“Where were you?”
Hunter snapped his head up to see Layla standing in front of him with worried eyes.
“Last night. I went up to say goodnight and you weren’t in your apartment. I missed you...” Layla lowered her head.
“Oh, I went for a run to clear my head. You were right, I need to chill,” Hunter said with a smile.
“Oh...” Layla replied, the shock was evident in her voice, “Well.. I’m glad. If I’m being honest I was really worried about you.”
Hunter took Layla’s hand, “I know, I’m sorry I worried you.”
Layla smiled hesitantly. It couldn’t have possibly been that easy. Hunter leaned over and gave Layla a kiss before heading to the pack offices. Layla sat in thought for a moment before an idea struck her. A cheeky grin spread across her face and she rushed home.
“Mom?” Layla called as she walked through the door.
“In here babe!” Layla’s mother hollered from the kitchen.
“Hey,” Layla said as she walked in, “I have an idea, but I thought I would talk to you first and see what you think.”
“Okay,” Leanne said as she set down a towel and leaned against the counter, “Shoot.”
Layla took a deep breath, “So as you know Hunter and I are mates.”
Leanne nodded in acknowledgement, “And?”
“And I want to move into the Beta’s quarters with him.” Layla said bluntly, hoping her mom would appreciate the honesty.
“I think it’s a good idea, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet actually,” Leanne said with a smile.
“Wait really?” Layla asked in shock, “I thought for sure you would put up a fight.”
Leanne shrugged, “You found your mate, I remember when I found your dad. We could barely keep our hands off each other. I don’t know how you’re doing it now being separated for most of the day.”
Layla laughed, “It sucks! That’s why I suggested it.”
“Well I think it’s a great idea, let’s go pack,” Leanne said as she wrapped her arm around her daughter’s shoulders.
A few hours later Layla and her mother carried the few boxes that held her clothes and belongings up the stairs to the Beta’s quarters in the pack house. Leanne set the boxes she had been carrying down inside the door and smiled, “Need help unpacking?”
Layla shook her head, “Nope, it won’t take long. And I want to surprise Hunter.”
Layla hugged her mother and began unpacking her things. When she was done she stood in the bedroom with her hands on her hips and a smile on her face.
At the end of the day Hunter walked into his apartment tired and irritated. He’d had to behave and submit all day. When he walked through the door something seemed different but he couldn’t quite place it but as he walked into the bedroom he knew what it was. Hunter was overwhelmed by the scent of orange blossoms, telling him that Layla had been there. He froze when he heard movement and was surprised when Layla walked out of his closet.
“Hey!” Layla smiled brightly, “Surprise!!” Layla threw her hands up in the air unable to hide her excitement.
“What’s going on?” Hunter asked suspiciously.
“Soooo.. I moved in,” Layla replied sheepishly.
“You what?” Hunter said harshly.
Layla’s expression dropped a bit at his reaction, “I moved in.”
“Why would you do that?” Hunter asked.
“I just thought since we’re mates that it would be easier. Then we would get to see each other more often now that you’re busy with your duties,” Layla replied softly.
“Layla I don’t want you here,” Hunter said loudly.
Layla couldn’t hide the hurt in her eyes, “I thought you would be surprised.”
“I’m definitely surprised,” Hunter replied with a bit of sarcasm, “but I have too much to do.” Hunter waved his hand dismissively at Layla and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
“Oh...” Layla said quietly, trying not to break down into sobs right there. Layla went downstairs to the dining hall and sat at a table by herself.
Jace and Ryann sat down beside her with smiles, “Hey Layla!”
Layla nodded slightly as she pushed her food around her plate. She wasn’t really in the mood for eating.
“Layla?” Jace watched her with worry, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing...” Layla replied with a half hearted smile.
“Yeah that really looks like nothing,” Jace clapped back.
“Jace just butt out,” Layla snapped.
Jace furrowed his brow and Layla looked up at him apologetically, “I’m sorry, ignore me. I’m just in a mood.”
Ryann rolled her eyes, “Does your mood have anything to do with Mr. Sunshine over there?”
Layla turned to see Hunter enter the dining room with the scowl that had now become normal for him still plastered on his face. Layla turned back around and shrugged, “Whatever.”
Layla ate in silence as Jace and Ryann tried to figure out what was going on with her and Hunter. Hunter sat down beside Layla with a tight smile and Layla ignored him. She was done acting like a lovesick puppy to a mate who didn’t want anything to do with her. If he wanted it he would have to come back groveling.
“Layla...” Hunter whispered.
Layla ignored him again, choosing to pick at her food instead of acknowledge him.
“Layla would you speak to me?” Hunter pleaded.
Layla stood from her seat and cleared her plate from the table. She walked upstairs to the Beta apartment and grabbed the boxes she had brought her things in and began packing them again.
After filling one box Hunter walked into the room. “What are you doing?”
Layla stood and carried an empty box to the closet, “Dont worry, I’ll be done and on my way in just a bit.”
Hunter shook his head, “Layla, I shouldn’t have said what I did, I do want you here.”
Layla let out a scoff, “Hunter you don’t get to be a jerk and then just apologize and all is forgiven. You’ve been acting like Jace three months ago.”
Hunter winced, “The changes in my life have been a lot to process and I took it out on you, I shouldn’t have.” Hunter walked forward and took Layla’s hands in his, “Please stay tonight. If you want to leave tomorrow then fine. But tonight, stay with me.”
Layla glared at him sideways, attempting to read him, “Fine.”
Hunter exhaled, “Good.”
That night as Layla laid in Hunter’s arms she didn’t sleep. She tried to come up with reasons why she couldn’t seem to shake the fact that something felt off.