Wolf's Lullaby

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I smell...trouble

PHILIP

Sun burned my eyeballs like a damn laser beam through the open shutters. I tried rolling on my side to avoid becoming blind, but something heavy pressed on me. Looking down at my body, I saw a leg thrown over my waist. A hairy, tanned, muscled one at that. Shoving it off, sitting up, I saw long blond strands strewn across my pillow.

When I returned from the graveyard last night, Luca and Stephan waited for me at my home. We played games on my console till 4 in the morning.

Luca slept peacefully, mouth half open, drooling on my pillow, “softly” snoring like a freaking sea lion. And the bastard wore only his underwear. I slapped him with a pillow over the head and kicked him off the mattress.

“What... What the fuck, you dick!” he yelled disoriented, still half asleep.

“Why are you in my bed, you freak! Sleep on a damn couch!” I barked.

“Mmm… no… hurts my back…. your bed is comfy…” he said sleepily, putting the pillow under his head.

“Then wear some damn clothes!”

He ignored my remark, smacking his lips, making himself more comfortable on the floor.

“Why am I friends with this idiot?” I muttered under my breath, shaking my head.

“Because no one else is dumb enough to be your friend,” he stated, and snored away.

I threw the other pillow at him before going to the bathroom. The headache wasn’t as bad today. Thank fuck!

Throwing some clothes on, I went to the kitchen and started brewing coffee.

“Two sugars and cream for me.” Stephan’s sleep roughened voice came from the couch in the living room.

“Oatmeal?” I asked.

“Sure.”

He got up, padded slowly toward the bathroom, yawning and scratching his stomach. “What’s the time?” he asked.

“9:30.” I answered, turning on the stove.

“There’s a soccer game tonight. We are crashing at my place.” Stephan said, standing in front of the bedroom door.

“I don’t watch soccer.”

“I know, you weirdo, we are still hanging out together. You can play that mobile game you like or whatever you wanna do. I’m gonna be making food.” That got my interest.

Stephan was an excellent cook. Could be because his mom really can’t cook to save her life, so he took it upon himself to learn. His dad taught him, since he was busy in the auto shop and couldn’t cook every day.

“What are we eating, mother dearest?” I smirked.

“Hmm… I’ll think of it when I go to the store. I’ll get the artistic juices flowing.” he smiled and got into the bathroom.

“Idiot.” I said under my breath and smiled.

After breakfast, we went downtown. The weather was warm, so the streets were packed. I tried to ignore the prickle of awareness of many eyes on me, the change in the atmosphere, the unpleasant, tense charge in the air surrounding me. The cautious stares. People gave me wide berth even as they smiled tightly in my direction, nodding at me in a show of fake respect. The one that my family name brought out. They were terrified of me, but they were terrified of Constantinov’s more.

My family name…

What a joke. That’s all it ever was. A name.

“Ah crap! She wants to see me again!” Luca whined, looking at his phone.

I shook my head. He’s been talking about his last week sexploits all night last night. I fell asleep halfway through.

“So?” Stephan asked.

“So… I don’t do that. I’m a giver. I gifted her with my gift of awesome. Now she needs to set me free to share my awesomeness with others!” Luca said, all serious like, completely immersed in his own bullshit.

Stephan chuckled and shook his head. “You’re hopeless. I hope a girl comes along immune to whatever others find attractive there,” he gestured towards Luca’s face, “and kicks you in the nut sack, rendering you unable to multiply. No need to spread that stupidity around.” He looked Luca straight in the eye, patting him on the back, before turning to enter the convenience store. I snorted, trying to contain my laughter, playing on my phone.

“Can you believe he said that?! That would be a shame! Not to have more of mini Me’s?! A travesty! It’s a crime against humanity, you know!” Luca waved his hands around indignantly.

“Sure… sure... Just, you’re not human…. So, I guess technically…” I trailed off as a strong, unfamiliar scent drifted my way. I looked up from my phone through the crowd, trying to pinpoint the smell.

“Can you smell that?” I asked Luca, sniffing the air.

“I can smell a hell of a lot of things bro. There’s a crowd here.” He said, furrowing his brows in confusion.

“No, no, this is different! Weird…” And the scent… I haven’t smelled anything like this before. Human, but... off. I didn’t understand, but it made my head pulse with dull pain.

“Hey where are you going!” Luca shouted, as I walked to the corner of the store following the scent and halted.

There it is.

The source.

And that source ran into me and fell flat on her ass.

Short, petite, frail looking thing she was. Her hair, dark brown and braided, the twin braids falling over her chest, almost reaching her waist.

Two more people were behind her. I didn’t notice them right away, my eyes glued to the girl now sitting on the pavement, her hand stuck in her backpack. So freaking tiny.

“T are you okay?” A girl who I recognized as Mina, Lola’s daughter, asked.

“Tis but a flesh wound!” The girl said, smiling at them, after Ivan Belinski pulled her up. Her scent this close overwhelmed me.

It wasn’t unpleasant, seemed more like scents on top of each other. Strange. But the strangest thing was… I got shivers all over my body. I wanted to crawl out of my skin and my headache got worse the longer I stood in her presence. But I couldn’t look away or move.

“Watch where you’re going,” the words were out before I could stop them, feeling uncomfortable, agitated.

