He decided to pick the name Layn because it was short and easy. It also went along with his last name easily. He was now Layn Emerson Rumancek and he had to forget his old name and slip into the skin of this new person. It used to be hard to but now being someone new was absurdly easy. Maybe it was too easy but that was fine. This was his gift or maybe his curse, but he would use it to the best of his advantage.
Layn had stayed as still as possible listening to the night air and waiting. The pack would not be kept waiting and he didn’t intend to make them wait. He, though, would wait forever because it might be that long before this meeting commenced. Even if the pack said they would meet him at a certain time they had no obligation to. He was the one who wanted something from them so he was the one who have to sacrifice his time and play the waiting game.
He had heard many different things throughout his life about the pack and he wasn’t sure what to believe. Were they brutes? Were they kind? Maybe they were in between the two degrees? Maybe it didn’t matter because whoever and whatever they were he would need to face them and soon if the howling in the distance was any indication.
Layn stopped breathing as he listened for noises carefully. His eyes took in every leaf and branch and his nose found every scent. Birds, squirrels and then there…wolf. He sniffed again scenting human as well. He stood then, from the picnic table he staked as his territory, and watched the edge of the woods, but it was off to his left that he saw the first human shapes, on the gravel pathway. Of course, Layn thought chiding himself. They wouldn’t come as wolves. The howling was probably a nearby animal wolf pack or maybe coyote. He still sometimes mixed up those sounds.
He let them come to him just because he wasn’t sure he was allowed to approach. He needed to be cautious around them. There were rules and regulations he didn’t understand and a crazy werewolf might just rip your throat out if he thought he had the justification. Layn did not plan on giving him the justification to even give him a dirty look. He stayed still and kept his eyes downcast, making sure not to make direct eye contact. He knew that at least.
He watched their shoes, casual sneakers, and pants, casual jeans, as they walked up. His eyes lit on their shirts and coats and then their shoulders. Finally he lifted his eyes to cheek level and went no higher. The number one rule was to be careful no matter what. No sudden moves and no assumptions.
“Layn Rumancek?” a woman’s voice asked. Layn nodded and looked to the man who had come with her and then at her. He was surprised to see she was almost as tall as the man, but he had heard she was not a short woman in stature or in heart. She looked like she could take on a male wolf and win which may be one reason why the pack would follow a female so easily. He wasn’t sure.
“Sit,” the man’s voice ordered. Layn nodded and backed up a step, sitting down and setting his hands on the picnic table. He knew this would be the least aggressive position he could take with the best weapons he had in front of him.
After a moment of tension, Layn heard the two walk around the table and sit across from him. He made sure that he kept his back to them, telling them he trusted them not to attack. It was either the stupidest or the smartest thing he could do then. When he saw them sit he visibly relaxed and kept his eyes on the wood grain of the table. It was worn from years of use and constant exposure to the elements as well. He’d have preferred to look at the two werewolves but that would be a grave mistake. No, he would study the wood until he was told otherwise. He’d wait for orders and show them he could be a good pack pup.
“Layn, you can look at us. We won’t bite,” the woman said now, making it a half order. Layn swallowed and looked up then; being careful that eye contact was not threatening and lasted only seconds.
“Not unless we need too,” the man put in. Elena gave no reaction to what the man said so he knew the man was telling the truth. Layn figured that they were talking to a mutt and needed to be careful, even if that mutt was considered to be a kid by them. They also needed to establish themselves as an authority to him and making threats was part of that. A part he hated but still.
Layn swallowed again and nodded, knowing the man would do exactly as he said if Layn acted up. The pack was serious. That was one thing that had been drilled into his head. Layn was beyond nervous and he was sure they could smell his anxiety twenty miles away. There was nothing he could do about it though. If he wasn’t nervous they would be even more suspicious.
“First, do you know who we are? Do you know how dangerous even contacting us is?” Elena asked. Layn knew he should appear frightened and he didn’t actually have to fake it. Maybe he had to fake a lot of stuff with the pack coming up but being scared of them wasn’t one of them. He had also established by now that Elena was the one who interrogated and Clay was the one who enforced. He still wasn’t sure who he should be more scared of though.
