It was around dinner time when Zack reached the pack house. The pain that was throbbing through his body, eased a bit by that time. The huge four-storied mansion was fully lit. A dark emerald Rolls Royce Phantom was parked exactly in front of the place, shaming Zack's collection of luxury cars visible behind it. A few men garbed in black suits were patrolling the grounds, bowing slightly as Zack passed them.
As they entered the pack house, Zack noticed that every member of his pack was running around the place doing some work or the other- a stark contrast to normal days. Women were shouting at the kids while placing dishes on the long dinner table while the men were busy arranging the curtains around the room.
As soon as the men saw Zack, their features relaxed, looking at their Alpha with hope. Zack shrugged and mouthed sorry to them at which the men groaned. He knew that all this work only meant one thing. She had come along with grandpa Li.
"Zachariah! My baby." Cooed a shrill voice from the top of the stairs.
Zack's face filled with joy at seeing the dark-eyed woman. Her straight black hair was parted in the middle and tucked behind her ears, flowing gracefully down her back. The green silk gown that she wore, was perfectly fitted to her figure. The huge diamond earrings that she sported, sparkled against her perfectly smooth pale skin.
He ran up to her and embraced her for a long time until she started laughing in his arms. Zack let go of the woman and gleamed down at her.
"You grow younger every time I see you, mama," Zack said, patting the woman on her head.
The woman scrunched her face playfully and nudged him.
"You grew thin! Aren't they feeding you anything?!" She asked linking her hands in his, a slight Mandarin accent poking its head into the conversation.
Zack laughed as his mother lead him upstairs. It's been a while since he enjoyed her company and he had dearly missed her. After a tough day, Zack was happy that his mother was home with him.
"Grandfather has been looking for you all day. Where were you?" She asked, ascending another flight of stairs.
"Ahh well here and there, pack duties and all." Zack lied, looking away. It was best that she didn't know what happened, he thought. He didn't want her to feel any different towards Elize when she finally met her.
"And why do you smell so different? Like not in a bad way but something is different- I can't seem to place it though."
"Ahh well, I have a surprise for you," Zack said laughing nervously.
"Great. So do I!" She said, stopping in front of Zack's office.
More men in black suits were standing guard in front of the room. It was getting on his nerves, how his pack house was now filled with strangers who he had no command over. The men bowed as they spotted the mother-son duo. Zack nodded in acknowledgment and pushed the door open.
A graying man pushed up his spectacles and smirked at him from behind Zack's work table.
He was taller than the average Chinese man, in that he was 6 feet tall. His sharp features were very similar to that of his daughter's, but the aura that he carried had a darkness within it- something that made anyone who came near him shudder with fear.
"So you finally decided to show up." The man said, his voice strong and commanding.
"Alpha Lang Li." Zack acknowledged his grandfather and bowed in respect in front of him.
Zack had much respect for his grandfather, as he was the one who helped his mother back to normalcy after his father's death. Although his parents' marriage was a political alliance and they didn't share the bond of mates, they were once deeply in love. Zack knew that whatever affection that the old man had for him, was only because of his mother. After all, she was Alpha Li's favorite child.
"I see that the alliance with the witches still stand strong," Li commented, running his fingers on the scar that ran down from his eye to his chin on the left side of his face. Zack thought he saw a flash of anger in his eyes before it assumed a neutral air.
"Yes, wai zu fu. They are very much part of our lives since it is their magic that protects this island." Zack replied, feeling a need to defend the witches all of a sudden.
"Since you are my heir, it would be best if you remember who your kind are." The old man spat.
"Oh cmon you two. Enough with this. Look at my boy grown all tall and handsome!" Zack's mother said winking at him while walking towards Alpha Li. She looked at her father and continued, "Although he looks like his father, that flawless skin is all me. Don't you think so father?"
At that Alpha Li laughed, his features suddenly turning soft upon hearing the voice of his daughter. "Yes, my dearest Meiling." He replied.
