By the time we had finished, four hours had gone by and Theo had managed to get me on the ground twice. He hasn’t beaten me yet but still a great improvement from the last time we had sparred. I had confidence that by the end of next year, maybe even earlier if he kept at the pace he was going, he’d finally beat me.
An hour had gone by since I’d sent him home to the pack house with instructions to rest and come back tomorrow morning at the same time. Tomorrow I wanted to see if his senses had increased like his fighting skills. For now, I was chopping wood at the side of my cabin on an old stump. The rhythmic movements of my arms and the sound of splitting wood brought me a rare piece of relaxation. Rare because as a creature born blended so completely with her wolf, one was never able to truly relax. Although patterns and rhythmic motions always seemed to do the trick for me.
With every swing, my chest heaved in exertion and my breath left my body in small white clouds. The temperature had to be below forty but it didn’t affect me as much as it should have. My body ran even hotter to adjust to the temperature in my environment. Much like when a wolf sheds it’s winter coat or grows one, my human body temperature is regulated to the weather I experienced.
Placing another block of wood on the stump, I tried to ignore the tread of someone’s shoes as they walked the path to my cabin. Sighing as my axe got stuck in the wood, I place it on the ground. Putting a foot on the log and gripping the handle tight, I tried to yank the axe out. The footsteps got closer to the entrance of the clearing right as I pulled it free of the log. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I leaned the axe over my shoulder and walked to the front of the cabin to meet the intruder.
As I rounded the corner of the cabin to the front, I caught sight of Ryan walking up the dirt path to the door. Taking this moment, I stopped just out of view to watch him. Ryan seemed overly cheerful for some reason, black locks bouncing around his neck and ears as he walked. He was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans, timberlands and a brown hoodie pulled up around his neck. For being a Beta the cold always got to him a little more than the average shifter.
When he was just a few feet from the porch stairs, I stepped out and into view. Hearing the crunch of my footsteps, his head turned in my direction. Chocolate colored eyes went wide as they took in my form and then like a blind deer his boot hit a rock in the path. Causing all six feet and four inches of solid male to fall face first into the dirt. Unable to control myself, I busted out into a raspy laughter. Ryan stayed face down on the floor as I laughed making my way closer to him.
Taking the axe off my shoulder, I nudged his back with the flat side of the blade, “Hey. You break your neck? Do I need to call the Doc?”
Ryan turned his head to the side pressing his cheek further into the ground to peer up at me, “Rude. I know you can hear my heart beating.”
I shook my head and suppressed more laughter that wanted to bubble up, “You can heal a broken neck, Ryan. We’re shifters, remember?”
His cheeks turned red along with his ears, “Right, of course. I knew that.”
I hummed in reply as I watched him slowly pick himself up off the ground. While he dusted off his jeans, I walked to the side a bit and leaned the axe up against the stairs.
“Where’s your, uh, shirt?”
I turned around to face him, wanting to watch his expressions. They were always written so plainly across his face, “Hanging off the side of the porch.” I took it off earlier when it had gotten too hot to chop wood in a long sleeve. So, I was only in a sports bra and sweatpants.
Ryan’s eyes dipped to my chest before shooting back up to meet my eyes, “Why are you shirtless though? I mean it’s your house, you can do whatever you want. And I’m not complaining, er, that is to say there’s nothing to complain about. But people could be walking by and that’d be bad. Not! Bad as in you look bad but bad as in they’d see you. Your bodys, uhh, fantasy worthy. Oof, no. Wait. I mean-”
Oh great. He was pacing in small circles now, “Ryan.”
“-Other’s shouldn’t be looking at your chest glistening in sweat-”
Glistening in sweat? ”Ryan."
“-because only I should see it. Oh Moon! I meant-”
Only him? “Ryan!”
He stopped his pacing to look in my direction, “Yes?”
I sighed while rubbing at my temples, “You’re confusing me with all of your words. Why are you here?”
