Chapter 2 - Slippery Eyeballs
I lie down on my small bed, hugging Oliver. My stomach growls and my skin still crawls from the way Mr. Maddox touched me. I feel like taking a shower and scrub my skin off his touch and smell but I don’t want to face mom or Caitlin Rose again tonight.
“I don’t feel very social tonight,” I explain to Oliver. “What am I going to do, Oliver?”
I miss my Nana. I miss my Nana’s old house. I miss my Nana’s cooking. Coming home from school, there was always the smell of food cooking on the stove or fresh bread baking in the oven as soon as I opened the front door.
I’ve lost quite a lot of weight since I moved to the pack’s house. I’m constantly hungry. My cousin Jorden did say I’m such a pig when it comes to food. Well, at least I get to go on a diet here...though not voluntarily.
I’ve been in trouble so many times since I’ve been here, I’ve lost count. I’m not very good at being sweet all the time and not fighting back when pushed into a corner and they can’t seem to leave me alone. Fighting back is what lands me in trouble all the time, not to mention hungry.
The image of roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding that I know they had for dinner tonight keep floating in my mind. I smelled them when they were having dinner. Now I could almost taste them in my mouth.
To stop myself from thinking about food, I pull out the letter of acceptance from West Virginia University from under my pillow. Every time I feel helpless or sad, I pull it out and it never ceases to make me feel excited. Nana and I decided on WVU because it’s 3 hours drive away from here. We were planning to visit each other often.
Nana had some money saved up for my education since I was very little. I used to work in the evenings after school and full-time in the summer to make some money to add to the fund. It's not much, but with the savings and the financial aid I’ll be getting, and me working part-time, I think I’ll get by.
My stomach makes a loud growling sound again. Oh, fight me! You’re not the boss of me!
This is what I am reduced to...fighting with my own stomach. It’s sorta hard to fall asleep when you’re fighting with your stomach.
It’s ten in the morning and I’ve already cleaned 3 washrooms, I’m feeling very accomplished. Some people might argue that I’m very slow since I still have 8 more washrooms and 25 bathrooms to go but....whatever. There are 11 washrooms and 25 bathrooms in this pack house that I’m supposed to clean twice a week. That has been my job from the very first day I was moved here. I also do the laundry. They wanted to add the cooking...well, we all know how that went.
Come to think of it, I’m pretty crappy at cleaning the washrooms and doing the laundry too. Last week, a whole load of laundry turned purple. They’re rather a pretty shade of lavender if you asked me. I don’t know what the fuss is all about. Manly warriors turning up for practice in lovely lavender shirts? I dig that.
If I have to be honest, I have to admit that I’m not good at anything around here. I make the worst unpaid maid ever. Pretty close to being useless.
I groan and shudder involuntarily when I open the men’s washroom on the main floor. Men here are such pigs. Why can’t they aim properly? It’s not like they don’t have the chance to practice shooting the target every day! Ughh...I hate cleaning their washroom.
I’m not a fan of chores but I understand that I have to pull my weight since I’m staying here for free. My biggest nightmare is that I would be stuck as an unpaid maid in the pack house forever.
An unpaid maid. I decided to go with that word because it sounds prettier than the word slave.
“There you are,” says Joelle. There’s a satisfied smirk on her face as she stands by the door watching me on my knees, scrubbing the toilet bowl. “My father wants to see you.”
Ahhh...the Beta, my uncle or Beta St. Martin as I’m supposed to call him. The last time I was officially summoned to his office was when he delivered the news that they’re selling Nana’s house and they’re moving me here, into the pack house.
The hateful glare that Joelle gives me tells me that she hasn’t forgotten last night’s incident. The gleeful glint in her eyes warns me that she’s about to enjoy whatever is going to happen in the next few moments of my life. I throw the rubber gloves I’ve been using onto the floor and curb the urge to show her my middle finger as I walk past her.
I know Joelle never scrubbed a toilet once in her life. No daughters or sons of high ranking werewolves, meaning the Alphas or the Betas are required to do such chores. Those are reserved for the lowly Omegas or a human like me.
Joelle follows me inside and closes the door behind us as soon as I step inside Beta St. Martin’s Office.
“Finally, you found her, princess,” says the Beta to his daughter. Yeah, she deserves a trophy for finding me. A big accomplishment there! I feel all eyes are on me. What? Did I just say that out loud?
Maria, Beta St. Martin’s mate lifts her eyebrows in disdain. Her lips turn down at the corners disapprovingly as she surveys my appearance. So I’m not in designer jeans or expensive top like Joelle. All my outfits came from Target or Walmart...at least I’m not naked. Ha!
The room is just as I remember it. It’s a good-sized office but rather bland, in my opinion. The walls are painted beige and the furniture is mainly oversized dark leather. No paintings or anything on the wall, except for a few pictures of his family and a large map of their pack’s territory, the Loup Noir Pack, behind his desk. The Beta himself is sitting in his office chair behind a smooth oak table. My mom and Caitlin Rose are sharing a love seat. Beta St. Martin’s mate is sitting on a big leather sofa. Joelle walks over and sits beside her mom.
I glance at Jorden who is sitting in a chair by the corner, a bit further away from everybody. It seems like he’s trying to distance himself from everybody else. As soon as my eyes meet his, Jorden shifts his eyes to stare broodingly at the tip of his black boots. That right there is already a sign that I’m not going to like what’s going to happen next.
“Grab yourself a seat, Quincy,” says Beta St. Martin.
I don’t want to be here but I square my shoulders and I reluctantly take my seat in the only available chair directly facing the Beta.
