thirty - one
The pack looked just how it did when we left it.
It was a mini town, with about a dozen or so streets that led from each building to the next. A few of the roads all led to the packhouse, which was a huge building composed of wood and stonework. It was three stories and held about twenty rooms specifically for unmated residents of the pack. Down the street was the alpha’s home, whose design resembled our cabin almost exactly. While Kieran and I weren’t exactly designers, we were plagiarizers. There were a few other high members of the pack next to the alpha’s house, whose rank I couldn’t quite place.
I turned down the road and parked in front of the alpha’s house. Putting the car in park, I slowly got out.
“This house looks just like yours.” Cleo commented as she and Kieran joined me out front.
“Ours.” Kieran corrected. He quickly added, “No it doesn’t, it’s completely different.” He shot me a smirk as Cleo walked up to the front door.
“So does this alpha dude know we’re here?”
“This alpha dude is called Alpha Tomson, and yes, we mindlinked him when we first crossed into this property.”
She nodded, but she still seemed confused.
The entire drive we had explained to her how and what a pack is. We told her ranks and how respect worked with werewolves. It was a lot to take at once, and despite Cleo being an amazing person, we advised her to keep quiet if she was unsure what to say to not risk being disrespectful. Not that she was a hazard, but her mouth could be.
Like just now, if Tomson heard her refer to him as an alpha dude, I don’t think she’d be welcomed in with a warm embrace.
Kieran led the way to the front door and lightly knocked. It immediately opened, as if the person on the other end had been impatiently waiting for our arrival.
“Kieran! Ezra!” Alpha Tomson greeted us with outstretched arms. He looked virtually the same, with the same graying hair and wrinkled skin. The only giveaway to that this man had aged was his eyes, which no longer held that sparklingly blue they used to. It was one of the most captivating factors about him. Now they were just a dull blue that showed his age in numbers.
“Hello, Alpha,” Kieran smiled in return.
“And who is this?” Tomson turned his gaze down to Cleo, who was clutching Kieran’s side nervously. Her eyes shot to me. Instantly I realized she was holding back from saying something potentially regretful.
“This is Cleo,” I took over for her, making her slump her shoulders in relief. “Our mate.”
Shrugging, I said, “We don’t know why but we’re happy. And that’s what’s important.”
“True. Well come in, come in!” Tomson turned around, inviting us into his home with a couple waves of his hand. He led us to the living room where he took a seat on one of the two sofas while the three of us took the other one. “So how have -”
“ - honey? Who was at the door?” A female voice called out.
Kieran suddenly shot me a look. Catching Cleo’s attention, she turned her hazel orbs onto me.
“What?” She whispered.
“There’s something we forgot to mention, Cleo.” Urgently, Kieran whispered while Tomson responded to the voice. “The luna of the pack -”
“Ezra, Kieran, you remember my mate, Alana Rose.” Soft footsteps sounded as she came into view upon Tomson’s announcement.
“ - is my mother.” Cleo finished at full volume. Tomson sent a confused look towards us, his blue eyes narrowing slightly.
Cleo looked back at us with an unknown expression on her face. She was unsure if she should reveal what she knows, or act as if she wasn’t her daughter. I looked to Kieran for confirmation, but he seemed just as unsure as I was.
But Alana took over for us.
“Cleo?” Alana Rose softly murmured, walking a tad closer to the sofa we sat on. “Is it really you?”
“Ah fuck,” Cleo suddenly blurted. “I did not mean for this to happen.”
“I still don’t understand,” Throwing his head into his hands, Tomson sighed.
“When I was sixteen,” Alana began, placing a hand on the thigh of her mate. “My father led me into some bad people, and I ended up getting an unwanted pregnancy. I gave her up for adoption immediately after birth.”
“Your father did not led into you into anything - you were stupid and got mixed up with a gang!” Cleo hissed at her mother.
“Cleo!” Tomson growled. “I know you do not understand our customs but you will show my mate respect while you are here!”
Bypassing his statement directly, Cleo glared further at her mother. I had hoped that maybe seeing her mother in person would perhaps lift some of the anger she held for her, but if anything, it multiplied it.
“It’s okay, James.” Alana recomposed herself, turning her eyes far away from Cleo. “She has a right to be upset since I put her up -”
“ - abandoned me is the correct word, luna.” She spit the word out with so much venom I visibly flinched. Tomson glared at her but said nothing.
“I had no choice! Imagine the way people would treat me if I kept a rapechild! I’d be a laughing stock! Not to mention a constant reminder of what happened is all you’d ever be to me!”
Okay, so her mother wasn’t exactly nice.
“Oh fuck you!” Cleo stood up, her face red with a mix of hundreds of emotions. Angery, sadness, betrayal - but worst of all, confirmation. What she feared her entire life had all been slapped into her face by her jerk of a mother.
“Cleo! I must ask you to leave!” Tomson ordered, and I latched onto Cleo before she could do anything else.
“Fuck you too for being with a fucking bitch!” She seethed, and I threw her over my shoulder in a haste.
“So, we’ll all be heading out. Thanks for having us.” Awkwardly, I turned and practically fled to the front door.
“Since we’ve all but severed our entire relationship and most likely we will never come back,” I heard Kieran say, “I hated this pack, you’re a cunt to your residents, and I will personally say ‘fuck you’ to your mate on Cleo’s behalf.”
“Kieran!” I hissed while yanking the front door open.
I bounded towards the car and all but threw Cleo inside. Kieran soon followed and didn’t even bother to close the front door. He hopped inside and I immediately drove off, leaving a very stunned Tomson and Alana in our wake.