“Oh, right.” He stuck his hand into his hoodie pocket and thrusted three small slips of paper at me, “I offered to come by and give you the notes. Now you don’t have to go up the main house. I know all the noise still hurts your ears.”
Something warm sparked in my chest as I tilted my head at his words, he noticed? I thought I had hid it well.
Once again he lifted the papers for me to take causing his scent to waft off him. Oranges and mint. Taking a quick inhale of his scent because it was one of the very few male scents I liked, I responded, “Thanks.”
As I took them from him, he said, “They’re in the order we got them. But I have to say, it was really hard for me to not fucking burn them as soon as I read them.”
Raising a brow at his unusual moment of gruffness, I read the notes causing all of the men in my life to go cave wolf on me. Each of the small notes had two lines:
You have a Feral Born bitch in your pack. An abomination that must be exterminated.
Kaiya, the Feral Whore, must die. It is only with her death and others like her that the moon will forgive us.
Alpha Otis, send the impurity down the mountain beyond your territory for us to slay. You have until the next blood moon to fulfil our request.
Huh. So a new group of what sounds like a radical religious sect of shifters wanted me dead. “I’m disappointed. I thought death threats were supposed to be more....threatening.”
Ryan growled at my words, “Are you seriously joking about this, Kaiya? They know your name.”
I handed the notes back to him and started climbing the stairs, “Yes. I am. Because there is always someone who wants me dead, I’m used to this. Besides the blood moon’s two months from now.”
His footsteps pounded up the stairs behind me as I snatched up my shirt and started tugging it on. As I was adjusting it, Ryan started blabbering. “Yea? Well I’m not. Whoever these people are they want you dead and that can’t happen. You can’t die on me, like ever. We need more shifters on patrol and you need a guard at all times. I volunteer to be that guard.”
I abruptly stopped causing Ryan to bump into me before I rounded on him, “I never said we wouldn’t be adding people to patrol but I don’t need a guard.”
His chest brushed mine as he took a deep breath, “Fine but at least take someone on patrol with you.”
I narrowed my eyes as I looked up at him, “I don’t need protecting.”
Ryan cleared his throat before tugging at his collar, “Look. If you don’t take someone on patrol with you, I won’t get any sleep.”
“Not my problem.”
He was quiet for a moment before giving me a shocking sly smile, “If I don’t get any sleep, then I’ll be tired during meetings. Important meetings. And as Beta I have a say on what is decided in those meetings.”
“And?” I asked, raising a brow at his elongated explanation. Couldn’t he just say what he meant? What was so hard about that?
“No sleep equals poor pack decisions.”
Snarling deeply, I stepped into his chest looking him straight in the eyes, “Are you using the packs safety to manipulate me?”
His nostrils flared and his eyes swirled black, “If it stops you from being stupid and stubborn, yea. Moon, you smell good.”
Time seemed to slow down as his words sunk into my head and made it spin. Stupid. He just called me stupid. I wasn’t stupid. I wasn’t stupid. Something in my chest pinched tightly at the words. Angry, I swung out and connected with his bearded jaw. “Fuck. You.”
As he stumbled back and fell down the porch stairs, I watched unfazed in my fury. Screw trying to manipulate me, calling me stupid? I knew Ryan was odd but I had never thought of him as mean. He groaned as he hit the last stair and landed on his ass in the dirt.
Ryan snapped his head up to look at me with wide brown eyes as he clutched at his jaw, “What the hell, Kaiya?”
"I. Am not. Stupid." Feeling my eyes burn, I quickly turned around and walked into my cabin as he frantically got to his feet.
“Fuck! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean it like that! Kaiya! I forgot, plea-”
The front door of my cabin snapped shut violently behind me.
Ohhhh Snap. Looks like all that talking finally got Ryan into trouble. And right when they were having a lil tiny moment too. I know some of you might find her reaction to being called stupid immature but everyone has a trigger word. Stupid just happens to be hers and it’ll be explained later on.
As always, feel free to like or comment!
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