I felt beyond awful!
Not only for what I had said to Dustin, but for also how I had verbally excluded Freya-- again --from our relationship.
I heard them following me, getting closer to me, and before I knew it I was breaking into a run. I wasn’t in a mood to not apologise and have them be okay with it.
Sometimes having the universe pick out the perfect people for you, who could take all the crap you dished out and still love you after, was a pain in the ass.
Love. Did they love me? I mean Dustin had said it before he figured out were mates. Freya had yet to say it, but she showed it.
The way she took my worry and pain away, and literally sucked them into herself. That had to be crazy stupid love. I could not imagine what it took to deal with pain your body could not understand.
There were other things. Like how she hugged me and held my hand proudly in front of other people. How she could walk into any restaurant and perfectly order for me. Or how she helped me cook sometimes, even though I was sure she loathed doing it, just because she did not want me to feel lonely and slave-like in the kitchen, considering how King Dustin hated cooking on top of not having a single concept on how to do it.
I smelled them before I got to the house. The both of them stood there. My claws came out, and so did my coyote teeth. I would kill to defend Freya and Dustin.
Ethan and Everest.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I did not want whatever this was getting into the house.
“Where’s Dustin?” one of them asked.
It was unsettling not being able to tell them apart.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in return.
“We came to warn you.”
I laughed. “Cole Fortis send you?”
Freya and Dustin reached me just then.
“What’s going on?” Dustin asked, shocked as I was to see them.
One of the twins glared right at him. “Dustin,” he said. That would
“Ethan,” Dustin replied, crossing his arms across his chest.
--the disrespectful one.
Ethan and Everest walked to us.
“Stop right there,” I said, when they were five steps away from us.
Ethan rolled his eyes. “Why did we come here again?” he asked his brother. He yawned and idly kicked at the rocks near his feet. “I’ll go wait in the car.” He left Everest with us and walked back in the general direction of the house.
“Not so fast. I don’t trust you so keep to where we can see you,”
Ethan spread his hands around him, encompassing all the air
around him. “We’ve been here for over an hour waiting for you
three.” But still, he leaned against the house. Reluctantly, like he
could not help himself.
“Cole found out,” Everest said, breaking into my thoughts.
“What?” Dustin asked.
Everest looked helplessly at him, his eyes begging. “The guard who helped me free Freya gave me up. It’s only a matter of time before he gets hands on the surveillance footage.”
“So how will he figure out that we’re involved?”
“Cole’s smart. It’s only a matter of time till he links everything to you guys. Cole owns New York. He’ll go through every surveillance camera in that city with a fine tooth comb, and eventually he’ll find something from that night we went out together to save Freya. I’m sorry, Dustin. I thought I could trust the guard. But, Cole is the alpha, and they respect him.”
“You don’t?” Freya asked.
Everest shrugged. “He’s a good alpha. Not really a good person. Selfish, arrogant, all about the end justifying the means. Ethan is half of the reason I served under him. They are...were best friends. And he’s my brother....my twin. He’s the most important person in my life.”
“Where will you guys go after here?” Dustin asked.
He shrugged again. “Probably wander. Settle down somewhere. Find work. I was thinking maybe a farm or a ranch. That sort.”
“You’ll be packless,” Freya said, softly.
Something was happening. Between Dustin and Everest and Freya.
Something was happening and I had no idea what.
“Stay with us.”
And there it was. Dustin had spoken. Invited these two former disciples of Cole Fortis into our town, our home.
“No,” I said, trying, yet failing to keep my voice calm. Freya and Dustin turned puzzled looks on me. “We can’t trust them.”
“I trust, Everest. And he trusts his brother. That’s enough for me,” Dust said, earnestly.
“He saved my life, Riley. He did not even know me, and he decided that I deserved a life outside enslavement. I owe him.”
“A quick thank you should suffice.” I huffed. “Send them on their way. This could be a trap.”
“When did you get so cynical?” Dustin demanded, turning on me.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Everest quietly excuse himself.
The three of us formed a neat little triangle.
“It could be a trap,” I hissed.
“If its a trap, then we’re already done for. Might as well go down with a good deed.”
“Easy for you to say, Captain Good Deed! You’re not the one they’re hunting.” I waved my hand at Freya. “Or are you forgetting? Huh? The Siren mate you won’t mate!”
Dustin went red with fury. “Shut up about that for one fucking second! You don’t care about Freya, you only care about yourself. About me mating you.”
“Stop it. Both of you,” Freya cut between us. “Stop it before you hurt yourselves any further.”
Seconds ticked on. We took deep, calming, yet still angry breaths.
“Are we good?” Freya asked. We nodded stiffly.
“Riley, I know what it’s like to be packless. I had family, you had Dustin, but there is always something missing. A wolf needs that. Especially ones that have been in a large pack all their lives. We’re keeping them. Please. Dustin has already fallen head-over-betaheels-in-love with Everest.”
Dustin sputtered, at the same time one of the twins behind us snickered. Followed by, “shut it, Ethan”.
“And...you may not need to mate me to protect me,” Freya said.