Life In The Packs by Jd Huber

It was dark and I was lost. My mom left me in a field to die when I was a pup. My pack thought I was sick from the first day I was born. But I wasn’t sick I was a strong pup. After I was left to die my dad had found me. My dad was from a very different pack and was caring. I remember his face when his dark brown eyes looked into mine. He could tell that my mother had done this to me but he couldn’t figure out why. I was the future leader of the pack so I should have stayed with my mother. I tried to follow her but she pushed me away. So my father picked me up and carried me to his territory.
Life In The Packs
Life In The Packs by Jd Huber
I was scared and didn’t know what was going on. Most of the members thought I was a cat from some of the neighboring clans but my dad knew I wasn’t. “What did you bring us boss?” One of the wolves growled. “Did you put those worthless cats in their place and take one of their warriors?” Another said. My father stopped dead in his tracks and put me down. “If you touch this pup, you are all dead. She is my daughter, so she isn’t to eat, or to hurt.” My father snapped. The other wolves bowed and whimpered with sorrow. My father picked me up and ran to his den. He put me down again and I shook away the ruffles in my fur. My father sat down and asked, “So why did your mother do that to you, I’ve been gone for at least 3 years. And she already tries to abandon you?” “Father, I don’t understand why she did this to me. I guess that I am too weak to do anything so I am useless to the pack.” I whimpered. “That doesn’t give Blaze a reason to leave you to die. How long have you been out there on your own?” My father’s dark brown eyes turned red. “Mother brought me to the meadows to die almost two days ago,” I paused, “And if it wasn’t for Ice tail to kill all the food I would have made it on my own for a few more days.” I lied. Suddenly we were interrupted. A fairly small but large black wolf about my age came into the den and said, “My lord, we have a problem at the edge of the territory, you may want to check it out.” The young wolf looked at me and smiled. He signaled me to come to but I wrapped my tail around myself and nudged against the wall. “Rider, come in and take care of my daughter, I will be back shortly.” My father said his eyes slowly turning brown again. Rider stepped in and walked over, his fur was beautiful and it looked really soft, he came over to my dad and bowed. My dad went around Rider and ran off to the other edge of the territory. Rider looked out of the den and watched my father, “Be careful my lord and please live to take care of your beautiful daughter.” I over-heard Rider say. It was faint but I could hear him say it. “So you must be Blade’s daughter. He hasn’t shut up about how much he regrets leaving you with your mom.” Rider said sitting down in front of me. I nodded and looked at the midnight black wolf. “I’m Arrai. What is ‘the problem’ and why did my father look so afraid when you told him about it?” I asked turning serious. “You shouldn’t worry about it but I will tell you why he looked afraid. ‘The problem’ is after you. She has been attacking this pack since your dad took us all in. Then ‘the problem’ soon found out that you are alive. You my dear are the chosen one, when you were born, Arrai, you were born with a power, a gift you might say, but no one else has been able to match it. It’s a really powerful and rare power that allows you to see any time in the future and past. But the shocker is that I have never seen this power that I have seen in you is that you can see the present too.” Rider answered with a soulful response. “OK, so how is it that I haven’t realized it yet? I mean I am almost 18 years old now and I haven’t realized that I have this power?” Rider flinched with fear, it took him a little bit to answer. “It’s hard for me to say. I, myself have the same power that you have but you are different than the other pups in the history of special pups.” Rider said back, terrified. I got up and ran outside. I wasn’t sure what I was doing but I knew I had to do something. My back paw got caught in a hole. I growled at what I thought to be my mom at first but which turned out to be a hole. I soon found myself as a red and white nine-tailed wolf. “OK, this is new but it will help me with helping my father,” I said to myself, “Now that I know what’s going on, now where do I have to go.” I ran and which felt like forever but was really a few minutes. With each step I was getting closer to my father and my nerves were getting anxious. I was terrified that I was too late to save my father. Soon enough I made my way to my dad’s side and he was OK. “Dad look out!” I yelled warning to jump out of the way of the incoming fireball attack. But instead of him jumping out of the way, I jumped in the way of the fireball. It was a dumb move but it worked. My dad was unharmed and he had the upper advantage. It was 30 against 10. My dad looked at me in fear, wondering if I was still alive. “Are you going to stand there like a big statue, or are you going to fight like a leader?” I said weakly and struggled to do so. My dad smiled and leaped over me. Everything went blurry and I couldn’t see anything. I tried to get up and struggled to do so. Once I got my balance I caught sight of my dad pinned to the ground. It was my mom, she was the leader of this pack and she was the one who almost killed me when I saved my dad. I growled at her and attacked my mother. “BLAZE!!!” I yelled. I could tell that I caught her off guard and I took that as an advantage. My mom was easy to take down but keeping her down was another story. She didn’t lose easy so that made it hard for me to fight. When I gained ground I seen my dad’s pack and my mom’s pack looking up at me and my mom. They were watching the fight. “So you little runt, I see that you did live. And I see that worthless dad of yours saved you.” Blaze said. “Yes, he did and I was never sick in the first place, so if we are done here I would like to kill you and get you out of the way and out of the way for good.” I replied back shocking her and myself at the same time. I lunged forward and into my mom. I could see my mom’s eyes turning red like my father’s and I could feel mine going red. I was amazed at what I was capable of doing and I could use that as my secret weapon but all I cared about was beating my mother and gaining respect of my pack. By the time the fight was over my mother was dead and I was hurt pretty badly. As I made my way back down to the territory I could feel my legs getting weaker and weaker. I was halfway down the hill when I collapsed and I could hear everyone yelling for some help. I was the hero and I was proud of myself. I could tell my dad was too. The next day I woke up in a large den. I had what at first seemed like a first aid bandage but then it turned out to be a bracelet and a chain. “That my dear, will help with your injuries from here on out.” The snow white female wolf said. “What happened, and where is my dad? Is my mother dead?” The wolf cracked a smile at my curiosity, and replied with an answer I didn’t expect. “Curiosity always did kill the cat you know. But you’re in the healing den, your dad is at home, and yes your mother is indeed dead. You are the hero, Arrai, you are the hero to the pack of the lost wolves. But after you collapsed Rider picked you up and carried you here, it’s a good thing that you are still very small or he would have never been able to bring you here. The poor man he is always caring to the injured but for some reason he will refuse to take care of himself.” Winter answered “So what you are saying is he will save others but when it comes to himself he won’t save himself?” I asked. I felt a bit of pettiness for Rider, but at the same time I also fell in love with him. “You are correct, Arrai. But everything looks OK. So you are able to go back home.” Winter replied with a smirk. I got up and went to my dad’s den. I was talking for a while and it seemed like I wasn’t in as good of shape like Winter had said. As I passed the battle field where I killed my mother, Rider jumped into site, “Where did you come from?” I asked. He looked at me strangely and snickered. He seen that I wasn’t in my nine-tailed wolf form so he took that as an opportunity and tackled me. Chapter 2 Two wolves in love? Rider wasn’t being his normal caring self. He was being aggressive. And he was pointing his aggressiveness at me. Why was that? “Hold still the faster I can get this over with the faster I can avenge my leader!” The wolf said. Avenge? I then looked into his eyes. Rider had green eyes this wolf had blue eyes. I went to howl for help and the wolf lightly stepped on my throat. The last choice I had was fighting the enemy myself. With the rest of the strength I had left I pushed the Rider look a-like off of me. When I gained strength back I heard a rustle in the bushes. I rolled my eyes with frustration thinking it was another wolf from my mom’s pack. It wasn’t, it was Rider himself. Rider had heard my faint cry from the other side of the camp! As soon as Rider got a good stance to protect me he attacked his wannabe look alike. Rider looked sexy in the moon light. His fur glistened and looked silver. My first encounter with this mysterious wolf was in my dad’s den. Now he was saving my life, I was in love and I couldn’t hide it. Rider looked back at me with caring eyes. The fight went on for a long time and Rider was getting really hurt. “Rider!” I cried. I got up and attacked to opponent. I stopped and realized that the wolf was my big sister. I took a step back and had a scared look in my eye. “What’s wrong? You scared that you will end up like him?” Kayla said. My heart broke. Why would she say that didn’t she realize that I was her sister? “Kayla? What happened to you?” I asked. “Arrai? Is that really you?” Kayla said. Her tone softening. “Yeah, but the question is what happened to you?” I asked. “Nothing, I didn’t recognize you. And I was mad that mom was killed.” Kayla said. Rider got up and limped over to me. “Rider, are you OK?” I asked not paying attention to my sister. “Yeah, Arrai, I’m fine. But who is this wolf she is almost as strong as you and your dad.” Rider replied. I looked at my sister then at Rider like I was debating on whether I should tell him or not. “Arrai, tell me. Who is this?” Rider’s face turned mean. I crouched down and whimpered. I could see the future wasn’t going to be good. Rider walked over to me and laid down next to me. “Arrai. I’m sorry I got mad at you.” Rider said in a comforting tone. “She’s my sister. There I said it, she’s my sister.” I said and ran away. “Arrai! I don’t care if she is your sister.” Rider yelled after me then went to run after me. “Give her some time. She is just in shock from everything that is going on.” Kayla said. I had left the love of my life and my sister behind. I wanted to go to my dad’s den but I wasn’t about to get my sister killed or in trouble. I just ran and ran. I soon found myself at the Hidden Meadows. I was scared that I was going to hurt Rider but I already had. The meadows were large combined meadows. The grass looked dead, but it wasn’t. It was a yellowish green. In the middle of the meadows was a big oak tree. I didn’t want to run or walk as soon as I got to the tree so I just laid down and went to sleep. All I could think about was Rider and the expression he gave me. I had hurt him and I can’t take back what I have done. I rolled over on my back and looked up at the stars. I thought I was hearing voices in my head, it was Rider. “Arrai!” He called. I didn’t want him to look for me long knowing that I probably did something idiotic. “Arra--” Rider called again. We heard a gunshot. Rider Ducked down and avoided any on-coming bullets. We started crawling and soon found each other. “Arrai, I’m so glad you are OK!” Rider whispered. All I did was smile. Rider’s eyes sparkled in the moon light. And his fur had been stained from the fight with my sister, Kayla. Another gun shot came from somewhere in the distance. “Arrai, go, get to safety.” Rider pushed. “I’m not leaving without you.” I pleaded. Rider gave me a look like he was going to save me but he also didn’t care what I said. “Fine, please be careful!” I whimpered. I got up and ran toward the camp. When I got to the camp everyone was up. They were searching for me. “Arrai, where have you been?! We have been looking for you for hours!” One of the wolves said. “Oh… Um yeah. I went and took a little walk to clear my head.” I lied. “Where is Rider? I heard a small voice coming from the back of the crowed. I had no clue who was talking to me but I knew that by the tone she had I could tell she didn’t like me. Soon enough a small female wolf about nine years of age came up to me. She was beautiful. “H...Hi, I don’t know where Rider is. When I saw him he stayed behind to save me. But I don’t know where he is.” I said. I was scared of this sweet looking wolf. I have never seen her before. But the pack is called the pack of lost wolves so she must be a new member. I don’t think that she has ever seen me before either. “So what are you saying? You left my boyfriend out there to fend for himself? I thought you were supposed to be the high and mighty nine-tailed wolf.” She snapped. Boyfriend? I thought that from the way that he has been acting around me I thought that he was single. My heart sank. My dad was also in the back of the crowd. He came to the front and seen the strange wolf yelling at me. “Beka! I thought I told you to treat my daughter right!” My father growled. “Wait this scrawny little wolf is your daughter? I thought that she was some wolf that Rider had dragged in from the outside.” Beka whimpered. My dad growled. His eyes started to turn red and I knew that I had to stop him. “Dad! Why don’t you have her go see Winter considering she might be sick.” I laughed. My dad sighed with relief. “Yes Arrai. That would be a great idea for her to go see Winter. Just then Rider limped into the camp. He wasn’t hurt from the fight with the full blood but he was hurt from the fight with my sister, Kayla. He looked at me and seen that my eyes turned red. “Rider!!” Beka yelled. Rider’s face was shocked. He realized that Beka was running to him and didn’t have time to react. She jumped on him and my eyes filled with tears. I ran off again but this time I went to my dad’s den. Everyone was still at the edge of the territory and I was alone. It had been my second day reunited with my dad and it wasn’t turning out to well. I had fallen in love with a wolf that is in another relationship. And I was heartbroken. I looked around the den as if I would find something that would come in handy for me to take my mind off of stuff. But before I could get too far into my investigation I sensed a presence that seemed familiar. It was Rider. The one person I did not want to see right now. “Arrai, what’s wrong?” His voice comforting. I turned my head away and tipped my nose down. “I know what you have been hiding from me and I am sorry if I am in you and Beka’s way. I am just getting a few things and I will be going when I have all that I need. