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“Not long after Davis left, a werewolf I had never seen before introduced himself as High Alpha. A king of Alphas. He claimed to be from the original alpha’s lineage. While we were gone from the pack, he demanded our alpha swear loyalty to him. Since Davis was gone he set out to track us down.” Nash shuddered in his seat and eyed Michael. His words were hesitant. “I had never met someone so powerful. I’ll never forget my first instinct with him. Something inside me cowered under his presence.” Nash shook his head as if to rid the thought from his mind. “The High Alpha wanted to know why Davis was so far from his pack. I couldn’t refuse. I tried, but I couldn’t stop the words from coming out. The High Alpha banned together the other supernatural beings, both undead and living to form a council to protect us from the humans. He and the others made laws for us all to follow. Secrecy the most important. Humans can’t hunt us down if they don’t know about us. Some human exceptions are allowed now, Jack from the club being one of them few. Back then, that law was absolute though. The High Alpha gave me an ultimatum, deter Davis from exposing us to a human or he would die.” Nash hugged me a little tighter. His pain was palpable. “He was going to make an example of Davis since he would’ve been the first to break the laws. I was stupid and threatened him back that Davis would see it coming with his visions. The High Alpha just laughed. He didn’t believe in his abilities whether because he had never seen Davis predict the smallest acts in time or because he was a-” Michael coughed subtly cutting off Nash. The two men exchanged a look.

“The High Alpha left but said he’d be back for my answer. When I told Davis everything that happened, he wasn’t surprised like I thought he would be. Instead he said it was too late and that he’d already met her. I tried everything to get Davis to go back. I even told him how powerful the other werewolf was, how it would take an army to match his strength. He laughed and said the first alpha drowned in the sea and had no children. A few nights later, I could tell Davis was nervous about something. He wanted to see details of the future. I brought him his special brewed tea, the one Seth probably gave you. It helped him relax and focus on the details. I left him as usual but didn’t make it far. The High Alpha returned, angry we had stayed. I tried to keep him away from Davis, but I failed. When we approached Davis sleeping, he didn’t wake up. I thought it was because of the tea. But when the High Alpha began to congratulate me on my initiative, I knew he was beyond sleep. I had brewed the tea like every other time. Yet somehow it had killed him.” The car fell into silence, a rhythmic thumps between the road and tires counted the seconds.

“I never corrected the High Alpha. He gave me enough time to bury Davis just outside of town before we headed back to the pack. To celebrate.” The words sounded venomous. “When we came back to pack lands the High Alpha made me leader of the pack for upholding the laws of our kind. My pack didn’t want to follow me, but by the High Alpha’s command they acknowledged my new title. I told Seth the truth, but he never believed me. With time, I proved to be worthy of the title.”

I scrutinized every detail of his story. If Nash was telling the truth then the tea could’ve been poisoned by the High Alpha. The timing was too convenient. “Could this alpha guy have poisoned it before he showed up?”

The car jerked in our lane from the press of the break. Michael resumed accelerating the car once our eyes met in the review mirror. “Are you accusing The High Alpha of lying? Why give the glory to Nash if his intent was lawful punishment all along?” Michael’s words may have been harsh, but it didn’t dilute the truth in them.

“Ok so if it wasn’t Nash. And it wasn’t the High Alpha guy.” Michael rolled his eyes at my flippant response to higher authority. “Then it had to have been Davis.”

Nash pulled me back into the seat and his embrace. His head bobbed thoughtfully. “I’ve thought of that too. Maybe Davis fulfilled his purpose or saw no future for himself. Or maybe he did see the future the High Alpha had planned and wanted a quick death rather than a long and tortuous one. Either way, I didn’t kill him.”

“Then why take the blame?” We peeled away from each other to give space for thought. It was hard to think clearly when so close.

“Why give up the title when no one believes the truth?” My features contorted into disgust. “Out of everyone there Jessica, who did you meet that could lead a pack? Seth? He’s trying it now and look how divided they were in the forest still taking orders from me. I won’t abandon my pack. Somehow I’ll fix this mess.” Nash side eyed Michael who shook his head just a fraction of an inch. “Why won’t you get any more involved? You’re helping us now. What’s the difference in backing me in a fight to regain order.”

The directions lead the car through familiar territory. We were getting close. I stretched my limbs in the spacious back seat. Hours of sitting had taken its toll on my stiff joints.

“I will not endanger my clan for a brawl between werewolves. If another species gets involved I have every right to join by law. These laws have kept us safe and in harmony with each other for decades. I will not be the one to break them.” Michael’s reason was sound but it didn’t look like Nash was ready to give up just yet.

The last hour passed by in silence. The small towns we passed were missed in a blink with Michael’s speed. In the silence I prepared myself. I hadn’t seen my mother since before school started. Between studying and her work schedule we barely had time to talk on the phone. Since break started I hadn’t even had time to text her. I only hoped my mother would forgive me once I explained everything I had gone through. I questioned the sanity of that thought. Was it best to keep her in the dark? How could I explain Michael and Amber, or my three days away from the phone? I studied the dried blood on my knee and neck. How could I explain any of this? Nash’s words echoed in my head. If I told you the truth, you wouldn’t believe me. If I lied, you’d hate me. If I say nothing...

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