Riding with the Pack

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Chapter 12


“Bottom bunks yours,” Sam informed me as she tossed my backpack onto the bed carelessly.

I couldn’t help but notice that the bed looked as though it had been slept in. The blankets were ruffled and the pillow had evident drool stains.

“Whoa, wait a second.” Embry stormed into the tiny pack house. “That’s my-!”

“Embry has been kind enough to offer you his bed, isn’t that sweet?” Sam rolled her eyes and mocked Embry playfully. “What a gentleman!”

“Oh, um. Yeah, sure.” He shrugged and smiled at me kindly. “Floors more comfortable anyways.”

“What? No, I can’t take your bed.” I opposed as I reached for my bag.

“No, no! I insist.” Embry removed my belongings from my hands and set them back onto the lumpy mattress. “Can’t have a gorgeous lady like yourself sleeping on the floor.” He winked.

Maybe he did like me? It was kind of hard to tell.

Either way, I thanked him after reluctantly accepting his bunk and readied myself to sleep. I was given spare blankets to claim as my own the next day and started to become familiar with pack life rather quickly.

I soon gathered that the small shack we were staying in was only temporary. The group seemed to travel a lot and only kept what they could carry on their bikes.

The entire pack slept in a two-bedroom cabin that was withering away. It had a tiny kitchen that could hardly fit two people, a small living room that was used as a third bedroom, and an even smaller bathroom that was a lawsuit waiting to happen.

There were seven members of this pack excluding me. Nick was the pack’s Beta or their second in command. If anything were to happen to Alpha, he would take over indefinitely. He was also willing to lay down his life at any given moment due to him being endlessly loyal to Alpha for reasons unknown to me because he had made it VERY clear that he hates my kind.

Nick had dark brown hair that was shaved into a military cut and he was very tall. The man was damn near seven feet when he was barefoot and his bright yellow eyes only seemed to enhance his monstrous appearance. Every time he saw me, a deep guttural growl would vibrate his chest and I’d have to look away.

However, his mate was much more accepting of my species. Dawn was the definition of big things coming in small packages. She was barely five feet tall, which made the fact that she was the only one who could successfully put Nick in his place all the more hilarious. Her thick black hair and big brown eyes suited her natural tan exceptionally. She was a curvy Hispanic woman with a ton of personality, making her hard to ignore.

The first time I’d met her was when we’d first arrived at the secluded cottage. Sam and Embry had just finished filling me in on how terrifying Beta Nick was, and out came this tiny Latina going off on him for being late. When Nick tried to walk past her, she slapped his ass hard and hopped onto his back like she was going to tackle him. The look on my face must’ve been priceless since the omegas chortled at me for a good ten minutes afterward.

Shane and Bobby, along with any other omega, were basically Embry’s bitches. He was considered to be third in command, and the leader of security and all training techniques. For such a funny, happy-go-lucky guy, he really took pack safety seriously.

Shane had long scraggly hair that faded into an unruly beard and his slanted eyes were almost always pointed to the ground out of respect for his superiors. Bobby, on the other hand, was a different story.

He seemed to enjoy pushing Embry’s buttons whenever he got the chance, often flirting with Sam right in front of him. He had even tried wooing me a few times, but I took his words with a grain of salt. While his mocha colored skin, chocolaty brown eyes and perfectly coiled hair were attractive, his arrogance got in the way of any shot there might have ever been between us. He was a dick, plain and simple.

I shared the larger of the two bedrooms with Sam, Embry, Dawn, and Nick. Sam and I slept on a bunk bed that had been built into the wooden wall of the cabin. Embry slept on the floor beside me as he continued to insist that it was far more comfortable.

Nick and Dawn shared a small bed on the opposite side of the room. A large sheet had been hung to give them a bit of privacy, but we could still hear them going at it like rabbits each night. The amount of times I had woken up to the sounds of moaning and snarling was enough to drive anyone nuts.

Shane and Bobby resentfully shared a pull out couch in the living room. They had offered to ‘make room’ for me to sleep with them, but I respectfully declined. They both kind of creeped me out.

