I wanted to move, to run out of there, and never look back but my feet wouldn't let me. They betrayed me by remaining put, almost as if someone poured quick-drying cement on them. We just stood there, eyes never wavering. He looked surprised to see me but what did he expect. There was only one pack in this district so obviously, I belonged here; unless he expected me to be a rouge. I knew I'd run into him eventually, I just didn't expect it to be so soon.
From the corner of my eye, I spotted Gino walking toward me, his muscular arm firmly wrapped around the tiny waist of what I assumed was his mate. I decided to break our a little staring contest and meet Gino's sparkling blue orbs instead. His eyes reminded me so much of his brother's.
"Grace, finally decided to come home?" Gino grinned cheekily and I knew Monica must have told him about last night.
Rolling my very dull blue eyes, I punched him playfully in the arm, "Respect your elders little one."
He snickered, "So you're admitting that you're old?"
I flipped him the bird, "Remind me why I put up with your crap again?"
"Because I'm your brother in law and you're meant to put up with me. Do you need another reason besides that?" He shrugged, flicking my nose. At eighteen, the boy towered over be with his six-foot figure and he wasn't done growing yet. He had the same sandy blond hair as his brother and the same blue eyes. Gino had higher cheekbones and softer features, resembling his mother whereas Carter looked a lot like his father when he was alive.
"Brother in law?" The girl next to him quizzed, looking between us with a raised brow.
"Yeah, she's my brother's mate," he beamed but then his smile dropped as he realized what he had just said.
"You're already mated?" The stranger's rough voice demanded an answer. There was an air of authority that surrounded him.
"She is, sort off..." Gino trailed off, "my brother passed on a few years ago but I still regard her as family. If he had been here today she would have been his mate and my sister in law but fate had it that he would die and she would survive."
"Wow, I've never heard of a wolf surviving after their other half has passed on," the girl glued to Gino's hip said. Her chocolate brown eyes shone with interest, "Do you still have a wolf?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Interesting. Very interesting indeed. Don't you think so brother?" She turned to the stranger, offering him an ear to ear smile. It was almost as if she looked at him with so much adoration and pride.
His response came in the form of a curt nod but he continued to stare at me shamelessly. Everybody could see him sweeping his eyes slowly down my frame that had a tank top and shorts. Suddenly, I felt underdressed and wished to have the biggest blanket in this pack house wrapped around me like a breakfast burrito.
Gino cleared his throat, catching everyone's undying attention, "Where are my manners? Grace, this is Cassidy. She's my mate," he beamed then gestured to the stranger, "and this is Alpha Silas Wilde, her brother."
Well, that explained the air of authority that seemed to be suffocating me.
I smiled softly at Cassidy, "Nice to meet you Cassidy. If this boy gives you any trouble, just call me. I know exactly what to do to sort him out," then I turned to Silas, "nice to meet you too. If you guys would excuse me, I need to go."
I could already feel my heart thrumming in my chest. Finally, my legs decided it would move and I all but ran out of the pack house, running into Monica on the way out. She had a cigarette between her lips and her phone in her hand. Giving me a confused look, all I had to do was turn my head toward the entrance of the pack house for her to know exactly what I was running from. Sure enough, Alpha Silas Wilde decided to follow me.
Without a word, Monica shoved me toward the forest lining the pack house and I heard a growl rip through the air, "Stay away from her man, she doesn't want anything to do with you."
I stopped and watched their exchange for a beat, "I suggest you get out of my way," when Monica didn't listen he decided to use his alpha tone which forced her wolf into submission, "Now!" He barked and she moved not even a second later.
I took that as my cue to run for it, deep into the woods. Although my legs were short, I was quite fast on my feet. Training to be a pack warrior taught me how to control my breathing and push myself to my absolute limit without fully burning myself out. After Carter passed, I took his place, and every day I had to prove myself because the male wolves were honestly a piece of shit.
Once I got tired from running on two feet, I shifted mid-sprint into my chocolate brown wolf. My poor clothes tearing to the point of no return.
I heard another set of cracking bones and a howl cut through the air like a knife. Turning around to see how far Silas was from me would be stupid because that would slow me down but unluckily for me, I was the Queen of stupid and decided to glance back anyway, startling myself when I met his glowing purple eyes.
An image flashed in front of my eyes making me lose my concentration. Last night I had seen a flash of his purple wolf orbs but chucked it to being the lights of the club reflecting off his eyes. My paws that once expertly weaved through trees and another forestry in my path caught on something, sending me tumbling down. I let out a cry of pain as another headache swamped my brain.
