"I was one of the people who threw rocks at that house you visited.” Benjamin’s voice broke me out of my reverie. I blinked slowly, straightening in my seat. “Two of my friends and I did it, because The Alpha funded the construction of it."
There was no sense of guilt, and he quietly spoke. My lips twitched. He had been asked by Flynn, a day ago, about whether or not he had known who was involved in that situation, and Benjamin had said nothing. And now, he was choosing to admit it, to me.
I rested my elbow on the table between us, pressed my chin on my palm and studied him. He was refusing to look at me now, and a permanent frown was etched across his face. The bottle I had given him was empty now and he gripped it in a tight hold.
“You really do hate The Alpha.” It wasn’t a question. Benjamin grunted, finally meeting my eyes.
I tilted my head at the noise of a door opening, but kept my focus on the man. “What is it that he could do, to change your mind about him?"
I could hear Xerxes’ footsteps and knew he had probably woken up, read the small note I had left on the bed about where I would be and decided to come here as well.
Benjamin became even more grave and his eyes lowered to his finger, where the heavy-looking ring rested. “I’m not a man easily pleased, Rebecca. It would take a lot for me to change my mind on him.”
I pressed my lips together, nodded once. The door opened and I watched as Benjamin took in the sight of Xerxes, seeing that familiar flash of fear which crossed most people’s eyes when they saw The Alpha in person. But Benjamin was good at masking it and it was gone as quickly as it came and he looked away, chin high.
“Benjamin.” Xerxes said.
Tired, silver eyes settled on me and I stood, leaving the room. I looked on as Xerxes locked the door behind us, the noise of the several keys hitting together a jarring sound in the quiet shed.
“How long were you in there for?” Xerxes asked as we eventually left, making our way through the grass back to his house. His voice was raspy and I knew he had just woken up minutes ago before coming over to the shed.
“An hour or so.” I told him, folding my arms across my chest, listening to the sound of our boots crushing the wet grass and leaves.
Ahead I could see Xerxes’ house, and the blazing glare from the morning sunlight reflecting on the glass window panes. The sky was a beautiful blue color and a few white clouds were above.
Teeth grinded together as I looked away from the beautiful sight, becoming somber. I told Xerxes what Benjamin had revealed to me and paused my walk abruptly, Xerxes too coming to a halt.
“We can’t risk a battle, Xerxes.” I blurted, my anxiety and slight panic leaking into my spewing words, “All of what has been built will be destroyed if we don’t have some sort of compromise. Those weapons which the Insurgency Club has could do so much damage, kill so much innocent people in a battle.”
My breath hitched as I thought of the young children and persons, who could possibly get caught in the crossfire if what Claire planned to happen ensued. I knew that there was a high chance that the werewolves would fight back under the command of Xerxes.
I just wanted there to be peace, for there to be some form of understanding between humans and werewolves. But I also knew that it would probably take years before humans heal mentally from what they’ve endured. Xerxes’ hand lifted, cupping my cheek, waiting until the fear from my eyes settled.
I was surprised when he pulled me into him, but did not resist. I rested my head on his chest, listening to his calming heartbeat and inhaled his scent, his arms encircling my waist.
“That won’t happen.” Xerxes spoke into my hair, his voice full of certainty. “No battle, or war will happen.”
My fingers tightened around the back of his shirt, closed my eyes tightly. “How can you be so sure?”
“Who is this?” Sissy lifted a picture frame, rested it on a table. I took it from her, eyes immediately watering at the photo of my father, and his smile that reminded me so much of George’s. A big afro framed the strong features of his face and his gentle dark brown eyes looked off to something that was beside the camera.
“It’s my dad,” I said, after managing to swallow the lump in my throat. Sissy’s nose scrunched up in concentration, her eyes flickering to me and then back to the photo.
“You look like him.”
I raised a brow. “Well, I am his daughter, Sissy.”
Sissy ignored my teasing tone. “Xerxes doesn’t have any pictures of my dad in his house. They didn’t get along very well, according to my mom. He was far too rough on Xerxes when he was a child and they got into a lot of arguments.” She laughed humorlessly. “Both of my parents suck.”
