There was no problem the next morning until they stayed in Adam’s room. Tommy even enjoyed waking up in the warm cocoon of Adam’s bigger body that was pressed against him from behind. He liked the way his scent mixed with the summer forest’s and lulled his senses until he was floating between being awake and dreaming. It was amazing how satisfied and lazy his wolf became. It retreated with Adam’s some time in the night because they were lying there in their human form.
The slight awkwardness came only when they got dressed – Adam’s shoulder looking much, much better thanks to Tommy’s presence and being in wolf form for most of the night – and moved to the kitchen where some of the wolves were already eating. They shot curious looks at their Alpha and Beta, clearly smelling their scents all over each other. Tommy just cleared his throat and started making chicken sandwiches for both of them. His shoulder was a bit tense and his face expressionless while Adam talked to the three Gammas and one Delta of their pack. Tommy has seen them before, but he didn’t know them that well.
Noticing and feeling his slight discomfort, Adam walked back to Tommy and stood behind him, nosing his neck and pressing a soft kiss on his exposed nape that was practically screaming for the Alpha’s attention. The way Tommy shuddered and some of the tension left his back, told Adam that he made the right decision. Smiling lightly against his skin he put his arms around the blonde’s middle and rested his chin on his shoulder to watch what he was doing. The more they touched, the calmer and relaxed Tommy got so they stayed like that, not saying anything or caring about the curious glances of their pack members.
“So is your shoulder really that much better or you’re just playing the tough Alpha?” Tommy finally asked, resting his hands on top of the counter as he was done making their sandwiches.
“I can still feel it and I doubt I could lift a car with that hand, but it’s fine,” he murmured and kissed into Tommy’s neck again before he loosened his hold on him enough to turn him around. He smiled when his Beta’s hands found their way under his T-shirt for more physical contact and he tipped Tommy’s chin up before gently kissing his plum lips. “We’re together now, remember? I won’t hide that from anyone. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable around me or the pack. You can touch me whenever you want. I love your hands on me,” he smiled down at him and found Tommy beyond beautiful as he stared back at him and finally nodded. “Come on, let’s eat. I’m starving,” Adam said and kissed Tommy once more before letting him go. He picked up one of the trays and took his hand to pull him to the head of the long table by which the others were eating and chatting. They didn’t stop what they were doing, but they were aware of every move they made.
Tommy should’ve felt a bit uncomfortable about that, but he could still hear Adam’s soft words in his head and he tried to do as he asked. He was drawn from his thoughts when instead of letting him sit next to Adam, the Alpha pulled him on his lap sideways. It made Tommy slightly blush and he hated his girly reaction, but didn’t say anything. In a few seconds he relaxed and shared a small smile with Adam before they finally started eating. Tommy knew Adam had to eat a lot to restore his strength, so that’s what they did, listening to the other wolves and commenting here and there. He had to admit that sitting on Adam’s lap felt like he belonged there and his wolf could only agree with that.
In the following days Adam held a pack meeting in his home with his Betas to update them about the latest attack and warned them to be careful while moving around in the city or in the forests. Tommy was sitting on the armrest of the Alpha’s comfortable armchair, listening to the conversation. When Adam put a possessive hand on his knee, he noticed Isaac’s grin and Sutan’s satisfied little nod, but he just rolled his eyes at them and let Adam keep his hand there.
“So what do you want to do about this new situation? Should some of us try to track the attackers down again?” the slim Beta, Brad asked cocking his hip to the side as he was standing next to the couch with a hand resting on the back of the furniture. Tommy saw the brown eyes flash at Adam’s hand on his knee before the brunette man looked up at Adam again.
“No Brad, there wouldn’t be any use of that. Terrance and Sutan weren’t able to follow them either once I’ve got shot. They were using some herbs to disguise their scent and they knew how to move in the forest not to leave tracks,” Adam shook his head.
“What did the Vampire Queen say?” a slightly grayish man, Lee Cherry asked with an arm around his wife and Mate, Scarlet. They were both sitting on the couch, the female keeping a hand on her stomach. They knew by then that she was expecting, which made the whole pack excited, of course. New cubs were always welcome and protected by the whole pack.
“She was pretty outraged by the fact that we were attacked on vampire territory and reassured me that it wasn’t ordered by her,” Adam said calmly.
“Do you believe her?” Sasha asked with her arms folded in front of her chest, her chocolate skin looking as if it was glowing. Distrust was rolling off her in waves, which made Tommy tense.
“I don’t think she’d lie about this. She looked and smelled genuine when we visited her. Besides I know her from way back,” Tommy said drily and felt Adam’s fingers lightly tighten on his knee. It made Tommy drop his gaze from Sasha and look at Adam.
