Huddled in my coat, I wait. The rain is pouring down, threatening to soak through my only protection from the biting cold. I knew it was going to happen tonight; I could feel it. I was unsure how I knew, I just knew, or what this odd feeling was. All I knew was it was going to happen tonight.
The sun had set about an hour ago, leaving the world in that odd in-between state. Not quite yet night, yet not entirely dark. I could still see clearly with my human eyes. There was no need to call my other half forward. No one knew I could already access my enhanced wolf hearing; it was one of the little things I could already do, and I wanted to keep it to myself.
I hated waiting. It seemed to be the only thing I did lately. Everyone else around me was so busy all the time, doing everything and anything they could to keep him happy. Goddess, even thinking about him infuriated me. Mason! His only reason to be on this earth was to torment me, to make my life a living hell. Not that anyone would believe me when I complained about his constant teasing and pranks. Goddess, he was annoying.
Mason is the Alpha’s son. Most would call him my brother of sorts, but he’s not, not really. The Alpha and his Luna took me in when I was a baby. I know very little about that time or why I needed to be adopted, yet I live in the pack house with my so-called family. Alpha Michael was great. He was powerful but fair and had the perfect amount of kindness and understanding, making the whole pack love him. Shame that his eldest son wasn’t cut from the same cloth.
The wind picked up and blew the hood of my coat backwards, allowing an icy chill to go down my spine. I shiver, bringing my focus back to the here and now, no longer on the annoyance of my life.
Crouching down, I creep closer. I cannot get caught snooping. If I do, then there will be hell to pay. The elders and the Alpha of the Winter Moon Pack were gathering in the clearing ahead of me. I could see Michael approach the first elder. Michael looked every bit the Alpha I knew he was. Tall, around six foot six with broad shoulders. He was perfectly toned and lean, not an ounce of fat visible on him. His black hair, dusted with natural silver accents, was pulled back out of his eyes and secured at the nape of his neck. He looked amazing! No way did he look like a man pushing fifty.
Anticipation tickled the inside of my belly; I was nervous yet excited. Bouncing on the balls of my feet, I impatiently watch the group before me. My Auburn hair kept slipping out of my hood. It never stayed where I wanted it. It was as if it had a life of its own, unruly and often in a crazy frizzy state. I pushed it back inside my hood for the fifth time! Nothing was going to distract me from what the Alpha had to say.
“Arthur, thank you for coming at such short notice” Michael shook the hand of the older man.
“Not a problem, Michael; I’m happy to be included.”.
“Once everyone arrives, we will begin the meeting!” Michael informs him
“I must ask, why are we meeting here and not at the Packhouse like usual?” Arthur questioned.
“Some things need to be a little more private old friend, that is all” Arthur nods, seeming satisfied with this answer.
I watched as more of the elders entered the clearing. I had met most of them many times. All were kind to me, even though I was not originally a member of their pack. That was except for Moira. She has always hated me. Michael says it is all in my head, that Moira loves me, that she is just a little bit rougher around the edges than most. I scoffed at that thought, almost giving myself away. Werewolves have the most impeccable hearing; I should have known better than to make any noises around this lot.
I wouldn’t have to wait very long; all the other council members had arrived. All seven, including Michael, were present.
“Can we please get on with this!” a prissy-sounding woman spoke up. Of course, it was Moira addressing the others. She had a way about her, making her seem more important than she was, not that she allowed anyone to know it. She felt she deserved a higher status within the pack being the only female elder on the council.
“Yes! we can start!” Michael’s voice rang out.
Silence fell when he spoke in his alpha voice. All eyes were on him. Cramp was threatening to take hold of my calves. I was crouching most uncomfortably. There was nothing I could do now; I had waited too long to miss out on what would be said.
“As you know, Ayla Is turning eighteen next week. Her wolf will be free to come forth when she goes through her first change” he paused. “We do not know what this will mean as she is not one of our own.” Michael was interrupted by tutting; he glared at the sound, and a low rumble could be heard from his chest. The atmosphere of the clearing changed instantly. Everyone felt on edge at the Alpha’s anger.
“The Winter moon Pack has not seen eye to eye with The Sun Valley Pack for many generations now!” he spoke. Those words crashed into my head like a boulder smashing into a building on demolition day.
“We do not know if Ayla’s wolf will accept us or if she will reject us as her pack. She will not care that we raised Ayla from a baby. She will know we are the wrong people, not her people!” he sighed.
