Wolves of Mateo: Wolf Moon

Austin was taken by the hunters by the banks of Wolf Lake - deep in the forests of Mateo, Wyoming. Searching for him is Riley and Dante - his closest friends yet worst enemies. They both have very little time to save him from what's likely to come - a sacrifice for the Wolf Moon - a hunter legend engrained in their traditions. Trying to save their friend is only part of the deal, as new enemies emerge threatening the whole balance of things back home as both Riley and Dante set on a trail out of state in Colorado before they realise the real threat is oozing out from within. A new chapter unfolds. BOOK TWO IN WOLVES OF MATEO DUOLOGY.

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12. Chapter 12

Megan let my off attitude slip completely. She didn’t care to know what I meant and I didn’t intend to tell her, especially when I changed the subject to something she found more favourable. I knew if Megan found out that I intended to trigger this blood transfer myself that she’d try and stop me even if we both agreed it’d be for the best.

I had to go through with it. If I didn’t, I knew I ran the risk of letting Austin being used for this stupid Wolf Moon and I couldn’t let it happen. Austin had been something to me, an asshole as well as a something, but something none of the less. I owed him some effort and sacrifice.

I couldn’t help but think using Ben was my best choice. He was the only Dimera to consider. Anyone else would be harder to get physically close enough to. Now how to go about it, I pondered. We were running out of time. I only had until Lay done his own transfer with the Bancroft pack and then I too would lose my short lived alpha blood.

“What’s got you thinking so much?” Dante questioned. I couldn’t reply, not wanting to break my train of thoughts that seemed to be developing quite well.

Unless we came to an agreeable solution by the end of today, after our final meeting with the Dimera’s, I’d make myself do it. I couldn’t think what other solutions there were. Mr. Dimera couldn’t just step down from alpha, because he’d still have alpha blood and just not have a pack. The only other solution was to plain and simply find Austin and for months that’s led all of us nowhere.

Our car pulled up outside the Dimera house, our eyes meeting Rose who stood idly on the doorstep. She smiled sadly when we greeted her outside the car.

“Hi, Rose,” Dante greeted kindly. He’d heard from me only nice things about her, so he wasn’t as hostile with the friendly lady.

She led us both inside, showing us towards the large congregation inside. I half expected Austin to show his face in the midst of the all their other faces, but of course that couldn’t happen. Frank Dimera caught on at our arrival and moved out of the small crowd. “You’re early,” he commented gruffly.

I spotted Ben and Megan behind Mr. Dimera, talking heatedly between themselves.

Dante pursed his lips and raised both eyebrows. “Well, it’s best this is got out the way as soon as possible. So what it is, Dimera? Have you came to a conclusion among yourselves?”

Rose appeared by my side not a moment later and looked down on her husband. The husband and wife pair fought with their eyes for a split second before Rose said, “Yes, in fact we have. He’s stepping down from alpha. As soon as possible.” Mr. Dimera visibly disagreed.

So no conclusion yet then, I thought. Stepping down would be useless too, because they’d still have blood to start a new pack. In my head, it came down to a voluntary or forced blood transfer. Nothing else.

Mr Dimera whispered dangerously, “under no circumstances will I surrender this pack. I made a promise to our father that nothing will stop the Dimera from surviving. Without us, there is no Dimera pack.”

Rose grew red in the face as she approached her husband. Her hands outstretched as she threatened to lunge and grab him by the throat. I’d never seen her act like anything but a delicate flower. “Without Austin, there is no one to continue the Dimera pack. He is our son!”

Mr. Dimera looked like he’d had enough as she tried to wrangle free of his wives hold. “We’ve discussed this last night and you know how I feel. You can’t change my mind, Rose. Not you, not some mutts from Bancroft, not even our own son. Not even if our dead father came back from the grave and told us to give it all up.”

In a split second, Rose’s hand had connected with his cheek emitting a sharp crack through the now silent living room that quivered in the wake of the argument between husband and wife. “You’re not the man I married,” she muttered quietly. Everyone heard it.