The second real bedroom was inhabited solely by Alpha. I thought it was a bit selfish to hog one of the only two rooms all to himself but I didn’t dare say anything. An Alpha was God in the eyes of the pack, and so much as looking at him funny was reason enough to be beheaded.

With that being said, I had completely avoided looking in his general direction anytime I sensed him. I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake of looking him in the eye ever again.

I was very grateful that he had allowed me to stay with his pack for a while and I tried to extend my gratitude every chance I got. I had become quite accustomed to their daily routine and used it to my advantage.

Every morning, most of the pack would wake up at the crack of dawn to go out for their morning hunt. Each wolf was responsible for bringing in a certain number of kills every week and if they fell behind, they would have to forfeit half of their meal portions the following week.

Dawn held the current record for the most small game captured in a day, having killed over thirty rabbits and squirrels in a single morning. A deer was worth the amount of five rabbits, making them prime currency between pack members.

After their hunt, breakfast is made. Most of the wolves would eat some of their kill fresh in order to fit a nap in while Alpha ate. Eventually, daily chores would be assigned.

I seemed to be given the most household responsibilities because I was new, which I really didn’t mind. I cleaned the cabin thoroughly while the others were out hunting or sleeping, and I would wash the dishes without being asked after each meal.

I had even scrubbed the filthy bathroom during some of my free time to show my appreciation. I refrained from making any of their beds as I quickly learned that lycans are very territorial and they didn’t take kindly to someone else’s scent tainting their belongings.

There was usually some sort of ‘pack business’ that needed attending to while I was doing whatever I could to keep busy. The entire pack would load up and leave for the remainder of the morning to go over treaties with neighboring wolves or gathering supplies.

Sam had been kind enough to stay back with me most days, giving us time to get to know each other. We liked a lot of the same music and we both had a very sarcastic sense of humor. She reminded me of Grace with her bitchiness, which I found to be a massive comfort.

We would often sit around talking for hours until the pack returned for lunch. After eating, everyone would usually go off to do their own thing for a while, which usually consisted of working on their bikes or sleeping.

Werewolves sleep A LOT. Any chance they got to rest, they took it. There had been times were I’d caught some of the guys nodding off on the porch or even passing out in the bathroom!

Once everyone had awoken from their communal nap, most of them were jittery with pent up energy and aggression that needed to be let out. A mandatory training session would soon take place for every wolf that had slept, and this would usually continue until dinner time.

A few wolves would go out one last time to check the perimeter after eating, and then everyone would head to bed. Shifts were assigned each night for someone to stand guard. I had been recruited a few times to keep watch during the late hours, and it was brutal.

The tranquility of the night sky and the soft hum of nearby snoring was almost enough to lull me into a deep slumber. I had to force myself to remain conscious by pacing the front of the cabin repeatedly until my shift was over.

I had gotten used to this routine throughout the weeks, and was shocked to see it change so drastically during the full moon. That morning, I awoke to the peaceful sound of a sleeping pack rather than the typical howling and yapping that I had come to know.

I didn’t want to wake everyone up so I decided to rest quietly for a few more hours. Once everyone had finally started moving, we all ate a big breakfast together as a pack for the first time since my arrival.

Nick was quiet and sat at the opposite end of the room, but everyone else seemed to accept my presence happily. They were all giddy, and even Sam wore a smile upon her face as she expressed her excitement over the pack run.

“What’s a pack run?” I asked while stuffing some flavorful venison into my mouth. Embry had caught it yesterday morning and it was absolutely divine.

They all looked at me with wide eyes as if I had asked something totally remedial and stupid. A few moments passed in utter silence before everyone roared with exuberant laughter.

“Holy shit, I forgot you weren’t Lycan for a second there!” Bobby snorted.

“Yeah doll-face, you just fit right in. I half expected you to come with us tonight!” Embry cackled and wiped his eyes.

“I still have no idea what you guys are talking about,” I admitted as I chuckled nervously.

“Tessa, it’s a full moon.” Sam stared at me expectantly.

