Hope Springs

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Chapter 17

For the next eleven months I learned as I could about werewolves, and I hung out with my friends as much as possible. Max had ended up finding my family and they were living in the house with us, since we still didn’t know if our house was safe. I had explained to my Dad that I had found out everything and that I still wanted to call them Mom and Dad even though they weren’t my birth parents. Maria and May, obviously weren’t told about me being adopted.

During that time I also spent a lot of time hanging out with members of the pack and had forged a close friendship with Leanne and another girl, Harper. Hadley, Rhea and I also spent a lot of time together. Rhea and Hadley had both started slowly and gently teaching me how to fight, and according to the two of them I was a natural.

My family had also adapted very well to living here. Dad had taken to teaching Maria everything he could about werewolves, and Maria had grown very close to many of the wolves. May and Mom seemed keen on avoiding the wolves and by extension me, for as long as possible. Dad said that Mom had claimed that she had wanted as much normalcy as possible in May’s life, but I had my doubts. On the outside though these people were normal. She must have some sort of prejudice against werewolves, which would make sense since her parents were part of Loup Chasseur.

“Hey,” Rhea greeted, walking into the kitchen. Her hair was in a messy bun, and she was wearing a tank top and black spandex shorts. Strands of hair were framing her face. She headed to the fridge to grab a water bottle.

“Hey,” I finally answered, “How is training going?”

She flashed a smile at me before resuming rummaging through the fridge. “It’s fun,” she opened the door of the fridge further, “It’s always fun. I can’t wait until you can join us.”

“I have to shift first,” I answered. While I was okay with them being werewolves, I wasn’t entirely certain that I was okay with being a werewolf, it would be a big change. I didn’t like it when things changed and so I was still a little wary about being a werewolf.

It wouldn’t be that bad since I had my friends with me, and Max. In the almost year since I found out about everything, Max and I had only grown closer. He often spent time with me, and we went on a few not-dates. Our not-dates mostly consisted of us watching movies, and even then Max seemed to have trouble focusing on the movie. He also spent a lot of time filling me in about what the first shift would be like, and for many of the month he spent almost all of his time with me.

It had become abundantly clear to me that Max was in love with me and I was beginning to have strong feelings for him. But, I still wasn’t quite sure on how I wanted the relationship that we had to progress. I was terrified that it would start to move too fast, but right now it wasn’t moving fast enough. I sighed. This werewolf stuff was oh so complicated.

“Trinity,” Rhea asked and I glanced at her. “How do you feel?”
“Fine,” I answered, “Why?”

“You look really flushed,” Rhea answered, “You could shift a few weeks early, it’s happened before. It might happen to you since you’ve met your mate.”

I shrugged, “I honestly feel-” A wave of dizziness crashed over me and my view became hazy. I shook my head, trying to clear it. “I felt fine,” I corrected, “But I can’t shift yet. My eighteenth birthday isn’t until October fifteenth.”

“It is October first,” Rhea pointed out, “Two weeks until your birthday. So it isn’t that early.” She shifted on her feet, “Let me go get Max, he can guide you through your first shift.”

“But,” I started, then said, “Rhea I don’t feel different. A little dizzy and a little warm, yes but if I was really going to shift wouldn’t I feel different?”

Rhea shook her head, “No. You wouldn’t really feel all that different, not until after you shift. But we should get you outside, because we really don’t want you to shift while you are in the house. Mr. Judge would be really mad.”

I nodded. I still didn’t fully believe that I was close to shifting but Rhea knew more about shifting than I did, since she had been a werewolf longer so I had to trust her. Rhea grabbed my arm, leading me out of the house and I exhaled with relief as the cool autumn air hit my skin. I sat down on the ground, putting my head in between my knees and breathing through my mouth. Rhea laid her hand on my shoulder, and said something but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was more preoccupied by the crawling of my skin.

I leaned back on my hands, looking around and searching for Max. I wanted him here. I felt safer when he was here. My fingers dug into the earth and I felt a bone pop. I tried to stifle my scream and Rhea took a few steps away from me.

“Max will be here soon Trinity,” Rhea said, “It’s okay. The first time you shift always hurts the most.”

I nodded, biting down on my lip hard enough to taste blood as three more bones popped in succession. I twisted, clawing at the ground and trying not to scream as more bones popped.

“Trinity,” Max said, kneeling beside me and cradling my head. When had he gotten here? “It’s okay,” he soothed, “It’s okay. Sh, love, it’s okay.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks and Max brushed them away with his thumbs as more bones popped. At some point I must have blacked out because when I awoke things were slightly discolored. I was laying on my side, and I didn’t feel the pain anymore. I lifted my head, inhaling and noticing how I could smell better. My eyesight and hearing were also better. I glanced down at where my hands should be and found paws instead.

So I had shifted. Instead of freaking out, I felt a strange sense of relief.

“Hey Trinity,” Max murmured, scratching my head. I snapped my teeth at him and he laughed. How do I talk to him? “Mind link,” Max reminded me, tapping his temple. “Remember, I told you about it. You won’t be able to talk to Rhea because you aren’t an official member of the pack, but you’ll be able to talk to me.”

Like this? I tried and Max beamed at me. His blue eyes were bright with happiness and I huffed, laying my head down on the ground. Max grabbed me, and hauled me so that I was half on his lap. Max, what are you doing?

“I want to be close to you,” Max answered, “My wolf felt that you were too far away, and I agreed with him.”

But you didn’t have to drag me, I pointed out. You could have just told me. I paused, What do I look like?

“You look beautiful,” Max murmured, “Your fur is black and you are tiny, smaller than the average wolf. You have a few flecks of gold and white in your fur and your eyes are a beautiful golden color.” He smiled at me, “Rhea already took a picture of you so when you shift back you’ll be able to see what you look like.”

When I was shifting, did I pass out?

Max nodded the smile fading from his face. “It was very painful for you,” He murmured, absentmindedly stroking my head. “I almost thought that you weren’t going to make it. You passed out because of the pain, and I was so worried. But you did make it.”

Being a white wolf isn’t any fun, I murmured, I’d much rather be a regular wolf.

“But where would be the fun in that?” He questioned, “Besides Trin, you are a white wolf because you apparently have a pure soul.”

Are there any other white wolves? In all the months that we had spent together and how close we had become I had never once asked this question. I had assumed that there were but I wasn’t entirely sure.

“I don’t know,” Max answered, “There might be but I don’t keep tabs on other wolves. My father and I only look out for the pack. Do you want to try shifting back yet Trinity?”

No. I want to learn how to walk, and fight as a wolf, I answered. If I shift back now I won’t learn anything. When I do shift back will it be painful?

“It shouldn’t be,” Max affectionately stroked my back, “I’ll shift and I’ll show you around the territory and then the training will begin.”

I blinked and crawled off of his lap. Being a wolf felt so strange, but at the same time it felt right. I sat back on my haunches and watched Max as he talked to Rhea and Hadley, who must have arrived after I had passed out.

Max shifted and I stayed still as he came towards me, nuzzling me affectionately and nipping at my shoulder.

Let’s go.

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