February 1, 2012
By M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
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M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
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Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

Author's note: I wrote this piece because I ran out of good books to read. So I wrote my own. Enjoy!

I can feel the warm water beat down on my face as I sit under Desoto
falls in Helen, Georgia. I feel well. I feel free. Like nothing can
interrupt this rare peace. My name is Natasha Winterpike. Yes, this is an
uncommon moment were I can truly be myself. My wolf self. The water feels
warm on my fur as I put my head back into the rushing water. “I should do
this more often,” I think to myself.
Just as I shake the water from my silver-brown fur, I hear my mom shout
from our house, “Natasha! I know you’re at the falls. Come in now!”
I guess that means my little time to myself is over.
As I change back to human, I notice that it’s almost past sunset. “Wow,”
I say aloud. “How did it get so late?”
I run back to my house as fast as I can. I probably can go faster if I
phase, but I don’t want my parents to see me like this. Not yet, at least.
When I approach the florescent lit doorway, my parents look more worried
than angry. “You were at the falls, weren’t you?” my dad asks, with a sigh
of relief. I nod.
“Again?” Mom exclaims.
“I needed some time to myself,” I answer, hoping that they’ll drop the
topic. Fat chance with that!
As I come closer to the porch light, I guess they can see that I’m
dripping with water. “Natasha! You’re soaked!” my mom exclaims.
“I went swimming with Sarah,” I lie.
“That’s kind of funny,” Dad starts, “because I got a call from Sarah’s
mom today that said she couldn’t make it to the movie tomorrow, and she
asked if we can reschedule.”
After waiting a minute, Mom says, “Just, go get some dry clothes on.
Your father and I need to talk to you afterwards.”
I go into my room, passing the kitchen along the way. “This place used
to be fun. Not since… he left,” I say, as I pass my parents.
Mom sighs and tries to say something, but Dad stops her. “In a minute
Forrest,” he says.
My room is nothing fancy. A green quilt, brown walls, a tiny bathroom
connected to it.
My parents are mad, I know they are. They’re wondering why I lied. Why
did I lie? I’m such an idiot! Out of my dresser, I pull dark blue jeans and
a black hoodie. Lately I’ve been having really bad chills. I wonder if it
has anything to do with this wolf thing. I change in the bathroom and go
back into the family room where my parents wait for me on the sofa. “Sit
down,” Mom says, patting the seat beside her.
I take a seat, as Dad asks, “You’re a wolf, aren’t you?”
The question hits me hard. How did they find that out? “How did you know
that?” I whisper. “Have you been spying on me, or following me?” I have to
get some answers.
“No,” Mom answers. “We’re wolves, too.” I can’t believe it! My own
parents never told me of a part of me that I never knew existed? I mean,
when I changed, I was pretty sure that something about me was different,
but never have I thought that my parents are exactly like me.
“What else have you not told me?” I spit out. “There’s got to be more
than that. Spill.”
“You, your mother, and I,” Dad starts, “are what they call
shape-shifters. Shape-shifters can phase into wolves just by thinking about
“How many are there, and where are they?” I ask, trying to sound as calm
as I can.
“Not many of us exist, but most of them live at Isle Royale,” Mom tells
“Which is why we were going to ask you if you wanted to go there to meet
the Pack... and Finn again,” Dad says, wondering what my reaction will be.
"Finn?" I can’t breathe. Finn was my best friend ever! He had moved to
Colorado 4 years ago, for a reason that I didn’t know of. We had met when
we were in Pre-K and were friends ever since. The past 4 years have been so
hard without him. I guess I partly blame my parents for letting that
happen. “How could they let us split up,” I had once thought, the day that
my family moved from Key West, Florida to Helen, Georgia.
"Mm hm," Mom nods. "He's like you. That's why he left in the first
place. He wanted to make sure that he didn't loose control of himself in
the beginning. He wanted to make sure that he didn't have a chance to hurt
"Of course I want to go."
“Go pack,” Mom tells me, seeing that my expression is happy. "Finn is
going to meet you at the airport tomorrow night."
“Thank you, Mom.”
After giving my dad a hug, I go into my room and do as they say. After a
few minutes, there’s a knock on my door. “Tasha, just so you know, Isle
Royale is in Michigan. You need to dress warm and pack warm, too.”
“Okay, Mom. Got it.”
“Also, we leave to get you to the airport at 6 tomorrow night. Okay?”

I double check everything that I have packed. Tooth paste, check.
Hairbrush, check. Extra jacket for the plane trip, check. Looks like I’m
all set. I’m quite pleased with myself for being so organized.
I look in the mirror to make sure that my appearance is the best it can
be. I wear an orange hoodie and jeans. My brown hair has its normal blonde
highlights and my green eyes sparkle. My skin is perfect. I decide that
something is missing. I go to my jewelry box and grab an orange bracelet.
The amber beads have tiny flowers incased in them, and the amber heart
charm has a butterfly inside, the colors on its wings brighter than most
butterflies I have seen. This was the most precious thing to me. It was the
friendship bracelet Finn had given me right before we moved. He said it
would help keep him in my thoughts at all times. It has, and I’ll never
give it up.
I place it on my wrist and carry my two suitcases out to the car,
keeping my jacket with me. After putting them into the trunk, I go back
into the house for one, last thing: a picture that hangs on my bulletin
board. I unpin it and look at it carefully. It’s Finn and I, sitting on a
palm tree in the Bahamas. This was the most recent picture I have of him,
four years ago. Pretty sad, I know. I can guess what you’re thinking. “What
kind of friend won’t even send pictures?” I don’t know but I intend to find
out today.
“Ready to go?” Mom asks from my doorway.
“Yeah, sorry. Time already?”
“It’s almost 5:45. I don’t want you to be late.” She tilts her head
sideways, trying to see clearly what I’m holding. “I know that picture.
It’s the one you keep on your board all the time, right?” I nod.
“I’ve never been able to get rid of it.”
“You nervous?”
“A little, but I’m more excited than I am nervous, though.”
“Well,” she says, as I stick the photo into my left pocket, “you won’t
have to wait much longer. Come on.”
When we pull into the parking lot, Mom says, “Finn said he’ll meet you
through those doors, right there.” She points to a pair of swinging doors.
“He’s already inside.”
I get out of the car, and say, “Thanks, Mom. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too,” she says, her brown eyes contrasting perfectly
against her blonde hair. “But have fun with Finn. He’s missed you, too, you
I snicker. “He left. How do you know that he misses me?”
She smiles. “He kept talking about you yesterday on the phone. He
sounded super excited to see you again.”
I grin. “Thanks, Mom. I promise I’ll call as soon as we get to Isle
Royale. Bye.” I grab both my suit cases and put my leather jacket on. I run
towards the doors.
“Bye, Tasha!”
Inside, is just like any other airport. People busily running around
trying to catch their planes, parents holding their children’s hands trying
to make sure that they aren’t lost, business men and women in big fancy
suits and briefcases talking on cell phones as they rent cars.
I look around for a familiar face but I see none. I walk father into the
airport complex but still see no one. Calm down, I tell myself. Mom said he
was here already. You just haven’t found him yet. Chill!
I look around more carefully. Then, I see him. He’s sitting on a bench
against the side wall to my right. His hands are folded and he’s staring
off into space. I watch him for a few seconds. Every few seconds he looks
around, looking for me, I realize. His backpack is beside him and he’s
wearing jeans and a black T-shirt. His strait, black hair is an inch or two
grown out and it sticks up slightly in the front. His tan skin is, well…
tan, for someone living in Colorado. Or does he live in Michigan now? I
recall that he is part Native American.
I walk closer to him, hoping that I have the right guy. No, I say to
myself. Of course you have the right guy. Who else could this be? I’m about
ten feet away now. He looks up from the floor and, when he sees me, he
smiles his bright, white smile. “Natasha?” he asks, in a calm, deep voice.
I smile. It’s not the voice that I know of, but I can tell it’s his.
“It’s me.”
Finn gets up and comes towards me, still smiling. He’s gotten much
taller than last time I saw him. He’s maybe, 5 feet 9 inches, 5 feet 10
inches? He holds his hands out like he’s trying to explain something, but
lets them drop, not knowing what to say. “Um, hi?” he starts, awkwardly.
“Hi,” I repeat, not knowing what else to say.
Finally, the silence between us drives him crazy enough to do something.
He reaches his arms out to me and grabs me in a fierce hug, pulling me hard
to him. “I’ve missed you,” he says, finally.
“I’ve missed you, too.” Finally, I have to pull away from him. “Gosh,
Finn, you’re burning up!”
He chuckles. “Yeah, that’s pretty typical for me.”
I’m confused. “What? You mean, you always run a fever?”
“Not all the time. I promise I’ll explain everything later,” he says,
“but unless we want to be late for our plane ride, I suggest we start
moving.” He runs his hand through my hair. “I still can’t believe how grown
up you are now.”

“How have you been?” Finn asks, after we take our seats on the plane.
“Um… pretty good, I guess. How about you?”
He shrugs.
We’re quiet for a while. After the plane takes off, I zip my jacket
zipper up farther and cross my arms in front of me. “Are you cold?” he
I nod. “Have been a lot lately.”
“Always cold…” he mumbles to himself.
“What? You know why?”
"No." He bites his lower lip and looks around; making sure that no one
is listening to us. When he is convinced that no one is eavesdropping, he
turns back to me, and says, "Okay, listen; there are a lot of things that
are different about us now. There is something that you need to know about
being a wolf. First of all, you need to know that there are four packs: the
Greenstone pack, our pack, the Feldtman pack, the Minong pack, and the Red
Oak pack. Second, after you have a few days to get used to Isle Royale, we
have school to go to."
"You mean that they have school for wolves?"
"Yeah. What? Did you not think so?"
"No, I'm just... surprised. Everything about this new world is new to me
so, please, continue explaining, but I have a LOT of questions."
He laughs. His laugh makes me want to laugh. He continues to explain.
"The school we go to is an old abbandoned building that used to be a
welcoming center for the hikers for Isle Royale National Park. It was shut
down some number of years ago, and the packs rebuilt the basement and
expanded it to be our school grounds. kind of like a boarding school."
"Do we sleep at the school?"
"Well, the Greenstone pack doesn't. We have our own little... hotel if
you wish. It's smaller than that. Really, it's just an overgrown log cabin.
We love it there, but all the other packs sleep in the school's
dormitories. The last thing you need to know right now is where we’re
“Yeah!” I exclaim. “That might be useful. All I know so far is what it’s
“Isle Royale is in the middle of Lake Superior. It really is a wonderful
place, Natasha! There are all sorts of stuff to do. There’s biking, hiking,
swimming, everything!”
Over the loudspeakers, I hear soothing music. “What time is it?” I ask.
Finn looks at his watch. “About eight-thirty.” I look out the window,
and Finn says, “You’d better rest, Natasha. The Alphas keep us up pretty
late, sometimes. I want you to be well rested. I promised your parents I
wouldn’t let anything happen to you. I intend to keep that promise.”
I look him in the eyes, and say, “I’m too excited to sleep. Besides, I
know you won’t, and I want to stay awake with you. For heaven’s sake, I
haven’t seen you in four years.”
He looks at me, and says, “I’ll rest if you do.”
“Okay,” I relent. I lean my head back and close my eyes. I peek them
back open and see, out of the corner of my eye, Finn resting, too. I’m glad
he took my advice. I am also glad to have a protector and a friend like
him. “Good night, Finn,” I whisper, not expecting any reply.
“Good night, Natasha,” he whispers back to me.
I’m moving, but not at my own will. Someone is moving me somewhere, but
I’m too tired to care. I think that I must be dreaming. Then again, I might
not be fully unconscious. This movement might actually be happening. It’s
warm, and I have no idea why. I try to stir, but something is containing
me; keeping me from moving. My eyelids seem to be forced shut. Maybe I’m
dead, I think inside my head, but here’s no pain, not even the unusual
movement there had been just seconds ago. Everything is still, peaceful.
Thoughts from the past few hours come rushing back, all at the same
time. Finn! Where is he? Is he okay? There is only the endless black.
I tell my eyes to open, and this time they obey. The first thing that I
see is that we’re not on the same plane anymore. We were on a smaller one.
The second thing I see is Finn or, part of him at least. I’m on his lap,
and his arms are wrapped around me. My head leans against his shoulder.
That must have been the movement I felt. Finn had carried me here, and I’m
still close to him.
I breathe in and out, deeply. He realizes I’m awake, and says, “How did
you sleep?”
“Fine,” I answer. “Did you carry me here?”
“Yeah,” he whispers. “I didn’t want to wake you.”
“Thanks,” I complement. “I didn’t sleep very well last night. I was too
busy thinking about today and about you.”
He smiles, and says, “You really missed me that much.” It is more like
talking to himself, but I answer it anyway.
“Course! I’ve missed you so much! When we moved, that was the hardest
time in my life, and when Mom told me you had moved to Colorado, I thought
I’d never see you again.”
His tone becomes harsher, as he says, “That isn’t true, and you know
I sigh and close my eyes. “I know. I was scared and I couldn’t help it.
You mean a lot to me.”
As I fight back the tears of the dreaded memories, Finn holds me closer
and runs one of his hands up and down my back. This is so nice. He’s
treating me like he used to, like a little sister and a best friend. I have
never had siblings, but I consider Finn a brother. He cares for me and
looks out for me, just like an older brother would.
I think that I have control of the tears, but one slips down my cheek,
onto my chin, and drips onto Finn’s arm. He looks down at me, but I’m too
afraid to return the sight. When I don’t look up, he bends his head down
and kisses my forehead, saying, “I’m sorry. I should have been more
sensitive about that.”
“It’s okay, it’s just, you never wrote, you never called. I thought you
had disappeared from my life completely, until last night.”
He pulls me tighter to himself and lays his cheek on the top of my head.
“I know, and for that I’m sorry. The Alphas wouldn’t let me write to you,
or communicate with you in any way. They said that your time as one of us
would come soon enough.”
I wipe my eyes, and say, “Sounds like they’re pretty selfish.”
“No, not really. They’re just trying to protect our secret.” I nod
thoughtfully. Why would anyone forbid Finn to talk to me, werewolf or not?
Finn reads my expression, and adds, “The Alpha male is Josh Cleveland and
the Alpha female is Ember Cleveland.” There is a long moment of silence. “I
need to tell you something,” Finn says suddenly. “Well, two things,
“Anything.” I wonder what is going to come next.
“Ember and Josh weren’t always the Alphas, you know. Before them, your
parents were in charge.”
“They were?”
He nods, then asks, “How hard is it for you to phase?”
“Not hard,” I say. “Why?”
“Your parents were the Alphas. It shouldn’t be hard for you at all. It’s
in your blood, I guess.”
“How come they never told me?” I ask myself.
“Oh, we’re bound pretty tight. We can’t tell anyone outside our own Pack
about anything. Believe me, if that weren’t true, I would’ve called you the
day I found out and told you everything. I wanted to so badly, but, I
couldn’t. One more thing.”
“Mm hm?”
His cheeks get a little pinker under his dark skin, as he says, “When
you go to Isle Royale, you start to look for your Soulmate. It's called
Soul-binding. It’s a tradition. When you find, him or her, you get to
communicate telepathically. It’s a way to keep in touch over longer
distances.” He pauses for a second. “Um… I was wondering… if you’d like you
and me to be Soul-bound to each other.”
Finn’s whole body goes tense after he finishes. I don’t hesitate for a
second. “I think that we already are Soul-bound to each other.”
"So is that a yes?"
I nod, happy for the first time since I saw him earlier this night.
He smiles, sighs, and relaxes his hold on me. "Oh, good. I was slightly
afraid that you'd say no."
I raise an eye brow at him. “Now, just think about that for a minute.
Why on earth would I say no? You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. It will
be awesome.”
“It will also help me protect you when I’m not with you. I can keep an
eye on you without looking over your shoulder all the time.”
After we finish talking, the plane starts diving though the air. Pretty
soon, we’re on the ground. Finn thanks the pilot, as I get our bags out of
the plane. I hand him his backpack, and he leads me into the woods. “We’ll
camp a few minutes away from here. Too many humans make me uncomfortable.
Is that okay with you?”
“Totally,” I answer. “Whatever you think is best. You’d know more than I
He turns around and smiles at me. “This way,” he says, pointing to the
barely seeable path in front of us. “Just a mile. Can you handle that?”
“Of course I can handle a mile. I walk a mile through the woods behind
my house every day!”
He chuckles, saying, “Well, that’s good, because we do a lot of
running. The Pack, I mean.” He grabs my hand. “Be careful. It’s dark and
the woods are full of life at night. Not to mention that you can trip over
some hurtful things.” I nod.
He leads me through the woods, always a few steps ahead of me. Every
once in a while, I catch him glancing behind him, checking to make sure
that I’m still here. What does he think I’m going to do? Freak out and run
After a little more than I mile, he stops, and says, “This is it.”
There’s a bare spot in the middle of a circle of trees. There’s a pile
of rocks in the middle of the circle. Looks like a place where people have
camped. “It for what?” I ask.
He sets his backpack down, and says, “We’ll camp here for tonight. It’s
where I was brought when I first came to Isle Royale.” He places the rocks
on a circle and lays some wood into the just made fire pit. After he gets
the fire started, he unpacks a few things from his backpack. A few
non-perishable snacks, bottled water for the two of us, and a sleeping bag.
How he got that all into one bag, I’ll never know.
I unpack my sleeping bag and uncurl it. I replace my converse with my
fur boots. I sit on my sleeping bag and warm my hands in front of the fire.
Finn hands me a bottle of water, and I say, “Thanks.”
He smiles. “No problem.” He also hands me a bowl of nuts, dried fruit,
beef jerky, and chips.
I ask, “How on earth did you get all this into that bag?” I motion to
the black backpack.
He shrugs. “I like to come prepared. Do you like it?”
“It’s wonderful. Thank you, again.”
Finn comes over to me and sits beside me. He feels so warm, like the
fire is inside of him. After we eat, he asks, “How’s your family?”
“Good,” I answer. “Yours?”
From there we talk for a while about our families, past trips, school,
and what not. After maybe an hour, Finn says, “Are you ready for bed, yet?”
I sigh. “I don’t want to sleep and I doubt that I can, but yeah, I am
“Let’s talk more tomorrow. I’m tired, too.” He turns to his side and
gives me a good night hug. “Good night, Natasha.”
I hug him back, saying, “Good night, Finn.”
He goes over to his sleeping bag and lays down into it. I snuggle down
into my own and think of how great a day it’s been. I’ve got to be with
Finn, we arrived safely at Isle Royale, and we were almost to the Pack.
As I’m thinking of this, I see tiny snowflakes flutter down from the
sky. Oh, great. The last think we need is snowy weather while we’re
camping. It’s very cold. It is January, I think to myself. And we are in
Michigan, in the middle of Lake Superior. Fantastic.
I start to shake. I turn around to face the fire. Finn is facing the
same way. He doesn’t even look slightly fazed by the upcoming weather. “Are
you cold?” he asks, concerned.
“A-a little,” I lie. “I’m not exactly used to polar weather yet.” He
laughs quietly. “Do you know what the time or the t-temperature is?”
He looks down to his wrist watch. “It’s 1:30 in the morning and its ten
degrees Fahrenheit.” No wonder I am freezing. At this temperature, anyone
“How c-come you aren’t freezing your t-tail off?” I ask.
He props himself up onto his elbow, and answers, “Male wolves have
thicker skin. Like a built in heating blanket. I’m never cold.” He stresses
the word ‘never’. “Do you need an extra blanket?” I nod, and he gets up and
gets something out of his endless backpack. He drapes another blanket over
me and bends down to look me in the eyes.
“How did you know that I was freezing?”
He answers, smiling, “You may be able to tell me that you’re fine, but
the color of your lips is saying something different. They’re purple. It’s
kind of hard not to notice.” We wait a moment before continuing. I have
stopped shivering. “Are you warmer now?” he asks, caringly.
I nod. I am warmer. The extra blanket has kept all the available heat
around me better than my sleeping bag has. He nods, too, and says,
“Alright, I’m going back to bed now. Call me if you need anything else.”
I sigh, deeply, breathing in the smell of the spruce on my blanket and
something else that I couldn’t categorize.
A few minutes pass, and I hear Finn snoring softly. Soon after, I fall
asleep, dreaming about Finn and dreaming about what is to come.

I awake to the sound of barking. I thought at first that I’m still
dreaming, but when I open my eyes, I see two, giant wolves. One is a brown,
Timber wolf. The other is a white, Ethiopian wolf. I just about scream, but
before I can, I hop out of my sleeping bag and phase. I growl menacingly at
them. I don’t know who they are or what they’re doing here, and I’m not
taking any chances.
Finn jumps out of bed and in front of me, keeping me from attacking.
“Whoa! Natasha! Calm down. It’s just the Alphas.”
I calm down enough to turn back to human. “Sorry,” I say, looking down.
Finn comes to my side, and says, “Don’t worry about it. I had the same
reaction, only,” he chuckles, “there was no one to stop me from attacking.”
I laugh once. “Yeah, I learned the hard way.”
All of a sudden, three other wolves come out of the woods from nowhere!
I step back. I didn’t want to get too scared. Last time I did, I phased.
The Alphas are a bit intimidating, big and strong. Much bigger than my
wolf. I wonder what they will do, but all they do is stand there looking at
Finn and me, as if they are reading what we’ll do next. Finn breaks the
silence, by saying, “Josh, Ember, everyone, this is Natasha. The one I have
been telling you about. Her parents are Daniel and Forrest Winterpike: the
past Alphas.”
When he says this, Ember turns back to her human form. She has long,
dark brown hair and brown eyes. Her skin is darker than Finn’s, more of a
coffee cover. She smiles at me, and says, “Hi, I’m Ember. Nice to meet you,
Natasha.” She holds out her hand.
I shake it, and say a simple, “Hi.”
She releases my hand, and says, “I’ve been waiting for you to reach the
age, but I had no idea you’d be this far along. You phased faster than I
can and your wolf is beautiful!”
I smile, slightly. “Thanks, but I didn’t know about any of this until
two days ago.”
“That’s understandable. I’m sure Finn told you why, right?”
“I got her up to date on almost everything. There are just a few things
that I left out.”
Ember nods. “Good. She needs to know.”
Just as she finishes, the dark brown wolf, shifts. “This is Alpha Josh,”
Finn explains.
Josh has short, blonde hair. His eyes are a mix between blue and hazel.
“Hello,” he says. “Welcome to the Greenstone Ridge Pack, Natasha.”
“Thanks,” I say, and then look over at the three other wolves. One white
as snow, one russet brown, and one sandy like the beaches that I love to
“This is Willow,” Finn says, as the sandy wolf changes to her very small
human form and looks down at the ground. She has strait, chin-length black
hair and… purple eyes? I’ve never seen any eyes like hers before. Her skin
is pale, and she looks the size of a 10 year-old.
She looks up shyly at me, and says, “Hi,” and lowers her head again.
Finn leans down, and whispers in my ear, “She’s shy when she first meets
you, but make no mistake. She’ll talk you to death by tonight.” I nod and
he goes on farther with the intros. “This is Chase.”
He points to the boy that changes from the red-brown wolf. Chase has
light-brown hair and blue as blue can be eyes. He doesn’t seem shy at all.
He says, “Hello, Natasha. Welcome to the Pack.”
I smile slightly. “Great to be here.”
Finn points to the changing white wolf and says, “And this is Mariah.
She’s the Alpha’s daughter.” He does not sound too happy about Mariah.
Mariah is pretty. She has white-blonde hair and dark brown eyes. Her skin
is so white; I wouldn’t be surprised if she could get the part of Snow
She gives him an evil look and, half-heartedly, smiles at me, saying,
“Nice to meet you, Natasha.”
I move closer to Finn, only slightly, not enough for anyone to see, but
it makes me feel a little more secure and safe. “Hi.”
Mariah’s smile becomes something evil. “I hear that you can phase fast.”
Josh turns his head to stare at Mariah. “Mariah, no,” he orders. She
totally ignores him, still staring at me, expecting an answer.
“Yeah, I guess you can say that,” I answer, not sure what else to do or
Finn moves slightly in front of me, saying, “Mariah.” His tone is
urgent and slightly annoyed, as if this happens every day, and he’s tired
of it. Looking back at Mariah, I believe that is the perfect answer.
Her mouth is pulled up slightly at the corner, and her black-brown eyes
say, “Bring it on, Newbie.” Right now, she has a scary resemblance of a
shark. “Well,” she starts, “if you’re not going to play first, I’ll start
the game.” She phases into her white wolf, crouches back, and jumps into
the air.
Finn leaves my side in a rush and phases into a huge, jet-black wolf,
right in front of me! Finn leaps onto Mariah, keeping her away from me.
Willow and Chase start to move towards the fight, as if they want to
help (on which side, I don’t know), but Josh holds his hand out, saying,
“No. Let them work it out themselves. They’ve been at each other for a
while. Let them get it out of their systems.” Willow nods and steps back a
few steps. Chase, on the other hand, looks like Josh just asked him to not
eat for a month. He grinds his teeth, and I get the feeling that he doesn’t
like Mariah much either.
My eyes go back to the wolf fight. Finn and Mariah are going at it hard,
biting each other and trying to pin the other down. Finn’s bigger, so he
has the upper hand. He knocks Mariah to the side and slams her into a tree.
Her wolf lets out a howl in pain and she looks at me.
When I look into her eyes, I see what she’s thinking. “I didn’t mean it.
You don’t know me. He’s not going to stop.” I get a wave of guilt thrown
upon me. She doesn’t want this anymore that I do! That simple comment was
just her way of playing around. She isn’t cruel, and like her eyes said, I
don’t know her, yet.
I have to stop the fight, I think, but how? Finn raises his paw and
prepares for the final strike. I look around, hoping that one of the Alphas
will stop the insanity. Ember and I lock eyes. She mouths to me, “Do what
you need to do.” I nod, understanding what has to happen.
I phase and jump in front of Mariah. Finn doesn’t see me in time, and
his paw slashes across my shoulder, it flings me over to the right, and I
slam against a rock. I hurt so much, it’s almost unbearable. I shift back
to human with the last of my strength.
Finn looks stunned for a second, and then the truth of his actions hits
him. He rushes over to me, shifting to human as he goes. “Natasha!” he
yells. “I’m so sorry. What have I done?!” Josh comes over to kneel beside
Finn. Finn asks, “Why didn’t you stop me? All this could have been
“Your friends a quick one. I didn’t see it coming before it was too late
to stop her.”
A woman’s voice says, “Get her to Jade. She’ll fix her up.”
Josh says, “I’ll carry her back to the Lodge.”
“No,” Finn objects. “I owe her. I’m her friend. I’ll do it.” My eyes are
almost closed, as he says to me, “It’s going to be alright, Natasha.” He
rips part of the end of his T-shirt off and wraps it around my shoulder,
another around my neck, and one last one around my wrist. “That should hold
her until I get her to the Lodge. Come here.” He slips his arms under me
and lifts me off the ground. My head lolls against his shoulder. “Just hold
on, Natasha. Hold on.”
He starts to walk. Mariah comes up to us, and says, “I’m sorry. This is
my fault.”
Finn is a little too harsh on her. “Yeah, it kind of is.”
She lowers her head. “I really am sorry.” She walks away from us, and
Finn growls deep in his throat. He starts trotting through the woods.
My whole body wrecks with pain. My shoulder must be a sight for sore
eyes, my neck has a good size gash on it, my wrist apparently has a cut,
and my head feels like someone hit it with a baseball bat.
Finn makes his way through the woods, passing moss covered rocks and
trees as he goes.
“I get you back for one day and I do this to you,” Finn says. “How’s
that for friendship?!” I can’t stand to think that he blames himself. I
reach my hand up to his face and run it through some of the hair on the
side of his head. He jerks his head to look at me, clearly not expecting me
to touch him so gently. I smile at him. “I’m so, so sorry, Natasha. I’m so
“I’m going to be okay,” I say, quietly. “I know you’ll take care of me.”
“That was an accident, Finn. Everyone has those.”
He looks into my eyes. “You haven’t changed a bit, in your personality,
I mean.”
“Neither have you, still protective.” I chuckle and close my eyes.
“Stay with me,” Finn begs. “Just one more minute.”
I wrap my right hand around his neck and press my forehead into his warm
skin. “I’m not going to leave.”
Another minute passes. I’m almost unconscious. Finn runs out of the
woods and up to a wooden building. I can’t get a good look at it. He
hurries up to the door and knocks loudly. “Hurry,” he whispers under his

When the door opens, I see a girl of maybe 19 years of age that looks
exactly like Josh. Her blonde hair is just barely touching her shoulders.
Her blue and hazel eyes an exact copy of Josh’s. She smiles friendlily at
us, and says, “Hi, Finn.” When she sees my condition, she frowns, and asks,
“Who is this and what happened to her?”
Finn Shoves past her as she finishes talking. “Natasha Winterpike. It
was an accident, Jade. I—I didn’t mean to.” He takes me into a room with
two beds inside with lots of color and light. He sets me into the bed
farther away from the door. “Can you help me get her fixed up?”
“Of course, that’s what I do, but how did it—.” Finn doesn’t let her
“Look, I’ll explain everything later, but just help her. I can’t bear to
see her in so much pain.”
“Finn?” I rasp. “Finn, where are you?”
I hear Jade leave the room I feel Finn’s hands on my upper arms, trying
to comfort me. “Natasha, Jade is going to get her medical equipment. She’s
our doctor here on the island. She’ll take good care of you.”
Everything’s black. I can’t see anything! “Finn, I can’t see you! Where
are you?”
Finn puts one hand to the side of my face, saying, “Natasha, I’m here.
I’m here. You hit your head. Maybe you lost your sight temporarily. Just
calm down. It’s going to be okay.” I try to calm myself. “There you go.
Shh, shh.”
When Jade comes in, she wraps my cuts up. Finn stays with me the entire
time, as my sight comes back. “Can you see now?” Finn asks, as I look
around at him, Jade, and the room. I nod. “Good,” he sighs.
“You’ll need to rest for a while,” Jade says, as she completes rapping
my cut skin. “At least a day or two.”
“Okay, Jade,” I say, sleepily.
“Thank you, Jade,” Finn says, huskily.
She places a hand on his shoulder, and says, “She will be okay, Finn. I
promise. All she needs is rest.”
He nods. “Yeah, I know.”
She gets up and leaves us alone. Finn’s face looks contorted. He looks
to the door, making sure she is gone, and then bends down in front of me,
grabbing my hand and holding it tight. “Finn, are you okay?”
He half laughs, half cries. He says, “You’re hurt… because of me, and
there’s nothing I can do to take it back: I feel awful, Natasha.”
“Please don’t,” I beg him. “You were just trying to protect me from
Mariah. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Yes, it was,” he whispers, holding my hand tighter. “Mariah and I,
we-we’ve had a rivalry going on from the day I got here, and I let that get
in the way of your safety. I never should have been so stupid.” He is
shaking uncontrollably now, having trouble with his emotions.
My eyes open farther, realizing that I need to help him calm down.
“Finn,” I moan. He lets go of my hand, and I reach up to stroke his face. I
sit up, trying as best as I can to not move my shoulder.
“Natasha, don’t. You’ll hurt yourself,” Finn warns, trying, and failing,
to get me to lie back down.
I run one of my hands through his black, silky hair and the other
continues to pet his cheek. When he, eventually, calms down so that he is
not shaking any more, I give him a hug around his shoulders.
“Thanks,” he whispers. My hold loosens on him, and I feel myself growing
weaker. I start to slip, but he holds me tighter, unwilling to let me fall.
“I got you,” he whispers. “I will always catch you.” He places his chin on
top of my head.
I fold my arms between us, my palms against his T-shirt. “I’ve missed
you,” I say again.
Finn chuckles. “I’ve missed you, too.” He squeezes me tighter, and I
groan at the compression. “Oh, sorry!” he says, placing me back into the
bed and snuggling me in the covers. “Get some rest Natasha.”
“You need rest, too,” I object.
“I will sleep if you do.”
“Promise?” I ask.
“Promise. Now, listen, my bed is right across from yours. If you wake up
and need anything, I’ll be right here. Okay?”
“Alright,” I say, slowly letting sleep take me.

When I awake, I feel light headed, but, other than that, I feel new and
fresh. I scoot up and look around the room. Before I fell asleep, I wasn’t
fully aware of everything around me. Now that I’m rested, I can be fully
The room is a soft, creamy-brown color and, every few feet, there is a
log pillar that comes from the outside of the cabin. There is a window on
the wall to my left and there’s light coming through the white curtains. My
bed is incredibly soft and has an orange duvet on the top.
As I look farther around me, I see a door across from me that leads to
what looks like a bathroom. On either side of that door, are two,
dark-wooded dressers. On the top of one there are four or five pictures and
on the other there is a lamp.
I look to my right and see a nightstand beside my bed with my picture of
Finn and me in a frame. Odd, I think to myself. I don’t remember putting
anything out, let alone my favorite picture in a frame!
I look farther across and I notice that Finn’s dark-blue bed is made up
and it looks like it hasn’t been used for a while. My back pack is flat and
is hanging from his bedpost right next to his own black one.
I slip out of bed, uneasily, and walk over to one of the dressers.
Opening the one across from his bed, I catch his familiar earthy, spicy
scent. I smile and close the drawer. I go over to the other dresser and
open it easily. My own smell comes out, briefly, along with a small trail
of Finn’s scent. I chuckle. He unpacked my clothes for me.
I grab a new and clean pair of jeans and a hoodie and T-shirt. I head
towards the bathroom and shut and lock the door behind me. I turn the water
on as hot as it can go and enjoy a nice hot shower.
After shutting the water off and getting dressed, I turn around and face
the door, to find my bathroom bag hanging on the hook. Of course Finn knows
what a bathroom bag is, I think to myself. I take it off the hook and look
inside to find my hairbrush and toothbrush and paste. I brush my hair,
carefully attempting to get all the tangles out. After it is all smooth, I
brush my teeth, thoroughly.
I pack everything back up and rehang the bag. I open the door and yelp,
jumping back and slipping of the wet floor. Finn is at the door and he
catches me from falling. “I told you I’d always catch you,” he says,
I blush slightly and push myself up again. “Where you the one that
unpacked my stuff?” I ask. He nods. “Thanks, that gives me one less thing
to do today.”
“You must be hungry,” he assumes, taking my hand.
I nod. “I am very hungry.”
He chuckles. “Well,” he says, leading me out of our room and into a dark
hallway, “after that spell of hibernation, I’d guess so.”
I stop dead in my tracks. “Hibernation? Wait, what do you mean?”
“You’ve been asleep for two days, Natasha. I was starting to think that
you’d never wake up.” He tries to hide his worry, but I can tell.
“I’ve slept… for two days strait?” He nods. “Oh boy. I’m sorry.” I look
down, worried that I’ve kept him in the dark so long.
“Hey,” he says, lifting my chin so that my eyes meet his. “It’s not our
fault. You were healing. It’s normal. Trust me.”
“Okay, I trust you.”I smile up at him, and he returns it.
“Come on, let’s get you something to eat, and like I said before, Willow
wants to meet you.”
We walk into a log-cabin styled kitchen and Jade is at the stove,
cooking something that smells wonderful. “Hello, Natasha! Finally awake, I
see. How are you?”
“Fine now, thanks to you.”
Finn leads me over to a table and sits me down. “Don’t push yourself,”
he whispers.
I glare at him playfully. “Finn, I’m just standing.”
Jade laughs and Finn and I join her. “You’re right, sorry. I’m just…
He sits down in the chair next to me, and I place my small, light and
cold hand over his large, dark and warm one. “I know.”
Jade puts a pan under the water and it sizzles. “It’s ready. Finn, would
you call everyone in. Tell them it’s time to eat.”
“Where are they?” Finn asks, getting up out of his chair.
“Oh, they’re just outside. Go on, before it gets cold.” He hurries out
the door, and I watch after him. “He’s been really worried about you,” Jade
says, bringing my eyes back to hers.
“I know, I feel bad for that, too.”
I play with my amber bracelet. Jade brings over a pan of breakfast food
and notices my bracelet. “Where’d you get that? It’s really pretty.”
“Oh, this?” I hold up the bracelet as she nods. “Finn made it for me
when we were little kids.”
“So, you guys are pretty close, eh?” she sits in the chair on the other
side of me.
“Yeah, we are,” I answer truthfully.
She eyes my bracelet again. “May I take a closer look?”
“Sure,” I say, taking the bracelet carefully off.
She holds it and looks over it carefully. “The amber is called ‘Baltic
“How can you tell?”
“Baltic amber is distinguished by its yield of succinct acid, hence the
name succinct.” She taps gently on the small stone. “Succinct has a
hardness between 2 and 3, which is rather greater than that of many other
fossil resins.”
“Oh, okay,” I say, trying to understand what she means.
She hands it back to me. “Amber often is used for healing.” I nod and
stare at my small stoned bracelet. “I’m sorry; sometimes I get too ahead of
myself and start quoting stuff from books I’ve read.”
I smile at her. “It’s okay. I love books, too.”
“I have a whole shelf if you ever want to borrow one.”
“Thanks, Jade. I’d like that. What are you reading now?”
She smiles bigger. “Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s a book about
werewolves, but it’s also a love story. It’s really good.”
“Sounds good.” I look at the door.
“What is taking them so long?” Jade asks no one in particular.
She gets up and moves towards the door. When she opens it, Finn, Mariah,
Chase, Willow, and another older teenage boy come is, soaking wet. “Finn
what happened?!” I ask, jumping out of my chair.
All of them are laughing except for Mariah. She just walks through,
quickly, and goes down the hall. I hear a door slam shut and it being
I look at Jade questioningly, but she mouths the word “later”. Finn comes
over to me and keeps grinning like a fool. “What happened?” I ask, not
being able to do anything but return his grin.
“Chase,” Willow says, pointing to the buy behind her, “Decided that it
would be fun to dump a bucket of water on me—.”
“It was fun!” Chase exclaims.
“–and I got revenge,” she finishes.
“Oh, come on!”
“You guys go get changed. I will NOT have you spreading water all over
the place, or all over the dry ones! SKYLAR!!” The older teenage boy,
Skylar, grabs Jade and pulls her into a giant, wet hug. “Uh! Now I’m all
wet! You jerk.”
She walks away from me as Mariah comes out of her room, dressed much
warmer and dryer. Skylar, Chase, Jade, and Willow go to their rooms and
change. Finn turns to me and wraps an arm around my shoulders. “Oh, no, you
don’t. Not me, too. Sorry, but you need to dry off first.”
Finn doesn’t listen and, as I back away from him, he follows me. I move
around the table as fast as I can, trying to get away from him. I quietly
squeal as he catches me before I can doge. My feet come off the ground in
his embrace, and he transfers all the water he can onto me. “Finn! You are
SO going to get it for this one.”
“You have to catch me first.” He runs out the door.
“Oh, no you don’t,” I say, running out after him.
When I get outside, I look around for him. All I see is the green woods,
a light dusting of frost on the ground. I turn my back to the woods,
wondering if he went inside without me. I feel something butt my shoulder.
I turn around and gasp. Finn’s huge black wolf is right in front of me, his
chocolate brown eyes glistening. “Hey, you,” I say, rubbing the top of his
muzzle. He moves out of the way of my hand and licks it. “Ew! Finn! That’s
gross!” He makes a barking laugh. I move closer to him and wrap my arms
around his neck, feeling through his coarse top fur and smooth undercoat.
After a minute, he uses his nose to push me towards his back. “What? You
want me to get on?” He huffs a “yes”. I smile and climb on. “Only a short
ride,” I whisper into his ear. He takes off quite fast, and I have to grasp
his fur tightly in order to not fall off.
He runs into the woods, and I am instantly keeping my eyes closed as
tight as I can. I move my arms, hesitantly, to brand around his neck,
keeping me closer to him. “Finn! Slow down! I’m going to fall off!” I start
to slip off his back, but he comes to a stop and shifts back to human form.
“You okay?” he asks.
I run to him and wrap my arms around him once again. “You scare me when
you go that fast.”
“I’m sorry, Tashie. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Tashie,” I sigh. “That was your nickname for me when we were kids.”
“We still are kids, Natasha, but yeah. I thought that I should call you
that after all that’s happened.”
“What do you mean, ‘all that’s happened’?”
I look into his eyes, as he answers, “Well, just all the change, and for
being apart for so long.”
“Finn! Natasha! Come on!” Jade yells from the Lodge.
“Come on,” Finn whispers. “Let’s go eat breakfast.”
As we are eating with my new family, I look at each of them carefully as
they are talking. Mariah hardly ever talks, just glares at Finn. I’ve
decided that she’s probably not the best one to get on the wrong side with.
Chase seems to be the jokester of the pack. He always smiles and kids
around. He’s so nice and very welcoming to me. He only says encouraging
things, helping me accept what I am and the changes that have happened or
that will happen.
Willow is the shy type, or at least that’s what I thought. She is
talking slightly more than she did in the woods, a few days ago now. I have
found out that she loves to dance and do gymnastics, which she is perfect
for with her slight, small frame. She also loves music, just like me.
Jade is the type that talks when something needs to be said. She doesn’t
say much when there’s nothing to be said. She loves to read, like she told
me before, and she’s always trying to improve herself in her works and
knowledge. She seems very nice.
Skylar is… interesting. He is very tall with light skin and with
red-blonde hair and hazel eyes. He seems to like Jade a lot. I catch him
throwing her grins, and she blushes in return. I’m not going to ask about
that now. Maybe later.
Josh is a leader type, to say the least. Not that’ he’s bossy, but you
can just tell that he’s in charge. The way he says things, you can hear the
authority in his voice. He’s very nice though, very welcoming. He doesn’t
blame Mariah or Finn for their mistake. He only does what’s best for the
Ember is also a leader, but in a different way than Josh. She is always
trying to figure people out and try to help them. She’s constantly putting
others before herself. Her sweet smile reassures me.
Wow. How did I know all of that by just listening to them talk? “Ember?”
I ask, after the commotion and chatter settles down some.
“Yes, Dear?” she answers, kindness in her dark eyes.
“I-I need to talk to you.” Finn gives me a worried look. “Alone,
“Okay, do you want to talk now?”
“If you could, please.”
She gets up and moves towards the door. I follow her, after giving Finn
a small smile to let him know that, physically at least, I am fine. She
leads me back to the hallway and turns right, into another room.
The room is filled with various things: a piano, a TV with a glass shelf
filled with movies next to it, a shelf next to the piano with many plants,
and two sofas. Ember sits down on one side of the sofa and she motions for
me to sit on the opposite side of the couch.
I sit down, as she asks, “What did you need to talk about, Natasha?”
I play with my amber bracelet, as I always do when I’m nervous. “I
wanted to ask you about… something.”
“Okay, what is it?” she says in her sweetest tone.
I look up into her eyes. They show nothing but concern, kindness, and
understanding for me. I say, “A few minutes ago, when everyone was talking
and telling me about everything here and everyone, I… what I mean is… I
think that I know more about you and this place than you told me.”
She looks sweetly confused. “What do you mean?”
“I-I don’t know what I mean,” I say running a hand through my hair,
frustrated. “I’m trying to explain, I really am, but I… don’t know what’s
going on. Everything’s changed so fast and my mind hasn’t had time to catch
up.” I feel a single, silent tear come down my cheek.
She puts a hand on my shoulder and looks at me, understanding sparkling
in her eyes. “I know exactly how you feel, about the instant change.”
I wipe my eyes. “You do?”
She nods. “Mm hm. When I was your age, I first turned and when my
parents sent me to Isle Royale, I saw it as a betrayal. You see, I was very
close to my parents. They were my best friends. Especially my mom. She and
I did everything together, and when she sent me here without an excuse,
well… I fell apart.”
I listen to every detail of her story, knowing that she knows what I am
going through. “When I arrived, my Alphas, they tried to help me move on,
but I was holding onto my misfortune so much that I couldn’t see the good
things that were here. Good people, new family and friends.”
She pauses for second and wipes a small tear that found its way out. “I
was around seventeen when I couldn’t take it anymore. I went out to the
shores of Lake Desor. I went scouting around the borders and found a group
of cliffs that were ninety, maybe one-hundred feet drop. That night at
around midnight, I went to the top of the cliffs. I was so torn up inside,
I didn’t see any hope at all.
I didn’t know that I had a secret admirer, and he followed me that night
all the way to the cliffs.”
“Josh,” I mumble.
She smiles. “Yes, Joshua Samuel Cleveland. He followed me and tried to
stop me. I didn’t care what he thought at the time; I was too upset. When I
was about to jump off, he told me to just listen to him for one more
minute. I did as he said, and he then told me his feelings for me.
I was stunned at the time. I had never looked at him very much, but when
he said that he loved me, it woke me from my sorrow. I could see everything
so clearly. I realized that, I kind of liked him, too.
He came closer, but the cliff edge couldn’t hold both of our weights, so
I pushed him back off the cracking ground. The edge crumbled and I fell
into the Lake below. Lake Desor, as you will learn soon, is not a kind
lake. It is very deep and has wicked waves and the temperatures are below
freezing most of the time. It’s only the constantly moving water and wind
that keeps it from freezing over.
I was drowning, and I knew it, too. Josh, being Josh, did the stupid
thing: he jumped after me. He swam after me and dragged me back to the
shore. By then, a few of our friends had figured out that something was up
and they had come to Lake Desor. They helped Josh get me back to the Lodge
and helped get me better. After that, Josh and I never separated. We’ve
been together ever since.”
It takes me a minute to absorb all she has just said, her life’s story.
“You have an amazing story, Ember, but, frankly, some of that I already
knew, and I have no idea how I do know what I know about everyone.”
“So, that’s what you were talking about when you said that you know more
than we’re telling you.” I nod. “You’re really worried about this, aren’t
you?” I hug my knees to my chest and nod again. “If it really worries you
so much, I’ll talk to Jade, Josh, and Skylar about it and see if we can’t
figure out what’s wrong, if anything at all. Okay?”
“Thanks, Ember. You’re doing me a big favor.”
She looks, puzzled, at the floor, and then asks, “How long have you
noticed this ‘all-knowing’ symptom? And to who have you noticed it?”
I blink my eyes a few times, trying to recall when it first started and
to everyone that I’ve noticed a new piece of knowledge. “First time that it
happened? It was when I came home from after first phasing in my favorite
place in the woods. The first person I noticed that I knew something new
in? I think that it was my favorite teacher, my history teacher, Miss
Evens. I noticed the change in her attitude, the next day, first and then I
instantly knew that she had a date that night with a guy named James
Thompson. He was a former-biker from a gang that had change his ways. I
asked her about it later, and she looked shocked. She said that only she
and her date knew about it. When she asked me how I knew that, I didn’t
have an answer. I just… knew.”
Ember stares at floor, deep in thought. “Ember? Is something wrong?”
She shakes herself out of her daze, and smiles uneasily at me. “No, its
fine, Natasha. Really, it’s just—.” She cuts herself off and looks past me
to the doorway.
I turn around to see Finn standing there. “Sorry, I just wanted to see
if anything was wrong.” He looks seriously worried. His face is creased
with lines and his jaw is set into what looks like a permanent frown.
I get up and move over to comfort him. “Everything’s fine, Finn. Natasha
just had a few questions and a few things that she needed to talk to me
about,” Ember says.
Finn looks to me for an answer. “Precisely what she said,” I answer, and
he finally relaxes.
I suddenly got a wave of what he was thinking about just before. He was
thinking about us… playing at a park somewhere. We’re little, maybe five or
six years old. He’s pushing me on the swing, and we’re laughing. We look
over to our parents, as if they’ve said something important. I get off, and
we run towards the stream that runs by the park. We run into the water and
start playing in the waves. Then his thoughts go back to the hallway door,
from the point of view in the kitchen.
“Finn,” I say, frantic all of a sudden. “What were you just thinking
about, before you came in here?”
“Why? What’s wrong, Natasha?” He grabs a hold of my arms, as if he knows
that I’m about to fall.
“Please, just answer me,” I whisper, grasping his arms to help me steady
“I was thinking about us when we were little.”
“Yes and where were we when we were little? Tell me the exact details,
“We were at a park in Florida, and you were five years old and I was six
years old. We were playing on the swings before we went to play in the
“And our parents were there.”
“Yes… but how did you know all that? What’s going on? Ember?” His voice
gets higher as he goes on. I am gasping now, and Finn knows it, too. He
scoops me up and carries me to our room that we share. Ember follows us.
After Finn sets me down in my bed, I say, “Finn really, I’m okay.”
“No, you’re not. You’re freaking out about something, and I don’t know
what it is or what is going on. Ember, please explain.”
She looks calm. “I would if I knew, Finn, really I would, but I don’t
know. Give Josh, Jade, Skylar, and I some tome to talk about it and we’ll
do everything we can. That is a promise that will NOT be broken.”

“Finn, you need to stop pacing a trench in the kitchen,” Chase teases.
“Chase, I can’t help it,” Finn answers, “What if it was your best friend
or one of your family members? I’m worried about Natasha. What’s so wrong
about that?”
“Finn, you need to get your mind off my issues,” I whisper.
We are all silent as we sit in the, what I would call, family room, the
one with the piano, couches, and TV. Finn and Mariah are the only ones that
are standing. Finn is facing Willow, Chase, and I that sit on the sofas,
while Mariah is to our side, running her fingers over the piano keys. “How
about we give Natasha the grand tour?” Willow suggests.
“That’s a great idea!” Chase and I exclaim at the same time. We start
laughing, and eventually, Finn joins us, letting his worry fall away… for
“Okay, maybe I do need to get my mind off things. Come on, we do need to
show her where everything is.”
Finn, Chase, Mariah, and Willow go ahead and go out the door, and onto a
porch. I have no idea where they are going, so I stay behind. Finn looks
behind him to see if I’m following and slows to match my pace. He reaches
for my hand, and I take it gladly.
I feel a rush to my head again and I pause, mid-step. This time, I see
me earlier this morning, and then I see me and Finn when we were maybe
eleven or twelve years old.
“Happening again?” Finn asks, bringing me back to the present.
I nod and continue walking. “Where to first?” I ask.
Chase turns around to face us and walks backwards. “Well, what do you
want to see?”
“Everything,” I say, “This is home, now. I want to know it well.”
Chase nods and continues walking backwards. “Chase, if you keep doing
that you’re going to fall,” Willow tries to warn him.
“Na, I’ll be good, Willow.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Just then, Chase trips over a fairly good
sized rock on the side of the road and falls. “Told you so.”
Finn starts to laugh, uncontrollably. Mariah says, “Oh, you dog!” and
stomps away, back to the house.
I look after her. “You saw that he was going to trip, didn’t you?” I
“Oh, you…” I say, swatting at him, weakly.
He keeps laughing. “Come on, you guys. We don’t have to wait for the
slowpoke,” Willow teases.
She runs ahead, down the road, as Chase gets up, and yells, “Get back
here, you!”
Finn and I follow them. Willow, finally, slows down in front of a plain
field. It looks like a football field. “This,” Willow says, holding out her
hand to the field, “is where we train. We come here almost every day to
test our abilities in stamina, strength, and speed. Lots of fun, really.”
I look the field over. It’s as big as a football field, only, without
the yard lines. There’s a bin of thick wire on the nearest side of the
field to us, filled with what looks like Frisbees, balls, different poles
and spikes, and what not. “Those are used to put into the field for evasive
training,” Finn whispers in my ear, when he sees me looking that way.
I nod, taking that into account. “Where to next, Willow?” I ask.
“Oh, no. I’m gonna pick the next place,” Chase announces.
“Okay, where are we going to go… Chase?”
“Follow me,” he says, walking up the road farther. He walks to what
looks like an old abandoned mine shaft. “Where are we?” I ask.
“Nowhere,” Finn says, his hold on my hand tightening. “Chase, you know
that we’re not supposed to be here.”
“Yeah, but I thought that we should show Natasha the entire island,”
Chase whines.
“No. we shouldn’t go in there. It’s very old and it could collapse.”
“What do you think Willow?” Chase asks.
Willow bites her lower lip and frowns at the ground. “I think that we
should try the other entrance. It’s safer and more stable. We shouldn’t go
too deep, but I think it would be okay just to take a peak around.”
“Great. Follow me.”
He walks us a few more yards and we stop at another entrance. Chase runs
into the cave without saying another word. “Chase!” Willow yells. “Don’t go
in there! We have to get him.”
Finn rolls his eyes. Running towards the entrance, he says, “I’ll go
get him.”
“Be careful!” I yell after him.
“I will. Don’t worry!” And with that, Willow and I wait.
“I think that we should go after them,” Willow says, after around ten
minutes have past.
“I think you’re right. Come on.” I jump up from the stump that I was
sitting on, and we dive into the miner’s shaft. “Is it stable in here?”
“I think so,” Willow says. The shaft walls start to shiver. I place my
hand on the wall, gently. “Then again, maybe not. Should we just wait for
them outside?”
“No,” I say, sternly. “I’m not going to leave this cave until all the
pack is out safely.” Where the heck did that come from? I barely know these
people, and yet, I feel prone to protect them at any cost. Another mystery
yet to be solved.
I keep walking farther into the tunnel. The walls quiver slightly again.
“Natasha, I really think that we should head back. They’re smart boys.
Well, Finn at least is. They’ll find their way out. The tunnel is a giant
circle with lots of out branches. We could get lost.”
“Willow, you can go back, really, but I’m staying until I find them.”
“Then I’m staying, too,” she says stubbornly.
We walk a few minutes farther, and then I say, “You know what, Willow,
you’re right.”
“Finally,” she mutters.
“You should go back and see if they are there. If not, come back. I’ll
stay on the main branch of the tunnel.”
“No. Go. I’ll be okay.”
I give her a reassuring smile. “Okay, but Finn isn’t going to be happy
about me leaving you.”
I roll my eyes. “I’ll deal with him later. Just go, I’ll find them.”
After she leaves, I continue down the hallway of the underground prison.
After a while, I start to get jittery. What if they really aren’t down
here? What if they’ve already gotten out and left me here? What if—.
Before I can finish the thought, the rocks behind me crumble, and I run
for my life. I get out of the way in time to not get crushed under the
small avalanche, but I realize that there’s smoke coming through the small
holes. I start to cough and I run the opposite way, away from the dust and
“Natasha?” someone yells.
I know that voice, I think to myself.
“Natasha!” he repeats.
“Finn!” I rasp back. “Finn, where are you?”
“I’m at the wall, the one that just fell down.”
I run back to the collapsed rocks. “Finn, it fell, and I can’t find my
way out.”
“I’m going to find you,” he says. “Natasha, listen to me. The reason
that they closed this mining shaft down was because of the toxins. Chase
was very stupid to come down here in the first place. We need to get out.
Go around the other way. I’ll meet you there. Okay?”
“Okay,” I answer, in my now raspy voice. “Hurry.”
“I will,” and with that I hear him leave.
I turn around and start running the other way.
One minute.
Two minutes.
Three minute, and then I crouch down, coughing so hard that my vision
blurs. I lift my shirt collar to cover my mouth and nose, but it does
little to help.
“Finn! I-I’m over here!”
I hear footsteps come towards me. “Natasha! There you are.” I feel his
arms scoop under me and he slips me around, easily, to his back. My arms
wrap around his neck, and I refuse to let go.
“Finn, I don’t feel well.”
“I know, I know, but we need to get out here. Then I promise that I’ll
take care of you. I’m so sorry.”
He runs through the tunnel as the walls quiver much more violently. When
my eyes open, I see Finn covered with dust. “What the heck?” Finn exclaims,
as he comes to an instant stop. “What is that?”
I look up to see what he’s staring at. On the ceiling is a row of
blinking, red lights. They start to blink faster, and Finn whispers, “Oh,
No.” he takes off faster than he has been going.
“Finn, what’s… wrong?” I ask, barely able to get the words out.
Finn slides me around and holds me tight to his chest. He says
something, but it’s unintelligible. “What?” I ask.
“Close your eyes and hold your breath!”
I do as he says. He walks a few more feet and then jumps over a long,
solid rock pillar that has fallen, and he crouches behind it. He raises his
T-shirt and pulls me underneath it.
The rock walls start to quake. The floor starts to rumble. Then we hear
a colossal, “BOOOOOM!”
I burry my face in his warm skin, and he hides his face in my hair, his
arms tightening around me. “It’ll be okay!” Finn tells me repeatedly.
The booming stops, and then there’s the falling rocks. There’s so much
dust. Even though Finn’s T-shirt surrounds me, I am choking on the smoky
debris that the rock slide has left.
Finn peeks his head over the shirt collar and brings his T-shirt over me
and puts it back in its rightful place. He gets up and swings me to his
back and starts running. “That was dynamite. If I’m right, there will be
more up ahead. We have to get ahead of it before it blows, otherwise, we’ll
be trapped down here.”
I burry my face into his neck, hoping and praying that we will make it.
“We’re almost there, Tashie. We’re almost out!”
I sigh, heavily. We’re almost out of the collapsing cave. We’re almost
to safety. I hear another explosion and I look behind me to see a ton of
rock slide down around thirty feet from us. “Finn!”
“I know. We’ll make it. I promise.”
I press my lips to his hair line for a small kiss and smile when he
shivers. “We’ll make it,” I repeat, more for him than me.
When I see light coming from the tunnel ahead, I smile and start to
think that we’ll make it for sure this time.
Just when we get less than ten feet from the exit, there’s another
explosion and it closes out the exit. “No,” Finn whispers. He sets me down
on the ground and goes over to the recently made, rock wall, knocking on
it, harshly, and kicking it. “NO!” he screams, so loud that I have to cover
my ears.
I get up to try and calm him. “Finn—.”
“Back away, Natasha!” he says, putting his hand up in front of him, and
then removes it, quickly. I back away and watch as he irrupts in pain. He
turns into his black wolf and lets out a tortured howl. And then another.
I wait for him to calm down. After howling a few times, he changes back
and looks at the ground, his face a picture of agony. He looks to my
frightened face, and his softens. He comes over to me and sits down,
cross-legged, in front of me. “I-I’m sorry, Natasha. I don’t know what else
to do.”
I move over to straddle his lap. “Finn, it’s okay. Really. Help will
Finn looks up at me. His eyes are so mesmerizing, all dark brown and
sensitive with fear, right now. He wraps his arms around me, making my ear
smash against his chest. “I promise, once we get out of here, I will do all
I can to make sure that you don’t get hurt anymore.”
“It’s okay, Finn, really. I’ve always been a danger magnet. Remember,
when we were little kids. The time that my clothes caught on fire at the
campfire we went to? And remember the time I cut myself trying to clip the
flowers in the garden? This isn’t new.”
He chuckles slightly. “Yeah, I remember all that, but this is very
different. I don’t think that cutting yourself with scissors is going to
kill you.”
“We’ll make it, just like you said.”
Then we hear a crushing of rock and voices outside the exit.

