Above an Alpha Ch. 02byPlainJane12©
Mark gaped. If Trent had been a wolf whose strength Mark had any passing respect for, he would have killed him in an instant. But this timid, bizarre omega had just opened his mouth and tried to claim Mark's mate as his own. –It was just too weird to react to properly. Mark practically stuttered in confusion. "Uh... No, she's not. She's mine." His wolf stood up, pressing against Mark's insides, demanding to be heard. Mark finally managed to say, "MINE."
Trent took a step away from Mark, but never stopped touching the glass separating him from Leah.
Mark continued, "As your Alpha I command you to stay away from her! She belongs to me!"
"I'm sorry, Sir. I still believe you are mistaken." Trent was surprised – he hadn't intended to say that. But he could feel his wolf holding his ground. He meant what he said.
Mark grabbed Trent by his shirt and picked him off the ground. "Do you want to die, little omega?"
Trent swallowed. No, he did not want to die. But that girl with her ass in the air, snoring like a monster, was his. His wolf jumped to the surface snapping and barking. Trent's eyes widened as, with an accord not quite his own, he knocked away Mark's arms and fell onto his own feet gracefully. He stepped toward his alpha and said, "She's MINE."
That's it, Mark thought. Time to kill him.
"Hey," came a voice from the cell in front of them. They both turned, seeing the rosy-cheeks and bleary eyes of Leah well-rested. She sat up on her bed. "What's up? Who won?" She noticed her hands were empty. "...Where's the chianti?"
The girls Leah had met in Moe's trailer stood up and looked to see her. They seemed excited she was awake.
Mark pressed his hands to the glass. "No, no one's fighting." Then to Earlene he said, "Get Trent out of here. Lock him up if you have to."
"No!" Trent argued, "She's my mate! She should know!" He backed away from Earlene's attempt to take his arm. But there were betas everywhere, closing in, and he pressed himself against the glass, trying to stay. He considered changing –
"What are you doing to him?" Leah demanded, suddenly standing – though no one in the room could remember seeing her move. Her question was loud, but not emotional. She was simply serious.
"We won't hurt him," Mark suddenly promised, though a moment later he wondered why he had promised that.
Trent could see Leah worry for him, and he nearly cried. Ironically, he wasn't worried any longer. His mate was wise and strong. They would be together eventually. "I'll see you later!" he called to her as he let the betas drag him away.
Mark turned to look at Leah. She was smiling, bemused by Trent as he was carried off. She shook her head, perplexed yet entertained by the strange, totally hot omega, and replied, "Okay." She waved goodbye.
"No!" Mark beat both his fists against the glass, cracking it.
She raised her eyebrows. Then she took a good look at Mark. She grinned. "What's up?"
Mark stomach fluttered at her smile. "Hello," he said.
"My name is Mark. Mark Masters."
"Hello, Mark, Mark Masters. I'm Leah. Eh... what's going on with the cell?" She circled her finger in the air, indicating her room. "One minute I'm having the best closet party ever and the next..."
"My people rescued you from those rogues."
Leah nodded and smiled the smile of the patronizing. "Okay. Great! Thanks for that. I was actually in the middle of orchestrating probably the awesomest escape ever, since like – The Great Escape, but... that's cool. Steal my thunder."
Mark was in love. She was orchestrating a great escape? Oh man – he'd go underground with her anytime.
She continued, "But whatever." She gestured as if it was water under the bridge. "It doesn't really matter who does the rescuing as long as we're... free..." Her eyes were on his as she said this.
Everyone went still.
Leah added, "...to go...?"
"Leah, I..." Mark began, before suddenly becoming very aware of all the other women in the room, watching the exchange with quiet concentration. "Ladies," he said, turning and addressing the room. "You don't know how sorry I am that the rogues treated you the way they did."
"No, we don't," Leah said. "You know what would be a good start though? Letting us out of here."
"The rogues will be punished," Mark continued. "And I wish I could return you all to your former lives."
"Oh, that part's easy. Just let us out..." Leah said.
"Unfortunately, you've all seen too much," Mark said, glancing back at Leah, wondering what she thought of werewolves, having been kidnapped by them.
-His thought was interrupted though when another woman wailed in fear, "They're going to kill us! We know too much!!"