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.” I said trying not to cry. Soon enough Rider caught on to what I was saying. He took a step toward me and I stepped back into the wall. “Arrai, have I ever told you how beautiful you are?” His voice was unlike the other times he had talked to me. “But you're with Beka.” I replied. “No I’m not! Where did you get the idea of that?” Rider’s soft sweet voice wasn’t caring anymore. It was almost like the Rider that I used to know was gone. “Beka told me you guys are together. It broke my heart when she told me that, but I am trying to stay strong so that you don’t think any less of me.” Arrai said. Rider shifted into a creature that wasn’t common, a vampire mixed with a wolf; He shifted into a vampire. He walked over to me and hugged me. He looked into my eyes and seen that I have a look of fear in the eyes. I had been raised to hate vampires all my life. But now I am in love with one? “Allai. I am in love with you.” He said. I didn’t say anything. “Allai, you do know that you are part vampire to right?” He quickly said. I nodded. I pulled away and shifted as well. We looked different. He was a tall man with green eyes and long black hair. I, myself on the other hand, was a tall woman with violet eyes and long hair that went to the base of my back. I ran up to Rider and hugged him. He bent down and kissed me. My heart felt like it was going to burst at any moment. Beka on the other hand was not happy. She saw me and Rider kissing. Rider pulled away and looked at me. “Can I ask you something?” He asked. “Yeah anything.” I said still pulled close to Rider. “Well…, Um.., I was wondering if you would, maybe, like to go out with me or something.” Rider looked down at his feet and kicked the dirt. I couldn’t help but smile. I was the happiest girl alive. Rider looked like he was going to cry. “I mean you don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to.” He said. “Yes!” I answered. Rider started crying. “OK, I understand. I’ll just leave you alone.” He put his hands in his pockets and turned to walk off. “Rider! I said yes. I’ll be your girlfriend!” I said grabbing Rider’s arm. “Really? That’s awesome!” Rider said and gave me a big hug. Chapter 3 Truth, Lies, or Lost My dad was tense. Me and him had gotten into a fight the night before so I left the den. My dad was hoping I would come back to try to resolve stuff. But I was at Rider’s den. “Hey sleeping beauty.” Rider smiled. My eyes were still heavy. Although I just woke up I was still really tired. “Morning Rider.” I said back. Rider shifted into a vampire and threw on a shirt. He looked at me with a playful glint in his eye and I also shifted. Rider had ran ahead, and I changed from my cloths that I was wearing the day before. After I threw my hair up I ran outside but Rider was nowhere to be found. I sat by a tree just in case he was going to come back to get me or something and I fell asleep again. For what seemed like an hour, which what really was a few minutes Rider still wasn’t back? I got up and Rider dropped out of the tree. I jumped back and hit the tree. “Arrai! Are you OK?” Rider laughed. “Yeah. I’m fine.” I replied while rubbing the back of my head. Rider reached his hand out and pulled me to him. “Rider!” Beka yelled. Rider was caught off guard by the surprise visit from Beka. “Are you cheating on me?” Beka yelled again. “What is she saying?” I asked. My heart sank I wasn’t believing what I was hearing. “You and me where never together. When you asked me out I said no because I had my eye on someone else. I don’t like you in the way you think I do.” Rider said. Holding me close to his side. “But you said yes.” Beka said. Rider looked at me and I was looking up at him. He knew that I was trying not to cry and was trying everything in my power not to cry. “Beka, why don’t you just leave me alone? I am not your boyfriend. And I never will be. I am always going to be Arrai’s boyfriend. She is the one I love not you.” Rider said. “But, Rider, you said that you loved me a long time ago.” Beka whimpered. “OK now you’re making up stories. I never said that.” Rider defended himself. Beka then glared at me and shot me a look of disgust. “How are we supposed to manage with her always say things that you are cheating on her?” I said. “Don’t worry about it. I am working on a little project outside the territory and I think you are going to love it when it is finished.” Rider said while we walked to go to my dad’s den to get a few things for the day. “Arrai, where have you been? I have been worried sick!” Blade said. He looked at Rider and then back at me. “Arrai, I want the truth. Where were you?” He repeated. “Father, don’t worry. After we got in that fight last night I went to Rider’s. I won’t be coming back so you don’t have to worry about me anymore.” I said with a tone that my dad didn’t except of. “Now, Arrai, I never said that I wanted you to go off and leave the den. I just told you that you need to get out and train more.” Blade defended. “All I can say right now is that I just have to get out and be away from home for a few days. I think we both know that that will be best for the both of us.” I said, not making eye contact with my dad. My dad looked at Rider who was playing with my sister’s pups, Mist, Layla, and Dexin. Rider soon realized that my father was watching him and he stood up and stepped outside. “I’m sorry my lord. I’ll leave now.” Rider said. I dropped my stuff and ran over to Rider. “But Arrai, I am not allowed in the leader’s den unless he gives me permission.” Rider said. “Yes, but I am the leader’s daughter and I say you can come in so there is a difference. Besides it’s only going to be for a few minutes.” I replied. I had finished gathering my stuff and me and Rider were getting ready to leave when my Father stopped us. “Arrai.” He said. “Yes dad?” I was getting aggravated. I wanted to get out and be on my own. But my dad wouldn’t let me leave. “I know what is going on between you and Rider and I am not going to accept you and him dating.” My dad said. He wasn’t being fair. He wants me to have a steady life with someone who is a really good person and Rider is a really great person. “Arrai, no fighting. I am not going to have it. You are the daughter of the leader. The future leader of the pack I am not going to let you date my messenger. “But father!” I argued. “No now go say goodbye because you won’t be seeing him after tonight.” Blade said. Me and Rider then stepped outside and I threw my bag off of the ledge that was on the edge of the path way. Me and Rider walked down and sat by a tree. “So are you going to listen to him?” Rider asked. “No. I am leaving I don’t care what he says.” I said. My dad overheard us talking and attacked Rider. “Father!” I yelled. I went to pull the large wolf off of my boyfriend but he was too heavy. I was shaking and scared. The only thought I had was to shift and that was exactly what I did. Rider had managed to get away from my dad and me fighting. “Rider, go get Keasha!” I yelled. “Who?” Rider asked. “Keasha, she is from my mom’s pack. It should be on the west side of the meadows.” Rider nodded and ran off. “Dad I don’t want to kill you!” I pleaded. “Well good because I don’t want to kill you either. It’s who you are protecting that I want to kill.” My father said. Rider soon came back with Keasha. “Blade! What do you think you are doing?” Keasha snapped. I used Keasha for a good way to get away from my dad. He was too occupied to realize that I had escaped. I ran and got my stuff and me and Rider had ran away. “Arrai, are you OK? Did he hurt you?” Rider asked. I looked at him with a face that says ‘What do you think?’ Rider was taking me back to the meadows. I froze and Rider turned to see me not moving. “Arrai? What’s wrong?” Rider asked. “'re going to leave me. Aren’t you?” I replied. “No Arrai. I’m not going to leave you. This is where your surprise is.” Rider comforted me. We walked up to the big oak tree in the middle of the meadows. Rider told me to sit and be comfortable till he got back. He ran to the south of the meadows and disappeared. He came back with a brown, black, tan, and white wolf that looked like him. “Umm Rider who is this?” I asked. “This is Justin. My brother.” Rider answered. “Hello. You must be the special person in Rider’s life.” Justin said. I nodded I wasn’t sure what I what I was going to say. “Justin why don’t you go and get everything ready. Me and Arrai will be there in a little bit.” Rider said. I was surprised when me and Rider got to the surprise he had waiting for me. It was a house. Me and Rider stood in one place for a long time. He had spent all the time he had when he wasn’t in battle or training building this. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Rider opened the door for me and I walked in. It was almost as beautiful as the outside. “Rider, it’s beautiful! I love it!” I said giving my boyfriend a hug. “I’m glad you like it because I built this house for you and me.” He smiled. Me and him? What did he mean by that? He just asked me out. “Arrai? What’s wrong?” Rider asked. “Nothing. I am just stunned that you gave up your free time for this.” I lied. Me and Rider walked around. I looked at every inch of the house. The last room we looked at was the front room. After we were done looking around we sat down on the couch. “Rider.” I said. “Yeah? What’s up?” He replied. I looked at him and hugged him. “I never told you how I feel. You have told me but I never told you.” I said. “OK go ahead. I have been wondering how you feel.” Rider urged me to say what was on my mind. “The only place I belong is in your arms. The only place where I am accepted is in your company. If you died I will die to.” I said cuddling up to Rider. Rider smiled, it seemed like he was going to cry because he had never heard those words before. “That was really sweet Arrai.” Rider said. I looked at the clock. It was almost midnight. “Rider we have better get some sleep. He have training in the morning.” I said. I was actually tired but I didn’t want Rider to think that I was wimping out on him. Rider yawned, I could tell that he was up all night trying to get this house done but I knew that if he didn’t get sleep tonight he would be sleeping in more than he did the days before. Rider got up and walked into the room next door. He closed the door which said ‘Rider’ in big bold letters. I turned to a door that was a little further down the hallway and in big bold pink letters it said ‘Arrai’ and ‘Princess.’ I went to walk down the hall to my room when I see that a letter had fallen out of Rider’s pocket. It was addressed to me. I opened it and it said: Arrai, You may not know who this is. That is fine. But I need to see you at sun rise at the Big Oak Tree in the middle of the Hidden Meadows. This is not a fight, its just some information that I want to talk to you about. If you are not able to make it then I will just explain a little bit here in this letter. Anyways I am from the village of Vampires. You may have heard of us considering we have helped out your father’s pack a few years back. I have received news that you are to live with a full blood family till you are old enough to live on your own. We need you to live there under cover till then for some research. We would have someone else do this for us, but you have more experience with the full bloods so you are fit for the job. But we have 3 others already with this assignment and you are the right one for the role of human love and education. The other three that are going to the human world are, Luna Azmear, Braylie Black, and Someone close to you. The last name is classified for right now for it might get in the way of the research. You all will be stationed in the same area so there is no reason to worry. I hope to see you at the Big Oak Tree at sun rise so I can explain more. And congratulations on being picked for this role. Sincerely, Alexander Jay Hunter Why did Rider have this in his pocket instead of giving it to me? I went into my room and put the letter on the side stand. I got into bed and went to sleep. The next day I got up at sun rise and snuck out to the kitchen. “Arrai? Where are you going? Training doesn’t start for another seven hours.” Rider asked rubbing his eyes. “Uh nowhere. Just going for a walk.” I covered. Rider walked back into his bedroom and went back to sleep. I threw my jacket on and ran to the oak tree. A tall guy with black hair turned around and said, “You must be Arrai.” I nodded at Alexander’s Question. “Nice to meet you, I am Alexander Jay Hunter. But you can call me Alex.” He said. Chapter 4 Last Goodbye I couldn’t figure out what I should do. I looked back at the house and seen that there were no lights on in the house. Alex looked at my purse and looked back at me. Without thinking I put my hand on the top of my bag and felt the