Now This Is What I Call Fun
I could hear the faint chirping of birds from far away. I couldn’t smell leaves or dirt, or animals; only clean linens and the aroma of two wolves. I sat up in high alert and locked eyes on the two sleeping forms in a chair off in the corner of the room. Larken was curled up in Ryker’s lap, snoozing so heavily I could almost hear a slight snore coming from his nose. My eyes scanned the room, letting the setting sink in and I was sickeningly disappointed that I hadn’t dreamt the last twenty-four hours. Leaving the boys sleeping, I slid off the bed, my legs feeling stiff and my back groaning in pain. Soft beds were definitely not my preferred sleeping arrangement.
I noticed my rucksack by the closet and immediately went to check if my belongings were still there. My hands searched until they found the thin sheets of photo paper and tin box at the bottom. I checked to make sure Ryker and Larken were still asleep before I shoved them all together and searched for a good hiding place. I had to have something just for myself. I didn’t want a bunch of strangers looking at pictures of my family, my friends, my pack. They were the only piece of myself that I felt I had left. I saw an air vent by the baseboard of the wall- perfect. I let my index claw phase out and managed to unscrew the corners so that there was a large enough opening to reach into. I placed my pictures in the vent and put the box on top to keep them from blowing around if the air kicked on. I quickly put the vent back over the opening but only put the top two screws back in so I could quickly get to them in case the opportunity to run came along.
Since I didn’t feel like waking the two comatose creepers, I decided to take the chance to explore a bit around the place. I crept out of the room and softly closed the door behind me, holding the knob tightly so it would make the slightest click possible. I tiptoed down the hall, smelling the savory aroma of bacon wafting towards me. I followed the delicious scent down the stairs and into an elegantly set dining room with one of those tables that looked like it could easily seat twenty people.
The end of the table was full of muffins, fruit, pancakes, bacon, sausage, and several other yummy looking dishes- and three adult werewolves. Surrounding the food were Larken’s parents and at the head of the table, the Alpha King.
“Ah, good morning.” The Alpha said with a tight-lipped smile. “Please join us, Asenna.”
I eyed them coolly but tentatively lowered myself into a chair across from Larken’s parents who were looking down their noses at me. I realized with abrupt awkwardness that I hadn’t even looked to see the state of my hair or bothered to change into clean clothes- old habits die hard, I guess.
“Would you like coffee?” The Alpha asked, offering a steaming cup towards me. I sniffed at the cup and my nose instinctually wrinkled. It smelled foul and bitter. Why would anyone drink that shit? The Alpha laughed and set the cup back down onto the table. “I realize that yesterday was rather chaotic, and I didn’t get the chance to formally introduce myself. I am Alpha Marcus Sandoval, and this is my Beta- Alistair Harding- and his mate Elaine.”
“We wanted to thank you for bringing Larken home safely.” Alistair said, but I didn’t sense much warmth behind the words. His leather looking face was smiling out of obligation and his mate was nodding along with his words.
“Yes, dear.” Elaine chimed in. “I don’t know what we would have done if something happened to him.”
“Well, you left him behind easy enough.” The words blurted from my lips before I could think to bite my tongue. I saw a flash in their eyes, and they sat up a little straighter.
“We were on a very time sensitive errand for Marcus.” Alistair explained. “It was imperative that we get back to the pack as quickly as possible.” His fist was clenched on the table, his foot tapping on the floor incessantly.
What could have been so important that they leave their kid behind in the middle of nowhere? I was leaning forward, getting ready to ask just what exactly they were needing to get back here for so quickly, but Alpha Marcus stood from the table and motioned for his company to join.
“I think it’s time we get to work, Alistair.” Marcus intervened. “Elaine, I believe I scented Larken upstairs if I’m not mistaken. Perhaps you should get him ready for school.”
“Yes, Alpha, I agree.” Elaine said as she patted her perfectly red lips with her napkin before moving away from the table. “I swear he’s late almost every day!” She chided to herself as she left the dining room.
“Asenna, please, help yourself to breakfast. Bryce and Soren should be by shortly to help you get better oriented with the city.” The Alpha nodded to me and moved off with Alistair, heads bent low and whispering to one another.
I didn’t hesitate to load a plate with any food that I could reach from my seat and started digging in. As I ate, I wondered what it was these people wanted from me. They were the Royal Pack, after all. They were powerful and influential. I didn’t have anything to offer. I didn’t belong with them. So why was I still here?
“Bryce, stop fucking around!” I heard from the foyer. I had finished eating, but I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get up and socialize with anybody.
