I sighed and stretched on the bed, the feeling of calm and relaxation slowly fading. I looked at my sweats, the cum stains were clearly visible on the dark blue. Damn… My jeans were dirty from last night’s hunt too, I really needed some more clothes. I went to the bathroom and took a shower to wash away as much of the scent of spunk as I could. Werewolves’ keen sense of smell could sometimes be a real pain in the ass. Being able to smell who just had sex with who or who jerked off was one of the downsides. I changed into my jeans, grabbed my wallet, and left my room.
I kind of expected to run into Alistair again, but no, there was only Marc standing guard in front of the house.
“Where are you going?” He frowned at me, annoyed simply by my existence.
“I need some new clothes,” I said pointing to my dirty jeans.
“We’re supposed to stay in the house.” His frown deepened.
“I’m just going to the shop, you know, the one in the city, full of humans? I doubt I’ll get attacked there.” I rolled my eyes at him. He was still frowning, and I could practically see the inner struggle of his. “Come on, I’m not pack, do you really care if someone kills me out there?” I asked when his deciding took too long.
“Nah, not really,” he said and let me go to my car and head for the town. Guess being hated had its perks… He probably ran right to Alistair and told him I left. I just hoped going to the city was less of an offense than going to the forest like I really wanted. But I had to leave. As the house disappeared from view it was like a big stone fell off my chest and I could breathe again.
It was still snowing lazily when I arrived in town. I parked my rented car in front of a small mall. I wasn’t too picky… I quickly grabbed some sweats and jeans in my size, not bothering to try them on. I wasn’t much for shopping.
There was one thing that caught my attention though. As I walked to the cash register, I came across a row of outdoor equipment. Nothing new, I was used to seeing it around here. This was Alaska and it was winter right now. The forest around wasn’t too forgiving.
So, where the hell could a group of Mercenaries hide around here? I mean I was sure the pack checked out all the motels and hotels around here, right? Checking for the sulfuric smell of the monster dogs Mercenaries loved so much… And if they didn’t find anything, it meant the Mercenaries were hiding somewhere in the forest. But the forest was harsh for humans.
Mercenaries had the power needed to summon and control monsters but their bodies were still human, they would need shelter… Tracks, both on the ground and in the air, could get easily hidden by the snow, especially now in the middle of winter when it snowed the most, but if I found the shelter I wouldn’t even need to track them.
“Reid Ghealach, what a surprise to see the misfit son here,” a voice I didn’t recognize said behind me. I turned around to find a young man with blond hair looking me up and down. The typical look of a predator sizing up another one in his blue eyes.
“Do I know you?” I asked, knowing very well I didn’t. He smelled like a wolf, a Silver Heart wolf.
“No, you don’t, but let me introduce myself. I’m Justin Pierce, I’m here on Alpha Elliot’s orders,” he told me with a polite smile though he was still sizing me up. “He would love to invite you for a tea in his house, preferably right now.”
I knew better than to think that Elliot was asking me to come to his house, the packhouse. No, he was ordering me to come. Why? I had no idea. At Bran’s funeral, I heeded Father’s warning and didn’t talk to the other alpha about the conspiracies of Bran’s death. This was the perfect opportunity to get my answers. I was confused as to what Elliot wanted to talk to me about but it was too good of an opportunity to miss.
So, I nodded, paid for my things, and then followed Justin’s car right to the Silver Heart part of the city. The border was hastily marked by some graffiti on the walls. A blue moon for the Ghealach pack and a silver heart for them. For some reason, the border came up sooner than I remembered, much farther into the Ghealach part. Did Alistair give up so much territory? That didn’t sound like him…
The packhouse wasn’t far. Just like the Ghealach packhouse, it was hidden on the end of a long road deep in the forest. While the packhouse I knew looked more like a fairytale castle though, this house just looked like a modern mansion. It had two stories as well and there was some scaffolding on the side expanding the house. I parked next to Justin, feeling a bit nervous to be here. I wasn’t part of the Ghealach pack, but being here still felt like betraying my home pack. I knew for sure that Alistair would not be happy, that I came here.
But I wasn’t a kid anymore, I didn’t have to listen to him. I got out of the car and followed Justin to the front door. The inside of the house was quite similar to the packhouse I knew. The downstairs was an open floor plan, but instead of wood and plants, there was white, black, and chrome, and round edges. Very modern.
It smelled foreign to me, of so many stranger wolves. The scents made my wolf go on high alert, ready for an attack. I couldn’t see or hear anyone though as Justin took me upstairs. Elliot’s office wasn’t at the end of the hall like Father’s, instead, it was right opposite the stairs. The door was open and I could see Elliot sitting behind his metal desk. The whole office was way more modern than my Father’s. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
“Reid, thank you for agreeing to meet me.” He smiled at me the second he saw me and got up to shake my hand and show me to my seat. It was a comfortable yellow chair. He sat back down behind his desk. “What would you like? Black tea? Green tea? Some fruit tea? I’m pretty sure I have at least one of everything.” He chuckled.
“Uh… green is fine,” I said. He pressed a button on his desk and a buzzing sound filled my ears before a nice female voice said, “Yes Alpha?”
“Bring me two cups of green tea,” he ordered. How weird. I could never imagine Father doing something like that. “So…” he started as he let go of the button. “Reid. Do you know why I called you here?”
“Not really to be honest,” I admitted feeling uncomfortable as all hell. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for tea,” I couldn’t help but point out.
He laughed then smiled at me approvingly. “You know out of all your siblings I always liked you the best,” he said, confusing me even more. “You were never afraid to say exactly what you were thinking.”
“And where did that get me?” I asked bitterly, shifting in the chair uncomfortably.
“Yes… I heard you moved all throughout America in the last ten years,” he said, tapping his fingers on the desk. “You never joined a pack again. Why is that?” he asked as a young she-wolf came in carrying a tray with tea and some biscuits. She put them on the table and walked away not saying a word and not making eye contact. Oh, that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on an end.
The one thing I always bitched about was the fact that nothing was impersonal in a pack, every part of your life was open for the pack to see and everyone shoved their noses right into your business. But the other side of it worked too… You were never alone, there was always someone there by your side, touching you, laughing, smiling, caring for you. A simple look in the eye of a pack member could send a wave of love and care through you. Well, if you weren’t me at least.
For a pack member to act like a waitress was too impersonal, too… cold. I laughed in my head as Father’s face flashed in my mind. He was the definition of cold. He was the big King, he didn’t show love but… We all knew he would always do the best for the pack. We could rely on him, respect him, let him protect us, and feel absolutely safe. Ah, but it was probably unfair of me to judge this pack by a single encounter.