Anyse went to work that next morning. She had a lot on her mind, once again, and wondered when she was going to have a time in her life when she didn't have a lot on her mind. It seemed every time she turned around something was running around in her brain like the proverbial hamster in the wheel.
But this time it was very different. It wasn't just the incessant conflicting thoughts from before, but she also felt as if her senses had been hijacked. She wondered why she would do something as stupid as inhaling Liam's jacket the way she had the night before. Now it was like she couldn't get him off of her mind. When she went to bed that night, the recurring dream had progressed beyond the eye-gazing. It had turned, quite frankly, pornographic. When she had awoken, all of her senses were saying to drive out to Thrace Preserve and wait for him in the woods. There was an instinct in the back of her mind that he would know she was there and that he would come for her and chase her down.
She shook herself out of it, ignored the instinct and instead forced herself to get ready for work. But being there, at that moment, she would so rather not have been there that day.
After finally bending her mind to the mundane aspects of her job, she was able to get her hormones to calm down. Anyse's cell phone was strapped to her side. It was on vibrate only so when it went off, she could feel the buzz against her hip. She checked her call display quickly, not wanting her manager to see she was looking at her phone while she was on the clock. It was a text from Liam.
She had a feeling this conversation was going to take awhile, so she quickly stood and ran to the bathroom, locked herself in a stall and accessed the message:
Are you thinking of me?
Her mouth dropped open. How the hell did he know? Maybe he would have known she was waiting in the woods for him if she'd gone last night? She swallowed back her nerves and texted him back:
He hit her with another message, quickly:
I've been thinking of you all night, Anyse. I won't avoid saying this any longer. We belong together.
She bit her lower lip. This was not his usual plan of attack. He was usually all about being subtle and putting no pressure on her. Usually this would have bothered her. But for some reason, right at that moment, she found herself sucked in:
What should we do?
His answer was instantaneously swift:
You know what we should do…
Anyse didn't hear from him for the rest of the day, but those very forward texts had messed her up irrevocably. She went home and took a shower, wondered if she should just take two allergy pills to knock her out and go to bed early to push the week forward. When she went into her room after her shower before she could make up her mind about whether she should go to bed early, her phone rang and she answered instantly. "Liam?"
"It's me, yes," he said. "You were waiting for my call?"
"Yes, I was."
He smiled and let the feelings take him. His eyes closed, hard. "I miss your scent."
She felt a sensation in her lower regions she had never experienced just from talking to a man over the phone. She inhaled sharply. "And yours," she admitted. Her heart was hammering hard in her chest. "Don't you think we're going too fast?"
"No, Anyse, we've been going too slowly. And you know it. You know it's time, now."
She had to admit, she was pretty much ready to tear off all of her clothing at that moment. "Please don't do this to me now," she begged. "You're so far away…"
"I still won't touch you. Not until you tell me to. I'll see you Saturday night."
She was able to catch her breath then. "Saturday."
Anyse was horribly distracted over the next few days. She opened an email from Liam that Friday detailing everything he had ever wanted to do with her. It was worse than pornographic. She felt herself at that moment enter the state of being in heat.
"What am I supposed to do?" she said as she lay on the living room couch that night. She was practically lying in a fetal position, hugging herself. She was mostly embarrassed. "I'm going out of my skin! What's happening to me?"
"What the hell did that guy do to you?" asked Valisa. Ramesh had dropped her off for the evening since he was on the other side of town doing an estimate.
Sophie brought her cold water. "Drink this," she said.
Anyse shifted uncomfortably and pushed the beverage away. "I don't want that!" she snapped and then moaned uncomfortably.
"Wait a minute," asked Valisa. "Are you fertile right now? Like at this very moment?"
"I will be in about two days," she admitted and she crossed her arms over her stomach and began to rock helplessly. "How do I even know that? Someone stop me!" she begged. "I actually want to make babies with this man…right now!"
"Oh wow," Sophie said. "Is she in heat?" she asked her twin.
"Yes, she is," she nodded. "According to what Ramesh told me, though, if you do this for the first time, Anyse, and you're not protected you WILL get pregnant!"
"I don't care!" she snapped.
"Sounds like someone's been laying it on a bit thick," quipped Valisa.
