Wolves of Mateo

After a prank gone wrong, Riley is left abandoned in the forest with snapping wolves approaching her from across Lake Mateo. She wakes up in the Dimera house but soon comes to learn their act of hospitality wasn't just out of kindness, but out of something much deeper and terrifying - to a mere human anyway. Werewolves live among us and Riley finds herself between two of the most powerful werewolves in Wyoming. While her heart is being torn in two, her head is telling her to do the right thing - but it's always easier said than done. Fighting in a whole new world, she must overcome the danger and settle in where she now truly belongs. Werewolf hunters, Mate claims, Alpha rivalry, and Pack wars... Welcome to Mateo, home of the Wolves. *EDITED VERSION NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, PUBLISHED BY MOVELLAS http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GFUK45O* {{COMMENT FOR CC SWAP}}
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 121:00 min.
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The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 319:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 418:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 516:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 619:00 min.

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16. Chapter 16

I sat outside Mr. Dimera’s office for well over an hour. In that hour I watched Rose busy herself by pacing back and forward through one room to another, doing anything to occupy herself. I fiddled with my finger because there was nothing else to do as I listened to yelling between father and son inside.

The thought of my dad lingered on my brain but so far I’d been well distracted – until now.

The door behind me slammed on its hinges and out appeared Austin’s father who took no notice of me as he leapt mid stride and fell onto the ground on all fours. His appearance as a wolf was much like Austin’s – large in size and covered in thick brown fur. Mr. Dimera ran off in seconds through the already open sliding door in the kitchen.

“On a full moon for werewolves we aren’t as calm as we’d like. If you’d excuse our short tempers for the next day, I’d be happy,” Rose explained as she shut the sliding door after her husband, smiling back at me over her shoulder. “My husband normally gets it the worst, he’s alpha so he has the added stress of getting the pack organised and preventing any accidents.”

Austin appeared by my side a moment later after exiting the small study. His hair was a mess as if he’d been fighting, although I didn’t think they’d got that far. “Please, mom,” he said, “we all know that’s not true. I have it the worst because it’s me who deals with him.”

Rose ignored him for a moment and continued to smile at me. “You don’t’ deal with parents, Austin,” she finally said.

Rose continued on her daily routine leaving Austin and I alone. He sat himself beside me of the couch. He stretched out, arms behind his head and legs straight out in front of him.

“What did you guys talk about?” I asked.

Austin waited a few seconds before putting his arm around me lightly. “Your dad,” Austin revealed, “My father has different plans about him joining the pack but he’s your father so I can’t let him not join.”

“What’s so bad about him joining?” I questioned, for a moment becoming slightly concerned.

Austin sighed and thought about it for a second. “He doesn’t have much reason other than keeping our pack pure. Your dad will automatically shift into a black Bancroft wolf – because that’s their pack colour. Dimera are dark brown and Touren are a sandy colour. The Dimera have never let in a wolf not turned by a Dimera.”

I could only stare with a questioning expression, not quite understanding what that was supposed to mean. My dad wasn’t going to be allowed in because he had a different coloured fur. Great. He didn’t need a pack anyway.

I felt Austin squeeze my shoulder reassuringly and I found myself enjoying the close proximity. “When he changes his pack to Dimera, the fur will become streaked with the new packs colour on the nearest full moon,” he explained. “Don’t worry about it though. I’ll talk my dad into it.” He was smiling by the end. All I could think of was how close his face was to mine.

“Is there anything else I should know?” I quietly whispered, trying not to ruin the atmosphere.

Austin’s head fell to the side in thought. Of course there was more. “Your dad can’t join us straight away. No newly turned wolf or wolf that’s left a pack can join another until at least 2 full moons after they left or were turned. There are wolves that willingly live alone called rogues, the same name is also applied to those who are waiting for the 2 full moons to be up to then join a new pack. Rogue wolves are normally very vulnerable, especially if they’re on the radar of a pack,” He explained. Suddenly, it didn’t feel so peaceful.

I stared up at him with a mix of emotions. Fear and anger clouded my thoughts. My father could die because of this, I raged. Bancroft could murder him out of pure spite and no one could say anything about it. Was this another werewolf law Austin had omitted?

He tried to make me feel better and said, “Don’t look like that, if anyone tries to kill him the laws will apply and then we can take action against whoever done it. I’ve never heard of a rogue wolf being killed before unless they were causing trouble or trespassing. Being rogue just means you don’t have official backup. Once we inform your dad, he’ll be careful.”

“Wow that makes me feel much better,” I replied. Suddenly I found myself remembering other matters and began to say, “And I still have a bone to pick with you!” I poked him in the chest with my index finger. “Why the hell hadn’t you told me my old best friend knows about y-you know…?”

He laughed at my expression and slowly replied, “I think I’ve told you enough for one day, can’t we just save it? You have to prepare your emotions for tonight. It won’t be easy on you. My dad’s trying to figure out how we’re getting him out of hospital.”

I wanted to tell him to spill it all, to tell me what Bianca and her father have known all along, how much of it did they know?  But I didn’t. I moved on like he wanted me to and I felt stupid for it. “How exactly is that going to happen?” I asked, thinking it near impossible to move my dad from his bed.

