Chapter 4 - Queen Normal
My heart is pounding hard in my chest as I pace the floor of my tiny bedroom. I’m sure if there were any werewolves around, they would be able to hear it. Right now I assume all of the occupants of the pack house are at the burning moon gathering.
I have most of my stuff already packed in an old suitcase that belonged to my Nana. I don’t have a lot, mostly my clothing, old pictures, a few books, and a couple little things I picked from Nana’s old house for keepsakes. I fill up my backpack with everything else, like the disposable cellphone Jorden gave me, money, important documents, toiletries, a book for the bus ride, a change of clothing and oh, my swear jar and Oliver. Can’t leave without my swear jar and Oliver.
Jorden told me that he’ll come to my room tonight to take all my stuff to his car. He will then drive his car past the border inspection post where they don’t usually check for anything other than the occupants of the car. I have to make my way on foot to where Jorden will be waiting just outside the border about a mile and a half from here. He is driving me to a little bus station in the next town over where nobody will recognize me.
Jorden promised me that he’d be here at 9 pm. It’s already 9.15 and I’m getting worried. What if they found out what we’re planning to do?
Nervously, I begin to tug and wrap my fingers around my braided hair. I have my jeans and a pair of sneakers on. It’s a bit chilly tonight, so I’ve pulled on a dark grey sweater that used to belong to my Nana over my dark blue t-shirt. Her sweater will also be able to cover my scent a little when I’m in Jorden’s car. Nana’s faint but familiar scent helps to calm me a bit. I still jump when I hear a soft knock on my door.
I think my eyes bugged out as soon as I see Jorden at my door with Trey standing next to him. It’s bad enough that I have Jorden involved, I don’t want Trey to be sucked into this as well. God knows what they’ll do to us if we get caught.
“Change of plans,” says Jorden. “I needed him to cover for me but he wants to come with us. Don’t waste time arguing with him. He’s just as stubborn as you.” Without waiting for my response, Jorden grabs my suitcase while Trey hoists my backpack onto his shoulder. Both of them look wary and pensive.
Jorden goes first, carrying my suitcase with him. Trey turns to look at me. His eyes roam over my face for a while. “Quincy, I ---” he says. I look up at him expectantly but then he shakes his head and closes his mouth.
Jorden and Trey have been friends forever. A little over a year ago, Trey confessed his feelings for me and we started dating. He was my first kiss. He was my first everything...until he found his mate, Èmilie, five months ago.
I knew that would happen so I was prepared. It still hurt, I can’t lie, but I’m happy for him. At least his mate, Èmilie is a nice girl. It’s not like we’re friends or anything, but she’s not one of those girls who bully me. She mainly stays away and keeps things to herself. Trey is a nice guy and I believe he truly did care for me before he met his mate. He deserves a good mate and to be happy.
“I’m going to miss you,” he whispers finally before he too disappears with my backpack down the dark hallway.
After ten minutes, and when I think they’re off, I walk out of my bedroom. The whole house is dimly lit and eerily quiet. I try to walk casually so as not to arouse suspicion if anybody saw me. My heart refused to calm down even after I make it outside the pack house without encountering anyone. It seems that everyone is at the gathering. The former Luna was well loved.
It’s dark and windy outside. The moon is half covered by black heavy clouds. I start towards the driveway but then I change course when I see some movements not too far away. Patrolmen on duty. I start jogging towards the clearing where the burning moon gathering is being held.
“I’m going to the burning moon gathering,” I tell them without being asked. Darn it, Quincy! Keep your mouth shut! I knew it! I know I won’t make a good spy agent.
Fortunately, they don’t really care about one stupid human in the pack. One of them nods his head while another one just ignores me. They don’t seem at all interested to know where I’m going.
As soon as they’re gone, I look casually around before I turn my direction towards the border on the Northside and pick up speed. I’m hoping that I won’t be running into any more patrolmen from now on.