“You’re Clayton Danvers and you’re Elena Michaels, the enforcer and the Alpha. If I take one step out of line, you will carve me up like a werewolf turkey and serve me to the pack,” Layn stated. Elena didn’t even blink when he said this so he knew he was on the right track. Clay only nodded now and crossed his arm, appraising the kid. Layn knew they were taking young werewolves in to up their pack numbers, but he wasn’t sure if he fit the bill. Even if he didn’t he had to make them believe he was what they were looking for. It was his mission and to fail in his mission would get him killed just as letting them figure out what he was actually trying to do would get him killed. He’d be killed one way or the other, so he’d try and prolong his life as long as possible.
“You know my name, well, my middle name is Emerson, and it’s after my dad. Anyway, I’m 18. I’m from…. I know you already know this. I know you checked me out and everything. Um, can I get something from my bag?” he asked them. Elena looked surprised for a moment before nodding. Slowly Layn took his bag from beside him and put it on the table. He opened it and was about to reach inside when Clay’s hand came out and clamped down on his forearm.
“Let me,” he instructed. Layn nodded and waited for the man’s iron hard grip to let go, giving him permission to move. It felt like it took forever and that his eyes were burning holes in Layn’s head, but finally he let up, if reluctantly, after a look from Elena. Layn pulled his hand back and let the man rifle through his bag. It took all his energy to not snarl at him, but he made himself sit still and look relaxed. He knew they could smell his extra anxiety and anger about this, but he tried not to show it.
“I was going to get the file, the blue one at the back. It has everything you already know and maybe some stuff you don’t,” Layn informed. Elena looked perplexed at this for a moment before she nodded and opened the bag more, digging it out and opening it up. He knew he couldn’t do much to throw them off but having a file on yourself was probably pretty odd. As she read, Clay continued to rifle through his belongings, pulling out jeans and t-shirts and setting them on the table, and then finding a few books, papers, pencils, a family photo Layn looked away from and finally the item he was hoping they would not come across, the gun.
Layn froze as Clay nudged Elena and she glanced at the weapon and then at the young werewolf. She set down the file and glanced behind Layn, focusing on something. Layn could tell she saw someone or something. Quickly she looked at Layn again and raised an eyebrow. Beside her Clay unloaded the gun and gave the younger wolf a look like he was scolding a child. Layn coloured then and his mind raced to think of explanations.
“Protection. I have it for protection. I don’t have anyone to watch my back. I only have me,” Layn said, trying to pull at the threads of sympathy, hoping that either of them could feel sympathy. He was pretty sure Clay couldn’t, but he knew Elena could. Clay shook his head then and Layn suddenly wondered why he wasn’t getting a “you’re so screwed” look. It was as if he was disciplining a child and not talking to a mutt who could have killed them with a weapon. He shuffled this thought to the back of his mind however, as his wolf senses started to alert him to danger.
Behind him Layn heard the barest rustling noise and felt a presence, knowing his instincts were right. He glanced at the Alpha and took a deep breath.
“You don’t trust me. I get it. You don’t know me and you have never heard my family name. Lately there have been reports of animal attacks in the area and you just got back from a mission that threatened your family so you’re both on edge. I understand,” Layn said, trying to get them to be on his side at least a bit or to give him a chance.
“Do you?” Elena asked, glancing at the photo on the table and then behind him for a split second, telling Layn he was right.
Layn nodded. “You think this is a trap so you brought back up. Behind me. Maybe the former Alpha or maybe a Sorrentino. I’m not familiar with the scent so I am not sure. This isn’t a trap. I’m not a killer. The truth is I have no one to teach me how to do this. I’ve changed a few times and it terrifies me. I want to do thing…things I know I can’t. I need help. That’s what the pack is for. Help,” Layn said, appealing to Elena directly.
Behind Layn an older werewolf stepped directly behind him and set his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Layn stiffened and looked at Clay and then Elena.
“I only want help,” Layn said calmly but fear was zipping through his mind. Even if he was young it was not a good time to reach out to the pack. There had been too many murders, too much suspicion and too many unwarranted attacks on the pack lately. It was the worst timing possible but also the best Layn knew. Prove to them he was as good as his word during this time and he was as good as gold.
“Where did you get the gun?” she finally asked. Layn looked at the gun now in their possession and then thought quickly about the lies he could tell but just as quickly settled on the truth.
“I stole it,” Layn said simply and Elena nodded but didn’t look pleased.
As Elena asked questions, Clay went through more of his belongings, specifically his wallet, and took out the cards, looking them over and showing Elena now.
