T W E N T Y - E I G H T
"Ares!" I yelled from my closet door "Get dressed buddy, we're leaving in thirty minutes!"
"Okay!" he yelled back before I heard footsteps on the stairs.
I smiled to myself, glad that he was feeling better, and turned back into my closet to figure out what I was going to wear.
If I was just meeting my friends, I would just throw on some sweats and a t-shirt and just leave like that. However, I wasn't just meeting my friends. I was going to Rhys house, something that both excited me and made me nervous at the same time.
Instead of agonizing over what I was going to wear for a guy, I just grabbed my usual go-to outfit, which happened to be my favorite pair of worn jeans, a black v-neck, flannel, and ankle boots.
Just as I was about to finish putting on some simple stud earrings, one fell out of my hand and slipped through the cracks in the wooden floor.
"Oh come on!" I groaned before dropping to my knees and searching for my earring.
I looked through the cracks and saw it lying on dirty floor.
I leaned back and sat on my heels, exhaling my breath, and thinking of ways to get that earring back.
Normally, if it was any other one of my earrings, I wouldn't mind leaving it there because it was too much work for a stupid earring but in this case, this earring was one of the last things my father had given me before he died.
I couldn't just leave it there.
So that only left me with one option
I had to tear up the old man's floor boards.
Did I feel bad for ruining the guy's house?
No, because as soon as Ares was cleared to come home, our Grandfather just upped and left us to fend for ourselves.
He only left us a noted with some cash that said he'd be back in 2 weeks because of some type of convention he had with some buddies of him.
I really didn't care where he went but I know Ares was affected. All he wanted was to spend time with his grandfather because he never really had that chance before.
Ares wasn't even thought of when my dad's father died and although I hardly had the chance to bond with my Pappous, I had seen pictures that showed the love he had for me.
I wanted the same for Ares but apparently, our Grandfather didn't want anything to do with us.
Anyways, I was brought back to reality when I realized the current dilemma at hand.
I noticed a little piece of wood missing at a corner of the floor board and decided the best course of action was to try to lift the board.
Surprisingly, it lifted right up when I added slight pressure to it.
"Awesome!" I grinned and when I reached down to grabbed the earring, I found another surprise.
Not only was my earring there but it was also sitting on, in which I assumed to be the dirty floor, a dark leather bound journal.
I picked both items up and safely put the floorboard back before leaving the closet and sitting on my bed.
I wiped the dust off the book before unbinding the leather strings.
When I opened the front page, I was shocked to find my mother's neat handwriting.
Property of Carrie Mason, 1992
OCTOBER 21, 1992
Well, today's my 17th Birthday and while most girls are out with their friends or boyfriends, I'm stuck here.
Life really sucks.
My hands are sore and bleeding from the stupid Arrows and I'm pretty sure I have a black eye.
Dad went extra hard today because he didn't want me slacking just because of my birthday.
The only reason he's training me so hard is because he wants to reclaim his spot again at the Association.
I think it's stupid because he shouldn't have had lost his spot in the first place just because he fell in love with someone who wasn't like us.
I'm glad he fell in Love with Mom, a regular person, because if he fell in love with one of the other women in the Association, I'm pretty sure I'd be screwed with training.
I've seen those families and the kids in them either look miserable or are ruthless.
Mom makes sure I have time for myself, to be young and experience life without my dad looming over my shoulder to practice and be the "Best"
Anyways, I have to go now diary.
My break is over and the "Sargent" is calling me back.
Write you later!
My eyes widened even more when I read the entry over and over again.
Who the Hell was my Grandfather and why did he make my mother train? And for what?
"SISSY!! I'M DONE!" Ares screamed and I literally jump 2 feet in the air
I quickly rebound the book before shoving it under my mattress.
A second later Ares ran in and started jumping on my bed "Come on Sissy! We're going to be late!"
I gave him a strained smile, my mind still reeling from what I just read
"You're right" I stood "We should get going"
A couple minutes later, we were on the road and surprisingly, Rhys house was close.
Like, walking distance close.
"Whoa" both me and Ares said at the same time as we pulled up into the driveway of a Huge house.
