It’s kind of odd how things and new routines can become normal so quickly.
Liam and Leah just have to give a kick and me or Riles are at their side. I and the cubs stayed with my dad for a couple of weeks because Riles and his father were adding two new rooms to our house for the kids, both with their own en-suite bathroom.
Riles said he didn’t want them fighting over it when they get older. He even went as far as building two guestrooms if uncles and aunts or grandparents decided to come over for a visit.
The whole renovation thing was a good thing for Riles and his father; they started to build up a relationship, a healthy normal relationship.
The hunters who killed their parents got what they deserved; three of the five hunters got ten years for being assessors to murder, the hunter who wanted to lynch them for their fur got twenty-five to life and the hunter who shot them got thirty to life without any chance of parole.
The Pack felt justice was done; the families agreed and moved on with their lives. So did we, I passed most of my important exams, just had a couple to redo before winter break.
Work with the human council took a nose dive after the convictions were passed by the judge. Most blamed us; they said we could have done something about it.
I got so fed up with it that when I finally exploded and asked them how they would feel if someone they knew was killed just because that person was wearing something someone else wanted to have, not caring they might tear a family apart in the process. That finally shut them up about it.
The hardest part about being a parent would be the countless sleepless night we had when Liam got sick, he got his first flu, which could be very dangerous for babies.
Both I and Riles took turns in taking care of Liam, which resulted in also taking care of Leah. Whenever Liam woke, so did Leah and when Liam cried so did Leah.
My guess is that Leah felt a little left out by us running around like headless chickens to take care of Liam.
“Leah, honey, we don’t love Liam more than you. You know that.” I say as Leah angrily huffs and crosses her skinny arms in front of her small chest. Leah might be nearly four years old but she can act like a little brat sometimes.
“Leah” I sigh “Liam is sick, so we need to take care of him. You do remember how it felt like to be sick don’t you?”
Hesitantly he nodded her dark haired head “Than you know how uncomfortable Liam is feeling right now.” I lift her up as we walk back to Liam’s room at the end of the upstairs landing.
I set her down by Liam’s crib “Liam needs his older sister to help us take care of him.” She looks a little uncomfortable at seeing Liam lying there in his little crib all red and a little blotchy.
“Liam very sich?”
She looks up at me with her big dark eyes “He’ll be fine as soon as we get his temperature back to normal.”
We took him to the doctor at the first signs of the flu; she said it wasn’t contagious or deadly to Liam or Leah, much to our relief. She did say he needed his fluids and lots of rest.
After that talk she was always asking if she could help with anything related to Liam. He had scared her and us when we thought everything was going to be okay, his fever rose to dangerous heights and he ended up staying a few days in the hospital.
Leah visited Liam every single day he was in the hospital without fail. If we couldn’t go with her, she would get another family member or her babysitter to take her and see him. She was also the one to carry him home out of the hospital.
We didn’t mind, we were glad she finally settled down a little. Not only that but she became quite the overprotective older sister, no one was allowed to be around Liam if she wasn’t there.
Riles told me not to worry about it too much, he said she will grow out of it. He even said that he had a phase where he was like that around Freddy.
At school things have been kind of weird, since he had shifted a lot of Keelan’s friends dropped him like a stone. Since he was a year above me, we could only hang out at lunchtime or after school when Riles picked us up.
I find it sad that he was all alone now; it was odd to see him walk around school on his own, without his usual friends.
He stopped smiling, laughing and goofing around. It was a big change and most didn’t know how to handle this new Keelan.
Once winter break started, Keelan became more open I guess; I saw him several times just hanging out with the kids from the Pack. You could see he was struggling to find his place within the tight knitted circle of Pack children, the ones at our age at least, the younger ones just loved him.
Even Leah and Liam were very fond of him. That was why he seemed to be spending a lot of time with the younger kids, they didn’t really judge him for who he was and they just accepted him as a fellow playmate.
“Archie!” I was walking along the old Eastern gates when I heard someone call out my name. Slightly surprised I saw Jensen stand there on the other side.
“What do you want Jensen?” I sighed; I was tired since Liam kept us up for the bigger part of the night. He looked nervously back at the other jocks a few feet back near the car.
“Is Keelan in? We wanna talk to him.”
I shrug “I don’t know; I am not his nanny. Now if you’ll excuse me if I have other things to do.”
Jensen glared “And what’s that huh?”
I snorted as he came closer to the gates “Taking care of my young family.” I shifted Liam on my hip, hoisting him a little higher; he was in his animal form a little while ago so I didn’t bring the stroller with me.
[It’s okay Archie I will talk to them.] I shook my head as I continued walking away.
