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Chapter 2

Quietly preparing the platter, I hear a loud thump. Someone is angry. I'm just glad I'm in here and not out there with all that commotion. I pull my hood up to hide my bruised eye. Unfortunately, I can't cover my split lip, so I figure I'll bite over my lip to hide it when needed.

After approaching the counter, I ask the first man for his order. I avoid eye contact and keep my head down as I write them down. All these guys sound very grumpy and annoyed. Then, finally, Jim comes over to me. 

'Alpha, I mean Ryker, would like a vanilla milkshake with some cookies.' I nod and write the order. I have served everyone except for Ryker.

Lifting an enormous platter of biscuits and dips, I wince with the weight in one hand. My broken rib is under strain. Ryker stares at me.

Pausing for a moment, I inhale a deep breath and hold it, brace myself for the pain, lift the platter again, and put it on the table where most men sit. In the kitchen, I exhale while keeping my hand pressed against my ribs. Darn! Ryker's order. Quickly walking to him to serve his order, he stares directly at me and squints, wondering what or who is under my hood. 

All the other men are shouting over each other about some guy named Zenith, a town called Shady Crest, and something about rogues, which is strange because Jim referred to me as a rogue earlier. A map sprawls across the table in front of Ryker. The men are drawing circles and squiggly lines on various parts of it and talking about setting up posts here and there.

As the diner becomes quiet and all eyes are on me, I suddenly feel nervous. I can sense them on me. I nervously place Ryker’s order on the table next to the map. 

'Your order, sir,' I whisper.

'Wait,' Ryker says before I can leave his table. 'What is wrong with your ribs?' Ryker asks. 

'Nothing, sir,' I reply, wondering how he knew I was in pain. 

'You struggled to hold the platter, it's causing you pain,' he observes.

'I want you to remove your hood, rogue!' He demands. I freeze and look at Jim for help.

'Astrid, have your break, love. Ryker, I told you to leave her out of all this.' I run to the kitchen and out the back door. 

'She should smell like a rogue if she is a rogue. But she smells sweet and sugary,' Alpha Ryker declares.

'You need to leave her alone,' Jim says. Alpha Ryker lets out a growl and glares at Jim. 

'I could smell her before she served me. My wolf is extremely restless right now. I'm struggling to keep him back,' Ryker explains, holding his chest.

Everyone in the diner freezes and looks at each other, then at Alpha Ryker. 

'What?' Alpha Ryker asks. His Beta, Seth, stands up.

'Alpha, you don't seriously think she could be your mate?' Seth asks. Alpha Ryker laughs. 

'The Moon Goddess matching an Alpha and a rogue? Don't be ridiculous,' Alpha Ryker says.

My breathing finally slows down. My watch reads 8:45 pm. In fifteen minutes, I can go home. Hopefully, Dad will be asleep from drinking too much. I go back inside and wash up all the cups, mugs, and plates. The men leave the diner, and I breathe relief as I hear all of their car doors slamming. My body relaxes, knowing they have gone. Thinking Jim was behind me, I was just about to tell him I was leaving as well, but it wasn't Jim standing behind me. It's Ryker.

I avoid making eye contact with him. I'm aware my hood could fall at any moment, revealing the abuse I suffer. His breathing is very noticeable. 

'I'm sorry, sir. My shift is over. Please see Jim,' I say if you need anything else. His arm suddenly barricades the space between me and my exit as he presses his palm against the wall. I jump back in fright.

'Remove your hood,' he demands. I shake my head.

'No. Jim! Jim!' I yell as I try to move backward. Instead, I'm pressed against the wall with nowhere else to go without warning and trapped between his body and the brickwork in one swift movement. He leans over me before planting both of his hands on either side of the wall. 

'Jim is busy saying goodbye to his pack members out front. He thinks I've already left,' Ryker whispers, twirling my long brown hair in his fingers. He inhales my scent. 

'You smell so good, even my wolf is struggling to stay calm,' he confesses. 

'You, you, have a pet wolf?' I'm scared. Ryker laughs at my question. 

'Are you frightened of me, Astrid?' He asks. I nod. 

'Well, if you are what my senses tell me you are and a rogue, you should be afraid. I don't know if I could have a rogue as my mate, and my pack might not want one as their Luna,' he explains.

'I'm sorry, sir. I'm confused. I'm not sure what you mean. Rogues, Lunas and Mates. I promise I won't be a problem to you if you just let me go home. We will never see each other again,' I whimper.

