The sun huddled close to the horizon threatening to leave the world in a shroud of darkness before it was ready. Pinks and purples filled the sky dancing along with the clouds bringing a subtle beauty to the land below. Aston sat staring at the scene before him, his legs dangling off the cliff that stood towering over the hustle and bustle of the city below. The sounds of traffic and citizens filled his ears as he listened to the humans go about their lives.
“Why am I not surprised to find you up here?” A voice chuckled behind him.
Aston snapped out of his trance looking behind himself to see a statuesque woman standing with her hands on her hips and a smirk. Her strawberry blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders framing her heart shaped face elegantly. The woman wore a red v-shaped dress that hugged her hourglass figure, exaggerating her beauty that made even models jealous.
Aston smiled, “Are they freaking out that bad? That they had to send the infamous Rhea Willow to track me down?”
Rhea walked towards him with a chuckle, her heels clacking against the stones of the cliff as she approached him gracefully. Aston stared at her a little surprised, due to the fact that she had not found him sooner since she was technically the leader of the finding Aston committee. He stood staring into her bright eyes with his hazel ones as they briefly glowed with the setting sun never ceasing to amaze her. His rectangular face and slightly defined cheekbones only added to the subtle beauty Aston seemed unaware of. He wore a simple white t-shirt that was a little too tight, leaving nothing to the imagination in regards to his muscular body. His muscular swimmer’s build started to bulge from underneath his clothing, coiled and ready for anything. He wore a simple pair of blue jeans that were somewhat faded, hugging his hips perfectly as he walked towards her avoiding the edge of the cliff. Aston stood at an impressive six foot two inches as he only slightly looked down to meet Rhea’s ice blue eyes with humor.
“You know how they are Aston, once you forget to check in regularly they get antsy about where their future Alpha has run off to. Remember you are a very important person and freedom is something of a crime.” She teased.
Aston rolled his eyes at her statement, “Gods! They really need to pull the sticks out of their asses before I decide to rip them out.”
Rhea laughed knowing that the man in front of her was right; the elders of their clan always fussed over him not giving Aston space to breathe. The elders had hoped that an Alpha worthy of being their leader would show up for years leading them to find the blonde before her. Aston’s family had joined the clan soon after he was born, technically taking him out of the running since he was an outsider. Once he had hit puberty everything changed. His power shocked them and left them a little wary of his loyalty due to not being born into the clan. The size of his tiger scared them even more, making them believe that there was something abnormal about him, but after examining his physiology they found him to be pure.
“I’m sure they would enjoy that if it was coming from you!” She laughed.
Aston shivered at the thought of it, “Thank you for those nightmares...” he said grimacing.
He knew she didn’t feel any remorse for giving him those thoughts as she continued to laugh at his disdain for the cumbersome elders that were plaguing his life. Aston’s tiger growled within him baring its teeth at her even though she could not see it from the outside. The tiger's irritation only fuelled Astons as his hazel eyes started to glow making Rhea raise an eyebrow in question.
“Calm down Aston, it was just a joke.” Rhea said sarcastically.
“I know, but still it’s irritating they always have to send you anytime I’m ‘missing’ and you also happen to be my best friend so you know all of my hiding spots,” he growled “Those old farts really need to find a new pastime instead of being up my ass.”
Rhea laughed again, tears starting to pool in the corners of her eyes as she held her stomach starting to snort and laugh harder at her snorting. Aston knew he was right, The elders obsessed a little more than necessary putting his parents to shame. His parents had reassured him that it would be easier once he gained the title and took over the clan. They made it seem like the elders would be the least of his troubles after his anointing, due to the fact that he would have other duties. Duties that included maintaining the security of the clan, supernatural affairs and providing heirs that would one day take his throne.
“I mean it is a great ass, but you know that Wyatt would have told you the same thing as your parents did” Rhea stated as she released a few more chuckles.
“Yeah you’re right. He would have made this a lot easier and kept those old bastards off my case” Aston sighed, his face softening at the mention of their former king.
Wyatt Eastwood had been the previous tiger king of the clan, who had been the previous mentor of Aston’s as he grew to take over. Wyatt had chosen him as his successor showing him that he could be a leader despite his status and being an outsider. He had protected Aston from the elders making sure to take the brunt of the needs of the elders and the clan. Wyatt had always done things with such ease and strength, that Aston had been jealous of him but still loved him nonetheless. He had been the king for 50 years before Aston had joined the clan, reigning up until his death at the age of 205 years old with the body of a 30 year old.
Shifters with any type of lycanthropy did not age normally compared to humans, some being basically immortal due to their strengths of their beasts, bringing a new definition to survival of the fittest. Aston remembered Wyatt being so handsome and masculine that it had bothered him as he was coming of age and realizing his attraction to men. Due to Wyatt having a mate he was able to see him as a mentor instead of a possibility, even up until his demise. Aston still missed his teacher dearly as he watched Rhea continue to chuckle on his behalf as he lingered within his thoughts.
“So now that you’ve had your alone time, are you ready to head back?” Rhea asked, snapping him out of his thoughts, “You should know that tonight is a very important night.”
“What’s going on tonight?” He raised an eyebrow in her direction trying to remember his intensely busy schedule.
“We are welcoming the new lion pride tonight, and discussing the treaty with them so that we can live in Falcon Haven in harmony blah blah blah” Rhea explained, not sounding too entertained by the idea.
“Why am I just now hearing about this?” Aston was surprised he had not known about the event.
“I don’t know Aston, maybe it’s because someone decides they want to hide from the elders and sit on this cliff and sulk all the time. You know if you were around more everything wouldn’t be a surprise to you all the time.” Rhea started crossing her arms over her chest looking out into the city.
Rhea’s words struck Aston’s body like arrows as he glared at her, “I’m not their king yet so it’s not my duty to make decisions for the clan until after my coronation, you know that. Plus now that you’ve told me about this pride that I am just now hearing about, what about the local wolf pack? How do they feel about us making a new, possibly powerful, ally?” He growled.
“It’s in discussion with the elders which you would know about if you showed up to the meetings. Also it’s probably going to be brought up in the next Gathering, so they are not caught off guard and from what they elders say the vampire coven is coming as well.” She informed him watching his eyes widen.
“Well fuck.” Aston huffed his eyes glowing with irritation.
“Told you so” Rhea grinned.
“Shut up.” Aston rolled his eyes, his frustration starting to simmer as Rhea stood in front of him feeling proud about being right. Rhea was right. Aston knew he needed to head back to the estate, and find out all that he had been missing due to his own self wallowing. Without Wyatt he felt lost, but he knew that he needed to make sure that before his coronation that the elders didn’t do anything stupid. What intrigued him most was the thought of meeting the new lion pride as he had never, in his life, met a lion shifter. The only conclusion he came to at the moment was to crash the meeting and hopefully get a say in the treaty.
“Let's go.” Aston stated, walking in the direction of Rhea’s car.
Rhea snickered as she followed the boy, “Bout time.”