I parked the car in front of the garage and was greeted with the familiar sight of Rhys.
"Hey" he said while opening my door "Glad you could make it"
"Of course" I grinned at him "The Matthews are my family, why wouldn't I make it?"
He gave me a soft smile but remained quiet.
I unbuckled Ares boaster seat and he jumped out of the car quickly, racing towards the front door.
"How old is he?" Rhys asked with a smile
"9, almost 10" I said "Mom's pregnancy was harsh. A lot of complications. That's why he's so small. His body's developing slowly"
We started walking to the front door
Rhys remained quiet for a moment before speaking up "You know, when I was his age, I was smaller than him"
"Really?" I asked in uncertainty, not at all believe him.
I mean, he was like 6'3 with broad shoulders and a body like a God.
To say I was skeptical, was an understatement.
He was a Liar
Rhys nodded "Yep. I was scrawny and short and had really thick glasses that used to make my head tilt forward so much that I would lose my balance"
I giggled at the image of a cute nine-year old Rhys with glasses falling over every ten seconds.
"What happened?" I snickered "I kind of like that description of you"
"I changed" He bumped my shoulder playfully "One day, I woke up and everything changed"
He nodded before opening the door to his house.
I blur raced past me and soon the breath was knocked out of me as I was tackled.
The familiar flowery scent of my Best friend clouded my senses and I started laughing.
"Get off me Nerd!"
"Oh! How I've missed you Kassi!" she hugged me tighter
"ETHAN!!" I yelled out, still laughing "I KNOW YOU'RE HERE!! COME GET YOUR IDIOTIC SISTER OFF OF ME!!"
Someone jumped on top of Taylor and more weight was added on top of me
"Hey Kass!" Ethan's deep voice sounded from above us.
I turned my head, just a little, and found his light green eyes staring at me with amusement.
I flicked his forehead "Get off of me you fool"
He grinned before standing up and prying his sister off me.
I sat up and Rhys extended a hand to help me up.
"At least someone's a gentleman" I stuck my tongue out at Ethan
"I'm a gentleman" he grinned "When it comes to hot girls"
Kaden walked in the moment with a little boy just as Ethan said that and slapped his brother's head "Have some respect"
"Ow!!" Ethan whined
"Yeah" the little boy mimicked Kaden "Have some respect"
"Shut it Tristan" Ethan glared
"Make me" the little boy taunted
I grinned as the two started bickering.
"Is he yours Kade?" I asked
"Yep. That's my boy" Kaden nodded "Argues just like his mother"
At that moment, this time, Skylar walked in carrying a little girl and slapped Kaden's head.
I've always liked Skylar, she was fun to hang out with and kept Kaden in check. Usually, when I wasn't wrestling with the boys or being Taylor's make-up lab rat, I would hang with her and we would gush over our love for old 80's movies and book characters.
When she saw me, her eyes widened "Kass, is that you?"
I nodded and she squealed "Oh my Gosh! The last time I saw you, you had a pixie haircut!"
Kaden snapped "That's why I didn't recognize you right away at the hospital!"
I glared at Taylor
The reason I had a pixie haircut was because she forced me to be her guinea pig. She was going through a phase in which she wanted to be a hairstylist and begged me to be her practice dummy. I rejected the idea but then she said if I didn't let her cut my hair, she would tell my Mom that I broke her favorite vase.
Personally, I thought what I did to that vase was a favor to humanity because it was so ugly but my Mom thought it had some character.
Anyways, Taylor was supposed to take an inch off but she took about 6. The haircut was lopsided and my bangs were so short that I looked like a kindergartner cut my hair. The only real option I had to salvage my hair was to cut it in a cute pixie cut.
At the time, it was cute and being the tomboy I was, I loved the fact that I could just wake up without having to brush my hair or deal with the tangles.
Taylor smiled sheepishly "It was cute"
Ethan snorted "She looked like a dude"
I ignored their bickering and looked at everyone else "Is there anything you need our help for?"
Everyone shook their heads
"No" Rhys answered "Just sit back and relax, I'm sure your friends are eager to see you in person again"
"Will you be joining us?" I blurted out on accident before mentally cursing at myself.
