His Name Is Ahote
The packhouse was made of red brick and timber. It looked like it had been built from the ground up by hand and continually expanded over the years. I noticed most of the ornaments, statues, and tapestries hanging around—most of them being of one, two or three of the moon goddess. It was a little strange, I rarely met or knew religious werewolves anymore.
Somehow, during the questioning and disarray, I found myself sitting in the middle of the living room in one of the long sofas. I was surrounded by pack members, who aside from the random greetings they threw my way didn’t acknowledge my existence. It seems everyone had just accepted I was here to stay. I tried to follow their conversation, but I couldn’t. My mind was on the man from before. His scent was here too, on the sofa, on the cup filled with alcohol that I was holding in my hand, on the trays carrying the snacks—his scent was so strong, and it was everywhere.
My eyes would move to the door anytime it creaked. I was expecting him to walk in at any second, but time after time I was disappointed when someone else walked in. I quickly started to identify who was who. I was sitting amongst high ranked to mid-ranked wolves, and sometimes low ranked wolves would walk in and drop a tray or pick up some used plates and cups before leaving.
My eyes moved to the door again when the scent hit me. It was strong, and this time I wasn’t mistaken. The male omega from before had walked into the room with a tray of drinks. He went about sharing it, and I almost swallowed my tongue when he stopped in front of me to drop some bottles. I took that time to look at him again— to measure the cute confused look he gave me when he caught me staring and watched as the braids beneath his curtain of hair came into view when he stood up straight.
I probably looked like a creep following his every movement with my eyes, but I couldn’t help myself. He smelt so sweet—so inviting.
I only noticed the man had left when the sound of people chuckling brought me out of my head. I blinked, turning away from the door to face the people sitting across from me before I looked around the room. Everyone had gone quiet, and most people had grins on their faces. It made me uncomfortable like they knew something I didn’t know.
“You don’t have a mate, do you?” One of the men in front of me asked, and I looked him square in the face. I frowned a bit, wondering how he knew. I opened my mouth to reply to him, but I couldn’t form a sentence and just settled with looking away. I heard chuckling again, and the living room was soon filled with whispering. People were gossiping about me, and it put me on edge a bit.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” the man said, smiling at me. I have a feeling he’s the Beta of the pack. Like most men I’ve seen in the pack he kept his hair long. A few braids were visible in the curtain of hair, and I noticed the elaborate earrings some of them wore.
“As you’ve noticed, Ahote is in heat. He doesn’t bother masking his pheromones because everyone who’s old enough to mate already has a partner,” the man explained, cracking a nut before throwing the contents into his mouth. The crunching sound sounded even louder in the silence. As someone who’s spent the last five years in isolation, it felt odd having so many eyes on me. “I’ll have someone tell him there’s a mateless wolf in the compound, sorry for the inconvenience,” the man added before turning his attention away from me to talk to someone.
Gradually everyone fell back into their conversations and banter, while I was left stunned and a bit shocked by the confrontation. I shook my head, trying to get over it, but it didn’t help. My mind was still on the man.
Ahote. I said in my head, repeating the name in my head. Ahote, that’s his name.
Being able to put a name to the face made my heart race. It was disturbing. This whole situation felt disturbing and I didn’t know what to do. Ahote’s scent soon faded, but it remained faint, sticking around on the items he had touched. Someone must have told him to mask it, and blood rushed to my face at the thought of someone explaining to him why he had to do that.
Someone offered me a drink, and I took it. Soon, I was taking glass after glass. Drinking in silence as I listened in to the people around me talking. I let my eyes examine them, trying to tear apart who was who. Trying to catch names when someone called another person. I felt a little dizzy and drunk. I haven’t had something this hard to drink in a while.
“Twisted Cedar Wine,” the person beside me said, making me turn to them. I squinted, not noticing I had been sitting next to a woman for a while. She looked mid-ranking, like a Mu or Pi. “It’s good. Our pack has a garden and a vineyard,” the lady went on, and I wondered if she was trying to start a conversation with me. I couldn’t guess, my mind wasn’t in the right place at the moment. It was listening to the people around me, drinking, and thoughts of Ahote that preoccupied me.
“Where is he?” someone yelled as the door to the living room swung open as a bare-chested man in joggers matched into the room. He looked angry, and I almost jumped away in shock when he turned at sent me a death glare. Did I do something? I’m not sure.
“You’re the one being a perv?” the man asked as he stopped in front of me and I just held on to my cup of wine, looking up at him. Was he Ahote’s mate? And if so, was he angry at me?
“I’m sorry,” I mouthed, and the man looked a bit taken aback. His frown softened, and there was a bit of confusion in his eyes.
“You better be,” he said before licking his lips, still staring me down.
