**Episode 3. Sorry for the skip last week. Life, you know. Anyway, here’s the next chapter in our saga. Enjoy!**
Andreas was a very persuasive man. Wolf. Alpha? Whatever. Andreas was very persuasive, which is how I found myself agreeing to move into one of the rooms in the “dorm wing” of the pack house even though I’d made it expressly clear I was fine commuting. But Andreas made excellent points the financial benefits, and since I was paying an arm and a leg in rent for my tiny one-bedroom apartment, I caved in the end.
He just seemed so sincere and earnest that I felt bad disappointing him. Ivy, my friend who’d gotten me the interview in the first place, told me that was part of the draw of an alpha, but that since Andreas was a good one, I didn’t need to worry. He would keep me safe and take care of me just like he would any member of the pack, and it was better to just give in. I wasn’t a prisoner, she reminded me, and if for some reason I needed to leave, quit, or move out, Andreas would support that.
I trusted her, and already coming to trust Andreas, so I agreed, packed all my things, terminated my lease, and prepared to move in.
I shouldn’t have been surprised with Eoin was the one to show up at my door with a U-Haul. Or that he barely said a word as he proceeded to use his greater-than-human strength to load it. Or his Tetris-master level skills as he packed everything in. Including most of my furniture, which Andreas assured me I didn’t need but the pack would store for me in case I wanted it in the future.
It was all done so quickly my head was reeling. Eoin clapped me on the shoulder and headed out the door. I had to stop at the leasing office and turn in my keys, so I was a few minutes behind him. By the time I got to the pack house the truck was half empty. It looked like the entire pack was present, and seventeen people with supernatural strength didn’t even a break a sweat and finished the job in a matter of minutes.
I might have been standing there with my mouth open, but I couldn’t seem to move.
The sun suddenly disappeared, and it took me a second to realize Andreas was now in front of me. Our height difference was enough that he cast me in shadow, and I had to tilt my head back to look into his eyes. His warm smile settled me. He lifted a hand as though he was going to touch me, but then seemed to think better of it and let it drop a moment later.
I tried for a smile. “Yes, of course, sir.”
Andreas squinted at me. After a long, tense moment, he shrugged one big shoulder. “We’ll let you get settled in today and order pizza for dinner. You’re expected to eat with us.”
“No, I can—” I stopped abruptly at the look on his face. Right. Don’t question the alpha. “Okay. I appreciate that. Thank you.”
Andreas waved that off. “There’s something else. Eoin tells me it’s not appropriate to make you work every day so tell me which days you prefer off and we’ll make it work.”
“What? No.” I blinked. “No, that’s not what we agreed to. I’m fine working every day.”
The alpha was not impressed. That much was clear when he crossed his arms and stared me down. I mirrored his posture and stared right back. For several minutes, we were locked in a battle of will. Since I wasn’t one of his wolves, I lasted longer than someone else might have, but I was still the one to relent in the end.
“Okay, how about this? One day a week I’ll make breakfast and put together something you all can cook or heat for dinner, then take the rest of the day off. Another day the pack can feed themselves a cold breakfast, I’ll make sure to stock plenty of appropriate things, and I won’t start work until its time to make dinner.”
Andreas creased his brow, clearly thinking it over. He hummed out a sound and then his posture relaxed. “All right. That is acceptable for now. But you will tell me if you need more time off.” He emphasized the point by pointing a finger in my face. But his smile softened the words, and I smiled back.
“Deal.” I held out my hand and the alpha shook it. Then he clasped my shoulder.
“Come on, I’ll give you the tour and show you to your room.”
I dutifully followed along, trying not to openly marvel at just huge the house was. I hadn’t gotten more than a cursory look when I’d been here the other night. It had clearly been big to start. A sprawling ranch style that had big airy common spaces. But it had also been added on to over the years, and now boasted several wings that all seemed to have purposes. One of which had all the bedrooms that Andreas had told me about when we’d talked particulars. That wing was two stories, but I was on the first floor.
The bedroom was large enough for a separate sitting area and its own bathroom. All of the rooms, Andreas explained, had their own bathroom because that was something the alpha and the pack weren’t willing to fight over. I couldn’t blame them at all. It was certainly a nice feature. My room was well appointed, the furniture looked comfortable, and I really liked the sage and brown color scheme. I’d probably like it even better once I got all these boxes emptied and things put away.
“Eoin is across the hall, and Cal and I are on the second floor all the way at the end.” Andreas pointed in those directions then made a sweeping gesture. “But if you need anything, at all, just ask. Any one of my wolves will be more than happy to help.”
“Okay,” I agreed while internally knowing it would take a while before I was able to really be comfortable asking.
“Good. Now, you will also have a pack member who will assist when shopping.” Andreas held up a hand as I opened my mouth to protest. “It takes a lot to feed us and that means a copious amount of bags, lifting, and putting away. I do not expect you to do that all on your own, do you understand?”
He nodded. “Eoin.”
My brown creased. “What about him?”
But my question was answered before I fully got it out when the man himself walked through my door. He quirked an eyebrow, keeping his attention on his alpha and not looking at me at all.
“Help Keir in any way he needs. And coordinate with him on the shopping for this week, which you are not doing today.” The last was directed at me with a stern glace. I held up my hands in surrender.
“Yes, alpha.” Eoin said, still not looking at me.
The alpha squeezed my shoulder and left, patting Eoin’s arm as he walked by. For a long few seconds, Eoin and I stood there in awkward silence.
“Want to tell me why you told the alpha I need days off?” Dammit. I hadn’t meant to say that at all, let alone blurt it out first thing.
Eoin just stared at me, face implacable. “You need to take care of yourself.”
I scoffed. “Don’t worry. You’ll have food on the table no matter what.”
“That’s not what I mean.” And really, it was infuriating how little the man used inflection. His tone was so neutral I had no clue as to what he was thinking.
“Yeah, sure. Okay.” I blew out a breath. “Listen, I need to take inventory of the kitchen and meal plan, so I’ll come find you tomorrow when I’m ready to hit the grocery store.”
I turned away and headed for the nearest box, ready to start unpacking. I was sure my fractious state was because everything was changing, I was unsure and unsteady, and I would feel a whole lot better once I had my things put away. I needed the time to get my thoughts in order and organizing my things would help me organize my brain.
“Alpha told me to help.” Again with the lack of tone. No indication whatsoever.
“I’m fine. I’ve got this.” I took a breath and added, “Thank you.”
Still Eoin hesitated. I could feel him hovering in the doorway, but I didn’t turn to look.
“I’m just…I’ll stick close. Uh, holler if you need me.”
It was the slight hitch in his words, that moment of uncertainty, that gave me pause. I glanced over but he was already gone. I sighed heavily, getting the distinct impression I hurt his feelings. That hadn’t been my intent. I’d apologize later. Once I got my head on straight and could mean it.
2 thoughts on “Flash Fic Friday”
I wonder what makes him think he’s not worthy of having days off? That he’s offended that Eoin brought it up? Strange indeed. But I suppose you will explain! 🙂
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Heh. Indeed I will. 🙂