Chapter 4: Here Comes Trouble
As we made our way to the library, the Luna pointed out various rooms here and there. One that I knew I would for sure be taking advantage of was the sauna.
“Ah, here we are. This is our pack’s library. There’s everything from children’s book and fiction to pack history journals and even erotic - if you’re into that kind of thing,” she joked while sending me a saucy wink. I laughed in discomfort before clearing my throat and taking a look around. The place was huge. I couldn’t even guess how many books were packed into one singular room.
This is heaven.
The Luna walked over to a small box on the wall. Pressing a button her voice projected over the entire room.
“Grace Henderson, are you in here?” she called out.
“Whatever they said I did, I most likely did but there’s a greater chance that they deserved it!” someone yelled back from the second level. The Luna chuckled before ascending the stairs. We walked all the way back to a cozy little nook where a breathtakingly beautiful girl sat nestled in a beanbag chair with a book propped up on her knees.
“Always such a pleasure, Grace,” the Luna joked before resting a hand on the small of my back and nudging me forward, causing Grace’s gaze to fall on me.
“This is Kiara’s best friend from back home, Poppy,” Luna Caroline explained.
“Oh yes! The one who was going to have to deal with saggy balls on her chin for the rest of her life,” she exclaimed unsympathetically as the Luna gave her a pointed glare. “That is some utter shit, boo. Kiara called me and told me all about the bullshit your pack was trying to do to you. At least you’re here. We don’t fuck our own over,” she said with a laugh. “Luna Caroline, I can take it from here. Your son probably needs his laundry done or his food cooked,” Grace cackled. My eyes widened comically at the disrespectful comment, but the Luna just rolled her eyes and told Grace to behave before saying goodbye to me.
“So, how is Kiara? That crazy bitch. I miss her,” Grace asked before leaning over and patting the bean bag chair next to her. I smoothed my hands down the front of my dress to rid them of the sweat they’d accumulated before carefully settling into the uneven chair.
“She’s not as crazy as she used to be. Her and her mate are trying to have a pup,” I explained with a smile to which Grace returned. “How do you know her?” I asked curiously.
“I’m sure you remember her visits the past few summers to come see her parents. Well, during those times we would raise some major hell here. The Alpha and Luna used to tell us they were lucky we were only around one another two months out of the whole year,” she joked. I laughed along with her, already feeling more comfortable around her in five minutes than I had around half my birth pack in my entire life. She just had an aura of...well, of I don’t give a fuck about her that made it easy to talk to her without feeling like something was expected of you.
“By the way, if I were you, I would’ve given that fucking Alpha a testicular torsion before high-tailing it out of there,” she commented. I threw my head back and laughed out loud. A few seconds later, my laugh turned into deep sobs as I cradled my face in my hands.
“Woah, woah, woah!” Grace yelled.
“I’m s-sorry, it’s just you remind me so much of K-Kiara and I haven’t seen or spoken to her or my m-mom in days,” I cried while wiping my cheeks. She sighed sympathetically before grabbing the edge of my chair and dragging me towards her. She put her arm around my shoulders and pulled my body into her own while patting my back.
“Don’t you dare apologize to me. Any girl put in your shoes right now would be reacting the same exact way - maybe even worse. You have nothing to be sorry for. Let yourself cry a little bit, but when you’re done you square your shoulders and stick your middle finger in the air for everyone to see. Yeah?” she asked. I nodded before taking her off guard by enveloping her in a tight hug.
“Thank you,” I whispered, “I really needed that.”
“Anytime. Kiara told me that you’re easy to talk into shenanigans, so I think we’ll make great friends.” She giggled before tapping my nose with her finger. “C’mon. I don’t know if the Luna showed you, but we have a heated indoor pool and I’m in the mood for a swim,” she said.
Oh, I’m going to like this place very much.
“What?! I can’t believe you chose to live in a dinky little beat up cabin isolated in the woods over the lap of luxury here in the pack house. I mean, c’mon!” Grace laughed while widening her arms to motion at the room around her.
“I don’t know. I’ve always wanted a place to call my own. Somewhere I could decorate and change to look the way I want it to look. I’ve never really been given any freedom my entire life, so I see this as my chance to finally take advantage of it. Plus, I used to watch a lot of HGTV in my spare time,” I added with a laugh. She shook her head with an amused smile on her face before releasing a deep sigh of contentment.
“My mate is the same way you are. He’s always kept to himself, never liked attracting a lot of attention or trouble to himself, and he’s been a man of few words since I met him,” she said mindlessly while moving her hand back and forth in the water, creating waves.
“Then how the heck were you two a match?” I giggled to which she responded with a hey!
“Opposites attract I guess,” she mused. “I always tell him I get antsy when he’s not giving me attention and that’s when I do stupid shit that gets me in trouble,” she joked. I laughed before clearing my throat, debating with myself the best way to ask the question I was pondering over.
“Alright. Out with it,” she demanded.
“Well, I just...I just want to know what the process of choosing your mate is like. I just turned eighteen a few months ago, but my mom never told me what it’s like or what to expect,” I said, a light blush coating my cheeks.
“Ooooooh, virgin girl,” she said with a faux evil laugh.
“Shut up,” I whined while splashing her. She protected herself with her hands from my attack before regaining seriousness.
“Alright, I’ll tell you the low down but we gotta get out of here first. I’m starting to prune,” she explained before hoisting herself out of the water and wrapping her body with a towel. I scolded myself for forgetting to grab one for myself, but thankfully Grace let me borrow hers to dry off.