“And the cards? Is everything stolen?” she asked. Again, Layn settled on the truth. He had heard werewolves could smell lies but he wasn’t sure. Still, the risk wasn’t worth it.
“Yeah,” he admitted but didn’t elaborate. Clay gave him a look and then picked up the bag and dumped it upside-down, dislodging the contents in the bottom and the open pockets. A pocket knife thumped onto the table along with some granola bars, some change and a bag filled with white powder. Now that did surprise Layn. He definitely didn’t put that in there, but then again he hadn’t packed his bag either.
“We don’t do drugs. There are small children in the pack. This will get you kicked out with no second chances and no chance to explain. Same with the gun,” Elena said in a hard voice. Layn nodded.
“I don’t suppose I can say I stole those to sell as well. That might sound too much like a lie,” the young wolf said, but neither werewolf looked amused. Instead Clay took the bag and opened it, sniffing. With a nod at Elena he stood and walked a few feet before dumping the contents and letting them scatter to the wind.
Elena looked up at the person behind Layn and then at Clay walking back before turning to the young werewolf again. “You’re on probation. Reese, you can let him go,” Elena ordered now. Immediately the hands left Layn’s shoulders and he relaxed, reaching for his things and starting to shove them back in his bag.
“Where are your parents? Your father is supposed to teach you these things,” Clay said now, sitting down. The man behind Layn walked around the picnic table and to Elena and Clay, showing himself. He was younger than Layn thought with wavy blonde hair and model looks. He didn’t smile at Layn, taking his general tone from the older wolves.
Layn zipped his bag shut and stood when they did, glimpsing someone walking towards them from the trees. This one was older than the rest and dark haired with slight Asian attributes. Layn ignored them for now and answered Clay.
“If you did research on me then you know more about me than I do.” He shrugged. Layn tried not to speak of his parents or even think about them. He had not particular feeling towards them because he had never known them. No, he knew that wasn’t true. His feelings towards them were of an angry nature mostly but, again, not thinking about them was preferable.
Layn walked forward a step but was quickly stopped by a hand on his shoulder again. He wanted to growl and twist away or strike out, but what he did was stop and stand perfectly still. The young werewolf waited as the man he previously described continued to walk towards him and stopped a few feet in front of him. Was this the man who would kill him? Was this all a trick? Or did he judge the situation wrong? Even if he did there was nothing he could do about it. One experienced werewolf against one inexperienced one was unfair and four werewolves against one was impossible. He would die very quickly if they wanted him to.
When Layn looked up again he saw the man was studying him. He wasn’t what you would call a handsome man, but Layn could tell this was a man that no one should mess with. His eyes alone held untold years of cunning and intelligence. As much as you didn’t want to mess with a strong experienced werewolf, an intelligent one could be much worse than that.
The young werewolf half expected the man to say some cheesy movie line when he was done studying him, but all he did was nod and turn to Clay and Elena. Without a word they all moved forward. Maybe the man could tell things about him, Layn thought as they walked but he didn’t put much thought into it. He had to think about the here and now if he wanted to survive and complete this mission. A mission he should not technically be thinking about just in case.
He tolerated the guy who was only a few years older than him walking behind him along with Clay while he walked behind Elena and the other man. He considered spilling everything right then and there at that point. Telling them who he really was and why he was really here, but he didn’t have the guts. He felt brave but he knew he wasn’t. If he ended this now he doubted the pack would be able to protect him, at least not forever. No, he had to stick with the plan.
“Do I get to know who everyone else is?” Layn asked politely as they crossed a road and walked towards the parking lot. Elena looked back at him and then at the man she was walking with, but no one spoke until they got to the only other vehicle besides Layn’s motorcycle in the parking lot.
“I’m Jeremy Danvers and this is Reese Williams,” the man with the Asian eyes said, introducing himself and the other guy as well. Layn only stared at the man for a moment before looking away with an almost blush. Jeremy Danvers was legendary and he was screwed if this man figured out who he was. It wasn’t as if he didn’t know that this man was part of the pack. He’d just have to be careful.
“Reese, you’re driving the motorcycle,” Elena said and held out her hand for the keys. Layn looked from her to the expressionless guy with a frown but he obeyed. Reluctantly he gave over the keys and watched uncomfortably as the guy turned and walked towards his most prized possession.
