The unification of the North and East Pack has slowly settled in on me and at times the power would become too much. I needed to shed my skin and run off the energy like a caged tiger. The monthly runs with the pack were always freeing, but there was nothing that could beat a solo run from the mountain tops of the North to the river through the East.
My wolf stopped at the river that separated what was once the North from the East. It was always taboo to enter the land on the other side without permission from both Alphas. But now? One of those Alpha’s were dead and the other shared my bed. We no longer had borders that divided us, we were known as one. And the attention Nick and I received as being Alpha and Luna to such a large and well-run territory was overwhelming. Like a viral video that spread faster than a wildfire. Packs from all over the world came to visit in hopes of becoming allies, but Nick and I agreed it would be best to decline. Becoming an ally to a whole pack is also being an enemy to another. Right now, we had no enemies besides a rogue Stefan that no one has heard from. Grayson has turned the entire South pack into an older version of the North’s, and I couldn’t be prouder. The South was our only ally, and Nick and I were happy with that.
One swift jump and I was on the other side of the river, my wolf taking off right after landing like I was being chased by an enemy. When in reality, the only wolf I was running from was myself. Being overwhelmed in a position of power was a daily anxiety of mine. The heavy weight of keeping everyone safe all the time was one that crushed me every time I laid in bed to sleep.
“Emma.” Nick’s wolf connected with mine.
“I’m here.” I answered.
“Please come home.” I smiled at his request.
“She’s early, isn’t she?” I didn’t know another wolf with as much patience as my mate, but when it came to Chloe, even his buttons were pushed.
“Exceptionally.” I chuckled and dug my paws into the ground to halt myself.
“I’m on my way.” I was meeting my best friend for tea at home while Kyle was out working another construction job. She didn’t do good sitting at home by herself lately, so she was always popping over and Nick was getting to his breaking point. I assured him, it wouldn’t keep happening, but I knew it was a lie.
When I emerged from the woods in our backyard, Nick was doing what he always did to give his mind some peace and quiet: splitting wood with his favorite axe. To my surprise, Chloe was sitting on the deck watching my shirtless mate. She straightened up and adverted her eyes when she saw me coming into view. Nick also paused what he was doing and stepped to the side to grab the shirt he was no longer wearing. He handed it to me, and I slid it over my naked body.
“Please entertain her elsewhere.” He muttered in my ear as he pulled me into a loose embrace. I smiled and pressed my lips against his cheek gently.
“I heard that!” Chloe called from the deck above.
“I meant it in the nicest way.” Nick muttered again.
“I know you did.” I pulled away from him and jogged up the stairs to meet my friend. “You’re early.” I commented.
“I know, I was just bored.” She said as she linked arms with me. “Oh, my Moon Goddess, Emma, you stink.” She covered her nose with her free hand.
“I had plenty of time to finish my run and come home to shower if you were on time.” I noted.
“I told you—”
“I know, I know. You get bored at home alone.” But I knew it was more than that. “Have you talked to Kyle about it?” I asked as I held the door for her.
“He doesn’t exactly listen.” She sat at the table and I put a pot of water on the stove. “He’s all work, work, work.” I couldn’t blame him, I used to be the same way.
“He’ll slow down soon enough, Chlo.”
“He better.” She huffed as she leaned back in her chair and rested her hands on her belly. “I’ve never done this before; I’m going to need help with the baby.” Chloe and Kyle were very early into their pregnancy when Daniel and Alex were married. They only found out a few weeks later and they were overcome with joy at the thought. I had to admit, I was worried for her. Not so much because of her pregnancy, it had been a breeze so far, but more so the fact that Dr. Stephanie had been taking care of them from the moment they found out. Chloe had nothing but great things to say about her, but I kept all my thoughts to myself for her sake.
“You’re going to laugh at this conversation a year from now.” I said as I sat at the table across from her. “He’s a first-time dad, just like you’re a first-time mom. He’s worried about providing for a baby now, he’ll back off work soon.”
“I know.” Chloe said with a nod. “I’m just worried she’s going to come while he’s working.”
“Labor isn’t fast, Chloe, he’ll make it.” Kyle and Chloe never ventured out of the North territory, so it wasn’t like either of them would be too far from the hospital. Some wolves who were born and raised in the North wanted to stay in the North and some wanted to go to the East, same as wolves from the East. Omegas were really the only ones who traveled between both on a daily or weekly basis.
“I worry too much, I know.” I laughed, knowing all too well it was true. The kettle on the stove whistled and I jumped to get it. I poured us both a cup while Chloe rambled on and on about how much she still has to do before her new baby daughter gets here. I could only imagine how overwhelmed she must feel. Being the sole purpose for your child coming into this world? No wonder Kyle doesn’t want her to do much around the house.
I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I didn’t realize Chloe had stopped talking. When I turned around with both of our teacups, I noticed why. My distraction clouded my scent to allow her to sneak up on us.
“Sorry.” Octavia said from the doorway. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.” Chloe and I just stared at her, waiting for her explanation. “I’ve been calling.” Calling? Damn. That stupid cell phone of mine was never with me, I don’t know why I have it.
“Sorry, I was on a run and I didn’t charge it.” I set Chloe’s teacup in front of her.
“I wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t—” She trailed off and looked Chloe up and down, like she was invading some kind of private conversation.
“Important?” I finished for her.
“Yeah.” She nodded and locked eyes with me. I knew what it was. With Octavia, it could only be one thing. Derek.