Haven's Wood Ch. 02bynotmy_realname©
Firstly I just want to say a quick thank you for all the kind comments, I never thought 10 people would even read my story never mind comment on it!
Well here's the second chapter as promised, I hope it doesn't disappoint.
I also want to assure you that I will finish this story – as an avid reader I know what it's like to find a story you enjoy only to be left hanging
NB italics denote thoughts
Natasha stumbled to her feet. She looked around nervously trying to spot if the wolf was still around. She couldn't believe what had just happened. How had she gone from being terrified of being eaten alive by a wolf, to enjoying it! What was wrong with her?
Natasha decided that it would probably be best not to hang around for the wolf to come back, so she started back down the track to the B&B.
She was in the shower when a knock came at the door; she nearly jumped out her skin at the sound. She was a little on edge after her earlier experience. After pulling on a bath robe and grabbing a towel for her dripping hair she opened the door.
"Surprise!" Katie grinned at her.
Natasha stared at Katie in growing confusion as the girl swept past her into the bedroom and plopped herself down on the end of the bed.
"I 'convinced' Dean that he wanted to let me finish my shift early so I thought I'd come over and check you were settled in ok. I thought we could go and grab dinner together. You have got to try the steak at the pub it's the best!" She swiftly added "I hope you don't mind but I invited my brother to join us as well, I think you'll really like him."
"I don't know." murmured Natasha, "I'm not sure that I feel like eating anymore." She continued a little more firmly. "It's really nice of you to come over and check on me though I really appreciate it. You go enjoy dinner with your brother I don't want to be in the way." Natasha pulled the door a little further open as if to suggest that Katie might be about to go through it.
Katie, however, made no move to go through the door. She peered intently at Natasha; something had changed about her since she'd shown her over to the B&B earlier that afternoon. "Natasha, has something happened?" Katie's heightened senses let her detect an increase in Natasha's heart rate at the question. Katie felt the bottom fall out of her stomach. The worst case scenario began to race through her head; if someone had hurt Natasha there was going to be a blood bath. James was hanging on to his wolf by a thread when she'd seen him earlier.
Natasha looked at Katie trying to decide how to respond. Katie looked so worried about her. It was a long time since anyone had cared if she was ok. Before Natasha could think about it too hard she forced herself to start talking.
"Oh it's nothing really Katie, you don't need to look so worried."
Katie just frowned a little in response to this, but said nothing, just waiting. Natasha sighed in exasperation and pushed the door shut, realising that Katie was going nowhere. She hardly knew the girl but she could tell she was stubborn.
"It really is nothing" Natasha said as she sat herself down the plush chair in the corner of the room. "I decided to go for a run, to stretch my legs after being in the car for so long." She pulled her feet up onto the chair in front of her as she continued talking, hugging her knees to her chest. "I guess there are wolves in these woods."
Katie's eyes widened at this comment; running and wolves can be a dangerous combination.
Natasha eyes were a little unfocussed as she continued as if she was looking at something that wasn't in the room.
"I'm sure it was my fault. Maybe I was in it's territory or something, but it knocked me over. It sort of inspected me. I must have cut my knee when I fell. I suppose it could smell the blood."
Katie's eye flicked to Natasha's leg, but it was covered by the bath robe.
"It licked me then it vanished" She finished quickly. It wasn't a lie, but it was all of the truth she could face right now.
"So as I said it's nothing I'm fine. I must have scared it and it scared me back. Turnabout's fair play I say" She said in a carefree tone that fooled neither of them.
"Can I check if you're knee's alright, I guess you washed it but you don't want to leave anything in there to get infected." Katie asked, ignoring the fact that there was more to this story than Natasha had told her; she obviously didn't want to talk about it.
Natasha slipped her injured leg down onto the floor. Katie crouched on the floor to inspect it. What she saw confirmed that the 'wolf' had been a Were, the cut was healing faster than it normally would have.
"Just hold still a minute I think I see some dirt." She lent in as if she was looking closely, but she was really trying to see if any scent remained. She caught the faintest whiff of her brother still clinging to Natasha's skin.
