I forgot to warn Momo not to walk behind Wills, but a few vicious growls are the only hiccups as we leave the meadow. She’s pretty much covered head to toe in clothing, even though the temperature is by no means cold, but I can understand why. I can only imagine how clothing feels after being denied it for so long.
“So where should we go first? The garden? Oh! The lake!”
Christ. Momo’s gunna have to tone it town. He’s bouncing up and down while he squeaks. The kids always had the energy of twenty kids hopped up on caffeine, but Wills will have his head if he can’t control himself.
She’s still completely emotionless. Metaphors are even going over her head. She is completely to the point and literal, which is not something Momo is going to be able to adjust to.
“Wills went to the gardens yesterday, but I was thinking we take her to the orchard today.”
“”Oh, great idea,” says Momo, jumping up to hang from a tree branch.
Wills practically roars as he hangs above her and not even I can resist crashing to my knees in submission. Momo falls from the branch, landing flat in his back and knocking the wind out himself for the second time today. He stays down, exposing his neck and averting his gaze. I try to sneak a peek at Wills, but she is all wolf. I can see her fangs, which are as massive as her fathers and so white they’re almost blinding. We sit frozen for a few minutes, but the heavy footsteps in the distance tell me that Julian and Maria are running and battle ready. They must have heard Willow roar. This is going to get very bad if they come here all wolfy and Willow responds as if they’re a threat. In this state, she won’t recognise that they’re running to protect her.
Wills cocks her head, listening, and, like she’s flipped a switch, her eyes dim and her fangs disappear. She tucks her wolf away like she was never there.
“What the hell is going on here!” Roars Maria, stopping and staring down at me.
The sensation of the gaze of one dominant wolf in a rage is bad enough, the gazes of three of the most dominant wolves on earth? Yeah, that feels like your heart being burned out of your chest with a blowtorch.
“I believe we were going to the orchard,” says Wills, her voice as blank as ever with absolutely no evidence of a disturbance in her demeanour.
I stand, helping Momo up again, but keep my eyes to myself. The last thing you want to do when surrounded by pissed off alphas is challenge them by making eye contact.
“Well?” She says, walking through the middle of us, a soft growl vibrating in her chest as she passes us and keeps going down the trail to the town.
Maria follows closely behind her, and far to the side so that she remains in her line of sight, but Julian gets a firm grip on Momo and I and forces us to stay put.
“Expain,” he says, his voice deceptively calm.
“It’s my fault, Alpha. I jumped up to swing from a branch and it must have startled her,” whispers Momo, his voice full of shame as he exposes his throat to Julian.
Momo is not as dominant as I am, nowhere near it. He is a submissive wolf, which if rare for male weres. Submissive wolves are adored in the pack. All wolves aim to protect the submissives, not because they are weaker or incapable of defending themselves, but dominant wolves have the need to protect. It’s simply in our nature.
Which is why I’m not surprised when Julian just nods, letting his wolf fade from his eyes, and walks with us to catch up with Wills and Maria.
“She’s so dominant,” whispers Momo, probably a little nervous about talking about Wills to Julian.
“Yes, she is.” He replies, practically oozing pride.
“Her fangs might just be bigger than yours,” I tease.
“You made her that mad, did you?” Asks Julian, but he is calm again so I have nothing to worry about.
“Oh yeah, you probably could’ve seen her eyes from space!”
Aaaaand, Momo is back to being the energiser bunny!
“Her wolf will be magnificent,” he says, getting a little emotional. “I suppose that is one thing they did not take. I will see her first change.”
We don’t say anything, there’s nothing we can say to that, so we just keep walking until we catch up with Wills and Maria.
The rest of the day goes without incident. Momo seems to have learned his lesson and makes an effort to keep within Wills’s range of vision, and Wills seems to loosen up a little as the day goes by without anyone attacking her.
We stayed in the orchard a lot longer than I thought we would. Will ate a piece of fruit from nearly everything we went past and she seemed to savour each bite, making me think she wasn’t given any food while she was held captive. But I can’t dwell on that, if I think of her being a prisoner it’ll probably force a change and I don’t think will would appreciate that.
We spend ages in the orchard, just walking through the trees. Wills seems almost peaceful out here. Julian must have given the order not to disturb us because, though we pass several people working in the orchard and walking through town, no one mobs Wills like I thought they would. There are a few whispers and stares, but a look from me sends them scurrying off to find something else to do.
“The orchard is beautiful, but I will walk alone now,” Wills says suddenly.
Momo opens his mouth to argue, but I shake my head at him.
“Do you know your way back?”
“Yes,” is all she says, and I all but drag Momo away.
I wait until we’re well out of the orchard before I talk to Momo. I don’t want Willow to overhear and misinterpret my words.
“We have to just go with it Mo,” I say. “She needs to trust us and arguing with her or deliberately ignoring her requests, is going to do nothing but drive her way.”
“She seems so cold,” he says, a sadness to him that just isn’t like him.
He’s been the life of the pack since Willow went missing. When the pack wanted to drown in their grief, there was Momo. Bouncing off the walls, playing pranks, running around like a lunatic and keeping the pack on its toes.
“She is shielding herself. If she doesn’t feel, she doesn’t hurt. The dam will break eventually Momo and, when it does, she might just need your sense of fun to make her smile. So don’t break just yet, okay?”
“Please, like I’m capable of ever NOT having fun!”
And he takes off like a rocket, running into to town. Probably off to annoy someone into smiling.
You’d never know he was twenty-three. He acts like a hyper five year old.