Chapter 24: Men are Complicated

~This chapter has an unedited version with a sexually explicit scene, which can be read for free on Radish Fiction, or on Wattpad in The Nitty Gritty which can be found on my profile~


"River! River, where are you?" I brushed my dripping hair out of my eyes. The rain had completely soaked through my jacket. I had been searching for him for nearly half an hour "River!" I hurried down a path near a stream.

A scream sounded from behind me.

"River!" I spun around and hurried toward it. I arrived to find Troy kneeling on the ground by an overgrown bush.

"I'm not going to hurt you." He reached for the golden werewolf. "I'm here to help. Please, River."

The golden wolf scooted back.

I went to Troy's side. "River?"

"Aden," River breathed. Lunging forward, he wrapped his arms around me.

"It's alright." I rubbed his back. "Everything's fine." I held him out in front of me. "You're shaking. Come on. Let's go inside and dry off."

He nodded and stood. I kept my arm around him as we went back to the mansion. Troy followed. We stepped inside and head to the front entryway. My mate and Xavier met us there with a maid, carrying a stack of towels. She passed them out.

I took off my jacket and handed it to the maid. Titus put a towel around my shoulders and used another to dry my hair. I pressed against him. His fur was dry and warm and held drive the cold out of my frozen fingers. River stood with his head down, holding one to his muzzle.

Xavier folded his arms, peering down his nose at the boy. "Do you know how much trouble you cause?"

The golden werewolf's tail wrapped around his leg. "I'm sorry."

Xavier sighed. "I let things get carried away. It's my fault. Come here." The alpha pulled River to his side. "You worried me." He put his hands on the werewolf's shoulders. "Do you know how anger my mate would have been if something had happened? She would have been cross with me for months."

"I'm sorry," the werewolf said softly.

"It's fine. It's over." Xavier took the towel and scrubbed it over the boy's head. His eyes landed on Troy. "I spoke with your brother."

The tall man rubbed the back of his neck. "As soon as I can."

The alpha nodded. "Come on. Let's get you both cleaned up."

We went back to our rooms. The alpha took River to the other bathroom as Titus and I took a shower together. I took off my dripping clothes and wrung them out in the tub. Titus already had the water going when I stepped into the stall. Shower heads sprayed us from every which way. One poured like a waterfall over our heads. The hot water made my skin prickle, but it felt too good to wait until I was used to the temperature. I laid my head on his chest and put my arms around his waist.

Titus shifted to human. "You're freezing."

"I'll warm up quick enough," I replied. "When are we leaving?"

He put his arms around me. "My dad calmed down a bit, so I'm not sure. Trevor tracked us both down and apologized. David will be punished for what he said. Trevor is pretty much the alpha already. The current one is just taking his time to step down." His eyes met mine. "I found out he called River a dog. That's what set my dad off."

"Oh, wow," I breathed. "Not something to say to a werewolf."

He gave me a stern look. "Never do. It's the worst insult you could say to my kind."

I nodded. "I wasn't planning on it." Letting out a deep breath, I relaxed into him. "Who's David?"

"The man looking for a mate."

"Hmmm... I'd be okay if you kicked his ass," I said plainly.

This David sounded like a Chris type, only caring about appearances and looking good, so he probably needed a good ass kicking.

"My dad already did. He didn't tell us everything that happened. There was a bit of a fight earlier."

"Oh, makes sense why he was so riled up."

"Yeah." Titus's ran his hands down to my hips and squeezed. "So about earlier, do you feel like continuing?"

I smiled. "What if River comes in? I doubt he wants to sleep in the same room as your dad."

Titus whined like a hurt pup. "Please. I need to release some stress."

I pulled his chin down to my level and gave him a kiss. "Well, the bathroom door is locked."

***

I woke up from the sunlight peeking through the curtains and hitting my face. Groaning, I rolled over and rubbed my new scar. River laid fast asleep with his golden fur sticking up in all directions. I shifted my weight. I had on shorts. Though, I wasn't the one who put them on. Falling onto my back, I stared at the ceiling. This place was nice, but I was ready to go home. Midfield reminded me a lot of high school, and that wasn't a fun time for me.

"Aden," whispered River.

"Hmmm?"

"Did Titus say anything last night?"

I glanced over at him. "About what?"

He shrugged. "I don't know. I don't understand why the alpha's seemed so happy that I was rejected. He's usually really frustrated when I'm told no."

I moved onto my side. "He might have another man lined out for you."

River hid his muzzle in a pillow. "I'm done with men for a while. I just want to go back to my cave and hid from everyone."

Chuckling, I patted his head. "I know the feeling."

He peeked over at me. "It's easier being an omega than dealing with them."

I laughed harder. "It's not that bad."

"It's worse." He groaned into the pillow. "They're so complicated."

"Yes, they can be." Pulling back the covers, I climbed out of bed and stretched out my arms. Snatching a shirt along the way, I went to the bathroom and returned to find Xavier and Titus. "Good morning." I went to my mate and kissed his cheek. "I'll change, and then we can go eat."

Titus pulled me to him so my back was pressed against his chest. He draped his arms over my shoulders. "Just a minute."

I looked up at him, confused.

"Just a minute," he repeated with a smirk. "You don't want to miss it."

Xavier tapped his finger on his arm as River sat on the bed fidgeting. I think he knew as little about what was going on as me. We all just stood there waiting in awkward silence.

A knock sounded on the door. The alpha opened it.

"Hi," said a deep voice. "David made his choice."

River sat frozen on the bed.

Xavier smiled and waved the man through. Troy entered and took a deep breath.

"River," said the alpha.

The boy peered up at him.

"This is Troy, and he has something to ask you."

The tall man moved closer to the bed. "Hi, like your alpha said my name's Troy. I'm a dominant of Midfield. My brother is actually the next alpha. I'll still be living in the mansion with him, though, overseeing pack finances. I have a master in economics. I went to a human school even to get it."

River just stared with a perplexed expression. I didn't understand where he was going with this, and I doubt River even knew what the word economics meant.

"I know it's not a cave." He glanced around the room. "Everything here is new and Xavier said you didn't have a chance to go to school to learn much about humans, but I just noticed you while I was at Northern Ridge." Troy moved a little closer, making the werewolf leaned back. "I think you're beautiful River. You just have this curiosity and joy for life that I really like."

The golden werewolf blinked up at him.

"I'd like to get to know you better," he swallowed hard, "and maybe potentially you'd consider becoming my mate."

River's muzzle fell open. He covered his mouth with his hand, and happy tears started to form in his eyes. It was really happening. River was getting a mate.

I smiled contently and folded my arms. I knew it. Troy had the hots for my packmate. I knew it from the moment he asked for River's name.

"So will you?" Troy sucked in his cheek, seeming strangely nervous for a dominant.

River nodded. "Okay."