I wanted to interrupt, I truly did, but I felt an odd satisfaction at Mr. Dimera finally being served some truth by someone he surely cared a lot about.

“My son is possibly dead somewhere. If he isn’t dead then his time is nearing. He could be killed in the next hour, the next day, or the next month. I’ll never know unless we find him. What if we never find him, Frank? What if we do find him but it won’t be him, it’ll just be my sons body - what will you do then!?” She roared as tears streamed down her cheek. A woman I hadn’t met began to comfort her as her body began to collapse. The stress had taken its toll. I could only imagine how Rose felt. “I know giving up our alpha blood doesn’t automatically mean he is safe, but wouldn’t you try anything!?”

Mr. Dimera looked down on his wife pitifully. He tried to hold back his own tears, and for a small moment considered that they might be genuine, that he wasn’t really that much of a bad guy. “Take her away, let her sleep,” he said quietly. The woman holding Rose began to tow her away but Rose wasn’t quite done.

She didn’t resist leaving the room but did call back over her shoulder at her now sobbing husband, “If my son is hurt then I hope to the seventh hell that you’ll live this life and every life after repenting for not trying to save him sooner!”

No one could quite recover the conversation after that.

***

After that, Dante and I decided we’d stay a couple more nights realising that meeting had told us nothing. Megan, Ben, Dante and I left the Dimera house to get in our own cars, all with the plan of meeting back at my house for dinner. Just as I was about to get in the car, something else caught my eye.

The figure stepped out into full view, revealing a very familiar face. “Dad!?” I exclaimed, not believing my eyes.

There he was, looking healthier than ever standing straight and tall and approaching me from across the path. “Riley,” he said back.

He looked like a different person. I still had the vision engrained in my head of his sickly face and I somehow expected that to still plague his features. He looked better than he had in years.

“Are- Are you okay?” I asked him as we came face to face. I thought briefly of Dante and of him meeting my father for the first time, but he was already in the car and I’d shut the door. Dante looked like he was filled with thoughts so he purposefully left my business to myself and stayed inside. Whether he knew the man was my dad or not, I didn’t know.

My dad laughed, revealing the same wrinkles he’d possessed before. “That’s what I should be asking you. Some trouble you’ve got into this time.”

“I’m sorry.”

He shook his head as he shoved his hands into his pockets. “I knew I didn’t like that girl Hilary. Obviously didn’t have such a great influence on you either.”

I laughed along with him, although I really didn’t find it funny. “Of course.”

He cleared his throat suddenly and became serious. “About your mom-,” he began to say.

I couldn’t help but interrupt him. “She knows.” His eyebrows furrowed in confusion before I added quickly. “She knows about everything. She waits for you to show up every day at the front door but you never do,” I said, suddenly feeling really irritated about the whole thing.

My dad looked down at the ground and scuffed his feet. “Soon,” he muttered.

Boldly, I asked, “There isn’t someone else, is there…?”

He laughed as if he were offended by the suggestion and waved it away with his hand. “No, what – of course not! What do you take me for, Riley? I’m your father and your mom’s husband. I’ve just had to get used to a lot of things, you know. And I didn’t know how to tell you mom but now I find she already knows.”

I nodded. I understood entirely but I wasn’t sure how my dad would handle my mom’s anger. She’d surely been stretched to her limit. “I’ll be staying with mom too for a couple days, so I’ll know if you don’t visit-.”

My dad interrupted me with a hug, crushing me against his chest like he used to do when I was a little girl, making me feel safe from the big bad world. It was probably the best thing to receive in that moment.

For a minute or so we said nothing before he gradually let go and nodded his head. “I’ll be there. I’ll come back. Tell your mom to wait. Tell her that I love you both.”

I nodded my head sadly as I thought about her reaction. “I will.”

