Nash stumbled at my question. His closed off expression didn’t bode well as an answer. I repeated it as we halted our footsteps.
“Talk and walk children, we have things to do and places to be.” Michael encouraged our pace to trail behind his.
“Nash, I want to, no I need to know. This thing between us is too strong for me to ignore, but I will not make friends with a murderer.” Nash looked ahead, determined to ignore my very presence. “Nash.” My firm words drew his attention back to me. Our strides matched in pace as we walked side by side.
“If I tell the truth you won’t believe me. If I lie, you’ll hate me. If I say nothing, nothing will change.” Nash caressed the back of his knuckles to my arm.
Michael poorly attempted to cover his snickers. “Why I believe the boy has figured out the inner workings of women.”
I scoffed in disbelief. “No, I’ll just assume the worst.” My hands flew to the air with flare.
“And there’s the trap.” Michael dead panned. Nash in return chuckled.
“It’s not a trap I just want to know who you are. I want to know who to believe. I mean just a moment ago I was almost turned into a vampire! Should I really trust two men I hardly know with my life?” Our group picked up the pace in a sprint until I was breathless.
“I told you it was fake, I would not turn you against your will. I did so to scare off the others. We were outnumbered otherwise.” Michael defended himself in one breath. I had noticed he only breathed when he had something to say. His chest remained stoic but his shoulders moved to give the illusion of breathing.
Once I had caught my breath, my eyes locked with Nash who avoided me with purpose. “Then why was it so believable to them? This Davis guy is dead but still on a pedestal, so much so that they would believe anything to get some form of him back. My mother said my father’s name was Charlie, not Davis. So someone please enlighten me! Seth can’t be that delusional to believe I, who didn’t even grow up with a father, am the next in line to lead. He can’t be that deranged to think a vampire would turn me for my bloodline. I mean what’s so special about that? Don’t werewolves only follow the strongest of the pack? I am not a werewolf, or strong, or even Davis’s daughter!” Michael mouthed ‘wow’ and with widened eyes turned away.
Nash scratched his hairline deep in thought. He seemed to be choosing his words with care. “Did you see how some wolves stopped when I commanded them to? Just before they circled us.” His golden irises begged me to understand. A few minutes between us passed before we began to walk again. My head bobbed up and down in a nod. “A few still think of me as an alpha. Now I know who I might be able to trust.”
“Then we should go back so you can take care of this pack mess. That was the plan before we started running.” I looked around to the dense forest that seemed endless in all directions. Birds chirped from high in the tree, a sweet melody. “Where are we running to anyway?”
“Amber is waiting in the car for us just off the highway. Like I said before, we searched from the north pack land and made our way south. We have a few more miles on foot. Are you sure I can’t carry you dear?” Michael offered politely.
I declined then looked to Nash for answers. “It’s too late to go back. The pack is probably gone by now. It would take another few days to find them again. “Maybe it was in his tired smile but the shadows under his eyes seemed highlighted in the daylight peeking through the leaves. My heart thundered under his gaze. The days I had spent in the pack, Nash and Michael tirelessly searched for me. His gaze softened at my notice. Somehow he always seemed tuned in to my inner thoughts, my every detail. It was eerie like he could read my thoughts. He gathered me into his arm as we walked; his hands cupped my elbows as we stepped over moss covered logs. “You saw how they reacted to me, but did you notice how they reacted to you?” I tried to remember back but it seemed like a foggy memory from childhood, probably from the drugs that were still affecting me. My head shook from side to side. He leaned in closer. “Some stopped when you asked them to.” Nash let that sink in, but realized it never hit home. “I had to command them to listen. You just had to ask, and they obeyed. Wolves can choose who to follow, it doesn’t always go to the strongest. Alpha Davis was a strong leader, but we chose to follow him because he also showed compassion and a new way to live. He suggested we build homes like the humans to blend in better, in multiple locations so we had places to run if needed. Alpha Davis had visions of the future, sure, but he also learned from the past mistakes.”
