I stood from afar, thinking about all the ways I could drive them out.
I could always scare them, possibly threaten them, maybe bribe them, or… I could just kill them.
I think I just might.
I watched as this young, stoner couple loaded all their shit into her old little red mobile home, and they were ruining everything, destroying her scent, what was left of it, just remnants at this point. But I needed it to stay as long as possible.
This is the last place it was still prominent, it all but disappeared from school two weeks ago.
They were ruining it!
Who the fuck did they think they were? They don’t belong here, that’s her home.
And she could still come back.
But every day that she’s gone that delusion gets weaker, and I don’t even know why I believe it. She would never want to come back.
But everyone and everything just moved on like… she never existed.
That was the way I wanted it.
Before I could do something rash, I turned and darted out of their instead.
I’ll figure it out, eventually.
“Keenan?” My father catches me on my way to the training room. I tried to disguise the irritation I felt bubbling in my chest, I needed to speak with Alan, see if he found anything, I was hoping he had something to report.
My dad gestures towards his office, I take the hint and begrudgingly head inside. Closing the door behind me, he sits down on his office chair.
“So…” he began, “your uncle and cousin are coming over today.”
He paused, waiting for me to retain that information.
“Why?” I said through clenched teeth, after all, I thought my dad hated Felix too, so why the hell is he inviting him here?
Right after it all happened, I told my father everything, everything uncle Felix disclosed to me, just as he asked me to. I told him his plans to overthrow the Elder Council, his plans to challenge my dad for our pack’s alpha title. I was dumb enough to believe him when he told me he’d only win it so he could relinquish it to me right after. So I wouldn’t have to wait until I was 25 to receive it.
God was I stupid.
The scathing look my dad gave me, and the look of betrayal on my mother’s face was enough to tell me that the only reason I wasn’t branded a traitor right then was because I was their son.
Conspiring against my father and my own pack was exactly that, treasonous.
Now my father suspects that Felix is embezzling money from the companies they own together, but my uncle is too powerful to be iced out of those assets. With my information, my dad is scheming with the Elder Council to bring Felix and his dangerous influence down. But so far they have nothing, just conspiracies and theories, and my father’s worried Felix might catch on before they can get anything substantial.
They know he’s planning something, they just don’t know what.
“I want to see if he’ll let anything slip, I need you to act normal Keenan, Felix doesn’t know anything that transpired here. We can’t let him know that we’re onto him.”
“This stupid game of detective will get us no where, we should just storm his pack and take it for ourselves.”
“Where did I go so wrong with you? Do you have any idea how many casualties that’ll be? How much of that we can avoid? These are people we’ve grown up with our whole lives, have some consideration for their life.
We’re trying to stop his influence, not spread it. We’ll have more packs agreeing with his ideologies and joining his cause. It’ll start a civil war between wolves, then eventually a world war between humans and wolves. We have to catch him, off guard. Seriously, Keenan, get your head in the game. You don’t need to approach everything as a brute... which brings me to the next thing I wanted to talk to you about.”
“What now?” I grumbled, already done with this conversation.
“Your mother and I are worried about you.”
I resisted rolling my eyes, and instead replied in a deadpan voice “what’s new?”
“I’m fucking serious Keenan! This isn’t a joke! Have you not seen the recent changes in yourself? I’m not just talking about your shit attitude, I’m talking about your physical appearance? I’ve watched you during your sparring and training sessions, you’re getting faster, stronger, and it’s getting harder for you to stop attacking after a submission, it’s also getting harder to stop you. You’ve grown at least four inches in the last few weeks, and you’re getting bigger.”
This was news to me, I didn’t realize it, but it’s likely everything he said was true.
“We believe you’re going feral.”
Feral? I’m going feral? Feral is what happens to the rogues who live without a pack for so long, losing all of their humanity. Feral was for the unstable, feral was last resort. Once you go fully feral, you don’t come back, the only option is to be put down.
“It’s a consequence of being without your mate for so long, Elder Bane and I are trying to find a solution with the help of the Strega. But for now I just ask that you refrain from getting worked up or overly emotional. I know I’m asking a lot by having you be present at the meeting, but I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary.”
I didn’t want to believe it, but it made so much sense now that I think of it. I was definitely getting bigger, my muscles more taut, I was constantly breaking things, not realizing that my strength had basically doubled. I hardly fit in any of my clothes anymore, and my irritation levels have skyrocketed. I just want to fight… and destroy.
The only thing that can bring me out of that mindset these days, is when I think of her.
We all sat at the long meeting table as we always do, my dad across from Felix and I across from Daniel.
I could not give a shit about whatever they were talking about, just stared at the wall in front of me, contemplating ways to kill my uncle, all the ways I can make him suffer.
But I had to remind myself to cut those thoughts in half or else Felix would be able to sense the resentment rolling off me in waves.
So I forced myself to think of other things, mundane things, like driving away those new tenants, or finding new leads to Angeline’s location.
Right now my strongest lead is Alan, the sheriff’s son, who I sent on a mission to find his dad’s password and keys. With both, I can hopefully break into the police department and run her name through the database.
But I’ve had no such luck, Alan comes up empty every time.
I mean I could always just kidnap the sheriff and force him to talk.
Sometimes you gotta do this shit yourself if you want actual results.
I already have all the materials in my car, I’m just missing the time, place, and alibi.
