There is nothing like the forest under your paws; the leaves breaking under your weight, the wind silencing the noisy breach of the broken leaf for your stealth.
As you hunt, you feel invisible, invincible, deadly and kingly like an Alpha should. No one can take this away from you without a fight. No one would dare try to steal my rightful position.
Except Banks, of course, he made me, he's the Omega.
Banks- my father gave me the opportunity to take this rank from his right hand. Betrayal, maybe? I wouldn't call it that. I would just call it- "Giving to me what was meant to be mine"- nothing wrong with that.
That is why I understand completely why he didn't give it to Jace; that would have been the death of the pack. He was too weak- feeble minded. He was too...human.
And naïve if not foolish.
He shames the pack, in my own personal opinion of course. I would never share this opinion with Banks, that wouldn't exactly end in my favor. Not that Banks would kill me, he just loves his little Jace, like his own flesh and blood. The blood part is actually an accurate analysis describing our relation. Neither of us were made the way pups are usually made. We mate but we are sterile. Banks found Jace and me. The way it works here: you either bite or your transfer blood...wolf blood-into the human's veins. They are both dangerous and I myself would probably never try it on a premature infant like myself, at the time. I wouldn't have changed Jace at all, though.
He was a mistake in my eyes, or- out of sheer pity- some hopeless kid left behind be uncaring parents.
Jace should have stayed behind.
God, I never want this to end.
I never want to leave this moment.
I don't want to change...
I want to stay here, with her.
Those eyes... her eyes... are like magnets, they just keep drawing me deeper in to those shocking blue eyes.
Her soft hands caressed my cheek, her eyes unfaltering.
"I love you, Jace, but I can't keep waiting for you like this," she said to me, "I can't keep wondering and wondering where you go for weeks-sometimes months without even saying goodbye. Jace. Jace?-listen, I'm not breaking up with you, I'm just letting you know that this needs to stop. I can't handle it."
She's talking about my leaving, after I shift.
Something I cannot control.
Something I hate.
I never wanted it and I wonder why Banks even bothered to change me. I would've been happier with two legs for the rest of my life.
I refuse to let the tears well up in my eyes, as I prepare to lie to her again.
I can't keep doing this either...
"I know... and I'm sorry." I said, "I..it's complicated."
Just forcing the words from my mouth was a challenge, lying to her was like slowly drawing a blade up my forearm creating a large gash.
I needed to be cured.
Was that even possible?
Annalisa sits across from me in the booth of our favorite diner, Tate. Yes that's actually the name of the diner; Tate.
Her hand was still on my cheek when I answered her but her eyes were filled with disappointment. She wouldn't understand if I told her the truth. Would she?
I don't want to take the chance and find out.
I just needed time to find a cure for this...this thing. I just don't want this, I never did and I never will.
I just want her.
This is a bad day for me.
I'm human, for one. And Jace is nowhere to be found.
"Banks!" I called.
Was I the first one to shift?
Did anybody live in this house anymore?
"God! now I have to do the laundry." I groaned
"Oh! No you don't!" yelled a familiar yet irritating feminine voice. "You are not touching my underwear, ever again. Don't think I don't remember the last time I caught you with them."
Okay, this is not what it sounds like. I was merely glancing at the fantastic lace work and intricate seams.
"That... was an accident." I said with what little dignity I now had left.
"Yeah-sure-whatever just don't touch my clothes again," she said, "I'll do my own laundry."
"Fine by me." evil bitch.
She glared at me as if she read my mind.
And I wouldn't be surprised if she had.
"Oh, by the way, where is Jace?" I asked evil bitch.
"He went out with Annalisa." she said nonchalantly, which pisses me off, actually, because that girl is the worst in my book... too clingy.
I sighed and pushed my fingers through my slightly matted blonde hair.
"Thanks" I muttered.
I went outside and kicked over a trashcan.
"Whoa whoa, sup with you, man?" said Tyse. He was made about a year after Jace and me. And I felt that he deserved it way more than Jace did.
"What is it now?" he asked with false exasperation.
I smiled a bit at the joke.
"He's out with her again."
Now it was his turn to go dark. He hated the relationship more than I did now.
"Dammit! I thought you took care of that."
"I've been busy." I said.
I smiled again.
