Chapter 2: Is she in danger?

2399 Words
Nox “Nox! Wake up!” A sharp pain spread across my face as a small hand smacked my left cheek, forcing me back into consciousness. I held my stinging cheek and glared up at my assailant. “What the hell--?!” I clammed up as soon as I realized who had struck me--Paisley Prescott, the beta of our pack. Though an older she-wolf, her daughter was not old enough to inherit her title, making her the most powerful female werewolf in Denver--after the pack’s Luna, that is. She c****d an eyebrow at my outburst. “You watch your tone, young man, before I pick you up just to put you back on your ass.” “Yes ma’am,” I grumbled apologetically, shoving off the floor and dusting my jeans. “What happened? What knocked me out?” Paisley let out a huff that I’ve learned was her way of hiding a laugh. “You tell me, kid. One second you were excusing yourself from the meeting, and the next you were flat on your back. Did someone attack you?” “No,” I sighed, running my fingers through my hair. “I… I think something happened.” Now that I was on my feet, Beta Prescott seemed comparably smaller. She gazed up at me with a knowing look. “It’s her, isn’t it?” she asked, her green eyes softening with her tone. “Your mate.” I nodded and glanced around, suddenly wary of eavesdroppers. “Yeah. Something happened.” “Is she in danger?” “No, I don’t think so,” I evaluated, searching through our connection. “I think she was just overwhelmed.” The two of us were standing on the second story balcony of the pack house, surrounded by towering pines and fir trees. I had barely made it outside before I collapsed onto the stone floor, gasping for air. A glimpse over my shoulder and through the French patio doors revealed an inviting sitting room for those waiting to meet with the pack leaders. The couches and accent chairs were empty for the time being, as the visiting alphas were seated in the nearby office with their respective entourages. Off to the right and out of my line of sight was a fully stocked kitchen, just a tad smaller than the one for pack use on the first floor. The omegas working there were taking a well-deserved break--they had been very attentive to our guests, just like always. I must have been spacing out for too long, because Paisley backhanded my shoulder to regain my attention. “Hey! Why haven’t you brought her home yet?” she demanded. “She’d be safe here.” I mulled over her suggestion as my eyes passed over the woodlands that kept us hidden. It wasn’t the first time Paisley had told me to do so, and it certainly wasn’t her most convincing attempt, but I knew in my heart that she had a point. Worrying over my mate from a distance would fix nothing in the long run. There were just too many factors out of my control, too many ways that she could be hurt again. My thoughts flitted back to the first time I ever saw her face--and experienced my first ever nightmare. After all these years, I still had no idea who she was or what she went through, but I knew she had to be close enough for me to experience her emotions. Denver was a big place, but I was about to comb through every inch of it just to find her. “Yeah, you’re right,” I conceded, squaring my shoulders. My right hand closed into a fist, my fingers rubbing along the raised marking on my palm. “I need to bring her here. It’s the only way to keep her safe.” Paisley snickered. “About time, kid. Let’s go back first--Alpha Medina looked like he was ready to blow a gasket.” ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。 Leon Great. Just fuckin’ great. It wasn’t even ten in the morning, and I was already babysitting my future wife. My father and I were in the study with Malena, the former matriarch of the Xirau Coven, when we heard the current matriarch shout for help. The three of us ran across the house--which, let’s face it, their place was downright miniscule--and Malena led us up the stairs to what I learned was Yesenia’s floor. She had collapsed, and Matriarch Lupe had pulled her daughter’s head and shoulders onto her lap and was trying to wake her up. My dad offered to carry Yesenia to the bed with my help (something I did not sign up for), so we did just that as the grandmother hurried back in with a small vial. I expected her to hold the bottle up to Yesenia’s nose, like smelling salts or something, but instead she pressed it to her lips and poured half of its contents into Yesenia’s mouth, speaking a spell in Spanish both too softly and too quickly for my ears to properly register. It was less than three heartbeats before she began to stir--and when her eyes fluttered open, they fell directly onto me. It felt like I was ten years old all over again, locking eyes with a stranger I once knew. The two of us had grown up attending the same mortal and magick schools. We had a few similarities; we were both slated to lead our covens, we didn’t have the pull of the larger groups so we attended Vimine Academy of The Craft instead of the prestigious Academy of Occult Arts, and our proximity to the Denver Pack meant we attended a local mortal school while under their protection. Then again, I knew her from well before our four years at Mountainridge High. Growing up, she was a wild child. Feisty, loud-mouthed, and she always figured out how to get her way. Yesenia was downright fearless, climbing trees and falling off of broomsticks. She never let her failures keep her down for long--she was always onto the next thing, chasing the next adventure. Her confidence and determination were admirable in my eyes, as I always struggled to express myself. It felt as if I were always drowning in someone else’s shadow--my father’s, my brother’s… Even hers. Yesenia didn’t seem to mind, though. She never got frustrated or impatient over my indecisiveness, nor put off by my arrogance and occasional indifference. Instead, she took the time to find ways around it. Like buying every flavor of a snack for me to try, or joining me in watching two movies when I couldn’t pick one, or flipping a coin and “leaving it up to fate.” Her attentiveness was endearing, and our time in middle school was spent with her coaxing me out of my shell. Then we entered our sophomore year of high school, and… I couldn’t really tell you what happened. All I know is my