15 years later
"Psst.... psst...." I heard someone in my ear. I figured it was just a dream, refusing to open my eyes. "Psst! Julia!" I woke up with a start. My mom was standing over me, leaning down to whisper in my ear.
"Goddess, mom. You could have just woke me up like a normal person."
"Yeah, but where's the fun in that?" She sat down next to me on my bed.
"What time is it?" I asked groggily.
"It's 7:30," she answered, way too cheerfully for how early it was. I groaned.
"You do realize school is over, right?"
"I know but I'm just so excited about giving you your birthday present, I couldn't wait any longer."
"My birthday isn't even until tomorrow."
"You know, you're the only pup I know who's not excited about receiving a gift early."
"I'm not a pup anymore mom, I'm about to be eighteen." I sat up and looked at her.
"I know, you're my very grown up eighteen-year-old," she leaned in and started pecking me with kisses like she used to do when I was a kid. Snorting as she got sloppier with them. I laughed.
"Alright, alright." I held out my hands. "I'm ready." She placed a small black box into my outstretched hands. It was tied with a red ribbon. I undid the ribbon, flipping open the lid of the box. Inside was a beautiful gold broach with a P in the center, representing our last name of Parker. There were vines interlacing the P and a wolf showing in the background. "It's beautiful," I told her, picking it up delicately from the box.
"It's a tradition in this family to pass it down to the first born on their eighteenth birthday. Your grandmother gave it to me and now I'm giving it to you. You'll pass it on one day too. Your father would be proud to see you have it." She tucked my long chestnut brown hair behind my ear.
"I love it, thank you," I said, leaning forward to hug her. She sniffled slightly, but when she pulled away, any tears she might have let out were gone. My mom was a very strong woman. She had lost my father and her mate when I was seven years old. Most wolves would have died from the pain and heartbreak, but she always said I was what kept her going through it. She never showed fear or weakness, being the former Gamma female, she couldn’t.
Our Alpha was a terrifying man. He liked order and obedience above all else. It was a miracle he let me stay here when they found me 15 years ago. The Beta Marvin said it was because I was a child. If I had been any older, he would have turned me away. He hated me for being part witch, not that it was my fault. I was forbidden from using my powers in the pack. That was one of the conditions of me staying here. I was also forbidden from training with the other warriors, wasn't allowed to attend pack functions when other packs were in town, and I couldn't tell anyone I was part witch. Not that they couldn't smell it on me. I was allowed to attend school with everyone else, and I could eat in the pack house for regular meals, but that's the extent of my liberties.
Another condition of my staying here was I had to work. Currently, I work in the pack house in the daycare during the week. They had a daycare for the pups of the warriors and upper members of the pack. That was where I met my best friend, Naomi. Most of the pack wanted nothing to do with me because they didn't want to feel the wrath of the Alpha, but Naomi didn't care. She was an omega, so she was already subject to Gregory's cruel hand.
"Okay, get up and get dressed. Breakfast in the pack house starts in thirty minutes." My mom got off my bed and left my room. I sat there, admiring the broach she had given me. Even though she was my adoptive mother, she always treated me like I was her own. Marvin had wanted to take me in, but Gregory wouldn't allow it. He said he couldn't have his Beta having a weak hybrid child. I guess it didn't matter for the Gamma because he didn't see him as important.
I swung my legs over the side of my bed, stretching as I got to my feet. Today was Saturday, so I didn't have to go to work. I took a quick shower, threw on some jeans and a shirt, before meeting my mom down in the living room. Our house was small, but it fit the two of us well. Once my dad, Dale, passed away, the Alpha made my mom and I move out of the pack house. I think he had wanted to do it for a while because he hated the fact that I was also living there. It was an easy excuse to have us move as far from the pack house as possible.
We lived in the outer part of the pack, secluded from everything. My mom never complained though. She knew there was no point, but I also knew she was just happy to have a child. She and my dad tried for many years without success to have a pup of their own. My mom always tried to do everything she could to make sure I was safe and was able to stay in the pack.
We made the long journey to the pack house, which was a large three-story brick house. The Alpha, Beta, and new Gamma all lived in the house. It also housed the dining room for the pack, offices for the ranked members, but nothing else. The Alpha didn't like regular pack members in the house except at mealtimes.
