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The cat was a massive one, quick and strong. I watched as he struck at Bjorn, cutting him deep in the chest and stomach with razor-sharp claws big enough to be blades. Bjorn was strong, but he wasn’t as quick as the lion.
The cat lunged for Bjorn's neck, and I screamed, knowing he was set to kill. He sunk his teeth into Bjorn’s neck just as Klaus slammed into him, sinking his own teeth into his shoulder blade. The lion twisted his body, swiping his claws into Klaus’s stomach. Klaus struck back, trying to get a grip on the lion, but the lion was a seasoned predator, and he was made to kill.
The cat released Bjorn, snapping now at Klaus. Bjorn fell away to the ground, hurt badly.
“No!” I screamed, seeing him lying there. He opened his eyes, looking straight at me, and climbed back to his feet. He leaped onto the lion, sinking his teeth into his neck as the cat turned completely on Klaus.
The lion cried out as his massive arms wrapped around Bjorn, and his claws shredded his back. Klaus bit into the other side of the lion’s neck, and they all fell to the ground together. Klaus was the only one who got up.
Blood soaked his white fur, but I still wrapped my arms around him. I didn’t linger, as I knew Bjorn was hurt. I rushed over to him, coming up behind him, knowing that I was safe because the huge cat laid dead in front of him.
Though I couldn’t see the blood like I could on Klaus, I knew he was hurt much worse. “I’m here, Bjorn. I’m going to take care of you.”
He was fading in and out, and I leaned back, pulling my shirt off, and started ripping it up. “Klaus, I know you’re hurt, but you have to go get Papa.”
He whined right beside Bjorn and me. “Klaus, please. I can’t do this alone. Go for Papa.”
He looked at me one last time before he took off for the house. I turned back to Bjorn and focused on the heavy bleeding from his neck. The teeth marks had ripped his flesh open.
“I love you, Bjorn, but this is going to hurt,” I told him, and he opened his eyes for me a little. I took several pieces of the ripped material and placed it over the wound, pressing hard.
Bjorn whined and kicked his legs out as he tried to lift his head. “It’s okay, Bjorn. I know it hurts, but I must stop the blood. Papa will take you home.”
He whined some more but became still. “That’s a boy. Just relax, it will help. Thank you for protecting me, Bjorn. You were my hero today. Of course, you have always been my hero.”
He looked at me with one eye, and I could see he was accepting of my admission. He always loved it when I stroked his ego, and I did so freely now. “What a big strong alpha you are. Taking on that big old cat. Why, I think that deserves some kind of reward.”
He kicked out his paw, indicating that he liked that. I smiled down at him. I like giving them rewards at times. Klaus always likes a good rubdown, but Bjorn always likes the extra meats. He might be eating too well for the next few days, so I tried and thought of something else. “How about I take you home and put you in my bed for a few days? Until I can think of something better.”
And that was just what I did. Papa and I got him home, and we bandaged him tightly and put him in my bed for the night. Klaus joined him at the foot, lying down. He was hurt too, but not as badly.
I watched them both most of that night to make sure that they would survive. But most of my attention was on Bjorn. Lying in the bed beside him, I petted him on his shoulders the way he likes. He opened his eyes and looked at me before I fell asleep.
Bjorn stayed in my bed for three days, and I took care of him the whole time. He was a handful to deal with, but I could see the pain in his eyes. So, I sang for him and petted him softly. I rested and would fall asleep beside him often, and it surprised me. Bjorn and I had never shared my bed before. Klaus was the one who always joined me at night. But I couldn’t help but enjoy it with Bjorn now. I liked being this close to him. I had wanted to be close like this with him for years, and finally he was letting me.
After he healed, I noticed Bjorn started to become more demanding of me. At first, he stayed close to me, and I could see he sniffed me a lot. He craved my touch more, wanting to be touched more than he ever did before. I did so, happy to show him the love I felt for him that he had never let me show before. I didn’t mind he was demanding my attention.
Often as I walked, he walked behind, but after his injury, he began coming up right behind me and rubbing my legs and backside with his nose. I would turn and shoo him away, but he back off only to come up and do it again after a while. That was when things started to get weird.
