There was silence outside again and I didn’t bother to look outside again in embarrassment.I shuffled back to the chair and seated myself.
I looked down at my twined fingers and waited for a minute to compose myself.
I heard the door to the cabin slam open and was startled to look towards it. It was a woman with a tray in her hand.
The doctor, too, had startled as was looking at the female in question with thinly veiled horror in his eyes. “Wasn’t Lena in kitchen duty today?” he asked, trying to keep his voice down and out of surprise. He failed miserably because I could hear the anxiety in his voice.
Hearing him so unsure, I felt fear creep up my spine.
“Oh my, look at what the pack dragged in.” Her eyes scanned over my body and she scoffed. I could distinctly see the disgust in her eyes. I shrank back and slumped into the chair, trying to distance myself from her, but at the same time, not running as fast as my mind was telling me to.
“Ruth, thank you for bringing the food. Give it to me,” the doctor said as he kept the slides aside and walked over to take the tray from her hand.
She changed her hand, putting distance between the tray and the doctor. “I especially made a trip to the infirmary to see this little wolf.” She stepped closer to me, a tactic I could sense was threatening. “I was worried for naught. You look like an ugly little thing.”
She walked over to me, a slight sway to her hips and she banged the tray on the table. A little porridge spilled out, dripping down the sides of the bowl and pooling on the tray in small drops.
I gulped as I lowered my eyes.
No sooner had I done this than I saw a pair of feet in front of me. I shrank my neck and waited for her to move, but she didn’t budge.
“Oh, come on. Let me look at your face.”
I saw a sharp nail reach for my chin and then my face was yanked up to meet her eye. I saw the black of her eye and the pure malice she held.
I somewhat understood. A female who didn’t belong to the pack had invaded her space. She probably feared that the man she had her eyes on would turn his attention to me.
“Here I thought I would have a new friend to brush my hair and talk to. But from the looks of you… you won’t survive for long. When are you leaving?” she asked.
I gulped but didn’t respond. It had been a long time since I had been treated like the dirt on someone’s feet. It was a familiar yet uncomfortable situation.
I knew not to respond in such a case.
“Ruth, take your hands off the girl,” I heard the man from earlier say.
Ruth slowly turned to him and tilted her head. “What? You like this one, Neo?” she questioned. Her eyes glittered with something.
“She was caught in the perimeter,” he said quickly.
“Threatening a wolf from another pack and disobeying your beta are grave crimes,” a solid voice came. The alpha seemed to tower over everyone else. His voice commanded obedience and I found my resolve melting at his presence.
“Alpha!” Ruth protested.
“Leave before I decide on punishing you,” he said sharply. “I will not allow you to disrupt protocol, understood?” he barked.
She stiffened right in front of my eyes. I felt her finger curl up against my chin almost in defiance. I felt her long nails nick my skin and winced.
The terrible growl erupted from the alpha’s chest. I had not once turned my eyes away from him since he spoke. It was a natural reaction.
I found him looking at me, too. His eyes didn’t waver to the gorgeous woman who kneeled in front of me. He seemed to ignore her completely apart from the stern command he had bestowed.
Ruth slowly withdrew her hands from my chin and got up. The slight rustle of her clothes and the heavy sigh that blew beside me told me she had taken his words in kind.
“I have broken the rules. I will await your punishment, Alpha,” she said. I finally turned to look at her, wondering how she didn’t sound meek in the face of punishment. She walked out with a straight face and a slight curl at the corner of her lips.
It was as if she had hoped for this ending. She gave me a backward glance as she reached the door, the malice returning in her eyes but much subdued.
This time, I didn’t shudder. I didn’t feel threatened by it. It seemed that the presence of these men made it all better.
But I still couldn’t understand why she was so self-satisfied.
When she left, the breath I had been holding rushed out of my lungs.
“Ed, sorry for startling you,” Neo said quietly.
“Oh no!” the old man waved it off. “I asked Lena to bring it over, but it seems Ruth intercepted her in the way.” A look was exchanged between the two of them.
I didn’t know how but I found my voice to ask. “How… how do you punish wolves in your pack?” I asked the Alpha directly.
His eyes flashed. “Extra chores and a long lecture on ethics,” he said slowly.
Oh. That… wasn’t so bad. This admission beguiled me even more.
“Finish your food before we chat,” he said roughly before turning to leave.
With the door closed, the doctor slumped down on the chair.
After a moment of silence, he finally spoke. “Not all of the people in the pack are like this. Ruth is especially aggressive towards other women. She is one of the oldest single females in the pack who remain unmated. Please understand her.” It sounded more like an apology.
