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 *
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 121:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 216:00 min.
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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9. Chapter 9

Austin led me to the sitting room after about a half hour of shouting later. Maybe he felt that if his parents were around I wouldn’t feel the need to argue as much but he clearly didn’t know me well enough. In the corner of the room there was a lot of smashed glass, probably what Rose had heard earlier. I couldn’t decipher what it once was.

Austin taken up seat opposite me and was staring blankly at the wall as if figuring out how he was going to explain everything to me, not that I expected much from him. I had learned now not to expect anything at all.

“Are you going to tell me?” I suddenly asked.

Austin snapped out of it and turned to face me with an angered expression. I found myself cowering away before his eyes became apologetic and said, “I-I don’t know how to, Riley.”

“Just tell me the truth, right out with it. Come on!” I had to know. I deserved to know, didn’t I?

To the right of us, the door to the kitchen swung open and Austin’s dad strolled through into the sitting room. He and Austin shared a knowing look as if speaking a hidden conversation with only their eyes. Obviously I wasn’t getting in on it.

I sighed, frustrated. Mr. Dimera took the seat beside Austin and looked me over just the once. I shuffled uncomfortably in my seat as I flicked my gaze between Austin and the floor. “Sorry, Riley, but Austin and I can’t tell you the entire story just yet.”

I slowly slouched down into the seat. “Then what can you tell me?”

“That there’s a lot more to all this than what you saw,” Austin replied and tried to reassure me with a weak smile.

A strange guttural noise reverberated around the back of my throat as my imagination ran wild with thoughts even I couldn’t explain. “What kind of explanation is that?”

Austin shook his head, casting his black hair over his eyes. “I know this is all really confus-.”

“Don’t even finish that sentence! This is really confusing,” I warned.

Mr. Dimera threw his hands up, grabbing my attention. “We’re sorry, we really are. We shouldn’t have let you stay here,” he said. Mr. Dimera continued under his breath saying, “You have my wife to thank for that.”

I chose to ignore the latter part, knowing fine well it was me intruding in their life rather than the other way around. Suddenly, I felt very guilty. “What am I missing?” I asked.

They both shared a look. “You’ll see in time,” Austin replied. Internally I cried in frustration.

I didn’t know what to think. What was so important they had to keep it a secret? Other than their assault on another human – inexcusable no matter how they explained it. I felt like screaming, I felt like hitting them both and yelling in their faces.

“This isn’t easy for us either, Riley,” Austin explained as he tilted his head to the side as if he’d get a better look at me.

I met his eyes and gave a half smile to show I understood, but I really truly didn’t. If there was any word for the sheer opposite of understanding that emphasised every emotion in me by ten I’d have used it. I reckoned, though, agreeing with whatever they said was my easiest option while internally rolling in a bed of questions.

Austin sat up straighter, happier knowing I wasn’t going to persist. I felt drained. “You remember when you told me you didn’t think humans were at the top of the chain anymore? While on that hiking trip?” I nodded in response to his question. “Let’s just say you are completely right. They’ve never been superior to everything in this world and they never will be,” he said cryptically.

“I don’t understand...” I began to say. Of course humans were the superior, humans could over-come all. When I said that on our school trip, I was entirely over reacting.

Austin laughed lightly and replied, “You don’t have to for now.”

I tried to push my luck by asking some more, but of course that didn’t come to much. “Who was the guy?” I asked, hoping they wouldn’t feign ignorance on me this time.

Mr. Dimera’s entire face scrunched up with an uncomfortable expression. “He deserved it, and all his pack will go down with him,” he muttered.

Austin gave his dad a disapproving look, switching their father-son role. “We don’t know if he even belongs to a pack,” He replied quietly.

“What’s a pack?” I asked, startling them both. They looked at me as if they had forgotten I was there. 

Austin switched his eyes about uncomfortably, looking anywhere but me. “Can't tell you that just yet, Riley,” he said, hoping I’d take that answer.

“It’s wolf related, right?” All this was spilling out of me. Anyone with a fraction of common sense would know a pack was wolf related, but how did a pack tie in with the man in their living room? Or the Dimera’s?

Mr. Dimera nodded giving me the answer Austin wasn’t willing to give. My frustration grew stronger. “Then what’s the problem with telling me? I won’t get upset, I swear.” I really wanted to know, to the extent of not caring about the consequences.