Zack watched as his mother place her hand lovingly at her father's shoulders. She was the only one who showed any affection to the man, probably immune to the weight of the dark power emanating from him. Zack hadn't seen both of them for a year- since his father's death. Their sudden appearance bothered him a lot- especially his grandfather's. Although he held much respect for him because of his mother, Zack, like his father understood the evil that lurked within the man, the greed in him.
"So about the surprise!" His mother's voice dragged him back from his thoughts.
"Yes mama, what is it?" Zack asked, smiling at her.
"You may come in darling!" She shouted towards the doorway.
Zack heard the sound of heels clicking on the floor before he could register what was happening. A strong scent of mixed perfumes wafted into the room along with it. Zack crinkled his nose at the smell. He hated strong smells. It was unbearable to his wolf senses. The sound stopped right next to him. Zack didn't bother looking at the person who was now beside him, as he had a vague idea of where this was leading to.
"Alpha Li, Aunty Meiling."The voice of a woman acknowledged the elders in the room and bowed before them. He caught a glimpse of a long white neck and styled black hair as she did.
"Zack this is Meifeng." His mother said, winking at him. Zack nodded, keeping his face neutral. She then turned to the woman next to him and said "Meifeng this is my son Zack."
The woman who his mother called Meifeng turned to him and bowed slightly. Zack bowed back in acknowledgment and turned back to his mother. He needed answers.
Alpha Li cleared his throat interrupting Zack's question.
"Zack, it has been decided that you will marry Meifeng in a month's time."
"What?!" Zack exclaimed. He surely did not see the time demand coming.
"There will be no questions son. This is my command." The older man said, his tone stern.
Zack's muscles tensed. He wanted to object but something told him that it was best to remain silent at the moment.
"Oh, Zack I'm so happy for you! I can't wait to start the preparations." His mother squealed happily.
Zack smiled at his mom halfheartedly.
His mind was racing, thinking of a way out of this problem. He knew that the moment his grandfather caught the smell of his bond to Elize, he would spare no efforts in hunting her down, and if that happened, he would waste no time at tearing the man's throat out.
A knock at the door alerted him to a familiar presence. Zack turned around to see an annoyed Nina standing there, with her back kept straight in determination.
"Alpha, everyone is waiting for you downstairs," Nina said, acknowledging Zack. Her gaze traveled to the woman standing next to him, sizing her up.
"Yes, we're coming Nina. You can leave." He replied, sensing the tension rising from her.
Nina gave an irritated look at Zack and stepped inside the room to glare at Alpha Li. A low growl erupted from the old man at the show of disrespect.
"Nina, leave," Zack warned.
She huffed and turned around to leave.
"Insolent wench! Don't you know how to respect your Alpha?!" Alpha Li's voice boomed in the room.
Zack tensed, his hands clenched into fists at the open insult to his pack member. But Nina was quicker to react, proving that she could handle it herself.
"You are not my Alpha, he is," Nina replied pointing to Zack and stormed out of the room, without waiting for a reply.
Zack's jaw dropped in disbelief at that. His heart filled with pride for his pack member, although it might have been a bit foolish on her part.
A loud growl echoed the room and Zack knew that probably the whole pack house heard it.
"Father. She's just a child." Meili said, trying to calm the angry Alpha down.
"So can we just leave before them?" A tiny voice whispered beside him.
Zack looked down at the woman that his family found for him. She was quite small and even in stilettos she only reached up to his chest. The red dress and makeup she wore screamed a desperate attempt to look older but it failed in transforming her childish face.
Zack couldn't help but smile at the boredom in her voice. If he ever had a little sister, she'd probably have resembled the girl in front of him, Zack thought,
"Of course Meifeng. Lead the way." Zack said as he motioned her towards the door, without looking back at his mother and his grandfather.
He followed her out towards the dining area, maintaining a good distance between them. He had understood the consequences of another female touching him this very evening, and he didn't want another such episode happening, Zack thought, flinching at the memory of the horrible pain that almost paralyzed him.