive father’s pack, which had captured Gabriel’s attention the moment he had found out the truth behind the massacre. Gabriel personally went to Isaiah and helped the man find a new property for his pack, a place to call home. Gabriel admired Isaiah, that’s why he had done what he had. But later Gabriel discovered that he had also gained another ally without even trying.
“Bobby!” Sabrina’s cheery voice pulled Gabriel out of his thoughts. Gabriel’s eyes were on his glass of wine, but his wolf was watching this woman very intently.
Bobby ran out of the kitchen. “Sabrina!” He opened his wide, buff arms and hugged the model close. “How’ve you been?”
“I’m great, Bobby,” she answered as she pulled away. “I’ve been missing your food, so I decided to pop in.”
“Why don’t you come to the back and I’ll cook you something good,” said Bobby.
“That’s what I like to hear.” Sabrina laced her arm with Bobby’s and sauntered into the hot and hectic kitchen without any care in the world. Gabriel would have thought that a model like her would never risk ruining her dress or hair by going back there. The hot kitchen was rowdier than the front and steam filled the tight space. But Sabrina looked as if she didn’t care about getting hot or sweaty.
“That was Sabrina, right?” asked Viola.
“I think so,” answered Hailey.
Hunter’s frown creased between his brows. “What’s she doing here?” he inquired.
Ryder popped another French-fry in his mouth. “She looked close with Bobby,” he said as he dusted the extra salt off his fingers.
“Everyone’s close with Bobby,” remarked River who only ate a slice of pizza.
“But to know a supermodel like her, that’s a big deal,” retorted Vincent.
Viola leaned her chin on her hand. “Well, we’re all just guessing at this point,” she sighed. Viola purposely stole a French-fry from Ryder’s plate, blatantly knowing that it angered him. But she stuck her tongue out and continued to eat his food. Azura, Lupin and Vincent did the same just to piss Ryder off even more.
Gabriel spotted Klaus push his plate towards Viola, that was still untouched. The thick beef burger was fresh and the cheese melted off the juicy meat. The thick salted fries had steam rising from them, just like how Klaus loved it.
“Don’t like your burger?” Viola asked as she noticed his plate in front of her.
Klaus shook his head. “I don’t have an appetite,” he shifted in his seat next to wall when all the eyes landed on him. “You can eat it, Viola.”
“Oh, come on-” Viola put her arm around their youngest sibling- “How are you going to grow if you don’t eat.” Viola grabbed some fries and brought it to his lips. “Open up, baby bro-” Klaus moved his head back, but Viola’s tough arm held him from escaping- “a little bit won’t hurt.”
Klaus struggled against Viola’s hold. “No-”
“Klaus-” Gabriel called out. His brother’s green eyes found Gabriel’s stern gaze. Those eyes that wept for days when Klaus was a kid had the same sadness in them right now. But the mask he hid behind fooled his siblings maybe, but never Gabriel. “Eat,” he told Klaus.
Klaus stiffened. He lazed in Viola’s arms and straightened. He took the fries from Viola’s hand and put them in his mouth.
“You only listen to Gabriel,” Viola pouted. But she moved over and hugged Klaus.
“Viola, you’re squeezing me too tight,” whimpered Klaus.
“I can’t help it, you’re so adorable,” cooed Viola.
Gabriel had to get in and tell Viola to let the poor boy go before she choked him to death. Viola’s gaze smiled to Gabriel with pure love, that she always had in those emerald eyes. Gabriel held her hand, that was always warm and strong. Gabriel was the only one who remembered their mother, and he could undoubtedly say that Viola was a spitting image of Rose Centauri.
Gabriel hadn’t realized when they were kids, but now, he could never not see the resemblance Viola and Klaus both had to their mother. After their mother’s death, a void was left in all of them that Gabriel couldn’t fill in. The piece that created a home for children their mother took when she died. But before she had, she made Gabriel promise that he’d take care of his siblings because they were his now. Gabriel didn’t understand what his mother meant at the time, but he did now. Gabriel had realized that everyone around him right now was the reason he pushed through the tough times. Especially for Klaus who was the main reason Gabriel chose to become alpha.
It was a faint memory for all of them, but Gabriel and River remembered the incident like it was yesterday. It had been on a school day when Klaus had told Gabriel that he couldn’t go to school. Gabriel hadn’t paid any notice to it at the time, but that was the biggest mistake of his life. Gabriel ignored the signs in Klaus’s eyes that pleaded for protection, love and salvation. Gabriel was blind to the cry for help and went to school. But Gabriel was only able to sit through the first-half of class before he escaped and ran back home. To this day, the sickening sight doesn’t leave Gabriel’s eyes.
Gabriel ran home with River by his side who had stubbornly followed, even though they both would’ve been suspended or expelled. Gabriel unlocked the door with shaking hands and busted through the front entrance. Only to find Klaus beaten half to death on the floor, his head bleeding out by a shattered beer bottle.
Klaus’s warm, pure green eyes were blank and emotionless. Life had left his baby brother’s pale face, that had started to form bruises near the bleeding eye and lip. That was the first time Gabriel had fought against his father. If River wasn’t there to stop him, Gabriel would have killed Robert with his bare hands.
Gabriel lifted Klaus off the cold floor, his brother’s eyes were distant and no tears fell, not even one. An elder from the pack, Mary-Jane took them to the hospital after she heard the commotion. River and Gabriel took Klaus to the hospital and that whole night Gabriel hadn’t left his brother’s side. That was the night which had sealed Gabriel’s fate as alpha of the Centauri pack. He knew that he needed power to protect his family, so he got up and took the mantle.