I knew my whole life I wasn’t from this pack originally; I stood out like a sore thumb. I took a lot of stick for it too. Firstly My unrulily Auburn hair wasn’t the only difference. I had golden-coloured eyes and a few freckles across my nose. I wasn’t as tall as the other girls my age either. They all had tall, lean frames, with perfectly straight blond or light brown hair. Whereas I barely pushed five foot three with curves all over the place. They looked like perfect pale models, whereas, with my unusual hair colour, tanned skin, and golden eyes, I just did not fit in.
Moira’s shrill voice soon snapped me out of my thoughts.
“So, what you’re saying, Alpha, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever,” she said, her voice piercing through my ears. She grates on most people, even though they wouldn’t admit it. The last person who said anything to her was worse for wear, thanks to her three massive sons. “So, we just have to allow this to happen and hope for the best?” she spoke with her hands pointedly placed on her hips and her eyebrows raised. Goddess, I hated her.
Michael sighed; he knew she would be hard work; she always was. Moira could always find faults to make herself the centre of attention in each situation.
“I am saying that we should be ready for anything. Ayla does not know who her true pack is. It was not her choice; she did not choose to be abandoned in our territory; she is not the one to blame here,” Michael answered, putting enough clout behind his words to quieten the nosey old she-wolf, even if she wasn’t happy about it. “Ayla is like a daughter to me. I will not allow anything to happen to her. I need you all to be ready for her change, just in case. I’m hoping her wolf will accept us as her pack as Ayla has.
Was The Sun Valley Pack my actual Pack? I struggled to get my head around it. It made sense, I guess. I did have the proper colourings to be of their pack. Yet I couldn’t believe it. Why would I be born to that pack? The one pack, my adoptive family, had the worst of rivalries? They would rip any Sun Valley Pack member to shreds if they set foot on our territory. Why would I be abandoned here? What were my biological parents thinking?
I couldn’t take much more. I had to leave; my head was reeling. I had always hoped my situation had been the kind where I was so loved, but something happened, and I had ended up here. Something heroic or tragic. Not that I truly wanted my life to begin with tragedy, but surely? Anything would have been better than being abandoned because you were not wanted.
I edged backwards, never taking my eyes off the council members in front of me. I mustn’t draw attention to myself. I just wanted to get away and escape into my room, where I could try to process all the things I had heard tonight.
The edge of the trees came into view as I crept back the way I had come. I could begin to see the lights from a few of the Packhouse windows. My jeans and converse trainers were drenched; it was bloody horrible! Squelching my way back across the grass, it was even worse when the wind decided to pick up. It was then that I felt a presence. Whipping around, I searched the shadows, looking for any sign that I was not alone. The feeling of being watched was creeping me out. The hairs on my neck prickled, and my breath became faster. I was scared, but of what? I couldn’t see anything? and there was no way I was sticking around to find out,
“Sod this,” I say out loud, breaking into a jog, covering the distance to the edge of the trees quicker. My feet pound down, and I feel that delightful squelch as my foot presses into the ground. “Great,” I mutter, “New trainers for me then!”
I had almost made it home Scott-free; I could almost breathe again.
“What are you doing?” his voice was laced with venom; Mason was standing in the doorway staring at me as I slowly walked across the lawn.
I roll my eyes, “Just what I need!” I mutter. “Nothing? Why” I shrug at him, hoping he will get bored and leave me alone, but no, why would he when I wanted him to?
“My dad told us to stay indoors tonight!” he drooled; I could see the pleasure he was getting; he knew he had me good, and he was going to do everything in his power to get me in as much trouble as he could.
“Go away! Mason, I’m sure there are loads of girls that would love your attention right now, but I’m not one of them” I pushed past him; it was like walking into a brick wall; Mason was solid. A good six foot four inches and still growing! With short dirty blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. I had to admit he was good-looking, all the girls found him gorgeous, but I wouldn’t go that far. I knew the real Mason; his personality made him ugly a lot of the time.
“What’s wrong, Ay Ay” he sneered with a smug look plastered on his way to perfect face. I’m not too fond of that nickname; it was the one he gave me when I was little.
“Afraid I caught you up to no good!”
“Sod off, Mason, go and find someone who cares,” I snapped back as I ran up the stairs to my room.