Riding with the Pack

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Chapter 19

Tessa

A loud crash followed by a vicious growl sounded from the other side of the bathroom door and my heart stopped. Now that I knew Dean didn’t have a wolf to shift into, I was incredibly worried about his safety. What the hell was he gonna do?!

I heard Dean attempt to reason with the wolves outside and strained my ears to listen in. I made out a few words like ‘listen’, and ‘think’, but the rest was muffled by the sound of continuous snarling. A struggle erupted from right outside the door, followed by a deafening silence. I held my breath and prayed that Dean wasn’t hurt. I couldn’t stand the thought of something happening to him because of me.

Just as I was wallowing in my own personal pity party, a timid knock pounded against the hardwood.

“Tessa?” Dean called from outside of the restroom. “You can come out now.”

I took a few deep breaths before climbing out of the grimy tub and walking over to the door. I forced my trembling hand to unlock it and turn the knob. Poking my head out cautiously, I gave Dean a quick once over.

He wasn’t bleeding, in fact he looked absolutely perfect as always. His ebony locks hung in waves upon his head while his green eyes were still a little red from our heart to heart earlier. His black shirt was slightly torn at the collar, revealing a tiny glimpse of his tattooed muscles.

Realizing that I was now giving Dean way more than a simple once over, I stepped out of the bathroom to inspect the rest of the cabin. The front door was shattered all over the ground, splinters of wood sticking out of the carpet and couch. I was wondering what the hell happened when something cold and wet poked the back of my leg.

I whipped around to meet the eyes of what was touching me and screamed like a little girl. A massive dark brown wolf with reddish undertones was standing behind me, studying me with it’s giant grey eyes intently. The beast flattened it’s ears and backed away slightly when I shrieked, but stepped forward again to sniff at my leg.

“It’s okay,” Dean soothed. “It’s just Embry.”

“Embry?!” I gasped.

The large wolf panted happily and booped my knee with his big shiny nose. His fluffy tail wagged excitedly at the sound of his name, knocking over one of the kitchen chairs with his whip like appendage.

Now that I knew it was Embry, I could kind of see the similarities. The wolf’s fur hung in long shaggy locks that had the same ginger highlights as Embry’s man bun, and they had the same striking silver eyes.

Noticing that I was checking him out, the wolf puffed out his chest and began strutting around me slowly. He then stood directly in front of me and made sure I watched him stretch dramatically before he flopped down onto his side, shaking every plate in the cupboards.

“Yep,” I nodded. “That’s definitely Embry.”

“Cocky fucker,” Dean muttered jokingly. “You broke the damn door down to do that?”

The wolf glanced at Dean for a moment, seeming to understand his question. The animal thought for a moment before jumping to his feet suddenly and trotting out the front door.

“What the hell was that?” I asked completely dumbfounded.

“No idea,” Dean shrugged. “He’s never done that before.”

The beast returned moments later with something in his mouth, prancing up to me. Embry’s wolf gently set the object at my feet and backed away, eyeing me carefully. I had to bite back a spew of bile at the sight of what was in front of me.

“A dead bird?” I asked in shock, feeling sorry for the little robin.

Its wings were snapped in unnatural angles and it had deep puncture wounds peppered along it’s breastbone and stomach. Some of the bird’s tiny organs were hanging out, leaking sweetly scented blood all over the floor.

“It’s a gift,” Dean muttered.

“Oh, wow!” I feigned joy. “What a great.. Bird.”

The wolf’s tail wagged vigorously and he looked to be smiling. An excited whine fell from the beast’s jowls and he nudged the peace offering closer to me with his snout.

“He wants you to eat it,” Dean clued me in.

“I’m not eating that,” I whispered.

The wolf huffed loudly in annoyance and stared at me expectantly. He stood to his feet and picked up the dead animal with his mouth before physically shoving the slobbery heap into my hands. Looking down at it, I wanted to vomit.

“That’s strange,” Dean murmured. “Have you two been fighting lately?”

“Why?” I asked.

“His wolf usually only brings dead animals when he thinks someones mad at him,” he informed me. “So if Embry thought you were upset with him before the run, it makes sense that his wolf would try to butter you up with a free meal.”

