Alpha Owned(5)By: Milly Taiden
“Okay, you’re right. I hated having to hear that shit.”
A quick peek over her shoulder and she saw Darius wiping at his cheeks. He’d laughed that hard. “So let me see if I got this straight. Left side is Cici’s family of enforcers and elder. Right side is Sara’s family of Betas and elder. And middle is sexy pants Ryker growly Alpha?”
“You got it in one!” Cici chuckled. “And you weren’t even drinking.”
“Uh-oh.” Sara groaned. “The Calvary has arrived.”
Both sets of parents closed in on the 4x4. Cici’s beautiful mother, who she swore hadn’t aged a single year since she turned, ran for them, a wide smile covered her face.
Homesickness filled Cici then. She’d missed her so much. A knot formed in her throat as she struggled with her shaking hands to open the door. Hopping out faster than she’d ever thought possible, she ran for her mom too. In a blur of movement, Cici was enveloped in the warmth and love only her mother could show. She hugged her tight, so tight it was like she was afraid to let Cici go.
“Ciara, my baby.” Her mother whispered, voice thick with tears.
“I missed you, mom.” Cici choked out. She needed to stop this insanity. Ryker was going to be Alpha leader of their pack for a long time. It was time to let that shit go and visit her family more often.
Hot tears slid down her cheeks. She saw herself in her mother’s golden eyes and knew that she suffered because she missed Cici.
“I missed you too, baby girl.”
“I won’t do this anymore.” The promise shot from Cici’s lips without a trace of hesitation. “I’ll come see you more often.”
Her smile lit her eyes until they glowed. “I hope so.”
“There’s other people here. Can we get in on the hugging too?” Her brother cut in.
Her mom let go of her. Then her super tall and muscular baby brother hugged her half to death.
“Christian! I can’t breathe.” She wheezed as he turned her around in fast dizzying circles.
Her mother and brother all of a sudden stopped and turned to meet her third friend with a frown.
“Hi, I’m Darius.” He introduced himself to Cici’s mother.
“Welcome to our land. Are you and Ciara close?” Her mom asked. Eyeing Darius with intense scrutiny.
“More than close. There are no words to tell you what she means to me.”
“Oh, wow.” Her mom’s voice came out a surprised squeak. Yeah. Ciara knew her mother had always wanted Ciara to hook up with Ryker so this was going to put a damper on her plans.
Chris put Cici back on her feet with care. “I missed you, Ciara. Stay here with us. Forget going back to that smog-infested city. You can bake to your heart’s delight here. We do like sweets you know.”
“I know. It’s why I’m early. Michelle asked me to bake your groomsman cake remember?”
A deep frown marred his brow and Cici saw the animal bright in his eyes. “I don’t want you to work. I want you to relax.”
“Cut it out, Chris! I love baking. That’s how I relax.”
At that moment, Chris stared deep into her eyes. A chill ran down her spine. “You’re coming home to stay, soon.”
The way he said the words, with so much assurance, freaked her out a little. She would visit more, that was already decided, but he said come home to stay. That was a lot more complicated. Something tightened in her chest. Pain gnawed at her gut. She’d neglected her family long enough.
“I’m sorry, Chris. We’ll make your wedding special, little brother. That was the mission. To ensure the family had a great time at Chris and Michelle’s wedding.
Sara’s mom went on and on about the need to finally meet Sara’s boyfriend. Cici felt horrible for Sara. She knew if she said anything they’d know she’d been lying. Cici decided to help her. Holding on to Chris’s hand, she took a few steps toward Sara and her mom Rosa.
“Hi, Rosa. I see you look as fantastic as you did the last time we saw you.”
Rosa smiled at Cici, her dimples showed on her smooth wrinkle-free face. She had warm hazel eyes that always made Cici think of being cuddled in a down comforter.
“Hey, Sara? Want to help us out getting things set up for all the baking I’m doing in the morning?”
“Yes!” She tugged out of Rosa’s hold and bounced over to Cici.
“Mom, Darius is staying in the cabin with me.”
Her mom’s brown skin paled until she appeared a sickly gray. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. We’ll stay together. We have to, you know.” She laughed and winked at her, hoping her actions implied what she couldn’t say for fear of being found out to be a liar.