The bad voices are always louder than the good ones.
Simon has no idea what he’s doing. He just got a job as the new alpha’s personal assistant, but he’s lost, and finding out that one of the humans repairing the roof is his mate isn’t helping, especially because he saw Simon fall on his face and heard him talk to himself.
Valentine enjoys his job. He enjoys watching Simon even more, though. He thinks Simon is adorable, even when he’s talking to himself, so when he gets the opportunity to talk to him, he grabs it with both hands.
Then Simon tells him they’re mates.
Valentine and Simon start dating, and everything is perfect, at least between them. Not everyone is happy for them, though, and Simon’s insecurities might mean the end of their relationship. Valentine is ready to fight for it, but will that be enough?
Simon hadn’t expected to get the job. The pride was still up in the air even now that they had a new alpha, and he’d thought Gal would choose someone closer to him. Although Gal didn’t have a lot of people close to him, so maybe that was the problem. He had his mate and his new beta, and also Ellery, since he’d made a show of being friendly to him, and Ellery was the mate of Gal’s best friend and beta. Since none of them wanted the job, it had gone to Simon.
He also couldn’t believe he’d gotten the job over Kevin. He was relieved, both for himself and for the pride. He hadn’t said anything about it because it would have been mean and unprofessional, but Kevin wasn’t exactly a nice person. Having him in a position of power was the last thing anyone should want. It would destroy the pride, or at the very least, the more vulnerable pride members.
“Why did you choose him?” Kevin protested.
Gal looked at him, obviously not happy, which made sense, considering Kevin’s tone. “I don’t have to answer to you. Why we chose Simon is a personal decision. You have no business asking.”
Kevin crossed his arms over his chest. “You chose him because he knows Liam. They’re friends.”
Simon blinked, because that couldn’t be anything further from the truth. He knew Liam, of course. Liam was a pride member. The old alpha hadn’t wanted anyone in the pride to be too friendly with each other, which was why Simon didn’t know him or Ellery well. Simon suspected Alpha Carter had been afraid he would lose control over the pride. Whatever the case, it meant that a lot of pride members weren’t close, and it was a pity. Simon wasn’t friends with Liam, but he could tell Liam was a good person. He showed it when he’d become friends with Ellery, even though Ellery’s father had tried to kill him.
“We’re not friends,” Simon quietly said. He didn’t want to lose his new job because Gal would believe something Kevin said.
He should have known better. Gal looked at him, smiling, then turned his attention back to Kevin. The smile was gone in seconds. “I know what you’re trying to do, and it won’t work. I talked to my mate. He’s not friends with either of you. The reason I chose Simon is that I think he will be the best fit. It has nothing to do with you.”
“Sounds to me like it has everything to do with me if you don’t think I would be a good fit.”
“Kevin, please. I don’t want to start a fight. I have to work with my personal assistant for hours at a time, and I need someone I know I can get along with. I’m sorry, but that’s not you.”
Kevin got to his feet, shaking his head. “I can’t believe this. I thought things would be different now that Alpha Carter is gone, but I should have known better. You’re just like him, aren’t you? Playing favorites, putting your friends in powerful roles.”
He didn’t wait for an answer. He stomped out of the room, and they watched him leave.
Kevin was wrong. Simon knew he was. Even though Gal had asked one of his friends—an outsider—to become his beta, Simon understood why. Alpha Carter had subjugated everyone in the pride. None of them had had the guts to stand up to him, which meant they’d be terrible betas. They hadn’t defended the pride when they needed to. What would happen the next time the pride was in danger?
Simon might not have worked with Gal yet, but he knew enough about him to realize he was nothing like Alpha Carter. He was surrounding himself with people he trusted, which was what every alpha should do. Alpha Carter hadn’t trusted anyone. The only person he’d regularly talked to had been his beta, but that was it, and Simon was relieved that the new alpha was doing things differently. He was new in Green Hill, and it was normal for him to gather the people he trusted. He wouldn’t be able to do any work otherwise.
The door slammed behind Kevin, and Simon knew he had to say something. “Thank you.”
Liam turned to look at him. “What are you thanking us for?”
“For choosing me. I know Kevin was probably better for the job, but—”
“I meant it when I said I chose the person I thought was more suited for the job,” Gal interrupted. “He might have been more outgoing, but that doesn’t mean he was best suited. If I were you, I wouldn’t think I was the second choice, because you’re not. You’re our first choice, and the three of us agreed on it.”
Simon looked at Gal, then at Liam, and finally at Ellery. He didn’t know what he’d done to earn their trust, but he was going to make sure he didn’t lose it. “Still. Thank you. I know people in the pride are supposed to find jobs, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. I don’t have any kind of experience, least of all to do this job. You won’t regret it.”
“I know I won’t.” Gal gestured at the door. “I’m sure you have people you want to celebrate with. Feel free to go. You can start tomorrow.”
Simon wanted to start today, but he didn’t want to appear too eager, so he nodded.
His heart was still racing as he stepped out of the room. Luckily for him and for everyone else, Kevin was nowhere to be seen. Simon had half expected him to wait outside so he could berate him some more, but he wasn’t there, and Simon’s steps were lighter as he headed back to the rooms his family shared.