Chapter 1: Lieke
" You can't."
" I'm sorry, but why can't I ?" I folded my arms over each other.
" Alpha's order."
" Must be a really new order then, because I haven't heard of it yet."
" It is, as a matter of fact." He turned to face me," He declared it earlier this week. No women are allowed to work at jobs where they're at risk of injury."
" That's every job." I deadpan," He can't be serious about -"
" You can't work here Lieke."
" I can't or you don't want me to ?"
He looked up and caught my glare for a moment before sniffing and looking at something behind me, an understocked shelf probably. Anything less intimidating than the rage my eyes conveyed in this moment.
" Look, I'm sorry but you'll have to find somewhere else to work."
You know you aren't sorry about anything. I seethed internally.
" Yeah, sure." The bell rings as I exit the diner jobless and ticked off.
God my life sucks.
I scuff my feet on the gravel as I walk towards my car and sigh as I let my head fall back so I can look at the sky. It was already getting dark. Day light savings was almost over and the cool autumn had started to creep in on us. It never came all at once, the seasons were as mercurial as the resident Luna, or as the teens called her, chief tight ass.
I just called her Lara, not that anyone's seen her since she's been pushing out babies for the alpha for god knows how long.
My phone started ringing as soon as I pulled my car door open, and I swiftly answered it," Hello ?"
" Hey Leike did you see the challengers today ?" Tex screamed into the phone.
" Of course not. You know I hate seeing that outdated alpha male bloodbath our dear leader calls a tradition." I hiss as I slide into the drivers seat of my car.
" Geez, I've told you if you have such an issue with him, just challenge him for his position like the rest of us. I'm getting kind of tired of your whining."
" Well, if I did, it would be a win-win for you then because I'd be too dead to whine to you anymore." I smiled as I buckled myself in.
" You're stronger than you think." He said into the phone.
" It's exactly that kind of overconfidence that gets people killed in the monthly challenges." I scoff.
" Just go for a lower position like I did then." He replied, getting bored with the conversation.
" I'm not exactly looking to be closer to a man who would throw me in front of a starved vampire for fun if he could." I mutter.
" He doesn't hate you as much as you seem to believe he does."
" Oh Tex, don't tell me you're on his side now ?" I wanted to check the phone to make sure it was actually him who called me. He'd never sided with Alpha Reg before today.
" No, it's just -"
" It's nothing. You know what he did." I hissed.
There was a pause before he spoke again," Yeah, sorry." He sighed," I was also calling to let you know that Jay fell asleep on the couch again."
“ I’ve told him to stop doing that, it’s not good for his neck.” I grumbled.
“ Yeah, I know. I’m trying to figure out a way to move him without waking him up. He had a loose tooth too, he tried tying a string to it and a doorknob to pull it out.” Tex groaned.
“ He what?!” I yelped,” You stopped him, right ?”
“ Of course I did, what kind of weakling do you take me for that you think I can’t overpower a pup ?”
“ Thank god.” I let out a breath of relief as I slouched in the driver’s seat of my car.
A silence took over the line as I tried to figure out what to say next. I hadn't meant to snap at him, and a lump formed in my throat," I didn't mean to snap at you. Sorry about that."
" It's fine." Tex mumbled," I sorta knew it was a sore subject when I brought it up."
" Okay." I started my car and turned on the high beams," I'll be home in fifteen minutes, thanks for watching him."
" See you when you get here." He responded before hanging up.
Why am I such an idiot! I threw my head against my steering wheel and groaned before picking my head up, sitting up right, and backing the car out of the parking spot.
The drive home was quiet. I didn’t bother to turn the radio on, as the station I listened to lost signal the further I drove onto the territory. The alpha had created what the humans in town refer to as a ‘dead zone’ when he refused to let the phone companies put a cable box on our territory, so using the internet was . . . well slow. One of the reasons I sought a job towards the outer edge of the territory in the diner was that I would be able to do my school work when it wasn’t busy there. It was killing two birds with one stone, making money and finishing whatever I needed to for my classes.
Of course that would be stopped because of Reg though.
