Greta's hands were folded politely, chin high as the SUV came to a stop outside the house. I didn't miss the flash of relief in her eyes when they landed on me. I grinned at her.
"Told ya I'd be safe and sound." I chirped, erupting in laughter when I saw her eyes narrow, softening when they went to my younger siblings. She walked backwards and held open the front door.
"Come on young humans. I have prepared breakfast for you two."
"What about me?" I questioned, taking up two bags from the trunk whilst Xerxes and Leo took up the rest. "I'm very hungry."
"Me too." My mother joined in, shuffling almost nervously around me so that Greta could see her. "I would love some breakfast as well."
Greta tilted her head. "Ah yes, Mrs. Valle. I have some food prepared. Just follow me." She shot me a glare and walked inside the house, leaving the rest of us to trail behind with the heavy bags.
Xerxes followed me to the guest rooms and set the bags down. As I walked into a bathroom, making sure there were towels available, Xerxes spoke from where he stood by the doorway.
"Arthur is flying in today." He said. "He's visiting relatives in the area, but says he has some important things to discuss. I'm going to go with Leo to the airport."
I gently closed a cabinet, satisfied at what I saw and looked back to him. "What time are you leaving?"
"In five hours. So around 8:30 or so," Xerxes said, stepping back so I could pass him, watching me as I walked across the room to stand by an open window, the curtains rising and falling with each gust of wind that blew through.
"How do you feel about seeing Gary again?" I asked, feeling uneasy as I remembered his face. Benjamin was right in saying that Gary was strong; it seemed like that werewolf had somehow managed to gain so much muscle in so little time. It had only been months ago since I last saw him, and he had been far from muscular.
But now, it seemed like he had an entire transformation. It made sense now about Benjamin's words; I had no doubts that Gary blamed me for his face being almost completely destroyed by the bombs which were set off. I knew there were also probably many things that Gary despised me for.
"I'll admit," Xerxes grunted, a chair creaking under his weight as he sat. "I was surprised to see that he's alive."
I looked back at him when that was all he said and his eyebrows lifted.
"That's it?" I asked. Xerxes shrugged, glancing to a painting hanging on a wall. It was of a small house near an ocean, with a sun setting in the distance.
"I'm mostly shocked is all."
I shifted on my feet, rested my back against a wall, studying his face and his now dark eyes filled with confusion as he appeared to be remembering his step brother.
"I can see that." I said softly. The noise of glass breaking had both Xerxes and I springing to attention. I could hear my mother chastising either George or Alyssa and I slowly exited the room, my movements sluggish.
The hallway seemed to blur as I walked, feeling a wave of tiredness. Eyes blinked slowly as I paused, waiting for my vision to become clear again. Xerxes watched my face, amused as I gathered myself and continued walking down the hall.
A strong hand caught mine when I headed towards the stairs. "Where are you going?" Xerxes asked, pulling me backwards gently.
I swallowed back my yawn and stared up at him, wondering how he wasn't as tired as I was. "To go make sure the others are settling in."
"Don't worry about that," Xerxes told me a hint of laughter being heard in his voice. His warm lips pressed against my forehead. "You're clearly exhausted. Go to bed; I'll make sure they're fine."
I looked to him and then back to the stairs, contemplating. Eventually the need for sleep won over my internal decision and I turned on my heels quickly,
"Will do." I called as I hurried to the bedroom, eager to spend the next couple hours asleep in darkness.
"Benjamin." My voice rang out in the shed and I heard feet moving against wooden floor. Sharp eyes stared at me through the bars as I handed over a wrapped sandwich, which he grudgingly took at first.
I pulled up a steel chair and sat on it, watching as he got over his pride of having to take food from me and began to devour it heartily, sitting on a extremely small bed tucked in the corner.
"Water?" He asked, when he had finished off his food and I shook my head. He cursed under his breath, letting the wrapper which had once covered the sandwich fall to the floor.
Benjamin gave a few burps, coughed and walked back to the bars after being able to push himself up off the bed with a loud, unnecessary exclamation. And he was back to the penetrating staring again. I leveled my eyes with his, tilted my head when he spoke,
"Thanks for that." Benjamin grunted. I raised my head as he looked away, his fingers shoved deep into his empty pockets. His hair was damp with perspiration and mouth was dry. I spotted a half-empty cup of water.
"Why'd you ask for water when there is some right there?" I asked. Benjamin looked to where I pointed.
"The bottles of water you carried to me before were cold, and I prefer them that way. I was hoping you had some." Benjamin explained, lowering his body so he sat cross-legged on the floor. A guard nearby shifted closer at Benjamin's movements and the human narrowed his eyes.
