MAN TROUBLES (part 10)
a short story by Alexis Morgan
Lydia struggled to process Silas's succinct summary of Haakon's warning. His pack had tracked him down and were on their way, their intent violent and deadly. Help was coming but was still some distance away.
"We should call the police."
Silas was already shaking his head. "Sorry, but we can't do that."
His flat refusal to do the sensible thing made no sense to her. Even if the local alpha and his men were on their way, there was no guarantee they'd arrive in time to save Silas from his brother and his wolves.
"Can't or won't?"
He cocked his head to one side, his blue eyes more curious than worried. "Does it matter? Either way, I can't let you call them. I won't risk outing the existence of my pack."
"Why not? It's not like they've shown you any kind of loyalty lately."
He winced but didn't back down. "That may be true, but they aren't the only twin-souled people around. I won't put innocent men, women, and children at risk just to save my own furry ass. It's not in me to do that."
She hated that he was right. His conscience would never let him live with that decision. "So let's head down to the apartment. They won't find us there."
Silas looked even more frustrated. "Yes, Lydia, they will. They'll follow my scent right to it. If I wait for them outside, though, they'll concentrate on me and leave you alone."
"Are you sure about that?"
Not that she intended to hide while he faced off alone against who knows how many twin-souled fighters. She was willing to bet none of them were as strong as he was. Collectively, though, they would eventually overpower him.
The thought made her sick.
He took her arm in a gentle hold. "Come on. Let's head downstairs while we still have time. You can lock yourself in the apartment until Haakon comes for you."
Then he added almost as an afterthought, "Or me, of course."
Translation: He didn't expect to be in any condition to come back to her.
Rather than argue, she let him tow her out of her apartment and down to the restaurant entrance, making sure she had her keys with her. They'd barely reached the kitchen when a bunch of motorcycles poured into the parking lot behind the building.
"Any idea how they found you?"
While she waited for Silas to answer, she watched the pack circle the lot twice before they finally stopped. There were at least fifteen armed and dangerous men lining up outside of her restaurant.
So many. Too many.
Silas ached to find some way to comfort her, but they both knew the situation was desperate.
"I'm guessing they had someone following Haakon. Bjorn, my brother, knows that he and I are friends. That made it likely that I would reach out to him and his pack. That I ran into him at the mall was purely coincidental, but eventually I would have called him. Whoever was watching him had to have been human, though. Haakon would have picked up the scent of any wolf who was paying close attention to his movements."
He took Lydia's hand, needing that small connection as he led her toward the bookcase in her office. He hit the release button under the desk when she didn't do it herself. The stubborn woman still made no move toward the entrance when he swung the bookcase out of the way.
"Please, Lydia, go. I can't concentrate on what comes next if I'm worried about protecting you, too."
She blinked like crazy. If she was trying to stop crying, it didn't work. Not at all. He didn't deserve her tears, not when he'd brought his troubles right to her doorstep. Before he could think what he could possibly do to help, a heavy fist started banging on the backdoor. Too bad. His brother and his buddies could wait a few more seconds.
Silas pulled Lydia into his arms and kissed her long and deep. She deserved more, at least the words that would tell her how much she'd come to mean to him. But right now, the pain knowing this might be the last time he held her close hurt so bad that it was all he could do to breathe.
Finally, he managed to shove a few words past the lump in his throat. "No matter how this turns out, thanks for all you've done for me."
She reached up to lay her hand against his cheek and stared up at his face as if memorizing it for eternity. "Come back to me, Silas Varg. I'm not done with you yet."
Then her voice cracked when she added, "I might never be."
When he stepped back, she finally walked through the opening that led to the apartment below the parking lot. Before pulling the bookcase back to close the opening, she offered him a crooked smile.
"Kick their asses for them."
Then the bookcase slid back into position, the latch clicking shut with an audible click. He waited until he heard the faint sound of her going down the steps. Having done all he could to protect his mate, he headed for the door where the pounding had resumed, louder and more insistent.
"Fine, brother, bring it on. We're going to end this once and for all."
And if he died in the process, he'd do his best to take Bjorn along for the company.