Chapter 7- A lesson in history
Waking up in an unfamiliar place is nerve racking. Jumping myself awake I launched myself out of the bed and the warm covers, spinning myself around trying to figure out where the hell I was.
After a minute of my heart beating like wild drums and my mind racing, I finally calmed myself down allowing myself to relax as everything that happened last night flooded back to me. I calmly allowed myself to sit back onto the bed and look around the room once more now that the room was lit with natural light.
At the foot of my bed lay an ottoman which I had not noticed the night before, on top of it lay my back that I had left in the woods when I changed into my wolf form. Feeling slightly creeped out that someone was in my room whilst I was asleep and I didn't hear them, I grabbed my back and started looking through it, making sure that everything was accounted for.
Smiling to myself that everything was where it should be, I felt my stomach growl in protest that I had not paid attention to it yet and given what it demanded. Food.
Sighing, I got out of bed and went in hunt for a bathroom. I didn't have to go far in my hunt as I found one of the doors in my bedroom led to a small yet modest bathroom. Allowing myself to freshen up, I changed into the only spare clothes that I have and made my way down to find a kitchen to make myself some food.
After searching for 10 minutes I picked up the familiar scent of bacon and sausages frying away. Again, my stomach growled even louder at this as my feet took on a mind of their own and whisked me away to the kitchen to settle my angry stomach.
The sizzling sausages in the pan were a welcomed smell as I made my way over to them, noticing that they were unattended and the fact that I didn't want them to burn I picked up the tongs and moved them around, feeling satisfied when the sausages sizzled even more.
Humming to myself I tended to the bacon and looked around the kitchen to see what else needed to be done. Smiling to myself I felt more comfortable than I had since I got here, cooking. Even though back at the pack it was a job for me to do sometimes I really enjoyed doing it.
Cracking some eggs into a new pan, I started to fry them off, when a noise from behind me made me jump. Whirling around I found a woman staring back at me, she was gorgeous with short brown hair and a slender build and yet she was not much taller than me, maybe 5'6 or 5'7.
I smiled in greeting as she walked over with a smile on her face.
"You must be Harlow, it's very nice to meet you." I was stunned into silence that she knew my name, I guess word spreads quickly around here. Nevertheless, I didn't want to be rude so I returned the greeting and turned back to the food to make sure that nothing was going to burn.
"It's nice to meet you too." I wasn't sure what else to say and felt a bit awkward but, it seems she didn't pick up on it and carried on as if we were old friends.
"I see you carried on cooking for me and for that I am grateful, it's not easy trying to cook for a whole pack with so little hands. You're a really good cook, it all smells delicious." Her voice was like smooth butter, it was so relaxing that I almost forgot what she was saying.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude. I was just hungry and I like cooking and I didn't want to see any of the food burn." Feeling worried that she might shout at me and I would get into trouble, I started backing up till I realised I no longer wanted to be the scared girl I once was.
I stood there, watching her as she smiled and shook her head at me.
"Don't be silly, I'm glad you came when you did, like you said, stopped the food from burning."
I allowed myself to relax and carry on cooking in comfortable silence, whilst the mysterious women worked next to me. We worked in perfect sync together. It was almost unnerving.
By the time we were finished we had enough food to feed an army, which I guess was pretty accurate as we did have a lot of hungry wolves to feed and you do not want to get in the way of a wolf and his food.
The sound of little feet pounding on the floor alerted me to the hoard of an army rushing to get their bellies full. The noise got louder, like drums coming closer and closer until they finally peaked over the hill and burst into full song.
The doors to the kitchen banged open and in came loads of hungry little children, with the biggest smiles on their faces, their arms outstretched waiting for food. Smiling back, myself and the lady next to me started handing out plates piled high with food, their parents stood in the back with smiles on their faces as they watched them march to their tables, their eyes fixed solely on the food on their plate.
After what felt like a lifetime, it looked like the whole pack had come down for breakfast which was a strange sight to me as at my old pack, only certain people were allowed in the pack house, you had to be invited for food. Everyone just ate in their homes. The further away your home was from the pack house the less important you were.
However, it seems that things worked differently here. As I gazed around the room I felt a hand land on my shoulder, tensing. I turned around but I already knew who was standing there. Ryker stood behind me with an unreadable expression on his face.
