A new beginning
five years ago
I don’t know what went through my mind when I agreed to meet that crazy man, but it’s too late to back off now.
I look around the empty, narrowed hallway that reeked of old dumpsters. He could kill me. He could, and yet, here I am.
Perhaps it was the expensive black suit he was wearing that made me trust him. Or that rich man cologne that every female liked, or even better, the changing color of his eyes used as proof to make me come here; from dark black eyes to a vibrant blue color that contrasted perfectly with that dark chocolate skin of his.
I shake my head. It’s not the time to reminisce about our weird encounter. With trembling hands, I open the crooked door and walk inside complete darkness. My eyes blink, starting to glow a bright green color, that for some Gods’ forsaken reason, reminded my dad of healthy watermelons.
My eyes roam around the place. It’s empty, but there’s another closed door in front of me. A chill runs down my spine as I walk ahead. I start praying to all the Gods my mind can think of, hell, even Ares, and he’s a bastard.
My heart is fiercely clenching in my chest, but I swallow it down and open the second door. There’s a blinding light that makes me squint my eyes and loud chatters ring in my ears.
How did I not hear them from outside? Soundproofed, perhaps?
I blink a few times, fixing my blurry vision. I gasp. There are at least ten people like me. Some have their human ears shifted into their felines’, and others only have their animal’s tails out. I know it’s not a huge number of people, but to me, it means everything. I’ve only known one person who was part-human and part-cat, but I didn’t see him after high school anymore.
His name was Xavier Lyon. He was everything I wanted to achieve: confident, charming, and an open book. The girls swooned for him, and the boys respected him. He didn’t have to try hard to fit anywhere. He didn’t care about other people’s opinions and just acted like himself. I was envious of him.
Hell, I still am.
And after five years, here he is, dominating the scene as always with his laugh booming in the vacant room. I’m unable to move, my gaze fixed on him. His penetrating yellowish eyes are glowing with his ears freely in their animal form.
Round, brown furry lion ears perked up, matching with his caramel complexion tainted with artistic tattoos. His curly hair is gone, and now he has brown dreads pulled up in a ponytail. He couldn’t be more handsome.
I was among the girls who swooned for him.
“Alexa! I’m so glad you made it,” a girly voice says. Everyone stops speaking to look at me.
I clear my throat, flashing them a smile. “Never thought I’d participate in a werecats meeting.”
They blink at me as a dark-skinned girl with long straight hair hooks her arm around mine. “There’s a first time for everything. Now, come sit with us,” she says, pulling me further inside the room.
A white room that only has colorful pillows on the ground and snacks scattered everywhere.
My heart skyrockets when she places me beside Xavier. I stay quiet, not knowing what to say as the chatters come back. The girl grabs some snacks and shoves them on my lap. “Eat. They’re good. I’m Gabriella, by the way.”
I nod, opening the pack of cookies. “Alexa Reeds,” I quietly say.
I feel my hair being touched on the other side, my head snaps toward the invader. Xavier is smiling at me, his face a bit too close. “Red. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” he says, tucking a strand of my red hair behind my ear.
“I’m surprised you remember,” I say, casting my eyes away from him.
“Of course I do. I will never forget a werecat. Plus, I even considered you my closest female friend.”
Until I started falling in love with you and self-sabotaged our friendship for a stupid crush.
I sigh, briefly closing my eyes. It’s been five years since then, a lot has happened. I give him a genuine smile. His face is still too close to me. “Let’s focus on the present, alright?”
He frowns and opens his mouth only to be interrupted by the man that lured me here, who is now standing in the middle of the room with crossed arms. “Well, what can I say? Thank you, everyone, for coming here so late at night,” he starts, “I’m Richard Fang and a white tiger. I’ve been looking for you for a long time, but it’s worth it. I know we’re not a lot, but it’s a start for what I have in mind.”
Everyone is silent as we watch him take out his phone, do something, and pass it to the first person beside him. It’s an Asian boy with the cutest cheeks that I want to squeeze to death!
“Please, pass it to the others. What you are looking at is a picture of our home situated in The Lake Of The Woods. My goal is to integrate the werecats back to society after centuries of being killed on sight and kicked out of towns, forcing us into hiding,” he says as Gabriella passes the phone to me.