"No, no, no! We're not going to kill you!" Mark said, quickly. "I mean, we don't have to, because you can become werewolves like us! You can be mated with werewolves! And make this your new home!" He nodded, trying to be bright and consoling all at the same time.
...All the women started screaming.
-Except Leah, who chuckled and sat back on her bed. "You're an idiot," she said, glancing at him as he looked to her for help.
"Your idiot," he replied, wanting to grab her and run away from this mess. "Help me," he said.
"Why should I?"
"Leah, my love, you're my mate. You're destined to be with me, lead with me. This is your pack too, now. Everything I have is yours."
"Including your problems? No thanks," she laughed.
"She makes a good point," Sarah said, hopping down the stairs. She grinned at her brother. She had never heard him speak like that before, and it made her want to roll on the ground laughing. "This is her?" she asked, looking into Leah's cell.
Mark nodded, both hands on the glass.
Sarah scrunched up her nose before sharing her thoughts with her brother. -There's something weird about her. She's not some other kind of were, is she?
Mark shook his head. Does she smell like some other kind of were? She's human.
She looks pretty damn relaxed for a human, Mark, Sarah argued. Sure she's not some kind of were we haven't met yet? –Like a, were-turtle or were-hedgehog?
"Sonic the Hedgehog is not based in reality," Mark declared. Even the loudest wailing woman stopped after this non sequitur.
Leah stared between the two. "Doing some brain talk there?"
"What are you?" Sarah asked.
"I'm a cartoonist... a teacher, a sister, a wine lover, a pie baker, a runner..."
"You run?" Sarah asked incredulously.
"Fat girls can run," Leah replied.
Mark's mouth was watering, but he still managed, "You're not fat."
"You're not hairy either," Leah replied.
"Well, he's not, right now," Sarah replied.
"Mmm, but I haven't seen everything yet, now have I?" Leah replied. Then she turned her gaze on Mark and Mark alone. "Mark Masters, I'm going to say this once. I need you to listen."
Everything in him opened at her words.
"You are gorgeous; one of the most beautiful men I've ever met. Look at those arms! I mean, God. You're something. That's why I'm giving you a chance. I'm giving you a week to do the right thing. I'm giving you a week to figure out what you have to do, to get these women back to their homes, jobs, and families.
"I get it. You're werewolves. Scary. For you, I mean. News could get out and you have the whole Frankenstein mob on your hands. Problem, obviously. So I'm giving you time to figure out how to do it yourselves, so that you can be happy with the outcome. –An entire week, just because you're beautiful."
Mark's wolf was pleased with her assessment of his looks, but he was getting worried about how to deal with her delusion that he would take this... this command from her.
She continued, "But after that, if there's a single victim here who doesn't want to be here, if anyone is here who doesn't want to be here – we're leaving. With force, probably. ...I imagine. –What with you guys being werewolves and all. I don't think I've run into a werewolf without running into a fight. Good fights, nothing too ugly – but who likes fighting? –Especially when you could be sitting around drinking and eating pie?"
Suddenly she became thoughtful and stared off and away, "Sometimes it's good to fight," she added. Then, refocusing, she said, "And I'll gladly fight for these people, because they didn't deserve what they got. But I don't want to fight you, because you're pretty."
Mark's mouth watered. The idea of fighting her – her struggling in his arms as he carried off to his room, pinning her on his bed, holding her down as she wriggled beneath him, biting into her flesh as he sunk into her depths...
Sarah suddenly coughed, turned a shade of red and started for the stairs. "Time for me to go."
Mark looked after her, worried that some of his thoughts had gotten out, when he became aware that a person might only need eyes to know what he was thinking about.
"I'm sorry, Leah, you don't understand," he said, trying to keep his... arousal in check and his brain on the issue at hand.
"Uh... I think I just laid everything out there pretty clearly. My comprehension shouldn't really be in question. Now, in my experience, when someone starts questioning your comprehension of a situation for no apparent reason, it usually means that they don't know how to deal with the situation themselves. So let me advise you on how to deal with this situation you think I don't understand. Evaluate the women. One by one, figure out who can be returned with the least fuss or muss. Some of them will be people who no one would believe anyway – drug users, prostitutes, filmmakers.
"Put them back, maybe not even exactly where they should be, but leave them somewhere where it would be clear they had had some crazy experience. Leave them with some ill-acquired drugs perhaps. Let anyone they tell about this, believe they're high or sick. And do it soon – the less they learn about this place, the less they'll have to tell.
