Forgotten Wolf

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14 Hey Jude

What did I think of their Alpha?

I’ve been trying to figure that out for weeks and I’m no closer to an answer now then I was weeks ago.

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly.

“You sure about that?” Xavier asks as he leans back and watches me, clearly not buying my answer.

“I don’t honestly, I’m not used to people like him. I’ve always been pretty good at reading people and what not,” I mumble, more to myself.

“But he’s... frustrating,” I complain. “I never know what he’s thinking, he’s an emotional rollercoaster. I get whiplash trying to keep up.”

Claire laughs at this. “That’s an Alpha for you. I can’t speak for all Alphas, but Chris is a good man, with a good heart even if he’s bad at showing it.”

“Why are you telling me this?” I ask, totally confused.

“Have you ever thought maybe there’s a reason he’s been around more?” she leads. I blush, thinking back to the night we went to the club. He spent the whole night only paying attention to me, then insisted on taking care of me.

Oh shit!

“No. I know where you’re going with this, but you’re mistaken.” Claire narrows her gaze as she purses her lips; she doesn’t look convinced at all. “Every time I was around him he ignored me, the first time I talked to him he chewed me out for wasting his time and hanging out with Jace. He kicked me out and told me not to come back.”

She frowns, exchanging looks with Xavier. “I’m not saying anything for sure, but the way you guys were dancing, the way he’s been acting around you.,” She pauses, then adds hesitantly, “We were all a little surprised.”

“That was my fault. I think I had too much to drink and lost control a little,” I deflect. I can see he wants to say something more but Claire elbows him, cutting him off.

Thankfully, they let the topic go and we finish dinner with casual conversation about nothing in particular.

“Well, thanks for a delicious dinner and leaving the bow in the house,” Xavier jests.

I can’t help but laugh at the softer side of him. “Any time, thanks for taking the time to explain things to me. It’s really helped put it into perspective.”

Xavier nods while Claire scoops me into a big hug. “Next meal’s on us, just let me know when you’re up for it and I’ll clear it with Chris.” She beams excitedly.

“Shit, does he even know you’re here?” I ask with an edge of panic in my voice.

“Relax and yes,” Xavier says with a mischievous glint in his eyes, clearly finding my panic funny. “Pack travel all passes through him. Although Grandmother sent us, he approved it. I do distinctly remember a warning about becoming a shish kebab if we weren’t careful,” he teases, making me frown.

“How pissed is he at me for giving him the slip at the hospital, and turning down his texts?” I cringe, waiting on the answer.

“He was super pissed. Doc’s office never stood a chance. When he read your text, I think he turned purple,” he replies, rubbing his neck. “Fortunately he’s had some time to cool off since, though almost shooting him turned him into a bear. You have nothing to worry about with him.”

I disagree, but that’s for another day.

“Saturday night, come on out we’ll have a nice little BBQ. I know Ethan and Jace are eager to see you, don’t say no now just think about it,” she pleads.

I nod and they head home.

That was far easier and more therapeutic than I expected. Claire has always been easy to talk to, but this is the most Xavier has ever said to me.

Suddenly, I think about Jude and how I had left things with him, and start feeling guilty. So I pick up my phone and send him a quick text saying to call me or text whenever he has free time because we need to talk.

Not half an hour later, there’s a knock at the back door. I open it to see a soaked Jude. Apparently it had started to rain. His crystal blue eyes are full of sadness, with a hint of desperation.

He looks terrible.

“Jude, what are you doing here!?” It’s getting late; I thought he might text me tomorrow or something, not show up in the middle of the night.

“I got your text. I figured you were up so I swung by,” he trails off with a shrug.

“Come in, you’re soaked through.” I grab a towel and toss it at him while I look for something for him to change into. I come back with a pair of my dad’s sweatpants and a plaid button up work shirt.

“Sorry, I don’t have much anywhere near your size,” I say with a nervous laugh. He takes them and heads to the bathroom, returning a moment later changed.

“I- I” I stutter not quite sure how to begin.

He quickly closes the gap, stopping less than a foot away with his blue eyes searching mine for any reaction. All it took was a small nod and he scoops me up in a giant hug, lifting me clear off the floor.

“I’m so sorry, I never meant to lie to you like that, I was going to tell you I just couldn’t figure out how,” he blurts out.

“Relax Jude,” I cut in. “I’m the one who should be apologizing, I wasn’t fair to you at all.” He gently sets me down, holding me out at arms length. “I got caught up in a rogue attack and everything just spiraled out of control. Claire and Xavier came by tonight and explained everything to me, and now I’m feeling guilty and embarrassed about how I’ve acted.”

He froze as I talked, when I stopped he let go and stepped back, a hint of panic flashed in his eyes. “What did they tell you about me?” he asks quietly, looking down.