Our pack had about 400 members of the pack; we were considered one of the smaller packs in the area. I knew there was also a Lycan pack not too far away, where the Lycan King lives, but both packs kept to themselves. Our neighboring packs were Crescent Night, Black Autumn, and Moonlight River. I think the Lycan pack was called the Black Hollow pack, but I wasn't sure. We learned about the different packs in school, but I only remembered so much. I knew the Lycan King and Alpha's of the other pack had been here on occasion, but I never got to meet them, since I wasn't allowed to attend functions.
When we walked into the pack house, we joined the throng of people already in line for the buffet. This was the easiest way to serve breakfast to everyone. The ranked members had their meals brought to their tables, but not us. We each took some toast, eggs, and bacon, before finding an open table. It was usually just my mom and I who sat together, seeing as no one else wanted to sit with us. I made the mistake of glancing up at the head table, where Alpha Gregory and his son Logan were sitting. I caught the Alpha's eye and he glared at me. I quickly lowered my gaze so he wouldn't get angry with me.
We finished our breakfast, and some omegas came over to clear our plates.
"What are you doing on your day off today?" my mom asked. The truth was, I usually spent my Saturday training with Beta Marvin. I wasn't allowed to train with the other wolves, but he taught me on his day off out in the woods just beyond the pack borders so no one would catch us. I didn't want to tell my mom about it in case Alpha Gregory found out. He would punish her for allowing it to happen. It was better if I was the only one that knew.
"I'll probably just go hang out with Naomi. Her parents are away for the weekend."
"Sounds like fun. Should I expect to see you at dinner?"
"Yeah, I'll meet you at our normal table."
"Bye." I waved to her and turned and walked towards Naomi's house. When I was sure I was out of sight and ear shot, I made my detour to the woods. I had my small purse with me, which is where I had some shorts, tank top, and sports bra. I wore sneakers to breakfast, so I didn't have to carry those. I had almost reached the tree line when I heard voices behind me.
"Hey hybrid!" I turned to see Logan and his cronies Tyler and Ian. They were all 20 so they had their own wolves and could shift. I turned and tried to get as far away from them as possible, but I could hear them following me. I quickened my pace, trying desperately not to be their punching bag today.
"Where are you going in such a hurry, half wolf?" I started running now, listening to their steps getting closer and closer. I felt a hand close around my arm. I tried to pull away, but it was too strong. Logan had me in his grip, he flung me around, so I was facing him. "Da*n, you're getting faster; but not fast enough."
"Let go of me!" I yelled, trying to wriggle free. That only made him tighten his grasp more.
"You're getting mouthy," he laughed. He let go of me with one hand, raising it up to strike me.
"Logan, Ian, Tyler, that's enough!" A deep booming voice came from behind me. "Let go of her and get back to your training. You should know better as the future Alpha." Marvin had come to stand beside me.
"We were only having a little fun Beta," Logan said innocently.
"Attacking a pack member unprovoked is three days in the dungeon chained in silver. I should know, I wrote that law."
"That doesn't apply to me," he laughed.
"It applies to everyone, you're not the Alpha yet." He looked from me to Marvin, relinquishing his hold.
“What are you even doing out here anyway?” He asked Marvin. I stepped back several paces, trying to keep out of their reach.
“What I do and where I go is none of your business.”
"You're lucky the Beta was here to protect you this time," he seethes through gritted teeth. Turning around, he and his two i***t friends went back the way they came.
"You shouldn't have done that," I told him. "He's going to tell the Alpha and you'll be punished for defending me. You know that law applies to everyone except me."
"You let me worry about the Alpha. After all these years, I've gotten pretty good at avoiding his punishments." I smiled at him; thankful I had one other person in this pack who looked out for me. We walked for a little while longer until we reached our training area. Marvin had done his best to get some of the old equipment from our training facility. We had a punching bag, free weights, and a couple of torn mats to place down when we would spare.
"I have to get changed," I told him, pulling out my other clothes.
"Of course," he said, turning around. I went behind a nearby tree and changed. Coming back out and throwing my jeans on top of my purse.
"Let's start out with 50 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups, and a 2-mile run as a warm up."
"What no half marathon today," I joked.
"Funny, let's get going." He ran off into the woods and I followed behind him. He trained me hard, which I appreciated. We started when I was 15, when I was able to tell my mom I was hanging out with friends, and she didn't insist on coming with me. After our run and warm-up exercises, we sparred. Marvin had been the best warrior in his day, and even at 57, he could still take on even the youngest of wolves and win.