MARRIED TO THE ALPHA - Season 1 Episode 78
With Maya not taking a ‘no’ for an answer, Talia followed her out of the packhouse.
They took a walk down the path that started on the left side of the driveway, and Maya was telling Talia about their destination.
“I will take you to the training center first. Since Doctor Travis said that you can exercise in moderation, I wanted you to see the options…”
In a few minutes, they passed several clearings which Maya explained are parts of the outdoor obstacle course. “Some training we take in our human form, and some are designed for our wolf form. Everyone who wants to train can, but you need to achieve certain results in order to qualify to run patrols and to be recognized as a warrior…”
Talia listened attentively and she didn’t realize at what point they reached in front of a long two-story-high building.
Talia and Maya stepped inside, and Maya started her tour.
“This is the training center. On the ground floor, if you take the hallway to the left, you will reach an Olympic-size swimming pool, on the right is the gym with mats, weights, and exercise machines, and straight ahead are dressing rooms. Normally, in wolf form, we prefer training outside, while as humans, the air-conditioned interior is better. Do you know how to swim?”
Talia’s brows furrowed. “I think I do. But it’s ages since I did it, so…”
Maya waved her hand, indicating that it’s not important. “Don’t worry about it. No one forgets how to swim. It will take you only a few seconds to remember. If you ever feel like it, I can lend you one of my swimsuits. Normally, I come for swimming once a week, but lately, we were busy. Maybe you can be my accountability partner and we can come together.”
Seeing Maya’s expectant gaze, Talia nodded in agreement.
“Great!”, Maya exclaimed and continued her tour. “On the upper floor are offices and a lounge, and there is a bistro where you can get healthy snacks and protein shakes…”
At the end of Maya’s speech about the training center, Talia and Maya were in the women’s dressing room.
It was a big area with benches in the middle, and lockers along the walls. There was one door that led to the restrooms and another one with shower stalls.
In one corner, some clothes were neatly folded, and Maya grabbed shorts and a sports bra and stuffed them in Talia’s hands. “Put these on.”
“What about you?”, Talia asked.
Maya grinned. “I will change also.”
Talia wanted to check out the gym, but she didn’t think she will get to use it so soon. Seeing that Maya was already undressing, Talia followed suit.
The gym area was massive, and it was how Maya described it. There was an area with weights, and various machines such as treadmills, elliptical, stationary bicycles, rowing machines… there was something for everyone. And all gadgets were arranged along walls, leaving a big open space in the middle that had a thick mat covering the floor.
Talia counted dozens of people in the gym. Mostly guys and a few women. Some exercised, and two men sparred on the mat. They were throwing punches at each other and dodging, and Talia’s heart rate increased only by looking at them.
The music from the speakers was loud, but Talia could clearly hear the ‘pow’ and ‘thunk’ sounds as punches and kicks met their target. It was raw and violent, and Talia was unable to look away. She was not sure if she was breathing.
A loud whistle sounded when one of the two men who sparred was pinned to the mat, and only then Talia noticed the third person.
It was a tall man in his mid-twenties with slightly curled short brown hair and sun-kissed skin. He had a whistle on a lanyard around his neck, and he was talking to the two men who just sparred like he was giving instructions. Talia observed his toned physique that was not hidden by shorts and a t-shirt, and she paused when he turned to look straight at her.
Too embarrassed that she was caught staring, Talia glanced at Maya who gave her an encouraging smile while the man walked to them.
“Is this Talia?”, he asked, and Talia understood that Maya already spoke to him. How else would he know her name?
“Yes. Talia, this is Keith. He has a degree in sports management, and he is an athletic trainer.” Maya introduced Keith, and while Keith and Talia shook hands, Maya spoke to him. “Talia is new, and she wants to train. Travis told her that she can, but to take it easy and she needs to be supervised. Can you help her?”
Keith gave a boyish grin. “You have come to the right place. I am the best personal trainer in the pack.”
Maya stifled a laugh. “He is the ONLY personal trainer in the pack.”
Keith made a face at Maya and then he eyed Talia top-to-bottom. “I see you are dressed for work. How about we start with a treadmill, and I take initial data? Based on that, I will come up with a training program.”
“OK.”, Talia said nervously. She had no idea what to expect.
Keith dashed to the room on the side and a few seconds later came out with a tablet and an armband.
Keith put the armband on Talia’s right arm and led the way toward the treadmills while explaining, “This will measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.”
“You can start. I will go and get some bottled water.”, Maya said and made herself scarce.
“What are you trying to accomplish with exercise?”, Keith asked Talia while starting the treadmill she was standing on.
“Doctor Travis said that I need more muscle. And I want to learn to fight.”
Keith hummed while taking notes. “We will get you there. You have my word.”
Talia blinked at Keith’s friendly smile and she thought how he reminded her of Doctor Travis, and of Olivia. It was a comforting smile that made her feel things will be alright. Somehow, she liked Keith already.
From the second-floor lounge, Maya leaned on the rail while looking down.
She could see Talia walking on the treadmill, and Keith with the tablet next to her, and she smiled in satisfaction when two more people approached them. Maya recognized them, Liam and Pierce. Shortly after, Caleb, Sandy, and Lulu also gathered.
The music from the speakers didn’t allow Maya to hear what they were saying, but based on the body language and gestures, Maya knew that they introduced themselves and were curious about Talia. They were all in their early twenties, and Talia fit in with them well.
Unmated werewolves (like Liam and Pierce) don’t need much to hit on a girl, and Talia is new so it’s normal that everyone is interested, females included.
People in the gym at this time are warriors, focused on training and camaraderie, and most of them are straightforward people who don’t like scheming. They compete in skill, strength, and speed, and they all learned through their experience that the unit will rise and fall together as a team; that’s why they are inclined to help the ones in need.
Maya thought that this is the best bunch of people for Talia to mingle with. A supportive environment will help Talia gain confidence, and at the same time, she will get to interact with people who are not Damon.
Maya wondered, how will those six react when they find out that they are talking casually with Alpha Damon’s mate, their future Luna?
Seeing that guys lingered more than necessary, an evil smile appeared on Maya’s face.
Maya had no desire to hook up Talia with a random guy, but Alpha Damon could use some competition. Even if Talia scores a date, no harm will be done. After all, Damon is a second-hand item, and it wouldn’t be fair if he gets all Talia’s firsts.
The best part about the current situation was Talia’s cute ignorance. Talia had no idea that she is Damon’s mate, or that those guys are trying to leave a good impression.
Objectively, Talia is a beautiful girl. A bit skinny by werewolf standards, but other than that, there was nothing wrong with her. Any werewolf would be happy to feed her.
Talia was walking on the treadmill and she chatted with people who gathered around her. She didn’t notice that Keith was gradually increasing the speed every few minutes.
‘Don’t push her too much’, Maya sent Keith a message through the mind-link. ‘Her wolf is hurt and at this point, Talia is no more than a human.’
‘That explains a few things…’, Keith mumbled back. He could already see that Talia was malnourished, and the bruise on her forearm spoke about violence. He felt sorry for Talia. ‘Don’t worry. I will keep that in mind.’
Maya was confident that Keith knew what he was doing. After all, he attended college in a human city, and he is used to interacting with humans.
In general, the Dark Howlers pack is open-minded in regard to other creatures, but there are still some who believe that werewolves are above others.
As part of the efforts to dispel discrimination, Damon’s parents started sponsoring promising youth to attend education in human schools, and Damon continued that tradition.
That’s how Keith got his education, just like Travis, and many others from the Dark Howlers pack.