I placed my head onto the forest floor and placed my paws on top of it, willing the headache to go away. The throbbing pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was blinding and had my wolf wailing in agony.
The feeling of Silas nudging my side with his snout as if to ask 'what's wrong' soothed my headache in the slightest. I whimpered when he pushed my paws away from my head with his snout so he could place his head on mine. The action caused almost all the pain I felt to dissipate.
But, it felt so wrong to be comforted by him!
Once the blinding pain subsided, I abruptly rose to my feet, hitting his jaw hard with my head. His raven-black wolf stumbled back. I perched myself up onto my hind legs and attempted to scratch a claw across his face which he expertly dodged. In no time, I lunged for his jugular with an open mouth but a commanding growl stopped me.
I looked around and found Gino, Monica, and Cassidy standing there. In front of them stood Alpha Rykes, looking at me with the deepest form of disappointment etching itself onto his face.
Alpha Rykes grabbed a set of clothes from Cassidy's hands and another from Monica's, tossing the clothes toward Silas and me, "Head behind the trees and get changed both of you."
My wolf whimpered at his tone, our alpha being mad at us would result in some sort of punishment. Attacking a guest wolf was bad, really bad. I caught Silas rolling his eyes as he used his mouth to pick his clothes up from the ground. As an alpha himself, Rykes' tone did nothing to faze him but out of respect from being on another wolf's territory, he listened.
I picked up my clothes and made sure I was securely hidden behind a tree trunk before shifting back. Monica picked out a tube top and a mini skirt combination that left me feeling very expossed yet again but it really didn't matter. As werewolves, we were accustomed to seeing others naked.
Once I had joined the group I sent a curt nod to Rykes, "Alpha."
"Grace, do you mind explaining yourself. Why were you attacking Alpha Silas?"
I gulped, "He was chasing after me, I thought he was trying to attack me." That was a blatant lie but I'd prefer that being what people heard instead of me fighting the alpha because I didn't want to accept some ridiculous mate bond.
Silas scoffed beside me, "Liar."
I turned around and sent him a penetrating glare, "Were you or were you not chasing after me?"
"I was but only to talk to you. You're my ma—"
"Don't you dare," I gritted, clenching my fists at my sides. I could feel my claws digging into the palms of my hands, "I'm nothing and no one to you. My mate died eight years ago and I will forever mourn his loss so don't come at me with this crap." With that, I turned on my heel and stomped off.
"Where are you going?" Alpha Rykes asked but his tone wasn't its usual demanding alpha voice. He sounded more fatherly than anything else. The man was quite old but in werewolf years was somewhere around his mid-forties. His pepper and salt mixture hair and the vivid wrinkles around his eyes let people know he lived a long, happy life full of laughter.
"I'm going anywhere that doesn't have him within a hundred-mile radius of the place," I sneered, mind linking my mother in advance to expect my visit.
My parents didn't live not too far away from this part of the forest. They had a little cottage of their own away from the pack house. Due to all the parties that the pack house hosts, it gets too rowdy and my parents' preferred the quiet.
Growing up around this area meant that I was an outdoor junky. The fact that the internet reception out here was crappy as hell also played its part. Can't exactly sit on a phone if you have no network. As wolves, we didn't need a phone much because mind linking was just quicker but we all wanted to fit in and if you're like Mono and me, the camera would be the most used app on the phone.
Arriving at my parents' house, I found my mother and our Luna — Alpha Rykes mate and wife — sitting on the porch, "Luna Aphrodite, I didn't expect to see you here."
"Your mom and I were just having tea when you mind linked her that you were coming over so I decided to stay a little while longer to see you. It's been so long, how are you dear?" She woke up from her seat as I ascended the old wooden steps of the porch. Once in front of her, she placed her hands on my shoulders and asked, "You've been out for a run?"
I nodded, "Yes, and I've been good thanks. How are you?"
"So stressed. With this treaty stuff happening, every wolf is on high alert. We don't want the Green Forest pack to ambush us on our territory. That would be bad," she ran a hand through her platinum blonde hair that was cropped into a bob. She looked extremely young for her age, with almost no wrinkles and the perfect clear skin. I was jealous thanks to the dusting of freckles that littered the bridge of my nose.
"We're well trained to handle them," I assured her when my mother abruptly stood up, her chair falling to the ground as she did so.
A scowl found its way to my mother's face, her gray eyes falling on me, "What's this I hear about you finding a mate?"
Yup, It was now officially confirmed: The Moon Goddess hated me.