Chapter Fourteen

When Lukas arrived back at Sophia's house Monday night, he immediately went to find Emma. He found her asleep in one of the bedrooms and when he was satisfied she wouldn't wake anytime soon, he took a quick shower. Once clean, he returned to make sure Emma still slept, and then sat down outside the door. He wanted to stay in the room with her but he wasn't sure how well she'd take that if she woke up and found him in the room.

Jason found him there and tried talking to him and convincing him to find an empty bedroom or at least a couch to sleep on, but Lukas wasn't interested in listening to him or anyone else. He needed to make sure his mate was all right before he could deal with anything else.

At some point, Lukas fell asleep on the floor. He woke up with someone shaking him and whispering his name. He instantly felt alert but managed to restrain himself from grabbing the person crouched down over him. He usually had a bad reaction when someone woke him up, but his instincts must have let him know it was his mate.

"Lukas? Why are you sleeping here?"

"Wanted to make sure you were all right," he grumbled, still a bit groggy.

"I'm hungry." She hadn't had anything to eat and barely had anything to drink while being held captive. When she arrived at the house, she had some water, but was too tired to think about eating. When she woke up, however, she was starving.

"Come on," he said as he stood up. He offered a hand out to help her up, which, to his surprise, she took. "I'll take you to the kitchen. They should have some food down there."

He walked with her downstairs and had her sit down while he went through the contents of the kitchen, and asking her what sounded good. He ended up making her a sandwich and an omelette and pouring her several glasses of orange juice.

"I suppose I owe you an explanation," Lukas said. He sat down next to her once he had finished preparing her meal. He'd already gone over how to explain things to her several times in his head, but it simply didn't seem right with her in front of him. He desperately wanted to tell her the truth about everything, about what he was, but he knew it was a bad time to spring that on her. As he thought about it, he realized he didn't have his contacts in. She could see the natural color of his eyes. It was dark, and he only hoped that a combination of that as well as her hopefully being tired and distracted kept her from noticing.

"The people that had you," he started, trying to come up with a better way to explain things than what he originally had planned. "They're a group of crazy fanatics that I've been after for the past seven years."

"No shit they were crazy. Going on about werewolves and shit."

"I know. They kill anyone they suspect of being a werewolf, but they're very careful and hard to find. You can get rid of one of them, but there's always more. So my job is to get entire groups of them. When a larger group of their people get caught, they get more paranoid, slip up, make mistakes. Makes it even easier to find them. Unfortunately, they eventually disappear completely and I've got to track them down all over again."

"Holy shit," Emma said as she finished off her sandwich. "This is some big, secret thing, isn't it?"

"Yeah," he confirmed. "I really shouldn't be telling anyone anything about this, but you got mixed up in it. You deserve to know."

"Is this why you didn't want to tell me anything about your job?"

"There wasn't much I could really say. But in a sense, "security consultant" sorta describes it. Just not very well."

"So you like work for the FBI or CIA or something?"

"Uh, no. Like I said, I am a consultant of sorts. I know how to find these people better than anyone. Someone gets wind of them in their backyard, they call me up and I take care of the problem."

"Wow." Emma took a bite of the omelette as she thought about what Lukas said. "So what happens now? I mean, if I'm not even supposed to know about any of this…"

"First off, you can't tell anyone anything about this. No one. Not Beth, not anyone. It's best if you don't even discuss it, even with me. But if you do need to talk, I'm here to listen."

"But I missed work! And Beth knows something's wrong! And I've got all these bruises! What am I supposed to tell people?"

"You were in an accident," Lukas said. "You were hit by a car while walking down the street on Sunday. You don't remember much of the accident itself, but you woke up in a hospital and that's what you were told happened. You suffered a minor concussion and a sprained wrist, but nothing too major. We have hospital paperwork to show you were treated for your injuries and kept until Monday evening. You were on Vicodin and slept most of the day, and you didn't have your phone on you."

"So the short version is, I lie."

