Clint took his chair behind the large pine desk and gestured for the omega to sit across from him. He did so slowly, his gaze flicking between him and Blake. The sour smell of nervousness permeated the room.
His wolf grew agitated. They both didn’t like that Julian didn’t feel safe with them. The beast inside him wanted to come out and show the omega how strong and capable they were by hunting Leo down and ripping him to shreds. But Clint’s human mind knew they needed a gentler approach. One wrong move would send Julian running, and then he wouldn’t have any legal claim to protect him.
“The first thing we must do is the most important.” Clint pushed over the top form for Julian to read. The omega took it up in his slender hands, his eyes going back and forth as he read it. “That is the Omega Registration form. Leo never registered you, or his pack would have been inspected randomly every four months for proper care and treatment. As of now, only four people in the Council know of your existence, me being one of them.”
Julian’s head snapped up to meet his gaze. “Are you serious? They get inspected
“No exceptions,” he reiterated. “Not even for Council members or Elders. Omegas are to be treated with respect and care, their every need provided. Back when Jake’s mother lived here, they would even do physical inspections to ensure she was being properly fed and I wasn’t physically abusing her.”
Julian snorted. Anger filled his expression, his yellow eyes snapping fire. “Well, I think your precious system is flawed, Alpha
,” the omega snarled. “How can you protect your valued little omegas when they’re born into a pack that doesn’t register them?”
Normally, Clint would be offended if someone used that snide tone with him, but he understood the omega’s offense. Supposedly omegas were spoiled and the Council cared about their well-being, but he
had only known abuse. Clint got that. So he took a deep breath and nodded.
“Yes, we see that now. The Council will convene to discuss the problem. But right now, they’re more concerned about you
. A doctor will be sent today or tomorrow for a physical. In the meantime, we fix the wrongs done to you however we can, Julian. Please let us.”
Julian’s lips tightened and his eyes drained of light. He bowed his head and mumbled. “Nothing you do can fix it.” But he took up a pen and started to fill out the form. He pushed it over when he finished and Clint glanced over it.
Julian Greer. Born August 12, 1995
. Many categories were left blank. Dam information was filled in but not Sire, and he only knew Leo’s first name.
Clint passed over the next form. “This is the Alpha Guardianship Affidavit. It places you under my protection until your Pack Transfer Request goes through, which is next. If Leo files a grievance, it goes through me and then to the Council instead of directly through the Council. They’ll need my permission for any punishment they may deem necessary, although with your circumstances I don’t see them issuing any. They can do nothing to you without my consent, and I will swear to you now they won’t get it. You cannot be forced back to his pack with me as your guardian.”
Julian showed less hesitation this time as he signed his name.
“Last but not least, the Pack Transfer Request. You’ll sign, then me, and then Blake will sign as witness that you’re not being bribed or coerced in any way.”
“Another hole, Alpha,” Julian said, a small smile gracing his normally tense face. “What good is it if a member of your own pack says you didn’t bribe me? He could be crooked too, or threatened by you.”
Blake laughed. “Trust me, I’m not threatened, Omega.”
“But you bring up a good point,” Clint commended. “I’ll present it at the meeting. Just sign at the bottom.”
Julian did so. Clint signed and stamped his seal in wax. Blake then stepped up and scribbled his messy signature. He handed all the papers to his Beta Primary.
“Scan these to the Council and then send it via one-day shipping.”
“On it, boss.” Blake took the forms to the scanner and started his task.
Clint stood up and walked to the door, gesturing for Julian to follow. Only light footsteps told him the omega was coming. Clint took him back to the living area and up the stairs.
A bedroom had been prepared for their new omega. The thick lavender curtains were pulled back to reveal the forest in reds, oranges, and golds around them. It was beautiful. Autumn was his favorite time of year with the drastic changes the forest went through. Heavy blankets with fluffy pillows covered the bed, and new clothes had been placed in the closet and dresser.
