My fingers drum on my school desk, watching the seconds tick by on the clock above the chalkboard. All while trying my best to ignore the twat flicking paper balls at the back of my head.
Mr. Spencer drones on with his boring lecture, unaware of the fact not a single one of his students is actually listening; most are too busy passing notes, whispering amongst themselves, or like Sam, tossing paper balls at me. I press my lips in a line: same shit, different day.
At least the school year was nearly over. Then my holidays will be spent lounging at home while going through college brochures. I just have to keep reminding myself I will be out of here soon. And that a suspension right now will have my mother breathing down my neck or maybe wringing it. And I know better than to piss that woman off. She would hand me my ass before I could process her coming for me. She has a real reputation, and it isn’t for being a pushover. Plus, I don’t get a free pass just because I am her daughter.
I’m in my last year of high school, and I am glad this part of my life is nearly over. Soon I won’t have to endure the constant torment of being the freak of our Pack—only three more months of school and freedom. I’ll be free to choose never to see these assholes again.
My father is the Beta, a highly regarded Pack member. I’m sure you can imagine his disappointment when he discovered my secret. I am the freak, the wolf-less girl. Our school is a Pack school with only werewolves, no humans allowed. You can imagine what kind of hell it has been for me. I’m basically human, shamefully so. And they like to remind me of that every day while here.
However, my parents are the best. The Pack may shun me, but not once have they ever entertained the idea, always telling me I was a late bloomer and my wolf would come one day. I used to believe that story too, until now. I am nearly eighteen, at the age you find your mate, and still without my wolf. Most get their wolf at thirteen. Not getting your wolf is like not hitting puberty. On the plus side, I can say I did hit that one milestone. It was the rest I damn well skipped over.
When the bell rings, I am the first out of my seat, rushing to the cafeteria. I snag a lunch tray before making my way to the line and quickly grab some food before moving to the back of the room to my designated spot. Aren’t I so lucky? This seat and table were specifically reserved for the freak, some asshole even carved ‘freak’ into the tabletop, just in case I forgot my place within the Pack. How sweet. Conveniently, it was located beside the toilet, which in a way, could be classed as the best seat in the cafeteria. Especially on Thursdays, when they serve something that resembles braised steak and onion, yet it doesn’t taste anything like it, the meat has been questioned plenty of times. Whispers that the kitchen lady is serving expelled students. Personally, I think it is roadkill or maybe rodent. Anyway, that lovely Thursday lunch has sent many running for the toilet. Luckily, after the first time, I devoured that crap. I make sure to bring a homemade lunch on Thursdays.
I have just taken my designated seat to eat lunch, the cafeteria bustling with students when I hear my name called over the PA system. “Katya Hartley, please report to the front office,” the middle-aged woman who works as the school’s secretary announces. The entire cafeteria laughs and boo’s at me, chucking food at me as I leave. I keep walking, tossing the contents of my tray in the bin and placing my tray next to it. I am more than used to their taunting remarks at this point.
For the most part, I try to remain invisible, which is near impossible when you’re the Beta’s daughter, and your mother is one of the leading Pack warriors. Tossing my bag over my shoulder, I pull a chunk of lettuce from my dark brown hair that was stuck when Thomas threw his burger at my head. Thomas couldn’t catch an IQ to save his life, but he proved his throwing arm is quite good, or maybe I am just an easy target because it splattered all over my head. I swipe at my hair, my fingers grazing over my wet cheek, and I pull my hand back to look at it.
Ew, and it has mayo on it. I groan, using the sleeve of my sweater to wipe my hair covered in the white gunk while marching out the cafeteria doors.
With quick steps, I walk down the corridor and head toward the front office. With my elbow, I shove the door open and race across the quad. The brown door to the office is nearby, my safe place. No one messes with me here. Mrs. Mason is a scary woman. No one dares to cause drama in the front office. As I am nearly halfway across the quad, Tabitha and her goonies step in front of me. I roll my eyes. What does this bitch want now?
Tabitha is the Alpha’s daughter, and her brother Darian is next in line for the Alpha position; both of them are my nemesis.
“Hey freak,” Tabitha sneers, blocking my path. I try to step around her, but she sidesteps directly in front of me.
“What do you want, Tabitha?” I ask. We used to be friends, well, until everyone found out I had no wolf, then I became the laughingstock of the school.
“Oh, nothing, just came to give you the proper send-off,” she says with a smirk, and my brows furrow as her words replay in my head.
“What do you mean?” I shake my head, having no idea what she is talking about.
Her blue eyes brighten maliciously, her plump lips pull up into a taunting smile. “You haven’t heard?” She questions in a sing-song tone. Whatever she has to tell me, she is enjoying this.
She fans herself with her hand before checking out her manicured nails. It makes no sense to me why she bothers getting them done when they only break off whenever she shifts.
“If you have something to say, Tabitha, spit it out. I have to get to the office,” I retort, done playing her stupid games.