He smiled "Do you want me to join you?"
I was about to say he didn't have too when Ares screamed "Yes!!"
"Ares" I gave him a look "Inside voice"
"Sorry Sissy" he said much softer than before
"Come on Ares" Sky said before handing her little girl to Kaden "Why don't you and Tristan help me plate the cookies?"
Both boys eyes lit up like it was Christmas.
"Dumb and Dumber" Kaden said before following his wife "Set the table. That's the least you could do"
"That's the least you could do" they mimicked their brother before grumbling to where, I assume, was the dining room.
Rhys and I were left standing there, in the middle of the foyer, staring at each other in amusement.
"Quite the family you got there"
"They take some getting used too but they really are a great family" I laughed "Speaking of family, where's yours?"
"Catching a early dinner" he said before nodding for me to follow him "They wanted to be here but I decided that you needed some time with your friends"
"How thoughtful" I quipped "Don't you want to spend time with your friends?"
"Nah, they're too lovey dovey for me"
"Ah" I said "You're not a lovey dovey person?"
"No," he smiled at me "I just haven't met the right person to be lovey dovey with"
I bit my lip to contain my smile and turned my head away from him so that he wouldn't see me blush.
When we entered the dining room, Ethan was poking Taylor with his butter knife and both Ares and Tristan were chatting with each other like they were life-long friends.
I picked a chair right next to my Taylor and Rhys helped me with my chair.
"Thank you" I said
An hour later, I was sitting in the living room of Rhys house, grasping my stomach and howling in laughter.
Taylor was catching me up to speed on what had happen while I was gone and she reenacting Ethan's latest conquest's meltdown.
"She was crazy" Taylor laughed "Like next level crazy"
Ethan glared at us "It isn't that funny"
"Dude, she broke into your house and shredded your clothes just because you didn't text her back" I snickered "It's pretty funny"
"How was I supposed to know she was crazy?" he defended
"Her nickname was Crazy Camille" Taylor said sarcastically "That might have been a good indicator"
"I thought the guys were joking" he mumbled
I snickered even more
"Sissy" Ares came up to me, grabbing his stomach "I don't feel so good"
My laughter immediately died, it was quickly replaced with my Sister Mode.
"What's wrong buddy" I touched his forehead and he was burning up
"I don't-" he never finished his sentence because he dropped to the floor, grabbing his head, his face distorted in pain.
"ARES!!" I cried out, reaching for my baby brother "Someone call 9-1-1!!"
I heard bones popping and cracking and Ares cried out in more pain
I reached for him but an arm snaked around my waist, dragging me away from my brother
"WHAT'S HAPPENING TO HIM!" I snarled before kicking at the person to let me go.
"Kassi" Ethan's voice rang in my ear "He'll be alright, you just need to give him some space"
I fought against him
From the corner of my eye, I saw Kaden usher his wife and kids out of the room. Taylor was crying and Rhys' face was expressionless.
Ares was still on the floor, whimpering in pain.
"LET ME GO!!!" I clawed at Ethan's arms "I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON'T LET ME GO RIGHT NOW THERE WILL BE A BLOODBATH!!!"
His arms tightened further and my eyes started to change as my anger rose.
"Ethan" I said in a deathly calm voice "This is the last time I am going to ask. LET. ME. GO."
His arms started to shake but he held on strong. When he made no attempt to let me go, I finally lost my patience.
"NOW!" I commanded
His arms immediately released me and I started my way towards Ares
"Idiot!" Kaden hissed behind me "Why'd you let her go?"
"I don't know!" Ethan responded "Something just came over me! I couldn't resist!"
"RHYS!" Kaden yelled "She can control us because of her Status! Grab her! She can't control you, her Mate!"