Clint turned at the doorway and threw his arm out to gesture at the room. “This,” he said, “is your room. You have clothes and amenities. The door bolts from the inside. Rest a bit, okay? You’re safe here.”
Julian cocked an eyebrow but walked inside the bedroom, turning slowly to take in his new surroundings. Clint leaned against the frame and watched the wary omega who tilted his head back to scent the air.
After thorough investigation, even digging through the closet and looking under the bed, Julian turned to him and nodded. “Thanks, Alpha. I’ve haven’t had a room since my mother died.”
Clint shouldn’t have been shocked by that revelation after all Leo had done that he knew of. “Shit. I’m sorry, Julian. But you’re a pack member now. You don’t need to thank me for giving you your fucking due.”
That seemed to take Julian back, and the omega opened and closed his mouth, at a loss for words.
“Take a shower, get some sleep.” He nodded toward the bed and backed away from the room. Then he turned and left before his emotions got the better of him.
* * * *
Julian wasn’t sure what he did to make the alpha moody and stalk off like that, but he was
glad to be alone.
He closed and locked the door. The sense of safety he got from the simple action made him grin.
He wouldn’t have to shower or sleep with prying eyes on him. If this was what being part of the Tillamook Pack meant, then he would gladly stay.
He hurried to the restroom and gasped at the claw foot tub. It was even bigger than the copper one downstairs! Plus, it had a metal bar with a curtain so he could shower if he wanted.
Nice digs, Alpha
. Leo’s house was a hovel compared to this place. And, hello, a five-bladed razor with large bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the cabinets, as well as shaving cream and aftershave. Hell yeah. Old Spice?
He flicked a bottle open and sniffed. Well, it smells nice. Like trees and the sun.
Julian took all he needed and started a bath. He stripped down as it filled, stretching sore muscles. What a run. But he’d outpaced even the Beta Primary, and in strange territory at that! He grinned at his accomplishment. He’d been unpracticed too, having been cooped up for so long.
But I’m out of that hellhole now, and I’ll die before I go back!
Shoving memories from his head, Julian stepped into the tub, sighing in bliss as he sank down into the steaming water. This is the life
. He enjoyed the warmth and quiet for a while before bathing himself, which he took his sweet time with. When he got to his torn asshole, he took special care, but he still winced and whimpered as pain shot through the sensitive area. It was worth it; it had all been worth it to escape and be here now.
After he was gloriously clean—he’d scrubbed his entire body twice—Julian emptied the tub and ran the sink, lathering shaving cream onto his face. Since the alpha had taken him in as his sex toy a couple years ago, one of the bitches had been given the task of shaving him. He’d been forbidden from having sharp objects. Smart of Alpha Leo, for he would have undoubtedly used anything to kill the bastard.
He had plenty of nicks on his face when he finished the job, but by the gods he felt accomplished. Julian tossed his borrowed clothes in a hamper and raided the closet for fresh jeans and a long-sleeved tee, along with thick, woolly socks.
, he though, wiggling his toes. This is the life
. How long had it been since he’d been warm in the cooler months? Too damn long. But he was now, so he would enjoy it for as long as it lasted.
Remembering his new alpha’s request for him to rest, he looked at the large bed, weariness weighing on his bones. Yes, he could use some rest. A short nap would be just what he needed.
Julian crawled onto the plush mattress and snuggled under the heavy comforter. Yes, just a little sleep would be…
He jolted awake when someone pounded on his door.
“What!” he yelped, trying to get his bearings. Leo never knocked, so who the hell was—
“You okay in there, Omega?” A boy’s voice came through the door, muffled and uncertain. “It’s breakfast time. Da’s worried. You didn’t eat lunch or dinner yesterday.”
What the hell?
The boy’s voice was familiar, and it took a minute for Julian to remember where he was. The boy was Jacob, he realized. Had he slept a whole day and night?
