Chapter 3: New Beginnings
None of us moved as we continued to stare one another down. I knew they could smell my fear. It permeated the air around us as it poured out of my body in thick waves. When they all caught the scent, their mouths quirked up into vicious smiles that indicated this wasn’t going to end well for me if I didn’t get the hell out of here.
I took two deep breaths in before breaking into a sprint for my car. They followed seconds later. My heart was pounding in my chest as I reached my door seconds before they did and managed to lock myself in before they could grab me. Tears began pouring down my face as I started the car. I saw the biggest of the five cock his fist back to break my window. I screamed before slamming my foot down on the accelerator while throwing the car into reverse.
My tires squealed as I sped off from the parking lot as fast as I could. I only briefly looked back to see the man lying on the ground grasping his foot.
Holy crap, did I run him over?
The thought bounced around in my head for the next ten minutes as the speedometer pushed towards 95 miles an hour. I began laughing hysterically as I glanced behind me every few seconds with the realization that I just saved myself from my impending death. All on my own.
“I did it! I did it! Oh my God, I did-” I started screaming before the familiar sound of police sirens began blaring behind me as the red, white, and blue lights began flashing. “-it. No! C’mon, please no!” I started to yell before slowing my car and pulling to the side of the road. That’s when I began to panic. I was still only about two, maybe two and a half, hours away from my old pack. This was not nearly enough distance to give me peace of mind.
When I saw the officer approaching my vehicle I rolled down the window and peered up at him.
“Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going.”
“I know I was going thirty miles over the speed limit, but I swear to God I have a good reason,” I plead, willing for him to believe me. He cocked a brow before examining my face closely. I’m assuming that he saw the tear stains on my face because his eyebrows furrowed with worry.
“Is everything alright ma’am?” He asked.
“No, about fifteen minutes ago five men ambushed me at the gas station. I was really scared, as you can imagine, and I just want to get to where I’m going, sir,” I insisted, giving him my best sincere look. He scratched the side of his beard before leaning back on his heels and examining the road around us.
“Hold on just a minute. I’m going to check on something in my car, but if you drive off I will catch you and you won’t like the consequences, is that clear?” He asked sternly. I nodded frantically, just wanting to cooperate so that I could get out of here and back on the road.
He was gone for about ten minutes before sauntering back up to my car.
“I called the gas station and they confirmed your story. Now, any normal patrol would give you a ticket, but I’m going to let you off this one time. I’m sending out a note to other officers with your license plate so if they catch you speeding again you’re getting jail time. Understand me?” He asked.
“Yes, thank you so much, officer! You don’t understand how much I appreciate it,” I gushed happily. He tipped his hat to me and told me to drive safe before getting into his car and resuming his position in the bank of the road.
I released a relieved puff of air before beginning my journey once again, praying that there wouldn’t be another hiccup.
I turned off the GPS and picked up Kiara’s written instructions as I began down a desolate gravel road that was said to lead me to the pack. It had been three days since I’d spoken to anyone but hotel lobby workers, convenience store clerks, and fast food restaurant cashiers. In that time, I had discovered an envelope with a burner phone that had a hand-written note from Kiara attached to it.
The note explained that I couldn’t be tracked by any means using it and that the number to her own burner phone was already programmed in. She said not to call her until she’d contacted me first as to not give us away, which made sense.
I kept it on me at all times of the day in the event that she tried getting ahold of me. I wasn’t sure what was taking so long, but I assumed it had something to do with her being the best friend of the girl who disappeared. My Alpha wasn’t stupid - just a selfish prick.
My heart began fluttering in my chest as two huge black wolves began running alongside my car. I pressed the brakes as I began approaching a large white gate. There were two guys standing in what appeared to be towers on either side with guns perched in their hands. I couldn’t see their eyes, but just knowing they were staring back at me caused a shiver to run up my spine.
