Comfortably Numb

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Chapter 31

I haul in a deep breath, enjoying the feel of satin soft sheets beneath my cheek. The comforting smell of Ryker surrounds me, bathing me in the scent of oak trees, thunderstorms and sunshine. I stretch, but can't move as much as I had expected.

Suddenly remembering that the last thing I was doing was standing in the kitchen wrapped up in Rykers arms, I freeze.

A chuckle breaks the silence in the room, and I realize with a shock that arms are wrapped around my waist. How I didn't realize sooner, I don't know. From the sparks and the scent around me I know that they belong to Ryker.

"You passed out in my arms a little while after everyone else went to bed..." he whispers, placing a gentle kiss to the space behind my ear. His voice is thick with sleep, rough and delicious. I gasp and push away from him, flushing pink. He lets me create some space between us before sitting up and leaning back against his headboard. He smiles down at me and my heart kicks up a notch at the beauty of his lopsided grin.

I glance around the room, noticing that peaks of sunlight are just shining into the room - into Ryker's room. He'd opened his curtains at some point, allowing the bright light to spill in. My eyes dance along the walls, memorizing every photo, every trophy, every piece of him. I glance back down to our position and feel my face grow hotter. Although he is now sitting beside me instead of underneath me, we are still tangled up in his sheets- in his bed!

"W-What time is it?" I whisper, darting my eyes around the room, trying to look at anything other than the expanse of tan skin stretched out beside me.

Ryker brushes my hair back and gently guides my chin up until I am looking deep into his eyes.
"Just after 9" he draws circles on my shoulder, sparks dancing everywhere he touches me.

"You can sleep more, you know." He leans forward and rubs his nose against mine. "I wouldn't mind keeping you locked up here for the rest of the day..." as he speaks his eyes shine brighter, gold melting into the brown. I blush impossibly hotter and press my hands to his pecks- purposefully ignoring the fact that I'd just had my face pressed against the same place- and try to shove myself further away from him.

"N-no that's o-ok." I stutter. He frowns but lets me push myself up.

"I h-have to get ready f-for the c-call...." I trail off. Ryker nods and shifts so he's impossibly close to me again. His closeness wreaks havoc on my heart, sending it into a frenzy.

"Ok. We'll go down and get ready then." He presses a gentle kiss to my forehead before he throws the covers back and starts walking to the door. I flush as I realize he is only wearing boxers- somehow I hadn't noticed that last night. My eyes trail the length of his back without my permission, taking stock of every indentation and every freckle the length of his back. My wolf whispers to me, pushing ideas of tracing my tongue through the indentation at his shoulders and brushing my hands along the thick corded muscles. I find myself fighting the urge to pant as my eyes travel lower, following the delicious curve of his ass. His ass looks like something carved by the gods, rock hard and extremely grab-able.

"Better stop ogling me like that," he groans. I flick my eyes up, surprised to see his head turned to face me. His eyes are glowing a molten gold, making the urge to pant impossibly stronger. "Or I'm going to have to keep you locked up in this room until my scent is so ingrained In yours no one will ever question who you belong to." He finishes.

My heart takes off in a flutter and I bite my lip to hold in the moan that is inexplicably trying to escape my chest. He's insinuated that I belong to him, and even though the idea makes my human side shake with terror, my wolf is howling in victory at his claim.

He groans again and stalks back the few steps he had managed to get away.

His hands burrow into my hair, gently coaxing my head up. I shiver at the feel and he smirks down at me. He leans himself closer, gently guiding me towards the edge of the bed by his soft grip on my hair until he is standing between my legs, so close I can feel his body heat rolling off of him. Not close enough to touch, but so close it is driving me insane. I can't stop the moan anymore as his left hand releases its grip on my hair and dances down my neck. It brushes against my arm and finally slides into place in the middle of my back. My body burns a few degrees warmer, and I can't stop myself from leaning into him. Our chests collide, and I moan again despite my attempts to stop the sound.

Sparks fly against my skin from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. A growl slips from Ryker's parted lips and he leans down another inch until I can feel his hot breath on my lips. I gasp for air and let my eyelids drift shut. He moans in appreciation, and licks his lip. His tongue dances along my bottom lip as he does. I part my lips, panting for air and Ryker groans again. He traces his tongue along his lip again, and I quiver.

"Alpha says you'd better hurry up if you want to— Woah." Rowan whips the door open only to freeze when he sees our position.

