Wolf's Fire

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Chapter Five

| Cameron |

I wake up to fire in my dreams as I do almost every night, the scent of burning flesh etched into my memories. My face drenched in sweat and my heart pounding, I stagger out of bed, making my way into the bathroom to the left of the door. It’s dark outside, the sun still an hour or two away from making a bright appearance. Splashing water on my face as I stare at my hazel colored eyes. The eyes of my Dad.

I still can’t breathe; the walls feel as if they’re closing in on me. So I slip downstairs and out the back door. All of the lights are off in the houses surrounding the field. Moving to the woods on the right side of the house I shimmy out of my clothes. Standing naked in the cool spring air I take a breath and let the change come. There’s only a flash of pain before I’m a large amber-brown colored wolf.

I don’t allow myself to think.

Instead, I run.

Trees and bushes blur around me as I dig my paws into the soft dirt. The territory is unfamiliar to me, only Eric’s scent gives me direction. I make a sharp left turn as I boulder along the property line, keeping myself confined to it. Running helps to clear my head, and I quickly lose myself, allowing my body to go into autopilot, my wolf taking charge to calm itself. It isn’t until the sun finally begins to peak through the trees that I realize what time it is. And with resignation, I jog back to where my clothes are, quickly changing and slipping into the pack house where Eric stands arms crossed.

I lower my head as I pass him and step into the main floor bathroom to wash my hands before I prepare breakfast for him, Alaric and anyone else who feels like showing up.

“There’re ham and eggs in the fridge, and pancake mix in the cupboard,” Eric says removing his shirt as he steps outside for his own run. I work quickly, and thirty minutes later half the pack is eating the food. They don’t acknowledge or thank me. Only Nick gives me a small smile as he makes himself a plate. It isn’t until everyone is finished eating and I’ve cleaned the dishes that I take food, one pancake and one small piece of ham. With only fifteen minutes to spare, I run upstairs and pack what’s needed for school. Eric drops the keys into my hands but not before giving me a lecture on responsibility.

I’m two minutes late for class as I walk into the building. The lady at the front desk hands me a printout of my schedule and asks if I need help finding any classrooms but Ms. Crowser comes out of nowhere, cutting her off mid-speech.

“Thank you, Liz,” Ms. Crowser says stepping out of her office. “I’ll show him around.” I give her a small smile as she moves around the cubical and ushers me into the hallway. “Let’s see.” She says. “Locker...134" It’s next to the Math wing of the school. “I’m glad to see you got what you needed.” She says casually.

“Yeah, thanks for calling him.” Her small smile is the only acknowledgment I get.

“We only have one advanced Biology class and its first period with the other pups... will that be okay?” The other... I’d only seen two yesterday. How many are there? How big even is this pack that we’re sharing the town with? Eric hasn't told me.

I have no choice but to nod.

She shows me the other classrooms but my mind's on first period and the fact that I’m now going to be twenty minutes late and the center of attention.

Ms. Crowser knocks on the door before entering. The teacher, a man about my height rocking hipster glasses smiles as we enter. While I can smell three wolves in the room, my nose inches towards the strongest scent of Vanilla and Coconut.

“Sorry again for the intrusion, Mr. Welsh." She starts. "This is the new student I was telling you about. Cameron.” His eyes look from the principal to me and a smile forms on his sharp face.

“Well yes! Hello, Cameron.” He sticks his hand out. The entire class is staring. I'm officially uncomfortable.

Ms. Crowser clears her throat as she looks over the class. It's then that I turn to look at them all. The Beta from yesterday has the only seat left in the room. My eyes fall to the girl in the middle of the room. She has blonde hair, so blonde it appears almost white, and soft blue eyes with specks of gold. She's staring back, face blank. Wolf.

“Oh right," The teacher says. "Class, we're moving seats!” He claps his hands. As the blond looks away, I release a breath. Everyone groans. "Carissa, up front."

“Mr. Welsh I-”

“Olivia, please move next to Katalina. Matt, sit next to Louis. Savannah please switch with George. And Cameron,” He turns to me. “You can take the seat that’s in the back after Matt’s moved.”

Ms. Crowser thanks him, before leaving. As I take my seat, I realize this is her doing. I've been positioned in the very back of the classroom, farthest from the pack. Her best effort to prevent conflict. I appreciate it, but at the same time, there's now a target on my back. Great. What's new?

| Kat |

The moment the wolf entered the school I knew. Before he even entered the classroom, his scent trailed in and engulfed my senses. Until then, I was able to keep myself together. When he made his official debut, no one noticed when I snapped my pencil in half.

I don’t know if he knows. If Cameron knows. But from his place in the back of the room, I feel his eyes on my back for the entirety of class.

Louis either forgets our conversation yesterday or chooses to ignore my wishes. Probably the latter. He's up the second the bell rings, his body pressed into my back. I feel his heart beating in his chest.

I don’t snap at him. Not with this wolf behind us. Instead, I wait until we've stepped into the hallway. There, I come to a dead stop. Louis runs into me. He growls under his breath and might've snapped, had Carissa not strolled out of the classroom arms flaring.

“This is absurd!” She exclaims loud enough that a head or two turns. “Ludicrous! Preposterous!” My lips turn into a slight grin. “In what world-”

“Hun,” I say. She looks at me and blinks. She knows she’s making a scene. She likes making scenes.

“I always sit with you!” If Carissa says anything else I don't hear her, my eyes instead focusing on the wolf talking classes with Mr. Welsh.

“How many classes do you think he has with us?” Louis growls.

“Probably English. Maybe Calculus.” I turn back to my friends. Louis is staring at me. Oh, the question was rhetoric. Carissa's arms are still flailing. I give her a pat on the back and head towards my English class.

Cameron’s there.

Mr. Cooper's a free spirit. Does what he wants when he wants. He directs the wolf to the only open seat in the class. Next to me. He pauses as he gets to the shared desk and without glancing at him I scoot in. He slips past and sits down.

“Lina,” My teacher says, the only one that uses that awful nickname. “Would you please share your book today with Cameron.” His smile, happy and cheerful wavers as I glare at him, but he turns before I can snap something back.

“You don’t have to.” The wolf's voice is quiet but clear. Deep but soft. I don’t look at him as I slide my Ipad between us.

“How else are you going to keep up today?” He stays silent. Part of me wants to look at him. To have an actual conversation. I’m not a rude person. But Dad said to keep my distance.

There’s still a minute before the bell rings and Mr. Cooper slips out of the room. I have no idea what I'm thinking. I'm really not. But taking a breath, I turn to the foreign wolf and stick out my hand, forcing some resemblance to a smile on my face.

“Kat.” I say. He glances at my outstretched hand, then at my face before taking it in a firm grip.

“Cameron.” He says.

We're staring at eachother, neither moving to remove our hands. Something about him is unnerving. It's as the bell rings and the classroom door slams, that we both come to. As if shocked we pull away. Even as I turn to the front of the room, I feel his eyes still linger on me, just as they had in Biology. Mr. Cooper claps his hands in a cheerful manner and begins the painful explanation of Macbeth, completely skipping over rollcall, just as he does every day.

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