Micah sat in his usual spot waiting for her to come in. What was so special about her? That was the question. His Alpha would tell him that he was chasing his tail. But he didn’t think so. There was just something about the small human woman that visited the coffee shop every morning. She would come in, usually alone, order her coffee and have a seat. She almost always had a stack of heavy books with her. He growled softly to himself, wondering why no young man was offering to carry them for her. Then he growled again, thinking of another showing interest in her.
“Beta? Is everything ok? I heard you growl. If something or someone has offended you.....” Micah waved the owner away without an explanation. After all, how could he explain something that he himself didn’t understand.
Then she walked in. Today was cold. The threat of snow having shut down the college town. With a severe winter storm in the forecast for tonight, any were scurrying home to stay warm. Not his girl.......His girl? Where had that come from? She was carrying the usual heavy books and this time there was a young man with her.
Micah listened, knowing he shouldn’t eavesdrop, but that didn’t stop him. “Victoria, you should come stay at my house. My mom already has a room ready for you. That shabby, rundown excuse for an apartment is a deathtrap. It’s not fit to rent to a dog, let alone a human. How your landlord gets away with that is beyond me. As your cousin, I demand that you come stay with us.” When Micah heard ‘cousin’ he relaxed a little. However, he was still all ears, listening about this girls apartment. He waited to see if she would speak. What he saw blew him away. She was using hand gestures to speak. No, not gestures, words. Sign language. Victoria, it appeared, was mute.
Just then a group of girl in clothes that were too tight, with too much makeup on and showing way too much skin, came in. One of them noticed Victoria and immediately started making fun of her. “Hey girls, look! It’s the dummy and her cousin. You’re pathetic, Vicky. You know that? You so stupid that you can’t even learn to talk. Only stupid people can’t talk.” As the girl walked away snickering, Micah had decided that he had had enough. Rising to his full height of 6′7, he walked over to the girl who was currently trying to torment Victoria.
When the girl realized that he was headed her way she licked her lips in what she thought was a suggestive manner. In reality, it looked like what it was. An obvious ploy for sexual attention. As he walked closer she batted her eyelashes at him, and sidled up to him and began to rub herself against him in a very blatant way.
“Hello Beta Micah. Is there something that I can do for you, personally?” Looking up at Micah she fluttered her eyelashes again.
“Stupid, silly girl. You devalue yourself. To offer freely what should belong to your mate is a disgrace and you sicken me. Stop rubbing yourself on me. You aren’t even pretty with all of that caked on makeup. Your clothes are too tight and you offer a view of what should only be for your mate.” Micah snarled at the girl. Hearing his anger, she quickly moved away from him, but he wasn’t done with her or her friends yet. “That girl, the one you were picking on. Why do you do that? You know how the Alpha feels about bullies. If you are reported anymore, you will be put on omega duties for a month, or until the Alpha has determined that you have learned some humility and compassion for those different than you. Do I make myself clear, girl?” Micah snarled down at the girl who was, by now, terrified.
“Ye-yes Beta, sir. I’m sorry, sir. We were just having a bit of fun.” At his growl, she tried another tactic. “It won’t happen again sir. I promise.”
“See that it doesn’t. You know what happens to people in this pack who are considered oath-breakers, don’t you?” At her nod, Micah dismissed the girl and turned to face Victoria.
“Oh shit. We’ve done it now. We’ve attracted the attention of the Beta. He’s a beast since his wife died.” Victoria looked terrified, while her cousin looked like he was going to pass out.
Micah approached them with a casualness that he was far from feeling. She was young, he realized. Maybe nineteen or twenty. While her cousin was not much older. Stopping in front of her, he looked down. She was also smaller than he expected. Wolves were usually tall and very fit. Muscular, some abnormally so. Being a beta meant that he was tall and had heavy muscles on his body. He knew that he was fierce looking with his thick black beard, long black hair and tattoos. It was enough to scare most wolves, let alone people.
He sniffed. That’s odd. She didn’t smell like wolf, but she didn’t smell completely human, either.
“She’s half-human, sir.” A quiet voice told him. Micah swung his gaze form Victoria to her cousin. “If I may sir?” At his nod, the boy continued. “Victoria’s mother is a human, her father is Warrior David. ”
Micah remembered the warrior. He was strong and a good fighter. He remembered hearing him talk about his little human mate and about how much he loved her. Outward signs of affection were common among packs. He also remembered when she died of cancer. It had almost broke the strong warrior. Micah remembered David telling him during training one day that the only thing that kept him going was his daughter. He had sympathized with the warrior. While Elizabeth had not been his mate, he had loved her a great deal, ad her death had been a devastating blow to him. Micah raised his hand to lay it on Victoria’s shoulders. Then it happened,
Tingles. Up and down his arm and straight to his heart. Victoria must have felt them as well. However, she seemed ever more terrified than before. “Why is she afraid of me? She’s my mate. I would never harm her.”
“Allow me to explain, sir. My name is Jeffrey, sir. I believe you know my mom and dad, Henry and Elaine Davis. Anyway, allow me to translate.” Jeffrey turned to Victoria and began a conversation. Turning back to the beta, Jeffrey gave the explanation that tore at Micah’s heart, even though he understood quite well.
“Well sir, it seems that she’s afraid that you’re going to drag her to your home and claim her and keep her there. She has only her finals left to take and then she will be finished with college. She’s aware that some wolves have claimed their mates while still in high school and have not allowed them to finish. This is her fear.” Jeffrey was expecting the big beta to get angry, instead, he pulled Victoria to him in a hug and gently kissed the top of her head.
“I’m sorry, young one. A lot of wolves do do that. However, even ow the Alpha and I are working on changing attitudes towards mating and trying to get the council to raise the mating age to at least eighteen. That way, more girls have a chance to at least finish high school. I understand your fear. You will indeed finish college. An education is a great thing. However, I will need to mark you soon. I’m a beta and we tend to be more dominant than a lot of the other wolves. I won’t take to to our mating bed until you finish school, though. OK?”
Turning to Jeffrey once more, Micah looked to the young man for more answers. “What’s wrong with Victoria’s throat. Why doesn’t she talk?”
“The night her mother died, she screamed for so long that it damaged her vocal cords. The doctors, both human and wolf, don’t know if she will ever speak again. The fact that it’s been five years is not encouraging, according to the doctors. They said that if time doesn’t heal, then nothing will. I;m sorry sir, but she;s probably going to be mute for the rest of her life.” Jeffrey hung his head, reliving the sadness of the prognosis all over again.
Placing a finger under her chin, Micah raised Victoria’s face so that she was looking directly at him. “I don’t care if you can speak or not. You’re my mate and I will care for you and love you until I die. Your ability to speak, or in this case, lack of ability, has no bearing on that whatsoever. Do you understand me, Victoria? It doesn’t change a thing. Now the weather is taking a turn for the worst and I want you where I know you will be safe and warm. And according to your cousin, your apartment isn’t it. You will come home with me and stay there until you can resume your classes and finish your finals next week.” When Victoria opened her mouth and started to grunt, Micah placed a finger gently over her lips and spoke. “I made you a promise and I intend to keep it. However, I cannot and will not rest knowing you live in a hovel when I have a home with plenty of rooms. There is a large bedroom next to mine that has a connecting both. You will stay there. NO arguments, Victoria.”