***

As Dante and I drove back to my house, Dante asked who the man was. When I said it was my dad he got mad and could help but yell about how he should have been introduced. I had to snark back and tell about how that wasn’t my top priority right now.

The Blood Transfer was top priority though.

We pulled up outside and saw Megan and Ben’s vehicle parked neatly at the top of the drive. We carefully parked beside them.

Inside everything seemed a mess. My mom ran around like a headless chicken, overwhelmed by the sudden influx of guests after almost six months of no company whatsoever. It was nice to see her kept busy but not so nice to lose her mind over the mess her guests kept leaving in their wake. She didn’t even know we were visiting until a few hours ago.

Amanda was home now too, taking up residence in front of the TV box, remote in hand. Megan had tried to engage in conversation with the moody teenager but it was futile, too engrossed in reality TV.

Megan made a quiet comment about her attitude and then all hell broke loose.

“Who do you think you are coming in here and taking about me, huh?” Amanda asked, forgetting she was only fourteen years old talking back to a near-adult.

Dante rolled his eyes and turned his back on his sister. He leaned down ever so slightly and whispered in my ear, “Do you want to just get out of here before this gets messy? You haven’t seen my sister mad yet.”

I laughed as I avoided Dante’s eyes and observed the scene behind him. “Oh yeah? I reckon Megan could give her a run for her money. She’s pretty damn vicious too.”

Amanda raised her hand with the remote clasped between her fingers, reading to smash it down over Megan’s skull. Suddenly, Amanda and Dante’s mother appeared behind her, grabbing a hold of the volatile teenager. “Stop it!” Nina screamed, shocking Amanda so much that she dropped the remote above her head letting it fall onto her own with a crack.

Amanda screeched bloody murder.

“Are you forgetting where you are?” Her mother asked dangerously, pulling her figure back into the couch so she stumbled into the seat.

Amanda cowered away before my mom joined the scene. She wore her oven mitts and seemed oblivious to near show down in her living room. “Dinner is ready!” She called.

***

We all sat around our small dinner table, having to pull up a few spare chairs and squeeze them into every gap. “Any progress on the Dimera side of things?” Dante’s mom asked, while my mom sat there clueless to all werewolf related discussion. She tried not to involve herself.

Ben scoffed a laugh as he replied in place of us all and said, “Nope, but you should have seen my aunt and uncle having that fight of theirs today – savage.”

“Now, now,” my mom piped up, putting in her thoughts for the first time in this whole conversation. “They’re still your family,” she said.

Ben shrugged as he shovelled some food down his throat. “Well, yeah, but they’re pretty disagreeable at times, and rarely tolerable. Even when Austin was around, I-.”

Megan from Ben’s left side slapped her hand over his mouth as if he were about to spill a secret. “Just go and talk crap about our family to everyone, alright. Mrs. Kerr is right,” she told him off.

Ben rolled his eyes this time and batted her hand away. “I wasn’t going to say much.”

My mom focused in on one thing out of that conversation and that was her married name. She muttered it under her breath for a few seconds, as if to test it and that it really was still hers.

I knew where that was going if we got her started on it and that’s why I felt now the most appropriate time to let her know I’d seen dad.

“Hey, Mom,” I said between Megan and Ben’s bickering.

Mom looked distracted, earning some curious stares from Nina who always looked like she was judging everyone. “Hm?” She finally replied, snapping her gaze from her plate.

For a moment or so I wondered how I should tell her. I should just come out with it right? “Mom, I saw dad today.”

That caught her attention. Her eyes perked and became brighter at the thought of someone having physically conversed with a man she’d for a long time thought dead. “You did?” She asked after gaping for a few seconds.

I nodded my head, glancing at Dante who smiled sadly in my direction. “Dante saw him too. He looked great, didn’t he, Dante?” I asked him, shoving my elbow into his ribs making sure he knew I wanted an answer my mom would be glad to hear.

“Oh,” Dante said, for a moment flustered at having to conjure a comment, “Oh, yeah, he looked great. I didn’t even know it was Riley’s father until she told me in the car and -.”