Meril and Bianca, her goonies, snicker behind her as Tabitha takes a step forward. I give her the once over, my eyes moving over her.
Bitch, you don’t want to test me today. I am covered in burger and nasty ass mayo. I’m starving from not being able to eat my crappy lunch, and I’m being called to the office. Nevertheless, I will feed her bony ass to her if she tries anything. I might actually take my mother’s advice for once and deliver the beat down Tabitha deserves.
Tabitha jabs her finger in my chest, and I slap her hand away as she leans down closer. Her breath smells of mint chewing gum. “My father has banished you. So I thought I would come to see you. Can’t miss the chance to say my goodbyes to the unwanted Beta’s daughter,” she says with a giggle while Bianca and Meril laugh at her not-so-funny joke. Geez, those girls are just as stupid as they look. If they weren’t beautiful, I can guarantee no one would put up with their antics.
Before I can question her further about her outlandish claims, she takes a step back and something wet and cold runs down my face just as the office door opens. Meril dumps her milkshake over my head, and it seeps into the crocheted sweater my mother made me, drenching me completely. I feel the slivers of thickened milk run between my cleavage and press my lips in a line; taking a step forward, I clench my fist, wanting nothing more than to break Tabitha’s perfect nose. Only I don’t get a chance when my mother’s furious voice echoes around us. Tabitha jumps and I smirk. Now you’ve done it.
“Tabitha Elizabeth Blackwell, is there a reason you are tormenting my daughter?” My mother demands, I turn on my heel to find my mother walking toward us, her dark hair is pulled back in a high ponytail, and she has an expression as if someone has thrown a burger at her head, and she is going to yank off their arms and beat them with them. She marches over.
She is a strong woman, stern, and she brings fear amongst the she-wolves, including the Luna of the Pack. My mother kicked her ass in training in front of the entire Pack for saying I should have been put down at birth because I was that worthless to the Pack. If she weren’t the only female Pack warrior, my mother definitely would have been punished for embarrassing the Luna like that. Still, everyone knows Alpha Jackson has always had the hots for my mother. He has since they were kids, and was disappointed when she turned out not to be his mate.
Tabitha’s smile falls as she twirls around to face my mother, who is stalking straight towards her. Meril and Bianca take off afraid to face her wrath, but before Tabitha can do the same, my mother stomps past me. My mother growls so deeply and brutally it makes me flinch.
“It was-was an accident,” Tabitha stutters out, and to think this pathetic girl is an Alpha female and is scared of my mother. I can’t help the smirk that creeps onto my face. Her fear is so pungent I am shocked she doesn’t soil herself.
What I wasn’t expecting is for my mother to raise her hand and slap her. Tabitha squeals loudly, her head whipping to the side and my mother’s hand outline imprinting on her face. I cover my mouth with my hands in complete shock at what she did. Tabitha cups her cheek as her eyes water. Her eyes dart around the quad before the rest of her face turns as red as the handprint etched into her skin. Shit, Alpha Jackson is going to kill my mother now; she just struck the Alpha’s daughter.
I heard gasps and look around to see a few people had seen what my mother had done, yet my mother didn’t seem to care for the audience as she raises her hand again.
“Mom!” I shriek, and she looks over at me before spotting a few teachers rush out. My mother stares them down, daring them to say something.
Tabitha tucks tail and runs off, crying. I can just imagine the ridicule she will get tomorrow over it before her dear old daddy has to reinforce his control so that she can take back her Queen Bee status.
“I have always wanted to put that mutt in her place,” my mother says before gripping my arms and leaning down to look me dead in the face.
“Why do you put up with it?” she demands, grabbing my hands and raising them. “You are trained better than any of these little shits here. You may not have a wolf, but that has never stopped you from kicking their asses in training. I trained you. Your father trained you. These worthless bitches are beneath you. You just need to see it.”
I shake my head, knowing it would just make my torment worse, and my hands were no good against a shifted wolf.
“Come, we are leaving,” she orders, straightening up before turning on her heel and walking toward the parking lot. I chase after her before falling in line beside her.
“What’s going on?” I ask, worried after what Tabitha said. Getting to the parking lot, I see an orange moving truck parked next to our car, and I stop in my tracks.
“Mom, what’s going on?” I ask again when my father hops out of the car.
My mother also stops and reaches out, gripping my soggy sweater and forcing me to keep walking.
“Hey, Pumpkin,” my father greets, walking over and embracing me while my mother quickly gives the thumbs up to the mover waiting for her order.
“I knew you liked strawberry milkshakes. I didn’t know you wanted to wear them, though,” My father teases, drawing my attention back to him. He swipes some off my hair with his hands before gripping it in a ponytail, wringing out my hair. My mother goes to the trunk, pops it open, and retrieves a water bottle.
“Tip your head back,” my mother instructs, and I obey, craning my neck back as far as I can. She uses the water bottle to rinse my hair before tearing my sweater up the side and taking it off me.