Austin’s hand reached for my head and I soon found my face buried in his shirt. “His wounds will be healed because of his heightened healing and wolf senses and he should have full consciousness by the time we get him out of there. His bite will still be there but that won’t heal until he’s back on two legs after his first transformation because it’s so deep.”

I forced a deep breath out and I pulled away back. I tossed the thoughts around unsure of what to think.

“Your father will be fine,” Austin told me quietly.

I gave him a small weak smile, replying, “I sure hope so.”

He gently nudged me off his shoulder and got to his feet. “I need to run; my legs are twitching for something to do. Full moon isn’t helping. I take it you won’t want to come?” He suddenly asked.

His change in attitude was so abrupt that I didn’t process what he said until he repeated the same question again. He waited expectantly for a reply. “Go, it’s fine. I’ll go help your mom,” I told him.

I watched his form escape through the same route his father had taken and briefly before the tree line I saw his body fall to the ground and run away on all fours. A shiver ran down my spine. When would I be able to accept the fact these people weren’t normal?

***

The two men returned about three hours later. They found both me and Rose in the living room watching reruns of an old TV show Rose had said she liked. I had suggested we cook dinner but Rose insisted that on a full moon the boys didn’t eat until they were in wolf form. I presumed that meant they hunt, but I didn’t bother asking about in fear of perhaps feeling sick if I knew the details.

Austin had quickly sat by my side after changing into basketball shorts. Apparently he hadn’t changed on a full moon in months. He no longer felt the pull and could resist it.

Mr. Dimera appeared in front of us and started saying, “I’ve just been told that James is now out of hospital. They’re taking him to Wolf Lake; I presume you both want to be there?”

Austin seemed to know what I was thinking. “We’ll be there,” he told his father for me.

I nodded quickly before he got to his feet and gently pulled me up with him. “We better hurry,” I said.

I followed them both out the door and I turned briefly to Rose. “Aren’t you coming?” I asked, noticing she hadn’t moved at all.

Rose smiled sadly. “I barely change into my wolf at all anymore, Riley. Wolves – especially females – don’t go very well with old age,” She told me. I couldn’t tell is she was pleased or not but she sat there none of the less with a smile on her face. “I wish you luck,” she called as we exited the kitchen door.

I was immediately attacked by the wind as it parted through my hair. Worried, I peered around. I wasn’t worried for my sake this time, this time all I could think was my dad… Understandably.

“Wolf Lake isn’t that far from here, don’t worry,” Austin comforted.

Wolf Lake had a far better ring to it than ‘Lake Mateo’, I thought. It was a nickname I’d heard only a handful of times but now it felt like it had an entirely different meaning.

After god knows how long I felt a cold sweat begin to break out over my forehead. My hands were shaking but they were held firmly in Austin’s hand. I stared up at him as he towed me along a roughly outlined path.

Ahead I could hear heated yelling.

“Nearly there,” Austin muttered.

Screams of pure pain ripped my ear drums and ploughed my heart in the distance as I figured out who exactly it was. As my dad screamed at them to let him go, I picked up my pace. I heard a sickening crunch and I winced as more deep screams followed.

“He’ll be ok,” Austin said while trying to slow me down. “It hurts now, it hurts all wolves when it first happens but it goes away after the first few times,” Austin tried to reassure me. “His bones haven’t reshaped before. He isn’t used to the feeling.”

As we broke the tree line my eyes were immediately drawn to the other side of the lake; the side of the lake that Hilary and I had stood at on the day this all began. A small congregation of people surrounded a figure curled at their feet.

“Come on,” Austin said as he tugged me along around the lake. The lake was big, not the biggest I had seen. I felt the group around me slow as we approached the five men in front of us – one of whom was my dad, writhing in pain on the grass of Wolf Lake.

I recognised Mr. Dimera and I also recognised another as a boy from school. I knew no one else.

My eyes fell to the ground as we approached and I was then able to take in the sight of my dad’s pained face and confused expression. Sure enough, he was awake.

His body began to fall victim to seizures as his body shook and lashed out uncontrollably.

“Alpha, are you sure he’ll make it?” An unfamiliar man asked Mr. Dimera.

That was something I hadn’t considered. Of course he’d make it. He was stronger than anyone I’d ever met. He couldn’t not make it.

I faced Austin, suddenly not so confident, and asked, “He’ll make it, won’t he?”

Austin looked away. “The older the wolf, the less likely,” He said, “I’m sorry.”

“You thought it was alright just to leave out that tiny detail that my dad might just die tonight!?” I yelled, forcefully throwing my fists at his chest hoping it was hurting him as much as he was hurting me.

“It’s a small chance, very small chance; I didn’t see the point in worrying you!” He defended himself and tried to stay strong on his feet. How selfish to not tell me, not have me prepared for the likelihood of my own father’s funeral.

“A small chance for younger wolves. He’s 43 years old, Austin! Does that scream ‘young’ to you?” I retorted back as I tried to move toward my father. I felt an arm restrict me and pull me back into Austin’s hold.

