Haven't had a chance to get Earning His Trust yet? Well you can read more of my ongoing Wednesday Brief fic, Mine! Part Two. No prompt this week, just more story!
“You’re losing it.” Ritch glanced over his shoulder at me. He’d put the groceries in the back, and now he was driving us home, both hands clenched tight on the wheel. “Is this how you always are? You’re going to follow me everywhere and watch me constantly?”
“We don’t know if the whole mess with those werekin and the doctors experimenting on them and humans is really over. What if there were others? What if the human government or military was involved?” I stared straight into his eyes when he glanced back at me in the rear view mirror. “I failed to protect you before. I won’t fail again.”
“Park.” He sighed, and his hands relaxed as his shoulders dropped. “You didn’t fail. You weren’t even there. This was a planned, concerted attack. I don’t think we’re in that much danger anymore. Trein is dead.” Ritch shuddered when he said Trein’s name, spitting it out as if it tasted like acid.
“Maybe,” I hedged. “I want to be back on streak land, where I know there are others around to help protect you.” As long as they didn’t get too close. More than anything else, I needed to claim him. But I couldn’t tell him that.
I kept an eye in our mirrors on the way back, but I didn’t see anyone following us. My skin still crawled with the need to defend Ritch. The border guard made the mistake of crowding the window and my growl ripped through the car and my claws came out.
“You know who we are. Go back to your post. Keep an eye out for strangers, and if you see anything out of the ordinary, contact the alpha right away.” My voice was masked by the warning rumble echoing through my chest, but I forced the words out.
Ritch’s voice was off. I hated it when he was upset. We barely knew each other, but I already knew I was going to upset him a lot. I just wasn’t happy about it. But I also refused to apologize. I was who I was, and I couldn’t stop being a cranky beta with a fierce need to protect.
“Your food’s getting warm. I smell ice cream.”
“Not that you’re getting any,” he grumbled.
“He was too close to you.” His scent had wafted into our car, and he was within range of touching Ritch. If he’d done it, I might have taken his hand off. My need was getting harder to handle the longer I tried suppressing the instincts of my tiger’s soul.
“A tiger werekin from your own streak isn’t going to hurt me.”
That was like a splash of icy water down my neck. I closed my eyes. “My own father sacrificed his son to those sadistic bastards. He might not have ripped out her throat, but he killed my mother just the same.”
Ritch pulled over and unbuckled his seat belt. He turned in his seat and put his hand on my fist. “Park, stop.”
“Stop what?” It hurt so much, the betrayal, the loss. I hadn’t had a chance to process it, and I didn’t want to.
I looked down, and blood was dripping from cuts in my palms from my claws digging in. “Shit.” I retracted them and hissed. “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” he asked gently.
“You’re going to have to patch me up again.”
“It’s fine. Use these.” He grabbed some napkins out of the center console. I clenched a few in each hand. A minute later we pulled into my driveway and up to the house. Ritch got out and opened my door, then he jogged over to the front door and opened it. “Go inside. I’ll get the groceries.”
I slowly limped in, hissing as I took a seat at the table. I wanted to curse myself. Even if sex was off the table, I could touch and snuggle him. I glared at my hands. “Stupid claws.”
“What was that?” Plastic rustled and something hit the counter with a bang as Ritch set down both armfuls of bags.
“Let me put this stuff away and then I’ll come take care of your hands.” Ritch had two bags in one hand and the fridge door open. He dropped a gallon of milk in the door.
I waited not so patiently. Blood wasn’t soaking through the napkins, so they couldn’t be that bad. When Ritch hauled out the big first-aid kit, he sighed. “I’ll be glad when I don’t have to use this anymore.”
He narrowed his eyes and then grabbed my hands. “Now let me see.” He pulled the napkins away and scowled at the small punctures. “Well, not as bad as I thought.” Ritch cleaned my hands, wrapped some gauze around them, and then ordered me to go sit on the couch while he made lunch.
And I did it. If anyone saw the way he talked to me, and how I listened to him, they wouldn’t believe it. But the man was going to be my mate—soon. I couldn’t help but want to do anything and everything I could to make him happy.
Plus, he promised me snuggles during movie time.
Ritch whimpered and shook. He was leaning against my chest, the movie long-since ended. We’d dozed off together, but he was having another bad dream. I rumbled, and he cringed back and jerked his head up, his eyes opened wide but not seeing me.
I hated his nightmares. So I just did it. “Ritch,” I said. “It’s me, Park.” Then I leaned in close and kissed him, gently once, then deeper as I traced my tongue over his lips as they parted on a softly inhaled gasp.
Hands forgotten, leg forgotten, the need to claim struck me hard, and I hauled him into my lap. I checked, and he was looking back, this time seeing me.
“Mate me,” he said.
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