“Come on Leah, let’s go home.” She came around the old guardhouse where she Was playing. Her chubby little hand grabbed mine as she bounded over to me. I could hear Jensen call out to me once more before a clang was heard when he kicked the gate.
“The hell’s your problem Jensen?” Keelan’s lower voice boomed as he came walking towards him, he looked angry.
“Will uncle be okay?” Leah looked a little scared as she watched Keelan argue with Jensen.
“I am sure he will be okay honey. Keelan can take care of himself.” She didn’t seem too convinced but let it go as I tugged her home.
When I saw Keelan again I didn’t ask about his talk with Jensen, he looked wrung out and all depressed once more.
I don’t understand why they felt the need to keep bothering Keelan. Don’t get me wrong, I get that it must be hard for them to come to turns with the fact he shifts, but going this far is just ridiculous.
[You can always talk to me ya know, whenever something is bothering you.]
From the corner of my eye I saw the corner of his mouth lift in a tiny weeny smile. [Thanks, but there is no need. I’m good.]
Lit class was one of the few classes I had together with Keelan, an advanced class we both enjoyed.
[Wanna work together on the next assignment? I am pretty sure we need to analyse a poem again.]
I groan slightly under my breath, I hate having to analyse poems. [Sure, I mean if we get to choose our own partner.]
Mr. Venezuela our Lit teacher always decided to make pairs himself for his assignments. “Okay class, for your next assignment, I want you to analyse this poem I will hand out to you shortly in pairs of two. And no, Mister Angelo you will not be allowed to be paired with Mister Singer.”
Glenn Angelo glared at Mr. Venezuela, not happy about it. People started milling about the classroom looking for a partner, Keelan dragged his chair over to my table just as Mr. Venezuela came to my desk and handed me the poem.
His eyebrows rose as he looked from me to Keelan “Mm. Good to see you interact with other students than Mister Singer and Mister Angelo, Mister Hamilton.”
I could feel the curious gazes from our fellow classmates as Keelan and I started reading our poem; The Change by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke.
Keelan snorted [How fitting.]
I chocked a little, I wasn’t really used to Keelan being like this but it was refreshing.
[Yeah, like he planned it this way.]
The rest of our time was spent on dissecting the poem; we were halfway done with the two pages long assignment by the time the lunch bell rang. We were waiting in line when Keelan decided to make small talk with me.
“So how’s Liam doing? I heard his fever finally broke down.” I started, confused about why he would ask me something like that. Deciding he was genuine curious I answered
“He’s doing well; he manages to keep his baby food down. This is a good sign in my book.”
I picked up a tray, a bowl and a spoon. I was craving spaghetti. Keelan did the same, only he grabbed a plate and a knife and fork.
He was going for the steak. “So it would be okay if I visited him later? Like we could finish our assignment as well and stuff.”
I grinned as I paid for my meal. “Sure! I think both of them would love to have their favourite uncle over!”
Keelan blushes a little and grumbled something under his breath, making me laugh.
Not much later found me, Keelan, Leah and Liam in our living room. Leah and Liam were playing on the floor under the watchful eye of Riles and Keelan and I were working on our Lit class assignment.
“Are you staying for dinner uncle Keelan?” Leah asked, giving him her best pouty face, and Liam wasn’t far behind with his own pleading face.
They both really took a liking to Keelan. He looked at me pleadingly, silently asking for help. I just grinned, loving the way his resolve to not have dinner at our house dissolve.
Leah cheered and Liam smiled “as long as your parents agree.” Both of them stopped and looked at me and Riles pouting.
“Of course he can stay for dinner sweetie. The more the merrier.”
Keelan had stayed for after dinner coffee, something he rarely did. It just showed how comfortable he was around us.
“So,” he said after his recent bout of laughter at a story Leah had told him died down “are you guys married now?” I nearly choked on my tea, spluttering and couching.
“What?!” Keelan looked surprised “Well, with the whole having kids’ thing, I thought the two of you would at least be married.”
I looked at Riles who was blushing fiercely at the moment. Keelan looked a little uncomfortable “You know what? Never mind, forget I asked okay?”
As he hurried out of his dinner chair to the living room to I presume say good bye to the kids. Like clockwork, I could hear the kids moan at him for not to leave yet, but he managed to silence them before the front door slammed shut and I saw him walk down the path.
All of a sudden Riles became busy with cleaning up the table. “Is there something you need to tell me Riles?”
I was highly suspicious of his sudden need to clean up. He never really cleaned up; I was always the one cleaning up the kitchen.
“No, it’s nothing. I just remembered I need to pick something up tomorrow before work.” He finished putting all the dishes in the dishwasher and closed it before pecking me on the cheek and leaving me sitting there flabbergasted at the kitchen table.