Leader of the Pack Ch. 10bysecretme©
Rafe stood in the great room of the Tairneach manor. One thing he did like about Brennus Tairneach was his taste in decorating. The manor was huge and richly furnished. Everything was brocade, silk, antique, or plush. A grandfather clock on the wall began to chime. The moon was high and could be seen through the skylights in the ceiling of the great room. Every room in the manor seemed to have a fireplace. That was Rafe's favorite part about the place. It was as though the fates had planned for him to be here. He was seriously considering having the cabin on the Arnauk reservation remodeled in this fashion. A large greenish tinted fire blazed in every fireplace and no one questioned the oddity. Even though the nights had been far too warm to justify lighting them.
Jenna stood in the middle of the room. She was naked except for a large red, ruby, signet ring hanging from a thick gold chain around her neck. It had been her father's ring. Rafe had been gracious enough to let her keep it. Rafe walked up behind Jenna. He was in a relatively good mood. So he allowed her to wear the ring during the ceremony. He found it morbidly amusing in some way that he was about to mate with the girl and she was wearing the ring that had been on her father's hand when he had died.
Rafe smiled as he thought about the look in Brennus's eyes when he died. Rafe pushed Jenna down to her hands and knees roughly. Then he dropped his pants and took up his position behind her. The movement brought some halting applause. Rafe was pleased by the turn out. He grabbed hold of Jenna's hair and yanked her head back as he thrust into her. She cried in pain as he forced himself into her dry cunt. She hadn't been ready for him. How could she be? He disgusted her. But this wasn't the time to fight him. She knew that she'd have her chance soon enough. She stayed herself with the thought that she would be there to see him die.
Kara watched Jenna submit to the punishment that Rafe put her through. He appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself. He seemed to be looking at this as practice for when he turned himself into what he was calling 'perfection'. Kara seethed with jealousy. The idea that Jenna wasn't appreciative of what Rafe was gifting her with was beyond Kara's ability to comprehend. Just as Aislinn had baffled her. Aislinn had been worse though. Rafe actually wanted her.
Rafe continued to fuck Jenna until she began to respond. Jenna was doing her best to cooperate through her revulsion. She managed to imagine herself in a different enough situation that when she faked her orgasm he believed it. Rafe considered himself to have been infinitely generous, allowing Jenna to come first.
Rafe yanked her upright by her hair as he released into her. Positioning her the way he wanted he bit down on the join between her neck and her shoulder. Since he wasn't were (yet,he thought) his teeth were exactly made for this part of the ceremony. He bit down hard on Jenn's shoulder. His teeth finally piercing her skin and drawing blood. There was some additional applause at that point. He had at one time considered this ceremony to be barbaric. But now that he was in the middle of it he could see the draw. He swallowed the blood readily and then pulled away from her to admire his handiwork.
Jenna had yet to fulfill her half of the mating. It wasn't as if this could work the way it was supposed to. He wasn't a lycan. She hadn't even bothered to take her wolf form. She stayed in her human state to match his. She knew that he was only doing this because it would send a message to the pack. The positive point about it being that at least she couldn't make her brain believe this was an actual mating. She felt no bond with him, she was totally unsatisfied, and her wolf wasn't anywhere near interested in the situation. She took his arm in her hand and brought it to her mouth. She bit down just hard enough to draw blood. But she made sure that the wound would heal without scaring. She didn't plan on keeping him around for life.
The ceremony didn't last long at all. Rafe had watched the weres he had created rutting throughout the great room. Noting that there were a vast number of differences in the tendencies of each of the species. He vastly preferred the habits of the cats. The wolves tended to make each session of sex long, drawn out, and overly intimate. The cats liked their short, sweet, to the point and then they moved on.