"You shut up!" Anyse said as she rolled over, back to them, and continued to moan uncomfortably. Her stomach was hurting on top of everything else. "Get away from me, you two. I feel like I'm pretty close to biting someone and not in a nice way, either."
The twins looked at one another, eyes wide. "Should I call Liam now?" asked Sophie.
"No!" she said, annoyed. "I'm going to take a cold shower!"
Anyse's dreams were fevered that night. She tossed and turned, awoke repeatedly looking at the clock. It wasn't time for morning, yet?
When the sun finally rose, she had difficulty getting up. She was exhausted. Valisa knocked gently on her door. "Can I come in?" she whispered.
She still lay there. "Yeah, sure."
The blonde walked into the room gingerly. "I was worried about you yesterday."
"It's okay," Anyse nodded. "I know. I was mean to you guys. I'm so sorry about that. I felt like someone else talking through me, yesterday. It's like the wolf was taking over or something. It felt horrible."
"I have it on good authority you kind of can't help it right now."
Anyse found herself sniffing the air. "Ramesh is here."
"He slept here with me last night." Valisa looked embarrassed. "Can I tell you something weird?"
"There's things I can tell now. I mean, it's not strong. They're like just impressions. But I smell another male near here. It's not Liam either."
Anyse sat up. She had been so distracted. "You know, you're right. That disgusting smell is in the hallways of the building, right?"
"It's Peter," said a voice at the door.
Both girls jumped and saw Ramesh standing in the doorway. "Don't scare us like that!" Valisa shouted.
He laughed at the girls and the way they had nearly jumped out of their skins. "I've barely seen my Omega since that incident when you let him off at the Council Fires, Anyse."
"Well what does he want?" asked Valisa.
"He wants to mate with her. He can tell she's in estrus and he's going to press his suit."
Anyse colored up, embarrassed. "This is awful."
Ramesh nodded. "It's all right. It's partially the reason I didn't mind coming and staying here last night. I could tell, the last time I was here, that you were about to enter this stage. I'm his Alpha. So long as I stick around, he won't get too persistent since I haven't given him permission to mate with you. But his reaction is natural. He's attracted to you and he's a status seeker. You're an unclaimed full blood. You might have noticed other things, strange things, happening to you in the past two days."
She frowned. "Yeah. I walked past the damned pet store and all the dogs started barking at me yesterday. I thought this male Siberian husky was going to break the storefront window to get at me."
Valisa laughed, "My poor Anyse! Attracting men, Wolves and dogs!"
"Apparently I'm a hot commodity," she said, deadpan, at least finally able to joke about it.
"Don't forget that Liam's coming to Dedication Night," Ramesh reminded her.
Anyse pulled the covers up over her head. Just the mention of his name gave her an embarrassing reaction.
"Anyse," Ramesh assured her softly, "this is natural. You don't have to feel badly about this."
"But my grandfather-"
"He will get over it," Ramesh said. "Do what it is you want to do. You're an adult and it's not like you're looking for a one-night stand. If you do this, it is permanent. Don't let anyone else make you feel terribly for it."
She pulled the covers down. "So Sophie and Valisa are telling me to just do it. And now we can add Ramesh to the mix…my mother and my grandfather are saying 'don't do it!' Well I take that back, my mother is just angry about me being initiated into Wolf life in general, she didn't tell me not to get with Liam…so my grandfather… I don't even understand why I feel like I need his approval!"
"Because unbeknownst to you at the time, he was an Alpha for most of your life," said Ramesh. "You were in his pack by default and just didn't realize it. Most wolves need the support of their Alpha in order to mate. But there's a technicality here. He passed the pack to me. And I'm giving you permission to mate and even breed if you want to."
She frowned. "Does that mean I've been in your pack, by default, all along?"
Ramesh thought about it. "Yes, actually."
"What if I want to join Liam's instead?"
He frowned. "He doesn't have one."
"What if we want to make one together?"
Valisa's mouth dropped open. "Are you serious?"
"Well that's my grandfather's beef, right? The guy has no pack. And grandpa wants me not just with any pack member, he wants me with a Packmaster. So if I pair bond with Liam and breed and we make our own pack, then my mate will be a Packmaster by default, right? And then my grandfather can't have a beef any longer with anything."
