Forgotten Wolf

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25 Brute

Shit. What’s he doing here?!

I’m frozen in place and my heart is threatening to burst through my chest as the man blocks my way.

“They’ll let anyone in, hmm,” Brute sneers, eyes cold and full of malice. He takes a step towards me, fists balled, making me shudder.

I take a step back, eyes on him as movement to the left catches my attention. A second man is closing in on me with the same intense malevolent look. Panic wells in me faster than I can deal with it.

‘Fuck! Get out of there.’ ‘Where?! There’s nowhere to run.’

“What, no friends this time? What’s the hurry, stay awhile,” Brute says, reaching for me as I pull away.

“Leave me alone, I have to get back, they’re waiting for me.” I turn to leave but a third ass has shown up. Jackass number three looks bored but is no less hostile. His black eyes are trained on mine, watching for me to bolt.

“Right,” Brute chuckles darkly as he grabs my arm and drags me behind the carnival game alley.

His touch sends me over the edge, panic explodes inside me, and I start flailing in his grip. I claw at his fingers, twisting in his grip as my heart races. Eventually I break his grip, falling to the ground and scoot back, desperately trying to put any amount of distance between us.

He laughs, sending shivers down my spine. “Gotten a little feist in ya since I last saw ya.” Brute grins down at me, causing me to shudder. “You want to play? Then let’s play.”

Once again he reaches for me as his cronies close in.

“Back the fuck away from her,” Judes voice cuts through the night air, my heart jumps in relief.

“Back again, mutt?” Brute challenges. “No one to save you this time.”

I get up and try to sprint to Jude, but the bored crony sees me as I got to my feet. He easily grabs me and flings me back to the ground. I hiss in pain as my hip hits the ground hard.

Jude roars as he launches himself at the bored crony, catching him with a powerful uppercut, snapping his head back. The crony staggers a step or two before falling down.

Jude barely has enough time to spin around and block the hits from the second crony. Brute pushes in landing a cheap shot on Jude’s ribs as he grapples with the other attacker.

In the blink of an eye, the second crony is pulled back and thrown, freeing Jude. Even more relief floods me as I see Jace, Chris, and Xavier.

“What the fuck is going on?” Chris snarls.

Jace moves in by Jude, who’s blocking me, as Xavier holds the second crony down. Chris is now towering his full height face to face with Brute. Even at this distance I can feel the rage rolling off of him in waves. “Start talking,” he growls.

“Strange company you keep these days Chris,” Brute starts.

Wait, what? He knows Chris?!

“My company is my own business Rob,” Chris snaps. “What are you doing here.”

“Is that any way to talk to your allies?” Rob is trying to act unphased but clearly he didn’t count on Chris showing up.

“After the shit you guys just pulled, you’re lucky talking is all we’re doing,” Chris growls.

“We just trailed this mutt and the girl got caught up in it,” Rob trails off, shrugging.

“Liar,” I shout, pushing towards him.

“The poor thing’s hysterical,” Rob drawls. “Try and contain your pet’s outbursts, won’t you?”

Like a switch flips, Chris loses it, shaking in anger as he slams Rob against the wall. “Watch it,” he snarls, inches from Rob’s face.

“Funny how when rogue tensions are at an all time high, you’re entertaining a rogue in your inner circle,” Rob digs with a look at Jude. This seems to strike a bit of a nerve as Chris loosens his grip and takes a small step back.

“He’s not part of the problem,” Chris deflects. “These two are off limits, understood?” His eyes are darkening by the moment as his threat hangs heavy in the air.

Brute straightens up, giving me an intense, knowing look and smirks. “Have you finally decided to live a little and have some fun Christo-”

Crack!

Chris’s fist connects with Rob’s jaw, cutting him off before he can finish. It lands with such force he staggers back before throwing his hands up.

“Okay, okay. I went too far,” Rob pants out as he rubs his jaw. He seems satisfied with pushing Chris over the edge. “You win.”

“Think it’s time you guys head out,” Chris warns, balling his fists. His eyes never leave Rob’s as his gaze darkens.

“We are on neutral ground, or did you forget?” There is no mistaking the challenge in Rob’s voice.

“If you value our alliance, you will get lost before I really lose my patience,” Chris growls as he takes a step forward.

“Fortunately, I value our friendship far too much to let a little disagreement cause any unnecessary problems. Have fun Chris.” Rob’s eyes linger on me, making me feel sick. Jace growls as the two cronies fall into step behind him.

“Make sure they leave Xavier,” Chris orders, finally starting to relax as he turns his attention to me.

“You okay baby?” He opens his arms calling for me.

Without hesitation, he wraps me up, burying his head in my neck. I hide my face in his chest, listening to his steady breathing. Chris strokes my hair waiting for me to calm down.