Rafe and Jenna spent the rest of the evening mingling with their pack. Rafe was enjoying playing the part of the alpha male. Jenna was frustrated, angry, and ashamed. She tried several times to escape the ceremony. But Kara would appear and send her back into the mix. Rafe mostly ignored her after he had finished. Various members of the pack approached her and she stood bored and indifferent as they knelt in front of her and showed their respect by pressing their faces against her sex and taking in her scent mingled with Rafe's. She couldn't help a grateful shiver when an old lover approached her and spent a great deal of time licking her clit. He had been enraged by Rafe's treatment of Jenna that evening and pitied Jenna. Besides there were currently three women kneeling in front of the new alpha lapping at his latest erection and there was no way Jenna's scent was still clinging to Rafe after the little display he had put on. The point of this half of the ceremony was for the pack to acknowledge the joining of the alpha pair. And this wasn't how it was done.
By the time dawn rolled around Jenna was sent back to her room and Rafe retired to his. He had cleared his morning for sleep, but he had several appointments that afternoon and then he would begin assembling the army.
Sarah boarded the plane angrily. She sat in the seat fuming. And she was still pissed when she took the taxi to the address that Aislinn had given her. Cullen had been insistent. He didn't know who to trust. So his solution to the problem was to only involve the people who he thought needed to know. Sarah and Keith were the only two on that list right now. Cullen would arrange a meeting of the pack elders when he had enough information.
Keith was in the middle of dealing with the fact that while he had been talking with Cullen about Aislinn's grandmother and then having a delicious dinner at Taigh-Oèsda, Sarah had managed to pin down Ranaild's son Iain on the fact that his mother had been missing for quite some time. When Sarah had tried to talk to Ranaild about it he had also turned up missing.
Sarah figured that she should be the one looking into it since she had discovered it. But Cullen was adamant that Aislinn's grandmother be dealt with delicately. Keith was not the delicate type. Well right now neither am I, Sarah thought in annoyance. She had also suggested that Aislinn go after her own grandmother. But Cullen wasn't letting Aislinn out of the den for any reason. Aislinn had protested. That made Sarah less angry with Aislinn. But Cullen was the alpha and Cullen told Sarah to go.
She told the taxi driver to wait and she headed up the path that lead to the front door of a pretty little white house. Before she had a chance to ring the bell on the door it opened hastily and a small woman with gray-white hair, pulled nicely into a bun on the back of her head and wearing jeans, a t-shirt that said 'don't underestimate me', and carrying a duffle bag appeared in the doorway. She eyed Sarah with the same striking blue eyes as Aislinn. Nodded. Then locked the door.
Sarah was nearly bowled over by the woman as she headed for the taxi. "Are you coming?" Brinah called back to the startled lycan.
Sarah got herself together and headed for the taxi. Once they were both in the backseat they exchanged introductions as the driver pulled out and headed back to the airport. "I don't think I will," Sarah said as she indicated the t-shirt. "You certainly weren't what I was expecting."
"And what were you expecting dear?" Brinah said. Her tone and words belying the appearance that she was giving.
"I don't know. A grandmother?" Sarah said. "I guess I can see where Aislinn gets it."
"I don't think I know what you mean by 'it' but I'll take that as a compliment." Brinah looked out the window impatiently.
"We can't get there any faster. I got the earliest flight. We should be there by dinner." Sarah watched Brinah.
"I haven't seen my granddaughter in a very long time. You'll have to excuse my haste."
Sarah nodded. The rest of what she wanted to say to the woman would require privacy. That they wouldn't have until they were back at the den. So the rest of the trip was silence.
Cullen wasn't willing to concede that any of the names on the list that Keith provided him with could be in the process of betraying his loyalty. "I want more proof," he stormed as he threw the list down on his desk. The names on the list were people who were too close to him. "I refuse to start ripping throats out until I know without doubt that these people have turned. Rafe has to have done something to them."
"You're the one who wants to believe Aislinn when she says that they won't do anything that they would be drastically disinclined to do in real life." Keith argued. He thought that all of the men and women on the list should be caged for their own good until this was figured out.
Cullen growled. "Is there anything else?"
"Not until Sarah gets back," Keith said.
"Good. I've had enough news for this afternoon. I'm going to find Aislinn."
Keith got up and walked with Cullen out into the hall. "You find Aislinn an awful lot you know," he said with a chuckle. "She in heat or something?"