Sophie walked in, then. "Can quarters join?"
The three of them just stared at her. "What?" asked Anyse.
"Can I join your pack? I mean then you have an official amount of people, right? So then it would be three of us and if you can make another person-"
They all laughed. "You need at least four to have a pack in the Wolf world," said Ramesh. "You're missing a member."
"So what if I joined?" asked Valisa.
"You're my woman. You can't join his pack," Ramesh laughed.
"Says who?" shot out Valisa.
Ramesh's eyes grew slightly dangerous as he growled at her.
It was all too much. "Everybody get the hell out now!" shouted Anyse.
"We're sorry! We're sorry!" Valisa practically cooed as she sat next to her on the bed.
"We are sorry," said Ramesh. "You're in true estrus for the first time and you're emotional right now. We need to be more mindful of that. I'm sorry."
Everyone calmed down then and Anyse sighed. "I need to just get over this possible rejection by my grandfather. There's nothing I can do about it."
"There's another way we can do this," said Ramesh.
"I can order you to mate with Liam and hand you over to him."
All of the girls in the room started laughing raucously until they saw he was not laughing. "Are you serious? You can do that?" said Valisa.
"I can, but I don't care for that practice."
"All right, your permission is enough," said Anyse as she realized she did feel quite differently having been given a green light by the Alpha. "I have some plans to make."
"Don't be surprised if you see extra people at Dedication Night you ordinarily don't see," said Ramesh. "Unattached men of Wolf kind are going to show up within an hour of you arriving. You're going to attract them from your scent alone. Also guys who are quarter and eighth Wolf and unaware of their heritage are going to be attracted to you and not understand why. Because I'm there, it will protect you."
Anyse's eyes went wide. "I am just so embarrassed." She pulled the covers up over her head again. "Can someone make this stop?"
"I told you to go on the Pill, but you just wouldn't listen," said Valisa with a shake of her head.
Sophie smacked Valisa in the arm hard. But Anyse just started laughing. "I love you guys so much!" she said as she looked at the twins. She looked at Ramesh. "You, too, my temporary Packmaster."
He smiled down at her. "Well, so long as no one touches you uninvited tonight. If they do, you must slap them."
"Oh great! Violence on top of everything else."
"But listen, Anyse," said Ramesh, "if Sophie joins your pack and Valisa is in mine, you'll get protection and good status from that alone. Our packs will be interrelated."
Anyse looked at Sophie then. "She's my Beta. She comes first before everyone else."
Sophie found herself giggling. "I'm so excited. I'm not just a bitch, I'm an important bitch!"
"Does that mean I'm an Alpha female?" it dawned on Valisa.
"Duh!" both Sophie and Anyse said at the same time and then began to laugh.
"I just wish we could all be in the same pack," said Anyse, melancholy. "Why do we have to split up?"
"We don't," said Ramesh. "Liam's pack is brother to mine. His cousin, Callum, is my Beta. And my mate's sister is your beta. Once all of us begin having children, they will be cousins to one another. We're already related as it is even without adding offspring. So it's all right. We can even run together when the time comes."
"I keep saying we should all move to Thrace Preserve," Sophie said. "This is just right for us. We're an interrelated pack anyway, right? So let's just…the lease is up on the apartment in two months. Let's just all move and do this!"
"Why do we have to wait two months?" asked Valisa. "We can pack and go anytime we like. We just have to make sure we pay the rent before we go."
"I have enough in savings," said Anyse. "We can pool our money and pay the next two months rent now and take our time moving."
Ramesh couldn't believe the speed at which the ladies made the decision. "You have all just knocked the theory out of my mind that females talks too much and never gets anything done."
Sophie smacked Ramesh in the back of the neck and he gasped. "I can do that," she said with a grin.
"Yes, she can," Valisa backed her sister up.
"I gave you a compliment!" said the outraged Alpha. "And I got cuffed like a pup for my troubles!"
Anyse just laughed. "I feel much better guys. Thanks so much."
"Group hug!" shouted Valisa.
She checked her make-up one more time in the mirror. "How do I look?" she asked as she swallowed back nerves.
