My father spotted me in the doorway, enthusiastically asking, “Will! You remember Margaret Wardwell, from the Coven? She dropped by for some face to face time.” He paused looking back to her. “I can’t remember the last time we did this, Margaret?”
“Good morning, William.” The death glare gone and a generic smile placed carefully on her face, looking between me and my father. “It was a few years now, Don, right after dealing with the town's water issue, remember?” My father’s face compressed in thought, then puzzlement.
“Ahh, yes, right after that, I remember now.” He didn’t remember, it looked like today was a ‘worse’ day.
I schooled my features to calm and sat down at the table, pouring myself a cup of coffee from the carafe on the table.
“Elder Wardwell. Nice to see you again.” I sipped from the cup and my father resumed their earlier conversation.
“Well, Margaret, I will say that is news about the Hunters. I know Will tries to keep some things from me and to take care of them himself, but sometimes I wish he wouldn’t.”
“What’s going on now?” I asked, giving the Witch a sharp look. Margaret knew better than to put my father in the middle of the Hunter’s issue. Making him worry about something like this might cause a day's worth of anxiety if he couldn’t focus. Margaret returned her gaze to me, stoically calm.
“Nothing, just that some Witch Hunters were spotted in Seattle a few days ago, one of them ending up in the coroner’s office, where one of our members has a source.”
Fuckkkkk. She knew.
“Well, that’s fortunate, I would say, wouldn’t you? They are in the morgue, and not one of ours?” I retorted and she nodded.
“It is at that.”
A moment later, Kelly walked into the kitchen behind me, wearing my night sweats pants and shirt. We all looked back at her and she planted to the floor like someone smacked her.
“I’m having some serious deja vu,” she spoke, meeting my eyes.
“I wish I was, then I could have seen this coming.” I murmured. Kelly finally looked to the rest of the table. My father, oblivious to the tension, stood.
“Well, I’ve got some chores to do outside before the wind picks up. I’ll see you around, Margaret.” She nodded and he moved across the kitchen and out to the mudroom, her eyes following him. After a moment, she turned to me.
“I didn’t realize he had gotten so bad. I could give you something to help him. It wouldn’t be permanent and you would have to do it every few months, but it would make him....like before.”
Looking over to my dad putting on his boots, I thought of what he was like before the forgetfulness. My mom hadn’t passed yet, but she was still sick, and he had a lot more on his mind. In a peculiar way, he was happier now. He had started to forget many things, but also the pain and burden that came with them. I couldn’t make that choice for him or anyone, still, it was a generous offer, considering I had just been caught red-handed.
“I’ll think on it, thank you.”
Breaking her silence, Kelly asked,
“Gran? How did you know I ... the bracelet?”
My eyebrows peaked while Margaret looked stoically calm. The bracelet? As in Kelly’s bracelet, the one that pinched her skin?
“You didn’t think I would let you leave without a way to find you, did you? There are people out there who are actively trying to kill you, Kelly.” Margaret answered as if offended that anyone would think her so careless.
“Yes, Gran, I know, that is why we left,” Kelly explained slowly.
“The dead man was you?”
Kelly dropped her head down and nodded, tears threatened to spill out of her eyes and I reached over to her hand. Her throat clogged with emotion.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, it happened so fast. I just did what you showed me with the light bulb and then... he was on the ground.”
Margaret’s eyes widened and face blanched, nodding slightly, thinking more to herself than listening to Kelly. She reached over to take Kelly’s free hand.
“It’s going to be okay, darling. Promise.” Kelly looked up at her Gran and weakly smiled. “But, I’m afraid it’s time to go. Grab whatever you brought and say your goodbyes.”
My heart leaped up to my throat and I tensed, ready to defend my case. Goddammit, not even a discussion, and Margaret was stealing her away. I was about to voice my reasons when Kelly beat me to it.
“Gran, I actually think I should stay.”
Margaret’s eyes narrowed to me as if I put the words in Kelly’s mouth.
“Please just hear me out Gran. So far, no one knows I’m here. This is actually the one place I feel safe. It’s not your fault, but I can’t walk around the commune yet without remembering those men with machetes.”
Margaret's face went from stern to sympathetic.