“It’s a familiar tone and words. I don’t mind it.” I really didn’t.
“The porridge is getting cold. Please have it slowly,” he said.
I gave a sidelong glance towards the bowl and my brows furrowed in concentration. I couldn’t smell anything wrong with it but modern medication was scary. They could slip in something that could harm me without detection. I hesitantly glanced towards the doctor, not making a single move to get the bowl.
He gave me a small smile and eased out of the chair once again.
I feared that all this movement in his old age would make him weak, but he looked hale and hearty.
“Sometimes the food from the kitchen doesn’t taste that good. I’ll just check it once if you don’t mind.” I am sure my eyes lit up with relief when he said it.
He pulled out a spoon from his drawer and used a wipe to clean it. Without hesitation, he scooped up a little and promptly put it into his mouth without hesitation.
He hummed in appreciation. “Ah, Lena cooked it.” He turned to me with a brilliant smile. “She cooks really well. We are blessed to have food she cooks. Most of the others are disastrous in the kitchen, men and women included.” He rolled his eyes.
He took out another wipe and smoothly picked up the spoon meant for me and wiped it with precision. “Ah, I enjoy cleaning everything a few times before using it. Call me obsessive.” He offered me the newly cleaned spoon and then picked up the tray and placed it on my lap.“It’s still pretty hot. You aren’t used to having really hot food, so cool it a little before having.”He was very sensitive to the thoughts of others. I could see why he was trusted to be the pack doctor.
He seated himself back and went ahead with testing everything out. I waited until the steam stopped blowing out and slowly turned to the doctor to check if he was alright. Once that was done, I tucked my head down and took the first taste of the porridge.
The strength of the aroma overwhelmed me at first. I was unused to tasting things. Food was more about sustenance than anything else. But still, after a few spoons, I felt full enough to burst.
I realized that I had had only finished one-fourth of the bowl offered. I frowned and kept it aside.
“Done?” he asked. He peered into the bowl and gave a satisfied nod. “That’s enough for a first good meal. Don’t overeat and get sick,” he said warmly.
“Your test is done and you have been fed. You need to shower and get a pair of new clothes.” He clapped his hand and guided me towards the little bathroom attached.
“You have everything in this cabin?” I asked. Almost in awe.
“Yes. I have a little bedroom, too. I rarely go out but I am an excellent gossip, let me inform you.” He chuckled. “I asked the beta to get you some clothes. He should be back with it in no time.”
I nodded and slowly eased into the bathroom. At first, I inspected every inch of the room. I opened the tap to mask the sound of me moving around and then locked the door securely. I looked out the frosted glass window and opened it slightly to see if I could ease out of it without people noticing.
It was possible, but right now, if I ran, they would catch up with me in no time.
I tapped on the glass, tested everything out before taking a good shower. I scrubbed slowly, allowing the grime to ease off me in layers. I must have been showering for a few minutes when I heard a slow and deliberate knock on the door.
“Yes?” I called out.
“I put the clothes you can change into on the handle. Just lean out and grab it once you are done,” the doctor said casually. I didn’t respond, and he didn’t linger around. I breathed in relief and took a little more time to clean myself up.
Who knew when I could take another good bath.
Duncan POV:Neo’s loudly muttered ‘cute’ caught my attention. I followed his line of sight and saw a small body quickly retreat. Neo chuckled and shook his head.“So much for being a threatening presence. The little one surely is scared and embarrassed easily,” he said softly. .A grave expression crossed Neo’s face when he looked at me.We had just left the cabin after Ruth and were distressed by what had just occurred. The whole situation irked me. Not only had Ruth aggressively floundered on my authority, but she had the audacity to look smug about it. The little widening of the half-breed’s eyes had given away exactly what Ruth had done when my back was turned.“Have you thought about what to do with her?” he asked.I shook my head. “So far, letting the doctor assess her for injuries and diseases is the first course of action. A lot will be revealed about her in that case.