The pale light shining through the leaves of the wood and into the window corroborated that. And his stomach was achingly empty.
“Well, shit.” Julian kicked off his cover and rolled out of bed, stumbling to the door and blinking sleep from his heavy eyes. He fumbled with the lock and managed to open the door, blinking stupidly at Jacob. “Er, hello. I’m sorry. I just meant to take a nap.”
The gods only knew why Julian was compelled to apologize to the baby alpha. He blamed it on the boy’s puppy-dog eyes, all big and brown and innocent. Frowning at himself, Julian shook his head clear of his grogginess.
“You mentioned breakfast?” His stomach growled loudly.
Jacob gave him a sloppy smile. “Yep, it’s hot and fresh. Da hunted a doe for you last night! So, venison and eggs and coffee and juice. C’mon!”
The boy nabbed his hand, which was shocking enough. Julian had noticed how the beta and alpha avoided touching him. Even more shocking was Julian let
him. He couldn’t deny he was comfortable with the boy. Shit, he would have torn the hand off anyone else for grabbing him without asking. Yet he meekly allowed himself to be towed down the hall and stairs, into the kitchen.
Julian pasted a scowl on his face. The alpha and beta primary sat on stools at the square island, which must’ve been their table. Jacob led him to a seat and pulled it out for him.
He allowed the courtesy and climbed onto the high stool, settling himself. Jacob pushed his seat forward and then went to sit cater-corner to him, across from his father. Alpha Clint nodded to him and gestured to his empty plate.
“What would you like to eat, Julian?”
The food was laid out in front of them. Venison, dripping succulent juices onto the platter beneath it, made Julian’s wolf growl in want. He went to reach for it but Jacob beat him to it, grabbing the serving fork and knife and cutting him a thick slab. Julian attacked it as soon as it was put on his plate, barely remembering to use his own knife.
He wasn’t proud of his actions, but he wolfed the food down and snapped at the hand that appeared over his plate, realizing too late that someone was serving him steaming eggs and cheese.
“Sorry,” he mumbled before tucking into that as well, savoring the sharp bite of cheddar. Julian grunted at the coffee that was placed in front of him. He’d never had coffee before. His wolf didn’t like the bitter smell, and he ended up choking on his first swallow.
“Okay, that’s a no go,” the alpha said with rumbling amusement. When he reached for the mug, Julian gave it to him. That shit was nasty.
The orange juice he was then given in a large glass went down much better, although the sweetness made him pucker.
He had two servings of eggs and meat before he was full, and he sat sipping on his juice while Jacob cleared his plate from the island. Alpha Clint cleared his throat and Julian sat to attention. The man side of him detested the alpha’s power over him. But what could he do? It was difficult to truly be angry about it when the guy had only shown him kindness—so far. Julian wouldn’t allow himself to become complacent though.
“So, a doctor is coming today for a physical. You should know his findings are going to be sent to the Council. I know—” Clint held up his hand when Julian opened his mouth to protest. “—how you feel about that. But try to keep in mind what’s at stake here. If there is so much as a bruise on your body, that’s evidence against Alpha Leo.”
Julian snapped his mouth shut. It was hard to fight against that. He wanted to do everything in his power to put the Council against the bastard. It would be a revenge of sorts, even though ripping into Leo’s flesh would be much more satisfying.
Alpha Clint grinned, flashing his perfectly straight and white teeth. His smile made the alpha look boyish, much like his son. Julian hated how handsome that was. “I know. Believe me, Tiffany hated that part too—Jacob’s mother—but it’s to protect you. And I’m sure if you’re dead set against something getting to the Council, the doctor will respect that as long as it doesn’t put you in danger.”
“Small comfort, I guess.” Julian hid his smile by taking another sip of juice. It was nice, having all this power. Being catered to and people he never met wanting to protect him. If only he’d known how powerful omegas were in their culture, he would have made damn sure to escape a long time ago! Before the bastard got hold of him.