1 - Family
The forest is lush with green ferns and wildlife. My heart pulsates at the sight of a steam off in the distance with my mate standing just over the edge of it. His beautiful black wolf is drinking the river’s refreshing mountain water.
Spring has finally broken through the thawing ice and snow in South Dakota. The birds are singing and squirrels jump from branch to branch above my wolf’s, Lynne’s, head.
Derrick’s, my mate’s, wolf huffs the water lingering on his nose away. Lynne runs over and playfully lunges at his large form; taking both him and her into the chilly water. Our mate growls in annoyance but wags his tail at our gesture.
Lately, Derrick has been worried more and more for our safety. Crossing pack territory as often as we have been doing while holding the titles of rogues, has gotten him on edge. So much so, we haven’t been out of wolf form all winter.
Lynne and Drax, Derrick’s wolf, are more able to protect us and keep their body temperatures up while in their own forms. Three entire months of travelling on all fours has got me itching to finally see my mate’s human form.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Drax just as Derrick, but the skin to skin contact I’ve been longing for over all these wintery months is almost near.
Lynne and Drax bring themselves out of the water and shake their coats out. They’re both shedding their heavy undercoats just as any other wolf would and it’s a hindrance on not keeping a trail.
Drax licks Lynne’s ear affectionately. His red eyes peer into my wolf’s black ones lovingly. He’s saying goodbye for now Lynne’s want to stay like this for just a while longer is overwhelming.
My wolf understands the severity of the situation, but that doesn’t mean she can’t want the feeling of being selfish.
I soothe my wolf as much as possible. Her sadness turns to understanding more so for me than anything. I haven’t fed for four months now, and am getting to the point where it can’t be handled anymore. Lynne and Drax nuzzle one last time, and finally I’m in my own body.
I stretch. My muscles and bones haven’t been this size since November of last year. My naked body shivers as the cold air stretches across my skin. One thing I will miss is Lynne’s fur.
My eyes open and focus on a pair of black eyes staring down at me. My heartbeat quickens as Derrick smiles down at me. His dark hair has grown to the length of his nipples. That muscular frame and those broad shoulders are so familiar. It’s like I’m seeing him for the first time.
“Derrick..” I wrap my arms around my mate and he brings me into his arms fully. His personal scent finally surrounds me and I feel like I’m melting.
“Firefly, I missed you.” Derrick’s deep voice whispers into my ear.
“How I missed that ridiculous nickname..” I smile against his skin, “And how I’ve missed you, too.”
Being in wolf form with my mate isn’t the same as having him here with me physically. While on all fours, our wolves have just as much control as we have in our human form. They can’t communicate inside of our minds, just as they can’t talk to us. I honestly wish mindlink was a thing like it is in books.
Derrick cups my cheek with his hand and brings my lips deliciously close to his. I grab a fist full of his long hair and pull him close. His lips crash into mine and the taste of my mate makes my entire body quiver.
“Not here, Firefly. We’re out in the open.” Derrick chuckles as he begrudgingly pulls away from me.
“Nobody is around..” I pull him back. Out in the open, in a cave, or even in the middle of the forest, I don’t care. It’s been months since we’ve been intimate. A girl has needs.
“How about this” Derrick puts his finger on my lips, “We get clothes, feed you, and a motel room for the weekend? We have to get out of town by Monday.”
“Derrick.. It’s Sunday.” My words are muffled behind my mate’s finger, “The weekend is already over.”
“We have to move on by tomorrow, then.” Derrick replies with a simple kiss on my forehead.
“I get to pick where we stay, at least.” I sigh, “I’m not staying in another bed bug infestation.”
“It’s still ridiculous we only got half a third of our money back.”
“Town is very lively today.”
Derrick and I walk out of a popular restaurant, Layfield Steak and Grill. Before the winter, the owners were nice enough to keep our things safe while we were gone.
“This town’s pack is nice to rogues coming through as long as they’re not a threat.” Derrick smiles, “Their Alpha is very admirable compared to most these days.”
“You seem to know a lot about this town.” I raise an eyebrow, “We’ve lingered around it closely since we came to this territory.”
“It reminds me of somewhere from my year before you came along for some reason.”
“Rogues pay half, dear.” The elderly woman behind the hotel desk smiles, “Alpha’s rules.”
“That’s very charitable for a pack to do.” I say, “Any reason why?”
The old lady shrugs, “We only enforce the Alpha’s rules. Not question them.”
We’re given our key and head to the elevator. Not receiving weird stares but welcoming stares by pack members make me feel on edge. Derrick squeezes my hand for reassurance.
“Are you feeling okay?” Derrick puts ur suitcases on the coffee table as I slump myself on the bed.
“This is weird.” I admit, “Why is the pack so nice to rogues? We ran into the territory with no struggle.”
“You’re questioning why we don’t have to be chased and hunted like wild animals?” Derrick sits beside me and moves my hair aside from my eyes, “Firefly, you usually complain about the opposite.”
“I’m not complaining.” I protest, “Since I turned rogue, no pack would even let me set foot in their territory without threatening my life or making me their baby maker due to me being a hybrid. You were there for all of that. Don’t you think this is just a bit weird?”
“Just enjoy the peace while you can. If all ends well, we may just stay here for a while.”
I blink. Stay?
“Who are you and what have you done with my mate?” I hit Derrick with a pillow, “My mate loves life on the road and dangers of being a rogue!”
“Firefly, do you really want to start a family in that environment?” My mate asks.
I freeze, “Family?”
“Well, yeah..” My mate smiles gently and takes the pillow from my hands, “You’re already twenty-two and I’m already twenty-five. Wolves our age have at least a pup or two with one on the way by now.”
“That’s because for the past four years we’ve been in this cycle of running!” I reply, “Plus, we don’t know what would happen to the pups due to-”
“Hybrid or not, Firefly, I want to start thinking about it.” Derrick takes my hands in his, “I want to give you the life you deserve. The past is irrelevant.”
A knock comes at the door. I watch as Derrick sighs and opens the door to a well put together small female wolf. Her eyes are wide with wonder and speculation.
“Hello, my name is Nymph.” She says, “I am here to formally invite you two to the pack house for a feast being held in the Alpha’s honor. All wolves in the territory, regardless of title in society are required to attend.”
Nymph holds out an envelope. Her small hand trembles slightly before my mate takes the parchment from her grasp. The small female bows and leaves quickly.
“Well, there goes my evening plans.” I groan and throw myself back on the mattress.