“I understand darling, I hate the thought of what those men did on our land, to my daughter. But the only way to make it ours again is to be present and to change those memories. We have to begin your training, Kelly. There is still a lot you need to learn before we can even start.” She finished, rising as if they would leave momentarily.
Margaret’s face said she was not going to take no for an answer. Kelly looked to me, her mouth forming a question, as I felt helpless in this scenario.
“Gran, I don’t want to leave yet.” I gave her a smile and squeezed her hand again. Kelly turned again to her grandmother, who was now looking between us with scorn.
“I feel happy here, and relaxed. I’ll be home in a week or so, but I’m pretty sure I have earned a break. In fact, I was going to do my first act on behalf of the coven and help Will out with a problem.” She smiled up at Margaret, obviously expecting her to be praised for taking initiative on behalf of the Coven. Instead, Margaret’s face turned to stone and she looked down at me.
“I thought I made myself clear, young man.”
“You did, Margaret.” I coldly replied.
“So, beyond stealing my granddaughter and absconding with her when you knew we would rather her at home, you deliberately ignore mine and the Coven’s wishes?”
Kelly stood up between us.
“What did you do, Gran?”
She turned her anger towards her granddaughter, “Kelly, you can’t stay here. We are leaving. Now.” And she grabbed her hand, trying to pull her towards the door. Kelly wrenched it away, still planted at the table.
“Gran, I just gave you some very good reasons why I am staying. What’s the problem here?”
This was getting too tense, I calmly voiced my opinion, “Kelly is welcome to stay, Margaret, we will keep her safe. You know that. Your Coven enacted the wards around this land themselves.” Margaret’s wide eyes focused on me and an angry sneer formed on her face.
“If you think I’m going to let two War...,” she stopped mid-sentence, as if she remembered where she was. I tilted my head in confusion, two what? Two Wardwells?
“Two what, Margaret?” I asked. She shook her head and her scowl returned.
“If you think I’m going to let you two forget your responsibilities and ‘shack’ up until you feel like it, you are sadly mistaken. Kelly, enough of this, you are my prodigy, and you will listen to me. You are shaming your Coven and Francis by ignoring us.” Oh fuck. Dear Gran was getting angry and pulling out the dead family card.
Kelly fell back into her seat, her face flummoxed and sad. A few moments passed in silence, Margaret and I locking our angry eyes in a battle of wills. Kelly looked like she was going to cave when she finally spoke,
“Gran. That is low. Even for you. I have given good reasons, both in support of the Coven and myself. I am not the same pushover that left when I was eighteen, but I still love you and the family. I will return in one week. One week will not change anything.”
Her Gran’s eyes widened as she realized Kelly had a spine and wouldn’t budge.
“Kelly! You can’t stay here!” Margaret strongly voiced, her face pallored and she looked like she had tears forming while flicking quickly between Kelly and I. In my ears, I could hear her heartbeat had started to race. There was something more to this than Kelly staying away for a week, this was deeper than the last month. Margaret was emotionally invested in us not being together to the point of tears. Oh shit, was it to do with...?
“Why!?” Kelly exclaimed, exasperated with the argument.
I took a leap and answered her question.
“Because Ewan Jones was a Were, wasn’t he?”
Silence filled the kitchen, with the only noise coming from the fire. It lasted for several moments before Kelly’s puzzled face turned to me.
“What? What are you talking about?” She whipped her head to Margaret. “What is he talking about, Gran?”
Margaret’s eyes had widened even more and a tear spilled down one of her cheeks. Her face somehow paled even more and her mouth was agape, as if the words were lodged deep in her throat. Kelly’s head flicked back to me.
“What are you talking about?” She repeated, becoming frustrated. Looking at Margaret, I finally pieced it together. The way my wolf felt about Kelly. Why Margaret was so against Weres coming into the family. She had seen it before, with her own daughter, Jolene.
Speaking to Kelly, but keeping my eyes on the older Witch, I continued.
“Just little things add up. Comments your Gran made about how Weres and Witches don’t mix. You, telling me that story about your dad forgetting who he was.” I stared deep into Margaret’s eyes for confirmation.