“Don’t worry. The Sorrentinos have a few at home. He knows how to drive,” Elena assured and Layn nodded, not having another choice. It was yet another thing that made him want to run. Sensing this perhaps, Layn felt a hand on his shoulder and sniffed discreetly to see who it was. Jeremy. Uneasily he let the man lead him to the SUV. He opened the door and gestured for the younger wolf to get in. Layn obeyed deeply uncomfortable, suddenly feeling as if maybe he was being driven to his death and not getting help.
He stayed silent though, waiting for the others to have a word with one another and give instructions to Reese before getting in themselves. To Layn’s displeasure Clay placed himself in the back with him while Elena drove and Jeremy sat in the passenger seat.
Layn stayed silent, though a million questions went through his mind. Where were they going? What was happening? What did they even think of him? As much as he tried to quite his mind and his fear, it raged. Having Clay so close didn’t help at all of course, and not knowing anything was even worse. Layn always needed to know everything but living with the pack would probably mean he would know nothing.
No one spoke as they drove which the young werewolf figured was already agreed upon before he met them. Maybe they were testing him. He’d never been good at tests, but maybe he wasn’t meant to pass this one. He couldn’t say he trusted them, but they didn’t trust him either so it was even he figured.
Layn was thrown from his thoughts as they came to an abrupt stop much sooner than he thought they would. Fear filled him once again as he looked up to see Reese leaning against the motorcycle and waiting for them. He looked around to see trees. They seemed to have gone off the beaten track and were now in the middle of nowhere. Was this where it was supposed to end? Maybe they already knew who he really was and were about to demonstrate their power.
“Get out,” Clay ordered beside him. Slowly Layn looked at him but could find no different emotions. Was he really surprised? This man was renowned as being a psychopath so why did he figure his emotions would be a clue. Did he even have emotions? It didn’t seem like it.
Finally Layn made himself move. He left his bag in the car and fingered the necklace around his neck. He’d had it for as long as he could remember. It seemed to be the only constant in his life. He had no idea what it meant but it was solid gold circular symbol with a line vertically through the middle. He had always felt it might protect him and he certainly needed that the most right then.
“Where are we going?” Layn asked Elena now. The woman looked at him with what Layn thought was half mistrust but half pity as well. That almost made him turn and run right there but instead he took a deep and shaky breath and followed when she gestured. Elena went first and Layn followed her. Close behind him Clay, Jeremy and Reese followed. They walked for a quarter of a mile before the smell hit him on a breeze. Layn froze knowing it was decay.
“Keep going,” Clay ordered from behind him and gave him a bit of a push. Layn swallowed and stumbled forward again walking slowly but catching up with Elena at the head of a cleared area. He stepped inside and smelled more of what he had before, but the first thing he noticed was the bright sunlight shining down on the scene like it was a voice from god, like it was illuminating a family scene in a picture book.
The scene before him, however, was dramatically different than a childhood picture book. A body, he couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman, adult or teenager, because it was in so many bloody pieces. He couldn’t even tell if it was all there. A lot of it had clearly been eaten and there were giant paw tracks as well. If this was an official crime scene they would have declared that it was a wolf kill.
Layn didn’t have to fake his reaction. Immediately he fell to his knees and let go of everything in his stomach, gripping the grass and dirt with closed, hard fists. When he was done he gasped for breath and kept his eyes closed, trying not let his stomach make him try and be sick again.
“I’m sorry we had to expose you to this,” he heard close beside him. “We had to know if you had anything to do with this and I couldn’t trust your word,” Elena said more gently now. Layn wiped his mouth and looked over at her now with disgust and a touch of anger in his eyes. She didn’t seem surprised, but she only held out a bottle of water to him. Layn nodded gratefully and took the water, opening it and taking a gulp to swish around in his mouth and spit it out again.
Shakily he started to stand and felt a strong hand wrap around his upper arm and pull him up. Layn nodded gratefully to Reese who nodded back now. Did that mean he was a bit more accepted? A bit more tolerated?
“Reese, take Layn back to the hotel. Stay with him,” Elena ordered. Reese nodded, and keeping a hand on Layn’s arm, he guided him back the way they had come.
“What are they doing?” the younger werewolf finally found himself able to ask after a shaky few minutes of silence. Reese didn’t answer right away, but when he did Layn noticed for the first time he had an accent. He figured it was Australian or New Zealander but he didn’t ask.