letter poking out of the top of the bag. I pulled it out and handed it to Alex. “It says in here to meet you hear at sun rise. So I did what I was told. “Well thats good. I wasn’t expecting you to meet me here but I am surprised you came alone.” Alex said. “I do stuff alone. I don’t really do stuff with other people there to help me.” I said. I handed Alex the letter and said, “OK, explain.” Alex looked at me with a blank look on his face. “I think I explained it all in this letter. I just told you to meet me here just in case you had any questions and if you had decided if you wanted to go to the human world.” Alex said holding up the letter. I didn’t dare say anything. I couldn’t say anything. Me and Alex stood in the meadows for a long time. “So have you thought about going?” Alex urged me to answer. “No I just got the letter yesterday night I haven’t had time to think about what my decision will be.” I answered. “OK. I’ll give you time. I have to have your answer in 3 days’ time. Or I will make up your mind for you.” Alex said. His voice changed. He went from a happy vampire to an ‘I’m going to kill you’ kind of vampire. “Three days? If I do chose to go. I’m not packing up and leaving Rider right then and there. What will he say?” I commented. “Don’t worry. You will be able to travel between worlds whenever you’d like.” He said handing me a necklace with half a heart on it. “Who has the other half?” I asked. Alex leaned into me and whispered into my ear. “The other half of this heart belongs to the person that is most important to you.” He said then walked away. “Wait! One more question.” I said stopping the vampire from taking another step. “OK what is it? And make it quick. I need to go soon.” He turned and said. “Will we look the same in the human world as to we do here?” My question catching Alex off guard. “Yes, you will look the same. But to warn you, you might not be the same age then you are here.” Alex said then disappeared. I dropped to my knees and thought about what Alex had said. What did it mean by the owner to the other half of the heart on my necklace was the one who mattered to me the most? The only people I could think of was my sister, and Rider. I got up and ran to my dad’s territory. My sister was playing with her pups. “Kayla!” I called. She turned around and looked at me with cold eyes. “What?!” She said in a mean voice. “Are you mad at me?” I asked. “What do you think?” She said again in a mean voice. “But why? What did I do?” My voice shaking. “You left dad to fend for himself, so now this packs leader is dead.” My ears laid down on my head. He was fine when I left and Keasha couldn’t have done it because she followed us out.” I seen that Kayla didn’t have the other half of the heart so I went home. Thinking about what had happened to my father I walked past Rider and into my room. I didn’t bother asking if he had the other half. Rider looked at me with a worried look in his eye and followed me to my room. I closed the door behind me and locked it. “Arrai, darling what’s going on?” He asked. I didn’t answer him instead I shifted into a wolf and curled up into a ball in the corner. “Arrai? What happened?” I still didn’t answer. I didn’t want to talk to anyone since I had just found out that my father was dead. Instead of talking Rider began sliding notes under the door. The first one said, Arrai, if I don't know what’s going on then I can’t help you. A few minutes had passed before the next one had been written. Please, Love, I hate seeing you like this, please let me help. I then decided to unlock the door. My face was swollen from all the crying. Rider opened the door and seen that I had been crying, he picked me up and put me on my bed. “Now, what’s wrong darling?” He said while hugging me. “My dad is dead.” I managed to say. Rider looked at me and seen that I wasn’t joking. “Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry!” He gave me a hug and comforted me. He seen the letter on my bed and grabbed it. “Rider.” I said. “Yes darling?” He answered. “Can I ask you a question?” My face still in his shoulder. “Yeah, you can ask me anything, you know that.” His smile seemed to be glued onto my face because I couldn’t stop smiling. “What would you think if I said that I had to go and live with the full bloods?” I said pulling away from him. I couldn’t look at Rider’s face, I was worried that I had said the wrong thing and hurt Rider. He pulled me close and said, “Arrai, you don’t have to worry. I would say that I was proud of you for taking on the full bloods because not many of us wolves and vampires are brave enough to do what you are doing. Who else is going?” He said. I smiled at Rider’s comment and it took me a while to answer his question. “It’s me, 2 girls, Luna Azmear and Braylie Black, and someone close to me, I can’t figure out who it is though.” Rider’s eyes widened. He seemed like he knew who the mystery person was. I tilted my head to one side. He looked down and played with his fingers. “Rider? Do you know who the other person is?” I asked. Rider nodded his head ‘yes’ and he went to talk but changed his mind. “Rider? Who is the other person?” I asked. His face was dark. I could tell that me asking wasn’t helping the matter so I got up and walked outside. When Rider heard the door click, he knew that I was outside. He reached into his back pocket and read the note. “So she got one to? I want to tell her that I am the 3rd person but I am worried that things are going to change between us.” He said to himself. He got up and walked to the outside door with the letter in his hand. Before he could completely reach for the handle he seen that the handle had moved. He put the letter in his back pocket. “Dude! What are you doing? You look like you were just hit by a train.” Justin said. “I just woke up.” Rider said avoiding his brother’s question. “OK. Anyway your girlfriend is at the Big Oak Tree with some guy. She seems bothered.” Justin said. Rider was still a little tired and couldn’t comprehend what his brother was saying. Then it finally hit him. “Thanks man. I owe you one.” Rider called. Justin looked at his brother and wondered, “Why is he so up and going today?” I was at The Big Oak Tree for a reason. I had made up my mind on whether I was going to the mortal world or not. I decided to go. “So Arrai! Have you made up your mind yet?” Alex asked. “Yeah. I have decided to go. But under one condition.” I said holding up my index finger. Alex nodded his head as if saying ‘sure go ahead and tell me the condition I would love to hear what you want to say.’ But the slight eye role made it obvious that he didn’t care. “I will go only if I can know who the mystery person will be.” I said. Alex didn’t exactly want to say who it was. But I could tell that he was desperate enough to get me to go. Then he looked behind me and let out a sigh of relief. “Look behind you and you will get your answer.” I did just that. The person I saw was low and behold, by boyfriend, Rider Black. “Rider? You were going to the human world and you didn’t tell me?” I asked. Rider nodded his head, he had a lonely look in his eye that not even I could fix. Alex put his hand on my waist and whispered in my ear. “You know, I am still going to be single if you want to leave this one.” Rider was getting mad. And I could tell. I stepped away from Alex and I stepped out of the way right in time. Rider had started running toward Alex. I could tell by the expression on his face that he wasn’t happy with Alex. I couldn’t watch. I didn’t want to see what my boyfriend was going to do to Alex. I looked at Rider and he had Alex pinned to the ground. “You ever do that to my girlfriend again I will have your head you hear me.” Rider snapped. Alex flashed an evil smile and laughed. Rider couldn’t figure out what was going on. I looked back at Alex and Rider and seen that Rider was pinned. The tables have turned and Alex had the upper hand. It was time I stepped in. “Alex!” I yelled. Alex looked at me. “He’s not the one you want! I am!” “Arrai! What are you doing?!” Rider yelled trying to get up. “Don’t worry about it. I am settling this once and for all.” l said. Alex began running toward me. I could tell that this fight was going to end up like the one with my mom and I didn’t want it to. Alex was my only way getting to the human world and I was to get out of this world. I shifted out of my vampire self. I could tell that Alex was surprised when he had seen my nine-tailed wolf. I didn’t have my guard up the whole time. When Alex had found a way to take me down he went for his chance. “Why are you doing this Alex? I thought you were on our side.” My heart dropped. He smiled and gave me a look of betrayal. I couldn’t believe what was going on. “Do you really trust a vampire?” He said... “Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I trust someone that I am a part of? I am a vampire.” His eyes widened. After I had said that he let me up and looked around. “I am so sorry. I didn’t know.” I said. He looked at my boyfriend and gave him a look of apology. Rider couldn’t bear look at Alex for what he had done. He tried to take me, the love of his life, away from him. “Let’s just get on with the meeting.” Rider said not making eye contact with Alex. “Well now that everyone knows who is going. Or rather might be going to the human world I guess that there is no reason to keep it from you two anymore.” Me and Rider gave each other a look of concern and looked back at Alex. “So tell us, what is the location and when are we going?” I asked. “The location isn’t decided yet. And when you are going, well that is hard to say, but we have our eye set on 2 weeks from now.” Alex answered. “So what you mean is we are going to the human world on June 15th?” Rider said. “Yeah so this is the last time you are going to see me. And if you want to meet up with the others before you leave then here is the location of the other two.” Alex said while giving me and Rider a piece of paper. “Oh and Arrai. Here you're going to need it.” He tossed me a bottle. I went to ask what it was but before I had the chance to ask he was already gone. “What is it?” I asked Rider. “I think I know what it is. I think that if you drink it, it will take one of your most hated powers away. Not forever but just until you need them the most.” Rider said. “But Rider! I am not going to get rid of my powers, not unless you want me to.” I exclaimed. Rider grabbed my arms and looked into my eyes. “Don’t worry! If you want then I will do the same thing with you.” Rider said. Rider could tell that I was in pain. But he couldn’t point out the reason why. “Rider, you don’t have to do anything. I don’t really want you to give up any powers.” I replied. Rider gave me a hug that melted me inside. We hugged for the longest time. I was surprised that he was being so loving, but it was Rider. I had grown up with my mom always trying to kill me and I honestly didn’t get the loving care that I needed. So I felt a little uncomfortable when Rider hugged me for that long. “Ok I guess we should drink this now.” I said. Rider nodded hesitantly. I took the cap off of the vial and drank some of the contents in the vial. Rider looked at me and gave me a strange look. I wasn’t sure if I was dizzy or not. But I sat down anyway. Rider took the vial away from me and drank the rest. Instead of sitting down, Rider had passed out. Chapter 5 New life in a new world Rider was out for an hour or so. Justin, Rider’s brother, had to help get Rider into the house due to the fact I was still a little weak from one of my powers being stripped. “Justin?” I said. “Yeah Arrai? What is it?” He didn’t look back. He just continued on getting Rider back to health. “Am I doing the wrong thing?” I asked. Justin froze, he wasn’t sure whether he should look at me or not. “What do you mean?” He said getting back to taking care of his brother. I was a little shocked at his reaction. But it wasn’t too unusual I guess. I have seen worse from my dad and sister. “Well me going to the human world and then giving up my wolf powers for Rider. I don’t know if I am making the wrong decision or not.” I explained. Justin gave a simple sigh. “Honestly Arrai. You are the only one who can make that decision. I know for sure what power Rider got rid of and why. And I know that he is in love with you. He loves you more than anything else.” He paused. “I know that he loves you more than his own brother.” The tense shake in his voice told me that he was sad to admit that his brother loved someone else more than his brother. Rider had finally started to wake up. Justin looked at Rider then back at me and realized that I wasn’t in the room. I went to my room to think about everything that had just went on. I didn’t want to be the reason why Justin felt left out. He has already felt pushed behind in his brother’s life. I had to talk to Rider or someone close to Rider about this. Someone that he has known longer than me. I wanted to keep my boyfriend and his brother’s friendship to stay intact but who could I talk to everyone in the pack is mad at me. It finally dawned on me that I had someone that wouldn’t be mad at me because she didn’t really like my dad. That one someone was Beka Dawn. With determination I opened my door to see Justin standing in front of my door. I pushed past him and walked out of the house. He followed me. “Wait! Where are you going? Rider just woke up he needs you!” He called after me. I turned to him and said, “I have to go take care of something real quick tell Rider that I love him. And if I am not back in 4 hours come look for me. Other than that keep Rider safe.” Justin was worried about me. I didn’t blame him. For all he knew I was going to get into some kind of trouble but I knew that I wouldn’t but who knows something could go wrong and I could get into some serious trouble. I had to hurry I couldn’t waste any time or I wouldn’t make it to the pack before I had to go to the human world for my training. I had about 4 hours but I couldn’t waste time. As soon