Piper stood in her bridal shop window, pinning the dress to the mannequin, to make it a neat fit and look its best to attract customers. Not that she was short of them. Made her smile, her designs were well liked even here in the human world.
It was a lovely strapless A-line gown, a blush coloured dress with a square neckline, the skirt flowed freely, and it had a bodice covered in hand embroidered crystal beads, it had a pulled up neatly pleated section at the front of the dress that allowed all the wonderful soft ruffles of the overlapping layers, of the soft satin material to be seen. She did like it. Had just finished it yesterday.
Her Store ‘Goddess Gowns’ here in Portland was one of three she now owned, her main store where she worked from, it had a nice space, was in a two-story building where all her gowns were on display downstairs, with a spacious sitting area and plush seating. There was a small runway from the dressing rooms out into the centre of the store, where the waiting guests would sit and watch the bride to be, show off the dress she chose.
Her office was upstairs in a loft space, she’d had split into two large rooms, her office in the first space and her working studio where she sat and created her gowns, she was good at her job. Liked her work and had sold may dresses to wealthy humans as well as regular humans, she catered to all.
Kept to herself as much as possible, but did hold and attend fashions shows, was quite well known in the bridal industry. She stepped back and looked at her latest creation, adjusted it a couple of times, until she was happy with it. Heard the pretty bell she’d bought tinkle as the store's door opened to let someone in.
Most days they came by appointment, but Tuesday she kept open for walk ins, her books were pretty full at the moment, Izzy would likely show them around or make them an appointment to see her at some point in the future.
Then the scent hit her, they were wolves, inside her store were werewolves, felt Harper growl a little inside of her mind, though they had come across wolves and all other manner of creatures over the past 8 years, today the scent that hit them, reached their nose. Was one that particularly annoyed them.
Without even turning to look, she could hear the woman who was laughing and happy, excited to be in this very store, to purchase her gown for her Ceremony as she called it. Heard the man chuckle and remind her that Brad, had told her to get whatever she wanted, he did not care about the cost it would incur him.
Piper stepped out from the window display and refused to even look at them, knew by the Pack scent that was on them, they were of her old Pack, likely from the way the woman was talking this woman was here to purchase a Goddess Gown designed by Piper Harper Designs. To wear to her Luna Ceremony and to none other than to Bradley Drake himself.
“Izzy, please attend to the customers.” she stated flatly as she headed up the stairs to her office.
“Yes Piper.” she heard Izzy call after her.
Piper nor Harper wanted to be anywhere near that woman or her escort for that matter. Pain was already pulling at them both. He’d found another it seemed. No not found another. Had scented out his first Mate. She though bitterly. He’d never once scented her, but obviously had that woman downstairs in her very store.
She and Harper might have left out of self-preservation, but it didn’t mean they didn’t still love the man. Knew their rejection had worked, seeing as not once since that night had she felt the pains of betrayal. It had been the right thing to do, saved both her and Harper. They’d moved well away from that pack even, several states away in fact. Why were they here in her store?
This was the first time, they had come across the Black Haven Pack, since they had left, why of all places would that woman come all the way here to her store. Was it just some cruel joke, she already felt like Selena had rejected her and Harper, cursed them and given her life of torture, but no that wasn’t enough it seemed, now her Mate had his own Mate and was here to dump pain on her once again.
Heard a knock on her door “Piper, sorry to bother you. The young lady downstairs wants one of your older gowns.”
“I don’t make those anymore.” Piper replied calmly “Just tell her to buy one off of the rack's downstairs, I’m sure there is something she will like. I don’t have the time to make something knew right now, even from the old.”
“Yes Piper...are you alright Piper?” Izzy asked her with a slight frown.
“I’m fine Izzy, have a headache is all.” she waved the girl away “Close my door, I can’t stand the smell.” she stated, not wanting to smell them or even hear the conversation those two down there may have. And to hell if that escort or the girl heard her comment about the smell.
Glanced at the large wall clock and sighed, hopefully they would leave soon, she had to go and get Brandon from the bus stop in a little while. Did not want that man around her son, period. Not that he would connect any dots, she did not smell to that wolf downstairs and any likeness to Bradley, would simply be shrugged off.
Heard a knock on her door a few minutes later and was about to raise her voice to Izzy, for disturbing her yet again, she’d been given instructions already. When the door opened without her stating come in, looked to it a deep frown on her face. Her jaw tightened as she was Cooper open the door to her office without permission.
Cooper, the Beta to Black Haven Pack, he stood there in her office doorway, smiled right at her, all charmingly, thought he was going to be able to use his good looks and charm, to be able to sway her into whatever he wanted.
