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}}
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2. Chapter 2

Austin’s mother taken me home just as she said she would. She dropped me off in front of my porch with the sun now in the highest point of the sky. Walking up the porch steps, I knocked on the door thinking twice about just walking in. Who knows what my family were thinking about me, who knows what Hilary has told them – assuming Hilary had even made it back here.

The door was pulled open from the doorframe and I was immediately thrown into the arms of my mom. “Where in the world have you been?” She asked as she pushed me back a little to study my face. Behind me I could hear the screech of rubber on asphalt as Austin’s mother began to drive away. I felt like I’d been thrown to the wolves.

Hilary stood behind my mother. She looked the same as before – An innocent angel with devil horns hidden beneath her blonde locks. She smiled widely at me from behind my mom but as soon as my dad arrived on scene beside her she began to feign tears. “It was terrifying, Mr. Kerr,” she wept into his shoulder. My father didn’t look impressed.

He patted her back whilst shooting me all kinds of looks. “I know. You’re safe now,” he said.

“I told her we shouldn’t have gone into the forest, I swear I tried,” Hilary tried to explain. Hilary wasn’t fooling me though. She knew exactly what she was doing and I was sure of it.

My father held her tighter as her eyes began to water. “It’s ok. Riley will be dealt with.”

My eyes bugged out of my skull. What had I done? I came eye to eye with Hilary and I stared at her with as much disbelief as I could. She hid from my gaze.

My mom grabbed my shoulder and said, “That’s enough of that, Riley. Go to your room, I’ll be behind you. We need to talk.” 

I sighed and trudged up the steps to my doom, peering over my shoulder at the sobbing girl behind me. I was fully aware I would now be taking the entire blame, no thanks to Hilary. I mean, I honestly didn’t think there’d be much trouble if we told the truth, but now there was a girl sobbing her eyes out in our house and that made this situation a lot harder to work with. My parents didn’t like tears.

As I entered the room, I heard the door shut behind me. I didn’t bother to face my mother knowing there’d be nothing but disappointment written on it. “What in the world were you thinking? A girl like Hilary coming to visit was a bad idea from the start…” She sighed.

I walked towards my window to avoid her. I wasn’t going to go down for this. “I swear I’ve done nothing wrong!”

“So you’re saying you either didn’t go into the forest or you didn’t take her there..?” My mom asked.

I approached her and tried to tell her my account of things by saying, “I didn’t take her there! I admit - we snuck out because Hilary wanted to pull some pranks – as you do – and it all just got out of hand. We ran away and next thing I know, we’re both at Lake Mateo.” I motioned my hands to somehow convey the injustice. I could only imagine my own expression of disbelief.

My mom gasped, “Lake Mateo? That’s nearly a mile into the forest-.”

“Exactly. You can imagine how I felt when I realised where we were too… and then a few seconds later, some huge wolves appeared in the clearing. I admit I don’t actually remember that much.” I threw my arms down at my side and stomped my foot like a child. I hated being accused.

She looked me over slowly and saw my dirt covered clothes and rough appearance. “What happened to you, then?” She asked, sounding confused and sceptical.

I shrugged like that part didn’t matter. I took a step back and felt my legs touch the soft mattress of my bed. Oh how much I wanted to sleep and let this all wash away. “I woke up this morning in Rose Dimera’s house – you know her right?” I asked. I already knew she did though, my mom knew of everyone here in Mateo. “Her son found me at the lake and took me home. Rose told me she was waiting for me to wake up,” I continued to explain, but Rose hadn’t said such thing. I felt like that at least covered up the fact the Dimera’s had failed to call the police or take me to hospital.

My mom didn’t seem to believe me. She narrowed her eyes and tilted her head in confusion. “And they just took you in without question?”

I returned the look as if to question if she was stupid... “I was unconscious, mom. They couldn’t just ask me what had happened...”

My mother still looked suspicious. “I’m not being funny, Riley, but if I ever found a stranger passed out in our yard, I’m not going to take them in am I? I’d call the police maybe… And you said there were wolves, what happened to those?” She sounded incredibly sceptical.

I had to think on my feet for an explanation that would make sense, one that would stop my mom before she called the local police herself. “I really don’t know, mom. Maybe they weren’t interested because I’d passed out and thought I was dead? I don’t know what wild animals are thinking…”

My mother shook her head and rubbed her temples a little as if this was getting too much. “So both you and Hilary ended up at Wolf Lake after causing havoc in town – which by the way, you’re not let off for – and then wolves come out of nowhere. Hilary runs off, you fall unconscious, and now you’re here in front of me after Rose Dimera and her son Austin looked after you?” She questioned, just to get her facts straight.

I nodded yes in response before sitting myself down on the sheets. My mom in front of me propped herself up against a unit.

“Hilary had a slightly different story,” she said.

I raised a curious but suddenly annoyed eyebrow. “What did she have to say?” I asked.

My mom clicked her tongue disappointedly and tilted her head back to look up at the ceiling. “She didn’t mention a prank for a start. Apparently it was your idea to go out on a late night detour around Mateo, and then you dragged her onto the hiker trail.”

 I laughed incredulously. “Dragged,” I spat before letting my mom continue.

My mom pursed her lips in thought and swayed her head back and forth. “One thing leads to another and you’re both by the lake. She said you saw the wolves and refused to run. In fact, you walked towards them. Then, that’s the last she sees of you. We were all up all night worried sick. Not that I could quite believe what she was saying, but you were gone.”

In disbelief that she’d try and paint such a picture of me to my own family, I remained silent. A few moments later I began to say, “What the-.”

