Wolf was torn, torn between his crying mate and his obedience to his Alpha. He’d always done as his alpha demanded, but today for the first time he wants to listen to his heart. He can almost feel it breaking at the sight of his mate, sad, hurt, crying. All he can think about is comforting his mate.
His love for her eventually over-ruled his head and won the battle as he began to slowly move closer to Anna. Finally, close enough to touch her, he sat up and nuzzled his head along the side of hers.
He felt her stiffen as she gasps lightly, and he tensed, ready to move back in case she begins to scream. He relaxes when she stays put and doesn’t jerk away from him. He continued to gently rub against her, marking her with his scent even as he comforted her. He was soon groaning lightly, a sound of contentment because he was touching his mate for the first time.
After a few moments, Anna slowly raised her head.
Wolf huffed at the loss of contact before sitting back and cocking his head at her.
“I guess this means you aren’t going to eat me for a midnight snack,” she whispered. “You did save me from Mark, so… thank you.”
Wolf gave a slight head bow.
She sighed as she looked behind him.
Following her gaze, Wolf saw the metal thing his human called a car sticking up in the air. His human liked riding in those, he prefers it when they run. Swinging his head back around, he focused once more on his mate.
“He had to have known where Renee and I were going, but how? He had to have been following me tonight or he wouldn’t have known where I pulled off the road. Surely, he didn’t do something to my tire,” she rambled as she began to rub along his ear. “This is Mark we’re talking about though, and I’m beginning to realize I don’t know him at all.”
Wolf growled at the mention of another man’s name.
Anna stopped rubbing his ear and looked at him.
Wolf saw the fear that flash in her eyes. Not wanting her to be scared, he whined an apology as he put a paw over his eyes.
Anna giggled. “You act like you’ve been someone’s pet, not wild at all.”
Wolf huffed, insulted, he was not a pet.
Anna slowly moved as if to stand, only to give a small scream and grab her ankle, as her eyes closing in pain.
Wolf jumped at the sound of her pain. It caused him to forget himself and his instincts took over, allowing his human side to come to the forefront. He shifted to human.
Quickly Eric grabbed ahold of her by the waist, holding her up. “Anna, you’ll make it worse. Let me help you.”
Lost in her pain, she didn’t seem to realize what he had done and allowed him to pick her up without questions. He carried her to her car and, after putting her inside, he squatted down in front of her.
“Eric, it hurts so badly,” she sobbed with tears flowing down her cheeks.
“What hurts the worst?”
“You need a doctor.”
“I saw it, and I’ll have it fixed in a minute. Just… just give me a moment,” Eric promised. Then he wiped the tears from her cheeks before kissing the left one.
Anna nodded, her eyes still closed, face scrunched up in pain.
Moving away from her, Eric turned to find a fellow packmate holding clothes for him. Giving the man a nod, he took the clothing as his packmate started on the tire. After getting dressed Eric waved him on.
Before he left, he whispered, “Alpha said you got lucky, but he will be having a conversation with you later about disobeying a direct order.”
Eric nodded his understanding. Then, after finishing the tire, he climbed into the car.
“Eric?” Anna murmured, sounding half asleep.
“Yes?” He answered as he took off down the road.
“Did you see the wolf?”
Deciding to play dumb for the moment he asked, “What wolf?”
“The one who saved me. He was a timber wolf, I think. He saved me from Mark and ran him off.”
“I would say that was a good thing.”
Hearing her sigh softly, Eric glanced over. Her eyes were now open, and she was staring out the window.
Eric smiled as he glanced out the window. “See the big wolf in front.”
“That’s the alpha.”
“How do you know that?”
“The pack always falls in line behind their alpha. He’s the leader because he knows what’s best for the pack,” he explained. Then, as he slowed down to turn onto the main road, the alpha raised his head and howled before he, and the pack faded back into the woods.
“Do you think I’ll ever see him again? The wolf who saved me?” Anna asked.
