I didn’t hear anything from Mike or Sarah for the rest of the night or the day after.
Unfortunately they consisted ninety eight percent of my social life. The other two percent was reserved for my goldfish.
“Hey fishy. Wanna go for a walky?” I say flicking the bowl.
The beta fish just stares at me it’s gills opening and closing. I sigh and turn to my clock. Yep. Still Sunday and still before noon.
I push myself off the bed. “I guess I’ll have to go for a walk on my own then.” I say
Cupcake the fish just stares at me once more before swimming into her small plastic cave. A dismissal if I ever saw one.
I quickly put on some hiking boots, which I only had because Sarah guilted me into buying them. Then I put on a long sleeve top and some capris shorts. It was pretty much summer but when hiking I liked to be extra careful of the big ole’ UV rays. Not to mention that the branches were viscous on my sensitive skin, especially when I hiked with Mike. He just plowed right through the branches like they were a meadow of cotton candy.
I grab a granola bar and water bottle from the kitchen before taking my keys off the hook and closing the door. I made sure to lock it. Who knew where my mom was.
I mean she wasn’t a bad mom, when I needed her she was there, but she liked her independence more than me sometimes.
She made sure I was fed, made sure I knew approximately her schedule, and made sure to schedule time off when I wanted to spend time with her. Mostly though she was off working, off to find her latest passion, or on a date trying to find her perfect man.
I remember our talk a couple years ago. “Your showing yourself to be self sufficient” She had said “I am loosening my parenting reigns; its a step to prepare you to live on your own one day.”
I wasn’t upset. Lately she was more happy than she had been in a long time. It also reassured me that when I left for college she would be more than ok without my company.
I start my car and pull on the dirt road leading away from my house. I pass the houses of my distantly dispersed neighbours and wave to a couple of them before turning onto the main road. The beauty of a small town is that you usually had enough land to be a private person, while simultaneously being unable to escape being known by all your neighbours. It could be a blessing and a pain in the ass.
I crank up the AC and the volume on my Hillary Duff CD unashamedly belting the words to the song ‘so yesterday’. I was alone and no one could judge me for my early two thousand’s music choices. Before long I make it to my destination.
I park my car on the side of the road and hop out ready to hike. This was my favorite walking trail mostly because it wasn’t a trail at all. Sarah had dragged Mike and me here sometime in ninth grade saying that some local told her about a hidden path. Supposedly it led to an awesome view.
My fifteen year old self struggled up the majority of the trail. It was shortly after I learned about what Sarah and Mike were and I was grumbling under my breath the whole way. It hadn’t seemed fair that they had supernatural strength and agility on their side to help them up the hill.
When I had gotten to the top all the anger and thoughts about sore muscles disappeared. The beauty of the place left me with such awe and at the same time a deep sense of calm washed over me.
We hadn’t come here as a group for a over two years now. Sarah insisting on other trails when we did any type of hiking, but I secretly kept coming back. There was something about the place which calmed my nerves and centered me. Centered me like no other place in this town could.
I place my granola bar, phone and water bottle in the small backpack I keep in my trunk and the lock my car.
I waste no time making my way up the now familiar trail. It doesn’t take long for a sheen of sweat to covers my face and pools down my back. I welcome it. There was just something about pushing your physical limits once in a while which felt exhilarating.
I make it about halfway into the trail when I plop down on a log for a break. This far in nothing but the sounds of nature surround me.
I lean my head back onto the tree behind me and take a big breath. Filling my lungs with the crisp air.
I calm my breathing in and out, in an out. A content sigh leaves me. I needed to do this more often.
I close my eyes for one more moment before getting back on my feet. I would be able to do more nature bathing when I got to the top.
Maybe twenty minutes later I am in the home stretch. I pick up my pace slightly the promise of that breathtaking view and another water break edging me on.
I make it another thirty feet when I hear a crash.
I still, looking around me. A movement to my right immediately catches my eye. When a roar follows I quickly dive behind some dense bushes and crouch down.
I didn’t know what made that sound but I did know I didn’t want to meet it face to face.
I force myself to slow my breaths as I push some of the greenery aside, making an opening just large enough to see ahead of me.
Not a second later three huge wolves crash into the clearing. I had only seen werewolves once. That first time it was more shocking than anything since I knew it was my friends underneath the furry forms.
This time I knew they were werewolves because of the sheer size of them but I didn’t know who they were and what they wanted. Because of this, fear was the emotion now drenching me.
My heart beats fast as the three wolves circle each other. A silver and gray wolf on one side and a black one on the other. Without warning the black one lunges, it’s large jaws snapping. The silver and gray wolves easily dodge it.