Cullen rolled his eyes. "Do you have to make this into a joke?"
Keith shrugged. "No I don't have to make it into a joke. It's just more fun that way." Keith's voice took on a mocking tone. "The mightly Lord General Cullen Arnauk chasing after a woman." He started chuckling again. "Actually the best part is that she seems so clueless about the grip she has on you. I can't decide if it's denial or she's just that dense." Cullen growled a warning at Keith that caused him to start laughing again.
Aislinn was getting seriously bored with the way things were turning out. Cullen refused to let her do anything that might put her in what he saw as danger. If she hadn't been sleeping with him she probably would have put up more of a fight about it. But she just couldn't argue with him when he got that concerned, hurt tone in his voice and asked her to stay upstairs in the den for just a little while longer. She was just too used to always having something to do. This sitting around was driving her nuts. All she did was think about the next time she would get to be with him. And those thoughts only made her sitting around more miserable. She squirmed in her seat a little and looked around to see if anyone had noticed. She still couldn't decide why she was so infatuated with the guy. Maybe I just don't know what's bad for me. First Rafe and now Cullen. He's a werewolf, she told herself. What am I doing?
She growled to herself and turned the page of a decent book she had found in the library. At least there was plenty of entertainment on the main floor, even if no one except Rissa would talk to her. Aislinn fully planned on making Cullen let her have a job after this was all over. Alpha or not she didn't see anything wrong with waiting tables at the Taigh-Oèsda. That way she could feel useful. There was also the thought in the back of her mind that she'd like to have her own stash of cash somewhere. Just in case. She just couldn't help but feel like this couldn't be real. She was waiting for him to get bored with her and move on. With all the talk about the women who were after him it was impossible for Aislinn to completely believe that he wanted her more than one of them.
She was having trouble concentrating on the book she was reading and kept looking out the window instead. She watched planes fly by and her stomach would jump. She couldn't wait to see her grandmother. It had been so long and she missed her family so much. She had to keep telling herself that they were safer this way. But that didn't make the hurt stop. Although, she had to admit, Cullen had been a fairly good bandage for that pain recently.
God, she thought, and then there's Cullen again. Can't I stop thinking about him for just one minute? Her heart nearly beat out of her chest. The way he touched her was more than she could handle. I'm in love with him, she finally admitted to herself as she stared out the window. The question is if he feels the same and then what do I do about it. According to Rissa an alpha male could choose any female he wanted. But they generally tried to find a woman equal to their abilities who could compliment their position in the pack. There was supposed to be someone out there that the fates intended for each of them. That didn't stop people from mating with whomever they liked. It just made matters more complex for the few lycans who put effort into trying to find the one who was meant for them. Rissa said that Cullen had been around a long time and had chosen not to mate on several occasions. At least one of those occasions had been badly handled. The girl had been wrongly given the impression that he was in love with her. Ever since that mismatch Cullen had put a lot of effort into making sure that he spread himself thinly so as not to accidentally make a girl think he was interested. Then there was the Jenna incident.
She was so lost in thought that she missed Celia's approach until it was too late. Celia took the book out of Aislinn's hands and tossed it aside. "We have some unfinished business little one. I'm surprised you're out and about all alone. Have you finally qualified for grown up status?"
Aislinn stared back at Celia. She had learned quite a bit about Celia as well. If the woman thought that Aislinn had just been sitting around doing nothing and waiting for Cullen to have time for her then Celia was mistaken. Aislinn had spent most of time quizzing Rissa about the supposed competition and she was feeling pretty confident in her position with Celia at this point.
"I could say the same of you Celia. Doesn't Mack usually follow you around?" Aislinn's tone was haughty. She didn't bother to stand up. It wouldn't be necessary yet.
"I would be careful to not talk about things you don't understand little one," Celia growled in warning.
But Aislinn had been planning for this and wasn't about to not use the material she had been preparing. "So I heard that you've turned him down three times now. That's either cruel or stupid. I mean I guess I kinda pity you. Do you actually prefer the idea of being alpha over mating with someone who you were meant to be with?"
