Chapter 10 ~~The Hideaway~~
Ethan and his pack leaders met and discussed what Josh had learned from the rogue they had brought back with them. “Is he still alive?” Ethan asked. He wanted this part of the discussion out of the way before Kia came back.
“Yeah and singing like a bird. He was definitely an Omega. He said he was tired of being bullied and abused so he ran from his pack only to be bullied into joining the rogues. Said it was too hard being on his own and they offered him protection. He’s not very big even as a wolf but he’s down right tiny as a man. Barely bigger than Luna.” Josh said.
“Does he know their plans?” Ethan asked.
“Not much or at least he’s not admitting to knowing much.” Josh said. “He asked a lot about how Omega’s are treated in our pack and has asked if he can be allowed to join us.”
“Find out what pack he originally came from. And how many are in the rogue pack. Where are they heading?” Ethan said. “Don’t make him any promises and keep him in the holding cell until I have a chance to decide.”
“Will do Alpha.” Josh said.
Just then Kia came back with a plate of sandwiches, chips and cola’s for them. She passed the food around and then sat down at the table. All of the guys looked to Ethan and he linked them to let them know it was OK to talk in front of her.
“Can I ask a question?” Kia asked.
“Sure, babe. Ask away.” Ethan said.
“What do your titles mean? Alpha, Beta, Gamma and what is an Omega?” Kia asked.
“Oh, right. Well the Alpha is the leader of the pack. We are faster, stronger and have more “powers” than the rest of the pack. We have an energy that we can project to “compel” people to do as we command.” Ethan said, using his fingers to emphasize. “When you are officially welcomed as the Luna by the pack, you will gain some of that power.”
Kia nodded her head and then looked at Jared. “Being the Beta means I’m his second in command. If Ethan can not be here, I take charge and lead the pack. I don’t have the Alpha powers but then very few if any in the pack would dare to oppose me anyway.”
Kia nodded and then looked at Chris. “Being the Gamma means I’m the third in command. I will take over if Ethan and Jared are not here.”
Josh grinned and added “And I’m head warrior and can kick all of their butts in battle except Ethan’s.” That earned him scoffs and bits and pieces of bread and chips thrown at him with a round of “Yeah right!”
“Hahaha! And you are also the class clown, I take it.” Kia laughed at them.
“Hahaha! She’s got you down cold, Josh.” Chris teased him.
“So what is an Omega?” Kia wanted to know.
“Well, an Omega is just a lower level werewolf. They don’t have the strength to be full warriors nor do they hold any kind of leadership power in the pack. They are just soldiers, like privates in the army. Some packs treat their omega’s horribly but I don’t tolerate bullying or for any of my pack members to be abusive to another.” Ethan said seriously.
“Can Omega’s work their way up to higher levels?” Kia asked.
“Sure. If they work hard and get strong enough or are smart enough to make them more valuable. I’ll take you down to meet Aaron one of these days. He’s an Omega but he’s smart as a whip and manages our visual security, internet and other electronic functions. He works very closely with Josh and Chris.” Ethan replied. “Well, guys, do we have anything else to discuss?”
“Lily has been bugging me to find out if plans for the Luna Ball have been made?” Jared said.
“No, not yet but I’m sure my mom will be starting to plan soon. Tell Lily not to worry. She won’t be left out. How is she doing by the way?” Ethan asked.
“Chomping at the bit to go home and get to work in the baby’s nursery. She wants me to paint the room over because she has changed her mind about the color AGAIN!” Jared said, trying to look annoyed but everyone knew that he would move the earth for his mate if she asked.
Kia said “Well, if you guys are all done, is there a chance I could have some time alone with Ethan? There are some things we need to discuss about my senior ball and graduation.”
“Sure.” Jared replied, “No problem.” from Chris and a “Do we get to go?” from Josh, who looked crushed when both Ethan and Kia replied. “NO!”
The three men left and Ethan and Kia grinned at each other. “I don’t know what I would do without those three but they sure can be a pain sometimes.” Ethan chuckled.
“Well, now that we have a minute, can we make some plans about things I need to get done in the next few days? It’s not pack business but there are things that I need to attend to too.” Kia said.