They circle each other once again and it’s the gray wolfs time to lunge. It leaps towards the black wolf aiming for the throat. It’s jaw’s hit the mark and blood pools down the black wolfs fur as the grey wolf’s teeth pierces it’s flesh.
The black wolf writhes underneath the pressure but the grey wolf holds strong, clamping hard on the sinewy muscles.
The black wolf lets out a howl and does on last jerking motion, like bull trying to get rid of it’s rider, which causes the grey wolf to lose it’s hold and stumble back. Blood drips from the grey wolf’s sharp teeth as it get’s back into position beside the silver wolf.
I barely breath as I take in scene. I don’t dare move.
The black wolf takes a step forward and stumbles sightly. It’s neck a gruesome mess of bones and muscle.
It open does a quick movement towards the grey wolf before switching tracks and diving onto the silver wolf. It’s wide mouth open and is about to close onto the upper leg of the silver wolf when the grey wolf barrels into the black one sending them both sprawling. The grey wolf stands in front of the silver one and snarls. Bloody teeth gleaming. The black wolf gives them one more once over it’s eyes flashing red, before it growls and turns around, disappearing in the forest.
The silver wolf yips at the retreating figure fire in it’s brown eyes.
I’m somewhat relived the fight seems to over. I let myself breath a bit more deeply, sucking in oxygen into my lungs.
I didn’t feel threatened by the two werewolves left on the path. but I didn’t want to confront them either. Their calm demeanor might change if they suddenly noticed a human saw the whole thing. Sure werwolves probably didn’t eat humans, but they could easily maim them to teach a lesson and for some reason I didn’t really feel like a good maiming today.
The two wolves stare at each other for a moment before the gray wolf starts vibrating.
I bite my tongue in an effort not to gasp. I had only seen someone do that weirdo vibrating thing once before, but I knew what it meant. I would discover the identity of another shifter.
The vibrating progressively increases and in seconds a naked man is on his hands in knees. Right where a wolf was second before.
The silver wolf follows suit and I am now staring at two completely naked people who slowly get to their feet.
The man has nice buns, they’re tight, and complement the hard angles of his muscled shoulders and back. I find myself staring a bit.
The man turns to the girl his back still to me.
“Are you ok?” he asks and I freeze. I know that voice.
The girl nods her brown hair covering her face.
Turn around. I plead silently. I need to know if I am making things up or…
The man shifts and without a doubt the naked guy I was checking out was Mike.
“Fuck” I say out loud. I quickly cover my mouth with both hands but the damage is done.
Mike tenses and so does the girl. Please, god, let it not be a naked Sarah. I loved the girl to death but I didn’t want to see her naked!
Mike looks around and raises his head up and he honest to god sniffs the air. His eyes go wide as he turns directly to the bush I am hiding behind.
“Luce?” he says softly. The girls eyes go wide and she turns as well. God lord no. It is a naked Sarah.
Mike takes a step toward the bush. I guess it’s time then. The cat or should I say, wolf, is out of the bag, or maybe truck. A werewolf wouldn’t fit into a bag. Good lord. I need to get a grip.
I slowly stand up hands raised in surrender. I’m shaking a bit. Not necessarily because of the fight. I mean part of it sure, but It’s been three years of keeping this secret. I hadn’t imagined it getting out, ever. In the moments of weakness were I imagined I would tell them, I knew it certainly didn’t involve us in the forest, two of the three of us butt naked.
Sarah looks at me in shock. She looks down at her naked body and the glances to an equally as naked Mike and her cheeks warm.
“I… we…” she stutters for once without words.
“We’re werewolves” Mike says resigned. So like Mike, he knew I saw it all, he knew there was no covering it up so he got straight to the point.
For a second there’s silence. Then a rush of relief flows through me.
“Fucking Finally!” I shout. I told myself I could this a secret forever. I told myself I didn’t care if they never knew I knew but now that it was out it was like a truckload of weight was lifted off of me. I had so many questions, I had buried, so many bad werewolf jokes I had saved. I could finally lift the self imposed gag order.
I only realize my mistake as they both stare at me even more stunned.
“I mean…” I quickly backtrack. “Oh. Wow! Really?! I can’t… my stars..” I put a hand on my chest and the other fans my face “I feel a bit faint… Someone fetch me some water.”
Sarah is the first to speak. “You knew.” She accuses.
“Ya I knew.” I say dropping the act.
“Since when?!” Mike asks stepping in front of me.
I avert my eyes. “Mike, you know your kind of butt naked right now right? I love you man but I don’t want to see your junk anytime soon.”
Mike looks down at said junk. “Oh.. right.” He sniffs the air again and the looks to Sarah. “I don’t smell him anymore. I’ll go grab us some clothes in the truck. Are you ok…” He finished off lamely.
