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To start, Mila hadn’t been sure it was her pack. The location was wrong, and it was about half the size she remembered, with lots of unfamiliar faces. But there was no denying it once they reached the camp and the whispers began assaulting her on all sides.

And there was certainly no denying it now.

When they had first entered the caravan, Mila hadn’t been able to bear to look up, sure she knew what she would see when she did. Her father’s face had flashed through her mind - piercing green eyes, dark hair starting to be streaked with grey, a stubborn jawline…

Except it wasn’t him. This man had full lips, sun-kissed skin, and dark brown hair that was just long and disheveled enough to constantly look like it was about to fall across his warm brown eyes. His nose was slightly crooked from a past injury… Almost like an annoyed ten-year-old had decked him round the face after he’d teased her about being small and weedy.

No, it wasn’t her father. But it was someone equally and achingly familiar.

The door shut, leaving her feeling suddenly alone without Caelan by her side. Spencer was still staring at her like he’d seen a ghost. She thought she probably looked much the same as she looked him up and down. The slightly gawky teenager in her memory had filled out into a strong looking young man, although the stubble on his chin made him look much older.

There were so many things she could have asked, but in that moment there was only one question on her mind.

“My father?” Her voice was weak.

Spencer shook his head. “I’m sorry,” he murmured.

She hadn’t expected differently but still her breath caught in her throat. “When?”

“About a year ago.”

“How?”

“Vampire. He killed it but… we couldn’t save him.” Spencer’s eyes were warm and kind as he started towards her. “April, I’m - ”

She drew back. She couldn’t help it. “It’s Mila now,” she snapped. “Actually.”

Spencer looked like she’d slapped him round the face and for a moment she felt guilty. Instead she tried for a wry smile. “I guess I should say congratulations or something.”

Spencer’s eyes narrowed but he said nothing. The silence was choking her but she refused to be the one to break it this time.

Finally Spencer took a step back. “Where the hell have you been?”

His voice was low, nearly a snarl. Mila felt herself bristle in response. “Around,” she said.

He did snarl then, and for a moment his eyes flashed gold. Stubbornly, Mila stood her ground, watching as he took a deep, slightly shaking breath.

"I thought you were going to come back,” he said finally. “I wouldn’t have let you go if I’d known that you…” He smiled drily. “Your father was furious with me.”

Guilt tugged at her again. “Spencer…” She murmured.

“I looked for you,” he continued. “I thought…” His expression shut off into cool neutrality like someone had flicked a switch. “Well. That doesn’t matter now.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Spencer turned away, shoulders hunched, and the choking silence descended on her again. This time she had to give in. “Spencer,” she asked softly, “what’s happened here? Where is everyone? Why are you so far from home?”

His expression was still neutral, but she thought she caught a hint of a sigh in his voice as he turned back. “You’ve come back at a difficult time.” He paused. “You remember Ben?”

Mila remembered him as arrogant and power-hungry. She grimaced - this didn’t sound good.

“When your father died Ben took over the pack,” Spencer continued. “I tried to stop him but… well, I wasn’t strong enough. Ben kicked me out.” His expression softened a little. “A few came with me. We’ve built up numbers here.”

Suddenly his brown eyes were fervent. "I want the pack back, April,” he said. “My pack. My home.” He couldn’t keep the hopeful smile from his face. “And now you’ve come back, we can…”

She backed away again, unable to stop herself. His smile faded. “You’re not back to stay, are you?”

She swallowed. “I’m sorry, Spencer,” she said. “I never meant to be here at all.”

His jaw clenched as he looked her up and down. “So that’s it?” He snapped. “You’re just going to leave again.”

Mila narrowed her eyes. “What do you want me to say?” She spat back, feeling her fists clench at her sides. “I told you, this isn’t some huge homecoming. I’m here because of an accident!”

For a long moment Spencer simply stared at her. Then, quite suddenly, he shook his head, a weak, slightly hysterical laugh bubbling from his lips.

Mila frowned. “What?”

He grinned at her. “Well, I never thought I’d actually be happy to see you pissed off with me,” he said.

She couldn’t help it - she chuckled, relaxing a little into his familiar smile.

Spencer perched back on the table behind him. “You cut your hair off,” he commented.

Mila shrugged. “More practical this way.”

