Above an Alpha Ch. 03byPlainJane12©
Lucy couldn't believe it when the alpha stalked into the kitchen and started asking about where all the different foods were kept. She pointed at the various cupboards silently, eyes-wide.
Mark had decided he would win his mate's heart by cooking for her; Leah did look like a girl who liked to eat. And though he had never cooked anything before in his life, he did watch a lot of Cake Boss. --Which he loved. And he figured that cooking dinner couldn't be all that different from baking a cake. Like everything in life, you just had to not suck at it.
"I'm Mark, the boss," he said to himself in a heavy, terrible, New York accent.
"Yes sir, you are," replied Lucy, suddenly worried that he didn't know that she knew who he was.
"Oh," he said, voice back to normal, "I forgot you were here. What's your name?"
"Lucy," she replied, doing a quick, awkward curtsy.
"Lucy," he said, again taking on the hopelessly bad New York accent, "I'm gonna make some dinner for my girl. It's gonna be freaking fantastic."
"Wonderful," she replied, a little bewildered by his voice.
He grinned at her, and Lucy, for the first time in her life, was a little sad she was just an omega. She had always been pretty okay with being an omega -- every other type of wolf seemed to get stuck with the hard jobs or the scary jobs. And the lives of alphas and betas were always so full of drama! True, it was drama she LOVED to watch; but the idea of actually getting stuck with alpha beta problems had never really appealed to her.
Suggesting she wanted to be an alpha would be like suggesting she wanted to be in a horror movie.
So it was kind of odd, the sadness Mark's perfect smile instilled in her. Her wolf shook its head; don't even think about it. So, she didn't. Instead, "Um, sir, what are you making?"
"Pasta," replied, throwing some uncooked macaroni noodles in a frying pan, and then unscrewing the lid to the jarred sauce. "This will be lucky sauce; it's Prego, after all."
"Ha, ha..." Lucy said, before realizing with a start that her alpha didn't know how to cook. She opened her mouth to say something, but what could she say? "Um, sir, would you like some assistance?"
He plopped half the jar over the hard, yellow elbows.
"I think I have it under control," he replied. "But, uh... where do you put in the temperature?" His eyes moved to her, and her stomach dropped. She knew this was wrong, but she couldn't bear to point out he was wrong and now he was asking her to join in his ill-planned culinary escapade!
She walked toward the stove, shaking now. She would have to turn on the heat. But what was he going to do when the food turned out horrible? Blame her?!
What could she do?
Her hand, trembling, reached for the dial.
"You okay?" Mark asked.
Earlene pushed through the swinging doors suddenly, causing Lucy to yip in fright. Both Earlene and Mark looked at her like she had grown another head. "You're excused, Omega."
Lucy was out of there in a hot second.
"Geez, Earlene. Now how am I going to get this thing working?"
"Opie's on the phone, says he wants to talk about the trade next month." Earlene walked over to turn the stove on for him, then noticed the pan.
"What trade?" Mark asked.
Earlene picked up the pan and threw the whole thing in the garbage.
"Did you listen to the messages I left on your phone this morning?"
"I guess not."
If he hadn't been her alpha, Mark might have thought Earlene was about to throttle him from the look on her face. She took a breath, and began. "We found more women than we could take, given that we also had to take the rogues. Opie ended up taking some with him. They made it across the border safely, but he says that it's already pretty clear who's a mate and who's not. He's ansy about having unmated human women around and wants to trade them out sooner rather than later. He's thinking the first of the month."
"That's what, two weeks away?"
"The alpha does check his calendar."
"Okay, tell him yes."
"Mark, you need to talk to him yourself. Being an alpha requires having relationships with other alphas; knowing their names, speaking to them, interacting with them."
"Okay! Okay! I just, I was making dinner for Leah."
"You were making shit for Leah; go talk to Opie. I'll get an omega to make her some dinner."
His wolf bristled but acquiesced. Earlene was probably the only wolf on earth he wasn't interested in fighting. As an alpha, he knew he'd win -- but as a twenty-something he knew that a four hundred year old Earlene was perfectly capable of leaving him without an arm or a leg in the process.
Once Mark left, Lucy peeked back into the kitchen.
"You," Earlene said, nodding to her. "Find out what the alpha's mate likes to eat and make it for her. Make sure the other women are fed as well."
Lucy nodded and set off.