“We can’t tell you just yet, Riley!” Mr. Dimera repeated, beyond frustrated.

I felt ballsy and refused to back down and said, “What’s a pack? A rogue?”

“You heard the whole conversation, huh?” Austin asked, running his hand down his face.

“All of it,” I snapped.

Mr. Dimera suddenly stood from his seat and looked between the both of us. “Ok, let’s end the conversation here. Don’t tell her a thing and I hope you all calm down for the day,” Mr. Dimera said, leaving no room to continue the conversation. He stalked off looking angered and ready to hit something.

My own anger began to seep away at seeing him leave. This was my fault. I’d caused their family so much bother, so much more trouble than usual. I couldn’t even bring myself to apologise and that just made me feel worse as that cloud of guilt floated above me.

That left both Austin and I to our thoughts. We didn’t speak for several minutes, and I was sure it was because what was needed to be said had already been said.

I tried to cleanse my head of all wolf talk and wild imaginative notions of what they might have missed out in our little conversation. I stood abruptly. “Austin?” I asked. 

“Mhm?” He replied as he stood to his feet following my lead. He approached closer but I put my hands in front of me to ward him off. I didn’t want his comfort.

I shook my head and laughed, hoping that of all things would lighten the heavy mood. I racked my brain for a change in conversation. I thought for a few seconds as Austin studied me curiously. I suddenly said, “I need a shower, really bad. And preferably a clean set of clothes for afterwards.” I hated to admit I hadn’t showered since I arrived… Two days ago. I mostly didn’t want to make a fuss and live quietly.

“My mom hasn’t gone to your house yet?” Austin asked.

I shrugged. “She must have forgotten,” I told him. I’d been sleeping in a pyjama set Rose gave me, and I’d worn the same clothes for the past few days, with the exception of some new underwear Rose had as spares. They were a little big.

Austin walked past and dipped his head to sniff my head, playfully feigning disgust and moving past me towards the stairs. “Hey! That’s not nice,” I yelled after him. I folded my arms under my chest and followed him.

“Neither is how you smell,” He joked as he continued on until we reached the top landing. I was glad for the change in subject. I slapped him lightly on the arm, playfully insulted. “You’ve at least been given a toothbrush, right?” He asked.

I nodded and said, “Thankfully.”

“Well, shower and clean up. Towels are over there-.” he pointed to a white cabinet in the bathroom as we entered the room beside my own. “-I’ll find you some clothes.”

With that he left the bathroom and I was left to myself standing there in my dirty and stinking clothes almost drooling at the idea of a shower like a starving man staring at a mound of food.

I stripped my clothes from my body and turned the water on, shutting the dark blue curtain behind me. I heard someone come in halfway through and leave but I wasn’t disturbed. Not ten minutes later, I was finished.

I climbed out after a good while of soaking and washing off the dirt and felt as refreshed as ever and actually clean. I even found myself thinking about happy things. Looking around for my clothes, I spotted where my old ones were and some new ones on the floor near the door - an oversize t-shirt and what looked like black leggings. I grinned ear to ear, knowing today was looking up despite the rough start.

I dried myself off and climbed into the leggings – they fit me as perfectly as leggings would. I sighed to myself at the comfort. The T-shirt was obviously Austin’s; it smelled like him and was too small to be his dad’s.

I opened the bathroom door when I was done and let all the steam billow out behind me. Austin popped his head around from the corner seconds later and asked, “How high did you have the temperature?” he pinched his shirt and pulled it from his body as if the heat had reached him all the way down the hallway.

I shrugged, padding towards him while rubbing my hair down with my towel. “Enough to make me feel better,” I said. I looked down on myself and remembered the clothes. “Thanks for these, by the way.”

“No problem, the leggings are my mom’s workout clothes - she’s probably never going to use them again, though,” He said, “Em, sorry about the underwear. You’re just going to have to wear my mom’s for a while.” I laughed at him, not terribly worried about it. “We’ll buy some later,” he said. Or stop by my place later in the day, I thought. It wasn’t even late afternoon.