“You know what they’re doing,” he answered simply. Layn nodded as they approached the SUV and he willingly he got inside and waited for him to get in the driver’s side and go. It suddenly occurred to the younger wolf that they must trust him to a small degree or they wouldn’t leave him alone with one pack member. Not that he could beat this particular pack member. This guy was muscled and Layn could tell he’d had his share of fights. He assumed he was either an enforcer or an enforcer in training.
The drive to the hotel was silent except for the other wolf flipping channels but finding nothing but bad country and a few jazz stations. They pulled into a small hotel, but a nice one and Layn waited for Reese to take his cue on what to do. The older werewolf got out and Layn reached behind the seat and grabbed his bag before following.
“Room 22,” Reese said and gestured to the door. “Go there and nowhere else,” he ordered. Layn nodded and walked forward, fingering his bag nervously. This guy definitely meant business.
Layn moved through the lobby and towards the hallway. They were on the first floor for a reason. It meant a good escape route with only a 10 foot drop. Normally they liked to be a little higher up, but the hotel was small and first floor was the main floor with hotel rooms while the top held offices rented out by locals. Layn couldn’t tell, though, if this was the normal kind of hotel the pack would choose or not. He personally hadn’t stayed in hotels much in his life.
The younger wolf stopped in front of the door and glanced at Reese who produced a key card and flicked it across the scanner in seconds. In another second he had taken Layn’s shoulder and pushed him into the room, closing the door behind him. Layn wanted to push back or ask the guy why he was in such a hurry. Instead he growled lowly and said two words that might just get him killed.
“Fuck off,” he said lowly, glowering up at Reese. The man had a good three or four inches on Layn. In seconds he was up against the wall being pinned in place by the guy’s arms. Shit, he had lost control. He had been so good at keeping his temper. He was such an idiot.
“Want to repeat that?” Reese asked and Layn shook his head now, looking at the floor. “Respect then. If you pull that shit on any of them, no one will save your stupid ass,” he hissed. Layn nodded now and murmured an apology before the man let him go.
“I thought I was a bit more trusted now,” Layn said, trying to diffuse the tension. Reese snorted and walked to the mini fridge in the room, pulling out a beer. He glanced at Layn for a moment and thought better of his choice, setting the beer aside and pulling out two pops instead. Almost before Layn could wonder what was going on Reese threw him one of the cans and told him to sit. He obeyed and sat, setting his bag down and sitting on the bed, watching Reese. The other wolf appeared casual and sat down in a chair across the room, slumping without a care in the world it seemed to Layn. He knew for a fact the other wolf was only trying to appear casual though, because he felt slight anxiety even if Reese kept it hidden well.
“So what happens now? Is this where I make a decision to live or die?” Layn prompted him. Reese’s gaze slid from the window he was watching to Layn now. His eyes were dead serious. To Layn’s surprise he nodded at the question.
“When I first met the pack I had to make the same decision. Choose life. I did and I don’t regret it. Fuck up and it doesn’t matter how young you are. They aren’t giving second chances anymore,” he informed. Layn nodded knowing this. Maybe the pack used to be a bit nicer, but too many threats and too many losses, or almost losses, had sobered them. They weren’t messing around anymore. Not that they ever did, but one of their members was still in a coma and they weren’t sure if they would make it. One of them was permanently damaged. This was common knowledge. Layn knew he had to be very careful around them, especially if he wanted his plan to work.
Neither Layn nor Reese said anything more until Layn noticed Reese’s eyes register relief. A few minutes later a knock came on the door and Layn watched as the pack wolf got up to let the rest in, checking to see if it was the pack first. Layn thought that was dumb because he had seen them in the parking lot, but maybe he was just being cautious. Every precaution seemed to be observed now, Layn noticed. The three other wolves came in looking dirtier but not much worse for wear.
“We need to get cleaned up and then we’ll get home. We’ve left them without everyone for too long,” Elena said. The rest of them obeyed, but Layn could tell that they had discussed the plan beforehand, or more likely Elena had told them what would happen shortly before hand.
“Is there any way too…ah…” Layn said but then stopped at the look Clay gave him. Layn understood. Right then they were getting ready to go and wanted to get home. They didn’t need him distracting them with silly questions. Instead he looked down at his hands and the half-finished pop can. Elena made an annoyed sound and told Layn to go on. Layn looked up again and glanced at Clay for a moment before letting his gaze wander to Elena. “I just wondered if it was possible to take my motorcycle is all, but it’s not important,” he finished glancing at Jeremy who was just coming out of the washroom freshly washed.