as I got to the edge of the territory I hesitated to step over the line. I knew that once I was inside the territory I was in store for anything my sister had planned for me. Beka was by the lake of dreams when I walked closer to the battlegrounds and I had to run to her. Or else I would have lost my chance. I stepped over the line and bolted toward the young pup. “Beka!” I said. “Arrai! What are you doing here?” She said with a stern glare. “I wanted to apologize to you for the rough start we got off to.” I gave her an ‘I hope you can forgive me’ look, and held out my hand. I knew that she wasn’t about to take my hand but it was worth a shot. Her beautiful white fur was stained with red. The pink spot around her eye was darker. She looked like she had just been in a fight. But with who? She too was half vampire like me and Rider but she hardly used the vampire powers. “Beka. Come with me. You have dealt with a lot of pain I can tell.” I held my hand out once more and she took my hand. She was using her vampire powers, but she didn’t look happy about it. Instead of seeing a smile I seen a pained look. She had been through a lot in the 6 years that she has been on her own and I know how she feels. “Arrai can I ask you something?” She said. Her sweet little girl’s voice was hard to reject. “Yeah Beka anything.” I said melting under the look of her dark blue eyes. “Why does the half breeds have to be treated like we are monsters?” She asked her voice cracking. I was taken aback by her question. Before I could answer her we heard a voice calling from the background. “Beka!” The voice called. Me and Beka looked at each other Beka’s eyes had a sad expression in her eyes. “Beka!” The voice called again. Beka started running when she saw a dark figure in the background. “Arrai! Help!” She called. I didn’t know where she was. The fog was dense and I couldn’t see where I was going. I wouldn’t give up on helping Beka. She was young and she had a long time to live. Me on the other hand I was 16 I didn’t care if I died or not when it came to a 9-year-old girl. I finally found Beka. She was still frozen in the same spot. How did I know? I have no clue. The dark figure that Beka had seen was nowhere to be seen or found. I didn’t know where it was. Now I was starting to get scared. I was worried that the person or rather creature would attack at any time. Beka was in danger and I knew that this was a fight that wouldn’t be easy to win. I stood by Beka to make sure she was OK. I thought that because she was so mean when she wanted to be she wouldn’t be this scared. She was on her own for most of her life, this should have been nothing for her. I wondered to myself. The fog was clearing up, and I could finally see. Even though Beka was still scared stiff she was still on high alert. The creature stepped out into sight. Me and Beka gasped. It was my father. “Hello Arrai.” He said with an evil grin. “Dad?!” I said. My father nodded and took a step toward me. “I… I thought you were dead!” I said in fear. “That’s what I wanted everyone to think. I pinned everything on you so that you would be chased out of the pack territory.” My dad said. My heart sank. I couldn’t believe what my father was saying. It was an arrow piercing my heart. Beka looked at me and seen the fear in my eyes. “Don’t worry Arrai. I’ll protect you.” She said. I finally came out of the trance I was in and heard the last three words she had said to me. I seen Beka running toward my father and knew that she had no chance against my dad. Me maybe. But I came close to being killed in the fight against my mother. Beka would have gotten killed right there and then. My dad got ready to take down the 9-year-old girl when he was caught off guard. He looked at me and then Beka. He seen that we had not gotten close to him when he felt two sharp wolf teeth in his shoulder. He wrestled the wolf off and turned around. There was a mid-night black wolf on the ground. The wolf got up and walked over to me. I was holding Beka in my arms. “Who is that dumb mutt?” My father said trying to mask his pain. I looked into the wolf’s eyes. They were soft and had a gentle expression to them. Before I could look into his eyes anymore, he turned around and ran for my dad. “Like you are going to hurt me. You are more hurt then I am you stupid mutt.” My father managed to say before the wolf got to him. I couldn’t watch the fight. I didn’t want to see my father being killed. Although he did try to kill me. I took Beka and ran to me and Rider’s house. When I got into the house the first person I seen was Justin, Rider’s brother. “Arrai? Is Rider with you?” He said. I shook my head ‘no’ as if I didn’t know that he left the house. I hope that he will be OK. “I didn’t know that he left. Watch Beka. I will go find him.” I said running to the territory. When I got to the territory I seen that my father and the mystery wolf were still fighting. Who could this be? I wondered. Then out of the corner of my eye I seen a flash of light. I looked at the light and seen that it was the other half of my heart necklace. It was Rider! Why was he here? I knew that I needed to help him but what if I turned and the spell would be broken. Then I heard a voice. It sounded familiar. But I wasn’t sure if I actually knew who it was. I thought about what the voice said. “Once you turn into a wolf you will not break the spell.” The voice said. It didn’t take me long to turn and run after Rider and my father. My small puppy like body wasn’t right for fighting. But I was scared to turn into the 9 tailed wolf. I had no choice. Rider was getting hurt pretty badly and I had to save him. I wasn’t thinking I thought that my father was turning against me like my mother did. “Rider!” I yelled. Rider turned around. I figured that I had caught him off guard by yelling his name because my father took my approach as an advantage to taking Rider down. I knew I had to stop my father from killing Rider. But how? I wasn't used to fighting my dad in a full out fight. Matter-a-fact I have never fought my father in a full out fight. I looked into my father’s eyes and seen the fear in them. I knew that I couldn’t attack him so I took a step back. “Arrai! What are you doing don’t trust him!” Rider whimpered. I looked back at my boyfriend who had a worried look in his eye. I looked back at my father and then back to Rider. I didn’t know who I was to pick but I knew that I wouldn’t hurt my father for leaving him behind again. Chapter 6 Leaving what was once known I knew that I needed to make the right choice. But what was the right choice? If I chose Rider then I would be leaving my father alone again. If I chose my dad then I would be leaving our relationship. I turned back to Rider and ran to him. “I’m sorry father but I belong to Rider now.” My dad looked at Rider and then at me, like he was trying to comprehend everything that had just happened. I turned back around to my dad and looked at him. “Good-bye father. Have a great life.” I said then walked away, Rider following close behind me. Me and Rider met the other people that were going to the human world at the north side of the meadows. One of the girls was short with long black and pink hair. ‘Hi, I’m Luna.” She said, her voice quiet and weak. The other girl looked a little bit like Rider, Tall with black hair. Her eyes were almost snow like blue. She and Rider looked at each other than the girl looked away. “The name’s Braylie.” She finally said. Rider’s eyes widened. He had realized that he knew Braylie. “What’s your last name?” Rider asked. “Black.” She replied wondering why he cared. I looked at Rider and thought to myself “That can’t be possible. Justin and Rider never talked about Braylie.” Then I finally managed to say something. “Rider? You never told me you had a sister.” My eyes glowing with joy. Rider dropped to his knees. He had thought about when his parents died. How him and his brother were taken to my dad’s pack. Rider was silent for a while, he was thinking about what to say. “Braylie. Why don’t you go to the human world? We’ll catch up.” Luna finally spoke up. Braylie got up and walked away. Rider was now crying. I knelt down beside him and hugged him. He started to smile. “She’s alive. My little sisters alive.” He finally said, trying to fight the tears. Rider picked his head up and looked at me. His smile was like I had never seen it before. Luna looked at us strangely. She was trying to read our thoughts. “Just kiss her already.” She said to Rider, then cracked a big smile. I could feel Rider’s warm hand against my neck. He looked into my eyes and kissed me. I thought I was going to pass out. Luna ruined the moment by telling us that we had to go. I got up. For some reason my hands were cold and my jacket was torn to pieces from the fight with my dad. I didn’t want Rider to know I was starting to get cold so I stuffed my hands into my pants pockets. “We are almost there.” Luna said throwing her jacket over her shoulder to me. “You don’t need to catch a cold on my watch.” She was reading my thoughts again. “I would have given you my jacket if you had just asked, Arrai.” Rider said in a sweet tone. I didn’t realize that I was smiling until Rider took Luna’s jacket and threw it back to her. He took off his jacket and put it on my shoulders. We had walked three miles away from the meadows to a large building. We were in the vampire village. Braylie was sitting on the steps waiting for us. “Took you long enough.” Braylie said. How I could read her emotions so clearly was hard for me to say. She always seemed mad or sad. Never showed a sign of happiness or excitement. She seemed happy to see her big brother again but didn’t show any happiness. “Nice to see you guys again.” A familiar voice said. I turned around to see Alexander Jay Hunter. I felt Rider’s hand tighten around mine. He still hadn’t forgave Alex for what he did to me at the tree in the meadows. Rider gave Alex a look of hatred and stepped in front of me. “Alex.” He said. “Hi Rider.” Alex said back, and turned to the others. “So you guys ready to go to the human world. You only have three days of training till it’s the official day to go to the human world.” We all looked at each other and said in unison, “Yes.” I was a little scared to go to the human world. I mean it was like this world but with buildings, vehicles, and full bloods. It was a little different. It was almost impossible to look at Alex since he tried to break me and Rider up at the tree. We all went in the building and Alex gave us each a pendant. Mine was on a necklace, Braylie’s was also on a necklace, Luna had a bracelet, and Rider’s was on a keychain. “I have another necklace if you want the necklace Rider.” Alex said, after he seen that Rider wouldn’t take the key chain. “Do you have a pendant that I could put on a chain like a dog tag necklace?” Rider asked. Alex nodded and pulled out what Rider wanted. “I figured you would want this instead.” He said giving Rider the necklace. “Now, these pendants will let you travel freely between one world to another. If you lose it don’t worry. Your pendant is the exact same as everyone else’s so that you are able to use someone else’s pendent.” Alex paused. “Any questions?” We all just looked at each other and gave each other a nervous smile. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to travel. It was late in the human world. And everyone was tired when they got there. I knew that Rider was the one that was most tired because he was holding onto me for support. I didn’t know whether I needed to get him to sit down or if I needed to have the group go and get some rest for the night. “Hey Alex! Can we go look for somewhere to rest. I think Rider over did it back there.” Alex gave me a blank stare and nodded his head. We walked into the woods and found a clearing it didn’t seem right since almost the whole forest was full of trees and that was the only patch of the woods that didn’t have trees. I didn’t complain mostly because Rider needed a place to sleep and I was getting tired myself. So me and Rider went up to a tree and sat down. I had always been the first one to fall asleep. This time it was Rider that fell asleep first. I looked at my boyfriend. I could tell that he was happy. And I knew why too. He was on a very important mission with my, someone important to him. He wasn’t completely asleep, I slid closer to him so that I could lay my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around me. I looked up at him again. This time he had a huge smile on his face. I put my head on his shoulder and fell asleep. I then felt his hand on my head. I couldn’t help but smile at that time. The next day we got up at sunrise. There was already cars driving past to go to work or to take their children to school. I never understood the meaning of school. All you do is sit in a room for an hour maybe all day. And the children always get yelled at for dumb stuff like talking. I never went to school but I was already plenty smart. Rider and I were sixteen so we were in high school in the human world. Since we were assigned to this mission we were also assigned to different families. We were assigned to a family that matched our needs and personalities. Me, I was abused by my mom so my need was a loving family. Rider was the same. Alex handed us some papers. “Read these. It has everything you need to know of your new family. They already think that you are at school. Each family thinks that you were theirs from the beginning so you don’t have to worry about any of that hassle of convincing them that you are theirs.” Alex paused. “Now, this is where we split up. Go ahead and have fun for the rest of the day. Any questions before I leave?” Braylie raised her hand. “I have two questions if that is alright.” Alex nodded. “OK, one is I thought that we were coming here today to train. I thought that the actual day is in a couple days. And second is will me and Rider be in the same home?” She asked. I looked at Rider and he was also interested in that last