"Next will be the people who have a little more stability in their lives. –The ones who are probably already missed. There are some mothers here. Young women who still live with siblings or parents. People want to know where they are. People will want to know where they've been. Convince them to be loyal to you by granting their freedom. Explain to them what will happen if they betray your secret. But, allow them to use the truth in the explanation.
"Let them be found with the dead body of one of the rogues. –Maybe two. Have them 'rescued' by local authorities. Have them explain that they were kidnapped by these men but a fight broke out and the men ended up killing one or two of their own and leaving.
"Lastly, you'll have to deal with the angry ones. There's a fair amount of them here. They have reason to be. –Not only were they kidnapped in the first place, but they haven't been saved yet. -Pretty annoying. The longer you keep them, the more vindictive they'll be once they're out. This, you may have to work out on a one by one basis. You'll have to bribe them. You'll have to threaten them. You might have to orchestrate the lie they choose to tell. But you have to get them out of here.
"Or I will."
Something tingled in the back of Mark's head. He tried to ignore it – because it didn't make any sense. She was a human, and by default her threats were empty. –But it really sounded like... her voice came out like, like an alpha. He wanted to obey her, badly. But he shook it off, clearing his head with the fact that this probably just had something to do with the mating pull. "You'll understand in time," he said, heading toward the stairs, needing to be away from her.
She threw her hands in the air in frustration. "Am I speaking French?" she asked the other women. She called after Mark, "I understand now!"
They all shook their heads, worried.
"You'll really get us out in a week?" Beatrice asked, pressed against the glass between her cell and Leah's.
"Yup." Leah was lying on her bunk, staring at the ceiling. "...Well, I'll set the plan in motion in a week. You may not be home in a week. But yeah – week from now, we're working on getting out. And we will be successful."
"Same basic idea I was working on at the mobile home park. ...Though... we will have to get outside at some point to scope things out. Depending on where we are, everything might take longer. –Or shorter, if we're lucky. I have to call my sister. Maybe even my brothers."
"You don't have a phone."
"I don't? Guess I'll have to get one then."
Beatrice paused. Then, drawing invisible circles on the glass, she asked, "Everyone's saying the wolves didn't rape you. Why not?"
Leah smiled. "I guess I'm not a very attractive girl."
Leah shrugged. She sat up a little. "I can't control other people. It's nothing like that. –Obviously. Or we wouldn't be here. But, I don't know. –With werewolves, were-things in particular, it's like they can tell what I feel, what I want, who I am. None of them understand it, but they know I mean what I say, when I say it."
"I don't understand. How do you know werewolves?"
"That's a long story. –A long story that's more about my sister than it is about me."
Beatrice suddenly laughed, manically. "I think we all have the time."
Leah looked around her cell, knowing full well there was plenty of surveillance, and that the guards at the door could hear every word uttered anyway. "You know what? I have a better idea. There's some things we'll have to do before we can orchestrate the escape attempt. Is anyone in here a gym instructor?"
Upstairs, Earlene was frowning at the security screens. "She knows wolves, and other 'were-things.' She thinks we sense something about her... and I guess we do. And she's planning an escape that requires going outside and finding a phone."
"I guess she's not allowed outside then," Greg replied.
Earlene huffed. "The alpha's mate not allowed outside? I wonder how long that will last."
"Okay, but she still won't get her hands on a phone, no matter how much Mark likes her."
Earlene went silent. She didn't like the girl's confidence. It was immeasurable, and Earlene knew that with confidence like that she didn't need a damn phone to do anything. Earlene drew her thumb along the deepest scar on her face, a wide crescent cut that ran from her ear to the midpoint of her cheek. "How's Trent?"
"That ass-wipe is sitting in the rogue cells with a shit-eating grin on his face. Mark should kill him now."
"Trent's a good boy," Earlene replied.
"He's an idiot. He thinks that she belongs to him?" Greg gestured to Leah on the screen. Earlene found it curious.
"Why not? I mean, aside from Mark's claiming her. Why not?" Earlene asked.
"What do you mean, 'aside from Mark's claiming her?' That's why. She belongs to the alpha. –Not to some lame omega, least of all Trent."
"Say that didn't happen. What if Mark hadn't been here today? What if he hadn't met or smelled her yet? If Trent had gone down there and claimed her alone, would you have a problem with it?"
