Hybrid Aria by Jessica Hall Chapter 3
I watched her escape the diner. I heard her heart rate spike when I told her my name. She has every right to fear me, but I don’t want to scare her. My wolf wanted her. All of her, and so did I. Never in my life have I wanted something as much as I wanted her to be mine, but what was the most interesting thing about her was the fact that she could fight my Alpha’s voice.
I could tell by the look on her face she wanted to submit, but she was also determined not to reveal anything about herself. Her scent radiated fear. It took all my strength not to chase after her and mark her. The bloke behind the counter came over and introduced himself as Marcus, pulling me out of my thoughts. He smelt human. We gave him our orders before deciding to move over to the table and chairs, where I know the girl Lily always sits after school. Zane raised an eyebrow at me when I moved but followed anyway.
“So, what’s the plan then?” he asked.
“Well, if she won’t talk, maybe her daughter will,” I stated.
Marcus brought our food out, placing it in front of me. I looked down at my food and started eating. It was good. After about half an hour, the door opened to the diner. As predicted, the little girl ran straight for her usual spot directly across from us and started getting her homework out. We finished eating while they were gone, but I flagged Marcus down and ordered more coffee and a hot chocolate and cookies. When he placed the coffee on the table, he went to place the hot chocolate and cookies down. I shook my head and pointed to the girl. He quickly placed them down in front of her and thanked me before placing a kiss on the girl’s forehead and walking away.
I could feel eyes on me. I knew my mate must be watching me carefully to see if I was going to hurt her pup. The girl looked up and smiled before thanking me. She set out to do her work, and after a few minutes, my mate brought her over a sandwich, placing it on the table in front of the girl as she looked at the girl’s work.
“Where is Zoe?” asked the girl.
“She is still at the doctor. That one is incorrect, try again,,” she said, pointing at the page at some math work before walking away to serve some new people who just walked into the diner.
I turned back to Zane. “You should head back to the office; I’m going to stay here for a bit.” Zane nodded before standing up and leaving. I watched Lily struggle with her homework before getting up and sliding into the booth sitting across from her. She looked up at me with her blue eyes and chubby cheeks. She was adorable, her blonde curls hanging down around her face.
She looked up at me. “Hi, thanks for the hot chocolate,,” she said. I just nodded and looked down at her work; she was doing three times tables. Really, they make kinders do times tables now? I then proceeded to grab the little bags of sugar from the jar on the table and set up three lots of three and told her to count them, she looked down and using her fingers, she counted all nine.
“Nine,” she said happily.
“Then that’s your answer,” I said to her, pointing at her page. She started using the sugar to help work out her math problems while I watched. After a while, I asked her some questions.
“So, what’s your mother’s name?” I asked, pointing at my mate who was standing behind the counter, her eyes glued on me.
“Aria, but she isn’t my mum, she is my sister,,” she said while still looking down at her page.
“So where is your mummy?” I asked, taking a sip of my coffee.
“She died when I was born. Ari looks after me. Has since I was born,” she stated matter of factly.
“What about your dad then?”
Lily got all nervous. Her shoulders slumped, and her heart rate picked up. She was scared. I could smell it on her coming off in waves, so I quickly changed the question.
“How old are you and what grade are you in?”
She immediately relaxed. “I’m six, and I’m in grade one.”
“And your sister?”
“Ari is nineteen.” So, she has been looking after her sister since she was thirteen? What about school, I thought to myself.
“How old are you?” she asked.
“How old do you think I am?” I asked in return. She smiled.
“Old,” she replied. I laughed at her answer. Kids always say the first thing that pops into their minds.
“I’m 28,” I told her.
“So, you are old.” She giggled.
“You won’t think it’s old when you are my age. So, it’s just you and Aria?” Lily looked up. I could tell she was mind linking. Her eyes glazed over before she nodded. I knew her sister would have been listening in our my conversation.
“Aria said I shouldn’t talk to strangers.” I looked over to her, she was talking to the owner who just stepped in. Lily noticed my stare, looked up, and saw Zoe. She squealed before running over and wrapping her arms around the woman’s waist.