“What was all that?” Sara chimes in, having just arrived with Claire as the men left. Jace waves her off.

“What happened?” Chris asks me softly.

“He cornered Jess, and they dragged her back here, that’s when I caught up to them,” Jude growls, rubbing his knuckles.

Jude to the rescue, thank God.

“This isn’t the first time either, he’s gone after her twice at the market too.” There’s no mistaking the anger in Judes voice, nore the hate for Rob.

Chris growls, “I’ll take care of him, allies or not.”

“Why are you friends with him?” I ask, confused.

“I wouldn’t call him a friend,” Chris spits. “His father and my father were allies, after we took over as Alphas, we just upheld the treaty.”

Having regained my composure, I let Chris go and turned to Jude. Fortunately he has no damage visible from the fight. “Thanks Jude, I -”

He cuts me off, with a wave. “You know I’ve got you covered,” he smiles, blue eyes twinkling.

Chris wraps a protective arm around me and gives Jude an appreciative nod. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

“No,” I say, shaking my head. Everyone turns to me. “We were having a good time, he’s not going to chase me home and ruin it,” I say clenching my jaw.

“You sure?” Jace questions, grey eyes full of concern.

“Yup, I’m tired of running all the time.” I pinch the bridge of my nose in frustration. “Besides I haven’t had any funnel cake yet,” I deflect.

Claire takes charge. “You had me at funnel cakes!”

With that, we head over to get some. No one can agree on flavours, so we literally get one of each. I’ve only ever had it topped with cinnamon apple and icing sugar. Jace insists on strawberries, Claire fudge, Sara nutella, while Jude goes with classic cinnamon sugar. I split mine with Chris and try a small piece from Jace and Jude’s.

It’s so unfair how much food they can put back and still look like gods.

Before long, the dark cloud from earlier has dissipated and we are back to laughing and having fun. Chris refuses to leave my side, always with a hand on me or arm wrapped around me. I don’t mind, his proximity keeps me relaxed.

I doubt anyone can get to me now if they try.

Fresh drinks in hand, we head back to the games. Jace and Jude are cleaning house in darts. The gimmick is they under-inflate the balloons so the darts bounce off, that is unless that dart is thrown with wolf strength.

“Care to show us what you’ve got, lil elf?” Jace teases, mischief swimming in his grey eyes.

“I’m afraid I’m no good at these,” I dismiss. “Think the only game I’ve ever done okay at is the plinking one.”

“Game on, let’s go.” Jace has that look in his eyes, trouble’s brewing.

“Care for a bet? Guys versus girls again, I want a rematch,” he laughs. “You, Sara and Claire against me, Chris and Xavier.”

The ladies are bristling with the thought of whooping the guys again. “Sure,” I shrug. “But losers go first,” I tease getting a rise out of him.

Sara goes to cut in but I stop her with a shake of my head. The guys pay for the game and set up.

“I don’t know how to play this,” Claire whispers to me.

“It’s easy, you just have to watch how the person shoots the gun before you. The sights are always off, it’s designed to waste half of the players time getting it zeroed in,” I explain quietly to them as the guys take their spots.

Realization flashes in Sara’s eyes. “So that’s why you wanted them to go first. Sly, I’m actually impressed.”

“Yup. I’ll take Chris’s gun, you take Jace’s, the first couple shots will tell you which way it’s off.” I can feel the excitement flashing in my eyes.

“When it’s our turn, we’ll split the board up so we don’t double shoot the targets. Bats are worth the most so Sara will take those, while you take the cats,” I say to Claire. “I’ll go for the ghosts, they aren’t worth as much but there’s more of them.”

Bzzz- The music starts up as the board springs to life, targets move on the tracks as the bell rings, signalling to start.

Ping, ping, ping.

The guys start shooting and, as expected, the first few shots are off. Bingo, Chris’s gun shoots high. Examining Xavier’s, I see his shoots low, Jace has adjusted by the time I get to him. Now all of them are shooting down targets, but often aiming at the same high value ones. I feel a smirk creep on my face at their mistake.

“Xavier’s gun shoots low by just a bit, aim at the top of the cat that should be good.” Claire nods at my assessment, while Sara is basically chomping at the bit to go.

The bell tolls to signal the end of the round. Jace is feeling quite confident and flashes a triumphant grin. “Ladies,” he says, gesturing to the counter.

I take a seat, pick up the pellet gun and study the board looking for all my targets. The music whines to life, followed by the warning buzzer, as the targets start to move. When the bell rings, I start picking off the ghosts.

Ping, ping, ping.

