Queens

Ever heard of that joke about the lion amongst the wolves? No, well, neither has Vivienne. How was she supposed to know that her life would be the punchline?

Vivienne is a little special. Turns out, her best friend Casey, is also a little special. According to a local legend, they're part of a group called 'The Ascended', who's purpose is to reunite werewolves and wereanimals together.

Can they do it? Can they do what no other person has done and be the heroes that everyone wants them to be? Or will they crumble and fail?

[Cover made by me, but the picture isn't mine. Found it on tumblr]
[COMPLETELY UNEDITED]
[not your typical werewolf story]

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7. seven.

Chapter 7

I fumble with getting the keys into the keyhole. I hear Casey’s shivers behind me, as I struggle to turn the key correctly. She struggles to keep her teeth from chattering, but fails to do so. The rain had stopped immediately as we stepped outside, but the freezing wind remained. The walk home was mainly silent, with the odd conversation here and there, but our minds were preoccupied.

Plus, we couldn’t really talk without feeling like our mouths had been invaded with the spirit of a jackhammer.

“We’re going to die out here.” Casey stutters, “It’s going to be on the news. ‘Two girls freeze to death as they struggle to open the door’.”

“That’s an awfully long headline.” I comment with a smile, pushing the door open.

Casey pushes past me, knocking me onto the floor as I bend down to get our belongings. I make a face at her, but she doesn’t see as she’s kicking off her school shoes. This place is her second home, and there’s even another bed in my room for her.  She’s always over at mine, and her presence is almost always guaranteed over here.

If she ever went missing, the first place they’d check would be my house. Then, they’d probably take me in for questioning as I’m always dragged into her many, many schemes.

She curls up on her seat on the sofa, which was always the end so she has the arm, and pats the soft black leather seat next to her. I take off my shoes and settle them next to hers. Her hair spreads out on the black chair, reaching down to the seats. She leans forward, allowing it to fall behind her, making space for me. I climb onto the chair, using the arm of the chair as my stair. Crossing my legs, I sit facing her, but not next to her. The low murmur of the TV catches my attention – I wasn’t aware that the TV was on.

“Was the TV on when you sat down?” I ask, watching the characters on the screen.

“Yeah, I just changed it from the news.” She says.

“My parents are home. Hold on, I’ll go say hi.” I say with a smile, jumping off the chair.

Casey doesn’t say anything, until I open the door.

“Tell them I’m here!” Her shout fades as I close the living room door.

I smile to myself as I skip up the stairs. My parents would know even if I didn’t tell them. Casey leaves little details that reminds everyone that she’s here. Messy details, but details none the less. My parents are the type of people that are extra observant – they notice all the things that other people often do not, even on the second or third glance. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit that trait, although sometimes I wish I did.

As I walk across the landing, I peer into my bedroom. The sheets on my bed are neatly made, and my huge teddy bear is carefully placed onto my left pillow. The books are stacked on the wooden shelf above my desk, which is next to my window. The window is still open and the curtains are rolled up, allowing the rain to enter my house in tiny drops.

Casey’s bed isn’t made, and is left exactly the way it was yesterday, when she was over here. The covers are pulled back, as if she only just got up. One of the pillows is leaning over the edge, as if it’s about to fall down onto the floor. I suspect that my parents knew that she was going to come over again.

There’s no point making a bed, if it’s going to end up the same way. Especially with Casey around.

I walk across to my parent’s bedroom, knocking four times before waiting for an answer. Normally there would be a shuffling of papers, and I would hear a quiet ‘Come in’ but I don’t hear anything. I wait quite a while before opening the door slightly. The bed looks unused, perfect even. It never seems like my parents sleep in that bed – it’s always absolutely flawless whenever I go in there, no ruffle or crease in sight. The only way I ever know if my parents were in, if there was some sort of book or newspaper on the side table. I look to the antique table, but I see no sign of any newspaper or book on there.

I run my hand through my hair, while closing the door gently. My parents must be home – why else would the TV be on?

“…She’s not a child anymore Carolyn…” I hear my dad’s voice rising.

I edge closer to the door that leads to the study. I rarely go in here, as normally Alpha Nelson is in there with my parents, or there’s always some sort of private meeting, discussing the pack.

“…can’t be one of them…” My mother says quietly.

“But what if?”

His voice is fading, as if he’s walking to the window at the back of the room. I hear the floor creak and the chair legs scrape across the floor.

“We’ll just have to wait till her sixteenth birthday.”

“She’s changing, Franklin.”

“She has to.”

“Just one more week, then we’ll know.”

I knock four times on the bed, deciding that this would be the right time to interrupt their conversation. My mind is whirling with questions – why were they talking about me? being the main question.

The door seems to open by itself as I tentatively step inside our study. The room smells of scotch, which used to put me off when I was younger but I slowly got used to it, and pinewood with the occasional vanilla here and there.  The old books and records of our pack are stacked high on the shelves, which made it unreachable without a small step ladder, even for a 6ft2 man, such as my dad. My granddad’s old tartan chair is near the fireplace that is never on. It’s grown old and dusty as if nobody ever uses it, but my dad does, at night, when nobody is ever awake and in the study.