"Sorry," Lukas said as he started to clear the dishes. "But that's how it has to be. What are you supposed to be doing tomorrow?"

"I have class in the morning. Other than that, I don't have anything specific planned."

"Do you need to go?"

"I really can't miss class. I don't want to get behind."

"I understand. I'd prefer you took it easy. Just don't stress yourself out too much at school."

"I'll be fine. Oh, I need to go into work and let them know what happened."

"I'll take care of that," Lukas said. "Go to class tomorrow, and then go home and rest. As long as you think you'll be comfortable at home. If not, you can stay here or at my place."

"Um, I'm not sure about that," she muttered. She finished off the omelette and Lukas cleared the dishes. "Where are we anyway? Are we far from my apartment?"

"We're in Arvada," Lukas said, naming a part of town about fifteen miles from her apartment. " I can drive you back to your apartment to pick some things up before class. If you'd like, I can drive you down to the campus too."

"Lukas?" Emma's voice suddenly became quiet, almost sounding afraid.

He quickly abandoned the dishes and returned to her side. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Thank you," she said, putting her arms around him like she did earlier. "You're far too nice to me and I've been a total asshole to you."

"Don't worry about it," Lukas said softly. "You're still nicer than most of the people I know. Seriously. My friends are complete twats."

Emma laughed, even though she felt herself crying at the same time. Her tears flowed into Lukas' shirt, and she quickly wiped her eyes dry before pressing her face back into his chest. She felt safe and comfortable in his arms, but she thought about just what she was doing and pulled away. "I'm sorry," she mumbled as she stood up.

"There's nothing to be sorry for," Lukas said.

"Yeah, well, I hardly know you and here I am clinging all over you and crying in your shirt. That's a little weird."

"You've been through a lot. I understand. But if it makes you feel better, we'll just forget about this." He took his phone out of his pocket to check the time. "It's almost four thirty. What time do you need to be in class?"

"Eight thirty," she said. "I should probably be at my apartment by seven so I'll have time to get my stuff."

"Why don't you get a few more hours of sleep? I'll wake you up when it's time to leave."

Emma nodded and walked with Lukas back to the bedroom. Once she was back in bed, Lukas returned downstairs and went out to the backyard where he had earlier detected Sophia, Jason, Patrick, and several other pack members.

"Is she going to keep quiet?" Sophia asked.

"Yeah," Lukas confirmed.

"Good. Now that we got that out of the way, who the hell is she?"

"Her name is Emma Sterling. She's a student at –"

"Not that," Sophia interrupted, growling as she did so. "You don't give a shit about anyone but yourself. What makes her so damn special?"

"If you have to ask, you're an idiot."

Sophia stood up quickly and took a step in his direction, growling. "I want you to confirm it," she said. "Right now, damn it. No more bull shit."

Lukas didn't want to tell her, especially not with so many other wolves around, but he'd pissed her off too much to be able to request a private discussion. "She's my mate," he grumbled.

"That's all I needed to know," Sophia said, instantly calming down and taking her seat again. "Good luck with that. Can't imagine having to deal with a non-wolf mate."

"Yeah. Since you know who she is, hopefully you won't be too opposed to the idea of her staying here a while."

"What? Why?"

"After what happened, she may not be comfortable at her apartment and I'm still not sure how she feels about me. I offered to let her stay with me, but I'm not sure she'll be any more comfortable there. But since you're a woman, I thought she might like it here better."

"Please, convince her to stay with you. If she's got to stay here, fine, but it's not going to go over well and you never know what she might accidentally see or hear."

"Thanks Sophia." He turned to go back inside and cracked the door open when Sophia spoke up again.

"By the way," she said, as if it were unimportant. "My parents are going to be here later today. They want to see you."

Lukas' only reply was a grunt as he went back in the house. He planned on getting something to eat before waking Emma, so he returned to the kitchen and started going through the cabinets. By the time he made a box of macaroni and cheese and ate it, it was time to get Emma back to her apartment.