"Get out." Ryker rips his face away from mine to turn and growl at his best friend. I feel the growl to my toes, and feel my head tilt back a little in awe of the powerful sound. Rowan laughs and turns to look over his shoulder.

"I think we'd better get started Alpha! Ryker and Andy are a little bizzay!" He calls. I gasp and push Ryker away from me. He lets me with a frown.

I step around Ryker's massive body, being careful to not let my eyes drift over his body again. I run my fingers through my long hair, trying to flatten it and forget the feeling of Rykers hand twined between the strands. My wolf howls in anger as I start stepping away from him, screaming for me to press myself against him and follow through on his threat to keep me locked in the bedroom for the rest of the day. My fingers tremble in my hair, every fibre of my being fighting my commands to walk away from him. I shiver but press on, focusing on each step with more attention than is actually required.

Rowan laughs and starts walking away. "Never mind! I think I ruined the mood!" Downstairs, I hear multiple people chuckling, only furthering my blush. I stomp towards Rowan as he heads towards the stairs.

"R-Rowan!" I call. He turns to raise his eyebrow at me, and I lunge forwards, latching onto his bare chest. I grab his right nipple between my index finger and thumb and twist.
"Ouch!" He squeals. Behind me, Ryker laughs.

"D-don't be an idiot." I scold, releasing his now purple nipple. He places his hand over it and hisses, turning back towards the stairs.

Ryker comes up behind me and flings his arm around my shoulder. He's beaming, a warm light glowing behind his skin.

"So... you wouldn't do that to me, right?" He teases. I lift my head to glare at him. His eyes are shining too, lust and laughter battling. I roll my eyes and tug myself away from him a little, just so I can actually breathe.

I try to harden my voice, but it still comes out breathy. "M-maybe you should put on a shirt, idiot."
He's managed to find a new pair of low hanging jeans, but his chest is still bare. This is proving to be a huge problem for me, as my wolf is fighting me to take over and run her tongue over the hard planes of his chest.

He chuckles and guides me down the stairs.
"You love it." He smirks down at me as we hit the bottom step and I roll my eyes, but don't argue.

"Ah good, you made it." Alpha Cardinal stands from his seat at the dining room table, motioning us to enter. The table has stacks of pancakes, a big silver platter of scrambled eggs, a tray of bacon, a tray of sausage and four different kinds of juice spread out. There are ten plates set, and there are eight people already seated at the table. Ryker and I sink into the last two available chairs, and Ryker makes me blush one last time as he pulls my chair out for me.

I smile at Arrow beside me before glancing around the table.

Alpha Cardinal is sitting at the head of the table, his husband to his left. Ryker is sitting to his right, and me beside him. Arrow is to my left and Rowan is at the other end of the table, facing the Alpha, and beside Arrow. Blake sits beside him, and the Gamma to his left. A woman I have never met before is sitting between the Gamma and Beta Deacon. I give a polite smile to everyone I can before focusing on the empty plate in front of me.

"Ok everyone dig in. After breakfast we will discuss what has to happen today." The Alpha hums before reaching for the orange juice in front of him and pouring himself a glass.

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After breakfast, everyone helps clean the dishes. The air feels awkward and uncomfortable, and has since the Alpha had ordered us to eat. I had fidgeted in my seat for the beginning of the meal, only stilling when Ryker rested his hand on my thigh. I can still feel the heat from his hand, and my wolf is trying to take control from me so she can have her wicked way with him.

Mate! She screams. Need mate!

She keeps flashing dirty images in my brain and I feel my face flushing. I try to push her out, but she just fights me harder. Rapid fire images of tan arms, Ryker's lips dancing down my neck, his fingers wrapped around my waist and his shirtless body flash in front of me non stop. She's been thinking about the same things since we'd left the bedroom, and I am getting to the point that I can't pretend they aren't affecting me anymore.

It doesn't help that Ryker's eyes have been a hot molten gold the entire breakfast, and the heat of his hand has felt suffocating on my thigh.

I feel like tearing my hair out. I am so hot- my body feels like it is on fire. My wolf sends my scorching images of her imaginary Ryker- Bare chested and standing under the shower head.

That would cool us down.... she teases.

"Andy" my brother calls. I whip my head to look at him, and blush when I realize everyone is staring at me. I can feel Rykers gaze in particular, burning over my skin like spotlights. I clench my jaw, trying desperately to ignore my body's burning.

