A Summer To Never Forget

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2. Riley

A quick note if you see [Italic] means they speak to each other through the Pack Link

I don’t know why the Alpha King insisted that I go with Dean to pick up Sterling’s cub. I wasn’t told his exact age, but what I was told was that he wasn’t much older than me. A few years give or take. That still made him a cub in my eyes. It would make him in his early twenties.

Hmm, I hope he’s hot. Haven’t gotten laid in a while.

As if reading my mind Dean came in “Get your mind out of the gutter man, we need to go.” Rolling my eyes at his usual statement, I tug on my soft leather boots and follow him to the car. The trip was quite a long one; two hours. I hoped to be home before dark so I could run before dinner. “So are you looking forward to meeting the new cub?” Dean asked. As an older male, he was excited to have new young blood he might get to teach.

I snorted at his excitement; it wasn’t in my nature to nurture new cubs to their full potential. My nature is to hunt and eliminate threats, not babysitting some temper tantrum throwing kid. That’s why I became one of the select few personal guards of the Alpha King.

However, I was absolutely gobsmacked when I laid eyes on the little beauty we were supposed to pick up. He was absolutely stunning; short chestnut brown hair, serious chocolate brown eyes, a frame of five foot nine covered in sun-kissed skin. He was absolutely mouth-watering. I was happily checking him out in secret until my eyes landed on his wrapped up ankle. I growled softly in my throat at it.

How dare someone hurt him?

I was unable to control myself when he came up and opened the door after he hugged his aunt goodbye. Dean; the sneaky little bastard was supposedly oh-so-busy loading his luggage in the trunk.

It’s only one duffle bag for God’s sake!

Unable to stand watched him wrestle to get himself into the car; I scooped him up and gently placed him in the backseat. Buckling him in while I was at it. He snarled at me in anger; at least the tried to. It was the cutest, most adorable thing I ever have seen. His cute button nose scrunched up, lip curled up showing his sharp even white movie star teeth.

I had to restrain myself from not dipping my head forward and taste him; those delectable looking pink coloured lips made for kissing endlessly. He was stubborn and silent the whole ride. I checked the review mirror frequently; found out that he fell asleep halfway through. He looked peaceful; long dark curly lashes, serene expression on his otherwise scowling face. Too bad Dean caught me looking at him through the rearview mirror “He is a sight to behold when he’s like this huh?” he asked with mischief gleaming in his eyes.

I rolled my eyes at the statement, turned to look outside the window instead. Once we arrived at the Pack House, I was once again carrying him. I love the feeling of having him in my arms, no matter how much he protested. I only put him down when Sterling himself said so; I had to obey my superiors. Not that I actually thought of Sterling as my superior; he is just riding along the wave of fame that came with being a close friend of the Alpha King.

Grumbling I went to help Dean but he had it already covered. He was moving along the path holding the only bag the cub had brought. “I am glad to see you son.” That was a bit of a shock; everybody thought he only had daughters. Now he magically turns up a son, a beauty at that. Sighing and shaking my head at my own thoughts I got in the car and returned it to the Pack garage. Parking the car in its designated spot, I noticed my shift was over and headed home.