Well that explained why Xerxes was so reluctant to speak about his father.
We both turned at the sounds of feet rushing down the stairs and I laughed softly as George attempted to toss on his bag, my mother running a wide-toothed comb through his thick hair at the same time.
He stumbled at the bottom, curled a lip when my mother chastised his rushing behaviour and walked over to me, giving a shy smile to Sissy.
Alyssa came down much slower than her brother, and a bored expression was plastered on her face, a bag, which looked twice her size on her back. I huffed as I took it from her.
“You’re only staying for the night, Alyssa. Not a month.” I muttered, deciding that I would leave it on the floor until I was ready to leave.
“I need them back by ten tomorrow. George is going to have a tutor come over to help him improve his maths,” George frowned when mother said that, “And Alyssa is going to dance class.”
My mother gently ran the comb in George’s hair one last time and put it away. The children began to head to the door and I took the opportunity of their absence to speak with my mom.
“How are you holding up?” I asked quietly, keeping my voice low. My mother said nothing at first, just studied my face before shrugging a shoulder.
“I’m fine. It’s better that I knew Benjamin was like this early.” She waved me off. “Go, go.”
I pressed a kiss on my mother’s cheek, put on Alyssa’s bag before leaving. Taking both George and Alyssa’s hands, I swung swung their arms as Sissy ran ahead to where Leo was waiting for us, by the car.
“Where’s Xerxes?” George asked, as we crossed the road.
“He’s at home, setting up some stuff for you guys.” I grunted as the heavy weight of Sissy’s bag seemingly got heavier. I was breaking a sweat by the time we got by the vehicle and I yanked it off of me, dropped it in the trunk of the car. The drive to Xerxes’ home was a short one and thankfully, Leo offered to take the bag and walked with us into the house.
I had known that Xerxes and Greta would be setting up snacks and sweets for the kids, but the amount was not something I had not been expecting at all. Bowls and plates with the treats rested on tables in the living room, some even on the floor.
“No, no, no.” I murmured, watching as George and Alyssa headed off into the direction of the sweets. I had seen them once scarf down many, and it didn’t take them long to have a sugar rush. Their behaviour after that was unbelievably chaotic. It took an hour for the rush to wear off, but it had seemed like a much longer time.
Xerxes watched as I grabbed countless bowls and placed them out of the young children’s reach, snagged away plates of cake and food.
“What are you doing?” He asked when I managed to put away more than half of the food. Greta and him stood side by side, both staring at me with plain confusion.
“Those needed to be gone. Trust me.” I said as I lifted Alyssa’s bag and rested it on the dining table, groaned when I realized that she had decided to pack most of her bag with packets of sweets; something I knew mother did not know.
I put those in the fridge, whispered to Greta to not let any of the kids to touch them. My only response was a smirk and I had an inkling that she would probably let them share a packet, just to spite me.
I spent most of the morning with the children, aimlessly watching television, Xerxes always nearby, doing work or offering George and Alyssa something to drink. It was only when George began to stare at Xerxes, almost shyly, that he put away the work and helped set up the playstation for George to play on.
When afternoon came, they went outside to play in the pool and Xerxes and I stayed inside, preparing lunch for them. I was okay at cooking, but Xerxes knew how to do it much better than myself, so I opted to just hand over the ingredients.
“Have you heard from Flynn?” I asked, tossing a green pepper back and forth in my hands, leaning against the counter and watching as Xerxes turned on the stove and rested the frying pan against the hob.
“Not as yet. I’ll talk with him later this evening before we leave.” Xerxes said, lifting a plate which held sliced vegetables and pouring it into the frying pan. The satisfying sounds of them sizzling erupted in the kitchen and I leaned forward, watching him stir fry them before adding other ingredients to the mix.
I jumped at the noise of a door flinging open and watched as Leo ambled inside, brown eyes immediately landing on the frying pan.
“Would you be so kind as to share some of that delicious smelling food with me?” He was already getting a plate from the cupboard and I arched my eyebrow as he came to stand beside me. Xerxes snarled as Leo reached for the food with his bare hands.
