I sat watching the droplets gather and drop into the hydrangea bushes below my mothers porch. It was Tuesday night and the rain had finally stopped after over a week of downpours. The smell of my mums famous roast and potatoes making my stomach grumble. My tail internally wagged and my mouth watered. I always looked forward to my weekly visits. This was home. Not the dinky shack I kept on the outskirts on town. The screen door creaked open and bright blue eyes smiled at him. He grinned as the small child launched herself at him. He caught her and swung her around.
"Uncle Theo!!" She squealed as he buried his nose into her hair.
"Nattie your gettin so big! What IS my mother feeding you!?" Chuckling as he set her down on the worn steps and held her hand , walking up and into the warm house.
His head whipped around as he peered into the darkness. The hair on his neck starting to prick up as he push his niece further inside. 'What is...' his eyes narrowing at a shape near one of the older oak trees. A low growl escaped as he took a step out the door.
"Theo?" A soft voice called from behind him but his eyes were trained on the shape. A small hand touched his shoulder and the smell of lavender and chamomile tea wafted around him like a blanket. His body untensed and his growl turned into a low purr.
" what do you see my lil one?" My mother asked stepping beside his small frame. She followed his eyes and her breathing quickened. Her hand tightened on my shoulder.
"Its.. it's nothing. Just a shadow sweetheart. " i growled in response but my mother gave me a reassuring squeeze.
" come inside Theo. Your brother brought his mate. Shes a lovely girl " she said soothingly. Finally tearing his eyes from the treeline he looked into mothers. The animal inside purred. Her soft brown doe eyes freckled with gold seemed to soothe more then ever lately. He nodded before throwing his arms around her.
"I missed you mama" letting out a breath I didnt realize I was holding. She ran a hand through my cropped black mess of hair. Kissing my forehead , she grabbed my hand and smiled.
"Let's go eat. I made your favorite!" He chuckled
" I know mama!, I can smell you know" she rolled her eyes and my shoulders dropped as relaxed laughing.
" you still love me" I laughed , letting myself be led back in. She let go of my hand and turned into the living room.
"Lil brother! You made it! We thought you weren't goin to make the drive with all the rain." Said a mountain of a man as he stood. At 6'8" , Samuel was definitely the tallest in our brood. I shrugged. It's true, I did hate the rain. It always seemed to bring the nightmares and with it , the helplessness. I shook it from my mind as I embraced my brother, thumping him on the back. At 5'3" , I was the runt. Even mom was taller then me. Not that it ment anything, no one messed around with my family. I hadn't become known as Grim Reaper for nothing. Even if it wasn't by choice. My brother was droning on about something. I had a bad habit of tuning out things. He seemed to have gotten quiet as a equally tall amazonian of goddess stepped in. A goofy grin spread over his face and I couldnt help laughing .
" oh! Were are my manners love!? , Theo, this is my mate Deena" he said pulling her over. I gave her a small nod as she gave my brother a confused look.
"DINNER KIDS! EAT OR STARVE" Mom yelled from the dining room. There was a small scramble as we made our way over to the table. Mom sat at one end and I sat next to her and Natalie, Deena and Samuel taking her other side. I looked around for my other siblings. Daniel came down from upstairs , giving her niece a kiss before plopping next to Samuel.
"Dig in!" As mom took a piece of roast and cut it up for Natalie.
"Daddy is sick again" natalie said in a small voice. Everyone froze looking at the small blue eyed girl then me. My shoulders tensed but I just grunted. I can't blaim them. My tendency to get violent was well known, but I WAS home. I resisted the urge to go find Nathaniel. It was just like him to leave lil Nattie with mom. At least she was here and not in the car again. A small growl escaped. I'd nearly killed him.
You see.. Nathaniel has a 'small' problem. By small I mean big. Drugs and women. For a while he had done great. He really cleaned up after finding his mate. After his mate had died in a pack raid, he had spiraled out of control. Natalie had been no more then 2 at the time. Mom had started taking care of her more and more this last year after the 'incident' between Nathaniel and me. For Nattie's sake, I'd learned to control my temper.
Speaking of.. I looked down at her. Her small brown locks curled around her face as her lip quivered. Her blue eyes showed her hurt. I pulled her into my lap and hugged the 5yr old. She cried as I patted her back.
The quiet table was deafening. I reined in my temper more.
"Its ok Nattie. He cant help it." My voice cracked at the lie. "But grams and everyone will always love you. We will always be here."
" I miss daddy" she whimpered. I kissed her forehead and rubbed her back in small circles.
I heard a chair scrape and felt a presence next to me. I looked into Deenas golden eyes. Seems she just as angry as she struggled with her wolf for a moment.
" your daddy will get better hon. " she said soothingly. Nattie reached out for Deena and she welcomed her into her arms. Petting her hair as the lil girl hiccuped and soon fell asleep.
I looked from her to Samuel and his eyes glazed for a moment as he linked his partner. Wordlessly she picked the lil girl up and walked out the room with her mate. My mother looked on verge of her own tears. My heart aches. I hate this. Daniel clears her throat and we look at her as Samuel and Deena come back in without my niece.
" dinners great mom" she says a little to perky.
" oh yes! Dinner is just lovely mrs Rivers" deena replies sitting down.
The remainder of dinner is silent and awkward. Daniel helps mom clear out the dishes and the rest of us gather in the living room. Deena looks thoughtful for a minute, looking between my brother and I. I cock my head off to the side curiously and her hand flies to her mouth trying to stifle a laugh. I cross my eyes , sticking my tongue out a little and she bursts out laughing. My brother just shakes his head.