“I still don’t follow,” I blushed as I was beginning to feel like a total idiot.

“The pack run is a periodical tradition for our kind.” Alpha explained critically and I faced his feet to show that I was listening. “We feel closest to our Goddess during the full moon and it is the only time that we can allow our wolves to take full control.”

“Oh, okay.” I whispered, having never been addressed by Alpha directly before.

Even though his tone had remained even, I still felt like a kid getting scolded by their principal. Everyone else fell silent as our fearless leader continued to school me.

“You will have to stay inside during the run,” Alpha ordered and I nodded curtly, not daring to argue with him. “You’re still new and it’s very likely that their wolves haven’t accepted you as part of the pack yet. The last thing we need is for you to step outside and get mauled.”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Nick muttered from across the room, earning a sharp glare from Alpha.

“I want you to finish up all of your outdoor duties before sunset,” Alpha instructed as he turned to face me once more.

“Yes, Alpha.” I replied with my eyes still plastered to his boots.

He stood without another word and sauntered out the door. Nobody moved until the distinct sound of his engine revving echoed through the rustling trees. Nick followed suit soon after.

Once I had heard their bikes fade down the street, I felt confident enough to start the dishes. Alpha had given me a direct order and while I didn’t have many things left to do today, I decided to make myself useful until sunset.

The rest of the pack goofed off for the remainder of the day while I busted my ass. The moment I noticed the sky start to change color, I scurried inside. As darkness began to overtake the forest, each pack member filed out the door in very little clothing.

“You’re okay, right?” Sam asked me before leaving our room.

She was wearing a loose tank top and a pair of faded cut off shorts. She had removed all of her jewelry and was barefoot. It was strange seeing the lack of accessories on her.

“She’ll be fine,” Embry waved her off before I could speak. “Isn’t that right, princess?”

He was dressed merely in a thin pair of basketball shorts that left very little to the imagination. He squeezed my cheek playfully like I was a small child and I slapped his hand away firmly. He then puffed his large bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout. I had come to the conclusion that he was just a flirty guy in general and not to take anything he said too seriously.

“Oh, fuck off.” I sneered while adding a half smile so that he knew I was also joking.

“Atta girl!” He chided as he strutted out the door.

Sam gave me a final once over to make sure I was okay before heading out. She was worried about me, I could tell. Not that she’d ever admit it.

Before long, the pack house was silent and the trees were filled with an orchestra of hoots and howls. A stampede of paws kicking up dirt around the cottage had my hair standing on end but I refused to worry. I knew better than to step outside.

Instead, I used the small amount of alone time to finally call my dad. It had been almost a month since he had hugged me goodbye and he must be worried sick. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of calling him until now. Time had flown by.

I removed my phone from Sam's charger that I had borrowed after stupidly forgetting mine at home and dialed my dad’s number. It was about the time he should be driving home from work. He surprised me by answering on the first ring.

“Tessie, is that you?” My dad gasped.

“Hey, dad. Yeah, it’s me.” I answered him with my voice just above a whisper.

“Oh, thank god.” He sighed deeply, as if he had been holding his breath since the last time we’d seen each other. “Are you okay?”

His voice sounded so low and broken, but it was music to my ears. I could’ve never imagined how much I’d miss that voice. The hearty sound of his laugh when he thought something was really funny, or even the subtle ‘dad noises’ he’d make throughout the day. I missed them all.

“I’m good, dad. Really good, actually.” I assured him as I cleared the moisture pooling in my eyes. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too, sweetie. So much.” His words sounded heavy as if he was fighting the urge to cry. “Where are you? Wait, don’t tell me. It’s best that I don’t know. Are you safe, at least?”

As long as I don’t step outside and get eaten alive.

“Yes, I’m safe and I’m fine.” I laughed quietly. “I just called to check in.”

“Home sick already, huh?” He joked.

“You have no idea,” I breathed. “How’s everybody holding up?”

“Well, your mom’s devastated. But she’ll be alright, I’ll tell her you called and that you love her.” My dad admitted soundly. “The girls are... well, they’re the girls. What can I say?”