“It’s Lucy.” Sarah says rolling her eyes. “I can handle it. Go get us some clothes.”
Mike nods. He sniffs the air once more and runs off so fast he is nothing but a blur.
Me and Sarah stand awkwardly for a moment my eyes involuntarily drop to her boobs and back up to her now smirking face. She had nice big boobs, so not fair.
“Now that you know you’re going to have to come to terms with seeing a lot more naked than you ever wanted.” she says matter of factly.
“Awesome….” I say not even being able to fake enthusiasm. Who else in this town was a werewolf? Would I need to meet some of them now that I knew? How many of the ones I might meet would be strutting in their birthday suit?
“Old Mr. Toll isn’t a werwolf is he?” I ask suddenly a shiver going up my spine. “Because as a friend you would need to warn me so that I don’t need to see any sagging…”
Sarah bursts out laughing and I quickly join in, her laughter like a viral contagion.
“No, he’s not” she says. “But thanks that’s for that lovely mental image”
“You’re welcome” I tell her which only makes her snort.
There is a moment of tense silence where neither of us knows what to say or do. I study the sky and trees and Sarah pushes the dirt with her foot.
Finally Sarah clears her throat and looks up at me. “Are you really ok with this?” She asks
I look down from my cloud gazing and meet her eyes.
“I’ve known for three years now.” I say “If I wasn’t OK with it I would have dumped your ass and Mike’s a long time ago. As long as you don’t eat me I’m good.”
Sarah lips tremble as she looks at me. “I never thought I would ever be able to tell you. Which was so hard because you’re my best friend.” she says eyes filling with tears. “Now that you know there is so much to say. Wait.” Sarah says abruptly stopping. Her tears drying up like if they were suddenly a continent away under the saharas suns rays and deprived of all moisture.
“Three years!” she shrieks. “You’re shitting me! You never told us you knew! Why?!”
“Ok. first off” I say “You kept it from me for like three times that long. We met in what 2nd grade and correct me if I’m wrong but you were also a werewolf then. So technically you should be apologizing. The second point I’m going to make is three words ‘team Jacob debate’.”
Sarah looks at me stunned. “I knew it!” She bursts out.
A sly smile graces my lips. “I knew you thought you knew, I knew.” I say “So I deflected.”
“You bitch!” Sarah says slapping me, her eyes glinting with mirth.
“No, I think that would be you.” I say.
“I’m a werewolf not a dog!” She mock growls.
“Patato, potato” I say
“Lesson one Lucy, don’t mess with a werewolf.” Sarah says taking a step toward me menacingly.
“I’d listen.” Says a voice behind me making me jump. I turn to see a now clothed Mike come through the trees.
“I know Sarah is usually full of shit but in this case I agree. A pissed off werewolf is nothing to mess with. Especially if you’re not a werewolf yourself.”
Sarah walks over to Mike and rips her clothes out of his hand. “I would fight with you about that dig but right now clothes are more important than arguing with your small brain.”
Mike opens his mouth to retort but I step in.
“So what now? I mean, I now officially know. Can you you fill me on all things werewolf? Who was that guy you were fighting? Did you get fighting training? Was the fight related to the texts you guys got last night? Do you have any other superpowers except for fast reflexes and the ability to turn into a wolf?” I pause to breath. The other one million and one questions on the tip of my tongue.
“Note to self, you are way more observant than I gave you credit for.” Sarah says as she walks about from behind the trees, now fully clothed.
She exchanges a look with Mike and some kind of silent communication passes between them.
“This is what I’m talking about.” I say pointing to both of them. “What was that look all about? Now that we all know I know, I don’t think I will be able to keep my curiosity at bay. It’s like a damn dam broke and now there is no stopping the flow of water.”
Mike and Sarah exchange another look and I swear if I had the ability to the whole growling thing I would be doing it.
“Luce,” Mike says taking a step towards me. I allow it because thankfully I no longer can see his junk.
“It’s more complicated than you knowing and us filling you in. There’s,... there’s rules in werewolf society, laws. Much like in human society you can’t just go around breaking laws without being punished.”
“So what law am I breaking by knowing?” I ask getting right to the point.
“Basically all of them.” Sarah says walking up to us. “Humans can’t know about us unless they somehow become closely tied to our society or we get approval by the council and most time the royal family as well.”
I catch on the words council and royal family but that can wait.
“So… I know. It’s not like we can erase my mind.” I pause. “Wait, you guys can’t erase minds can you?!”
Both Sarah and Mike laugh.
“No we can’t erase minds” Mike says.
“Ok.” I say sighing in relief. “Than what do we do?”
It’s Mike’s turn to sigh. “I don’t think we have a choice Luce. We have to follow protocol and bring you to our Alpha."