“He wasn’t under a compulsion spell, was he? He just didn’t want to shift for some reason, so he was slowly going mad over the years. Thirteen years without shifting would drive a Were to insanity. That spell you just offered for my father, that’s what Jolene Jones was doing for him, wasn’t she? She loved him and was helping him.”
Kelly’s face contorted with pain.
“What? Gran? Is this... this isn’t true?”
Margaret had transformed in the space of a minute. Where once a strong elder Witch with a stony face stood was now a feeble old woman looking defeated. She looked to Kelly, pleading.
“Kelly, please let’s leave.”
Kelly’s hand slapped down onto the table, startling the older woman. Behind us, the kitchen fire blazed higher in the hearth.
“You knew what I thought about her! What I thought she did to him. Why would you let me think that? For years!” Angry tears rolled down Kelly’s cheeks,
“Why would you let me think that and let me live with that... hate?” Her angry gaze was locked onto her grandmother and her voice was teeming with pain and resentment. The wood in the fireplace was now fully ablaze and the stack next to it was starting to smoke.
Both women were ignoring their effects on the wood and focused solely on each other.
“Sweetheart. I couldn’t tell you..”
“Why!?” Kelly demanded. The smoking wood on the side of the room burst into flame.
“Because it would mean admitting you’re half Were,” I answered.
Margaret stared at me in a sad, angry state, as if I was responsible for this history of lies. She noticed the flaming wood on the kitchen floor and directed a strong snap of her fingers in its direction, the flames snuffing out.
Kelly sank into her chair, taking in my words. I looked down to her and absentmindedly brushed hair away from her face, letting the news sink in. It meant I wasn’t crazy, my wolf knew what she was long before I had an inkling. Blood called to blood, and her blood sang for mine. Her Gran shook her head against my revelation.
“No. We don’t know what that means, Kelly had nothing, no symptoms of either Witch or Were for 27 years besides a little flair every now and then.” She reached again for Kelly, touching her shoulder in a gesture meant to be comforting.
“This does not mean that you will turn, or shift, or whatever they call it.”
“Doesn’t it? How did she survive those lightning strikes if she wasn’t more than human or Witch? And at the last full moon, she was strong enough to flip me and she felt like she would jump out of her skin, just like a Were. She only calmed down when .. I intervened, when an Alpha intervened.” Kelly had gone silent again and was looking down at her hands, as if seeing them for the first time.
“Maybe when Kelly had her snap, it triggered both sides of her lineage.” The cogs in my brain had really started to turn, as if I was talking this out to myself.
“And Ewan Jones knew it. You said he became a pacifist, right? That he taught Kelly to let go of anger, that it was no good for her. Anger and wolves go together like air and wind. I bet he knew what would happen if she one day had a rager. He probably thought he would be around when it finally happened though.”
Kelly and her Gran had gone silent at my soliloquy, both with full, wide eyes. The former’s were understandably still brimming with tears while Gran’s face had lost the look of defeat and regained some of her stubbornness.
“Kelly, we can discuss this at home, among family. Please.”
Kelly’s face was wrecked, and she seemed one family secret away from a mental breakdown. She looked up at me and I laid a hand on her shoulder. Enough of this shit. Margaret Wardwell had enjoyed the placid, nice, team playing Alpha for too long. No longer. If Kelly was half Were, it meant that I had a right to her, a claim. It was in her blood and that blood would be mine, was mine. I took this decision away from her and looked hard into Margaret’s eyes.
“Kelly is staying for the week, Margaret. She will be back to the commune in one week.”
She started to voice protest,
“Enough, Margaret!” I stormed. If the lady wanted to play into our roles, I would certainly give her the dominant Alpha and cruelly wipe all her machinations for Kelly away.
She shrank back into the seat and looked down at Kelly, her eyes back to brimming with tears. Fuck, ladies crying in my kitchen was not how I saw this morning going.
“Kelly, there is something you have to know. There...there is a reason why this... won’t work,” her eyes darting between us. “Why we have a treaty with the wolves, why we need them.”
I studied the old woman. When would this lady give it up, or was this going to end up in a case of elderly domestic violence? I let her have one more round,
“Kelly, you can’t kill anything.”
“A bit late, Gran. I’m eight or nine bodies deep.”