“They’re that mad?”

“You did pull a disappearing act on your wedding day, bud. I think everyone was a little upset after that.” He laughed through the speaker unexpectedly. “You should’ve seen the look on that idiot’s face when he realized you weren’t coming! It was priceless!”

“Geez, dad.” I laughed along.

We continued talking for about an hour or so, reminiscing on old times and updating each other on our new reality. I purposely avoided telling him that I had joined a biker gang full of werewolves, but other than that I did my best to remain totally transparent with him.

“Alrighty, bud. I’m pulling into the driveway now.” My father informed me sadly. “You better not take another freaking month to call me. I was worried sick, you know.”

“I know, I’m sorry.” I apologized earnestly. “It just took me a while to get situated. I’m still getting to know everyone and it’s been hard to get a moment alone.”

“Everyone?” He questioned.

I could hear him close the door to his truck and settle back into his seat, ready to listen.

“Um,” I stalled as I tried to come up with a way to fix my slip up. “I’m staying with some new friends. They’ve been really welcoming.”

“Do these friends have names?” He pushed.

“Dad,” I sighed exasperatedly.

“Fine,” he huffed. “You can tell me when you’re ready. I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”

“Dad, really I’m okay.” I promised. “I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”

“Liar,” he scoffed and I giggled.

“I love you, dad. I’ll call you as soon as I can.” I vowed.

“Love you too, kiddo.” He murmured. “I’ll be waiting by the phone until you do.”

I said my goodbyes and wandered out into the living room. I wasn’t used to the house being this quiet, or empty. It was kind of lonely. I fluffed a few pillows and tidied up a bit before sitting down on the bumpy sofa.

“You know you don’t have to do all that,” a robust voice sounded from behind me. “We assign daily chores for a reason.”

I yelped and whipped around instinctively before shooting my gaze down to the floor.

“Alpha!” I gripped my throat to calm my breathing. “I thought you went on the pack run.”

“I haven’t gone on one of those things in years,” he grunted while taking a seat at the small kitchen table.

“What a shame, everyone else made it sound really fun.” I commented more to myself than to him.

“You’re not missing much, trust me. It’s just a bunch of ass sniffing and humping.” He replied smoothly. “Sorry for sneaking in by the way, I didn’t mean to scare you. I was just trying to give you some time to finish your phone call.”

“Oh, no! You’re fine,” I gulped.

He’s super fine, I had to push the thought away as it was making me blush.

It was just so hard to ignore his strapping shoulders and ripped muscles that were visible beneath his tight clothes. I couldn’t help but imagine the wonders that lay beneath his thin shirt. His jacked arms were covered in colorless tattoos that depicted numerous images of beautiful women and the full moon.

He cleared his throat, validating that he had noticed me checking him out. My ears lit on fire as a new wave of embarrassment coursed through me.

“Come sit,” he gestured to the chair across from him with his massive hand. “Let’s talk.”

I scuttled over to the open seat and stared at his clasped hands, waiting for him to speak. I had watched every other member of the pack do this and I assumed it was out of respect.

“You can look me in the eye,” he chuckled. “I won’t bite. Scouts honor.”

I glanced up at him swiftly to see that he had raised his right hand as if making a solemn vow. I giggled at his little jest and studied him. Thick black hair fell in careless waves around his chiseled face. He glanced back at me with a shy smile, revealing a glistening set of white canines. He had a five o’clock shadow forming and his eyes were squinted slightly as he examined me.

His eyes.

They were the most breathtaking shade of green I had ever seen in my life. I could get lost in those emerald orbs forever. The man was gorgeous. Hell, he was a freaking Adonis! I could understand why the pack viewed him as a God, he certainly fit the part.

I soon noticed that I had been staring directly into his eyes for far too long. After Sam had informed me that most wolves perceived prolonged eye contact as either a challenge or an invitation to mate, I wasn’t taking any chances.

“Sorry, Alpha.” I murmured as my gaze fell back to the floor.

“Please, it’s just us.” He spoke with a slight grin. “Call me Dean.”

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