"What have you done James!" Natasha sent the thought to James with all the venom she could muster. He didn't reply, but she knew she'd been heard.
"Is something wrong" Natasha asked when she saw a look of anger cross Katie's features.
"Nope looks fine, I just thought there was something in there, but it looks good." Katie swiftly replied, pushing aside her anger at her brother. She sat back down on to the floor with her back against the bed.
"You need to eat something." Katie declared.
Natasha opened her mouth to disagree but before she could get a word out Katie continued right on speaking.
"You've had a scare and you've not eaten, it's no wonder you're feeling out of sorts. I can't leave you here alone, with all the blood loss you could faint any minute!" Katie said earnestly pointing to the almost healed scrape on Natasha's knee.
Natasha smiled at this.
"I guess I am a little hungry"
Katie pressed her advantage.
"It's settled then. You go dry you hair. I'll find you some clean clothes, and then as soon as you're ready we'll head over to the pub. I'll find a seat in the corner out the way and I'll tell Dean to be on the lookout for wolves." Katie's eyes twinkled at the joke as she said this last bit.
Natasha decided that maybe Katie was right; after all if she stayed here alone she'd just end up playing the whole thing over in her mind again. If she did that, she might have to face the fact that she wasn't scared of the wolf but of the fact that she had enjoyed what it had done to her, and that was just plain wrong.
James had fled to the pack's compound in the heart of the nature reserve. His wolf didn't understand why they hadn't remained behind to claim their mate, she was obviously willing. James' human side however knew that they had crossed a line, he tried to explain it to his wolf but, his wolf wouldn't listen. James had given up on explaining and had just pushed his wolf down with all his strength so he could think in peace.
On reaching the house he headed straight to his room to find some clothes, since the one's he'd left the house in that morning were in a shredded pile on the edge of the woods.
James normally just threw on whatever clothes he grabbed first not really caring what he looked like, but now he found himself looking at the options and trying to decide what Natasha might like him in. When he realised what he was doing he growled in frustration and grabbed a beep blue shirt and a pair of jeans.
He'd just gotten dressed when his sister pushed her angry demand at his mind.
"What have you done James!"
He sighed and sat down on the bed heavily. He'd really made a mess of things. He had no idea how he was going to tell his mate what he really was now. It would have been hard in the first place, telling a girl he barely knew that he loved her, that they were going to be together for the rest of their lives, and oh by the way I'm a werewolf and can I make you one too. Now he also had to admit that he was the wolf that had taken advantage of her in the woods!
James shook himself to release his tension as if was still in his wolf form. He was never one to brood on a problem he preferred to face his problems head on and just deal with things. He'd find a way to make things right, he had to. He headed out to the garage to grab a car for the drive back into town.
Natasha and Katie had claimed a booth in the corner of the pub. Natasha didn't normally drink but when Katie had placed a glass of red wine down in front of her, she didn't want to be rude. That was her excuse for the first glass, the second round she bought to say thank you to Katie for looking after her. By the third round she'd stopped making excuses.
Katie was doing her best to keep her new friend distracted from her thoughts and to keep her in a good mood. The girls talked about everything and nothing, they were fast becoming good friends.
Katie kept checking her watch, and Natasha finally asked her about it.
"I was just wondering if James has decided not join us after all" Katie replied "I told him we'd be here at 6 and it's nearly half past now.
"He's probably just running a little late. Why don't you give him a ring and see what he wants to eat, we could always order so the food will be here when he gets here" Natasha suggested. She also wanted to get something to eat, as 2 and a half glasses on an empty stomach was beginning to make her feel a little fuzzy.
"I know he'll want to have the steak, rare. Same as me." Katie thought for a moment. "Ok. Do you mind ordering while step outside to give him a call and tell him to get a move on?"
"Sounds like a plan to me." Natasha responded and headed to the bar to place their order.
Dean was behind the bar when she got there and she smiled brightly at him. Natasha had noticed that while Dean responded in a friendly manner, he seemed to be keeping his distance from her at the same time. How odd, she thought to herself.
