Wolf's Fire

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Chapter Six

| Cameron |

She’s an Alpha.

It makes sense as the Beta closes in on her at the end of Biology. And while she looks like she wants to hiss at him, her eyes are trained on her seething friend at the front of the class, who I can hear even as they step into the hall.

If Mr. Welsh can hear her he says nothing. Instead, taking my schedule from me he points down the hallway to where the English department is. Towards what I remember is the Cafeteria.

The girl, Kat, is in my next class. When she sees me, her entire body tenses. Even as I’m directed to sit next to her, I’m prepared to ask for another seat. I really don’t want to be a burden here. This place, as boring as it may be, might be the only sanctuary I can find from Eric.

It doesn’t help that Mr. Cooper asks her to share her class book. She doesn’t give me a chance to try and change seats. She turns to me and sticks out her hand, her blue eyes shimmering. Definitely overconfident. I’m cautious to take her hand. It’s soft and cool to the touch, uncalloused.

I don’t think I’ve ever even touched a female before. I’ve never even seen a female wolf. It perplexes me. She perplexes me. I find myself staring into her eyes, as she stares into my hazel ones. The bell and the door slamming simultaneously shocks us both into letting our hands go, and we turn to the front of the classroom.

We don’t say a word to each other. She puts on a friendly face, but it’s a mask. Kat’s up and out of her seat a second before class ends, hugging her ipad and notebook to her chest as she hurries out the door. I can’t help but lower my gaze to her lower half, and the way her hips sway predatorily, one long leg in front of the other. Does she know she’s doing that?

During lunch, I find the booth in the farthest corner and stay there. I don’t have lunch, so I check my phone. There are five texts from Eric, giving me chores to do once I get back. It also appears that he’s angry in my lack of response. Instead of getting into the details, I send him a quick apology.

At the moment, there’s nothing I can do. Just running earlier this morning had angered him. He’s not going to keep me from shifting. He can’t. It’s my one outlet.

Eric’s emotionally abusive. He rarely likes to get his hands dirty. And every once in a while I dream of smothering him with a pillow. But again he keeps a roof over my head. That’s more than I could do on my own. I’m sure, if my parents had survived, we’d still be living in the forests of Montana. Having been born in my wolf form, there was a greater connection to my wolf. One that I love.

As the hour free period continues, I find my eyes drifting over the lunch tables, trailing their way to Kat, who stares back at me. Kat. Such a strange name for a wolf.

| Kat |

I don’t realize I’m staring until his eyes find mine. He looks sad and frustrated. And Alone. “He doesn’t have a lunch,” I say, to no one in particular. Louis, who’d been about to take a large bite of his sandwich sits straight before glancing his way.

“So?” He asks, going back in for that bite. It makes me frown. Carissa is silent as she sketches in her notebook, completely oblivious to the world.

“He should have a lunch,” I say. Rolling his eyes, his sets his food down, and leans over to get a better view around the human heads.

“He’s an Omega, Kat.” As if that explains it. I find myself narrowing my eyes.

“We don’t leave our Omegas to feed themselves.” Plus, I hardly believe he’s an Omega. He might be viewed as one, but there’s something about him I just can’t place. His scent’s off.

“Different packs have different rules and customs. Leave it be.” While I know he’s right, it doesn’t make the situation right. He’s thin. It’s not something I noticed right away. Mostly because I’d rushed out of each class I had with him before he could stand, but he is thin. There are definitely muscles under his gray shirt, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to gain a few pounds.

It’s a nice day out and sun’s warm on my back as I head to Mom’s garden. The pups in elementary haven’t returned yet and so it’s quiet and peaceful outside. Their parents are either at work or outside. Some are lounging as their wolf, enjoying the peace while they can.

“Mom,” I say, finding her knee deep in the garden out back. If the Luna’s missing, she’s either in her garden or bookstore in town. She’s always loved her garden. Mom wipes a piece of dirt off her cheek and smiles at me.

“Hello Dear,” She says. “How was school?” I shrug.

“I met the wolf.” She sets down her gardening tools and turns fully to look at me. Her smile’s gone. I expected as much.

“I thought we told you not to engage him.”

“I tried.” At least I’m being honest. “He’s in two my classes.” And got partnered with me. Mom stands and ushers for me to follow her inside. It makes sense she doesn’t want to have this conversation outdoors with the prying ears.

“What’s his name?” Her voice is soft as she sits down on the couch, surprising me. I should be getting yelled at. What’s happening here? There’s a glimmer in Mom’s eyes as she looks me over. I swallow.

“Cameron.” She waits for me to continue. “He’s awfully thin for a wolf his age,” I tell her. “And I- I know every pack has their own customs and whatever but still. Isn’t it dangerous?” She’s smiling slightly. Why is she smiling?

“I talked to Jeanette yesterday.” She says finally. “He doesn’t have much. His Alpha is his Guardian. She wants to put him on the free meal program at school but it’s government-run and you know how they are about wolves.”

“Should you be telling me this?” I ask. Mom shakes her head.

“Probably not.” She answers. “But you’re curious. About him.” I shrug.

“I could smell him yesterday. He was there for maybe two or three hours, but his scent was so overpowering...” Mom studies me but she doesn’t say any more.

Two Weeks Later

| Cameron |

My morning routine is the same. Wake up at the crack of dawn, make breakfast, sneaking what I can back up to my room, school, chores, homework and sleep. I try my best to get a run in, but my work load's insane.

“It’s a three-day weekend everyone and you know what that means.” Everyone, even Kat, groans as Mr. Cooper talks.

“Group projects,” Kat whispers to me right before Mr. Cooper says it.

“You’ll need to get together with your partner over the weekend. You have two options. You can either create a trailer, or you can re-write three scenes in a location other than the current setting, for a screenplay of the works we’ve discussed in class. Be creative and have fun with it.” The bell rings, and everyone gathers their stuff. Mr. Cooper is handing out directions at the door.

“He doesn’t mean desk partners... right?” Kat cringes. While we’d been talking more, our interactions don't venture farther than the classroom.

“That’s exactly what he means.” She mutters. We each take one of the papers.

“Hand me your phone.” She says abruptly. I look down at her.

“What?” She stretches out her hand.

“Phone number. We have to meet somehow to get this done.” In a daze I pull my phone out of my back pocket and hand it to her. She scrolls through my contacts. It only has seven numbers in it. She's adding her own as Louis approaches. His face hardens as he notices the phone in her hand.

“Kat.” He says, giving me the cold shoulder.

“Hmm?” She mumbles, looking up. She hands the phone back.

“History.” She raises her eyebrows, then glances across the hall.

“Yeah. Right there. Two feet from where I stand.” He’s growling, low and territorial. Kat barely blinks an eye. She looks up at me. “Text me after school and we’ll figure out how to get this done.” I can only nod as Louis ushers her away from me. As if I’m an actual threat.

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