Eric smiled before softly saying, “Yes. Of that, I do not doubt because these woods are full of that wolf pack.”
Ten minutes later, he parked in the hospital lot and carried Anna inside. After speaking to the nurse on duty, they took a seat. It was only a few minutes before he was asked to bring her into a room. The nurse had him lay her down, then leave.
His wolf bulked at leaving her. He wanted her in his sight, to make sure she was okay. Knowing this was for the best though, he begrudgingly gave in, and so, with a kiss to her forehead, Eric forced himself to leave her. Stepping out of the room, he was met by his Alpha.
“Eric,” Alpha Pete said softly.
Eric bowed his head submissively. “I’m sorry, sir.”
“Oh, you will be, after your punishment for this disobedience, of that I have no doubt,” Alpha Pete agreed through gritted teeth. “Now, what was her reaction to your shift?”
Eric stared off into space a moment as he thought back. “Honestly? I’m not sure she even noticed because she was fighting pain. She may question how I suddenly appeared later though.”
“Her reaction to your wolf? I felt a lot of contentment coming from him,” Alpha Pete commented.
“She freaked out at first, but when I rubbed her head with my snout she barely jerked. In fact, she basically told me I was too tame to be a wild animal.”
Alpha Pete snorted. “Did she call you a dog?”
“No, someone’s pet!”
Alpha flinched. “Ouch.”
“Well, at least it looks like you might have an easy time explaining things to her. Hopefully,” Alpha Pete mused.
“Hopefully,” Eric said in agreement just as the doctor walked out of Anna’s room. “How is she doing, doctor?”
“Are you family?” The Doctor asked looking between him and the alpha.
“I’m the one who brought her in and she’s my girlfriend,” Eric answered, stretching the truth a bit.
“Do you know who did this to her?” The Doctor asked them.
“Her… well, he was her friend, but he wanted to be more. I’m not sure what it makes him. Except maybe a dead man if I ever catch him,” Eric growled, feeling his wolf move inside with anger.
“Eric, you shouldn’t be making threats,” Alpha Pete scolded, laying a calming hand on Eric’s shoulder.
Eric took a deep breath, slowly letting it out through his nose. When he’d calmed enough, he said, “Please doc, tell us.”
So, sighing, the doctor said, “She was beaten pretty badly. Bloody nose, split lip, eye swollen shut. I put stitches in her left eyebrow where it was split. There are so many bruises on her front and back torso you can hardly tell one from the other. She also had scrapes and abrasions on her hands, arms, legs, and knees.”
“She was on the ground, so that could be where those came from,” Eric mentioned.
The doctor nodded. “That sounds reasonable, she did mention she fell in a hole. She also has a hairline fracture on her ankle. Now, she seems like the independent type, but she’s going to be sore for days. She also needs to stay off that ankle and allow it to heal. That’s all I have, for now, gentlemen,” the doctor concluded before leaving.
Alpha turned to face Eric, saying, “You stay with her tonight. I’ll get Minnie to go stay with her tomorrow.”
Alpha narrowed his eyes. “I am still your Alpha; you will do as I say. You’re already in enough trouble as it is.”
“Yes, sir,” Eric said as he bowed his head in respect.
“Now, go see her. I’ll go start the paperwork rolling to get her out of here,” Alpha Pete said before he turned and strode down the hallway.
Eric walked into the room to find Anna awake and talking to a nurse.
“I’m telling you Misty, that wolf probably saved my life. Mark picked up the tire iron and was about to hit me with when the wolf showed up,” Anna said.
“Well, it wouldn’t surprise me none.” Nurse Misty replied. “Our little town is full of wolves, the Red Paw Pack they call it.”
“Red Paw Pack?” Anna questioned.
Nurse Misty gave her a wide-eyed look.
Eric walked around the side of the bed and took Anna’s hand in his.
“You haven’t heard the legend?”
Anna shook her head.
“Well, if you’re gonna be living here, you gotta know the legend,” Nurse Misty informed her excitedly.
“Tell me,” Anna demanded.