"You girls aren't ready for another round of drinks already are you?" Dean asked jokingly.
"Not yet. We need something to soak the first rounds up with. Can we get three steaks? Two rare and one medium rare."
"No problem. Here," Dean tossed her a packet of crisps "To keep the wolves from the door while you wait."
Natasha rolled her eyes at him. Dean and Katie had been constantly throwing in references about wolves all night. She knew they were trying to make her laugh about what had happened, and while she appreciated the thought she really didn't want to address her feelings towards wolves at the moment.
As Natasha was walking back to the booth she passed a couple of guys standing round a tall table. One of them pointed to her crisps.
"How did you get Dean to give those to you, he's so tight he wouldn't give you a light if his house was on fire."
His friend laughed at this and said.
"No, Andy, he just wouldn't give YOU a light. Not since you tried to hit on Katie at Christmas. Don't mind my friend" He said to Natasha, who was smiling at the friendly exchange. "He's just jealous that you've got closer to Katie than he ever will"
The first guy spluttered into his beer at this comment in his haste to deny it. Natasha couldn't help laughing at how red he'd gone.
Suddenly all the humour seemed to crash to the ground. The guys she'd been talking too had turned pale. Their gazes locked on the door. The noise in the room had dimmed. Natasha felt her skin begin to prickle and could almost feel a pair of eyes boring into her back.
"It was nice meeting you lass." The guys muttered "We've got to be leaving now." They backed away from her and quickly ducked towards to second exit at the back of the bar.
The tension in the room eased a little, the chatter picked up again, but Natasha could still feel the eyes on her. She decided she didn't need any more excitement today so she decided to ignore whoever it was and continue back to her booth.
James had just pulled up at the pub, when he saw Katie come striding out.
"I thought I felt you getting close." She muttered. His sister's ability to locate him had always been an annoyance to James as they grew, and it still continued to annoy him now that they were grown.
"I am not letting you go into that pub until you hear what I have to say." Katie said. Her chin raised her arms folded defiantly across her chest.
"Don't push it Katie, you might be my sister but I'm your alpha." James ground out.
Katie's chin dropped for a moment, but she steeled herself.
"I don't want to know what happened, it's not my business. But I care about Natasha and I think you should know that's she scared right now. I don't know what of but she's not happy and that's your fault. So fix it."
James sighed. He knew she was right. He pulled her into a hug. "I know little sister, and I will." He gave Katie a reassuring squeeze before striding past her into the pub.
As soon as he walked through the door, his nostrils flared, catching the scent of vanilla and honey. He quickly zeroed in his mate. He did not like what he saw. There was a pair of males near HIS mate. They wanted her, but they couldn't have her.
Before James even thought about it he had started to growl. It was his wolf that was growling really. A deep sound that humans couldn't hear, the males heard it though. They saw who was stood at the door and made a swift retreat. As soon as they backed away James's wolf calmed, satisfied that they knew who Natasha belonged to.
"She's Mine." James sent the thought to all the wolves in the pub. Those two words told them all they needed to know. They knew to keep their distance, but now they all wanted to catch a glimpse of their alpha's mate.
His announcement sparked a new burst of conversation and the tension that had built up following his entrance disappeared. James however was oblivious he was staring at his mate, willing her to turn around and see him.
James felt a hand hit the back of his head; he whipped around and saw his sister looking at him, amusedly.
"You're not going to camp out by the door all night are you?" Katie teased "Come on." she called as she brushed past him and headed towards the table.
As Katie headed back to her seat she noticed that Natasha seemed to be staring into an open packet of crisps with great determination, as if she didn't want to notice anything else in the room. Katie couldn't resist, using all her natural stealth she crept silently up behind Katie.
"I'm back." she called right into Natasha's ear.
Natasha jumped so hard that the contents of the crisp packet was sent flying all around her. Katie nearly split her sides laughing at the look on Natasha's face.
"You absolute cow!" Natasha declared, trying not to laugh, and failing miserably; Katie's joy was just too infectious.
