The Hungry Wolf Ch. 02bywanderingmindgames©
I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It is appreciated and invaluable
And once again, I have to give credit for the title and teasers to the great song by X --
Thank you --
"So what do you intend to do now?" Darian asked his brother.
"I don't know." Damien was in his aunt's kitchen, leaning against the counter with a cup of coffee in his hand. He had spent a restless night on his aunt's sofa and had decided to call his brother to talk about what had happened with Charlie. "I need to find out what went wrong last night."
"What do you think went wrong?" his brother asked.
"Nothing," Damien said with a sigh. He could hear Eva in the background.
"Eva says you should gently force her to open up to you, demand she tells you about the scars you felt."
"Oh?" Damien asked. He was thankful for advice from his brother and his mate, feeling totally out of his depth.
"Yeah. She thinks they're the root of the obstacle."
"Huh." He took another drink of coffee. "And how does she recommend I gently force her to open up?"
"She says be kind. Let her know your love for her is unconditional. That nothing she can say will change how you feel for her. But, you have to be persistent, keep after her until she tells you. She may get angry at first, but she'll feel better when she's done."
"I don't think anger will be an issue," Damien said, smiling. "But...my love for her? Won't that freak her out more?"
"Good point. Don't use those words. Just allow the sentiment."
"You know, brother, while I'm sure the advice you two are giving is spot on, I am no clearer on a course of action."
"We know," Darian laughed and paused, listening to Eva. "She says trust your instincts and you'll be fine."
"I hope so."
"Go. Go woo your mate."
"Good luck." With that Darian hung up the phone.
Damien dumped the rest of his coffee down the sink and washed his cup, placing it in the drain. He turned around to see his aunt in the kitchen doorway, smiling at him. He raised his eyebrows at her expectantly.
"Where are you off to this morning, Damy?" she asked.
"Charlie." He stepped past his aunt, nodding a good morning to his uncle behind her and heading out to the covered porch. He knelt down to put on his shoes, tying them quickly before bounding down the steps to his truck. He glanced at his reflection in the side-view mirror and ran his hands through his hair, smoothing it some before he climbed in. He backed down the driveway, turning to back in to a space in front of Charlie's room. He jumped out, striding to her door and pausing just before knocking when he heard her.
She was singing.
She was, in fact, singing her heart out. His heart swelled as he listened to her beautiful, sultry voice ring with such passion. He smiled, amazed that someone that seemed so frail and small to him could have a voice that big, and he closed his eyes, laying his forehead on her door, imagining her singing to him as he danced with her under the moon.
And I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh yeah yeah and you smile, you smile
Oh then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine at last
He waited a moment, wanting to see if she started singing another song, but she didn't. He stepped back and listened to her moving about, unable to decipher what she was doing, and raised his hand to knock. Just as he was about to rap on her door, she opened it. She jumped back with a yelp and tripped over her own feet, falling hard on her butt and mumbling curses under her breath.
Damien looked at her and smiled, feeling a bit lightheaded as lavender and chamomile washed over him again. His mouth watered, remembering her taste, and he clenched his jaw. She was wearing well fitted cargo shorts in tan that stopped mid-thigh and a snug black t-shirt. Her dark brown hair hung loose around her shoulders.
"Holy fuck, Damien! You scared the shit out of me," she glared at him as she accepted his outstretched hand and let him pull her up.
"Sorry," he said, trying not to laugh.
"Right. I can tell you are." She pulled her hand out of his and stood in front of him, hip cocked, hands on her waist. Damien thought she looked adorable.
"Are you alright?" he asked, brushing his hand across her cheek.
"Yeah," she shrugged and brushed her hands over her ass. "Just standard Charlie Bell clumsiness."
"I didn't mean to startle you."
"Mmmhmmm." She smiled at him, shaking her head. "It's okay, I was just going to ask your aunt to call you, so to have you just show up was a bit disconcerting." She looked at him closely. "You're in the same clothes you had on last night."
"Yes." He smiled as he realized what she had said. "Why were you going to have my aunt call me?"
"You didn't go home last night?"
"I stayed at my aunt and uncles' house," he said, nodding his head towards the house behind the motel. "And stop trying to evade the question. Why were you going to have my aunt call me?" he repeated.