The bottom patch is gone. I hear a bonus alarm as the last bat is hit, signalling the reset. I pick off the full line of ghosts before starting to work on the last patch. The buzzer sounds before I can get the last two.

Damn it.

The girls crash me in a group hug squealing. The plan worked and we more than doubled the score the guys got. I turn and face them, shock clearly evident on all of their faces.

Jace recovers first. “The fuck, Annie Oakley!?”

I can’t help the laugh that bends me over. “You know I’m an archer, this isn’t much of a stretch,” I reason.

After playing a few more games and walking around for a bit more, we decide to head out. Everything is winding down, but I frown, starting to feel uneasy.

I purposely slow down, to get some space from the main group who are busy chatting and laughing. My cheeks flush as I struggle to put my thoughts into words.

“Umm, Chris?” I mumble as I bite my lip.

“Hmm?” He responds, locking his hazel gaze on me.

“Can I stay with you tonight? I -”

He wraps me in a tight hug. “Of course baby, any time you want.” He kisses the top of my head before leading us back to the group.

“Jude, I’ll catch up with you later okay?” He looks at me questioning before I blush and he catches on and nods.

-----

Back in Chris’s room, I’ve showered and changed into one of his tank tops. My hair is tied back as I head out of the bathroom.

Chris is already in bed, sitting up against the headboard playing with his phone. His bare chest on full display in the low light.

He raises a brow and smirks as he catches me checking him out. My cheeks burn instantly. “Keep looking at me like that kitten and we won’t be getting much sleep tonight.” His seductive voice sets fire to my soul.

“You need sleep and I have an early meeting I can’t miss.” The disappointment is clear in his voice. “Come on.”

I crawl into bed, laying on my side. It’s only a moment before Chris drapes an arm around me, sliding my back against his chest. I feel him nuzzle my neck, which sends shivers down my spine. “Sleep well, kitten.”

-----

The following morning I wake up alone. I can’t help my frown as I reach over to his side of the bed; it’s long gone cold.

That was a surprisingly good night’s sleep considering the day’s events.

I feel totally refreshed as I check my phone.

Chris: Morning beautiful, make sure you get some breakfast before you take off. Jace can take you home or you can take anything in the garage. Have a good day, I’ll talk to you after my meetings.

A smile spreads across my face as I reread the text for the third time. Mr. Big bad Alpha has a sweet side after all.

‘Only when it comes to you.’ ‘Shut it, peanut gallery.’

Once ready, I head down to the kitchen. Claire and Sara are chatting as they finish eating.

“Hey there, you hungry?” Claire asks. I smile and nod, and she passes me a plate.

“What time did Chris leave, I didn’t even hear him get up?” I ask, taking a bite of bacon.

“Early, he has a long day ahead of him,” Sara grumbles as she glares at me.

Oh, so we’re back to this.

“Yeah he mentioned meetings last night,” I try to deflect.

“Well he has added work, cleaning up your little mess now too,” Sara says darkly.

“Sara! Stop that -” Claire yells before being cut off.

“What, it’s the truth!?” Sara snaps; she’s back to being openly hostile. “This has been a mistake from day one!”

I shoot out of my seat. “What’s your problem with me?!” I shout, unable to keep my temper in check.

Her laugh is short and forced. “Please, it’s nothing personal. The Goddess made a mistake pairing you with a man like Chris.” She gets up and walks over to face me.

“Sara! Cut it out! You have no right -” Claire desperately tries to interject but is cut off again.

“I have every right! The safety of this pack is my responsibility, and she’s the biggest liability around!” Sara is shaking as anger, like my mere presence is an insult to her.

Her words sting, mostly because they are true.

I have nothing to offer to the pack. I’m just a distraction for Chris.

“Nothing to say? You know I’m right!” Sara’s voice has taken on a dangerous edge.

“If you really cared about this pack, you’d go far away from it and never come back.” She takes a pause before she drives the knife deeper, “if Chris means anything to you at all -”

Crack!

My fist connects squarely to her face, crushing her nose. I didn’t even realize I had thrown the punch until I’m staring back at her shocked eyes as she staggers back. The pathetic sadness has turned to rage when she brings my feelings for Chris into it.

Recovering from her initial shock, she launches at me, only to be tackled by Xavier. She delivers a savage hit that momentarily stuns him as she breaks for me again. This time, Jace catches her.

“Enough,” he booms. Unphased, she continues to lash out.

I leave her with the guys and take off to the garage. There are so many vehicles to choose from, but my eyes land on a motorcycle near the door. The keys are in it, so I put on the helmet, kick it into gear and take off. The last thing I see is Claire and Jace leaving the front door, with Xavier dragging out a subdued Sara.

It doesn’t matter how nice I am or what I do. I’ll just never be good enough.

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