“The stove isn’t even off, Leo.” I said, shaking my head. Leo begrudgingly waited until the food was fully cooked, washed his hands and took up some with a fork, under the careful watch of Xerxes. In the end, the remaining food was only enough for the three children, so I decided that I would eat later.
When later came, I regretted my decision on deciding to wait for food. I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, and I was going insane. Xerxes on the other hand, did not seem bothered by the lack of food he hadn’t eaten and sat pleasantly in the back of Easton’s van, scrolling through his phone whilst I internally complained about my hunger.
I could hear the voices of the soldiers outside; they had been called by Xerxes to confiscate the weapons that Benjamin claimed to be inside of the shed.
When Flynn and Kesley eventually turned up with food, I eagerly accepted it, humming as I ate, listening as the others set out a plan on how they would go about getting rid of the weapons with the help of Xerxes' soldiers.
When the decision was eventually made, I walked out with them to the shed, glancing up at the cameras installed. I wasn’t bothered; it amongst other things would be destroyed soon enough. Whilst Easton kept watch, Xerxes managed to break the lock and open the door.
And yup, Benjamin was really being truthful. Various types of guns, armor and combat knives were situated neatly on tables and strapped to walls. Flynn whistled at the sight of them, dragging his fingers against the butt of a rifle.
I grimaced at a nasty looking knife, imagining the damage it could do to someone’s throat. Kesley’s shoulder brushed mine as she advanced deeper into the shed and I hissed impatiently through my teeth. We needed to be quick; I knew that someone would be coming soon to guard this shed.
When Kesley re-emerged, she shook her head. “Nothing else is back there.” She said, gesturing to the darkness that she had just disappeared into. I glanced around the shed once more and then followed the others outside.
With a silent command from Xerxes, uniformed werewolves piled out of their vehicles, walking hurriedly into the shed, their gloved hands seizing the weapons, confiscating the armor. The cameras were destroyed and the footage that they could've captured were also gotten rid of.
I stayed out in the open as they did so, keeping my eyes trained on the parking lot, on the road. Few vehicles passed because of the late hour and the drivers who did go by, paid little attention to what was taking place.
The sudden sound of movement in the darkness was a soft sound, but nonetheless caught my attention. My eyes narrowed sharply in the direction from where I had heard the noise and I slowly walked forward, towards the open field.
Behind me, the racket of weapons clanging together and marching boots echoed, before becoming a distant sound the more I walked. I inhaled deeply, holding my breath, straining to hear the noise once more. Seconds merged into minutes and by then, I was beginning to think that it was probably a small animal that had dashed across dried leaves.
However, a flash of silver eyes and long dark hair delving past me was enough to propell me forward, my shoes kicking up dirt and leaves as I darted after the person, Idina.
I knew it would only take a minute for Xerxes to notice my abscence and he would find me soon enough, so I kept on running, my eyes searching desperately for the place where she had ran off into. My run slowed to a jog and I turned, my chest heaving as I desperately took in my surroundings. I had chased Idina into a small quiet forest and I could see no animals, hear nothing but the creaking noises of the trees' branches swaying in the night breeze.
I whipped around at the feeling of the hair on the back of my neck rising, unprepared when Idina launched herself at me, her well-muscled body pushing me onto the ground, her elbow jerking hard into my healing ribs. Her cold fingers gripped my neck, cutting off my air supply as I writhed underneath her, trying to move her body from on top of mine.
My vision blurred as I lifted my hands, and scratched at her eyes, feeling my fingernails dig into the pupils. She howled and released me, jaw snapped animalistically. She recovered quickly and my head snapped to the side at the painful blow she delivered.
I spat out blood and spit, my jaw throbbing as I scrambled to my feet, she doing so as well. A burst of strength allowed me to shove her back into the trunk of a tree, my enclosed fist breaking her once delicate-looking nose.
And just like that, she snapped, her body bucking mine off of her, clothes ripping as she shifted, bones cracking as she turned into her wolf, drool coming from it's jaws as she landed on her paws. Dark fur bristled as she advanced towards me and I cursed; she was large for a she-wolf, and stronger in this form.
I braced myself when she lept high, deadly intent shinning in her darkening eyes.