Fever Claim

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Eighteen

Rosemary

I couldn’t remember what had happened last night. My mom said I got terribly drunk, and that Judah had to ‘take care’ of me, whatever that means. I woke up this morning with a raging headache. After taking some pain medication, I sluggishly returned to school. I considered calling in sick, but my mom did not pity me at all. She had sent me to school anyway.

At first, I wasn’t feeling so well, but halfway through the day, I could feel the headache finally starting to recede . I made a mental note to never drink again. I was in fifth period, which was gym. It was a circuit training day.

I stared at the course before me, and felt myself die inside. It was beautifully designed, with intimidating stations meant to kill my spirit and eat my soul alive. My wolf, of course, was more than ready to take on the challenge.

There were monkey bars that stretched for a mile at one station, a rope swinging station that required upper body strength, a wall climbing station, a stone hopping station, and as my eyes trailed further down, I wanted to shrivel up and die. I was too tired for this.

Everyone groaned out loud, and I felt a little bit better. I was not the only one who was feeling this way.

“You juveniles are our pack’s future, and that means that I am required to train you to be your best. It is my job to keep you focused and on task. These courses are designed to challenge your agility, wolf strength, and mind. We are a pack when we stand strong together and think like one. You all are expected to complete each station within a minute. Once you complete this course, you will go back to the beginning and start all over again.”

Another round of groans were issued, but one dark look from Judah halted everyone’s complaints. Everyone hurried to the beginning of the first station. It started with a few male wolves. Everyone stared at them as they swung down the monkey bars. Slowly, everyone began stepping up and swinging like a bunch of monkeys. I let out a heavy sigh when it was my turn. I took a step onto the high wood platform and stretched my arm muscles.

Judah stood close by and watched me coolly. There was no indication of what he was thinking, but his eyes were very distracting Couldn’t he look somewhere else besides me?

I went through the course for the first time. It wasn’t so bad. I completed it five , ten , then twenty times. Judah stayed far away, but I could feel him looking at me from time to time. On my 25th lap of the course, I felt disdain roll off from someone behind me. Jealousy tainted the air around me.

“I heard she purposely got herself drunk just so she could get into Gamma Judah’s bed.”

My back stiffened.

“She wants to act all innocent and pure, when in reality, she can’t wait to spread her legs for our leaders.”

I clenched my teeth and took in a deep breath. I could feel their accusing gazes piercing my back.

I jumped onto the monkey bars and began swinging. I turned my sudden burst of anger into energy, which I used to push through the monkey bars course.

I jumped off right at the end and continued at a steady run, staying close to the male in front of me. He began climbing the high rock wall. Once he was high enough, I continued up the wall. The monkey bar courses ran for a mile, and my arm muscles were already screaming for me to stop. I bit my lip as I concentrated on jumping from one rock to another, using my arms and legs to propel myself higher.

I was about two-thirds of the way up the wall when I felt a hand wrap around my ankle. The person yanked, and my hands slipped. I couldn’t get a steady grip because my palms were sweaty. My eyes widened as I realized I was falling. I tried to grab onto anything to stop my fall, but I wasn’t able to.

I heard gasps and shouting from below me. I heard people telling others to move out of the way, but I managed to grab hold of a rock with my hands. My heart was beating loudly in my chest. I let out a huge sigh of relief and pressed my forehead against the wooden rock wall. I looked up to see a white shoe disappearing over the wall. I looked down and saw Judah already standing below me, a panic splayed across his face before he relaxed, seeing that I had grabbed hold of a rock on the wall.

I was not dumb. The voice behind me was easy to identify. The person that grabbed onto my ankle was no other than the person behind me. I was really pissed off. My wolf was not happy, and she wanted to tear that person apart.

I climbed back up the wall, my wolf lending me her strength. She was anxious to catch up to her prey.

I made it over the wall in no time. Taking a deep breath, I took a moment to scan my surroundings, my eyes moving to focus on Bethany, who was now on the next course. She was moving fast, probably trying to beat me. Normally, I was supposed to slide back down the other side of the wall to reach the bottom. However, I was more wolf than human at the moment. My mind was entirely focused on Bethany .

Werewolves are friendly creatures, but it is a well-known fact that our tempers are derived from our beasts. We can try to be as human as we can, but triggering an intense emotion in us is like adding gasoline to an already raging fire. My wolf had taken the upper hand, feeding my fury with hers, heightening my senses and driving my beast forward.

I stood up on the wall. I heard shouting and some more gasps. I felt Judah’s eyes on me, almost as if he was warning me to not do anything stupid. Crouching low, I launched off the wall and landed on the ground before me with a thump. I looked up and found Bethany just about to finish the rope station.