Stepping back to create some space between us I looked up into his eyes before quickly looking away, remembering from my old pack that it was seen as a sign of challenging or disrespecting the alpha.
He growled low enough that it startled me and the room fell silent, waiting in anticipation of what was going to happen.
"Look at me." His voice was low but didn't hold any threat of punishment, he wasn't angry and it wasn't a command I had to listen to if I didn't want to, but, there was something in his voice that made me look up at him anyway. I stared at him directly in the eyes without blinking till I felt my eyes burn but I did not give up.
When I thought I could no longer keep my eyes on him he finally spoke and allowed me to look away from his eyes down to his full lips. They were so round and pink, lovely and plush and I was curious to know what they tasted like.
I blinked out of my daze when I realised everyone was staring at me and I didn't know why.
"Harlow?" He seemed concerned and it was only then that I realised he had been talking whilst I stared at his lips like a creep.
"Erm, I'm sorry what did you say?" My voice came and shaky and quiet but I was too nervous having so much attention on myself all for not listening to the alpha.
He showed no expression on his face as he turned away from me and started walking towards the exit, over his shoulder he called for me to follow which I did.
We walked through corridor after corridor in quick pace never slowing down, Ryker swept through as fast as he could before walking through a big wooden door with intricate carvings on it, unfortunately I didn't get to have a good look before I was pulled inside the room and the door closed with a heavy bang behind me.
I could feel my nerves spike as I realised we were alone in a room together. Plucking up the courage I glanced up from where I was staring at my feet and found myself in awe of what I was seeing.
I was standing in the centre of the biggest library I had ever seen, there were floor to ceiling shelves with ladders scattered around to reach the top shelves. There were small balconies spread throughout the pillars of the walls. The room had white walls with gold features of swirls and other patterns that climbed up the pillars.
The ladders were a light wooden colour and all the books varied in shape and size. Looking right up at the ceiling it felt so far away, at least 20 feet away and it was painted with designs I could hardly make out.
Turning in a full circle I found Ryker leaning against one of the few tables that was spread throughout the floor to allow people to read and study. Stopping myself I let the excitement that had bubbled up in me deflate faster than a balloon and stared at my feet again. I could feel the anticipation of what was to come, I knew I was in trouble, just like I had been all my life at my old pack.
Instead the shouting never came, instead Ryker stood in front of me but he didn't seem angry or pissed off, he seemed concerned.
Gently he lifted his hand to my chin and pulled my face up to his. I flinched slightly as he made contact with my skin but I allowed myself to relax and think that maybe he wouldn't hurt me.
I stared into his eyes, as he stared into mine, his grey orbs swirling with mystery and sadness. It gave me a weird feeling that he could read my mind, that he knew what I was thinking, that I was scared he would hurt me.
Mates are supposed to love each other, I am physically hurt if they ever sleep with another wolf whilst mated. It is also rare but not unheard of, of a male wolf being so protective that they become abusive to their own mate.
Ryker's voce startled me as I was so lost in my own thoughts.
"Do you know how I became an alpha?" His voice was deep and calm as he stared back at me, willing me to answer.
I shook my head, not trusting myself to speak as I could feel my throat getting tighter as I started to panic.
"I become the alpha because I was chosen to be, I was not born into the position, the way most packs have an alpha picked. In this pack there is a ceremony, where the pack is allowed to choose who they think should be the next alpha, who has shown they are strong, yet kind, who is fierce, but also thinks before they act. I was chosen at nineteen, I mentored for two years under the old alpha before I took over and after a year in the position I have gained the respect and loyalty of not only my pack, but nearly all the packs in the country. making us one of the most powerful in the U.K" His voice was strong and I could tell he was proud of what he had achieved but, he wasn't boasting about it, more like he wanted me to understand him.
I had never heard of an alpha being picked for the pack and not born for the role but, it made more sense to me, Just because you are born into a certain family doesn't mean you will be the perfect person for that role, picking someone, everyone agrees on is the best way to stop conflict occurring in a pack.
It is more common now than it used to be, people fighting over who is the alpha, challenging each other as though they weren't going to lose their life over such a silly matter, all because they thought they could do a better job than their current alpha.
It did make me wonder though, if all the members of this pack could choose one person to lead them, that had only shown them they had the skills and potential and at twenty-two had gained the respect and loyalty then maybe I could try and open myself up to new opportunities.