I wince at the sound of my mother screaming my name. "You are so dead," Maia taunts with a smirk.
I toss her a glare before getting up from the couch and walking to my father's office. The door is already open.
"Jaxon how many times do I have to explain the rules to you before you actually start following them?" My mom growls, furiously running her fingers through her mess of curly red hair.
I drag my hands down my face with a groan. "It was an accident—"
"An accident? Jaxon you know you're not allowed to shift during the day!" She seethes.
"I'm sorry, I lost control because Layton was pissing me off. But dad immediately had him sent to the Devil's Circle for confinement and no one else saw so it's okay," I assure her.
Her fiery eyes search mine for several minutes before she finally calms down. The temperature in the room drops instantly.
"Jax you do understand that if this happens again I will take you to the Devil's Circle myself and you will remain there indefinitely right?"
I nod quickly. "I understand mom, I am so sorry about all of this and I will accept any punishment," I say then hold my breath.
"I'm not going to punish you since you know what would happen to our family if someone else saw you."
I let out a heavy sigh of relief. "Thank you," I mutter. "Uh so on a completely different note, where is dad?"
"He had to deal with some unruly prisoners," she says.
"Isn't that your job?" I ask.
She chuckles. "Yes it is, but your dad was tired of letting me have all the fun."
"Ah, okay. Well see you at dinner then," I say, kissing her on the cheek and leaving hurriedly.
As I walk back into the living room, I find myself rubbing my neck. Maia stares at me in shock.
"She didn't kill you?" She asks. I shake my head, shrugging a little.
"Wow, I seriously thought you were going to come back in here crying like last time," she snickers.
I glare at her. "That was about as funny as the time you came back from your first training session with her," I snap.
She purses her lips in annoyance but says nothing more. She turns back to her video game on the tv.
I grab my notebook off the table and pick up the pencil sitting beside it. I flip past dozens of drawings until I reach the one I was working on this morning.
"What's that one?" I hear Maia ask. She glances quickly at me then back at the tv.
"Talon," I tell her. She pauses her game.
"Wait that's Talon? As in mom's dragon?" She asks.
I look at her awed face in confusion for a few moments but then I remember. "You've never seen mom shift have you?"
She shakes her head, admiring my almost-completed drawing. "She only shifts when she goes to the Devil's Circle."
"Oh yeah, she only takes Kaine and I there. I wonder why she doesn't take you?" I murmur, absentmindedly drawing tiny details.
"I asked her and she just said something about it not being a place for young females," Maia growls. She turns back to her game and starts angrily shooting at zombies.
"It's really not. The males are super aggressive and if you knew what happened there with mom and Adarath and—"
"She told you about Adarath?" Maia shrieks.
I quickly shush her, glancing at the doorway to make sure my mom wasn't there. "No she didn't tell me about it."
Maia gapes at me with wide eyes. "You stole the book!" She hisses.
"I borrowed it from Kaine," I mutter and she punches my arm.
"You both know that book is off limits!" She growls lowly.
"Yes I know and mom will kill me for sure if she finds out, so keep your mouth shut."
"Fine, but since I'm saving your ass you have to help me with something."
I sigh, I'm going to regret this. "What?"
"Zack is having a party this weekend but mom doesn't want me to go. You have to help me sneak out," she says and I immediately groan.
"You want me to die don't you?" I snap.
"You can either help me sneak out or deal with mom when she finds out you have the book," Maia shrugs.
Either way I'm dead. "Fine," I growl through gritted teeth. She smirks triumphantly.
I start grumbling curse words under my breath as I draw, ignoring my sister's obvious amusement at the situation she put me in.
I am finishing my drawing of my mother's dragon when I hear the front door slam shut. Kaine storms in moments later, his dark gold eyes blazing.
"Maia!" he snarls. I watch as my sister leaps off the couch and runs from the room in less than a second.
Kaine chases after her, growling angrily. I roll my eyes. "Every fucking day!" I mutter.
I hear footsteps approaching from the kitchen and stand just in front of the doorway. Maia comes barreling into me moments later.
I catch her by the waist and lift her up off the ground when she tries to get away. A fuming Kaine is only a second behind her.
"What the hell is going on here?" I demand, looking between my younger siblings for an explanation.
They both ignore me. "Maia you know you're not allowed in the ring!" he spits.
"I can be in the ring if I want!" she snaps. She struggles against my grip but I don't let go.
"I'm siding with Kaine on this one, the rule is that if you're not on the list, you are not allowed in the ring and guess what? You're not on the list," I tell her.
Her head whips around and she glares at me furiously. "Mom's not on the list and she's allowed to fight in the ring," she growls.
"That's because I'm the Dragon Queen. And I can control my temper." I freeze and so do Maia and Kaine.
I slowly turn around. My mother is leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest and her fiery gaze focused on us. "Now, are you three done or do I have to forcefully separate you?" she asks, narrowing her eyes.
I set Maia back down onto the ground and remove my arms from around her waist. The acrid scent of fear fills my nose, only a third of it my own.
I hear Kaine take a deep breath and Maia clear her throat. My mother watches us for a minute longer before leaving.
I immediately turn to face my siblings. They stare murderously at each other but don't say anything for a few minutes.
"Maia if you keep going to the ring, mom will find out," I sigh.
"No she won't—"
"Yes she will! That's why I said you need to stop!" Kaine interrupts. He takes a deep breath and his anger is instantly less evident. "She put guards in the ring to make sure you stay out, they have orders to put you in the pack's prison if necessary."
Maia's eyes widen in shock. "Why didn't you just say that?" she mutters under her breath.
I roll my eyes. "Is it impossible for you to admit you're wrong?" I ask.
"Shut up Jax!" she hisses. She glances at Kaine and I before stalking up the stairs to her room, mumbling curse words under her breath.
"You two fight an awful lot considering you're twins," I mutter.
Kaine makes a face at me. "You fight with Maia a lot more than I do," he scoffs.
"Where were you today?" I ask, changing the subject.
He smirks at me. "Why would I tell you that?"
"Because I'm your older brother," I shrug.
He laughs, shaking his head. "That's the reason I'm not telling you." He walks away before I can respond. He jogs up the stairs and disappears into his room.
I suddenly hear a chuckle behind me. I turn and see my aunt Angel leaning against the kitchen counter.
"What's so funny?" I ask, raising my eyebrow.
"You guys do the exact same thing every day. One of you gets into trouble—or almost into trouble—then you fight and try to kill each other, then your mom or dad gets involved, then you argue again and its starts all over again the next day," she says.
"Did you and dad do the same thing when you were kids?" I ask.
She snorts. "Jax we still do that. But I suggest you guys try to get along because your time together isn't as long as you think," she tells me, then her eyebrows furrow in confusion. "Holy crap I sound like my dad."
I smile a little. "Dad said you used to be pretty close when you were younger but then you had a really huge fight that kind of separated you guys," I say and she nods.
"Yeah we did, it took a long time but we eventually became close again."
"What was the fight about? He never really said," I ask.
"Your mother actually—and that's something you need to remember. Mates are the one thing that can tear a family apart. Well," she mutters, "mates and stupidity."
"Do you think we will all have mates?" I ask, a slight hinting in my voice.
Angel smirks, catching onto my underlying tone. "I don't know. Maia will for sure but I don't know how it works with you and Kaine. I just can't wait until Maia's 16th birthday next week," she grins.
"I honestly hope she doesn't find her mate," I mutter.
"Why?" Angel asks, narrowing her eyes in suspicion. My thoughts veer back to the earlier conversation with my mom.
"Because I don't trust anyone but our family to keep our secret."