I could tell that Riles was close to telling me something important when his father crashed into the room. Making Riles slip on the stony mask he had been wearing ever since I met him.
[Damn him! What the hell does he want now?]
I growled at David, for I knew he had to do something with the fear Riles had earlier when I asked about who told him he wasn’t good enough. David spotted me and snarled; making my wolf bristle at the challenge.
[Let’s make him understand that Riles is good enough to be mated to us!]
Unconsciously I placed myself protectively between Riles and his father, giving Riles my back. Giving him all the space to climb on top of me and grind against my ass. David must have looked as shocked as I felt when I felt Riles on top of me biting my mate mark grinding, making me shudder and moan.
I am sure that if my pants weren’t in the way he would have mounted me right then and there. Not that I would have minded. Embarrassingly enough I just heard the door open and someone come in dragging David out of the room before I passed out.
Groaning I blink my eyes open, not really sure how I got to where we were. What did shock me was the fact I was in the bedroom we shared in Riles’ house?
“Riles?” I called out quietly, not sure what to expect as I pushed away from the covers. Padding lightly over to the dresser looking for some clothes to wear, I wasn’t going downstairs naked.
Padding softly to the landing, I heard the quiet hum of conversation. “I really do expect you to try and be more open with him in the future Riley. I don’t want a repeat of this in the near future.” That was the voice of the King.
What is he doing here?
“Yes, your Highness. I will try my best.”
I heard the King sigh at that. “That’s all one can ask Riley. Believe in what the two of you share okay? He’s not here to hurt you. You can’t let this stand between the two of you forever.”
The King’s walked over to the front door, smiled as he looked right at me. This was impossible since I was hiding behind the wall. “Do check up on your mate Riley. I think he’s awake now.” With the King left and the door closed with a firm click.
Deciding it was best to get whatever it was out of the way I padded down the stairs. “Riles?” I heard some things clang in the kitchen in an answer. Moving over there I saw Riles stand there in just a pair of sweats, cleaning something as if nothing bad had happened between us.
“What are you doing Riley?” He turned around to face me. My sharp tone must have gotten his attention. He looked a lot healthier now, his complexion returned and his eyes looked clearer and more focused.
“Cleaning up the mess left behind.” Like that explained everything. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to talk about what happened in the hospital at all if he had his way.
“We need to talk about this Riles.” I sighed pinching the bridge of my nose.
“Talk about what Archie? There’s nothing to talk about. I got sick and was sent to the hospital. That’s it.” I felt my hackles rise at the threatening tone.
“We DO need to talk about this Riley Manning Woods. Whether you want to or not!” I was not going to let this go. Whatever it is, it’s a major issue to Riles and I think talking about it will help him solve it.
“You’re not going to let this go are you?” Riles just looked at me before sighing rubbing his face tiredly, leaning against the sink.
“You’re damn right I won’t let this go, Riles! And you can’t intimidate me too either so stop looking at me like that.” I glare at him, not liking the fact he thought he could intimidate me into letting this go.
Riles looked everywhere but me, a sign he was really uncomfortable. “Why don’t you just start by the beginning? I will know when you’ll be lying.” Crossing my arms I lean against the opposite counter waiting for him to start.
“I don’t really know when it started, but my clearest memory of my father’s bad behaviour was when I was around four years old.” Riles started with a faraway look in his eyes as he looked straight ahead.
“We just returned home after watching the parade for the previous Alpha King. That is one of the most famous things the Pack organises every year. During that year there were two assassination attempts on the previous Alpha King during the parade.”
My eyebrows nearly disappeared into my hair at that piece of news. I am surprised that my dad never mentioned it when he was telling me about the rise of the Alpha Kings. “What happened?”
I didn’t mean to interrupt him, but the question just slipped out. Riles didn’t seem to mind, or he didn’t hear it as he carried on with his story. “Nobody really knew where it came from since there was general panic since there were a lot of unprotected civilians. Most of the guards were busy with keeping the order and would have been too late when there was a second attack on the Alpha King.”
Riles' eyes shone as he recalled the memory. “I never got to know the name of the guard who pushed the Alpha King out of the way and took what was meant for the Alpha King instead. That caused an even bigger commotion. But during that time other guards came and whisked the Alpha King away with the wounded guard.
