Just a heads up, everyone - the first four chapters are exactly the same as the sneak peek chapters I put at the end of My Abuser My Mate, so if you've read those four chapters, you might want to skip on ahead to chapter five!
*BUZZZZ* *BUZZZZ* *BUZZZZ* *BUZZZZ*
I blindly reached over and slapped my nightstand a few times before finally connecting with my target and slapping the stupid alarm into silence. Grumbling, I pulled myself up in bed and shoved my messy brown hair, tousled from sleep, out of my face. Shoving the blankets off of me, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and simply sat for a couple minutes, enjoying the silence for a few minutes before getting my day started.
My name is Todd Wilkins. I just turned 18 two days ago, and met my wolf, Dion. No, I don't mean my pet wolf. Dion would have a conniption if someone dared to call him that. No, I mean the wolf that lives inside my head and whose form I can change into whenever I want. You see, I'm a werewolf. As is my mother, and her parents before her. My dad was one also, but he's not in the picture. I'll tell you more about that later.
I also shifted for the first time on my birthday. That is, I changed into the form of my wolf. He was a big, beautiful, sand colored wolf. And over the last couple days, I'd learned that he was quick witted, fiercely protective of his loved ones, and didn't tolerate any BS. He had instantly become my built-in best friend.
'I love you too, man!' Dion said, hearing my thoughts. He pretended to sniffle and gave a fake mournful howl in my head.
I laughed inwardly. 'Dude, you have issues,' I told him.
'I sure do,' he replied. 'Being your wolf is one of them. Ooh, BURN!'
I snorted. 'You got that backwards, dude,' I retorted with a snicker. 'I'm the one with the issue over h - hey, waaaait a minute.'
He howled with laughter, and sent me an image of him on his back, all four feet in the air, rolling with laughter.
Ugh. What a doofus, I thought, shaking my head.
I finally stood up and walked into the small bathroom across the hall from my room. I shared this small two bedroom, one bathroom, one story house with my mom. Her bedroom was at the end of the short hall. At the other end of the hall was our living room, which had just enough space for a couch, a loveseat, an armchair, and the TV. Except that the loveseat had been taken out and squeezed into my mom's room to make room for her hospital bed. My mom had a lot of health problems, and sadly, at just 36 years old, she was nearing the end of her short life. She now slept in the living room, in that hospital bed, and I was her full time caretaker. Our pack's version of hospice - we called it wolf care - came several times a week to help wherever they could.
Our small kitchen/dining room combo was off of the living room, and there was a walk-in closet at the end of the room that was our laundry area. It wasn't much, but it was ours, and it was home. It had been home for most of my life.
My mom's parents - Granny and Pop - had lived next door to us and would help Mom with me all the time when I was little. I spent just as much time at their house - maybe even more - as I did at home. They taught me so much about pack life, laws, traditions, you name it. Mom was often too depressed to do much for me, even though I know she tried her best. But Granny and Pop helped to shape me into the person I am today, and I'm always proud to tell people that I came from them. Sadly, they were both gone to the Moon Goddess now. Granny was killed in a car accident 3 years ago, and Pop, unable to survive the pain of losing his mate, died less than a month later. They say that the loss of a mate, whether through rejection or death, is the worst pain a werewolf can go through, and many don't survive. That's a big part of what's wrong with my mom - my sp**m donor of a dad rejected her before leaving the pack, and she's never really gotten over the heartbreak. The doctors say that's exacerbating all of her medical problems. You see, werewolves rarely if ever get sick, but the loss of our mates can weaken us, leaving our bodies just as susceptible to disease as a human's body.
After I finished using the toilet, then subsequently showering and shaving, I went into the living room to see if Mom was awake. I found her sitting with her bed in a sitting position, remote in hand, watching an old rerun of The Jeffersons. She looked over and smiled at me when I entered the room. It seemed like no matter what she was going through, my mom could always managed to muster enough strength to smile at me.
I walked over to her, leaned down, and kissed her forehead. "Good morning, Mom," I greeted her cheerfully. I don't care what's going on in my life, with my mom only having a short time left, I will make sure she sees nothing but happiness from me until she's gone.
"Good morning, son," she replied. "How's my sweet boy today?"
"I'm good, Mom," I answered. "How are you feeling?"
She sighed. "About the same."
I leaned down and gave her a hug. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, son," she replied.
"You hungry?" I asked her.
"I could probably manage a little something," she responded.
