I hesitated for the briefest moment. Should I tell her goodbye? Not upset her in possibly my final moments by avoiding asking who my father was? If my father was human then I was just a misplaced human in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if Davis was... I let that train of thought go, too unthinkable at the moment. The trees began to stir as if to warn us of the incoming danger. Nash and Michael huddled close blocking my view of where I assumed the threat was coming from. They murmured to themselves about strategies and possibilities. My hands opened to reveal the phone cradled within. This fossil of a flip phone had a nick in its screen. If this was my last moment on Earth as a human, or a living being at that, then I needed to know who my father was. It was long overdue. The top half of the phone flipped up to reveal the keypad. I dialed the number I had memorized since I was five.
Click. Static clung to her greeting. “Hello?”
“Mom?” My voice quivered in relief. A horrible thought blinked in the back of my mind, what if she never picked up?
“¿Qué pasa?” Her tone mirrored mine.
I choked back a sob and wiped the tears away, meeting Nash’s heartbroken smile. “It’s nothing. I just missed you.”
A noticeable pause passed between us. “Ok if you say so.” Oh my wonderful mother, she knew me sometimes better than I knew myself. Which is why I knew not to falter this time, I needed to know.
“Hey mom I know I’ve asked before but...who’s my father?”
She huffed indignantly; I could almost see her eye roll. My foot tapped an impatient rhythm as she covered the phone and talked with a coworker about low supplies and restocking them before the end of the week. “We talked about this flaka.” I smiled at her nickname for me. She would usually follow up with something about me always being too skinny even though I ate like an elephant. But this time, I think she knew I wouldn’t budge. “I don’t want to talk about him.”
“Mom.” Usually, I backed down after seeing how hurt she still was by his absence. If only she knew he didn’t leave us by choice.
On her end I could hear the click of a lock on the door. That didn’t bode well. A chair scraped against the tile. Was she in the break room or just an empty hospital room? It didn’t matter.
“Jessica can we talk about this when you get back? I’d like to see you when you find out-”
Well that couldn’t happen for two reasons now. “No. I want to know now, mom. You’ve avoided it my whole life. Besides, I’ll just chicken out when you get that look.”
“Mom.” I glanced over to Nash and Michael who were subtly listening in.
“Okay, okay.” I was about to say her name again in the long pause when she spoke again. “I was young when we met. Too young. But you know that.” A lengthy sigh crackled through the phone. “He was handsome and kind. When we were together it was like the world just...disappeared.” Was my mother, fan-girling? “My parents didn’t know until after, well, you appeared. And the nuns at school were such prudes they didn’t teach us about birth control or condoms. So when your father came out of nowhere, and chose to talk to me, well I fell hard. He was such a smooth talker, saying we were destined and all that crap. It was so easy to get lost with him around. He asked if we could meet one day, he said he wanted to show me something I’d never seen before. I skipped school and he took me out for a picnic in the woods. We started kissing and next thing I know, it was time to go home.”
I couldn’t help but blurt out the obvious. “He turned into a wolf in front of you and you guys had sex?!” This was a kinky side of my mother I did not want to see.
“What?! No! You aren’t doing drugs with that boy are you?”
“No mom.” My face flamed at Nash’s covered mouth and suspiciously jostling shoulders.
“He showed me sex Jessica. Dios Mío, kid you’ll be the death of me.”
“Sorry mom.” My head hung low. “So what happened next?”
“He promised to see me the next day. I went home and got busted for skipping. I waited for him for five months, looked for him all over town. He never came back and no one had heard of him before. I couldn’t conceal you any longer and my parents kicked me out. You know the rest.” My brave and strong mother had never sounded so defeated before.
“I’m sorry mom.” I wished more than anything I could give her a hug right now.
“It’s not your fault. Besides, I got you out of it didn’t I? And that alone has been worth it.”
I didn’t want either of us to dwell on the impending doom or my mother’s broken state. “Did you ask for him by name? No one had heard of him?”
“Small towns talk. He was new and looked so different, it was hard to forget him after you’d met him.”
“Different how? Golden colored eyes?”
Static crackled between the heavy silence. “Yes. How did you know?”
“What was his name mom?” I already knew. But I needed the last piece to settle my roiling belly.
“Charlie.” My brows knitted together in confusion. Someone must have stepped in the hospital room to ask my mother something, because I heard a far off voice call her name. “I have to go. Are you and Nash on your way back? I’m working an extra shift Christmas Eve but I want to spend some time with my baby before you go back to college.”
Nash slipped the phone from my grasp before I could choke out an answer. “Actually, we’re on our way back now. See you soon.” They said their goodbyes before he closed it and placed it back in his pocket. I wanted to scream at him for taking my last moments with my mother away from me, but my body was in blissful shock. Everything was numb at the sight of thirteen wolves stalking forward.