Selena POV:Somehow, I fell asleep.“Selena?”I jerked awake, my heart racing in my chest. Sweat collected at my brow.“Steady there. It was just a dream…”The doctor’s right hand awkwardly patted my knee. I remained seated at the chair and saw him alternate between turning his concerned gaze from me to the notebook and back. I closed my eyes tightly, the dream already fading. It was less of a dream and more of a replaying of the day I escaped the White Claw Pack.My mind raced, wondering what had caused such a strong reaction within me. It had been a while since I had the nightmare, but I chalked it up to being almost trapped in a foreign pack. I forced a deep breath in through my nose and out through my mouth.“It was just a dream,” I whispered over and over again until I could feel the tension release from my body and disappear from my memory. Momentarily.“I&rsquo
Duncan POV:I paced in my office, trying to wrap my head around the impudence of the girl. Neo had already told me that she had gone out for a walk with Ed, but I felt it odd that she was so comfortable around the doctor. I knew it was about decades of professional experience that made her feel safe with Ed, but it didn’t tell me why she was scared of me and at the same time so defiant. An order from an alpha was hard to refuse, but maybe because she was a rogue half-breed, her wolf sensibilities had been dulled. But as I paced, I waited for Neo to bring me news about the girl. Selena… That was her name. I knew Neo was one to get gossip without letting others know, he was sensible and sneaky in that way. When he opened the door, it slammed against the wall. I turned to him in shock and gave him a glare. “Are you going to repair the wall yourself? I am not paying for someone to work on the scratch you put on the wall,” I s
Duncan POV:The air was frozen and the people watching refused to blink. I was one of them. “Come, someone help me take the girl to my house,” Meredith chirped happily as if she had not seen the ground around her wither and become devoid of life.Not one person moved. Meredith looked around the crowd and sighed. “Oh, come on. It’s not like I would lead you to death,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “If I was strong enough, I would carry her back myself. But I have a herniated disk, you wouldn’t want me carrying something heavy… even if it is a slip of a girl, will you?” she said with a bright smile. Neo was the first one to move. “I… don’t think…” he started. I sighed. “I will take her,” I volunteered. I looked at the girl again and seeing her unstrained face. She looked completely out of it. “Lovely. Someone is wolf e
Selena POV:I woke up slowly. The light that should have been streaming from the window had dwindled and the hum of the woman in the kitchen could be heard. I felt a surge of fear as I looked around the house, but then I heard a somewhat familiar voice speak. Though her back was turned to me, I was sure she was referring to me. Especially because there was no one else in the room.“Don’t panic. It’s not good for your body. This is my house. I grew up in it and my mother and grandmother before me,” she said as she made her way up to me on the couch. The bit of information shocked me. “I am going to tell you a bit about your mother and you will have to process the information slowly. There is no rush, understood?” she claimed. After fifteen minutes, I indeed needed a lot of time to process it. I was just realizing how little I knew about my father and his life before he had me. I still didn’t know how he had
Selena POV:Meredith had led me to a bedroom she had confidently announced was mine. As I sat on the comfortable bed for what seemed like hours… and it had been at least three hours. The light outside had faded considerably and it was fast approaching night. I had so much running through my head that I just shut down the world around me. It had been a long time since I had been able to do this. My mind was constantly filled with the need to look over my shoulder and take in my surrounding. To think about what I would eat the next day and the direction in which I was headed. So much had happened and not happened that I didn’t feel the difference between the hardness of the forest floor and the soft mattress on the bed. My mind just couldn’t make out the difference between the two. Meredith had left me alone after her tutorial on witches. But what did it entail to be a Witch? Apparently, greeting the land was more than just me accompanying a w
Selena POV:The sound of birds chirping woke me up. It was extremely loud and cheerful to my ears.I popped an eye open to look towards the light source I could feel behind my closed lids. From beyond the sheer curtains, they revealed that it was morning or at it what I could gather from the dark clouds looming overhead.I rolled onto my back to look at the wooden clock on the bedside table. It showed that it was nine in the morning. I had never slept past the break of dawn, so I was surprised. I must have been extremely tired because I didn’t remember any sort of dream during the night. Just darkness. Remembering that I was going to spend time with Meredith, I got out of the bed to look for the shower. One good thing about living in a house was that I had a bathroom. While I had been timid at Ed’s place, here, I felt a lot better. I felt like I was owed something because I was deceived. But it wasn’t fun. My brain nagged at me to look
Selena POV:Meredith leaned forward on the couch, taking my hand in hers, rubbing her thumb gently over my knuckles. “This is the history of my kind and our families. The lands and it are intimately tied together,” Meredith began in a voice that left me feeling calm. “I will try to be brief but if you have any questions, just ask me.”I nodded my head for her to continue.“Technically, the Citadel became a town in the summer of 1942, but it had an establishment of nineteen families by the 1760s. I have tried to find as much information as possible from all the families there, but a good amount of the information was kept under the wraps due to the sensitivity of the medium they were written on. The line of the Life Witches seemed to have the most,” Meredith said this as she leaned down to pat my hand. I smiled in return. “But a lot of the witches were sent off from the Citadel to other parts of the country. They