"I found something big. That's all I'm saying." I chuckled.
"Nah nah that ain't right. You got to tell me something." He had a point, though the point was mute to me at the time. I just needed the details to stay close to home.
"I'm looking for a way to stop the shifting... in wolf form."
His face was blanker than a sheet of paper.
"You want to stick the wolf..."
I nodded slowly, a grin creeping wide onto my face.
"That's crazy-impossible actually. How exactly were you planning on doing this?
"That... I cannot tell you."
"Because you don't know-"
"I know enough to- wait... he's here."
We both turn around to see Jace skulking up the drive. His posture said pitiful; his expression said hopeless.
"Have another fight?" I chuckled lightly.
He grimaced and shook his head.
"I just want her...to understand." he said quietly.
Now my face went blank.
"You're not telling her." said Tyse.
"I don't think I'll have to."
"What are you talking about?" I said.
"I found... a witch doctor not too far from here. She thinks she can help me out of this...this thing."
Tyse and I both bristled.
"That thing was given to you... in all intense and purposes, he didn't have to give it to you. You were made for this pack and the members of this pack are grateful for what they were given."
"I never asked for this and you know it, Dante." he said, he was shaking, not out of fear like I would have expected, but out of anger. Bravo, Jacey.
"It doesn't matter if you asked for it, Jace, you wouldn't be here if he didn't do it."
He pinched up his face and shoved passed Tyse and me into the house, and slammed the door.
"It's the bitch." I growled.
"Just a thought..."
Why does it seem like so much to ask for?
I just want to be human, lead a human life.
Why is that so difficult... so despised by them?
I took my hair out of its ponytail and let it free. I felt restrained when it was back.
I felt the need to call Annalisa, but, somehow, I knew she wouldn't want to talk to me. I dumped my body onto my bed and mused.
I was an eighteen year old werewolf...against his will. What do I do?
Obviously witch doctors were frowned upon, but Banks...maybe Banks would understand. Maybe somehow he would hear me. Let me go to the witch.
But the thinking about him, and the witch's remedy, I felt like I was betraying him.
Dante was right about that part: he didn't have to change me.
But he did.
And it saved my life. But this life is not me, the woods the hunting the pack itself was pointless to me. And the ranks were ridiculous. This world is not a world I want to live in.
A world without Annalisa.
A world without Annalisa was impossible to live in.
I need her more than I need this pack.
She's full of love and beauty... she loves me for me despite my sudden shifting.
The shifting she doesn't know about.
I want to keep it that way.
I never want her to know about this thing inside me. This monster.
There's a knock on the door.
"Hey," she said. "I... heard what happened... outside. You know you guys aren't exactly subtle? Needs some work." She tries to chuckle a little; lighten the mood. But my mood is too conflicted.
"I don't know what to do, Milly."
Her gaze is sympathetic, that's what I like about her. She "gets" things no one else bothers to understand.
"You know what to do, babe, you just need to..."
"Stop being a coward?- yeah I know."
"You're no coward, Jace." she said. "If you were you would've listened every damned thing that bastard down there said to you." then she looks away; combs her fingers through her hair. "I never asked for this either...I don't have what you have to think about but- I don't want this. Don't get me wrong I love Banks and Jade...she's like a mother to me, but this isn't me. For one: I hate eating deer, it's gross. And two: I feel violated. All these wolves in my head... it's just not right."
"Jade would have a field day if she knew this you know."
She chuckled again more freely this time.
"Yeah... I know, but it's the truth."
"And the truth shall set you free...or bite us in the ass."
We both laughed and agreed to this statement.
"Jace, why don't you just tell her?"
"Do you think she'd believe me?" I try not to yell. "She wouldn't... she said she loves me but I don't think she would if she knew."
"I think she would."
"Do you want to tell her?"
She looks at me as if to say that I am an idiot.
"Okay never mind, bad idea."
I smile up at her.
"You have some way with words."
"Oh I try." she feigns humbleness.
"I'm sure you do."
I don't think I can do this anymore.
It's too hard!
"One more, Lisa! Come on! You can do it." Shouts my mother on her hands and knees bombarding my personal space.
We have been work out buddies for three months four days a week, and it is not fun. At all.
"Thirty!" I struggled to breathe and fall flat on my back as tackled my thirtieth sit-up.