My mom cut me off saying, “No swearing. I just want Hilary gone. Not in one more night, I want her gone today. In fact, by the hour.” She turned on her heel and tiredly heaved herself towards the door. “And she doesn’t come back again, you hear me? You’re never talking to her again.”

I nodded obediently in response. I wasn’t going to challenge this one.

She left the room quickly and I could hear her livid footsteps on the floor as she left down the stairs.

I hoped Hilary realised what damage she could have done last night. Of course, my own fault still for allowing her to leave my house, but imagine the danger to the wolves – if something had happened, I could only imagine the mass hunt to eradicate all animals bearing four paws in the Mateo forests.

The wolves made Mateo unique, no one should get in the way of Mateo’s nature.

A few minutes later, Hilary gently opened my door and found me lying on my bed probably getting all sorts of dirt on the sheets. “Eventful night?” She chimed as if she didn’t already know. Was she ill in the head? Did she not have the tiniest amount of remorse, or even guilt in her being? I thought.

I sat myself up to talk to her and said, “I just want to know, what the hell is going through your head?” What was the point in lying to my parents, I thought. She gained nothing at all.

Hilary stumbled over her words for a second. “J-just spicing things up, Riley, learn to live a little!” She then picked up her unpacked bag from the ground filled with a bounty of toilet paper. I now doubted she had even brought clothes with her. “This town needs things shaken up a little,” she said.

I could see through her words. As she fabricated the excuse I could tell there was something more. Her willingness to leave, her lack of defence. She seemed oddly vague.

“There’s something off about you, Hilary. You knew where you were going when you ran to the lake, didn’t you? Even I don’t know where the lake is!” I accused but even I felt like I was grasping at straws. Of course she hadn’t known the way, but what an odd coincidence we’d ended up there.

She opened my bedroom door without answering the question and laughed, saying, “Was nice knowing you, Riley.”

Furiously I tried to lift myself off the bed but suddenly I was beginning to feel the impact of the small injuries all over my body. I felt bruised and sprained all over.

An answer from Hilary wasn’t worth anymore pain.

***

My stress levels were on an all-time high as I made my way to meet my friend. I’d spent the last hour venting on the phone about Hilary to my best friend Bianca. Bianca calmed me and suggested we meet and talk in person. I was more than happy to take her up on that offer.

I walked inside the cafe and sat in the far booth. Not even seconds later Bianca entered too. I spotted her from a far distance thanks to her beautiful ginger hair. She smiled broadly as soon as we connected eyes. “So Hilary wasn’t a good idea, after all?” she asked just meters before me.

I shook my head no and let my head fall into my hands. “This is all a mess.”

“I’m sure it’s not,” she said as she took a seat opposite me.

The bell to the cafe rang as the door opened and, just because fate enjoyed laughing at my pain, Austin walked smoothly through followed by some nameless friends. In any other situation on any day previous to this one I wouldn’t have noticed his presence. He was a quieter boy who lived quietly with his family and I never had any reason to look at him differently… until now.

Bianca caught on quickly and followed my gaze. She caught sight of Austin Dimera and passed me a questioning look. I shook my head and let my face fall into my arms. “It really is a mess.” I muttered.

She laughed under her breath in amusement. “Spill,” she said.

I took an entire hour whispering to her the details of what happened at the lake, including being carried in his arms and the incident in his kitchen where he shown me a very different side to his personality. He seemed a lot meaner. 

Bianca exhaled as if she’d experienced it all with me once I’d finished. “Oh my god,” she said quietly.

“Oh my god,” I repeated.

Soon after we parted ways once she’d gave me some well needed catch-up and girl talk. Everything was now out my system. Austin and his friends had long ago left but both Bianca and I hadn’t noticed.

I made my way quickly across the road to where my still angry dad was parked waiting to take me home. Sheepishly I smiled at him from across the parking lot. When he didn’t return it I quietly got into the car.

***

My usual night routine consisted of nothing more than a shower in which I probably spent too much time washing away my stress, brushing my teeth until my gums started to bleed, and changing into my night clothes.

I sat down on the bed and began to massage my aching shoulder – probably one of the injuries I’d felt the wrath of this morning.

Just as I was getting comfortable, a gust of wind suddenly tore through my open window just as I usually left it. The curtains became unlatched and I was forced to get up to put them back in place before they knocked things over.

I stood quickly and made my way to the window. A howl, suddenly, pierced the night air like you could hear most nights in and around Mateo. This time, however, I couldn’t ignore it. A chorus followed in the distance like echoes around me. I could see the yellow eyes and fur as black as the night sky in my head as if they were in front of me right now. I took a step closer to the window to peer out just to reassure myself.

My house and neighbourhood faced on to the beginnings of the deep forest at the base of a popular hill walking trail. Of course I’d spotted wolves in close proximity before, but today, as if to spite me and curse me with the worst night’s sleep imaginable, there it was…

Maybe that’s why the howl sounded so clear. It sat right there, only a few yards from my window at the edge of our yard almost entirely shrouded in the trees if not for its eyes that glinted back at me like reflectors. It was so close I could have sworn it was staring right at me.

I shook my head to banish the silly idea. It couldn’t get me here. Wolves this close to town weren’t a rarity. If they posed any danger, the local hunters would be out there, that was for sure.

Stupid Hilary making me paranoid; never in my entire life had I been afraid of the Mateo wolves.

I backed away from the window as another howl penetrated the glass, possibly from the very same animal I had been looking at before. A second chorus echoed from miles off in the distance.

I threw myself under the bed sheets in frustration and tried to force myself to sleep. I plugged in head phones to block it out and after the right song choice I finally was unable to hear them, but I couldn’t block out my brain and the ridiculous thoughts it liked to create.

I was safe though… And that’s all that mattered.

 

 

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