Margaret’s room is on the second floor down a long hallway with multiple rooms on either side, she tells me that there are many guest rooms for werewolves passing through or if their pack expands. Historically the Banff pack has been large, hence the mansion, but a recent influx of hunter attacks has split many packs and created smaller ones.
She was able to decorate her room according to her style, which is soft and pink. Her comforter is a cream colour and some of her throw pillows are pink faux fur, and the others are sequin pink. Her dresser with a gold-framed mirror on top is white with gold trim and has a bouquet of pink roses on top. The walls are white, but the art on them is pink and purple flowers of all kinds. She has pictures of her and her siblings among them and I am assuming the middle-aged couple pictured on her nightstand are her parents before the attack on their pack that killed them.
As I am taking in the room she pipes up, “I know, it’s kind of childish to have so many pink and fluffy things, but I like them, they make me comfortable.”
I smile at her, “I like it, it really suits you.” Even if we have known one another for a couple of weeks, she is the closest friend I have had since primary school.
“Well, I guess we should get studying. I don’t have a desk, so I usually sprawl everything on my bed or on the floor. Since you are my guest, you get to pick first.” I opt for the floor.
We both begin unpacking our bags.
“So, Erica, how are you liking Banff compared to Clearwater?” She pulls out her laptop.
“It’s good, I feel right at home actually. I have never liked the city, like skyrises and busy roads with people always in a rush. I like the relaxed atmosphere that nature towns like this one hold. Plus, the immense forest makes me less worried for any, mishaps.”
“I felt the same when I first moved here. I came from a busier city and never felt at home. But here, it just feels natural.”
“Was your pack similar to this one?” I was hesitant to ask, since packs are like family and she lost hers, but I am so curious about other packs that could be out there.
“In some ways. We only had one Alpha, Alpha Scarlet. She was a hard ass, but we were strong. And even there, as an Omega, I never felt unwanted. Sure, I was still pushed around, but it was in the same way siblings push one another around. Like teasing, not belittlement or cruelty.”
I do not have a sibling, so I do not fully understand what she means, but it is a relief to know that she felt like a part of the family even though she was the lowest rank. “Were there a lot of you?”
“Yeah, about thirty of us. For one person, even an Alpha, that is a lot of people to keep track of and protect.”
We both have our books arranged around ourselves now and slowly our conversation dies, and we begin studying.
After an hour my stomach growls. And it is loud. My cheeks warm as Margaret laughs heartily.
“I guess that is my queue to offer some food and beverage, eh?”
I shrug, but inside I am screaming yes, please!
“I’ll lead you to the kitchen. You can just leave your stuff here, no one comes into my room without me, so you have nothing to worry about.”
We traverse back down the hall and the grand staircase, through the archway on the right of the entrance that leads to the dining room. There is a door on the other side of the room, we go through it into the most beautiful kitchen I have ever seen. It is like something out of Pinterest when you search “Dream Kitchen”. Stainless steel appliances and marble counters with warm wooden cabinets. There are so many gadgets that I don’t know what half of them do.
“It’s stunning, isn’t it?”
“Much better than my shack.”
She lets out a chuckle and opens a cabinet revealing a pantry stocked with easy-to-make snacks and meals. “You’d think with a beautiful kitchen like this we would make gourmet meals, but we usually each grab something quick and easy from here. What are you feeling like having; noodles, peanut butter and jam, something sweet, or something salty?”
“Um, a peanut butter and jam sounds amazing.”
“Great choice.” She pulls out the peanut butter and some bread, then goes to the fridge for some jam. I come up beside her and she gives me two slices and a knife to start making my sandwich. She makes her own beside me and lightly hip checks me with another chuckle and I move out her way for her to pull out plates for both of us from the drawer.
With our sandwiches made, she offers that we could eat them in the TV room to take a break from studying.
“Sounds good.” I smile and follow her to the other side of the foyer that leads to a couple of rooms.
“That one over there is the Alphas’ office. It is soundproofed.” I looked at her with concern, why soundproof an office? “Alphas like their privacy, they hold video call meetings and with our slightly improved hearing it helps to keep us from listening in.”
“Oh, I see. I guess we don’t have to worry about how loud we have the TV then.”
She smiles, “No, we do not.”
She leads me into the TV room, it is as grand as every other room I have seen but still leaves me in awe. I only have my laptop plugged in and on my coffee table for any type of video, meanwhile they not only have a giant TV, but so many different consoles attached. From DVD’s, to the stereo, to gaming.
We turn on Netflix and we both agree that the first five seasons of the Office are amazing and begin watching.
Three episodes in and our sandwiches are long finished, and we are both laughing hard from cringing at Michael Scott.
“I have seen this so many times and that part makes me cringe out of my skin every time!” I say once I have caught my breath.
“Same,” Margaret says while wiping tears from the corner of her eye. “The later seasons are not the same without him.”
“Wow, spoiler alert.” We both turn around to see Victoria just entering the room. “I was hoping to start watching that.” But my eyes quickly dart to the young man behind her.
I can not seem to look away from the broad-shouldered man that took up the majority of the space in the frame. His dark eyes assessed me from his place, and I feel an uncomfortable fuzziness in my stomach. One of his hands went to scratch his bearded jaw as he continued to stare. The weight and authority of his gaze caused me to look down at my hands.
“Erica, meet my brother, Jayson. He will be our next Alpha.”
Oh, so he’s the next Alpha.