He skims through the files he has in front of him and pulls out a few documents. “We’re dividing my mother’s assets among us and I’m acting as the Executor of the will, and since my mother didn’t leave a will, it’s up to me execute it accordingly.”
So they’re dividing my Nana’s worldly belongings among themselves? I thought my Nana did leave a will...I might be mistaken.
“Since you weren't anywhere to be found before, Quincy, we've discussed that all the assets, including the sale of her property to be divided between my sister and me,” he says. Okay, I expected that most of the money and possessions to go to him and my mother.
“Now, my mother also had some savings under a couple of accounts, there is one account under her name which doesn’t have much, but I decided that all the money should go to all her four grandkids, Jorden, Joelle, Caitlin Rose, and Quincy. Each of you will get three hundred dollars.
“Another account is a joint account between mother and Quincy," he continues. "Quincy, since you’re still underage, living here and you’re under our guardianship, you won’t be needing it. The money will go towards your accommodation, food and other expenses here.”
Wait! What? “Wait a minute! That money is for my education.” I spring up from my chair. “And I don’t want to live here!”
I worked hard for half of that money. Babysitting since I was twelve, snow shoveling in the Winter and mowing lawns in the Summer for humans, working at the stores in town...basically doing anything I can to earn the money. All year round.
“I need that money for College.”
“College?” He lifts an eyebrow. Then he laughs. He laughs! His wife and Joelle join him laughing. You mean this one?” He picks up a familiar looking envelope from the table. My WVU acceptance letter and the whole package that came with it. It was in my room. How did he get it?
I turn to look at Caitlin Rose who just smirks at me and then at my mom who won’t even look at me in the eyes. She never really look at me in the eyes.
“Oh, Quincy. Whoever filled your head with such nonsense?” says Maria, still laughing.
“You’re not going to make it out there. You’ve never been anywhere but here. It’s a dangerous and scary world outside. You don’t know what it’s like,” adds Beta St. Martin. “Be thankful that we’re kind enough to shelter you and keep you safe here.”
Just for a second, I waver. I know I’ve never been anywhere outside of Loup Noir Pack territory. Is it really scary out there? If it’s that dangerous, why did Nana encourage me to go? Nana believed I could do it. These people don’t know me.
“I still want to go,” I tell him. My voice surprisingly sounds confident and strong.
He narrows his eyes into calculative slits before he tears the envelope along with its contents into two and drops it into a trashcan beside his table. Noooo!!!!
“I told you, you’re not going anywhere and that’s that,” he says, using his commanding voice on me. I feel the blood rushing to my head and hear my own pulse beating in my ear. I feel my hatred level for him rising.
“You are not to leave this place,” he adds more forcefully. Does he not know that his Beta mojo or voodoo power or something doesn’t work on me?
“You’re Beta Asshole!” I blurt out. I hear gasps from people in the room. I’m about to open my mouth again when his big hand clamps around my neck. The intense, painful pressure on my windpipe stops the oxygen that I try to draw in. My heartbeat skyrocket. In a panic, I start to claw at his hand.
It stops as fast as it begins. The next instant, I’m free again, staggering to the floor. I drag in a gasp of air with a wheezing sound and touch my throat, feeling light-headed.
“You almost killed her!” growls Jorden. I look up to see Jorden standing with his feet braced apart facing his father. His hands are gripping his father’s arm.
Beta St. Martin shakes Jorden's hands off and snarls down at me. His eyes flash dangerously, reminding me what they are. Werewolves. I don’t trust him at all. I don’t trust any of them. Not for a minute. “Somebody should teach her a lesson. She should have been taught her place! My mother seemed to have done a very poor job at it.” He moves away from Jorden.
My eyes follow his every movement, just in case he’s coming to finish what he’s started.
He rounds his table and takes his seat. His mouth stretch out into a cold, sinister, and calculative smile. He picks up the cheque from the table and casually tears it into two. “Three hundred dollars is too generous for you.”
I clamp my mouth shut and ball my fists tightly until I feel the sharp pain on the skin of my palms.
“You may go now, we’ve nothing else to discuss,” he says, dismissing me.
I’ve locked myself in the darkness and the stuffiness of my room since this morning. I can still feel his hand on my throat. There’s an angry red mark around my neck. It hurts to swallow.
For the first time in my life, I feel truly hopeless and helpless. Not even after Nana’s passing did I feel this helpless. True, I was devastated for losing the only person who loved me, but I was more determined than ever to leave this place. Now I don’t own enough to even make it out of here.
Well, it isn’t so bad living in the pack house forever when... Who needs to go to college when...when... Well, at least...I’m alive. Maybe I’ll come up with a better positive reason tomorrow.
When a situation or people fail me, I make up excuses all the time. Sometimes I believe my own lies, sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t matter. This time I feel my shoulders slump in defeat. I didn’t see my mom coming to my rescue when her brother had his hands around my neck. This time I can’t find the right excuses for the stranger I call mom.
These people...no, these werewolves really want to break me. Every day I kept my head up and find a reason to smile. Today, I really feel defeated. I feel the trap closing in.
I miss my Nana more than ever. I hug Oliver, my tattered teddy bear close to my heart. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. My Nana didn’t raise a weakling or a whiner. Still, tears leak from my eyes.
Nana said tears are not a sign of weakness. She said sometimes you need to cry to wash away the dirt from your eyes so you can see better...just don’t do it too often, otherwise your eyeballs get too slippery and they would fall out of your eyesockets. I don’t cry very often so my eyeballs aren’t that slippery. So I let my tears flow out freely tonight.
* My next update is next Friday. Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers.