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.


9. Chapter 9

Early next morning I transformed back into a human form and was dragged straight into a confrontation with my mom. What did I expect, a happy, smiling reunion as we both put the secrets behind us? That wasn’t going to happen.

Sabitha and Samira silently handed over their car keys to my mom – allowing us some space for a private conversation, my mom pushing me inside the vehicle and slamming my door closed. She followed quickly after me and joined me on the other side. For a few seconds it was quiet, as I sat gaping at her wondering how, why, when she got here and why was she so calm.

“What are you doing here?” I began to ask. I zipped my mouth shut after that when I saw her face - she looked utterly murderous.

Slowly, she began to shake her head. “All this time, this is what you have been hiding?” she didn’t look nearly as upset as she did angry. “And your coward of a father-.”

“You know about that?” I interrupted in surprise, my eyebrows flying off my face.

“Your boyfriend’s mom was more than willing to tell me about everything so I’ve had a while to think all this through. Believe me, I wasn’t fine in the beginning. I could hardly believe it. I could hardly believe it until I saw it with my own eyes a few hours ago as you – as you sprouted fur and howled up into the sky,” she spat, twisting in her seat to look out the tinted glass. “Nina really didn’t hold back on the details.” I quickly gathered that Nina was Dante’s mom’s name.

I didn’t know how to respond. My mom’s emotionless face gave nothing away – was she scared, was she angry, did she want to cry? “So you know…” I trailed off, but still unsure of what exactly she did or didn’t know. She knew I was a wolf. She knew about my relationship with Dante. She knew of Dante’s family’s position. She knew about father. Presumably she knew why Dante and I were here in Colorado, so she must know about Austin.

She turned so fast she gave me whiplash. “About werewolves? Oh yeah. A mad place this world’s become,” Mom said, the words sounding strange coming from her mouth. “I really didn’t want to believe it, believe what I was seeing… But seeing you today has me thinking I should hire a new therapist, dear lord-.”

“Mom!” I yelled, to stop her rambling. “Calm down. Please.”

“How can I be calm when my daughter is also a dog!? And my dead husband has been reborn!” She screamed, her words dead serious but triggering a nervous laugh inside me.

I wanted to laugh, but I knew all too well that she was serious. “He was never dead,” I muttered.

“I know! I know! And that’s what makes me so mad!” she yelled, followed by a string of curses that sounded so unlike her. “None of you ever thought to tell me. Not once.”

I reached out, laying a hand on her shoulder. “I thought about it so many times, mom, please believe me.”

“What’s the point? What’s done is done. Even I can’t change that,” she murmured, certainly unamused. We both fell into a plummeting silence.

The truth sat between us, idling on the fence between what my mom wanted to believe and what her owns eyes were telling her. She had to accept it.

“I’m sorry…” I finally spoke up.

She held up her hand. “I don’t care about apologise, but just know I can forget about this but I’m certainly not forgetting about your father and the fact he faked dead. If he thought he’d seen me mad before, then he was mistaken.”

“He’s not here anyway.”

She laughed psychotically. “Oh, I know, he’s back in Mateo and that’s what makes it even worse – he’s been living within a five mile radius and hasn’t thought to even send a letter.” Mom was definitely losing it.

The question balancing on the tip of my tongue finally fell. “Are you okay… with me being… A werewolf?”

She paused, as if she had to think about it. “I can’t change how things have turned out, and I can only blame myself. This would never have happened if I hadn’t trusted the Dimera’s. I still think I should see a therapist though.”

I gently patted her shoulder in disapproval. “Mom!”

“What?” she responded with a light laugh. “I’ve had about a week to come to terms with all this since Nina first contacted me. Trust me… I’m a lot better with it now than what I was at the start… It just feels real now. But I don’t want to believe it’s real.”

I settled back into my chair uncomfortably. The sun was rising just beyond the trees. It was soon time to get back on the road and on the fading trail of Austin and the hunters, or even back on the road back to Mateo. I didn’t look forward to that – especially with the added danger. It reminded me this place wasn’t a place for my mom.

“So…” My mom pushed. “Mates. Such a strange concept.”

Heat began to spread from under my collar. I knew where this was going. I laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, it’s strange. Romantic though.”