Yet even as my brain is running a million miles a minute, my interest is piqued when I notice that Daniel for once is contributing to the conversation.
I’m the one that’s quiet.
It wasn’t the only difference I noticed either, he seemed… chipper? More enthusiastic? Happier? Not his usual miserable looking self.
He was even wearing a t-shirt instead of a long sleeve shirt that he usually wore to hide the marking on his wrist, the one of his deceased mate.
I wonder what the hell’s going on with him.
Everything was out of place now.
I was just itching to get the fuck out of there already and find Alan, see if he had any new information for me.
My father, Felix, and Daniel all get up to view the much larger map hanging on the back wall.
I begrudgingly get up to follow, reminding myself that my dad told me to at least pretend to be present.
The very little I did get from the meeting was that our pack’s united front worked, and we now had the rogues backed into a corner. My father and Daniel think we should give them a warning and some time to leave, but of course Felix wants to plan an ambush instead, articulate a plan of attack, more like a slaughter really.
Two months ago I’d of agreed with him, but all I want now is to take everything from him, make a fool out of him as he had out of me.
I took note that Felix also mentioned the SaltPaw pack and their own problem with the rogues. A problem he says they successfully took care of and now all the rogues were dead. I don’t know why that stood out to me, maybe because an entire herd of rogues don’t just disappear.
I was done, beyond done, being in here was suffocating. Having to be so close to the one to the person that ruined everything for me and not being able t0 do a thing about it.
I was just waiting, hoping, praying he’d say something, do something, anything that would justify my killing him right now.
I can’t be here a minute longer, everything was irritating me, from my uncle’s stupid fucking face, my cousins chipper attitude, to my dads disapproving looks. I need to get the fuck outta here.
I guessed my father sensed this because he ended the meeting suddenly.
Thank the fucking moon!
I beeline towards the door, cutting off everyone as my father and Felix still stood there speaking.
But the minute I pass Daniel I freeze.
It was so brief, so faint and fleeting that I thought I imagined it.
It was a scent I could never forget, bond or no.
And it was emitting off of Daniel.
He gives me a perplexed look when he notices how close I’m standing next to him.
“Where did you just come from?” I asked… well demanded more like.
“What do you mean?”
“Were you with anyone? Anyone... human?”
Daniel’s eyes widened for just a split second before he composed himself, but that was all the confirmation I needed.
“No, I wasn’t,” he replied, “why are you even asking?”
I glared at him for a long hard minute. I didn’t answer, just turned around and continued walking out, ignoring all the confused looks.
Sure, we carry hundreds of people’s scents on us everyday, the only reason hers stood out to me was because she was my mate.
It wasn’t intimately or freshly on his person either, more like it accidentally clung to him in passing, but it was unmistakingly hers.
It still had me wondering, why would her scent be anywhere near him?
What business would she have in Redmond?
Was she passing through? Was she coming back to Chambers? Visiting?
She had no ties here, other than her friendship with Jean, but even then I don’t think that would make her come back.
I wanted to believe, but I highly doubted it.
Is it possible… that that is where she’s been relocated?
No, there’s no way, the Elder Council cannot be that stupid.
They must know our two packs are related, why send her there?
Unless of course, they knew I wouldn’t want anything to do with Redmond after my uncle made a blatant fool of me.
But why risk it? Why risk locating her there, knowing I live all but an hour away.
They can’t be that stupid, there’s no way.
But still, I know I didn’t imagine it, that was her scent, there is no other like it.
Could she be there?!
It’s still a possibility, even a slim one, but still a possibility.
Plus I know for a fact Daniel hadn’t recently traveled anywhere.
That’s the downsized of being a werewolf. We can’t just willy nilly travel anywhere we want. The land is bound to be owned by a pack, and requesting permission to enter is a hassle and takes many months in advance. Without the alpha’s permission, we would be considered intruders or rogues, very few places are unclaimed territories.
Plus, he smelled of nothing but Redmond.
So where else could Daniel run into Angeline?
I’m willing to bet anything it’s through school, Daniel, being the freak that he is, attends a human school over the werewolf school his father created.
I can’t deny that it would make logical sense.
And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
How stupid am I?
Searching high and low when she was right under my nose the entire time, literally within arms reach.
The Elder Council must’ve known I’d search her hometown first. They figured that the closer she was to me, the less likely I was to find her, but I wonder if they had any idea that the new location was run by my uncle himself.
Then I began to wonder if it was a coincidence at all.
The Elder Council was not exactly a trustworthy foundation.
They either really overestimated their intelligence, or they thought me that stupid.
Either way… it’s game on.
And so I began to plot, if Angeline really is at Redmond, I can’t just show up without looking suspicious, I mean my uncle won’t suspect me, but my dad would.
If I’m going to go over there, I have to have a valid excuse.
At this point, my uncle and cousin were long gone, I didn’t bother saying goodbye to them. But sitting around and waiting to find a perfect time to confirm if she was really there was too much for me, I needed to know now.
With this decision, I began tying a pair of basketball shorts around my ankle, preparing for a shift. I’m going to Redmond to track her down, no matter the consequences.
Just as I was about to head out, my dad calls out to me through the mindlink, he tells me to meet him in his office.
With an exasperated sigh, I go unravel the pair of shorts around my ankle and throw them against the wall.