Austin seemed to be doing the same as myself, sticking to safe subjects and avoiding other certain areas. I appreciated it, but I couldn’t help but think we’d been set back a step. I looked at Austin and I saw two people instead of one – the seventeen year old Austin who I’d see in the halls of Mateo High School and the Austin Dimera who beat up another defenceless man. I wasn’t sure what one I was talking to.

“So what do you want to do before dinner?” He began to ask ten minutes later as both of us sat together downstairs.

We both thought it through for a few seconds before we were interrupted.

His mother entered the room behind us and suddenly asked, “Austin, go to the store and get me some milk and flour - we’re all out and I’m making us a cake for dessert.” She smiled sweetly at the both of us and continued, “Oh, hey Riley!” before vanishing again back into the kitchen. I laughed as Austin rolled his eyes and lazily got up from his seat.

“Well, our plans are sorted for the day, then. We can stop by your place on the way home too.” Austin came back to reality and fished his set of keys from his pocket and swung them around his index finger. “Come on then,” he said.

I trailed behind him, more than glad to be out the house one way or another by this point, and saw a car parked outside the house. It was his mother’s car. He opened the passenger door on his way round to his side.

After about half an hour we stood outside the grocery store and Austin was already inside while I lingered behind, taking all the time I needed. I needed to savour this – being outside letting the air touch my skin. I hated how still it was indoors.

Then just as I entered behind Austin, there ahead of us both was the last person I wanted to see – Bianca and her father.

They didn’t appear to have spotted us yet and I would rather it stayed that way. I passed the door and joined Austin. He was bound to have noticed her too.

When I caught up, I said, “Bianca’s here.”

He didn’t seem too pleased at the mention of her name, not that he hadn’t already seen them. “I thought she was your friend?” he asked, picking up on my distaste as he grabbed a carton of milk from the fridge space and put it in a shopping basket, continuing with me down the aisle.

I didn’t want to have to explain my silly reason for disliking her; he’d think I was stupid. “Just some stuff went on and we sort of fell out. I don’t want to see her right now,” I explained. Austin accepted my answer and started walking ahead of me about to turn the corner and cross into another section.

There, both Bianca and her father appeared. It was inevitable they would have spotted us. Austin looked back at me with a raised eyebrow as my face fell.

“Riley, what a nice surprise to see you here,” Gary said through a smile as if he’d completely forgotten that his daughter and I weren’t speaking. I was sure he knew though.

Bianca dared look up and nodded at me. I didn’t respond out of fear I’d make a fool of myself. She didn’t deserve to see a reaction. Bianca brushed off my lack of greetings and said, “May I speak with you for a second, Riley?” Her face contorted into disgust as she laid eyes on Austin. Curiously, I wondered what that was for.

I peered over to Austin who was too busy staring down Gary to even glance my way. I followed after Bianca despite the voice in my head telling me to go back. I didn’t have to listen.

I wondered, did she want to talk to me about what happened at the hospital? I had realised my judgment might have been a little rash, but...

I was sure I’d apologise as long as she was willing as well, but even then… Would we really be the same? I couldn’t recall a time Bianca and I had ever fallen out, we had always been just so close.

Once we were out of earshot another aisle across, Bianca took that as her chance and said, “Why are you hanging around with the Dimera’s now, Riley?”

My eyebrows bunched together before I said, “What’s it to you?”

“I mean, in all the time you’ve been in school for, you’ve never even looked at Austin and ever since he found you by the lake you’ve been glued to his side! What’s that all about?” She yelled, growing flustered over nothing. Her cheeks red with frustration that I didn’t understand. Bianca looked mad, but she had no right to be mad.

“I thought you didn’t care about Austin?” I asked. She’d never let on that she didn’t like him in the past… In fact, she had been complimenting him!

Bianca shrugged like that was a different situation entirely and placed the basket she’d been holding on the ground. “That was then, this is now. You shouldn’t be hanging around him.”

I felt a tiny bit of anger seep into my blood stream. She had no right what so ever to tell me who I can and cannot be friends with, especially right now. “And why is that?” I asked. I couldn’t even look at her without feeling some sort of need to scream.

“His family is dangerous, Riley! Think of it like this; do you really know everything about them?” she yelled so close to my face I felt her hot breath pool over my skin sending chilling shivers down my spine.

But… Her question wrung true in my mind. It was a question very specific in my small distrust towards the Dimera’s. I didn’t know everything or anything really about them, and that really worried me.