“I don’t think either that she’d be deceiving us while having a hidden agenda against our pack. But what I’m sure about is that the top of the pack isn’t safe. Meaning you, my Betas and myself. I want you to be very careful and look out for the groups you each are responsible for. Warn them and make sure they don’t move around alone.”
“Sounds like a reasonable step to take,” Longineu nodded, his dread locks following the movement.
“But will that be enough?” the small Brad asked with doubt written all over his stubbly face.
“We can’t be sure. The enemy seems to attack unexpected and clearly isn’t afraid to use whatever weapon would work to accomplish their goal.”
“Wouldn’t it better to take the cubs to a safe house?” a woman with red curly hair asked. Tommy remembered her. She was called Brooke and was a dancer in her human life, but that’s not what made Tommy remember her. It was her strong presence and devotion for the cubs and the wolves that stood the lowest on the pack’s hierarchy. She was a special wolf. Not really a Beta – her power wasn’t so raw or storng – but one could consider her something that could be called “Alpha female”. Tommy was sure if Adam was interested in women, and Brooke didn’t have a human husband, they would’ve made a great and strong couple. But they were just good friends and since Brooke could move around freely and had a good connection to all the female wolves in the pack, she helped out the other Betas, the “peace-makers” too when needed.
“I don’t think they would go after them but since we are under attack, we should be careful and not risk their well-being. Ask around among the parents of the cubs and take those who want to go to one of the safe houses. Try to make them understand the seriousness of the situation.”
Tommy wondered why Adam didn’t just order them to go, but it wasn’t the first time the blonde found this Alpha walk a different path when it came to leading his pack. As Tommy looked around he saw that Brad’s eyes lingered on him, his brows lightly furrowed. The blonde didn’t break the eye-contact. It was Brad who did it when seemingly he found what he was looking for in Tommy’s eyes. He had no idea what that was but the other Beta started pissing him off a little.
“I understand,” Brooke nodded and that matter was settled for now.
“Other than this I’d like Terrance, Longineu and Isaac to double the security of my house. Please, add some of your people who are willing to the number of the guards. While it can be risky to have most of the Betas here in one place, it’s still easier to defend ourselves in case it came to another attack. I don’t want to lose any of you while we try to figure out what’s going on and why we are being targeted. Tommy…” Adam turned his head to look up at him and the blonde could see warmth and worry in Adam’s electric blue eyes. “I’d like to appoint you to the person who’d keep in contact with the Vampire Queen as you know her better and she might be more willing to share information with you. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure,” he shrugged with a laid-back expression and tried not to shiver from the light squeeze of the warm hand on his knee.
“Thank you. To be honest, I’d like to keep you close, because during the first attack it’s likely that you were the real target since the compelled human didn’t detonate until you got close,” he said and Tommy controlled himself not to tense up.
Although Adam phrased it not to feel himself being put on “house arrest,” it was pretty much an order to stay put and close to the Alpha. First he wanted to protest, but he had to admit that Adam was probably right. And wanting to keep his Mate close and safe? He couldn’t blame him for trying to do so. If he wanted to be completely honest with himself, he was worried about Adam too. Tommy had his doubts about being the main target of the attacks though. He thought it was Adam who they wanted to take out, because a pack without an Alpha was a weaker pack, easier to bring down. But it was true that killing first the Betas would weaken the structure and power balance too – not to mention all the pain the Alpha would be caused by that. Maybe they were playing at that. Maybe in case they succeeded to take out Adam’s Betas one by one, they were hoping that the Alpha would make a mistake in his rage, giving them an opening for a lethal attack. Tommy already shared these thoughts with Adam, who seemed to agree that this was a possibility too.
“You might be right. I’ll stay put then,” he rolled his eyes dramatically, because yes, he wanted to help more. But maybe this way they’d have more time together. After all, the next full moon was getting closer, just like the end of the three weeks Tommy asked to decide if he wanted to do the Mating Ritual or not.
“Thank you,” Adam gave him an honest and warm smile and Tommy’s slight pout disappeared as a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth too. Adam winked at him before turning back towards the other Betas. “Sutan,” he addressed the lean man with the darker complex. He just nodded as if saying ‘go on’. “I’d like you and your wolves to use your connections and sniff around. Maybe you can get some information about the attackers.”
“You’ve got it, honey,” he nodded with confidence and grace, making Tommy’s smile a bit wider. He liked Sutan’s sass.
“As for Brad and Sasha, I’d like you and your people to look after the rest of the pack. Scarlet,” he looked at the pregnant wolf “you and Lee can decide whether you want to go to a safe house with the pups and their parents who choose to do so or stay around. But I’d rather you did the former with your people to make sure the little ones are safe and guarded.”