I sighed and looked up. The moon was tinted yellow when I looked up to see it. Something felt foreboding about it. The moon was the brightest it had been in a while, but somehow tonight was darker than ever as fast clouds kept obscuring the moon.
When I finally got home and parked the car in the gravel driveway, I noticed the light on the porch was shining down on the wood I neglected to cut before leaving. Seeing as I had a lot of residual pent up anger from my job rejection earlier, I walked over to it. I picked up my axe and headed to the backyard to cut some lumbar for the fire place.
" Not a job," I brought the axe down on the chunk of wood, splitting it in two," For women!"
What a slimy move for a wolf.
I grabbed another, thicker chunk and placed it on the tree stump that I used for cutting," You're kidding me, right !?" I split the piece clean in half and bent over to pick up the two pieces when the back door was loudly thrown open with a thud.
" Ike! Ike! I lost a tooth!" Jaime came sprinting down the stairs of the small porch that my father built. We lived on the edge of the pack lands because my parents valued their . . . let's call it privacy.
" That's great Jay." I smiled at him and dropped my axe as he flung his body towards me. I caught him and he wrapped one arm around my neck while holding the tooth in front of my nose for me to see.
" How much do you think the tooth fairy will give me for it ?" He grinned, showing off the toothless socket in the front of his mouth.
" I don't know, maybe a quarter . . . " I smirked as a put him down.
" Really ?" He closely examined the tooth," I think it's worth at least a dollar."
" Well then, bargain with the tooth fairy tonight for a fair price." I slid my hands into my front pockets.
“ The tooth fairy’s being a little cheap if you ask me.” Tex laughed as he walked down the stairs to greet me.
I walked over to him, holding Jay on my hip,” Thanks for watching him.”
“ Come on, it’s a pleasure to look after this pup.” Tex reached out and ruffled Jay’s hair,” Besides, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you. Classes got you busy ?”
“ Oh, you have no idea.” I laughed,” Yulia broke the wire to one of the microscopes we were using and didn’t tell Professor Fortune. All hell broke loose after she left today.”
“ I didn’t just mean today, Ike.” He rested a hand on my shoulder.
I opened my mouth and closed it a few times before simply nodding,” Sorry about that, how about we get together for lunch or something tomorrow after my classes finish.”
Tex smiled and took his hand off my shoulder,” That’s not what I meant Ike.” He turned around,” I’m busy tomorrow, but I’d be glad to do lunch again sometime. Text me when you’re free. Night you two, sleep tight!” He waved as he walked away.
“ Night Tex, I’ll text you!” I waved back at him as jay also said a ‘goodnight’ in Tex’s direction.
I turned to Jay,” Are you ready for bed ?”
“ Yeah! Now put me down.” He wiggled out of my hands,” I’m too old for you to hold me like that.”
“ Too old ?” I asked as we walked inside,” Says who ?”
Jay closed the door to the porch behind us,” Tex.”
I narrowed my eyes,” Tex’s mom was holding him like a baby until he was way older than you, you’re only ten.”
Jay laughed in response,” I’m about to be eleven.” He nodded to himself,” And I lost another tooth. Soon I’ll have fangs just like you and Tex!”
“ Oh ? You’re trying to grow up too fast, what do you even want fangs for ?” I laughed.
Jay stopped walking on his way to the bathroom,” To protect you.”
He whispered it so quietly I almost didn’t hear.
“ Jay go and brush your teeth, I’ll grab a book to read before bed.” I said as I stiffly walked down the stairs to the kitchen.
He wants to protect me ? I sighed and ran my palm down my face. I suppose he remembers what happened then.
I grabbed his latest school book titled ‘The Wild’ off of the kitchen counter- I can only assume it was put there by Tex who had him read while they ate or something ridiculous - and took it upstairs to his room.
I read a chapter to Jay and he quickly fell asleep. I looked down at his peaceful face before leaning over and placing a delicate kiss on his forehead.
I walked to the doorway of his room and paused at the light switch,“ You won’t ever have to protect me Jay, don’t worry.” I muttered as I turned the lights off.
I already promised that I will be strong enough to protect those I love. I quietly closed his door and walked over to my room to go to sleep as well.