My eyes flash open and I sit up immediately. I look around, confused as
to why I am in my room at the Lodge. Was I not just with Finn in the caves?
“Natasha, slow down,” Finn whispers. “Take it easy. Lay back down.” I
look to my right, and he’s there, sitting in a chair that’s pulled up to
the very edge of my bed. He, gently, pushes me back into the covers.
“What happened?” I ask, my voice hoarse and weak. “And what happened to
my voice? I sound awful.”
“Don’t talk. I told you about the toxins from the caves. They messed
with your voice a little.” He pauses, then goes on. “You fainted right as
help was breaking its way through the walls of the tunnel. We got out
but….” He doesn’t have a chance to finish. He reaches for my hand as he’s
explaining, and I get the vision of what he’s saying. This is getting very
I see him, holding me, as the dust comes down from the explosions. Then
the wall to the exit falls down and Mariah, Jade, Chase, Skylar, and Willow
all flood the cave. The ground starts to shake again and everyone
evacuates. As soon as we’re out, Finn looks behind at the now collapsing
cave. The entire tunnel gives out and we would have been crushed if they
hadn’t have found us when they did. “Natasha? Natasha!”
“Huh? Wha?” His nervous calls make me come out of my daze.
“You started staring off into space again. Is anything wrong?” His grip
on my hand is awfully tight.
“Finn, there’s… there’s something I need to tell you. Something that I
told Ember about that I’m awfully worried about.”
“What is it? You can tell me anything, Tashie.”
“Okay,” I start. “You know how sometimes I stare at nothing and then a
few seconds later I come back to reality?” He nods. “And you know how
earlier this morning, after I finished talking to Ember, I started to freak
out because I knew what you were thinking?” He nods, again. “I don’t know
how this happens, but when I touch someone, I can see what they’re thinking
just before, and when I’m really focused and trying to learn something
about someone, I can get a feeling about what I want to know. It’s weird, I
know, but that’s the way it is.”
There’s a moment of silence. “And you are worried about this?”
I nod. “Tons. What is wrong with me, Finn?”
He licks his lips nervously, looking away from me. “I don’t know. I’ve
never seen anything about this while I’ve been here. You might be a new
kind of wolf.”
I hug my knees to my chest and hide my face in them, a tear coming down
my cheek. “A freak,” I whisper.
Suddenly, I am in Finn’s arms, being rocked and comforted. “No, you’re
NOT a freak. You are very important to me and to the Pack. We’ll find out
what’s going on. I promise you, I will if they don’t.”
I nod, careful not to say anything. After a minute, I sit up and give
Finn a gentle hug. “Finn, what have I done for the past 4 years, without
you I mean?”
“Same here, I don’t know how I allowed us to be parted. You know I’m oh
so very sorry about that, don’t you?”
He pulls back to look me strait in the eyes. “Yes. I’m sorry, too.”
He smiles, sadly, and brushes a small lock of hair out of my face. “What
do you have to be sorry about? You’ve done nothing wrong.”
“I’m sorry for not telling you what I told Ember, sooner at least. We’re
bound to each other. How could I not trust you?”
He smiles bigger, and says, “That reminds me, in order to be officially
bound to each other we have to promise to be with each other always. Better
or worse, I’ll always be there for you, Natasha Misty Winterpike. I promise
to always help you, to be your protector, and to care for you as long as
you need me.”
“Finnick Taylin Brown, I promise to always be there for you, to help you
any way that I can, to protect you, and to care for you as long as you need
It is then that I feel the electric spark. Where my hand touches his,
the sweet shock courses through me, through my veins in my hand to
everywhere else. I smile, liking this new feeling already. “You feel that,
too?” Finn asks. I nod, intertwining our fingers together, closer. “That
means it’s done. I can hear your heartbeat, too.” I close my eyes and
listen closely. I hear a faint thu-thump of his heart beating and I smile.
“I can hear yours, too.”
He smiles, and then I hear a quick, little knock on the door. “Come on
in, Willow.”
Willow comes through the door, wearing a new outfit than the one she had
on earlier. “How long was I out, Finn?”
“A few hours.”
“Natasha, how are you?” she asks.
“Pretty good.”
“Goodness! Your voice sounds awful! Does your throat hurt?”
“Little bit,” I answer, rubbing my throat, absently.
“Well, Jade can fix that. Come on you two. Josh wanted me to see if she
was awake, because they think that they might have found out what’s up with
Finn’s eyes get bigger and he stiffens. “Well…?”
Her look turns slightly sullen, but she quickly hides it, and for that
one single second, I am completely terrified. “I think that you’d better
let Josh explain things.”
Finn, Willow, and I walk down the hallway to the room with all the
couches. Ember and Josh are standing in the doorway, talking. When they see
us, they stop and just give us nervous smiles. Jade is placing flower vases
all around the room and Skylar is helping her. Not really a guy thing but
hey. Skylar will do anything to make Jade happy.
There I go again!
Finn and I sit down on one couch and Willow sits in front of us on the
floor. Mariah sits on the piano bench. Chase, Skylar, and Jade take their
places on the sofa to the left of us. Skylar casually lays his arm around
Jade’s shoulders as Ember and Josh come over to us. They stand in front of
us, worries across their faces. I don’t want to know what they are
Finn gives my hand a squeeze, and it’s then that I realize that I never
let go of it. I squeeze feebly back, not succeeding to making him feel
better. My hands are shaking slightly and I’m afraid that if I speak, I’ll
I look up and see Josh’s blue-hazel eyes staring into my green ones.
“Are you ready to start the meeting?”
I nod. Finn whispers in my head, “It WILL be okay.”
“How are you doing that?” I think.
“Soul-bound people can use telepathy. Pretty cool, right?”
“Alright,” Josh says, getting my attention back. “Natasha, we think that
we know why you are having these things happen to you. We think that you
are an Omega.”
“A what?” I whisper. “Is that bad?”
“Oh no! It’s very good. Each Pack has an Omega. The Omega’s have healing
abilities to help if a wolf were to ever get hurt, they open their Pack
mind so that the wolves can talk to each other telepathically when in wolf
form, they create peace between the Packs, and they have no intension of
causing violence to anyone, enemy or friend.”
“But,” Ember continues, “There are some dangers to being an Omega.
Danger tends to follow them around. You may need more protection than a
normal wolf. Second, the Omega has to have complete control over his or her
emotions to phase. If you are angry or sad or even really, really happy,
you won’t be able to phase until you have calmed down. And last, Omegas
have lower body temperatures. Usually around 96 or 95 degrees.”
“Is that all?” Finn asks.
“Well, she’ll have different classes at school.”
“What classes will I have at school? I’ve been meaning to ask.”
“You’ll have your regular grade school classes like math, history, and
so on, but you will have extra classes,” Josh says, answering my question.
“I was going to enroll you in the Delta classes, but looks like you will
need to be put in the Omega classes instead.” My confused look makes him
laugh. “Deltas are the pups of the Packs, the newcomers. The kids will move
their way up the Pack standards. The highest they can get is to a Beta, the
second in command, and then the Alpha is succeeded by his and her heir.
It’s a long story, but you will learn it all in you history class.”
I nod. “When do I start classes?”
“Three days,” Jade answers. “You will have classes with three other
Omegas: Alyssa, the Minong Pack Omega; Richmond, the Feldtman Pack Omega;
and Alik, the Red Oak Pack Omega. They are all very nice.”
“Do you go to school there?” I ask.
“Nope,” she says, smiling. “I graduated last year, and Sky here doesn’t
go either. He graduated two years ago.”
“What are all of your positions?” I ask again, curious about my new
“I’m an Alpha,” Ember says, “So is Josh, then Mariah and Finn are Betas;
Willow, Chase, and a girl named Casey that you’ll meet later are Gemmas;
Skylar is the Head Scout; Blake is another one that you’ll meet later.
He’s a regular Scout; Peaches and her twin brother are out for the day and
Peaches is our Wolfen Warrior and Connor is our only Delta. Wolfen Warriors
are a thing that you’ll learn about later.”
“Good grief, now I’ve got a headache.” They all laugh.
“I think that we need to give you a tour of our land,” Josh says, as we
finish talking about what not.
“Okay, are you going to take me or is someone else going to?”
“I’ll go and anyone else that wants to join us is welcome.”
Josh, Finn, Willow, and I all get up and head towards the door. On the
way out of the Lodge, Willow comes over to me and whispers, “Natasha, I
wanted to know if you wanted to come with me, Mariah, Peaches, Jade, Ember,
and Casey to a girl thing that our Pack does every once in a while. It’s a
bonfire kind of thing. Jade makes the most wonderful snacks and we talk
about girl stuff. It’s so much fun and I wanted to know if you’d join us.”
Her violet eyes sparkle with anticipation. “Sure Willow. I dought that
I’ll get along with Mariah, though. She doesn’t seem to like me that much.”
“Mariah has trouble with accepting any new person into the Pack. I’ll
tell you about that later. She has a good reason, though.”
I nod, wondering what happened to Mariah to make her the way that she
is. Josh leads us away from the Lodge and into the woods. Everyone phases,
and I look around to see their familiar wolf forms. Josh walks into the
woods farther. We all follow.
I remember something that Josh had said earlier. “…they open their Pack
mind so that the wolves can talk to each other telepathically when in wolf
form…” I try to connect with Finn, and he is as easy as thinking to myself.
“Do you think this will work?” I ask.
“Try it,” Finn says.
I concentrate all I can on connecting with Willow first. When I feel her
mind open, I say, “Hey Willow. Can you hear me?”
She jumps where she stands. “Natasha! How did you do that?!”
“Omega perk. I can get into the Pack mind and open it to everyone.”
“Sweet. How come I can only hear you?”
“I’m here, too, Willow,” Finn says, as we continue to trot through the
“Josh?” I say.
“Good going, Natasha. You’ll have to connect everyone in individually
when we get back.”
“Can do,” I say. “So, where are the boundaries?”
“Along here,” Josh explains, running along a wall of trees that have
very light painted green crescent moons with three stars hanging in the
center. “Is the left boarder of our Pack. We can only go onto the other
Pack’s lands with permission of that Alpha pair. Got me so far?”
“Yeah. What are the moons and stars for though?”
“That’s the Greenstone Pack symbol,” Willow explains. “Each Pack has its
own symbol and we mark everything with it. The trees on the borderlines,
the lockers at the school, our backpacks, Lodges, everything!”
“I like our symbol,” I say, still looking at the line up of trees.
“When you go to the school, you’ll have a locker with your last name and
that symbol on it,” Finn explains. “It’s really great that no one has the
same last name, except for siblings, and they have ways of telling their
lockers apart.”
“Cool,” I say, and then I hear a rustling of the bushes in front of us.
“What’s that?”
“Peaches,” Josh answers. He barks, telling the wolf to come on out.
The wolf comes out of hiding and she has the most unique fur I’ve seen,
so far. The fur by the base of her skin is jet black, like Finn’s fur, and
then it gets lighter as the hair goes up. By the top, it is completely
white, but you can still tell every color of the hair. She shakes the
leaves off her fur and her coat seems to shimmer. I try to push into her
mind. Once in, I hear her talking.
“Peaches, can you hear me?” Josh asks.
She, like Willow, looks startled, and asks, “Josh, what’s up? I think
we’ve got something going around. I can hear you.”
Josh huffs a laugh. “Nope. We’re perfectly fine. Natasha here is an
Omega. She can push into everyone’s minds when we’re wolves. It’s going to
be so much easier to communicate when we phase now. Natasha,” he turns to
me, “this is Peaches. Peaches this is Natasha.”
“Hey Natasha. Nice to meet you. How long have you been here at Isle
“A few days. Where have you been? I don’t remember seeing you here
“Oh, I was on a field trip to the high mountains in the Greenstone Ridge
with my class. We are learning about Greenstone and we thought that the
best way to learn about it was to go and look for some. I found a bunch and
brought it back for everyone to look at. I’d show you now, but it’s in my
pocket.” She chuckles. “Kinda forget to take it out. Woops.”
We all laugh. “So if you have something in your pocket when you phase,
it kind of disappears with your clothes?”
“Yeah,” Finn answers. “I do it all the time. In fact, I think I have my
knife in my pocket now.”
“Okay, cool. It won’t hurt you though, right?” I ask, worried all of a
“Na. I’ll be fine.”
“We should probably be getting back, Josh,” Willow says. “It’s getting
late and we girls need to help Jade with the preparations for tonight’s
“Okay, but first I want to show Natasha the way to the school. Also,
I’ve got to pick up Fearless from her classes.”
“Who’s Fearless?” I ask.
“My little sister,” a voice says from behind me. I turn around and see
the white wolf. Mariah. “You take everyone home, Dad. I’ll go get
“Okay, Mariah, but take Finn with you. I don’t want anyone out after
dark without a partner.”
“Gottcha. Come on, Finn,” Mariah says, walking ahead of everyone.
Finn looks to me, and I shut everyone out of our heads. “It’s just us,”
I say to him. “Finn, go. I’ll be fine. Willow’s gonna show me around, and
I’m going to the fire tonight. Okay?”
“Okay,” he relents. He comes over to me and licks my cheek. That was
unexpected. “I’ll be back soon. Fearless is named after her personality.
She’s fearless. She’ll wanna meet you, no dought about that.”
He takes off after Mariah, and I turn everyone back on. “Natasha, what
happened? Everyone got turned off,” Josh asks.
“Sorry, Josh. I’m still trying to get a hold on this thing. I’ll try to
not let it happen again.”
He nods and leads us back towards the house. “Josh?” I ask.
“Yeah, Natasha?”
“Where are the other Pack’s locations?”
“Well, the Minong Pack is north of us, on the other side of Lake Desor.
The Red Oak Pack is south of us. And the Feldtmann Pack is southwest to us.
Our Pack’s land stretches from the very west of the island to the very east
of the island. The Minong Pack has about a half of our land in size; the
Feldtmann Pack has about a quarter of our size, and the same for the Red
Oak Pack.”
“Okay, cool. Let me guess, I’ll learn more in class?”
He chuckles. “Getting into our heads has some advantages, eh?”
“Mm hm.”
“So, Natasha,” Peaches says, after a minute. “How do you like Isle
Royale so far?”
I laugh nervously. “Well, I love it, but I haven’t seen much. Been… a
little behind schedule.”
“Really? What happened?”
And then I told her EVERYTHING. From getting here the first day, to
going to the mines, to being sick that morning, to finding out that I was
an Omega, and everything in between. “Goodness! Sounds like fun,” she says,
sarcastically. “Well, it’s a shame that you aren’t a Delta. You would’ve
been in my twin brother’s class. Connor would have kept ya busy with his
never ending chatter.” I laugh. “Probably would’ve gotten you in trouble
with that, too. He likes to talk… A LOT! Ah, who am I kidding, you’ll
probably be telling me to shut up by the end of the day.”
“We all like talking to you,” Willow tells her.
“Thanks, Willow.”
“No, really. You never bore us. You’ve always have something to say that
keeps us awake, unlike your brother. All he talks about is video games and
TV. The dude’s a Wikipedia of singers, actors and/or actresses, movies, and
video games. Jeez!”
“How old are you, Peaches?” I finally ask.
“I’m eleven. How ‘bout you?”
“I’m fourteen. I’ll be fifteen in four weeks, tomorrow. When’s your
“September 18th. Willow, aren’t you going to be fifteen in October?”
“Yep,” she answers. “October 2.”
“We’re home, guys,” Josh says.
“Oh, it’s so good to be home!” Peaches says, excitedly. “Is the fire
“Yep, and I asked Natasha to join us. She said yes.”
Everyone shifts back to human and I get a look at human Peaches. She has
light brown hair, black brown eyes, and her skin is an Asian tone. She
looks Asian, now that I think about it. She smiles at me. I can’t help but
smile back. She’s maybe two inches smaller than me, seeing how as I am five
feet three inches.
“You look exactly like your parents,” Peaches says.
“You know my mom and dad?” I ask, dumbfounded.
She laughs. "Gosh, girl, everyone knows your parents. They’re legends,
heroes!” I stare at her. “But, I’m guessing from your face, that you didn’t
know that, did you?”
“I have a lot to learn,” I say, rubbing a hand over my face.

“Is there anything that I can do to help, Jade?” I ask, walking into the
kitchen behind Josh but in front of Willow and Peaches.
“You can help me with the veggies,” she answers, waving her knife
slightly to the side of her, a pile of cucumbers and carrots and others
beside her.
I walk over to her and find another cutting board. She hands me another
knife and a cucumber. I start to peel it over the sink, under the cool
water. I hear the door open but no footsteps enter. I assume that I’m
hearing things and go back to my work. I don’t hear anything for a few
seconds, then I feel someone’s arms wrap around me. “Boo,” Finn whispers.
“Hello, Finn,” I say, smiling. I rinse my hands off and dry them. After,
I turn around and hug him back. “How was the errand?”
“Good. Fearless is super excited to tell her parents about her testing
“Wait, she isn’t a wolf yet, right?”
“Na, but she’s already learning the wolf histories and she took a test
today, telling her when she could move up to harder stuff and she
succeeded. She is so excited.”
“I bet.”
He lets me go and I look up into his eyes. “Can I help?” he asks.
“Sure, ask Jade for what you can do.”
“Finn, you can get out the plastic plates, forks, and cups please.” He
does as she said and he even fills the 14 cups with hot chocolate that Jade
has made. After I finish cutting the endless pile that Jade gave me, I go
over to the pantry. Out of it, I get the loaf bread. I take it back to her.
“You needed this?” I guess.
She smiles at me and takes the bread. “That mind-reading stuff can be
really useful, you know. Thanks Natasha.”
“Any time,” I say, smiling. “Can I do anything else?”
“Nope, I think that we’re about ready.”

“Why does it get dark SO early?” I ask, looking out the kitchen window
at the sunset. It’s only four o’clock.
“I know. It sucks, right?” Jade says, pulling cookies out of the oven.
“Here at Isle Royale, we only get, maybe, nine daylight hours. It’s awful!
Where I come from, in L.A., there are endless hours of light. But, you’ll
get used to it. After a few days, you won’t even notice.”
“We’ll, I’m from Georgia, so I love the sunset, but normally I have to
stay up pretty late in order to see it.”
She eyes me curiously. “Really? From Georgia?” I nod. “You don’t have a
hint of a southern accent.”
“My mom is British, and my dad was raised in Pennsylvania, so I guess I
took after them.”
“Interesting,” she mumbles, taking a boom box out of the closet beside
the pantry and starts playing a familiar song.
“Fearless?” I ask.
Suddenly, a little girl comes running into the room. “I love this song!”
she exclaims. She’s the cutest little thing, with her dark, dark blonde
hair and brown lowlights and strikingly mesmerizing blue-hazel eyes. She
can’t be four feet tall, maybe three feet… and a few inches at the most.
She’s so tiny and slightly olive tone of her skin is the perfect mix of her
father and mother’s skin colors.
Jade scoops her up, saying, “There you are, Fearless. What cha been
“Aunty Jade! I passed my test! I passed my test!”
“That’s great!” Jade says, excitedly. “May I see?” Fearless hands her a
paper, and Jade looks it over. “Oh, Fearless, this is wonderful! You got
almost everything right. You only missed—.”
“—my running test. It’s not my fault! I can’t keep up with all the
other bigger kids.” She throws her hands in the air, exclaiming. “I’m not
as fast as they are! I hate it.” She crosses her arms over her chest and
scrunches up her little nose, clearly disgusted by the idea of being beaten
by her classmates.
“Alright. Do you want to get faster?” The little girl nods
energetically. “Well, today is Monday. Not tomorrow but the day after is
the first of February, your day off. Do you want me to teach you a few
things then?”
“Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! Please Jadey? Thank you!” She throws her arms
around her aunt’s neck.
“Any time, Hon. Fearless, have you met Natasha yet?”
Fearless looks over to me and smiles. “Nope. Hi Natashie!” She waves her
little hand.
Jade and I both laugh. “Hi Fearlie,” I say, waving back. She giggles.
“How did you know my nickname?” And then giggles again.
“Err… I heard someone say it. How old are you?”
“I’m four years, eleven months, two days, and,” she looks to the clock,
“sixteen hours, and three minutes.”
Jade and I erupt in laughter. “Oh, Fearless. Counting down already?”
“Wait, her birthday is on my birthday. February 28th.”
“Cool. We have the same B-day!” Skylar comes through the back door and
goes over to Jade’s side. “Hey Skylie!”
“Hey Fearlie. What’s up?”
“My test got a good grade.” She hands him the paper and he looks it over
just as Jade did.
“Fearless, this is wonderful! Good going.” He holds his hand up for a
high five.
After smacking his hand, she hops down and says, “I gotta go show Willow
and Chase and Peaches and….” Her voice gets quieter as she runs down the
I chuckle, still looking after her. “She is SO cute!”
“She’s the pup, alright,” Skylar says, then he turns to us. “Everything
ready here? Josh wants you to know that the boys have the fire already
started for you guys. The boys are going to play some night football while
you girls have your time to yourselves.”
“We are just about ready here. Can you get the table set up outside?”
“Already done, Hon.”
Skylar gives her a cheeky grin, knowing that he’s done something that he
knew she would ask him to do. “Thanks, Sky. Then can you help us take out
the veggie trays and the cookies?”
“Sure,” he says, and he picks up the two veggie trays and heads out the
door, just as Peaches and Finn come in.
“We wanna help, too,” Peaches says.
“Peach, you can take the ice-cream and the hot chocolate pot. Finn, you
take the tray of drinks and DON’T spill it, please. Natasha, could you take
the cookies? I’ll take the mini sandwiches.”
“Sure,” everyone says at the same time.
After we get everything out to the tables, the wide spread of snacks
makes me slightly hungry. “Looks good,” Peaches says.
“You boys, don’t be afraid to come over and get a snack every now and
then, okay?” Jade says to them.
“We will, you can be sure of that,” Josh says. “Knowing Chase, we’ll be
over here in less than a half an hour.” He grins at Chase.
“Okay, okay, let’s go play ball already!” Chase complains.
All the boys leave, and the girls are left alone for a change. I see a
new girl. “Who’s that?” I ask Willow.
“Oh! You mean you two haven’t met? Silly me. Come on! You’ve got to meet
Casey.” She takes me over to a taller girl with a pixie cut of blonde hair
and hazel eyes. “Casey, I’d like you to meet Natasha. Natasha, this is
“Nice to meet you,” she says sweetly.
“You, too.”
She bites her lower lip. “Your parents are Daniel and Forrest
Winterpike, aren’t they?”
I cross my arms, wonderingly. “How does everyone know my parents? It’s
creeping me out.”
She laughs. “You look a lot like them.”
“I do?” I ask, twirling my long curly hair around my finger.
“You do. You have your father’s Peridot green eyes and your mother’s
hair: Long, brown with blonde highlights, and curly. You even have the
slightest red streaks here and there.”
“Let me guess, History class?”
“Nearly the first thing you learn,” Willow says.
“Girls,” Ember calls from the campfire, “Come on over. We’re about to
We go over to the fire, its glow lighting the area around us. The sun
has nearly set, leaving its own light. The luminosity of the crescent moon
above us looms around the light cirrus clouds.
The two tables are still filed with goodies and special treats. There
are eight chairs out around the fire and most everyone has taken their seat
already. Willow, Casey, and I take seats beside each other, and jade hands
us our cups of hot chocolate. “Thanks, Jade.”
“You’re very welcome, Natasha,” she answers, smiling. So much like the
big sister I never had.
I take a sip of my warm drink, as Ember starts talking. “How is everyone
“I’m glad to be back home,” Peaches says.
“Aren’t we all?” Casey adds.
“You weren’t even gone that long,” Willow comments.
“I got an A on my test!” Fearless exclaims, fearlessly.
“That’s awesome, Fearlie!” Casey says to her, the smile on Fearless’s
face getting bigger at all the attention. “When did this happen?”
“Today, I took the test. The only thing that I didn’t get right wasn’t
even a fair question. No, not question, more like… oh I don’t know.” She
does a little shrug.
“What did you not get right?”
The little girl crosses her arms. “I didn’t run as fast as they wanted
me to. I’m not as fast as they said that I should be, but Aunty Jade’s
gonna teach me in two days. Right Jadie?”
Her pleading expression is TOO adorable. “Yep! And we’re gonna show ‘em
how fast ya really are.”
She gets up and dances around as we laugh at her. Ember, Jade, and Casey
start to clap for her and we all join in. Fearless smiles at all the
attention that she is getting.
“How about you, Mariah? How has your week been?” Ember asks.
She stares into her cup. “Same as always: dull.” Ouch.
“Willow? I heard that you and Savannah Bridges pulled a prank during
free period,” Ember says, a hint of concern creeping into her voice. “What
Willow sits up and smiles. “Well, you know how a few weeks ago how
Kimber Violet and Trixxa Mays pulled a prank on the entire Gemma class?
Well, to get back at them, Savannah and I decided to put hair coloring and
ink in their shampoo and conditioner during free period, so that when they
went to get their showers after class, they’d have a little surprise
waiting for them.”
“What colors did you put in?” Peaches asks, eagerly.
“Well, for Trixxa we put blue because that will totally not go well with
her short auburn hair, and we did purple for Kimber. Her orange hair isn’t
so orange anymore.” A huge grin spreads across her face.
“Willow—. Jade starts.
“I know, I know, I know. I should’ve done it, but you had to see their
faces when they came to class the next day. AH! SO worth it!”
“Don’t do it again,” Ember orders.
“Yes Ember,” Willow says, sinking down into her seat slightly.
“So,” Jade says, “Natasha, are you glad to see Finn again? After all
this time?”
I sigh and chuckle slightly. “You have no idea. I’m guessing that he
told you about me before I came here?”
“Ha! Getting him to talk about something else was the problem,” Fearless
I stare at her. “Really? What kind of things did he say?”
“Nothing bad, he just talked about how much he missed you.”
Tears come to my eyes. “Why didn’t you let him see me? I felt the same
way. Why?”
“It’s the Pack law. We called a meeting with the other Pack’s Alphas to
ask if the rule could be changed, but we decided to keep it the same.”
“You hurt him,” I whisper. “And you hurt me. Haven’t you had a family
member that you miss so much because you have to stay here? Why wouldn’t
you change it?”
I look down and close my eyes. Keep control, I tell myself. It’s okay.
Natasha, a voice says in my head.
Finn, please, keep out.
“Natasha, I’m sorry, but we have to have three Packs in agreement in
order to change or pass a law. Our Pack and the Red Oak Pack were going for
it, but the Minong Pack and the Feldtmann Pack didn’t like the idea. They
have their reasons. I’m sorry I brought it up. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Bad memories, that’s all. So,” I say, finally looking
up, “Jade, you and Sky?” I raise a eyebrow.
She blushes. “Oh, Jade definitely likes him. She’s told me several
times,” Fearless states, looking at her aunt and smiling triumphantly.
Jade turns about 17 different shade of red. “FEARLESS! I told you not to
tell anyone about that stuff.”
“Well, they did ask.” Jade looks down and gives a small huff. “I’m
sorry.” Fearless goes over to Jade and pats her shoulder.
“It’s okay, Fearlie. They’ll find out anyway. Yeah, I like him. So?”
“So, I like you, too,” a voice says from behind her.
She flips out of her seat. “Skylar! What are you doing here?”
“I came to get a snack, along with the other guys. They’ll be here in
just a minute. Really?”
“Really what?” Jade asks, playing with her hands and looking down.
“Gosh, I can’t believe you heard me,” and with that, she walks swiftly past
him back to the Lodge.
“I’ll go talk to her,” Ember says, but Skylar puts a hand out in front
of her.
“No, I’ll go. You girls have fun.” He walks towards the Lodge.
“I wonder how Jade is doing,” I say, worried for her.
“More than likely, she’s fine,” Josh says. “Knowing my little sister,
she’s just fine. Skylar will find a way to cheer her up.”
I smile. They make a perfect couple.
The boys have decided to join us after an hour and we gladly let them.
They’d gotten tired of playing football, anyway. I have met the last person
in the pack, a scout named Blake. He’s friendly enough. He has longish
black hair and green eyes; emerald green eyes.
Everyone is having so much fun. I love the dynamic nature that the Pack
has. The emotions of everyone is almost visible, a fun-loving aura. Coming
here the first day, I didn’t know what I would find. I didn’t know if the
Pack would be harsh and all rules, or way too laidback, but this is exactly
what I hoped for. A family. You may think that it is easier to be without
parents, but to tell the truth, I’ve missed them. I’m glad I came and I
wouldn’t change anything if I could do it over again.
And pretty soon, I will go to school to learn how to be a correct and
proper Omega. I’m chomping at the bit to go. Everyone here is SO nice. Why
will the others be any different?
“Alright, guys,” Josh says. “It’s time to turn in for the night.
Everyone carry something in and we’ll have everything cleaned up for Jade.”
I help carry the dishes back inside. Most of the girls do the same
thing. The guys collapse the chairs and tables, carrying them back to their
rightful places.
When I set the dishes into the sink, I start to look around for Jade. I
look around the kitchen, she’s not here. I go to the hallway and listen for
any noises at all, nothing. I follow the hallway over to the last place
that they can be, the family room, as I call it now.
When I get to the doorway, I see and hear a movie playing. I walk into
the room and see a barely awake Jade sitting next to Skylar. His arm is
slung over her shoulders, making her feel safe. “Jade,” I say softly. “Are
you okay?
She turns her head slowly and smiles at me. “Yeah, Tasha. I’m fine.”
“She’s not,” Skylar tells me, smiling. “She’s exhausted, but she won’t
tell anything.” She glares at him. “Well you are.”
“I need to go clean everything up,” she says, trying to scoot away from
Skylar and to get up.
He holds her firmly in place next to him. “Uh, no. you aren’t going
anywhere. You get up and you’ll just collapse.”
“But I need to—.”
“No, you don’t,” I say. “We got everything done for you. You don’t have
to do anything.”
I give her a smile. “Thanks Natasha. We appreciate it,” Skylar says for
She rubs her face, tiredly. “I need to go to bed.” She tries to get up,
only to have Skylar scoop her up and carry her instead. “Thanks, Sky. Good
night, Natasha. Tell everyone that I’m okay. ‘Kay?”
“I’ll tell them. Good night Jade. Sleep well.”
She and Skylar disappear into her room. I go back to the kitchen and
find everyone doing last minute cleanings. “Jade said to tell you guys that
she’s fine. She and Skylar just went to sleep.”
Ember sighs. “Oh, good.”
Fearless looks about ready to cry. “Is Auntie Jade gonna be okay,
“Of course she is, Fearless.”
“Is she really okay, Natashie?” Her little blue eyes sparkle with tears.
I pick her up, and say, “Oh yes. She’s perfectly fine. She just was
really tired. She’ll be like new in the morning.”
“When I wake up?”
“Yes,” I say, chuckling. “When you wake up, I’m positive that Jade will
have made you your favorite breakfast.”
“Butter toast?” the little girls says, excited.
“Absolutely!” Fearless gives me and a hug and then yawns. “I think that
it might be past your bedtime, though. Am I right, Ember?”
She gives me an appreciated look, silently thanking me for helping
Fearless believe that Jade is fine. “I believe so. Come on, Fearlie. Time
for bedtime.”
I hand Fearless over to Ember, but not before she says, “Thank you,
Natashie. Jade’s gonna be just fine!”
“Good. Now go to sleep now. Be a good girl.”
After Ember and Fearless leave, everyone disperses in their bedrooms
directions’, whispering good night’s as the go. I follow their lead and go
to the room that Finn and I share.
I open the door. The room is completely black. The only light in the
room is the light coming from the bathroom. I hit the switch and go over to
my dresser that has my clothes. I take out a teal blue sweatshirt and grey
PJ bottoms. I go to the bathroom door and tap lightly twice on the door.
“Finn? Are in there?”
“Yeah, just a minute. I’ll be out in a sec.”
I sit down on my bed and wait for him to finish. When he comes out, his
hair is slicked down and he smells so clean. “Did you get a shower?”
“Yep,” he says, coming over to my bed and sitting down beside me.
“Listen, I have to go to school tomorrow. I can’t take any more days off.
Josh says I have to go. Are you okay with that?”
“Finn, stop worrying. Seriously. I’ll be okay by myself. I want to spend
the day here anyway to make sure that Jade is doing alright.”
He groans. “I’m sorry for worrying so much. I know that you can take
care of yourself, but I’m… I’m trying to make up for all the time that I
lost when I left. I don’t mean to be overprotective, but I guess it kind of
comes off that way a lot.”
“I love you anyway,” I say, and I’m surprised at what I said, and yet
the words seem so right.
“I love you, too Tashie. SO much.”
I give him a smile and get up to change in the bathroom. I change into
my PJs, brush my teeth thoroughly, and wash my face. After doing all of my
nightly ritual, I step back outside. The room is dark again, the stars
shining their light through the curtains.
I see that Finn is snuggled into his covers, sound asleep. The poor
thing is going past his limits for me, I realize. I tiptoe over to his
bedside and sit down on the edge. I observe his face in the dim light of
night. So peaceful and beautiful. All the lines smoothed out. He looks so
much younger when he sleeps.
I trace his hairline with my fingers, from his forehead, to his ear,
around it, and down to his chin. I run my hand over his silky black hair
and smile slightly. He’s so much like when we were little, but there’s
something about him now that I can’t quite describe. He’s more mature,
more… more adult-like in his appearance, even though he’s only almost
I trace his eye brows and the shape of his eyes. He sighs in his sleep
when I run my finger down his nose, to his lips, and pause there. I rub his
cheek, and that’s when I realize that he’s awake. His mouth pulls up at the
corner in a small smile. “I know you’re awake,” I whisper. His eyes slide
open, reluctant, still tired. “Go back to sleep.”
“I should tell you the same thing.” I stare into his eyes, wondering
what he wants. Finn twines his arms around my waist and pulls me down into
the bed with him. Pulling me close to his chest and tucking my head under
his chin, he says, “Just for tonight. Okay?”
I nod against him, wondering at the fact that he’s so much warmer than
me. “Finn, when you picked me up at the airport, you said that you only
have a fever some on the time. What did you mean by that?”
“What you’ll learn as you go is that shape-shifter’s body temperatures
are unstable. If you get mad, your temp. will go up. If you get scared,
it’ll drop. If you get nervous it will go up and down and that’s dangerous.
Get it?”
“Sorta,” I mutter, falling into sleep quickly. I should’ve waited until
tomorrow to ask, I think.
You can ask me anything, anytime, anywhere, Finn thinks back to me.
“How are you answering all my thoughts?” I ask, pushing away from him
“You aren’t blocking your mind. Everything that you think I can see. If
you’d focus, you will, more than likely, be able to see my thought, too.
I’ll never block my mind to you, Natasha. It’ll always be open.”
I stare into his eyes, trying to find a weak spot in what he just said.
Nothing. I close my eyes and try to connect with him.
Very good, Finn praises me. What do you see?
I search his mind. I see tonight at the fire, I see us in the caves, I
see us on the plane, I see him and his dad working in his garage on
something, I see him and his mother working at a store, and lots of other
flowing memories.
I see… everything, I conclude, speaking through my mind.
Told you.
Tell me what you see in my head right now.
I think of how much Finn means to me. I think of how much I care about
him. I think of how much I love the Pack. And last of all, I think of how
much I am thankful to him of taking me here. I can’t imagine life without
I feel the same for you, Honey, he says inside his head. We need to get
some sleep. Okay?
I sigh and press closer to him. Okay, good night, Finn.
I feel a kiss on my forehead before I succumb to sleep.

When I wake, Finn is gone. I groan and roll over into his spot. I glance
at the clock. 8:36 in the morning. How early did he leave?
Finn? I think. Finn where are you? Can you hear me?
Natasha! You’re awake. Sorry, but I didn’t want to wake you.
You’re so sweet, I say, smiling at his thoughtfulness.
Well, I’m in the middle of class. I gotta go. Let me know if you need
anything. I’ll contact you during free period, gym, and track and field.
That’s always a dull class. Okay?
Okay, bye. Love you.
Love you, too, and then I feel his mind slip away.
I breathe a heavy sigh and roll out of bed. I walk to my dresser,
getting my jeans and my favorite warm, citrus orange, green, and yellow
T-shirt, and walk towards the bathroom for a nice hot shower. Out of the
bag on the back of the door, I take my citrus scented shampoo and
conditioner and hop into the steaming water. After doing my daily thing in
my morning shower, I get out and crack the door to let the steam evaporate
into the other room. After the mirror clears, I get dressed and dry my
hair. I put on Finn’s friendship bracelet and a pair of orange stud
I clean up after myself and go out of the bathroom. I make the bed and
then head out of the room altogether.
Walking down the hallway, I smell an aroma of something going dreadfully
wrong in the kitchen. Something’s burning.
I run down the rest of the way and rush into the kitchen fearing the
very worst. Peaches and Willow stand there, trying to blow out what looks
like a pillar of smoke coming off of the stove and oven. “What’s going
on?!” I exclaim, rushing over to put of the fire.
“Well, Jade’s still sick, so we decided to try and make her something to
make her feel better,” Peaches explains.
The fire on the stove keeps burning, no matter how much water Willow
throws onto it. “WILLOW!” I screech. “That’s a grease fire! You don’t put
water on it! Here, cover it up with the pan’s top.”
She slams the top onto the fire and the flame sputters into
nonexistence. We all sigh. “What were you trying to make anyway?”
I glance at the burn toast in the trash. “OH! WE’RE AWFUL AT COOKING!”
Peaches exclaims, throwing her hands in the air. “We just wanted to try to
do what Jade does ever day for us and we got carried away with what we
could and couldn’t do and we just—.”
“Peaches, Peaches, Peaches, it’s okay. I’ll help you remake everything.”
“Oh, would you?” they say at the same time.
“Yep, now, what did you wanna make again?”
"Alright," I say, looking around the fridge for the eggs, milk, O.J.,
and butter.
"I'll get the bread," Willow offers.
"Peaches, can you cut up some fruit?"
"I was made for that That's why my parents named me Peaches."
I smile and focus on my job. I take the stuff that I need out of the
fridge and set in onto the counter. After that, I get a pan and place it
over the warming stove.
"Natasha, am I doing it right?" Peaches asks, motioning to her cutting
abilities on the fruit.
"Perfect! You don't have to do it that small if you aren't comfortable
with it." I turn back to my work, as does Peaches, with a huge grin on her
"I hope Jade likes breakfast," Peaches states.
"I hope Jade gets better soon. We all know that Josh and Skylar can't
cook to save their hides. Ember has more important things to attend to,
like teaching the Betas at school."
"Why are you guys here, anyway?" I ask. "Aren't you supposed to be in
"We got a dismissal today from Josh because of Jade's condition."
"Sweet, right?" Peaches smiles.
"What's wrong with Jade?" I ask.
"She's really weak and tired. She's running a 103.6 fever and she's
breathing shallowly. Skylar is taking care of her, but we're all really
worried. Jade's never gotten sick. Never. Since she's the Caretaker of our
Pack, she's the only doctor. We're having her friend, another Caretaker
from the Red Oak Ridge Pack, come over this afternoon to take a look at
I sigh. "Okay, good."
"Wanna go see her?" Skylar asks, getting the now finished food onto a
"Sky! How is she?"
"Same," he says, sullen.
"Can we see her now?"
"Sure, come on."
"Hey, Jade," Peaches says, as she opens the door.
When I get a first look at her, I gasp softly. Jade has shaded purple
blotches under her eyes. The aroma around her is weak, not at all like her
usual perky self. Her eyelids droop and her skin is very weakly pale.
"Jade! What happened to you?" I yelp, unable to help myself. She looks
"Natasha, I'm fine. Or I will be. You look like you've just seen a
"Are you hurting?"
"Not much. I just feel really weak." I connect with her and see what she
means by really weak. Her aura is vaguely familiar. "Really, Tasha. Sky's
taken good care of me and my friend from the neighboring Pack is going to
make sure that whatever I have isn't contagious."
I nod. If Jade says she'll be okay, then she will be okay. She's a
strong fighter.
"You guys, don't worry about me. Go have fun. Do what you need to do."
"We made breakfast for you. Natasha showed us how after we... didn't do
it right," Willow says, handing Jade the tray of food.
Jade's eyes sparkle faintly. "Oh, you guys are so sweet." She gives us a
big hug. "Thank you."
The day can't go by fast enough. After we gave a visit to Jade, Skylar
suggested that we give her some time to eat and rest. I agreed with him and
everyone kind of followed my lead.
First, we went back into the kitchen to make our own breakfastes. After
cleaning up there, we went to the den(what they call the family room) and
watched "Animal Planet" for a while.
Peaches got bored and took me to her room and showed me her room. It's
pretty similar to my room that I share with Finn, but it has a darker shade
of brown that colors the walls.
"What do you wanna do now?" Peaches asks, casually, as we exit her
"Yeah, what should we do versus what we could do," Willow says, as she
comes up to us.
The two share evil grins. "No way," I say, knowing that what they have
planned isn't going to help. "Nothing to get us into trouble. Not a good
way to start off here. How about we go to my room and find something to do
They look at each other. Peaches shrugs, a happy smile coming to her
face. "Why not?"
"Come on then." I lead them the other direction down the hallway and
open the door. "So, what should we talk about?" I take my orange duvet and
spread it across the floor. Everyone sits down.
"I have an idea," Willow says cheerily.
"This better not be what I think it is," Peaches whines.
Willow grins. "The Isle Royale Dance!"
"I knew it!"
"What's that?" I ask, curiously.
"Only the best time of the year!" Willow yells. "Everyone goes to the
Isle Royale Achademy here. Every year, on Valentines Day, we have the Isle
Royale Dance. The girls are asked by the guys to go and the girls of their
own Packs get together and plan their dresses and what not. We should
totally start planning. The Dance is in two weeks tomorrow. Surely, Jade
will be perfectly well by then. She always makes our dresses that we
design. The girl has no limits when it comes to cooking and sewing."
"Sounds like fun," I say, getting up and going to my nightstand. Out of
it, I get three notepads and pincils that are plain and in color. "Here.
Take a pad and let's get started."
They do so and start scribbling away, but I drawl a blank when it comes
to dresses. I hardly ever wear them so I have absolutely no clue how to
design one.
"Having trouble?" Willow asks. I smile nervously and nod to her. "That's
okay. Do you want me to help ya?"
"That would be great. I've never been to a dance before."
Her mouth hangs open. "Never?"
"Never, ever, ever. I've never danced before either."
"Oh... my... gosh," is all that Willow says. "You don't know how to
dance, do you?" I shake my head. "Oh... my... gosh. OH MY GOSH! Peaches, we
have a student in dancing."
Peaches looks up from her page. "Oh, good. 'Bout time! We haven't taught
anyone to dance since Casey. Let me guess, need help with your dress, too?"
"That would help," I answer.
"Well, at least we can teach ya how. Alright. How long do you want the
dress to be?"
"Do you want it to be long, like down to your ankles, or knee length? Or
maybe shorter than that. No, probabaly not THAT short."
"Knee length?" I say.
"Perfect. WHat color do you want it to be? Do you want it to be silk
fabric? Do you want it to have song sleeves? Short sleeves? No sleeves?"
"One question at a time," I say, laughing at her eagerness. "Color, I'd
like a peach color, if you have it. Silk, yes. Sleeves... how about elbow
length but sheer fabric instead of silk on the sleeves?"
"Great idea!" Willow exclaims. "Peaches, make sure to write that down.
Sheer sleeves."
"Already got it. Do you want glitter on the dress? What about shoes?"
"I have some ballet flats that are peach colored, and yes. Pleanty of
glitter please," I say.
"You got me there," I answer, blushing slightly. "I never wear make-up."
"Well," Willow says, "I can hoook you up there, girly. Pleanty of that."
"Okay, what are you guys gonna do?" I ask.
"I'm going to have a one-shoulder turquoise dress, with a shell belt and
collar, I have pleanty of shell jewery, and the dress is going to come down
to my knees. Oh! And it's going to be made of a shimmery fabric. What cha
"I love it," I say, looking over at her planning sheet.
"Me, too. My dress is going to be purple. Light purple with sequins.
It's going to be at my knees like you guys and it's going to be sleeveless.
I'll have straps instead. I have pleanty of amathyst jewery so I'll use
"Love the idea," I say.
"Me also," Willow says. "Natasha, what kind of jewery do you have to
"I have mother of pearl and moonstone."
"Ooo, pretty I bet," Peaches says, admiration in her voice.
"Want to see?" They nod. I get up and move to the dressers. I take out
my small travel jewery box. I take out my moonstone ring, moonstone
necklace with mother of pearl beading, my mother of pearl and moonstone
earrings, and my bracelets of the two. "Here, look at them. My mother gave
me the earrings and my dad gave me the bracelets, becuase they know how
much I love those gems."
"Who gave you the ring? And the Necklace? It's looks like something out
of a fairytale."
"I found the ring and necklace on my nightstand two years ago and it had
a note with it. Here." I pull the note from the locket in the necklace
charm. "The note says, 'Wish I could see you more. Stay you. Sorry.' and
then it has-."
"-The Pack symbol!" exclaims Willow. "I bet that it was Finn who left
you this! See? Look below the moon. 'FTB'. Finnick Taylin Brown! It was
"All this time and I never figured that out," I whisper, staring at the
beautiful stones.
"Well," Willow says, smiling, "You didn't have me."
We all laugh.
After an hour or two of planning our outfits for the dance, Willow,
Peaches, and I hear a knock on the door. I glance at the clock. 3:32. "Is
it too early for them to be home from school?" I ask.
"No," Peaches answers. "It's actually right on time."
Willow gets the door. On the other side is Mariah. She comes into the
room, after Willow invites her inside. She gives me a pained look. "Can I
talk to you alone, please?"
The serinity in her voice makes me say, "Yeah, sure Mariah."
"Um... we'll just... go get the fabric choices," Willow studders. "Come
on, Peaches."
After they leave, Mariah says, "Natasha... I've come to... apologize.
I'm very sorry about how I've acted towards you and Finn. I'm also very
sorry about the accident that I caused the first day you were here. Will
you forgive me? I want to explain why I was like that."
"Mariah," I say. "I forgive you. If you don't want to tell me you
"-I want to," she insists. "Thank you, for forgiving me."
She sighs and moves over to sit on the coverless bed. "Finn's outside.
He's not too thrilled with me talking to you alone after what happened."
"Well, that doesn't matter. He needs to let it go." I get up and move
towards the door. I open it and, sure enough, Finn is on the other side.
"Finn, it's incredibly rude to eavesdrop on other people's conversations."
When he doesn't say anything, I reach out and give his hand a quick
squeeze. "She's not the same Mariah. Let us talk... alone."
He looks directly into my eyes and sighs. "Okay, but let me know if
anything funny happens."
"The second, now... scat cat!" I smile when he smiles.
He walks down the hall and yells back, "Dog!"
I shake my head and close the door behind me. "You two...." Mariah
starts, half smiling.
"Yeah, I know. Perfect right? He can't leave me alone for two minutes.
He'd better... if he knows what's good for him."
I go to resit back down on the bed, facing Mariah. "You were going to
"Oh, um... well...."
"You can tell me," I say, trying to look into her eyes, but she only
keeps them downcast.
She sighs, and starts, "I had what you and Finn have, once a while ago.
I had a soulmate. He was everything to me. His name was... Tobias. Tobias
and I did everything together. He was our Wolfen-Warrior here at the
Greenstone Pack."
"What is a Wolfen Warrior?" I ask. "I've heard the term used many times
here already and I have no idea what you guys are talking about."
"A Wolfen Warrior is the head fighter of the Pack. There's one for each
Pack and every six months, we host the Wolfen Games.
It's a big honor to be a Wolfen Warrior. Tobias loved being our Warrior,
but, a few years ago when I was thirteen, something went terribly wrong.
You see, there are rules to the Games. There's no killing involved,
there's no weapons involved, and there's no two winners."
"How do you get to be the winner if you can't... eliminate anyone?" I
"Each Warrior is given a tag of their Pack symbol. The other Pack
Warriors have to be able to get the tag off the other wolves neck and the
only way to do that is to knock them down, hard."
"Oh, okay. Back to Tobias then."
"Well, as I was saying, Tobias... he... he-." She gets all choked up and
starts crying softly.
"Hey, it's okay. I'm here. I'm listening." I rub her back, soothingly.
"I'm sorry, Natasha. It's really hard to talk about him, about what
After she calms down, I ask, "What happened, Mariah?"
She sniffles and starts to talk again. "Durring the Summer Solstice
Wolfen Games three years ago, Tobias disappeard. He just... vanished. No
sign of anything. The other Packs claimed to have not seen anything. But, I
think otherwise."
"What do you mean? You know what happened to him?"
"Not... precicilly. I think that the Minong Pack had something to do
with it.
The Minongs are cruel and rutheless when it comes to the Wolfen Games.
They'll do anything to win. That's what makes me think that they did
something to Tobias, because Viper, the Minong Wolfen Warrior, won. Last
time I saw Tobias was when he had Viper pinned down. He would have won, but
I don't care if he won or not. I just want him to come home to me. I miss
him SO much!" She starts to sob again.
"Oh, Mariah," I say, giving her a hug around the shoulders.
"I need to stop crying. It's babyish," she whispers.
"No, you have a right to be sad and hurting. If it were Finn and I that
were in this situation, I'd be doing the very same thing. It's alright. I'm
going to talk to Finn about this and I'm going to learn as much as I can
and help you get Tobias back. I promise."
She looks up at me. "Really?"
"Really. Come on. Let's go do something fun with the Pack. I just have
to get past Finn."
"Finn doesn't calm down for anyone but you," she says, wiping away the
few tears that leaked out of her brown eyes. "Thanks a lot, Natasha." We
walk down the hallway.
"Sure, Mariah. I'd be doing the very same thing. Don't worry. I'm going
to help you any way possible."
She gives me an appriciated smile as we walk into the den. Finn jumps up
from the couch, comes over to me, and jerks me into a hug, fiercely cutting
off my air. "Finn! You're choking her!" Mariah exclaims, tugging on one of
his arms.
He loosens his hold, still keeping me in a strong embrace. "Finn, Mariah
didn't hurt me. We're the best of friends now." I smile over at her and she
returns it.
"That's not what I'm worried about."
I look up into his eyes, all black. "What do you mean?"
"The collapsing of the caves wasn't a accident. Dinamite was set
there... on purpose."
I'm too stunned to speak. "Who," Mariah demands in a whisper.
"Minongs," Finn answers, burring his face in my hair.

"The Minong Pack did that?!" I exclaim, pulling away from Finn. "I
thought that you said that everyone here is peaceful."
"Mostly," Mariah answers, letting Finn get a hold on his breathing
before he speaks. "Like I told you, the Minongs are rutheless, murdering,
hellhounds. I'm not in anyway surprised that was there doing."
We wait a few minutes to absorb this, Finn refusing to let me go. "Finn,
calm. Shh, shh." I run my hands up and down his broad back.
He shivers and lets out his breath, unevenly, then straitens up, kissing
my forehead. I sigh, relieved, and rub his chest soothingly. "There. All
He smiles wryly at me. He looks over to Mariah, and asks, "You okay,
She gives him a watery-eyed smile. "Yeah. Finn. Look, I'm-."
"No," he says, interupting her. "I'm the one who should be sorry. You
have had a lot go on in a small amount of time. I should have been more
considerate of that." He holds out his hand in a silent agreement of peace.
She grins at him and shakes his hand. "Friends."
Willow and Peaches come out of the hallway and stare at us like we're
the Loch Ness Monster. "Do my eyes decieving me," Peaches says, "Or are
Finn and Mariah getting along?"
"We're all friends now," I say, coming between Finn and Mariah.
Willow's jaw drops to the floor and she feints onto the couch, jokingly.
We all laugh at her dramatics. Willow will always be Willow, wild, fun,
full of positive energy.
"Peaches and I found a cool thing in the woods. Wanna go check it out?"
"Sure," Mariah, Finn, and I say at the same time.
We follow Peaches and Willow outside and into the woods a few yards away
from the Lodge. My teeth are chattering, and Finn notices. "Hold up," he
says. "I'll be right back."
He runs back into the Lodge and comes out, momments later, with my deep
brown parka.
"Th-thanks," I manage to get out.
He smiles at me as he helps me put it on. "Everyone here remembers to
get a jacket before they go out."
"I-I live in southern Georgia F-Finn. I n-never wear a j-j-jacket."
He chuckles, as we head into the woods farther. The night was very cold,
I think to myself.
Maybe an inch of snow fell, Finn answers.
I smile at his intrusion of my thoughts. You gonna do this ALL the time?
Yeah, pretty much, he answers.
I reach for his hand. I think, Love you Finn.
Love you, too. He places a silent kiss on my hair.
The woods of Isle Royale look like something out of a fairy tale. Not
the green kind of woods, but the recently snow-fallen woods of snow white.
It feels enchanted almost.
Willow is ahead of Peaches, and the two lead us to a wide rock with lots
of ivy and vines covering the face. "Here we are," Willow states. She moves
away the ivy and shows a cave opening.
My grasp on Finn's hand tightens, and Peaches notices. "It's not a
miners tunnel, Natasha. It's a cave going down into Mt. Desor."
I sigh, my hand hold loosening. He tightens his, letting me know that
it's okay and that he's here for me.
I lean into his arm as we go into the cave opening and down slightly,
into a shaft-looking tunnel. The walls are circular and wooden, not made of
dirt like the tunnels I've seen before.
When we get down to the end of the shaft, it turns out to be a dead end.
"You lead us to a dead end?" I say. "Oh, that IS neat."
"Oh, shut it. You haven't seen the best part yet," Willow yaps at me.
She takes off her Pack amulet and puts it to the wall. The wall opens up,
and we stare there, amazed. "Well," Willow and Oeaches say from the other
side of the wall. "It's safe. Come on!"
"Willow, it only lets one person go in at a time," Mariah says, to the
now closed wall.
"Yeah, I know. Use your amulet for the Pack. It's a security thing, so
that no humans can get in, I guess. Put it around your neck and step
closer. It'll open then."
Mariah pulls out her Pack charm and places it around her neck, moving
closer to the wall. It opens and she goes in. It closes right after she's
fully through.
Peaches does the same thing. Before Finn can get his out, I say, "Finn,
I can't go in there. I don't have an amulet."
He smiles. "I know. I'm gonna take care of that." He takes his amulet
and sets the chain so that it's at the longest it can go. He pulls me
closer and wraps the chain around both of our necks. He picks me up and
walks us closer to the wall. It opens, not knowing the difference between
one and two people.
After we get through, Peaches, hands on hips, asks, "What took you guys
so long?
"Tasha doesn't have a amulet, Peachy," Mariah answers for us. "Patience,
young one."
The two break out laughing. "Come on then. We're not to the best part
yet," Willow orders.
Finn sets me down on my own two feet, but doesn't let go of my hand.
"Thanks," I whisper to him.
"No problem."
We get farther down the shaft, and I start to notice a few differences.
"Is it just me," I say, "Or are the walls getting wider?"
"It's not just you," Peaches says. "You'll see. Just keep walking."
As we get even father down the tunnel, I see a light coming from an
exit. You see that, I ask Finn.
Mm hm.
Good. I'm not the only one.
"Almost there, guys," Willow announces.
As we get closer, the light embraces us, blinding me temporarily. When
we're completely through, I am... amazed, if that can cover the awe for
this place.
"Talk about being wonderstruck," I whisper.
Mariah snickers at me. "Not a Taylor Swift fan, are you?"
I give her a knowing smile. "Just like you."
She looks embarased. "Natasha!"
Finn laughs. "You told everyone that you hated Taylor Swift. Liar, liar,
pants on fire."
"Oh, whatever."
Anyway, the room, or should I say, auditorium that we have entered, is
magnificent. We're above, sort of like being in the balcony. There are a
flight of stairs on the four sides of the room, and chairs. Chair are all
along the sides of the balcony-like upper room. The walls of the room are
some sort of light green gem.
Greenstone, Finn says to me. That's what the walls and ceiling are made
out of. It's soundproof. We host the Wolfen Games here, but I've never seen
the entrance we just came through.
"This is where the Isle Royale Dance will be," Mariah says.
"Really?" I ask.
She nods. "How do you know that and not us?" Peaches wines, crossing her
arms over her chest.
Mariah shrugs. "Being the Alpha's daughter has some perks. I didn't
think to tell you guys until now."
"Where was the Dance last year?" I ask again.
"At the school, but everyone wants it to be special this year."
I nod and look closer to the trees. "What's on the trees?" I ask. It
looks like there is little pices of glass on wire.
"Lets go down and see," Willow says, walking down the staircase.
Is it okay to go? I ask Finn.
He just shrugs and leads me down the stairs beside him.
When we get to the bottom, Willow and Peaches run up to the nearest
tree. Willow doesn't hesitate a mili-second. She climbs up the trunk and
slips herself easily onto the nearest branch.
"What are you guys doing here?" a boys voice asks.
We all turn around. Chase stands at the end of the staircase.
"How did you find us here?" Mariah asks.
"I followed you."
"Oh, that's just great," Willow says, figgeting with the wire and glass
balls that hang from the tree. "The glass balls are like really big
Christmas lights, guys, and the wires supply power. It's for the Dance."
"Anyone could have told you that, Willow," Chase taunts, his arms
crossed and a smile on his face.
Willow hops down the branch and lands directly in front of him. "And who
might you be going with for the Dance?"
"Savannah Bridges," he answers, curtly.
He isn't telling the truth. I give him a wondering look. He returns it,
put of the corner of his eye, the look saying, "Don't tell her I'm lying."
I nod, not knowing what he's up to. He smiles at the corner of his mouth,
silently thanking me.
"Well," Willow studders, "Well, that's just... fine. I'm going with Alik
Meyers, your friend."
Chase winces, looking slightly hurt. I want to say somethijng so bad, to
tell them that the other isn't going with the person they say that they're
going with, and then it dawns on me. Chase and Willow... like each other!
They're trying to make the other jealous, not knowing that they both want
to go with each other! I'm going to have a talk with Chase later today and
I'm going to try to convince him to ask Willow.
"Guys, we'd better be getting back," Finn says, urgencey in his voice.
"Why?" Mariah asks.
"I hear someone coming down the shaft. Hurry! Everyone hide behind those
He leads all of us behind the shrubs and we all crouch down, being as
quiet as mice. When the visitor comes into viewing, my forehead starts to
heat up and I start to shake. When I get a look at the person standing 100
yards away from us, I gasp.
It's a female, with long curly brown hair. She has topaz colored eyes
and her skin is the same coffee color as Embers. In fact, if it weren't for
the eyes, I'd say she looks exactly like Ember!
Another person comes into view. A male this time. He has deathly white
skin and chin length black hair like midnight, the same color eyes as the
girl. His grin is evil. He looks around and then goes ahead of the girl.
"Come on, Viper. Let's get the job done."
In Viper's hands is a small, black box. She looks down at it with sorrow
and a tear slips down her cheek. "Viper!"
"Coming Father," she says, wiping away her tear. She follows the man and
they go to the middle of the woods where they find a dancefloor.
The man taps the floor with his Pack symbol.
Minong Alpha Jet, Finn says telepathiclly to me. And his daughter,
Viper. If they're here alone, they're up to no good.
We all turn to see what they're going to do, but they're out of view.
"Come on," Finn whispers to us all. "While they're not here, we'd better
scat. It won't be a happy visit if they find us here."
"But what they're up to can't be for the health of the Packs. We must
stay and watch," Willow says.
"Willow, I'm sorry to do this, but I'm a Beta. You have to do as I say,
and I say we leave... NOW!"
We all scoot out from under the bushes and make our way up the
staircase, silent as night itself.
After we all get through the door, Finn says, "Let's phase and get outta
here. We don't know how long they'll be in there. They might be right
behind us."
We all phase and head back towards the Lodge.


