Logan

"He what?" I shake my head. At least that explains why the wolf was keeping a distance and then disappeared, both yesterday and today. He was making sure I was going to stay with my mate and be there to protect her. What I don't get is why Saffron would need guarding in the first place.

"I thought you knew," Saffron tells me.

"Knew what?" I ask. It's not like she's in danger. Her poor excuse for a father sold her, like a piece of meat. There's no reason he'd still be a threat. What reason would he have to come back? Would he try to hurt her? Steal her away? "What did Father say?" And why didn't he say it to me?

"He didn't actually tell me about the guard." Saffron whispers. "I saw him watching us this morning when we got to school. I'm pretty sure he was following us yesterday, too."

"Yeah, I thought there was someone out here." I agree. I'm surprised at how strong Saffron's senses are. When Father finds out, he'll be impressed. Between that and her speed as a wolf, maybe he'll even overlook the rest of her issues. Assuming I can teach her to link. "I'll talk to Father about the guard."

"Don't," Saffron begs. "Please?"

"Why not?"

"I don't think p—," she makes a popping sound and pauses for a second, then changes her mind about whatever she was going to say, and says instead, "um... I don't think Alpha wants me to know."

"I'll tell him I spotted the guard."

"Please don't?" Saffron whispers, looking up at me hopefully. "Just don't tell him I know?"

I sigh. My poor mate is terrified of my father. She probably thinks I'll get her in trouble. I can see the worry swirling in her eyes. As if her spotting the guard is the end of the world.

"I won't say anything," I tell her. It's not like it really matters, now that I already know. Plus, I'm glad Father has a wolf protecting Saffron. She's already so traumatized. If someone tries to hurt her just when she's starting to feel safe—or if something scares her—she might never get over being an Omega. Father's right to have someone look out for her long enough for her to gain some confidence. Plus, if Saffron's asshole father does show up when I'm not around, it'll be good to have the guard on hand to take care of him.

"Come on, we're almost there." I pull Saffron through the last set of trees.

We get to a clearing with a playground in the middle and Saffron looks around. This spot is filled with so many happy childhood memories. Laughing as my parents pushed me on the swing, scrambling up the slide, playing on the monkey bars. I want to ask Saffron if she has memories like that from her own childhood, but I'm worried it'll upset her. It can wait until she's stronger, when her past no longer haunts her and I don't have to watch everything I say and do around her.

"So, how do we do this?" Saffron asks nervously. She shuffles her feet and then looks up at me shyly.

I grin and lead her toward my favourite tree. When I was little, my parents and the Betas would take Jasper and me on picnics. We'd eat under that tree and Jasper and I would chase each other around the trunk and see if we could jump high enough to reach the lowest branches.

When we got older, we started climbing that same tree, and would hang out on near the top, looking down on the world. We wouldn't see much, except the clearing and the tree tops—this tree is nowhere near tall enough to see the pack house—but that never really bothered us.

We've also done homework under the tree, with Zara and Jess and other wolves our age. When it's been my family's turn at playground duty, I've gotten the little kids to gather around at this very spot and told them tall tales of powerful wolves saving their packs from rogues or defeating great dragons. I've even snuck out to this tree at night to make out with girls from the pack. Not Jess, but other girls, when I was younger.

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