They both nodded in synchronization seconds before the gate opened up enough for me to drive through. The wolves continued to follow my car, almost guiding me to where I was supposed to go, it seemed. When they stopped, so did I. Putting my car in park, I killed the engine and unbuckled my seatbelt, not sure if I should get out or just wait inside the car for something or someone to come and get me. I looked up and saw the massive pack house leering in front of me. My jaw practically dropped to the floor of the car as I took in the grand building in front of me.
It was absolutely beautiful. This pack has major money, I thought to myself. I hesitated with my hand on the car door when I saw the front door to the pack house open as two figures emerged. I exited my car and came to stand in front while waiting for them to come closer.
“Poppy, welcome to the Silver Fang pack. We’re so glad to have you here,” The man, who I knew was the Alpha, spoke first. I clenched my hands together at my waist before slightly lowering my head to show respect.
“I’m so sorry for the circumstances you’ve had to come to us in, but, as my mate said, we are glad you’re here and happy to help you. I’m Luna Caroline, and this is obviously my mate Aaron. Kiara waxed lyrical about you when we spoke on the phone, so we have no doubt you’ll get settled in with the other pack members in no time,” The Luna said with a smile that I returned. I gave her the same respectful bow before meeting them in the eyes.
“I appreciate your willingness to help me in my time of need. I am forever grateful for it, though I do have one request,” I said with a wince, hating the feeling that I was already making demands to those I’m indebted to.
“Yes?” The Alpha asked with slight confusion.
“Would it be possible to let the pack know that I am here confidentially? I know that you don’t have an alliance with my old pack and I don’t want to take the risk of them catching wind of me staying here and start a war,” My words seemed to cause the Luna to smile brightly and squeeze her mate’s bicep that she was holding onto.
“Kiara mentioned that you have undue selflessness. I can see what she means. We were planning on informing the pack of your situation before your induction party, so not to worry,” She chuckled, causing a sheen of sweat to cover my whole body.
“I think you scared her, darling.” The Alpha fake whispered as I felt all the blood drain from my face.
“No, no. It’s fine, really. I just, um, I’m not great with people or big crowds,” I explained weakly.
“Nonsense, you will be just fine. Come, we have some paperwork to fill out and some decisions to make regarding where you’ll be staying.” The Luna instructed before stepping away from her mate and ushering me towards the door. I followed her quick pace into the house and up the grand staircase that was right inside. We went up two more flights of stairs before taking a left and heading down an extremely long hallway. We abruptly stopped as she entered a medium sized room that appeared to be a study of some sort.
“This is my office. Right through there,” she said, stopping to point at a pair of double french doors on the right wall, “is my mate’s office. If you ever need anything, our doors are always open - well, unless ordered otherwise of course. Now, you have two choices of where you can stay. You can choose to live in one of the rooms here in the pack house. Three meals are provided each day and you’re always welcome to keep extra food goodies in one of the fridges as well. Most unmated males and females usually end up staying here for convenience sake.
“Your second option is to stay in a house on your own. Unfortunately, the new houses we have underway right now won’t be completed for another six months, but we do have a little cottage that belonged to a pair of mated elders some years back that’s about a mile away from here. It’s definitely a fixer-upper that needs some serious TLC, but some people are into that kind of thing. I can give you a little time to look around both places before making your decision if needed, just let me know,” She finished before ruffling around her desk, gathering various pieces of paper.
“Alright, these are just official forms for pack transfers. Normally we’re supposed to get these signed by your previous Alpha before filing them with The Council, but we’re going to be filling out a persecution transfer form instead so that we don’t have to do that. You can read over this and then sign and date here,” She explained before putting an X next to a long line on the bottom of the paper. I read carefully before doing as instructed.
“Great. The next one is a housing form, do you have any idea where you’d like to reside? If not, that’s no problem. It’s no rush at all.” She assured me.
“I’d like the cottage, please,” I answered quietly. A big smile split across her face.