Alright, as soon as we get back to the Lodge, I say to everyone in my
mind, I'm going to talk to Josh and Ember about this, but other than them,
I think that we should keep this to ourselves.
Mariah puts in, I think you're right, Finn. Don't say anything, people.
Wow, you agree with me? That's a first! I snicker, if that's possible as
a wolf.
Shut up, Mariah spits back, but I can hear the smile in her voice.
I roll my eyes and look back at Natasha. She's been awfully quiet ever
since we left the caves. I'm wondering if the things we saw and heard is
eating at her as it is to me.
Tashie? You okay? I ask, on our Soulbound line so that we're the only
two to hear.
She lifts her head to look me in the eyes. I'm good. Why? You seem...
We pull up to the Lodge and dephase. No. Just wondering why you've been
so quiet since we left the cave.
She shrugs, clearly not wanting to go any farther into the conversation,
here at least. I'm asking later.
Casey, Blake, Connor, and Fearless come out of the Lodge and run up to
us. "Where the heck have you guys been?" Blake asks me.
"Out and about. Just on a little hike." I give him a convincing smile.
"Well, next time take us with you. Connor was torcherous."
"I wasn't that bad," Connor objects, running his hand through his curly
light brown hair.
"I've gotta go talk to Josh and Ember. I'll be back later." I scoot past
the others and go through the door. I walk towards the place where Josh
usually is after we get back from school, the office. It's a small room and
the end of the hall where we go to ask him and the other leaders of the
Pack questions.
When I enter, Josh and Ember are in a deep conversation about something,
but stop immidiatly after I enter. "Finn," Ember says, surprised almost.
"What is it, dear?" So much like my mother.
"I came to tell you guys something. Some news that I thought you'd want
to know."
"Sit down," Josh offers, scooting a chair out from under the desk. The
office is just like any other, pleanty of paper, pens, printers, a fairly
large desk with four chairs sticking out of it, and pleanty of shelving.
I sit down in the chair and turn to face my Alphas. "Josh, Ember, I know
that we're probably going to get into trouble for this, but I need to tell
you anyway."
"Who's we?" he asks.
"Mariah, Natasha, Willow, Peaches, Chase, and myself. We found a
entrance into the Wolfen Games room, one that if you wear the Pack amulet
around your neck and go up to the wall, the wall opens to let one person
inside. We found the entrance and went inside. We were just about to leave
when Alpha Jet and Viper came inside also and they had a small, black box
with them. Viper seemed all upset and Jet was acting really suspicious.
They took the box to the dancefloor, and that's all we could see. We left
before they could see us there."
Josh and Ember are quiet for a minute. "You know that you aren't suposed
to go around on school grounds outside normal class times or if you are
assigned something special."
"Yes, sir. I know. I just thought that you should know about the Minong
Pack being there also."
"You are dismissed. We'll talk about this." I get up and I feel guilty.
"And Finn." I turn around from the door. "Thank you." Josh smiles at me.
I return it and find my way out of the room and go down the hallway to
our room. I get inside and find Natasha sitting on her bed, reading a book.
She's pretty deep into the story, I can tell by the look on her face. She
has her earbuds in and she doesn't even hear me when I close the door. I
walk over to her bed edge and wave a hand in front of her face. She jumps,
the book falling to the floor. I laugh as hard as I can. "Finn, that isn't
funny," she says, after realizing it's just me.
"You are such a scaredy-cat," I say, picking up her book and taking a
look at the cover and title. Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater. "Is it good?" I
ask, giving the book back to her.
"Very." She takes her earbuds out of her ears and wraps them around her
now off iPod.
Once she's settled down, I sit down on the bed beside her, and say,
"Sorry for scaring you."
She shrugs, a smile coming to her face. "'S okay. I'm a easy scarer."
She starts to fiddle with the hem of her shirt. "Is something up? You've
been quiet for a while."
She shrugs again. "Not really. It's nothing. How's Jade? Do you know?"
"I don't know, but we can find out. Come on."
When we walk down the hallway, I smell something delicious being cooked.
Natasha looks at me, wide eyed. I say, "Jade's back!"
Natasha smiles hugely and runs down the rest of the hallway. I follow
her and, sure enough, Jade is just fine in the kitchen, cooking away.
"Jade!" Natasha exclaims. She runs over to her and gives her a big hug.
"How are you?"
Jade chuckles. "I'm just fine. My friend from the other Pack came over
and gave me some medicine."
Jade bites her lower lip, something she always doesn when she lies.
"Jade," I say.
She rolls her eyes and pushes Natasha away, gently. She huffs, and says,
"Okay, fine. I'm okay now, but... I was poisoned."
"Poisoned?" Natasha squeaks. "How could you have gotten poisoned?"
She shrugs, slightly. "The Red Oak Pack Caretaker said that it might
have been in many forms. Gas, food, water, the list is limitless. She said
that is might have killed me, if they hadn't had the antidote."
Natasha's face turns pale. "But, you ARE okay now, right? Completely
Jade nods. "'Course! In fact, I'm going to make something special for
"What is it?"
"Na uh uh. No peaking. Not until after dinner." I roll my eyes. Sure
enough, Jade will want to wait. "Alright, guys. Natasha, we have some work
to do."
Jade rubs her hands together as Natasha gives her a questioning look.
"We do?"
"Well, you're going to school in two days. Not even that, the day after
tomorrow. I'm gonna be beat tired tomorrow because of my work with the
Alphas and Fearless, so I thought that I'd help you get your stuff ready
today. Good with you?"
Natasha smiles hugely. "Oh, yeah!" She jumps up once. "This is great.
Come on, come on, come on!"
She drags Jade away from the kitchen, but before she goes, she says to
me, "Take the cake out of the oven in ten mintes, 'kay, Finn?"
I solute to her. "Yes, Ma`am. Right away, Ma`am." She smiles and shakes
her head as she is pulled away.
Well, as soon as Jade said that she will help me get ready for school, I
practically pull her into the hallway. "What will I need?" I ask.
"Well, first of all, you pulled me the wrong way. We need to go to the
closet by the den."
After we get to the den, Jade leads me into the room and finds a door by
the shelving, and opens it. Inside is a walk-in closet, sort of. There's
plenty of shelves, boxes, totes, and other containers of some sort. Jade
goes strait for the top green box and pulls out a peridot green backpack.
"You will absolutely need this." I take it and look at our Pack insignia on
the front pocket.
She clasps the box together again and pulls it off the top, to open the
orange box below. Out of it, she hands me a small, light green pouch. I
give her a quizical look, and she laughs. "That," she says, pointing to my
satchel, "Is what you'll use to store your geography samples."
I stuff it into my backpack as she continues going through the totes.
"Let's see. You need... this." she hands me a amulet like the others have.
"Finally a part of the Pack, officially at least." She smiles.
"Wow," I say, staring at the shining light metal of the charm. I place
it around my neck. "What else will I need? I want to be prepared."
She goes to the very back of the closet and pulls a small off-white box
off of the top shelf. "This, was the last Greenstone Pack's Omega's." In my
hand, she wraps a shield shaped, metal, thing-y. "This is your pass to go
to Omega classes. See, look. In the top left corner of the pass is the
Greenstone Omega symbol, then in the top right is the Minong Omega symbol,
then in the bottom left is the Red Oak Omega symbol, and then the other is
the Feldtmann Omega symbol. Got me?"
"Yeah. Sort of. It's a lot to learn, is all." I take a closer look at
the crest in my hands. The Greenstone Omega symbol is a crescent moon with
a tiny star in the middle of the moon. The Minong Omega symbol is a
crescent moon slid up and to the side with another, smaller crescent moon
opposing it. It has a tiny star hanging in between. The Red Oak symbol is a
half moon with two tiny crescent moons on either side of it and a star in
the center of the moon itself. The Feldtmann Omega symbol is a fullmoon
with what would be a crescent moon outlined inside. There's a slight shadow
coming off the left side.
All are every different, but they all are creative. Individual.
Although, the Greenstone Pack Omega symbol glows green, as soon as it is
put into my hands. "Whoa, what happened?"
Jade smiles. "It likes you."
"What do you mean it likes me? And why is all my stuff green? Is there
some sort of catigorizing with colors?"
"The pass recognizes that you're from the Winterpike family. And, for
your second question, kinda. Each family hsa their own distict color. Your
family has always been peridot green, therefore, you inherited it. The last
Greenstone Pack Omega was a girl named Star Andews, but your great aunt
Beatrice was the last one to have the pass."
"Why did Star not need the pass?" I ask.
"For a good while, the Omega's didn't need the passes. Your aunt gave it
to the Greenstone Pack to keep until you came along. She knew it would be
you next."
"She knew that it would be me?" I ask. "But how?"
As we walk out, Jade answers, "Omega's are known to have profetic
dreams. If you have any funny dream or real-feeling dream, there's a chance
that it might be reality telling you something."
I try to take all of this in. My family has a long, and important
history with the Pack that I never knew about. "I can't wait two days. I'm
SO excited!"
Jade laughs, as we head into the kitchen. "Well, that's good. I think
you'll like your classes. Alyssa, Alik, and Richmond are all really
friendly. All Omegas are. It's their nature to be." I set my stuff down
onto the kitchen table. "Wanna help me with the cake?"
I smile. "Sure. I love to cook."
I go over to her and see that she needs frosting. I prace to the pantry
and find three different colors; white, red, and black. You can make any
and every color with those.
After making the cake, I take my stuff back to my room. I set my new
backpack in the place of my old one, but I can't seem to let the old one
go. I place it into the empty bottom drawer of my dresser and hang the pass
next to my backpack, on my bedrail.
I run my fingers over the amulet hanging from my neck. It feels warm
under my touch.
To tell you the truth, I am excited about finally belonging somewhere.
All my life, I've been out of step, always feeling odd and non-belonging.
Now that I'm here, I feel like I have a family. A Pack. At last, somewhere
to belong.

"Natasha! Tashie, wake up." I groan and pull the covers over my head,
trying to block out the noise.
"Go back to bed," I mumble.
Someone with a deep voice laughs. Finn. "Honey, we've got to wake up.
Time for your first day of school. Come on. Outta bed." He pulls the covers
back down and slips his arms around me, picking me up.
"Finn! Set me down. I set the clock thirty minutes ahead last night. I
do this every morning. Give me ten minutes. Please!"
He huffs a sigh. "Oh, fine then, Miss Crankey." He lays us back down
onto my bed.
I sigh, contentedly, and snuggle into his chest, wrapping my arms around
his neck. "Sorry," I whisper into the fabric of his shirt. "I should know
better than to talk before I'm fully awake."
Finn pulls the covers past our shoulders and helps keep me warm by
tightening his arms. "I was just teasing. I won't wake you up like that
every day." I can hear the smile in his voice.
"Oh, well then. That's good, 'cause next time I might not be so easy to
deal with," I say, chuckling. He kisses my hair, sighing as he does. "What
time is my first class?" I ask.
"You have Music at eight o'clock."
I smile. "Mmm. Nothing like a little music to wake you up."
We wait there for about ten minutes, before Finn gets up and says,
"Okay, we need to get up now."
I nod and sit up. "Okay. Should I go get my shower before you?"
"I already got mine. It's all yours."
I jump off the bed, heading towards my dresser. What should I wear?
"Just be yourself," Finn says to me, answering my unasked question, like
he always does.
I pull out a pair of jeans, my black boots, a blue and pink plad top
with a long-sleeved blue shirt for underneath, and I start to grad my
socks, when Finn adds, "Make sure you dress warm and with a jacket." After
that, he heads out the door.
I bite my lip as I feel his presence fade away from me. I litterally
makes my chest ache and feel cold. I reach up to touch right below my neck.
After I get my clothes, I take them into the bathroom and shut and lock
the door behind me. I get into the shower and scrub my hair with my citrus
scented shampoo and conditioner. After being all washed up, I get out, get
dressed, and blow-dry my hair, leaving it natural with its wavey curls that
flow down my back to my waist.
I take my Pack amulet and wrap it around my neck, leaving it extra long
so that I can make room for my mother of pearl and moonstone necklace. I
put my make-up on. Yeah, I know I told Willow that I don't have make-up.
Well, I don't have all the fancy stuff. I only put on foundation and
covering(and lipgloss on a rare occasion).
I finish there and go to my textbook filled backpack. Yesterday night,
Jade had given me my textbooks: Algebra II, English 9, History 9,
Science/Health 9, "Of People"(reading assignments), and my music sheets.
I had started guitar seven years ago, just as a hobbie, but I had ended
up playing really well. Finn and I took lesons together before....
Anyway, I sling my backpack over my shoulder and grab my gloves, my
jacket, my little, blue snowcap, and my scarf.
As I go out of the room, I smell breakfast. Mm, mm, mmm. Hury up,
Natasha, Finn taunts me.
I go into the kitchen and see everyone sitting at the kitchen table. I
join them. Sitting beside Finn, my chest feels less stressed, tight, and
cold. I see him sigh and I think that he might feel the same way about
being far away from me. Does he?
Jade hands me a breakfast of bacon and eggs. After we all finish eating,
I glace at the clock. 7:13.
"We're gonna have to leave in two minutes," Finn explains to me. "I'm
going to make sure that we're on time and that I can be certain that you
get to the right classes."
I nod and help clear the table. "Bye Jade," we all say on our way out.
"Bye guys! Have a great day."
I put on my coat, gloves, and hat, but decide to leave my scarf here at
the Lodge. I step outside into the cold, fridged air. It stings my cheeks
and I shrink back farther into my parka. Finn comes up beside me and takes
my hand in his own large and warm one. I thread my fingers through his.
"So, how far to the school?"
"It's a two mile walk there and a two mile walk back. It gives us lots
of exersise."
"Well, that's good. Let's get going."
We walk the two miles that it takes to get to the Academy, up to an old
abandoned building. The plastering on it is falling off piece by piece, the
brick long faded.
How old is this place, Finn?
Oh, the building itself? Probably two hundred years at least. We found
it after the humans abandoned it and made it our school in December 21,
1912. Our hundreth anniversary is this year.
Cool. Okay.
The Pack walks up to the old-hinged door and walks in. Finn and I
Inside is basically the same as outside, old and broken down. In
single-file, everyone moves towards the staircase that is in the far
corner. Walking down the stairs, I feel the air around me get warmer. I
follow everyone down the stairs to the second floor.
It's a large room with hospital white walls, a wooden floor, and a desk
in the middle of two identicle wide doors. A lady is sitting at the desk, a
She smiles at us when we walk in. "Goodmorning, Greenstone Pack."
Her brown hair and eyes are the exact same color, and her eyes come to
life when she smiles. She looks like she could be 25 years old. "Hi,
Alicia," Everyone says, except for me. I don't even know the girls name.
She eyes me, still smiling. "Who is this?" We walk up to the front desk.
"This is Natasha Winterpike," Finn answers.
Her smile gets bigger with every word. "Well, welcome, Miss Winterpike."
She extends her hand to me. I shake it as she says, "I'm glad to see that
you've had no problem getting here. How do you like Isle Royale so far?"
"I love it," I answer. "It's so... so lively here. Everyone is so
friendly and welcoming."
"Well, that's good. Now, Josh tells me that you are the Greenstone
Omega, correct?" I nod. "Okay then. You will be in classroom, or CR, number
9-2. Grade 9, section 2 on floor 4D." She hands me a small brochure-like
thing. "Your Math, English, and Music teacher is Mrs. Harris. Your History,
Science, Health, and Art teacher is Mr. Harris. These classes will all be
in CR 9-2. Your Omega classes will be after original classes. They will be
held in CR Omega on the bottom floor, 6F. Kind of hard to forget that. Is
everything clear, Natasha?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Okay. Good. That is your map of the school, just in case. The lockers
are on another section of the building. You go to the bottom floor, go
left, go up to the fourth floor and your locker will be in room B. One
floor above the lockers is the Caffiteria, one floor below the lockers is
the showers that you can use after gym and track class, below that is the
confrence room, and last of all the bottom floor of the second section of
the building is the Batte Arena. That's where we have the training as a
wolf. Got everything so far?" I nod again. "Good. Finn, if she has any
questions, if you can't answer them, make sure she comes and gets me."
"Yes, ma`am."
"Alright, all of you had better get to class."
"Bye, Alicia," I say as we leave. "Thanks for everything."
"Any time."
The Pack leads ahead of me down the staircase. One floor, two floors,
all the way down five floors, to level 6F. We turn left, just as Alicia
told us to, and head down a hallway. On the walls are pictures of people,
Alphas. I glance at the end of the wall. The picture of a young woman with
curly blonde hair, brown eyes, and an adicting smile, she looks so
And then, the lightning bolt hits my brain.
"Mom?" I whisper.
"Yep," Finn answers. "See, look at the label."
Forrest Katie Summerton.
"Wow, it is her." I'm still trying to prosess the fact that my parents
did in fact go here as well.
"And here's your dad." Finn points to the picture a few paces down.
A young man with bright red hair and peridot green eyes. Dad.
"This is still new to you, huh," Finn says, looking me in the eyes as I
stare at my dad's younger self.
I tear my eyes away and nod to him, saying, "How did you prosess all
He chuckles. "Pretty much the same way. Some part of me wanted to learn
everything," we start walking down the hall again, "but then some part of
me was so mad at the... thing that made me like this. Whatever or whoever
the original was." We walk up the stairs to the fourth floor to the
Finn walks to the black one with the Greenstone symbol. He motions to
the locker next to his own. A peridot green one with the last name
"WINTERPIKE" etched on the front, along with the symbol.
He continues our conversation, by saying, "It made me leave you."
"But I'm here now," I say, taking his hand in my own. "And there's no
reason for us to be separated again."
He shakes his head. "That's not true."
My breathing stops, nervous. "What?"
He sighs, looking down at the floor. "Omegas in the past have been
tareted by... other forces.
You may think that it's only werewolves that exist, but the truth is
that we're not real werewolves. We're shape-shifters that just happen to be
wolves. There are real werewolves, and they're vicious, bloodthirsty
You know why we haven't had an Omega for a while in the Greenstone
Pack?" I shake my head. "The last Omega for our Pack was murdered by the
real werewolves. Her... her name was Starlyn Andrews. Everyone called her
It was when I first arrived, when it happened. Star and I went out to
check for a suposedly lost person from another Pack.
It was a trap.
Star and I walked right into it and she told me to run. I was only a
Delta so I had to do as she said, but you know me," he chuckles sadly,
"stuborn as a rock. I stayed and tried to fight off the monster, but
they're so much bigger than us and they don't have control over themselves
like we do in wolf form. The thing took Star and... and killed her right
there. The Alphas, all of them, came and took down Star's murderer, but not
before she had been killed. I never forgave myself for not protecting her.
Star and I were good friends. Not like me and you, but she was a few
years older than me and she kept me out of trouble here and at the Lodge.
She was best friends with Mariah and Tobias before he disappeared. She
loved everyone and everything to do with the island. She... she...." He
closes his eyes and a tear leaks down his cheek. "I'm protective of you
because I'm afraid of your fate being like hers. I don't want you to think
that I only protect you because of her, because that's not true, but
Natasha, I couldn't save her. I'm stronger now. I want to make sure that we
don't have another name disappear." He meets my eyes and they're filled
with the most agony that I've ever seen.
I walk over to him and wrap my arms around his torso. He entwines his
arms around me and buries his head into my shoulder, gasping for air. I
just hold him tight, hoping to provide some ammount of comfort. "I believe
you," I whisper.
He pulls away suddenly, and his face is clear and back to normal. "I'm
sorry to dump all this on you before your first day of school."
"It's okay, Finn. Why didn't you tell me any of this earlier? And why
didn't I pick up on it like I always do?"
"I try not to think about it... her." I look into his eyes. "It's almost
eight o'clock. We need to get you to music class. Okay?"
I nod, giving him my most reasuring smile. He smiles back, his anger and
worry diappearing like water vapor. "Good. Come on."

Finn walks me down the hallway to a classroom with the markings, "CR
9-2" on the door. I breathe in and out deeply to clam my nerves. Finn gives
my hand one last squeeze before he opens the door. He slips inside before
me and pulls me after him.
I turn to look at the classroom. About fifteen to twenty people are
seated beside their intraments, all looking at us. The room is just like a
normal classroom. Just like the ones at home in Georgia.
I look to the teacher, Mrs. Harris. She's in her mid to early thirties.
Her pixie cut black hair is strait, her smile catchey.
She smiles at us, and my fear of not being liked by the teacher melts
away instantly. "Hello, Finn. This must be Natasha."
"Yes, Ma`am."
"Come on then. You two sign in. We were just getting ready to start."
As Finn and I move to the sign in sheet she has placed in the front of
her desk, I say to him, Finn, I forgot to pack my guitar from home. I can't
play any other instrament.
That's okay. I'll ask if you can have one of the spares.
I sigh. Thanks, Finn.
Finn says, "Mrs. Harris, Natasha plays guitar but doesn't have one to
play here. Is it okay if I get her one from the closet?"
Mrs. Harris nods, still smiling. "Of course." She looks down at the sign
in sheet and takes her pin and begins to write our first names and Finn's
last name."How long have you been playing, Natasha?"
"Seven years," I answer.
"Hmm. Just sa long as Finn, eh?" I nod. She chuckles. "Last name?"
There's a gasp that goes around the room. I hear chattering about my
name. I REALLY need to get to my history class. "Now, now, class. That's
not a way to welcome a new student. Natasha is a very important person here
at Isle Royale, especially to the Greenstone Pack. She's their Omega. I
don't want any fighting. Now, settle down. Finn, you may go get Natasha her
instrament to play. Natasha, I'll put you in the group with Finn, Casey,
and Alyssa. Is that okay?" I nod. "Good. Alright everyone."
Finn come out of the back of the room. I haven't even realized that he
had left until I see him in the back of the room. He motions me to come
over to the group in the back of the classroom. I, gladly, go to the back,
out of the way of the stares of the other students.
I sit down beside Finn and whisper, "You didn't tell me that you had
music with me."
He shrugs, smiling. "Didn't think about it."
I slap his arm playfully and turn my attension to class. "Okay, today
we're just going to have you practice what ever you want to. You'll have
thrity minutes to do so. Begin."
I prop my guitar up on my knee and start to play soft chords. Casey,
comes to sit beside me. "Hey, Tasha! Isn't it great that we're in the same
"Super!" I say, smiling at her. "Where's Alyssa? I thought that she was
also in our group."
"Right here, Natasha," a girls voice says. I look around to see a girl
my age and height. She has short chocolate brown hair, blue eyes, and
pretty pale skin. She comes to sit in front of me. "Hi. I'm Alyssa. Nice to
meet you."
"Nice to meet you. You're the Omega for the Minong Pack, right?"
She smiles so largely that her eyes completely close. "You got me. I
guess that we'll be in more classes together."
I grin and pull out my sheet music from my old teacher in Georgia. My
favorite to play is Taylor Swift's "Enchanted". I love to play the lyrics
in my head as I play. I start to play, and everyone quickly picks up on
what I'm playing. Finn starts to play the chords, Casey takes her violin
and plays the lyrics with me, and Alyssa plays the chords also with her
As all the students play their select music, ours is the only sound I
hear. The harmony that our intraments create is beauty.
We finish and everyone smiles at each other. "Have any other cool
songs?" Casey asks. "All we ever have is classical stuff. Taylor Swift is
way cooler than that."
I shuffle through my book bag. I pull out my music file and look through
all of my favorite music sheets. I pull out Kelly Clarkson's "The War is
Over" and begin to play that. Alyssa smiles hugely and plays the chords on
her violin. Casey and Finn follow, playing their parts.
As we finish, Mrs. Harris comes over and taps me on the shoulder.
"Natasha, Finn, Casey, Alyssa, that was beautiful.
As you may or may not know," she smiles innocently at me, "we are
getting ready to start preparing for our end of the year recital for music.
We're having trouble picking out the music. Would any of you be interested
in helping with that? I love the way you play together, right off the bat
I look at everyone else. We all nod. "Oh, good. We're going to start
preparing next week, so if you could have a few songs picked out by then,
that would be great."
After we finish Music class, Finn says, "You'll have your Math and
English classes next. I have to go to my 10th grade classes, okay?"
I nod, trying not to show any emotion at all. "Okay. I'm good here." I
feel my eyebrows pull together slightly.
Darn it, Natasha. Don't give anything away!
Finn rolls his eyes, clearly hearing my thoughts as well. Natasha, don't
worry. My classroom is just next door.
He pulls me to his side as everyone else in our group goes to sit at
their desks, getting out their books in the process. I hug him briefly and
then let him go to his classes. He looks back at me one last time as he
walks out the door.
All the time during Math, I think about everything that I've learned so
Okay, facts that I know:
1. Dad and Mom are apparently some famous Alphas. Were Alphas.
2. Everyone knows their names and mine too.
3. I may be hunted by real werewolves.
4. My great Aunt Beatrice was the second to last Omega.
5. The Omega before me was murdered by real werewolves.
6. There are three other Omegas.
7. The Minongs tried to have Finn and me killed by blowing up the miners
8. We found Jet and Viper doing something to the ballroom.
9. Finn didn't leave me because he didn't like me, he left me to protect
And 10. I have no idea what my family even is anymore.
Before I know it, Math is done and we move on to English. I love
English. Even though there are so many rules, there's a beauty to the
structure of words.
After that class, I get all my books together. I go over to Alyssa and
Casey. "Hey, guys, where do we go next? I have no idea."
"Next we switch rooms with the kids in CR 9-1," Casey says.
"Oh, okay. Is that just next door?"
"Yep," Alyssa says, walking towards the door. "Come on. We'll help ya
get there."
I follow them out the door, grateful. When we get out, I can't help the
fact that I look around for Finn. I'm sorry but that's normal. I see the
classes next to us let out. I see Finn come out and he walks over to me. He
grabs my hand and squeezes gently. "See you later," he whispers.
"Bye," I whisper back, as he walks to the stairs and I walk to the
classroom next door, awaiting many questions for my history teacher.
When I walk in, this is absolutely the most unique classroom I've seen
this far. The walls are jet black, making it seem slightly darker. On the
walls are different constallations and galazies that go all the way around
the four walls. There's also spacecrafts that are circling the room, by
some of their destinations. The solar system is on the left wall and the
sizes, temperatures, dates of discovery, founders, and why they are named
so are by the planets themselves. Same with the constellations and
The floor is the map of the world! The continent's mountains and valleys
are prominent. The deserts, rivers, oceans, seas, and landmarks are marked
with beautiful ink.
I look up. The ceiling is sky blue with beautiful exotic birds frozen in
I look to the students. Everyone is over at one part of the room or
another. A girl with short, spikey auburn hair is at the constellation
Little Dipper, writing in her notebook. A tall boy with strait blonde hair
and hazel eyes is looking over the solar system with great care. A white
blonde haired girl skips over to the bookshelf in the back of the room,
placing books back into their empty slots. I see Chase leaning over his
study book, looking over the Geography page.
He looks up and sees me. I smile at him and wave. He waves back. I walk
over to his desk. "Hey, Natasha. What's up?"
"Oh, you know, just looking around the room. Has it always been like
this? It's amazing!"
He looks around. "Na. Everyone last summer helped out with it, everyone
to be in this class I mean. And Mr. Harris too."
"It's awsome," I say, paying special attention to the constellation
Orion, my favorite. I turn my gaze to his book, opened to page 278. "What
are we learning?"
Chase sighs and turns back to his book. "We just got to chapter 15, 'Age
Of Industry'. It's hard. So many different people and inventions and
He bites his lower lip. I think this over for a second. "I'm pretty good
at history. I can help you study if you want."
He looks up at me, surprised. "Really?"
I smile. "Sure. Why not? I mean, I like helping people."
He gives me a appriciated smile. "Thanks, Tasha. I owe you one."
"Yes, you do. Do you mind doing me a small favor?"
His eyebrows pull together, wondering. "Sure."
I lean in closer to whisper, "Ask Willow to the dance."
I pull away as Chase laughs. "Natasha, I appriciate you trying to help
me, but Willow hates me. She and I aren't even friends. Besides, she's
going with Alik."
I chuckle. "No, she's not. She lied."
"But, Alik told me he already had someone to go with. I assumed it was
I shake my head. "I don't know who he's going with, but it isn't Willow.
You should ask her. She's a different person. She doesn't let her emotions
show easily."
Chase shakes his head, slowly, not sure. "I don't know, Natasha...."
"Please? For me, will you at least think about it? I know she'll say
He looks up at me again. "Fine. I'll ask her."
I exclaim, softly. "Yeah! Oh, good. Thanks, Chase. Trust me, you both
will be happier, rather than making each other mad."
He chuckles. "I hope so."
I look back at the door. "Where's Mr. Harris? It's almost time for class
to start."
Chase laughs. "Oh, he'll be around. He's always flying in at the last
"Are any of the desks free?" I ask, motioning to the desks behind and
beside us.
Chase points the end of his pencil to the desk to the right of him.
"That one's free. You can use it."
I smile. "Sweet."
I take my bookbag and unload my books for class. Just as I finish
unloading, the door storms open. Litterally! It sounds like thunder as soon
as he walks in. I jump in my seat and drop my history textbook. "Oh, sorry,
"Winterpike. Natasha Winterpike." Mr. Harris comes over to me and helps
me pick up my lost papers and book. "I assume that you along with everyone
else knows who I am?"
He laughs a laugh like the rumbling mountains. "Well, being a history
teacher, you pick up a few things. I'm sure you have many questions. I have
a session for open questions at the end of the lesson. You can ask anything
I nod and sit back down into my chair.
"Alright class," Mr. Harris announces. "Time for class to begin."
Mr. Harris takes off his hat and coat to reveal caramel hair. He hangs
them on the back of his chair. As everyone takes their seats, he says,
"Today, class, we have a new student. Miss Natasha Winterpike. Now, I don't
want any whispering about her. NONE. Alright now, lets get started.
Today in history, we're going to continue learning about The Age of
As I listen to Mr. Harris give his lecture, I start to like him a lot.
He's deffinately my favorite teacher.
"Chase, do you know what the dates of the Age of Industry are?"
Chase studders a little.
I want to scream to him the answer. 1865 to 1900! 1865 to 1900!
He looks at me out of the corner of his eye. "1865 to 1900," he states
I give him a stare. How did he do that?
Natasha, this is so weird. Is that you?
Chase! Oh my gosh. We are loosing it.
How is this possible? We're only supposed to be able to talk to each
other when we're wolves, through our minds at least. The only ones that can
talk to each other when in human form are Soulmates. Only when you're
Soul-bound. Can you hear Finn?
I concentrate on Finn's escence in the classroom below. Nothing.
That's just it. I can't hear him. Oh, gosh.
My hand flies down to my aching chest.
Natasha, calm down. More than likely it's just a little glitch in the
system. He chuckles.
I dig my fingernails into my palms, trying to keep alert. Yeah, Chase, I
know. Has this ever happened before?
Uh, nope. First time I've heard of it before. Maybe we should ask Mr.
Harris at question time?
No, I answer him in my mind. Not a good idea. I think that we should
keep this within the Greenstone Pack, for now. I don't want more rumors
going around.
Okay. I get what you mean. As you command, Miss Omega.
I can't help the slight grin that spreads across my face.
"Do you know the answer, Natasha?" Mr. Harris asks, looking me in the
I shift uncomfortably in my seat. I didn't even hear the question!
I know this one, Chase informs me. The answer is Promontory Point, Utah.
"Promontory Point, Utah," I say, hoping that Chase is right.
Mr. Harris smiles. "Good. Now can anyone name the date that the two
railroads met in Promontory Point?"
I sigh. Thanks, Chase.
He shrugs, slightly. No problem. You scratch my back, I'll scratch
I roll my eyes and raise my hand. "Natasha?"
"May 10th, 1869."
Mr. Harris looks pleased. "Do you know the history of the railroads
"Yes, I do."
"Would you mind telling the class a little?"
I sit up slightly straiter. "Promontory Point, Utah was the site of the
first transcontinental railroad. The ceremony known as 'Driving of the
Golden Spike'. The inscription on the golden spike said, 'May God continue
the unity of our country as this Railroad unites the two great Oceans of
the world'. The railroads conected the east to the west."
Mr. Harris smiles. "Very good, Natasha."
Chase gapes at me. You ARE good.
I shrug slightly. I love history. It's my favorite subject. Anyway, you
can still hear me?
Yeah. I think that it might be more than a glitch now. Maybe we'll need
it someday.
Yeah, maybe, but that stil doesn't explain why I can't hear Finn.
Have you tried again?
No, but I will right now. Hold on a second.
I focus extra hard on finding Finn's aura. I shoot my escence strait
through the floor and try to find his. Searching the room below, I feel a
familiar pull. Finn's pull. I follow it. I find him in the middle row,
Once I find him, I think, Finn? Can you hear me?
His spirit lightens a bit. Natasha?
Yeah, I know. It's me. I- have you tried to contact me at all in the
past, oh I don't know, seven minutes?
He sets his book down on the table. No. Why? Something up?
No. Not... exactly. Not really. Not precicely.
Finn huffs. Natasha, what is it?
I sigh, still keeping my eyes on Mr. Harris so that he doesn't suspect
otherwise. Finn, is it true that Soul-bound people are the only ones who
can talk to each other telepathically in human form?
Well, Chase and I can talk to each other. And, apparently, he isn't
here. Why can I hear him, why can't you hear him, and why can't he hear us?
Wow. Natasha, that is really weird. Umm... I don't think that he can
hear us on our personal, Soul-bound line. Why you can talk to him, I don't
know. Why I can't hear him, probably because you're blocking him out. If
you'd transfer the talk to the open Pack line, he might be able to hear us.
Try it. Just let your mind relax. It'll open on its own.
I close my eyes for a second and let all my emotions flow out, leaving
only peace and quiet. Finn? Chase?
Wow! There you are, Natasha, Chase exclaims. Did you talk to Finn? What
does he think?
Finn says, Finn thinks that something odd is going on here.
Sorry, man, Chase says. Didn't hear ya join the club.
It's okay. Now, let's get down to buisness. Chase, when did you start
hearing Natasha?
Oh, she was thinking the answer to the question that Mr. Harris asked
me. I heard her.
Hmmm..., Finn thinks. This has never happened before to you two?
Chase mentally chuckles. Dude, I don't think that you'd let me talk to
your girl 24/7 on a private line, but, to answer your question, no. Never
to me.
I blush at Chases comment. Chase sees my emotion change from interest
and concern for our sanity to embarasment. Sorry, Natasha, but it's true.
Shut up, I tell him, looking away to hide my pink cheeks.
Chase rolls his eyes. Alright people let's get back to the problem at
Are you sure it's a problem? I ask.
What do you mean?
Well, this could be a sign that we might need to talk in human form
someday, I explain. Who knows.
You may have a point there, Finn says, running his hand through his
hair. Around fifty years before the School was established, there were two
girls from two different Packs. Angelica Bowens and Pearl Summerton. They
were both Soul-bound to other guys, but somehow they were able to hear each
other's thoughts in human form. Long story short, they ended up leading the
Packs to victory over the werewolves.
Wow, yeah, BIG sign there, Chase exclaims. So... what should we do about
Keep it to ourselves, I say. We don't neeed rumors going around about
everybody. Don't tell anybody, but when we get to the Lodge, we talk to
Josh and Ember right away. Got it?
Yes, Ma`am, they answer.
I mentally laugh. Good, now, let's get back to class before we get into

After a very interesting History, Science, Health, and Art lessons, I
get up and walk to Mr. Harris's desk. He's stacking papers from our Art
lesson on hues and the color spectrum. He looks up and says, "Yes, Miss
"Please call me Natasha. I don't like being called Miss Winterpike."
"Oh, but your history is so rich. You should be honored to have such a
I sigh. "I am, it's just that the kids keep talking behind my back with
that name. I'd rather not use it for a while."
He smiles. "As you wish. Now, I believe that you have a truckload of
questions. Instead of having you ask me all of them, I'm going to give you
two books. One," he hands me a thick black book, "The history of the
Winterpike family and two," he hands me another fairly thick brown book,
"The history of the Summerton family. These should give you all your
I smile. "Thanks Mr. Harris."
I walk out of the class.


When I walk out of my last class, I make a beeline for the stairs. When
I arrive at CR 9-1, I see Natasha standing just outside the room, flipping
through a book. "Hey, Tashie."
She looks up from the book to me. "Hey."
She slides the book into her backpack. "What were you reading?"
"Family history. You will not believe how much of my family is in on
this secret."
We start walking towards the staircase. "Wanna bet?"
She rolls her eyes. "I'm serious. My mom, dad, my cousin Kinsley that I
love so dearly, my Uncle Bailey, my Aunt Elena, and those are just on my
mom's side of the family. Who knows how many others there are."
As the hallway clears, she asks, "Where do we go next?"
"Aren't you hungry? Next is the lunch break."
"Now that you meantion it, yeah, I am hungry. Let's go." I raise an
eyebrow at her. "Of course... you can lead. I'll just get us lost."
I chuckle. "That would be just like you, though." I wrap an arm around
her small shoulders.
I lead us down the stairs, across the hallway, and up the next flight.
We stop at floor 1G in building #2, the cafiteria.
When we walk in, most of the kids are still getting their food. I look
around to find the table that our Pack usually sits at. Right in the left
side of the room are our friends. I say, "Come on. The Pack's over here.
Let's set our bags down and then go get something to eat."
How do I describe the cafiteria. Hmm... well, the walls are creamy brown
with no windows(as you would expect for being underground) and about
twenty-five feet high. The floor is hardwood, and the tables are made of
glass, with glass benches planted into the floor. The food is on a long
aile, kind of like a K&W Cafiteria. Natasha follows me as we go get in
line, which moves rather quickly. I get my usual stuff, a little bit of
everything, except for the dessert. Natasha settles for a salad and some
fruit. I don't know how she eats SO little!
We walk over to our table and sit down with our friends.
Still there? Natasha asks, between bites.
Yeah, Chase?
Unfortunatly, yes.
Why unfortunatly? Natasha asks, smiling.
Chase moves his gaze to me. Finn, when you shut your mind up to study,
this girl here, His eyes flicker to Natasha just for a split second, Won't
stop thinking about you. It's driving me insane!
Chase! Natasha screams, dropping her fork and, unfortunatly, splattering
ranch all over herself.
"Ah!" She tries to wipe it off with the napkin, to no avail. She gets
up. "I'm just... gonna go clean up."
She heads out of the room. Mariah looks at me funny. "What's up with
I shrug, lying my best. "Dunno. She just... I don't know."
"Bet I do," Chase mummbles. I give him an evil glare, warning him to
back off. He shrinks back down. "Shutting up now."
Willow says, "Does she even know where the bathrooms are?"
"Ah! She doesn't," I say, getting up. "I'll be right back."
I get out of the cafiteria and wonder if what Chase said is true. Does
she really think about me nonstop? I know I think about her all the time.
I walk down the hallway, the direction of the bathrooms. I see her walk
into the ladies room, closing the door after her. I place my ear to the
door. Natasha is the only one inside. I push the door open and move around
the corner of the pink bathroom. I see her with a wet paper towel, trying
to wash the ranch dressing off her blue and pink plaid shirt.
"Here," I say, making her head jerk up at my voice. "Let me help." I
take the washcloth from her hands and attempt to get the stain out. I
chance a look at her face, only to see her eyes downcast. "Hey," I say,
tilting her chin up. "What's wrong?" she doesn't answer. "Is it what Chase
She nods, looking back down. "He didn't have to go and say that. It's...
it's embarrassing."
Dropping her shirt hem, I turn to throw the paper towel away in the
trash. We walk out of the bathroom to an empty and silent hallway. I look
back to Natasha, and reach out to brush a strand of hair out of her face,
my hand lingering on her cheek. "Now, why would you be embarrassed? I think
about you all the time."
She looks up at me. "You do?"
I nod. "I've always thought of you. Even when we were in Preschool, even
when we were in different grades, even when I moved away from you, I've
always wanted to come back to you."
I know it is coming, the kiss. She leans up on her tip-toes, and I lean
down. It's simple and sweet, nothing lustful about it. It ends just a few
seconds after it starts.
She looks up at me. I pull her up so that she can wrap her legs around
my waist and her hands entangle themselves in my hair. I entwine my arms
around her waist keeping her from falling. We kiss gently, one more time. I
don't know who closes their eyes first, but does it really matter? I've
been dreaming about this first kiss for too long to care.
She hides her face in my neck, and I chuckle feeling her cheeks heat up.
I lean back against the wall, just letting us calm ourselves. This is THE
perfect day. "Love you, Wolfie," Natasha whispers softly, after a few
minutes of silence.
I lay my cheek against her head. "I love you, too, Tashie. Haven't used
that nickname for a while."
"I kinda forgot about 'Wolfie' until just now."
I smile and bury my nose in her tropical scented, curly, light brown,
beautiful hair. "Ready to go back to lunch?"
She nods, as I release her, but grab her hand.

Yeah, I know. No grief about the, okay? Honestly, it was bound
to happen eventually. I'll admit though, I didn't want it to stop. Guilty.
I guess Finn has always done that to me. Addicting.
When we get back to the cafiteria, I see Mariah and Willow staring down
three other girls. The other girls have different hair, skin, and eye
colors, but their faces are identicle. A white girl with white hair and
almost white eyes stares Mariah in the eyes and is calling her some choice
words. A tan girl with brown eyes and red hair is staring directly at
Willow, who of course stares back. A pale girl with blue eyes and brown
hair in ringlets down her back is between the girls from the other Pack and
my friends. "Finn, come on!" I know a fight when I see one.
I drag him towards the fight. The red head starts growling at Willow.
She just growls back. The two white haired girls are fighting with words.
"We didn't do anything to your brother!" Mariah yells.
"Really? Is that so? Even though he was the last one to see Tobias? Even
though Max was best buds with him? Revenge, Mariah?"
"None of us did anything, Moonlight Angels," Willow gets out through
clenched teeth.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Finn yells, coming between the four girls. "What
The blonde girl says, "Something happened to my brother, Maximus.
Someone did something to him. Something changed in the past few days. He's
gone." She eyes me suspiciously. I have a feeling that this isn't going to
end well. "You!" She marches over to me. "YOU!" She smacks me on the side
of my face. The force knocks me to the ground.
"What was that for?" I screech. "What did I ever do to you?!" I'm
tempted to get up and hit her back, but then regret that thought
immidiately. Natasha, what did Josh say about an Omega? I ask myself. We
bring peace. Fighting her back will not bring peace. Just... hang in there.
She will eventually calm down.
Her sisters(I guess) restrain her, keeping her from charging at me
again. "I saw you! You were the one who took my brother! I saw you in the
woods the other day on our land! Don't play dumb with me!" This chick has
some serious problems. I wonder if there's a mental doctor on school
Finn comes over to me, helping me up onto my feet. "Are you okay?"
I nod, too stunned to speak. Not necassarily frightened, because I'm
used to this kind of bullying in my old school. "Calm down Moonlight," the
brunette says to her still fighting sister. "Max is more than likely fine.
Don't blame her."
"She was there," Moonlight whispers, her eyes still fire on me. Hatred.
"I hate you for what you did."
I whisper, "I didn't do anything. What are you talking about." The tears
start to form as I start to get a connection with her feelings. Awful
hatred, rage, anger, contempt, and something else too. Oh my gosh! I
wouldn't have believed it if I didn't just see it. "She's telling the
truth," I whisper. "She's not lying. I was there, or someone that looked
like me." A fiercsom face invades my head. Some sort of beast with long
fangs and hellish red eyes. Werewolf.
My knees buckle. Finn catches me just in time. "Natasha-."
"Finn," I say pushing him away. I focus harder, trying to get a visual
on the animal in my thoughts. "I saw it. Them. Him."
"What?" Moonlight says, relenting at last. "You saw my brother?"
"I don't know. I saw something with red eyes and fangs. Really long
fangs. It looed sort of like a wolf, but more fiercer."
"Werewolf," Finn whispers.
"My brother is NOT a werewolf! You're lying! You sorry little-!"
"What's going on here," a new, comanding voice says.
I look up to see a older woman with shoulder length brown grey hair and
grey eyes. "Good afternoon, Principle Stickland," Finn says, still glaring
at Moonlight, who is again restrained by her sisters. And I thought that
Mariah had some anger issues. This chica is completely insane!
"What's going on? Miss Winterpike? Mr. Brown? Miss Angels?"
"She hit Natasha," Finn states flatly.
"Miss Angels, would you please come with me," the principle says.
"Aren't you even going to hear my side of the story?!"
"I trust Mr. Brown. He isn't lying. Come with me please."
She gives me an eveil look before marching off. She turns around and
mouths, "You'll regret this later." I think that her parents gave her the
wrong last name. This girl wasn't even CLOSE to an angel.

So, after cleaning up the mess in the cafiteria, Finn says, Chase, are
you still in here?
Yep! Natasha too?
I'm right here, bonehead. I smile.
Chase rolls his eyes, completely ignoring my comment. Whatever. Now, we
have to go to our wolf classes. Do you think that it'll get worse when
we're wolves?
I sigh, Only one way to find out.
Finn's aura gets a little more... akward. He paces the length of our
table in the room as big as a house. Finn, I ask. Everything okay?
He stops suddenly and looks at me, as if he just realized that I am
Sorry, just... thinking about what you saw. What did it look like again?
I sigh. I've told you a gazillion times. It was big, grey, and had those
evilish red eyes that look like the devil. It had a scar over his left eye
and fangs as long as the border of Alaska. What else do you need to know?
It looked like it just jumped out of a volcano.
Finn nods, taking this into account.
And it also had a crown of roses on its head, I add. Finn just nods,
crossing his arms over his large chest, not paying me any attention
I try again, Pink roses. You know, the kind that grow in bushes.
If he were really listening, he would have said, Natasha, all roses
grown in bushes. And he would have told me that the werewolf did not have a
crown of roses on its head. But alas, he isn't listening, lost in his own
world of figuring things out... by himself.
Chase, however, heard everything that I had thought over to Finn to get
him out of his trance and is laughing his head off. Finn uncrosses his arms
and looks at us, and we're smiling like idiots.
What? Finn asks innocently, as if he's a little kids caught on a prank
and knows it.
Chase is trying to hold himself up, as he gets odd looks from the
others. However, Mariah is smiling also.
You missed out big time, Finn, Mariah says into our minds.
Riah! Finn thinks, looking at her like an electic shock ran through him.
Since when are you here?
She shrugs, placing her hands on her hips. We'll you didn't think that
I'd stay out of your heads forever did you, Dogboy?
He rolls his eyes, and we turn to face Willow, Peaches, Casey, Blake,
and Connor.
"You people are going crazy!" Willow and Peaches exclaim at the same
time, their voices like identicle bells.
"Long story," I say. "We'll explain when we get back to the Lodge."
"Come on guys," Connor says. "We had better get to our last class before
we get caught by the priniciple."

Finn walks me down the staircase. The farther we get down, the more I
realize that the stairs are made of stone, and not metal or wood. The
stairs are carved right out of the stone in the bedrock.
"Okay, so," Finn says, grabbing my attention again. "Your Omega Classes
are going to be down here; floor 6F, CR-O. Okay?"
I nod. Behind us comes a familiar voice. "Natasha!" I turn around and
find Alyssa staring at me. "Excited for classes?"
I grin at her. "Oh, yeah. I'm ready for anything." I turn to Finn. "I'm
good here. Get to your Beta classes."
He smiles at me. "I'll see you after school. Meet me here?"
I nod. "Come on," Alyssa insists, as I watch Finn walk away.
"Who are our teachers?" I ask, as we head down a dark hallway.
"Well, we have Mr. and Mrs. Howe, and Megan Swift, the Red Oak Alpha."
"So, what did you do to make Moonlight abd her sister, Sunnyday, so
"Oh! So that was the red head's name? Umm... I didn't do anything. I
think she confused me with someone else." I bite my lower lip, something
that I'd picked up from Jade. I sign that I'm either lying or not telling
the entire truth.
She stops and crosses her arms. Turning to me, her blue eyes searching
my soul. "You aren't telling me everything, are you?"
I groan. "Uh! I forgot that you're an Omega too. Well...." The truth is
that I don't know what to say to her.
"Well, she... her brother, Maximus, apparently has disappeared, and she
blames me for it because she saw a identicle twin of me in the woods with
Maximus right before he disappeared." Alyssa's jaw drops. "Creepy right?"
"I heard about Max disappearing," she whispers, walking ahead slowly. "I
also heard that it happened about two weeks ago."
"Why would she approach me now? Why did she approach Mariah now of all
times? Why didn't she do it sooner?"
"The Angel family went into mourning... big time. They didn't leave
their rooms for a whole week."
I shake my head. "Wow, but why would they accuse me? I didn't even get
here until a few days ago." Sarcastically, I add, "EVERYONE knows that."
Honestly, people stick their noses where no one wants them.
She laughs. "Yeah. Everyone here can be a bit nosey. But anyway,
Moonlight was always very attached to her brother. When he disappeared... I
dunno. All I know is that Sunnyday doesn't like to see her sister upset and
usually does what ever she does."
"Come on, we're almost to class."
She leads me down the rest of the hallway. At the end, I see a bright
green room. Stepping into it with Alyssa, I am stunned! The walls are lined
with ivy, the floor a mossy grass. The room must be hundreds of feet in
width and length. The height is around fourty to fifty feet. There are
trees that stretch all the way up to the seiling, and, if they're too tall
for the room, there are skylights that let them grow farther.
"How are the trees growing underground?" I ask. "There isn't any
"They're a type of fungi, I think," she answers. "They don't need hardly
any sunlight."
We move farther into the room.


I'm sitting on
my bed, emailing my mom on my laptop as I remember back to my Omega class
earlier this afternoon. It had been quite a day. I pull the memories out of
my mind and replay them as if I was going through today once again.

"Alright class," Mr. Howe stated. "First, I want you all to phase. And
then we'll go from there."
The four of us, Alyssa, Richmond(who likes to be called Packer, for
reasons I'll never know), Alik, and I phased. We walked closer to the
teachers, Mr. Howe, Mrs. Howe who told us to call her Tracey, and Megan:
the Red Oak Alpha Female.
"The first thing you need to know," Megan said, in a heavy spanish
accent, "is how to send select messages to each other through your mind
when wolves."
Tracey continued, "To begin, Alik, think of a color and try to send it
to Richmond. Richmond, bark once if you get the message."
Alik closed his eyes and focused all on trying to get to Packer. Packer
barked once, after he got the message. Megan smiled. "Good. Now, Alyssa,
try the same to Natasha."
Alyssa looked me strait in the eyes and a beautiful color hopped into my
vision. A mix of pink, red, and purple. Raspberry.
I barked once, letting them know that I had gotten the message. "Good,
now just try to send each other different things or pictures," Mr. Howe
Alyssa cocked her head at me, clearly trying to tell me something. A
picture of a beautiful ballroom invaded me. The chandalier hanging from the
ceiling, the wooden floors glistening. There are plenty of ballroom dancers
gliding across the floor without missing a single step.
Then she posted a sentence in my mind. "This was last years dance."
"Awsome. Have you ever seen the beach?"
Her head shook. "I lived in the middle of nowhere. Basically, go to the
middle of the US and take a left."
I huffed a laugh. "Well," I say, digging through my memories of the
beach. "Here. Isn't it beautiful?"
Out of my memory, I pulled a picture of a orange and pink sunset on
Savannah Beach. After a few seconds, I posted a new picture, one of a beach
in Key West, Florida, where Finn and I used to live before he moved to
Colorado, and I moved to Helen, Georgia.
"Wow," was all she said.

And that's basically what happened in Omega class today, just the basic
learning how to pass thoughts to each other.
I pull up my new email and see that my mother sent it to me yesterday at
midnight, the first of a long round of worried emails. True, I haven't
contacted her since the first day that I got here, but really. She
shouldn't worry so much. Finn and the Pack aren't going to hurt me. My
Pack, at least. I'm not so sure about the others after today.
It reads:

Dear Natasha,
Please contact me some way! I am DYING to know how you and Finn are
doing at Isle Royale.
How are you? How are your classes going? Is everything cool with the
other Pack members? Your father and I can come up there and teach them a
lesson if that's what's needed. :D
I miss you so much, Dear. You left a few of your things here when you
left in a rush. I've sent them, via postal service, so you should be
getting them from tomorrow to Saturday, depending on how muh work they feel
like doing(rolls eyes).
Natasha, is Finn still your friend? I know that you couldn't wait to
see him after so long, but is he really the same? A lot can change in boys
after four years, and especially when they're his age. Does he still love
That's another thing. Your father and I, we're very sorry about
separating you two. If there's a problem between you, that's our fault. If
you need to talk about anything, give me a call. I'm always willing to
listen. And I'm sure that your dad feels the same.
I love you very much, Tasha. Your father says the same and he also
says, quote, "Show 'em how it's done, Tasha!"

Mom & Dad
Forever & Always

My heart melts at the letter. She's sorry about separating us. I
begin to write:

Mom & Dad,
Sorry for not being in contact! I've had a lot going on in the last few
days. It's a long story. FAR too long and complecated to tell over email.
I'll call tomorrow, on my day off, and tell you everything.
Finn and I are doing great.
I'm great, Mom.
My classes are going GREAT! I love my History/Science teacher Mr.
Harris. His classroom is amazing. The floor is a giant map, the walls are
constalations and galaxies and the solar system, and the ceiling has birds
of all kinds!
There are no problems between the Greenstone Pack members. I've a had a
slight fight with Moonlight Angels of the Red Oak Ridge Pack, but that was
just a misunderstanding.
No. I don't the lesson is necassary.
I miss you two, too. Thanks for the thought.
Mom, Dad, of course Finn is still my friend! I know all about how guys
change in their mid-teen years, but Finn hasn't changed in the sense that
we still care about each other. He and I are Soul-bound to each other. He
asked me! That's how much he cares for me.
I know that you're sorry. Thanks for admitting it, but to tell you the
truth, I think the separation strengthened our relationship. I mean, I
still hurt from not seeing him for four years, but none of that matters
now. Everything is healed and new.
I'll make sure to call you if I have any problems.
I love you too, Mom. Love you too, Dad. Haha! Don't worry. I'l give
'em a show (wink wink).
Your girl,

Forever & Always

After sending it, I go to the other emails and answer them all. I come
to a email that the name is quite familiar.
Finnick Brown.
Ok, I think. What gives?
I can hear Finn's smirk in his voice. Just open it.
I do as he asks, still wondering what he's up to. If he wants to ask me
something, he could have just done it in person.
The email says:

Would you, Natasha Misty Winterpike, do me, Finnick Taylin Brown, the
extraordinary honor of... oh. You know what? Forget it.
Let's try this again, my way.
Natasha, do you want to go to the dance with me?

Your friend,


<3 U.

My hand goes up to cover my mouth. THE...DANCE! He wants to go with me
to the dance! I can't help the slight scream that my mind lets out.
The door to our room clicks, and in comes a nervous Finn. I keep my
expresion plain, but it is SOOO hard to! I'm so excited!
He comes to sit down in the empty place beside me on the bed. "Well?"
I can't hold back anymore. I smile and throw my arms around his neck,
tightly, as if holding on for dear life. "Yes, yes, yes!"
He laughs and wraps his arms around me, holding me tight. "I love you,
"Love you, too."
When Finn pulls away, I lean in to kiss him, sweetly, loosing myself in
his scent and warmth. He deepens the kiss slightly, one of his hands going
to my waist and pulling me in closer to him. The other moving to cradle the
back of my neck. My hands, again, fist in his hair. I'd always loved how
it's so silky.
He settles us down into the bed, him slightly leaning over me. He brakes
the kiss, only to let us catch our breath.
The next kiss is a little harsher, his lips crashing onto mine. His hand
comes up to caress my cheek.
I brake the kiss this time. When my eyes flutter open, I see him staring
at me, all the love in the world for me in his eyes. "What?"
He sweeps his hand through my hair, not meeting my eyes anymore. "Oh,
nothing. I'm just glad we're here. Together. I never want it to end."
I chuckle once. "I know what you mean."
There's a slight tap on the door. You locked it right? I ask Finn.
Yeah. "Who is it?" he asks.
"Finn, is Natasha in there?" Peaches asks.
"Yes. Why?"
"Natasha, we have some business to attend to. Hint, hint?" says another
voice, Willow's.
"Oh," I whisper. "That business." I look up at Finn. His expression is
unreadable. "I'll be out in five minutes."
"Oh, okay." The footsteps walk away.
I don't know how to begin. I know, that sounds SOOO stupid, not knowing
how to talk to my best friend, but something's different now. After that
kiss, I'm awstruck.
Instead, I focus on his eyes. The dark brown irises looking back into my
own green ones, like glistening jewels. He groans, after a minute of
staring at each other, and pulls me to tuck under his chin and into his
warm, hard chest. My temple rests on the little v of his collarbone. I want
to crawl into his skin, where I'd be safe and warm.
With Finn's arms branded around me, I sigh into a quiet rest, not
realizing until now how tired I really am. After a minute or two, I barely
hear Finn utter, "I'm gonna go tell Willow and Peaches that you're resting.
I'll be right back."
When I feel his arms slip from around me, I mumble, "Mmm, 'kay."
When I hear the door close behind him, I, sleepily, sit up, pull the
covers out from under me, and snuggle deep into the smooth fabric. It feels
like heaven. The only thing that can make this any better is if Finn were
holding me.
As if on cue, Finn closes the door again and moves over to come beside
me on the bed. rewrapping me in his embrace, I burry my face into his soft
T-shirt. His shoulders curve around me, protectively, his rough hands
rubbing soothing circles on my back. I lay a small kiss on his collarbone,
making him slightly shiver. "Rest," he orders, and I do.

A younger Finn comes towards me. He's maybe eleven to twelve years old.
His face is so worried and stressed. I wonder what's wrong. "Finn, what is
He graps my hands. I look at myself and see that I'm younger too. My
curly hair, instead of being down by my waist, hangs right below my
shoulders, my frame even smaller. "Natasha, I have to leave."
I gasp. "No... NO! Finn, no, you can't leave me."
He looks like he's about to cry, just like me. I can feel the tears slip
down my cheeks. He pulls me in for a tight, unforgiving, infamous bear hug.
I burry my face into his shoulder, wondering why he has to leave. "Finn,
I feell a growl erupt in his chest, barely making way to his mouth.
"I... I can't explain. I really can't. I wish I could." I look up at his
face. "I'll try to visit," he says, brushing the tears away.
He looks over my shoulder. I turn around to see our parents standing by
a car, the engine already running. They look to us, sad smiles on their
faces. I glare at them, through teary eyes. Mom comes over to me and tries
to comfort me, by giving me a hug. I squirm out of her arms, not wanting
anyone but Finn right now. "This is all your fault!" I yell. "All of you
"Natasha," Dad starts.
"No!" I say, and run past them into the house. I run up to my room on
the second floor and open the storage door in my closet.
The storage space was basically an attic that no one knew about besides
Finn and me. I don't bother to turn the lights on. I walk to the corner and
wrap myself up in the blanket there. I hear footsteps coming up the stairs
and I lower my tear-streaked face down farther into the blankets. Someone
opens the door. I let out a little whimper.
I jam my eyes closed, wondering how anyone can be so quiet. I feel
someone's hands on my upper arms. Not knowing who it is, I jerk away from
that warmest touch, and whimper, "No. Go away!"
"Natasha, Natasha, it's just me," Finn whispers.
I look up. The slightest light coming from the crack under the door is
enough to let me see that it's Finn. His face is surpressed with worry.
He nods, coming closer to sit beside me. "Yes. It's just me." My lower
lip quivers, the thretening tears coming down hard and fast. His eyes
soften and he wraps me again in an embrace. As my tears soak his T-shirt,
he whispers, "Shh. Shh, it's okay. Don't worry. Everything will work out
just fine."
No, it won't. You're leaving! How can everything be okay?"
This realazation only makes me cry harder. "I promise that I'll visit.
I'll call you. I'll email you. I won't let us slip away from each other,
Tashie. We're too important to each other. Even heaven knows that."
We wait there for most of the afternoon, him helping me calm down.
"Natasha! Finn! Where are you? Come out now!" our parents continue to yell.
And, every time, Finn just ignores them.
By late night, Finn convinces me to let him help me into my room. He
keeps a steady arm around my shoulders as I lean against him for strength,
exausted from all the tears.
When we get into my room, he sits me down on my bed. With my legs tucked
under me, I start to close my eyes. I lay my head back onto my pillow. Finn
sits beside me while I rest, constantly running one hand through my hair.
The other, I refuse to let go of.
I hear my bedroom door open, quietly. "Where have you two been?" Finn's
mother, Sharron, whispers. "We've been looking all over for you!"
Finn whispers, "We've been in here the entire time. Mom, do we have to
"If you want to make sure that she's safe, yes," Sharron says, softly.
"She doesn't need to know about everything just yet. Her time will come
soon enough. COme on, say your goodbyes. We'll be waiting downstairs."
Finn sighs, sadly, his voice slightly quivering. "'Kay. Give us five
"Okay." And with that, I hear the door close.
"Natasha," Finn whispers, squeezing my hand. "I gotta go soon."
I jolt out of my sleeping position. "No! Please, Finn. Don't... leave."
My eyes start to tear up again.
"Oh, Tashie. Please don't cry. I can't stand it when you cry. Come on,
let's be happy. Smile for me?" I manage a half-heartedly smile. "That's
Finn smiles at me, and my smile becomes genuine.
"I'll miss you," I utter, wrapping my arms around him, trying not to
tear up.
"I'll miss you, too. But hey, I'm not going to disappear forever. I'm
going to call, email, text, actual letters, pictures, everything. It'll be
like I'm right with you. Okay?"
I nod. He reaches into his jean pocket, saying, "This," he holds up a
amber beaded bracelet, "is for you. It's made of amber, your favorite
stone, and it's orange amber, you r favorite color." He reaches down to
pull my wrist up, placing the bracelet on. "This will help you remember me.
Promise me to wear it always?"
I smile at his wonderful gift. "I promise. I have something for you,
I go over to my nightstand, shuffling through the drawers. I pull out a
silver chain, with a locket on the end. The chain is filled with little
shells, a black wolf and a brown wolf charm. I hand it to Finn. He looks it
over with great care. "Wow. Natasha, this is... this is beautiful. Thank
you. You're the best friend ever."
He opens the locket to reveal pictures of us together on either side. He
smiles. "I'll kepp it with me always."
I give him one last, longing hug before we walk out the door.
Downstairs, Finn's parents are waiting for him. "Come on, Finn," his
father, Warren, says with care. "Time to go."
I hide my face in Finn's chest one last time before he leaves. As they
move outside, I follow them. "Bye Finn," I whisper.
He gives my hand one last squeeze, reasuring me that this isn't the end.
"Bye, Tashie." And with that, he hops into the car.
As they drive away, I watch them until they get to the edge of the
street and disappear around the corner. I feel my dad's hand on my
shoudler. With Finn out of sight, I can't help but break down again. I
shrug my shoulder, roughly, getting his hand off. I march up the stairs and
lock myself in my room. "He's gone," I whisper to myself, trying to get the
horrid words through my head. "He's gone, he's gone, he's gone!" I cover my
face with my hands and the tears fall like a waterfall.
"Natasha! Natasha, wake up! Tashie, you're having a bad dream. Wake up!"
I jerk up, sitting up completely. My head hits something hard as I shoot
out of bed. "Ouch!"
"You can say that again," Finn moans, rubbing his chin.
"Oh, sorry! I'm so sorry, Finn. So sorry." I feel the absence of his
presence catch up with me from my dream. He was gone. I hate reliving that
dream. He was gone.
My arms go to wrap around my torso, the tears racking my entire body. I
fall to the floor, on my knees, sobbing like I did when he left. The space
ontop of my heart aches. Phantom hands claw at my ribs, making me gasp for
air. The hands try to pull me through the floor, down into the abis where I
know that I'll never recover from.
And then... the hands are gone. Instead of their cold, harsh embrace,
there's warmth and gentlness. The space above my heart is healed,
instantly, making me sigh in relief. My hands find themselves a way to wrap
around Finn's neck. "Don't leave me again... ever," I rasp.
"You were having a nightmare about the time I left, weren't you?" he
asks, setting me back down onto my bed.
"Yes. I hate reliving that awful day. I hate it! And yet, my brain seems
to love to torcher me." He looks at me with understanding. "Don't leave me.
"Oh, Natasha!" he exclaims, leaning down to be at eye level with me. He
takes my face in his large hands, warming my cheeks. "I'm never,ever going
to make the same mistake."
"Promise." He gives me a small kiss on the lips. "Come on. It's almost
time for dinner."