I observed my mate. I could tell she was very protective of the pup, but there was something else I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew she was a wolf, but she didn’t seem quite as affected by the mate bond. I knew she felt it when I touched her, and she leaned in, inhaling my scent, but most wolves can’t help but be all over each other like an elastic band that keeps pulling them back together. But for the most part, she seems unaffected unless she is close to me.
“She hasn’t got a wolf,” Ryder spoke up in my head.
“What do you mean she hasn’t got a wolf. She is a werewolf?” I asked him.
“Yeah, she is, but she has no wolf. I have tried talking to her wolf, but it’s like there is a blockage, or maybe her wolf died somehow.” I could feel his sadness spilling into me at the thought of her not having a wolf, so I pushed him to the back of my mind.
Aria came over to clean the table. It was now dark outside. She placed Lily’s stuff in her bag before wiping the table over.
“Aria,” I asked.
“Aria,” he asked while I tried to clean the table as fast as possible.
“That’s your name, isn’t it?” he said, reaching out and grabbing my hand before standing up and pulling me into him. He lent forward and ran his nose along my chin to the crook of my neck. The sensation made me shiver. He smelt so good it made my mouth water, made me want to lean in and touch him. I reached up and put my hand on his chest, inhaling his mouth-watering scent. I heard him chuckle softly before he kissed my cheek softly, which sent sparks all through me.
“Why do you smell different than a normal wolf?” he asked, which then snapped me out of my trance. I quickly stepped back. He looked upset for some reason and took a step toward me, I quickly grabbed Lily’s bag and walked fast back behind the counter. He did not leave though. He sat at the front of the diner watching me, and no matter how much I tried to ignore his presence, my eyes would always go back to him. Deciding I should go out the back and check on Lily, I saw Lily was eating her ravioli Zoe had made. I thanked Zoe before walking back out to finish my shift. Only an hour to go.
When I came back out, I made myself a coffee before walking back out to the counter only to find the Alpha now sitting at the counter. I sipped my coffee, looking towards the two truckers that came in earlier, but they were still eating happily. Deciding to get the jug, I refilled the Alpha’s mug. He smiled at me and kept watching me. What the hell is his problem, I thought to myself.
Marcus came out to speak to me, placing his hand on my lower back. I turned to look at him. Over my shoulder, I could hear a low growl coming from Alpha Reid, so low I looked at him wondering if I heard it. He was glaring at Marcus’s hand. Not wanting him to kill my friend, I quickly stepped to the side, which made Marcus drop his hand.
“Lily is falling asleep. She has finished her dinner. Zoe said to knock off early, she can handle it from here. It looks like it’s going to be a quiet night tonight.” I nodded before walking out the back, and sure enough, Lily was fast asleep next to her empty bowl. I quickly grabbed her bag, taking off my apron. I chucked it in the washing machine before putting the washing in from today, along with all the tea towels and napkins then I turned it on. Grabbing my jacket, I put it on.
I picked up Lily and walked out towards the entrance where it was pouring down with rain. Placing Lily’s bowl in the sink, I passed Lily to Marcus before taking my jacket off and draping it over Lily so she wouldn’t get wet. She nestled into me. Marcus followed me, grabbing his keys. Zoe walked out just behind him putting an apron on.
“I’m not letting you walk home when it’s raining.” I nodded, thanking him before saying goodnight to Zoe.
Alpha Reid stood up. “I can take them home.”
I politely declined his offer. He looked disappointed for some reason which made me feel bad. The drive to the Pack house was a lot faster by car. As he went to pull onto the dirt driveway, I stopped him. “It is okay we can walk from here,” I said, opening the door before Marcus could protest. I could feel the Pack members’ eyes on us through the trees, where they were watching. I grabbed Lily from the backseat, unclipping her seat belt before thanking Marcus for the lift home. It was still pouring down with rain by the time we got to the front of the Pack house, and we were both drenched and freezing. As I was about to walk up the porch steps, the Alpha came bursting through the front door growling. He stalked towards me. Quickly placing Lily on the ground, she stood behind me. I motioned her to run inside. I could tell it was me he was after. His eyes hadn’t left mine since he nearly broke the door when he burst through it.