question. “Today is the training. It’s to get you used to the human world and the full blood ways before you go live with your families. And look at your papers, compare them. Siblings are never split up here in Mason.” Alex answered with a strange tone to his voice. Me and Rider walked over to Braylie and Rider compared their papers. Rider soon pulled Braylie in to hug her. “We are going to be together. How cool is that?” Rider said, he almost started crying. I knew that I was only getting in the way of Rider and his sister so I slowly backed away. Before I could turn around to walk away Rider grabbed my arm and pulled me into the middle of him and his sister. "Welcome to the family Arrai." Braylie said. She had a smile on her face. A look I never thought I would see. One simple little detail I missed though about the background was that the trees weren’t blowing. Everything seemed still as if someone was watching us. Or if everything was frozen in time. "We better go Rider. Everyone else has already gone to the mall. We should go get something to eat. I'm starving." I said. Rider and Braylie were in front talking. They were talking like they haven’t seen each other for 11 years. I didn’t want to interrupt so I stayed in the back. I was going over everything I needed to know about my family. I had a mom, dad, sister, and two brothers. What was I going to do? I have never had a brother or sister before. I took a deep breath in and let it out while looking up at the clouds. It was a pretty view. Everyone was too busy to see how amazing the view looked. Chapter 7 Surprise, surprise We sat down outside to eat. It had been a long time since I last had human food. I loved the smell and the taste. Everything in the human world I had fallen in love with, the skies, the smell of the water, and the sounds of the birds and the water. You wouldn’t be able to find that anywhere near where I came from. I was sitting by Rider. He was eating his hamburger and drinking his pepsi. I had a mountain dew and a hamburger. And Braylie had a hotdog and water. I was done with my food before the others even got half way. I went over to the park bench and sat down my thoughts on how I would be able to make it in this world for two years. Rider walked over and sat down beside me. I leaned against him and put my head on his chest. His heart was beating faster than normal. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Rider looked up at the sky. His eyes followed the clouds as they passed by. “I’m terrified Arrai. What if I fail and I lose you or Braylie. I wouldn’t want to live with myself if you or Braylie died.” The look in his eyes was sad. He was really worried and I could sense that he was about to cry. I gave Rider a hug and looked up at him. He put his hand on the lower back of my head. “Arrai, I don’t want to lose you. You're my life now.” He said. I put my hand on his cheek and quickly leaned up and kissed him. We hadn’t kissed since we were back at the meadows. It felt good to kiss him again. “Hey Arrai?” He said after pulling away. “Yeah?” I didn’t know what he was about to ask but I knew it was something about us. “I know that we just got here and everything and I don’t want to rush things since we are both tired but… would you like to go to dinner tonight?” Rider asked. Every inch of my body tingled. I was really happy. “Yes, I would love to.” I answered. It was getting dark later that day and Rider walked me home. “I’ll see you in a few hours.” He said leaning in to kiss me. I walked into the house and my sister ran up to me and gave me a hug. My sister was a little younger than me. She had long black hair and she was wearing pink and green. My brothers were in their room playing video games and they were both a year younger than me. “Hey Kaybrie. Where is mom and dad?” I asked my little sister. “In the front room watching TV.” Kaybrie said her sweet little voice was heart melting. I walked into the front room and my mom--Brindy-- and dad--Josh-- were watching TV. Well at least my mom was. My dad, Josh was reading the newspaper. “Hey mom. Dad.” I said leaning over the back of the couch giving them a kiss. “Hey darling. How was school?” Josh said. “It was awesome!” I said giving them both a hug. Brindy looked at me like there was something wrong and I sat down in front of them. ”Is there something wrong mother?” I said. “Oh no darling nothing is wrong.” She said with a smile. I got up to go to my room. “Hey mom, dad. So I will be going out in a couple of hours I probably won't be back till late.” I said. Josh looked up from the newspaper and looked at me. “Your 17 years old you can do anything you want from here on out. You don’t have to run anything by us.” I smiled and walked to my bedroom. I went through my closet and found a dark red mini dress. I pulled the dress out and put it on the bed. Grabbed my makeup and put it with my dress. And went to go get in the shower. The water was warm. I wasn’t used to getting in the shower with warm water. Justin had hooked the water up wrong at the house so we didn’t have warm water. I sat in the shower for a half hour. I got bored and got out. I threw the dress on and fixed it so that it didn’t look wrinkled. Kaybrie walked in and sat on my bed. “Hey sis? Are you going on a date?” She asked. “Sure am.” I turned and smiled at her. I started putting my makeup on and after I didn’t recognize myself. I looked even prettier than I already was. I threw my hair up in a bun with my bangs hanging. “You should curl your bangs Arrai.” Kaybrie said going through my closet looking for shoes for me to wear. I took out the curling iron and started curling my bangs. “Found them!” Kaybrie shouted. She walked out of my closet with red high heels. I was ready for my date with Rider. I was getting nervous. Really nervous. I walked out to the front room expecting to see my mom and dad watching TV. Instead my mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner. I walked into the kitchen to show Brindy how I looked. When she turned and seen me her hands shot up to her mouth. “You look beautiful!” She started crying and gave me a big hug. I smiled and hugged her back. The doorbell rang while my brothers and I were talking about school and other stuff. “Katie! Jake’s here.” My mom said. I walked to the door expecting to see Rider in jeans and a t-shirt. Instead he was in dress pants and a white dress shirt. He took my hand and leaned in to give me a kiss. Josh cleared his throat as if to interrupt me and Rider’s moment. “Don’t have too much fun.” Clove said while we were walking to Rider’s car. We got in and he started the car. “You look nice tonight Rider.” I said, breaking the silence. “Thanks, you look beautiful.” He said and smiled. He pulled up to a restaurant, got out of the car, and opened my door. I looked at him while he helped me out of the car. We walked into the building and went up to the person in front. “Excuse me miss. Table for too please.” Rider said like a gentleman. “Right this way.” The lady said picking up two menus. We followed the lady and sat down as she put down the menus. “What can I get you to drink?” She asked pulling out a small note pad. “I’ll just have water.” Rider said. “Mountain Dew for me please. Thank you.” I said. She wrote down our orders and walked away. My phone started vibrating. I pulled it out and looked at it. Katie there is a girl here that says she knows you? It was a text from my little sister, Kaybrie. I texted back. It might be Luna. Just tell her that I am not there. Thanks. I put my phone on my lap and looked at Rider. “What’s wrong? You have been like this all night.” I asked. “I’ll be right back.” He said while getting up. He walked up to the front of the restaurant and talked to the waitress. I couldn’t really see what he gave her but he gave her something small. He said thank you and came and sat back down. What was he planning? I was starting to get nervous. “What’s wrong Rider?” I asked. He grabbed my hand and looked at me. “Nothing is wrong I just have stuff on my mind that is all.” He said and gave me a gentle smile. I didn’t know what he was planning but I knew that considering it was Rider he wasn’t planning anything bad. I knew that whatever he was planning, it was going to be something good. The waitress brought out a tray of rolls and Rider gave her a big smile. What was going on? I got up out of my seat and went to the bathroom. I was crying by the time I got into the bathroom. I was fixing my make up when the waitress that brought out our rolls came in. “Miss? Your boyfriend had me come in to see if you were alright.” She said. “I’m not happy with him right now.” I cried. “Why?” The waitress asked. I looked at her name tag with said, Nadallie. “He is keeping secrets from me and he smiled at you like he does with me.” I said. “He just smiled at me like that because I brought out the rolls. And he was smiling like that when you two walked in.” Nadallie said. “Oh.” I looked down at my feet and whipped away the tears. It seemed as though Nadallie could tell what I was thinking. “Don’t worry he has something very special for you tonight.” She said with a wink. My eyes lit up with happiness. I hurried out of the bathroom and sat back down where Rider was sitting. He smiled and took my hand from across the table. “Arrai?” He asked. I looked at him and he got down on one knee. My hand shot up to my mouth. “Will you marry me?” He asked me. The whole restaurant turned and looked at me waiting for my answer. It took me awhile to answer him. I choked back the tears and went to talk when my voice cracked. “Arrai? Sweet heart are you alright?” He said. "Yes! Rider! Yes! I'll marry you!" I said. Rider stood up and kissed me. The whole restaurant started clapping and Nadallie came over with the ring. Rider put the ring on my finger and I smiled and hugged him. Chapter 8 Something gone wrong Luna ran into the restaurant and asked the lady up front were me and Rider where. She pointed towards us and Luna walked over to us. "Luna what are you doing here?!" Rider asked. She was out of breath. All she could do was hand us a paper. Hello! I would love to bring to your attention that the Big Oak Tree is on fire. We have most of the packs helping to save the tree but we need you guys to help too. The house by the tree is close to the flames and about to light on fire. We need your help before the heart of our world gets destroyed. Sincerly, Alexander Jey Hunter Rider dropped the paper and ran out of the restaurant. I quickly paid the bill for the dinner and told Nadellie to just have the cook put the dinner in to-go-boxes. Then I ran out. We jumped into Rider's car. He drove to the forest and we all jumped out of the car. "Rider how are we going to get back?" I asked. “Didn’t you forget about the pendants that Alexander gave us?” Rider said not looking back at me. He was trying to find his pendent. I opened my purse and pulled out me and Rider’s pendants. I handed Rider his and me and him transportend to our main world. After we got there I seen something so unbelievable that I thought I was having a bad dream. I thought that Alex was testing us. If anything this could be an illusion or I could be asleep and having a bad dream. I was the first to start running. Rider followed closely behind. As soon as we got to the tree Rider dropped to his knees. “N...No…” He pleaded. His brother was laying on the ground. His life almost to an end. Everything seemed to be in slow motion at that point. Rider crying at my side and everyone running around trying to save the tree. My father, with fur missing on the bottom of his neck from him and Rider’s fight, looked over at me and glared. My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe what was going on. It was like everything was crashing around me. I looked down at Rider, he was starting to get up. “Rider?” I grabbed his hand, “What’s wrong?” He took his hand away from me and ran to Justin. I followed close behind. Everything was confusing me. The tree was on fire and I didn’t know what to do. That old oak tree is the heart of this world and I don't know what would happen if it ever vanished. I seen Beka standing by Justin’s limp body. Her face burned from the flames. I ran up to her and hugged her. “Beka! What happened to you!? Why did you go near the flames?” She didn’t answer. Instead she cried and hugged me back. “Arrai, I tried to help save Justin. He told me to stay here but when he fell and couldn’t get out of the flames I had to do something so I helped save him. I didn’t want anything to happen to Rider’s brother.” She started crying even more. “Beka, darling its fine. Everything will be alright.” Holding the young girl in my arms like a mother would a child I talked to her and calmed her down. Soon she stopped crying and then I heard more sobbs. I thought they were someone I didn’t know at first. But then I turned around and I seen that it was Rider. He was knelt down by Justin’s side. Tears dripping off of his face and onto Justin’s bare skin. I knew that his shirt would have been too burned up by the flames that it would be almost impossible to wear it. I couldn’t stand to see my boyfriend like this. This was supposed to be the most romantic night of my life and then this happened? I walked over to Rider and hugged him. I knew that no matter what I did, I couldn’t change the fact that Rider’s brother was probably dead. Everything up until now, their childhood, and fights. They all seemed like distant memories. Even though I didn’t even know what they were they still seemed like distant memories. My childhood with my family, it was all training. Never playing, never going out to the lake to watch shooting stars with my friends. Now that I think about it I never did have any friends. I was always training to become a defender or our territory. My mother more or less could have cared less if I was unhappy. If she got what she wanted from me thats all she cared about. Until the day that I couldn’t take down three of the warrior cats from the clans. I guess I was