My eyes widen. Wow... How can he have such an expensive phone? It’s big, and I have to hold it with two hands, afraid of it slipping from my grip. I focus on the picture shown, and sure enough, it’s a house, but not any house. It looks like a freaking villa!
The picture was taken from above, so I see the house surrounded by water and a tiny part behind filled with trees. The front yard is also vast.
Someone whistles from beside me. I follow the sound finding Xavier’s breath on my neck, his eyes looking at the picture as well. “And here I thought I was wealthy enough,” he murmurs, impressed.
My breath hitches for how close he is, and I quickly pass the device to him before focusing on Richard again.
He’s still wearing the black suit from our encounter. Has he been working all day? It’s midnight now, so he shouldn’t be.
“I hope I’ll get everyone on board with my plan,” he says with hopeful, dark eyes.
Well, since he wants to create a group of werecats...
“You want a Clowder,” I say, replaying every word I heard him say in my mind.
He throws a small smile. “I want a public Clowder, for now.”
My eyes narrow at him. “And later?”
“We’ll think about it later.” He shrugs. “Now, I’ve read the rules for a species going public, and I need a left and right hand. I thought about it, and I think Xavier and Alexa will be perfect for it. Of course, everything will be paid. It’s an important role, after all.”
An inked arm comes around my shoulders, my body gets pulled toward Xavier’s hard chest. I glance up, seeing him smile at me. “Looks like we’re partners again,” he says, throwing a wink.
He didn’t change at all.
I return the smile, hugging him sideways and looking back at our new leader. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Richard says, nodding toward us.
I mimic his action, although I still have a few questions in mind, such as, “What are we getting paid for exactly?”
“Xavier is good with physical training, and I know your brain has a lot of information about our world. Don’t worry, you’ll see your value when we’ll be there. I chose all of you first because I know you’re all done with education, and lucky me, you’re not working yet. So what do you think? Do you want to be a part of the future first public clowder?” he asks, receiving ‘hell yeah’ from everyone, including Xavier.
Richard’s smile widens. “Perfect! We’re moving to the house tomorrow first thing in the morning. A car will come to pick everyone up, so when you want, you can leave and start packing.”
The chatters start all over again, but way more energetic than before while I spot Gabriella stand up and follow Richard outside.
I pull away from Xavier to grab some more snacks. “So, where did you disappear after high school?” I ask.
He steals an M&M from me and throws it in the air, catching it with his open mouth. “College, of course. They were the best years of my life. You?”
“Same, although I don’t know if they were the best years for me,” I say, releasing a sigh.
His eyebrows knit in a way that makes his face look at me with pity. “You settled down, I assume.”
I nod. “Yeah, with an arse of an Alpha.”
His eyes pop out. “A wolf. Now I’m intrigued. What happened?”
“Nothing. I realized I was in a toxic relationship and broke it off. He was manipulative, possessive, and so damn arrogant. We had perfect chemistry in bed though, so that was good.” A smile tugs at my lips at the thought of all the sleepless nights we spent.
Xavier’s eyes openly scan me up and down as if he’s never done it before, stopping at my chest. “They’re bigger than I remember,” he says as I pull the neckline of my sleeveless white shirt higher.
“They’re not. I just used to wear baggy clothes,” I say with goosebumps crawling up in my body. Xavier’s gaze is making my skin feel hot and bothered.
We spend the rest of the night talking and don’t stop even after everyone left to prepare for tomorrow. He made me laugh a lot, and I can’t help but tease him, loving how he would do the same with ease.
“Do you think we’ll be able to go public?” Xavier asks as we’re lying on the ground, side to side. “I don’t even remember the last time I released my scent to the world,” he adds.
Our eyes are staring at the ceiling. “I trust Richard. The guy is crazy enough to build a villa for us. I imagine he’s been planning it his whole life,” I say.
“I can’t even imagine a future where we don’t have to watch our back twenty-four seven.” Xavier sighs.
A small smile tugs at my lips. It’ll be a dream come true the day werecats aren’t anyone’s enemy anymore.
Hope you liked it! Daily update for this book as well. Let's do thissss x