Kat clings to me as we watch the pack gather outside early Friday morning. It never crossed my mind that there were so many pack members. From the time I've spent with her, observing the area I'd expected the numbers to be smaller. But this... there were over fifty people out there, talking to themselves, filling up most of the common area.
'They don't all live here.' Kat says through our mind link. 'A lot of them live in neighboring houses on this street. Walking distance.' I stick my nose in her blonde hair, and inhale our fused scent.
"Interesting." I mumble, pulling her tighter to me. She doesn't object.
"what's interesting?" Shira asks, springing up next to us. She looks between us, a huge smile on her face. We don't answer her and she stares long enough to make it uncomfortable. Reginald places a hand on his wife's shoulder as he comes into my line of sight, breaking any awkward tension.
"Are we ready?" He asks. The rest of Eric's pack is going to be observed over the next month, to make sure they aren't a danger to Reginald's pack, If he and his beta are comfortable with them he plans on initiating them as well.
Malcolm and his wife stand outside in front of the rest of the pack and beside him stands Louis and his younger brother. Again, there's a lot of people out there. A lot. I gulp. Reginald pulls back the sliding glass door, holding it to let Shira go first. A hush falls over the pack as Kat and I follow.
'Deep breaths.' Kat says to me. 'Relax you look like you've been cornered.' She can't see my face so I have no clue how she's come to that conclusion. I choose to look down at her, the beautiful wolf that's captured my heart, and focus slightly on her scent. Not too much, because if I do I'll end up jumping her. My wolf's already on edge because of her Heat. The last time I was the center of attention, I was getting a beating by Eric.
"Thank you, friends and family for joining here today. I know it takes a lot to get you out of your earlier commitments." Reginald starts. "About a month ago, another pack settled into Russell Springs. It Brought a lot of struggles to our pack but it also brought around something wonderful. My daughter Katalina, your future Luna, has found her mate." Very few of the pack members look surprised. I'm sure the first time I came over for that project rumors started. Kat clings to me, her head resting on my shoulder, held high as she watches her family. "I'm unsure how many of you remember the Alexander family, who branched off from us a few hundred years ago, if any of you remember your extended family, but they once ran a pack of fifty here with ours." The murmurs start throughout the pack. "I'm here to tell you that today Cameron Alexander will be joining our pack, to run as Alpha after my time has come with Katalina as your Luna. Any questions or concerns can be raised now, as it is your right to do so. I welcome them." Shira visibly tenses beside her mate. Her smile is fake now and she grips Reginald's arms so hard it must hurt.
They expect people to come forward, I realize, because of Shira's past. And in fact wolves do. None are mean as they address their Alpha, simply asking with an abundance of politeness, their questions.
"Alpha," one male said from the left side of the courtyard. "The last time we had a wolf join from another pack, as Luna, five of our pack members were killed. One being my brother. Can you guarantee that it won't happen again?"
"Those wolves were all Alphas." Reginald responded calmly. "Though young, they were all Alphas. The only three remaining in Cameron's old pack, is a Beta and two runts. Cameron challenged him and won. He should not be showing his face here."
"How can you guarantee this?" Another wolf, a female speaks up. She holds a small child in her arms.
"His pack has abandoned him." Reginald says. "There are only three wolves left. Eric is now a rogue. He is game if he enters our territory, even the city. Authorities are on alert. I promise you, no harm will come to your families." None look relieved.
"Remember," Shira speaks up before someone else can. "we all lost something the day my father showed up." Her voice cracks. Kat raises her head off my shoulder to look at her mother. "You all lost friends and family, and it's something I will never forgive myself for. I also lost my mother and unborn child." Kat goes rigid. "Because of my father, I will never be able to have another child. So believe me when I tell you, that we will do everything in our power to make sure you are all safe." Melanie, Louis' mother takes Shira's hand. "We will not repeat of last time." By the looks on every pack members face, it's clear that they had no clue that Shira couldn't get pregnant again, that Kat's their only possible heir.
Reginald clears his throat. "Any more questions?" No one says a word. "Do you, the pack of Russell Springs, accept Cameron Alexander into our family?"
"Yes, Alpha." The pack says in unison. Reginald turns to me.
"Cameron Alexander," He starts with a breath. "do you accept your place here at Russell Springs pack. Do you agree to uphold our beliefs and values to the best of your ability and do you agree to follow myself as Alpha, my mate as Luna, and Malcom as Beta?"
"Yes, I do, Sir." Reginald nods.
"Please welcome Cameron to our family."
Everyone tilts back their head.
It reminds me of my old pack, my old family. It's like a distant memory, the familiar sounds. Kat squeezes my side.
"Tonight we'll be having an outdoor barbecue, to celebrate Cameron's initiation, as well as to celebrate my only daughter finding her mate. Everyone's welcome. Thank you for your time." Just like that the pack disperses, going on their way. It's then that Kat jerks out of my arms and storms into the house. It isn't me she's upset at. Shira rushes to follow her inside. Reginald sighs and slowly heads after his mate.
"Does this mean we still have to go to class?" Louis mutters behind me. I barely glance at him.
"Kat honey," my mother starts. She reaches out a hand but I'm too angry.
"DON'T. touch me." I've never screamed at them. Never. But keeping something this big from me... I have a right to be angry.
"Katalina," Dad says. "Just wait-"
"When." I snap. Today was supposed to be about Cameron. I was ready to celebrate today with him. It's so significant. The boy has never had a family to look out for him. No one that's shown him inclusion. Today is that day for him. And I feel awful that I'm ruining it. But all I'm seeing at the moment is red.
"Seventeen years ago." Mom answers quietly.
"I'm seventeen." I snap."Wait. You're telling me that I was a TWIN?" It's not unusual. In fact, most wolfskins have two or more in a litter. Having only one, is virtually unheard off. It's just difficult for them both to survive when the female's constantly shifting between their human and wolf form.
"We didn't want to upset you."
"YOU DIDN'T WANT TO UPSET ME?!" Mom steps back. "You guys are unbelievable. Unfucking-"
"Language, Katalina." My dad growls. "We are sorry that we never told you. We didn't want to burden you with the fact that you were going to be our only heir. You have enough stress as it is. Now please grab your stuff and head to school. You're already an hour late and it's the last day you're going to be there for a while, as per your decision." I roll my eyes. Right. Heat. The thing that's bugging the shit out of Cameron. I can feel his tension every time I'm around him. Every time he holds my hand or looks at me. My parents agree with my decision to do this. They don't like that I'm missing school, but they agree that it's what's best for the pack. At least I understand why now.
"Don't think this conversation is over," I snap grabbing mine and Cameron's backpack off of the staircase as he and Louis come in through the glass door. I grab my mate's hand without a word and haul him out the front door to the car, not caring if Louis is following or not.