When Finn and I sit down at the table to eat, we seem to be the last
ones there. Willow, Peaches, Casey, Fearless, and Mariah are sitting on the
left side of the table, just as they always do. Chase, Skylar, Blake, and
Connor are siting on the right.
I sit between Mariah and Willow, as Finn sits between Chase and Skylar.
Mariah turns, in her seat, to look at me. She says, "So, Natasha, since you
were 'resting'," she makes quotation marks around the word resting.
"I was resting," I object knowing exactly where she is going with this.
She waves her hand, dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. Heard it a million times
before. Anyway, the girls and I wanted you to see your finished dress that
Jade made for you."
My face breaks out in a smile. "Really? She finished it today?"
Mariah nods, and Willow speaks up, "Mm hm! And it's really purrty, too."
The way she says pretty sounds like a purr of a cat.
"After dinner," I say, as Jade and Ember come in with the dishes.
"Dinner is served," Jade announces, as she sets two, large white bowls
on the table in front of us. Ember set the rest of the dinner down.
After they take their seats, I notice that someone rather important is
still not present. "Ember, where's Josh?"
Her smile faulters, slightly. "He has a meeting between the other Alpha
Males tonight. I'll have to leave shortly after dinner to meet them when
the Females are supposed to be there."
We pray and dig into the food. For Chase and Connor, that is no pun
intended. "So," Jade says, "Since the Alphas will be out for most of the
night, I was thinking that we should have a game slash movie night. I can
have popcorn made and ice cream, if anyone wants it. What do you guys
"Yes!" everyone exclaimes.
She smiles. After we finish the meal, I say, "Jade, that was wonderful."
We all help take the dishes into th kitchen. "Welcome, Natasha."
"You cooked," Mariah says.
"We clean," Skylar finishes.
"No, I can help, too," Jade objects.
"Nu uh," I say. "Jade, go get Fearless in her PJs. We can handle it
here." She gives me a playful glare as she walks out of the kitchen.
"Alright, let's get cleaning!"
Skylar and Finn put the food into the dishes and put them into the
fridge. Mariah and I do the dishes, with me cleaning and her drying. Willow
and Peaches throw all the trash away and wipe off the table. Chase and
Connor manage to put the popcorn into the microwave, but I have to correct
them at it. "Connor, Chase, you have to make sure that you don't OPEN the
bag before you put it in," I remind them, laughing. Honestly, teaching men
is like trying to teach a cat sometimes. They don't listen.
"Oh!" Connor and Chase realize at the same time. "That would explain
"What things?" I ask.
Finn laughs. "Last time they tried to make popcorn by themselves they
practically blew the microwave up. Popcorn was EVERYWHERE!"
"It was actually very funny," Mariah says. "And very messy. I was there
when it exploded. I was also picking popcorn out of my hair for weeks!"
She gives Connor and Chase a superior glare, and they sink down
slightly. "Hehe," Chase says, sarcastically.
I roll my eyes at them. Guys. Peaches moves to the freezer part of the
fridge and takes out three flavors of ice cream: Chocolate, vanilla, and
"Alright!" she announces to the house. "We have the three main flavors.
Take your pick."
Everyone gets their prefered flavor of ice cream, and I take the flavors
chocolate and vanilla. I love chocolate and vanilla mixed. It tastes sooo
good to me!
I move with everyone else to go to the den. I sit down on one of the
sofas with Finn and Fearless beside me. Jade reappears with a movie in one
hand and two or three board games in the other. Fearless jumps off the
couch, nearly making me spill my cold snack. "Ooo! Ooo! Can we play 'Candy
Land', Jadey? Please? Please? Pleeeaaase?"
Jade laughs as she almost looses the top game on hher stack. Skylar
moves over to help her, and I turn to Fearless. "I'll play 'Candy Land'
with you, Fearlie."
The little ball of fun jumps up and down on the couch. "Fearless," Jade
orders, setting the board games down with Skylar, "No jumping on the
couches please."
Fearless does one last jump and lands on the cound, on her behind. "You
know," Finn whispers in my ear, "Fearless reminds me a lot of you when we
were little."
"Finn, I was never that wild."
He chuckles. "Oh, yes you were."
"Were not!"
"Were too." I glare at him. He raises his hands in surrender. "I'm just
"Stop 'just saying'."
He laughs as he takes the game 'Candy Land' from the stack. "You're
gonna play with us?"
"Sure," he says, moving down to sit on the floor in front of the couch,
"Why not? We used to play it all the time when we were little. Remember?"
I nod. "Yeah, I rememeber."
Fearless plopps down beside Finn on his left. "Finney, can I be the red
He hands it to her, smiling. "Sure. Natasha?"
I shrug. "Oh, I don't care."
He hands me the orange piece and takes the blue one for his own.
"Alright," Finn says, eating a spoonful of his vanilla ice cream. "It
says to go youngest to oldest. Fearless, you go first."
We start to play the game. After a few turns, I look up to a moaning
noise. "Uh! This stupid DVD player! WIll it ever work for me?" Jade
exclaims. "Of course it won't! Finn, can you give me a hand? You're better
at this kind of stuff than I am."
Finn sighs and gets up. "I'll be right back. Jade, what isn't working
this time?"
"The screen isn't cutting on. The power is on, the cable attached, but
it still isn't working."
"Which cable did you attach?" he asks. "The blue one or the green one?"
"The green one, I think," she answers.
He laughs. "That's your problem. Wrong cords in the wrong places. The
green is the sound and the blue cord is the visual. You plugged the visual
into the sound and vice-versa."
After fixing everything, Finn comes back to play the game with us. "Your
turn," I tell him.
The games goes fairly quickly after that. Fearless, of course, wins by a
lot. "Yay! Yay! YAAAY!" she exclaims at the end of the game.
"Good game, Fearless," I say, putting the pieces back into the box.
"Let's watch the movie now."
She yawns extra largely, and says, "Yeah. I gettin' kinda tidered." She
kind of messes up her words. "I gonna go sit with Jadey now. Tanks Finney,
We both laugh as she walks, unsteadily away to Jade. She crawls between
Jade and Skylar and falls quickly asleep. Everyone is either finishing up
their games or already watching the movie. It's some sort of football
flick. Goodness, this Pack has an obbsession with football. "What's the
movie?" I whisper over to Finn, as we take our seats on the lone couch.
"'The Blind Side', I think. It's good."
I cuddle into his side, loving his warmth. His right arm goes around me,
instantly, almost as if it's a reflex. He rubs my arm, making me sigh
I turn to watch the movie. It's pretty good, like Finn said. The action
and drama in front of me has a unique pull... that and one of my favorite
actresses is Sanda Bullock, along with Lily Collins, too. Everyone says I
look like Lily. I don't see the resemblence, but even Finn has said that a
few times that I can remember.
About half way through, my eyelids start to close, slowly. Finn gets up
momentarily, and is back around five seconds later. He lays a blanket ontop
of me and lets my head relax on his lap.
I sigh, ready for sleep to take me home.


After Natasha falls into dreamland, and after the movie is close to its
finish, I pick her up and take her to our room. I set her into her bed and
tuck her in. I go to my dresser and pull out a white T-shirt and black
sleep shorts. I cut the water on in the shower and enjoy the heat.
I'm starting to think that I'm going up, temperature-wise. But
seriously! When you cut the water on full heat and full blast and it
doesn't even hurt(if fact it feels cold), yeah. You start to think
somethigns up.
After washing up, I dry off my hair and dress. Going out of the
bathroom, I see Natasha up and shuffling through her dresser drawers. She's
pretty cute when she's half asleep.
I tiptoe over to her and lay a hand on her shoulder. She doesn't even
jump. She just says, "Hi, Finn." I chuckle and place my head ontop of hers.
"Did you have a nice shower?" she asks, yawning.
I turn her around and hold her in a hug. "Mm hm. But I'm curious as to
when you woke up."
She lets her arms go loosly around me. "Just a minte before you came
She yawns again, and I let her go. "Go change, then it's time for bed,
She gives me a tired smile. I kiss her forehead, and she goes into the
bathroom and locks it behind her.


The wind wips around the Lodge, like angry ghosts on Halloween, and it
just makes it harder to sleep. Thanks, Mother Nature. Just loving the
I smirk. Good grief, weather like this is SO typical for Isle Royale.
With us being in the center of Lake Superior, yeah. We get lovely snow
storms, hurracain-like winds, and other awsome weather conditions. And I
thought that Florida weather was hard to deal with.
It is hard to deal with, a small voice inside my head whispers.
Why the heck are you still up? I ask.
I feel her mentally shrug. Dunno, just can't sleep, I guess. Too much
wind and howling.
Yeah. Haven't you heard it yet?
No, I haven't. Just then, I hear a deep howl come from the far east. Oh,
you mean THAT howl.
She chuckles. Yes, THAT howl. Do you know who it is? I know that there
are some ways to tell, like how deep or loud the howl is. Deeper howls mean
that it's a male, and the louder howls mean higher positions or a distress
call. Right?
Mm hm. I think that it might be Jet, Minong Pack Alpha. His howl always
breaks slightly at the end. He hurt his throat a long time ago in a battle
between the Fang and the Greenstone wolves.
Fang? she asks.
Oh, yeah. That's the technical name for the werewolves. The real
But why he's out, that's a mystery to me, too. It sounds like he's
headed east, maybe to Lake Desor-.
-Or maybe to Mt. Desor, Natasha sugests.
I look over to her bed where she physically is. She's on her side,
cuddled down deep, looking much smaller. Her eyes are on me, looking down
into my heart and soul... or at least that's what it feels like.
You might be right, I admit. But we can't do anything about it. Josh
says not to go without at least three people-.
-We can get our friends to come with us-.
-And absolutely not after dark, I finish.
She physically huffs. Well, we just can't win, can we?
I shake my head, thinking, Nope, now, go back to sleep.
She rolls her eyes, turning to lay on her other side, no longer facing
I turn my gaze from her to the window on the other side of her. I try to
onvince myself that there's no need to be worried. There's no need to be
all gittery. Jet is just another Alpha. He might be creepy but he's just
another Pack memeber. He was born this way. He can't help it.
Yeah, nice try. I can't help the feeling that I get when I'm around him.
It's kind of like the feeling that I got when I tried to attack that
werewolf that killed... Star.
I hear the same cracked howl again, much, much closer this time. The
pull that I feel when Natasha and I and the Pack are in danger starts to
yank hard, jerking me towards my Soulmate. A rumble goes through me,
knowing that something is terribly, terribly wrong.
I get out of bed and move over to Natasha, silent. She turns over to
look at me, but my gaze is burning on the window in front of me. "Finn,
"Shh," I whisper, trying to hear farther away.
I'm sure I'm imagining things, but then we hear, "HOOOWWWLLL!!" maybe
fifty yards away.
Not good, not good at all.
Natasha whimpers; I'm sure that it's involutary. I pick her up, out of
bed, and head over to my bed, sitting on the other side, staying out of
view from the window. Under my bed, I take our backpacks. I had,
earlier(the Alphas had suggested this) filled them with clothes and
anything special to us. The other members had done the same. Josh knew that
something like this would happen. I sling them over my shoulder and hand
Natasha her's.
The light from the moon casts its shadow through the window. When a
giant black frame on two legs comes to the window, Natasha and I can see
the reflection of its darkness from the place where we sit. It's wolf-like,
but not a shape-shifter.
Werewolf. Real, hard, vicious werewolf. But, I heard Jet. How could....
The Fang member lets out a loud, crackling howl, no dought signaling
others. While it isn't looking through the window, I hold on tight to
Natasha and make a dash for the door.
Once in the hallway, the light flicker and go out completely. I place my
cheek ontop of Natasha's head, setting her down onto her own two feet. She
wraps her arms tightly around my torso, no dought scared to death. "We have
to warn the others," I whisper to her, trying to make myself sound strong
and not fritened... for her sake.
She nods into my chest. We begin walking towards the other rooms. I say,
"Natasha, go in and tell everyone to meet in the den. Take the left rooms.
I'll take the right side."
She goes and does as she is told.
I rush into Willow's room, and say, "Willow! Get up! There's an
emergency! Get your backpack and get to the den!"
"Aye, aye, Captain!"
Next, I run into Chase's room. "Dude! Get up! There are werewolves
outside. Get the bag Josh had us make. Everyone's to meet in the den."
The last ones are Peaches, her brother Connor, Jade, and Fearless.
I wake up the two siblings. "Come on! Come on! Everyone up! Get what you
need and go to the den. Hurry!"
When I go into Jade's room, I say, "Jade!" There's no answer. "Jade?
I see her on the floor, a puddle of blood around her. "Jade?" Skylar
asks, coming into the room. "Oh, Jade."
"I just found her like this," I say, looking over her badly cut body. "I
need to go get Fearless. Can you carry Jade?"
Skylar picks her up, easily. "Got her. Go! She'll kill us both if
anything happens to Fearless." Before I leave, I see him grab her backpacks
of suplies. Yes, she's the doctor so she has two.
I nod and rush out the door. Turning to my right, I go to the next room.
I try the doornob. It's locked! Fear starts to tremble through me. What
if... what if....
"Help!" a high pitched squeal says.
"Fearless!" I exclaim. I start to run towards the door. No good. I take
a few steps back and try again. It budges a little, but only that.
"Dude!" Chase says, coming up behind me.
"Fearless," I breathe.
He nods and counts to three. "One, two, THREE!"
We ram the door at the same time, making it shatter.
When I get in first, I see Fearless, in her little blood-soaked nightie,
cowering in the corner. In front of her is a giant werewolf, the kind that
you see in hautned houses and horror stories. The fangs are as long as my
hand. His mane is longish, grey fur. When he looks me in the eyes, the red
against my brown, I fill with rage. It's looks like a brother of the one
that killed Star.
I don't care, I phase in the middle of the room right then and there. I
strample the monster to the ground. I tear at the fur, until there's no
heart beat left.
After satifyingly killing the beast, I turn my gaze to Fearless.
The poor thing is still cowering into the corner by her bed. Even though
Chase is trying to calm her down, she isn't moving her stare from me. I
sigh and move to sit in front of her. She backs away slightly, probably
still frightened by my sudden burst of anger.
I lay my head down onto my paws, showing her that I'm really quite safe.
She scoots over closer, running her little hand through the fur on my
forehead. I turn a little to lick her hand.
She giggles and smiles. I shift back to human and pick her up, slipping
her around for a piggy-back ride.
I nod to Chase, who nods back, holding Fearless's favorite stuffed
animal and her bag, and we head for the door.

Finn has been gone for a while. I wonder if he's alright. I wonder....
Natasha, I'm almost to the den. Don't worry.
I sigh. Oh! You're okay. Do you have Fearless? Sky told me that you were
going after her.
Yeah, I have her. She's hurt. So is Jade. Natasha, please....
He doesn't finish.
Please what?
Please, just... stay safe. This is really scary for everyone. Don't do
anything stupid that'll make me loose you again.
A tear falls down my cheek. I promise. You be careful, too.
I will, and then he serveres the line.
My mind comes back to reality. Skylar is tending to Jade wounds as best
as he can. Willow and Peaches are trying to light gas lamps. Connor and
Blake are nailing boards and metal plates to the doors and windows
especially to block any more unwanted visitors. Mariah and Casey are in the
nearby kitchen, loading bags of stuff that we might need if we leave the
Lodge's safety.
As soon as I see Finn with Chase and Fearless, I run to him, jumping
into his waiting arms. I breathe in his scent, trying to relax my nerves.
Good luck with that, Finn says to me, telepathically.
I chuckle and pull away. "You're okay! You're okay, right?" I look him
from head to toe, looking for any form of injury.
"Yes, I'm fine." His voice gets lower. "How's Jade?"
I frown. "Not so good. I don't think that Skylar has taken any lessons
from her on medics."
He laughs once and moves over to where Jade lays. Skylar's head is hung
in defeat, his expression cast down. "I can't do it. I can't save her."
I take in a sharp breath. "Wh-what?"
He looks up at us, his eyes filled with sorrowful tears. "She's lost too
much blood. There aren't any transfusions here at the Lodge. We'd have to
go to the Hospital."
Wait a second. Omega's heal! That's it! I can save her!
"Wait! Don't give up hope yet! I'm an Omega! We heal! COme on, Sky,
move." I shove Skylar aside. I place my hands on the biggest cut on Jade's
I'm not exactly sure how to do this, but here goes nothing. I close my
eyes and focus... hard. I feel all the heat going from the rest of my body
to my hands. They're almost burning.
I don't open my eyes, for when they're closed, I can, in my mind, see
the outline of Jade's body, laying there. Beaten and broken.
After the leg is lean and fresh, I move to her stomache cut, then the
throat cut. After everything physical is done, I move onto her mental
After it's completed, I open my eyes and wobble slightly. "Woah," Finn
whispers, pulling me into his lap. "That was amazing, Natasha."
"Hmm?" I mumble, barely awake. "Fearless."
I sit up, once again opening my eyes. "No," Finn orders, pulling me back
down. "You're too weak right now."
"Let me try." I pull out of his grasp. Moving towards Fearless, I try to
regain my full strength.
"Natasha, you don't look so good," Casey states.
"I'm fine, Case. Thanks for being concerned."
I sit down in front of Fearless and heal her the same way as I did Jade.
"There," I gasp. "All... done."
The floor starts to rumble, violently, and we hear many torchered howls.
"Everyone!" Skylar orders in a loud, demanding voice. "Move down to the
Safe House! Hurry, and make sure we get everyone! No wolf left behind."
He picks up Jade, grabs their backpacks, and moves ahead of everyone,
leading them down a staircase hidden beneath the brick on the fireplace.
Everyone grabs their supplies bags. Chase grabs Willow's hand and follows
Skylar, our present leader. Finn swings me up into his arms following them.
Mariah picks up her little sister and walks beside Casey. Blake, Connor,
and Peaches follow them.
We try to remain calm as they walk down the brick stairway, the passage
door closing behind us.
When we get to the bottom on the stairs, there's a high-tech metal door.
A keyboard panel is beside it. The symbols on it are very unique. Skylar
types a code in and the door opens to a very beautifully high-tech room.
"Come on," he says in a sweet, calm, and understanding voice. He motions to
the room. "Everyone inside. We'll be safe here."
"For good?" Chase asks.
"Not for good. I mean, we'll leave eventually, but we'll be safe as long
as the Fang is out. 'Kay?"
Chase nods. We all walk in.
The room is the largest I've ever seen. The walls are made of brick, but
you can tell that there's tons of metal behind that. There are no windows.
Well, duh. It's about a hundred feet underground.
The marble floor is covered with various matching carpets. There's a
fireplace. The kitchen is in the far top right corner. The newer untensils
are top rated, so is the oven, microwave, fridge, and so on. There are
several sofas that are either chocolate leather or red-brown colored soft
fabric. There are a few deflated air mattresses and pull-out cots in the
lower right part of the room. It's sort of like a large appartment room.
We all disperse around the room; Mariah and Casey go to blow up the air
matresses, Chase, Blake, and Connor go to fill the pantry and cupboards
with the stuff that we had brought from the Lodge's supply; Willow and
Peaches are attemping to make everyone a snack to cheer them up(I have
taught them a few things), and Skylar is setting Jade carefully on the sofa
as she is waking up.
Finn sets me down on the couch. I look to little Fearless. The poor
thing is squashing her well-loved otter stuffed animal to her chest and her
eyes look so red with tiredness and frightened tears. "Come here, Fearlie,"
I whisper.
She doesn't hesitate. She runs over to me and snuggles into my side.
"Where's Mommy and Daddy, Natashie?"
"They'll be here soon," I comfort her.
Oh, I pray that that is true.

After an hour or two, everyone has calmed down from their hectic and
edgey state. Jade is awake and eating some. Chase, Blake, and Connor are
all trying to hook up a videogame station so that they'll have something to
do. Mariah, Casey, Peaches, and Willow are fixing little things around the
room, making it a little more homey. And last, Fearless has pulled her
little air mattress up to the fireplace and is soaking in the heat.
Everyone has changed into new and fresh clothes.
I toss the old and bloodied clothes into the washer, the darks, and I
bring the whites into the drier. The washer and drier are in the small room
extended from the rest of the "house", right beside the bathroom. After
starting the machine, I turn to go back into the house. I think it's better
to call it the "house" instead of the "Safe House".
"We got it! Yes!" Chase exclaims.
"Shh!" I whisper. "Fearless is trying to sleep."
He places his hand over his mouth. "Oops. Sorry, Tasha."
I rub my temples. It's been a long night. I couldn't sleep while we were
at the Lodge, and then at about three in the morning, the Fang came, and
now all the emotions in the air are just now settling down, making me sigh
in relief. Oh, yes, I still feel every single emotion and fear they have
felt, feel presently, and ever will feel! Sounds like fun, right?
"Oh, no."
"What?" I ask.
"Natasha, come look at this," Jade asks me, staring at her left wrist.
I move over to sit beside her on the leather sofa. "See these two bite
marks and the ring around it?" I nod, seeing exactly what she described.
"That's a werewolf bite." I stare her into the eyes. How weak they look.
"When a werewolf bites you-."
"-You become on of them, right?" I ask.
She nods. "But, when you healed me... the posion was taken from me...."
"To me," I finish for her. I cross my arms over my chest. "Great. I need
to leave you guys. I can't risk turning into one of... them and hurting
you, any of you."
"You aren't going anywhere," Finn says, gently grasping my arm.
"Natasha, Omega blood can't be turned. You won't become a werewolf, but
it will make you sick. Omega blood won't submit to the poison." I nod and
swallow, thickly. "I'm sorry, Natasha. I shouldn't have been so naive."
"It's not your fault. I chose to heal you. I wouldn't take it back for
I smile at her. She returns it, sad though. "Is there anything you can
do?" Finn asks.
She shakes her head. "I'm sorry, but the poison will just have to work
its way out of her system."
"How long until...."
"A day at most, a few hours at least."
"How long will it last?" Finn asks.
"A day, maybe two, I don't know. I've never seen an Omega bitten before.
It shouldn't last long, though. The poison should come and go quickly."
There's a moment of silence, before, "I'm going to go get some medicine
that might make it less painful."
She pats my knee as she and Skylar leave Finn and I alone.
After they're gone, I turn to Finn. He pulls me over to sit in his lap,
not saying anything still. I run my fingers through his black hair, just
trying to think of something to say that will comfort him. "I'll be okay,"
is all that I can think of.
He takes my face in his hands and lays his lips gently to mine, as if I
might be breakable. "I hope so," he says, brokenly.
He lets me go, only for a second, then is pulling a blanket over top of
us and setting a pillow beneath our heads.
The couch is extra wide so we can both lay on it without falling off,
but still. Finn pulls me so close to him that i can hear his heartbeat and
breathing. With my back pressed against the couch and my front pressed
against Finn's chest, it's very warm. I snuggle down into the covers and
feel exaustion creep up on me. I yawn. Finn keeps on arm around my waist
and the other acting as a second, more comfortable pillow, to me at least.
"I'll be right here the entire time," Finn whispers, his grip slightly
I chuckle. "Wolfie, it's not like I'm a cancer patient or anything like
that. I'll be just fine." I look up and cup his cheek in my hand.
His eyes close, he consentrates on his breathing. He reaches up to hold
my hand in place, and I start to rub up and down on it. I smile at him. He,
half-heartedly, smiles back.
And right then, I wonder what the future holds.

My head is on fire! The blood pulsing through me is boiling hot. I feel myself twitch, but I'm not in my body, or at least that's what it feels like. I know, it isn't making sense, but that's the way it is. It feels like I'm watching someone else, or that I'm so deep within myself that the pain is centered on me. I'm still connected to my emotions and the pain, but I can't make myself move.
The firey hands appear and try to pry me apart, grabbing my hands and feet and jerking. Of course, this is all in my head, but it feels so real.
I feel my eyes well up with tears. Then I feel something being ripped off me in reality. I try to see what's happening, but nothing is showing.
The heat erupts even farther, making me scream. Volcanoe, that's what it feels like. The heat is in the lava. I've grown up around Florida and Georgia, but nothing has prepared me for this hell.
I'm panting so hard, trying to do anything to relieve myself from this absurd heat. Boiling hot hands grab me again, but this time they're more gentle. Even so, I jerk away. I hope that I haven't hurt anyone. I hope it ends soon.

When Natasha starts to flail around, that's when I wake up. "Jade," I whisper. "Jade, it's Natasha." I get off the couch to give her more room to work on Natasha.
As Jade aplies different medical works, I think about Natasha. She's always so sweet. She's always so selfless. She chose to heal Jade, not knowing that this would happen in consequence, but she said that she wouldn't change anything. She's so brave.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm good enough for her. She deserves better, but as long as she wants me here with her, I'm not going to leave.
"Is there anything I can possibly do to help her?" I ask.
"Hold her still while I try to get her clothes off." I glare at her. "I'll put a robe on her, but she's burning up. She's needs to have lighter clothing. Mariah, could you come here for a second. Everyone else stay away for a second, please."
I nod and move over to where Natasha lays. Her head is damp with sweat, her eyes jamed shut. I, carefully, place my hands on her arms to stop them from twitching around. She starts to yelp and cry out, and tears gather in my eyes. I hold her still, knowing that this hurts her so much.
"Mariah, could you hold her feet still?" Jade asks. "And try to look away. She would want her privacy."
Mariah does as asked. I don't even try to look at anything on Natasha. I just keep my eyes glued to her face. Jade tries to gently slide Natasha's clothes off, and I'm very thankful that Mariah isn't looking. And that the others stay away as asked. After a moment of trying to slip them off, Jade groans and says, "I can't. She's moving too much."
"Just rip them off," I practically growl. "If it will help her, just tear them off!"
She nods and does as I suggest. After Natasha is down to her undergarments, Jade takes a thin, silk robe and slides it onto her arms, with my help. After buttoning the clasp to make sure that she is securely covered, Jade tells me and Mariah to let go of her. I do, and she starts to twitch, but it's less violent and disturbing. They get slower, and slower, and slower, until they almost completely stop. I sigh in relief, leaning back against the couch. "That was rough."
"She'll be better off now," Jade says to me. "She's cooling off a little. Her fever is down to one-oh-four now."
I jerk my head to gape at her. "One hundred and four degrees?! Farenhite?!" She nods. "Jade, that's way too high! Especially for an Omega. She'll die if we don't get it down farther! No wonder she was in so much pain."
Jade sighs. "There's nothing else we can do. Hopefully, the fever will run its course without doing any permenant damage."
She places her hand on my shoulder, as I say, "Yeah. Hopefully." I groan and rub my temples. "Why does all of this happen to her? If anyone, it should be happening to me. I'm the one that left, not her. I'm the stuborn one, not her. I'm the one that causes fights and doesn't get along well at times, not her."
I feel a single tear fall down my cheek thinking of this. Jade rubs my shoulder, trying to give some ammount of comfort. "We should probably move her to a real bed. She'll be more comfortable there. 'Kay?"
I nod, wiping the tear away. "Okay. I'll move her."
when I get up and move towards Natasha, I slide my arms under her. At my touch, instead of being relieved like she normally is, she screams and tears roll down her face. I, quickly, set her back down on the couch, jerking away as soon as she's in place. "What happened? I didn't do anything."
"I know you didn't. Your temperature probably set her off again. You need to be cooler."
I groan. "Now how the heck am I supposed to do that? I can't exactly make my temperature go down when I want to."
"Finn, calm. You don't want to phase this close to her, do you?" She's right, I tell myself. Cool it. If you hurt Natasha.... I take a deep breath. "Better?" I nod. "Okay. Listen, there is a way that I can make your temperature go down temperarily. Do you want to try it? It's a pill that you can take. It will make you cooler for approximatly tweleve hours. You okay with that?"
"Yes," I answer, hope lighting me up for the first time in a while. "Where is it?" She hands me a little white pill from her doctor bag and a glass of water from the side table.
After swallowing it, Jade says, "You should start feeling cooler in about five minutes."
I nod. "I'll move her when I feel the change. 'Kay?"
"Good." I move to be beside Natasha again and try to lift her. She jerks away from my touch. I sigh. Guess I'll be waiting those five minutes. I keep my eyes on the clock.
And at 9:50 a.m., I feel the heat leaving me. I take my temperature to be sure. It reads ninty-six-point-three degrees. Much, much, MUCH cooler than my normal, close to one-oh-four temperature.
I stand up again and slip my arms under and around Natasha, gentle. She sighs, but doesn't do anything else. Either she's too tired to fight anymore, or the cooler temperature works. I hope it's the second one.
As her head lolls against my shoulder, I walk her over to the cot farthest from the fire.
Mostly, everyone is either eating breakfast(if you want to call it that), playing the little game station, or sleeping. It's been a hard, long night.
I set Natasha down onto a large one, hoping that the extra room will be enough if she tries to start shaking again.
When I slide my arms out from under her, her face contorts in pain again. I barely hear the word, "No," escape her lips. I smile. So she isn't completely gone.
The head of the cot is against the wall, so I prop a second pillow up against the wall and sit down beside her. She, unconsciously, scoots over to be closer to me, probably relieved to be near the cool. I run my hand through her hair, trying to comfort her farther.

When I feel the cold, I reach farther for it. It feels so good, I don't want it to leave just yet. It's the only relief I've felt since this horror started.
When the cool comes closer, I take my chance and grasp it to me. As ice spreads throughout my heat-weakened body, I feel a few tears of painless-ness fall. I feel a cool hand come to brush them away.
I sigh farther into the snow. I usually love the heat, with being raised in the south, and having a best friend that has a normally high temperature.
This is the exception.

When Natasha twines her arms around my arm, giving it a death grip, I grin and scoot down to lay beside her. "Guys," Jade whispers. "I'm going to crack the vents just a bit to let some cold air in. Natasha needs to stay cool."
After the cold air invades, Natasha sighs and I look down to see a few tears falling down her face. I gently wipe them away. She snuggles farther into my chest, her breathing coming softly.
After an hour or two, I can finally relax, for she's sleeping soundly. Before I know it, I'm asleep, too.
It's hours before I hear or feel anything. When my eyes finally open, everywhere is black. I hear several cases of snores, one of which is exceptionally loud and is more than likely Chase or Connor.
When I reach my hand out, just a little, I feel something cool against it. A hand covers mine and brings it to a hard chest.
"F-Finn?" I rasp, my voice cracky.
"Oh, Tashie!" he exclaims, and wraps me in a tight embrace. "I've missed you," he mumbles into my shoulder.
"Fi-can-t... brea-the."
He chuckles and lets me go. "I've missed you." He places multiple kisses on my forehead.
"How... long ha-ve I been ou-t?"
His smile fades. "Your voice is still messed up, huh?"
It'll be better soon, I tell him through my mind. How long have I been out for?
He lays his forehead to mine, finally relaxing now that he knows that I'm going to be fine. About nine to ten hours. It's probably... seven o'clock at night. It's still Wednesday.
Okay. How is everyone else? Have the Alphas come back yet?
No. Not yet. He sighs. I hope they show up soon. I don't know how much more I can take down here.
I chuckle. You never did do well in small tight places.
Not like you did, he reminds me. Whenever you got upset, you'd always be found later in some sort of small attic space, storage bin, or even in a tree sometimes. Remember that one specific oak tree that you loved to climb in Key West? The one with all the lilies below it?
You remember that? I ask him. He nods. Me too!
When I smile, I see little rivers of glistening tears on his cheeks. He's been crying. "Finn! Why are y-you crying?"
I try to sit up, but he keeps me pinned down. He whispers, "I'm not crying because I'm sad, Tashie. I'm crying because I'm so relieved! I thought that you were gone for a while there."
I reach up to his face and rub the tears away. "St-stop thinking like-like that. I'm here a-and I'm not leaving."
I lean up to kiss him. He kisses me back, deepening it. He breaks away, too soon for my taste. "I'm not hurting you, am I?"
I shake my head, as he leans down to kiss me again. I know that this is probably pretty gross for you guys, but his lips are so soft. Litterally, like the inside of a rose.
Anyway, I break the kiss to get a breath. "You're evil, Mr. Brown."
"So are you, Miss Winterpike."

"How are you?"
"Man, you look TONS better now."
"We thought that you were out for good!"
"Chase, don't say stuff like that."
"What? It's true."
"Don't say it though. Natasha, is there anything that hurts?"
The questions and exclamations come hard and fast as soon as someone hears me awake. I tried to be quiet to let everyone rest, but oh no. They have wolf hearing.
"Uh. Um... I feel better. Thanks? I'm good. Yeah. Settle down. No, I'm not going to die, Chase. I'm great now. Really."
"Okay, everyone back up. Let the poor girl breathe!" Mariah says, hands on hips. "Good grief. You guys act like a bunch of hound dogs."
"Thanks, Riah," I say.
"Your voice better?" Finn asks, still sitting beside me.
I cross my arms in front of me, wondering how the heck I got into a silk robe. "Yeah. It's all better. Told you I'd be fine."
After that, we all just stare at each other. "Well, what are you waiting for? Me to change into a werewolf or something? 'Cause it isn't gonna happen."
They all chuckle. Skylar says, "We were all on edge without you, Natasha. We didn't realize how much we liked having you around until you weren't."
"Awe! Thanks guys. I like having you around too." Then a memory hits me. "Oh crap." Everyone takes an subconscious step towards me. "No, I'm fine guys. I just remembered that I was supposed to call my parents earlier today. Oh no. I wouldn't be surprised if they showed up at the door step."
"Well," Casey says, running a hand through her blonde pixie cut. "We could use their help, considering everything."
"What's happened?" I ask.
Mariah says, "One, we haven't heard anything from the Alphas. Two, we have no idea where the Fang are now. And three," she motions to me, still weak from the venom attack.
"Yeah," I agree, looking down at the robe.
"Thanks for telling it how it is," Willow says, sarcastically.
Mariah shrugs. "I'm here to help."
Peaches and Willow roll their eyes at exactly the same time. Well practiced, I assume.
Just then, we hear a heavy knock on the door. A rough, cracking voice says, "Hello? Greenstone Pack. I know that you're in there. I want to talk with you." Seriously! His voice sounds like sandpaper.
"What is it that you wish to discuss?" Skylar asks, in a leaderly tone.
"Err... peace issuses. A warning perhaps?"
Skylar goes to the door and types in a coded number. The door opens and there stands Jet himself. "Greetings, Greenstone Pack."
His eyes land on me and I sink down farther into the bed that I sit on. "Let's go get you some clothes," Peaches tells me.
I, gladly, accept her affer, following her into the room where the washing machines are. She helps me pick out a yellow T-shirt and jeans. After she leaves, I change, coming out to join everyone as soon as I'm done.
I take a seat beside Finn, where as Jade, Skylar, and Jet are still standing. "Jet, I'm asking you to say what you need to say, or I will be forced to make you leave."
"Ah, but there is no need for that," Jet says, smiling evily. "Surely, we can, eh, nigociate something." Jade and Skylar stare at him, clearly stating to get on with it. "As you wish," Jet sighs. "Here's why I have come.
As you may know, or you may not, when the Fang attacked two shifter Packs last night. They attacked not only the Greenstone Pack but also the Red Oak Pack. The Minong Pack and the Feldtmann Pack were spared."
"Why?" I demand. "Why would your Pack and your next door neighbor Pack be spared when your least favorites were attacked?" I place my hands on my hips and squint my eyes at him. I don't like the aura around him. All suspicious and creepy. "I don't trust you."
He comes towards me. "Why aren't you a smart one, Natasha Misty Winterpike." I growl at him. How does he know my name? "Yes, I know many things about you and your family. Your father killed the last Alpha Male, my father. I do not favor your family, Winterpike. I never have." He runs a pale white finger down my cheek. Finn growls at him, but he still can't do anything to hurt the Alpha of the Minong Pack because of his possition. "Yes, but there are things about Omegas that I am very interested in." I growl louder and snap my teeth at his finger, making him jerk away from me. "Fiesty." He turns to Skylar and Jade. "The bond between the Packs is weakening. It has something to do with the intrusion of the Fang. People are disappearing at Isle Royale Academy. I would consider being alert when, or if, you return."
And with that he walks out the door, the passage door closing behind him. Skylar walks over to the metal door and retypes the code in. After the metalic doors close, Skylar leans against it. "So, what do we do?" Chase asks.
"I don't know," Skylar says. "The Alphas aren't back yet, and they said that if anything were to ever happen to them, if they weren't back in twenty-four hours, Jade and I are to lead the Pack, but honestly, I don't know what to do either. The dance is coming up, the Wolfen Wars or Wolfen Games are two days after that. Peaches needs to prepare for the Games, and so does Finn."
"What?" I ask. "Finn isn't a Wolfen Warrior. How would the Games have any affect of him?"
"This year is the hundreth anniversary of the Wolfen Wars. The rules state that every twenty-five years, two wolves are supposed to battle for each Pack, not just one. The second attender is a Beta, and is always the opposite gender of the original Wolfen Warrior. Peaches is a girl, therefore, the Beta has to be a boy. Since the only Betas we have are Mariah and Finn, and since Mariah is obviously out, Finn has to be the one."
My breathing stops for a second. Finn could get hurt! Or worse. "He... he...."
"There isn't any killing, Natasha," Finn reminds me. "I have training for this before. It'll be fine. Peaches has done it twice before."
"Really, Natasha, I think he'll be just fine," Peaches confirms, her face slightly giving her away.
"Really? Then how come you're lying?" She swallows hard. "Told ya." I sigh, sit down on the bed, and pull my knees up to my chest. "I don't want anyone hurt, not just Finn. I'm an Omega. We don't like violence. That's why Jet's claim made me so mad. Threatening my Pack is no walk in the park. I won't have it, from him or anyone else. You're like family to me."
Finn places a hand on my shoulder, as he comes to sit beside me. "Hey," I look up at him. "Nothing is going to happen, alright?" I nod. He smiles and kisses my forehead. "Good."
"So... what do we do again?" Connor says.
"Well," I say. "Maybe we should go up and see what's still there?" I look to Skylar for permission. He nods.
"Alright. Natasha's got a point. Staying down here won't get us anywhere. Finn, Chase, Blake, Peaches, Mariah, you're with me. The rest of you stay down here with Jade."
"Oh, no you don't," I object. "I'm coming with you."
Skylar nods again. "Fine. You can come."

As we head up the stairway to the surface, I wonder what we'll find. I mean, the shaking of the ground and howling got pretty loud at one point. What did they do? Tear the house to shreads?
After surfacing, I get a look at the Lodge's damage. The wall in the kitchen facing the dinner table is comepletely knocked down! The kitchen counters have faint claw marks.
As we walk farther into the disaster, I see that the hallways are pretty much intact, besides the pawprints on the carpet.
I open the door to the room Natasha and I share. The bedding is shreaded, the curtains too, and the large window is in pieces, but other than that, clean. The furniture is completely fine, the bathroom looks like it was never touched, and the walls are perfectly fine.
Natasha comes up beside me and gasps. I put an arms around her waist. She leans into my arm, just taking in the scene. "The rest of the odge is about the same," she tells me.
I sigh. "At least none of the Pack was hurt."
Then my eyes catch a metal glint. I look to the empty window to see a good-sized dagger. Not just any dagger, a dagger of blood. It's smeared with teh stuff from bottom to nearly the top. The dagger is piercing the windowceil. Between the dagger and the windowceil is a note. I move from Natasha to the window. I pull the dagger out and read the note. It's says:

"You've been warned. This is only the begining! You were right to fear the Fang!


After reading the note to Natasha, she asks, "What do the three slashes at the end mean?"
I shake my head. "Don't know. Maybe it's some sort of warning. It could mean anything. Three days, three years, three months-."
"Three people," she whispers.
I turn to her and pull her to me. "No one is going to die. I promise."
"How can you promise something like that? You aren't God."
I chuckle. "I'll do everything I can to make sure that nothing happens. How's that? Better promise?" She nods. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Mariah, teary-eyed. "Riah? What happened?"
She starts crying uncontrollably. "Mariah!" Natasha yells. "What's wrong?"
She hands Natasha a note. Natasha reads it out loud:

"Cleveland, I know you're missing your mate. Cameron is no more, or he will be soon. Come and get him before it's too late! The longer you wait, the more he will suffer.

||||| ||||| ||||| |


Follow ***

"What the heck does this mean?" Natasha asks.
"It-it means that I have to save Tobias. His last name is Cameron. But I don't know how or when!" She breaks out into huge sobs again.
"Hey, hey, easy," Natasha says to her, rubbing her back. "I told you I'd help you get Tobias back. This is exactly the lead that we needed! We just need to disipher the code and then we'll be fine."
I glare at her. "You didn't...."
"Oh, yes I did. And I'm going to go and help her get Tobias back, too."
"I'm coming with you then."
She raises an eyebrow. "Hm? No arguments? No worries about my safety?"
"Well that's why I want to go."
She rolls her eyes. "Okay, listen, let's sit down and try to see what this means, Riah?" Mariah nods. We sit down on the floor. "Anyone have any ideas?"
I motion for her to give me the letter. After looking over the codes again, I say, "Maybe the first on is a date."
"How could," Natasha points down to the sixteen "|"s, "be a date?"
"Well, maybe a number of days?"
"That would put us at February 16, 2012. Wolfen Wars Day," Mariah states.
I groan and let my head fall back against the bed behind me. "That's what they want. They want you two to go alone."
"If that's what this really means," Natasha says. I glare at her. "We'll talk about this later, Finn."
I nod. "Okay, what does the second... thing mean?"
"It looks like two '0's, a colon, a '2', and a 'I'. Any ideas what it means?"
Mariah studies it carefully. "Maybe a time?"
"Okay," Natasha says. "So that would be 00:21. That doesn't look right. How about," she rewrites the numbers differently, "this."
The turns the paper to us. It reads, "12:00."
"That looks right. A.M. or P.M.?"
"Look at the next clue," Mariah suggests. "It says, 'Follow star, star, star'. I think P.M., because when else can u see the stars?"
"Orion!" Natasha exclaims. "It's the belt in the constellation Orion! I'd know it anywhere. It says, 'Follow the belt of Orion'. It's directions."
"Okay. So we have a date, a time, and directions. Now, are you going to go?"
"YES!" they both exclaim.

The author's comments:
What do you think, guys, girls?

We spend the rest of the day trying(remind you, I said trying) to clean
up the mess that the Fang had left behind. By late this Thursday evening,
everyone is absolutely exausted.
"Uh! I think everyone needs a break," Jade says, wiping her forehead.
"We can finish little things tomorrow, guys. Everyone needs some sleep."
We all nod in agreement. Some rest would be nice, eh? I telepathically
ask Natasha.
Yeah, she answers, sleepily.
"Guys," Skylar says, getting our attension back. "I think that we should
be in groups for tonight. If the Fang try something else, I don't want
anyone on their own."
"Okay. That sounds reasonable," Natasha says. "Who's in groups?"
"You can pick your groups, but let's try to stay close and alert."
Natasha rubs her arms. "Why is it so cold?"
I pull her back against me, wrapping my arms around her. "Skylar and I
couldn't get the heater fixed. We'll have to go to the mainland to get
parts for it. Until then, well... yeah."
"Onto a happier subject," she whispers. "Who do we need in our group?
Mariah? Chase? Willow?"
They all look our way. "Do you guys have a group yet?" I ask them.
Chase says, "Actually, we were going to ask you."
"How about we just stay in the den tonight," Mariah suggests. "It's the
room that's in tact the most."
"Sure," I say. "Why not?"
We all walk to the den and with it being so cold, we, naturally, phase
into our wolf forms. All of us, except for Natasha.
I look down at her and give her a quizical look. I try to hear the
voices in my head, then I remember. Since Natasha hasn't phased, there are
no voices.
"I tried to, Wolfie," she whispers, running a hand through my fur. "I'm
too edgy right now. Remember? I can't change into a wolf if I'm too
emotional, either happy or sad or anything like that." I whimper and press
my nose into her hand. She needs to calm down. I know that she naturally
worries, but still. "No," she chuckles. "I can't make myself stop worrying.
I'll be fine."
I huff and lay down, placing my head onto my paws. Natasha sits down,
leaning against me. The white wolf pulls over a warm, fuzzy blanket and
noses it towards her. "Thanks, Riah."
After pulling the blanket around herself, Natasha snuggles down and
closes her eyes, trapped between the warmth of my black fur and the red
blanket. I curl around her, hoping that she'll be warm the entire night. As
I've said before, the temperatures in Isle Royale drop drastically at
night. More than likely, it's from zero to ten tonight.
I pull a pillow off the couch and nudge it under Natasha's head. Being
right beside her, and knowing that things are turing around for the best, I
drift off to sleep.

Cuddled against my wolf, I allow my muscles to relax fully, letting the
stress and pain and worry from the past twenty-four hours slip away... for
A pillow gets pushed under my head. I sneak a peak of the room. Mariah
is laying on a sofa. ON THE SOFA! Jade will have a fit about that tomorrow.
Chase and Willow are resting against a pile of pillows, sound asleep,
and(you guessed it) Chase is still snoring. I didn't know until now that
you could snore in wolf form. Oh well.
All around me is black fur, warm and comforting. Finn has to be a pretty
large wolf in order to wrap all the way around me like this, three to four
times bigger than normal wolves. Maybe even more than that.
After all that we've worked on today, I can't stay awake for long. I
welcome the dreams, wondering what they'll be this time.
Carribean-blue water, palm trees swaying in the breeze, the smell of
salt and citrus, sand that feels like silk underneath my feet. I'm in
Puerto Rico. Back in Puerto Rico. Finn and I had came here before, probably
when I was nine and he was ten.
I'm standing on the shore, right where the warm water meets the white
sand. With the water lapping at my small feet, the sun on my skin, and my
parents and family friends, the Browns, with us in our own vacation homes
on this sunshine paradise, I can't be happier. Every year, we come here for
three weeks and just absorb all the island had to offer. We have done this
for as long as I can remember. "Natasha! Race you to the water!" Dad yells.
He comes running out of our summer home and races me to the water.
"Not if I get there first!" I taunt him.
I plunge into the water before he does, but Dad grabs my feet and begins
to, slowly, tow me towards him. "Ah! No! Let me go you shark!" We always
love to play "Dolphin and Shark".
"Little Miss Dolphin has gotten caught by the big bad shark again! Wa ha
ha!" Dad teases.
"Let... go! Wolfie! Help! Dad's got me!" Dad slings me onto his
shoulders, and I play with his hair.
Finn peaks his head out of his summer home and shakes his head at us. I
wave to him over the cycle of splashing at Dad. Finn comes out of the house
and swims out to meet us in the water. He comes over to the dark side with
Dad and starts splashing at me. "Hey! Hey, I wanted you to help me you...
you...! UH!"
"Hold on Natasha!" Finn's, at the time, eleven and a half year old
sister, Denali, yells over to me. she swims out to us and comes over to my
side and helps me defeat my Dad and best friend.
Denali, or Deni as we called her, is a good friend of mine. She has
ringlets of chocolate brown hair and fair skin, like her mother, and light
brown eyes like her father. Finn is the opposite. He has strait, black hair
tan skin, like his father, and deep brown eyes like his mother.
Siblings, but are so very different.
After the salt-water fight, Dad says, "How about now we go to into town
and get an icee?" We all agree, vigorously, and Dad laughs. "Okay. But we
have to get out and dry off first. Sharron! Can you get their swim covers?
We're going into town."
My Mom looks up from her book, over the rim of her sunglasses. She looks
like one of those spoiled teens from movies, with music playing in her
ears, a book in hand, an umbrella over her head, and a smirk that says,
"Gosh, you sure are demanding!"
"Oh, sure." She gets up and walks back to our beach house's deck. There,
she holds up Denali and my swim covers and Finn's T-shirt and places them
on the railing, walking back into the house.
"Thanks!" Dad yells to her. "Alright guys. Back to the house. Tasha, do
you need any help?"
I start to paddle back to shore, saying, "No, Dad. I can do this." I had
had some trouble in the swimming department back then.
As everyone swims to shore, I feel something grab my ankle. "Ah! Dad!
Something's on my ankle!" Whatever it is pulls me under. I turn around to
see what it is. A pair of bright red eyes stare back into my own. I scream
underwater, letting the last of my air rush out of my burning lungs. I feel
the blackness start to come. I punch at the beast, hoping to free myself.
Strong hands come around my flailing arms and pull me up and out of the
water. "Finn, take Tasha back to the house. I'm going to see what this is,
'kay?" Dad says.
Dad doesn't even give Finn the chance to answer. He dives back under.
"Sure, Daniel." He turns to me, keeping a firm grip on my arm. "Tashie, can
you swim?" I wince at his death-hold. "Sorry." He lets go of my arm and
pulls me onto his back for a ride. "Here. Better?"
"Yes, thanks Finn. What was that... that thing?"
"I dunno," he tells me, already treading towards shore, keeping us both
above the waves easily. "Hopefully, that was the only one, whatever it
Right as we get to shore, we hear a screeching scream. "HELP!"
Finn puts me down in Mom's chair. "Denali," I whisper.
"Stay here," Finn orders, but I get up anyway.
"Come on! She might be hurt!" We run down the beach a little ways and
see Denali jerking around in the water. I see my Dad swimming towards her.
"Hold on, Deni!" Finn and I yell to her.
"Dad's coming!" I add.
Finn and I look to each other and then start to run out into the water.
"No!" Warren, Finn's Dad, says to us. "Finn, Natasha, stay!" He runs out
into the water with my dad, helping with the untangling of Finn's sister
and taking down of whatever that animal is.
Finn starts to growl. "Finn, what's wrong?" I ask.
There we stand, soaking wet, as Finn says, "I don't like it. It looks to
me like it isn't safe to go into the water for a while."
When Denali gets pulled underwater, before either of our Dad's reach
her, I start to scream and yelp, "Denali! Denali, no! NO!"
I want to run to her, help her, but Finn holds me back. "Natasha,
Natasha, Tashie!" Oddly enough, his voice is getting deeper. Weird.
I try to squirm out of his grasp. I have to help Denali! What doesn't he
get about that?! "Denali! Deni! Get off! Deni!"
"WAKE UP!" That jerks me out of sleep.
My eyes jerk open, seeing that I'm still in the den. "Wha-what?"
Finn is leaning over me, worry in his beautiful brown eyes. "Are you
okay? You we're screaming and talking in your sleep again. Mainly, you were
saying my sister's name. What happened?"
I pant heavily, still paralyzed from my nightmare slash memory. Still
laying down, the leaking tears fall to the edge of my eyes and stream down
the sides of my face. I look to my left. Mariah, Chase, and Willow are
still sleeping, the morning light only just starting to creep through the
window. "Puerto Rico, Deni...." I manage to get out.
His eyes soften as more silent tears fall. He leans down to place a kiss
on my forehead. I wrap my arms around his neck and pull myself closer. He
moves his arms to pull me into his lap, leaning us back against the couch.
After I'm calm enough to speak, he asks, "Tell me what happened?"
I nod and tell him ever-y-thing. After I finish, I ask, "I'm not crazy,
am I?"
He chuckles quietly. "No, you aren't crazy."
"Everything I just said did happen, right?"
"Yes, but it's just a memory. That happened a long time ago. Almost six
years ago. Deni's fine now."
My head jerks up from leaning against his neck. "Is she like us?"
He shakes his head. "No. She's like my mom. Human. She'll be eighteen
next December. She misses you a lot." He pauses for a minute. "You know,
after this school year is over, I should take you to Evergreen, where I
live in Colorado. It's about a half an hour from Denver."
I blink back the tears. He's going to take me to his home. To let me see
where he lives and to see his family again! "Really?"
He nods, smiling. "Really." I squeeze him tightly.
"Thank you, Finn," I whisper, through happy tears.
He places kisses to my hair. "Sure thing, Tashie. Anytime."
After a while, I say, "So, our birthdays are coming up soon, aren't
they?" I scoot over to sit beside him instead of in his lap.
"Yep. They are. What do you want for your birthday? I have to get you
something and I have no idea what."
I shrug. "You know me. I don't like big, fancy gifts. Being with you for
my fifteenth birthday will be enough."
He slips his hand over to hold mine. "I know, but I'm your best friend.
I have to get you something." I bite my lower lip. "What kind of stuff do
you like now? I'm assuming that your interests have changed from stuffed
animals to other things in the past five years?" I glare at him. "Thought
I shake my head, trying to think of something to help him. "I-."
"You know what? I've got it. I know what I'm going to get you."
He smiles, and I raise an eyebrow. "What about you? If you're getting me
something, then I am ABSOLUTELY getting you something." He tries to object,
but I say, "Nu uh. Don't even TRY to slither your way out of this one. If
you don't help me, I'll find something by myself."
I place my hands on my hips. He huffs. "Okay. You win. Umm...."
While he is thinking, I remember that Jade has a paint set in the
closet. I love to paint! It's like playing guitar. It comes naturally. He
loves where he lives in Colorado. I know what I'm going to get him. Or make
him, that is.
"Nevermind," I tell him, smiling. "I know what I'm going to get you."
It's his turn to raise an eyebrow. "Oh really?" I nod, grinnning like an
"Well, now that we have plans-."
Mariah yawns, hugely, her wolf form stretching out of the sofa. "Mariah!
Get down!" I yell at her. "If you get claw marks on the couch, Jade'll
never forgive you!"
She looks to me, hops off, rolls her eyes, and changes back to human
form. "Well, sorry, Miss Omega. Didn't realize the claws." She holds her
hand out in front of her, as if inspecting her nails. "Ah! They are getting
fairly long. I'll cut them later."
Finn and I laugh, waking up Chase. He looks up sleepily. He, also, yawns
and nudges Willow with his nose. She creeps one eye open at Chase. I laugh
as she closes it again, clearly saying, "Leave me alone. I'm tired."
Chase nips at her ear. Willow growls slightly, almost playfully. Willow
changes back to human, still laying on her stomach. "Will ya let a girl
sleep already?" She toses a lock of midnight back hair out of her
violet-blue eyes.
Chase phases back and smiles winningly at her, sitting crosslegged. "You
aren't a morning person are you?"
"No!" she says, letting her head fall into a pillow in front of her.
"It's okay," I tell her. "Most girls aren't. Don't know why. Mariah is
an exception."
Mariah grins. "Yep! Always have been. I don't like to sleep in. It
doesn't get things done, does it?"
"You have a point," I say, yawning.
Mariah tilts her head at me. "Didn't sleep well?"
I shake my head, placing it to my knees that are up to my chest. "Na. I
had a nightmare." I chuckle. "Pretty typical of me though. I'll be fine.
Just need to wake up a little first."
Finn places a gentle hand on my back and rubs up and down. I turn my
head to look at him, smiling slightly at his understanding. "We need to go
get dressed for the day and to wash up," Mariah says, taking on that
leaderly tone of her parents... to an extent. "That will help everybody
wake up. 'Kay?"
We all nod in agreement, and I head to my room where a hot shower awaits


After Natasha gets her shower, I hop in and clean myself up. You never
feel very well when you're dirty.
As I scrub the shampoo into my hair, I think about what I should get
Natasha for her upcoming birthday. I'm trying to think of something
special, something you wouldn't go out and buy everyday. I'm going to give
her my journal from back when we were kids.
I love to keep journals. I always have. I kept a special one when I was
probably eleven, started right before I left and it continued for the few
years after that. I stopped it when she turned thirteen, thinking that she
would never turn into a wolf at all. By the time that you reach that age,
normally, you'll never turn.
I lost hope. That's why it totally surprised and excited me when Josh
asked me to escort her from Helen to Isle Royale. I had writen so much
about her in the journal. That's why I want to give it to her. To prove to
her that I never forgot about her.
Anyway, aside from the journal, I am thinking about making a light box.
It's kind of hard to explain, but basically it is a little camcorder in the
shape of a three inch, square box. I can download old videos and pictures
onto it. With the lens attached to one side, it can project them onto a
wall or onto a desk or any flat surface really.
So... yeah. That's what I am thinking. I'm pretty good with electronics
and wires and what not, so it'll be easy to make.
I turn off the water after cleaning up completely. I dry off and pull on
jeans and a grey T-shirt. I walk out of the bathroom and all the way into
the hallway. Once I'm in the kitchen, I see Jade, Skylar, Mariah, and
Natasha talking around the counter, all clean and refreshed. I walk up to
them. "Hey, Finn," Jade says. "Hungry?"
Natasha laughs. I love to hear it. Like jingle bells. "Like you have to
I roll my eyes at her. "Sure. What's for breakfast?"
"Whatever you want really," Skylar smirks.
Jade playfully hits him with her washcloth. "Yeah, yeah. What do you
want, Finn?"
"Umm... just whatever you have. I'm not that hungry."
She hands me a plate with an omlet ontop. "Mm hm, sure
you aren't. Finn, I know you. You're always hungry."
I roll my eyes again and start eating. "Finn," Skylar says. "You up for
a trip to the mainland?"
I swallow. "Sure." I rinse my mouth put with O.J. "When and for what
"Well," he starts, "We need to get some new carpeting for the Lodge. The
Fang totally destroyed the old. We also need to pick up some power tools
for the job. We need new lightbulbs, paint, wood and stuff like that for
the missing wall." He points to the ghost wall to the side of us. "And some
stuff to fix the heater."
"Okay. When do we go?"
"I was thinking about heading down there today, actually."
I turn to look at Natasha. Her face is expressionless. I look down and
think for second. After we get the supplies for the Lodge, I can pick up
the stuff I need for Natasha's birthday present surprise. I also need to
get out of the house. Being stuck on an island with a bunch of werewolves
and shape-shifters is great... to an extent.
"Sure," I finally say.
"Could I go with you guys?" Natasha asks.
"And me too?" Mariah asks.
"Ehhh...." Skylar stalls.
Mariah places her hands on her hips, something she does quite often
nowadays. "Oh come on. I'll keep Natasha company while you two go do your
shopping. We can shop for accessories for the dance... without Willow
butting in."
She nudges Natasha with her elbow saying this. "Yeah," Natasha chuckles.
"That would be nice. A few nights ago, she tried to get me to get Jade to
make me a dress with the pattern having a neckline going all the way down
to the bellybotton." She shivers and crosses her arms across her chest.
Okay, hearing that, I couldn't help but bust out laughing. Seriously! I
know Willow. Of course she would try something like this!
But I know Natasha better. No way, no how, would she EVER wear a dress
like that! It just wasn't her. She is a very modest person, and I admire
that about her.
Willow, on the other hand, at times, isn't. That's all I'm going to say
about her.
I'll admit though. I try to picture Natasha in a dress like she
described. I couldn't do it. I won't even think about her like that. I
don't want to.
I look to her and see her blushing rose red. I swallow and wonder if she
had peeked into my head in the last few seconds. Oops.
Skylar is still laughing, along with Jade and Mariah. "Oh, alright.
We'll do our 'shopping'," he makes quotation marks with his fingers around
"shopping", "and you can do yours. Sound good?"
Mariah and Natasha jump up once. "Yes!" they exclaim, at the same time.
They look to each other, clearly surprised at each other's outburst, and
"How long will we be gone?" Mariah asks.
"A few days," Skylar answers. "Today is Friday. We'll probably be back,
say... Sunday evening? How's that? Give you enough time?"
"Sure," Natasha says. "When do we leave?"
"As soon as you can get packed up." Skylar smiles.
Mariah and Natasha get up and race to their bedrooms.
I finish my breakfast, and say to Skylar, "Sky, I have some things that
I need to get at the department store as well. Okay?"
"Sure thing, Finn. If you don't mind me asking, what do you need to
"I don't mind. It's part of Natasha's birthday present. I'll explain it
to you on the boat ride there."
"Okay. Cool."

I hurry back to my room to pak for our little trip. I was excited to get
off the island, to see all the rest of Michigan. I had heard that Michigan
is as average as you can get, but still. I'll decide that for myself.
I pack two pairs of jeans, one light one dark, a orange hoodie, two
T-shirts, my snowcap, my converse and boots, and scarf. I hurry to the
bathroom to pack my hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, elastic
hairbands, my basic makeup, my best-friends bracelet(I never go anywhere
without it), my iPod, and my favorite shampoo and conditioner. I know that
the hotel will have some, but I like the way mine smells. Reminds me of
Puerto Rico.
After stuffing everything into my orange backpack, I hear Finn enter the
room. "Hey, I just wanted to tell you that-." When he sees me completely
packed, he pauses. "You're ahead of me. I was going to tell you to not pack
your stuff in the backpack with the Pack insignia on it."
"You really think that they might try something again?" I ask, concered.
He moves over to wrap me in his arms. "Hey, I'm just saying that we can
never be too careful. 'Kay?" I nod, moving to burry my face in his soft
T-shirt. "Good. That's all I meant."
"Finn, Natasha," Mariah calls through the doorway. I pull away, but
Finn keeps an arm around my waist. "Oh, sorry. Was I interupting
"No, you're fine Mariah. What is it?"
"We're ready to go when you are."
"All I have to do is pack my stuff and then we're good."

The author's comments:
Okay. What do you think? This is one of their first issues. Is Finn right? Should they slow it down? Or will slowing it down make it harder for the both of them? I'll post more soon!

