"Oh River," I called, hurrying over to where he sat by the hot pools. "I have good news for you."
He glanced over his shoulder. "What?"
Taking the spot next to him, I gave him a big smile. "Someone just asked for your name."
His mouth fell open, and he stared at me wide-eyed.
"He was really cute too."
A grin played on his lips. "I... I need to go talk to alpha. Bye." He clambered to his feet and did his best not to run with his tail swishing back and forth.
I'd say today was a success. Parents gone, no problems with Titus, River might even have a mate, and all before dark. Laying back, I watched the light from the lanterns reflect across the ceiling. I just want this to work out for River. He deserved a good man in his life.
Footsteps approached. I turned over to see a black werewolf, but it wasn't Titus.
"Aden," said Jet.
"Hi." I sat up. "Aren't you supposed to at some meeting or dominant party?" I laughed. "That seems to be all you guys have been doing lately."
He shrugged, glancing around. "I slipped out early. I've heard it all before. I'm not new to this like Titus." He sat down.
I scooted back against a boulder and wrapped my arms around my legs. "I'm getting the impression there's a lot that goes into running a pack."
Jet nodded. "It's a job. We don't get to relax all day and just order people around, if that's what you're suggesting."
I shrugged. "Nope. I've never seen Xavier fully relax. He's usually uptight about something."
Shaking his head, Jet laughed softly. "You're a very weird sub. You know that?"
"Hmmm... well Mr. Single, you probably have some quirk yourself."
His laughter grew. "I supposed. I prefer your type over those other two."
"Who? River and Peter?"
He nodded. "Too skittish. Your alpha offered the one, but he's not the boy for me."
"Well, he might be off the market," I stated firmly. "You're loss."
Jet rolled his eyes. "So what happened with you and Titus? I heard he went off the rail and hit you."
Sucking in my cheek, I gazed off across the water. "The hormones got to him."
"They never got to me. Hurting your mate," he shook his head, "it's pathetic. You need to have more control than that to be a leader."
I arched a brow. "He made a mistake. I'm over it."
"Still. If you had been mine, it never would have happened. I'd never treat my mate that way."
"I doubt you're perfect." I stood and dusted off my pants.
"I'd do a better job than your mate."
I scoffed at his comment. "Titus is doing just fine."
"So hurting you to the point WIR got involved, is doing just fine? What kind of delusional world do you live in. He hurt you once; he'll do it again."
Narrowing my eyes, I took in a deep breath. "I'm human born. Things work differently for me, and there's no way in hell Titus would ever hurt me again. Besides the first time was an accident. He didn't mean to do it."
"Accident are usually just cover up for what really happened." He rose to his feet, but I didn't back down to the werewolf.
"Why do you even care?" I snapped. "It's my marriage. It doesn't involve you."
"Do you want it to?" he replied sharply. "Keep up this attitude, and it might."
"Go to hell." I turned to leave.
Jet snatched my arm and slammed me up against the boulder. "Titus is nothing. I am a much better man than him. You can see it in our ranks. Alpha versus beta is never a fair fight."
I exhaled slowly. "Let go of me."
"I don't have to obey you. You're a sub. An omega with a mate."
"Please let go." I searched the area, but we were the only people there.
He released me and braced his arms on either side of my head. "Don't think just because you're mated you can mouth off to anyone you want."
I lowered my gaze. He was close enough I could feel warmth of his breath.
"Like you would know," I muttered.
Grabbing my chin, he jerked it up. "Do you want me to change that? In our world, there is no such thing as divorce, but widows are very common."
"Are you threatening my mate?"
He clenched his jaw, his muscles flexing.
Jet jerked back, and my head snapped over to Darius.
"What are you doing?" the red werewolf asked, his eyes never leaving the other dominant.
I quickly slipped away and grabbed Darius hand as I went for the door.
He didn't move and switched it so he had a hold on me. He pulled me back to his side. "What were you doing?"
Jet smiled. "Just talking. The boy has a bit of a mouth on him." He walked passed.
Darius stood as a barrier between us.
"You might want to inform your brother to not let his mate wander off. For a sub with his attitude, it can dangerous." He disappeared down a tunnel with his tail swaying back and forth.