“Nothing, they just told me about werewolves in general, and talked about their pack.” Though now my curiosity is piqued.

What’s he scared of?

I take a seat next to him, waiting for him to talk.

“Do you remember when they first started coming by the market, the tension between us?” His whole demeanor changes, stiffening like he’s preparing for a blow.

I nod, there was no veil to how they were openly hostile to Jude from day one.

“Wolves have an excellent sense of smell and pack wolves have a certain smell to them; it’s something lone wolves lack.” I nod again, following him so far. “They could tell the moment they got there that I was a rogue.”

My eyes go wide at that admission but I resist the urge to get up.

“I know you were attacked by rogues. Jace called me after it happened and kept me in the loop.” He pauses, waiting to see my reaction then continues, “When you came to the market I could see it all in your eyes.”

My heart hurts for him as he looks at the floor, but the elephant in the room has to be addressed.

“Why?” His eyes snap to me as I whisper, so I clarify, “Why are you a rogue?”

“The pack I belonged to was considerably smaller than Chris’s. Our Alpha was old with no heir,” he pauses, reflecting back. “I was only a young teen. One day we were attacked by a large group of rogues. They massacred my pack, less than a third were left alive.”

I take his hand in mine giving him a squeeze for support. “I lost my entire family, my new found mate, my best friends, everything I held dear, gone poof like that. I was an angry teenager, hot headed, when my Alpha stepped down and told us to find a new pack I rebelled. Even though he made sure we would all have packs to join, I refused. I swore I’d never be at the mercy of another Alpha,” he says with a shrug.

“It felt good to be in control of every aspect of my life at first, I was young and dumb, but eventually I missed being in a pack. I took my years of mourning, please don’t pity me like that, I have moved on,” he says with a sad smile.

“I spent the last several years looking for a new pack, I was checking out the two near Northland, neither were a good fit even with past pack members in both. Once I realized it was pointless up there I came south, I approached Alpha Chris but that didn’t go well. Most packs aren’t keen to pick up long term rogues, and having not been in a pack for quite some time my manners weren’t quite what they should be.”

“When I met you at the market, there was just something about you,” he muses, trying to sort his thoughts. I start to get uncomfortable, not liking the shift to me.

“Relax,” he says as he smiles. “I’m not planning on kidnapping you any time soon,” he laughs.

“Soon, eh?” I question, raising a brow at his lame joke.

“You were so nice and genuine to me, which may not sound like much but when you’ve been an outsider as long as I have, it’s remarkable. I couldn’t really associate with a pack, and I never took up with rogues, so I’ve just been alone.”

I remember when I first met him, how lonely he felt, that was half of what drew me to him. It helped that he was genuinely a nice guy too.

“I don’t even know when it happened, but you won me over, I just wanted to be there for you. At first I thought it was romantic, but the more time we spent together the more it was like.” He pauses looking for the right word. “Family.”

I let out a sigh of relief, and he fakes being hurt. “Geez, I’m not that bad am I?”

“No it’s not that,” I blush, “I’m just not looking for anything romantic, but then again I wasn’t looking for a friend either and yet here you are,” I say with a laugh.

“Looking for it or not, it’s going to find you if it hasn’t already,” he says as I frown. “So do you forgive me?”

“There’s nothing to forgive, I acted like an ass,” I admit. “I was overwhelmed by the situation and was already struggling in my life. I just handled it poorly.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were struggling, maybe I could have helped?” He asks, blue eyes locked on mine and full of concern.

“You were part of the problem,” I trail off. “You didn’t do anything, it’s completely my issue. Something happened a few years ago, it affected me more then I realized, and as I worked on fixing myself I just kind of walled myself away. Things got easier, I started to feel better and I realized the safest thing I could do is keep people at a distance.”

He just sat there, staring. “What happened?” he whispers.

I shake my head.

I’m not going over that.

“Despite my best efforts, after a couple years someone started chipping away at my walls, you.” I give him a small smile. “Before long, others followed your lead, first Jace then Claire, even Ethan. Before I knew it there were multiple people making me question my resolve. Then Chris came and started swinging like a wrecking ball,” I say, barely a whisper.

After a small pause he asks, “Now what?”

I just shake my head. “I don’t know, but I don’t think I can put my walls back up,” I say shaking my head.

“Maybe it’s time to give the walls a break, not everyone is out to get you. The problem with walls is they keep the good out with the bad,” he says, giving my hand a squeeze.

“When did you get so wise Jude?”

He wraps his arm around me, hugging me tight. “I’ve always been wise, you were just too stubborn to see it.” I elbow him in the gut and he bursts out laughing.

“Way to ruin the moment,” I pout. “So are we good?” I ask.

“Absolutely,” he says with a big smile, back to looking like he normally does. I smile and breathe a sigh of relief at having my friend back again.

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