“Lupa, that’s enough don’t you think?” the man that had explained things about Ahote said, making the angry man in front of me look over at him.
“What if he jumps Ahote and makes excuses? Huh, Hakan,” the man, Lupa, said, gesturing to me before looking back at me to give me a glare. “Stay away from my brother.”
Now that I thought about it. Lupa and Ahote did look alike. Lupa was just broader, taller, and scarier all round, but it was a bit confusing. If they were siblings why did Lupa carry himself like he ranked so highly, and Ahote carried himself like he ranked lowly — like the omega he was. It seems the effects of the alcohol was wearing off a bit. I could look around the room more properly, and the way people were reacting to his outburst told me he had to be a high-ranking wolf.
Also, speaking of Ahote’s mate, where were they?
I’ve only been here for a few hours, but there was already a lot of questions I wanted to ask.
“It’s not his fault, he’ll behave. We’ll make sure of it,” the man that I supposed was called Hakan. He sat back on the sofa, looking up at Lupa with a bit of irritation in his gaze. “Plus, I know Ahote is your brother, but that’s not how to treat a guest.” Lupa opened his mouth but closed it and settled with grunting and cursing under his breath. He matched out of the room, slapping the door shut and making his exit as dramatic as his entrance.
There was a loud sigh from Hakan. I turned to him, and he gave me an apologetic smile. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s no problem,” I said as I watched the lady who had been sitting beside me fill my cup and hand it over to me. I accepted the wine, drinking for the rest of the evening. The crowd started to thin out as the hours passed. People were retiring to their rooms, and it didn’t take long for someone to come in and ask me to follow them to the room I had been assigned.
“Here,” the lady said, turning to me with a smile as we both walked into the small room. The woman had a hair braided back, showing off her round face and chubby cheeks. She also seemed a bit flustered to be around me, and I didn’t know how to feel about that. The looked cozy and basic. Which was okay. I was grateful enough that they were letting me stay here in the first place.
“There’s a bathroom attached to the room,” she said, gesturing to the door next to the window at the end. I nodded, mouthing a ‘thank you’ before walking over to the window and opening it. I could see the small hills from here, and it felt odd not traveling at the moment. This whole night—everything about it was surreal and I’ve been a daze since I walked into the packhouse.
“Sir—Alek.” I turned, looking over at the woman who had led me to this room. Did everyone already know my name? Her lips parted, and she looked like she was on the verge of saying something.
“Hmm?” I mumbled, frowning a bit as I turned fully.
“Is it true you don’t have a mate?” she asked, looking a bit bad about her immediately she uttered it. “Sorry, if it’s too personal...”
“Yes,” I said cutting her off. “Yes,” I repeated, trying my best not to make my voice shaky. I’ve been confronted with this repeatedly over the course of seventeen years. Why did the fact still leave a sting in me?
“Oh...” she trailed covering her mouth before looking down at her feet. She looked over at me again, biting her bottom lip before asking another question. “How old are you?”
“Thirty-five,” I said, still holding on to my calm composure. She nodded, and I think she pieced together the fact that it wasn’t that I haven’t met my mate yet, but I didn’t just have one. She looked like she felt a bit bad for asking me, but I didn’t let her slip past the door when she made to leave.
“Wait.” She turned with confused eyes.
“Can I ask you something?” I asked, watching her. She hesitated, but she nodded giving me permission.
“First, what’s your name?” I asked, and it took some time before she said ‘Kia’ just high enough for me to hear her. I nodded, looking away from her before turning back.
“Okay, so I wanted to ask who’s Ahote’s mate was,” I said. The question had been swimming in my mind all night, and I had to know. The person must be part of the park, but everyone I’ve suspected ended up not being his mate.
“He’s not here,” she Kia, breaking the brief silence. She played with the drapes of her skirt as she looked past me. I’m not sure why. Maybe she didn’t want to look me in the eye. “He doesn’t live here anymore, he left—he rejected Ahote,” she added, looking down on the floor. It seemed she wasn’t sure whether she could share that information because her eyes were fixed on the wooden flooring, and the room went silent, leaving the ticking of the wall clock to fill the void.
“Oh,” I said, feeling a bit blown back by the answer.
In the midst of my shock, however, I started to try and piece things together, but things still didn’t make much sense.
“He?” I said out loud, finally getting the part of the equation that didn’t sit well in my head out of the way. The lady looked up, staring at my confused face, but she didn’t say anything.
“The child...” I trailed, hoping Kia would butt into me thinking out loud to explain. “How...”
“Ahote gave birth to him,” the lady said cutting me off. My eyes went wide, and I paled a bit at the realization. It all made sense now.
So, he’s that kind of omega.