When I got angry at him and argued back with him, he growled aggressively until I bowed to him. He was being weird, and I didn’t want to, but I always did as he wanted.
Last time he got ahold of my clothes, we had a massive fight over them. I hadn’t wanted to bow, since he had been making me do it so much, and by refusing to, it made him even angrier.
I had eventually submitted and bowed to him like I usually did by kneeling and lowering my head. But it wasn’t enough for him. That time, he had wanted me to give what I called “the offering.” He had finally calmed down when I bowed all the way down and offered something with my hands like I had the first time he let me touch him. It didn’t matter if I had something to give or not. He just wanted to know I submitted completely, which I don’t like to do.
I had only done the offering a few times through the years. I refused to do it then, and he came up behind me like he always did, touching his nose against my neck, and sniffed at my scent. He growled at me, warning me to do what he wanted, but I still refused. Before I knew it, he sunk his teeth into my shoulder, and I screamed.
Klaus jumped on him in an instant. It was the first time I had ever seen the two of them fight in earnest. I tried breaking them up but couldn’t get close enough to them. Finally, I yelled for Papa, who came running down the hill, shouting, and broke them up.
When he saw what Bjorn had done, Papa was furious, but unlike the rest of us, Bjorn did not treat my papa as a wolf. For some reason, Bjorn looked at Papa as another alpha. I defended Bjorn even after he bit me.
“Don’t you get it, Aria?” he told me later that night when we were alone in the house. “He wants you to be his mate.”
“Papa!” I exclaimed in surprise.
“Well, honey, that’s what he is doing. Biting you the way he did.” He was smiling at my surprise even though he was angry still at my injury. “Look, I have seen you kneel to him, and I get it. It is the way he is, and you love him. But he is becoming a problem when he bites you.”
“Papa, no!” I exclaimed again. “You're not hurting him!”
“Aria, be reasonable,” he said to me, sitting back. “As the ways of the wolf, he has claimed you as his in every way but one. You are going to have to stand up to him.”
I was embarrassed by Papa’s words, but I also found them strangely interesting. It was the first time I realized that Bjorn looked at me as something more. That there was a desire for me.
As it was interesting, it was also disturbing that he wanted to mate me. I wasn’t a wolf and had no intentions of letting him do any such thing. Still, it was kind of nice to be desired.
I had been thinking of men and the lack of one in my life. I was past the age of a first marriage, living up here in isolation with just Papa. Taking a husband sounded more and more pleasing every day. My desire to explore and be with a man was growing.
◊ ◊ ◊
Now, Bjorn stands before me once again, wanting me to bow, and I can’t do it. His growl is becoming more intense as I stand there staring at him. I can see the desire in his eyes now, and if I bow, it will give him too much power over me. I am not going to give in to his desires.
“No, Bjorn,” I say softly to him. “I will not do it this time.”
I step toward him and my clothes, and he snaps at me, and I flinch with some fear. Klaus starts growling now, but I am not sure if he is growling to me as a warning or to Bjorn.
“No, Klaus,” I say, not taking my eyes off Bjorn. “I am doing this.”
I see Klaus from the corner of my eye back up a step, but he continues to growl and make his presence known.
I take another step to Bjorn, and he growls more at me, bending his legs like he is going to attack. But he won’t, I am…almost sure of it.
Deciding to make myself seem smaller, I bend down to my knees and then on my hands. Bjorn stops growling at me almost instantly, but I do not take my eyes off his. He licks his chops while he looks at me, calmer than he was before.
I start to crawl toward him on all fours.
“I can’t be your mate, Bjorn,” I speak softly. “I am a woman, and you are a wolf. If you want a mate, then go find one.”
I grab my clothes just as I come face-to-face with him. I jerk back with my clothes in hand, thinking I have pulled a fast one on him.
Bjorn watches me take them, letting me do so, but just as I am about to stand back up, he advances on me, not growling again, but he pushes me backward, making me fall on my backside in the dirt.
He doesn’t stop there and continues walking over me as I fall back into the dirt. Once he is positioned completely over my prone body, he stands there and waits.