popularity skyrocketed while hers took a dive. Yesenia was like an entirely different person. She cut everyone out of her life, and I don’t mean she gradually distanced herself from her friends and family. I mean she shut down and stopped eating, or communicating, or doing homework. Her mother had to check her into rehab just to get her to eat three meals a day. Her occult professors and mortal instructors stopped calling on her in class and just walked on eggshells around her. Even after they managed to get her to eat and complete assignments like normal, she spent the next two years in complete silence, never offering so much as an utterance to anyone. Not to her mother or grandmother, not to a guidance counselor or therapist, not to any of her friends… Not even to me. So… I left her behind. Why should I feel bad about that? It’s not like I didn’t try--I was at her house every single day, trying to get her to speak and eat outside of regular meals. I tried to convince her to hang out with me, with her girlfriends, with anyone. I tried to be there for her, to coax her out of the shell she had retreated into--and it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. That was the turning point in our relationship, the shift in the tides. That was when I knew that Yesenia Xirau, my best friend, saw me in the same light as my father. It didn’t matter what I said or how long I tried to reach her, because she would never open up to me. I wasn’t worth it, and she had made that clear. So when others started rumors about her, I didn’t bother to defend her or deny them, because she wasn’t my problem anymore. When others began to take advantage of her reserved nature to tease her and pull pranks without consequence, I looked the other way. And when the other guys talked about her appearance behind her back, I joined in with no remorse. She certainly hasn’t changed too much, I thought as I offered her a poor attempt at a smile. I was surprised when her eyes narrowed at me. Or has she? “Hello, Mr. Porter,” she greeted my father cordially, the smallest of smiles tugging at her curved lips. Then her dark eyes flitted over to me, filled with emotions I’d never expected her to be capable of. Disdain, distrust-- “Patriarch Leon,” she nodded, a hint of annoyance in her tone. My eyes narrowed. “Really? That’s the greeting you give an old friend?” She c****d an eyebrow. “Friend? That’s a strong word.” I scoffed. “Yeah, okay. We don’t need to be friends, we just need to be married.” Her cheeks flushed with color as she swung her legs over the side of the bed and pushed off the mattress until she was standing before me. “Exactly. This is just business.” My jaw tensed as I gritted my teeth behind pursed lips. If this is what marriage is going to be like, then I don’t think I’m going to last a week. As if they could sense the mounting tension between us, Malena and our parents exchanged wary glances before the former matriarch cleared her throat. “Leon, Yesenia will need some sun and fresh air after all the excitement. Could you please take her for a stroll through the woods?” Yeah, she could definitely use the exercise. “That sounds nice. Thank you, Malena.” ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。 Nox After the meeting with the ranked members of the Denver, Puebla, and Hollywood packs, I set out to find my fated mate. Keys in hand, I practically charged out the front door--and nearly collided with someone I wasn’t expecting to see. “Dude, watch it!” Storm growled as they stumbled backwards. Their hands smoothed their straight side-swept bangs, hiding greyish olive eyes behind the disarray. I frowned at my younger sibling. “Uh, what are you doing here?” They c****d an eyebrow. “I’m a werewolf. This is a pack house.” I fought the urge to roll my eyes at the adolescent. “No, Storm--I meant, what are you doing here on a Monday morning? Don’t you have school?” “I get that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, but you have to know what summer vacation is, right?” “Of course I--wait, how the hell did you even get here?” I demanded, glancing in the direction of the pack’s garage. It was only another second before the culprit rounded the corner and froze at the sight of me. Her straight black hair was pulled up in a braided bun, and her wide grey eyes had a bluish tint. I was fuming. “Rayn--” “What? I have a day job, you know!” she shouted. “We can’t all just loiter around the pack house!” “I get that, but why are you leaving them here instead of with the Swans?” I hollered back, closing the distance between us. I had to get past her anyway if I wanted to find the girl of my dreams. “Storm’s at their house all the time anyway!” “Their house has been overrun with all the pack’s pups, and you damn well know Storm is too fuckin’ angsty to leave with kids!” Our sister argued. “I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Storm grumbled as they rolled their eyes. “You say that like Cinn isn’t there to keep an eye on the little prick,” I countered. “I’m literally right here,” said our nonbinary sibling. “Shut up, Storm,” we warned them in unison. The fourteen-year-old threw their hands up in surrender. “Okay! Jeez, I’ll just wait for you inside.” “For who? For me?” My heart dropped. I seriously wasn’t expecting to babysit. They each c****d an eyebrow at me sarcastically. It was their way of challenging my authority as the eldest. “Oh, I’m sorry,” scoffed Rayn. “I didn’t realize you were too busy to spend time with your youngest sibling--you know, the one whose first shift you missed?” My jaw dropped. “Okay, that’s low. You know I was busy.” “Yeah, running around the woods--” “Chasing vampires off our land!” My voice was booming, echoing through the nearby evergreens. “You know the solitary ones always get cocky and feed too much. Do you want trappers to come around here?” When she didn’t answer, I huffed. “Yeah, didn’t think so.” Then I waved my little sibling over with barely a glance in their direction. “C’mon, dude. I’ve got somewhere to be, and I don’t trust you not to put a virus on my computer.” “I’d like to think I’m smarter than that…” “Yeah, sure, kid.” We had barely made it ten steps before they asked, “Can I drive?” “Hell no.”
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