Standing up, I ascended one of the ropes and sped towards her, avoiding the people who were struggling to swing at this point. She was struggling to grab the rope before her, trying to use her weight to gain more momentum. My wolf wanted to smirk at her stupid attempts.

When I was right behind her, I wrapped my legs around her waist and pulled. She turned to look at me and I twisted my body. She struggled to keep hold of the ropes in her hand.

I heard voices and then I heard him, but they all sounded so distant. Bethany growled and her eyes flashed—dilating with her own jealous contempt. She released one hand to scratch my face with her claws. I avoided her swing by pulling back. I brought one foot closer to my chest before kicking her hard in the side. She grunted in pain and fell to the ground. I dropped to the ground along with her, and grabbing her by her hair, I yanked her head back. She glowered at me, and I flashed my canines.

“I command you two to stop at once,” Judah commanded, Gamma power rolling off of him and onto us.

Everyone felt the force of their Gamma’s powers. They knelt on the ground to avoid any more anger from their leader. Bethany cast her eyes down as a sign of submission, not to me, but to Judah.

I still had a hard grip on her hair.

I was pissed.

“Rose,” Judah’s voice pierced my mind. “Breathe and focus. Do not let your wolf’s instincts to kill cloud your mind. She is your pack member.”

“She disrespected me. That’s a direct challenge,” I growled animalistically, fighting his powers.

“She will receive punishment, but you cannot kill her. Think, Rose, you are better than this,” Judah tried coaxing me.

My eyes collided with my mate’s. He saw that I was more wolf than human. He wasn’t angry with me. I knew this, but my wolf was anything but understanding.

“You expect me to let her go even though she challenged me?” I growled.

“I don’t expect anything. You already know what you need to do,” he answered.

I clenched my teeth, another snarl rumbling from my chest. I closed my eyes and my fingers tightened their hold on Bethany’s hair.

“Please- ” Bethany whimpered.

I growled louder and my eyes snapped open. My hand wrapped perfectly around her stupid little neck, my claws digging into her skin. I didn’t want to hear her voice. It only fueled my anger.

Judah touched my arm. Tingles. My wolf huffed and growled, fighting the bond, reminding me that I needed to kill, but Judah’s touch was like a warm blanket.

Finally, I looked back at him. My hold loosened a little. I gulped down the rage that was burning in my chest. Taking in an unsteady breath, I reluctantly released my hold on Bethany’s hair.

I could feel my wolf falling back. She was unsatisfied, but she respected her mate’s decision.

Judah tore his eyes away from me to look at a classmate.

“Take her to the nurse’s office to get cleaned up,” he ordered before turning to Bethany.

“She hurt me!” Bethany said in a fit of anger.

“You tried harming a pack member, Bethany. If it wasn’t for Rosemary’s leniency and common sense, you would have died by now,” Gamma Judah snarled.

Immediately, everyone bowed their heads. Bethany sniffled, but didn’t look Gamma Judah directly in the eyes again. I watched my classmates take her away before scanning my surroundings again.

I was fully aware now of the attention I had brought on myself. Everyone was leaning in and whispering to each other, their eyes on me. They were judging me.

I bit my bottom lip. I had never had an outburst like this before. The surge of power and rebellious feeling I had felt when I knew who had pulled on my ankle. My wolf was becoming more and more dominant now that she had found her mate and had matured. She was not afraid.

“Class is dismissed,” Judah barked.

Within seconds, everyone had disappeared except for Judah and I. I relaxed once we were alone. He stood in front of me in the same spot, his arms crossed over his chest. His biceps flexed out in the open. He was wearing a sleeveless grey t-shirt.

“I-I don’t know. I just got mad. Bethany pulled on my ankle, and said things behind my back. It made me furious. I don’t want to just spread my legs for you. She-she said things, and it got to me,” I said, thinking that Judah wanted an explanation. Why else would he continue to stand there and look at me?

When he didn’t answer me, I huffed and crossed my own arms, glaring at him.

“It isn’t my fault that you have females crawling all over you,” I snapped, “I am not even doing anything. All I am doing is trying to get through life day by day. I haven’t spread my legs for you like she said. I am not being a clingy mate. If you want to yell at me and scold me, then go ahead, but I will be pissed off because this is all your fault. You make stupid females go crazy, and now they hate me.”

Finally, Judah moved to stand in front of me, and took hold of my arms to get my attention. Immediately, I looked at him.

“Will you go on a date with me?” he asked.

I blinked in surprise. What? I was trying to explain the situation, and he wanted to go on a date? This was not the right time to ask me that question. So, I went with the answer that I felt was right at that moment.

“No,” I replied, and walked away from his stunned expression.

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