*Warning: Strong Language*
A gentle tap.
The heifer sauntered out of the gate. He watched her wander back into the large field outside the small milking barn. Her speckled body blended in to the rest of the herd. They moved almost like swarm of bees. Soft mooing and happy snorts.
With a grunt, he moved around the recessed floor. Gathering t-cups and disconnecting milk tanks, he carried it all across the way to the processing barn. Another farm hand quickly relieved him of the tanks. He walked around back and grabbed a hose. He did a rough wash down of the t-cups, making sure to get as much foreign substance off as possible.
As he shook the water off, he felt a vibration in his back pocket. A pause. Another vibration again.
Someone was calling him.
He let it go. It was something to deal with later. Walking back into the processing barn, he neatly arranged the equipment in an industrial sterilizer. He grabbed the other equipment farm hands had brought in and started loading those too.
The vibration started again. For a second time he let it go. When the sterilizer was near filled, it started up again.
With a frustrated sigh, he locked the lid, pressed the green button, and headed out the back door he'd come in.
Leaning against the barn, he pulled out his phone.
Three missed calls from Bob.
Quickly redialing, he put the phone to his ear.
“Bout time you picked up.”
The tone in his voice sent a shiver down his spine.
“What's going on, Bob?”
“They're trackin' you.”
A tightening in his throat.
“Tanisha just called, they about roughed her up for info.”
He pressed his hand to his face. Guilt turned into a rock sitting heavy in his chest.
“Is she alright?” He choked out.
“You know how she is, that southern belle doesn't take shit.”
That wasn't comforting.
“It seems like they haven't got a clue where to start. But eventually they'll find threads.”
He cleared his throat, trying to get the invisible hand to loosen it's grip.
“Then I'm going to assume they're still in Washington.”
“Sounds like it.”
His hand ran down his face. He used his fingers to rub the tight muscle of his jaw.
“Tell Tanisha I'm sorry.” He said quietly.
“She won't take that, you know she's got a soft spot for you.”
“If they find you, just send them my way. I don't want them to give you any trouble.”
“Can't guarantee I'll do that…”
He took a deep breath.
“You need to prepare.”
“There's no point.”
“You can't keep running.”
“It's all I can do.”
“What about Byron's pack? Not getting any back up from them?”
Danny filled his mind. The guilt got heavier.
“I'm not going to ask that of them, there doesn't need to be any unnecessary death.”
A long grunting sigh on the the other end.
“I'll keep you updated. But seriously Chris, take care of yourself. I'm always here if you need anything.”
“Thanks, Bob.” He croaked out.
“No problem. Take it easy.”
He stared at the screen as the profile flashed then faded. A sickness was crawling through him. His heart hurt from beating so hard. Mind wild with fear. A strong primal instinct to preserve his life started pounding at his skull.
It was only a matter of time.
His days were numbered.
Trying to swallow down the urge to vomit, he shoved the phone into his back pocket. Forcing his body to respond through the intense adrenaline dump, he struggled through the end of his shift.
His thoughts kept swapping from his returning nightmare and the kiss from the night before.
The pack didn't need to pay for consequences he should pay alone. He wasn't worth the trouble.
He was going to have to run.
Where would he go this time?
How long could he hide before he was uprooted again?
How was he going to leave Danny?
Leave that beautiful, perfect pup?
That stupid, mind blowing kiss.
He'd felt it. He'd smelled it.
Danny hadn't resisted. Barely a flinch. His lips had pressed back. Clung to his.
The charm of his scent had nearly been destroyed in it's own unique sweetness. It was toxic.
How he'd cut it off, he still didn't know. Every part of his body and brain had raged in desire to have him right then and there in the kitchen. Demanded to make him his.
Seeing how upset Danny was over his inability to face his fate had shaken him. Danny was invested in him. Invested to the point of desperation. Danny cared, more than he'd realized.
It was now making him consider not running. Give into the selfishness. Consider fighting for the opportunity to maybe have a real life and the mate of his dreams.
But that was stupid optimism. An Impossible pup's dream.
Even if Danny truly wanted to imprint, it would only guarantee both of their deaths.
Driving home added to the turmoil he was feeling. He didn't want to face Danny. Didn't even want to see him. There was so much shame and guilt built up in his gut. He should have just walked out of the kitchen. Left him before his emotions had exploded.
But instead he kissed him.
The emotional price to pay was so bitter.
He stood at the front door for several minutes. As he stared at the knob, he mentally prepared himself. His mind was already so compromised, it couldn't handle much more.
The scent nearly brought him to his knees.
It was sweet.
Why was it sweet?
It hadn't been this morning. Acid bitterness had been practically dripping from the walls.
Jitters in his hand made it difficult to close the door behind him. The racing of his heart made it feel like it was swelling. His rib cage was going to burst.
Cautiously he stepped in, peeking around the corners of either side of the hall. Both the kitchen and living room where empty. That made the apprehension to move further in even worse. A shaky breath filling his lungs, he moved towards the stairs. All he wanted to do was get to his room undetected.
It didn't happen.