I took a few steps back and to the side of the house. Lily ran behind and up the porch steps and into the house just as he got to my position. He punched me straight in the face, forcing me to stumble. I stood back up when he raised his fist again; it connected with my jaw. I could taste the metallic taste of my blood. The third time he tried to hit me, I blocked him and stepped out of his reach.
“How dare you bring some random person to our lands.”
“It was just Marcus, and I didn’t. He dropped us off down the end of the driveway. I would never bring anyone to the Pack house,” I screamed at him.
He didn’t listen; he smelt strongly of whiskey. Pack members had started to crowd around to see what the commotion was. Alpha David lunged at me, but I jumped back at the last second, which was a huge mistake. It pissed him off when he missed, and instead, he decided to shift. This time it was his beast that took over. His wolf was a menacing dark brown with patches of black. He was growling, advancing on my position. He swiped at me with his giant claws, cutting deeply down my rib cage. I clutched at my side, which was bleeding profusely, stumbling back and onto one knee. When he went to lunge at me again, another wolf jumped in blocking him. I recognised the grey wolf instantly. It was his Beta Michael. He mind linked with me
“Get inside, Ari.” Getting to my feet, I ran up the stairs and into the Pack house. I could hear growling outside. I knew Michael was the only reason I was not dead right now.
Running into my room, I slammed the door shut, leaning up against it for support. Lily was hiding underneath the blanket on the bed. “It’s okay, Lily, it’s just me.”
She popped her little head out from underneath the blanket before running at me. Lily grabbed me around the waist sobbing. I flinched on impact, and she stepped back, noticing the blood. Sliding down the door into a sitting position, I closed my eyes. The adrenaline was wearing off, and the pain was trickling in. I could feel my fangs coming out. Looking over at Lily, she took a terrified step back, my eyes snapped to hers. I could hear her heart pounding, hear the blood pulsating in her veins. I could smell it.
Knowing it would not be long before my hunger kicked in, I raced into the kitchen to where the basement door is. Throwing it open, I raced down the stairs so fast, I tripped halfway down and rolled down the rest of the way, making me groan in pain. Once at the bottom, I crawled to the back of the basement where different herbs and plants were dried out and stored. Just as I went to reach up and grab the wolfsbane, a gloved hand grabbed it for me. I watched as Beta Michael placed the herbs in a bottle of water before passing it to me. I stared at him, confused and frightened. How did he know what I was?
I grabbed the bottle and chugged it down. It felt like acid burning down my throat, but I knew if I didn’t, Michael would start looking like dinner. Wolfsbane instantly muted my bloodlust. Laying back on the cement floor, I could feel the wolfbane burning every cell in my body.
My stomach turned violently, and I reached for the closest thing to me, a box, and threw up the entire contents of my stomach, which was not much. Sitting up, I leaned back on some shelving before bringing the bottle back to my lips and forcing myself to drink more down. My throat was killing me. I could feel the burn all the way to my stomach, making me want to double over and scream.
“How?” I ask, my voice sounded strangled and breathless.
“We have always known, at least all of the original Pack members. When you joined this Pack, I saw your mother feed you a few times. The Alpha had sworn us to secrecy,” he stated.
I looked at him. His eyebrow had a cut on it, but it was almost completely healed beside his clothes being a bit of a mess. You wouldn’t think he just got into a fight with a werewolf, let alone an Alpha.
“I don’t care that you’re a Hybrid, you’re still one of us. Everyone else thinks the same, but Ari, you need to get out of here,” he stated.
“Tell me something I don’t already know, but I can’t. He won’t let me take Lily, and he would find her straight away, being that the dick is technically her father!” I replied dryly.
