I peel out of that driveway so fast my tires skid. My dad's going to fume, and I know I'm going to have to call him before class. Only so he can talk to Eric, see if this is a permanent thing or just a parental fight. I can tell by the way Cameron's shaking in the seat next to me that he does not want to go back there. However, if Eric changes his mind my dad won't let him stay.
"You look like hell." Louis says behind him. Carissa's actually puts her phone away. Interrupting my snarl she sits up.
"Can we get coffee?" As if what just happened was no big deal. I roll my eyes, but glancing at Cameron, he's actually smiling in the corners. I look at Carissa's face in my rearview.
"We'll be late to class if we do." To my astonishment, it's Louis who says,
"Screw school." I look at him.
"You feeling alright there Louis? Are you getting sick?" He rolls his eyes.
"We haven't missed a day of class since first grade. let's just go in late." While he's smiling Cameron isn't saying anything. He's normally quiet around my friends. "Or skip altogether." Carissa bulks. I turn right into the parking lot by Cabela's, a quaint little coffee shop that's cheaper than Starbucks.
"This okay?" I ask him. Cameron shrugs.
"I'm not particularly excited for class." He says glancing out the window.
"I have an art assignment due today." Carissa says. Her art class isn't until after lunch.
"We'll be back before then." I say. "We aren't skipping." We all get out of the car and head into the small room that smells like fresh brewed coffee and old books. Louis and Carissa order and pay. "What do you want?" I ask Cameron as my two friends go find a seat.
"You aren't buying me anything." He says. "I've never even had coffee." I order for him anyway, including a breakfast sandwich and a muffin. "Why'd you do that?" He asks. "I said I didn't want anything." I just smile.
"I only paid like two dollars for everything, calm down." He blinks. He's cute when he's confused. "One of my pack members own the place."
"I still didn't want anything." Rolling my eyes, I pull him into my side. He isn't used to people giving him things, I realize.
He grudgingly takes the sandwich and the Mocha latte I'd ordered him and goes to sit with Luis and Carissa. I only shake my head, a smile on my face, as I pick up my muffin and coffee and follow him.
Kat's parents are sitting in the living room when we get to her house and I can see by the looks on their faces that're aware of what's transpired today.
"Kat," Her mom says, her voice stern. This is the first time I'm seeing Shira angry. "You skipped school?" Kat tenses beside me.
"No, I went to school." She says honestly. "We were just late." Shira doesn't like that response. She narrows her eyes and prepares to say some more words, but I cut in quickly.
"It's my fault," I kind of lie. Kat frowns at me. The Alpha and his wife look at each other. I understand why Kat doesn't like to be around them. It's frustrating to know the couple's having a conversation right in front of you and you can't hear it.
"Kat, would you please go for a run?" Shira asks. "We need to talk to Cameron." Kat looks like she wants to argue but changes her mind, giving me a small smile before slipping out the back door. I approach the couple with caution. "Sit anywhere you like." Shira tells me with a small smile. I take the first seat I lay my eyes on, across from them.
"We got a call from your Alpha this morning." He says, making my blood grow cold. I'd hoped it had been Kat who'd called them like she'd said she would. "Something about how our daughter has poisoned the mind of his kid." I snort. I can't help it. Eric's words and choice of argument is so absurd. They stare at me no expression on their face. I clear my throat.
"I'm sorry he did that. Kat has nothing to with this." Shira smiles. She knows it's a lie. "Did he say he wants me to go back?"
"No." The Alpha says abruptly. "I told him we would take you in, and if in two weeks he's decided he still doesn't want you to return, we'll do the paperwork to initiate you into this pack." I don't say anything right away. I don't know what to say. So I ponder my words, then speak carefully.
"I... know this is putting strain on you and I'm sorry i have to be a burden-" He puts his hand up to stop me.
"Cameron, you are our daughter's mate." He says like it explains everything.
"You're in no way a burden." Shira adds. Nodding I give them a small smile, unsure what to think. When you've grown up like I have, it's hard to trust those words. This kindness is not something I've ever been granted.
"There are some rules." The Alpha says. "If you shift, I want you to be with Katalina. It's safer that way. The pack doesn't know you and some are skittish of strangers.
"Shower's can be taken between the hours of seven am and ten pm. Anytime after that and the piping wakes up the house.
"We have dinner as a family every night of the week unless there are meetings in town, like tonight. Dinner's around six, six-thirty." Shira stands, clapping her hands.
"I've already got a room set up for you." As she pulls me up the steps by my hand, I'm sure I catch a glimpse of the Alpha smiling.
"There is soap and shower supplies in the bathroom and I got you some small and medium sized clothing- I hope you grow into them." I cringe. Do I really look that bad? She pulls open the drapes covering the large windows facing the pack houses. The view's amazing.
"Thanks again," I say as she pulls me into a hug I'm prepared for this time around.
"You're safe here." She says into my ear before stepping back. All I can do is smile.
I believe her.
When I head back down to the main floor, I immediately spot a white wolf sitting outside watching me through the glass door.
She stands when she sees me watching and turns in a circle, wanting me to come out and run with her. I just stand there watching her with a lopsided grin. I'm not going to shift. Not right now, but I step outside, closing the door behind me, and kneel down in front of her. She tackles me, licking my face. Laughing I run my hands through her coarse fur. Then all of a sudden he goes dead weight, pinning me, resting her head on my chest. I slow my laughing, continuing brushing back her fur.
"You're beautiful." I say quietly. Her ears perk up, watching me from her spot on my chest. Then, she's licking me again and nudging me. I'm not going to give her the satisfaction of shifting. She wants to play. This is me playing.
I ignore the looks we're getting from the pack. I zone out the sound of the sound of children talking as they come up the steps from school. I focus on this beautiful wolf in front of me, who's demanding so much attention.
She stands on all fours and circles me. I sit up, my hands resting on the patio, my legs in the grass. Kat steps over me and sits down on them, and nudges her head into my chest. "You're so comical." I say lightly. She just smiles, pink tongue lolling to the side.
The door swings open and Shira steps out in business clothes. Kat gives her one look, then turns and lays another wet one on me. "We're heading out." Shira says to us. "We'll be out late, the meetings in the next town over." Kat is off of me in a second and has shifts into her human form. Naked human form. Tensing, I stare straight ahead. Wolfskin are not shy people but they normally grow up in a pack with both genders. And now that I think about it I've never actually seen...
"You're meeting with Reagan?" Kat asks quickly. I don't know who that is but I'm not really focused on their conversation.
"Yes.We meet with them every month." Shira says.
"Yeah, I know. I just didn't know that was tonight. " She's whining.
"There's money on the counter for delivery. Maybe Thai?" Kat gives her a kiss. "Be good." She walks away.
"Your face is so red." Kat says to me, chuckling. "You alright?" I'm not looking at her. When I don't say anything she walks back inside. It takes me a minute to shake myself out of it but eventually I stand, and head in as well.