"Oh. Right," she looked down, crossing her arms over her abdomen in a move Damien didn't think she was aware of. "I wanted to apologize for last night."
"What happened?" he asked softly, but she just shook her head. He watched her for a minute, thinking about his sister-in-law's advice. He put his finger under her chin and raised her face. "Alright. We'll let it go. For now." He bent down and kissed her softly, nuzzling his nose to hers briefly. "We should go."
"Where are we going?"
"To teach you to ride a horse."
"Today? I can't today."
"Why not? You have a date?"
"Yeah, with a washing machine." She cocked her head back towards the bed behind her.
"Leave it," he said, grabbing her hand and looking over her shoulder at the bag of dirty clothes and laundry soap on the bed. "We can do it tomorrow." He sent a message to his aunt to ask her if she would take care of Charlie's laundry for him. He heard her laughing at him, saying she would gladly take care of it.
"No buts. Come on." He pulled her over to his truck and opened the door for her, practically pushing her in and closing it behind her before sprinting around to the driver's side. He got in and started the engine, turning off the CD player as he backed out.
"No music today?" she teased, smiling at him. "That's too bad. I was so happy to find a fellow stuck-in-the-eighties-ite."
"Yeah. New Order. Roxy Music. I bet you even have a little Depeche Mode or Culture Club lurking about somewhere. You know, the eighties," she said with a shrug.
"That pretty much sums up my music collection," he teased, poking her in her ribs.
"Oh, ha ha. That's not what I was saying."
"I know. I just thought you could sing instead."
"I heard you singing when I pulled up, Charlie."
"Yeah." He took her hand and entwined his fingers through hers. "You're amazing."
"That's a bit overboard, but thanks."
"No it's not. Why don't you sing professionally?"
"I did, sort of. A long time ago," she said quietly. She pulled her hand out of his and placed it in her lap. He didn't push her on it, figuring it was another piece to the puzzle she was turning out to be, and biding his time until he could get the whole story.
"So tell me about the 'standard Charlie Bell clumsiness'?" he asked, wanting to lighten her mood.
"Oh, that," she smiled, relaxing and shifting in her seat to look at him. "It's just...me. I'm a total klutz. If an accident can happen, if there is any possible way for me to injure myself within a 20 foot radius of where I am, I will do it."
"Oh yeah. I trip over subatomic particles." She laughed, talking animatedly and happily. Damien glanced at her, the light and life in her face taking his breath away, and he thanked fate for her as he laid his heart at her feet, his wolf grinning at him in agreement, anxious to mate with her. "I've broken my arms, my legs, dislocated both shoulders and managed to break my own nose with my elbow." She laughed again, and Damien looked at her in wonder over her glee.
"I can see how that's funny," he teased.
"It is a little bit from this point of view," she giggled. "I mean, if there is a wall or chair or stair within 20 feet of me, I am more likely than not to walk into, trip over or fall down it."
"But...I mean.." he looked at her, a teasing smile on his face.
"You said you're a cook?" He reached over and took her hand again, smiling when she laced her fingers through his.
"I am. Why? Oh. I get it."
"Who the hell would put you around open flames and sharp things?"
"Hey!" she said, trying to pretend to be offended.
"I'm just pointing out the obvious here."
"For some reason, the kitchen is the one room where I don't have accidents. I am more graceful than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers combined. Just, you know, don't ask me to serve the food."
"Right," he teased with a snort, giving her hand a squeeze.
"Seriously. I've never even had a grease burn."
"See," she said, dropping his hand and holding her arms out towards him. "No burns or cuts."
"I think I'll have to inspect you fully later, dolcezza," he said, grabbing her hand again and placing a humid kiss on her palm. She sucked in her breath but didn't speak.
They were silent for the rest of the drive to the ranch. She looked up at the wrought iron arch with the Triple D logo in it -- three intertwined Ds in a pyramid -- as the truck bounced along the hardpan drive. She looked around, eyes wide at the sheer size of the main ranch house when Damien pulled in to the garage.
"This place is huge," she said quietly as they got out of the truck.