We run all the way to Rock Harbor as wolves. This is where we are supposed to meet the ferry, Isle Royale Queen IV.
Finn has told me that the shape-shifter's cover story is that we are on Isle Royale on the Yellowstone National Park's permission. We're here to study the wolves and send back the information to Yellowstone. He says that we have friends all around the island, in almost every situation. Finn says that we have a particular friend in the ferry service that can assure us no problems getting to Copper Harbor, Michigan, where the ferry is to drop us off.
When we walk up to the dock where the Queen IV lies in the water, two park rangers walk up to the four of us. One of them is a tall blonde, in his ealy to mid-thirties. He smiles friendily at us. He's the one that Finn told me about, the Pack member.
The other ranger is female. She is short and a bit chubby. She has a ponytail of honey hair and has freckly skin. She is holding a clipboard and is not too happy to see us. "What're ya'll doin' here? There ain't any visitors on the island right now. How'd ya'll get here?" Her southern drawl is exceptionally annoying.
"Easy, Raberta. I know these folks," the blonde covers for us. He tell her our cover story.
"Oh, well then, I guess that's fine. The boat'll leave in ten minutes." She walks away towards the little cabin that I'm is the weather room.
"Sorry about her," the bonde says. "She's not in the best of moods a lot. How are you guys?"
Skylar says, "Good, man. Thanks for the save. How are you?"
"Good as can be with all the awful weather a few nights ago. How's the Pack?"
"Good...ish." Skylar leans in closer, and says, "The Fang made an attack the night that we had the awful weather. On both the Greenstone and Red Oak Packs."
The blonde growls slightly. "Uh. I hate that! Anything I can do to help?"
"Na. We're going to the mainland to get some supplies to fix up a few things."
He nods. "Okay. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you guys."
"Sure thing, Salem. Thanks."
"Come on. I'll get you guys settled onto the Queen."
Salem leads us onto the boat, and says, "Here you go. Have a good trip."
We wave to him as he gets off. Soon, the captain comes on and the boat pulls out of the harbor. Everyone goes into the center of the ship and sits down in the empty seats. No one, except for us, is on the boat ride. Isle Royale Park is only open from April to October, so we have a reason to be the only ones. "How long will the boat ride be?" I ask, sitting beside Finn and in front of Skylar and Mariah.
Skylar answers, "Err... maybe three hours? That's what it roughly takes. Right Mariah?"
"Sure sure, Brother."
I stare at her. "Skylar is your brother?"
She nods. "Yep. I was adopted by the Alphas when I was really little. We didn't know that I had a brother until Skylar phased. You see, he was adopted by another family before I was. It was only when Josh got curious because we look so much alike that he got Jade to give us a blood test. Tada! Confirmed. We are siblings. Weird though."
I look back and forth between them. They do look a lot alike. I hadn't noticed before. They have the same shaped eyes, they have the same smile, the same skin tone, and the same look to them altogether. It is amazing that I haven't seen anything before she said it.
"You do look alike," I finally say.
They laugh.
We spend the first hour just talking about random stuff, getting to know each other better.
About halfway through the trip, I get up and say, "I'm going to go outside for a minute. I need some fresh air. Mariah, wanna come with me?"
"Sure." She hops up from her seat. We walk out of the door and onto the side of the boat. I walk over to the railing and prop my elbows on it. "So, what's your master plan for shopping, Riah?"
"Well," she starts, joining me at the railing, "I was thinking that we'd try Copper Country Mall first. Then if we don't find anything there, we can always try U P Ultimate Outlet. That okay with you?"
"Sounds great, but do you have a liscense?"
"She takes a small wallet out of her pocket and holds up a card. Her drivers liscense. ""Ah, so you are sixteen. When's your birthday?"
"January 3, 1996. How about you? I thought that I heard you and Finn meantion something about birthdays."
"You're right. My birthday is February 28, 1997. I'll be fifteen in just over four weeks."
"Oh, cool! Well, don't tell Willow, or she'll plan the biggest birthday party you'll EVER go to!"
We both laugh. "I can imagine Willo being the party sort. So, what's your dress going to be like for the Valentines Day dance?"
She pulls me back inside the ship. Grabbing her backpack, and getting funny looks from the guys, we go to another room with lots of windows to the back of the ship. It's (big surprise) empty.
She holds up a beautiful dress. "Oh! Mariah! It's gorgeous!"
The green fabric of her dress falls down to her knees, like mine will be. She waist down has many different layers of frills. The Waist up is silk and has girly short sleeves. Right at the waistline is a silver bow. The neckline is low and it has two curves that go up, right above her breasts, the kind that you see in fairytales. The trim for the low collar is silver and sparkley, just like the bow.
"Wow, Mariah... Jade made you this?" She nods. "Oh my gosh she is talented!"
We both explore her dress. "Isn't she? Wanna see yours? I packed it so that we can find matching accesories."
I nod, furiously. When she pulls out a peachy dress, my mouth drops to the floor.
The dress is so difficult to explain! It's so beautiful! The waistline is a silk bow and will lie right at my hips. The waistline down is frilly, just like Mariah's, but mine is only down to my knees. The waist to the neckline is silk, also like Mariah's gown. The neckline is right at my chest, not too high or too low. It's strait and the short sleeves are frilly, just like the skirt part.
"Mariah, this is... this is beautiful! I can't wait to thank Jade!"
"I know right? She's an amazing aunt."
"She's like the sister I never had," I admit.
"So," Mariah says, raising her eyebrows. "Wanna try them on?"
I bite my lower lip. "Sure?"
"Ah! Don't be scared. I'm not like Willow." We both laugh as we head towards the bothrooms.
Once inside, I change into the dress. True to my thoughts, it falls right to my knees, fitting perfectly. I zip up the back and hide it beneath my long brown hair. It probably looks a little silly with my coverse still on, but hey. It's Mariah. She won't judge me like Willow.
I walk out of the bathroom to find Mariah right outside, examining her dress. "Oh, Natasha! That looks wonderful on you!"
I twirl around once, making the skirt fan out. "Thanks. I love yours too!"
We stand there, giggling like girls do, when Finn walks around the corner. The last thought that comes to my mind is, "Oh crap!"

After telling Skylar about my plan for Natasha's birthday present, he says, "Great idea. I can help you get the right stuff for that of you want."
Right as we stop talking, Mariah comes in the room, rushing, and grabs her backpack from under her seat. Natasha stands at the door and rolls her eyes at her. They leave the room as soon as they have whatever it is that they needed.
"Wonder what they're up to," I mumble.
"Ah, I wouldn't worry, Finn. More than likely, they're just planning for the dance or talking about girl stuff."
I chuckle. Mariah can be a little annoyance sometimes, but then, when she's around someone like Natasha, she totally opens up.
I remember that Star was exactly like Natasha. Kind, sweet, quiet, and understanding. Mariah opened up to her just like she is doing to Natasha.
It's a good thing, I guess. Natasha needs a girlfriend here at Isle Royale and Willow is a little too pushy for her. Mariah has needed a friend since Tobias disappeared. It's perfect.
I get up, and say, "I'm going to get some fresh air as well. You coming?"
"No thanks. I get motion sick really easily. I'll be staying right here."
I smirk as I head down the hallway and around the corner. A wolf that gets motion sick. Who knew?
As I round the second corner, I see Natasha and Mariah in ball gowns, Mariah in a green one and Natasha in a peach one. I can't help but stare. She's so beautiful!
And then they see me.
At first they look shocked. And then they just say, "Finn! Go! You aren't supposed to see us in the dresses!"
I hold up my hands in surrender and look down to the floor. "Okay! Sorry! Jeez! I'll be... um... leaving now."
I walk back around the corner and I hear Mariah say, "Whew! That was a close one."
"Yeah. Too close."
"It's tradition that the guys don't see the girls in their dresses before the dance. It's just how it works. Do you know what Finn will wear?"
"How should I know?" Natasha asks.
"You two are going together, aren't you? Tell me you are."
"Well." Natasha starts to blush. I can feel it from around the corner. "He hasn't exactly asked me yet. I don't know if he wants to go with someone else or if he wants to go at all."
"Oh please!" Mariah exclaims. "You two are so blind! Can't you see that you are both madly in love with each other? Good grief! He likes you! You like him! If he doesn't have the guts to ask you, then shame on him, but ask him anyway! I can't believe I have to be your love coach-."
"Okay! Riah, I get it! I'm waiting for him, though."
Mariah starts to grumble, unaudible to human ears and it's a good thing too. The words coming out of her mouth right now aren't the best.
I walk around another way and go out to the deck of the ship. The breeze feels good against my heated skin. I move over to lean against the railing and look down into the water, thinking.
Is Mariah really right? Is it that obvious? I know that I like Natasha as a friend, and maybe a little more. I mean, I'm sure that she's the one for me of course! I wouldn't have kissed her so many times if I wasn't absolutely sure, but am I rushing into it? Am I moving our relationship along too fast? I look out to the horizon.
My thoughts are interrupted by a door shutting. Mariah comes out onto the deck and stands beside me. Here it comes. "Hey," I say, still looking at the horizon line.
"You were listening, weren't you?" she asks.
I sigh. "Yes."
She huffs, clearly irritated. "Finn, look. Natasha is waiting for you to make the first move. She's deffinitely the shyish type. If you don't ask, she won't."
I rub my temples. "Yeah, I know. I'm not sure if it's a good idea."
"What do you mean?"
"I just think that I should give her some time before going to a dance with her. She just got here. She's still getting used to being one of us, the school, being an Omega is hard enough. Do you really think that a serious relationship will help anything? I think that I'm rushing too much. I like her, yes. A lot, yes, but I'm not sure if we should be any more than friends right now. It's not a good idea."
I hear a choked sob behind me.
Turning around, I see Natasha staring at me.

No more than friends? Not going to the dance? He doesn't care for me anymore.
That's all it took before I run back down the hallway and slip into a side room.
The room is awfully dark and silent, perfect right now.

"Natasha! Wait!" I yell after her, but it's no good. She heard everything, and now I've messed up something else up.
I glance at Mariah, but she is no where to be seen or heard. Must have walked away to give us some privacy.
I open the deck door and walk down the hallway. I listen closely, trying to find which room Natasha would have gone to. I hear quiet sobbing come from the room at the very end. I walk to the door and open it, careful not to startle Natasha.
I see her curled in a corner, knees grasped to her chest and tears streaming down her face.

When I hear Finn enter the room, I pretend not to. He moves over, slowly, to sit in front of me. "Tashie-."
"It's okay, Finn. I get it. Just friends. I'll go with Mariah to the dance. She's going to help with the snacks and drinks." I burry my face into my knees.
"But that's not what you want."
"Yes, it is now."
"But it isn't what you want, really."
I wipe the tears away, lifting my head but still keeping my eyes downcast. "Well... not originally, no. But apparently, we're 'rushing into it'." I make quotation marks around "rushing into it". That statesment only makes more tears fall. Finn tries to reach out to me and pull me in for a hug, but I jerk away from him. "No."
He sighs and relents. "What can I do to make it up to you? I didn't mean to make you upset. If you really want to go to the dance with me, then we're going. I was just trying to think of you in this situation. I was only worried that a realationship would mess up your focus on school and being an Omega. I don't want you in trouble with the Packs or anything like that. 'Kay? That's all I meant. Please forgive me."
I look up at him. His face is downcast and he looks like he's at the point of tears.
I crawl over to sit in his lap. Wrapping my arms around his torso, he burries his face into my shoulder. "I'm sorry," he keeps repeating. "I didn't mean it."
I run my hands up and down his back. "I forgive you. It's okay. I knew you didn't mean it, but I didn't give you the chance to explain. I'm the one who should be sorry. Forgive me?"
"Always," he says, after he's pulled away.
"You don't really want to go, do you," I accuse.
"Yes," he says, grasping my hands in his own. "Yes, I want to go. I'm sorry! I was being stupid! I'll do anything for you, just don't hate me."
I can't belive what I just heard. He thinks that I hate him?! "You'll do anything for me? And you think that I hate you? I could never hate you! I love you, Finn!" I take his face into my hands. "Don't even think that!"
He brushes a lock of hair out of my face, gently, his hands lingering on my cheeks. "I love you, too. I wasn't sure that you'd like me after what I just said to Mariah." I chuckle, looking down. "What?" he asks, smiling all the same.
"You actually thought that I hated you," I mumble sadly, though still smiling. I place my palm to his cheek. "Only you."
He brings my face closer to his, but not letting our lips touch. He wants to, I can see it in his eyes. He's waiting for me to make the move. He doesn't want to upset me again. I lean in and bring our lips together.
He kisses me back, gently and loving. "You're forgiven," he mumbles, smiling against my lips.
"Same to you, Wolfie."

The author's comments:
You feel wholer, more complete. She's everything to you. You'd do anything to make sure that she's happy. You see everything about her and she sees the same in you. Life's happier, when you're with her. It hurts so much to leave. When she's in danger, you feel it. When she needs care or attention, you feel it. There's nothing like it.

Okay. After we get off the boat, Skylar says, "Alright. Josh says to go
to this address next door to the harbor. His dad keeps two
cars for him that the Greenstone Pack uses when on the mainland."
We all walk off the decks and to a mechanic looking place that has a
giant garage. Skylar walks up to the door and knocks. A man in probably mid
to late fifties answers the door. He and Skylar exchange a few words, then
the man hands Skylar two pairs of keys, smiling. He waves to us and closes
the door.
Skylar walks over to us again, and says, "That was Josh and Jade's
father. He's going to open the garage for us to get the cars out of. He was
a Alpha, so show the upmost respect."
"That means that he's your grandfather too?" I ask him.
"He's their parents and my friend. He's kind of
like my step-gradfather, since I was adopted by another family then
The huge garage door opens and yells to us, "Hey! Get ova here! Do you
want me to reach sixty while you're standing here?"
We laugh and run up to the open door. "Well, well, well. Mariah! You
sure have grown up a little bit since I last saw ya. How's it goin'?
"Very well, grandfather," she answers, smiling.
"Well then, let's get down ta buiness." He says business like busy-ness.
I chuckle. "So, you're here for Josh's cars? Alrightly. They're over there.
Kept 'em up and running myself. Wouldn't let anyone touch 'em."
Skylar pats the older mans shoulder. "Thanks, man. Could we borrow them
for a few days? We'll return them on Sunday more than likely."
"Well, I gave ya the keys, didn't I? Any friend of Josh is a friend of
Skylar thanks him and, out of the corner of my eye, I see a little black
shadow move. I jerk my head to see what it is, to find a small, black
kitten wabbling around helplessly, bumping into stuff. I creep over to the
corner and squat down to look it in the eye. "Hi, little fella. What cha
doing back here?"
"Oh, that little thing?" Josh's father asks. "He's been scampering
around here for a few days. I was thinking about takin' it to the pound-."
At those words I take the kitten into my arms, and say, "No, don't do
that! That's inhumane!"
"Natasha-," Skylar scolds me. I know, I know. I probably shouldn't call
a elder like him "inhumane", but what Alpha would send a little kitten like
this one to the pound?
"No! If you're going to really do that, I'm taking it with me."
He smiles. "I like your spunk, Miss Winterpike."
"It's Natasha. Is it okay if I take it with me?"
"Very well Natasha. On one condition." I wait patiently. "You call me
Bruce instead of all this 'Mr. Cleveland' crap I get from all the other
kids from the Pack."
He winks at me and I smile. "Well, okay then, Bruce."
"AWE! He's so cute!" Mariah exclaims. "May I hold him?"
"Sure." I hand the poor little kitten over to Mariah and she looks him
over so fast I have trouble seeing.
"It's a little girl. My guess is that she's around two months old. Poor
thing. Where's your mama?"
Instead of answering, the kitten sneezes. "Oh, you need a bath. Once we
get back to the hotel, okay?" She hands the little ball of fur back to me.
"What are you going to name it?"
"Rico," I say, without hesitation. "After Puerto Rico."
Rico's little sapphire eyes stare up at me. "Come on little girl. We
need to get you something to eat.
After getting the two cars, I ride with Mariah in the Chevy Impalla. The
boys ride in the other car. I'm not sure what kind it is.
Mariah's cell phone rings and she says to me, "Pick it up." I do and I
look at the number. "Finnick Brown". "Who is it?"
"Finn," I tell her.
"You an answer it."
I hit the "talk" button on her blackberry and say, "Hey you!"
"Natasha? Is that you?"
I roll my eyes. "Yes, it's me. What do you need?"
"We were going to give you directions to the hotel, or you could just
follow us."
"We'll follow."
"'Kay. Love you."
"Love you, too. See you in an hour. Bye."
I hit the "end" button, and say, "He wants us to follow their car.
They've got directions to the hotel? 'Kay?"
"Gotcha." She gets in the lane behind the boy's car and follows them for
about sixty miles.
When we pull into a Holiday Inn, I jump out of the car. Out of the
trunk, I get my bag and Mariah's too. "Come here little fella." I scoop up
the cat and place her, gently, into my bag.
I hand Mariah's bag to her as soon as she's out of the driver's seat.
"Why thank you."
"Welcome. So, how far is the Copper Country Mall from here?"
"I'm not exactly sure. I'll look it up on Mapquest tonight."
We meet the guys at the entrance of the hotel. Inside, I look around to
see the entire hotel. It's the same as the other Holiday Inn's I've stayed
at. Simple, but great.
Finn wraps an arm around my shoulders as soon as I'm close. "What time
is it?" I whisper, as Skylar gets us checked into the hotel.
He kisses my hair. "Around four thirty."
"How did it get so late?"
"Well, we left at almost twelve o'clock, the boat trip took three hours
and the drive here took one hour. So, if you add it all up, around four
thirty is actually perfect timing."
I yawn. "Yeah, I know. It just gets so dark so early here. It's not what
I'm used to."
He gives my shoulder a quick squeeze. "After we get settled in here,
we're going to go to Pizza Hut. Sound good?"
I nod. "Mm hm."
Skylar comes back to the three of us. "I got our card. We're in room
I hear a "Meow!" from my backpack. Busted. "You put the cat in your
backpack?" Finn chuckles.
"Well, I wasn't sure that they allowed pets, so yeah."
We get into the elevator and I take the poor animal out of my bag. Her
claws extend to grasp my hoodie sleeve. "Well, hello to you too."
She meows again. "I think she's hungry," Mariah says to me.
I am so very tempted to roll my eyes at her. "You think?"
We hurry to our hotel room and, as soon as we're inside, I place the
little kitten onto the floor and let her explore. "Be careful, everyone. No
one steps on my cat, or else."
I place my bag onto the couch. I take a good look at the room. Two,
queen beds are sitting beside each other, in the middle their nightstands.
Opposing the beds is a pull out couch-bed. I guess that we'll figure out
sleeping arrangements later.
Rico comes up onto the bed and meows long and loud. I laugh and pick her
up. "Alright, you. Time for a bath."
"I'll help you," Mariah offers. I think that me and her are going to be
the bestest of friends.
She and I walk into the bathroom and start to fill up the sink with warm
water. I know that cats are known for not liking water, but my cat seems to
love it. She paws at the surface first, then she walks, willingly, into the
sink. Mariah and I wash her up, making her fur shiney and new. I take her
out of her bath and dry her off. Mariah and I laugh as her fur sticks up,
making her look like a cat on Halloween.
I set her down, gently, onto the tile and she runs rapidly throughout
the room, trying to dry herself. "Whoa!" Skylar exclaims. "Crazy cat."
He is sitting on one of the queen beds and is flipping through the
channels on the TV. Finn is sitting on the other bed and Mariah has made
herself at home, flipping through the latest Teen Vouge magazine.
I move over to sit beside Finn on the bed. He pulls me onto his lap and
places his chin ontop of my head. He wraps his arms around my waist. I
place my arms ontop of his, snuggling back into his chest. His shoulders
curve around me, and Rico jumps up into my lap, curing up and going to
sleep. I move on hand to scratch at her fur.
When are we going to Pizza Hut?
"When do we plan to head out to dinner?" Finn asks for me.
"Oh, around six. That okay with you guys?"
Finn looks to me. Fine, I answer telepathically.
"Yeah sure," Mariah says.
"Good with us, too."
I sigh and close my eyes. "OOH! Super Bowl is this weekend, man," Finn
says. "Oh, I hope we back in time for that. Giants versus Patriots. Gonna
be a tough one."
"You can say that again," Skylar answers.
"'Gonna be a tough one'," Mariah taunts.
Skylar huffs. "Know-it-all," he says under his breath.
"I heard that."
I smile. "Are you sleeping?" Finn asks, softly, not loud enough for
anyone else to hear.
A little, I answer.
He chuckles and turns me so that I'm laying against him on my side. I
curl up into a ball, and his arms tighten, making me feel safe and


When Natasha becomes more drowsy, I pull the comforter around us both.
"Thanks," she mumbles, through a sleepy haze.
"Welcome. You warm enough?"
"Mm hm."
And after that, I'm pretty sure that she falls asleep. A few minutes
later, Skylar asks, "She asleep already?" I nod. "She's tired a lot, isn't
"Weren't we all a little exausted when we first phased? And it means
even more for her because she's an Omega."
He nods. "Yes, I suppose."
"Believe me," I say. "If there were something wrong with her, I'd be the
first to know. Soulmates are our other half. It's kinda hard not to know
what they're feeling, especially when you're Soulbound to each other."
"What's that like?" Skylar asks, after hesitating a second.
I look over to him. "What? Soulbinding?" He nods. "Well," I run my hand
through Natasha's curly hair, "It's so hard to explain. You feel wholer,
more complete. She's everything to you. You'd do anything to make sure that
she's happy. You see everything about her and she sees the same in you." I
pause. "Life's happier, when you're with her. It hurts so much to leave.
When she's in danger, you feel it. When she needs care or attention, you
feel it. There's nothing like it." Skylar listens to me without
interupting. He nods his head as I finish. "Why?"
He shrugs. "I was thinking about talking to Jade about it, that's all."
I grin. "I knew that would happen sooner or later."
He blushes. "Obvious?"
Natasha stirs, mumbling, "No, no don't," very quietly, too quietly for
anyone but me to hear. "Don't... leave," she breathes.
I hold her closer as Skylar looks back to his ballgame, quietly
exclaiming at some of the bad plays.
She starts to toss and turn in my arms, maybe, an hour and a half later.
"Tashie, wake up," I whisper in her ear. Her eyes flutter open, staring
into mine. "You okay?" I run my hand through her hair, again.
She nods. "Fine."
"Another nightmare?"
She nods again.
"When you guys are ready," Skylar says, "We can go ahead and head down
to Pizzaa Hut."
I nod and turn to Natasha again. "You ready to get up yet, Miss Omega?"
I smile at her as she rolls her eyes. "Yeah. Let me go change into
something besides travle clothes."
She gets up and moves to her backpack, pulls out a new pair of jeans and
a blouse, goes into the bathroom, and locks it behind her. Mariah gets up
and changes, quikly, in the hotel room's closet. "Mariah," Natasha says
from the bathroom, "Can you help me with my hair?"
"Sure. Coming."
When Natasha comes out, my mouth probably drops to the floor. She's
wearing a pair of dark blue skinny jeans, silver ballet flats, and a lime
green frilly shirt with frilly, see-through short sleeves and ruffles that
flow down the entire piece. Some of the small locks of her hair on the
sides of her head are twisted or braided and pinned back with bobby pins
that no human could see. She's beautiful.
She sees me staring and blushes, looking down. She walks over to sit
back beside me. When I finally find my voice again, I whisper, "You look
She smiles, twining her fingers through my own. "Alright," Mariah says,
pulling on her coat. "Let's get going. I'm hungry."
I chuckle and get off the bed, pulling Natasha up after me. "Wait!" she
exclaims. She goes to the bed and picks up Rico. "What about Rico? Will she
be alright by herself for the night?"
"I think that she'll be fine," I tell her, scratching Rico behind the
ears. The cat purs and yawns. I chuckle. "See? She'll probably sleep
through the entire night."
Natasha places the kitten on her pillow. "Okay. I'll trust you. You be
good, Rico."
It curls up onto her pillow and closes her eyes.

I stare at my new pet, wondering if the hotel's manager would like claw
marks on the walls. Finn takes my hand. "Don't worry. Like I said before,
she'll more than likely sleep throughout the entire night that we're gone."
I grab my nicer jacket, a black pea-coat, and let him lead me out of the
room and after Mariah and Skylar, who are already waiting for us at the
outside of the elevators.

The author's comments:
I know it's short, but there's a part two coming soon!

As we pull into the parking lot of Pizza Hut, I see that the place is
packed, no pun intended. "Oh, crap," I exclaim in a whisper.
"No biggy," Mariah tells me. "I reserved us a spot while you were
sleeping and Sky and Finn were talking. We're good. Besides, it's just a
youth sporting group near the area."
"Oh. Okay."
As Mariah parks the car, I see Skylar and Finn's car already parked and
they're standing right inside the door, talking and laughing. I love it
when Finn laughs and smiles. His smile is too hard to resist.
"Alright," Mariah puts the car into the right gear and hops out, me
following her. "So, Finn asked you?"
"Yeah. He asked me when we were back at the Lodge. I had forgetten to
tell you about that. I can't believe that I told you that he hadn't asked
me yet."
She raises her eyes brows in surprise. "Oh! I didn't know that. Sorry."
I shrug. "It's okay."
When we get into the restaraunt, we meet Skylar and Finn in the tiny
roon with the two glass doors to go into the Pizza Hut and to go outside.
"Okay, girls, listen," Skylar says. "There's a bunch of kids our age here.
Probably around fifty to sixty. It's a big place, but I don't think that
anyone should wander off."
Mariah rolls her eyes. "Yeah. Like we're gonna make friends with these
To prove her point, a teen tries to get up and bumps into a waiter,
which in turn bumps into another, spillling both of their contents on
another costumer, who is not a teenager and not happy.
We walk through the doors and try to find our way through the crowd.
Finn keeps a strong arm around my waist and holds my other hand tightly. He
knows that I don't like crowded places, and it only got worse when I became
an Omega. Too many emotions to pick up on. Too many stories flooding
through my head.
We find our table in the back of the Pizza Hut, where it is quiet.

"Ah, well, that was rough!" Mariah exclaims. I chuckle. Leave it to
Mariah to find someone to glare at.
"Interesting is the word I would use," I say, as I look over my shoulder
to see a bunch of scary looking teens staring at me, most of them guys. I
jerk my head back around. "Why is everyone staring at us, guys?"
"We're strangers," Skylar tells me. "They're probably wondering why
we're here."
I look to the side out of the corner of my eye. Two older teenaged guys
are staring right at Mariah and me. Beside them, is a small group of teen
girls staring at Skylar... and Finn. That does not make me happy. Not one
I can't help the tiny growl that creeps up my throat. "What's wrong?"
I turn to Finn. "People are staring at us and it's making me really
uncomfortable. Why are they staring? Really."
"Well," Finn says, running his free hand through his black hair.
"Shape-shifters don't have to deal with certain human problems that come
with puberty and such. We don't get skin issues. No acne, our skin is
always one color all over, even when we're out in the sun. If one part
get's paled or tanned, the rest does too.
We tend to be very semetrical, the same on each side. A lot of teens
have different shaped eye brows, different shaped eyes, or their hairline
will dip in certain places and not in others. Not shape-shifters. We're the
same on each side."
Mariah continues, "Since we run like crazy at Isle Royale and the fact
that Jade usually makes us each a healthy diet, we're healthy looking. Get
me?" I nod. "So yeah. To humans and I guess shape-shifters too, we're
pretty good looking."
She doesn't say it proudly or arogantly. Just simple truth. "I have
noticed stuff like that, even before I changed. I never had teen problems
like you just described. My friends always asked why, and when I asked my
parents if something was wrong with me, they just said that it must have
been genetics."
Skylar chuckles. "Oh yeah. it was genetics alright."
"I also never had, or will have, braces. Is that normal?"
Skylar nods. "Yeah. Wolves have strait teeth and just the right ammount
of them too. They don't get yellow and stay healthy throughout the entire
life of the wolf. They don't even stain."
"Wow. I always wondered about all that." I look behind Mariah and see a
guy staring right at her, a look that I don't like at all on his face.
*Get her. Get her.* I hear his thoughts, and think, Uh! Gross!
"Riah, look behind you."
Mariah says, "Oh, don't fuss about it. I heard him." She turns around,
and says, "Bug off." The guy looks scared and turns around. Mariah turns to
face us again, folding her hands onto the table and smiling. "That's
better. So, Natasha, I was thinking that we'd head out around ten o'clock.
That's when the mall opens. That okay with you? can you get up that early?"
She is so teasing me with that last comment.
"Yes, Mariah." I rub my temples.
*Look. Look.*
*Pure hottness.*
*Wow. Amazing.*
*Go over. Go over.*
*Wait until she's alone. Wait. Wa-.*
"Natasha, you okay?" Skylar asks.
"Everyone's voices are crowding my head," I say. "I hear all of them at
once. Some are louder than others, and trust me, you don't want to hear
them. Disgusting."
Finn reaches for my free hand. "I had forgotten about that. Guys."
"Don't worry Natasha," Mariah says.
"We'll go somewhere else," Skylar adds.
I nod. "Thank you."
We get up from the table and move to the door. Skylar talks to the
waiter and hands him a tip for his work. He meets us outside the building.
"Sorry 'bout that, Natasha. I had forgotten that you're so sensitive about
loud, noisy, abnoxious people and places."
I shrug. "'S okay. Sorry for causing trouble. Where should we go now?"
"How about...," Mariah gets her phone from her back pocket and starts
typing away. "Golden Corral?"
I bite my lower lip. Finn says, "Riah, could you call and ask how many
people are there?"
She nods. "Sure. The number's right here." She dials and holds it up to
her ear. "Hello, this is Golden Corral, yes? No, I'm not-no. How full is
your building? Yes, yes. Oh! Well, then. We'll be there shortly. Really?
Okay. We have four adults. Thank you. Bye." She hits the "end" button.
"Well, good news, guys. They are presently vacant."
I sigh. "Oh, good."
"Let's go then."
This time, Finn rides with Mariah and I. We sit in the back seats.
Clear your head, Finn tells me, as we buckle in.
Good idea.
I close my eyes and lean back into the headrest, letting all my emotions
and thoughts flow away. Finn pulls me to sit sideways on his lap and brings
my face up to his for a brief kiss.
Finn, that isn't going to help me clear my head.
Oh really? he taunts, leaning in for another.
After kissing a few more times, I burry my face in Finn's neck, my
hiding place.
He chuckles, saying, I love you.
Love you too.
We pull into Golden Corral's parking lot. The three of us climb out and
meet Skylar at the door. "Let's try this again," he says, holding the door
open for us.
I give him a knowing smile and walk through, behind Mariah.
We walk up to the front and one of the free waitresses seats us,
thankfully away from all the employees. I sigh as I sit down. "Better?"
Skylar asks. I nod.
"Thanks for moving guys. Pizza Hut was really weird."
We order and eat our dinner in peacful quiet.
As we drive home, I start to doze off. When I feel myself move, that's
when I open my eyes. "Finn, put... me... down."
I yawn as he says, "Shh. Go back to sleep. We're almost to the room."
True to his word, we walk through the hotel room door five seconds
later. He sets me down onto the bed, but I sit up and say, "I need to
change." I unsteadily walk to my bag and pull out a T-shirt and sleep
shorts. I quickly change in the bathroom and brush my teeth. Why am I so
I see that Mariah is resting on the pull-out bed, still reading. I see
Skylar sound alseep in one of the queen beds. And I see Finn looking at me,
I walk over to the bed and slide down next to where Finn sits. He slips
down next to me and wraps an arm around me. I lay one of mine across his
chest and snuggle deeper into the covers as he brings them over us. "Good
night," he whispers, rubbing his thumb on my waist.
"'Night," I whisper back as sleep takes me to a place where I'm not sure
that I want to go.

The author's comments:
First chapter of Mariah's P.O.V. What do you guys think? From now on, I'm going to wait three days after "Alpha" goes back up onto TeenInk to add more chapters. If I don't have the next chapter written by then, I'll wait. Thank. Don't forget to rate and comment!

It must be around midnight when the nightmare hits. I’m standing in a
field of stones, the light of a full moon glinting off of them. There are
gravestones jutting out of the ground, their labels unreadable. There are
tall, dark, cragged trees with no leaves standing in the edges of the
field, flocks of crows flying in circles around the trees and graves.

I rub my arms; it’s so cold, like ice. I look at myself. I’m wearing a
long, black dress; my hair is singed and hanging loosely at my hips, and my
bare arms, hands, neck, and feet are scared with different scrapes and

I hear a crackling howl, and I know that it’s time to run. I pick up
speed and head towards the giant gravestones and attempt to hide behind
them. When I get close, I again hear the howl, and then the evil laugh of

Turning around I see him walking towards me, a smile on his awful face.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Natasha Winterpike. What are you doing here
at this hour? Surely you know where you are.”

I shake my head, still backing up. My hands behind my back are looking
for cover.

Jet gives a mock shocked look. “Really! You don’t recognize the Isle
Royale Minong Ridge sanctuary? Well, it’s deep in the lake, Lake Desor? I’m
sure you’ve heard of that, eh?”

I give a small, curt nod. He isn’t good! I’m not supposed to talk to

“I thought so. So now, what are you doing here?”

“I’m… I’m…,” I stutter.

“Ah!” Jet says, as if my mumbling answers everything. “You’re dream
traveling. All Omegas can do that. I’m almost positive that Josh and Ember
explained this to you.” I just stare at him. “No? Alright. I’ll do the
honors then.

Dream traveling is something that an Omega can do when a decision is
being made in the Packs. They dream of the situation. Understand?”

I nod, slowly. Should I even trust him? Does he know what he’s talking
about? This is all just a bad dream. Ember and Josh would have told me if
there was something else that I needed to know.

“Don’t believe me, eh?” I shrug. “Well, something in this area is going
to give you a clue about what the Packs decision is. Good luck.”

And then he disappears like vapor, just floating away with the wind.

I am frozen for a minute after he is gone. Is he telling me the truth?
Jet? Alpha Jet, giving his enemy’s Omega… advice? This makes no sense. What
is his motive? He must have some sort of self prize for helping me.

I start to move around the stony graveyard. I risk a look at the crows.
They are all settled down on the trees, watching me. I shiver and look
away. I walk over to the graves and bend down to try to rub away the dirt
and mold off them. Once I rub away the name, I read it, and I really wish
that I hadn’t. On the rock, are, side by side, the names, “Daniel Tristan
Winterpike” and “Forrest Katie Summerton Winterpike”.

I scream and cry at the same time and the crows come down to fly around

I black out of my dream and wake up in Finn’s arms. “Natasha?” he
whispers, looking down groggily at me. I start to shake, still staring
where my eyes opened. Finn turns to lie on his side, facing me. “Tashie,
you’re shaking. What is it?”

“I… I….” I can’t speak just yet.

“It’s just a dream,” he tells me. “Only a dream.”

“No, Finn, do you know what dream traveling is?” He shakes his head, no.
“In my dream, Jet was there. He told me that Omegas can see decisions that
the other Packs make using dream traveling. What is that?”

“You dream traveled?” Skylar asks, scaring me because I didn’t know that
he was awake. He gets out of his bed and sits on the edge of ours. “Did
you?” I nod. “Natasha, dream traveling is where an Omega can go to the
physical place where the decision is being made. It’s very dangerous.
People can’t see you.” He pauses. “Jet talked to you?” I nod again. “That’s

“I didn’t know about this,” I say.

“Neither did I,” Finn says, giving Skylar the death glare. “How come?”

“Alphas, Caretakers, and the Head Scouts are the only ones allowed to
know until an Omega shows signs of traveling. After that, the Omega and
their Soulmate are allowed to know.”

I nod, thinking back to the graveyard scene. A tear slips down my cheek
as I remember the grave’s owners. “Natasha?” Skylar says. “What happened?”

I tell them everything. After telling, Finn holds me close. “Natasha,
Jet has been known to trick Omegas before into thinking wrongly,” Skylar
tells me.

“But,” I object, “These are my parents. I can’t risk them! Even if
you’re right, there are more gravestones there. I have to go back to that
place and find out more. Maybe another Omega will show up.”

Skylar shakes his head, his blonde-red hair tickling his ears. “Nope.
Not all Omegas travel. Alyssa, Alik, and Richmond don’t.”

“You can’t go back,” Finn says. “What if he shows up again? What if he
tries to hurt you? I can’t go with you, can I?” Skylar shakes his head.
“Didn’t think so.”

“But I’ll have to go to sleep eventually.”

“Finn, she’ll be fine. She forced herself to wake up last time. She can
do it again. Besides,” Skylar goes on, “I’ve never seen anyone who could
see an Omega while they’re traveling. More than likely, it won’t happen

I nod to Finn, confirming what Skylar has just said. Finn sighs. “Okay.
I’ll budge. Just… everyone go back to sleep.”

Skylar nods, gives my leg a little pat, and goes back over to his bed to
sleep. Once we hear his slight snoring, Finn and I start to talk again.

It’s impossible to sleep with all this jabbering. I mean, I know Natasha
is an Omega and she has weird and confusing dreams, but they can’t be
anywhere as bad as mine, reliving the quote, “death”, of Tobias over and
over and over.

So, I get up to go to the bathroom. No one will know I’m up and gone.
They’re all busy trying to figure out what’s wrong with our Omega.

I know more about Omegas than they do, Finn and Natasha. My best friend
was Starlyn Andrews. I was really upset when she died, another person that
I cared about… gone. I know that I’m not the nicest person all around, but
look at it from my perspective.

I had everything! A best friend that did everything with me, a lover and
Soulmate, great parents that never fight, an adorable little sister that I
will do anything to make sure that she’s safe, a older brother that I get
to be with all the time(even though he was adopted by another family), and
the Pack was complete.

And then… Tobias “died”, Star was killed, Finn came and he was always
upset and down (wonder why), my parents started to get into fights (not big
ones, but still), Fearless didn’t have anyone because all of us were
dealing with our own issues, and the Pack wasn’t getting along very well.

Everything fell apart! It was perfect, and then… nothing.

I walk into the bathroom and get dressed. I don’t know where I’m going,
but I know that I need to get out of here. I’ll be back before dawn. No one
will ever know that I’m gone. Skylar is sound asleep and he knows that I
need some time to myself every now and then. He knows that I can take care
of myself. I know martial arts. I can kick anyone’s butt that tries
anything. Finn and Natasha are sleeping, well, Natasha is at least. Finn is
just watching her, looking for any signs of a nightmare.

After slipping into jeans, a green hoodie, applying light make up,
getting into converse, and slipping on my love ring that Tobias had given
me as a birthday present on my right hand’s ring finger, I walk out the
door and into the hallway, grabbing my keys as I go.

I walk down to the elevator and press the down button, thinking of
Tobias, as I do often enough. I remember his curly brown hair that curled
down just a smidge past his ears. I remember his army green eyes. I recall
that he had the lightest skin and he was already taller than me, even at
only thirteen and a half. He must have been close to six feet. I remember
how his smile intoxicated me, making my knees shaky.

I blink my eyes and go into the long open elevator door. I press the
“G”, for ground, button and the shaft sends me down. After heading into the
hobby, the counter attendant says, “Is there anything I can do to help you,

I shake my head, giving him a slight smile. “No. I’m just going to head
out for a while. Thank you anyway.” Hey, I might not be polite all the
time, but I do have manners.

I walk into the parking lot and find the gold Impala parked right beside
the ford that Skylar drove here. I unlock, hop in, and head to downtown

It’s a quaint little place. Bigger than Isle Royale, oh yeah, but it has
the feeling of a small town. I mean, the buildings are slightly older; the
people look like normal people, everyday people. It doesn’t look like a
shopping district; with all the fashion geeks walking around on their cell
phones and having their boyfriends carry everything. I chuckle slightly to
myself at the thought.

I pull into the city and guide the car over to the right lane, ready to
turn into a small café called, “Cyberia Café”. I pull into a parking spot
and fetch my purse from in between the seats. I guess that it’s probably
not the best idea to leave my purse in the car at night while I’m not in
it, but hey. No one would even try to steal from Mariah Natalie Cleveland.

Trotting up to the café’s doors, I’m looking at the ground, so I don’t
see that the door is already opening. It swings open and knocks me to the
ground. I’m a little shocked and dazed from being jerked out of my thoughts
like that, but once I hear the voice that’s apologizing, I freeze. “I’m so
sorry, Miss. Here, let me help you up.”

I look up as he helps me. He looks like Tobias! The resemblance is
scary. He looks older, duh, but still. “Um… do I know you?” he asks,
looking curiously at me.

I sigh and shake my head. “No. I don’t think so.”

A tear slips down my cheek, and I try to hide it with my hair. If this
truly is him, he doesn’t remember me, so what’s the use?

“Hey,” he says, wiping away the tear. Where his skin touches mine, it’s
electric. It truly IS Tobias! I can’t believe it! After all this time….
“Why don’t I buy you a cup of coffee or something. I owe you after knocking
you with the door.” He smiles and it does that funny thing to my knees like
I remember.

I can’t help but smile back. “Sure.”

He lets me through the door and holds out his hand. “I’m Cameron, by the
way. Cameron Cox.”

Okay. A guy that looks like Tobias, feels like Tobias, smells, acts, and
all around IS like Tobias, with the name Cameron(for those of you that
don’t know, Tobias’s last name is Cameron), this can’t be just a

I shake his hand, and say, “Mariah. Mariah Cleveland.”

He smiles again. “I like the name Mariah. Very pretty, just like you.” I
blush, looking down. I’ve never been called pretty by anyone except for
Tobias. “So, let’s get you some payback.” We walk up to the counters. “What
would you like?”

I glance up at the menus above us. “Hmmm. How about the mocha smoothie?”

I look to Tob-Cameron. “Sure thing. We’ll have two,” he tells the
cashier. After paying, Cameron brings our smoothies and sets them at the
table that I picked out, right at the back of the restaurant in the window.
“So,” he starts, handing me my dessert, “Whatcha doing out so late
downtown, Mariah?”

I freeze. What am I supposed to tell him? The truth? A little white lie?
Part of the truth? “Uh… well.”

“You don’t have to tell me. I’m being too nosey.”

“No, it’s okay, Cameron. Uh… basically, me, my brother Skylar, and my
friends Natasha and Finn are here for some shopping. We have a dance coming
up and Natasha and I are going shopping later today for that. The guys are
going to go and pick up some stuff to do repairs on our school. The wicked
weather kinda… ruined part of it. So… yeah.”

“Why are you here at night all by yourself? The city can be dangerous at
night. I’m sure that your brother and friends wouldn’t want you hurt.”

My heart flutters a little at the thought of him being worried for me. I
get my attention back to his question, running a hand through my hair.
“Well, see, Natasha and Finn are always together. They’re a couple, I guess
you could say, and my brother is my brother, and, lately, I’ve been kind of
feeling like the third wheel. You know what I mean? I guess… I dunno. I
just needed some time to myself.”

Cameron nods, thoughtfully. “So, you don’t have anyone? You don’t have a
friend like Natasha does?”

I lift my eyes to his face. It has only curiosity. “I did… once. A long
time ago. His name was Tobias Archer Cameron.”

At the name, Cameron stiffens. “What was his name?”

“Tobias… Archer… Cameron. You know the name?”

He starts to shake, like a wolf would when they’re angry. “Very. I was
found in Lake Superior when I was around thirteen years old, with no
memory, no parents, siblings, nothing. I was adopted by a drunk and ran
away six
months later. My name before was Tobias Archer Cameron. The only reason
that I know that is because that’s the only thing I remember! But, when I
literally ran into you, what I'm trying to say is... I know you, Mariah! I
know your voice, your face, your smell, you! I don’t remember everything
about you, but I remember enough.”

Tears come to my eyes. It really is him. “I believe you. What all do you
remember? What all do you know?”

His voice lowers. “I know what we are, if that’s what you’re asking.” I
nod, relieved that I don’t have to explain this part to him.

“Have you been able to…,” I trail off, hoping that he gets the message.

He nods. “A few times. Grey the right color?” He places a cheeky grin on
his face.

I can’t help it. I get out of the booth and throw my arms around him.
“Grey is right.”

He pulls me into his lap and holds me tight. “I’ve remembered you for a
while, Mariah. I just didn’t know how to find you. I hope you’ll forgive

“Already done. I’ve missed you.”

“Gosh, I’ve missed you, too. Help me remember?” he asks.

I nod and pull away. “Come on. Let’s go to my car and we’ll talk there.
We aren’t allowed to talk about this kind of stuff around humans, if you
don’t remember.”

He nods, picking up both of our treats. “I figured that. I mean, they’d
think we’ve gone nuts.”

“You haven’t….”

“No. No, I’ve kept it to myself.”

I sigh. “That’s good.” We walk out of the café. “Tobias, when did you
start to remember me?”

He looks to the ground. “A few years ago I really started to remember.
Thought that you were an angel coming to visit me in my dreams.” He
chuckles and I blush.

“Well, let’s go to the downtown park. That’ll be a good place to talk.
No one’s out this late.”

We get in the car and I drive us to the park. Pulling into the parking
lot, Tobias asks, “How old are you now, Mariah?”

“I turned sixteen back in January. January 3.”

“Your favorite color is green, if I’m not mistaken.” I nod. “You’re
feisty.” I nod again, a slight smile coming onto my face. “You’re a Beta,
the Alpha’s daughter, Josh and Ember’s daughter, you’re in 10 th grade now,
and you have a little sister named Fearless.”

“You’re right on!”

“You also pretend to hate Taylor Swift, when you really love her music.”
He gives me a knowing smile.

I groan, leaning my head back on the headrest. “You remember too much.”

He laughs. I glare at him out of the corner of my eye. He just laughs

harder. I chuckle with him. His laughter is intoxicating.

“Alright, enough about me,” I say. “Tell me where you’ve been.”

He runs a hand through his hair. “It’s, well… complicated. First, I told
you about being found in Lake Desor, and being adopted by a drunk, and then
running away. What I didn’t tell you was that I was semi-adopted by the
drunks mother. A wonderful lady. I still see her on a daily basis. She hid
me from her son; she treated me like her own. She’s around sixty, and I
treat her like my own mother.”

“Wow,” I whisper. “So, you haven’t been, like, living out on the

He laughs once. “No. Not that bad, Mariah.”

I sigh, relieved. “Good.”

“So, after being raised by her, everything went good. She got me into
school, and I stayed out of trouble.”

“Sounds like you have everything covered.”

He shakes his head. “I was missing something, and I didn’t know what.
Things in my life… they didn’t make sense. Like the fact that I’m… more, I
don’t know how to say it. I’m the same on each side. In everything.
Symmetrical. That and the fact that I can turn into a wolf.”

I chuckle. “Yeah. That’s different.”

“Just a bit.”

“Mm hm.”

We just sit there and talk for maybe an hour… two, I don’t know really.
And then, my phone goes off, playing Taylor Swift’s song, “Last Kiss”
karaoke, playing the verse. I groan and pick it up. “Hello?”


“Ease up, Sky! I’m out and about. Found someone you might want to

“WHAT?! Who are you out with?”

“Geez! SKYLAR BEJAMIN MASON! You calm down this minute. I’m fine. I
found Tobias.”

He’s silent for so long that I think that he might have hung up on me,
until, “But what about the note that the Fang left you? The one that said
something to the effect of, “We have your mate. Come on Wolfen War Day”?”

“How did you—.”

“Finn told me. Now, can I please talk to Tobias?”

“Sky, he doesn’t have much memory. Only a few things. Please… don’t.”

“Riah, let me speak to him… NOW.”

I sigh and place my and over the speaker. “Tobias, he wants to speak
with you.”

“I heard.” I hand him the phone.

He and my annoying brother talk for a minute before Tobias gets out of
the car. Once outside, he continues to talk.

I’m really quite irritated with my brother in the moment. I mean,
shouldn’t he be happy for me? I found Tobias. I’ve been a little witch
since he’d disappeared. This is good, right? I’ll be easier to get along
with now.

When Tobias opens the door again, he’s red-faced and I jerk the phone
from his hand. “What the hell, Sky?”

“I talked to him.”

“I can see that.” I glance at Tobias. He’s still red as a tomato, so I
get out of the car to talk to my brother in private. “What did you ask him?
He’s red and not looking too happy.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m outside my car, too mad to say anything else. Spill.”

“No. Where in the city are you?”

“Café. Now, what did you ask Tobias?”

“I was just making sure that he had no intensions to hurt you. He’s
plenty embarrassed now. Sorry.”

“You didn’t—.”

“Did, I’m afraid.”

I laugh. I can’t help it! This is ridiculous! “You gave my Soulmate…
‘The Talk’?! I can’t believe this!”

Skylar and I start laughing, me more than him. “Sorry, Riah, but I had
to make sure.”

“Sky, we’re on our way to the hotel now. See ya later.”

“Bye Mariah.”

“Bye brother dear.” I end the phone call and just stare at it. “He
actually…. The nerve….”

I walk back to the car. “Tobias, it’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. My
brother’s an idiot sometimes.”

I reach for his hand. “I hope that you know that I’d never even think
about doing that. You know that right?”

I nod. “Yeah. I know.”

“Let’s go home.”

The author's comments:
Fair warning to all readers: First, I will soon be changing the name to "Undaunted" and I may be taking this book off to post the redone verson. I have an editor now and she has done a magnificent job. The newer draft is so much more smoother. Please comment. I want to hear your thoughts on this.


Basically, for the rest of the night, I have that reoccurring nightmare.
Over and over, like a bad taste left in my mouth. I try to explore the
graveyard, and the only other things that I find are footprints and a
carving on a tree that says, “Tricked” and the initials, “VS”. I have no
idea what it means.

Right now, I’m in the shower, trying to get ready for the girl’s day of
shopping. After doing everything that a girl does before, during, and after
a shower, I walk back into the hotel room where Skylar is waiting patiently
for his turn. “It’s free, Sky.”

“Thanks, Tasha.”

After walking to the door, Skylar says, “Oh! Mariah should be here
fairly soon. Just tell her to let her guest in.”

“Guest?” I ask him, tilting my head slightly.

Skylar shakes his head. “Mariah went out for a while, just to clear her
head, and found Tobias while she was out and about.”

My mouth makes a very large, “O”. “She found him?! This… this is good,”
I see his worried expression, “isn’t it? I mean, you do want your sister
happy right?”

He looks back up to me. “Of course I want her to be happy. I’m glad that
she found him. It’s just, she says that he has only very few memories. I’m
worried that….” He trails off.

I nod, very slowly. “Oooh! Okay. I see why you are nervous. You think
that he might be a danger to the Pack?” He nods. “Don’t worry, Sky. I’ll
check his emotions out and I’ll see what he looks like. ‘Kay?”

He nods, saying, “Thanks, Natasha. That will make me feel better.”

“Good, now, go get your shower.”

“Yes madam. Right away madam.”

I roll my eyes. Sorry. Just too tempting.

I walk over to my bed and pick up where I am in “Shiver”. Right around
chapter twenty seven, Finn comes back in the room and is carrying breakfast
for the four of us. “Thank heaven! I’m starved!”

He laughs. “Well, that’s good. The line down there was not fun. You’d
think those humans hadn’t eaten in years!”

I loose myself in a fit of giggles. Finn hands me a plate of bacon and
various fruit slices, including some of my favorites, like banana, peaches,
and strawberries. “Oooh. Thanks, Finn.”

“Welcome.” As we eat, there’s silence, until he says, “So, do you think
that you’ll be okay for a full day of shopping?”

I nod. “Yeah, I’ll be okay. Just a lot of walking. No biggie.” He raises
an eye brow at me. “I’ll call if I get too tired. Promise.”

“Good. You hardly got any sleep last night.”

I shrug, even though I know that he’s right. “I’m fine really. So, where
are you guys going for your ‘shopping’?”

He laughs. “Sears. We can get everything there.”

I nod. “Cool.”

And then we hear the knock on the door. Mariah and Tobias. “I’ll get
it,” Finn offers, standing up to go to the door.

He opens it and I see Mariah’s bright, happy face. “Hi, Finn.”

“Come on in.”

Once inside, Mariah comes over to me. “How are you feeling?”

I shrug. “Rough night.”

*No shopping. Maybe. Maybe….*

“We’re shopping, Mariah. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise.”

I place my hands on my hips and she scowls. “Uh. That Omega stuff is
dreadfully annoying at times.” I laugh. “Oh, Natasha, this is Tobias. I’ve
told you about him.”

I wave. “Hi, Tobias. Sorry if I’m a little out of it. I didn’t sleep

He shrugs. “’S okay. I’ve had nights like that.”

“I guarantee her’s are worse,” Mariah says.

I roll my eyes. “Why is that?” Tobias asks.

“I’m an Omega. Do you remember what that is?”

He stares at the ground for a while, then, “Vaguely. We had a friend,
Mariah. Star? Uh! It’s all fuzzy. I can’t see it clearly.”

“But you do know what I am in the Pack?”

He nods. “Yeah. That part I remember.”

As we eat the food that Finn has brought up, we talk to Tobias, seeing
how much he really remembers. Turns out he remembers more than he thought.
He just needs a reminder. Some of the more personal memories are a bit
fuzzy, but other than that, he’s good.


“Natasha Misty Winterpike! Get in the car!” Mariah exclaims to me.

I sigh and hop in. “So, where to first?”

Mariah pulls out the GPS and begins searching. How about… the Copper
Country Mall?”

I nod. “Sounds good. How far?”

She sets the GPS down. “Ten minutes, at the most.”

I laugh. “With your driving—.”

“—we’ll be there in less than five minutes.” She smiles. “As long as we
don’t get chased.”

“Mariah, you aren’t going to outrun the police.”

She scoffs, flipping a lock of blonde hair out of her eyes. Her voice
gets higher. “Natasha! You actually thought I’d out run them? Ah! I’m
utterly shocked! I’m not going to even try to outrun them.” She cranks the
car and her voice gets back to its normal pitch. “I’m going to outdrive

I roll my eyes. “Sure ya will.”

We pull out of the parking lot and onto the main road. “So, have you
been hearing the Pack’s thoughts when you’re human lately?”

I blink a few times. “Now that you mention it, no. I haven’t. Chase has
been out, and you were only in that once. Finn and I are supposed to be
connected. Try opening your mind.”

I close my eyes and try to connect myself with Mariah. Since we’re such
great friends, it’s pretty easy. Riah?


So it isn’t gone after all. Just… controlled.

It can be helpful, Tasha.

I nod. Yeah, I know. I’m going to pull out now. I need to think.

She nods. “Okay,” and then turns back to the road.

I lean my head back and try to figure things out. Okay, Natasha, get a
hold of yourself. You are not going crazy.

RING! RING! Taylor Swift’s “Last Kiss” starts to play. “Oh, yeah,” I
say. “You hate Taylor Swift so much you put her saddest song as your

She rolls her eyes. “I’m not the one with a boyfriend that looks like
Taylor Lautner,” she mutters, putting the phone to her ear. “Hello? Oh,
it’s you again.” She’s smiling. “Ha! Okay. What? Okay. Here she is.”

She hands the phone to me without telling me who it is. “Um… hello?”

Finn’s voice fills my ears. “Hey, Tashie!”

“Oh! Hi, Finn. What is it?”

“Girl, you really need to get your own phone. I hate calling Mariah
every time I want to talk to you.” He’s being sarcastic.

“Oh yeah, but I’m worth it.”

I smile as he says, “That you are. I was calling to tell you that your
parents called my cell phone a few minutes ago.”

I grimace. “Uh oh. What did they say?”

“They were checking to make sure that we were okay and all that
wonderful parent worrying. Don’t worry. I told them we were all going
shopping today and that you’d call them later.”

I sigh. “Okay. I will. Anything else?”

“I just wanted to see how you were doing. Is that alright?”

I smile. “Finn, I love it when you call me for no reason. It makes me
feel special.”

He chuckles. “Tashie, you are special.”

“You are too.”

He sighs. “I love you.”

He sounds like he’s building up to something. Mariah pulls into the
mall’s parking lot. “I’ll just give you two some privacy,” Mariah says,
getting out of the car. “I’ll be right inside the doors.”

I nod. “Finn, are you alone or something? I don’t hear the guys or the
car running.”

“Yeah. I told them I had to call you before anything else.”

“Finn, you’re starting to scare me. What is it?”

He pauses. “I don’t know how to say this. I uh… I’m—.”

Then the truth hits me. “Finn, are you… are you leaving me?” I let out a
small whimper.

“Natasha, no! I would… never! Not ever! Don’t think that. I’m sorry.
This is just all new to me. Um… what I was going to ask is if you would
like to go out tonight, just me and you. I was thinking we could go watch a
movie and go out to eat.” I’m stunned. Finn just asked me out! This is
wonderful! I thought this would never happen, and yet here we are. The next
step. A date. “Natasha?”

“Finn, that sounds wonderful! I’d love it!” I can’t explain my feelings
to him over the phone. I just love him so much! “I’m so excited!”

Finn gives a relieved sigh. “Whew! I was afraid—.”

“—that I’d say no? Heard that one before.”

He chuckles again. “I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

“There’s one more thing. After shopping for the morning, we’re all
going out to lunch.”

I smile. “Okay. See you there.”



“Okay,” I say, as we enter the mall. “Where to first? This was your
idea. I hardly ever go shopping.”

Mariah taps her chin. “Well, first off, how much money did you bring?”
I tap my green, thin strapped bag, and say, “About one hundred dollars. I
haven’t spent my allowance from home in like… six months.”

She nods. “Same here. So how about we go to shoes first?”

“But we already have shoes that will match our dresses.”

She rolls her eyes, grabs my hand, and drags me towards the JC Penny’s.
“Natasha, you can’t go shopping with me and not buy a new pair of shoes.
Doesn’t cut it.”

I sigh. “Alright. The shoes I have are really uncomfortable anyways.”

She smiles, leading up through the entrance. “There ya go! You do not
want painful shoes on the night of a dance.” She glances around the
sections. “This way. Would you prefer heels or flats or—.”

“Flats,” I say, quickly. “You make me wear heels and I will kill you.”

“Picky picky.”

We walk over to the shoe section and Mariah helps me pick out a pair
that will go good with my dress. They’re ballet flats with black curly cues
in the design. I love them.

Mariah picks out a pair of silver heels, not very large heels, but a
good inch.

After that, Mariah says, “Now, off to the jewelry section.”

“Mariah, I already have jewelry that I want to wear.”

“But I don’t.”

“Oh, yeah. Right.”

Mariah leads me to the emerald section and picks out a matching earring,
necklace, and bracelet set. “Pretty, aren’t they?” she asks, as we make our
way to the cash register.

“Very. They’re perfect.”

Mariah pays for hers as I wait behind her. “Have a nice day.”

“Thank you.”

I walk up and place my two items on the counter. “Your totally will be
$14.09 please.”

I hand the young girl a twenty and she hands me $5.91 cents in change.
“Have a nice day,” she says cheerfully.

I smile. “You, too.”

I walk to the door of the store and find Mariah waiting on a bench for
me. “How much did you spend?”

“$14.09. You?”

“$30.32. Not bad for a pair of shoes and jewelry.”

“Alrighty then,” I say, opening the door for her. “Where to next?”

“Well, I think that we’re done with the dance supplies. What about we
just have some fun.”


I look around the mall. I see a Hallmark ahead of us. “How about

She grins. “Come on then. I picked JC Penny’s. You’re turn to pick,
therefore, Hallmark it is!”

We walk into the store and start to browse the shelves. “Hey Tasha, look
at this.”

She waves me over to a shelf with little glass statues on it, each with
its own engraving. She points to a little one with a howling wolf on it.
Below the wolf is an engraving that says, “ You’re My Best Friend… Forever
& Always ”.

“I’m getting it,” I tell her. “It’s perfect.”

“I thought you might like it.”

I smile. “You know me.” I pick up the trinket, gently, and place it into
our shopping basket that Mariah is holding. “What else have you found?”
“Oh, just little things.” She takes out a green and pink tie-dye coffee
mug that says, “ Drama Queen ” on the front in bold, black letters. Then
she shows me a cook book that is called, “How to Cook with Rice and Pasta”.
“Jade’s been looking for a good cookbook on rice and pasta.”

The last thing in her basket is another glass statue. It’s similar to
mine, but it has two wolves, one curled up and the other standing over the
one laying down. It’s adorable. The inscription says, “ You’re Still Mine
”. “Awe! Mariah, it’s adorable. Are you going to give it to Tobias?” She
nods. “He’ll love it.”

We walk around the story a little more. “Hey Tasha!” I look over to her
trying on an Eagles baseball hat and putting it on backwards. “Whatcha
think? My style?”

I laugh. “I don’t know, Riah. I think you should stick to two inch

She turns around and poses in front of the wall mirror. The cashier just
went to the back of the building and we’re the only ones shopping. “We’ll,
I kinda like it. Try one on, Tasha.”

I cross my arms and look away, stubbornly. “Nu uh. Not happening! Riah!”
Mariah smashes a straw hat onto my head. “Hey!”

“Come on! It’s fun.”

I give in. We try on different hats from the stack and pose in front of
the mirror laughing our heads off at the other. Mariah takes a pair of
sunglasses and places them on me and we just laugh even more.