I shifted into my Black Panther form; doing a territory sweep around my house. I am quite paranoid about my privacy; some suitors thought of leaving unwanted presents behind in their quest of courting me. The last person to do so had the pleasure of meeting my steel claws. I was in my human from back then. Along the way, I met a few people who actually knew who I was. Within the Pack I am virtually unknown; besides being one of the few pure black weres in the Pack. Sadly this made me a desirable man in the eyes of unmarried females and males.

~~~~

A few days later I was perched on top of my favourite tree branch; enjoying the late afternoon sun rays when I heard someone stumbling about. Curious to whom might be stupid enough to wander into my territory. Due to the height of the branch; people on the ground couldn’t see me, but I could see them.

I was very surprised to see the little beauty we picked up days ago stumbling along, muttering profanities under his breath. I grinned a little; well as much as a cat can grin as I watch him stumble around my little clearing. The little clearing is mine. I had it marked with claw marks and some odour marks. No, I didn’t pee against trees like dogs or wolves do; I rubbed along the trees marking it with my scent.

Since his arrival he had been arguing none stop with his dad about the most trivial things; about how he should dress to cleaning his room. The gossip never made so many mouths babble. That and the fact that there weren’t many rumours about Sterling, to begin with. Most blame it on the fact that Archie and his mom lived way outside the Pack boundaries and never visited.

I thought it was a load of bull. If Sterling wanted to, he could have forced her to give up Archie and nobody would say a thing about it. Nobody would dream of defying the fool. Just because he personally knew the Alpha King and they were terrified he would tell the Alpha King about their bad behaviour. For gossip was frowned upon in our community; since everybody is connected through the Pack Link one would know a lie when they heard one. Most things about Sterling and Archie was speculation at best, not many knew what acutely went on in that house behind closed doors.

I was pulled out of my musings when the wind changed and his scent was carried up to me. It was a bit weird how quickly his scent had changed over the few days he had spent here. It started out as a deep woody scent but changed to the scent of a rain forest after rainfall. It made my mouth water and stimulated other parts of me. I was never the one for wanting to be close to my fellow Pack member, but I wanted to be close to this boy.

[Riley? Have you seen Archon? I can’t seem to find him and his scent trail leads to your clearing]

I rolled my eyes as I got up and stretched, making the leaves on the branch rustle and Archie look up at me. That was also one of the basic Pack rules; nobody enters another’s territory unless invited. Archie didn’t know this, at least I didn’t think he did. Knowing Sterling he probably didn’t mention it and left it all for Niamh to explain Pack rules to Archie. Who forgot that everything we took for granted wasn’t so common outside the Pack.

[Don’t worry old man, Archie is fine. He’s here with me.]

I cut off the Link after that, I wasn’t in the mood to listen to him ramble on about Archie not knowing Pack rules and such.

However, I was far more intrigued by Archie and his scent than Sterling’s rambles. He was sitting on a fallen log opposite my favourite tree. He stilled completely when he saw me jump down the tree; he stopped fiddling with his music. Eyes wide he kept staring at me as I advanced on him. His eyes trailed my sleek coat and strong physic. I stopped a few feet away from him, sat there looking at him.

It was hard, every instinct and nerve practically urged me forward to pounce on him. “Are… are you part of the Pack? Please nod or something…” He pleaded. “So I know I am not talking to a real black panther.” He quietly whispered. He looked so pleadingly at me that I against my better judgement nodded.

His shoulders sagged with relief before he tensed up once again. He glared at me “Did my dad sent you?” He didn’t wait for me to confirm or deny it before rambling on. “I can’t believe it! I told him I needed some alone time!” He started muttering things under his breath once again as he got up leaning on his none wrapped ankle, stunting with the two crutches and the undergrowth.

I saw it coming and yet, I was powerless to stop it. As he was messing around with his crutches, I saw him wobble dangerously. Before I knew it I was in motion; the thought of him being more hut than he already was, was unacceptable. Luckily I was within reach before he toppled over and crashed to the ground. Archie landed on top of me with a grunt, I yowled a little to his added weight.

If I was in my human form, I could have stopped him from toppling over and steady him instead. Seeing as that wasn’t an option with me being in my feline form, I just acted like a cushion. I heard him wince at the sound of bones crunching, he immediately scrabbled away from me.

“Oh, My GOD! Are you okay?” He looked around helplessly, there wasn’t much either of us could do at this stage. He slowly inched his way back over, gently petting my coat. Most likely checking my body for any type of injury I might have sustained during our little tumble.

Unintentionally I let out a purr of contentment, startling Archie. After seeing I didn’t move he resumed his petting. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this shouldn’t happen. I wasn’t one to let anybody touch me willingly, not in my human form and especially not in my feline form.

What makes Archie so different from all the others?

I don’t know. At the moment I don’t particularly care; as long as he keeps up the petting, we’re cool. I will worry about what comes after he stopped petting when we cross that bridge, right now I just want to enjoy it.

I must have dozed off. The sound of Archie’s stomach rumbling brought me back to the present. It felt like only five minutes had passed, but as I look at the position of the sun it proved me wrong. Two hours had passed.

Two freaking hours!

This never happened to me before!

Snarling at my own incompetence, and stupidity I move away from Archie. Who looks sad at the loss of my body heat. I guess I was the only thing keeping him a bit warm. His flimsy shirt and pants couldn’t be too warm now the sun was close to setting. Trying my best to be as threatening as a newborn kitten; I nudged Archie into motion.

We needed to get back to the village, curfew will start soon. Nobody is allowed outside after curfew except the guards on duty. He laughs a little at my antics before slowly but surely getting to his feet. Once he regains his footing, we’re off on our quest. Making it back to the village in one piece would prove to be quite the challenge.

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