“It suits you,” he said.

She smiled, a little unsure. For a few long seconds she met his eyes and allowed herself to imagine what would have happened if she had stayed, what Spencer might have been to her if, back then, she’d allowed herself to give in to her nervous, teenage urges…

Her smile faded, and she felt herself clamming up again.

“April…?” Spencer asked, gently.

“I’m not April,” she said, firm. “I’m Mila.” She stood up a little straighter. “I know you want things to go back to the way they were, but that’s not going to happen. I ran away for a reason.” She had to make him understand. “I’ve made a new life for myself. I can’t just pretend that the last six years never happened.”

“I’m not asking you too,” he said.

She narrowed her eyes. “Then what are you asking?”

His face was so full of hope she nearly gave in then. “Stay?"

She swallowed. “Sp-”

“Even just for a couple of days,” he continued quickly. A long pause. “I’ve missed you.”

I’ve missed you too, a part of her wanted to say. But she couldn’t

“I don’t know,” she said instead. “I’d have to consult with… my partner.”

Spencer nodded. “Of course.” His eyes narrowed slightly. “I assume he’s in the know?”

“Yes. You don’t need to worry about him.” He knows how to keep a secret, she added silently.

“Good.”

She cleared her throat. “Well…” And suddenly she felt like an awkward teenager again. “I’ll, uh, see you around.”

I’ve missed you too…

His lips quirked into a small smile. “See you… Mila.”

There was only kindness in his face now, but she couldn’t help breathing a sigh of relief as she stepped outside and closed the caravan door behind her. Unfortunately the relief didn’t last too long. Various pairs of eyes turned towards her almost immediately and she felt the same whispers from before start to buzz through the air.

She heard a woman laughing and looked around - a familiar wide brimmed hat catching her eye. She descended the steps and walked to the other end of the caravan, barely repressing a roll of her eyes. It seemed that Caelan had worked his usual charm to sap off the worst of Andrea’s distrust and they were chatting like old friends.

Andrea excused herself with a smile as Mila approached, but she noticed that the other woman didn’t go too far. If Caelan was bothered by the potential eavesdropper he didn’t say so, simply surveying Mila briefly before saying: “So?”

Mila sighed. “Well, I assume you were listening in anyway.” Andrea wasn’t the only one with good ears.

A playful smile. “Perhaps.”

“Questions?”

“Lots,” he said. “But don’t worry, I’m happy to wait.” His expression turned serious. “My main question for the moment is, what do you want to do?”

She raised an eyebrow, trying to ignore the way her heart fluttered nervously. “What do I want to do? What about you?” Was he going somewhere?

Caelan shrugged. “I’m happy to stay here for a couple of days if that’s what you want. And I’m happy to leave.” His bright eyes fixed on her. “These are your people - it’s up to you.”

His gaze was too intense. She looked away. “I don’t know.” A wry chuckle. “It’s all very sudden…”

Caelan nodded in agreement, looking thoughtful. “The full moon is coming up, isn’t it?” he said suddenly.

Mila barely repressed a flinch at the reminder. “Yes,” she said shortly. “It’s in a couple of days.”

“Well,” he said reasonably, “why don’t we stay until that’s over with, then decide what we want to do then?”

No, was her immediate response, but she forced herself to look past her emotions. It was a sensible idea, and no matter how much she dreaded the idea of a full moon with the pack, she knew Spencer wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. He might even be able to help her… And she did want to stay, at least a short time, to spend more time with him, even though she knew it couldn’t be the same…

She nodded slowly. “Ok,” she said. “We’ll stay.”

 

 

 




Submitted: September 16, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Sylvermyst

Great chapter. Her poor pack split apart. I wonder why she left.

Sat, October 27th, 2018 1:47am

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Thank you for reading! :-)

Mon, October 29th, 2018 11:24am

TheresaVan18

Interesting chapter, but it makes the last one even more out of place with the p.o.v. I didn't expect to step so quickly back into Mila's perspective. It gives a bit of a whiplash kind of vibe. You may be better off doing last chapter as Mila's as well, or alternate more between the two p.o.v's.

Sun, February 10th, 2019 5:04am

Author
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Hmmm ok, I'll have a think about this - thank you!

Mon, February 11th, 2019 4:25am

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