I didn’t know that Mariah had this fun side to her. Compared to when I
first met her, she’s a totally different person.

After we finish our little fun, we put everything back in its place and
I decide to actually buy a baseball hat. Mariah decides to buy me a T-shirt
that says, “MY BEST FRIEND’S A WEREWOLF”. Its merchandise from the movie
“Breaking Dawn”, but hey.

I decide to pay her back for it and get her a necklace that says, “Do
you know how to drown a blonde, Rosalie? Stick a mirror to the bottom of a
pool”. Again, from “Breaking Dawn”, but I think it’s revenge.

I hand her the necklace. “Ha ha, very funny.”

I flash her smile. “This has been lots of fun, Riah! Thanks for dragging
us out here.”

She shrugs. “No prob. We need to hurry up and meet the guys.”

“Where to?”

She points to a restaurant outside the window and across the street.
“Over there. Red Robin.”

“Oh! I love that place.”

She skips ahead to the door. “Age before beauty.”

I scoff. “You may think you’re all high and mighty, but I’m turning
sixteen in just a bit less than a month. You’re old in my book.”

She gasps. “Oh really now?” When is your birthday?”
“March 1 st . One day after Finn.”

She smiles. “That is so cool! One day after your soulmate. So I’m
guessing that you’re going to have a joined birthday party?”

I shrug, walking into the parking lot behind Mariah. “Dunno. I don’t
really want a big party. Not the entire school. Just our Pack. I’m not
really a party person. Finn can tell you that. I hid the entire day of my
ninth birthday party with him because there were too many people.”

“Makes you uncomfortable?” I nod. “Thought so. You’re an Omega. Whether
you’re phased or not, you don’t like big groups of people. It’s natural.”

We walk up to the Red Robin restaurant, and see the guys’ car parked in
a front spot. I smile.

Walking into the restaurant, there is almost no people in here. The
thoughts are controllable. It’s nice, and I sigh. “Is this okay?” Mariah
asks, worried.

I nod. “Yeah.”

I look around and I see Finn, Tobias, and Skylar sitting at a table in
the back room, smiling and laughing.

I don’t even wait for the waitress or waiter. I walk past Mariah and
into the back room. Finn hops out of his seat to meet me. He gives me a
crushing hug and buries his nose into my hair. I lay my ear to his chest.

“Hey,” he says, pulling away. “Did you have fun?”

I grin. “Mariah’s a ball of fun. It was a blast. I’m so glad we went.
How about you? Did you get everything done?”

He nods. “Yep.”

I lean up and kiss his cheek before he walks us to the table, where
Skylar, Tobias, and Mariah are all ordering drinks. “How about you, Miss?”
the waitress asks.

“Oh! Um… just Pepsi please.”

She scribbles down my order as Finn and I take our seats beside each
other. “And you, Sir?”

“I’ll have root beer, thanks.”

She writes it all down and says, “Alright. Would you like an appetizer?”

“No thank you,” we all answer.

“Alright. Be right out in a sec.”

The author's comments:
Hey guys! sorry for the lack of updates, but I'm back :D

Chapter 24: Hangout

Finn POV

After reading the last paragraph of "Shiver", Natasha closes the book and places it down on the covers beside her. She had been reading it for an hour, ever since we got back from Red Robin. "That was a good book," she mumbles.

"Jade loves that one," Skylar says. "I'm serious. She's read the series, like, at least five times."

"There's a series?" she asks, excitedly.

He nods. "Yep. The next one is ‘Linger’, then ‘Forever’. I'm sure Jade has them still."

She grins. "Yes!"

Natasha gets up off the bed and moves towards the dressers. She places "Shiver" in her backpack, just as Mariah and Tobias come back into the hotel room.
"Hey guys! Wanna go swimming? I asked the manager and the pool is open."

"Yes! I need something to do."

"Sure," Skylar says, smiling. "Sounds like fun. Good going Mariah. But there's one problem: we didn't bring swimsuits."

She waves it off. "No problem. I snuck everyone's suits into my bag." She turns to Tobias. "I packed two for everyone. You can borrow one of Finn's."

"Thanks for asking me first, Mariah," I mutter from the bed.

She smiles. "No problem. Any time."

I roll my eyes. Natasha shakes her head at us both. We'll always be like this, Mariah and I. Bickering like kittens and puppies. "Alright. Come on, guys. I haven't been swimming in over two weeks! That's a long time for someone who lives in Georgia." She walks over to Mariah. "Do you have mine?"

"Yep. Here." She pulls out her swimsuit. It's orange and has different shaded palm trees. There's a short, frilly skirt that matches.

Mariah hands out everyone else theirs as she move into the bathroom to change. Mariah shuffles through her bag farther. She grabs something white and goes to knock on the bathroom door. "Natasha, I forgot to give you your swim cover."

The door cracks open. "Thanks."

"Any time." Mariah comes back to us. "I'm going to change in here if you'll step outside."

We all get up and move out the door. After Mariah closes the door, I say to Skylar, "Your sister sure is demanding."

He chuckles. "Yeah. That's just her though. That's always been her."

I groan. "Really? I hadn't noticed."

After a few minutes, Mariah and Natasha come out. It's then that I notice that Natasha's skin is getting quite pale. "You guys go get changed first," I tell them.

They nod and disappear into the room. "I'm going to go get the pool room key," Mariah announces. "Tasha, wanna come with me?"

Natasha shakes her head. "Na. I'll stay here and wait for the guys."

Mariah shrugs and walks down the hallway. I turn to Natasha. "Are you feeling okay? You're looking kind of pale."

"I'm fine. It must be the fact that I haven't been out in the sun for some time. Remember, I live in Georgia. I'm out all the time."

I nod. "Okay. Just checking."

She smiles and wraps her arms around my waist, laying her head to my shoulder. "Thanks for being concerned, though."

I shrug, hugging her. "Pretty natural."

She sighs. We wait a few minutes for Tobias and Skylar to come out. After they do, I go into the room to change into my black swim shorts and T-shirt. When I walk back out of the room, Natasha is still there. "Hey. Were you here the entire time?"

She nods. "Is that okay?”

I take her hand. "'Course."

We start to walk down the hallway. I finally work up myself to ask her something that has been bugging me for a while. "Tasha, do you miss Georgia and your parents?"

She stops. "Yes."

I turn to stand in front of her. "Do you... do you want to go back?"

"Could I?" she asks, still looking at the floor. "If I wanted to, is it allowed?"

I freeze. "After the end of the semester, yes. Your parents could probably pull you out any time."

She looks up at me, shyly. "After the semester, I'd like to visit, if that's okay. I want you to come." I nod. "Finn, I can't be apart from you ever again. It hurts."

Tears come to her eyes and her bottom lip quivers, unintentionally. I pull her in for a bear hug, my eyes softening. "Shh. Shh. It's okay. I'm not ever leaving. I'd love to visit with you, and when summer rolls around, we can go back and forth between both of our houses for the entire three months. 'Kay?" She nods. "Good. Let's go swimming,"

When Natasha and I arrive at the pool room door, Mariah hops out of the water and opens the door for us. “The water’s fun. Hurry up!”

She skitters back over to the edge and does a cannonball back into the water, splashing both Natasha and I. “Riah!” she exclaims. “Not funny.”

Mariah rolls her eyes. “You’re going to get all wet anyways.”

I turn around and pull my shirt off, quickly throwing it into a chair to save it from the water. I turn back around to see Natasha in mid-jump into the water. After splashing into the pool, I slide in after her. “Not going to jump?” she asks, crossing her arms.

I shake my head. “Na. I’m good.”

“Uh huh.”

“So,” Mariah says. “Who wants to race?”

I grin. “I like it.”

“How about this,” Natasha suggests. “This is what my friends and I from Georgia would do whenever we had races. Mariah and I will go against each other, and Skylar and Finn will go against each other. Then the winner of Sky and Finn will go against Tobias. The winner of that pair will go against the winner between us.” She motions back and forth between Mariah and herself.

I nod. “Sounds good. Ready Sky?”

Sky comes up to a racing position beside me. “Ready to beat your butt? Yeah.”

I roll my eyes. “You wish.”

“Alright,” Natasha says, getting our attention. “I’m counting to three. After three, wait for the go. One…two…three…don’t go!”

I start and stop, groaning. “So not funny, Tashie.”

“Fine, fine, fine,” she laughs. I may think that she’s annoying right now, but her smile and laugh have me smiling as well. “Three… two… one….” She looks back and forth between Skylar and I. “GO!”

I push off the wall and race against Skylar. I’ll admit, the guy is pretty fast, but not as fast as me. I beat him across the thirty foot pool, easily. I turn around, just in time to see Skylar hit the surface. “You win. I’m getting out now.”

I give him a winning smile. “Who’s next?”

“Guess that’d be me,” Tobias says, speaking for the first time I’ve heard since he was found.

I nod. “Alright.” I move over to the other side of the pool again, taking the challenge. “On your go, Tasha.”

She moves over to be beside us. “Ready... set... go!”

Once again we take off, and once again, I beat him, only slightly this time. “Yes! I win again!”

He rolls his eyes. “Yep. Good game.” We bump knuckles.

“It’s the girls turn,” Mariah says, in a sing song voice. “Finn, countdown please? Once you’re out of the way.”

Tobias and I step a few paces away from the “finish line”. “Alright.!”

Natasha and Mariah dive under and swim like fish to the other side where the other guys and I wait. Natasha breaks the surface before Mariah. “I beat you! I so beat you!”

Mariah huffs, placing her arms on the cement of the side of the pool. “I can’t wait to see you try to beat Finn.”

Natasha turns to me, hands on hips. “I think I can.” I smile. She has that spark in her eyes, the kind that says, “I’ll do anything to beat you”. I love it. The light shining off the water into her green eyes is beautiful.

My best friend. I can’t imagine life without her. “Uh, Finn? Ready to race?”

Back to the present, Finn, I tell myself. I turn to make a stance that’s ready to swim, hard. “Riah, will you do the honors?” I ask.

She nods. “On your mark... get set... GO!”

Natasha takes off and I dive under. She’s slightly ahead of me, her body slipping through the water like a dolphin. I pull myself ahead and turn to grin at her, silently saying, “Haha, look who’s winning now?”

She growls underwater and does something to get in front of me. She rises above the water and touches the side, waiting for me to admit that she, one-hundred-and-five pound girl, beat me in a swimming race. Pretty pathetic if I do say so myself. I let her win. “Eh hem?”

“Yeah. I let you win.”

She rolls her eyes, clearly not believing me. “Uh, yeah. Riiight.”

I chuckle. I look over my shoulder to see Mariah, Tobias, and Skylar in a splash fight, Skylar leaning over the edge just to get his sister wet. “They’re at it again,” Natasha whispers.

“Yeah. Do not let Skylar’s age fool you. He’s as big of a kid as any of us.”

She laughs quietly. I look down at the water, not knowing what else to say. “Finn.” I look up. “Thank you, for saying that you’ll come with me to Georgia to visit my family. You didn’t have to, and I’m grateful.”

I move over to wrap an arm around her shoulders. “Natasha, I’ll go with you anywhere. Besides, I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t missed playing football with your dad all the time.”

She grins. “That was fun.”

“Remember when you used to try and play with us?”

She laughs, louder this time. “Oh yes. First time I tried to catch a football was when I was seven and you threw it right at my face.” She grimaces. “Ouch. Hurts just thinking about it.” I laugh, the sound and vibrations shaking us both. “Hey!” She swats at me. “I tried, and I got good.”

I nod, still laughing. “Oh yeah. You were good... for a girl.”

She groans. “One more thing and you’re getting it, Mister.”

“Now I’m scared.”

She squints her eyes at me. “You should be.”

I scoff. “You couldn’t take me down if you tried.”

She places her hands on her hips. “Oh really now? That cocky are we?”

I copy her stance and place my hands on my hips. “Yes. ‘Cause I know I’m right. No way you can get my head under water. I dare you to try though.”

“I will. And I’m not going to be alone in this.” I cock my head to the side, wonderingly. “Mariah! Can you come over here please? I need help with THIS!”

Natasha moves behind me as she’s talking and jumps onto my back, giving herself a piggy-back ride as she tries to push me under the water. “Oh no. Attack of the Natasha!”

She constricts her arms around my neck. “You got that right. Fear me!”

“Already do.”

“Mariah! Help me pull Finn under!”

“Coming! Coming!”

Mariah runs, if that’s possible in a pool, over to us and pushes my side, making me wobble a bit from the girl on top of me. “Riah, I’m going to get you for that later.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all are tired of your death threats.” She gives me another push. I start to fall over. “And he’s going, going, gone!” Those are the last words I hear before crashing under. So much for “I dare you”. I jut back up to the surface, Natasha still holding onto me. “And he’s back.”

Natasha moves her arms from around my neck and places them on the front of my forehead. At first I wonder what she’s up to, but then she moves her hands over my hair, against the grain, making it spike up. Mariah cracks up, right after Natasha. “I like it!” she exclaims. “Good one, Tasha.”

“Thank you, thank you. I like it too.” I glare at her from the side. She pats my hair back down. “But you don’t, do you?”

I shrug. “I don’t care. As long as there isn’t a mirror around.” She chuckles, placing her chin on my shoulder and wrapping her arms around them. I whisper, “So, where are we going tonight?”

Her eyes brighten. “I don’t know. What kind of restaurants are there around here?”

“We’ll look later, ‘cause I really don’t know.”

She laughs, still staring me in the eyes. She suddenly looks up and screams, excitedly. “Finn! Watch out!”

I look up to see Mariah sitting on Tobias’s shoulders. They walk over to us and push us over. I sink down into the water and pull Natasha to sit on my shoulders. We break the surface and push back at them, laughing like idiots. After five minutes of all of us wobbling back and forth, Natasha gives Mariah one, last push and she falls over, dragging Tobias with her. I slide Natasha off my shoulders and give her a quick kiss. “Waited long enough?”

I grin. “Yep. Perfect.”

After playing and talking in the pool for a while, we see another family come in. The mother and daughter both have brown hair and grey eyes. The daughter looks like she’s maybe twelve or thirteen years old. She looks so sad. I mean, really sad, like, at the point of tears. She wears a light blue swimsuit that goes with her light skin perfectly.

She sets her towel down on the nearest chair and walks down the steps into the pool, not even making eye contact with any of us. I wonder what’s up and look to the mother and father. The mother seriously looks like an older version of the girl. The father has dirty blonde hair and green eyes. He looks nothing like his daughter.

And then something clicks.

I’ve sent these two before. The past Alphas for the Red Oak Ridge Pack: Logan and Penelope Arwen. That must be their daughter.

When Logan turns to look at us, he and I lock eyes. His eyes tighten. “Warren?”

Why does everyone that my dad knows think I’m him? I shake my head. “Finn,” Natasha asks in a barely audible whisper. “Who is he?”

“Past Alphas for the Red Oak Pack: Logan and Penelope Arwen. He knew my dad.” I turn to talk to Logan. “No. I’m his son: Finn Brown.”

Logan extends his hand to me. “Nice to finally meet you, Finn. Your dad and I were good friends. We got into trouble together.” He chuckles. “It’s strange how much you look like him.”

“I get that a lot,” I smile.

“I’m sure you do. Anyways, this,” he motions to the girl, “is my daughter, Sofia. Sofia, say hi.” The girl waves, a frightened look still on her face. Logan whispers, “Sorry about her. She just phased and she’s a little freaked out.”

My eyebrows pull together. “How old is she?”

He sighs. “That’s what I don’t get. She’s only eleven. Way too young to phase.”

I give him a shocked look. “Something’s not right here.” I cross my arms. “When did she phase? Exactly.”

He pauses for a second, thinking. “One week ago. Exactly.”


“I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Could you guys make her feel welcome? She’s really nervous. She is convinced that she’s cursed.”

I nod. “’Course. We’d love to.”

He pats my shoulder. “Thanks bro.” He walks over to the chair beside his wife.

I turn to Natasha and the others. “Come on guys. Let’s go say hi.”

I turn to Sofia. Natasha walks up first and says, “Hi Sofia. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Natasha.”

She gives Natasha a small, wary smile. “Hi.”

Mariah is next. “Hello Sofia. It’s nice to meet you.” Sofia gives her a little wave.

“It’s great that we’ll be seeing you at Isle Royale,” I tell her. “You’ll love it there.”

“Hope so.”

“Do you want to hang out with us? We were just playing ‘Marco Polo’.” Natasha snickers at me. “Finn was it. He doesn’t have very good hearing.”

“I do too.”

She rolls her eyes. “Oh yeah. Sure.”

“You don’t have any better hearing than I do.” She sticks out her tongue at me. “So immature!”

She playfully growls at me. Sofia chuckles. I look to her and point to Natasha.

“You think this is funny? Watch this.”

I look back to Natasha, an evil smile on my face. She starts to back up. “Finn, no. Please, please no. AH!” I pick her up and throw her over my shoulder. “Finn, put me down this instant!”

I sigh, loudly. “Fine! Here you go.” I pull her off my shoulder and toss her into the water.

She resurfaces, exclaiming, “Finn! You’re going to get it now!”

I hold my hands up, surrendering. “Fine! I give up! I surrender.”

She comes over to me, a scowl slash smile on her face. “You. Are. A. Bad. Boy. Finn.” She pokes my chest each time she says a word.

“Yeah, but you love me anyways.” I grin, because I know I’m right.

She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t we all?”

I laugh. “Well, I’d hope so.”

We turn back to Sofia, who is talking to Mariah and Tobias. I glance to Skylar who is making conversation to the past Alphas. I reach for Natasha’s hand under the water. She smiles up at me. “Thought of a place yet?”

“I have actually,” I tell her. “There’s a seafood place over in the center of the city called, ‘Joey’s Seafood and Grill’. It looks good. What do you think?”

She smiles. “Sounds perfect. You know how much I love seafood.”

“I do.” My smile falters for a second. I look down to the water. Natasha doesn’t miss a beat.

“Finn, everything okay?”

I bite my lower lip. “Tashie, do you think it’s really a good idea this close after so long? I’m only going to ask one more time. Whatever you say... goes.”

Her look becomes concerned. “I care for you, Finn. Are you...taking your feelings back?”

“No! I’m sorry I ever brought it up. I’m done asking. I love you, too.” I grab her in a tight embrace.

She buries her face into me. “Thanks,” she whispers.

We pull away and walk back over to the three. “So,” I start out. “Sofia, how are you... adjusting?”

Her eyebrows pull together. “It’s disturbing.”

Natasha cocks her head. “How come?”

Sofia crosses her arms. “It’s just... too different. It creeps me out.” I wanted to be normal. I never was and now I will never be.”

“It really isn’t as bad as you think it is,” I tell her. Her eyes glance up to meet mine. “I mean, you’ll meet tons of new people, family and friends. You go to school with your own kind. You’re normal there. Since they’re all like you, you aren’t strange.”

She gives me a half-hearted smile. “Thanks. I’m glad I met you guys. You make me feel... usual. Nothing weird.”

“Trust us. Around others like us, you are perfectly normal.”

Chapter 25: Our Time Together

“Ohmygosh, I am so nervous!”

“Natasha, Natasha, Natasha! Calm. Down,” Mariah says to me, as she pulls up my hair into a casual, yet pretty, hairstyle. “It’s just Finn for crying out loud. He’s gonna love this. Besides, Finn is like the safest person we know. He wouldn’t lay a hand on you. You know that right?” I nod.

We had spent the afternoon hanging with Sofia Arwen and her parents. They seemed pretty nice. Sofia was just the quietest thing ever. She didn’t talk unless spoken to, but she loved, and I mean loved, Rico.

“That’s good. I mean, it’s just a simple hour or two to spend time together outside the Pack’s lands. I think it will be good for you.”

“I’m just nervous. I’ve never doing this before.”

“All the more reason to be excited! There. Your hair is finished. Go change into the outfit we picked out and you’ll be ready.”

“Thanks Riah! I owe you one.”

I scamper out of the bathroom and into the hotel room. Laying on one of the beds is a pair of jeans, a three-quarter inch sleeved, citrus orange blouse with a black belt below my chest; and a pair of black ballet flats. I pull on my black pea-coat and make my way back to Mariah so she can give me her approval. “You look wonderful, Tasha! Just perfect. Finn said he’d be here in just a minute. He went to go get the car.”

I nod, agreeing. I start to sway my feet from the balls of my heels to my toes, back and forth, waiting. “Still nervous?” Mariah asks. I whimper a bit as I nod. “You’ll be fine. Finn loves you for who you are. Enjoy this. Being in the Greenstone Pack means little breaks. May not have another time like this for a while.” She hands me my bag. “Your cell phone is completely charged. If anything were top happen, to you or Finn, call me right away, okay?”

I grin, rolling my eyes. “Yes, Mother.”

She scoffs. “Please. Just be careful. We’re like sisters, remember?” She winks.

“Gotcha... Sister.” I playfully punch her arm. I hear a knock on the door.

“It’s time!”

I bite my lower lip as Mariah leads me towards the door. I take a deep breath as she opens it.

Finn is standing outside in jeans and a turquoise plaid shirt that is about three-quarter sleeved as well. His jet black hair is spiked slightly in the front. He smiles. “Ready to go?”

I nod, all my nervousness melting away like snow when I see his smile. “Yep! Ready when you are.” He reaches for my hand. “Thanks, Riah.”

“No probs, Tasha. Have fun!”

Finn and I walk down to the elevator. As soon as we’re inside, he says, “I meant to tell you this earlier but it wasn’t the time or place. I didn’t want to bring it up in front of the others. When your parents called earlier today, I asked your dad and mom about taking you out tonight. They know where we’re going, what we’re doing, and how long we’ll be out. I wanted to make sure that we don’t do anything behind their backs. That will only cause trouble for everyone.”

I sigh in relief. “Thanks. I wanted to call them and make sure it was alright, but Mariah said that we didn’t have time. I’m glad you did.”

“Anything for you. Besides, we need to make sure we don’t rush into anything. I’m willing to wait forever if I have to.”

The elevator doors open and we head out the doors. Right outside is the truck that the boys always drive. “What kind of car is this, Finn?”

“A 2012 Brazilian Chevy S-10. It’s new and awesome! Great car.”

“Oh,” is all I can utter. “So...dinner first? I’m starving.”

He grins. “I knew you were gonna be hungry. All that swimming took it outta you, didn’t it?”

“Uh huh.”

“Not for much longer.” He starts up the car and drives out of the hotel parking lot. “So,” he says, after we’re a minute or two down the road, “Feeling better now that you’ve been in the water again?”

“You know it. It’s like I’ve been a fish out of water for these past two weeks.”

“Yeah. That’s one thing I miss about living where you do or even in Florida. I miss being able to get up, think out my day, and just hop in for a quick swim. The gym in Evergreen has a community inside pool, but it’s not the same. There’s no sun. I miss that.”

“After I visit you in Evergreen, you need to come to my state and visit me in Helen.” He laughs. “And we need to plan a trip to Key West again. That would be tons of fun! Just like old times. We could get Denali to go as well.”

“Maybe we could even try to go to Puerto Rico,” he suggests.

“Yeah. That’d be awesome fun.”

“Here we are. ‘Joey’s Seafood and Grill’. Yum, yum.” I chuckle. That’s Finn for you. “Let’s go.”

I take his hand and we make our way inside. After being seated in the back part of the restaurant, Finn orders a Root Beer and I get a Pepsi. “This is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me, Finn. Thank you. Really.”

He grins. “Don’t mention it.”

When the waitress comes back around, we order: I get pasta and Finn gets a steak (shocker).

We eat and talk about various thing: memories, things that have happened while we were separated, family, friends, but eventually, it’s time to go. Amazing how time flies when you’re with the person you care most about.

When we’re outside the restaurant, I say, “Thank you Finn, for a wondrous night. I loved it.”

He slings an arm around my shoulders. “Anytime. I loved it as well, but we’re not done yet. There’s one more place to go.”

I cock my head to the side as he opens my door for me. “And what might that be?”

“You’ll see,” he smiles.

I shrug and hop in the car.

“What on earth are we doing here?” I ask, as we pull up to the city park. For such a small city, there sure is a wonderfully large and lush park.

“You’ll see.”

He hops out of the truck and grabs a picnic blanket from the back seat. He walks over to my side and opens my door for me yet again. Such a gentleman. “Why thank you, Sir.”

“Anytime, Madame.” He gently kisses my hand, just like people of older times would have. “Now, to the lake.”


“Don’t ask any more questions.”

“Fine,” I say, lifting my hands in the air. “Just tell me where to go.”

He grabs my hand again and leads me into the park locking the car as we go. After walking for a minute, we approach a beautiful lake, with reads and lily pads. The sky above us is a dark midnight blue, the stars twinkling brightly. There are willow trees swaying in the breeze.

I look to Finn. “This place is beautiful! How on earth did you find it?”

He looks pleased with himself. “I’ve been to Houghton, Michigan before. Several times. I found this place while walking. Pretty, eh?”

“It’s beautiful, Finn.”

“There’s another surprise coming. Let’s just star-gaze for a while, okay?”

I nod. I help him spread out the blanket. He lies down and I lay beside him. We watch for shooting stars for a while. Finn and I see the same one. “Make a wish,” he tells me.

I shake my head. “Nope. That one’s yours.”

“Fine. We’ll both make a wish and we’ll tell each other, ‘kay?”

I nod and close my eyes. I wish that this would never end. I wish that this could last forever. “Okay. What did you wish, Wolfie?”

“That this didn’t have to go away. That this never has to disappear.”

“I wished the very same thing.”

“Really?” I nod up at him. He smiles. “I thought you might.”

He leans down to kiss me. As soon as our lips touch, lights go up into the sky. I pull away. “Fireworks?” He nods, smiling. “Finn, how in heaven’s name did you get fireworks?”

“There’s some sort of city festival of fireworks tonight. Perfect timing, right?”

“Perfect,” I agree. “This has been the most perfect night of my life. Thank you forever and always, Finn.”

“Forever and always, Natasha. Maybe even longer.”

Chapter 26: Be Ready

“Natasha, Tashie wake up,” a calming voice whispers.

“Go to sleep,” I grumble back. I’m really tired and I really don’t feel like being messed with.

“Tasha, come on. You’ve gotta wake up and eat something. It’s late.”

“Shut up, Finn,” Mariah growls. “Some of us are trying to sleep.”


I peak my eyes open and see Finn leaning over me. I smile sleepily at him. He smiles back. “Am I really that tired?”

He nods. “You’ve fallen asleep a lot today.”

We’re back at Isle Royale. Today is the day before the dance! We’ve been repairing the Lodge all week and I’m pretty wiped, obviously.

“What time is it?”

“Past eight o’clock. Come on. Let’s get you something to eat, ‘kay?”

I nod as he helps me get out of bed by wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me up. “Thanks.”

Once we’re outside, I hear Mariah scream. “RIAH!”

I’m instantly awake.

Finn leaves my side and hurries back to the room we all share, me trailing behind. Chase is out of bed, tackling the giant Fang that’s pinned Mariah to the ground. It must have pulled or pushed her out of her top bunk bed.

Finn phases before my eyes and joins Chase. They are able to push the thing outside the broken window. Mariah gets up and growls in the wolves’ direction. She phases and goes to join them.

What are you waiting for? Go help them! Help Finn!

I close my eyes and calm myself. After being completely calm, I change into a wolf. I haven’t done this in some time.

I look at the world through my wolf eyes. My sight is much better this way. Much more enhanced.

I run after my friends, through the window and into the snow. I catch up to them, just in time to see Finn and Mariah snapping at it and pushing it up against a tree. Chase and I join in and, after it’s knocked out, I step back. I’ve never tried to kill anything before. That was... harsh. Bloody. Awful.

Finn steps closer as the Fang member’s shape retreats and gets smaller. What the heck?

After the shape is completely stopped shifting, we look at the new creature. It’s a..., Chase whispers through our connected minds.

Girl, Mariah finishes.

If I were human, I would have broken down in tears. It’s Alyssa! Alyssa, the Omega of the Minong Pack!

Finn’s wolf comes over to me and lays his head on top of mine. I’m really sorry Tashie.

Why did it have to be her?

I don’t know.

Since when are we killers? Mariah snaps. This isn’t right. This shouldn’t have happened! This can’t happen! She’s a Fang? What the—

“Mariah!” Jade says, coming into view. She looks at Alyssa and her eyes fill with shock. I whimper and Finn pulls closer to me. Jade looks to each of us and then says, “Just get her inside. She’s still breathing. Hurry!”

Still breathing?

I thought she was dead!

This is wonderful!

Someone needs to carry her.

I will!

Finn pulls Alyssa’s limp body onto his back and rushes back with us to the Lodge.

Everything starts to fly by from then until Alyssa is stable. I remember Finn turning back and pulling Alyssa into the house with us trailing behind. I stay outside as a wolf. Darn Omega!

I hear Jade say, “Mariah! Oxygen mask!”

Then rustling of equipment. “She’s not breathing!”

“Something’s blocking her throat!”

“Stay calm everyone. Riah...there you go. She’s stable and breathing.”

I sigh in relief. Finn comes out of the house. The wind is whirling around the Lodge now, snowflakes with it. “Tasha, she’s fine. Can you change back now? It’s getting quite cold out.”

I sigh and close my eyes. The wolf energy in me has been released so I easily de-phase. Finn stands in front of me, as if he knows I need him. Of course he knows I need him!

I’m stiff and unmoving, my eyes brimming with tears. I am such an emotional person! Finn’s eyes soften and he gently lays his arms around me, warming me in more ways than one.

I’m trying to stay strong. I’m trying to prove to the world that I’m not weak. But we weren’t made to make it on our own. Finn was made to help me when I need him, and the other way around as well.

I look up into his eyes, looking for a sign of help. He pulls me closer and I lay my head against his chest. “It’s okay. Everything’s gonna be okay. I promise.”

“I know. I just can’t believe we did that to her!”

“I know. I know. Shh. Calm down.”

I sniffle and slide into his embrace farther, wrapping my slender arms around his waist. “What would I do without you, Wolfie?”

“You don’t have to worry about that. I’m here. I’m here.”

The author's comments:
By now you guys have probably realized that I have changed a few things, like ages and facts, from the last chapters. Just remember I've been editing a lot, so forgive the errors. Ask in comments if you have questions. :)

Chapter 27: Of All The Things To Go Wrong...

I wake with one name on my tongue: Alyssa.

Literally jumping out of bed, I see that Mariah is still sleeping on the bunk above me. I tip toe over to the dresser and pick out a pink T-shirt and jeans. I decide to go a little cooler today and wear pink ballet flats.

I'm pulling my hair into a ponytail as I rush out the bedroom door. Finn meets me halfway through the hallway to the kitchen. I was going to ask Jade where she put Alyssa, because Finn convinced me to leave her be until she was completely stable. "Finn, where is Alyssa?" I'm almost frantic.

"Tashie, calm." He gently takes a hold of my arms, making me face him. He knows exactly how worried I am. "She's fine. She's staying in the guest bedroom for now. She's asleep last I heard." He pauses. "Will seeing her make you calm down a bit?" I nod. "Alright. Come on." He wraps an arm around my shoulders and leads me down the hallway.

The door to the guest quarters is obvious. It's bright red, where as the other bedroom doors are either white or chocolate brown. Finn twists the knob and allows us to enter.

I see my friend Alyssa sleeping soundly in the lone bed of the room. Her short brown-black hair is messy and tangled, even though it's as short as it is. There are dark circles under her eyes, which just worry me all the more.

But her breathing is even and deep. She isn't in werewolf form anymore. And most importantly, she's here with us, safe from any harm that the Fang would have given her.

She can tell us about them, how to defeat them, who they are.

What they want.

I sigh and relax all of my tensed muscles, seeing that she is fine. Finn wraps his arms around me to comfort me. "Why did it have to be her? Of all the good people, her?" I whisper. Alyssa is such an angel! She helps me with music, she helps me with Omega stuff, she's always ready to help anyone at all! Outside of my own pack, I'd pick her to trust the most. She's earned that trust.

"It was good that it was her," Finn whispers back to me.

"What is good about us attacking her?"

"That wasn't good. It was good that it was her and not someone else. Alyssa would do anything to help the Greenstone Pack. Her mother was from the Greenstone Pack. She's partial here. She'll help us." He turns me around. "At least she's safe here. At least we didn't..." He doesn't finish.

At least we didn't do worse. At least we didn't kill her.

I sigh. "You're right, the usual."

He grins and pulls me in for a hug. "N-Natasha?" I faint whisper chokes out.

I look back towards the bed. Alyssa is barely awake, staring intently at Finn and I. "Alyssa!" I rush over to her side and kneel down to meet her eye level. "Lyss, are you okay? Do I need to get Jade for anything? Gosh, I was so worried! Why didn't never" I'm not quite sure what to say. "I should never have done this to you. I'm-"

"Natasha, I'm fine. I shouldn't have come at night. I should have known."

"So you only change at night?" She nods. "Every night?" Another nod. "Can you control yourself when you're like...that?"

She sighs. "Barely. Most of the time I have no control at all. We obey the leader. We obey orders given by the leader. Nothing else matters. We have to obey him. And her."

"Who are they? Who are the leaders?"

"Jet and Iris." I gasp. Finn comes over to crouch beside me. "They are the ones creating all the new Fang. They were the originals. Them and their family. Now most of the Minong and Feldtmann Packs are completely Fang." She looks back and forth between Finn and I. "Finn, Tasha, you have to stop them. Us. They are not going to stop until all the Omegas are controlled. They'll start with them, then go onto the Deltas, then Gemmas, then Betas, and finally the Alphas. They don't value Scouts or Caretakers of any packs. They don't need them, so they just dispose of them."

"Wait!" I nearly scream. "Was Maximus Angels a Scout?" She nods. "I knew it! What of the girl that Moonlight saw? She thought it was me?"

Alyssa answers, "Werewolves can take the form of another when absolutely needed."

"That's going to make things a lot harder," Finn groans.

"Tell me about it. Is there any way to tell the difference from a real to a fake?"

Alyssa shakes her head. "No. None. You just have to look for the personality differeneces."

I run my hand through my hair. Alyssa yawns. "Are you hungry?"

She shakes her head. "No. Just tired. Still."

"We'll let you sleep," Finn says. "It's good to know that you're doing better, Alyssa."

She smiles at us. "Thanks you guys. Can I exchange packs?" she jokes.

"Why not?" I smile. "Sleep well, Lyssa."

"'Night," she sighs, drifting off again as we exit the room.

"This is a lot to take in," Finn utters, taking my hand and walking towards the kitchen like I had begun to just five minutes before.

"It's a little scary, you know? What they can do. What they can do to the kids." I bite my lip, nervous. "What if they get to Greenstone? What then, Finn? I couldn't talk to you, or anyone else, without suspecting that they might be fakes."

"I dunno," he sighs, honestly. "We need to talk to Jade, Josh, Ember, and Skylar. Now."

I nod and follow right behind him as we make our way to everyone's morning breakfast. Every member of the pack is here: Casey, Blake, Connor, Peaches, Mariah, Tobias, Skylar, Ember, Jade, Josh, Chase, and Willow. Everyone.

"Josh, Ember, Sky, Jade, we need to talk," Finn says in an orderly and serious tone. "Now."

They all give us confused looks, but nod and follow Finn as he tugs me along to the outside porch, a good place to talk. Once we're all outside, and the porch door is securely shut and locked from the outside, Josh asks, "What is it?"

Finn starts to explain. "When Natasha first got up, she was scared that Alyssa wasn't going to make it, so I took her to see her. When we got there, Alyssa woke up and told us about the Fang." Everyone visibly stiffens. "We were right. Josh, Jet and Iris have been involved with the Fang, very much so. They're their leaders, the Fang Alphas, so to say."

"Alyssa told you this?" Ember asks, her brow wrinkling with worry.

I nod. "She told us that they were the leaders, she told us that they are somehow able to change normal shape-shifters into Fang. She told us that they change during the evening and that they have almost no control of themselves during this time. They are basically hypnotized into following their so called 'Alpha's orders. They can also change their appearance as a human."

I add, "That's why Moonlight thought that she saw me take Maximus. She saw a Fang that took my appearance."

There's a long pause. "We're all in very big trouble here," Josh utters plainly.

"No! Really?" Finn says sarcastically and rudely. "I hadn't noticed. So, what do we do about it? Hm?"

Finn starts to edge towards Josh. They're just about the same height. Finn has gotten taller. Josh's eyes go a shade of darker blue and he shows his teeth. Finn does the same. I realize that he's on the brink of challenging our Alpha, so I intervene. I grasp his arm and tug him back to stand beside me. "Finn, no. Shh, calm down. Please."

Finn looks back to me and closes his eyes, concentrating. I wrap my arms around his waist and try to keep him calm. I glance to our superiors, hoping that they aren't angry. Josh still has a stern look plastered on his face, Ember is looking at her husband with concern, Skylar and Jade are waiting patiently.

Finn sighs the words, "I'm sorry, Josh. I'm just a little worked up." He looks up to our Alpha.

Josh gives us a small smile. "It's okay, Finn. I understand. I was just like you.”

Finn raises an eyebrow. "Somehow...I can believe that."

Josh chuckles once, and then his face goes grave again. "We need a way to make sure that everyone is who they seem to be or say they are. Any ideas?"

"Name tags?" I suggest.

"Good idea," Jade says, "But they can take name tags. It's not like any of us would go with them willingly."

"True," Skylar says. Jade reaches for his hand and they entwine fingers. Just then, I see that Skylar has a small, paw print tattoo on his left wrist.

An idea hits me at the same time as Jade. We say at the same time, "Tattoos," and chuckle.

"We could put a tattoo on each of the pack members in a different place for each person. They would never be able to guess where," Jade says.

Josh thinks this over. "What about the younger ones? Fearless? I don't want her to get a tattoo at such a young age."

"If not, we'll figure something out, but Josh, we can't be picky. Tattoos can't be removed. They would be our safest and best bet on tagging everyone. I have the materials to perform a small tattoo on everyone. We just need to decide what it will be. With your permission."

Josh thinks for a moment. He turns to Ember and asks, "What do you think?"

"It's a brilliant idea. I say we go for it." She lays a hand on his arm. "Everyone will be safer. That will take a load off your shoulders, right?"

He nods. "Do it. Try to think of something for Fearless. If not, ask her if she minds."

"She'll probably love it," Skylar snickers. "To be like all the 'big kids'." He puts air quotes around "big kids".

"What will the symbol be?" Jade asks.

Josh turn to the door, pauses, looks over his shoulder and says, "Pack positions," and then enters the Lodge again.

"Alright then. Let's go bust the news," Jade says, marching up to the door that her brother just entered through. She opens it for all of us to enter. We don't move. "Cheer up, guys. It'll all be okay." She goes into the Lodge and everyone, but Finn and I, follows.

"I wish I could believe that," he mutters, slinging his arm protectively around my shoulders and pulling me firmly to his side. I don't object.

Once inside, the room is absolute chaos. Mariah is arguing with her dad, Willow and Peaches are talking too loudly, Jade is trying to calm everyone down, causing herself to be a little frantic, Skylar is trying to double task: calm the pack with Jade and calm Jade herself. Ember is trying to calm the raging father and daughter, Chase and Blake are now arguing with Peaches and Willow about something, Casey is nearly in tears, Tobias is trying to tug Mariah away from challenging her dad, to calm her down, and Fearless is hugging Casey's legs, a few tears brewing.

I've never seen the pack so at each other's throats.

Fearless sees Finn and I enter and leaves Casey to run over to us. She holds out her arms as she gets close. I open mine and let her jump up into them. She lays her head to my shoulder and wraps her arms around my neck, saying nothing. Finn gently strokes her hair and whispers little words to her, telling her that everything is okay. She unfurls one arm from around my neck to take hold on Finn's fingers that he holds out to her.

I yell, "HEY! Everyone! Would you all freaking be quiet?!" They start to settle down, though Mariah still holds her father's gaze, burning. "Thank you! Now, would someone like to tell me why we're all fighting each other?"

No one speaks. Finn says, "We all need to just chill. There's a lot going on and a lot of tension is being passed. We all need to just sit down and talk like we have some manners, 'kay?"

They all take seats, all except for Mariah, Ember, Josh, and Tobias. I whisper, "Mariah, could you please sit down? We need to talk to the pack." Mariah huffs, her nostrils flaring, and then relents, sitting down on the sofa with her arms crossed. "Thank you."

I take a seat with Finn beside Skylar and Jade on the couch opposite of the Alphas, Willow, and Peaches. Fearless whispers, "Thanks, Natashie," and climbs over Skylar's lap to get to her "Auntie Jade".

Josh begins, "Everyone, to make it safer for everyone here, I'm going to ask Jade to give you all a tattoo of each of your positions in the pack. I'm also going to ask her to ask a few of personal questions to each person before they get their tattoo, just to make sure that all the real people are here." He pauses, as if thinking something over. "The reason of all this being that our friend and Omega of the Minong Pack, Alyssa, was attacked and then taken here last night. She was badly injured. Natasha and Finn talked to her this morning and she told them that Jet and Iris Sage of the Minong Pack are the leaders, Alpha's, of the Fang and that they are changing and kidnapping other members of other packs. They have also been able to change appearance. This is why we need to identify ourselves, to make sure that no imposters get inside our deffenses. To keep you all safe."

"They took Maximus, didn't they?" Mariah says plainly.

Josh nods. "Yes. One of them took the form of Natasha to do that."

"Where are they?" Tobias asks.

"We'll ask Alyssa next time she wakes up." Josh turns to Finn and I. "Thank you for finding this out."

"Welcome," Finn says, for the both of us.

"Now, Jade, when can you get started on this project?"


"Good. No one, and I mean no one, leaves or enters this building without Alpha consent. Understood?" We all nod. "If you do, we will have to assume that you are fake. That you are a Fang. Do not make me do that. I suspect none of you. Don't make me think twice and don't make me regret that." He gets up and leaves, towards his office. "Jade, let me know when you're ready for me."

She nods. "Alright guys. I'll do Beta's first." She gets up and turns to her bedroom. "Come in when you're ready. One at a time, please."

Mariah gets up and says, "I'll go first, Finn."

Finn sighs and sinks down into the sofa. "What's wrong?" I whisper to him, trying to look him in the eyes. He avoids me.

"Nothing. Not much, anyways." He looks into my eyes, a lopsided smile on his face, his eyes still looking worried and his eyebrows pulled together. "Happy Valentine’s Day?"

I laugh quietly. "Finn, seriously. That's what’s wrong? Valentine’s Day?" I can't help but laugh.

"It isn't that funny, Tashie," he snickers.

"I know that. I dunno. It just feels good to laugh."

"Tell me about it."

We make small talk for about twenty minutes when Mariah comes back in the room. "Your turn, Finn."

As Finn leaves, he gives my hand a squeeze. "No worries," I whisper to him.

"No worries," he agrees, half-heartedly, though trying to convince me otherwise.

Mariah comes to sit beside me. I look to see that on her collar bone is a little crescent moon with two stars hanging under the upper swing of the moon. It’s all black. "That's it, huh?" I ask. She nods, gently touching the new tattoo. "Did it hurt? I'm scared to death of needles."

"No, not much. Just a little tingle. The needle only goes down to just below the dermis layer of skin, therefore, it doesn't come into contact with many pain nerves at all."

I sigh, "Good."

There's a pause. "So, you talked to Alyssa, huh?"

She knows that I talked to her. She just wants to know more. "Yeah."

"Jet and Iris Sage. I always knew it would be them. I'm glad that I was right." She pauses. "Can you imagine what they're doing to those poor victims?" I shake my head. "I wonder how they do it. I wonder where they're hiding. It isn't easy to hide a pack of werewolves that have minds of their own. When will Alyssa wake?"

I shrug. "Let her rest. The poor thing is exhausted."

"I know that," Mariah snaps. I flinch. My best girlfriend, and she snaps. Not usual. Mariah and I are great friends now. Not like Finn and I are, that would be weird, but we're best friends in the best friends kind of way. She sighs again. "I'm sorry, Tasha. Like Finn said, there's a lot of negative energy floating around here lately. I'm sure you've felt it."

I nod. "Yeah. Just a few minutes ago, it was almost overwhelming. It has been a few times that we've had arguments, the pack I mean. I don't like it."

"Thank you for stepping in just a little while back. I don't know if I would have ripped my own dad's face off or not." There's a moment of silence. "Now that I think back on it, it was scary. He had this look in his eyes, a look that wasn't a dad to his daughter. It was all Alpha Male responding to a challenge. I was wrong to argue with him, both as a Beta and as his daughter." She looks to me. "I should apologize, shouldn't I?"

"Maybe. That's up to you. I think you should. I would if it were me and my dad."

She smirks. "Your dad probably does the same thing, right? Being a past Alpha and all that."

I grin, remembering back to the time that Dad and I fought over how long I could stay out with friends on a movie night in fifth grade. He had that look too. "Yeah. He does. Natural, I guess. Born to be leaders, right?"


"So, you and Tobias alright still? Has he remembered anymore?"

"We're good, and a bit. He remembers a few far back memories. Like, when we first met."

"I bet you're happy about that." She nods, blushing. It's unlike Mariah to blush. "Is he still the person you remember?"

She nods, slowly. "Yes...and no. He's still the sweet, caring guy that I remember. He makes me laugh, he makes me blush, he remembers what sets me off and what calms me down, but there's a new part to him. He's...more grown up, I guess. He's more serious when it comes to important things. He's not a prankster anymore and he's a little less irritating."

"But still a little?" I grin.

She smiles back. "Oh yeah. Aren't all guys?"

I laugh. "True."

"What about you and Finn? How's everything going there?"

"Good. We're good. Everything's fine."

"Natasha, has he tried know..."

"No!" I answer bluntly and right away. "He isn't pressuring me into anything. Nothing at all."

"Sorry. You're my best friend. You've always been there for me, and I wanted to make sure that no one is making you do anything that you regret or don't want to do."

I smile slightly. "Thanks, Riah. That means a lot." We are silent for a few minutes, just enjoying each other's presence. "Have you noticed that there's more of a sense of family here rather than in any other pack or place?" I ask.

She shrugs. "Maybe in our pack, yes, but remember. I was raised here. I don't know any different."

I lower my head and play with my hands. "Oh yeah. Sorry. I forgot."

"'S okay, and you're right. The pack is my family, more than anything else."

"Natasha! You're next!" Jade yells from her bedroom as Finn comes out. He's rolling down his sleeve. He must have gotten his tattoo on his right arm.

He smiles at me, encouragingly. "Doesn't hurt a bit."

"You remember my fear of needles then, huh?" I wave to Mariah and walk to Jade's bedroom door.

"Yeah. No worries. Doesn't hurt at all." He gives my hand a quick squeeze as I pass. "See you soon."

Chapter 28: My History

"Alright Natasha. Have a seat. I just have a few questions."

I smile at Jade. "Okay. Hit me."

"Alright. They are personal questions, just to make sure that you" I nod. "Let's get started. First of three: where did you and Finn first meet? What did you say to him?"

I pause. Man, when she said personal, she meant it. "We met when we were five years old, at a local park by accident. Our parents recognized each other and we met there. I didn't know them, so I went to play on the playground. Finn followed me. Eventually I stopped and asked him why he was following me. He said that I was scared of him. I denied it and we became friends."

"That's what he said."

"That's what happened," I defend.

"I know." She smiles. "Okay. Next one. What blood type are you and what exact time of day were you born?"

"I was born March 1st, 1994, at three sixteen in the morning. I'm an AB negative blood type."

"Good. Last one, 'kay?" I nod again. "When you first arrived at Isle Royale, who was the first one to speak besides Finn, and what did he say? One more part to the question: what was your reaction to our appearances?"

I hear several flaws to her question. "It wasn't a he. It was a she, Ember. She greeted me by extending her hand. I freaked out and phased when I saw you. And it was 'their' appearances. Not 'our' as you said. You were at the Lodge."

She smiles. "Yep. You're all good."

I smile and it slowly gets more nervous as she prepares her needles. She looks to my face and chuckles. "Don't worry, Tasha. It won't hurt."


She chuckles again. "Where do you want it?"

"Want what?"

"Where do you want the tattoo?"

"Oh. That. Um...on my forearm?"

"Right here, then?" She rolls up my sleeve and gently taps the center of my forearm, under my wrist, on my left.

"Yeah, that's good." I swallow.

"I'm gonna have to cut the lights out, okay? I'll have to place your arm under the lights on the machine." I nod. "Alrighty then," she cuts out the lights, "Let's get going."

She places my arm under a lever that shines light onto it. She places rubber gloves on her hands and rubs some disinfectant onto the spot where my tattoo will go. "I wonder what my parents will think of me getting a tattoo," I muse.

Jade starts to pick out the needles needed. "I'm sure that they'll be fine with it, if it means your safety."

"Yeah. I guess. My mom has always been against tattoos and piercings and stuff like that."

"Well, when she was here, she was a very carefree and fun girl to be around as my father told me. He was her Alpha, remember?" I nod, just listening to Jade tell me about my mother's history. I'm so into her story that I don't even realize that she's already begun to make the tattoo. It's my Omega symbol in all black ink, the size of a nickel.

"Your dad was Alpha, your brother is Alpha, will you ever get the chance?" I ask.

She shrugs. "Probably not. I'm a Caretaker. I wouldn't be any good at it. That, and that it just doesn't work that way."

"Why not?"

"Well, Mariah is the daughter of the Alpha, so technically, the place would go to her."

"Mariah could be the next Alpha?" I ask, shocked.

"Yeah," she grins. "Her and whoever she's mated with, who will more than likely be Tobias."

"Of course," I roll my eyes.

"But the position could also fall to you," she added, finishing the crescent moon part of my tattoo.

"Me? Why me?"

"Because of your parents’ legacy. They were both Alphas."

"What did they do to get a," I make air quotes with my free hand, "'legacy' story that's told around the packs? I haven't gotten to my parents era in history yet. What did they do that's so great?"

"You don't know, eh? Well, your parents stopped a war from happening." My mouth litterally drops open. "Yeah. They had to fight quite a few battles between the packs and the Fang. It was brutal and bloody, but they made the right desisions and saved the packs from destruction. Isle Royale would be a very different place without them."


"Your Aunt Elena was a Beta then. She was the one to assist your parents with the defeat of the Fang leader."

"Good grief. I have a lot of family history then, right?"
She smirks. "Yep. It's all good, though." She turns her focus back to the tattoo, now almost done. "There you go. Keep it covered for an hour or so. You'll be good after that."

"Thanks. Wouldn't wanna mess this up, right?"

She laughs. "Yeah. It kinda can't be removed."

I giggle, heading for the door. "But really. Thanks. I love it. Makes me feel a little more secure with everyone."

"That's always a good thing for the Omega. We need you stable. No problem."

"Who do you want next?"

"Send Willow in."

"Sure thing."

I walk outside the door and see Willow and Peaches playfully bickering with each other. They see me and walk over to me. "NATASHA! WE NEED TO GET READY!"

"Not now, silly. Willow, you're up next for the tattoos. Go on in."

"I'll go with her!" Peaches says.

"Fine, but you'll have to stand outside for the questioning."

"Fine by me. Come on, Bestie!" Peaches says, yanking Willow by the arm down the hallway.

I chuckle and shake my head at them, pulling gently at the cloth that covers my tattoo while it sets.

I walk over to the hallway and turn to the fireplace in the empty den. They must all be getting something to eat in the kitchen. I run my fingers along the mantel and just listen to the silence. It's not often that that's what you hear in the Lodge. They must be quite hungry.

That or that we're all just a bit freaked out by the idea of infiltrations here. Our home, there might be fakes. I will find out what they're up to, the Fang I mean. They won't get past me. I promise you that.

I'm so caught up in my own thoughts that I don't even get a warning as to who entered the room. I feel a warm hand gently touch my shoulder, and I freak out. I turn around and place both of my hands on the arm, prepared to twist it if necessary.

It's not needed. It's only Finn.

Finn gives me a funny look, wondering why I'm about to bring him at my mercy.

Gosh, Natasha! What's wrong with you?

I jerk my hands back and hide them behind me. "Sorry!"

"It's okay. I just wanted to check on you. You disappeared after being let go from Jade. I was worried."

"Yeah. I think everyone's just a little wound up now." I sigh and whisper, "I know I am."

Finn takes my hand and pulls me towards him. "It'll settle down soon. Josh always freaks out like this at first. It was nothing we did."

"Are you okay?" I ask, my voice slightly muffled by his arms. "You looked a little frazzled when we told Josh. Heck. You almost challenged him."

"I know," he hangs his head, "I'm sorry for that. I need to get better control of myself. But Tashie," he looks me in the eyes, "imagine how I feel right now. I've just learned that my Alpha Female's twin sister is an Alpha of our worst nightmare. I just realized that I may lose you. I know now that we can't even trust our own. How would you feel?"

"Not so great," I mumble.

"No. Not at all." He tightens his arms and sighs into my hair, his hot breath tingling the strands. "I'm frustrated, irritated, freaked, and...scared. I'm scared of losing any of our pack to them. Natasha, I'd rather die."

"Don't say that!" I scold. "Never, okay?" I look up at him. "I'll be fine. I couldn't live without you, though."

"I know. You've told me before." He gives me a lopsided smile. "I guess it could be worse."

I grin. "Yes. Yes, it could. I could not be a shifter..."


"I could have never met you..."

"Very true..."

"I could have been placed in another pack..."

"Unlikely, but true..."

"Or the worst of them all..." I make a long pause. "I could have been..."

"Been..." he leads on, letting me sit down on his lap after he takes a seat on the sofa.

"A boy!" Finn is silent for a good second and then bursts out laughing, almost to tears. "What? It's true! Then things would either be very different-"

"Or very, very complicated," he finishes, grinning like a fool. "Oh man. You sure know how to get my mind on other things."

"Practice makes perfect."

"That it does." He sighs, a slight, happy sound. "So."


"Willow hasn't dragged you off to some cruel and unusual torcher yet? I'm surprised."

"Stop it. Be nice," I slap the back of my hand against his stomach. He stiffens and lets a small laugh creep out. "Oh, someone's ticklish."

"Don't. Even. Start. Just…don’t."

"Fine. I won't forget."

He grumbles, "You never do."

"Heard that."

"'Heard that'," he says in a high pitched voice, so quiet though.

"Heard that too and stop mocking me because I do NOT sound like that at all."

He rolls his eyes. "Sure sure."

"I heard that t-."

"I know that you heard it."


He laughs, tickling my sides and making me laugh uncontrollably. "Stop! I beg of you! Finn! Please!"

"Oh please. This is fun!"

"NO! This is cruel and unusual punishment! Now STOP!"

He sighs. "Fine! Have it your way."

I recover from my fit of giggles. "You. Are. Aweful!" I gasp.

"I know. Been there, heard that, several times."

Peaches and Willow come down the hallway. "There you are!"

Willow says, being her dramatic self, "We were looking EVER-Y-WHERE for you! We should have been more specific and told you to go to our room!"

"I told you, you should have," Peaches points out.

"Oh shut it. You're no help."

"Well, last I heard it was a free country," I comment, getting myself out of Finn's embrace, much to both of our disliking.

“Not with us."

Willow says, "This is not a free country any longer! This is a dictatorship!"

"And we are the law!" Peaches adds. "Now come with us! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in the-."

"Court of law. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard this before." I turn to Finn. "Looks like I'm being arrested. Punishment equals make over." I chuckle, as do the others. "See you later.”

"Nu uh! You won't be seeing him until we arrive at the ballroom," Willow says matter-of-factly.

I gape at her. "Whaaat?!"

Finn laughs and comes to stand beside me. "That's the way it goes." He kisses my forehead, earning a not so subtle 'awww!' from both Willow and Peaches. "I'll see you there."

"Bye." He walks away. I turn to Peaches and Willow. They're grinning like fools at me, a look on their faces that says, 'oh boy have we caught you two now'. I shrink back and hold up my hands. "What?"

“Willow, you’re making me look gothic,” Mariah exclaims, trying to stop our mutual friend from adding too much black eyeliner to her multi-colored eyes’ edges.

“I am not. This is creativity.”

“Yeah. Not really my style. Do Natasha’s make up.” Uh oh. “I’ll do my own. Natasha,” she turns to me, her dress frilling put in all directions, “make sure you tell her what you want. Otherwise she’ll be ‘creative’.” Air quotes go around “creative”.

I chuckle nervously. “Come, come,” Willow says to me, patting the blue salon chair that sits in front of her large vanity. I swallow visibly and take a seat. “Don’t worry. I’ll be good with you. Let’s see...midnight blue dress, black curly designs, frills...I say we try light blue eye shadow, black mascara, a tiny bit of eye liner, and your normal make up. Sound good to you?”

I nod. “Yeah. You’re the master.”

“Yes. Yes I am.” She smiles.

“So, you excited about tonight? Not exhausting your vocals, are you?” Since I was with Mariah, Finn, and Alyssa for deciding on what music to have for the dance, I have recently found out that Willow likes, and really can, sing. She’s really good, too. She heard about us setting the music up for the dance and came to me and practically begged me to let her sing a few songs. We all agreed that she would be fantastic. I let her pick the songs that she wants to sing. She has three: Darlin’ by Avril Lavigne, Wide Awake by Katy Perry, and Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae. All in all, a good variety.

Willow laughs. “Nope. I’ve been as quiet as I can all afternoon. I’m even wearing this scarf to keep my vocals from getting the littlest bit cold. Cold vocal cords equal a hoarse, strained voice.”

“You really think this stuff through,” I comment as she adds on the mascara.

She shrugs, batting her eyelashes and smiling the biggest Willow-like smile. “Guess. I love singing and make up. They’re my passions.”

“I distantly remember one of my cousins going to make up school after she graduated. She wanted to do hair and make up so badly, she went to college for it. You might wanna research that. I mean, you’re in what grade as of next year? Tenth?” She nods. “College is only three years away.”

“Good idea. I’ll look that up tomorrow. No school, remember?”


“The Alpha’s have decided to add a day in between the Wolfen Games and the dance so that Finn, Peaches, and the others have one more day to train.” I nod.

There’s a moment of silence as she finishes up my eye make up. “Willow, when the Fang attacked the Lodge, and the Alpha’s didn’t come back, what happened to them? We left for the mainland and when we got back, they were here as if nothing had happened. Do you know?”

“The meeting just went waaay longer than the Alpha’s had hoped. They heard about the attacks only after they had happened. They got here just after Skylar called in from your hotel.”

“So they were fine?”

“Yeah. Why do you ask? Can I curl your hair?”

“Sure.” She grins and jumps up and down, moving towards the curling iron. “I asked because they really worried me when they were gone that long. I kinda forgot about it when we got back.”

“Oh yeah. Your date with Finn really got your mind off things, eh?” She snickers.

I groan, laying my forehead to my now pulled up knees. “I didn’t think anyone knew about that!”

“You kidding? Everyone in the Greenstone Ridge Pack knows that you two are together together now. You used to be just best friends, yadda yadda yadda. Yeah. We all know it’s waaay past that stage now—”

“Willow! I get it!”

She pauses what she’s doing with my hair. “So...that’s good. It means you two don’t need to keep your relationship a secret anymore!”

“Willow, we aren’t trying to hide it from anyone. I’m very shy and easily embarrassed in this kind of stuff, and Finn knows that. He’s keeping it quiet for me, ‘kay?”

“I didn’t know that. But why? Why would you be embarrassed when you—”

“Willow, it’s like you and Chase.”

She blushes fiercely. “What—what do you mean?”

“I’m an Omega, Willow. You don’t think I haven’t noticed something between you two? Why were you two trying to make each other jealous by lying about who you were going to the dance with? Why do you drive each other crazy?”

She sighs. “Okay. So I’m not one to talk. But everyone here expects you and Finn to be a couple. No one expects Chase and I. I’m not even sure he likes me back.”

“He does.”

“Even if he does, the Pack might not accept us.”

“Why wouldn’t they? And even if they didn’t, it’s not really up to them at all.” Willow finishes my hair, pulling some of it up into different twists and tiny braids, the rest falling over my shoulders and chest. I get up out of the chair and place my hand on Willow’s shoulder. “They shouldn’t have say in this.” She doesn’t speak. “Okay?”

“Yeah.” She suddenly gives me a hug. “Thanks Natasha.”

We clean up the make up mess and step outside. “Mariah!” I whisper.

Mariah peaks around the corner of the hallway, pulling her beige shawl onto her shoulders. “Yeah?”

“Are they guys gone yet?”

“Yeah they left about five minutes ago. Why?”

Willow sighs. “Good. I need a snack. I think I’m gonna faint.”

Mariah laughs as we make our way over to her. “Why? Nervous?”

She nods and a squeaking noise comes from her throat. I chuckle. “We need to get you some chocolate.”

“Girls best friend!” Mariah says, sighing.

“Fine. Make sure it isn’t cold!”

“Yes, Mistress Willow,” Mariah says sarcastically.

After getting Willow some hot chocolate, per her request, we got on our shoes and jewelry. Jade comes out in a brilliant purple, mermaid style dress with shimmers on the chest piece. She looks elegant and gorgeous.