My mom’s face hardened as she let her cutlery fall onto her plate with a smash. “Oh really? Sounds like he’s having a blast,” she commented.

I let my palm hit my forehead as I realised the adverse effects of my words. “Mom, no, he said he’d come check in on us in the next few days, he misses us-.”

Check in?” she spat, not understanding why he’d be checking in on his wife and daughter. “He should be coming home to stay, not checking in.

I looked away and let my eyes become dark with frustration. Dante looked sympathetic as his hand slipped below the table and slid over my thigh in comfort. “He told me to tell you he loves us both,” I muttered, knowing now any recovery attempt was useless.

My mom rolled her eyes as she began to busy herself with gathering up everyone’s empty plates. “Well, you can tell him for me that I won’t believe that unless I hear it for myself. What husband and father vanishes without a trace and can only say he loves them through a message. How pathetic.”

She walked away, a pile of dishes in her hand. I was left to face the rest of the table who looked back at me like I’d attempted to tame an unwilling lion; pity in their eyes, but they also thought I was stupid.

***

Everyone else had vacated the table but Ben and I. I lingered around for a chance to get closer to come up with something, anything. Someone had to help me but I could tell no one about what I wanted to do.

This wasn’t easy, but nothing since I’d become a werewolf was. I had to do this blood transfer now. The ideal time would be when we had a better idea of where Austin was but time was against me.

Ben got up with a sigh and stretched his arms above his shoulders, cracking the bones in his back with every stretch higher.

I couldn’t feel sorry for what I was about to do as I watched him get up to leave, because by doing this I was going to help save Austin and help prevent another fight with the hunters. There had to be sacrifice. I was only sorry that in all of this the sacrifice had to be Ben.

My lunged to my feet and dodged the table after him, purposely trapping my foot between his own and the doorframe he was about to walk through. We both fell in a tangle of limbs.

Ben groaned under me, my weight having fallen on top of his. I gasped as if I hadn’t anticipated it. “Are you alright?” I asked as I scrambled off him.

I inspected my hands – my palms were badly scuffed and torn, blood seeping from the small cuts that stung like I’d poured vinegar on them

Ben threw his hand around like it was a dead weight on his wrist, pulling back his lips in a wince to reveal his perfectly straight, white teeth. “Where were you so desperately running to?” He asked, knowing straight away who was to blame.

“I’m so sorry!” I cried as if I cared, reaching out for his hand to take in my own. I felt his own damp skin touch my own, and I immediately knew that this was really happening. He’d cut his hand ever so slightly on the doorframe.

He didn’t seem to sense anything wrong as I clung onto his hand, my thoughts taking me elsewhere as I closed my eyes and breathed sharply. Little pain registered in my hand, nor my twisted ankle as I channelled all my energy towards the blood transfer. Ben didn’t expect a thing.

This was how it was done, right? I was an alpha, I had this power, and now I’m letting this wolf from Dimera have some of that power.

“Hey, are you okay?” Ben asked as he resisted my hold, still oblivious to my intentions.

I thought about it hard. Let Ben be Dimera’s alpha. He will be Dimera alpha and the Dimera family – Mr. Dimera, Rose, and Austin will become a rogues. I prayed, I hoped, whatever one I was supposed to do to make this work. I held on tighter until even Ben winced at his own injuries.

“I think I’ve broken it,” I heard him say.

I couldn’t keep holding on forever. I’d clung silently for already too long. Had it worked? Was he now an alpha? How would either of us know?

“What’s happened?” A voice asked suddenly. Both Ben and I turned to look at the body entering from the other door way. He looked between us for a moment. A few expressions crossed his face. Confusion, sadness, more confusion, and then anger. He saw our bloodied hands straight away and read me like a book. I couldn’t hide my guilty expression.

Dante knew exactly what I’d just done. It was only a shame that Ben was completely clueless.

 

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