“You can’t go near him, Riley. He can change any time now and if you’re close to him he might hurt you,” he said, trying his hardest to convince me. I continued to struggle in Austin’s arms as I watched my father struggle all on his own, fighting the inevitable pain torturing every muscle.

Darkness began to fall as more time passed and the pain continued. I began to fear his scream could be heard in town, that someone in the forest would listen in and call the local police office.

Everyone was silent apart from my father as he screamed and I cried after him.

“What does it feel like?” I asked through a stream of tears.

Austin still held me as if I might run away and do something he wouldn’t like.

“Like his entire body is on fire. His bones will be twisting and deforming into those of a werewolf,” Austin quickly explained.

I knew there must have been more to it but that description was enough for me. I didn’t want to torture myself with knowing more.

“Any minute now,” Mr. Dimera felt the need to say as my father fell silent. I thought he might have went unconscious again. The wound on his shoulder seeped blood visible in the minimum daylight but only ever so slightly. Little by little I could see it stopping.

The clothing on his body was mostly shredded allowing me to see his wound as it healed at an incredible rate right before my eyes. “The miracles of the moonlight,” Austin whispered as my dad began to shake. I closed my eyes tightly.

I heard a sickening crunch before it all seemed to stop.

“You can look now,” Austin gently said.

I opened them but looked anywhere but where my dad once lay. “Is he ok?” I asked.

“He’s perfectly fine.”

I stepped away from Austin and by my feet was an unconscious black wolf when I looked down. Being so up-close reminded me that once again the werewolves around here were definitely not the size of the average wolf, nor did they have the native fur. My father had the black fur of a Bancroft wolf.

As I looked down at him, I still registered fear.

 “Will he wake up?” I quietly questioned.

“Younger wolves are normally exhausted once they turn, but they’re still conscious. Because your father is so old, it might be hours until he wakes up,” someone explained.

Along the tree line I saw another wolf emerge. In moments it morphed into a human upon approach. “There’s fighting in town. Threatening each other and potential fights in front of human. It’s getting pretty dangerous,” the man fired at Austin’s father, making sure he was aware of the situation.

“There’s never a full moon without some kind of drama,” Mr. Dimera sighed. I saw him check his watch on his wrist. “It’s nearly 3 AM; take James back to my house. It’s getting lighter out and we can’t have some early morning hikers coming across him out here,” Mr. Dimera ordered as he began to follow the other man out of sight. Two others who I didn’t know attempted to lift my dad.

Austin grabbed hold of my wrist and we began to walk in a different direction. I couldn’t help but peer back and stare at my father who was still unresponsive. “Everything went fine, just as we predicted,” Austin said, trying to lighten the atmosphere.

“But it could have gone wrong,” I muttered, thinking about what had happened well.

“But it didn’t,” He countered. Austin was silent from there out until we reached the far side of the lake. I found myself turning back again and I noticed my father and the other two men were gone. I hoped he was safe.

“If that’s how much pain you go through, I don’t think I’ll ever want to be a werewolf,” I admitted. 

Austin let out a quick breathy laugh. “The worst is just the first time. The next few times it can hurt but it’s not as bad. After a while it’s painless and instinctual. You get used to it, and so does your body.”

Austin’s hand tightened around mine reassuringly. I stopped walking as I inhaled a deep breath of the cool air that attacked my lungs. My head began to clear. “Why are we stopping?” Austin asked.

“I may not like the forest but I don’t like being cooped up all day in that house of yours. It’s beautiful and all, but it’s driving me insane,” I said, running a hand through my long tangled hair.

Austin took a few steps closer which caused me to take equally a few steps back. “I promise to take you out sometime, in that case. But I have to be around. You have to understand that there are people out to hurt you because of me and I’d forever hate myself if anything happened to you.” He said. Suddenly a small grin appeared on his face as he began to think. “And,” he said, “We’re supposed to be mates. Mates are always together.”

I narrowed my eyes and took a step back, only to be met with his step forward until my back hit a tree. “We aren’t mates, you said so yourself,” I finally responded, uneasy with the close proximity.

“I told you before, we’re going to have to lie to live with this now.” Austin took one last step closer. My eyes took in his face, seeing things I hadn’t before, only a step away from mine. His eyes are beautiful, I found myself thinking.

“Pretending will bite you in the ass, Austin,” I scolded. I just knew it would. I’d gathered so far that the werewolf world wasn’t so forgiving – especially to the alpha family. Did he expect an exchange of apologies if he was found out? Someday he’d find his real mate.

Austin shook his head. “Let’s just enjoy it for the time being,” He said as he stepped that little bit closer until we both were crushed together. I looked up at him to find his eyes already fixated on my face.

“This isn’t a good idea...” I warned, remembering what his father had said. He seemed opposed entirely to the idea of Austin and I being together, mates or not. We’d ruin everything.

My emotions flipped around and bubbled and somehow I began to forget the warning. I didn’t want to care.

“I’ll deal with the consequences,” Austin muttered and with that, his lips fell on mine.

 

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