She floats over to us and says, “Alright everyone. Once Ember gets Fearless ready, we’ll get going.” She smiles.

“I love your dress,” Willow says in awe.

Jade blushes. “Thank you, Willow. Love yours, too. I’m so glad they all fit!”

I glance from Mariah’s tropical colored, spaghetti strapped dress; to Willow’s teal blue, bodice dress; to Jade’s royal purple dress. They all fit perfectly and I would never have guessed that my best friend’s aunt had made them! Magic? Pretty much.

I hear a door creak open and a pair of light and skipping footsteps come down the hall. I see a small figure throttle towards us, fluffy white fabric poofing out from it. Fearless.

“Auntie Jade! I love my dress!” Fearless hops into Jade’s arms and hugs her tight. “I look like Cinderella!”

“Just like her!” Jade exclaims to her. “Like at the end, when she gets married. Spin for us?”

Fearless hops back down and twirls. We all tell her that she looks beautiful. “Just wait until Mommy gets out here! She looks like an angel!” Fearless keeps spinning, her brown ringlets twirling out, her eyes closed.

When Ember appears just seconds later, she’s wearing a larger version of Fearless’ dress. It’s white and has a large skirt. She wears a tiara on her head and lots of sparkles everywhere else. She comes over to Fearless and places a tiara on her dizzy daughter’s head. “There, Princess.” Fearless giggles. “Time to go, everyone. Don’t wanna be late.”

“Yes! We only have until midnight!” Fearless says excitedly, making us all laugh.

“Maybe next year we can get her a carriage,” Mariah suggests to us all.

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” Fearless dances around as we head out the door.

“It’s about a mile to the dance site, so we should phase to get there. Our clothes, hair, and make up will be untouched. Okay? Fearless, get on my back after I phase, okay?”

“Okay, Mommy.”

We all phase and take off towards the site.

Chapter 29: Dance

When we arrive at the tunnel that leads to the dance area, I start to hear the music from the soundtrack Mariah, Alyssa, Finn, and I made. I see lights coming from the tunnel. We hurry down it, into the colorful room of the Valentines Day dance.

There are so many people here! All of the Packs! At least over fifty. Yeah, it may not seem like that much to you, but after only seeing so many people at a time, it's quite astounding to see that many shape-shifters at once.

I see our group of guys standing in the lower right part of the cave surrounded woods. They're all dressed up. Jade takes little Fearless' hand and hurries over to them, specifically Skylar, go figure, the rest of us following shortly behind her lead.

Skylar is wearing a slight blue tinted tux with a blue-ish purple bow tie to match Jade's dress. He wears a bright and familiar smile as Jade approaches. He reaches for her hand and spins her around, pulling Fearless off the ground as well, her giggling all the while.

Chase wears a dark red, yeah I know, tux with a black tie. He looks to Willow and blushes. Looks like she's not the only shy one.

Josh wears a plain black tux with a white tie to match Ember's dress. His eyes glint only for her.

Both Connor and Blake wear white tuxedos with black ties. A bit domino looking.

Tobias is wearing a brown tux with a green tie to perfectly accommodate Mariah's dress color. She runs up to him and gives him a quick kiss. He smiles down at her.

And then there's Finn. My Finn. He's wearing a black tux with a white collared shirt, a dark blue tie tucked in. He's staring lovingly at me. I walk slowly over to him and smile shyly. He smiles back and leans down to hug me. I quite literally melt into his arms. Okay, so not literally, but you get the idea.

"Survived Willow, eh?"

"Guess so," I chuckle.

"Go guys!" Jade exclaims. "The party's already started! Have fun!"

Willow and Chase, Blake and Casey, Peaches, and Connor head over to the food stand. Fearless goes with her mother and father to let her dance. Jade and Skylar go to help with the setting up of the extra chairs.

I see a familiar face come towards Finn and I through the lantern-lit woods.

Alyssa Benson.

I grin from ear to ear and run towards her. "Alyssa! Where have you been? Jade said that you had left while I was in Willow's little make up session."

She smiles and twirls around, showing off her flowing, knee-length, rainbow dress. "I had to go back to my Academy dorm to get my dress. I wasn't going to miss the dance because of a silly accident."

"You should have let me go with you. It's not safe to go anywhere by yourself anymore."

"I had someone come and escort me." She grins, a slight pink coloring her cheeks.

"Who is it?"

"Nope. Not gonna happen, Tasha."

"Awe! Come on! Please? As a fellow Omega?" I make puppy-dog eyes at her.

She just laughs and rolls her eyes. "Fine. Okay. It''s Richmond."

"Packer? You like Packer?" She nods. "That's awesome! Have you asked him to the dance?"

"He asked me."

I cover my mouth with my hands. "Wow! Lyss, I'm so happy for you!"

She smiles. "Thanks." She looks over my shoulder to Finn. He's been kind enough to give us some girl talk space. "You should get back to him. This is your night. I gotta find Packer."

"You should check the foot table. That's where most seventeen year old guys are."

She laughs and gives me a quick hug. "Thanks, Tasha! See you later!"

I wave as she goes. Finn comes to my side and takes my hand. "So..."

"So...Willow will kill us if we don't go watch her sing."

"To Willow, then."

As we walk over to the common area, where the stage and instruments are, Finn says to me in a low voice, "I was thinking that after the Wolfen Games that we might take a two or three day trip to Evergreen."

"Just the two of us?"

"Yeah," he nods.

"I'd love it."

"I thought you might wanna see Denali again before she goes off to college this summer. She's been begging me to bring you down."

"College already?" He nods. "Wow. I can't wait!" We're silent for a few seconds. "How is your Wolfen Games training going? They won't let me go to any of the sessions."

"Why not?"

"You need to focus. I totally understand. I just want to make sure that you're okay."

He smiles down at me. "Don't worry. It's all great. We're both ready."

"Who's been training you?"

"Peaches," he snickers.

"I hope you're kidding."

He laughs, "Yeah, I am. Well, sorta. Peaches and I are being taught by Megan Swift."

"She's one of my Omega teachers."

"She's a good Wolfen Games trainer, too. She's teaching both of us and Peaches is trying to give me some 'advice', as she calls it." He whispers, "Whether it's helpful or not, I don't know yet."

I chuckle. "So you'll be okay? You'll try your hardest not to get hurt, right?" He looks at me in a funny way. I stop walking. "I know what you're going to say. Don't worry. I know. I know you won't purposely get hurt. But after what happened to Tobias...I'm really worried that something bad will happen again."

"It won't. I promise."

"I just don't see how you can promise that. And what about the warning we got? They said that they had Tobias. They never did. Why did they want us to come?"

"I can promise that. I will not allow myself to put you or anyone else in danger by leaving. I don't think they ever had him either. They knew that I was in the Games and wanted you and Riah to go alone. You would be easier to get rid of." He lays his forehead to mine. "You know for a fact that I would never have let you and Mariah go without me.”

"I figured as much."

"Even if they had Tobias, it would have been a trap. They're cold-blooded, Tashie. They're monsters, and until we can find a way to get rid of the disease that Iris and Jet have plagued them with, I will not hesitate to kill them to protect you or my Pack or my family."

I nod. I mean, he's right. As much as I hate violence and death, if any of my family or friends were in any form of danger from the Fang, I'd do the same.

Life is valuable, but when faced with a choice of good or evil, evil no longer belongs.

Finn gives me a soft kiss and whispers, "Come on. Let's go listen to Willow."

I retake his hand and let him lead us to the seats. Half of the party is still up and dancing or talking on the sides. The other half is seated in the small, seats-three, round tables. I see Willow talking to the guitar player, nineteen year old Peter Weathers of the Feldtmann Pack, and then walking over to speak to seventeen year old Saralei Fisher, her Red Oak originating piano player. Willow points to a point on the piano music sheet and shakes her head, her short black hair jingling around her face, at something Saralei says. Saralei says something else and points over to me. Willow nods and motions me over, urgently. "They need something," I say to Finn. "I'll be right back, okay?"

He squeezes my hand. "Sure. Is something wrong?"

"Hopefully not. I'll just have to see."

I walk over to Willow as she leans forward. "Natasha, this is the wrong piano sheet! It's Innocence! Not Darlin'! Can you ask Jade if she has an extra? She had my music yesterday."

"Sure. Be right back." I hurry over to Jade at the drink station. "Jade, do you know where Willow's song Darlin' is? She has the wrong song!"

"Oh dear! Let me check my purse really quick." She stops handing out punch, Skylar taking her place, and searches through her bag that sits at a base of a tall tree. She pulls out a music sheet. "Here. This is it." She hands it to me. "Is that all you need?"

"Yes. Thank you, Jade."

I hurry back over to Willow and hand her song. "Thank you, Tasha! You're a life saver."

Willow is breathing heavily. "Willow."


"Breathe." She takes a deep breath. "And good luck."

She smiles. "Thanks."

She walks back over to Saralei and hands her the piece. Willow makes her way to the microphone as I make my way back to my table with Finn and, now, Fearless. She's sitting in my chair, her little legs swinging back and forth, and a huge grin plastered on her adorable face. "Natashie! Come sit!" She energetically pats the seat to the right of her.

I smile at her and sit down. Willow says, "Hey everyone. I'm so glad you all can be here." We all turn to face her. She looks so much like a performer. "I look forward to these dances every year, and I'm especially excited about this one. Thank you for letting me sing tonight. It's such an honor. I'd like to send a special thank you out of Jade Cleveland for making all this possible. She's been stressing out about it for weeks now. Let's give her a round of applause!" We all clap for her, especially Skylar. Jade blushes and looks down to the floor. "Maybe now that she's done with all this, she won't know that we almost burnt the kitchen down a few days ago." Everyone laughs. "Well, now that she's relieved that it's all over, I won't embarrass her anymore. Someone doesn't like attention. This is Avril Lavigne's Darlin." She places the microphone up towards her mouth and listens as the piano and guitar play the acoustic parts.

"Darlin', you're hiding in the closet once again.
Start smilin'.
I know you're tryin' real hard not to turn your head away.
Pretty darlin', face tomorrow. Tomorrow's not yesterday. Yesterday. Oh, oh."

"She sounds so good!" Fearless whispers.

"She does, doesn't she?" I say.

"Pretty please, I know it's a drag.
Wipe your eyes and put up your head.
I wish you could be happy instead.
There's nothing else I can do
Then love you the best that I can.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

We hear cheers and slight clapping as she keeps singing. The smile on Willow's face is so big, if she doesn't stop, she won't be able to sing anymore. I'm so glad for her.

"Darlin', I was there once a while ago.
I know,
That it's hard to be stuck with people that you love,
When nobody trusts."

Saralei joins in for the backing vocals.

"Pretty please, I know it's a drag.
Wipe your eyes and put up your head.
I wish you could be happy instead.
There's nothing else I can do
Then love you the best that I can.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
That I can. Oh, oh.

And you're not the only one who's been through.
I've been there alone and now so are you.
I just want you to know, want you to know that it's not your fault.
It's not your fault.
Oh, oh, your fault, your fault.
It's not your fault, your fault, your fault, your fault.

Pretty please, I know it's a drag.
Wipe your eyes and put up your head.
I wish you could be happy instead.
There's nothing else I can do
Then love you the best that I can.

Pretty please, I know it's a drag.
Wipe your eyes and put up your head.
I wish you could be happy instead.
There's nothing else I can do
Then love you the best that I can.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
That I can. Oh, oh.
Darlin', you're hiding in the closet once again.
Start smilin'."

The applause erupts around us and cheers cry out from everyone. Willow takes a deep breath and says, "Thank you. The next song is Katy Perry, Wide Awake."

By now, the half that was standing and talking, are dancing to the music. Fearless hops off the chair and starts to twirl 'round and 'round and away from us. Finn tugs on my hand and whispers, "Come on."

I look to Willow. She winks.


I turn back to Finn. He's smiling. "Okay." He pulls me from my seat and into the surrounding woods. No one sees us leave. "Where are we going?"

"I just wanted to see you alone for a while. Seems like we've been with friends company forever." He takes my face in his hands. "I've wanted to do this." He crushes his lips to mine; forcing the little air I have in my lungs, out. I feel a burning fire in my mouth, a fire that wants him. Not like that, but I want to be his forever and ever. I never want to leave.

My hands go up themselves to grab two handfuls of his silky hair as his hands go to my waist. The feeling of this, it's indescribable! I feel so calm, but then I feel electricity running through me. I feel his tongue sweep into my mouth, just once, and then he backs away, not physically though. That was all he needed.

He pulls away from the kiss and takes a deep breath. "Was that too much?" He strokes his fingers over the side of my face.

I shake my head. "No. It wasn't."

He smiles and pulls me in. I burry my head into his chest and breathe in through my nose, taking in his scent. Warm and woodsy and almost vanilla-like. I listen to his smooth and steady heartbeat as it slows. I feel Finn's hands wrap around me, keeping me tightly, yet comfortably, against him. I hear him whisper a faint "I love you".

"I love you, too," I whisper, enjoying the serenity of the moment.

"So, after this and the Wolfen Games, it's an entire stream of birthdays, eh?"

"Our birthdays I know of. Are there others?"

"Yeah. Actually, toady is the Feldtmann Pack's Alpha Male's birthday. Remember Grant Tyler?"

I nod. "Yeah. A little bit. How old?"


"Ah. New Alpha then."

"Actually, most Alpha's are around that age, in their twenties. Compared to the majority, Josh and Ember are a bit older."


"Mm hm. In fact, Megan Swift is the youngest Alpha now. She's only twenty."

"Wow." Something tugs at my mind, something that Jade had said to me. "Finn," he pulls me into a dance position and starts swaying us to the music, "Jade told me that Mariah is more than likely in line for the Alpha position. When would that happen? Could that happen in like a few months, or years, or what? If Megan is so young and an Alpha, could it be the same for Mariah?"

"Good question. I guess that's really just up to her parents and herself. I don't think that Josh and Ember are ready to step down just yet, and I don't that they think Mariah is ready yet, both as parents and as her Alphas. I guess we'll just have to wait and see." He spins me around, both of us smiling now.

"Jade also said that...we might be in line if Mariah steps down." His face looks grim. "Would you want that?"

"Would you?"

"Hey, I asked first," I joke.

He grins. "Well, I don't know. Never really thought about it. For me it's always been a 'Just get through this' and 'Maybe one more year and then I can leave, go back home' sorta thing. I never really considered it. What about you?"

"Well, there are ups and downs. I love the Pack and it would be so special to be their Alphas. We would get to watch the younger ones grow up and be with our friends forever really. But if we do, we'll be giving up a normal life. More than likely, no college, no human company, no human things at all. I wouldn't mind that, but there are some things that I wouldn't want to give up on."

"Like what?"

"Well, if we ever had kids, I wouldn't want them to grow up here. Not that there's anything wrong with the way Fearless has grown up! I just wouldn't want that for our kids."

"Me neither."

I sigh, relieved that he feels the same way. "You aren't just saying this stuff 'cause I am, right?"

He shakes his head, smiling. "Nope."

"Why are you smiling like that?"

He laughs. "Well, I like the way you always say 'us', not just 'you' or 'me'."

I blush. "Well, there isn't any other for me."

"Me neither."

I blush fiercer. "Another thing. I wouldn't want to have to kill anything. You know that being an Omega means I hate violence. Someone has to. An Omega being an Alpha wouldn't work at all. An Alpha needs to be a warrior. Mariah is way better suited than me."

"She's definitely the warrior type." He places his fingers under my chin and lifts it to meet my eyes. "But just because you don't like hurting anyone doesn't mean you're weak, okay?" I nod. "It means you're strong enough to not want revenge or to get even. That's a different type of warrior."

I nod again. I whisper, "Thanks."

"Come on. Let's just dance for a while, okay? No more talking about problems." He smiles a genuine smile my way.

I return it. "Okay."

Chapter 30: All In All

“So did everyone have a good time?” Jade asks, stepping lastly through the door to the Lodge.


“I am SO glad that it’s over.”

Skylar comes over to circle a supportive arm around her waist. I don’t blame him. She looks ready to collapse at any moment. “Tired, Honey?”

She nods, setting her purse down on the kitchen counter. “I’m going to change into some comfy clothes and then go to bed. Good nigh’ everyone.” She yawns on the word ‘night’ making it sound like ‘nigh’.

I whisper, “’Night, Jade.”

She walks down the hall and her door is shut. “I think I’ll do the same,” Mariah says, stretching her arms up in the air.

“Me too,” says Casey.


“—To,” Willow starts, Peaches finishes.

“We should all go to bed,” Ember whispers, rocking sleeping Fearless in her arms. “We have an exciting day tomorrow. Preparations for the Wolfen Games the day after.”

I yawn and follow Chase, Finn, and Mariah to our room. Once inside the dark room, I see Chase grab some PJs and say, “I’m changing in the hallway bathroom. Mariah and Natasha should use the bathroom here.”

“Agreed,” Finn says, tiredly.

After Chase leaves, Mariah goes in and turns the shower on. I look to Finn and say, “I’ll step out so you can change.”

“Yeah. Thanks.”


I open the door and close it behind me. I lean back against the wall and look around. Seeing the clock on the nearby kitchen wall, 11:56 p.m., I can’t help but think that we’ve been out waaay too late.

But on the good side, it was a blast! There was so much dancing and music and all our friends had such a great time. I even met some of the older and younger kids from other Packs that I hadn’t got a chance to see yet. All in all, it was worth it.

Finn opens the door, saying, “Mariah’s out of the bathroom.”

I go back into our room. “That was quick.”

“She’s always quick.”

“She’s right here, Dog,” Mariah says jokingly and tiredly as she climbs up the ladder into her top-bunk bed.

“Do we have to joke around tonight, Riah?” Finn asks, rubbing his face with his hand as he heads towards his bed.

“No. Good night all!”

“Shut up!” Chase grumbles, his voice muffled by the covers. “Some of us are trying to sleep.”

“Fine, your royal pain in the ass.”

“Well then, I’m just gonna...go get ready for bed now.” I grab a pair of blue yoga pants and a teal sweater from my drawer.

Finn makes a low chuckling sound. I roll my eyes at a now glaring at each other Mariah and Chase as I turn to go into the bathroom.

I turn on the shower and gently take off my dress and jewelry. I open the first drawer to the porcelain and wood cabinet and place my belongings inside. I get into the steaming water as soon as I can, rinsing all the makeup Willow had put on me off. I rinse the soap down the rest of my body and, after shaving, add conditioner and shampoo to my hair, one before the other.

Once I’m completely done, I step out and get dressed into my PJs.

I step outside, making sure to cut out the lights before, and tip toe over to my bed. All three of my friends are sound asleep, Mariah on her stomach, not making a sound, Chase on his back, snoring, and Finn on his side, turned away from me. Careful not to wake anyone, I go over to sit on his bed, wrapping my arms around his shoulders as he turns to lie on his back, though he’s still asleep. I rest my forehead in the crook of his neck and sigh, sleepy. I’m completely at home and relaxed, waiting for nothing but a peaceful sleep to find me.

After all, it’s not like things are getting any worse today…right?

My dream takes place in the same graveyard that I had my last “dream travel”, as Skylar calls it. I see the same tall, dark, Spanish moss covered trees that hold crows. They’re still squawking at me. I sneer at them. Looking down, I’m in the same long, dark dress.

I peak around the nearest tree to see the same gravestones in place. My parents’ graves. I fall to my knees, completely broken. If this is true, I haven’t changed a thing to prevent this. They still will die, if my vision here is correct. “Why hasn’t it changed? What haven’t I done?”

“Anything,” a voice says to me. I jump up, startled, and turn around to see Viper Sage, daughter of Iris and Jet, the Minong and Fang Alphas. “That’s what you haven’t done.” For being in my dream, she looks beautiful. Her long dark brown hair is neatly pinned up and she wears a long white dress with red stains.

“What do you mean? Why are you here?”

“I’m like my father. I can…intervene here, in your traveling dreams.” She takes in a deep breath. “You haven’t done anything to prevent this,” she motions to my parents’ death place, “from happening. You’ve ignored the dream and have blocked the visions from happening again.”

Blunt much. I glare at her. “If this is all real, if you’re really here and I’m not imagining things, and my parent’s really will die, then that’s where they’ll end up.” I point sharply to the stones that mark their resting place, tears forming in my eyes. “You really have the audacity to assume that I’d ignore that? Of all things?! I’m new to this, Viper Sage. I don’t know what to do! It’s not like I have a teacher for this! All the other Omega’s are kids! Children!”

“I came to help.”

Just then, the vision goes from vivid color to black and white, like a failing old tape from long ago. The ground shakes, the sky irrupts in light, the crows fly away with a loud chorus of cries, and the trees catch on fire.

Another warning.

Of what…I don’t know…yet.

Viper falls to the ground, along with me. She says a quick, urgent message to me. “This place isn’t safe! You must go! I’ll visit you tomorrow, after Wolfen War training. And Natasha,” I look into her eyes, topaz like her evil fathers but they have a softer glint to them, “This is real. This is happening and this…” she motions once again to the graves, “this will happen. Make no mistake.”

I look to the engravings on the rocks, now crumbling. If she’s right, which my heart and soul are telling me she is, I’ve just sealed my family’s fate. And my friends, my Pack, my whole life. I have to get some help. I nod to her. She nods back.

I shoot up from my sleeping place, still gently lying next to Finn. He hasn’t moved an inch. Doesn’t even move a muscle when I get up, get dressed, and walk out of the room. I look back to his innocent, sleeping face. Even in the dim light of the moon, I can see every feature. If I’m to save him and my Pack, yeah I guess it’s my Pack now, I have to clear my head, figure out a plan, and get some courage. I have plenty stored up, I can tell you that. I just get scared at the last moment.

Get over the weakness, Natasha, I tell myself. You shouldn’t…couldn’t…wouldn’t…let anything happen to them. Never ever.

I walk out of the Lodge, despite Josh and Ember’s orders not to go out without a partner and absolutely not after dark, and head, not far, just to the nearby cluster of climbing trees. I find my way to a sturdy looking birch tree and pull myself up to the near top, sitting on the thickest branch to hold me.

My thoughts drift as I stare to the darkening still sky above me. I think of the things Viper said to me. Does she really want to help me? Or does she just want to get into my head, earn my trust and then betray me and turn me in to her father? It’s a huge risk. It could pay off enormously, or it could seal all our fates in one, final and deadly blow.

That’s a lot of pressure for one sixteen year old girl, Omega, to make for all Shape-shifter kind. Truthfully, I don’t think it’s mine to make. It should be a group effort, but telling them could risk them all getting angry and turning against each other, and that wouldn’t help. If anything it would make us more venerable and would show that we really can’t pull ourselves together to fight back.

I know I can trust my Pack completely, especially Finn, and Alyssa, and the Other Omega’s, but outside that, I’m frightened that they either are hiding their identity, aka they’re Fang, or that they really won’t help the cause when it comes down to the wire. I’m distraught! I really don’t think I should tell anyone, but then again, if I make the wrong decision for us all, I’ll doom everyone, and I can’t have that on my conscience, wherever I end up, in this life or, if I have to pay so dearly, in the next one.

I sigh, saddened, and pull my knees up to my chest, leaning back against the cool bark of the birch tree, and let my heavy head fall into my arms. “I don’t know what to think anymore,” I moan into the fabric of my coat. Things are getting out of control. I don’t know if I can keep a lid on all the chaos inside my head!

I feel the tree shaking from the weight of someone else climbing up. I stay perfectly still. What if it’s a Fang? Could I scream loud enough to let everyone else know to get out? Could I make it out? Could it—

“Natasha? What. The. Hell are you doing up there?! Have you completely lost it?!”

I snicker. “Nice to see you too, Mariah.”

“You never answered my question.” She hops up to my branch. I pull her scarf down past her collar bone, checking for her mark. “Hey! What the h—.”

“Just checking,” I whisper, letting her scarf go after seeing the Greenstone Symbol. “Sorry.”

“What’s up with you?! Come on. Get back inside with me! Who knows who’s out here!”

I sigh and climb back down with her. Practically running back into the Lodge, Mariah curses under her breath. She locks the door after us and sighs, waiting a moment before turning around to me with a frightened look in her eyes, a stern look in her expression. “Natasha, that was stupid and reckless! If we’d…I’d lost you…do you know how bad Finn would be?” She chuckles, hinting that she’d miss me tons too. “Point being, why were you out there…in the middle of the night…without a partner…ignoring our Alpha’s direct orders?” She says this more kindly, more like a worried friend instead of a Beta punishing a pup.

I swallow and look down. “I needed to clear my head. Had a dream that freaked me out and…just couldn’t sleep.”

“Finn snores too loud for you?” she jokes.

“Haha. He doesn’t snore.” I roll my eyes as we move towards the kitchen, the place where we always go.

She moves towards the stove, cutting on the smallest burner and placing a pan with milk on the top of it. I sit down at the seating-ten table. We all eat at different times and at different places so it works well enough. “You would be the one to know.”

I raise my right eyebrow at her. “I swear I didn’t mean it like that,” she laughs.

I chuckle too, quiet, not to wake our sleeping Packmates. “Sure you didn’t.”

“Hey,” she wags her finger at me, “I might be sarcastic and I might curse every now and again, but I’m no pervert.” She comes to sit across from me. “So…what was the dream?”

Oh boy. The dreaded question.

I bite my lower lip. “I don’t know. It didn’t really make sense.” It’s Mariah’s turn to raise her eyebrow. “Ugh fine. I dreamed that my parents’ died, and that it was my fault.”

“How was it your fault?”

I shrug. “Not sure. But I remember feeling that it was. I felt this overwhelming guilt deep down, the kind that I’ve never felt before, the kind I hope I never feel again.” A tear escapes my left eye. “It was only a dream. Only a dream.” I’m whispering this to myself.

“You okay?” a groggy, sleepy voice whispers. I look over to the hallway. Finn stands leaning against the doorway, half asleep, worry lines across his forehead. “Tashie, are you okay?”

I wipe my nose with the back of my hand, give Mariah an appreciative look, which she returns, and then get up to move to him. “You shouldn’t be up, Mr. Sleepyhead.” I try to smile.

Mariah moves past us, back to the bedroom. Finn’s eyes follow her until she disappears, then he half turns back to me, listening. “What’s really wrong, Natasha.”

I ignore him again. “Nothing is. You need to get back to bed. You’re last day of training is tomorrow.”

I try to push him back to the bedroom, to no avail. He stops me. “You’re shaking.” He takes my hands in his own, showing me the vibrations.

I gasp and blink my eyes, trying to keep myself from collapsing out of fear, exhaustion, horror, and a drained spirit. I lean my forehead to his chest as his arms wrap around me. “Finn…”

He doesn’t need me to say anything more. Gosh, he knows me so well. He scoops me up in his strong arms and carries me over to the sofa and sets me down. He kneels on the floor before me, still holding both of my hands. “Hey. Shh, shh. You stay with me, okay? Whatever it is, it’s okay.”

I shake my head, slowly, another tear falling, though he brushes it away with his rough fingers before it drips off of my chin. “It’s not, Finn. It’s not!”

He’s tearing up too now. “What did you see? What’s scaring you so much?”

“The dreams, Finn. They’re true. Both of them.”

“You dream traveled again, didn’t you?” I nod, unable to say the words of confirmation. “Natasha, I know you’re scared, but I’ll be here the whole night. It’s okay. Everything will be okay in the end—”

“What if the end doesn’t end well? And even if it does…what if we lose people along the way? People we love?!” I look away from his eyes, those dazzling chocolate orbs, to the window, nearly losing my self-hold up right then and there. I close my eyes tightly to keep myself together. “My dream had the graves of my parent’s again. Again! Nothing I have done has changed it! I thought that maybe I could avoid it. I thought that maybe that one dream was only one possibility to my future, but Finn…it’s still there! They will die…if I don’t do something.” I look back to him, seeing a broken face, probably reflecting my own. “I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough. I know that now. I can’t…I can’t…” I break down in tears again, sobs shaking me violently.

“You don’t have to,” Finn whispers to me. “You aren’t alone, Natasha. You never were. You never were,” he takes me back into his arms, rocking me slowly as to stop my tears and to comfort me.

I feel really bad for him. It’s always him comforting me. I never do anything for him. “H-how come you n-never c-c-cry? Don’t you e-ever get s-sad?” I constrict my arms around his neck, holding on, feeling as if I let go, my soul will slip away.

“I have my own way of letting my feelings out. It doesn’t always involve crying. Trust me, Tashie,” he leans away to look me in the eyes, taking my face in his hands, “I’m just as sad as you.”

I can see that he is. If you’ve ever looked into the eyes of your loved one, the one who knows you inside and out, better than all others, you know what I’m talking about. You see the soul of the being there. When I look into Finn’s eyes right this second, I see the sadness of everyone here! He does cry, sometimes out loud, and sometimes in his own way, like he is now. The eyes tear up.

I find something in those lovely eyes that brings me back down to earth, calming me down. My focus goes beyond the eyes to the person that they represent: my lover, my best friend, my soul mate…Finnick Warren Brown.

“I love you.”

He smiles at me, relief flooding through him. “I love you, too.”

He lays his forehead to mine and wipes away my tears. I do the same to him, for a lone tear had escaped at the very end of my meltdown. “I’m sorry—.” Finn places a hand over my mouth, shutting me up.

“No sorries?” I nod. “Good.”

“We should get back to bed,” I say, yawning. He grins, and I hear a light chuckle escape his lips. “Laugh all you want but you’ll see I’m right when you’re falling asleep during training.” I slouch down and slowly blink my eyes.

“You’re right. Come here.” He opens his arms to me to climb into. I scoot to him and pull him close. He expects me to just snuggle into his embrace, but I take hold of his face and pull his lips down to mine first. Just a simple, sweet kiss. He smiles afterwards and pecks my nose, placing his chin over my head to keep me safe and sound. Or at least give me that warm, loving, and comforting feeling.

I’m falling, and I’m falling fast. “Goodnight, Natasha. Remember, I’ll be here all night. I’ll never leave. You’re safe. I promise you.”

I sure hope so.

For all of us.

Chapter 31: The First 'I Do'

Finn P.O.V.

The cold breeze from an open window wakes me. Footsteps come closer and closer, until I hear them completely stop right to my left. I haven't opened my eyes, but I have an idea of who it is. The steps were light, like a ballerina's, and they were quick, shy, sneaky. I feel a cool hand rest against my arm, softly tapping it. A voice whispers, "Fiiinn, wakey wakey."

I groan and turn over, completely ignoring her. "Do you always have to be the one to get me up when I sleep in a bit later, Tashie?" I joke.

I can imagine her rolling her lovely green eyes at me. "Seriously. It's ten till. We need to get up and get ready. Come o-whoa!" I pull her over so that she flops down right beside me. "You were sooo awake, you devious little-" I shut her up with a small, but passionate, kiss. She pulls away, breathless. "Are you going to cut me off on every sentence I try to say?"

I smile at her. "You don't mind it."

She looks down and plays with her hands, her voice getting much smaller. "No, I don'"

I grin even bigger. "See? That's why I kissed you. I knew you couldn't stay mad at me forever."

She pushes me by my chest so that I fall back down onto the mattress and gets up, smiling embarrassedly. "Go get ready, Finnick," she emphasizes "Finnick", "I'm going to go get something to eat. I'd hate for you to miss breakfast, but...oh well." She shrugs playfully and heads out the door, leaving me there just laughing to myself under my breath. So Natasha.

I take a deep breath and hop out of bed in one, swift move. I needed to take a shower, but then again, we would be late and I can't get Natasha in trouble when she's only been here for a month. Wouldn't be fair to her, and I know she won't go without me, stubborn girl.

I smile to myself as I get a change of clothes out. Skip the shower. I'll need one after Wolfen practice anyways. I'll get one then.

After coming out of the room in a fresh T shirt and jeans, I see that the kitchen is empty. Weird. Everyone is normally crowded in here to grab something quick before school.

I go through the cupboards and pick out a cereal bar and head for the front door. Maybe everyone just decided to leave without me?


I close the door behind me, instantly hit with a wall of freezing, Lake Superior air. Well, at least the weather's normal.

Looking around, everything looks the same, the large Birch tree in the front yard that you see as soon as you step outside, the wall of woods surrounding the Lodge that holds off for about fifty feet, the pale grey skies, ground-hugging grass covered with the night's frost, the view of Mount Desor in the distance, the paths that lead to the places around: to Lake Desor, Mount Desor, the garden, and the school grounds.

Then I hear a group of people shouting and hollering joyfully from the back of the Lodge, as if a game is being played. I trot over to the other side and see Chase and Tobias teamed up against Connor and Blake in a football match. The girls are sitting on the side lines, watching and cheering. All except for Natasha. She's perched herself happily in a tree, reading, every now and then glancing over to the game and smiling at our fun, and sometimes immature, friends.

I go around all the fuss over the game and head towards her. The tree limb that she sits on is about seven feet tall, so it's just above my head. I walk, slyly, under the branch and say, "Whatcha doing up there?" She jumps and nearly falls, not expecting my voice. "Whoa. Don't fall. Sorry," I chuckle.

"Aha aha aha. Very funny. She closes her book and tucks it under her arm, preparing to get down. She bites her lip and says, "Uh..."

"Need help?" She nods. I stretch my arms out to catch her when she slides off the branch. Catching her smoothly, I place my forehead to hers and whisper, "You can ask for my help anytime, you know that right?" She nods again. "You aren't alone," I repeat my words from last night.

"I never was." Natasha grins slightly at me. She gently slips her head into the crook of my neck, having to stretch quite a bit, standing on her very tip toes to get up to me, and whispers, "Thanks for that...last night I mean. I was really scared about that dream."

I fold my arms around her. "No problem, honey."

She smiles and pulls away, taking my hand. "Come on. We need to get our book bags and then head over to the school."

"Alright. We should get everyone else on the way back."

She nods and follows my lead to the other Packmates. "Hey Finn! Wanna play with us?"

"Sounds great, but we all gotta get going if we don't want to be late."

Chase groans, throwing the ball to Blake, who just glares at him for giving him the problem. "Ugh! I hate it when you people are right!"

"We can play after school," Natasha chuckles, twining her fingers through mine.

Chase raises an eyebrow at her. "You play football?"

"No. Baseball. My Mom coaches the high school baseball team back in Georgia."

Chase snickers. "She coaches the guys team?"

"Hey, my mom is a tough girl. Don't make her mad. You'll get it."

I chuckle. "She's right. Forrest Winterpike is not a chick you wanna mess with."

Natasha says, "Alright, enough about my mother. Let's get going already!"

Natasha and I make a run for our backpacks in our room; everyone else gets a head start to school. I sling my backpack over my shoulder and go over to help her pack her books into the pack. "Thanks," she whispers.

"No problem." After packing all the books up, Natasha leans her head to my shoulder and sighs. "Are you okay?"

She takes in a quivering breath. "I'm fine."

"No you're not." I turn her around to face me. She won't meet my eyes. "Natasha, if it's about last night, then I promise I'll keep my promise."

She nods. "I know."

I lean in and offer her a kiss to seal that promise. Our lips move in sync, barely brushing against each other. I pull her into my arms, sitting her on my lap.

The kiss is getting more intense by the second. Her hands go up to twine in my hair, my hands never leave her waist, our lips press harder together, and finally our tongues touch. I hear a slight gasp from Natasha. So it's a new experience for her too.

I pulled her closer to me, letting her legs wrap around my waist. This was new to both of us, and I didn't want to rush it. I wanted it to be special for her, and for me. I plan to spend the rest of my life with this girl. This is just a step closer to that.

Fireworks can be seen. Fire erupts from the kiss as we push it farther. Natasha's hands move down to grip my shoulders as she breathes in through her nose. Oh crap! Breathing, duh! I pull away, breathing quickly, my heart beat racing, just like hers. "Was that...too far for you?" I ask her.

She shakes her head, resting it on my collar bone. "No."

"I love you."

She chuckles. "I love you, a little too much I think." She lifts her head.

I kiss her again, just a simple peck this time, and lay my forehead to hers. I stare strait into her eyes. I have just made the stupidest mistake ever! "I just realized that I haven't officially asked you to be my girlfriend." Her eyes light up immediately. That's a good sign...I think. "Would you like that?"

She smiles and it stretches all the way up to her eyes. "Yes!"

"Well then," I slip her off my lap and take both of her hands into mine, just like I did when I asked her if she wanted to be Soul-bound to each other, "Natasha Misty Winterpike, will you do me the amazing honor of being my girlfriend?"

She giggles and throws her arms around my neck, snuggling her face there. "Yes. Yes! I do."

I sigh, relieved, and hug her to me. "You know, in a year or two, you might have to say last two words again."

She laughs, and it's a happy sound. "Yep. I'll say yes to that too. I love you sooo much, Finn."

"I love you, too."

The author's comments:
Sorry that the italics dont show. I know that's confusing. Just try to get it as best as u can, lovelies <3

Chapter 32: True or False

Finn and I walk to our first class, Music 11, and settle down into our seats with Casey and Alyssa. “How is everyone?” Alyssa asks, yawning.
“Good,” I answer her. “Sleepy, but good.”
“Didn’t sleep well?” I shake my head, glancing at Finn. He looks down and sighs. Alyssa sees the exchange of worried faces and asks, “Something up?”
I look up to her and whisper, “I’ll tell you and the other’s later.” By others, I mean the other Omega’s, but I don’t say that in front of Casey and Finn. There are some things that just have to be between myself and the Omegas. She nods and turns back to her music sheets.
I pick up my guitar and start to play a random tune as Mrs. Harris walks to the desk in the front of the classroom. “Alright students, today we’re going to have groups of the same instruments play the same song. This will help the newer students learn everyone here. Guitars go to the front left, piano to the back left, violin to the back right, drums to the front right, wind instruments come up here with me.”
We all break off into our groups, my group consisting of Finn, Moonlight, Saralei, Packer, myself, and a new, freakishly tall eighth grader, Minong named Dusk grey.
Great mix, eh?
I give Finn a nervous look. He just smiles slightly, a nervous one as well. I guess today we’ll just have to get through.
“Well, well, I really didn’t want to have to see your face here again, Omega,” Moonlight taunts. Okay, she’s picked on me before, so this isn’t new exactly.
“Shut up, Moonbeam,” Alyssa fires.
“It’s MoonLIGHT, Alara,” Moonlight snaps back.
“And it’s Miss Omega to you!”
Moonlight rolls her eyes. “Whatever. Can we just get the day done with already?”
“Gladly,” Finn growls at her.
We all sit down and start to look over the music sheet that Mrs. Harris gave us to work on. We’re all roughly on the same level, so that part should be easy. Getting along, however, that’s gonna be tricky.
“You know, Finn, she’s no good for you. There are tons, and I mean TONS, of better girls out there. You wouldn’t have to look far to find one better than her,” she motions at me, a disgusted look on her face.
I glare into her soul and I wish I wasn’t an Omega so I could strangle her right now. She’s not worth it, she’s not worth it, she’s not worth—
“Are you sure you’re an Omega? You look like you’re about ready to kill me.”
I open my eyes, not having realized that I closed them, and say to her, “Oh believe me, I want to. You have no idea how many different times and ways I’ve killed you in my head,” a terrified look crosses over her face, one that I’ve never seen Moonlight Angels wear, “For the millionth time, leave me and my Pack alone.”
“About ready to kick your ass if you don’t leave right this second,” Alyssa says for me.
Moonlight gets up, brushes herself off, picks up her guitar, and strolls out of the room without Mrs. Harris seeing. I slump back in my seat. “Talk about a walking bottle of drama!” Packer says and we all chuckle.
“Tell me about it.”
“Has she done this before?”
“She does this to everyone, but she seems to love Finn and I the most.”
“It’s ‘cause she’s got a thing for Finn,” Alyssa puts in.
I look, ever so slowly, to her. “What.” My tone is a dead monotone. Finn? As in MY Finn? “Hahaha, that’s funny, Alyssa.”
“I’m serious. She had a crush on him for the longest time. I mean, hello!” She motions to Finn. “Duh. Who wouldn’t?”
“No one would. Ew!” I grimace at the thought of MY Finn and Moonlight ever being anything other than arch enemies. “Gross.”
“Totally gross,” Finn says, slinging an arm around my shoulders.
“Mr. Brown,” Mrs. Harris says, in a non-joking tone. We look back. She raises an eyebrow at us. Finn takes his arm back from my shoulders. “Thank you.”
I sigh. “They have PDA rules here, too?”
“Unfortunately,” Packer says, “yes.”
“They aren’t very strict about it, though,” Saralei puts in.
I blush, thinking back to my first kiss with Finn here. “Obviously.” Finn laughs at my embarrassment. “Shut up, you. Let’s get back to work.”
The rest of the day was the regular, nothing out of the ordinary. Moonlight never showed up for her other classes, and Alyssa and I joked that she was probably hiding in her room, pouting.
After normal classes, as normal as we can get here, we have no Wolf training so we could all watch the Wolfen War training. I’m excited, nervous, scared, and freaking out all at the same time. My hands are shaking and my palms are sweaty. I mean, if any of them get hurt, despite the rules, I’ll never forgive myself.
Finn comes up to me right before he goes out to train and takes my shaking hands in his own, large ones, rubbing circles on the tops of them. It’s soothing, but it can’t make me stop freaking out. “It’s just like a football game, Tashie. Think of it that way.”
I chuckle. “How can I? It’s nowhere near like that.”
He sighs and pulls me in for a hug, despite the PDA rules. I don’t care about rules right now. I just want him to be alright, Peaches too. “It’s just like a homecoming game in a regular high school. Keep that thought with you. Don’t let the one accident in one hundred years scare you.”
“I’ll try.”
“Finn?” Mrs. Swift calls. “Come on! We’re ready when you are!”
“Just a second,” he says, turning to her. She nods and runs back to the other students, dressed up like they’re in Gym class. He turns back to face me.
“I’m fine. Go have…” I take a deep breath before saying, “fun.”
He laughs and hugs me tight. “I love you, Tashie. Don’t forget that.”
“I never will. Love you more.”
We walk hand in hand over to the stadium, but I soon let him go to his training. The seats really were like a high school football stadium, just a larger version. The bleachers were stacked up to ten rows tall and there were railings all around them to prevent falls. I see Mariah, Willow, Alyssa, Tobias, Packer, and Chase sitting on the top row of the bleachers. Mariah and Alyssa see me and wave like maniacs to me, signaling me over. I smile and climb up to them. “Hey guys! What’s up?” I sit down to the right of Mariah.
“We came to watch your boyfriend and Peaches play.” I blush when she calls Finn my boyfriend. It’s true now, but still. I blush a lot I you hadn’t noticed. “Oh quit blushing. We all know it’s true. We all heard.”
I groan. “Everything?”
“I’m kidding, we didn’t hear. Finn told us.”
I perk up. “He did?”
She nods. “Actually, he told everyone else. He talked to me about it first.”
“What did he ask?” I’m not jealous at all, just plainly curious.
“He wanted to know if I thought he was moving things too soon. He asked what I thought on asking you to be his girl.”
“And you told him…”
“I told him that you really do love him. You’re shy but you can tell that much.” I smile. “I told him that if he didn’t make a move sooner or later, he might lose you or you two might not be as close.”
“That would never happen.” I say this firmly. “Ever.”
“Maybe, but after a few years, you would be expecting something more, right?”
I stutter, “Well…yeah, b-but—”
“My point exactly. Girls fall pretty hard most of the time. I told him that he should ask you if he was ready. He was so excited when I told him I approved of his plan.”
I grin. “That’s him alright.”
“I think I’ve said this before, but he really does love you more than anything.” She pauses. “In fact, if you look at him now, he’s looking at you.” I look over and down to the training field and, sure enough, Finn is looking directly to me. He smiles at me and then looks back to his teachers. I smile stupidly to myself. Mariah chuckles and says, “I’m guessing you two are happy?”
“You have no idea.” I blush again and look away. “Enough about Finn and I. You and Tobias, how’s everything going?”
She grins at me and says, “It’s wonderful. I mean, there are struggles, but we’re getting past them.”
“He’s remembered everything right?”
“Yeah. Pretty much. Sometimes he goes out of it for a few hours and forgets some things, but we all help him through it and after he’s fine.”
“I’m glad.”
“Can I ask you something, Tasha?”
“Sure, anything. What’s on your mind?”
“Do you ever feel as if…I dunno…that you really don’t belong here? That there’s something else, something bigger that you’re made for?”
I blink at her. Never expected that question. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong, but I think everyone feels that way. We all feel like we want to be normal, especially here, but I also feel like there’s a piece of me that wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than here. It’s confusing, but I hope that makes sense.”
“I think it does. Sometimes you feel like you wanna be completely human, and then other times you feel like, ‘Yeah. I love being a wolf. This is the real me’, right?”
I nod. “Yeah. That’s about it. Why do you ask?”
“I dunno. Lately, I’ve just been feeling like something is going to happen that would make me make a choice between a complete human life and a total wolf life.” She is silent for a moment. “Which would you choose? If you had to have a whole wolf life or human life, which would you pick?”
I think about this. “I don’t think I can answer that.”
There’s a silent pause, like the types in movies. “I don’t think I can either. Anyway, it’s only a feeling…right?” She looks to me. I nod, though I’m not sure myself. At this point, I don’t think I’m sure of anything.
“Uh…Natasha,” Willow says, catching my attention, “Viper Sage is staring at you in a funny way.”
I look over to the field to see Viper staring at me, in a way only she and I know what it means. It’s a I-need-to-talk-to-you-about-the-dream-and-warn-you look. I gulp and look away. I find Finn on the field, glaring at Viper. He’s waaay too overprotective sometimes, and I love him for it. He looks to me, gives me a what-does-she-want look, and raises an eyebrow. I smile and wave my hand down once to him, telling him to let it go and get back to the game. He gives me a sharper look, telling me that I’m not getting off the hook that easily. It’s pretty funny that we can communicate this easily now. I’m wondering why he isn’t using our mental connection.
I think over to him, Later.
Okay, but I will hold you to that. Don’t let her scare you.
I snicker. Her scare me? Please. What kind of Omega do you think I am? He smiles and gets back to the training. Focus, Mr. Brown.
Love you too.
I sigh, content, and pull my legs up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them and setting my chin on top on them. Watching the training for the Games made me feel a lot better about the actual Games tomorrow. I see that it’s pretty much like Finn said, a football game for a normal high school. There was no blood or dangerous violence, just a bunch of teens having fun. I’m relieved.
After everything is over, the Wolfen “Warriors” all run to the locker rooms to clean up and get ready to go home. Finn look up to me, yes I’m watching him, and winks. I smile and wave as he leaves. “You two are sooo sappy!” Mariah comments.
I grin and bat my eyelashes at her. “Yeah. So?”
“It’s gross!”
“You know, I had a friend once who’s principle would go behind the couples that were holding hands in the hallways of school and scream, ‘PDA! PDA!’ everyday so don’t get any ideas, Blondie.”
“Oooh. Ouch!” Chase says, laughing. “Buuurn!”
“Oh shut up. Hahaha, Natasha. Just remember, I know where you sleep.”
“Duh, your right above me.”
“Not the point.”
“I know. I’m just trying to irritate you.”
“It’s working!”
“Okay, I’m good now.” I see Viper staring at me from behind Mariah. “Uh…I’m gonna go find Fearless, okay? Meet you back at the house?”
“Okaaay. Sure.”
I walk down the stairs of the bleachers, up to Viper and say, “What did you need to tell me?”
“I came to warn you. You need help to stop blocking the visions.”
“I’m not doing it on purpose!”
“I know. Your subconscious is doing it. I can help you control when and where you get the visions and dream travels. Would you let me help you?”
I sigh. I have no other choice. No one else can help me. If anyone at all can, she can. “You are on our side right?”
She bites her lip. “That’s another thing I want to tell you. My father is planning another attack on the Packs. It won’t be good. You have to warn everyone.”
“A few weeks from now. He’ll take new recruits.”
“You mean…he’ll take some of us?” She nods. I think this over for a few seconds. “Why are you telling me this? He’s your father and you could just be following his orders.”
“I’m not.”
“Prove it.”
“I know where the Fang are hiding.”
“Who are you here to get?” a small, old lady asks me.
“Fearless Cleveland,” I smile at her.
“Do you have your pass, Miss?”
“Yes,” I pull out my metal Omega dog tag, as Mariah calls them, and show her.
“Thank you. Fearless!” she calls Fearless over. “Get your backpack, Dear. It’s time to go home.”
Fearless grins at me and hurries over to the cubbies hanging on the wall of the classroom. After gathering all her stuff from the school day, I take her small hand, thank the teacher, and walk with Fearless down the hall and meeting Mariah and Tobias at the end. “Hey Riah! Hey Toby!” Fearless exclaims, waving to her sister and Tobias.
“Hey Fearlie! How was school today?”
“Okay. We learned about your family today, Natashie.”
“Really? Even I don’t know about my family that much. What did you learn?”
“Your parents are heroes! I wanna be like you when I grow up.”
We all go “Aw!”. “Fearlie, that’s amazing that you want to be like me,” I bend down to her level. “But make sure to be yourself, okay?”
“Okay.” She grins that adorable smile of hers.
I take her hand once more and walk down the hall with my best friend and her boyfriend.
I think over what Viper had told me:
“Natasha, do you know where Mount Desor is?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Why?”
“That’s where they are hiding out,” she whispered.
“So, let me get this straight. This entire time, every time they’ve attacked, they’ve been less than five miles away?” I gaped at her.
She nods. “It’s a wonder you haven’t found us yet.”
“Does your Dad know you’re telling me all this?”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I mean, he’s known stuff, secrets, before. He claims he has no hidden talents, no secrets or lies to tell us, but I think otherwise.”
I snickered. “Of course he has secrets! Look at Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin! They all had a heck of a secret!” She looked down. “Okay. Listen. Do you think that your father doesn’t know?” She nodded. “Good. Then this conversation never happened. Do you have a scamatic of some kind? A map of their facilities?”
She nodded again and pulled, out of her backpack, a piece of paper. She unfolded it and on the parchment was a map of the surrounding areas of Mount Desor with several markings on it. It labels the entrances, the traps that were set and ready, and the watch guard posts and times that there would be no watch guard there.
She pulled out another map that had the area of the inside of the mountain, the rooms, the personal quarters for the Sage family, the prison, and everything else.
She pulled out yet another piece of paper, but this time it was not a map. It was a list of people and their locations throughout the day. “People they want. Protect them, please.” Viper started to walk away.
“Wait!” She stops. “What about my parents? What do I have to do to save them?”
“I…don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see if this changes anything.” And then she’s gone.
So yeah. Just your typical, not too out of the ordinary day or Natasha Winterpike.
Lovely, just lovely.

The author's comments:
I felt that this chapter was needed to go forward with Tasha and Finn's relationship, so enjoy ^_^

Chapter 33: A Fight And A Forgiven

Once we get home, I find Finn waiting at the door for me. He smiles and pulls me in for a friendly hug, but I’m on edge. How could I not be? Those names on the list…
“Hey, you alright? You’re tense.”
I shake my head, clearing it. “Yeah. I’m fine, you? Didn’t pull anything during practice, did you?”
He chuckles, forgetting about me for the moment. “I’m a bit sore. Nothing too serious.”
I’m relieved. “Good.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?” He looks deeply into my eyes, looking for a sign of lying.
“Really. I’m just being over-worried me.” I smile up at him.
He smiles back, taking my hand and leading me to the Lodge door. He peaks inside and yells, “Natasha and I are going for a walk. We’ll be back in an hour or so.”
Jade nods to him. Finn takes my backpacks, though the maps are now inside my back jean pockets, and set them down on the floor beside the door. We leave the Lodge. “Be careful!”
“We will!”
After that, Finn and I walk in comfortable silence for a while, just enjoying each other’s company and the surrounding woods. The clouds are close to the island today, nearly ten feet from the surface. Some of the frost has not yet melted off the trees and has frozen solid on the tops of the branches.
Finn leads me to a small, rugged path off to the side of the one we are on now. There is a small sign that reads, “Lake Desor—1 Mile”. I give him a quizzical look, but he just smiles. “You haven’t been to the lake before, have you?” I shake my head. “Well, it’s beautiful. You have to see it.”
I squeeze his hand we continue down the path for a few minutes. This gives me even more time to look over what was on those maps. I had only seconds to review them before I had to go get Fearless and then on the way home…well, I couldn’t read it while they were with me.
As far as I know, the Fang are really working themselves up for an attack in two weeks on all the Packs. They want to get as many talented wolves as they can and turn them over to their side, then, once they are through with having their picks of us, they’ll wipe the rest of us out. Those people are on the list. The list that I remember quite clearly.
I shake my head. “Yeah?”
“You zoned out there for a minute. You okay?”
“Yeah,” I say, smiling a fake smile, “I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine. Are you sure you’re—”
“Yes, Finn, I’m sure!” I snap at him. He frowns. I sigh, taking my hand away from his, shove them both into my pockets, and walk faster down the road, feeling that this conversation is about to get messy.
“Why are you like this today? Ever since you got back, you’ve been distant and cold. You haven’t said two words to me!”
We’ve reached the beach of Lake Desor. It’s gorgeous, the grey mist covering the lake’s surface, the trees coming to a complete stop at the shoreline, the pebble shore being washed by the murky waves, and the wind whistling around us.
“Okay then. Here are two words: Back off.” I don’t know what’s gotten into me when Finn kept asking me if I was okay, but the truth is that I’m not. I’m scared and worried and I can’t tell him about the list for his own safety. I have to show it to the Alphas and only the Alphas.
“No. Listen Natasha, there’s something you aren’t telling me and, frankly, it’s scaring the hell outta me!” Finn never swears. Never. “What is it? You can tell me anything. You know that!”
“I know! There’s nothing to tell!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Well, of course you don’t! You don’t like the answer I gave you just because there are too many secrets around here!”
Finn looks hurt deep inside his eyes, but his face remains grim and set in stone. “There are. I know that! But can we just talk—”
“No!” I cut in. He’s silent, so I go on. “No Finn. We can’t ‘just talk’. Not this time.” I shake my head, tears coming to my eyes. “Not this time.” I start to walk away and expect Finn to come after me in some way like he always does, that stubborn boy. He doesn’t. Not at first, at least.
“Natasha, wait—” He grabs me by my waist and turns me around, knocking the maps out of my pocket in the process. He picks them up and looks through the first map, the one of Mount Desor, despite my protests. His eyes grow wide. “What is this?” He picks up another map and looks it over as well. “What are these?”
“They’re none of your concern—” I whisper.
“Like hell they aren’t!” He’s mad. He picks up the last piece of paper, the list of the names that the Fang want. I cringe and wait for him to explode. He begins to read, “Dusk Grey, Ravenna Lars, Peter Weathers, Sonotina Notet, the Angel siblings, Cider Notet, Taylar Prime, Peaches Bay, Hunter Lars, Cora Millis, Nicholas Rogers, Theodore Hayes, Kellan Print, Molly Maze, Jennifer Grand, Skylar Mason, Mariah Cleveland, Finnick Brown, and Fearless Cleveland.”
The long silence that follows is like the rain. The rain in the calm of the storm. It rushes by, urging on that the storm is over, but no. The storm is only beginning.
“Natasha, what are these?”
I stutter on what to say. “Th-they’re…they’re…”
“Natasha, tell me!” I whimper and take a few steps back, away from him. I’ve never been scared of Finn in my entire life, but now that he’s trembling, I’m very much afraid.
Finn must see the fear on my face, because the next thing he does is run up to me and take me into his arms in a bone-crushing hug, one that says “I’m never letting you go ever again”. My head tucks under his chin just right, like it’s made to be just there. I circle my arms around his waist, holding on just as dearly.
You’d think that after our first fight, we’d be ignoring each other as much as possible and giving each other the cold shoulder. That’s what normal couples do. That, and change their facebook status to “single” again, and when they make up, back to the status “in a relationship”.
Not Finn and I. I don’t think we could. It wouldn’t be possible with our connection.
He’s still shaking. “Finn, calm down. Please, calm down.” He presses his face into my hair, arms still holding me tight to his chest. I can feel the vibrations on my cheek. “Finn?” He doesn’t answer. Probably too worked up about the list and maps. I sigh and give him a gentle kiss on his chest, then just wait for him to calm himself. He’s never been this unstable before, but something tells me I just need to be patient and wait for him to help himself.
Finally, he pulls back, just slightly, and leans his forehead against mine, looking down at the ground below us. “Forgive me? Please?” It hurts me so much to see him this broken. It literally tears me apart. “I didn’t mean to yell at you. I’m so sor—” I make him stop with a small kiss.
“It’s alright. I forgive you. Will you do the same to me? I shouldn’t have yelled and I should’ve told you when there was something wrong. I should trust you more.”
He smiles a sad smile and tucks some of my messy, curly hair behind my ear. “You’re forgiven. It’s okay. I know you trust me.” He kisses me. “What are those maps for? If you don’t mind me asking.”
I chuckle and sit down on a soft patch of grass hidden in the tall grass by the lake. Finn sits down beside me and hands me the three pieces of paper. I take the one with the map of Mount Desor on it and show him the areas on it, telling him what each one is and means. I then show him the layout of the inside of Mount Desor. Then I show him the list of people that they want. “So, they want everyone on here?” I nod. “You sure? Who told you?”
“See, now I have a hard time believing her. Hm…wonder why…” he says sarcastically.
I chuckle. “You’ve been hanging around Mariah too much.” My face falls. “She risked her life to help me, us, everyone! We at least owe her the benefit of the dought, don’t you think?”
Finn looks strait into my eyes. Smiling slightly, he says, “Yeah. You’re right,” he rolls his eyes, “As usual.” I push him by his shoulder, only, he doesn’t move an inch. Go figure. He grins at me and pulls me over to him. “Alright. Wanna play it that way?” He has an evil look on his face.
“Oh, no you won’t!” He starts tickling my sides, and I laugh uncontrollably. “Finn, Finn, stop! Stop now! I-I’m gonna be sick!” He starts laughing as well, and we both end up falling over onto the grass, me still in his arms.
Funny how things work out. I could’ve sworn that not five minutes ago we were fighting with every breath we had.
He stares at me like I’m the only thing in his world and then tucks me close to him. “It’ll be alright, Natasha. Really, it will.” I don’t dare speak; I’ll lose it. Finn leans over to give me a long kiss on my cheek, letting his lips linger there longer than needed. “Wanna talk about it?”
“I just don’t wanna see anyone on that list, or anyone at all, get hurt.”
“Me neither, Sweetheart.”
There’s a moment of silence as we both breathe easily. “If she’s right, I need to talk to her again. I need to know more. And I need to thank her for giving us this in the first place.” I hold the list gently in my hand.
Finn’s hand covers mine. “I’ll go with you.”
I whisper, “Thanks.”
I shiver. “Come here.” I scoot closer into Finn’s arms as he wraps his jacket around us both, tightly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too. Shouldn’t we be getting home?”
“Too cold for you?” I shrug. “Alright then. Come on.” He pulls me up with his and pulls me onto his back without another word. The lights in the sky are becoming more numerous as the minutes go by. It’s almost past sunset. “Natasha, look behind you.”
I do, and see the most beautiful sunset. “Wow. Looks like the ones in Georgia.”
“Yeah. About the only thing here that does.”
I sigh and continue to look at the beautiful water and the colors above it, orange, blue, and pink with bits of purple here and there. “Ready to go home?”
I nod, turning back around and snuggling into his neck. “Yeah.” He starts walking, carrying both of our weights. “Thanks for showing me that, Finn. It was beautiful.”
“It was, but not as beautiful as you.” I smile and lock my arms around his neck.
“Are you guys hungry?” Jade asks as soon as we enter through the doors.
I nod. “Finn is.” I go up closer to her. “We need to call a meeting. You, Skylar, and the Alphas. Now if you can.”
Jade nods. “They’re in their room. I’ll go get them.” She leaves the kitchen area.
I turn to Finn, biting my lower lip. “Could you stay, please?”
He smiles at me and whispers, “Of course, honey. I’ll always be here for you.” He pecks my lips once. “Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
I turn back around to the sound of Jade’s voice saying, “Come on to the office, Finn, Tasha,” and head for the Alpha’s office at the end of the bedroom hall.
Finn knocks on the door. “Enter.”
I open the door and we enter. Josh and Ember are seated in chairs, Skylar is standing, and Jade is leaning against the wall next to the door. “What happened?” Josh asks.
I hand him the maps and the list of people. Then Finn explains it all, with an occasional added note from me. The look of the others’ faces is terror covered by a well practiced poker face.
“What do we do?” I ask.
Josh looks to each of our faces and then says the words I never thought I’d hear from his lips: “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Jade asks.
Josh rubs the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. “I need to think. Could you all leave, please?” We all get up to leave, even Ember. “Ember, please stay.” He looks desperately at her. “I need your help.”
She nods, her face softening. After closing the door, we can hear them start to discuss things.
Finn sighs and takes my hand again. “Anyone else still hungry?” Skylar asks, smiling down at Jade.
“I am,” Finn pipes in.
I smile at him. “You go ahead and eat. I’m going to bed.”
“Even at this hour? It may be dark, but it’s only five o’clock,” Jade says.
I nod. “I’m not hungry, just tired. I’ll eat later if you could save me a plate.”
She nods. “Of course.”
“Thanks.” I walk back to the bedroom, empty, and change into comfy shorts and a T shirt. I brush my curly, brown locks of hair away from my face, but they end up just curling right back into my face. I should never have gotten so many layers. My hair always stays curly.
I sigh, giving up, and brush my teeth and remove my foundation, not bothering with removing my mascara. Yawning, I stretch my arms up and crawl into the nearest bed, Finn’s bed. What? I don’t feel like being along tonight. A little too freaked out.
I snuggle down into the covers and breathe in his scent off the pillow, fresh woods and vanilla as always. My eyelids start to flutter shut, and soon I’m completely asleep.
I don’t open my eyes for some time, and sometime in the night, Finn comes in the room, bumps around a bit, and then slides into bed next to me, instantly taking me into his arms. He turns me onto my side, facing him, and slides his thick arms around my waist. Though I’m still sleeping, I am semi-aware of what is going on. I feel the warmth of his body flow over me like a warm shower after being in the snow. Hot, stinging at first, but then all the more welcoming. I sigh, content, and drift farther into sleep; Finn’s soft breathing rocks me there like a lullaby.
The best kind of lullaby. One from the person you love most.