"Hmm?" I question. Blake rolls his eyes and repeats his question.

"Are you ready for us to contact the Midnight Rising pack?" Immediately, ice drops into my veins. All thoughts of pleasure and Ryker fly out of my brain. I feel like my heart has stopped and dread and worry effectively replace the tight knot in the pit of my stomach.

Was I ready to find out more information on the monster that was still hunting me? No, but it's not like I really had a choice. Was I ready to possibly look at the woman who might be helping that monster? No, but again it wasn't really up to me.

"I-I guess...." I whisper. Blake nods before turning to the Alpha. Alpha Cardinal frowns before leaving the room. Moments later, he returns with his laptop. He sets the machine down on the now clear table and opens the lid.

"I'm going to video chat with the Alpha. For now," he flicks his eyes to me, "I want you out of view of the monitor. You too, Blake. We don't know what exactly this pack knows about Seth, or what they know about you. Ryker, Nick and Bruce you guys can sit wherever you can see the screen." The men nod before everyone rearranges to allow me and Blake to be out of view, and Arrow moves so she is beside me.

Rowan sinks into a chair beside Ryker, just out of view of the monitor. Arrow smiles weakly at me and I return it.

"It's going to be ok..." she whispers. I jerk my head in a rough nod and we both turn to look at the alpha, his beta and gamma flanking him, just behind. Ryker is in front of the gamma, to the right of his dad. He smiles at me reassuringly before focusing back on the screen.

I glance around, noticing that Luna Cardinal and the woman have disappeared at some point. The woman had been introduced at breakfast, apparently she was the beta's mate, but I had forgotten her name instantly with how badly my body had been burning because of Ryker.

Alpha Cardinal sucks in a deep breath before typing into his laptop. A moment later, the signature Skype ring starts playing. After three rings, the sound cuts out and a deep voice rings out.

"Alpha Ben, how have you been?"

"Not too bad, Ajax. Yourself?" Alpha Cardinal smiles down at the screen. It would have been a convincing smile if I couldn't see the stress in his shoulders, or the shift in his jaw.

"We've all been pretty good here. Family's good?"
"Everyone's as good as can be expected. And your mate?"
"Shelley's doing great. Thanks for asking." I hear something shifting from the computer screen. "I can see from all the people you've got gathered behind you there that this isn't exactly a social call?" Ajax questions. Before he's finished, Alpha Cardinal is nodding.

"I'm afraid not, Ajax. We've actually got a bit of a weird situation...." He glances towards his son and then back to the screen. "A member of our pack has recently come forward with an issue, and we're trying to understand all of the complexities."

"And I can help with that?" Ajax sounds confused.

"Well, most of it. And one of your pack members might be able to fill in the rest of the blanks."
"What kind of situation are you talking about?"

I bite my lip. Was this Man to be trusted? Was he helping my enemy?

"Maybe it's best if we explain what we do know, and while we do you call in the others we need to talk to?" Rykers voice brings me back from the brink of insanity. I focus on him to ground myself.

"Ok. Who do you need?"

"Her name is Kelly Myers-Tilcox. She should be married to delta-"

"Delta Clarke, I know. Why do you want to talk to Kelly?" Ajax interrupts, confused.

"It's about her brother, Seth." Alpha Cardinal glosses over the words, and glances up to me to give me a brief reassuring smile.

"I'll get Kelly. If you don't mind, I'd like to include my beta, gamma and Kelly's mate as well." His voice is ice, murderous. My heart freezes at the tone.

"Call whoever you want, Alpha Ajax." Alpha Cardinal clips. No doubt he recognized the same Ice that I had.

Alpha Cardinal hangs up the call to let the other alpha call in his team. Ten minutes pass and I start getting nervous- what if they were taking their time to get their stories straight?

Ryker keeps shooting me nervous glances, but I am frozen, unable to respond. All of my fears are taking over, and everything is becoming too much.

"Andy." He rumbles. Numb, I glance up from my lap.

"No one is going to hurt you. I promise you're going to be ok." I nod blindly.

"Andy." He calls me again. I focus back on him.

"Breathe. In" he demonstrates, "and out" his chest falls as he exhales.

I copy him, but feel no relief. We continue in the pattern until the line rings, and suddenly all air escapes me.

Alpha Cardinal shoots me a concerned look before accepting the call.
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