"You ignorant galla. You have no idea what you're talking about," she spat vehemently.
"I know that Mack believes you're his mate. And if he's feeling it for you than you should be most definitely feeling it for him too. I think that the reason you're so pissy is because you want something you can't have and at the same time you need something you won't accept." Aislinn flashed a superior smile at Celia. The people in the room who were listening to the conversation were starting to look frightened. Everyone thought exactly what Aislinn was saying but no one had the courage to say it to Celia's face.
In a shadowy corner of the room Mack stood watching and listening. He decided that he very much liked Aislinn and that she made an excellent match for Cullen. Now if only some of her common sense would rub off on Celia. Or at least shock her into reality.
Celia was struck dumb by Aislinn's gall. The only woman in this pack able, physically, to stand up to Celia was Sarah, and with good reason. No one was dense enough to talk to her this way. "You're not one of us. You have no rank to speak of. You have no right to speak to me this way," Celia growled menacingly.
"We haven't established that yet." Aislinn stood up at that point. "I should probably tell you that I had a dream last night. You lose this fight." Aislinn had been doing a lot of dreaming lately. For the first time in years she wasn't afraid to sleep, as long as Cullen was there. She didn't really know why but Rafe didn't seem to be able to get into her head when she was with Cullen. There was something about being with him that made her feel stronger, more confident in herself. She didn't know if Rafe's inability to bother her was because of Cullen or the way Cullen made her feel. Either way she was more rested than she had been in a long time.
Doubt flashed in Celia's eyes. Everyone in the pack had heard about what Aislinn was capable of. Celia considered that she may be bluffing to put her off guard. Then again if she wasn't and Celia started a fight and lost then she'd look like a fool. Celia hesitated. It was just long enough for Cullen and Keith to enter the room.
Cullen and Keith stopped when they saw the women standing toe to toe. Cullen growled a warning at Celia that Aislinn stopped with a pleading look. Keith started laughing again and Celia stormed out of the room. Mack then appeared from a corner to go after her. He nodded at Aislinn as he left.
"I suppose it's good that you interrupted," Aislinn said as she walked over to Cullen. "If Grandma came here and found me bruised there might be trouble."
"Then you two need to lay off the rough sex? That really is a shame," Keith chided.
Aislinn was getting used to his running commentary. Cullen ignored it so she didn't see why she should let it bother her. She slid her arms around Cullen's waist and nuzzled her face into his chest. Cullen responded by wrapping her in his arms and placing an affectionate kiss on top of her head. After everything Rissa had said about Cullen not touching women affectionately in public, every time he was like this with her she felt a little stronger in their relationship.
"Eww," Keith mocked. "Get a room."
"Don't tempt me," Cullen said. Then he looked at Aislinn with a wicked grin and raised his eyebrows.
"You serious?" She asked incredulously. Things had been getting rather intense between them. He didn't seem able to stop touching her. Not that Aislinn minded. But Rissa had said behavior like that was how couples got just before mating. Aislinn didn't know what she thought about that. Especially after learning how it was done. Besides, Cullen hadn't said a word about mating. Everyone else did. They joked and suggested and poked fun, when they knew Aislinn was in hearing distance. But Cullen never said anything about it. After everything Aislinn had been told about his habits with women she still wasn't certain what he was doing with her. He was showing her a great deal more attention than anyone else he had been with in the past. But he hadn't actually defined the situation and she was scared to make him. As long as it was uncertain she could still hope.
Cullen looked seriously hurt by her response. "If you're not interested then maybe an early dinner instead?" He was wondering if his wolf was making a mistake. She was always pulling back from him just enough to make him nervous. He wanted her so badly. But she seemed reluctant. He wasn't used to chasing women as Keith had put it. He kept trying to come up with a magic thing to say that he knew she wouldn't be able to turn down. He didn't think he'd be able to handle it if he suggested mating and she told him that she'd prefer to just be friendly. At the very same time he knew that if friendly was all she wanted he'd take it for as long as she was willing to give it. Life would be much easier if human over thinking didn't complicate wolven instinct, he thought.