Bianca surely didn’t know that, she didn’t know anything. Their intentions were good, I could vouch for that. Who was she to judge?

“They’re good people,” I mumbled, losing to the internal battle inside my head.

Bianca took a step back, realising her boundaries. “So you think, Riley. Just wait and see, see their true colours,” She said. If I didn’t have reason to suspect the Dimera’s of anything suspicious already by this point, she’d be sounding crazy to my ears. Forgetting what I’d seen this morning, the words that came from her mouth sounded like the very same words her father would spout - nonsense. They had become the same person.

My hand twitched by my side, the temptation to slap her like I’d never slapped anyone before. “Even if I didn’t like them, Bianca, I wouldn’t have much choice; I’m staying with their family because mine so happens to be in hospital right now – no thanks to your dad, of course, our towns biggest wolf hunter.”

“He wasn’t there that day!” She yelled. Bianca looked like she was about to leave, but she returned to where she stood before, her eyes ablaze as she registered what I’d just said. “You’re staying with them!?” She asked.

“It was either that or your place, and, well…” I began to say.

Bianca picked up her basket with the heaviest frown on her face and said, “You could have stayed with me.” She looked hurt for the first time in our entire conversation. 

I pulled my lips to the side in thought. “How about no?” I said. I was being unreasonable, even I admitted that. Her intentions, like the Dimera’s, seemed good. I was too pissed off to acknowledge that.

Bianca shook her head disappointedly. “At least you can come running to me if anything bad happens, Riley. I really do wish you the best of luck - you’ll need it,” she said, giving up early on.

Bianca stormed away, and I sensed our friendship was now in even more tatters than it was before this shopping trip. I regretted leaving the house right then, thinking I’d just caused more trouble than any of this was even worth. Maybe Rose had kept me housebound for a reason with my emotions being so raw.

I kicked one of the displays in frustration, really not wanting to hurt anything else. I breathed a sigh of relief when it didn’t fall over and only had a large dent in the thick cardboard. I quickly found my way back to where I’d left Gary and Austin hoping Bianca wasn’t in that same direction.

I turned the corner and saw them both up face to face with each other. “You won’t know what hit you, Dimera,” Gary growled threateningly.

Austin looked ready to squash Gary to a pulp. I coughed loudly, hoping to distract them for at least a second. “Just leave, Gary,” Austin mumbled, not so gently shoving him away.

Gary broke eye contact with Austin and marched off in the other direction. He called over his shoulder before we could lose sight of him completely saying, “Things have just gotten a lot worse, Dimera.”

Austin’s face was bright red in frustration; he ran a hand over his face and growled aloud like an animal. I stood back a few paces and watched as he tensed and un-tensed over several minutes. .

“What did he say to you?” I finally asked.

Austin tried to stand still instead of pacing around. He shook his head slowly. “Nothing to worry your head with, Riley,” He said as he reached into his pocket and handed me some money. “I need to get out of here, grab some air, could you pay for all this and meet me back at the car?” He didn’t wait for a reply before he jogged off in the direction of the door leaving me to myself. I could have told him I didn’t want to, but I knew I’d have no choice.

I wondered what was said.

I lifted the basket left behind and saw all the items I needed. I realised I still didn’t have any underwear and head to the small clothing section, thinking best to head home to the Dimera’s rather than stop by at my own place later. I picked out what I needed at the cheapest price and headed for the checkouts. 

By the time I made it outside, Austin had cooled considerably and was leaning against his mother’s car, his eyes closed with his head tilted back against the top of the car. “Hey, Austin!” I called. He opened both eyes and pushed himself up. “Better now?” I asked.

Austin opened the passenger door for me and grabbed the bags from my hands as I slid into the seat. “Yeah, he just got me all riled up is all,” he told me. I trusted his answer and hopped into the car. Today had gone from terrible to what the hell, and I really didn’t think I could go any higher. The least I could do for Austin was shut up and not ask about the relationship between him and Gary of all people.

“What did he say?” I couldn’t help myself.

Austin shook his head to brush it off and said, “That doesn’t matter, just stay away from them two for now, I realise Bianca is your friend, but-.”

“She’s not my friend,” I quickly corrected him.

Austin laughed quietly and replied, “That makes it easier, then.”

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