My eyes snapped open at the sound of Vega's voice. She was standing over me with her hands on my shoulders. I grabbed her arms and stared at her wide-eyed.
She rolled her eyes. "You locked your knees, I guess. I thought homeboy over here was going to shit himself."
I looked over in the direction she nodded and saw the blue-eyed Alpha standing beside her, staring at me intently, concern etched on his face.
"Oh my God, how long was I out?" I whispered.
"There's no need to be dramatic, only a minute or two" she answered.
My gaze returned to Vega and I squeezed her arms as I sat up. "Dude, I think he's---"
"---your mate?" She finished. "I guessed that with the way he just acted. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I assured her.
She made a face. "You don't look fine."
"I am," I assured her as she helped pull me to my feet. Immediately, the Alpha offered a strong arm behind my back to steady me on my feet.
"Are you alright?" He asked, a strong English accent complemented his deep voice.
I nodded, but kept my eyes on Vega. I couldn't look at him. She gave me a small smile and slowly peeled my arms away from her.
"Talk to him," she mouthed.
Before I could muster a syllable, I heard my father's voice butt in.
"What is going on here?! Get your hands off my daughter immediately!" He demanded. "Who do you think you are?!"
I turned to look at him, but the Alpha's arm only tightened around me as my father made advances toward us.
"He's my dad, it's fine. Would you let go of me, please?" I asked, tugging at his arm.
The Alpha hesitated for a moment before loosening his hold on me enough for me to step away from him.
"Don't touch her again," my dad snapped, yanking me back by my arm.
"Woah," Mr. Chandler said, waving his hands and stepping between us. "Scott, let go of Evelyn and let's talk this out.
My dad glared at Mr. Chandler as he referred to him by his first name. The group went silent. All of us just stood there, staring at each other I, in particular, could not stop staring at the Alpha. God, he was gorgeous. His dark, thick hair was perfectly messy and his electric blue eyes felt like they were looking straight through me. He had the most carnal facial features of anyone I had ever met, sharp and concentrated. He was also older than I was.
Nearly thirty, I figured.
He caught my gaze and I looked away immediately.
My attention refocused on the one standing behind him, the blond one I had noticed earlier. He was almost as tall as the Alpha and he too carried a vaguely threatening expression I blinked a few times before throwing my hands up in
exasperation. I had no idea what to do. I didn't even believe mates were still a thing, much less know how to react to getting one.
But I knew.
I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was mymate. I just... felt it. I couldn't yet determine, however, whether it was a good feeling or a dooming one.
"What is going on here? Can we please get back to what we were here to discuss?!" Someone shouted from behind the Alpha.
He and the blond one turned around and we all pointed our attention to the man who had said it.
"That matter is no longer your concern," the Alpha remarked.
"I'll handle things from here. This meeting is now adjourned.''
A group of furious shouts and murmurs came from the neighboring pack as this was spoken. However, they immediately went silent as the Alpha narrowed his eyes at them. He turned his attention back to us.
"Follow me," he said to my father and I before walking in between the eleven of us that were standing there.
I looked at my dad before beginning to follow the Alpha Mr. Chandler and Vega also followed behind me and soon my father did as well.
"I am absolutely stunned, confused, shocked, and scared all at the same time. I can barely keep up with any of this," Vega whispered as we walked.
All I could do was nod in agreement.
"And to think," she added.
"You didn't even believe in mates five hours ago."
She's right, I thought as I looked over at her.
There was a flash of concern on her face. "Are you okay?"
"I ‘Il let you know," I whispered. I took one look at the man walking in front of us and shook my head.
"I just don't see how this is going to end well and that's scaring me."
I could tell from her face that Vega was trying to formulate an encouraging word or two but she wasn't able to and simply shrugged. Well that's comforting, I thought.
A few moments later we came to a halt on the path and the Alpha turned to look at us. He shot a hard look at Mr. Chandler who immediately replied with, "My wife promises to divorce me if anything happened to her."