“I would’ve chosen the same. It may come as a shock to you with how much I talk, but I was just like you before becoming a Luna and a mother. I stuck to myself and just did my own thing,” She said with a laugh before helping me fill out the housing form.
“Okay. That’s all we need from you for now, the rest will come after your official induction into the pack. Would you liked to meet a couple pack members or see your cottage first?” She asked. A warm fuzzy feeling of comfort settled into the pit of my stomach when she said your cottage, but I knew I should be polite and say hello to some new people as to not appear anti-social or rude.
“We can meet a few people first, I suppose,” I responded happily before standing from the chair and following her out, glad that I’d thought to wear one of my nicer sweater dresses with boots as to make a good first impression. My wardrobe was limited when it came to suitable clothing options for the weather here, as it was much colder than it was back home - though it didn’t bother me much. It was a change I welcomed with open arms.
“I just know she has to be around here somewhere," The Luna growled in annoyance. I kept quiet but continued to follow her through the pack house. It was much more desolate than I imagined it would be, but, then again, it was in the middle of the day, so most people were probably busy with jobs or other daily chores.
“I know how to find her. C’mon, we’re going to make a quick interruption,” She chuckled before speedily walking away. It felt like we’d been walking for ten minutes until we finally arrive at a large metal door. She swung it open, causing it to creak on its hinges and catch the attention of everyone in the room as it grew quiet.
“Uh, can I help you, sweetheart?” The Alpha asked in confusion as she continued to walk into the room. He peeked over her shoulder at me as I waited at the door’s threshold, not wanting to enter the room until told to do so.
“Oh, honey you don’t have to just stand there, come in,” The Luna giggled before turning her attention back to her mate. I hesitated for a second before peeking my head in and slowly meandering to the Luna’s side. I instantly regretted not just waiting at the door. Inside the room was easily around five-hundred men. I felt like there was a spotlight on me as I made the short rest of my walk. I wanted to hide myself behind the Luna but chose to stand my ground anyway.
“God damn, who’s she?” I heard someone towards the front try, and fail, to whisper to the person next to him. My face instantly blushed bright red as I avoided eye contact and stared at my shoes.
“Jason Henderson, where are you?” The Luna called out forcefully. It caught me off guard seeing the sweet, soft woman command the room so easily.
“Right here, Luna,” A man a few rows back called out before slowly making his way to the front.
“Ah, yes. Where is your mate?” She asked. He looked taken off guard by the question, obviously not having expected that to be what the Luna came in here acquiring about.
“Oh God, what’s she down now?” He asked with a worried look on his face. I wasn’t sure why, but just the exasperated tone of his voice and what he said caused me to giggle. I felt myself blush once again when I’d encaptured the attention of the entire room once again.
“Nothing that I know of. I just wanted her to meet someone I think she’d be good for,”
“Well, that’s a first,” The Jason guy said with a sarcastic snort. “I think she said she would be doing some pack research today in the library. I would try looking for her there first,” he answered.
“I can tell all of you are very...interested in our guest your Luna’s brought with her. She will be introduced tonight at the pack meeting, but I guess we can do a preliminary one now. This is Poppy Nicole. She is a new member of our pack that came all the way here from South Carolina,” The Alpha explained quickly, looking eager to get back to what I assumed was training.
“But is she mated though?” Someone in the back shouted to which all the guys laughed and shouted one or another form of agreement, something that made me want to crawl up in a hole and disappear.
“I don’t know dipshit, is she marked? Let’s use our brains gentlemen,” The Alpha retorted back sarcastically with a chuckle. I found myself loving that he seemed to be just as much a friend to his members as he was a leader. That was something I’d never experienced before in my old pack.
“Well, we’re off to find Grace. I’ll see you at dinner,” The Luna said before pecking her mate’s lips and gesturing for me to follow her out.
I just need a nap I thought to myself, already on sensory overload for the day.