Then she lifted her face to mine. Big hazel eyes with flecks of gold on a small heart-shaped face blinked at me and something stirred. A recollection, a sense of familiarity I couldn’t place, that rattled me. Unsettled me. My eyes traced over her ivory skin and a spattering of freckles that ran over her nose, her bow-shaped lips slightly parted as she looked up at me.

Cherries. I smelled cherries.

So this is the new human, huh...

“Uh... sorry… I didn’t look…” She took a step back away from me and, for some reason, I got pissed off by that action. What the actual fuck?! What is happening? I don’t like this. I want to leave, but I don’t. So I continued to stare at her, scowling.

“Chill Philip, you’re scaring her,” Ivan said, putting a hand on her shoulder. Oh, ever the Knight in shining armor! Like I was about to bite her head off. Was I? Definitely looked like it.

I swear I really didn’t like people much, but I usually avoided them beautifully. A talent I had. I would occasionally get in a scuffle just because some guys couldn’t keep their mouths shut. They didn’t close properly, so I helped. If you looked at it that way, I was really a good Samaritan. But at that moment, I wanted to pummel Ivan to the ground. So, I focused on not doing that, clenching my jaw.

The day didn’t start as awful this morning, with my headache being a dull throb; I guess it was good while it lasted, right? Now I was moments away from going ape shit on this unassuming shrimp and Belinski.

Shit.

“Yeah bro, it was really your fault you just stood there frozen and…” Luca came behind me and I shot him a death glare. Ah, yes, why don’t you add more fuel to the shit storm brewing inside me?

“Ok…” He put his hands up in resignation, then turned to her, “Are you ok doll?”

“Um... I’m fine... Sorry again,” she answered awkwardly.

“No, don’t worry, it wasn’t your fault, doll. This grouchy grouch was to blame standing there like a statue. Forgive him, he didn’t get his coffee yet, so he’s cranky,” a low growl escaped me. I shot Luca another glare.

“Shut It Luca!” I warned. My anger reaching a boiling point.

“Who pooped in your cereal?” The girl said under her breath, so my gaze snapped back to her. I didn’t think she meant for me to hear. Her eyes widened.

“What did you say Shrimp?” I said through my clenched teeth, balling my hands into fists on my sides. The hell is wrong with me?! I mean, I can write an essay about it but, really?!

I didn’t get in scuffles with girls. Ever. Even annoying ones. Though my version of being courteous involved avoiding them. Guess today was not my day.

“Okey dokey, hold it cowboy!” Stephan interjected. He draped his hand over my shoulders, looking at me, smiling. He gave my shoulder a little squeeze.

I felt slightly relieved. Only slightly.

“Sorry about him. He’s cranky, and he really doesn’t know how to act in front of pretty girls.” He turned to face me. A polite carefree smile on his face that I knew was anything but as attested by the tone of his voice as he commanded, “Apologize.” I hesitated a bit too long, so he wrapped his hand around the back of my neck and in one jerky move made me bow my head. Jerk.

I groaned, frustrated, and my control pulled taut.

“Sorry,” I uttered begrudgingly through clenched teeth, and pulled myself out of Stephan’s hold.

“See, it’s that easy,” he clapped me on the back, slamming a bag of groceries over my abdomen, making me grunt. But my eyes wandered back to the girl.

She fidgeted nervously behind Ivan.

So small.

I could snap her like a twig.

Stephan turned me around and said something before we melded into the crowd. Though I glanced back to catch one last sight of her. And as her round hazel eyes locked on mine goosebumps rose over my skin and I averted my gaze. Weird…

I moved without protest, Stephan’s hand on the back of my neck. The bastard had me in a death grip, which I was thankful for. I needed to be away from her.

Badly.

It was like some Hamlet shit, though. To be or not to be away. I just needed a fucking skull. Maybe Luca’s would have sufficed. He didn’t have any use for it, anyway.

“What the fuck were you doing intimidating the new girl? Have you finally fucking snapped?!” Stephan jolted me from my thoughts as his grip became even tighter. “I know you weren’t pleased with Alpha’s decision, but, bro, it’s one tiny girl! And you growled at her!”

I cringed inwardly, but immediately going on a defensive. “I have no idea! Ok! Her scent threw me off! It’s strong and…. My head hurts again, and I got pissed off! I don’t like her!” Frustration fell from every word. And yep, I sounded completely like a goddsdamn, whiny, petulant child, so sue me.

“Ok, hold on there. Nothing is wrong with her scent. She smells normal. It’s probably just your monthly cycle,” Stephan said, giving me a side look, smirking.

I elbowed him in the ribs and shoved him. “Don’t make it sound like I’m PMS-ing, you dick!”

“But you’re bitchy like you are!” Luca laughed, clapping my back. I smacked the back of his head.

“Hey, it’s a good thing. You can relate. Gives you the advantage. Ladies love a sensitive man.”

I pushed him, annoyed, “Ass…”

Stephan snorted, trying not to laugh too hard.

“I’m going for a run now. Meet you guys later.” I started jogging away.

“Ok, take your time!” Stephan hollered.

My phone pinged in my pocket and as soon as I saw the message, the unknown number, my already foul mood became worse.

Unknown: Stop blocking my number. I need to talk to you. You should come over for dinner tonight. You haven’t been in a while and Theo is asking for you non-stop. He misses you.

I took a deep calming breath, loosening the grip on my phone, and I typed a message.

Me: Can’t. Busy. Homework.

And, send. Putting my phone back into my pocket, my need for a good run grew even bigger now.

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