“If it’s important to you then it is important,” she said, sounding like a mother for a moment. “Yes, we’ll put in the back of the SUV. I’d like be home in a few hours though,” She said telling everyone they didn’t have long. In one second she went from someone Layn may have trusted easily to the Alpha again he was quite frankly terrified of.
While they waited for the others to get cleaned up, Clay took Layn’s file and read it over along with Jeremy. The only reason he’d stolen his file from…them…was so that he didn’t have to sit and explain things better left unsaid, things that were either too hard or maybe annoying to talk about. It was only after that he thought about them being suspicious about why he would have a file. Clearly he didn’t make the file himself so they may wonder who did. Layn decided it was a stupid move and he should have thought it through more. No use trying to change it now but still. He had to be more careful.
“You’re Canadian?” Jeremy asked softly and Layn nodded. He knew that Elena was Canadian as well. Maybe that would endear him to her, but he didn’t think so. Nothing seemed to endear new members to the pack very quickly nowadays. Not after everything they had been through.
“We’ll have people from all over in the pack now, Canadian, American and Australian,” Elena said hearing the conversation and joining in. Layn glanced over at Reese now, knowing his guess was right. Reese’s blue eyes met Layn’s green-blue ones and Layn almost swore the other wolf wanted to growl, but the feeling was gone in the blink of an eye and Reese just looked like a normal guy now and a guy who didn’t want to rip his throat out which was nice. He got the feeling talking about Australia was a big no-no with this guy and decided he would never bring it up again as long as he lived. That might not be very long though.
“Before we go you might want to address an issue,” Reese said now, telling them about what had happened. Layn sighed mentally and looked at the bedspread. He had hoped that Reese would understand that Layn got the message and he would feel no need to tell them. That was stupid however, because Elena would need to know everything and this was definitely something she would need to know.
When he looked up again he saw Elena and Clay’s cool gazes on him. Jeremy looked none too happy either, but Layn figured as former Alpha he didn’t need to worry about Layn’s behaviour as much.
“Pull that shit on another pack member and I will let them teach you the lesson you deserve,” Elena said. Respect was not something to be taken lightly in the pack since hierarchy was everything. It also had to do with trusting one another to have your back and that meant respect as well. Layn felt he had a lot to learn now.
“Sorry, I’m just on edge,” Layn apologized directly to Elena. She nodded after a few moments and then turned to the others, telling them it was time to go. Did that mean Layn was forgiven? He hoped so. He also hoped he wasn’t so stupid to mess up again either.
The next few hours passed in a series of seconds it seemed to Layn. They left, they drove and Layn half dozed as the hours went by. Under the cover of darkness they crossed the New York State line and made it to the location the pack stayed at. Layn could not have said where they were or how to get there at all, but he figured that’s how they wanted it. No one was supposed to know where they lived, beyond being in their territory of New York State.
The house was stone. It was the first and only thing Layn noticed through bleary eyes and darkness when they arrived.
“Tomorrow you can meet them. Tonight you should sleep,” Elena said. He found it interesting that mostly it was Elena giving the orders, but he knew that orders and inputs could come from any of the senior pack members. Layn wondered how far one could take things. Was everyone allowed to order him around or just her? He was sure? He would find out soon.
Layn followed them in noticing that two stayed in front of him and two behind him. In the hallway he spotted two men who looked alike. Both were dark haired and dark eyed and looked close in age but one was taller and one was shorter with so much muscle that Layn stopped and stared for a moment.
“Sorrentinos, they don’t bite,” Reese said with a bit of humour in his voice.
Layn nodded and looked away now as another younger wolf came down the stairs. He looked a bit like the Sorrentinos and a year or two younger than Layn. He knew who this was. Noah…this was Noah Sorrentino, but he used to be an Albright and then Stillwell. Layne couldn’t help the words that burst from him upon seeing Noah. This other boy was a part of everything going on and he had no idea. He had no idea how important he was.
“I know your dad,” Layn said and then cursed himself as all eyes turned towards him. Layn cursed himself immediately. He was tired so he messed up, or still nervous. Sometimes he just lost confidence when he was nervous and said stupid things. It would get him killed if he didn’t learn to be smarter. “I mean…I met him once. He…” Layn said before Noah interrupted him.