“Bjorn?” I whisper his name in question, not sure what he is doing. He has never done this before, covering me so.
He slowly lowers his head to my throat, all the while looking into my eyes until he can’t any longer. He smells my skin before licking up my collarbone to my ear. I let him do it, even though he knows I don’t like it. My body tenses, and even though I’m sure he can feel it, he continues licking.
I turn my face to the side, allowing him to do what he pleased, hoping soon he will finish showing his dominance. I hear Klaus growling, thinking he will come to my aid, but hoping he stays put. I don’t want them fighting again.
Bjorn raises his head and looks down at me.
“Bjorn, please,” I beg him, my breathing come faster now. I know he won’t hurt me, but what is he doing?
He lowers his head again, this time to my chest, rubbing his nose against me, and I raise my hands to his large neck, trying to push him away. But as I push him, his head lowers to my stomach, pushing up the wet undershirt to touch my skin.
“No,” I whisper to him, trying to turn my body away, but he won’t let me. His nose moves farther down until he is right above my underthings, and I gasp as I feel his breath wash over me there.
I push backward, moving away from him, and he leaps, high above me. I fall back as he comes crashing down around me once again. I clinch up, trying to protect myself, truly scared now.
He is right in my face now, growling.
“Get off me, Bjorn,” I say with more grit than I really have, and he knows it. I am trembling so much underneath him, and he is so close that I know he has to feel my quivering.
Stepping back a little, he lowers his bottom half on top of me, pinning me down. In the next instant, he takes my undershirt between his teeth at my chest and rips it from my body.
I can’t believe he just did that. I bring my arms up to cover myself, and he growls at me, putting a huge paw on my forearm before I can reach myself. I lie there almost naked to him, barely able to breathe as he holds me to the ground with his body.
He is heavy and so large, with way more power over me than I thought. Until this moment, I always thought I did the things he wanted because I wanted to, but now I am questioning everything about our friendship.
He stops growling when I don’t resist him, and he bends his head back down to my chest and starts to lick leisurely along both my breasts. His tongue swirls around one of my nipples, and despite the situation and the fear I feel, I can’t help the pleasure of the sensation.
That scares me even more. Bjorn is touching me, and very sexually.
“No, Bjorn,” I say again, pushing at his neck. “Please stop; you’re scaring me.”
He continues licking at my breast, not caring for my words or my hands pushing at him.
I look to Klaus, who looks almost in pain, but still, he does not move to act. Would he even help me if I called him? I decide it’s worth a try.
“Klaus, please help me,” I say, reaching out to him, begging for him to stop his brother.
Klaus does, jumping up and to my rescue. He leaps onto Bjorn’s back, and they roll away. Instantly I am up on my feet, but unlike last time, they aren’t fighting, but facing off and growling at each other.
Klaus stands in front of me, Bjorn taking his eyes from Klaus to me and then back again. I watch, stunned, until Bjorn backs down for the first time ever and turns away, leaving us alone.
I am breathing hard, my body shaking all over. I can’t believe what he did, and I can’t believe that he just left like that.
Klaus turns and walks toward me. He looks up to me and sits down in front, waiting.
“What the hell was that?” I ask him, looking down.
He growls softly at me and then shakes his head before rubbing his nose against my stomach too.
“Not you, too,” I say, pushing him away. My emotions are starting to affect me. What just happened? That wasn’t normal at all. Not what Bjorn made me feel. And the last thing I wanted was for Klaus to touch me and make me feel something too. “Go on!”
He whines at me again and hesitates, but then turns and walks away, leaving me alone.
I look down at myself, covered in dirt from the ground. My undershirt is hanging on by the straps at my shoulders, and I am naked to the waist. Bjorn has torn it all the way down the middle with his teeth.
He literally undressed me and then cherished my flesh. I feel my breath come a little faster, remembering how it felt with him kissing at my breasts. Never have I ever been touched there, but Bjorn dared to actually rip my clothes off and do so.
I bring my arms up in front of me, hiding behind them. Bjorn could still be out there, watching me. I hurry back into the water to wash all the dirt from my body. Then I quickly slip my pants on and the shirt now torn all over.
And to think, I went through all that for this piece of garbage.