Chapter 6: Their Arrival

1499 Words
Emma felt the electricity of the event as soon as they climbed out of the truck. Lucien parked the truck in front of the resort and was inside checking them in. Emma took in the sunshine and the people milling about. Old friends greeted each other, introducing them to new friends. Lunas hugged Lunas. The party atmosphere had already started. How much of this would Lucien let her indulge in? She didn't know, so she stood outside the truck absorbing it all. The warmth of old friends permeated her and she had a smile on her face when Lucien exited the hotel lobby. He didn't seem to notice because he didn't comment on it. “Hey, Lucien." A graying Alpha approached him, who smiled a rare smile at the man. “Rogan. How the hell are you?" They clasped hands than did the one-armed bro-hug that men liked to do. Emma's smile broadened. Even Lucien had old friends here. She refused to be sad that she didn't. She'd chosen this way of life and many of her former friends had left her behind. One woman waved from afar. It was the Luna of Emma's childhood pack. Emma waved back, but the woman didn't approach. Instead, she carried her suitcase behind her Alpha. Maybe they could reconnect later when the Alphas were in a meeting. “You look good, Lucien," Rogan said. “I wasn't sure you'd be here." “I'm still the Alpha of the Meadows Pack." “I had no doubt, but in the past, you haven't gotten involved with outside packs," Lucien said. A sense of the Alpha power washed over her. Even if they were friends, they were still leaders. They could erupt at any moment. Emma stepped away, not wanting to be collateral damage. Rogan laughed. “I've mellowed a little in old age. Besides, even an old wolf can learn new tricks. That's what I'm here to do. And there's that orphan problem." “I heard of a new pack that'll be here. Some guy named Dex came to introduce himself. His territory touches ours. His pack is filled with orphans." “And outcasts. The orphans don't bother me. The outcasts do," Rogan said. “We'll see if he's a strong Alpha, but I doubt he corrals them." “We'll see. Good to see you, Lucien." Rogan glanced her way but didn't say anything; Lucien didn't step up to introduce her. It would be embarrassing to him if she introduced herself so Emma remained quiet. Rogan prowled away. “What are you looking at?" Lucien asked. “You didn't introduce me," Emma said. She'd debated keeping quiet but didn't. She'd examine her motives later. Lucien shrugged. “You didn't need to know him." He looked past her. “Wait here." She was content to take it all in. The energy of the conference invigorated her. All around her Alpha's greeted each other. They held hands with their Lunas, as though they liked that their Lunas were with them. What would that feel like? Would Lucien ever be glad of her presence? Would life ever change? Emma leaned against the truck as conversations swirled around her. Julie would know what to do in this situation. If Emma opened her mouth she'd be tongue-tied as to what to say. “You hear about that new pack?" Apparently, Dex's pack was the talk of the council attendees. “How do you get the younger generation more involved in the pack?" “There's a workshop on helping families rebuild after a fire." Lucien walked back to her. He had a spring in his step. He even looked at her with a softer gaze. “We're in one of the houses behind the main building. I didn't want to just be in a hotel room. We are sharing it with a few others. Big rooms, I guess." Emma smiled at him. Whatever he wanted was fine at the moment. She glanced around, enjoying the ebb and flow of conversations and rekindling of friendships. “Okay." He took a moment to take it all in. “I don't think there is anyone else I need to talk to right now. Get back in the truck. I'll drive us around to the cottage." Emma frowned but did as he asked. The energy she'd been feeling cut off as soon as she closed the door What a shame. She'd been enjoying herself, but she doubted she could explain that to Lucien. He was back to business as he climbed into the truck. He pulled out into the roadway that would take them around the building. He stopped and rolled down his window. “Jack." A lanky wolf strolled up to his window. “Lucien in the flesh. Save a seat for me at the feast." “Sure thing, buddy." Jack and Lucien began a conversation and Emma glanced around. She suddenly felt the heat of a gaze, as though someone was watching her. When she turned to look, she saw Dex stepping out of a shining new truck. Her heart sped up and she couldn't have torn her gaze away even if Lucien had grabbed her. Dex was dressed in jeans that hugged him tightly and a button-down shirt that she'd bet he only ironed this morning. He paused, his eyes searching hers, before he gave her a respectful nod disappeared into the hotel and Emma felt the loss of his gaze down to her soul. She listened to Jax and Lucien, but it was just talking. Pack business. Council business. Nothing she needed to know. Then again, maybe she should listen and learn. Maybe if she showed more of an interest, Lucien would let her be his Luna. So she did. Dex's truck drove by them a few minutes later, but since the windows were darkened she couldn't see him anymore. Lucien concluded his conversation then turned to her. “My cousin." “Nice man." “He's okay." Lucien pressed his lips together and put the truck into drive. He headed slowly down the road as people were crossing it from both directions with suitcases. They passed the end of the main building. “Look for cottage nine," Lucien said. “This is one." The road wound around several more cottages. Lucien stopped one more time to speak to someone and Emma's mind drifted to Dex. Would she see him at all? Did he know that everyone was talking about him? It wasn't her business. She knew that, but it was something to think about while Lucien reconnected with people. He wasn't going to include her so she would have to meet her own people. He started the truck again. “Where are we at?" “Cottage Five." She looked around. “We aren't very close to the events." Lucien shrugged. “I didn't want to be with everyone else." He always kept her away from people. “Lucien, what am I doing here if I'm not supposed to be among wolves or do any activities? “You're here because I say you're here." “What are you going to tell people if I don't show up? “You're sick." “You'd rather them think I'm sick than I am not a good Luna?" “Exactly." So he was admitting he didn't think she was a good Luna. “How about you let me get more involved so that I can be a good Luna." He stopped the truck. Her heart raced. That was the boldest thing she'd ever said to him but she didn't see any signs of his inner wolf. His eyes weren't red. “You think you can be a Luna to my Alpha?" “Yes." Now that she'd gone this far, she wasn't backing down. It was a small step. Lucien laughed. “Do you know why I married you?" “No." “Because our fathers agreed upon it." “Then you're stuck with me. Why not make the best of it?" she asked. He had no confidence in her abilities, but she was sure that she could be a good Luna if he just gave her the chance. She crossed her arms and let the conversation drop. At least she had a better idea of where they stood. She had never had such an enlightening conversation with Lucien in their years of marriage. He'd married her reluctantly and didn't think much of her. Had he been in love with someone else? She'd never thought of that. Then again, he shouldn't have taken this marriage thing out on her. He didn't get a pass for that. “Are you going to sulk now?" “No," she said with as much cheer as she could muster. He'd been a pawn in this game also. As much as she might never forgive him for his treatment of her, she realized she needed to take some responsibility for her actions. “Nine," she pointed out. And there sat Dex's truck.
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