Most human females would be drooling already, at his black hair and deeply dark charcoal grey eyes, his chiseled jaw and well-built physic.
Little did this wolf know, she wasn’t some gullible human out for the charming. She was not going to fall at his feet and stare up at him all dreamy eyed and become so smitten that she’d do whatever he wanted her too. It was likely how he’d gotten past Izzy though.
Had used those stormy grey eyes of his and by the look of it had run his hand through his hair, which would have showed off the muscles in his arm, he was only wearing a short sleeved very well fitted tee-shirt and those sickeningly perfectly pearly white teeth of his, that he had turned on her now. He was a picture of charm and s*x appeal; he was definitely trying to play on his good looks to get what he wanted. She was not attracted to him in the slightest.
“Hello, I’m Cooper.”
Piper cut him right off there “I don’t care. Get out.” she snapped at him, did not want this wolf anywhere near her at all.
Saw his smile actually falter, and frown at her “That’s not a very nice way to treat a potential customer, I have a friend here who would.”
“I don’t care.” she cut him off once again “I already told my store manager Izzy, I don’t have time to make a dress from an old obsolete line.” turned her eyes away from him, back to her desk and the design pad in front of her, effectively dismissing him, he would understand that, likely seen his Alpha do it many times, hell he’d probably done it himself a heap.
“Please.” she heard him actually step inside of her office “We’ll pay whatever you want.”
Turned her eyes back to him, more than annoyed now, trying to use money to get what he wants, now he understood his looks wouldn’t do it, typical. “I don’t need your money. Now I am very busy Carter...was it. Have your friend choose something in the store downstairs.”
“It was Cooper,” he grated out sounded like he didn’t like her tone.
Well, she didn’t like him in her office, any more than he looked like, he wanted to be in here right now, she was ticking the man off it seemed. Good. Maybe he’d take that woman and leave altogether.
“My friend wants a custom Piper Harper Gown.”
Rolled her eyes right at him, whose store did he think he was in “Everything downstairs is a Piper Harper gown.” she dripped sarcasm at his stupidly spoken request.
“You are very rude.” he glared right at her.
Oh, this was not rude this was just annoyed, he didn’t want to see her fully pissed off. And she was doing everything to get him out of her store with the attitude of not coming back at all.
Saw him actually take a breath and try to calm his anger, his wolf must be cranky at the lack of respect she was showing, heard Harper snort amused inside her mind, they’d not even really gotten started.
“Please, at least look at the picture of the dress she wants.” turned slightly “Hadley come in here and show the lady the dress you want.” he called to her.
Piper's jaw tightened all the way, so much so she could hear her own teeth grinding against each other. Saw him look right at her. He had picked up on it too. They did not want to know the woman’s name and certainly did not want to have to look right at her for that matter. It was why she had come upstairs and asked Izzy to deal with them.
On any other given day in her store, Piper would have been more than willing and happy to stay downstairs and assist in her store, her customers like to meet her, she knew this and for the most part, didn’t actually mind interacting with them.
Only the super prima donna’s annoyed her, whining little spoiled baby’s that had never heard the word ‘No’ before, irritated her and Harper for that matter. She was glaring right at him now, and actually saw him try and smell her, interesting response to her anger, he clearly wasn’t used to humans challenging him or standing up to him.
A very pretty red headed girl walked into her office a moment later, obviously not her real hair colour it was as read as a fire truck, the girl, not woman, was young, likely only barely 18 or 19. she smiled right at Piper, had deep dark blue coloured eyes, she had that trim taught and terrific body that all wolves had, was wearing a well fitted dress that accentuated her breasts and hips, drew ones eyes right to how fit she actually was. Just his type she thought bitterly, it did not escape her or Harper that she scented of Alpha blood either.
Did not smile at Hadley, she’d been called. Already initiated into the pack, had the packs scent on her as well. Saw the girl falter as Pipers eyes met hers, fully annoyed and angered to have to be looking right at her.
Saw Cooper bring her further into the office “I’m sure she won’t bite Hadley.” it was a warning; she and Harper had not missed his tone at all “Show her the dress you want. I’m certain, I will be able to convince her to make it.”
‘Fat chance.’ Harper snarled inside her mind.
Watched him walk Hadley across the office and sit her down opposite to Piper herself. Glared right at him he was lucky Harper was still inside of her at this point and not fully on the surface. And oh yes, he was very used to getting his way all the time. And of course, whatever the Luna wanted, she would get, he was here to make sure of that. Well today he was going to find out that he couldn’t have everything he wanted, she was no push over.
Yes, every other Luna out there got what they wanted, she and Harper hated Luna’s almost with a passion, almost as much as they hated their own kind.
“Piper.” she felt his aura roll at her, just a little. Likely trying to make her complaint “Please it is Hadley’s wish.”