This is what I get for listening to Sam! I thought. I knew pretending to be angry with him would come back to bite me in the ass!

“How sweet,” I replied in disgust.

“He’s not gonna leave until you eat it,” Dean chuckled. “And if you deny it, he’ll keep bringing you dead animals till morning.”

“Are you kidding me?!” I gasped. “I’m not eating this thing!”

“Err,” the wolf groaned loudly at my protest.

It was clear he could understand me and wasn’t going anywhere.

“I mean,” I tried to save my own ass. “I’m not eating it right now. I just ate, but I’ll save it for later. Is that okay?”

The wolf nodded curtly and plopped down to aggressively scratch his pointy ear. It was hard to believe that this giant creature was a part of Embry.

“He’ll probably hang around until you eat it,” Dean muttered while picking up the chair that Embry’s wolf knocked over.

I set the dead bird on the kitchen counter, unable to throw it away in front of the bright grey eyes that were watching me like a hawk. I was just getting ready to take a seat with Dean when a loud vicious growl stopped me in my tracks.

I stared at Embry’s wolf, wondering what I did to piss him off but he wasn’t looking at me. The shaggy beast stood low to the ground while facing the front door. His lengthy fangs were bared as he let out another ferocious warning.

I followed his gaze only to find two giant yellow eyes glaring at me from the doorless frame of the cabin. A large rustic brown wolf began sauntering into the living room, refusing to take it’s glowing yellow orbs off of me. There was only one person I could think of that had giant golden eyes, Nick. His wolf was much bigger than Embry’s, but that didn’t stop him from attempting to defend me.

“Tessa,” Dean whispered while gripping my arm tightly. “Don’t move.”

“Didn’t plan on it,” I choked.

Nick’s wolf broke eye contact with me momentarily to snarl at Embry. I hid behind Dean quickly, not really wanting to get torn to shreds. The beast must’ve noticed my movement because he looked at me once again.

My subtle distraction must’ve been what Embry needed to make a move, because he lunged forward in the blink of an eye and sunk his deadly canines into Nick’s hairy shoulder without hesitation. The brown beast yelped in surprise before clacking his gums wildly, trying to find a way to get a hold of Embry’s neck.

Dean yanked me past the fearsome brawl and toward the front door, but stopped abruptly. A smaller growl sounded from outside and I watched in horror as a tiny grey wolf bounded through the cabin and jumped on Embry’s back, sinking it’s sharp teeth into him.

Knowing the husky sized pup had to be Dawn, it made sense that she’d defend her husband at all costs. I pulled at Dean’s arm in worry, not wanting Embry to get hurt.

His wolf was losing an uphill battle at the moment, being completely outnumbered. Nick was bigger and stronger, making him an easy distraction so Dawn could pounce and nip at his jugular. It was horrifying.

Embry’s jaws had clamped around Nick’s hind leg tightly, making it impossible to see Dawn readying herself to take a chunk out of his neck. Just as she lept at him, a white blur floated through the cabin and knocked the tiny wolf into a wall. A pained cry fell from the small grey mass, catching Nick’s attention.

Dean dragged me out of the pack house and sprinted toward his motorcycle. I kept looking back, catching glimpses of glowing orbs in the darkness every now and then. I turned just in time to see a giant brown mass knock the wind out of me.

Immediately thinking that I had just been tackled by Nick, I freaked out. I used my razor sharp talons to tear thick chunks of fur and skin from the beast, kicking and hissing in an attempt to survive. I peered past the heavy wolf to see Dean swing at it’s head with a long metal pipe.

The wolf screamed out in agony, falling to the ground with blood pouring from its mouth. This wolf had more black on its face than Nick’s did, making me wonder who the hell this was.

“Come on!” Dean shouted while dragging me toward his bike.

I hopped on just in time to see a tall grey and black wolf step out of the tree line. The animal sniffed at the bloody brown wolf on the ground before cocking its head at us. Dean didn’t stick around after that, revving Roxy’s engine and pulling out of the long driveway like a bat out of hell.

I wrapped my arms around his toned waist tightly as he sped down the road for a long time. After driving for what seemed like an eternity, we pulled into the empty gravel lot of the bar. Dean hopped off immediately, breaking into the small establishment without a second thought.

