A small movement of ragged brown fabric to one side of the circle caught Ben's attention. He watched from the edge of the trees, his eyes never leaving the figure in brown. He caught sight of a small pale face glancing out from behind stringy hair.
The dirty strawberry blond hair was not what caught his attention. Nor was the length, which seemed to go on forever, from the top of the young man's head to just below the soft curve of his ass.
It was the huge sky blue eyes that peaked out between the thick streams of hair. They were the most expressive eyes Ben ever saw. Then the little man smiled at him and Ben felt a strange tightening in the middle of his chest.
The world around him simply disappeared. It was only the young man and him. No one else existed. But, as quick as it had come, the smile disappeared along with the beautiful eyes that had seemed to see into his very soul.
Ben leaned up on his feet to get a better look him. At six foot nine, he stood feet above most men. In fact, he had never met anyone who was taller than him. There was nearly nothing that could make him leave safety at the edge of the party. But the body was huddled down behind the horde of partygoers and Ben couldn't get a good look. He felt a need to find the young man.
If he had been truly thinking about it he would have questioned this obsessive need to find the man hiding on the other side of the circle. And then he would have run for his life. But all he could feel was an unnatural desire to hunt down the brown fabric and meet the man who smiled at him.
Ben left his safety at the edge of the trees and began working his way through the crowd, his eyes never leaving the young man. He knew the man could see him walking to his by the slight turning of his body towards him. He seemed to be waiting for him. From the small smile on his lips he assumed he would be happy to see him.
As he got closer to him, Ben could see more of his stature. He was small. He might reach Ben's sternum… if he stood on a stool. Otherwise, he would barely reach Ben's chest. The man couldn't have been more than five foot ten or so. His thread worn outfit was definitely not made to look pleasing on him. There seemed to be no contours or soft places on him. On a whole, it seemed to hang over him more like a sack than a shirt. It was not made to entice anyone.
As Ben drew nearer to the man the smile fell from his lips and he could see fear begin to form in those blue eyes. Ben slowed his quick stride. He felt the sorrow in his heart as he realized that the little man was afraid of him. He stopped a mere foot from him. He wanted to give the man the opportunity to flee from his side before he said anything to him.
As he tried to form the words that might keep the stunning man where he could look at him, he noticed that the man's gaze was not on him but on some unseen person behind him. He slowly turned as he felt a cold shiver creep up his spine.
A man walked slowly towards them, a look of triumph plastered on his thin lips. He was a vampire. Ben could tell even from here. He looked back down at the young man. His fear was almost tangible. Before his eyes, the man began to shake.
It came suddenly to Ben that the little man wasn't afraid of him. He was afraid of the vampire walking towards them. He wasn't even looking at Ben. His entire being was centered on the man coming towards them, and his body was readying itself to flee.
"Dane," the little man whispered, terror lacing his thin voice.
An eternity from now Ben would understand why he did what he did but for now, it was a complete mystery. He only knew that he had to get the young man to safety, to protect him. Reaching out he grabbed his arm and began dragging him through the crowd. The man gasped as he was pulled along.
Ben stopped suddenly when the smarmy looking man stepped in front of him. He felt the smaller man plow into his back and reached around behind him to place a steadying hand on him.
"Are you claiming Stefan?" Dane asked.
Ben suddenly realizes what he was doing. His only thought was to save Stefan, not to claim him. His stomach rolled just by the thought of it. He couldn't have a mate. "Why do you ask?" Ben growled.
"Because if you do not claim him, I will," Dane said as he stepped around Ben and reached for Stefan. "Stefan, come," he stated triumphantly.
Ben could feel the terror filling Stefan by the shaking in his body. "You will not!" he snarled as he stepped between them. He didn't know why but he knew he could not let this man take Stefan from him. "He is not your mate."
"If you do not claim him then he is fair game for the rest of us," he says as he reached for Stefan again, grabbing his wrist. Stefan seemed to make his body as small as possible as he pressed up against Ben.
"Touch him and die!" snarled Ben as he pulled Stefan from the man's grasp, wrapping an arm around Stefan's waist and pulling him back against his larger body.
"Ben," said a strong voice behind him, "what goes on here?"
Ben turned towards the voice, knowing it was his alpha. "Nothing goes on here, Daniel."
The man beside him sputtered, "That's not true, Alpha Nash. This man is refusing my claim on Stefan."
Alpha Daniel Nash looks over at the arm that Ben had wrapped around the waist of the cowering man. "Ben, if you do not claim this man than you must give him up to he who will."
Ben's body went stiff at his alpha's words. He didn't want to claim Stefan. He always believed that he would spend his life alone. Then he heard a small whimper come from the frightened man pressed against him. He knew his choices were gone.
"Then I claim him."