tired and weak from the training. But that is when my mother abandoned me, thinking I was sick. She left my gray tail out in the cold. It was winter then and I remember the fresh fallen snow against my paws. I started crying and covered my face with my hands. The faint sound of Rider’s voice came through to me. He was trying to get me to come back from the flashback I was having. “Arrai. Love, it’s OK. What’s wrong?” I hugged him and started crying. I looked at Justin and seen that he was starting to wake up. “Rider! Look!” I pointed at Justin and Rider looked over at his brother. I had missed a lot when I was having the flashback. But seeing that Justin was waking up made me feel a little bit better. I stood up and ran over to Justin. “I didn’t know that wolves also had nine lives.” Justin said weakly. He started laughing and I just looked at him and smiled. “They don’t but looks like heaven just wasn’t ready for you yet.” I said. Now that he was awake I felt a little bit better about the whole situation. I was too busy worrying about Justin and Rider that I didn’t realize how cold it was getting. “Snow.” Justin whispered. I looked up and seen snowflakes falling from bright white snow clouds above. I stood up and held out my hands. The cold flakes of white fluff landed in the palm of my hand and on my nose. Then the memories of that night my mom abandoned me came back. I fell to my knees and started crying again. The memories were too much for me to handle. Even though it was a long time ago it is still too much. I couldn’t take the pain of my parents betraying me. Every night I was on my own I used to think that I was not wanted. That I didn’t belong here. But the night that I was found I found that I was meant to be here. The snow was cold. I smiled and looked at Rider. “It’s snowing. For the first time in 2 years it’s snowing and I enjoy it!” Chapter 9 A dream come true I felt as if I was going to cry. It snowed about 4 inches and it brought a miracle to us all. It did the task we thought was impossible. It saved the tree. Although it is now winter, it saved the tree. The only thing to kill the tree is fire and that is the only thing that almost killed it. “Arrai.” Justin said weakly. I looked at Justin and seen that he was trying to get up. “Justin don’t push it too far. You aren’t in any condition to move.” I said helping him back down. “But it’s cold.” He said. Rider took his jacket off and put it over him. Rider then picked his brother up, being careful for his burns, and carried him to Winter’s den. Everyone was walking home and seemed tired. My dad was following close behind me like he wanted to talk to me but I just ignored him and kept walking like I didn’t notice he was behind me. “Arrai.” He said. “Rider? Did you hear something?” I said pretending that I didn’t hear him. Rider looked at me confused then he caught on. “No Arrai I didn’t hear anything. Maybe it was just the wind.” I look down. “Yeah.” My dad stopped and seemed to be hurt from what had just happened. Everyone looked at him as they passed. They didn’t think of him as the Alpha wolf anymore. They thought of him as some ordinary wolf in the pack. They looked up to me and Rider now. I don’t know why but they do. Was it because I out powered my mom--who was more powerful than my dad--or was it that I am just way more caring than my dad is. I don’t threaten other wolves or people? Whatever the case Rider and I are the new pack leaders. I looked back and seen my dad walking the other way, away from the territory. His head down low with a look of defeat on his face. “Rider, do you think… We went too far?” I look back again and see that he was no longer in sight. “What do you mean, my love? How could he have gone too far?” He looks at me again with a confused look. “Never mind. It’s pointless to ask. I know what you are going to say.” He smiled and nodded his head. “Have I ever told you how beautiful you look?” My face brightened. “No Rider I don’t think you have.” I said with a wink. Now that I think about it he never really did tell me. He always kissed me and told me he loved me but never that I am beautiful. We got to the pack territory and took Justin to Winter’s den. She took him and started healing him. Me and Rider on the other hand left and started walking to my dad’s den. “Arrai!” I turned around and seen that Beka was calling me. “What is it Hun?” I said. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I looked at Rider and followed Beka. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I heard that you and Rider are getting married!” She started jumping up and down. “Yeah we are. How did you find out?” I was confused about it all. “Luna told me. But that isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about.” I looked at her with a blank look on my face. She looked down and she seemed like she was scared to ask me. “Beka, you know you can tell me or ask me anything right?” She nodded her head. You know how I don’t have parents?” “Yes?” I was starting to catch on to what she was getting at. “Beka? Are you trying to ask if you could be me and Rider’s daughter?” My chest tightened. “Y… Yes. If your answer is no then I understand.” I hugged Beka tightly and started crying. “Of course! It is more than alright if you are my daughter!!” Her eyes lit up and she hugged me back. Rider walked over and just looked at me. “What’s going on?” I smiled and kissed him. Beka smiled and didn’t’ move. “Arrai? What is going on!?” “You’re a father now Rider!” His eyes went wide and he stumbled backwards. “Wait! You can’t be! You’ve got to be joking with me!” I laughed and picked up Beka. “I’m not. Beka is our daughter now.” He exhaled deeply with relief. “Rider?” I looked at him sadly. “D… Did I do something wrong?” Beka’s sweet smile turned into a frown quickly. “No, Arrai, you didn’t do anything wrong.” His eyes turned gentle and kind again like they were when I first met him. “Rider?” Beka said. “Yes?” I looked at Beka and seen that she was crying. “It’s OK.” I said hugging her tightly. “I don’t like seeing you and daddy fight!” I looked at Rider and smiled a little. “I know sweetheart, we weren’t fighting baby girl.” Rider hugged me and Beka and said, “As long as I have my girls, I am happy. No matter what happens I will be happy as long as I have you.” “Now I think we should be getting back Arrai.” Rider said. “But daddy! Do you really have to go?” He knelt down and put his hand on Beka’s arm. “Yeah, we do. Me and Arrai have to get back to our houses in the Human world.” Beka nodded reluctantly and gave Rider a hug. I stood there waiting for Rider to follow. He finally stood up and took my hand. I kissed Beka on the head, “Don’t worry we will be back soon. I promise. If you want somewhere to stay the house is unlocked and you can stay in my room.” Beka nodded and me and Rider transformed into wolves. It felt good to be a wolf again. Now that we could use the powers whenever I was happy to be able to shift again. I couldn’t hold it back. I seen the moon, it was shining so bright and it was so bright, I let out a loud howl and took off running. “Arrai! Wait!” Rider said. We were half way through the meadows. He was getting extremely tired and I was so involved with the moon that I forgot about him. There was something about the moon that I couldn’t shake. “Arrai! We have to go the other way!” I was going the other way then I should have. Rider started running faster, he was trying to catch up to me. Faster and faster he ran, until he finally caught up to me. He jumped in front of me and I ran into him. Everything went black and I shifted back into a Vampire. Rider shifted also. “Arrai! What’s going on?!” His eyes were filled with worry. “The moon, something is going on with the moon!” I said quietly. “What’s wrong with the moon hun?” He said helping me up. “I don’t know, it’s gone now.” I looked at the moon as I got up and seen that it was a normal moon. I didn’t see what I seen from before. “Alright love, let’s get you home. Our parents are probably worried about us.” “Yeah. You're right.” We took off towards the Village of vampires and transported to the Human world. It had gotten really dark and was late. “OK now where is your car?” I said looking around for Rider’s car. “Good question. I have no clue where it is.” We started walking and then I got a glimpse of something shiny. “Hey, over there! Isn’t that your car?” Rider started laughing. “Yeah I forgot that we hid the car before we left. The others must have moved it. We got into the car and drove over to my house. We pulled up the driveway and the lights were still on. It was a good thing that I am 17 and have freedom or I would have been in a lot of trouble. I kissed Rider good night and ran up to the house. Chapter 10 Happy Birthday Arrai That next day was my birthday. I woke up and checked my phone. I had a text from Rider. “Good morning Beautiful. And happy birthday.” I smiled and hugged my legs. It was sweet that Rider sent me a good morning text and wished me happy birthday. I got up and got dressed. I ran downstairs and seen that my parents were up making something to eat. “Good morning, sweet heart. How did you sleep?” My mom said. “Good, I guess. I got home late last night and didn’t go to sleep till 12.” Brindy looked up from the waffles she was cooking and gave me a confused look. “Why sweet heart? You are normally asleep as soon as you lay down. Is everything OK?” She reached over and felt my forehead. “You're not sick.” I shook my head. “No I’m not sick I just had a lot on my mind that’s all,” I looked down at my hands and seen that I still had the ring on. “Hey mom.” She came around the island where she was cooking the waffles and sat down beside me. “Yes dear?” It took me a while to get the courage to tell my mom that Rider had asked me to marry him. I was still in shock from the night before and I know that she won't be very happy to know that I am engaged. “Katie darling you can tell me anything you want.” She smiled. “OK, well when I was on my date with Jake, he asked me to marry him.” My mom’s face went white and her mouth dropped. “I’m sorry, I’ll tell him no if you want me to.” My mom didn’t say anything. She only cried. “Mother?” She shook her head and it sounded like she squeaked a little. I guess that is what I get for dropping this all on her so fast. I was turning 18 and I was getting married. I wasn’t sure if that is actually what I wanted anyway. I love Rider. He is the only guy that I care about more than anything in the world combined. Before my mom could answer my dad walked in. “We will talk about this later sweetheart, for now I want you to go into my room and get the presents that me and the kids picked out for you. I stood up and hugged Josh. It was the perfect moment to take the ring off before my father seen. “Good morning dad.” I smiled. “Good morning sweet heart. I suppose you are a grown woman now right?” I smiled and pulled away from the hug. “Sure am!” Keeping the smile I tilted my head and closed my eyes. “Well then you are going to like the present I got for you. While you were asleep today I went and bought it for you. I really hope you like it because I am gonna be paying it off for the next six months.” He laughed and rubbed his hand on the top of my head, messing up my hair even more than it already was, and kissed me on the cheek. I ran into my mom’s room and grabbed six presents that were all on the floor. They were carefully stacked in a stack. Smallest at the top and largest on the bottom. I took each present and took them to the living room. “OK. The presents are in the front room mom.” Brindy looked up and smiled. “Alright. I will go get the boys. You want to go wake up your sister?” I smiled back. “Yeah. I gotta go get something out of her room anyway. She took my phone charger last night and forgot to give it back. My phone is going to die and I wanted to talk to Jake.” My mom walked past me to my brother’s room and I followed her to my sister’s room. I knocked on the door gently and waited for my little sister’s response. I opened the door and seen that she was still asleep. I went over to her bed and sat down gently on the side of the bed. “Kaybrie.” I put my hand on her shoulder. She didn’t answer. “Kaybrie sweetheart it’s time to get up.” Finally she started to wake up. “Katie?” I smiled and stood up. She smiled back still half asleep and sat up. I helped her up out of bed and she gave me a hug. “Happy birthday sis.” She said. “Thanks.” I replied. I grabbed my phone charger and me and Kaybrie walked out into the front room. Josh was sitting on the couch reading the morning paper and Clove was sitting on the floor by the couch. “Man, Clove are you sick?” I teased. “No, I just wanted to get a head start to the day so that I could wish you happy birthday before I go hang out with my friends. My heart dropped. I didn’t know what to say to my brother skipping out on my birthday. My dad folded his newspaper in half and smacked Clove on the top of the head. “Now Clove you know better than to talk to your sister like that. She had plans for today for you and her. Did you ever stop to think that maybe she misses her older brother?” Clove looked down at his game boy and took a deep breath. “Well there is still Dalton. Why can’t she just take him with her for a lame day?” A tear rolled down my cheek and I turned around and walked to my room. I got back into my pajamas and got back into bed. I had lost all hope of being happy today. I looked at my side table by my bed and seen the Midnight black ring box that my wedding ring came in and reached for it. I didn’t want to move from the spot I was in--which made things harder than they needed to be-- I got two fingers around the small box and started pulling it towards my palm when the box fell on the floor. It landed with a loud thump and I froze. I thought I had heard something crack or break. I hurried and got out of bed to pick up the ring box. I opened it and seen that the ring that Rider had proposed to me with had broken. I started