Forgotten Wolf

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36 Clever One

I feel Chris slip away from me and I groan in protest. It feels so early and it’s still dark.

“Shhh baby, go back to sleep,” Chris says, stroking my hair. I blink, trying to clear my eyes but not succeeding. “I’ve got early training, just sleep in.”

Not being a morning person, I don’t need much encouragement, so I roll over and snuggle into his pillow. A throaty chuckle is the last thing I hear, followed by a kiss on my temple, and he’s gone.

After tossing and turning for a bit after Chris left, I sigh and give up. Without him, the bed’s just not the same. I sit up, feel a small ache in my body, and groan.

Guess that’s to be expected going from no sex life to a ravenous mate.

After a long hot shower, most of my aches are gone. I can’t help but stare at my neck. Again, the deep purple bite mark bruise is prominent against my skin. I’ve noticed the mating mark on others now and they are a lot less noticeable, so maybe we should just have the talk.

I dress and head down to the quiet kitchen expecting to find Jude but no such luck. A check of his room is empty too. I frown, heading back to the kitchen to ask someone.

“Your shadow is out training with everyone else,” Derek says cryptically.

“Oh?” I ask, raising a brow since they’ve never had him train with them before.

“Jace wanted to see what he had, and being that they are preparing to fight rogues, he’s the only one they have to practice on,” Derek says with a dark smirk. My heart sinks.

Here I thought they were including him but they just wanted a target dummy.

“Stop frowning,” he hands me a breakfast sandwich. “Come on, I have a test for you,” he says with a guarded look.

‘Cause this doesn’t sound ominous at all.’ ‘Well aware, can it.’

“Where’d you go right there?” Derek asks skeptically. His dark eyes are locked on mine, leaving me uneasy.

“Was just lost in thought,” I reply with a shrug, trying to brush it off.

“Happen often?” He asks with a inquisitive expression I don’t like.

“What are you? My new shrink?” I grumble pushing past him and heading out back.

“Here I’d thought you’d be in a better mood after getting laid last night,” he teases.

My head snaps to him and I freeze in place.

What the fuck!?

“Glare all you want, but I can smell him on you even after a shower.” His tone is strange and sets me on edge. “The love bites don’t exactly say chaste eith-”

I cut him off with a hard swing into his gut that he wasn’t expecting. “The fuck, Derek! Who says that?!” I’m sure the fire is dancing in my eyes but I don’t care.

He chuckles, regaining his composure. “Relax, I’m happy for you guys. Unlike you, my brother came to training with a pretty satisfied grin on his face.”

I could die in this moment, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so embarrassed. He’s playing at something but I don’t know what.

“Let’s go, training wraps up soon and we need to get there before they shift back,” he says nonchalantly as if the whole previous exchange didn’t happen.

God he’s frustrating, another brotherly trait.

The training field is packed with wolves when we get there, all sparing. Chris is easy to spot, he is the largest among them, and I have already met his wild side. He sees us and lazily lopes over with a wolfish grin, complete with his tongue hanging out. When he reaches us, I stumble slightly as he rubs against me. I can feel his happiness and excitement washing over me in waves.

“Brother can you shift but keep the others in fur?” Derek asks. He looks at Derek a moment with his head cocked before nodding and heading to the woods to shift.

“What’s on your mind?” Chris asks skeptically as he makes his way back. He has slipped on a pair of basketball shorts, but left his sweat glistening chest bare. He grins at me, causing me to blush as he catches me checking him out.

“A test for your mate,” was all he said. We both frown at that. “Don’t give me that look, I wasn’t done talking about your feelings the other night but you had more important business to attend to,” Derek replies, raising a brow. Chris growls at his boldness.

“Relax, he’s been trying to rile me up all morning,” I dismiss.

It’s Derek’s turn to frown now. “Well, aren’t you just the clever one,” he growls.

“Whatever, let’s just get this over with,” I grumble. The one thing I have learned about Derek is once he sets his mind on something, he is more stubborn than even I am.

“Call over those she’s spent a fair amount of time with,” Derek says.

Slowly five wolves walked over. A stunning silver grey who I’m pretty sure is Jude, a sandy blond, a chocolate, a tricolour, and mousy grey.

“Who’s who?” Derek challenges as he studies me.

“I haven’t met anyone’s wolf form yet,” I complain. He just continues to stare. “Well the big grey would be Jude, I’ve seen him around. The sandy is probably-”

“That’s not what I meant. Stop,” Derek cuts me off looking quite annoyed. “Is she always like this brother?” Chris grins before he catches himself, coughing to recover.

“Just play nice and I’ll stop bothering you, princess,” he bargains.

I just glower at the pet name. “I highly doubt that, and stop calling me princess,” I snap.

“Fine, actually try to do it my way and I’ll stop calling you princess,” he concedes with a grin.

I sigh. “What do you want me to do?”

“Take a seat, close your eyes, and tell me what you feel about the wolf in front of you.” Derek is back to looking at me like a science project. Chris’s expression is unreadable, this level of scrutiny has me beyond uncomfortable.

I sit and close my eyes, hearing the first wolf walk up. I raise a hand and the wolf pushes it’s forehead into it.

“Tell me,” Derek commands, breaking my concentration.

I take a deep breath and slowly let it out as I let the wolf’s energy wash over me. My fingers combed through her fur while I worked on putting what I could feel into words.

