Someone knocked on the door. The same sharp rap as earlier, so I suspected it was the same person. “That’s probably them.”
“That would be my luck.” Tobias went to the door.
He barely had it open before Polly said, “Alpha, I asked your mate to have you come see me as soon as you were available. Didn’t he give you my message?”
“He did.” Tobias squared his shoulders, and I knew without even being able to see his face that he was giving her that alpha stare that always made me want to hide somewhere. She shrank back. “Didn’t it occur to you that just because I’d come back might not mean I was available?”
“I apologize if I’ve interrupted something, Alpha.” She said it so fast the words slurred together. “Did he tell you what we need to discuss?”
“He said that you’re upset about our new neighbors.” Tobias leaned against the doorway. Obviously he had as little intention of letting Polly into the apartment as I’d had. “We’ve always lived amongst humans, Polly. There is no other way. We’re in the biggest city in New England. Where would we go to be away from them?”
“They’ve never lived amongst us before,” she argued.
He tilted his head to the side. “Really? Have you forgotten how long Kyle lived here before Melia attacked him?”
“That was different.” She sounded like he’d taken some of the bluster out of her, and she was frowning. “He’s only one person. And you had an interest in him.”
“So if I was interested in Trey it would be different?” Tobias said. “Somehow, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think your problem is humans in general. I think your problem is human children.”
“It isn’t safe for a child to be around here,” she said. “You know better than anyone what can happen to a child.”
“And that would be why the pack is under my order to allow no harm to come to this child,” Tobias said coldly. “Don’t talk about my past, Polly. You know nothing about it. As long as everyone obeys pack law, there’s no need to be afraid for the child living here.”
“They shouldn’t be here,” she said. “It’s annoying and unsafe, and they should leave.”
“I’m sure they’d be glad to know their neighbors are looking out for them.” Tobias’s sarcastic tone outdid mine. “Again, the pack is under law not to harm them or allow any harm to come to them. Bear that in mind. And no, I won’t be asking the Damones to leave. That isn’t my right. If you have a problem with them as neighbors, take it up with the landlord.”
“I’ll just go to them.”
Tobias straightened again, and compulsion surrounded us. “No, you won’t. You will not speak to Trey or Michael Damone. Do you understand me, Polly?”
“Yes, Alpha,” she said slowly.
Harriet looked at me. “Tobias did the same thing when you moved in, setting a law to protect you, but there wasn’t quite so much opposition.”
“I wonder what she has against kids,” I said.
“I don’t have anything against kids.” Of course Polly had heard us. She wasn’t standing that far away, and we hadn’t exactly made an effort to be quiet. “Just against kids being in our territory.”
“Polly, go home,” Tobias said, and again he added compulsion to his words. “You have your answer, and I have work to do before tomorrow’s hunt.”
“Thank you for listening to me, Alpha.” She spun on one heel and clomped back up the stairs to her apartment.
Tobias closed the door and sagged against it. “There has to be something behind this,” he said. “She’s never acted like this before. Right now, I’m not sure I care enough to figure it out. She’ll stay away from them. That’s the important thing.”
“Hopefully,” I said.
“You told her not to speak to them. You didn’t tell her to stay away from them.” I’d learned that compulsions had to be phrased exactly right in order to have the wolf do what was intended. Or not do, in this case.