“No, it’s the intent that matters. But one death still isn’t good, that’s why I’m frightened for you, darling. When a Witch kills, anything, human, animal, do you know what it’s called?”
Kelly shook her head slowly, her face now wary.
“It’s called a sacrifice. Whether you dedicate it to someone at the time or not. It’s like racking up a tab, or getting extra credit on your card. It all adds up when you take a life.”
Alright, this was getting a little into the absurd, this lady had to officially leave. I began to step forward and show her Gran the door when Kelly blurted out.
“Adds up to what, to whom?”
Gran’s eyes shifted over to the fire.
“That’s for another time, at our home, in safety. But Kelly, it will do things to you, slowly. Each death will change you, and eventually... you will like it, you will like the new magic that comes with death.”
My mouth grew dry with the knowledge of what she was speaking. She was talking dark magic now. A time before we had the treaty with the Coven. The only reason my ancestors had considered them was because they professed to be different than those before, who used sacrifice for gain. Witches who practiced such things usually had alternative motives for wolves, none good. So the pack had a long history of avoiding them, or removing them when it was needed. You didn’t fuck with dark witches unless it was to do the world a favor and kill them.
Kelly started to open her mouth with more questions, but Margaret cut her off.
“That’s why you can’t be here, werewolves’ natural instinct is to kill. Whether it be an unfortunate man in the road, or a hare trying to get to his hole.” She now grabbed Kelly’s hand with vigor.
“Darling, it’s like being Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Your Hyde, the wolf, will kill things that Jekyll, the Witch, has to pay for later. You can’t stay here. Getting involved with these people will not end well. Natural instincts have natural ends.” Kelly’s eyes welled with tears, again. Hearing that her existence itself was a conundrum and that she would have to literally pay for it seemed to be the final straw. It was my fucking final straw alright when she said all werewolves will die violently.
Moving over to Margaret, I grasped her under the elbow and lifted, making her rise and moving her out of the kitchen and to the door.
“I think that will be enough, Elder Wardwell. Thank you for the visit, and Kelly will see you in a week’s time. I’ll take good care of her.”
Behind us, Kelly started to say something but I cut her off, now at the front door.
“Kelly, say goodbye,”
“Say goodbye, now!” I almost roared. Margaret and her granddaughter jumped at the sudden violence and my eyes drilled into Kelly’s, not giving an inch of wiggle room. Willing her to just fucking do it.
Kelly stilled and seemed to compose herself, leaning into her Gran.
“Goodbye Gran, see you next week,” she sniffled. Margaret finally seemed to understand she wasn’t dragging anyone out of here, willing or not, and straightened her posture back to proud after being manhandled. Giving me a dark gaze which I returned, she opened the door and walked across to a waiting white Ford Truck, where there looked to be a teenager in the front seat, ready to take her home. Without a backward glance, she climbed into the passenger side and the car took off, back up to the Res’ main road.
I watched the dust trails for a few minutes to make sure they were gone. Kelly, behind me, left to go back into the main hallway.
After the dust died, I closed the door and followed Kelly’s smell into my bedroom. She was sitting on the bed, her hands in her lap, examining them as if they were new to her. A breath I didn’t know I was holding escaped from my lungs.
Did that just really happen? I now knew why the wolf inside was driving me crazy over a few orgasms that the man loved. Kelly was part of me, part Were, most assuredly my 'mate'. Across the river the whole damn time. I wouldn’t be going against my nature or culture to have her, to be joined in every way possible. I had never heard of it happening before with a half Witch, but I never cared about tradition before.
I saw her in a new light, sitting on my bed, vulnerable. She was in a daze and now knew her real self for the first time. Closing my eyes, I listened for her heart, strong but dull, as if sadness had invaded it. Jesus, as sad as she was, I wanted her more for it. I wanted to take that away, to fuck that out of her until she could only see the good that had come out of today. She might have had her world rocked, but this might have been the greatest day of my life. My wolf was certainly proud and crooning.
,he thought from his back seat in my brain and I unconsciously nodded in agreement.