“Come on, man, get the stick out of your ass.” I heard someone add with a laugh- probably Bryce. “This isn’t prison duty, relax a bit.”
My eyes narrowed as the two large guys stumbled through the entry way to the dining room, Bryce holding Soren in a headlock. Bryce was the larger of the two. He was easily over six feet tall with a thickly muscled body and a handsome face with sharp features. His sandy brown hair was short and neat, and a big, genuine smile made him approachable and reassuring. Soren on the other hand, was all business. He was shorter and leaner, but I still had no doubt he was strong and capable of holding his own in a fight. His close-cropped auburn red hair and green eyes were stark against his pale skin and his slim face was contorted in agitation rather than humor. Bryce’s eyes looked up to meet mine and he released Soren’s head with an embarrassed chortle.
“Hey there, little wolf.” He said with a wave.
I stood and cocked an eyebrow at him. “Little?” I asked in a dangerous tone.
He walked up to me and held his hand right above my head as if to measure me. My eyes were level with his chest, but I knew my wolf was bigger than his.
“Do you want to size each other up wolf style to see who the little wolf really is?” I asked with smug satisfaction.
Bryce rolled his eyes and started to leave the dining room, Soren following him. He popped his head back in the doorway briefly. “Coming little wolf?”
Now he was just pissing me off. I growled through my teeth but followed them anyways. What else was I going to do? Hang around here and wait for the precious prince to wake up? No, thank you.
We left the manor and started down different streets and pathways throughout the city.
“Where are we going?” I asked them.
“Alpha Marcus asked us to show you around.” Soren said- yep, still all business.
“Although there really isn’t much to talk about.” Bryce complained. “It’s just your typical city really- minus the werewolf part. You’ve got your restaurants,” he waved over to a strip of café style dining venues, “your stores,” then he gestured across the street, “and the best part, the bars.” He finished his grand tour with his arms raised up in exaltation toward a darker corner of the city with neon lights and boozy smells.
“Bryce, its not even lunch yet.” Soren chided.
Bryce looked wounded. “Soren, you used to be fun. Now its jus blah blah Alpha, blah blah Ryker, blah blah responsibility. Leave that bullshit to the adults, man. Loosen up and live a little.”
“Dude, we are the adults now. Our parents aren’t going to run the pack forever. You have to start taking shit seriously.” Soren really was a downer.
“What do you mean your parents? I thought Marcus was in charge.” I asked as we continued to meander through the city.
“Well, he is. But you can’t rule the packs without some back up.” Bryce offered.
“Bryce’s dad is the pack Delta and in charge of border security. My dad- the Gamma- oversees law enforcement and peace keeping.” Soren explained. “They keep things running smoothly so the Alpha can focus on the really important stuff.”
“What kind of important stuff?” I pressed. I was still unsure about this Alpha King, and for some reason, whatever it was, I didn’t trust him.
“I don’t know… Alpha shit?” How very astute of you Bryce.
“They don’t really talk about it with us. They pull the whole ‘you’re too young, you’ll understand when you’re older’ bullshit.” Soren griped. “I don’t even think Ryker knows all the ins and outs of what his dad does.”
Was it just me, or did it seem odd that none of these guys knew what exactly their Alpha- the man who was supposed to be the ruler of all our kind- was up to? What was so important, so big that it was a secret from those closest to him?
“Hey, little wolf!” Bryce called and pointed my attention to a modest looking building without any name or building number not far off. “Wanna have some fun?”
The modest building wasn’t modest at all. This was a fucking armory. The walls were lined with guns, knives, spears, brass knuckles, anything you could possibly imagine was here. The ground floor was where the weapons were, but below ground was where the fun was. A full gun range buried beneath city. Training facilities decked to the nines with state-of-the-art equipment. Targets situated all over the place, different distances and sizes to maximize difficulty. Now this, I could get behind.
“Bryce, we shouldn’t be in here.” Soren warned, sending a wary look my way. He didn’t trust me around weapons, and he was smart.
“I want to see what she’s got, Soren.” Bryce responded. “If she’s supposed to be a Spartan, she should be badass, right?”
I picked up a throwing knife from a table nearby and without missing a beat, I sent it flying between the two of them. They froze, eyes wide in shock and the beginnings of anger. They turned to me and I simply pointed behind them with a smirk. Their eyes moved in unison to rest on a target at the end of the room. The knife stuck out from the center dot clear as day- a clean throw.
“How did you do that?” They asked in unison.