I could feel his eyes watching my movements as roman helped me out of my hospital bed that afternoon. After I shared what had happened that night he seemed to just nod and move on as quickly as he could. Even though he was trying to not push me or make me relive that night or the years after it I could feel he wanted to ask. He wouldn’t ask, and I knew that but I also knew it was hard for him not too. When we were children we had only known each other for a short while but I can still remember him always asking a thousand questions with a huge giddy smile on his face. little roman had all but worn my father down about why we could have ice cream within an hour with his questions until father finally gave up and let us have the ice cream.
I try to push my dads worn and exhausted smile out of my mind. It had taken roman an hour or two to get things settled with the doctor before we were allowed to leave, Roman holds the door open wide as I slowly walk out the hospital doors. The sun shine’s brightly into my eyes as I try to get my baring’s. Roman had told me that the pack hospital wasnt far from the pack house yet still far enough that someone in my condition would need to drive rather then walk. I didn’t know why but when the doctor had sad I couldn’t walk I could feel my wolf winter wanting to challenge him. I may be injured but winter, winter was ready to tear down whole buildings just to prove she could. When I can finally see again I look around, the hospital was completely surrounded by forest tree’s. I look back and notice despite how large the hospital had looked, it was really just a large one floor building. Actually it looked more like a warehouse then a hospital with its tan brick walls. The large forest tree’s toward over us almost completely covering the view of the sky as loud birds sing around us in the canopy.
It was hard to imagine the last time I had sat in the forest just listening to the birds songs. It felt calming to both me and my wolf. I had just a few times that I have been able to roam free in the forest as a wolf. The fresh air breeze pulling the smell of tree’s and running water, until that same intoxicating smell of cinnamon and the forest, it was an odd combination to say the least and yet it made both me and winter want to howl with delight. My eyes turn to roman, as I delight for another moment in his scent. This could possibly the most relaxed I have been in years, and yet I still felt on edge. Roman looks over at me then taking in my large blue shirt that smelled like him and black tights that smelt like another female. When he had first brought them to me I didn’t really mind wearing his shirt, but when the tights got even close to me I could feel winter getting ready to growl. It had taken me a moment to get her to relax enough to get dressed.
“Are you okay?” Roman asks once again. It had been his hundredth time asking me that since I first stood out of that bed. I think if anyone else was asking I would have murdered them but romans eyes are just filled with worry. I faintly smile trying my best to comfort him with my façade. “I’m fine.. it’s just..” I stop myself. I don’t like how much I felt relaxed around roman, it was nice but it felt like I was always on the verge of spilling my guts to him. “What,? Are you still in pain?” HIs face fills with fear. Actually I haven’t felt much pain, walking was taxing and seemed to send bolts of pain through my stomach but the pain medicine the doc gave me seemed to really do the trick.
Or its because we have our mate! Winter taunts.
“No, I’m okay. I just haven’t been out in the forest in a long time, Its nice.” I mumble out that last part. Didn’t like talking about my feelings and yet I hated seeing his face so sad and worried. Roman nods slightly looking out around the forest. And part of me actually felt like he understood. “My beta will be here soon to pick us up... I would have driven us their myself but I didn’t want to leave you alone in the hospital.” He explains and I think I catch a slight pinking of his cheeks as he once again scratches the back of his head right at the top of his neck. Suddenly I hear a car driving up in front of us as a large black four door truck tumbles up to us as dust from the dirt road picks up behind it. The sudden arrival catches me off guard as I slip back behind roman seeking for cover from who ever was in the truck. I didn’t like that I get scared so easily like a puppy. And yet I couldn’t help myself, fear seemed to hit like a boulder wrestling away all sense of pride and dignity it seems.
A man jumps out from the truck and I wasnt sure what to say except whisper, “Tristan?” I was astonished and even skeptical that he was in front of me. Tristan was the son of my families pack beta, His full name was Tristan Ichiro Huang. As children everyone seemed to call him Ichiro, nodding at his Asian descent. His once short jet black hair was now shoulder length pushed behind his ears. He was tall almost as tall as roman, who toward over Tristan when we were children. Tristan was muscular his black t-shirt allowing me to see his toned biceps. He wore grey shorts and a pair of old worn out converse on his feet. He looked the same as he did before but older his once dark brown eyes now stronger even bolder, it was remarkable. I poked further out from behind roman questions swirling in my head.