The sight awaiting Lucy downstairs struck her as one of the strangest things she had ever seen. The human women, in each of their cells were lined up and... dancing...?
And six of the women, two in one cell of six and four in another, were not dancing, but singing. --Some number by Beyonce. One alone kept the beat by hitting the top of an old television with her palm.
Another yelled and led the commotion --
Wait; Lucy had seen this before on television. They were doing zumba!
She suddenly discovered one of them looking at her; the woman was intimidating -- everything about her told Lucy she had some serious mass. She could stop a truck. Her scent was odd too. She was alone in her cell. Then she realized it; "Are you Leah?"
Lucy debated how to proceed; usually with a human she'd have no problem introducing herself and going about her business. But her stomach was moving in ways that signaled this wasn't some human. She should show some deference. She just didn't know how.
She's the alpha's mate, she reminded herself.
"I'm Lucy. I'm an omega here. I am here to find out what foods you like, so I can make you dinner."
"You waiting on everyone here tonight, Lucy?"
"The rest will get the standard dinner, but the alpha wanted to make you something special."
"Um. I've got a special idea. You tell him that..." and then Leah paused, and smiled. The grin on her face grew like the tree that bore Eve's apples. "Tell him I'm not eating until the other women are free. Yeah. Do that."
Some of the other women, closest to Leah's cell had noticed Leah's interaction and had stopped to listen. "Wait, what?" Beatrice demanded. "Leah, I thought," she began.
Leah shook her head at her. "I mean, I'm not too worried about starving to death," Leah said to Lucy, patting her round though firm, slightly protruding belly. "But, if he wants me to eat, he can let the others go."
Lucy paled. She was just there to find out what to cook! Not to deliver unsettling information to the alpha!
Leah noticed Lucy's face, and touched the glass between them. "Kiddo, it's okay," Leah said. "He won't hurt you. --Not for delivering my message." Leah's eyes suddenly stormed, and Lucy took a step back in wonder. "I don't think he will anyway," Leah added, looking away. "But if he does, I'll kill him. Okay?"
What? - Lucy's wolf stood in horror. - Kill the alpha?
Any other human, and Lucy would have been surprised by her threats. Any other human, Lucy would have laughed at and rolled her eyes after that initial surprise. But something told her that was a real promise. Suddenly, Lucy's wolf was up, poised, getting ready for a fight. No -- no one was killing her alpha without killing her first.
And they certainly would.
But that was the way of things. Proper. She should die in defense of the alpha.
"Hey. Hey, hey, hey, hey," Leah said, hands up, backing away from the glass. "Didn't mean to touch a sore spot. You know, you do yourself a disservice, Lucy. You're no omega."
"Yes I am," Lucy said, automatically.
"No," Leah said. "No human is an omega. Never. And you're human, regardless of how much hair your body sprouts or how you prefer your meat. We all are."
Lucy slowly back away from Leah's cell, and then hurried up the stairs. Once she was gone, Leah waved at the others to resume their workout. She seemed preoccupied, but after a moment she yelled to the singers, "Hey -- you guys know the words to Thriller?" Then she smiled at one of the guards and added, "Appropriate, right?"
Lucy took deep breaths through her nose as she went up the steps to the alpha's office on the second floor. She could hear him talking to the Larson pack alpha and she was glad for the respite of not being able to interrupt him. But the call ended all too quickly and she found herself tapping on the door quietly.
"Come in, Lucy," Mark called.
Lucy walked in and took a look around timidly. She hadn't ever been in there before; she had never had a reason to be.
Mark rose to his feet and came around the desk. He had never cared for sitting, unless it was in the course of a marathon video game run, and he didn't like being in his father's office. The office reminded him of his father's cold side; the side that was all orders and punishments.
-And that wasn't really his dad, not completely. Mark's dad had put band-aids on Sarah whenever she had a cut, and he used to watch Batman with Mark when he was a kid. He had smiled and made sweeping declarations.
-And he shouldn't have been dead already. Shouldn't have left me in charge, Mark thought.
He looked at the scared little omega in front of him. It was like watching at a fly trying to find its way out a closed window. "What did you need?"
"Um, Madame Beta asked me to find out what... what your mate wanted to eat for dinner."
"That's probably a good idea," Mark replied, "That way she'll get the idea that I care what she thinks. Girls like that, right?"
"Uh..." Lucy paused.