He motioned for me to follow and I ran after him. He slammed the flimsy door behind us and took my hand into his. He led me behind the bar and we both crouched down as we waited for something to happen. After several minutes of silence, we felt confident enough to peek out.

“I don’t think we were followed,” I whispered to him.

“We were,” he disagreed. “I’m just not sure by who.”

Slight scratching at the front door had my blood running cold. Dean stood carefully, silently urging me to stay put as he snuck toward the front door. He peeped out of the broken window and sighed in relief, quickly unlocking the door and opening it long enough for someone to sneak in.

I looked up just in time to see something white and soft slink around the bar. A gorgeous snow white wolf with the biggest blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life stared back at me. The beautiful creature sniffed my timidly before nuzzling into me.

“Sam’s here,” Dean mentioned quietly.

I looked back at the darling little wolf that was rubbing against me. Her ivory pelt felt like rabbit fur and she bumped my cheek with her pink nose. She was so sweet and loving, nearly a polar opposite of Sam.

“She doesn’t act like her at all,” I responded while running my fingers along her back.

“Wolves can’t pretend to be something they’re not,” he smirked. “A Lycan’s wolf is the purest representation of who they are.”

“Well if that’s the case, you must really like me.” I smiled at her.

Her wolf met my grin with a toothier version of her own before tilting an ear toward the door. She stood suddenly and trotted over to it, whining her displeasure at being unable to reach the knob.

Dean followed her, causing her small figure to flinch away from him in deep rooted fear. He ignored it and checked the window before opening the door. A large dark brown wolf with a shaggy coat limped inside.

“Embry?” I spoke timidly, catching the giant beast’s attention.

He cocked a head toward me before sauntering over. Blood tailed from the doorway to where I was sitting behind the smelly bar. He poked my open palm with his wet nose before collapsing beside me.

Sam’s wolf followed closely behind, obsessively licking away any blood that fell from him. Puncture wounds ran up the length of his hind legs and back, making their way toward his throat. Dark crimson began pooling around him, staining the cheap tile flooring. I stroked the top of his head politely as my heart filled with dread.

“He’s hurt,” I murmured to Dean.

He bent down to inspect Embry’s wounds, moving tufts of fur here and there to get a better look. He patted his side lightly once he had finished his inspection and took a seat next to me.

“He’ll be fine,” he assured me. “Trust me, he’s had worse. He might be a little sore in the morning but he’ll manage.”

“How can you be so sure?” I argued. “These bites look deep. What if they get infected?”

“Werewolves heal fast, remember?” Dean reminded me. “Besides, Sam won’t let them get infected. What she’s doing is keeping his injuries clean and helping them to heal faster.”

I watched Sam’s wolf continuously lap at Embry’s fur, pulling away every now and then to spit out a glob of his thick hair. She traveled up his body thoroughly cleaning every wound before making her way up to his face. She ran her pink tongue along Embry’s cheek, lifting his heavy jowls and tasting his gums.

“Why is she-?” I inquired timidly since it looked like the two were in the midst of a saucy makeout session.

“Sometimes their gums bleed if they bite something hard enough,” Dean explained. “She’s checking to make sure his mouth isn’t cut and that he didn’t lose any teeth.”

“Does that happen a lot?” I asked.

“No, but it could.” He shrugged. “Better safe than sorry.”

Sam’s wolf continued nursing Embry until he fell asleep. I learned very quickly that like Embry, his wolf was a horrible snorer. The beast sounded like a pissed off lion every time it exhaled, but Sam didn’t seem to mind. Once she had finished cleaning his wounds, she nuzzled into his neck and curled up into a cotton ball beside him.

“Looks like we’re camping out here for the night,” Dean chuckled while leaning against a discarded bag of limes.

“Well that was one hell of a pack run,” I giggled.

“That won't happen again," he declared. “I don’t like you being in that much danger, it’s my job to keep you safe and I could’ve failed tonight.”

“Why would that be your job?” I teased.

“You’re my imprint,” he said more to himself than to me. “It’ll always be my job to protect you.”

