It took all my willpower to not chase after them. I wanted to check on George, and I didn’t want people to gossip about him. He wasn’t supposed to take the downfall for something that was my fault. If it wasn’t for me, it all wouldn’t have happened.
I sighed and grabbed a broom to clean up the remains of my pendant. I stared at the little pieces on the dustpan, mesmerized by how beautiful they looked. The pendant might have some crazy magical powers that messed something up with me, but it was the last thing my mother handed me. She must have had a reason for wanting me to wear it. And I cherished it.
I grabbed a bigger piece of what was left of the pendant and inspected it more closely. Now I understood the fascination Gunnar seemed to have with it earlier. There was a slight tingle under my fingertips where the skin touched the surface, making it feel weirdly comforting. I shook my head and threw it back into the dustpan, and straight into the garbage bin. It might be better if I finally got rid of it before more things happen because of it.
Since it broke, I felt on edge, as if something was stirring awake inside me. Perhaps they are right, and my wolf was close to the surface now, but it still didn’t feel the same as it did before. Many years had passed since she left, so it wasn’t impossible when she returns to me now that she would be different, too. Especially considering she had been locked away for so many years. How would I feel if I had been locked away? Probably angry, frustrated, and thirsting for revenge.
She had no time to come to terms with what had happened, and even I still struggled. I couldn’t understand why my mother handed me a necklace that would cause such a thing to happen. Our wolf was a strong anchor for our soul. Losing it was like losing myself. It took me so long to adjust to this suffocating feeling of not being complete, missing part of myself, only be thrown back again now.
I fell onto the sofa and glanced at the broken coffee table. I couldn’t believe I broke it without major injuries. My back and head were aching, but that was all. Not sure how I was supposed to explain that to my employer. Technically, I destroyed their property.
Pulling the blanket over me, I rested my eyes for a moment. My life might change completely if my wolf came back again. I had gotten so used to this small space, a small circle of friends, and being around many humans, which is the complete opposite of how wolves live in their community.
In certain ways, I’m thankful that I got to experience life a bit differently. Even before the incident happened, my parents offered me a rather free lifestyle, without worry or the pressure of a strict pack hierarchy. But it still wasn’t the same as living the way I did the past eight years.
I got up again and left my bungalow. Breathing a bit of fresh air might help me with my thoughts, and with the throbbing headache, too.
It was a wonderful spring day and if all this crap didn’t happen, George and I could have gone for a walk, enjoying the weather, or a run would have been amazing, too, if some kind of magical bonfire hadn’t knocked me off my feet because it didn’t like my necklace. The fall on my coffee table didn’t help with those bruises, either.
I walked in the opposite direction of the center to hide from the noise and other people I usually enjoy so much. But I didn’t want to see all these happy families right now.
For a moment, I enjoyed the peace and quiet. Only listening to the sounds of birds singing in the background and the rustling of the leaves when the wind brushed through them. Sometimes I imagined packing my things and moving to a remote area, somewhere I was completely alone. No other humans, no wolf packs, only me and nature. It sounded unrealistic, but it calmed me to think about a future like that. George would probably never join me on such a journey, though. He loved the comfort of having his family close by and the easy access to the church and its community. I didn’t grow up with a religion or traditions, but it was as normal as breathing for him and filled him with so much joy. Just like the traditions of Gunnar’s pack seemed to make his people so happy, too. After witnessing it firsthand, I could see why, and I wouldn’t be able to rip George away from what brought him happiness.
I kicked a small stone in front of me and watched it flying over the pavement. I continued kicking it out of my way until it flew into the grass.
Soon I was restless and unfocused again. It was almost as if I was waiting for something to happen while hoping nothing would happen at the same time. I braced myself for something, but I didn’t know what it was exactly.
George and I still didn’t talk about everything properly. A heavy feeling settled in my stomach thinking about talking to him again. I didn’t know what to tell him or how to explain what happened. Would he be able to remember the exploding pendant, or would the alcohol he had before he came to see me stop him from remembering? This would be at least one positive thing about his recent change of heart when it came to that. But that wasn’t the only thing that had changed. He always used to be a jealous man, but this sort of mistrust was something he had never shown before. Granted, he also never saw glimpses of what my life would involve if I were a wolf. That only started when Gunnar entered the scene. And explaining that to him would make me seem even more guilty.
I didn’t want to admit it, but this proved why wolves usually keep to themselves. I know Gunnar had a point, but just because it was hard didn’t mean it was impossible. Jelto had been with his human girlfriend for years now, too. So far, I didn’t hear about any accidents.
I wasn't exactly sure how much time had passed and where I was going, but I was surprised when I ended up in front of Gunnar’s and Tyra’s bungalow. It was almost as if they were pulling me towards them without me realizing it.
Unsure if I wanted to see them, I walked up and down the path in front of their door, before Tyra stepped outside and called out to me.
“If you don’t stop pacing around, there won’t be any ground left. Come in.”
She opened the door wider, and I hurried inside, looking around to check if someone else was with her.
“I’m alone,” Tyra said and walked past me to settle down on the sofa. She switched off the television, and I had the feeling of intruding during a moment of quiet for her.
She patted the spot next to her. “Come here, it’s okay.”
I sat down, fumbling with the hem of my cardigan. “Sorry for dropping by unannounced.”
“Oh please, I don’t mind guests, announced or not. People from the pack sometimes drop by in the middle of the night. That’s how things are.”
I shrugged. “I wouldn’t know”
“Every pack handles things differently, after all.”
“We were always more of a big family than a pack, but that doesn’t mean we were all close. You are a lot larger than we were, and you still seem like a huge family. I’m surprised it’s working so well.”
“Gunnar always tries to keep us together,” she said. “My late husband also had that kind of concept in mind.”
“Your husband sounds like a good person,” I said, even though I struggled to imagine what sort of person he was exactly. But if he was like Gunnar, and had a big heart for his pack, he probably was a great alpha.
She nodded with a soft smile. “He was a wonderful alpha and the best husband. He was such a lovely father, too. Everyone in the pack liked him for his strength, honesty, and loving personality. He had an open ear for everyone and was able to slip into so many roles. He was a father, mentor, friend, and brother. When he died, we lost a huge part of our pack’s soul.”
I wanted to drop the topic, so she wouldn’t have to think about what she had lost, but it intrigued me to know more.
“How did the pack deal with his loss?”