“Hi Vee, how was school?” My mother’s eyes are red, and she wipes them with the back of her hand.

She looks so fragile, not like the woman I’ve grown up to adore and love. Her long, wavy brown hair hangs over her shoulders, covering half of her back. She pulls the grey cardigan back onto her shoulder as she gives me a tired smile.

“It was…interesting.” I pause, looking for the right word.

“Interesting? What happened?” My dad raises his eyebrows at my word choice, his green eyes twinkle with curiosity.

I debate whether to tell them what happened, or to ask them what they were talking about. A short knock on the door sounds, and I’m interrupted before I even start to say anything.

“Come in.” My dad says, dragging his chair to the front of the desk.

The door opens and Casey pokes her head through the small gap, her hair almost touching the floor. She looks around, first at me, then she realises that I was talking to my parents.

“Hey Nutcase.”

Nutcase was my dad’s nickname for Casey, ever since she was little. He didn’t mean it in a rude or insulting way, even though some members of the pack seemed to think so, but Casey never took offence, she still plays along with it. He’s never called her by her real name, unless we’re both in serious trouble.

“Hey Uncle. I’m sorry if this is a bad time, but I can’t find the Doritos. I looked in the cupboard and all I can find is Walkers.” She pouts at my mum, who laughs at her.

“Did you check in the cupboard next to the fridge?”

Casey gasps. “There’s a cupboard next to the fridge?”

“Come here, I’ll show you.” Mum opens the door, allowing the light from the hallway to enter the room.

It’s probably better if I talk about what happened today, then maybe it’ll lead onto what they were talking about earlier. I think it’d be best if I had a second point of view, to make sense of it all, since I really have no idea what happened today. Everything’s been sort of a blur for me, and I’m still trying to wrap my head about it all.

“Actually, I need to talk to both of you and it’d help if Casey was there.” I call out, my tone serious.

Dad looks up and the smile on his face disappears. He leans forward on his chair, his elbows on his knees with his hands under his chin. His eyes encourage me to elaborate, but I wait until my mum closes the door and sits down on the chair.

I turn to Casey, who is sitting cross-legged on the chair, and make a face at her. She gives me the tiniest of nods, and turns to my parents, who are watching our conversation with interest.

“Do you want the short version or the long version?” She says it so casually, as if we’re talking about the daily gossip.

He thinks about it for a while, before answering, “If we have the short version now, can we ask questions at the end?”

Casey nods and then turns to me, “Should I say everything that happened? Including the little…episode…?”

I nod, and sit in my granddad’s chair. It still smells of him, even after all this time. The dust falls on my skirt, but I don’t brush it off.

“Well, Nate shifted today. I think you might know that, though.” She begins, counting it off on her fingers.

“Wait, what? He shifted?” Mum’s voice raises, as she turns to look at my dad.

“Yeah, I thought you knew that.” I say, remembering Nate’s phone call.

“No, I wasn’t aware…” He trails off.

“But something weird happened before Nate even shifted. Nala fainted in lesson, in Mr Lawrence’s lesson-“

“I didn’t faint. I was here, but I wasn’t.” I say quickly.

“What happened? Are you okay? Did you feel ill in the lesson? I bet it was because you didn’t eat breakfast in the morning. I keep telling you to grab something to eat, no matter how small it is.” Mum rambles.

“Carol, let them finish.” Dad touches her hand and she stops immediately.

I smile at him, thanking him silently.

“I don’t really know. Something, I don’t know what it was, was alive inside of me. All I remember was having some sort of vision thing, and a giant roar.”

Everyone looks at me with curious eyes, so I continue, letting the words flow out of me, “I remember floating. It felt like a pool, but later, I figured it was an ocean or some sort of lake. There was this giant roar, and I turned towards it, and there was some sort of animal on the rock. I couldn’t make out what kind of animal it was, but it turned towards me and all I could feel was unity and royalty. I’ve never felt like that in my whole life, but as strange as it sounds, I really loved that feeling.”

“Franklin, she’s-she’s-“Mum stammers, her face a mixture of emotions that I can’t make out.

“I’m what Mum? Dad?”

“We don’t know that yet, hon.” He then turns to us, skilfully avoiding the question, “Something else happened. What happened?”

His voice is stern, compelling us to tell him the truth. He only uses that tone to get information out of our pack members, but I know that he has used it on Alpha Nelson, but only once.

I narrow my eyes at him, while he looks at Casey with a firm gaze. He knows that Casey cannot stand his gaze, and will willingly confess everything. She falls into that trap every single time, and he’s the only person who can make her do such things.

“Why aren’t you answering-“ I begin to ask, determined to find out why my mum’s face is full of tears.

Casey interrupts, “When we were walking down to Nate, Vivi started to act strange. I don’t know what it was, but I turned to face her and she was literally like a zombie. Her eyes carried that spaced out look, and she was dragging her feet on the ground, mostly the crowd was guiding her. One minute, she had the look in her eyes, the next minute, her eyes rolled back. I panicked, and started calling her name but she didn’t respond. Neither did the crowd surrounding us, now that I think about it. The weather was really strange as well, it was raining, and the wind seemed to slow us down a lot. Oh, and then I somehow got placed into her memory. I don’t really know how, but it was the weirdest sensation ever. One minute I’m walking on the ground, next minute I’m in her brain. I saw her memories, Uncle. Then we got somehow out of her brain, but it’s like I’m sharing her brain. It’s exactly like sharing a room, like you know they’re always going to be there, and even if they aren’t, you can still have little remains of their presence. That’s what it’s like now. I know that she’s not in my brain, but I know that I’m not alone in my thoughts anymore, if you get what I mean.”

Her words spill out, at such a fast pace, that I wonder if I understand what she’s saying. It takes me a few minutes to absorb what she was thinking, even though I’m used to Casey’s ramblings when she’s nervous.

I look to my dad, who seems to calculating something in his brain. I open my mouth to say something, but my mother shakes her head. The tears have dried up, but they’re still visible, like snail tracks on the pavement. He runs a hand through his salt-and-pepper hair, and suddenly slams his hands on the desk.

The sound makes all three of us flinch, and nearly jump out of the chair. Thankfully, we don’t but my mum doesn’t look shocked at his reaction. Casey and I look at each other with confusion, not really understanding what’s happening.

“Dammit!” He growls.

I’m almost too scared to ask, but my mouth betrays me, once again, “What’s wrong?”

His features soften slightly, when he hears my voice, but I can see that he’s wrestling with his wolf. Casey and I stand up to leave the room, but my mum gives me a warning look. I furrow my eyebrows at her, not understanding what I have caused.

“Sorry. Something else happened, I can feel it.” He says, his breath still ragged.

I start off, tentatively, “A guy, he came into our school. I’ve never seen him in my life, I’m pretty sure I would’ve remembered if I had. This was before Casey came though, and he said that there’s a pack meeting. Dad, the minute he walked in, it was silent. He had everyone’s attention, and as if everyone knew him, they all started to go.”

“Did he talk to you privately?” Mum’s voice is barely a whisper.

“Uh, yeah. He said his name was Sly-“ I start to explain, but I never get to finish.

“Sly?” Mum’s eyes widen.

He slams his hand on the desk again, with so much force that the books on his desk fall on the floor. He removes his hand, visibly raging with emotion, and growls loudly. Goosebumps appear on my skin, refusing to leave even if I try to rub them away.  

“Frank, calm down.” Mum tries to soothe him, but he doesn’t respond.

Who is this Sly and what did he do? It’s got to be bad, because normally my dad isn’t like this. He doesn’t respond to news like this; he always keeps his emotions under wraps and uses his voice to express his anger.

Mum rubs his back soothingly, whispering in his ear. He calms down, his body not shaking and his breathing is a bit more normal than what it was. He looks me straight in the eye, his gaze not wavering even though I try to avoid his stare. He puts his hand out in front of him, as if he’s expecting something.

“He should’ve given you a card. Could I take a look at it please?” He asks, his voice softer than what it was before.

“How do you know that?”

“Just get the card. Don’t look at it either.”

I remain defiant, I’m sick of being kept in the dark about everything. I understand, that by disobeying my dad’s instruction, is technically rebelling but I just want some answers. I want some answers to shed some light on everything, but I doubt that my parents would tell me. I doubt that anyone would ever tell me.

“No.”

The word flows from my mouth naturally, like water falling from the tap. Casey and my mum gasp in shock, can’t really blame them, I’ve never spoken back or out of turn, and I’ve always accepted and obeyed my parents. My body stand its ground though, my eyes never leaving his, but my insides are turning into mush. The small thrill of disobeying my parents runs through my veins, as I struggle to keep the smile off my face.  The stand-off lasts for a few minutes, but it seems like an eternity, and I feel myself buckling down but something in me tells me to hold my gaze.  He backs down first, sighing but I see the corners of his mouth turn upwards.

It’s as if he knows something that I don’t.

He turns toward my mum and whispers something that I can’t hear.  She smiles, before turning back to us. I yearn to know what he said to her, and what’s making her smile this way. I feel a hard slap on my leg, making me wince. I look across at Casey, who’s pointing to her wrist. I tilt my head, not knowing what she is talking about. She mouths the word ‘time’ at me, before it finally clicks in my head. Louis! We’re supposed to meet him at five!

Well done, dumbass. A voice sneers at me, but I ignore it.

“It’s time you girls knew.” Dad announced, suddenly.

I pause, before saying, “We can’t right now. We’re supposed to meet Louis in the library.”

He starts to get up from his chair, but he pauses in mid-sit, and settles back into his chair. He runs a hand through his hair, ruffling it up a bit.

“Right now?” Mum asks, making a face.

“Well, this makes things even more complicated.” Dad mumbles quietly into his hand.

“What?” I ask.

“Go. We’ll talk after.”

 

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