Even though I can’t turn into a wolf, I’m very fast. Almost as fast as a werewolf who already phased. That’s something that only Jorden and Nana knew. The wind is whooshing in my ears and I’m straining my eyes in the darkness so as not to run into trees or stumble on anything. I wish the moon is brighter.
I approach the road and increase my speed as soon as I see the tail lights of Jorden’s waiting car. He starts moving as soon as I jump in the back.
“You okay?” he asks me.
“Yup, I’m good. I think we’re good.”
The pack house is surrounded by acres of forest. The small road that connects the rest of the world to the pack house is long, narrow, and flanked by tall trees. As we pull out of the dirt road into the paved deserted country road, I hear the long mournful howling of the wolves into the crisp night air.
My heartbeat starts to settle down as the car takes me further and further away. I can’t wait to be among humans though I wish I didn’t have to leave Jorden behind.
Only when the bus pulls out of the station and onto the highway do I feel my shoulders start to relax. This is it. I’m doing this! I’m really doing this! I’m finally going to be free of werewolves. I will have nothing to do with their kind anymore except for my cousin Jonah because...well, because Jonah is family just like Jorden. I’ll be a normal human among other normal humans. I’ll be so normal, even the most average normal humans will feel like freaks next to my normal ass. They will bow down before me and call me Queen Normal.
5 days of traveling. I did everything that Jorden taught me to do to throw them off my scent if they happen to send trackers after me. I took 3 different buses, stopped at 19 different bus stations. I took subways and lost myself in the crowd. I spent most nights on buses, except for the third night. I spent that night at a cheap little motel for a shower and a good night sleep on a proper bed. It was scary and exhausting yet exhilarating. The taste of freedom is heady.
The fifth day, I finally arrive at the bus station and give my cousin, Jonah whom I haven’t seen in six years a call. It’s just after 4, Friday evening.
“Jonah would love to have you there,” I clearly remember Jorden said to me before I climbed into the bowel of the Greyhound bus. The person standing before me now doesn’t look like someone who “would love to have me” anywhere. If anything, he looks pissed off. Scary too, with tattoos, corded muscles and piercings...and tall. What is he? 6′3"? 6′4"? I don’t remember him being this tall six years ago. My 5′8" frame feels like a waif next to him.
“What are you? 6′4” or something?” My god, my filter is truly broken! I slap a hand on my mouth as soon as those words come flying out.
Jonah doesn’t answer me. He just harrumphs and mumbles something under his breath. I’ll take it. At this point, I’m thankful that he doesn’t intend to kill me....yet. Maybe. With my broken brain to mouth filter, who knows what’s going to happen in the near future.
Jorden informed me before I got on the bus that Jonah managed to secure me a place at the school but the dorm is full. That means I will have to stay with Jonah for the time being. I plan to pay rent. I have to find a job right away.
Jonah hauls my luggage into the back of an old red Jeep Wrangler, then he wrenches the door of the driver’s side open and hops in without waiting or saying anything to me. He starts the engine, and I clamber into the passenger side of his Jeep before he leaves without me. He just might, right? He looks tempted enough to do it.
He starts pulling out even before I can close the door properly. He drives in silence and I watch our surroundings then I watch him. I’ve never seen anyone quite like Jonah back in our pack. He has the same dark brown hair as Jorden but while Jorden’s hair is an unruly mop of curls, Jonah’s is cut short on the sides but long-ish at the top. He has a full tattoo sleeve that looks like an eagle and a dragon or something snaking up one arm and disappears into his dark blue wife beater shirt. He has pierced ears, a barbell on one eyebrow, a lip ring on the left of his full bottom lip.
Jonah actually looks a lot like an older and scarier version of Jorden with dark eyes, dark hair, and almost the same facial features. I think that helps me feel a bit more comfortable around him. He glances at me and his scowl deepens when he sees me studying him. I quickly flash him a big smile. That doesn’t help any.