"Come on, you can tell me the truth. I'm not like, some crazy-overbearing alpha. I'm going to be the kind of alpha that even omegas can talk to." He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the desk. "Leah has inspired me."
"I suppose it depends... on what the girl is thinking."
"Hmn," Mark said, trying to look like he was contemplating that for an appropriate amount of time. "So was that all?"
"Er, no. Your mate... she said she wasn't going to eat... anything... until you free the other women."
A beat of silence filled the room.
"She said she wasn't going to eat anything," Lucy began again.
He quirked up an eyebrow. "Can she do that? I'd get pretty hungry waiting for that to happen."
"She sounded like she meant it."
"Wait..." Mark frowned, suddenly getting what this meant. "You're saying she's going on a hunger strike? She's willing to starve to death just to force my hand?"
Lucy tried to nod her head and couldn't.
Mark's wolf raged inside him; no -- it was not up to his mate to force anything. She would submit to him! ...Suddenly that one scene from Beauty and the Beast where the Beast freaks out over Belle not coming down to dinner was so easy to relate to! The situation was inherently maddening!
Lucy fell on her back on the floor!
-This broke Mark out of his raging thoughts. "What happened?" he asked, hands in the air in surprise.
"Sorry!" she squeaked before getting up just enough to partially crab-walk to the door. The alpha had been so angry her wolf hadn't been able to show its belly fast enough! "Please excuse me, Alpha."
"...Sure," he replied, confused.
He watched Lucy exit, then, a little deflated by the bizarrity, started to think about Leah's threat.
He hadn't been an alpha long enough to know what to do about something like this... Luna, what would his father have done?!
Finally, Mark smiled; this all sounded like an excuse for a private chat.
In the surveillance room, Greg was watching, more and more fascinated by the scenes unfolding on the security screens. Leah talked to the other women, found out about them. She organized singing and dancing.
She was even beginning to tell them about wolves' weaknesses.
And the guards never interfered. In fact, she had actually talked them into participating in some ice-breakers.
Greg realized that he wanted Leah's approval. He wanted her to scratch him behind the ears, and tell him he was a good boy.
He switched to a view of Trent's cell. Trent was lying in a bunk, eyes closed, but awake -- it sounded like he might be humming to himself. "Retard," Greg muttered. Then he had an idea.
In the hall, Elise saw Greg heading for the basement where they kept the rogues. "Something up?" she called, wondering if there was a problem to be dealt with.
"Not yet," Greg said, grinning.
Oh great, Elise thought, that asshole's grinning? She waited a moment, then followed surreptitiously. This was going to be stupid. She got a little sidetracked though when she ran into a wandering Kate.
"You okay, Kate?" Elise asked.
"Where the hell all the books go?" Kate asked, exasperated. "We had a library here once! Damn Kindles; you know that's what killed those ancient aliens. --Knowledge not existing. --Not being something that you can touch. If you keep something in a cloud, the hell happens when the cloud blows away?"
"Uh, the library was moved to the C building four years ago."
"No one tells me anything!"
"You were there, Kate."
"Doesn't mean you can't tell me something once in a while. I'm almost a thousand years old; of course I was there -- doesn't mean I know everything about it."
"I thought you were well over a thousand," Elise replied absentmindedly; she wanted to follow Greg.
"Shut your mouth!" gasped Kate, "I ought to pop you one good, spreading that nonsense around. Do I look like I'm a day over 700? Damn pup." Kate continued on her way grumbling, and Elise got back on her way following Greg down to the rogues' cells.
Leah looked at the beta suspiciously when he announced he was to escort her to dine with the alpha. He tried to remain expressionless, but after a few moments managed an apologetic smile. "That's my order," he said, shrugging.
Leah shrugged as well, saying, "Cool."
As he unlocked the door to her cell, she looked over her shoulder at the other ladies, and added, "I'll be back soon."
He put out his arm, and she took it.
They ascended the stairs that led out of the basement and onto the main floor.
Then she tripped him, and ran like gangbusters for the entrance --
Other wolves saw her make her break, and immediately went to stop her -- a teenaged theta happened to get in her way first, being the closest, and his eyes widened as he got a whiff of her scent up close. She took him by the arm, and swung him around with her, leaving him between the betas and herself. She kissed him on the forehead just before she let go, and he stumbled into the betas, all who seemed to drop like bowling pins.