The Mates looked at each other for a long moment then both nodded, coming to an agreement. It was Lee who spoke up. “We’ll go and take our people to make sure nothing happens to the young ones,” he said, squeezing Scarlet’s hand, making clear he meant that for his Mate as well.
Adam nodded and his serious expression eased up a bit. “Alright, guys. If no one has questions, I let you go now,” he announced and looked around and when no one said anything, he nodded and stood. “Be safe,” he said softly but with worry behind his words and everyone grunted in agreement.
Once most of them were gone or scattered in the house to start dealing with their tasks, Adam turned back to Tommy who was still sitting on the armrest. Their eyes met and the Alpha brushed the back of his hand against a pale cheek. Tommy smiled a bit again and couldn’t fight the instinct to rub his cheek against the caressing hand. That made Adam smile too and he leaned down to press a long but chaste kiss against the plum lips. Tommy was suddenly surrounded by the nice warm energies and the forest scent mixed with Adam’s, making him slightly dizzy. But before his cock could’ve taken interest in the situation too, Adam pulled back, sensing Terrance’s presence in the door.
“I’ll see you later in my room?” he asked Tommy barely above a whisper, the hot look in his eyes promising all the right things.
“Yeah,” he breathed and bit his lip. He felt as Adam slid his thumb on his bottom lip and pushed down to free it from his teeth. Then after a heated look he was gone to deal with whatever Terrance wanted to talk about. The blonde took a few deep breaths to collect himself, but thinking about what’d happen back in Adam’s room didn’t help at all. He felt it was time to consider the other matter too – the one where Adam promised him to give him what he truly needed. Maybe they could talk about that tonight too.
When someone cleared his throat, Tommy’s attention was suddenly drawn to the sliding door that led to the back garden. Turning around he saw Bradley standing there with his hands on his hips. Tommy raised a brow and stood to go to the bar and take out a beer for himself from the mini fridge. He could sense the brunette man come closer, both him and his wolf inspecting Tommy, which made the fine hairs on the back of his neck stand at end.
“What do you want, Brad?” Tommy asked while opening his bottle then took a long swig.
“How friendly…” he sighed dramatically.
“It’s not me who’s looking at you as if you did something wrong,” he shrugged, keeping his eyes on the other wolf.
It seemed he let that go and started making a cocktail for himself next to Tommy. “Mates, huh?” he finally asked and now Tommy knew what this was all about.
Of course the unspoken news of him and Adam being together spread like wildfire in the pack – which surprisingly didn’t bother Tommy that much anymore. What did bother him was the fact that Brad was Adam’s best friend and before that they used to be lovers for years. “It seems,” he shrugged again and leaned against the counter in a relaxed pose. “If you have a problem with that then say it to my face, Brad.”
The other man stopped what he was doing and turned to face Tommy. The challenge was clear in Tommy’s eyes – the dare to come against him. After all Tommy was in a higher position since he beat Brad on that clearing and he was ready to put the other Beta in his place if needed. But Brad didn’t say anything for a long moment. Those fucking brown eyes were looking at him as if they were searching his soul.
“I have no problem with that until you don’t hurt Adam. He’s a very good guy and to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when I saw how you acted with him. But he’s kind of a masochist at times and likes his boys feisty and resistant,” he said on a light tone, pausing here for a moment probably because of a memory, which made Tommy growl lightly and Brad smirk openly. “You are more his type than I was. He could fall for you hard and I don’t want to put the pieces of his heart back together again.”
“I think so too. I know you’re at the very beginning of your relationship and the fact that you’re apparently Mates means that you two were truly made for each other, but I just don’t want to see him heartbroken because of you.”
“Are you threatening me?” Tommy raised a brow, looking slightly amused.
“I’m warning you,” he flashed a dashing smile at him.
“Noted,” he nodded and took a drink from his bottle again.
“Good,” Brad turned back to finish preparing his cocktail.
“So you don’t want anything from him anymore?”
“God no, we weren’t too good as lovers so we remained besties instead.”
“How the fuck did you manage to do that? I think all my exes would like to throw a brick into my face,” he snorted more relaxed now that they cleared the air more or less.
“It’s Adam’s magic, baby,” he winked and picked up his glass. “Come on, I’ll tell you some embarrassing stories of him. Just promise you’ll tease him to death with them!”
Tommy’s eyes rounded for a second then he couldn’t stop laughter bubbling up from his throat. He shook his head and followed Brad to sit down in the living room. It seemed he wasn’t such an unpleasant guy as he first thought. After all, he was just trying to look out for his best friend and through that for the well-being of the whole pack. Like a true Beta would do.