My god, he’s like a bear with a sore head! Is he always like this? My mouth is itching to say something but I don’t. I’m mighty proud of myself when I manage to keep quiet for a whole 10 minutes.
I gaze around at our surroundings again. This place, open space, palm trees, houses and buildings with stuccoed walls, certainly looks different from where we came from.
“Wow! This is very different from Philidelphia, huh? We’re definitely not in the Loup Noir Pack territory anymore,” I comment. Of course, I can’t keep my mouth shut indefinitely.
He keeps his eyes on the road and continues as if he didn’t hear me. The only indication that he heard me is the hardening of his eyes.
“Sooo...you heard anything from Jorden? He’s okay, right?” I just have to ask him. So many times during those five days of traveling I was tempted to give Jorden a call to find out if he and Trey were okay but he warned me before I got on the bus not to call him. He didn’t want anybody to suspect anything and find out where I’m heading. So I didn’t, but I’m worried about them. I don’t know what I’d do if the pack found out and they got into a big trouble for helping me escaped.
Jonah doesn’t say anything for a full minute that I thought he’s not going to answer me when he finally says, “He’s fine. Nobody knows.”
We turn into a small quiet street, lined with old brick houses. One house looks the same as the other. Some look neglected while some others look reasonably well-kept. I don’t think we’re in a bad area but we’re not in the affluent part of the city either. We stop in front of a single story house. The small front yard has a tiny flowerbed overgrown with weeds but the grass has recently been cut. There are a motorbike and a bicycle parked close to the front door.
Jonah carries my luggage inside and I follow him like a lost puppy.
There are three other people living in the house. Two of them are werewolves. So much for my dreams of living among humans.
The she-wolf, Lana, seems to dislike me on sight. Another werewolf, Isaac, on the other hand, seems to like me on sight. Only too much. He flirts and holds my hand a bit too long during the introduction that Jonah gives him a hard stare.
The human girl, Layla is a pretty girl who originally came from Ethiopia but grew up here. She seems nice, which is a good thing since I’m supposed to be sharing a room with her. She’s also going to the same college but she’s in her second year.
The house is an open plan and small but clean and clutter free. The living room consists of a comfy looking black suede chair, a loveseat, a sofa, and a wooden coffee table in the middle. There is a 40-inch tv mounted on the wall facing the sofa. The windows have no drapes but they do have simple white blinds for privacy. The living room opens up to a tiny kitchen. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms in the house.
“The sink in the bathroom at the back is leaking, Jonah,” says Lana. The she-wolf looks at me like I was gum underneath her shoes but her tone of voice when she talks to Jonah, is sweet and annoyingly whiny.
“I’ll take a look at it,” answers Jonah.
Jonah leaves my luggage in a bigger room with two single beds on each side of the walls. There are two study tables by the headboards near the windows. The walls are painted eggshell white like the rest of the house. I guess this is the room that I’ll be sharing with Layla. She's sharing the room with me to save on rent money and I’m all for saving money.
“Is the room okay for you? I hope you don’t mind sharing,” says Layla. Okay? This is like The Ritz or the Four Seasons for me compared to my windowless tiny room back at the pack house.
“This room is great! Sharing is awesome,” I tell her. I guess I said it with too much enthusiasm because she gives me a funny look. Okay, let’s dial down on the weirdness, Quincy. You’re scaring the normal human! The only normal human in this house...apart from me. Yeah, I’m totally normal.
Jonah, Lana, and Isaac leave the house together around 6 pm. I have no clue where they’re going off to but secretly I’m relieved. Call me crazy but I don’t really enjoy having one woman staring at me like she’s planning on taking me out as soon as my back is turned and a man who keeps checking me out like he wants to eat me for dinner around. I’m used to those kinds of looks when I was at the Loup Noir Pack but it doesn’t mean that I’ve grown to like it.
Layla and I spend time talking for a bit before she has to leave for work at seven. She works irregular hours some evenings for a cleaning company. I don’t know how much Layla knows about werewolves and stuff but I like her already. I think we will get along just fine.