“What’s an imprint?” I raised a brow at him.

He met my eyes in shock for a moment before smacking his head like he said something he wasn’t supposed to.

“Well I, um-,” he pulled at the collar of his shirt nervously. “An imprint is basically just an overwhelming sense of being extremely protective over someone. It happens all the time. Sam and Embry have probably imprinted on you by now, which would explain why he was willing to challenge Nick’s wolf for you.”

“So, you imprinted on me?” I asked him with a blush.

“Uh, yeah.” He chuckled nervously. “But don’t take it as weird! I’ve imprinted on almost everyone in my pack by now. It’s especially common in Alphas.”

I tried to hide my reddened cheeks, completely flattered. Even though he pretty much admitted to being this way with everyone, I still couldn’t help but feel a little special.

“I think it’s sweet,” I told him. “I knew there had to be a reason I felt so safe around you.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” he smiled widely.

The room fell silent for a bit as we both watched the two magnificent beasts in front of us snore soundly. I kind of wanted to address our conversation from earlier, but I wasn’t sure how to bring it up exactly. What do you say to someone who lost their wife?

I glanced over at Dean. He was still watching Sam and Embry sleep but his eyes seemed dimmer than usual. He seemed to be looking at them with a sense of sadness or even a bit of jealousy. I realized after a while that he was likely envious of them at that moment.

He probably snuggled like that with his mate, I thought.

I hated seeing him like this. I searched the tiny establishment for anything I could find to pull him out of his funk. Remembering that he liked to drink, I stood up to gather a bottle of vodka and two shot glasses.

“Wanna play a game?” I asked sweetly while sliding a glass over to him.

He stared at me quizzically for a moment before picking up the tiny cup and giving me a wide smile.

“If it involves getting shit faced,” he joked. “I’m in.”

“Perfect!” I squealed quietly and filled his glass.

“What’d you have in mind?” He asked, already downing his first shot and waiting for a refill.

“How’s about,” I pretended to think for a moment while pouring more of the clear liquid for him. “Never Have I Ever.”

“How do you play?” He inquired.

“You’ve never played Never Have I Ever?!” I exclaimed. “Oh, you’re such a prude!”

“Ha. Ha,” he laughed sarcastically. “Just tell me the rules.”

“Okay, it’s super easy.” I promised. “You just tell me something that you’ve never done before and if I’ve done it, I drink. It’s that simple.”

“Oh, like never have I ever screamed like a little girl because someone gave me a dead bird?” He teased, catching on very quickly.

“Oh, real mature!” I scoffed, knocking back my shot.

“I try,” he chuckled while refilling my cup. “Okay, your turn.”

“Hm,” I thought aloud. “Never have I ever gotten a tattoo.”

“Okay, that was a cheap shot!” He laughed as he assessed the intricate artwork covering both of his arms. “We’re gonna have to change that one of these days. Can’t be in a biker gang without a tattoo, it’s the rules.”

“Shut up and drink!” I joked, watching him wince as he swallowed the beverage quickly.

“Never have I ever,” he thought for a moment. “Seen a werecat fully shifted.”

“Wow,” I laughed. “I should’ve seen that coming!”

I inhaled the shot quickly and we continued our happy game, getting in petty jests once in a while to keep things fun. It was a great way of learning a bunch of new things about Dean fairly quickly, like that he’d never been on a boat before and that he had indeed tried dog food at some point.

We continued the game for over an hour and were both getting considerably drunk. We downed the first bottle pretty fast, so we were now just sipping out of our own bottles of booze.

“Never have I ever,” I began. “Gone streaking.”

“Many times,” Dean smiled while taking a large swig from his fifth of bourbon. “You’re telling me you’ve never been naked in public?”

“Oh, shit!” I laughed. “I totally flashed my tits at my sisters wedding, but I don’t know if that counts.”

“That definitely counts!” Dean snickered drunkenly. “Drink!”

“Fine,” I said before sipping on my peppermint schnapps, hardly tasting the crisp liquor anymore. “Your turn.”

“Never have I ever,” he chuckled to himself. “Had an imaginary friend.”

“No fair!” I slurred. “I still don’t think he was imaginary!”