Chapter 34: My Wolfen Warrior

Creaking my eyes open, I see that I’m still in Finn’s arms. Grinning, I try to smoothly slip out of his embrace. Let’s just say I failed…horribly. Finn groans in his sleep, a worried expression on his face, and tightens his arms, constricting me to him. He keeps mumbling my name in his sleep. I mentally go “Aw!” but actually whisper, “Finn, shh. It’s okay. Go back to sleep.”
After a minute, he settles back down and I am able to get out of bed. I glance at my clock, and it reads 7:12 a.m. I kiss Finn gently on his forehead and walk out of the bedroom, following my nose to the kitchen where Jade is up cooking, as always. She is, like me, still in her PJ’s. She waves, sleepily, and says, “Good morning, Tasha. Did you sleep well?”
“I think so. What about you?” I rub my eyes and walk over to the fridge, getting out a gallon on milk and a glass from the cupboard.
“I slept alright.”
“Have the Alphas decided on what to do yet?”
Jade shakes her head, looking up from her fruit dish that she is preparing. “I haven’t heard anything. I went to sleep before they came out. I don’t think Sky heard anything either.”
“They must have been up really late.”
“Yeah. Past one, I think.”
I shake my head and go to the fridge, taking out the dozen eggs and then bacon from the freezer, along with O.J., sausage, and bread for the toast. “I wish thing’s were easier. Were they always this bad? Before I came?”
She pauses a moment, then answers, “No,” and we both crack up. “Sorry! I meant that in the best way possible!”
“It’s okay,” I say, smiling. I pull out several glasses and pour the juice into each of them.
“Why are you up so early? Normally it’s Finn in your place.”
“Well, it’s a special day, so I thought I’d get up a little earlier and help make a special breakfast like you always do.” I grin at her as I pop four pieces of toast into the toaster.
She grins back. “Well girl, we gotta get cooking then.” She rolls her sleeves up and cracks the entire dozen into a large bowl that she takes from the lower cabinet. She stares at the bowl for a second. “We’re gonna need more eggs than that.”
By the time Finn, Mariah, Chase, and the rest of the crew are up, Jade and I have prepared, get this, a dozen pieces of toast, three dozen eggs, and several packs of both bacon and sausage. I have to say, we did pretty well. Especially when it was all done in a half an hour.
“What time are the games?” I ask Jade.
“Not until noon. Gives everyone time to get ready and warm up.”
I play with my fingers. There I go again, worrying. I’m sorry if this is annoying, but if you had seen and heard what I have, you’d do the same thing. Finn’s fingers curl around mine, bringing my eyes up to meet his. “I’m good,” I whisper, knowing his question already.
He smiles and takes his hand away to drape his arm around my shoulders. “Yeah, warm up and digest all this food we just gorged.”
Willow laughs. “Good luck today!”
“Thanks Willow.”
She smiles and skips over to Peaches and wishes her good luck as well. Those two are like two peas in a pod. Besties, for sure.
I sigh and sink into the couch. For once, everything is okay. Everyone is safe.
And then I remember the names on the list. Of our Pack, we have Peaches, Peaches who couldn’t hurt a fly. She’s so fun to be around and just naturally cheers even the most down person up.
Mariah, my best friend, the one who has been my shield when the bullies at school decide to strike against me or my Pack. Mariah who keeps me from being too worried. Mariah who is like a sister to me.
Then there’s Skylar. Skylar is a big brother to everyone in the Greenstone Pack and a protector to any mistreated young ones. He’d be a great dad. Why would anyone want to mess with that?
Finn. My Finn. My boyfriend, my Soulmate, my lover, my everything. If he wasn’t around, or if something were to happen to him…I wouldn’t make it. I know that now. Finn is the most compassionate, the most loving, the most caring, loyal, beautiful person to have ever walked this earth in my eyes. He means so much to me. I won’t let anything happen to him.
And then little Fearless. Why would anyone want to corrupt her? She has an angelic soul that can’t, and shouldn’t, be messed with.
Why would they want these souls?
“You seriously got these shirts made?” I ask, trying not to laugh.
“What?” Willow asks innocently. “They’re awesome!”
“I’ll say! I wish I could wear one!” Peaches exclaims.
Okay, let me explain. Willow had gone and got Jade to make T-shirts for this year’s Wolfen War Day. On the front, the shirt text says, “Wolfen War Day 2013” and on the back it says, “Isle Royale Academy” and then below, “Who Let The Dogs Out?” Pretty funny if you ask me. I love it. They’re black with green text and there’s a howling wolf silhouette on the front under the text.
“Why can’t you?” I ask.
“Coach Swift won’t let us,” she grumbles.
“What are you going to wear then?” Willow is awestruck and mesmerized because of the you-can’t-wear-her-shirt-rule, that much I can tell.
“She says we have to wear clothes that we can easily move around in, like gym shorts and a tank top.”
“What about protection? You could get hurt, you know.”
She shrugs. “We’ll be in wolf form almost the entire time. I think we’ll be okay, but thanks.” She smiles.
“Time to go,” Jade says, peeking into the bedroom we’re in.
“Okay. Let’s go everyone.”
We all get up and head towards the door. Once everyone is outside the Lodge, I turn around to grab my jacket, only to see Finn standing there with it in his hands. He, wordlessly, puts it onto my arms. Once it’s on, he pulls me back into him and hugs me close, his arms around my middle. I lay my arms on top of his. I’m not going to worry today. I’m going to let it go and just have fun for once. “Have fun today, okay? No worries?” Finn asks me.
“I promise. I won’t worry today. Just for you.”
He smiles. “That’s my girl. I love you, forever and always.”
“Haven’t said that in a while,” I remark, chuckling and tilting my head up to see his face.
He grins down at me. “Yeah. That’s a mistake.”
“I love you, too.”
“Alright. Come on. Let’s go have some fun.”
I nod and follow him and the other wolves to the Games.
Arriving at the Academy, you’d think that it actually was Homecoming by the way people are rushing about. Students fly up and down the stairs, to their lockers, to the front desk and Alicia, and every other way in the school. It was excited chaos.
I grip to Finn’s hand as we walk through the hallways. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids here, and most of them are sweet and open as can be! But some of them are a little…closed up. Secluded, mean, and harsh on the new people here, not just me.
They seem to have a hard time with me being an Omega. Why everyone has a hard time with Omegas? I guess we get a hint to things they can’t possibly know. That’s just my guess.
When we get to the desk, after waiting in line for a few minutes, Finn asks Alicia where the students are supposed to meet. She answers, “Just go down and have a seat in the bleachers at the top of the stadium, not the bottom like yesterday. These are the real games. We don’t want anyone in the way if someone where to get thrown out of the arena.” We chuckle. Thrown out of the arena? Oh great.
“Alright. Thanks, and where are the players going to meet?”
“In the Beta’s classroom.”
“Sweet, thanks.”
Finn walks me down the stairs, but then I realize we are going different ways. “Have fun out there. And be safe!”
He grins. “I will. And yes ma`am.”
I pull him by his collar down to me and give him a good luck kiss. “Good luck,” I whisper.
He pecks my forehead and says that he loves me, and then goes down the hallway to his fellow players.
I continue down the stairs to the bottom floor, the arena just on the left. Entering, the school students are all seated on the high balcony that seems to hover over the game field. My group of friends seems to stick together, as do the other groups of friends. All separate. This bothers me. Why can’t we all just work together and not be picky about the person in the next seat?
I make my way up the busy staircase to Mariah, Chase, Willow, Casey, Blake, Connor, Tobias, and Fearless seated in the middle of the row. Mariah greets me with a smile, for she sees me first. “Hello again!”
“Hi to you to!”
Fearless jumps up and runs to meet me. “HI!”
“Not excited, are you?” I giggle.
We both take a seat, me beside Fearless and Mariah on the other side of her. “YES! This is my first year watching the Games!”
“Me too!” She grins at me.
Willow says, “I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”
Everyone starts singing to that song. “Oh great! Not that song again!” Chase groans.
“What? I love The Black Eyed Peas!” Willow says, hands on hips.
“Yeah, and you’ve been singing it all day long!”
“Ugh. Men.”
“I don’t think he qualifies as a man yet,” Blake says, snickering.
“Who’s talking,” Casey comments, leaning out of her seat to see Blake’s face.
“Alright Pixie.”
She snorts, raising an eyebrow. “Pixie? That’s seriously the best you got?”
Blake thinks for a moment. “Hmmmmmm yeah. That’s all I got.” Everyone erupts in laughter. “Guys, it wasn’t that funny.” This only makes us laugh harder. “Seriously guys.”
“We’re fine. Really…we are.” Connor says. He’s the only one left laughing.
He sits up strait and immediately stops laughing. “Yeah?”
I nod. “Good boy.”
“Good morning, Students,” Megan Swift says into a microphone. “Settle down. Now, the games are about to start, and for those who are new and don’t know the rules, I’ll repeat them: There is no killing. We will not inflict any serious or fatal injuries. No drawing blood or breaking bones knowingly.
“The object of the games is to be the last one to have their tag,” she holds up a long chair with a plate of metal along the front that reads “Wolfen” in thick text, clearly seen, “captured by another team. The object of the game is not to get the most tags; the object is to be the last to lose your own.” She pauses and motions to the arena around her. “This is the arena. No going outside the boundaries or you will be disqualified. One more thing, Players,” she turns to them, “the tags pop off when bitten, so aim carefully.” She turns back to the audience. “I think that’s about it. Good luck to the players, and Happy 100th anniversary to Isle Royale Academy!”
Once the players have their go to head onto the field, they all find a spot on the arena, some in plain sight, some hidden in the woodsy area that was growing all around the field to hide them. Finn goes for the defensive and goes into the thickest part of the woods, where he will be safe and secrets. I smile to myself.
Barron Swift holds the microphone and starts to count down from thirty. I guess it’s to give the players a head start to hide. Makes sense.
Even after the time goes down to zero, my eyes stay locked on Finn and his surrounding area. I’m not worried, but I genuinely want him to do his best. I promised myself I wouldn’t talk to him during this. Too distracting and I’d probably tell him where people are.
After the first five minutes, only one has been taken out of the game. Fifteen year old Molly Maze, a Beta from the Red Oak Pack. She was tackled and then caught by Taylar Prime. Taylar has gotten a lot of close calls. Looks like he might wanna watch his back.
Now his partner, Cider Notet, on the other hand, is doing fantastic. She is just about ready to catch up to Hunter Lars, her small but swift grey wolf flying through the woods like a shadow escaping the light. “Come on, Cider!” Casey yells.
“You know her?” I ask over the cheering.
“Yeah,” Casey smiles. “She’s practically my sister!”
“She’s Irish,” Fearless comments, looking up at me.
“We have wolves all the way over from Ireland?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Mariah says to me. “And the outside-the-states wolves keep getting larger in number every year.”
“I’m half British.” She raises both her eyebrows is a do-explain expression. “My Mom grew up in England. She’s entirely British.”
“Wow. Who knew! How did she get over to the America’s?”
“Mom and her Dad moved to Florida when she was fourteen, right after my grandparent’s divorce.”
Mariah nods. “That would have been right around when she turned. The divorce might have triggered it.”
I nod my head. Makes sense again. “I’ll have to ask them.”
“YES!” Casey exclaims. “SHE GOT HIM! YES!”
I turn back to the field and see that Cider has gotten Hunter Lars. Now it’s just Cider, Viper, Finn, Peaches, Taylar, and Kellen.
Scratch that. Kellen has taken Taylar out not three seconds later.
For the next half an hour, the Game is pretty slow. Only one person was taken out and that was Kellen. Now it’s down to Finn, Peaches, Cider, and Viper of course.
The last four contestants are starting to move closer to each other, preparing for the last few rounds of the game. They duck and dodge hits for about fifteen minutes but then Finn and Viper go head to head. “Looks like we’re gonna have one or the other go out,” I whisper.
“Finn can beat her!” Fearless squeals.
I smile down at her. “You bet he can!”
He did actually. He really beat her! This has the entire Greenstone Pack on their feet clapping and cheering and hollering (that was the guys’ doing).
The victory is short lived. Only a few minutes later, Finn is caught, strangled to the ground after a good fight and is caught by Cider. Even though he can’t win, I can’t tell you how proud of him I am. He’s so amazing the way he is and no matter if he wins a stupid Game or not I will always love him just the same. Nothing will ever change that.
Soon after, Cider is crowned the victor of the 100th Wolfen Games and the first Beta to ever win the Games, but even though I’m happy for her, all I want to do is see Finn and tell him that I’m proud of him and how well he did. I get up and say, “I’m going upstairs to the lockers.”
“Okay,” Fearless and Mariah say at the same time.
I flutter down the stairs and strait for the doors to the stairs. The players from the Games are all upstairs, the top of the second building, washing up in the locker rooms. I rush up and wait outside of them. I’m not that desperate to talk to Finn.
As soon as he comes out, now dressed in jeans and a dark grey and black plaid T-shirt, still towel drying his hair, I run up to him and throw myself into his arms. He laughs, drops the towel, and wraps his arms around me, pulling me up to his level. My legs go around his waist, and he spins us around. “You did great!” I exclaim.
He slows to a stop. “I didn’t win, though.”
“Finn, it doesn’t matter if you won or not. Not to the Pack, not to our friends, and especially not to me.” I lay my head to his chest, my feet now touching the floor. “I love you the way you are.”
He pulls me even tighter to him, if that’s possible, whispering, “I know. I should’ve realized you wouldn’t care if I won or not.”
“Hey! You did beat the crap out of Viper! Okay, so not literally, but still! You got her!”
Finn laughs, that joyous sound I love to death. “Guess I did. It felt pretty good, too.”
I pat his chest. “You did well.”
“Thanks.” He drops his head low to kiss me, gently at first. He pushes me against the lockers and the kiss becomes more forceful. And the crazy part is that I like it. I like this side of Finn, the rough, untamed side. It very rarely comes out because it’s not him at all. He’s usually so tame and protective and treats me like I’m a fragile doll. He freaks out whenever I get hurt in the slightest way, which unfortunately happens way too often. When this side of him returns, it’s no boundaries. Not that I don’t like the way he usually is, it’s just nice to have some unpredictability in the boy…correction…man I love.
Finn takes my face in his hands, mine go to his hair, tangling them there. He runs his lips down my neck once, making me shiver, and then returns to my lips. When we both pull away for a well needed breath, he places gentle pecks on my cheeks, my forehead, my chin, my eyelids, and anywhere else, not leaving any place on my face untouched. He pulls me into his arms as I close my eyes again, burying my face into his bicep. “You okay?” he asks.
“Better than ever.” My voice is muffled by his arm.
He sighs. “Let’s go wish Cider the best, shall we?” Gentleman Finn is back.
I nod and take his hand, something that’s just a habit now, and follow him to the arena. Cider is getting congratulations from the entire school, with the exceptions from a few Minongs. “They have to ruin all the fun, don’t they?” Finn mumbles grimly, glaring at the small group making their way out of the stadium, Viper among them. I guess I’ll have to wait to talk to her again.
“Yeah. It’s a shame. I bet they’re all really nice people once you get to know them.” Finn snorts. I elbow him in the ribs. “Okay. So maybe not all of them.”
“That’s more like it.”
We go over to Cider and I say, “Congrats! I’m so happy for you!”
“Thanks!” she says excitedly, her caramel, with red highlights, curls bouncing. “I didn’t expect this at all!” She turns to Finn. “You’re okay, right?”
He smiles at her. “Oh yeah. I’m fine. Congratulations on the win! I mean, the first Beta to EVER win the Wolfen Games. Big title there, Kido.”
She grins. “I’m so happy! You were great out there, too you know. I loved it. You were an awesome opponent.”
“Well, thanks! You were awesome yourself.”
“See you around?” I ask.
She grins even bigger. “Sure! See you ‘round.”
Finn and I walk back to our friends who are talking amongst themselves. “She was friendly. What Pack is she from?”
“Oh, cool.”
“Ready to go home?”
“That’s it for today?”
“Yeah. That’s it. We’ll be home just in time for lunch.”
“Alright then. Let’s go! I’m hungry.”

The author's comments:
Again...sorry for the lack of italics >.<

Chapter 35: You Can’t Forget This

“Someone’s tuckered out,” Jade whispers.
“She fell asleep as soon as we got home,” Fearless whispers to her Aunt.
We, meaning the entire Greenstone Pack, had been watching The Avengers when I had decided just to rest my eyes for only a moment. I guess I had fallen asleep. “She’s just too adorable!” Willow squeals quietly. I tense up at the voices. Where is Finn?
“Hush, Willow! You’ll wake her.”
“I should get her to bed. She’ll wake up in an hour or so,” a deep, husky voice whispers, Finn’s voice. I relax at his voice and snuggle down into whatever is wrapped around me and keeping me warm.
“Awe!” everyone exclaims. I identify only the three voices: Fearless, Jade, and Willow. There must not be anyone else in the room. What are they exclaiming at?
“Even when she sleeps!”
I reach around to find the edge of the blanket and pull it over my head, groaning. “Alright, time for bed for you, Tashie.”
Finn gets up, my pillow moving. I guess that’s why they were awing. I was resting against him. He carefully lifts me into his arms and carries me down the hall, the silent voices fading like sunlight at night. Stepping into our room, I still hear no people. They must be all outside then.
I’m set down under the covers and held in warm arms for a short while before a voice whispers, “I love you.”
“Love you, too,” I mumble, sleepily.
I can hear the smile in Finn’s voice, “Awake now, are we?”
I shake my head slightly. “I’m so tired.”
“Rest then, Angel. I’m here for you.” I snuggle up to him and begin to fall asleep. He sighs. “Good night, Beautiful.”
I wake to Finn jerking me out of bed, not even speaking to me. “Finn! What the—!” Finn cut me off, putting a hand over my mouth, a finger to his lips. He wants me to be silent. I nod my head and close the space between us, being right at his side, my hands on his arm. My head is fuzzy, like the steam in a bathroom after a long, hot shower. It’s hard to see anything.
What is it? I ask telepathically.
I whimper and close my eyes, leaning into his shoulder. Not them again. Why can’t they just leave us alone?
Finn quietly pulls me around to be completely behind him, protecting me but still holding my hand. I look over the side of him to see a dark shadow moving down the hallway. We move in sync to go behind the bedroom door. Through the cracks of the door, we see a large werewolf move slowly to each door, peaking inside each room. The ground thumps with each step he takes. I shrink back. I’m terrified.
It’s okay, Tashie. I promise you’ll be okay.
What about you?
He bites his lip, still not looking at me. I’ll do my best to be okay.
That’s not good enough, Finn. What do I have to live for if you aren’t here? I can’t lose you again!
I know! Just be calm. I don’t think he sees us.
And what if he does? What then? I need to know.
You run for the window. Phase and jump through it. I’ll phase and distract him. I promise as soon as you’re through, I’ll come right after you. Alright?
Okay. Where are the others? We can’t abandon them.
He sighs. I think some of them are out.
I whimper internally, through my mind. He knows just how scared I am now. Some?
Yeah. Some.
The Fang howls as loud as it can, it rattles my eardrums. I hide my face into Finn’s T-shirt and squeeze my eyes shut. Tell me when.
Finn nods, only slightly.
I thought that it was just when I woke up, but now I still have the steamy appearance on the edges of my vision. It reminds me of when I dream travel, but this is very real. I can tell. All my emotions are too strong, the fear too real, and the pain of losing anyone too sharp. This can’t be a dream. It’s too horrible.
The Fang sniffs at the ground and starts to head towards our door, still as slow as before. Maybe he won’t see us?
He’s smelled us, Finn answers me. Count down from three and you run, okay? Three, two, one…now! Go!
I run away from him, just as the Fang bursts into our room. I think to myself, Phase, phase, phase! Come on! Keep calm and phase! After three tries, I finally turn into my light brown with silver dusting wolf and break through the window. I make it to the tree line and look back for any sign of Finn.
He bursts out of the Lodge and practically screams, RUN! NOW!
Behind him come not one, but three Fang. I turn around and dash into the woods, not sure where to go. We run for a minute before I ask, How did you get into this much trouble?!
Not sure! They just appeared!
Where do we go?
Just follow me. Finn dashes ahead of me, just a small amount, and turns to the left, me following right on his tail. Eventually, after a long chase, there’s a long and loud howl, most likely from the leader of the Fang…Jet Sage. The Fang stop their pursuit, look up, and then once the howl is done, turn around without another thought and head back. Finn and I stop and look back. That wasn’t weird at all, Finn comments.
They’re going back to Mount Desor.
Yeah, probably. He sighs. At least they’re gone. He turns to me, his wolf’s black eyes glistening. Are you okay?
Yeah. I’m fine.
Finn’s wolf form comes over to me and lays his head on top of mine. I run my snout along his neck, brushing my nose into his fur. Can you communicate with the others? he asks.
I focus all my energy on my connection with the others. I pick up nothing. They must not be phased. No one is on, I chuckle. Must not be phased right now. I’ll check later.
Look up ahead, Finn says, looking up to a large group of caves. We should find shelter. It’s getting really cold.
Why not go back to the Lodge? I would think that they had left by now.
Finn shakes his head. It’s too risky. We need to stay as far away from the Lodge until we know for sure, okay?
You’re right. Come on. I trot up to the caves and peak inside. One of the lowest ones is too small.
We should get to higher ground, Tashie. Just in case.
I nod my head and climb up the small path to a few feet up to another cave. This one looks good. Finn comes to stand beside me. Right?
Good job. Stay phased in case someone phases as well. I’m going to get some firewood. I nod as he phases back into his human form. He comes over to me, smiling, and stretches me behind my ears. I make a slight purring noise in the back of my throat. “Feels good, doesn’t it?” I nod my head. “Alright. Stay here and stay safe. Howl if you need me.” He jogs out of the cave and into the slight weather that is now coming down. Of course. We have snow now!
I’m worried again. Why do I worry all the time? Feeling the unusual panic seep up on me, I realize that if I don’t change back to human form soon, I might not be able to for a while. Another perk of being an Omega, hint the sarcasm.
I change back to human form and sit down on the caves floor, bringing my knees to my chest and letting my head fall onto them. I’m not crying, but I’m close. Where did this attack come from? Viper said two weeks. Two weeks! Not two days!
I only hear the slight shift of the air around me, signaling a wolf or human phasing, but other than that, nothing. I then feel Finn’s warm, black fur surround me. It’s so warm. He pushed my knees back down and lays his head on my lap, looking up at me with those big, beautiful eyes. “Hey.” I run my fingers through his fur and remember how good it felt when he scratched behind my ears, so I do it to him. He purrs. “You like it, too, huh?” I smile. I lean down to kiss the top of his head. He then reaches up to lick my cheek. “Ew! Finn!” he barks a laugh.
You asked for it, he taunts me.
“Did not!”
Did, too!
“Ugh, fine.” I snuggle down into his fur and close my eyes. “I love you.”
And I love you.
After a few minutes of just resting with each other, I ask, “Finn? Where did the wolves come from? I mean, how did they become shape-shifters?” I can’t believe I had never asked before.
Finn gets up and phases back to human form, instantly taking me into his arms again to keep me from freezing. “I have to tell you this in person, sorry.”
“It’s alright. Tell me.”
“Hold on.” He pulls his shirt up and then pulls it over me as well, trapping me against his chest.
“Ugh…Finn? What are you doing?”
“It’s to keep you warm. You don’t have a jacket or anything.”
“Neither do you and you’re having me as an ice cube against you. You’ll freeze.”
“I’m fine.” I pull my head thro the hole and rest it under his chin, curling up against him all together, welcoming the warmth that his body offers. “There. Now listen. Do you remember the story of Ester in the Bible?”
I nod my head. “Yes. The beautiful girl who married the King and saved her people.”
“That’s right. Well, there was a man in that time by the name of Yosef. Yosef was a wicked man. He practices witchcraft, worshipped false gods, and seduced every woman he thought to be beautiful. Sadly, they all fell under his spell. After he used them for their body, the wealth, their fame, he threw them away like garbage and turned them into wolves and set them lose on the country side of Israel.
“Needless to say, when he heard of the King’s plan to find a new wife, he offered to help Haman find the most beautiful women in the land. After finding them, he would go through them and offer them better than the King. Of course, the deeds repeated themselves with every girl.
“When the King chose Ester to be the new queen, Yosef was infuriated. He wanted Ester for himself. So he seduced her into his house and was about to do…everything else that he did to the other women, when she told him no. Not liking the answer, Yosef just about killed Ester when an Angel of God intervened. He put ester into a deep slumber and erased her memory, that’s why there was no account of this anywhere in the Bible. He returned Ester to the palace and then had a chat with Yosef. He told Yosef that because of his wicked deeds against God, against his country, and against the new queen that he would become like all the women that he cursed. He would become a wolf.
“Yosef saw that the Angel was serious and was grateful that he didn’t just kill him, but he begged the Angel to have mercy and make the punishment more tolerable. The Angel turned him into a wolf and his three sons into shape-shifters.”
I just stare at him. “Wow. Really? So we’re descendent from a…a…”
Finn laughs. “A very bad person.”
“I never knew. I never asked in class.”
“They don’t like to talk about our very beginning. It makes them feel shame.”
“Makes sense. I mean, that’s an awful way to become what we are. But what about the Fang? They’re much too different from us to be related directly the same way, right?”
“Right. One of Yosef’s sons, Itamar, continued in his father’s wicked deeds and got away with it for a few years before God cursed him even worse than his father. He became the first Fang.”
“So he was cursed twice?” Finn nods. “Makes sense. They look like they’ve been cursed twice.”
Finn laughs. “Get some sleep, Tashie. I’ll be here.”
I nod my head and slip into unconsciousness.
A blur of voices, some deep, some light.
A swirl of colored light, fading to black and white.
A piercing howl, echoing through the darkness.
I’m falling. I’m bleeding. I’m not ready.
The Fang swoop in from everywhere. They take some of us: Willow, Chase, Casey, Blake. My vision is fuzzy, the steamy cloud blocking out everything.
They voices I now hear are distorted, like after having your hearing knocked out from an explosion, muffled and closed.
I feel hands, claws, fire, and coldness all over me.
And then just like in a movie, it all goes away. The pure terror strikes me hard in the gut, my hearing now shaper than ever, my sight bright, my mind alert, and my hands ready to fight, legs to run.
Looking around, the Fang are here. They’ve found us and the others. The battle is bloody, friends and enemies both lying dead on the ground. Screaming, howling, and fire cracking. Those are the sounds that keep me from peace.
Blood is dripping down my arms, but I feel no pain. My friends are dying, one by one, in the most horrible way. Some of them are caught and ripped to shreds, some are knocked out, and some are completely shattered. They die protecting the ones they love, the things they believe in, the place they call home.
And it’s all vivid in my mind.
My mind goes blurry again after seeing the destruction of my home, my family, and everything else I hold dear. I feel the falling sensation again and I’m taken to be in an unembodied space where I see Mount Desor. A wolf climbs to the top, one with a black coat with a topaz dusting. Fang are right on her tail.
She lifts her head and howls, her voice reaching even the farthest parts of Isle Royale. So loud, that even outside Isle Royale can hear it.
It’s the warning cry of an Alpha.
A voice enters my pounding head and says, “Don’t forget this. You can never forget this, Natasha. You and your family’s lives depend on it.”
And the dream repeats itself over and over and over.
I scream and jerk out of bed. Wait, bed? It was all a dream. The fuzziness at the edges of my vision is gone. The entire attack was all a dream. The caves were a dream. Was the history a dream?
“Natasha Misty Winterpike, what’s wrong?!” Finn exclaims, jumping to my side. “You totally threw yourself out of bed!”
“Finn,” I turn to him, “Don’t ask questions, but answer me one thing and one thing only: was Yosef and his sons the first shape-shifter or not?”
“Natasha, what does this—”
“Please, just answer me!”
He pauses, seeing the urgency in my eyes. “Yes. He was. He was punished—”
“—by an Angel of God for trying to seduce Queen Ester, I know.”
“How do you know that?”
And I tell him my entire dream, even the last part: the warning.

Chapter 36: Revolution

“Josh, I suggest that we keep an eye out on Mount Desor. Have the Scout’s take turns watching it, along with everything else you said,” Skylar says to our Alpha. We had called another meeting of Josh and Ember the Alphas, Jade the Caretaker, Skylar the Head Scout, me the Omega, and Finn the leading Beta of the Greenstone Pack.
Josh nods. “Done. Skylar, make sure that nothing unusual happens on that mountain. According to Natasha’s dreams…” he turns his head to me. “We could call be in grave danger.” He places his hand on Skylar’s shoulder. “We’re counting on you, brother.”
“I won’t let you down.”
“And Natasha,” his blue eyes blaze into mine, not afraid. “Is there anything you could’ve left out of any of your dreams?”
“Only that I can’t even begin to explain the pure terror I felt. You could never grasp it.” My voice is a whisper and a gruff sound.
He nods, his eyes going back to a soft blue that invites you in. “Okay. Thank you.”
I wrap him in a friendly hug. “I promise I’ll tell you guys everything.” I pull away and duck under Finn’s arm again. “But I don’t control the dreams. They tell me what they want, when they want to.”
Ember nods. “Of course, Sweetheart. No one is blaming or pressuring you. We’re all in your dept.”
Jade and Skylar nod along with the Alphas.
“We need to tell the others,” I say.
Josh’s Alpha tone is back. “No. Absolutely n—”
“Shouldn’t they be allowed to know if they’re in danger or not? If today might be their last day? If when they go to school, that they might be passing the very people who might kill them or their loved ones?” I glare at him. “Josh, they aren’t children. They’ve grown up. I’ve seen it. They’re mature and ready. We have to warn them. They might have seen or heard something that will change the outcome of the war ahead.”
Josh thinks this over, looking everyone here in the eyes. “Alright. Meeting tonight after super.”
And he walks out.
“Everyone settle down.” The entire Pack is seated by the fireplace, a football game playing in the background. We’re about to tell them about everything. “We have something to tell you.” He meets everyone’s’ eyes. “Natasha…do you want to do it?”
I shake my head. “It would be best told from you, Sir.”
He nods. “As you all know, we’ve had a bit of trouble with the Fang lately and we’ve been putting it off for some time. Well, there’s things we haven’t been telling you, things we’ve been keeping from you.”
“Like what?” Tobias comments.
“Like the fact that Alyssa is one of them. Like the fact that they were behind your kidnapping a few years back. And like the fact that Natasha here has dreams that have warned us to keep alert, because they’re coming for some of us.”
“Wait, wait, woo,” Peaches says. “Natasha dreams of what? She could just be having nightmares!”
“Omega’s have special dreams,” I tell her. “We should have told you that. I can dream travel. It’s when I can go to other places while I’m asleep and learn the future or answers that I need.”
“What about the kidnapping of Tobias. You said that he was killed. And then when you guys come home from a trip to the mainland, you have him safe and sound.”
“I was not useful to the Fang, apparently,” Tobias says to her. “They drugged me so much that when I was set on the mainland of Michigan, I didn’t remember anything. Only my name, and eventually I remembered Riah.” He smiles down at her, adoration in his eyes. She smiles back and lays her head to his shoulder.
Willow asks, “Alyssa is one of them?” I nod. “Wow. She’s so nice though!”
“They don’t know what they’re doing when they’re in werewolf form,” I whisper.
“That’s why we had you guys tattooed. So we can make sure that no imposters get into our fortresses,” Josh remarks. “We also have to tell you something else. A few days ago, Natasha had a dream where Viper Sage came and spoke to her. Normally, this cannot be done. People can’t see the Omega when he or she is dream traveling. The Sage family seems to have figured out a way to bypass this. Anyways, Viper told her that the Greenstone Pack was in grave danger and told Natasha to meet her the next day, the day before the Wolfen Games. When Natasha went to meet her, Viper gave her three pieces of paper and told her where the Fang are hiding.”
“Where are they?” Mariah exclaims.
“Mount Desor. Natasha was given a map of the outside of Mount Desor, the inside facilities of Mount Desor, and a list.”
I struggle to say the next words. “A list of people they want.”
The room becomes dead silent. “Who is on the list?” Connor whispers, unusual for him.
I hand Josh the list, and he reads the names off: “Dusk Grey, Ravenna Lars, Peter Weathers, Sonotina Notet, the Angel siblings, Cider Notet, Taylar Prime, Hunter Lars, Cora Millis, Nicholas Rogers, Theodore Hayes, Kellan Print, Molly Maze, Jennifer Grand, Skylar Mason, Peaches Bay, Mariah Cleveland, Finnick Brown, and Fearless Cleveland.”
And then everyone starts to freak out. People are saying stuff like, “Oh my gosh, that’s my name!” and “They want me? Why would they want me?” and the last “That’s my friend, we have to protect them!”
“Everyone calm down!” Josh says in a booming voice. We all settle down. I help by pushing some of my calm into the room. “Thanks you, Natasha. That’s much better. Now, we have five people in our Pack on that list: Sky, Riah, Fearless, Finn, and Peaches. Just because your name is on this list, it doesn’t mean you have a death sentence. I have to believe that what Viper says is the truth because it’s the only thing we have to go on. Listen. We are doing everything we can to make sure you’re safe. From now on, no going out a night at all, if it’s after dark and you’re still outside, find a public place of shelter and stay there until morning. From now on, always have a partner with you wherever you go outside the Lodge. It’s irritating, I know, but these are dangerous times and we have to do what we have to do to make it safer again, understood?” We all nod.
Mariah asks, “Why do they want these specific people? Why not all of us? Or none of us?”
“We’ve been thinking on that for a while,” Ember says. “We think that they want to repopulate the Island with their kind and they need strong werewolves to do that. So by biting and changing some of you, they can get that. Mariah and Finn, you are Betas. You are second in command of the Pack. They would want you for that. Peaches, you’re a Wolfen Warrior. They would want you for your fighting skills. Skylar, you’re a Head Scout. You have experience that they want. And Fearless is a rising Alpha. She’s our daughter. They could corrupt her easily at this young age.”
“Why don’t they want Jade and Natasha then?”
“They hate the Omegas,” I say bitterly. “They want us destroyed first.”
“And they hate Caretakers as well,” Jade shrugs. “They don’t see the point in us being here.” Skylar moves over to her and wraps his arms around her, giving her a kiss on the forehead.
“You are important.”
“I know, but they don’t think so.”
“Well, they’re wrong.”
“They are,” Josh says, “So they won’t see you coming.” Jade smiles at her older brother. “Now. The others on this list may already be changed into werewolves, I’m not sure, but one thing you must know about the werewolves: they don’t know what they do when they change forms. They don’t remember hurting you, they don’t remember anything they hear or see. So please don’t hold it against them.”
“We won’t.”
“Dad, a few people on this list aren’t of any high rank or importance,” Mariah says, looking at the list.
“Like who?”
“Well, the Angel siblings. They dislike Scouts just as much as Omegas and Caretakers. The entire Angel family are all Scouts. Why would they want them? And Dusk Grey. He isn’t of ‘importance’,” she makes air quotes around “importance”, “either. Why would they want them?”
“It’s because the Angel siblings and Dusk Grey are full of respite and darkness and evil,” I say. “I’ve sensed it. They hate us just as much as the Fang do.”
“Who are the leaders of the Fang?” Chase asks.
“The Sage family.”
“Then why did Viper help us?” Blake shouts.
“She wants a new life. She wants a way out of the horror she lives in,” I say.
Everyone nods. “Try to trust Viper. She might actually be a huge help to us,” our Alpha commands.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Anymore questions?” We all shake our heads. “If you have any, please come as me. If you have something important that you might have seen or heard, please tell us that as well. You’re dismissed.”
“Stressful day, eh?” Finn asks, playing with some of my curly hair. We’re lying in bed, just enjoying each other’s company, trying to drown out everything the world is straining on us.
“You bet,” I sigh.
“It might be bad now, but in the end everything will be fine.”
“I sure hope so. With these people, who knows what might happen.”
Finn chuckles. “Yeah. It can be infuriating at times.”
“What was the biggest problem you had to deal with when you were here, before I came?”
He looks down. “Probably Starlyn. That was a big blow to everyone.”
“Did you know her really well?”
He nods. “Yeah, I did. She kept me out of trouble and kept my spirits high.”
“You were upset?”
“More than that, Tashie, I was freaking depressed! The only person in the entire world who really knew me was you, and I had to leave you without giving you a valid reason. The look on your face the day I told you I was leaving, the look when I left, those broke my heart and I swore I’d never forget you. I’d have you someday.”
I pull him tightly to me, my arms around him. “You have me now.”
“I know. Sometimes I just wish all of this wasn’t real. That one morning I’ll wake up and we’ll still be kids and none of this wolf stuff even exists.”
I sigh. He’s right. Sometimes I wish that, too. Imagine how easy, how flawless life would be with him if there wasn’t a dark enemy bound to pull us apart. Life is never easy and enemies come no matter where or who you are.
“Sometimes I wish we were kids, too.” Finn starts laughing out of nowhere. “What?”
“Nothing.” He’s still laughing.
I smile. “Come on. What is it?”
“Remember that time we watched Paranormal Activity with our dads?” I groan hide my face. “You got so scared, you went into your room and surrounded yourself with stuffed animals and fell asleep.”
“That’s not all I did.”
Finn cocks his head to the side. “Really?”
“You forget that that night we had a sleepover. When you and our dads finished the movie, you came upstairs and scared me to death. You put on your jacket and put the hood up, so that you looked like a demon, and you woke me up and did a really creepy voice!”
“You mean like this?” he says in the exact creepy voice that scared me when we were young, only it’s deeper now.
“YES! Don’t do that again!” I hide my face in his shoulder as he laughs his head off. “I’m serious, Finnick. Don’t.”
“Okay, fine. I won’t…much,” he says “much” in the creepy voice.
“Not cool, Finn.” I push his shoulder, and he falls back onto his back. He wanted to do that. I couldn’t possibly push him over by myself. “Not cool at all.” I sit up as he props his knees up. I lean against them, just resting there.
“Come here, you,” he whispers, grabbing my hand and pulling me on top of him, his legs going back down.
“I love how you make me feel happy after everything that’s gone wrong, Finn.”
“I love how I can make you happy,” he runs a finger down my cheek, “You weren’t happy when I first saw you a few months ago, were you?”
I shake my head. “No. I was scared, I was confused, and I was on edge about meeting you again. I thought that you left me because you didn’t want me as a friend anymore. And even if you did like me in any form, I knew you’d moved on. They always move on.” I pause. “One of my good friends back home in Georgia, Blainea, she had so many boyfriends come and go that eventually she turned bi-sexual. Her boyfriends treated her so nice until they got what they wanted, a lot like Yosef with his seductions with the Israelite women. After they were done with her, they left her out in the rain. I told myself that I wouldn’t love anyone but you.” I lay my hand over his. I haven’t told anyone this. I haven’t even thought about it until now. “Player boys seem to dominate the score board here. Decent boys these days are hard to find and win over. Boys like you are a rare treasure.”
Finn doesn’t say a word. He just sits up and kisses me dead on the lips, several times actually. The kisses are tender and sweet, not like the kisses in school yesterday. He kisses my forehead once and then pulls me into his chest, warm and comforting. “Wanna get some sleep now?”
I nod. “Yeah. I need a break from all this.”
“A break from me?” Finn chuckles.
“No, you know what I mean, Wolfie. A break from this hell the Fang are trying to put me through.”
Finn pulls the covers over us. A few minutes later, Mariah comes in and says, “I’m going to bed, guys. Is everything alright?” She sounds genuinely concerned.
“Yeah, everything’s fine now,” Finn answers her softly.
I yawn and whisper, “Thanks, Riah.”
She smiles. “No problem,” and heads to bed, climbing up onto the top bunk above my bed.
I see her go and snuggle down into the covers, ignoring the thoughts tumbling through my head. Finn wraps his arms securely around me and tells me soft, soothing things. Soon I am under and not coming out until morning.
And I’ve changed my mind: love is a wonderful, enchanting thing.
I see a bright light slowly seeping through my eyelids. I hear Finn’s soft voice saying, “Come on, Natasha. Time to get up.” I smile to myself and roll over, wanting this sleepy, warm feeling to last a bit longer. His gentle hands shake me. “Tashie, wakey wakey.”
I chuckle lightly. “No.”
“Breakfast is ready…”
“Sorry Finn, that doesn’t work on me.”
“…and we have chocolate muffins…”
“I’m up!”
He chuckles as I roll over to him, into his arms. He scoops me up and pulls us up vertically, still rocking me gently. “That didn’t take long.”
“You didn’t lie, did you?”
“No way! I would never lie to you.”
“Good, ‘cause I’m getting some of them now!” I jump out of bed and run to the bathroom to brush my hair and teeth as quickly as I can, then come back into the bedroom. Finn is waiting there still.
“Yeah!” I smile at him, taking his hand. “I’m hungry.”
“Me too.”
I follow him out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. The usual is going on. Since today is Saturday, we all have the day to do whatever we want, and with all the heavy weight from yesterday, today will be a day to let go and have a well deserved break for everyone.
I serve myself some of the muffins that Jade made and get a plate for Finn as well, since he’s gotten both of our drinks.
Ever feel like there’s someone out there that is just right for you? A person that is your other half? Finn is my other half. We just know each other so well that we know what makes each other tick, we know when the other is about to break, and we know what the other is thinking, what the other needs. For him I am ever grateful.
Finn sits down at the kitchen table and looks to the family room next door. Blake, Connor, Chase, Tobias, and Skylar are all watching a replay football game. The girls; Mariah, Willow, Peaches, Fearless, Jade, and Casey are talking in the dining room on the other side of us. It’s just Finn and I right now.
“Let’s play twenty questions,” I randomly say, sitting down across from him.
“Alright. You wanna start?”
“Okay,” I eat a little bit of one of my muffins and then ask my question, “If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”
“Hm…hard one. I’d probably like to visit Puerto Rico again.”
“Me too! I’d love to go back there.”
“Okay. My question. Who is your favorite musical artist?”
“Probably Cher Lloyd and Kelly Clarkson. I love them.”
“Cool. Cher huh?”
“Yeah. She just has so much style and swag. I love her music. Especially her cover of the song ‘Stay’.”
“Cool. Your question.”
“If I lost my memory for whatever the reason, what would you do?”
“Besides go crazy? Um…probably keep telling you things about us, show you pictures of us, tell you stories about us and everything. I’d never stop loving you and I’d tell you that every day until you remembered.”
I smile and look down. “Thanks. I’ll remember that. What about your question?”
“My question is…if you had to be anyone in the world, who would it be?”
“Famous?” He nods. “Okay, hard one. I’d probably be Perrie Edwards. She is so pretty and funny and I love her voice. If I were her, I’d never shut up. I love her accent. I’m gonna ask you the same question. Who would you be?”
“Grr…I dunno. I can’t decide. Zayn Malik, because he’s dating Perrie Edwards.”
I laugh. “Of course, Wolfie.”
“What is your ultimate favorite song?”
“Oh boy. Maybe… ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ by Kelly, ‘Summer Love’ by One Direction, or Taylor’s ‘The Moment I Knew’. Love those songs. What about you? I’ll repeat that question as well.”
He smiles. “Ugh. That’s such a hard decision.”
“I know right?”
“I’ll have to go with either ‘We’re Not Gonna Fall’ by Daughtry or ‘Love The Way You Lie’ by Eminem and Rihanna.”
“Mm. Daughtry’s good.”
And we just spend the rest of the meal time giving each other questions and answers. I never thought I could learn more about him.
But I did. And I feel more connected.

The author's comments:
So...this is all I have for now, guys, girls :) Be patient and I'll try to get some more written soon...but I'd think that 12 chapters is enough to keep you busy for a while ;) Thanks you all! <3

Chapter 36: Saturday

Finn’s POV
“Dude, I seriously think you broke my nose!” Chase complains, palms on either side of his bleeding nose. We were only being boys, roughing housing around after our favorite team won the game, and when boys play, bad things happen. I had accidentally elbowed Chase in the nose. By accident!
“Sorry! Have Jade look at it.”
Chase nods and takes the towel that Blake had fetched him from the kitchen. “Blake, I needed that for the dishes—” Natasha comes into the room and stops midsentence and gives me a pair of wide eyes. “What happened? Chase, are you okay?” I am totally convinced that she will be a great mother. I mean, look at her! She’s just too caring and protective of those she loves.
“Finn happened,” Chase says grimly.
Natasha gives me an and-why-did-you-do-that? look as she looks over Chase’s bloody nose. “What?” I raise my hands defensively. “It was an accident.”
“Did you apologize?”
“Yes, Mother,” I mumble.
“What was that?”
“Yes, I did.”
“That’s good. Jade!”
“Yes, Tasha?” Jade comes around the corner, a sewing needle and thread in her hand, a piece of spare fabric slung over her shoulder. “Chase, what have you done now?”
“It was—”
“—an accident,” Natasha finishes. Leave it to her to do that for me.
“Yeah. An accident.” Chase turns to me and glares. I smile innocently. Jade grabs his head and turns him back to face her, examining his nose. “Ow!”
“Well, hold still!”
“It doesn’t look broken from what you’ve taught me,” Natasha tells her, “just bumped.”
“Very good. It’s not broken. Just hold the towel over it and lean over so the blood doesn’t go to your stomach and you should be fine in a few minutes.” Jade smiles.
“Thanks Jade.”
“How did you get that in the first place?”
“We were…” Chase searches for the right words.
“Being boys, no dought,” Natasha finishes for him, grinning.
I walk across the room and take her into my arms. “What else would we be doing.” I peck her lips. She grins and kisses me back.
Even though we’re being very chaste and innocent, Chasse groans and says, “Can we please skip the PDA? It’s bad enough you guys are always giving each other lovey-dovey looks all the time. Can you get a room already?”
“Back off, or I might give you another bloody nose,” I say, joking but Natasha still scolds me.
“Finn! Not a funny joke!” She swats my arm.
“You have him the bloody nose?” Willow says, coming into the den. I nod. “Wicked! Can you teach me?”
“Yeah!” Chase exclaims, cleaning up the dried blood. “Willow! What the heck?”
“Ugh,” Natasha groans. “You guys are so violent.”
“We learned from the best!” Connor puts in.
“From who?”
“Each other.”
“Of course.” Natasha rolls her eyes.
“Who wants to go on a run around the lake?” Peaches and Mariah chime in.
Natasha looks at them like they’re nuts. “Hello! Have you even—”
“We asked both Ember and Josh and they said that as long as Skylar and Finn come with us, we’re all good.”
“And Sky said he would!”
Natasha bites her lower lip, still worried. “Come on, it’ll be good fun and it will get your mind off things,” I whisper to her in her ear so that only we can hear.
“Alright,” she nods. “But if anything happens at all—”
“—we’re coming straight home, got it,” Mariah says.
“Come on! Let’s go!”
“Don’t you think its a little cold out, guys?” Natasha comments as we make our way to the very edge of the woods.
Mariah waves it off. “Nah. It’s not that bad.”
She leans into my shoulder farther. “Stupid Omegas and their less-than-normal temperatures,” she grumbles.
I kiss the top of her head and continue walking to the Lake itself. Once we arrive, we all change form and take off running around its borders. It’s less than a five mile run all the way around the Lake and back to the starting point, with us in wolf form; it won’t take long at all.
We have friendly conversations as we race around the lake, joking as usual. When we get close to the coast of the upper part of the lake, a little too close to the Minong border for my taste, I stop to gaze on the water’s surface. The clouds are hiding it fairly well.
I stop looking across at nothing when I see a small, black shape on the horizon. It looks like a smaller island. How is that possible? We’re gone out on the lake ourselves, even me. There isn’t another island in the middle of Lake Desor, in Isle Royale, in Lake Superior. No. Not possible.
I look closer and see that the shape is most definitely an island. Great. Why are there so many non-connecting pieces?
What is it, Finn? Natasha speaks on our us-only line. She comes up to stand beside me.
Do you see that? I ask, looking out towards the mysterious island.
Yeah. What is it?
It looks like an island.
An island in the middle of an island? she asks rhetorically.
I hear a crunching of leaves behind us and look back. Skylar is looking out over the lake. Great. Just great. He shakes his head and walks back into the forest with the others who are rough housing. I dunno what’s gotten into them, but they’re all really riled up today.
We follow him back and continue along the run. Wonder what that is, Natasha mentally mumbles to me and only me.
Maybe it’s just a bunch of rocks. It is low tide.
Yeah, maybe. Maybe not. We should probably check that out…eventually.
Yeah. Let’s see, on things to do…it’s number five-hundred and thirty-seven. Good luck doing that any time before we turn forty!
Natasha laughs. Good point. We have plenty to do.
Yeah, I mean between school, wolf practice, the Fang drama, and everything in between, it’s gonna be a busy few weeks.
Don’t forget alone and personal time. We’d go crazy without that.
Well said.
Why did Skylar seem so disturbed by the island’s appearance?
He’s probably just irritated that there’s so much we don’t know. I know I am, I sigh.
We turn back onto the main path back to the Lodge when I smell an unfamiliar scent in the air. I turn to Natasha. She is picking up speed and practically racing to the Lodge. Something must be wrong. Natasha! What is it?
They’re here! They came! It’s not fear in her voice, it’s excitement.
Before she can answer, we come around the last corner and get a view of the Lodge. Natasha morphs back to human for and, forgetting the rest of us, dashes to the door.
I follow right on her heels, just a foot behind her. If there’s something wrong or if there’s something to hurt her, I have to be there.
Once we get into the kitchen, I see two people I least thought would show at a time like this, but then again, I’m not surprised.
Daniel and Forrest Winterpike.
I smile at them as Natasha runs up and hugs her mother first. “Mom!”
“Natasha! How are you, Baby?” her mom exclaims, holding her daughter tight. “I missed you!” Her British accent is still strong.
“You mean ‘we missed you’,” her father counters. He hugs Natasha as well.
“You guys, what are you doing here?” she says though teary eyes. I stand back and let them have their family time. They haven’t seen each other in about two months. They miss each other desperately.
“What? You don’t miss us?” her dad asks smiling.
“Of course I missed you!” she gives him a hug again. “But…why?”
They chuckle. “Josh and Ember told us about the trouble with the Fang and we thought it was a good time to pay a visit anyways. We haven’t been on the island in a good ten years now.”
“Ten years? You went while I was alive?”
“Yeah. The Brown’s watched you when we had Pack problems. Nothing new there.”
Her dad looks up from Natasha to me. I shuffle, nervous. Will he blame me for hurting his daughter? Will he be okay with the whole dating stuff still? I’m uneasy at the least. Natasha sees my edgy stance and look on my face and walks back over to me, across the room, and takes my hand, pulling me over to her parents. Silly boy, come on over.
He’s looking at me like I’m gonna be the next meal, Tashie.
He always does that to my friends. Calls it his “Worthy Test”. Wait ten seconds. He’ll be happy that you make me happy. She smiles.
Once I’m in arms range, Forrest grabs me in a motherly hug, now having to reach up. “It’s so good to see you again, Finn. We’ve missed you, too.”
I pat her back. “Thanks, Mrs. Winterpike.”
“Honey, only bratty kids call me ‘Mrs. Winterpike’. It’s Forrest for you. Always has been, always will be.” She smiles at me.
I grin. “Thanks.”
I turn to her dad, swallowing visibly. He still has that hard glare on his face, but I can see it breaking. He suddenly bends over from laughing so hard, his face of pure joy. Okay, I am really scared now. “Finn, you should see the look on your face! Priceless!”
“Dad!” Natasha scolds, laughing as well. “He’s the same old Finn. You don’t have to do your test to him!”
“Oh, but it was worth it! And yeah. He’s the same old Finn alright.” He grabs me by my neck and tucks it under his arm, scuffing up my hair playfully. “Scared to death of me.”
“Uh huh, yeah, suuure,” Natasha says, jokingly, pulling me out of her dad’s grip. The dudes strong, I’ll give him that. “When did you guys get here? You need anything? Hungry?”
“Yeah, starving actually,” Daniel says, stretching his arms. “Gosh that plane was sooo crowded.”
“Crowded?” Natasha wonders out loud while walking to the kitchen. She pulls out several different things from the fridge and starts to prepare a small meal for her family.
“Yeah. Different scientist coming here to study the ‘giant wolves’.” He snickers.
“Great. That’s the last thing we need.” Natasha starts making noise anywhere she can while working in the kitchen.
“Need help?” I ask her.
She shakes her head. “I’m good, thanks though.” She drops a glass bowl and it shatters on the floor.
“Are you okay?” Forrest exclaims, jumping up to examine Natasha.
I jump up without another question and clean up the glass. “Did you get cut?”
“N-no, I’m good.”
“Tasha, are you okay?” Daniel asks.
“Yeah,” she sighs. “Sorry. Just tired, emotionally tired.”
Forrest pulls her in for a hug. “Poor baby.”
“I’m okay, Mom. Really I am.”
“You’re such a strong girl, you know that. Do you need to rest?”
“I want to stay up and talk with you. I haven’t seen you in months!” Natasha takes a seat as I finish up the meal she was preparing for her parents. She gives me a thankful look. I smile back and head to warm up the pasta on the stove. “How is everything back home?”
“Good. Friends have been asking about you, Mrs. Cherwell has been asking when you’ll be back, and the neighbors miss you.”
“Whose Mrs. Cherwell?” I ask.
“Mrs. Cherwell is a woman that is physically disabled and with no spouse to take care of her. I basically house-sat for her. I helped her clean, cook, water her plants in the garden, walked her dog, basically spent my entire afternoon after school over there.”
“It’s true,” Daniel says. “Sometimes she would stay over the night. We wouldn’t see her until the next day after school.”
“Wow. How come you’ve never said anything about her before?”
She shrugs. “Just didn’t think about it.”
“Anyways, she misses you and wants to call, but…”
“She can’t hear the world ending over the phone,” Natasha says, letting her head drop as she laughs.
“The wonderful woman’s one fault. Her ears.”
We all laugh. “Well, whenever we can sneak away to visit Georgia, we’ll have to visit her.”
“Oh! Most definitely!”
We spend the rest of the afternoon just talking. Talking like there’s nothing wrong in the world at all.

Hey everyone.
Okay so I'm SO very sorry about all this. Not updating in FOREVER, but I have good reason.
Recently my parents have decided that I need to step back from the world a bit. You see, I've had a bit of a problem with depression and just all around things that go through my head. I've had a lot going on and it's SO hard to write now-a-days. My parents deleted my FaceBook, my email, and my other writing accounts and as of now I don't know when I can pick up Alpha (or Undaunted) again. For when they deleted my email and writing accounts, I lost my first draft of this book, and the backups on FaceBook, and any where I had posted. I lost many other works as well.
I am so sorry, this is none other than my fault, but eventually I WILL pick up this novel again. It's not gone forever. Just for a while :)
You owe a lot of inspiration to my best friends Jasny and Michaela. Without them I never would have gotten this far. I love you both so much <3
Also, I was going thro Undaunted/Alpha and doing MAJOR changes. A lot of the story was going to be altered and some of the characters were going to change a bit, both emotionally and physically, so that I can avoid plagerism, I don't want to copy other authors works.

Much love and hugs from South Carolina,

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This book has 33 comments.

on Oct. 18 2014 at 3:46 am
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

thank you!:)

on May. 12 2013 at 9:24 am
witchchild1234, Wilmette, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only one link of destiny can be handled at a time." - Winston Churchill

I love it!!! It's horrible how your parents did that to you. They shouldn't have deleted your writing accounts? Did you get mad at them? There are a few typos and spelling errors but your editor should get them fixed for you.

on Apr. 22 2013 at 7:52 am
FallenAngel170198 GOLD, Bundaberg, Other
13 articles 0 photos 47 comments
Thank you! :D

on Apr. 12 2013 at 10:05 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

ill upload as soon as i can :)

Jaguar17 said...
on Apr. 6 2013 at 4:07 am
Awesome! Love it, more please :)

on Feb. 3 2013 at 4:16 pm
Ms.PeytonLovesHP GOLD, Rancho Cordova, California
18 articles 0 photos 184 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” - Doctor Seuss

Hey, M-and-M, I posted the first chapter of my remix! I hope you check it out!

on Jan. 13 2013 at 10:16 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

like i said...this is the first draft. Undaunted is draft two and is spelling error proofed :)

on Jan. 13 2013 at 5:01 pm
booklover1212, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am a dork. You got a problem?

sorry typo (Only)

on Jan. 13 2013 at 4:58 pm
booklover1212, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am a dork. You got a problem?

Hey M& M Denver can you please proofread the next book you write I'm oly on chapter thirteen and I've found 15 spelling mistakes. It's just a tip nothing personal :)

on Jan. 3 2013 at 12:02 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

Oh! And happy new year to you as well!

on Jan. 3 2013 at 12:01 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

Thank you :)

and sure. Alpha is a great name and no copyright there ;)

ok make sure u let me know :D

this is so awesome <3

on Jan. 1 2013 at 7:49 pm
Ms.PeytonLovesHP GOLD, Rancho Cordova, California
18 articles 0 photos 184 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” - Doctor Seuss

Oh, of course! The requirments are totally wihin reason. And sure, I'll use UnDaunted, but can I use Alphas for my version? I really like that name... :) So, what I'll be doing is taking the scenes, rewriting them, and basically following the plot. Like, I'll use most of the scenes, just rewritten. I'm might or might not change a name or two... probably not though. I might chnage it a bit, or add a couple scenes, but other than that, it's pretty much straight forward. :) I should have the first couple of chapters posted within the next two weeks! Oh, and by the way: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

on Dec. 31 2012 at 9:42 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

New name is UNDAUNTED

on Dec. 31 2012 at 9:40 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

Of course! I have two things u need to do in order for me to let u tho. "NO RIGHTS RESERVED FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY ALL COPYRIGHT OF M-and-M-Denver" and post a link to the original Alpha (it is now called aundaunted so please use that title). sorry for so many requirements but i hope to get this published someday and i cant do that with it all oger the internet. this only applies to u. anyone else wisjing to write a spin off has to ask me personally.. and please send me a link to the work! id love to read it! :)

on Dec. 30 2012 at 8:16 pm
Ms.PeytonLovesHP GOLD, Rancho Cordova, California
18 articles 0 photos 184 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” - Doctor Seuss

Hey, I was wondering if I could write a version of this story and put t on my profile- like changing it a little, almost like a parody, but more similar. I'd credit you of course, but can I? I was so inspired by this story i kind of wanted to write one with this plot.

on Dec. 24 2012 at 8:22 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

lol i am soooooo soooooo sorry i hadnt updated. i wasnt getting any feedback so i thot that it just kinda died :/ what do u think?  

on Dec. 24 2012 at 4:39 pm
Ms.PeytonLovesHP GOLD, Rancho Cordova, California
18 articles 0 photos 184 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” - Doctor Seuss

OMG thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have NO IDEA how long I've been waiting for more- like, MONTHS. ITS REDICULOUS. This story is absolutely amazing- and I'm going to DIE if I don't get more- SOON!!!!!!!!!!!

on Dec. 23 2012 at 8:11 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

i am so very sorry! i didnt realize that anyone was reading it on here :) ill post some soon i have so much more that i have written. check it out and COMMENT PLEASE! <3

on Sep. 20 2012 at 7:37 pm
Ms.PeytonLovesHP GOLD, Rancho Cordova, California
18 articles 0 photos 184 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” - Doctor Seuss

My god. I've loved this book since you first posted it, and i've waited F-O-R-E-V-E-R for you to post more! DAMNNIT. WRITE. MORE. I. NEED. MORE. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Give me more..................... :)

on Apr. 4 2012 at 3:26 pm
M-and-M-Denver SILVER, Mebane, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Why should I change to please people? They tell you to be yourself, and then they judge you for you. It's like standing with your clothes on. They like you when you're covered up, but when you show the real you, you're naked. They don't like it

wow. thanks!

Parkland Book