Chapter 4 - The Unwanted Wolf

After waking up, I almost felt like myself again. It had been three days since I was last at work, which felt like a lifetime ago. It didn’t help that I was constantly in and out of sleep with strange dreams plaguing me every step. Something was definitely strange in regards to my illness, and part of me wondered if I should have stuck around and asked that pack doctor more about what happened to me. No, I quickly pushed that thought from my head.

I quickly got ready for work and was at the coffee shop before I knew it. Thoughts of what had happened still racked my brain, and I wasn’t very aware of my surroundings.

“You don’t look like death anymore.” Lana said, a smile plastered on her face.

My eyes snapped up, realizing I wasn’t alone the moment I heard her voice. I laughed at her comment. “Yeah, I feel a lot better.”

“You definitely look it. I’m just glad you’re back. This place doesn’t run as well without you.” Lana started walking out of the room, but paused before she reached the door. “Before you leave for today, make sure to stop by my office, and we will discuss that promotion.”

A smile instantly formed on my face. Calling out sick three days in a row was not exactly model behavior, and I was worried it would be enough to make Lana change her mind. Luckily I had a good work history, so she must have taken that into consideration.

The thought of the promotion made me buzz, and I started prepping the shop for opening faster than normal, despite not feeling quite at one hundred percent yet. The other girls trickled in as they normally did before opening, and soon the shop was filled with customers eager to get their morning coffee before heading off to work. The distraction was much welcomed, since I didn’t have a moment to stop and worry about what might happen in the near future.

Halfway through my shift, I stopped to take a break. It was finally calm enough that we didn’t need all of the baristas manning the counter. I decided to peek into Lana’s office to see if she had a moment to talk now. I was getting eager and didn’t want to wait until the end of my shift.

Lana looked up as I entered the door, and she smiled. “Hey there!”

“Hey.” I walked further into the office. “Do you have a moment? I’m on break now, and figured we could continue that conversation from the other day.”

“What an eager beaver we have here.” Lana chuckled. She stood up and grabbed a folder from her shelf. She gestured to me to sit down. “Now is a great time.”

She started going over the pay, which was significantly higher. Hours were pretty similar to what I was working already too, since I took on extra shifts whenever possible. Most responsibilities I would be given, I was already doing anyway. I didn’t see any downfalls to this promotion, and I was grateful for the positive thing with all of the worries that had come up with this new wolf pack coming into town.

After we figured things out, I headed back to the front to continue working. When I went back behind the counter, I could feel Haley's eyes on me. I looked up at her, and she had a scowl on her face. She never seemed to like me much, but I hadn’t done anything to her to deserve such an intense glare. Maybe she heard about the promotion and didn’t like me being officially in charge.

“Hey Adira,” Crystal called, pulling my attention away from Haley. “Can you wipe down the tables before new customers come in?”

I was a little shocked that Crystal was giving me orders. It was unlike her to take initiative. I didn’t mind though. I wanted to get away from Haley’s glare. “Sure thing.”

I grabbed a wet rag and made my way to the tables.

“She’s so annoying,” I heard Crystal mutter from across the room.

“I know, I can’t believe she can call out sick for days and then come back and get a promotion,” Haley agreed.

So it was about the promotion. Hopefully it wouldn’t cause too much tension in the workplace. I already directed them, so it wouldn’t be much different, other than they could get in trouble for ignoring my directions. I shook my head and went to work wiping the tables down. That would be a problem for when the promotion became official.

The bell to the front door rang, indicating a customer had just come through. I didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was. His wolf smell hit my nose the moment the door was opened, and sure enough when I turned around, Mark’s piercing blue eyes hit mine. My heart skipped a beat. I hadn’t considered the possibility of him coming back to my work, especially the day I returned. Of course he would though. It was the only way he knew how to contact me.

To my surprise, he didn’t immediately come towards me. He went to the counter and ordered a drink. I watched him as I continued wiping down the tables. He didn’t look at me again as he waited for his coffee. I fully expected him to walk over to me and confront me as to why I ran away after agreeing to stay, but after the initial eye contact, he acted like I didn’t even exist.

“Mark,” Haley called, placing his coffee on the delivery table.

“Thanks.” He nodded and grabbed his coffee. He immediately turned towards the front door.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he wasn’t even going to bother to get me to join his pack. He had likely already written me off.

My eyes were glued to him as he walked out. A part of me almost felt disappointed he didn’t even try to talk to me. I should’ve been relieved, but I wasn’t. I went back to cleaning, going over everything in my head again. Why would he have come to the coffee shop just to ignore me. It wasn’t anywhere near the pack house, and he probably knew I would be there.

I went to wipe down the last table when I noticed a piece of paper on the table. I picked it up and glanced at it before throwing it out. When I flipped it over, I saw neat handwriting on it.

I have something important to discuss with you. I know you don’t trust me, but please give me five minutes of your time. I won’t bother you again if you agree to this and ask me to. You have my number if you agree to this.


I read the note over and over again. I was staring at him the entire time, but I didn’t see him put the piece of paper down. He was sly. For a moment, I was happy that he did actually want to talk to me. Apparently he hadn’t written me off so quickly. I also appreciated the fact that he didn’t confront me at work or force me into a conversation. If I wanted to, I could ignore him entirely and move on with my life. He only wanted five minutes though. It couldn’t hurt too much to talk to him, right?