Another pair of arms snaked around my waist and I snarled
"Shh..." Rhys calm voice whispered in my ear "Kassi, he'll be alright. I know he will"
"I don't give a damn of what you claim to know" I growled and his arms tightened further "Now let me go. I need to see my brother"
"He's fine" Rhys said quickly when I growled again "His body is just trying to adjust to the new changes"
"What changes!" I lurched forward when Ares whimpered again
Rhys held on strong
"Uh..." he blew out a breath "There's no easy way to say this so I'm just gonna come out and say it, but you're brother is shifting into his Wolf for the first time. He's a Wolf and I'm pretty sure you are too. It's common for Alpha's to shift earlier than the rest of the Pack"
I stopped struggling and looked at him
His expression was sincere, as was the expressions of my friends, but this couldn't be possible.
No, that was something that only happened in my favorite books or T.V. Shows, not in real life.
"We're real" Rhys said softly "You come from a long line of Wolves, Wolves who are very important in our Society. If you don't believe me that's fine, but you might want to turn around and see for yourself"
I whipped my head around and instead of my baby brother writhing in pain on the floor, a small wolf was standing in his place, looking dazed and confused.
His legs were wobbling and he collapsed to the ground, whimpering.
I lurched forward again
"Let me go!" I cried "He's in pain. I have to see him!"
"I can't do that" he said calmly before yelling out for his friend "MATT!!"
I continued to struggle in Rhys hold.
He just wouldn't budge, even after he was distracted while talking to Matt.
"Matt can you, Alpha Kaden, and Beta Ethan take this pup downstairs before he regains his strength"
He nodded, his eyes shifting ever so slightly to me before shifting back to his friend and walking toward my brother.
I watched helplessly as the three men took my brother away from me and down a dark basement.
"Why are you doing this" I whispered, looking at his face dejectedly "Why are you taking him away from me?"
His face softened "Newly transformed Wolves must be locked away for a week because of their instability. They can't control their Wolves, therefore, allowing the Wolf to control them. The Wolf isn't doing this on purpose, he's just trying to keep his human alive the best way he can, by using his instincts and being a Wolf. If you or anyone else gets to close to Ares while his Wolf is in control, it won't matter if your his sister. The Wolf will see you as a threat and try to eliminate you before you can hurt him"
"So you're going to lock him in a cage!" I cried and struggled against him once more "Alone! For an entire week!"
"It's a padded room meant to protect both Human and Wolf. Ares is going to be shifting back and forth quite a bit until he can sync both his mind and his Wolfs"
"But you just can't leave him alone!" I said "He's a little boy, he's scared, in shock, and probably freaked out. He doesn't know what to do"
Rhys shook his head
"This isn't something I can help him with" he said "He needs to figure this out on his own. Trust me, I want too help him but I can't"
"Because the process is different for everyone" he said softly "The bonding between Wolf and Human. It's never the same process for everyone. It takes time and patience for the Human to trust the Wolf and the Wolf to trust the Human. Only then will he be able to take control back"
"Then how do you know he needs to be in there for a week" I snapped
He grimaced "Because after a week if a Wolf and his Human don't bond, the Wolf begins to die"
My eyes widened "WHAT!"
He nodded "The Wolf inside us comes from the Moon Goddess herself. Every Wolf is created specifically for one person. Only One. So if that person doesn't trust his Wolf enough, he is essentially insulting the Moon Goddess herself, thus severing the bond between Creator and Wolf"
"Why is that important?" I asked in frustration
"It's important because the Wolves are directly linked to the Moon Goddess. She gives them the strength and Power they need to protect us and in turn, they give her the joy of keeping her children alive" he sighed "If the bond between Creator and Wolf are severed, our Wolves lose power until they become non-existent. She created our Wolves to be loyal to Us and therefore, if we reject them then they can't draw power from her anymore"
"She's their life force" I concluded in shock
"So...I don't see why you can't help Ares" I pleaded "Just tell him what you just told me. He's smart, he'll understand"
"Even if I told him what I told you, it still won't help"
"Why not!" I yelled
"Because..." he said calmly, ignoring my outburst "Ever Pack has it's own way of dealing with it's transformation"
"So?" I asked annoyed "What's the problem?"
"The problem is I don't know what your Pack's customs are" he said "I can't guide him through his process if I don't know what it is"
"Why does it matter if you don't know what the stupid customs are" I groaned "Just guide him through the process"
"The processes are tests. In order for the Wolves to trust their humans, they must prove themselves"