"Any special requests?" I asked. I was pretty good in the kitchen, if I do say so myself. Came from lots of experience having to take care of myself and Mom.
She shook her head.
"All righty, then, pancakes and bacon it is!' I quipped. She let out a small laugh.
"Blueberry pancakes?" she asked hopefully.
"Deal," I replied. Mom rarely asked for any particular food, so if she wanted blueberry pancakes, she got blueberry pancakes. I didn't care if I had to go to the next planet to get the blueberries.
Luckily, I didn't have to leave the planet to get blueberries today, or even the house. I found a bag of them in the freezer and used them.
After I'd whipped up breakfast, I brought Mom's plate and mine into the living room, setting hers on the rollaway tray I'd bought her the week before, and using one of the TV stands for mine. I settled myself into the chair I'd positioned right beside her bed, close enough that I could help her eat if I needed. Thankfully she rarely needed help, but occasionally her arthritis flareups made it really difficult to use her hands.
After we'd eaten most of our food in silence, Mom finally spoke up. "Got any big plans for today, son?" she asked.
"The biggest, Mom," I said.
She raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? What's that?"
I smiled at her. "I'm spending the day with the most beautiful woman in the world, and I don't even have to leave home to do it."
Her cheeks flushed a beautiful pale pink. "Oh, stop that. I'm not the prettiest woman around the world and we both know it."
I raised an eyebrow in her direction. "Speak for yourself. Beauty comes from within, and yours shines out of you."
That drew a genuine smile from her. "How did you get to be so sweet?"
I grinned at her. "That's easy. My amazing mama raised me right."
She reached out and patted my cheek. "Sweet boy."
I kissed her hand, then reached for the remote, since The Jeffersons was rolling credits. "So, what do you want to watch next?"
We spent the next few hours watching some of our favorite shows, laughing at the funny parts, and just enjoying each other's company. It was one of Mom's better days, and for that I was grateful. Her good days were becoming fewer and farther between, and I was determined to enjoy them as much as possible.
Carrie, one of the wolf care nurses, came in the later part of the afternoon and helped Mom take a bath. Carrie was young and beautiful - she was about a year older than me.- and with her shoulder length blonde locks and big blue eyes, she was beautiful, not to mention very sweet and intelligent. Her mate, when she found him, would be one lucky wolf.
I knew Mom had hoped that Carrie might be my mate, and I wasn't completely sure if I was relieved or disappointed that she wasn't. I eventually wanted to find my mate, but right now my focus was on taking care of my mom. I didn't feel that I could give a mate the attention that she deserved right now, so maybe it was best I didn't find her until....well, until. I didn't want to think about the conclusion of the situation I was currently in. I didn't want to envision my life without my mom but I knew that that was coming soon. But I chose to focus on the present and let the future worry about itself for now.
While Carrie helped Mom with her bath, I decided to make dinner. Spaghetti sounded great, and I loved that it was super easy. And thanks to the many afternoons spent in the kitchen with Granny while Mom was at work, I knew how to make some pretty awesome sauce from scratch. It normally took a little over an hour to make it, but I'd made a big batch just last week and frozen it. So, all I had to do was boil the noodles and heat the sauce up.
As I stood there waiting on the noodles to boil and the sauce to heat up, I let my mind wander. I thought about all the things that had changed over the past few months. Graduating high school, turning 18, meeting my wolf, shifting for the first time, then Mom's health going downhill, and me becoming her caretaker, everything. So much, and in less than a month's time. But I'd trade it all if it would make my mom healthy. I couldn't really say "healthy again" because I honestly couldn't remember a time when she was healthy to start with. But I'd give anything to make her better. I wanted her to live long enough to see me find my mate, get married, and have some pups, but I knew that probably wasn't going to happen.
After Mom, Carrie, and I had devoured the spaghetti, Carrie thanked us for the food and said she'd see us in a couple of days. After she left, I turned to Mom.
"Are you tired?" I asked. "If you're not, I thought maybe we could watch a movie or something.
"Only a little," she said. "But a movie sounds good. What movie did you have in mind?"
I knew Mom was big horror movie fan, since she'd raised me to love them too. "How about IT?" I asked.
"The original one, right?" she replied, raising a brow.
I laughed. She'd told me several times that she liked the newer one, but said the original just couldn't be beat. "You bet," I told her.
I popped the DVD in, made sure Mom was comfortable, kicked back on the couch, and before long I was sound asleep with visions of Pennywise dancing through my head.