The guard later died of his wounds. But it struck something inside of me and I knew that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t want to be like my father, the Head Hunter. My younger brother Fredrick showed more interest to it than I did. When I told my father about it when we got home he hit me for the first time.”
Riles wrapped his arms around himself as if he was cold. Then I realised that he must be since the temperature has been steadily dropping and the fireplace hadn’t been lit in a while so it was cold. I gently tugged him to the living room where I got a nice warm fire going.
Riles kept shivering so I quickly left to get him a sweater. When I returned he was warming his hands at the fire staring lost in the flames. “I should have thought of this.” He was still staring at the flames.
“Here put this on.” I held out one of the Pack sweaters for him. He stared at it for a moment before he tugged it on and resumed his seat on the couch.
Riles sighed as he dropped his head onto the back of the couch before continuing. “Dad told me that he would never accept my carrier choice. For some reason, he was obsessed with me succeeding him in his profession. I don’t know why, and I don’t think I want to know. Anyway, he asked about it every day, and my answer was the same day after day. I wanted to be a Royal Guard no matter what he said or did.
There were times though, like when he started starving me and beating me at the same time that my will wavered. He always made sure to hurt me where the bruises or cut wouldn’t stand out too much. Especially when uncle Vince joined in after I told him about father. I thought he would help me since he was my favourite uncle and he always took my side on things except on this. The biggest mistake I ever made in my life.”
My heart broke for Riles, not only his father abandoned him but most of his family did. They tried to fit him into a mould he wasn’t meant for. Not only that but I guess Riles younger brother might be overexposed to their parents' attention.
“That treatment wasn’t extended to Fredrick though since he idolised father up to the point of it could be classified as an unhealthy obsession. Now he has been made Master Hunter just like father wanted. So I don’t get why he still is so obsessed with you and me being mates. That’s something that goes beyond my understanding.”
[Yours and mine Riles. But maybe it’s to do with my wolf. Like always.]
Riles looked at me tiredly. “Isn’t that what they always bitch and moan about? How unnatural am I? Just because someone a long time ago decided to tell some bull crap about me and others like me.”
I pace up and down in front of the fireplace, thinking. “That just raises the question; why would your father put so much faith in something that was said so long ago?”
Riles cocked his head to the side “Now that you mention it, father always took everything the oracle or matchmaker to heart. And because they are one and the same person, we might be able to ask her what it means.”
I nodded my head in agreement, that might work. “How do we get in touch with her though? I thought that she was the one who got in touch with you.” I frown as I remember Riles saying before that she would be the one making the decisions about who she talks to.
The further thinking was cut short as both our stomachs rumbled in hunger. Chuckling lightly, we both made our way back to the kitchen. Scanning the contents of the fridge, we decided to reheat something from the freezer.
The contents of the fridge are all out of date, and neither of us wants to risk getting food poisoning. Riles was adamant about putting out the trash so I let him, knowing I wouldn’t be able to talk him out of it. The fresh air did him some good; it cleared the fog in his head.
He seemed a little bashful as he came back in. “If you want I can always sleep on the couch if you want.” I blinked in surprise, “What are you talking about Riles? The bed upstairs is big enough for the both of us.”
Then it clicked; he must be uncomfortable with us sharing a bed. “If that’s what you want I won’t oppose it though.” My heart was sinking to the bottom of my stomach at this development. It was not what I was hoping for.
Riles kept his word though, he slept on the couch that evening. The next couple of days we started from scratch. We talked for hours, walked around the Pack lands in human and animal form.
Since Riles told me about his father’s behaviour, he wasn’t too afraid anymore to tell me some of his feelings, something I took great pride in. I too was honest about my feelings and thoughts on subjects we talked about. I felt I got to know the real Riley, the little boy who loved to play in the woods with his favourite uncle, not the cold and emotionless adult he became later on in life.
Your father is a stupid man for thinking he could keep us apart you know?
Riles looked surprised as my wolf spoke.
We were meant to be, and there is no getting in between that no matter how hard he tries.
I felt Riles panther rumble in agreement as he cuddled up next to my wolf. It was quite weird to feel the presence of Riles panther in my mind.