"Owen over there refuses to give me what I want." Benjamin snapped. "And I don't understand. I've answered every question you and Xerxes have thrown at me and yet I'm still behind these bars. I want my freedom." His words were spat out in broiling anger and I watched the way his shoulders shook with rage.
"I have another question," I said quietly, drawing Benjamin's seething gaze from the stone-faced guard. "Do you know of a man named Harold?"
Benjamin frowned. "I know many men named Harold, hun. You'll need to be more specific."
My sigh was audible as I saw the twinkle in his eyes. "Harold from the Insurgency Club."
Benjamin's eyes dulled, the lines around his mouth tight. "Oh. That Harold. Yes I know him." He watched me apprehensively. "What about him do you want to know?"
"When did he figure out the true plans that the werewolves in the group wanted to do?" I asked, recalling the time Harold had gripped Sinclair's shoulder when he had been in Canada.
Now that I thought of it, that action was odd, especially if Harold knew what Sinclair's real intentions were. But as Benjamin began to explain to me, my confusion dissolved. Harold had been the last person to figure out what was actually going on. Benjamin had been there when Claire had told Harold, and the date was roughly a week or two after Harold returned from Arthur's home.
"He was shocked. But he was also quick to go along on Claire's ideas." Benjamin scratched at his bare chin. "If I do remember correctly, Harold also spoke to Claire about how many times he doubted his actions on working alongside you and Rebecca."
The guard, Owen, moved to us, startling Benjamin. Immediately the angry human began a tirade, sputtering insults and demanding why the guard was listening in to our conversation. Owen and I exchanged a look and I could tell he was slowly becoming irritated.
I stood and Benjamin's mouth clamped shut. "Thanks for the little chat." I called out as I began walking away, leaving the guard to try and settle the man's temper.
"Becca?" Sissy's voice managed to reach me despite the booming laughter from Arthur below. She walked slowly in the study room, another place that I hadn't discovered until recently. I looked away from the window and made some room on the plush couch.
My jaw tightened uncomfortably when I saw tears brimming her eyes when she declined to sit.
"Xerxes told me what he did to my mom after what she tried to do to you." She said, her voice so unlike the emotions swimming in her eyes. "And he said that he will kill her."
I said nothing, but felt my unease begin to rise when her mouth opened to speak again, "And I wanted to know, if you could, maybe, change his mind on killing her?"
I winced, pulling my knees to my chest and regarded her. "She was going to kill me, Sissy." Was what I finally said. Sissy jerked her head in a nod.
"I know. I do think she deserves some form of punishment, but I don't want her to die."
"Please. Just try to talk to Xerxes about it." Sissy blurted, her voice cracking. "She's my mother."
I rested my forehead against my knees, closed my eyes tightly going back and forth on whether I should just outrightly tell her no, or actually consider speaking with Xerxes. My teeth sunk into my lower lip, nibbling as I tried to say something to Sissy that could ease her worries. But when I eventually looked up to speak with her, she had already left.
Arthur raised his glass to me when I entered the dining room. "Ah, there you are. I was just asking Xerxes for you."
I smiled, pulling out a chair, allowing the legs to drag against the tiles, much to Greta's disapproval. "Where is Xerxes?" I asked, sitting down and resting my hands against the table. I could hear the sound of water splashing against the sides of the pool and looked over my shoulder to see George and Alyssa swimming outside.
"He went to the supermarket with your mother. Said he'll be back in half of an hour or so." Arthur sipped at his dark wine, fangs showing as he smiled. My eyes lingered on them, shuddering at the sight.
"We had a long talk before that." Arthur said, paying no attention to my uneasy expression. "About Gary and Sinclair."
My eyes jerked away from his teeth. "What did you talk about?" I asked. Arthur set down his glass with a frown, eyed it for several seconds.
"I had received an email from Sinclair a week ago. He wanted there to be some form of alliance between us and only gave out little information on why he was reaching out to me. However, I believe he knew that Xerxes assigned me as the commander of some of Xerxes' army and wanted me to lure me into his objectives, which he doesn't know that I know of already.
"Sinclair has also reached out to other high ranking persons like myself," Arthur continued, "Who Xerxes also assigned to have some power in the army and they too refused to be an ally with him."
I could hear the door sliding open, the pitter patter noises of little feet against the floor, but I didn't take my attention from Arthur. "Do you think that Sinclair and Gary will be able to convince people to agree with their plans?"
Arthur's gaze went behind me and I could hear my siblings approaching. "He may be able to convince some," Arthur said, looking back to me with a wry smile. "The war that happened months ago included werewolves who fought alongside Gary, but they were all killed. There will be alot who would be very wary to betray their Alpha after that and most are smart enough not to. I think Gary, Idina and Sinclair has underestimated the loyalty that many werewolves have to Xerxes."