I looked at Mr. Chandler as he said this and he gave me a wink.
This seemed excusable enough to the Alpha who didn't make another reference to their presence.
"My name is Alpha Superior Deveraux," He said to my father, who only nodded in acknowledgment. He turned to me, "And Adam to you, love."
"Evelyn," I said, offering my hand.
He took my hand and kissed the back of it.
I had been going for a handshake there, buddy, but okay, I thought.
I wasn't looking at Vega, but I could see the stupid smile on her face without having to look at her. I knew her too well and she was probably about to wet her pants.
"I am Vega Chandler, and this is my father, Warren Chandler," Vega said, stepping up and gesturing to herself and her father.
"I need it in the strictest confidence you can assure me there is no rogue being housed on your land," Adam said, directing his words to my father and Mr. Chandler.
Mr. Chandler nodded eagerly. "I am absolutely certain there is no one being held here unlawfully," he said. "No one knew anything of it when we spoke to the council."
"There isn't enough evidence to support their claim," my father said.
I rolled my eyes at his judicial language.
"There are simply no signs of a rogue on this land."
Adam didn't look so convinced by this. "I apologize for not being able to take your word for it. I will be leaving behind three men tomorrow who are going to investigate the claims further. They won't need more than a week."
My dad looked irritated by this, but Mr. Chandler nodded thoughtfully.
"I understand," he said.
Adam seemed pleased by this and reached out to shake Mr. Chandler's hand. "I appreciate your cooperation," He said.
"We will be leaving tomorrow if there are no other setbacks. Now, I would like to speak to Evelyn, if you could excuse us. "
As my dad turned to leave, he reached out and pulled me in close by the front my jacket. "Don't bother coming home tonight. I don't want that man stepping foot into my house. Do I make myself clear?" He snarled through clenched teeth.
"Crystal," I nodded, stiff with fear.
As I said this, Adam slid his arm protectively between my father and I.
"Let this be a warning," he said in a low voice. "If you ever lay your hands on her again, be prepared to have hands laid on you."
My father backed away from the two of us, shooting daggers at both Adam and I as he did.
"I like this guy," Vega whispered as she passed me. They had all walked away in a matter of seconds and I was more than aware I was now completely alone with this man I swallowed.
"Um, thanks for that."
Is that all you can say, you idiot?!
"Does he treat you that way often?" Adam asked, moving in front of me I didn't answer, not wishing to elaborate further on the topic of my father.
"You said you're leaving tomorrow?" I asked, changing the subject. I saw a shadow of a smile appear on his face.
"No. I said we were leaving tomorrow."
"Excuse me," I said. "But you're not assuming I'll be going with you. are you?" Adam's eyes narrowed, causing a lump to form in my throat.
"You wouldn't want to?" He asked.
"I mean... I-I have school and.. stuff." I cringed
"School and stuff?" That's the best you could come up with? You don't even like school!"
"I see" he said.
"You do?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes" he said.
"I am wondering, however, if there is any way I can persuade you otherwise? You see, as much as you are internally trying to deny it, you and I are mates. This means, from my end, that I have a duty to both protect and provide for you. I cannot do that while you are here and I am there. As an Alpha, I also have obligations to my people which I cannot abandon by staying here. So... I am asking you to willingly come with me tomorrow when leave"
"And if I don't come willingly?" I asked slowly.
"You'll come involuntarily."
"I'll pick you up and put you on the plane myself," He said.
"It's your choice, of course, which method you prefer," he added. "This is unbelievable," I said walking away.
He began to follow me closely. "Is that a yes?"
"I haven't decided" I mumbled Adam and I returned to our respective groups shortly and everyone turned to stare at us as I walked over to Vega. Adammade his way over to the blond man, who was standing alone
and silently watching everyone else.
"What did he say to you?" She asked excitedly.
I sighed, kicking the dirt with my boots.