“Sure. What’s on that beautiful mind of yours?” Ethan smiled at her. He knew exactly how Jared felt about Lily now, because all Kia had to do was ask and he would do anything in his power for her.
“Well, I have to go turn in my books and talk to the counselor at school. I’ve already missed a lot of time in the last week and a half. I need to find out my final grades, pick up my graduation cap and gown and my class ring and pictures. I worked hard to earn enough to pay for it all myself so I definitely want to make sure I get them.
I also want to find out how many people I’m allowed to have come to graduation since I’ve heard there is limited seating allowed for each graduate. Oh and I need to empty my locker at school. There’s not much personal stuff in there but I would like to have those few keepsakes that are in there back.” Kia said, hoping she was not forgetting something.
“Well, if I were you, I would call the school and find out most of the information. It may save you having to stand in line and wait. As for picking up your stuff, you may have to stand in lines for that as well unless you can convince the counselor to gather them for you and then you could just pick it all up at once.” Ethan suggested.
He didn’t mind taking her to town but couldn’t really spend all day hanging out waiting for her to finish and there was no way he was just going to drop her off and then go back to pick her up.
“Great idea. I also want to buy a gift for Ms. Kay and I need to go by the group home to talk to her. She says she has the accident report from the night my parents were killed in my file. And to drop off my old clothes for someone else to use.” Kia said.
That comment brought up the perfect opportunity he had been looking for to discuss beginning the search for her parents.
“You say that she is going to give you the police report from the night of the accident?” Ethan asked.
“Yeah. I’m thinking that’s going to be my best starting point.” Kia said sadly.
“I have some contacts at the police department that might be able to help us too. If we can get information on the car your parents were driving the night of the accident, that should give us their names and the address of where they were living at the time. Once we have that, we can find out what pack they belonged to.” Ethan said.
“Oh that would be great!” Kia said excitedly.
Ethan tried not to let it show but he was worried about what they might actually find. Had her parents been rogues on the run? His worst fear was that they might have been part of an enemy pack. Not that it would really matter now but it might be hurtful to Kia and that’s the last thing that he wanted.
“Can we go tomorrow? Maybe spend the day in town?” Kia asked, so excited she was almost bouncing on her chair.
“I don’t see why not. So long as we don’t have any more trouble with the rogues. I would be surprised if any more of them will come around again so soon.” Ethan said.
“Well, I have my dress for the senior ball and an outfit for graduation but what are you going to wear for the ball?” Kia asked.
“I guess I’ll have to buy a tux! Maybe we should plan on spending part of tomorrow shopping for that as well since I’ll also need one for the Luna Ball. Has my mom said anything about starting to plan for that?” Ethan asked.
“No but I’m kind of hoping that I can get in some practice shifting so that I can show everyone my wolf, if that is appropriate?” Kia asked.
“Oh definitely. Then everyone will know what you look like in your wolf form and not mistake you for a rogue! Hahahaha!” Ethan teased.
With that, Kia stood up and walked over to the door and locked it. Then she began to strip. Ethan’s eyes were not the only thing that got bigger and bigger as each piece of clothing dropped to the floor at her feet until she was naked. Kia concentrated and only let out a small scream as she shifted into her wolf.
Ethan smiled and clapped his hands “Very well done. My goddess but you are so beautiful.” He said as he stood up and walked over to her. He was further surprised when she thought to him, “can we go find your mom? I want to show her what I look like. And then can we go for a run before it gets dark?”
“Sure.” Ethan said. He unlocked the door and opened it just a crack before he quickly stripped out of his clothes and shifted.
Errol touched noses with Tia and then nudged open the door until they could fit through it. He mind linked his mother asking where she was and then led Tia to the back door. His mother was in the garden and she smiled as they came across the yard together.
“Oh Tia! You are a very beautiful wolf. Your coloring reminds me of someone I used to know a long time ago except for the mask and ears. Gives you a very mysterious look! Are you two going for a run?” Angela asked.
They both nodded and Angela suspected that Errol was going to take Tia to his “hideaway” so she just wished them a safe run and returned to her gardening.