Walking out of the room, I felt myself clam up as a group of men, probably in their mid-twenties if I had to guess, came walking towards us in nothing but swim trunks.
“Grace, who’s your friend?” the shortest of the group ask while practically eye-screwing me. I wrapped my arms around my body, growing self-conscious of how exposed I was in my bathing suit. I never used to go swimming, so I’d grown out of it through the years and was spilling out in more places than one.
“She’s off limits, Dearland,” Grace growled out protectively before shoving him to the side and pulling us through the crowd. I felt someone try and make a grab for my ass, causing me to squeak and whip around.
“Who the fuck did that!” Grace snarled getting up in the faces of men twice her size. I hid behind her as she continued to grill each man individually.
“I’ll kick all your asses at once if you touch another woman without her consent, and you know the Alpha and Luna would let me. Remember what happened to John?” she sneered with a malicious smile. I watched as the entire group grew tense before silently retreating into the room we’d just left.
“Fucking pussy,” she spat before turning back around to face me. “Are you alright?” she asked with a look of worry.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just caught me off guard,” I mumbled. “Who’s John? And what happened to him?” I asked, unable to keep the question from spilling out of my mouth.
“John was a 22-year-old man whore that took the cake as the pack disappoint. The Alpha and Luna have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment of any kind, and he thought he was above that law. Long story short, he was whipped to death after raping a rouge girl who stumbled upon our pack lands while he was on patrol duty,” she said murmured with a frown. “Our pack prides itself on mutual respect between men and women, but there’s always those few who end up being examples for the rest,” she tsked before leading us to a women’s locker room. We both washed off quickly and re-dressed.
I was about to ask her if I was interrupting her plans for the day when her eyes glazed over, indicating she was being mind-linked.
“Sorry, it was my mate wondering if I’d managed to stay out of trouble today,” she snickered. “So, you wanna head to your house and check it out?” she questioned. An ear to ear grin split my face as I nodded frantically.
I unlocked my car and apologized for how messy it was as we both got in. She gave me directions the entire way, though it was a pretty simple drive. As we drove, I got to see a lot of the pack and was amazed at how it was almost like a little village set within the woods. They had a beauty salon, nail parlor, hardware store, grocery, church, and a few more places spread throughout the land. After about ten minutes, we pulled up to what I knew was my new home.
The Luna wasn’t kidding when she said this place needed some serious TLC. There was hardly any curb appeal to the place, but I could already envision some of the changes I wanted to make to the outside with some flowers and paver stones.
“Well if the inside is as rough as the outside, you’re in for a big project,” Grace husked out before nudging my shoulder.
“Well, the roof and a lot of the front porch needs to be replaced,” I noted out loud. Approaching the front door, I moved the dead potted plant that was placed to the right and revealed the key. Unlocking the door I had to use my shoulder to shove it open as it was stuck. I fell through but caught myself before I hit the floor and began coughing as dust flew everywhere.
“Alright. First things first, we’re going to the store and buying a whole cabinet's worth of cleaning supplies, then I’ll finally start telling you how you go about finding the man you spend the rest of your life with,” she said with a mix between a cough and a laugh.
“Alright I’ll start wiping down the walls and baseboards to get the dust and gunk removed and you work on mopping the kitchen floor, deal?” I asked while setting down the fifty different shopping bags I was struggling to carry in.
“Deal,” Grace agreed before setting out my new trash can and unpacking the mop and bucket we’d purchased.
“So, where to begin...” she trailed off while filling her bucket with warm water and adding some Mr. Clean solution to it. “Well, I guess it all starts with meeting someone you like being around and feel like you have a good connection with. For me and Jason, it was the fact that he didn’t get annoyed with me whenever I would talk his ear off,” she said before we both laughed. “How fast things move really depends on both people, but, for Jason and I, we moved pretty slow because - as I said before - he’s a pretty quiet guy. After you get to know each other, you’ll go on a few dates as love interests. This is usually when most couples begin discussing important common things that are vital to any relationship; such as pack politics, how many kids you want, the works.
“After a few dates is when we wait for the male to ask us on a run. As you know, most female wolves are pretty submissive and docile in nature, which is why the guy usually has to ask first. It has happened before that a female has asked first, but it’s not very common. It’s just how nature works,” she explained.
“So what’s the importance of this run? What do you do during it?” I asked, more than a little intrigued.
“The run is a make or break stage. Everything leading up to the run is just acquainting the skin side of you to see if your compatible with your possible mate personality wise, but even if you think you’re in love with that person, the run could bring the mating to a halt. When you go on your run, you shift into your fur side. You allow both your wolves to assess one another. Within minutes, you will know if you two were one of your fated matches - meaning one of the few people you were destined to be with. It’s not exactly set in stone, but through history and research it’s been said that each wolf has about five or six possible matches throughout the entire werewolf population, sometimes more if you’re lucky,” she finished. I stopped wiping the wall and gave her my full attention.
“So what happens if you get to the run and you aren’t compatible?” I asked.
“You cut your losses and move on. That’s why most people in our generation don’t court for very long and prefer to get straight to the run. Sadly, most guys see it as a waste of time if someone isn’t their mate. Other times, girls will refuse the run and put it off for as long as they can, as they’re afraid to find out someone they’ve fallen in love with won’t be a possible soulmate,” she said sadly.
“So, what happens if you are a match?”
“Lots and lots of sex,” Grace giggled.