My mother shakes her head and clicks her tongue.
"You need to work on those, thirty is not acceptable."
"It's... acceptable... when you...you're being screamed at... in the process!" I said... sort of.
"That's no excuse, darling. An eighty year old could easily push fifty."
"An eighty year old on steroids!"
My phone rings and I jump up to rush for it.
And all the dread I felt before comes back, filling me sadness and disappointment. The hurt.
"What is it, Jace." I said, not quite in a questioning tone.
"I need to talk to you." He said in his sad little voice.
"Are you going to tell me-"
"I- Anna... can I come over?"
"Fine." I close my phone before he gets the chance to say anything else. Anything else to excuse the inexcusable.
"I'll get started on dinner then. Give you two some privacy."
I just nod my head again. Too afraid to say anything. Too afraid because I might cry, again.
This feeling so totally wound up in my chest just aches with the idea that Jace is cheating on me. I know he is. It couldn't be anything else. Unless he was dying-but I wasn't going to think about think about that. That hurt more than the cheating theory.
There's a knock at the door, which makes me start.
I go to open it and of course it's Jace.
I make sure my face is completely blank.
"What do you want to talk about?"
He peers over my shoulder and sees my mom rummaging around in the kitchen.
"Can you come outside..."
I sigh and step onto the stoop.
"What is it?" I asked exaggeratedly.
He shoves his fist into his pockets and rocks back and forth on his heels.
He looked tired and...scared almost. The cool winter air makes me regret coming out without a sweater at least. He doesn't seem to be bothered by the cold. Then again, he has on a big black windbreaker and fingerless gloves. His long dark hair is pulled back into it's usual low ponytail. Framing his face nicely and making his beautiful green eyes pop. Almost animal like are his eyes, but they are wonderful to look at, either, human or other.
I wait, trying to get him to hold my gaze. He keeps looking away. And I give up.
"Look, just forget about it. I gotta go." I said after what felt like hours after watching him roll around on his heels.
He grabs my wrist before I can get to the doorknob.
"I'm a werewolf, Anna."
"Does that boy ever stay in this house?"
"He went to see his girlfriend, Dante. I'm sure if you had an inkling of a heart yourself you might have one too and wouldn't be around so often to wreak your disgusting havoc."
"That was an accident!"
"Never said it wasn't."
I need to get out of here. I need to shift and I need to shift now.
"Don't do anything stupid." said Milan.
"Who's the pervert now?"
"You know I can't read your mind in my human form."
I should just...not talk to her... anymore.
"I'm outta here."
"As well you should be."
I throw invisible knives at her with my eyes and head out the door.
No peace... there is no peace in this form.
God I am so agitated. I just need to get into the forest and I'll be fine. I'll be good.
I'll be close enough to good...
"What, Tyse?" I sighed.
"Whoa, somebody needs a good shift."
"Yeah. What do you want?"
He smiles a bit before shaking it off.
"Milan told me Jace went to go tell his girlfriend... the truth. Everything."
I'm sure my pupils dilated because Tyse backed away from me.
"She's a gossip queen, you know that."
"Milan?-uh as much as I would love to agree with you. She's one of the straight ones around here."
"My words exactly..."
I blow out a gust of internal air and scratch at my scalp. Nervous habit.
"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know yet... do you know if he's still going to the witch?"
"He might... Most likely. Why?"
"That...That is not going to work for me. I need to carry out this plan quicker than I thought."
"The plan that will instill our wolf form."
"I don't think anyone wants that..."
I glare at him.
"That's the only way to keep him in the pack. That damn witch might kill him if she does what I think she's going to do."
"Does he know the risk in that?"
He thinks about it for a moment.
"Okay what do you think we need to do?"
"I don't know... I'm not sure how much time I have."
We pace around each other. The snow underneath our feet crunching with every puncture of our steps. The wind picked up making the air a blast of freezing breeze. Like knives attacking your face. The night sky overshadowing the wood not too far from the manor lies still; stiff with unmovable thick branches.
Then it hit me.
Tyse stopped pacing when he heard the word.
He turned to me with a look of half astonishment and shock.
"That could go both ways, D."
"I'm willing to take that risk."
"But she's not!"
"Oh... you don't know that. She might like the idea of joining her mutt mate in the woods on all fours." I grinned.
