I cracked my neck and took a drink of the energy drink I grabbed at the gas station. Honestly, these pack trips were getting old. I knew they wanted to throw their unmated females at me but having to leave my pack territory for more than a month was just ridiculous. Four weeks since I had been back in my own territory and I missed home. I was also still a good four hours away. My Gamma Sam was now calling me non-stop for the past week. Normally, I left Nate in charge as my Beta but he had been MIA for the past week. Sam stepped up but had zero confidence in himself.
Nate disappeared every so often but not when I was off the territory. He would at least wait until I got back before skipping out for a week or two but him being gone a week was worrying. Pinching the bridge of my nose, I took a deep breath. I had four hours. Four hours of peace before I was bombarded with a frantic Gamma, a missing Beta, and the mountain of paperwork I was sure was sitting on my desk. Being Alpha was not as glamorous as it was portrayed when I was a kid. My father looked strong and badass as he trained warriors. He fought battles and helped the pack grow. What he didn’t show was the amount of paperwork one had to do behind the scenes just to keep the pack running.
Groaning, I tossed the now empty can into the trash and got in my truck. Four more hours and I could snuggle into my own bed that I wouldn’t have to worry about if a woman had been snuck in to have pups with, tying me down. I could just sleep and get up at 4 a.m. for training without being molested.
Turning up the radio, I rolled down the windows and breathed in the forest around us. It was Spring and the trees were growing their green leaves back from the winter’s harshness. It was a sight after the bareness that winter brought. Next year was going to be a panic though. The Elders decided that I had until the end of the year to find a mate. They wanted a Luna and by goddess, they would try to replace me if I didn’t. Joke was on them, Nate didn’t have a mate either. He was twenty-nine, where as I was thirty-one. We were two wolves who the goddess had turned her back on. We didn’t have mates.
That wasn’t entirely true. Nate had a mate. My sister was his mate. She was taken from us by rogues when she was eight. My father, a year later, said that he felt her loss. He was inconsolable for a long time. He had already lost his mate, our mother. Losing Aelia tore him and he never full recovered. I took over as Alpha at sixteen, two years earlier than planned but the pack worried for my fathers sanity as he slipped further and further into himself.
Nate was convinced she was still alive after all these years. That he never felt their bond break. We told him that they never marked each other and he wouldn’t actually feel it but he was adamant. It was the reason why he would disappear. A whisper here or there would send him on another manhunt to find her. She was gone though. Despite their weird bond and her powers, she was gone. I had accepted it but I could never force that acceptance on him. He was my best friend and as long as he stayed my Beta, I had not qualms about him going on expeditions.
I, however, had no mate. More than that, I couldn’t mark anyone and no one could mark me. These Alpha’s, throwing their daughters or there Beta’s daughters at me like I was just not wanting a mate. That was never it. Ever since I was younger, I dreamed of a mate. Someone I could love and hold dear. After losing my sister, a hole in my heart opened. I felt like I failed her, failed to protect her. Nate and I watched as they took her. We had lost the fight and in losing, we lost her. I was twelve, he was ten, and she was eight.
When I turned nineteen, the elders had chosen one of our packs she-wolves for me. We would come together as a chosen couple. I took her to my bed and marked her as she marked me. The next day, neither of us were marked. They were infuriated. After five she-wolves, I was done. I refused all of them. If I couldn’t mark them, I couldn’t carry on the Alpha line. It was ending with me. This threw my father further into himself and the rare times I saw him from when I was sixteen to when I was nineteen weren’t exactly good memories. He was exiled on the outskirts of the territory in a cabin. Away from everyone. My father disappeared completely from my life when I was twenty and I focused my efforts solely on my pack for the last eleven years.
My phone rang and I looked at the caller ID. Sighing, I answer. “Sam, I am an hour away. You need to just hold on.”
“Alpha, Nate was spotted on the East side of the territory. I was hoping maybe you could keep an eye out for him while you drove in.”
I rolled my eyes. “Sure Sam. I’ll see you in an hour.”
It was another twenty minutes before took a deep breath. I had finally crossed into Moon River territory, my territory. Pulling over, I took a minute to take stock in my pack. Nothing was on the territory that was out of the ordinary and the mind link was working, some chattering going on through the pack.
Alright asshole, get in. I want to head home. It’s been a long drive.
There was a chuckle over the mindlink. Five minutes passed and Nate came out from the trees, wearing sweats and a ripped t-shirt. He opened up my truck door and hopped in the passenger seat.
“Don’t thank me. Sam was the one that called.”
Nate shook his head, propping it up on his palm as his elbow rested on the window. “He needs to take some relaxants. He is way too strung up.”
“He’s twenty-one and he’s never really done any of this before. I chose him for his brain, not his skills in commanding an entire pack.”
Chuckling, Nate gazed out the window.
“If I did, you wouldn’t believe me anyways.” His bitter words made me bite back my usual sermon.
Sighing, I took the turn to head into town. “Just next time, wait till I get back. Sam is going to end up as my nagging wife.”
The trees passed quickly around us and I sighed. It felt good to be home. At least for the moment. I would most likely regret saying that as soon as I pulled into the pack house and checked my desk. For now though, I could enjoy going home. Nate was silent, looking out the window. We drove through the main town, a few of my pack members waving as we drove by. It was another ten minutes out of the town before we turned into the driveway for the house.
“Whatever you do, don’t blow a gasket. It’s not a big deal.”
I turned to Nate, but he had a bored expression on his face as he slammed the truck door shut. Getting out, I looked after him, confused. He patted Sam on the shoulder as he walked into the house. The look on Sam’s face made me regret driving faster than the speed limit.
“Alpha Silas, it’s good to have you back!”
I slung my duffle bag over my shoulder and walked into the house, Sam trailing me.
“It’s good to see you too, Sam. It seems everything is in order.”
“Yes, Alpha! I have a list of details that…”
“…need you attention and…”
“…a few of them you should be aware of…”
My Gamma froze, my voice ringing through the foyer of the house. Meredith, our head Omega, came up to me, a smirk on her face. “Alpha, it’s good to have you back. May I take your bag?”
I nodded and handed her my duffle. “All of it can just be thrown in the wash. If there is something that was smuggled into it that doesn’t look like mine, please dispose of it. I don’t care and don’t need to know.”
She chuckled. “Yes, Alpha.” Her bow was quick as she exited and I turned my attention back to my gamma.
“Sam, I just walked in the door. I was gone for a month.”
“Yes, Alpha but…”
I held up my hand. “What is going to happen, Sam, is that you will come into my office in exactly…” Looking at my watching for a second, I looked back at him. “…33 minutes. You may tell me all the details on that, no doubt, multi-paged note. However, within these 33 minutes, I don’t want to hear a single thing out of your mouth, is that understood?”
He nodded, looking down at his watch as well. I turned and headed up the stairs to my room. I needed a shower. A nice long soak under my own shower, in my own room, without the worry of being bothered. Opening up the door, I slammed it behind me and started to pull off my shirt.
“Well, Alpha, it’s lovely to see you again.”