“Where are we going?” I ask for the umpteenth time. Alpha stays silent. He spent the past few minutes trying to make me understand he can’t disclose our destination because it’s a so-called surprise.
Being the great researcher he claims to be, he should know by now that I’m not a fan of surprises. I snap my fingers in his face.
“Earth to Alpha?” He hums his attention. This puts me at ease. For a moment I thought he was sleep-driving.
“Where does this road lead?” I ask.
“Curious much?” he asks.
“It’s always best to know where we’re going.” I whip my hair back.
“Do you trust me?” Trust? Does anyone deserve another’s trust? I doubt that emotion even exists. Hell, I don’t even trust my own mother.
I return my attention to Alpha. His question resounds in my head. Trust is just far off from me. I’m not even sure what I feel for him. I like him, and I can’t deny the giddiness I feel when he stares at me. But that’s just it. Should I feel something more?
“I take that as no,” Alpha says. He doesn’t sound pleased.
“It’s not that I don’t trust you,” I say in an attempt to make things right. He waves off my transparent lie.
“It’s fine. I don’t trust you either.” His honesty cuts through me like a blade. I never thought anyone would tell me to my face that I am unworthy of their trust. Everyone else would tell me what I want to hear. But not Alpha. Can we never have one decent conversation?
“So what are we doing together?” I ask. I want to believe he’s with me because he likes me. He’s been my secret admirer for a period long enough to start a dozen new relationships. This can’t be all for nothing.
“Passing time.” He brakes the car in a desolate road.
“Passing time?” I echo. “You spent quite a lifetime writing me love notes and sketching photos of me. Did you ever like me, or was that just you passing time?” Alpha turns to face me.
“There are plenty of fish, Miss Howell. What makes you think I’d choose you?” Rage swirls within me, clouding my senses. My right palm lashes out and slams into his cheek. A stinging pain spreads around my palm. My eyes burn with tears. I turn towards the exit, but Alpha holds me in place.
“Don’t touch me,” I yell, when in reality I don’t want him to let go. I can’t help how frustrating I am. He doesn’t let go.
“Sorry, I only listen to your heart.” He leans in for what I know to be a kiss. Like heated butter, my rage melts away. I stare endlessly into his eyes, an enchanting pool of emotions. My eyelids fall over my eyes. But his voice yanks me out of my trance.
“We’re here.” The first thing I notice as my eyes fly open is the wry smirk on his face. The look that says he knows he’s got me wrapped around his fingers.
“Where are we?” I ask. My eyes adjust to the woods on either side of the road. They stretch out into eternity. “Why are we in the middle of nowhere?”
“Here is my sanctuary,” he says. All smiles, he steps out of the car and walks around it to open my door, but I’m quick to lock the door. No way in hell will I be spending my day in the woods. Apparently frustrated, Alpha raps his fingers on my window, but I don’t turn to look at him. I cross my legs and fold my arms. Sticking out my chin in defiance, I stare straight ahead.
“If you delight in the thought of being food for wild animals, I don’t.”
“There are no wild animals here,” he says. “I assure you. This has been my sanctuary for no less than five years. I just want to show you the beauty of nature is all…” His ringing phone steals away his attention. He turns away to answer the call.
Sweat breaks out on my forehead and streaks down the sides of my face. Cursing my life, I fan my face with both hands. Once Alpha has his back to me, I open my door and smuggle in a little bit of fresh air.
“Mum?” Alpha calls in a terrified voice. “Mum? Hello? Shit!” He ends the call and hurries into the car. Without a word, he starts the engine and spins the car into a life threatening reverse that makes me jerk forward.
I grip the edges of my seat and fight to regain control of my pacing heart, but nothing helps. Trees blur past, and all I can see are vanishing green walls on either sides of the road. I want to scream at him to stop, but I can’t. I can tell from the way he acted after the call that his mum is in some sort of danger.
“Alpha, what’s wrong?” I ask. His cold silence forces me to bottle up my curiosity. I spend the next few minutes praying I live through this hell of a ride. And I do.
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Alpha brakes the car in front of a mansion that can easily pass for a castle. The look on his face hardens as he stares at a girl standing in front of the house. Her hair, black as midnight and straight as a ruler, spills onto her delicate frame encased in a sleeveless white gown.
She brings to mind those ghosts in Japanese horror movies. Her eyes are devoid of emotions. Squinting to block out light, she hits me with her cold gaze. Bare feet kiss the ground as she makes for the car.
“Wait here,” Alpha says, stepping out of the car. The slam of the door makes me tremble. The mysterious girl halts beside Alpha. Her eyes never leave mine. And for some reason, I shrink under the intensity of her gaze. But then she smiles and waves at me. Her eyes are aglow with an emotion too intense to be excitement. A million and one questions crowd my mind as I watch her lead Alpha toward the house.
Who is she? Is it just me, or does Alpha look disturbed to see her? And why did he ask me to wait in the car as though his house’s stuffed with unsettling secrets? These are just three questions, but they are already driving me mad with curiosity. And I won’t leave till I find the answers.
Curiosity kills the cat, but I don’t mind playing the cat just this once. Turning off the engine, I climb out of the car and head for the house.