"Second largest ranch in the state," he said proudly. He walked over to her and took her hand again, keeping her close. "Let me show you the main house," he said, walking her over to the front porch. She gasped when she saw the huge oak doors with three wolves carved in to them. "Everything alright?" he asked.
"That's beautiful," she said, tracing a hand along one of the wooden animals, making him smile. He pushed the doors open and herded her inside.
"This is the main house," he explained. "The bottom floor here has the main offices, communal kitchen and gathering rooms, security center and hall. The top two floors are where Damien and I live; he and his wife have the north wing and I have the south."
"Really? It's huge."
"Come meet my brother." He started leading her up the stairs to the second floor. He knew his brother and Eva were waiting for them in their sitting room.
"Damien?" she asked, stopping on the stairs.
"What is it?" He turned to look at her, smiling at seeing her there, in his home.
"I don't think...I mean..." she trailed off, embarrassed. She was secretly pleased -- elated, really -- that he wanted to introduce her to his brother. But it was that satisfaction that made her hesitate. It was that secret happiness that made her not want to look at him, that made her want to turn around and run as far away from Damien as possible.
"Come, dolcezza," he said softly, stepping down to her. He cupped her cheek with his other hand. "Don't be nervous. You have nothing to fear."
"But fear itself?" She squeezed his hand for a moment. "You make me feel unsteady, Damien. As if I don't know myself anymore."
"I'm glad I'm not the only one." He caressed her cheekbone with his thumb before turning back towards the second floor. "Come on. The sooner the introduction is made the sooner you can get on a horse."
"And that's supposed to be an inducement?" Charlie asked with a laugh, once again following him up the stairs.
They reached the second floor landing and Damien turned to the right, heading through tall double doors to a somewhat shorter hallway. He led Charlie to a large archway on the right, walking in with a loud "Hello." He let go of her hand and she watched as he embraced his brother, getting a good look at him. It never occurred to Charlie that they wouldn't be identical twins. That they were related was obvious, but Darian was slightly larger than Damien, slightly taller, and had a more rounded chin below thinner lips. He was incredibly handsome, but still nothing in her eyes compared to his twin.
She then looked at the stunningly beautiful woman Damien hugged. She had the smoothest skin Charlie had ever seen, almost golden in color, with high cheekbones and full lips. Straight hair that was black as coal hung down to her waist, giving her the appearance of a sensual Native American goddess. She had to be close to six feet tall. Charlie looked her up and down and felt downright frumpy in comparison.
"Good morning to you, too," she says smoothly, stepping back next to Damien's brother. She turns her head to see Charlie hovering behind him. "Are you going to introduce your friend?"
"Darian, Eva, this is Charlie Bell." He leaned back and put his arm over her shoulders, pulling her forward.
"Hi. Nice to meet you," Charlie said, holding out her hand first to Darian and then to Eva. "I don't know why, but I just assumed you and Damien were identical twins."
"Ah, no, sorry. I should have explained," Damien said, squeezing her to him.
"No, it's okay." She smiled at the couple. "It was my assumption, my blame."
"So, Charlie Bell, please, sit down," Eva said warmly, gesturing to a large wingchair as she and Darian resumed their seats on the couch. Damien moved them over to it, seating himself before pulling her on to his lap. Charlie stiffened a bit at the intimacy, but Damien ignored it. He moved his hand to run lazily up and down her back. "Is your name short for anything?" Eva asked, noting the woman's reaction to her brother-in-law.
'She's lovely, if a little skittish,' she sent to him. Damien gave her a slight nod.
"That's a beautiful name."
"Thank you," Charlie said, relaxing a bit on Damien's lap.
"That's the name of my favorite author," Eva said with a smile.
"Really? My mother named me after Charlotte Bronte. She was one of her favorites. Well, her and her sister. My middle name is Emily."
"Charlotte Bronte is my favorite!" said Eva, leaning forward. "My favorite book is 'Jane Eyre'."
"That was mine and my mom's favorite, too. She used to read it to me when I was a little girl." Charlie said, smiling and leaning back against Damien, unconsciously nestling her body to his. "It's such a beautiful story."
