Anyway, someone asked if Keona and Alex are related and the answer is no; although everyone in the MacFarlane pack shares the same family name.
I made a family tree of sorts so you know who's child is whose and how they're related to each other. =)
5 years later
Alex was officially a junior associate of Beck, Johnston and partners. At twenty-seven, he was considered very lucky to have been offered a job even before he passed the bar examinations. And he earned it –spent the last five years studying hard and working pro bono at the legal clinic; sacrificing the parties, the girls, the trips back home –
Marine called it avoidance but Alex considered it strategic risk taking. And all that hard work has paid off hasn’t it?
So today, he was going to celebrate; spoil his precious Marine silly with his first month’s pay. He’d promised to take her shopping and knowing how she loved to shop, had promised no limits on what she could purchase.
Not wanting to be late, he rushed towards the lift, just in time before the doors closed.
“Hey new guy,” said the only other person in the lift. Alex looked up to see a colleague smiling at him. Alex recognized him immediately. He was about an inch taller than Alex and had classic sharp features than women would describe as handsome. “I’m Riley Eos.”
“Oh hi. I’m Alex MacFarlane. You’re the guy who’s been on leave the whole week right?”
Riley laughed. “Yeah. Damn cold.”
“I am. Want to go for a drink? My treat for the new guy,” he offered with a wide smile.
Alex knew that his position as the newest staff would benefit from this small socializing. Riley was at least three years his senior and in the legal world you’d have to know whose boots to lick in order to get far –or so his roommate in law school said. But Alex had made a promise to Marine and he didn’t want to break her heart.
“Maybe another day Riley. I’ve got a date.”
Riley gave a low whistle. “Geez new guy. You’re a fast one. First month on the job and already you’ve found a girl. Can I meet her?”
Alex laughed. “Sure. She should be waiting at the lobby.”
A moment later, the two men strode across the lobby towards the sofas that were placed in the waiting area.
“Jesus Alex. You’re dating Jade Raymond?” said Riley.
“Who?” Alex was perplexed. Did his colleague mistake Marine for someone else?
“Never mind. It was a compliment actually. Your lady’s a beautiful woman.”
Alex frowned. Was Riley trying to hit on his Marine? No way in hell.
“Hey Alex!” squealed Marine in excitement when she spotted him. Dressed in simple jeans and a cardigan over a faded t-shirt, she never turned heads… maybe until now.
“Hey Sweetie,” he said as he hugged her.
“Are you going to introduce us?” urged Riley.
No, not really.
“Oh well… Marine, this is my colleague, Riley. Riley, this is my date, Marine.”
Marine didn’t take the hand that Riley offered but bowed her head slightly in acknowledgement.
Hah, take that!
“Alex must be the luckiest man to have such a beautiful girlfriend,” said Riley charmingly. Alex frowned at the sight of Marine blushing. She’d better not open her mouth to say…
“Oh, I’m not his girlfriend. He’s my obnoxious older brother.”
DAMN that big mouth!
“Is that so?” said Riley with a smile. “It is nice to meet you Marine.”
Marine was about to say something when Alex interrupted her.
“Uh, Riley, I’m sorry but we have to get going. I’ll see you at work on Monday!” said Alex quickly, pulling Marine away before she could protest.
“He’s cute,” she commented as they exited the building.
“Keep your damn eyes to the front,” he scowled.
“He’s way too old for you and definitely too horny.”
“How’d you know that? Did you sniff at him?” she asked in agitation, locking her eyes with his.
“All men want the same thing when they see a girl. And you qualify for easy prey.”
“What!” Marine was flabbergasted. “Then what about you huh?”
“What about me?”
“You’re a guy; so does that mean you only want one thing when you see a girl?” she snarled.
“Naturally,” he answered.
“That is such double standard!” she shrieked, jabbing at him with her fingers only to have her wrists grabbed. She pulled her hand away angrily. “Stop!”
Alex intended to snap at her when he saw the hurt in her eyes.
“I’m sorry Sweetie…”
“What are you sorry for?” she asked.
“For whatever it is I said or did that’s making you sad. I swear I didn’t do it on purpose”
“Liar.” Okay she knew him too well.
“Haven’t I told you, no dating till you’re thirty?”
“That’s just ridiculous Alex! I’m twenty-two now. I’m not a child!”
“Well, then we’ll make that forty.”
Her lips were trembling as she stared at him in disbelief. “That’s it! I’m going home!”
Then she was gone. Just like that; in a blink of an eye.
Damn! Now she’s just impossible to find. Alex had found out about her ability over the years and both he and Alaron had helped her perfect it to the point where she could disappear from sight in less than a second.
Marine wasn’t paying attention to where she was going but all she knew was that she needed to get away from Alex.
She’d been so happy when he called her to say he was taking her out shopping but then he always had to spoil everything by being the overbearing, overprotective idiot that he was. She was a legal adult now and if she wanted to date or drink or smoke or have sex with random strangers –that was her right.
Her father’s voice rang in her head.
“Oh that’s right, youngling Vampires have no right!” she shouted, not caring that she was amongst humans. So what? Not like they could hear what she said. By the time her voice travelled through the many layers of particles around her, it would have been fractured and barely heard.
“I bet Naira and Keona never had this problem,” she muttered to herself; slowing down considerably until she was at a jogging pace. “I hate being me,” she added sadly then took a seat on a nearby bench.
When her phone rang but Marine chose to ignore it. She knew who it was and wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of locating her. If he cared so much, he’d just have to put that stupid wolf nose of his to good use and find her himself!