'In a moment, Astrid,' he whispers, looking down at my face, hair, and figure, clumsily clothed in my work uniform. 

'Please. I want to go home. Please let me go.' I beg. 

'I will let you go if you are not my mate,' he says. 

'I don't know what a mate is. It would help if you stopped being an arrogant, obnoxious human being. Please, just let me go,' I plead.

Unleashing an angry growl, he punches the wall above my head. I drop to the ground in fright. 

'Do not insult me like that again. Ryker scolds, 'How dare you refer to me as a human being?' Hugging my knees, I tremble. 

'Please, just let me go home….' 

He takes a step back and pauses, staring at me. He is in deep reflection. Curiosity and a pensive expression consume his handsome face.

'Alpha Ryker! What is the meaning of this? Astrid, are you okay? Why is there a hole in my wall?' Jim shouts before helping me up off the ground. The pressure of his hand on my broken rib makes me shriek in pain.

'Astrid, you're hurt. Your ribs. Please tell me you are, okay?' Jim says, worried. 

Ryker's face softens as his concern for me replaces any anger he previously felt toward me. He takes a step closer to me, sharply inhaling the surrounding air. I move behind Jim for protection. Ryker looks away, distancing myself away from him has offended him somewhat. His fists are clenched by his side as though he contains something within himself he cannot control.

'Ryker! What did you do to her? She's just a young, innocent girl! Did you break her ribs?' Jim shouts. 

'I didn't touch her, Jim. She called me an arrogant, obnoxious human being. I got angry and punched the wall,' Ryker explains.

'Well, she got most of that right,' Jim yells, 'because you are being an arrogant, obnoxious--' Ryker stops him. 

'Jim. Point taken! I overstepped the mark, but she acts like she doesn't know what a mate is. She's pretending she doesn't know she is a rogue!' 

'That's because she doesn't know!' Jim yells. Ryker gives Jim a confused look, then looks at me. I'm just as bewildered. 

'Look. I don't know what game this is, but I don't want to do this anymore. Just let me go home, and neither of you will have to worry about seeing me again,' I yell.

'Astrid. I'm so sorry about Ryker. Please. You don't have to leave your job here at the diner. You know you're safer here than at home,' Jim explains. 

'What do you mean by that?' Ryker asks. 

'Mind your own business,' I snap. Ryker backs away with a scowl. He crosses his arms and tries to hide the hurt look on his face.

'I was safer here, Jim, but Ryker has an agenda against me. I don't know what his problem is. Thank you for being kind to me and employing me all this time, but I can't work here anymore.' I give him a kiss on the cheek goodbye. His eyes are teary. Ryker lets out a growl. I go over to the stool where my handbag is and swing it on my shoulder.

'You! I feel sorry for whoever you seek and refer to as your mate! To be with you would be a curse!' I shout. My words deeply hurt him. He couldn't even look at me.

Before I can storm off and leave, Ryker swiftly takes my wrist. He flings my hood off my head rashly, and with the sharp eye contact we make, He feels a magnetic rush of endorphins and dopamine sweep through him. My stomach lurches at the instant feeling of butterflies. Everything around Ryker vanisheshe and I are the only people that exist.

I'm so confused. I don't know what is happening right now. A subtle, strange feeling flows through my body. Ryker is now staring at me as if he lusts after me, even though he was so intimidating only minutes ago. I'm mesmerised by his eyes. This feels almost like I'm in a trance. Ryker continues staring into my green eyes intently before his eyes briefly change in colour. 

'You're my mate,' he whispers, stepping closer to me. I unwillingly snap out of the magnetic, lustful trance.

'Stop. Don't you dare touch me,' I yell. Jim stands there with a shocked look on his face. 

'Alpha, are you sure Astrid is your mate?' Jim asks in disbelief. 

'She's a rogue. This did not just happen?' Ryker mumbles to himself, brushing his hand through his hair, stressed.

'You're right. Whatever you think is happening is not going to happen. We can agree on that,' I say. Ryker stares at me. 

'Who did that to your face?' He asks calmly. 

'Mind your own business and stay away from me,' I say, skirring the kitchen through the diner and running out the door.

Comments (3)
goodnovel comment avatar
Breyonna Gardner
It’s getting good
goodnovel comment avatar
Christine Grijalva
Poor girl she doesn’t even know what she is. The didn’t help much either.
goodnovel comment avatar
Phoenix
Things are heating up
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