Errol and Tia took off across the yard, only passing a few people who stopped to stare and then big smiles showed on their faces and they waved in greeting. Tia felt so happy right then that she was being accepted so readily by the pack who seemed truly happy that she was there. It was not a feeling that she and Kia had ever experienced before and her heart swelled with love for these people.
They ran across the large yard and into the woods. It was spring and everything was coming to life but so far the trees and bushes were just starting to show their foliage so it made navigation easier. They slowly ran for a while climbing a small hill and then down the other side. Tia was curious and mind linked Errol to ask if this is the way he and Jared had gone to find the rogues.
“No. We are headed north west. They came from the north east. I’ve got a special place I want to show you.” Errol replied.
They ran for about another half a mile and then Errol stopped in front of an uneven row of evergreen trees that were growing along a cliff. He smiled back at Tia and then disappeared behind the middle of the bushy growth. Tia followed where she had seen him enter the bush and was amazed when she pushed her way through the soft branches of the bushy trees to find Errol standing in the mouth of a large cave.
“Oh wow! How in the world did you ever find this?” Tia thought to him.
“Jared, Chris, Josh and I found it when we were kids and got caught out in a rainstorm one night. As far as I know, we are the only ones who know about it. We used to come camping near the river and usually just slept under the stars but one night there was no moon and it began to rain so hard that we couldn’t see. We knew it would be more dangerous to be under the trees with the lightning so we were following the cliff face and ducked behind the bushes when suddenly the cliff face wasn’t there and we realized we were in this cave. We used to keep some bottled water and canned goods up here with some blankets and candles but then we got older and stopped coming up here for more than just to be alone or for time to clear our minds.”
“Is it a safe place to hide?” Tia asked.
“From humans, yes. From other wolves or any other kind of animal, no. Humans’ sense of smell is really poor. Animals can track scents so they could just follow you right in and once in here, there’s really nowhere to run or hide.” Errol thought back.
“Good to know.” Tia smiled as she looked around. She could just imagine Ethan and his friends playing in and around the cave. It must have been great growing up with them and having such a place to play.
“Hey, I hate to cut this short but it’s going to be getting dark soon. We really should head back. Plus I’m hungry again.” Errol said.
They left the cave and headed back to the pack house. They were about half a mile from the house when Errol stopped suddenly, lifted his head in the air and sniffed, shifting his head and ears in one direction and then another.
“What’s wrong?” Tia said as she stopped beside him and glanced around. She smelled something different too but didn’t know what it was. The smell was unpleasant and she could feel Errol tense up. Then suddenly he shouted “Run Tia. Run as fast as you can back to the house.”
Tia didn’t need to be told twice and took off running as fast as she could go with Errol right behind her.
Errol mind linked the pack “Rogues are on our land. Coming from the north. Tia and I are on our way back to the house. I don’t know how many there are but there’s definitely more than one.”
As the woods began to thin, they spotted Josh, Chris, Jared and about a dozen other pack members running in their direction. Errol told Tia, “Don’t stop! Get back in the house!” Errol watched as she ran towards the house where he could see his mother and Lily standing by the back door, holding it open for her as he stopped to wait for Josh and the others. Other pack members began to show up in the yard, all running in the direction that they had just come from. Tia ran directly into the house and Lily had a robe waiting for her so that she could shift into her human form.
Kia did not realize that Ethan was no longer behind her until she shifted and accepted the robe from Lily. “Where’s Ethan? Why didn’t he come inside? What’s going on?”
Angela put her arm around Kia and led her over to the kitchen table. “Ethan and the others are going to run off some rogues that had the nerve to come on to our land again. Don’t worry, he will be back soon. My question is how did they get so close to the house without being spotted?”
Kia was very upset. They had been having such a good time and now this. “Twice in one day! What is going on?” Kia asked.
“This is highly unusual. Rogues have been becoming more bold lately but they’ve never gotten this close to the house before.” Lily told her. “Angela, do you think we need to get the elderly and the children to the bunker?”