“What are you looking at?” Crystal was standing next to me, trying to look at the paper. I hadn’t heard her approach.

“Nothing.” I quickly shoved the note into my pocket. I immediately walked away from her, still unsure of what to do about Mark. Also, what did he mean I already had his phone number?

The rest of my shift went by in a blur. I had gone back and forth between deciding to ignore Mark and wanting to meet up with him about 20 times before it was time to go home. I had valid reasons for either option and was completely torn. As I packed up my stuff to leave, I thought about the way Mark had asked for the meeting. In the past, other alphas had tried to force me to join them, insisting they knew what was best. Mark wasn’t pressuring me.

I sighed as I grabbed my jacket and made my way to the alley. I knew I was going to meet up with him. Now I just had to figure out how I had his phone number. When I got home, I searched through the clothes I was wearing when at his pack house. Since he had left a note at the coffee, maybe he had snuck something into my pockets? Did he expect me to run away?

I grabbed my old clothes from the laundry and dug through them. There was nothing stuck to them. How else would I have his number. My phone buzzed, and that’s when it clicked. He had my phone. Maybe he programmed his number. I looked through my contacts, and I saw his name listed. I clicked on his name and paused, staring at it for a few minutes. I was scared to reach out. I knew I wouldn’t like what he had to say. Things so rarely worked out for me.

I took a deep breath and hit the call button. I stopped breathing as I heard the rings to the phone.

“Hello?” His deep voice reverberated through my ear, making my heart beat faster.



A shiver went down my spine as he said my name. “Yeah.”

He was silent for a moment, waiting for me to say something. “I’m glad you called.”

I could feel my nerves growing, and the risk of me hanging up increased. “So what is it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Can we meet in person? I will go wherever you feel comfortable.” He didn’t sound pushy. In fact, I could sense a slight desperation behind his seemingly calm voice.

“How about Willow Park? I can be there in fifteen minutes.” I didn’t want to give myself a chance to change my mind.

“I’ll be there.” There was an awkward silence between us. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

He was thanking me? Something about him felt different from the other werewolves I had come across in the past. “You’re welcome.”

I hung up the phone, unsure about how I was feeling with everything. Before I had a chance to convince myself to not go, I changed out of my work clothes and left my apartment. The weather was still gloomy, but it wasn’t quite raining yet. I pulled my jacket around me tighter as the wind picked up on the walk. It almost felt nice as the cool breeze blew through my hair.

As I approached the park, I saw a tall figure standing near the park sign, shifting back and forth on his feet. Even though I couldn’t see the details of the figure, I instantly knew it was Mark. As I got closer, his form perked up. I could see his smile at the sight of me and my heart jumped. He really was pretty. I stopped a few feet in front of him.

“Thank you for meeting me here,” he said. His smile faded, and I could see his nerves growing as well. I didn’t fully understand why he was nervous.

“So you said you had something important to discuss with me?” I decided it was best to jump right in the conversation. “If you are going to ask me to join your pack, I’m going to tell you now that you are wasting your time.”

Mark furrowed his eyebrows. “That’s not it.” He motioned for us to start walking.

“It’s not?” That’s always what this conversation came down to.

“Well, no. I have thought about the possibility, but we don’t know each other yet. There’s something else.” His footsteps were light but fast.

I had to push myself to keep up. This wasn’t a leisurely walk by any means. “I don’t understand. Then what is it that you want to talk to me about?”

Mark rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, there are a couple of things. I wanted to make sure you were okay. You weren’t exactly in the best condition when you left, and you left so suddenly. I was worried you had passed out somewhere and was in danger, especially since you didn’t show up to work.”

“How did you know I wasn’t at work?”

He hesitated in his answer. “I have been coming in every day, hoping to see you. I know that sounds creepy, but it was the only way I knew to get in contact with you.”

I should have been weirded out at this thought, but I appreciated it. He didn’t have to worry about me or go through the effort of checking up on me. I was a stranger to him, yet he had helped me when I was sick.

When I didn’t say anything, he continued. “I also wanted to apologize to you for taking you to my pack house. It wasn’t my first option, but you weren’t in a condition to tell me where you lived, and knowing your nature, I knew it was best not to take you to a normal hospital. I can only imagine how violated and scared you were when you woke up. I shouldn’t have left you alone in that moment.”

The apology surprised me. Most alphas assumed they knew best and had never apologized to me for their actions. Mark was definitely different than the other werewolves I had come across. I looked over at him, and he was practically shaking from nerves. Instinctively, I reached out and grabbed his arm. I felt tingles shoot through my fingers, and Mark stopped at the touch.

“It’s okay,” I said. “You were trying to help. It was just a lot for me to take in. Plus, usually werewolves don’t always have my well-being at the front of their mind.”

Mark nodded, seeming to understand this notion. I am sure he has had to deal with many packs in his time. “Speaking of your well-being, there is more.” A frown curled onto his lips. “Doctor Zayla got your blood test back and figured out what made you so sick. There was wolfsbane in your blood. A lot of it actually. In fact, there was so much wolfsbane in your system that you should be dead right now.”