"Hell yes! Of course... I mean... I mean, you can tell. You can tell they aren't mates. She's... and he's... there's no way."
"Do you want to claim her?" Earlene asked, quietly.
"I... I couldn't."
"Aside from Mark,"
"Aside from Mark, aside from anything! She's not my mate."
"Would you sleep with her if she didn't have a mate?"
"Why are we having this conversation?!" Greg finally demanded.
"I'm trying to figure out how you feel about her, whether every male wants to mate her or if it's just Mark and Trent."
"It's just Mark and Trent!" Greg nearly screamed, inexplicably exasperated. "Though if Trent lays a hand on her I'll kill him myself!"
Earlene frowned. Huh.
In the rogue cells, Trent couldn't help but sit smiling, content and eager for each passing moment. He knew he'd see her again; Luna had fated them to be together. He even considered the symmetry of their imprisonment; Leah alone in her cell and he alone in his.
"Where'd you come from, anyway?" demanded a hard-looking were in the cell across from him with eyes like robin eggs - Elias. "I don't remember you."
Trent looked up from his happy daze. "My name is Trent. I'm from this pack; the Masters' pack. I'm an omega. How do you do?"
"How do you do. How do you do? Are you a wolf or a doily?"
Trent smiled good-naturedly. Rogues were foolish wolves. True, being in a pack wasn't always easy; but what alternative was there? -Living like criminals on the fringe of human society? Trent shuddered at the idea of not having a job to do or a pack to do it for. What would he do all day?
Suddenly, unbidden, he imagined being in a house and watering flowers, Leah coming home from work... Leah in his arms. He kissed her, hard, and when she smiled at him, he threw her on his bed and ripped off those purple star pants she was still wearing in the fantasy, though he definitely pictured them below a navy blazer as she had just come home from work-
"What are you down here for?!" demanded Elias.
"Oh!" Trent replied with a start. "Um, one of the ladies you rogues kidnapped is my mate," he began.
The group roared with laughter, before Elias said, "I'm sure we all had a good time with her. You should thank us for breaking her in!"
Trent shook his head, "Uh, no. My mate is the one you left unharmed, though I must admit I'm glad to know you will be punished for the crimes you committed against the others."
Elias began to ask, then he remembered – that girl in front of Moe's shack. She hadn't been touched. Elias looked at Moe, who indeed had stood to get a good look at Trent. Bartok and Luis's eyes were on him too. "He talking about your bitch, Moe?" Elias demanded.
Oddly, Moe ignored Elias, directing his question to Trent, "You're Leah's mate?"
"Yes," Trent replied.
"I don't believe it," Moe said, incredulously.
"You and my alpha both," Trent replied with a smile. "My alpha also thinks he is her mate. But I know he's mistaken. ...That's why I'm down here."
This information sent the rogues at large on a new round of laughter. But Elias, Moe, Bartok and Luis were silent. Elias hadn't had much time to think about her, but he knew there was something strange about Moe's girl. Now he was beginning to wonder exactly what it was.
Moe, Bartok and Luis stared at the floor silently. It was impossible to think of Leah having a mate. They knew she didn't belong with them, not quite – but... they almost felt like it would have been better. They should have kept and protected her, rather than let some nerdy omega or some asshole alpha come and claim her.
"What is she?" Elias asked.
Trent smiled, a dreamy look overtaking his face. "She's awesome."
"Gather around, everyone," Kate said, taking a seat on the largest sitting stone in the tradition ring – a big circle of stones where the wolves gathered to pledge new allegiances, mate-bond in front of the pack, and roast marshmallows in the fall.
There were only a few wolves around, but Sarah noticed Kate and her announcement, and walked over. "Hey Kate. What's up?"
"It's time for me to tell the story of my first mating," Kate said, waving her hand in the air.
"It's a beautiful tale. I didn't want to mate, but I felt the mating pull, and he felt the mating pull, and then damn. He gave it to me good."
"TMI, Kate. TMI."
"Well we have two wolves who have newly found their mate, and no one's giving it to anyone yet. I think it's time I explain how it's done."
"No one's giving it to anyone yet because both Mark and Trent think they have the same mate."
"Woo. Maybe she's one of those polygamists."
"I don't think that's how that works, Kate."