"That's too crazy, Dante, you could be faced with a murder."
I look at him, thoughtfully.
"I've done worse."
I saw the gasp from the wisp of fog that floated around in front of his mouth.
"Alright, Tyse... In or out?"
"Do you know how dangerous that could be!"
"Do you know that she wouldn't be the first for me?"
Ah another shocked look from the big guy.
"It was unfortunate." I said nonchalantly.
"Not even close. Now... in or out?"
She may have fainted when I told her I was a werewolf; she may have fainted when I shifted.
In front of her.
I don't know.
I nudged her cheek with my nose.
I hear myself whimper and I try to will her awake with my nonexistent subliminal messaging powers.
"Lisa, are you okay?"
Jesus. Talk about bad timing.
I reluctantly leave Annalisa there, on the stoop, and dash into the near by wood around the side of the house. The snow feels almost like under my paws as I run buoyantly over the snowy plane.
"Oh my God! Lisa!" I heard Ms. Valour scream.
I wished I could have stayed with her, but it would've looked bad. And I probably would've gotten shot. This is, after all, Scarlet, Maine. People around here tended to let off a few rounds if they were frightened.
I try make my way...anywhere.
Anywhere but here. At lease until I shift back.
And I don't know even when that will be.
I look into the sky and see a half moon. Not full.
So why did I shift?
Maybe it won't last as long.
How did I not notice it before? It seems an awful lot to miss on a black night like this.
I run out into the street by accident and a stranger in a car honks at me. Swerving around my large frame and back into it's proper lane, they continue to speed down the street like thieves.
Jesus, anybody know how to use a break anymore?
Stupid mutts never know how to stay out of the streets.
I was just forced to swerve around some dog to save it's stupid life.
God, teach these animals some common sense or take 'em into your bosom.
I sat alone in Jade's old little Honda. Without Tyse. He seemed to think it would be "ridiculously effed up" if I transferred my blood into Annalisa's.
Yes of course it might kill her. But it may also save my damn brother. What choice did I have? Banks always treated us like twins, losing one would be like losing both and that might take my rank away. And I was not going to let Jace take the pack away from me all because he wanted a little booty. No!
I worked for that damn spot- killed Bank's best friend for it, I am not giving it up so he can be with some chick. She's probably a blonde. I know it...she's a blonde.
I noticed my grip was a little tight on the stirring wheel, making my knuckles turn white, and my speedometer was well over the actual twenty-five mile speed limit.
But I didn't care.
I just needed to find the girl.
I feel like Bella Swan from Twilight.
Except my boyfriend doesn't sparkle and I don't have a speech impediment.
He is a werewolf, though.
That doesn't happen...ever!
He must have been lying, or joking, or-or something. That just isn't possible.
"Lisa, do you want some water, sweetie?"
"No, mom, I'm-I'm fine."
"I'm sorry for working you so hard- I didn't think you were so out of shape."
"It's okay, mom, just- can you give me a minute?"
"Okay, honey. I'm really sorry. I'll make your favorite peach cobbler for dessert." She skips out of the living room, literally, and into the kitchen to make the blessing in a dish.
I lounge lazily on the couch listening to my mother toss and turn and stir around the kitchen. I can't stop thinking about Jace.
On some level I feel like he was telling the truth.
I had a weird dream about a dog poking at me with it's nose.
Was that even a dream?
There is a knock on the door and I shouted my notice that I would answer the door.
I open it a crack.
"Oh my God..."
A grin so... messed up is aimed towards me and slight black eyes with a hint of red bore into my own bright blue ones.
It was him...Jace's brother. I knew he was... different but not much so, or so...literal.
His grin only broadens with the panic I hadn't even known was there nor did I know I was capable of producing.
He was so handsome in devilishly beautiful way: short Blonde hair spiked at the tips and a bit of stubble.
"What's wrong? Am I not suiting your expectations?" he asked me with feigning his hurt feelings around his cheeks; very tall... lots of muscle.
"Dante?- yes I am. I see Jace has told you a little bit about me..." He cocks his head to the side...like a dog, his eyes roam over me, violating me with his gaze. His eyes grow darker and his grin falters as he steps into my house, backing me into the narrow hallway, before closing the door behind him. "What else did he tell you?"