Now, the tables had turned.
Gabriel made sure that his family and pack never looked to anyone to protect them, because he was here. The weight of that responsibility wasn’t for the faint hearted. That’s why Gabriel had to seal the part of himself away, that made him crave a simple life away from the noise and enemies, because that wasn’t possible for him when he’s always a target for trouble.
“We should get going,” River said as he looked up from his watch. “The pack already reached the turf. We shouldn’t take too long either.”
“Besides, the party’s just getting started,” said Viola. “We need to prepare the barbecue for the feast tonight.”
Gabriel didn’t know when it had started, but the others had started a ritual on their mother’s death anniversary. Everyone in the pack would gather to have a feast in honour of Rose Centauri’s memory. The party went on night long, until the drinking couldn’t continue or Gabriel would call for a pack run. They all cleared from the table, but Bobby hadn’t returned from the kitchen in the back.
“You all head out first,” Gabriel told them after he paid for the meal. “I’ll go meet Bobby before I leave.”
River joined Gabriel as they went to the kitchen in the back looking for Bobby. But instead, they found Sabrina eating a big bowl of mozzarella spaghetti, that smelt delicious even from the six-feet distance between them. She was laughing away with the chef who had abandoned his post.
“Carter, where’s Bobby?” asked River interrupting the two.
Sabrina’s feral eyes lifted off the bowl and landed directly on Gabriel. The green lightened into aquamarine, like they were charmed by what they had found. “Gabriel, right?” she asked from her seat.
“Yeah,” Gabriel groaned inwardly when he realized that he sounded too stiff.
Sabrina uncrossed her legs. “It’s good to see you again,” she said. “Do you come here often?”
“Yeah,” he answered. “I only eat at Bobby’s.”
Sabrina’s smile didn’t falter from the moment she gazed into his eyes. It was odd that she hadn’t looked away, because his domineering gaze wasn’t easy for people to bear for too long. “Bobby spoils me with his food,” she said, “and no one else can make spaghetti or pizza quite like him.”
Gabriel’s lips quirked up. “That’s for sure.”
“Gabriel,” Bobby appeared from the office. “You heading out already?”
“Just wanted to see you before we left,” said Gabriel.
Bobby’s sapphire blue eyes saddened. “I give you my condolences,” he said. “Your mother was a great woman and an even better alpha.”
Gabriel noticed that Sabrina’s smile had fallen from the moment she had heard Bobby. “Thanks, Bobby,” he said calmly. “You take care now.”
Bobby smile broadened showing his clean white teeth. “Don’t worry about me,” he said proudly, his eyes turned to River. “Now, you keep taking care of this boy’s back, River.”
River grinned. “Always do, Bobby.”
“I know,” Bobby patted River’s shoulder supportively. “You two have always stuck through everything together.”
Gabriel gave River a side glance telling his best friend from childhood exactly what they both knew. That they went through some tough shit together and only they knew how they got through it all. River had watched Gabriel become alpha, but long before that, River always had Gabriel’s back like Gabriel had his.
“We’ll see you around, Bobby,” said Gabriel.
Bobby nodded. “You two have a good night,” he wished them. “And make sure that pack of yours doesn’t get into too much trouble tonight.”
Gabriel and River left the restaurant behind them with a sensation in their heart, that calmed the nerves in their tense muscles. Gabriel sat in his car and they took off down the road as River drove through the usual midday traffic.
“Bobby’s been the same since I can remember,” said River fondly.
“He sure has,” Gabriel believed too. “Bobby’s always been so full of life.”
“I’m surprised to find someone like Sabrina there,” said River with a sigh as they same to a stop at a red-light.
“I wasn’t, not really,” said Gabriel.
“A supermodel eating the food that Bobby personally made,” said River. “You know Bobby doesn’t cut back on any ingredients, especially salt, oil and cheese.”
Sabrina’s face appeared in front of Gabriel’s eyes. “She’s like us,” he said. “She enjoys great food and the company.”
“I guess,” said River as he drove steadily. “How are you feeling?”
Gabriel raked his dark hair. “My mood’s always off on this day,” he shared to River.
“I wish you wouldn’t beat yourself up,” he said. “It’s been more than twenty years, Gabriel.”
Gabriel sighed. “It’s already been that long, huh?”
“Your pack is safe and your family is happy,” said River. “I wish you’d enjoy yourself too.”
Gabriel looked over to River’s rigid side-profile. “What about you?” He changed the direction easily. “Aren’t you getting tired of being by my side all day for the past thirty years.”
River smirked. “No,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
A smile crept up Gabriel’s lips. “Just get us home-” he sighed before he closed his eyes and rested his head back. But when he had, Sabrina’s face flashed in front of him. He hadn’t talked to her for more than two minutes yet she left an impression on him. He wondered if it was her smile or those regal green eyes, that looked into his without a mask of deception.
Gabriel had pulled away from her gaze, but she hadn’t. Her eyes stayed on him and he felt it all the way to his bones. As the car glided over the streets, Gabriel didn’t give attention to the stir in his body, that told him to go meet Sabrina Sinclair again.
Gabriel returned to his property where his pack waited for him, like they always had and always would, because that’s how strong his foundation had been built. No one could challenge his position, not that anyone had the guts to try anything against Gabriel or his notorious wolf.