"He wants me to go home with him tomorrow."
She gasped and smiled. "Are you going to?"
"I don't really have much of a choice," I groaned.
She gasped. "He's walking over here."
I looked up from the ground to see him walking over to us and Mr. Chandler spoke up.
"Alpha Superior Deveraux, if you need someplace to stay tonight, you are more than welcome to stay with my family and I."
"I have somewhere to stay, thank you, though," Adam said. He turned to me. "Follow me."
He began to walk away and I ran after him.
"Wait!" I yelled.
He stopped and turned to me "I'm not staying with you tonight," I said.
"Are you forgetting what your father told you?" He asked.
I took a deep breath. "I'm staying with Vega."
Before he could say anything, I continued. "I need the time to say goodbye."
He thought about it for a moment and nodded. "I'll pick you up in the morning."
I nodded and turned back to walk away.
"Evelyn..." I looked back at him.
"Don't do anything stupid before then," he warned, adding a wink.
The ride home was silent.
I knew my dad was mad at me, but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It wasn't like I could help the fact that I had found a mate in a man who was an Alpha Superior and basically a king among our people. I tried not to think about that last part too hard.
We dropped my dad back off at his firm. He said nothing as he slammed the door after he got out. I watched him stomp over to his car angrily as we pulled away.
"Are you okay back there, Evie?" Mr. Chandler asked.
"Yeah" I said softly.
"I'm fine. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror and caught his sympathetic gaze. Vega put her hand on my shoulder and smiled.
"Things are going to be better for you now" she said. I just shook my head
I wasn't so sure about that.
When we pulled into the Chandlers driveway, Mrs. Chandler came running out in her dressing gown.
"You couldn't have at least called?" She asked, her hands on her hips.
Mr. Chandler smiled. "There isn't much service in The Valley, honey. Besides, I think you needed to hear this in person. Why don't we make some tea for Vega and Evie. They need to warm up."
She nodded and took Vega and I inside with her hands around our shoulders. We had all sat down next to the fireplace with steaming cups of tea before Mrs. Chandler began prodding for answers.
"Well...? What happened?" She asked.
Mr. Chandler looked at me. "We met some, uh, interesting people tonight. Don't you agree, Evie?'
Vega nudged me and wiggled her eyebrows. I just stared down into my cup of tea.
"I'm not getting it, people," Mrs. Chandler said.
Mr. Chandler began to tell her the story. When he got to the part where we met Adam, he stopped and looked at me.
"And... He's my mate," I sighed.
I hated how good it felt to say that.
Mrs. Chandler gasped and Mr. Chandler hushed her.
"You're going to wake up the boys and it's almost midnight," he said.
She put her hand up to silence him, all the while still looking at me.
"Darling that's wonderful," she said smiling. "Aren't you happy?
It was my turn to shrug. "I guess so."
"He's making me leave with him tomorrow," I said.
Her smile fell. "Can't you ask him for more time?"
"He has to get back to his pack," I said shaking my head.
"There really isn't a way out of this. I tried telling him I had school, but... It didn't really work."
"Well, you wanted to take classes online anyway" she reasoned.
"Although I don't appreciate how selfish he's being, taking you away from people who love you so suddenly and all."
At least someone would miss me. As we headed to bed, I opened the door to the guest bedroom, a place I slept frequently. Vega stopped me from walking in.
"Do you want to sleep downstairs in the living room like we used to?" She asked.
I smiled. "Sure."
We headed downstairs, made our spots on the couches, and laid down, watching the fire die.
"I'll miss you," she said, finally.
"I ‘Il miss you too."
"Do you think you'll ever come back?" She asked.
I rolled over and stared up at the ceiling. "I certainly hope so. You have to come and visit me, though. Wherever I end up going.
"I will." she assured me. "How do you think your mom took the news?"
I sighed. "There's no telling."
It was quiet for a moment before she spoke again. "I have a feeling that things will be great for you with him.