"It is. So full of passion and romance," Eva said with a sigh, catching Darian as he rolled his eyes at his brother. She ignored the look, getting caught up in the conversation with Damien's mate. She liked the woman instantly. Her balance of playfulness and groundedness was the perfect match for her brother-in-law. She glanced at the smile on Damien's face and mirrored it; if Luna herself asked her to design a mate for him she couldn't have done any better.
'Well, brother, look at you mooning. Even I can see you are in love,' Darian sent.
'Is it that obvious?'
'Yes!' Damien had no response to his brother's teasing tone other than a feeling of dismay at this insight. 'She is a lively little thing, isn't she?' he asked, watching her talk animatedly to his Eva.
'You have no idea,' Damien sent, thinking on the night before.
'You're excused from pack duties this week to help get things settled between you.'
"We will leave you to your horseback riding," Darian suddenly said, standing up and pulling Eva with him. "We have a meeting and lunch engagement." He turned and held his hand out to Charlie, shaking it again. "It was wonderful to meet you. I am sure we will see you again soon."
"Thank you, it was nice meeting you both." She gave a little start when Eva bent down to give her a quick hug.
"Come to dinner tomorrow night, Charlie. We'd love to have you."
"Um, sure. Alright," she said glancing somewhat shyly at Damien. He smiled and nodded, putting his arms around Charlie's waist.
"Great! See you both then." The couple left, and Charlie was struck by how perfect and beautiful they were together.
They sat in silence for a moment before Charlie spoke. "Why did you seat me on your lap?"
"Because I like to be close to you." He ran his hands down her thighs to her knees, letting his fingers trail on the inside on the way back before sliding his arms around her waist again. "Because I like to touch you." He nuzzled her neck, running his nose from behind her ear to her shoulder. "Because I like to smell you." He ran his tongue up the side of her neck to her ear, lightly licking along the outer rim. "Because I like to taste you."
"Damien," Charlie said with a shiver. She was getting aroused under his assault.
"I want you, Charlie," he said simply. "I want you naked, bathed in moonlight and crying my name." He turned her face to his and kissed her softly, taking her lower lip in to his mouth and sucking it gently.
"I can't, Damien," Charlie said, her voice unsteady.
"Are you married?" he asked, tugging the skin of her neck with his teeth.
"No!" she said with a sound that was half laugh and half moan as he nipped at her lobe.
"It's a long story."
"Tell me," he whispered. Instead, she cupped his face and kissed him, sliding her tongue in to his mouth and moaning at his taste. She knew she shouldn't, but she couldn't stop herself. She broke the kiss and put her forehead against his shoulder.
"Take me riding. Please." She wanted him. Oh how she wanted to be naked with him. To feel him inside her, to taste him, to moan his name. She sighed, knowing that before that could happen she would have to be honest with him. And once she was, his desire for her would be fully extinguished. Desire couldn't hold up against her life. It never did. "Please."
"Alright, Charlie. Let's go." He gently pushed her off his lap and stood, taking her hand and leading her back down the main stairs.
They wove through the halls and out a side door. A massive barn, the biggest Charlie had ever seen, stood about 30 yards away. As they walked towards it she noticed what looked like modified silos at the corners of the building. They were wide cylinders that ended in covered platforms just above the roof line. They reminded Charlie of guard towers, and she was just about to ask Damien about them when a gorgeous willowy blonde came sauntering up to them.
"Damien!" she called, stepping up to him and staring at him, a look of adoration on her face.
Charlie looked at the two of them together, both tall and both gorgeous, amazed at what a picture-perfect couple they would make. Two well matched beautiful people. If it wasn't for the coldness emanating from her, that is, Charlie thought. She looked at Damien, noting the moue of distaste on his face, and smiled, looking down at her shoes. She may not be a gorgeous, willowy blonde, but she hadn't made that look cross his face. Well, not yet, anyway, she amended to herself.
"I missed you last night," she practically purred, placing her left hand on his abdomen. Charlie smiled at the obvious ploy.
After all, it was her hand he was holding tight.
"Don't," he said, pushing her away with his free hand.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't see you're busy," she said, feigning innocence. She turned and looked at Charlie, giving her the obvious once-over and dismissing her with a sneer. "I can show the new hand around for you, lover. No need to lower yourself."