His eyes darted up to the door nervously before falling back on me. “Get her to reject the Pack when she steps over the border. You do the same, then leave the city. Ari, we can’t go against him, but we are all sick of his shit and watching him abuse you,” he whispered. I could see the sadness in his eyes; he truly did care for Lily and me.
I nodded, not really knowing what to say.
“But her wolf isn’t awake yet. How can she reject the Pack when she hasn’t awoken yet?” I asked.
“You don’t need a wolf to reject the Pack, Ari. You should know this seeing as you haven’t got one either. You can also reject the Pack at any time. It’s wolf genes, not the wolf itself!”
Nodding my head, I lifted up my shirt. There are 5 deep gashes across my ribs. The blood running down my stomach and thighs was pooling on the floor. Beta Michael grabbed a cloth and put pressure on it until it stopped bleeding before placing a waterproof dressing over it. It was going to take a good few days before it healed. I can’t heal like a wolf but still faster than a human even without blood.
“Thanks,” I croaked out.
“I would give you my blood, but the Alpha will notice straight away when your scent changes, and then we will both be dead and no one to look after Lily.”
“You don’t have to explain, I understand.” Gripping the shelf, I pulled myself up before leaning back, regaining feeling in my legs. Michael passed me a jar. It had syringes filled with a gold liquid and two water bottles of wolfsbane.
“Just in case you need more, show Lily the syringes in case she ever needs to use them on you. They are concentrated levels of wolfsbane. I know wolfsbane can’t kill you, but they,” he said, pointing at the syringes of gold liquid “will even put you on your arse for a while, okay? And tell Lily not to drink from the bottles,” he said.
I looked at him questionably. “It’s fine. I noticed every time you got injured, my wolfsbane supply went down or completely went missing. I figured out it was you. Also, I could smell it on you.”
He pushed me towards the stairs, and I climbed up them. Every step hurts. Even breathing hurts. I could feel my wound stretching with every movement I made. Once to the top step, Michael’s mate Elizabeth was standing in the kitchen. She hugged me carefully before speaking.
“There is hot stew in your room. The Alpha is passed out drunk, so eat then have a shower,,” she said before placing a box of painkillers in my hand. She walked me to my room and watched me and Lily eat the stew. It was delicious. I didn’t realise how hungry I was until I walked in and smelt it, my stomach instantly started growling. I polished off the whole bowl and even soaked up all the juices with a piece of bread. Elizabeth handed me a glass of water and pushed the pills into my hand again. I quickly swallowed two of the little pills before getting up and placing the jar and bottles of water in the duffle bag after explaining to Lily what they were.
“Remember Lily, you can’t drink these. They will kill you and only use these on me if you have to,” I said, making sure I spoke clearly so she understood what I was telling her.
Elizabeth took the bowls and bread plates out before bringing in towels. Getting up, I pulled Lily up with me, and we walked down the hall towards the bathroom, which was in the middle of the house. Stepping in, I flicked the light on. The bathroom was huge, bigger than our bedroom and had a large clawfoot bathtub and a huge shower with multiple showerheads. The room had grey tiles on the walls and black tiles on the floor. The fixtures were a gold colour, it was beautiful.
I turned the shower on letting it heat up the room before I slipped my clothes off. Lily pulled hers off as well and stepped under the water. My dressing was already drenched in blood from the wound reopening with movement. Climbing in behind her, I adjusted my shower head temperature, making it hotter. My muscles started to relax, not realising how tense I was. Looking down, I watched as blood and dirt went down the drain. We showered quickly, washing Lily’s hair before getting out.
The pain killers were starting to kick in, and everything felt like it was going dull. I felt no pain, but my body felt heavy. I turned the water off and wrapped a towel around Lily. Grabbing our toothbrushes, we quickly brushed our teeth. I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I had a huge black bruise on my jaw, and on the other side, a black eye. Great, now I need to borrow makeup from someone before work tomorrow.
Once back in our room, Lily put on her pyjamas, and I slipped on a shirt and panties before climbing into bed. It did not take long before the pills knocked me out, and I fell into a dreamless sleep.