"Delicious," said Valisa.
"Put on the perfume," said Sophie.
"That might be a bit much," said Valisa. "Bad enough as it is she's going to be attracting men from how far off?"
"You're right," said Sophie as she snatched the bottle out of Anyse's hand before she could spray herself. "No perfume."
"Well maybe it will mask my natural scent?" asked Anyse. Both ladies gave her a 'don't even try to fool yourself' expression and she sighed. "No. Wishful thinking. All right."
"Checklist!" shouted Sophie.
"Lip balm," said Valisa.
"Check," answered Anyse.
"Pocketbook," asked Valisa.
"Check," Anyse said as she pulled her bag off of her dresser.
"Spare hair scrunchy," asked Sophie.
"Hot guy," joked Valisa on a giggle.
The ladies laughed and exited the room.
By the time they arrived, the place was only halfway full and the music was already going. Within fifteen minutes of them arriving, the place was packed.
Ramesh took Valisa out on the floor to dance while Sophie and Anyse stood off to the side and talked. Both ladies couldn't help but notice a few of the men walking dangerously close to Anyse's location. She simply turned her face from them and refused to make eye contact.
One actually walked up, at one point, and inhaled her neck, then growled. Unable to control herself, Anyse turned and growled back at him. She didn't realize it, but her eyes took on a yellow hue for a second. "Get lost!" she hissed aggressively.
He backed up hesitantly, eyes still glued to her form as he retreated.
As soon as Liam arrived, Anyse detected it. Her head turned instantly and she saw him standing there, just inside the entrance, staring at her. She felt her breathing ramp up a notch and Sophie realized she was no longer listening to a word she was saying. "What happ-" but she turned and saw Liam standing there.
The energy being generated by the two of them simply staring from across the room was pure electromagnetic in nature. They started to walk toward one another, step by step. Neither were in a hurry, but they weren't taking their time, either. They both enjoyed the feeling they seemed to be broadcasting toward one another.
Several people watching noticed and for some reason no one could understand, the two of them headed for one another seemed to turn the entire room on. They finally met in the middle of the dance floor.
They didn't even speak. He simply leaned forward, inhaled her neck and then gently bit at her chin. She inhaled sharply, taking in his scent.
Sean Paul's I'm Still In Love With You came on. It was a dedication from a girl to her ex, but Liam and Anyse began taking advantage of the reggae beat with some seriously inappropriate winding and grinding of their own.
Sophie, Valisa and Ramesh watched from afar. "I have never seen her act this way before," she said. "It's just beautiful!"
"She looks like a total slut," Sophie said so very matter-of-factly as she sipped on a diet soda. "Wish it was me."
The twins laughed as Ramesh shook his head at their sense of humor. "Something is terribly wrong with you ladies."
But Liam and Anyse were in a world of their own. The only thing they heard was the driving beat of the music and one another's breathing.
Anyse felt the heat and energy radiating off of Liam, sweat now rolling down her back. They moved in even closer to one another and grooved together, a height of emotion reaching a peak edge as just the touch of one against the other set them both off in a chemical reaction that was old as time but so satisfying.
Liam put his arms around her, pulled her in closer to him as the music changed to a slower rhythm. Bruno Mars It Will Rain came on and the two switched into a slower groove. Their breaths slowed, but their faces came ever so close together and they seemed to simply breathe in one another's exhalations. Heat enveloped them both, internal and external, as they could feel the sweat of movement and emotion through each others clothing.
As if he couldn't help it, Liam reached down and pulled Anyse up and into his arms, hugged her close to him. Her feet no longer touched the ground and after a few seconds, they were no longer moving. He was just standing there in the middle of a crowded floor staring down into her eyes.
"I don't just want you," he whispered as he looked into her eyes. He continued speaking with her, mind to mind: I need you. I need you to be with me from now on. I need to wake up with you every morning. I need to love you and I need your love in return. Love me.
Their lips met, softly at first. And then the kiss deepened as she thought back at him: You love me?
From the moment I first saw you, I loved you. I've always loved you.
The kiss ended and she was looking back up into his eyes, again. "Let's go," was all she said.
"Now?" he asked, breathlessly.
"Now," she said without hesitation.