crying and fell to my knees. I thought that Rider was going to be heart broken when he found out that I had broken the beautiful ring he got me. I got up and sat on the bed. Holding the ring box--which held the broken ring inside-- close to me. Dalton walked in and seen me crying. “Kate? What’s wrong?” Although he was a few years younger than me he was the only one out of my three siblings that had an interest in spending time with me all the time. Even though Kaybrie always wanted to be by my side she still had her days were she didn’t even want to talk or be touched. I respected that since I understood that loud and clear. After all Beka is about the same age as her and I imagine the full force of Beka when she is mad. I can just imagine the damage that Kaybrie can make. Dalton walked over to be and sat down on my bed with me. “Kate? Sis are you alright?” He seen that I was holding something close to me and took one of my hands in one of his. With his free hand he took the box and opened it. His eyes widened. He could tell what it was. “Kate! Is this?” I nodded. “Yes. That was a 300 dollar ring. Jake proposed with it. I went to put it back on and the box fell off the nightstand. The ring broke.” I started crying even more. Dalton stood up and hugged me. “Well… what are we just standing around here for? Let’s go see if we can get it fixed. The damage isn’t that bad and I know a few people who will fix the ring for free. Plus you have your license. I can’t get my learners till next week.” I looked at my little brother and smiled. “Thanks Dalton. I owe you one. Big time!” He laughed and shrugged his shoulders. He stuffed the ring box into his jacket pocket and offered me a hand. “Well let’s go open those presents of yours and see what dad got you. I am really anxious for you to see it since I pitched in to help buy it.” I stood up and hugged him. Seeming how tall I was he was about a half an inch taller than me. I just laughed and ruffled his hair. He smiled and smoothed out his hair. “Let’s go little brother.” I walked out the door and down the hall. I walked into the family room to get my jacket and flats. I was too busy thinking about the ring that I didn’t realise Clove walk up behind me. “Katie, I’m sorry for the way I acted earlier. I was out of line.” I looked at him with a blank face. “I called the guys and told them that I couldn’t meet them today because I wanted to hang out with you. He leaned against the wall and put his hands in his pockets. Despite his immaturity he was older than he looks. Clove could have been moved out one year ago but he decided to stay home and help around the house since Brindy is gonna be 50 in a few months and Josh is going to be 51. My mom still cries every time one of us kids turn a year older. Kaybrie is 9, Dalton is 15, I just turned 18 and Clove is 19. Chapter 11 A tragedy that will leave her crying “Kate! Jake is here!” Dalton yelled from the front door. I got up and threw a new shirt on since the one I was wearing was ripped from a year in working in it with a few of my friends from school. I ran to the front door and Rider was standing at the door looking as hot as ever. I ran up to hug him and he flinched in pain. I pulled away and pulled him inside. “Sit.” I demanded, pointing at the couch in the family room. He sat down, he had a sad glint in his eye, and he looked like he had just gotten the life beat out of him. “Dalton.” I said. “Yeah?” He asked. “I need you to go get me some gauze, tape, and a first aid wrap from mom.” I said trying to help Rider take his shirt off so that I could see whether anything was broken or not. His shirt was loose so I couldn’t tell whether or not it was bleeding. Dalton ran to the kitchen and seen that only Josh was in there. “Dad where is mom?!” Dalton said. “At the store, why?” Dalton’s hand shot up to his forehead and he rushed over to my mom’s first aid cabinet. He knew that only the Adults--Brindy and Josh-- could get into that cabinet but he knew that he had to break the rules just this once. “Dalton Tucker Anderson! You know that you are not allowed in that cabinet!” My dad yelled. “Well mom isn’t here and you have no clue what I need and even if you knew you wouldn’t even know what half this stuff is called!” Josh shut up and Dalton grabbed the stuff I needed. Right when I got Rider’s shirt off Dalton walked in. I gasped and froze. “Kate? What’s wrong?” Dalton walked over to me and Rider and seen that Rider had a hole in his shoulder. He had been shot. Dalton raced out of the family room and told my dad to call 9-1-1. “Dalton no need for that bud!” Rider called. Josh walked in and called my mom instead of 9-1-1. “Dad. I need you to put pressure on both sides of his shoulder till I get back.” Josh did as I said and I raced into the bathroom and got the softest wash cloth that I could find. I ran it under warm water and wrung it out so that it was still extremely wet but not dripping all over the place. I ran back to the family room and seen a bucket of warm water by the couch. “Katie sweetheart.” Rider said weakly. “Jake don’t say anything. Just let me take care of you.” I gently started washing the gunshot hole in Rider’s shoulder. It took fourteen times of dipping the cloth into the water before I got his shoulder clean enough that it wouldn’t get infected. Dalton handed me the two pieces of gauze and I put one on the back of his shoulder and one on the front. Rider winced in pain as the squares of gaus touched his shoulder. “I know it hurts babe but you have to be strong.” I said. Josh stepped back, still trying to explain to my mom what was going on and how she should get home A.S.A.P. Dalton held the gauze in place while I carefully wrapped it with the surgical tape that my mom uses for these kind of bandages. I used almost a half a roll of tape before I finished wrapping Rider’s shoulder. I looked down at the first air wrap and seen that there was not only 1 or 2 but there was about 4 sitting in a row. I took the first one and started wrapping the shoulder a little bit from under the shoulder. I slowly and carefully continued wrapping. I had to wrap around his chest also since the wrap wouldn’t stay on just the shoulder itself. I used up all four of the first aid wraps and was done treating Rider. “Dad tell mom that everything is fine. I took care of it.” I said while getting up. Josh nodded and relayed the message. “Dalton, you know where my pain killers are from when I had the surgery on my knee are right?” He nodded. “Go get those.” I pulled a chair over by Rider and sat down. I held his hand tightly and started crying. “Kate don’t worry. I will be fine.” He smiled at me and tightened his grip on my hand. I looked at him, still crying and nodded my head. Dalton raced back in with the pain killers and I helped Rider sit up long enough for him to take the medication. Soon enough Rider fell asleep. For the first time I had seen Rider with his shirt off. I laid my head on his stomach. His breathing was even and calm. Brindy got home and walked in to see me in the family room with Rider. She was very proud of me to see me so calm in a situation like this and to see how good of a job I did with bandaging up Rider’s shoulder. I lifted my head up and seen that Rider had abs, which made me fall in love with him even more. I looked behind me and seen my mom standing in the doorway. I got up and ran over to her and started crying. “Momma! This is all my fault!” I hugged her and Brindy hugged me back, running her fingers through my hair. “This is not your fault baby girl. None of us could have prevented this from happening. So please don’t beat yourself up over this. I talked to his parents and they are taking it to the cops in a couple hours.” She said. I heard the soft whispers of my name. Rider was finally awake and trying to get my attention. I walked over to him and knelt down by him. “Kate, I want you to know that I love you.” I smiled as a tear runs down my cheek. Rider reached up and whips it away. His soft and tender touch was just heart melting. “I love you too Jake.” I put my hand on the side of his face and kissed him. “Katie,” He said when I pulled away from the kiss. He looked at the doorway and seen that no one was there. “Go back to the main world. It’s not safe for you here. They are coming for you---” His voice trailing off. My heart sank. “Rider!” I said, patting his cheek gently. “Rider!!” I started crying. He wasn’t responding to anything. I got up and ran to Brindy and Josh. “Mom! Dad! Help!” I cried. My voice cracking from me crying. Josh and Brindy ran into the family room and seen Rider laying on the couch. Josh ran into the kitchen and dialed 9-1-1. Even though my mom is a Nurse at the hospital there is very little she can do here at the house. A few minutes later the ambulance arrived and took my mom and Rider to the hospital. As soon as the ambulance pulled out of the driveway and raced down the road Clove pulled into the driveway. He parked the car and ran inside, practically breaking down the door. “What is going on?! Why did that ambulance just pull out of our driveway?! Is mom OK?!” He was asking questions left and right. When he was done I answered. “Jake was shot and now he is going to the hospital.” I started crying even more and Clove came over to me and hugged me. “He will be alright. I promise.” Clove let me go from his embrace and I darted out of the house like a bullet from a gun. I jumped into my car and drove over to the forest. I got out my pendent and transported to my main world. I ran to the territory. I didn’t bother looking back or to watch who was a head of me. I just ran. I was about to do something crazy and I knew that if Rider survives it would hurt him tremendously. I ran into the territory and seen my sister. “Kayla!!” I yelled. Tears still streaming down my face. She opened her arms and I ran into them she hugged me tightly and the sounds of my sobs were muffled since my face was buried in her chest. “Arrai? What’s wrong? Where is Rider?” “He was shot! Now I don’t even know if he is alive. All he said to me was to come here because someone is after them me then he quit talking and his breathing faded.” Her eyes widened and I could tell that she was worried. “Does Justin know?” I shook my head. “I just got here.” There was a break in my voice when I said ‘here’. “We need to go tell him.” She insisted. She didn’t give me a chance to say my opinion before she started running toward Winter’s den. I ran the opposite way. I was going to my house. If there was anything that was going to help Rider it was the Herbs that I got for sicknesses when I was living on my own. I was searching for the right ingredient when I seen something in the mirror. It was something that was indescribable. Something, unliving. I turned around and nothing was there. “There is a price you have to pay to save the one you love the most.” The unliving object said. Then out of nowhere it vanished. Leaving nothing but a paper with ten small words written on it. They said, “The price you must pay is hidden in the shadows.” I understood what that meant. The term ‘shadows’ means ‘death’ for the unliving. Everything just hit me. I ran out of the house and back to the territory. I had the note in my hand. Kayla was nearby, her and Winter were talking about Justin’s condition. “Kayla!” I yelled, gasping for air. I collapsed to my knees exactly in front of her and held up the paper. “Arrai! No you are not going to die just to save Rider! I am not going to allow it!” She yelled. “I am 18 years old now I can make my own decisions. Besides, look at how your ‘logical’ thinking works out!” I yelled. Because of the so thought good decisions that Kayla made a few years ago her children’s father had died because of something that she thought would never happen. Ever since then Kayla has been terrified of The Unliving. I ran off and half way through the camp I seen an image. It was of me and Rider. We were in the den with Beka and a little baby girl. I stopped. Was the image real? Was it the future? Then another image popped into mind. It was the present day, at the hospital, Dalton and Clove were sitting by Rider’s bed side talking to Rider. He had a oxygen mask on so that he could breath and a monitor that was monitoring his heart rate. He was asking the boys where I was at and they said that they have no clue. I snapped out of the image and came back to reality. I snapped back right in time because as I was in the vision I forgot that the way I was going there was a cliff at the end of the territory. I guess that this is what The Unliving meant by my price is in the shadows. I started to back away slowly. With each step the Snow was starting to slip off the side of the cliff. When I got far enough away from the edge I turned around and started running toward the camp. I tripped over a log and slid. My cheek, arm, shoulder and my knee was scraped up. I stood up and ignored the pain that shot up the left side of my body. I continued to run. I ran straight past the territory and to the Vampire Village. I knew that I had to get to Rider before The Unliving did. Nothing seemed normal anymore. The world that I grew up in, the life that I knew, the people that I love. All of it has changed, it has turned around, it has made a turn for the very worst in the world. I knew that I had to get Rider away from all of the trouble before either one of us got hurt. Chapter 12 A day of true sadness It’s at least three days after Rider got out of the hospital and I have been taking care of him. I should be going to school but I have been skipping school to take care of Rider. In all truth and reality I wasn’t going to school when I was supposed to anyway. “Arrai?” Rider said. I looked at him and tilted my head. “Yeah? What is it?” He smiled and held my hand. “You want to know what I haven’t had from you in a while.” I looked at him confused. “What would that be?” He laughed a little and tried to sit up. I helped him upright and looked at him even more confused. “Rider what's going on?” He put his hand on the back of my neck and kissed me. I leaned into the kiss. I lost all track of time. I didn’t think of much besides the fact that I missed Rider’s passionate kisses. They were the kind of kisses that make me feel like we are the only people in the world. I pulled away and smiled at Rider. “Let me guess that is what you haven’t had in a while?” He nodded and started blushing. I grabbed the washcloth and bowl of warm water and took it to the kitchen. “Hey Arrai?” Rider called. “Yes Rider?” I answered back I was still in the kitchen getting clean water. “Do you think we could go back to the main world for a few days?” He asked. I was shocked to hear him say that. I didn’t really know what to say to him asking if we could go back. He was somewhat excited to get out of that world last time I checked. Although his brother is there. He probably wants to see how he is doing. “Yeah. We can go back for a few days. I mean my parents won't mind now that I am 18 and moved out and all.” I heard a small cough and dropped what I was doing and ran in to see what was wrong with Rider. “Are you alright?!” I asked. He nodded and I reached for his water and handed it to him. “When do you want to leave?” I asked him watching him drink the water like he hadn’t drank anything in a few days. I knew that his answer wasn’t going to be anytime soon since he was barely even strong enough to sit up by himself let alone walk. “A few weeks. I should be able to walk by then. “Ok. Do you want to try to stand up today?” I said. Rider nodded in reply and placed his feet on the floor. I took his hand and helped him up. I helped him walk a little bit. That way if he fell he wouldn’t hit his head on the coffee table if I was unable to catch him. I slowly started to let him go. Little by little I moved my hand away from his back. I wasn’t about to let his hand go just yet. I was finally able to take my hand away from his back completely. He was standing without any support! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Do you want to sit down now?” I asked. I figured that he was getting tired. It takes a while to get your strength back after being shot in the shoulder. “No I actually want to try to walk a little. I want to be able to use my legs so that we can go back sooner. I have a surprise for you.” I sighed and nodded in agreement. I wasn’t about to argue. He was the one who was ready to start walking so I figured that he would start arguing if I said no. I held both his hands in mine and slowly took a step back. He lifted his foot and took a step towards me. “Arrai?” I looked up from his feet and into his caring eyes. “Yes?” I didn’t know what he was planning on asking me but I decided to give it a chance. “Didn’t the doctor say that when I was able to stand on my own I was going to be able to walk too?” I nodded. “Yes I do believe he said something like that. He let go of my hands and stood in place for a little bit before he did anything. I was on alert so that if he fell I would be able to catch him. Slowly he started to walk. And slowly I started to relax. He walked from the couch to the wall. Which was about 13 feet away from each other. He turned around and looked at me. “This is insane!” He said. “Well we are wolves. We do heal pretty fast.” I said. “So I guess that is a never mind on the long wait to go to our world.” He smiled and walked over to me to give me and kiss. The moment his lips touched mine it felt like time stopped. I couldn’t believe that he was starting to get better after 3 weeks of being home from the hospital. After he pulled away from the kiss I looked at his shoulder and seen that it wasn’t as big of a hole as it used to be. “How do you feel?” I asked. “Honestly not that bad. I haven’t felt this good since the day I laid eyes on you.” I started blushing and at that moment I knew exactly why I fell in love with him. It was because he was so caring and sweet. I trusted him and he trusted me. We were meant for each other and just then, I realized that I was meant to be with him forever. I looked into his eyes and seen that he was happy. He didn’t have that look in his eyes since the day I said yes to marry him and since the day we met. There was one thing that I didn’t understand though. I didn’t understand why he never really looked at me the same way since we got here. I didn’t understand why he was acting different around me. It seemed like he didn’t want me around. But if he didn’t want me around why would he proposed to me? Was it because he didn’t want to break my heart? Was there another girl? If so, who? There was a lot that I thought he was hiding from me. I didn’t really understand most of what was going on around me since I said yes to marrying him since I was too busy planning the wedding and taking care of Rider’s wounds. Rider sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. I walked outside and sat on the porch. I looked over at my car and seen that there was something on the window. I got up to it and walked over to my car. I seen a note taped to the windshield of the car. I know what you are planning… And I know what you are… Go back to where you came from… Or else. I grabbed the note off of my car and ran inside. “Rider!!” I choked back my tears. He got up and walked over to me. “What is it?” He knew that something was wrong. I handed him the note and he read it. He froze and looked at me. “We need to tell the others!” Rider nodded in agreement and grabbed his phone and called Luna and Braylie. I ran to our room and packed our stuff. “Luna! Is Braylie with you?!” Rider said. “Yeah? Why what’s going on?” Luna said. Clearly she had no idea what was going on. “Meet me and Arrai at the forest we will explain there!” Rider said and hung up. I finished getting our stuff together and put it in the back of my car. We got in and I started the car. “How did they find out?” Rider asked. “I don’t know. But whoever it is. They must have connections.” Rider took my hand in his. He knew that I was worried and scared. “It’s going to be OK. I promise you it will be alright.” I looked over at Rider and smiled. I wasn’t focused on the road, I looked back at the road and seen that I was about to be broadsided by another car and slammed on my breaks. Rider forced himself backwards while I flew forwards and my head hit the steering wheel. The car was at a complete stop. Even though I was unconscious I could still feel what was going on around me. I couldn’t move my right arm and I didn’t have any feeling in my left leg. Rider was trying to get me to wake up. He was starting to cry. I couldn’t come back to reality. I was seeing a perfect, beautiful world. The grass was soft and green. There were roses and other flowers of many different species everywhere. Wolves, rabbits, deer and other animals were all living together in peace. There was no fighting. And there was no war. No blood being shed. It was like a utopia. I looked around for a while. Then, I seen the humans. Playing together, living together with the animals. I was one of the humans. In a white dress. I had no shoes on. That was when I realized I was dead. I no longer felt Rider shaking my shoulder or yelling my name so I would wake up. I no longer felt any pain and I no longer knew what it was like to suffer. I wasn’t scared anymore. I looked around a little longer and I seen my mother. She was standing before me as a human. She smiled and walked towards me. “Mother?” I ran up to her and hugged her. “Arrai my dear. What are you doing here? You should be alive living your life.” She said. I started crying. I didn’t want to be dead. I wanted to be in Rider’s grasp. I wanted to feel his warm touch for the last time. “I was in a wreck. Rider is still alive but the car hit my side of the car.” I said. “You must go back. You have yet come to complete your destiny.” She said. “But how do I go back?” I asked. “You must simply close your eyes and wish to be alive again.” She explained. I closed my eyes and wished to be alive. I wished to be with Rider again, back at the accident. I woke up in the driver’s seat of the car. 13 Farewell is a long ways away I smiled when I seen Rider still in the passenger’s seat of the car. I closed my eyes. I was starting to wonder if help was going to come. Although the car did get hit about a minute ago. I heard Rider on the phone with 9-1-1. I couldn’t say anything and I could barely even move. It’s a good thing that I had one free arm. I reached over and touched Rider’s arm. Rider looked at me and said something I didn’t really hear. I tried to move my head more so that I could get a better view of Rider but as soon as I moved my head a bolt of pain shot through my neck and the side of my face. Rider hung up the phone when he was done talking and turned towards me. He was trying to talk to me but I didn’t understand anything he was saying. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the pain. I felt Rider’s hand on my back. That is when I started to hear what he was saying. “Arrai! Please wake up! Please! I can’t lose you again!” Rider said. The pain was starting to disappear. I was starting to feel my leg again and my arm was starting to feel like it wasn’t broken. “Rider.” I said. Rider looked at me. “My arm… It doesn’t feel broken anymore.” I continued. Not long after that the ambulance, cops, and firefighters showed up. They got me and Rider out of the car and got me into the ambulance. They did a few tests to see if I needed to go to the hospital or not and asked Rider and the other diver questions. The driver sat there answering the questions while Rider stubbornly refused to say anything until he could see me. They finally gave up on asking him questions and let him do whatever. Rider ran over to to ambulance. The doctor stepped outside the vehicle and started talking to him. “Sir will you please get her to talk. She won’t talk to us.” They said. He looked at me in worry. “Arrai. Please talk to them. They are trying to help you.” I tried to talk but I couldn’t. I pulled out my phone and started typing on it. “I can’t talk. I want to I just can’t.” I said and showed the message to Rider and the doctor. The doctor froze. “Sir, may I talk to you for a minute.” Rider looked at the doctor and Rider nodded his head. They went a little farther away, thinking that I couldn’t hear them. Well I could. “That girl, who is she to you? Your girlfriend? Friend? Sister?” The doctor said. “She’s my girlfriend.” Rider said with a puzzled look on his face. “Why do you ask?” He said before the doctor could answer. The doctor looked at him, “Well I was asking so that I know a little bit more so that I can help you both. I also seen that you didn’t want to be away from her and I seen the ring on her finger.” The doctor explained. “Well we are getting married so there isn’t really a big explanation there, sir. So what is wrong with her, why can’t she talk?” Rider said, he was worried and I could tell even though I couldn’t see his face. “Well, telling how hard her head hit the steering wheel I am surprised that she is still alive. But from trauma and shock of the accident and her side of the car being hit and everything she won't be able to talk for a few days, maybe a week or a week and a half.” The doctor said. Rider looked back at me and then back at the doctor. “OK, well other than that is there anything wrong? Something that I should look after or look out for?” Rider said concerned. “No. Other than that it looks like everything is going to be OK. She is ready to go after you talk to the cops.” Rider’s fists balled and he looked down. I got down off of the back of the ambulance and walked over to Rider. I hugged him from behind and just then he started to calm down. “I’m not talking to the cops. I am taking Arrai and going to my house. After that we are leaving this place and never coming back.” The doctor looked at Rider with a blank look. Rider turned around to me and seen that I was trying not to cry. “Arrai, it’s ok. It’s going to be ok. I promise. Once we get out of here we are going home.” He leaned down and kissed me. “Arrai, I love you.” I smiled and kissed him back. I wanted to say that I loved him back. But I couldn’t. I looked down at the ground and started crying. I admit. It wasn’t bad. Rider talked to the cops and when they asked me a question I gave them a simple nod or a shake of the head. I kept looking over at the road where the accident happened. The cars were already towed away. My car was totaled it wasn’t much of a car after the accident. The other car only had a smashed hood. And the windshield was shattered but that was because of the force. “The driver turned out to be drunk,” The cop paused converting his attention towards me, “You are very lucky that you survived Ms., I wouldn’t have figured that you survived.” I looked down and nodded. Rider put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. I smiled and leaned against him. The cop started to stand up. “You may go now.” Rider helped me up and we started walking to his house. I have to admit that I am a little scared since I don’t know what Beka will say to me unable to talk. I looked down at the ground as we walked and choked back the tears that otherwise would have let Rider know that I was upset. We walked up to Rider’s house and he ran inside to grab his keys. I sat on the front steps of the porch. I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do. I looked at Rider’s car and couldn’t help but cry. I rose my hand to my head and felt the gash on my head. I looked at my hand and then put it back in my lap. “I don’t care right now.” I thought to myself. I was in deep thought when I heard the door open. I swung around to see Rider standing in the doorway with his keys. “You ready?” He asked. I nodded my head and stood up. Rider placed his arm around me and hugged me. “Arrai, please don’t ever forget that I love you. Please.” He said kissing the top of my head. I smiled and nodded my head again. We walked to the car and got in.


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