Snarling to no one in particular, she got up and started walking aimlessly. It was only when she was walking past a row of shops that she spotted a familiar face. He was sitting outside Starbucks; cigarette in one hand and his phone in another. He looked relaxed and like a man without a care for the world.
Marine found herself walking towards him. She wasn’t sure if he’d recognize her but didn’t he say she was beautiful? Men don’t just say that for fun if they don’t mean it right?
“Umm, hi,” she said awkwardly. Riley lifted his eyes and blinked back in surprise at the sight of her.
“Hi… Where’s Alex?”
“Mmm, I ditched him.”
He laughed then patted the seat beside him. “Guess I’d have to make up for your lost date then.”
Marine smiled but didn’t take a seat next to him. Instead she sat opposite him and dared herself to look at his face without blushing. She couldn’t help it. He was really good looking… okay… he was inhumanely gorgeous. Or perhaps she was just biased. It wasn’t like she had much opportunity to be this up close to the opposite sex.
Marine never dated much and most guys avoided her like a plague… simply because they didn’t survive the ‘stare test’ by Alex. He’d stare at her dates until she was sure they’d melt on the spot under his searing inspection. After that, they never call back.
“So Marine, why are you here?” he asked.
“Oh… Umm, I was just wandering aimlessly until I saw you and decided to say hello.”
He blew out a puff of smoke and gave her a considering look. “You don’t look like the type to approach strange men you’ve just met. Aren’t you afraid… of me?”
She stiffened. He was right. “Why should I be afraid?” she answered bravely.
He smiled; a slow, seductive smile that made her toes curl. “Because I’m much older than you and definitely more dangerous.”
Yes… yes he was, she admitted but she could outrun him and she was definitely stronger than the average human. But she couldn’t deny that she had subconsciously run towards his direction and sought him out.
“I’ll be fine. We’re in public,” she pointed out. “You can’t be that dangerous out here.”
He smiled; sensuous lips curling up in an inviting stance. Marine wasn’t sure she was breathing.
“So tell me about yourself,” he said after awhile; his voice like silk against her skin.
Marine gulped slightly before speaking. “Well, I’m twenty-two this year and completing my last year in college.”
“Ah, I knew you were intelligent,” he commented. “Which course?”
“Umm… media graphics?” she said, controlling herself from stammering. He just complimented her!
“Somehow I knew my instincts were right when I pegged you for a Jade Raymond,” he said, smiling at her. “And I know that you’re not related to Alex.”
Marine stiffened. If he was a Vampire, she would have said he could read her mind but he was just a human… such instincts were incredible.
“Why’d you say that?” she asked, not wanting to confirm anything.
“You have some traces of an Asian lineage and Alex… well I know one of his parents is Black.”
“You’re such an observant fella aren’t you?” she laughed. “Yeah, well we’re more like distant cousins. We grew up together and Alex just decided to adopt himself as my older brother along the way.”
“He’s protective of you.”
“Don’t you think he’ll be upset that you’re alone with me right now?”
Marine smiled. “He will. In fact, he’ll try to stare you into a meltdown if he could. But since you’re older, you might win this time.”
“You’re adorable Marine… but I probably should send you home,” he said, getting up. “As much as I’d like to take you to bed, I won’t. Alex would kill me and I have a feeling your parents would be worried if you don’t return home tonight.”
Marine’s eyes widened at his blunt admission. Did he say take her to bed? This sexy handsome man wants her in his bed?
“Oh,” she said softly, clearly disappointed that he wanted to cut short their interlude. “Yes, home it is I suppose…”
Riley kept his promise. He took her home without even once touching her. As they rounded the corner into her neighbourhood, she told him to stop.
“Are we there yet?” he asked.
“No. I… I want to ask you something,” she said, looking up at him. “About what you said earlier… about taking me to bed…”
He smiled. “Changed your mind?”
“No!” she burst out. “No I mean… did you really mean it?”
“Honey, you look like sex. Who wouldn’t want to have you as their own?”
She didn’t look like she believed him. “Are you married?” she blurted out before covering her mouth in a gasp. Where did that come from?
Riley cocked his head slightly and stared at her. “I have no time for marriage… nor relationships. That is why I’m sending you home.”
Marine didn’t understand.
“You don’t deserve just a one night stand Marine. You’re full of innocence and intelligence and I don’t want to spoil that,” he said, pressing his foot down on the gas to finally bring the car to the front of her home. “Besides, it looks like you already have two angry and worried men waiting for you,” he said dryly.
Marine didn’t even dare to look. His words struck deep inside her and it hurt. Rejection was such a bitch.
“Good night Riley. Thank you… for everything,” she said tonelessly as she got out of the car to face the music.
Alex was staring at the car as though his gaze could burn through the vehicle. She could scent his wolf coming to the fore as he approached her.
“I…” she stammered but was silenced with a sharp slap… from her mother. Marine blinked in surprise. Erika never laid a hand on her ever.
“Go to your room. Now.” Erika’s voice was controlled and firm. Marine didn’t argue.
When she was safely inside, Erika turned to the two men glowering at her. “This is all your fault!” she accused. “You baby her too much that she has to get into cars with strange men to prove that she’s not a child anymore.”
“Man… Aunt Erika it’s not…” Alex tried to protest but one heated look from the petite woman made him shut up.
“One more time you lose my baby girl… I’ll swear I’ll cut you up and feed you to the vultures!”
“Honey… don’t be so…”
“Don’t try to sweet talk me out of this Alaron. You’re just as guilty. Now get in you two!”
Marine managed to catch her mother’s words and smiled. How’s that for revenge?