“Who?” Dean squinted. “That dog or-?”

“He was a wolf!” I corrected. “I don’t know if I should drink for that one, because I’m pretty sure he was real.”

“What happened?” Dean asked.

“Well, I told you that I ran away when I was little and my parents freaked out.” He nodded to assure that he was listening. “Well anyway, I ended up in a tiny cave and out of nowhere this giant wolf showed up!”

“You must’ve been horrified,” he sympathized.

“I was at first,” I admitted. “But then he crawled in and cuddled up to me. He was just super nice to me and I wasn’t used to that at the time. I felt like I belonged with him, like I was safe and no one could hurt me.”

“That sounds-,” he began.

“Crazy,” I finished for him. “I know, trust me. I got enough shit for it from my sisters growing up, I get it.”

“I was gonna say it sounds like he showed up at the right time,” he clarified. “You don’t sound crazy, I believe you.”

“Really?” I asked, never having anyone believe my story before.

“Yes,” he nodded.

“Thanks,” I smiled and leaned against his shoulder. “You know, besides you he was the only other person that liked my sandwich surprise.”

“Person?” Dean smirked.

“Well, he felt like a person.” I giggled. “He answered questions like he understood me and he had these sweet grass eyes that I could just get lost in. He was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen in my life. I met him once and totally fell in love with him. I was devastated when Ryan shot him.”

“One of your dads?” He asked.

“Mhm, Monica’s.” I explained. “A part of me never forgave him for that. My dad tried to make me feel better and say that when he went back to check on him after he took me home he was gone, but I’m not sure I believe that. I think he just didn’t want me to grow up hating Ryan for taking away the only one that ever seemed to understand me.”

“Maybe your dad really did check on him and he was gone,” Dean offered.

“Or he showed up and Wolfie was dead so he buried him,” I sneered. “That sounds more like my dad than anything.”

Dean hung his heavy arm around my shoulders, pulling me in loosely. He stayed silent for a while, likely trying to understand everything that I had just told him before speaking.

“Have you ever thought about the possibility of him being Lycan?” He asked carefully. “Maybe he was a lost rogue that found a girl just as scared and lonely as he was.”

“I’ve thought about that,” I admitted. “But I hate that idea because if that’s the case, it means I got some innocent guy killed for trying to help me.”

“Maybe he didn’t die,” he pushed. “Lycans are very hard to kill, and your dad said the body was gone when he returned.”

“Then that means he abandoned me after knowing how lonely and traumatized I was,” I scoffed.

“Maybe he was too scared to return to you,” Dean mumbled. “Maybe he wanted to go back to you but he felt like he couldn’t.”

“I call bullshit,” I sniffled before continuing. “You know what’s sad? I used to go out into the woods and call his name for hours everyday after that. I wanted him to come back and take me away so badly. I even snuck back to that tiny cave and left a sandwich surprise for him.”

“I’m so sorry,” Dean muttered while clutching me tightly as he rested his head on mine.

“I still dream about him,” I admitted quietly, not wanting to awaken our furry guests. “It’s really embarrassing, but I see him every night in my sleep. I always run my fingers through his wavy black fur and stare adoringly into his big green eyes. That’s why I don’t like to think about him being Lycan, because if he was, that means I’ve been dreaming about some guy that couldn’t give a shit less about me.”

“I don’t think that’s true,” Dean breathed my scent in deeply. “I think he cares about you just as much as you do him.”

“That’s sweet of you to say,” I murmured drowsily. “But there’s no use in clinging to the past. He’s not here, you are.”

“Yes I am,” Dean agreed. “And I’m not going anywhere, I promise.”

I snuggled into him, inhaling his masculine scent deeply while losing a fearsome battle with my eyelids.

“Get some rest,” Dean ordered. “Nothings getting in here tonight. You’re safe.”

“I’m surrounded by my best friend’s in the whole wide world,” I grinned widely in my drunken stupor. “I love you guys.”

“And we love you,” Dean spoke directly into my ear.

I started nodding off to the sound of Sam and Embry snoring steadily along with the alluring aroma of pine trees filling my nostrils.

"You smell like Wolfie," was the last thing I uttered before passing out.

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