Dinner Prep

I rummaged around in Alex’s kitchen and found it was pretty well stocked. Chicken thawed, vegetables in the crisper, and there was even a few high protein carbs that would work. Alex was buying a wine. I hoped a white as that was one of my go to dishes. But Alex’s fridge had a fine white already opened.

The kids came back but only Hunter was smiling. The other two looked grumpy. “Did you guys have a fight?”

Hunter shook his head, “They haven’t stopped. They always fight.”

“Do you fight?”

Cass growled, “Hunter’s a goodie goodie do gooder.” Drake was nodding reverently as well.

“Nothing wrong with that. The world needs them just as they need two overly eager youngsters who need to learn to get along.”

“Why?” Drake growled.

“Siblings, whether they are blood, or not, like you and Cass at some point in your life is all you are ever going to have. You’ll find that low and you’ll need your family. And Alex won’t be around forever.”

“Shows what you know.” Cass growled, “Da’s immortal – he’s bound to Ant as his Chevalier. He’ll live forever.”

I blinked and her words and Hunter lost his smile. “Cassidy Donovan you don’t have to be so cruel.”

Hunter slide off his stool and storm out of the room past Rider. “Hey,” he said as he side stepped the aching child.

I sighed, “Maybe you guys should go to your rooms and away from each other.”

Rider helped both of them off the stool. “Go.” For a moment I smelled the soft scent of pine needles on a cold autumn morning. And then it was gone, and with it the children were off in opposite directions to their rooms I supposed.

“Sorry about that.” Rider said. “Hunter’s been off. He’s not been sleeping well. And Cass and Drake are at each others throats almost constantly. Even Fae can’t calm them.”

“Fae?” I asked as I started chopping vegetables and garlic. 

“A garlic white-wine sauce?” Rider asked.

I nodded. “I’ll help. You want to bread the chicken or grill it after a marinade?”

“Grill.” I smiled. 

Rider took up a place next to me with a cutting board and the chicken and started pounding the chicken thin. He wasn’t cutting them which was awesome. After he got started, “Faelen is another of their adoptive brothers, but he’s our omega of the pack. They are supposed to help calm the restless. But it’s not working real well. I either suck as Alpha or Faelen isn’t quite as Omega as we thought.”

“You are an Alpha werewolf?” 

Rider laughed. “Yeah. I turned in August. Apparently being Alpha is something you are born not something you earn.”

“So a power thing.”

Rider nodded, “Yeah. Lake is just a normal wolf. No one knows why I made it to Alpha.”

“Twins.” I said. “One is strong, the other weak. One is night, the other day.”

Rider stopped pounding the chicken and looked at me, “How?”

I shrugged, “A memory. Almost like I’m remembering words spoken to me but I didn’t understand them then. You and Laker are like opposites?”

Rider nodded, “Can’t get more opposite. I’m out going, he’s shy. I’m athletic, he wants to play video games, but Matt won’t let him.”

“He likes boys, you like girls.” I added.

Rider blushed, “I could like boys if they were cute enough.”

“But do they do it for you?” I rolled my eyes.

“I’d be lying if I said no.”

“You have a crush on a guy?”

Rider laughed, “No. Not exactly.” He sighed and continued pounding the chicken like the chicken was the object of his ire. “With the pack connections I get all sorts of feelings. And being Alpha I have a lot of them, and I feel things that I don’t normally feel. Like an attraction to people I wouldn’t normally be attracted to.”

“It could be a purely platonic connection.” I said.

Rider shook his head, “No. Wolves mate for life. And unlike wolves whose instinct is to breed our human natures kinda dissolve the breeding instinct, and only go with the what would make a powerful mate. Since our drive isn’t to create more little humans, our human instincts override the wolf. And mating is about what makes me stronger.”

“And a guy in the pack would make you stronger?”

Rider nodded, “Yes. At least that’s what Adrian says. Adrian and Leah are mated. They enhance each other’s abilities. She tempers his need for complete control, and he controls where she does not want it. And it’s not a bedroom thing.”

“I get it.” I smiled. I knew that. I don’t know how but I did. “Who is this guy?”

“I’d rather not say right now.”

“Do you find him attractive?” I asked.

“Not really.”

“But you have feelings for him?”

“Not those type of feelings.”

“So what’s the draw then?”

Rider sighed, “Power. Control. I don’t know… family. Love, but not romantic.”

“Your beta?”

Rider shook his head, “No. It’s hard to describe because it feels good. He’s a new addition to the pack. But yet it feels like the bonds are so tight I’ve been connected to him a long time.”

Rider and I worked in relative silence for the next thirty minutes. Chopping vegetables, simmering the white wine and garlic sauce. Rider grilled the chicken on the indoor grill. I loved this kitchen.

I didn’t hear the door open but I could feel Alex walking down the hall. He opened up a door peered inside them moved on. He did that several times and kids followed him out. I knew most of their names, but as Alex moved closer to us from the hall he looked concerned, “Where’s Hunter?” He asked as he stopped in the kitchen door.

“He ran off to his room.” Rider said.

“He’s not there.” Alex sighed, “I just checked.”

That set Rider, Laker and Matt along with Alex off in search of the young boy. Dinner was forgotten – mostly as everyone started turning everything over looking for Hunter in earnest. And I had this feeling that Hunter was missing because of me.