Tristan was one of my closest friends as a child, which was how our parents wanted it. He was the beta’s son and was slated to take on the Beta role as I was to take the Alpha role when our fathers stepped down. I had seen a lot of people die that night including his parents, they had both been gutted in the foyer of the families pack house. They had been a by each other’s sides since they turned 18 and they died holding each others hands. I had though Tristan dead as well, I though they were all gone. Tristan saunters over happily to us slowing then stopping a few feet away from roman and me, slightly hiding behind him. Something coursed through me then at the sight of him there, alive and I don’t know what possessed me to but my tongue was moving before I could stop it. “Your suppose to be dead!” I say eyeing him. To say I wasnt the only one stunned at my out burst is an understatement.
Tristan’s face bursts into a smile a few seconds later an small goofy laugh slipping through. ” Its nice to see you too.” He jokes. Part of me wanted to shew him out and the other wanted to hug him, instead I choose to stay quiet. “I guess she remembers you Tristan.” Roman says reaching out his hand waiting for the keys. Tristan tosses roman the keys placing both his hands in his pockets. I really wanted to ask him about everything, how he survived? how he ended up with roman? and even more how he ended up as beta of romans pack?
I slowly make my way to the truck roman following cautiously behind me ready to catch me if I stumble. “Roman?” I ask sheepishly, I hated being weak. After years of being forced to act weak to stay alive I didn’t want to loo weak again. “Yes, Gaby?” He says stepping beside me. I falter a moment at that nickname. I haven’t heard it since that night, it didn’t feel like me anymore and yet it was nice to have something from before. ” I need help, into the truck.” Roman immediately realizes this and opens the front passenger’s seat then placing both his hands either side of my waist easily lifts me up into the seat. Spark shoot from his hands on my waist up my abdomen and I try to ignore the pleasure it gives me. Roman steps up onto the foot rest and reaches over to buckle me in, as he does I’m painfully aware of how close his face is to mine. A slight panic hits then, a mix of motions coming with it. I liked the closeness but t scared me half to death to have someone so close. Roman finishes buckling me in and closes the door moving to the driver’s seat as Tristan sits on the left side behind him.
I silently thanked him for not sitting behind me, I didn’t like not being able to see everyone else around me. The men who had me taught me quick to always have others insight or they can get the jump on you. I curl my legs up to my chest trying my best to avoid the smell of the other girl on my tights. As we take the short drive my eyes don’t leave the rearview mirror. My eyes watching every move Tristan made, and if he noticed he didn’t say a word. Finally I have to ask. “Ichiro?” I mutter half ready to jump ship on my question. “Yes Elle?” He happily responds. I try to not show my sputter at that old nickname he had for me. While roman always called me Gaby, he was the only one who did. Every one else tended to call me Elle. “What happened?” I ask. I now good well that the question didn’t make much sense and yet I knew he understood what I was asking.
“That night I was up late learning about some beta tasks when the howls began. I was ordered to stay in the office and my dad left to fight, But hey you know me! I always did stupid stuff so I followed him out. I watched him find my mom in the foyer, I was going to go down and help when Romans father grabbed me. He took me and the other children out the back door and got us away from the fighting. When we saw what had come of the pack and.... our parents, He brought us back with him.” He finishes. And I didn’t know how to respond. All this time I thought they were gone, I had felt each and every tether shatter. I wouldn’t have known of the other children, they wouldn’t have joined the pack bond yet. I lean back against the seat my eyes watching outside the window as tree’s flash by. “How many?” I don’t look at him.
“About ten of us survived.” Ichiro’s words weren’t filled with happiness anymore but remorse and grief. My pack was in shambles, and yet their was still a small ounce of hope, my people weren’t completely lost.