“And I told you...I’m busy and don’t have the time.” she shot back at him, making sure he understood his aura meant nothing to her.
“Look at it.” he practically demanded her.
Well, they were no longer a part of his pack anymore, rogues didn’t have masters, didn’t have to answer to anyone unless they actually chose to. Raised an eyebrow up at him “I don’t like your attitude.” she snapped and stood up, felt Harper bristle inside her own mind. They would be no match for him, but they were not about to let him lord it over them right here in their office.
“Nor I yours.” he snapped right back, watched him pluck the photo from the girls' hand “What harm will come from looking at it.” he held it out to her.
“Nothing I suppose.” she grated out and yanked the damned thing from his hand, it was actually a magazine clipping not a photo, and the moment her eyes landed on it her anger twitched up a notch. She had only made one of these, had tortured herself with it.
It was the very dress she had designed for herself, the one that she had always imagined she would wear, the one she had designed long before she’d left the pack, tormented herself with dreams of Bradley scenting her and claiming her, and that dress being the one she would wear for her Luna Ceremony. Never happened, never would.
There was one thing Piper was certain of, this girl before her was never going to wear that dress, she would never make it for her to wear to her ceremony to Bradley.
Tore the clipping in half, and then in half again “I will not make that.” she spat as she tossed the torn pieces of paper into bin. Heard the girl gasp and actually sob, then shot up out of the chair and left the room in a rush, saw Cooper go after her “Go and don’t come back.” she practically snarled right at him.
Saw him stop and glare right at her, stand there and stare at her, right at her, she was not intimidated by him, and it surprised him. Shocked him that he couldn’t seem to frighten her, saw him breath in again. He was once again trying to figure out what she was? Why she’d not done what he wanted? Well, he would smell nothing, like every other time he’d walked pasted her or ran into her and he had more than once. He would smell a human and nothing more, if he even smelled that.
Stood in her office doorway staring right at her as she stared right back at him, locked eyes right with him, her brown eyes never moved from him, saw a slight smirk touch his lips, she presented a challenge to him and his wolf it seemed.
Saw his wolfs eyes appear as it pushed forward, it was likely meant to frighten her, all he got from her was a raised eyebrow at him “You don’t frighten me, get out of my store.” she stated, never moved her eyes from his wolfs.
Registered shock on his face at her lack of reaction to his wolf on the surface, then he just turned and left. “Yes, go away and don’t bloody come back.” she muttered to herself, knew his keen sense of hearing would pick it up, didn’t care at all, wanted him to know that she didn’t want him to come back.
Glanced at the clock and sighed, heard the bell ding, he’d left the store, poured herself a glass of water and drank it. Today was not a good day. Today was not something she had ever seen coming or even been prepared for.
Walked down the stairs saw Izzy’s eyes on her questioningly “I’m going to pick up Brandon.”
“Yes Piper.” she just nodded.
Walked outside her store and found Cooper across the street, with the girl, and as she glanced at them realized the packs Gamma and Delta were also both there. The Gamma looked right at her as the girl was hugged into him, taking comfort from her Gamma oh how sweet. She though bitterly. Turned and walked off down the street. 3 blocks to the bus stop and waited, she’d survived more than that, all that girl got was a “no”, was a spoiled blood prima donna.
Watched as Brandon got off the bus and smiled at him, thankfully he had her caramel coloured hair with a few natural blonde highlights from the sun. and his skin was fair like hers too, though he did have his father's blue eyes with those green flecks in them. He was her one true joy in her life. Smiled right at him as he stood talking to his friends, would not interrupt the boy, he had people hanging off him, just 7 years old and already popular, typical of his Alpha gene’s she supposed.
Finally, he turned his smile on her “Hey mum.”
“Hey sweetie, I thought...we’d go and get waffles.”
Saw him grin now “Sure.” she knew it was his favorite thing, loved waffles with strawberries and doused in hot melted chocolate with a big scoop of chocolate ice cream.
Took his hand and strolled along to the cafe they ate at sometimes after school. Watched him eat happily “I thought we could get away, go on a little holiday, the long weekend is coming.”
He looked right at her “No work?”
Piper chuckled even heard Harper chortle inside her mind “No work...why don’t we go snowboarding.”
“Sweet.” he grinned now all excited, the boy did like to be in the outdoors, and he’d learned to snowboard at 5, bloody took to everything that he tried, his natural agility shone through, as did his track and field, even excelled at swimming. Everything he did was a natural talent at “Mum its fall.” he suddenly stated.
“It’s snowing somewhere I the world.” she shrugged “get your phone out and find somewhere, we’ll leave Friday after school and come back Monday. You pick where.”