After Layla left, I spend my time alone in the room putting my things away, which doesn’t take much time at all. Then I take a much-needed shower. After I’m all dressed, I take my backpack with me to the living room to sort out all the stuff while munching on a chocolate bar I found in there and trying to watch TV. All at the same time. I’m awesome at multi-tasking like that.
Jonah comes home around nine with some burgers, fries, and two cans of Coke. My mouth water at the smell. He drops everything on the coffee table in front of me. He takes a burger and a can of Coke out then shoves the rest to me without saying a word.
Suddenly I don't feel hungry anymore. I’ve never felt more like a charity case than I am right now. I’m grateful that he’s helping me and all but I’m tired of feeling unwanted and a burden to those around me.
“Look, Jonah. You don’t have to feed me,” I tell him. “I’m grateful for everything that you’ve done for me. Truly I am, but I know you don’t want me here. I know you’re mad at me or hate me for whatever reason but I’ll get out of your hair very soon. I promise I’ll move out as soon as I find another place to stay.” I don’t know how or where but I’ll sleep on the street if I have to.
For a moment he looks stunned. Then he starts to frown again. “You’re not going anywhere. You’re staying here where I can keep you safe,” he huffs. He takes a huge bite out of his hamburger and starts chewing with a big scowl on his face.
Well, at least it wasn’t my head that he’s chewing on, I start to make a list of positive things in my head.
He sighs and tosses the rest of the hamburger onto the coffee table. “I don’t hate you. I hate how those people treated you,” he says. “Now eat before I lose my appetite.”
He stares at me pointedly until I take a burger out. He picks his burger back up only after I take the first bite, then we both eat in silence.
“Did he ever touched you?” he suddenly asks. His jaw taut with tension.
The question takes me by surprise but I immediately know who he’s talking about. “Um...he..uh, yea, no...sorta...not that way...not really,” I answer.
He tilts his head to the side for a while as if mulling over my answer. The way a muscle in his jaw ticks reminds me so much of Jorden when he’s pissed off. “Alpha Maddox is an asshole,” he finally says. No argument from me there.
“Yeah, he’s a fvcking asshole,” I agree with him.
“Hey, you’re not supposed to swear.”
“Why? You swear,” I tell him, but I reach into my bag and take out my swear jar. I fish around the bottom of my bag and pull out a penny, two nickels, and a quarter. I hold the jar out to him after I drop the change in. Surprisingly he reaches into his pocket and places a dime in.
“You need to put in more than just a dime. I heard you swear worse than a trucker when you were fixing the sink this evening.” I shake the jar in his face and the coins rattle.
He ignores me. He drains his Coke, then he stands up and steps outside into the warm night. The next minute I see him bending over, under the hood of his Jeep. I hear some clunking noises and him muttering something about Nana and her damn swear jar. Then he swears some more when he dropped his tool and hit his head against the hood. I’m impressed with his very extensive list of swear words. I see a bright future for my swear jar.
We get along much better after that first night. Me and Jonah. I understand him better now. He doesn’t talk much. I think my cousin was born grumpy and you can’t take it personally. Underneath that tough exterior, he’s not bad.
He took me out for a drive around the city on Saturday and helped me buy things for school. On Sunday, he’s gone all day, along with the other two werewolves, Lana and Isaac. I didn’t mind since I got to talk and watch movies with Layla.
Monday morning and I’m getting ready for school. I’ve missed my induction week, which is not a big deal, according to Jonah. I might have to find the Student Support Coordinators for information.
I’m wearing my nicest jeans, Converse, and my favorite off shoulder summer top. The top is light and white with tiny pink flowers and I think I look pretty in it. I brush my hair till it shines and swipe some lipgloss over my lips. It's time for this normal human girl to get some education and meet some normal hot human man!
* 86 Degree Fahrenheit = 30 Degree Celcius.
My next update will be Friday, 13th Apr. (Friday the 13th! Get it =D)