Michael motioned for us to move faster. “Almost there. Come now, quickly.”
Nash took my hand in his; the warmth gave me strength to run harder than before. I could see the light poles and highway. A few cars had passed in the time it took for us to reach the shoulder of the road. A red four door Mercedes was parked on the side of the road, just off the shoulder. The windows were tinted. The passenger side door opened and immediately I drew back. Michael’s assistant pushed up her black framed glasses up her nose. She rounded the car and opened the door for Nash and I.
Michael settled in the driver’s seat. Nash gently coaxed me inside. The door closed with a click and the assistant rounded the car with haste to the front passenger seat once again. “Where to master?” She held up her phone, a maps app opened and ready.
Michael looked to me. I shrugged not understanding his silent question. Nash rattled off my mother’s address. “What? Why are we going there?” The automated voice politely directed the car back on to the highway.
“Seth knows who you are. If he knows you, he knows who your mother is or at least how to search for her name and address. Besides I told your mom we would see her soon.” Nash laced his fingers with mine.
Anxiety bunched my stomach into a storm of nerves. Was Seth dangerous or was Nash? I had to find out for my mother’s sake. It was hard to believe Nash would kill someone he clearly admired. What would his motivation have been? Was Seth right in assuming Nash wanted the Alpha position enough to kill for it? But if that were the case, I couldn’t imagine the pack following a murderer. They can choose who they follow. “How did Davis die, Nash?” My head leaned against his shoulder, my lips close to his ear. My words were quiet, but I had no delusion that they were private among the two of us.
His shoulders stiffened. I could feel the moment he gave up the fight as his muscles loosened. “Not, why did you kill him?” My head nuzzled into the crook of his neck, ashamed. I had jumped to conclusions before. My head shook from side to side, the tip of my nose brushing against his skin. Nash pecked the top of my head with a kiss. “Cute.” He mumbled under his breath. “I couldn’t stay mad at you if I tried.” Nash scooted me closer, until our legs tangled. He sighed teetering his head from side to side in contemplation. We let the silence stretch until my fingers and toes twitched with impatience. “I suppose I should start with when we left to find his mate.”
“Alpha Davis had been pleading for the Goddess to forgive our pack. We had left the land she birthed us in fear of the humans. She had cursed us to be alone with no more mates. Our numbers dwindled as the last generation realized this. Something must’ve pleased her because that night Alpha Davis had a strange dream. It repeated every night for months until he was convinced it was a divine vision. Our pack kept it a secret to protect him and us until he decided to leave. He wanted to find the girl in his dreams; he believed it was his mate. Seth and I tried to convince him to stay but he wouldn’t listen to reason. Seth volunteered to travel with him through the human’s cities. Instead he chose me. I refused but he insisted. Looking back, I think he wanted me along to teach me not to fear and hate humans, to show me they were all different good and bad. It helped. Seth didn’t understand though and became jealous. Our brotherhood became strained after that.” Nash heaved a long breath, lost in thought. Amber, Michael’s assistant, looked over her shoulder irritated at the break in his story. The car was well made and nearly silent on the road. Our conversation, no matter the volume, carried within the car. I stuck out my tongue to her. Childish, I know, but Michael’s servants suddenly seemed untrustworthy. Nash chuckled at our exchange. Michael ordered Amber to turn back around in her seat, one last glare passed between us before Nash started again. “It was a long hunt since we had nothing but her race and estimated age range to go off of. His visions were always doubled.” My brows drew together in a silent question. “He described it like seeing two sides of a mirror with the object of his vision standing in the middle. He saw his mate but to either side of her, he saw two options. It took months to figure out they were choices being made. Finally, something detailed was shown to one side of her. A school outfit with the name embroidered on the breast. He never told me what the opposite side showed. We were so close to finding her when one day he told me he wanted to go alone. I figured it was so he could meet her and spend some time alone with her. Instead, I think he knew we were being followed.”