“I will make you another,” she scolds, tossing it in the garbage can along with the now empty water bottle.
“So, is someone going to tell me what’s going on?” I ask yet again.
My father glances at my mother before giving me a smile.
“You’re moving,” my father announces like it is no big deal. I gape at him. Did he mean house, state, or country? Probably best to leave the country since my mother had just slapped Tabitha. That would be wise. Alpha Jackson wasn’t known for his willingness to forgive anyone.
“Why is what Tabitha said true? Did they banish me? Are you getting rid of me?” I ask, feeling sick to my stomach. We have never left the Pack, not even on holidays, before. My parents never took time off. They never had a chance with their positions in the Pack.
I only know of one other family in our Pack whose child didn’t have a wolf, and they threw him away like trash. They literally kicked him out, and it is something I have always been worried about. My parents getting rid of me like I never existed because I brought shame to them. My eyes move to the moving truck and back to my father, but it was my mother that answers my question.
“Yes, what Tabitha said is true. Alpha Jackson has asked you to leave. This is a werewolf-only community, and he wanted you gone once you hit eighteen,” my mother replies. I have to leave; the Alpha has finally convinced them to get rid of me. My lungs restrict, and I feel on the verge of a panic attack. Where will I go? How will I survive? My worst nightmare is coming true.
“So this is it? You’re sending me away?” I choke out, tears brimming. They are going to get rid of me, force me to go rogue.
“No, of course not. You’re our baby. We knew this was coming, so we made plans. All of us are joining another Pack and coming with you.” my mother tells me with a softer smile than usual. She cups my face in her hands, squishing my lips together. “We would never throw you away. Never, Kat!” she tells me, and I nod my head, relief releases the tension in my bones as she kisses my forehead.
When she lets me go, she turns to look at my father. “By the way, Hun, we should leave,” my mother quips before walking around to the passenger side in a hurry. My father goes to ask why, but she slips in, slamming the door before he can ask her.
“She slapped Tabitha,” I whisper to him, and he rocks back on his heels in shock for a second.
A silly smile slips onto his face when he leans closer to me. “Did she get her a good one?” My father asks, sending me a conspiratorial wink, and I smile, shaking my head with a soft laugh and hopping into the back seat. My father pulls away, and the truck follows us.
“What about you, Dad? Aren’t you the Pack Beta?” I ask, worried, knowing he will lose his title over this.
“I won’t be part of a Pack that shuns my daughter. They want you gone? Then I go too,” he says, leaving no room for argument.
I have the best parents. Relief floods me, even though I feel guilty for ripping them away from everything they have.
“Everything will work out, dear. You’ll see,” my mother reassures me, reaching over from the front and gripping my knee.
“What Pack would want a wolf-less Pack member?” I ask more to myself than them.
“You’re not wolf-less, just a late bloomer. Your wolf will come, Kat. You are born from two werewolf parents; therefore, you are a werewolf,” my mother states, not wanting to see the truth; I am as useless as they say I am. They know it, and I definitely know, yet they still continue to lie to themselves, believing some miracle will happen, and I will finally wake up and tell them my wolf came to me.
“We are moving to Black Creek Pack. Alpha Ezra has kindly offered to take us in,” my father tells me as my mother turns back to face the front.
Alpha Ezra? I rack my brain, trying to pull the name from memory, knowing I have heard it before. As I repeat the name, my eyes almost bulge out of my head, and I lean forward in panic. No, anywhere but his Pack. Fuck, I will take my chances going rogue.
“Black Creek Pack? Isn’t that the Pack that just went to war with the Blue Mountain Pack?” I cautiously ask, hoping I’m wrong about who he is.
“Yes, Katya, I know you’re scared, but the Alpha is truly a nice guy. He was very understanding. Besides, I think he was happy about stripping Jackson of his Beta and only female warrior,” my mother tells me smugly.
“Yeah, but he killed their entire Pack, mom. He is a monster,” I argue. I am more scared of my so-called new Alpha than my current one. Everyone has heard of the notorious Alpha Ezra and the fear he instills in his enemies. I lean back, knowing already that this is going to be a terrible idea. Some sinking feeling in my stomach weighed down the gravity of the situation we are in.
“I’m sure he had his reasons. Besides, it is not like anyone else was willing to take us in,” my mother scolds.
“So he knows I have no wolf?” I ask, knowing all Packs are small communities solely of our kind. I am a little shocked he even agreed, who would accept a wolf-less girl?
My parents glance at each other and I blink at them, my brain finding actions and words hard to process. “It won’t be an issue as long as you can prove yourself to be helpful around the Pack,” my father replies.
Great, he doesn’t know, and I will have to act like an omega slave, I think dryly. I fall asleep on the drive, only waking when we stop at a storage shed. The drive took five hours total, and I am exhausted. My back is killing me, and my ass went numb halfway here. The movers load our stuff into the storage shed before a sleek black car pulls up beside ours and two men climb out. I move closer to our car, taking a step back as they approach us.