She hit the door like a brick, ripped it open and was outside. She inhaled, taking in the lovely sunlight, and tried to get some quick bearings, imagining that someone would be around to take her back inside soon.
There were three large buildings that she could make out from this angle, but for all she knew they were connected. Cars parked in the dirt driveways -- a large wall, but not too large to make out mountains in the distance -- she knew those mountains. Hah, she thought, easy as old beans. Werewolves everywhere, she noticed as she glanced around at the odd groups that had practically frozen in place at the sight of her.
They did not know how the sturdy looking human had gotten out, and were not sure that she wasn't supposed to be there.
She smiled at them and walked toward the wall's entrance.
She would have walked right through if it wasn't for the large, scarred wolf that suddenly padded into her path.
It was mostly black, with a white belly, and a deep crescent cut on its face around which hair wouldn't grow. "Hey Earlene," Leah said nonchalantly.
Earlene barked at her.
"I remember when Mark Mark Masters was speaking to you earlier, he said your name."
Earlene barked at her again.
"Oh yeah, you weren't naked and on all fours before... You're right. You must just have a very recognizable aura."
"I am not!" Leah said. "Witches are bitches! Damn tree huggers. Sorry; I know you're all into the whole one with nature crap here too; frankly I'd rather be one with my laptop, but I shouldn't be disrespectful... of you know, kidnappers." Leah suddenly looked beyond Earlene to the road. "This road's gotta lead to Star Miner's Pass, right?"
"How did you know?" Mark had approached from behind, angry at first that Earlene was growling at his mate, but now a little worried that Leah was acquainted with the area.
"Been out here before," Leah said, shrugging and turning.
The wind picked up, and suddenly Mark got the full-on Leah scent -- not blocked by the cell walls and crowded by other women.
This wasn't like how his father had described the scent of a mate -- the need was so much greater, so much more complex. Sure, he would protect her and love her and Luna! He was going to give that thick woman the uglies-bumping of her life! But in all that there was this feeling, no, this knowledge - that with a woman like her under him, why -- he could rule the world.
Everything would fall into place.
He would never lose.
Finally, he'd be the alpha he should be; he'd be a better alpha than his father had been.
Mark swallowed his saliva and laughed; "There's no way you've been out here before. I've never smelled you before, and believe me..."
"Maybe it was before you were born. Or maybe I was somebody else," Leah said offhandedly.
Earlene growled at this, thinking to Mark -- Alpha, this thing is dangerous! She's powerful; I can feel it. She could kill me in an instant; I'm not sure how, but I know it.
If you had attacked my mate, Mark thought in response, she should have killed you and you should have let her.
"Doing some brain talk there again?" Leah asked. "You know how rude that is, right?"
Earlene was backing away slowly. Mark had never been much of an alpha. Even before his father died, he had seemed weak -- he had no passion, no interest, aside from his physique he didn't even have presence. Now his eyes were like hard steel weights pressed upon the wolf that had threatened his mate.
Earlene didn't want to be offended; intellectually she knew this was about the mating pull, but she had helped Mark. She had supported him through becoming the alpha once his father died. She had wanted him to succeed more than anyone. Now he looked like he would just as soon rip her throat out as not. --It was sort of like meeting friends at the movies and finding no one saved a seat for you. Disconcerting.
She shook her head, remembering who he was and who she was and what they were.
Earlene finally loped away, trying not to dwell on it.
Mark then took Leah's hand. "Time for dinner."
"Drinks first?" Leah asked, letting Mark lead her back into the compound.
You know those dreams that are begotten of day-dreams? -Those brain-creatures that creep into your imagination while your eyes are open, just so they can pull you into real sleep and take over your mind completely as you hand over your consciousness like a down-payment on bliss?
That's what Trent was dealing with as he began to snooze in his bunk. He and Leah were on a different world, where they were the only ones like them -- there were no wolves, no humans, just them, and some plants that grew hamburgers. Trent kept the books, and Leah smiled at him and kissed his ear. He hunted hamburgers in the evening, and when he brought home a whole bag of them, Leah pulled him into bed and her clothes crawled up off her body, turning into restraints that she writhed in beneath him. He had bitten her on the hip, and his teeth marks spelled his name. Every time he pressed his thumb against his name on her hip, she screamed in pleasure. He pushed himself into her while teasing her mouth with a hamburger.