Darius peered down at me. "Are you alright?"
I nodded. "He just showed up and starting talking." I took a deep breath as my adrenaline started to subside. My hands started to shake. "He just said some stuff, about Titus and it pissed me off. I'm sorry."
"Hey." He pulled me into a hug. "It's alright. Jet's a lot of talk. He's not going to do anything to you."
"Thanks." I stepped back. "I'm going to go back to my room."
"Sounds good." He ruffled my hair. "Don't worry about Jet. I'll take care of it. Alright?"
I nodded. "Thanks."
Arriving at my room, I curled up on the bed and pulled the covers around me. Why would he say things like that to me? Jet had always been on the intimidating side, but I didn't think he was that kind of person. He threatened Titus. I chewed on my fingernail. Telling my mate would just end in a fight. I closed my eyes and ducked under the blankets. Darius would handle it.
It was dark when Titus returned. He slipped up behind me and draped his arm over my waist.
I rolled over and took a deep breath, filling my senses with his scent.
"Did I wake you?"
"Just trying to sleep, but failing," I muttered.
He pulled me tightly to him. "Is something wrong? You look sad."
"I'm tired." I buried my face in his fur. "And just glad that everything's finally going back to normal."
I sat with my in-laws the next morning eating breakfast. The last of the guests were leaving today, and I was ready for Jet to be gone. His pack sat a little ways from us.
"Where Titus?" I asked. "He snuck off this morning, while I was still asleep."
Xavier leaned back with a piece of meat on the end of his claw. "Early morning hunting duty. It's part of his punishment for what happened. I let him have the last couple days off, but he'll be finishing off the rest of three month duration."
"That's a long time to have to get up early," I breathed.
"Well, he doesn't need his beauty sleep," said Darius with a smirk. "Like the pack princess."
I pointed a finger at him. "You know this princess shit is getting really old. It's not funny or cute anymore."
Storm hit his arm. "Darius, enough."
He laughed softly, but at least, he stopped tormenting me.
"How are you feeling today, Storm?" asked Rose.
"Tired, but okay."
The topic turned to pregnancy, and I was done. Far too many details, I didn't care to learn about.
"I'm heading back." I gave them a wave.
I caught Jet's eye, but quickly looked away. I wanted nothing to do with that man ever again. Exiting the chamber, I spotted Titus with a couple other dominants.
"Why is their beta on the early hunt? It's that a job for practically middle ranks."
I glanced at the man who walked by me.
"Punishment for nearly having WIR take his mate."
"Oh, I heard about that. Can't even control his hormones. No wonder his mate ran."
My chest tightened. Looking around, I saw more groups of men and women talking. Once in awhile a member would glance at Titus. Jet walked out of the eating chamber with his father and packmate.
"Looks like your mates back?" he whispered as he passed. "Didn't know your pack expected their future beta to do grunt work, but then again, he can't even take care of his mate properly."
I glared at his back. Oscar noticed, and I quickly bowed my head. We had both made mistakes that day. Titus wasn't the only one at fault. Taking in a deep breath, I straightened up and marched across the main chamber. People started looking, and I wanted them.
"Aden?" said Titus with a smile. "Good to see you're actually awake-"
Snatching his muzzle, I yanked it down to my level and kissed him hard. "You left me this morning."
Titus nodded, still slightly shocked.
I pressed against him and ran my fingers through his fur. "Do you want to go back to our room?" I beamed up at him. If I was going to make this act convincing, I was going to lay it on thick. Rolling my head to the side, I ran my fingers over the scar.
He continued to nod with a growing excitement in his eyes. "Sure."
Grabbing Titus's arm, I put it around my shoulder. I gave Jet a smirk when we passed.
A whistled sounded across the chamber. "Get it, Aden," yelled Darius. "Look at that submissive charm. The sub gots skills."
"Shut up, Darius," I shot back.
Storm smacked him in the stomach. "Leave him alone."
Folding over slightly, the future alpha just laughed. "Way to go princess," he said more as a commitment. And with the wink that followed, I'd say Darius caught on pretty quickly on my announcement to everyone there. Titus was mine, and I wasn't going anywhere.