My mum nodded, a distant look in her eyes. “That kind of love must be beautiful. You’re still too young for a boyfriend though.”

I nodded even though I disagreed, the red quickly covering my cheeks. “Good thing he’s my mate then and not my boyfriend.”

“But,” mom suddenly interjected, coming back into reality, “I know how first love and romance can be quite a whirlwind, and how caught up you can get. Love is still love, a funny name put over it or not. This Dante… Is he responsible? If he’s anything like his mom…”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Dante’s mom had seemed just as loving and responsible as Rose had been to me so I had no idea what she’d done to my mom to put across such an impression. I smiled reassuringly. “He’s perfect. He respects me a lot.”

She narrowed her eyes as if she didn’t believe me. “Just remember, just because – because you are not human – don’t think human nature doesn’t apply. Boys will be boys, and when girls and boys get caught up with each other, things begin to multiply-,” she tried to say.

I quickly plugged my ears when I got gist of where she was going. “Okay, okay – I got this whole talk when I was eleven. I don’t need it again.” My hand dived for the door handle, opening it with a hard push.

I rushed off not bothering to close the door. Behind me I heard my mom yell, “I don’t want any grandbabies just yet from my seventeen year old daughter, please and thank you!”

Just my luck, standing not meters from the car was Dante, his mom, and sister. Going by the distinct awkward expression on Dante and his sister Amanda’s face, they’d heard every word. His mom looked just like how she usually did.

I nodded at her. “Nina,” I acknowledged, before I ran off in the other direction.


The day passed quickly again. Dante had decided we’d leave tomorrow so we could settle everything and organise ourselves, as well as figure out what we were going to do with our guests that we knew we couldn’t take back on the road unless that road was heading home.

Sitting around a campfire in a deserted part of the campsite, Dante and I sat side by side close to Sabitha and Samira. On the opposite side of the fire sat my mom Elizabeth, Dante’s mom Nina, and Amanda – Dante’s sister.

Dante and his mom were quietly discussing details of what had happened back home. Nothing I hadn’t already heard from Dante himself. It was like he enjoyed torturing himself with being reminded of his failures time and time again. “What do the remaining pack members think about the situation?” Dante asked.

Through the flickering flames and darkness, I could see the shadow of a shrug. “A few ran off, a few don’t really care – so long as they have someone to pay their taxes to and someone to receive support and protection from. Of course, those loyal to us have escaped to northern Wyoming, quite a few further north until I tell them it’s safe,” Dante’s mom explained.

Dante didn’t look like he cared to know who exactly had remained and who had jumped ship, but he asked anyway. His mom began to list off names.

An arm wrapped around my shoulder, pulling me closer into Dante’s side. I looked up into his piercing eyes, face cast in shadows from the fire. He looked beautiful. His face fell closer, planting a soft kiss on my left cheek. “It feels like I’ve known you my entire life,” he mumbled.

I tried to hold back the small grin. “Makes one of us,” I teased.

He gently nudged my shoulder, pushing me into Sabitha who didn’t notice.

Dante spoke up, addressing us all. “Tomorrow we’ll leave – Me, Riley, Sabitha, and Samira – unless you two want to head back to the Santoro pack,” he suggested, looking at the two sisters to my left.

Nina didn’t seem happy. “Your mother is coming too, Dante,” she said, with that look in her eyes that told her he had no choice in the matter. She was going with him whether he liked it or not.

Dante shook his head in defiance. “You’re going back to Mateo with Elizabeth and Amanda. It’s too dangerous. I would have sent Riley with you too but I think she’s safer with me. Besides, we’ll likely return to Mateo soon too. We might even be right behind you.”

Nina grumbled under her breath, before she stood up. “And we’re not safer with you? Why is Mateo safer when you’re not around despite Mateo being filled with Hunters, enemy packs, and traitors?”

Dante let half a smile fill his face despite the unpleasant words. “I’m only one person. It has to be Riley, because she will be Bancroft’s future and our enemies know that.

My mom coughed. Red began to fill my face.

“Fine,” Nina growled, “I won’t go with you – but we’re not going back to Mateo, especially if that creep is still in Mateo trying to steal our pack.”

Both stubborn creatures fell quiet and refused to say anymore. Through the fire, I connected gaze with my mom who awkwardly shifted eye contact between us all. “What do you think, mom?” I asked.