Katie still trying to catch her breath shooed Natasha around the curved seat so she could sit down.
"I must apologise for my sister." A deep voice said, capturing Natasha's attention.
How she had failed to notice the mountain-like man who was stood by the table she would never know, but there sure was a lot of him to notice. He was at least six foot tall if he was an inch, broad shoulders, and the hint of definition under her shirt that spoke of a man who had muscles because he was active, not because he worked at them.
Natasha's gaze found it's way to his face, and was instantly captivated by the clearest blue eyes she'd ever seen. She knew without question that these were the eyes that she felt on her before.
"This is James, the brother I told you about." Katie said now that she'd got over the giggles.
"It's a pleasure to meet you." James said as he offered his hand to Natasha.
Natasha reached out to shake his hand. The moment their hands touched she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand-up. She was so surprised by this that it took her a moment to realise that he wasn't shaking her hand, but was instead leaning over it kiss it. When his lips brushed the back of her hand it felt like shivers of lightning were running down her arm.
James was pleased to hear the soft intake of breath when his kissed her hand so was willing to let go of her hand when she pulled it away, although he would have liked to keep hold of it all night given the choice. He slipped into the booth opposite his sister and next to Natasha.
"Our mother tried to raise Katie as a lady." James informed Natasha, a twinkle in his eye. "She was forever having to remind Katie of the way a young lady should behave. 'Young Ladies do not run, they glide gracefully' or 'a proper young lady laughs softly, she does not snort with laughter'. I think my favourite though was on Katie's naming day. 'A proper young lady does not take off her expensive dress in order to wrestle in the mud, especially not if she's going to lose!"
Katie chipped in at this point.
"I'm still not sure what bothered her more, the fact that I was running around in my petticoats or the fact that I was losing the fight to Jessica, the daughter of mother's friend."
Natasha smiled at the story. The two of them were obviously very close. She did however feel a twinge of jealousy at that. Natasha had no one to reminisce with, no cheery childhood anecdotes, and no family members to speak fondly of.
James noticed a faint hint of sadness behind Natasha's smile and was about to ask her about it, when their food arrived.
"Wow!" was all Natasha could say. The plate that had been put in front of her had the biggest steak she had ever seen, and was loaded with fries, salad, and a pot of barbeque sauce. "If this taste half as good as it looks it'll be the best steak I've ever had!"
Natasha quickly cut into the steak realising just how hungry she was. After all, her crisps had gone on the floor rather than in her stomach!
She put the steak in her mouth and instantly felt the juices running on to her tongue, it was so tender and flavourful, Natasha couldn't supress the moan of pleasure that escaped her as she slid the fork out of her mouth.
"You're right," She said to Katie "Best, steak, ever."
James shifted a little in his seat. Hearing his mate's moan of pleasure around the mouthful of meat had him hard in an instant, he tried to concentrate on what was being said, to keep from imagining what else he would like to see Natasha's lips wrapped around as she made that delightful sound.
"The beef comes from a local farm that James set up a few years ago." Katie was telling Natasha.
"So you're a farmer?" Natasha asked James.
"Not really, I just run a few businesses in the area, and the farm is one of the more recent developments."
"A business tycoon then? Does that mean you sit in a fancy office all day making phone calls?" Katie enquired.
"It's not that fancy. I hate it actually. I'd love to be able to work outdoors all day, but I inherited the business from my father, and the folk in the village depend on me to make sure that everything is running as it should be so that they can all get paid and fed."
Natasha looked a little confused at this statement.
"Do you mean you own all the businesses here?" Natasha asked incredulously.
"It's not like you think. The village was set up by our ancestors. They wanted to create a self-sufficient community that belonged to everyone. So everyone who lives here has a stake in all the businesses in town, we all work together so that everyone has what they need. I'm the one who makes sure that everything is running as it should and that no one goes without or doesn't pull their weight."
"It almost sounds like you're the head of a family."
"It's just like that." James enthused, pleased that Natasha seemed to understand. "All the families have been here for a long time, all the children grow up together and we all know each other, so it's like we are one big family."