“I don’t give a damn what he did or what he does,” Noah said and abruptly turned, going back upstairs with quick steps. Thank goodness or Layn’s stupidity would have gotten the better of him and he would have spilled much more than he knew. He had to get better at this or the game would be over much sooner than he knew.
“Noah,” one of the Sorrentino men, the taller one, said sharply. The boy on the stairs winced and threw the man an apologetic look, though he was still plenty angry, before continuing up the stairs. The older werewolf was definitely giving him a “we will talk later” look. Layn cursed himself again. He was definitely not the right person to be here doing this. Jay should have chosen someone smarter or older, but Layn was the youngest and the closest to Noah’s age. It had to be this way.
“Where is Dennis Stillwell?” Clay suddenly growled and grabbed Layn’s shoulder. Layn cried out at the sharp pain and wrenched back, looking up at the man. He knew some of the trouble had come from his end and he had been the stupidest idiot to say anything.
“I don’t…don’t know anymore. It was a while ago,” Layn said, looking from the man’s angry eyes to Elena’s in a silent plea.
“Clay, let him go and go cool down. Nick, take him,” Elena ordered now. It took a minute but Clay finally let him go and took a step back, letting who Layn presumed was Nick take his shoulder. He shrugged it off after a moment and then turned and stalked out unhappily with Nick at his heels.
“I’m sorry. I should have known to shut the fuck up, especially about pack traitors,” Layn said and rubbed his bruised shoulder. He looked from Elena to Reese who looked none too happy and then back to the Alpha again.
“It’s a bad topic so don’t mention it around Noah or Clay again,” Layn heard from the unknown man who he had seen upon coming inside. Layn nodded and looked apologetic. Again the order did not come from Elena, but an older pack member. He was as confused as hell about this hierarchy thing. What was ok and what wasn’t? He knew being a born werewolf meant he was born to understand it, but right now it was just confusing. Maybe understanding came with time.
“We do need to know about him though,” Elena prompted.
“Um, yeah…I saw him last a few months back. He’s…he’s kind of crazy. Most of us stayed away from him, but he asks everyone he meets about Noah. That’s how I know about him.” Layn informed them. Elena nodded then and looked at Reese and the older man. Neither of them looked happy about this new bit of information. Someone may try and come after Noah so it was not a good thing.
“Layn, this is Antonio Sorrentino and that was his son, Nick,” Elena mentioned before turning to Reese. Layn looked at the man who gave a small nod before the Alpha went on. “Reese, take him upstairs. He’ll sleep with you and Noah,” she ordered dismissively. Layn inwardly winced at that. It would not endear him to Noah anymore. That was sure. Layn nodded and waited for Reese to turn and go before he did. Behind them he heard Elena tell the others they needed to speak. Layn would have given anything to listen in, but he didn’t dare. They already suspected him he was sure.
Layn followed the other wolf upstairs and down the hallway. There were five rooms and in one he saw two children sleeping. They looked like Clay and Elena so he figured the kids were theirs, but the pack would have been tight lipped about that. He been so nervous his brain had catalogued the extra female scent as Elena when he smelled it, but now he sniffed again and figured out it belonged to a little girl, a little girl who was a werewolf. That was odd but the kid was definitely Elena and Clay’s as well as the boy. If word got out about a child girl werewolf, the pack would be in a lot of trouble. Somehow this mission seemed doubly impossible.
Reese knocked on the door of the last room and slipped in with Layn following. He set his bag inside the door as soon as they were inside and looked around. King sized bed, dressers and desk as well as a bathroom. Layn’s eyes drifted back to Noah who sat on the bed typing on his laptop. Layn knew to gain this boy’s trust and do what he came here to do he needed to start now. It was important.
“I’m really sorry, Noah,” he began but Noah looked up with a glare at him and Layn stopped.
“I don’t care if you saw that asshole or spoke to him. Never mention it again to me, understand?” he asked and Layn nodded. Layn was actually a bit surprised at Noah’s brazen attitude. Jay had told him Noah was quiet and not likely to speak out. He was a follower and not a leader, but he was clearly speaking out now. Maybe Noah was just older now or he was taking direction from the older wolves. Layn wasn’t sure. Reese walked forward and set a hand on Noah’s shoulder now. Reese murmured for Noah to chill a bit, but that didn’t stop the angry waves he felt from the other boy. Layn knew he had fucked up, but hopefully he’d have a chance to redeem himself. Noah was the key to this.