“Ethan will let us know if we need to hide so no, not yet. Kia, go up and get dressed, please. Don’t worry. The men will be back soon.” Angela said, trying to stay calm. She was naturally worried about her son and all of the pack members but had to be the rock that kept the pack house from panicking. This was going to be one of the hardest lessons to learn for Kia and Kia admired Angela for keeping her cool when Kia’s heart seemed to be going a mile a second.
The tension in the house for the next hour was so thick you could cut it with a spoon as they all waited for the men to come back. When they did, Ethan had a very dismal expression on his face. He went straight up to their bedroom and got in the shower. Kia felt hurt that he didn’t even stop to acknowledge her and Angela held her back from following him, saying “Give him time. Something happened and he needs to get his emotions under control.”
Half an hour later, Ethan came back into the kitchen and stood facing his family with red eyes. “Ronald Bryerson was on patrol on the northern border. They didn’t just kill him, they ripped him to shreds. I need to go and let his family know. From now on, no one patrols alone anymore.” Ethan said. He was choked up and found it hard to talk. Losing any of his pack was hard enough but to lose one so young so unnecessarily just weighed on his heart.
Kia stood up and walked up to him and just held him, then whispered “I’ll go with you.”
Together with Angela and Marcus, they left the house and walked the short distance to the Bryerson’s house. Ronald was the oldest son of members of the pack that had been with them since Donald Bryerson had joined the pack when Marcus had just taken over as Alpha from his father. Marcus was the one to knock on the door and when Donald Bryerson answered the door, he knew when he saw them that his son was dead.
“NO! Please tell me he’s alright!” Donald begged.
Marianne Bryerson came to the door when she heard her husband yell and knew as soon as she looked at Angela that her son was gone. She screamed and then fainted against her husband who barely managed to catch her before they both sank to the floor. Marcus and Angela entered the house first and helped Donald get his wife over to the sofa and Donald into a chair next to her. Angela produced some smelling salts from her pocket and quickly brought Marianne around.
Ethan kept hold of Kia’s hand as they stood across from them. Ethan had only had to do this once before since becoming Alpha and it was without a doubt the worst chore an Alpha had to perform.
After several minutes of tears and lots of hugging between the Bryerson’s, Donald finally asked, “How did it happen?”
Ethan took a deep breath and explained about the rogues catching Ronald alone while on patrol. He told them that Ronald’s remains had been gathered and that the pack would hold a memorial service for Ronald as soon as possible. He didn’t see the point in telling them that there was very little left of their son to bury and they seemed to just know as they held each other and cried.
“Marianne, you know you just need to say the word and we will be here for you. Anything you need at all, you just let me know.” Angela told her.
“Thank you, Angela.” She seemed oblivious to Kia even being in the room at first but finally looked over at her.
“I’m sorry we are having to meet for the first time like this but I’m very glad to meet you Luna.” Marianne said.
“It’s very nice to meet you as well and I’m so sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.” Kia said. She didn’t know what else to do or say. Errol squeezed her hand reassuring her that she had done fine.
“Thank you! Can someone please get Tanya from school?” Donald asked. Tanya was their daughter who was currently going to college in the city.
“Ethan and I are going into the city tomorrow. We will get her and bring her back with us.” Kia looked at Ethan for confirmation. He gave her a sad smile and nodded.
Half an hour later, they all left the Bryerson’s house and silently walked back to the pack house. Dinner was waiting for them as they all gathered around the table but no one really felt like eating and they mostly shoved the food around on their plates as they were silently lost in their own thoughts.
Kia had so many questions but kept them to herself for the time being.
“I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m tired. I’m going to head on to bed.” Marcus said. Angela didn’t say anything other than “Good night” as she followed her husband to their room.
“Are you OK?” Kia asked as she watched Ethan watch his parents go off to bed.
“I’ve known Ronald my whole life. He’s a year older than me and was a nice guy and a good soldier. He deserved to die better than that. Having to tell the loved ones of a death is the hardest part of being an Alpha but thank you for coming with me.”
“I’ll always be there for you.” Kia said. “Come on. Let’s go to bed. I’ve got a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long, hard day.”
They went to bed and just snuggled until Kia fell asleep. Ethan lay in bed holding her for a while just watching her sleep, thankful that he had finally found his mate. That was something that Ronald would never know the pleasure of now.