She seemed startled I’d even asked her opinion at all. “Oh, well… I don’t mind so long as I get to go home eventually,” she replied, “And as long as you’re safe. I have some stuff to sort out back home, anyway.” When mom finished as hint of mischief touched her face. I knew my mom and dad would finally be meeting again soon. That was her unfinished business.

Nina didn’t look happy, but when had she ever? “Well in that case, I suppose that’s the only option I have, isn’t it?” She asked, trying to guilt trip Dante.

Dante warily approached her. “I’m sorry. I just can’t risk anything happening to you. We don’t know who’s following us about out here and had I been given advance warning about you coming to meet us I would have told you to stay put.”

Nina nodded toughly. “I understand.” She suddenly looked down at her wrist, scanning the watch face. “It’s late now anyways. Amanda and I will go sleep in Elizabeth’s car.” I knew now we’d receive nothing but the silent treatment until they left for back home. They stalked away towards my mom’s car.

“We’ll talk in the morning-,” Dante tried to interject.

Nina was having none of it. “I brought the things you mentioned you were low on when we last spoke. I put them in the trunk of your beat up car over there – a hundred dollars and a new charger. We’ll likely have left by the time you wake up tomorrow.”

Dante didn’t follow that up with anything as both his mom and sister evacuated the scene. My mom soon got up too, but wandered around the campfire to pull me into a tight hug – the closest we’d both been since all this had begun. “I love you,” she whispered in my ear. “If I don’t see you tomorrow morning, I’ll see you soon.”

Then she followed off after them.

Dante sighed loudly. “Are you okay?” I asked him, standing up by his side.

He looked down at my feet, slowly trailing upwards until his gaze settled on my hand. He reached out and connected them. “Of course.” He brought our joined hands up to his face. He held them close to his mouth.

Somewhere in the background, Sabitha and Samira made their escape, muttering something about feeling tired.

“Want to go on a walk?” Dante suggested, suddenly alone.

I peered up at him, a whole head taller. “Sure.”

We set off in a straight line from the campfire – almost immediately becoming engulfed by trees that went on endlessly as expected in rural Colorado – in all its green, natural, and wild landscaping. One foot in front of the other, we both fell into a slow pace that soon enough settled us a good quarter mile into the treeline.

Dante then stopped. “We shouldn’t go too far,” was all he said. “Shouldn’t get too comfortable out here.”

I pivoted from my heel to face him. “Should we go back?” I gently suggested.

He shook his head and jutted out his lower lip. “No. I just want to stay here.”

I raised my hand, and gently let it fall down the side of his face, coming to a rest in the crook of his neck. “You’re really not okay, Dante.”

He looked tired and worn, frustrated but upset, conflicted yet sure. He was a man of contradictions – not able to make up his mind. His dirty blonde hair had grown longer, long enough to fall into his eyes if he didn’t style it. He hadn’t styled it for days, giving him a rough appearance that somehow made him seem smaller as a person. He didn’t seem as strong anymore.

Craning my neck back, I peered up at him. “No matter what happens, there’s always us.”

Dante’s hand fell from mine, finding place above my hip in the dip of my waist. “Always.”

I moved closer, feeling a desire to stand as one with him at a time when he needed support. Dante always tried to act so strong, but no one could ever hold that façade forever. He needed someone to help him once in a while – he just needed to know he was allowed to weaken his resolve.

His lips gently met mines in what was a soft and tender kiss. His hands sat idly on my waist, kneading the visible skin between my pants and shirt. We both stepped backwards until I was backed against a close by tree – trapped, encaged by the thick forest around us. Almost immediately I felt like we were truly alone without a fear in the world.

My other hand reached up to lay on his shoulder. Our kiss became more as he opened his mouth against my own. The world seemed to dither.

The cold didn’t bite our skin as we touched each other, one on one sharing our warmth. Neither of us had to ask permission, it was a mutual agreeance between us, both able to read the other like an open book.

Dante looked at me like he had so many times before, but this time his eyes read nothing but kindness. I gently reached up around his upper torso, pulling him closer to me. “It’s okay,” I said.

He lowered his face towards me for another small kiss before everything but Dante melted away.

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