“She’s calm, grounded, and even. Her energy is mellow, it doesn’t really fit into the rest of this group, nurturing even. Claire.”

“Right,” Chris says.

As Claire steps away, she is replaced by another. Her calm energy is replaced by mischief. “This one’s trouble,” I tease, bringing both hands to rub his neck. “It’s Jace.”

“Why?” Derrick prompts.

“He feels like him. No one else is so much mischief.” Derek sighs, so I continue, “Fine. He’s considerably more powerful, there’s an intimidating edge that he tempers with a lightness. Fierce loyalty and endless confidence. I’m kinda glad I don’t have to see his face when I say that,” I giggle.

Chris’s silence has me concerned, but before I can dwell on it for long a new wolf has taken Jace’s place. The light hearted trouble some energy is replaced by feral energy. “This one’s wild, barely tamed but focused. Fierce and cunning. Loyal and determined. Easily Sara.” The wolf snorts before pulling away.

The next wolf steps up and even determination washes over me. “He’s the exact opposite of Sara. Exceedingly focused with undying loyalty, brute strength ready to go in an instant with steely determination. Xavier.”

“Jude,” I said pausing, waiting for him to step up. Instantly, a calmness seeps through me. “There you are. Your energy threw me off when I first met you, I expected you to be cocky and fake but you were the opposite. Grounded and sincere, but lonely, sad and diminished. Your energy is different now. Proud but humble, you radiate such strength and calmness. I feel like you try to hide your power but you’re failing there, my friend.”

I opened my eyes to see his crystal blue ones sparkling back at me, the smile clear in them. I smile back at him, patting his head, but suddenly become aware of all eyes on me. My eyes snap to Chris, who is staring lost in thought.

“Who did I get wrong?” I asked him, suddenly worried I did something wrong.

His hand cupped my cheek. “No one, I’m just surprised, I’ve never seen anyone do that before,” he trails off.

I frown and drop my gaze; everyone is still staring at me. Jude whimpers and nudges me. Suddenly, everyone heads off to shift back, Jude lingers but eventuality lopes to the woods as well.

Chris sits down beside me, wrapping an arm around me. “Baby, what’s wrong?”

“They’re looking at me like I’m a freak show,” I whisper, not meeting his gaze.

“That’s not it at all. That’s quite a gift you have, that’s all.” He wraps me tighter.

“It’s not always right. I’ve spent a fair amount of time with them, so I already had a road map of them.” I look around and notice we are alone. “Where’d Derek go? He didn’t like my show?” I don’t even try to hide the bitterness in my voice.

“He’ll meet us in the dining room, everyone’s gone to get cleaned up before lunch.” Chris stands and helps me up, pulling me flush to him. “Come on, let’s go in,” he says with a gentle smile.

It’s hard to feel sour wrapped in his arms and by the time we make it back to the house, my mood has evened out. But as it does, my headache grows.

I’ll be there in a minute, I just need to get something from the room. Looking at the stairs, my head starts to pound, so I take off to Jude’s room. He always has a bottle of ibuprofen, which I’m almost certain is more for me than him.

“Hey, what’s wrong,” Jude greets me as I enter his room.

“I need ibuprofen and you’re closest.” He nods and roots around before passing me the bottle. I dig out two and pass the bottle back.

“Bad one?” He asks, not hiding his concern.

“Not yet but it’s coming on strong,” I frown.

Jude has been around when some of my bad headaches and migraines have come on, I think that’s why he always carries meds now.

“I’ve got no water, let’s go,” he says, herding me back to the kitchen. He parks me at the island as he gets me a glass of water. I toss the pills back and hope I took them in time.

As the kitchen begins to fill with people coming in from training, the noise increases. Noticing my discomfort, Jude grabs my water and leads me to the private dining room as we are met by raised voices.

“-could mean something or could be nothing at all,” Chris dismisses.

“I know she’s yours brother, but you can’t keep her in a bubble,” Derek argues.

“I’m not going to dump more on her plate, when you don’t even know what-” Chris freezes seeing me. “What’s wrong?!”

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” I ask, skeptically raising a brow.

“Nothing is wrong, you’ve just impressed my hard headed brother, which is hard to do,” Chris dismisses. “What is it?”

“Just a headache, I’ve had them my whole life, no big deal. I’ve taken meds, they just need time to kick in,” I mumble. He takes me in as though I have a mortal wound.

“I’ll link Doc-”

“Relax. Wolves don’t get headaches?” I tease. “I’ll let you know if it gets out of control, please don’t call Doc every time I have a hangnail.” He sighs but visibly relaxes.

“That’s quite a parlor trick there,” Sara says as she walks in with the others. I simply shrug.

“So sure the first thing you say about me is I’m trouble,” Jace chimes in, faking deep hurt.

“Everyone has a quick feel,” I deflect. “You’re trouble, she’s wild, he’s steely, she’s nurturing, and he’s grounded,” I finish nodding at Jude. “I’ve spent enough time with you guys that I’m fairly familiar with your energy, but your moods can affect it.”

“So, is it all the time?” Claire asks.

“What?”

“Like feeling energy? Do you always feel it?” She clarifies.

“Yes and no, sometimes a person’s energy can smack me in the face, other times it’s barely there. Most of the time it’s just a hum in the background, nothing to notice. I usually have to focus to get a feel on a specific person,” I reply, as my headache starts to relent.

“So I’ve played your game, now it’s my turn,” I say and lock my eyes on Derek. “What’s with your energy?”

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