I sat down beside her and gently grabbed her chin to face me. Her eyes were still red and face splotchy, she didn’t know how to feel right now but she still met my gaze. I would show her. I leaned towards her and kissed her with deep, slow passion. She accepted it, easily. Breathing into her mouth to not break our connection, I pushed both her shoulders back so was laid flat and I joined her.
She moved her head to the side and I continued kissing her neck, feeling her pulse under my lips.
“Will, I’m not really in the mood right now.”
I slid my hands down her arms and grabbed both wrists, raising them up above her head and simultaneously covered her body with mine.
“Will, really,” she lightly protested.
Again, I ignored her. There was only one way this could end, and I was sick of this will they / won’t they game my brain was playing. Always afraid that she would either leave or be taken by force. I knew the answer now. I either lose her in another round with her Coven or I take the first step to keeping her. I had to make sure before I did it though.
“Kelly, you once said you thought too much about me. How?”
Her body stilled at the unexpected question and she kept silent.
“Do you dream about me?” Her eyes grew full as if I was encroaching on her private thoughts.
“Do you wonder what I’m doing when you should really be focusing on other things?”
She slowly nodded and I kept going.
“The night we met, had you ever seen anything like me, coming up to you at the fire?”
A tear escaped those full eyes and she nodded again. That was all I needed. No fucking geriatric bitch was going to snatch away what I had been tormented over, what I would happily be ripped to pieces defending.
I let go of her hands and leaned up, dragging her sweat pants down and off.
“Will. Really, this is not the time, please,” she stated. I unbuckled my jeans and pushed them down off of my hips, where my cock sprang free. I resumed my lean over her and grabbed her chin, so she was locked under me. I almost growled at her.
“Kelly, do you want us?” She knew I wasn’t asking about right now, she knew I was talking long term. She might hate the experience, but she would understand why I had to do it later. Her head nodded in agreement and I sighed, harshly whispering down to her.
“Kelly, you’re wolf and you’re mine.” Her face showed surprise, then anger.
“I am not anyone’s but my own.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. You think about me all the time, you dream about me. I bet you couldn’t last more than a few days now without seeing me, just like I you. We fucking own each other.”
She pursed her lips as if she was thinking of an argument, or was going to try to deny it. I dipped down to her and kissed her roughly, bruising her lips and mashing our tongues together. For a moment, she squirmed underneath me, as if trying to escape the words I said and my tongue in her mouth. After a minute of trying to wrestle out of my hold, she violently returned the kiss, attempting to match my fervor, to try and show me that no one could tell her what she was or wasn’t. Those fucking hard edges again.
I moved my left hand down to her groin and slid a finger inside her, she was already wet. Taking the initiative, I positioned myself and entered, a moan escaping from both our lips. She was still slick from the love we had made last night. As always with this woman, this would not last long. I hooked both of my arms around her knees and pulled them up to our chests, taking me deeper. In response, she threaded her arms through and grabbed my ass, pulling me in, digging her nails enough to sting, enough to try and hurt me.
I began moving inside her and set my concentration on my mouth, willing his canines to come out, to let him take over just a little. It would hurt her too much if it was just my teeth. I must have stilled because Kelly started to fuck me from beneath, rocking her hips up and down. Her arms leveraged themselves against my sturdy shoulders and her breath had become heavy with the exertion. After a few moments of trying to block out the pleasure she was forcing on me, I ran my tongue over my teeth and felt what I needed, more than what I needed. I looked down at her, her eyes closed and rumpled together in effort. Mine.
Her mouth gasped open and she moaned, “Will, I’m close.”
“Do it,” I replied, my voice sounding much more guttural than I anticipated. Fuck, I had shifted too much. She didn’t notice, but rather picked up the pace and started to grind up and down, her pussy starting to throb against me. I leaned down to her ear and whispered.
“This is going to hurt a little, hold on,” and she jerked her head back to look at me while she was coming. Her blue eyes widened and a scream was on the edge of her lips, held back by the breath taken by her orgasm. Fuck, I had definitely let him take over too much and turned enough to scare her. The wolf inside was loving it, sensing her fear, our control over her, and I began thrusting widely to reach my own orgasm with hers.
Bending down to the conclave where her neck met her shoulder, I found the soft spot that had been driving me crazy and bit deeply until Kelly’s blood flowed in my mouth and her scream filled my ears.