”Come on children! Time to come inside. ”

”Awe do I have to? ” I love being outdoors, its more of a home to me than the foster home I live in.

”Yes, Lupin even you. ” Ms. Pennie calls from across the yard. I shove my pen in my pants pocket and fold up my paper and slip it in my other pocket. I am the last of the kids to enter the old orphanage. Ms. Pennie guides us to the dining hall so we can get supper before heading off to bed.

I get in line to get my food, pea soup and a single slice of buttered bread with a cup of water. I sit alone at the furthest table keeping my head low.

”Hey, Lupin, What you got there? ” Trevor points at my soup. He is the orphanage bully.

”Nothing, leave me alone. ”

”What did you say to me? ” Trevor smirks and looks at his odyguards.

”You heard me! ” I raise my voice a little louder.

”Or what? What you going to do little Lupin? Hit me? ” His bodyguards laugh and crack their knuckles.

”Leave him alone, ” a girls voice says, coming from behind Trevor, Maximus, and Aron. ”There are plenty of other kids to pick on, quit picking on Lupin. ”

”Oh, like you? ” Trevor turns on his heel. ”Maybe I will. ”

”Enough, ” Ms. Pennie growls as she comes closer. ”Trevor… ” she gives him a stern glare. ”Mr. Abbott wants you and your little band of orphan thugs to go to his office for s little chat. ” Mr. Abbott is the current headmaster at The Abbott Orphanage (its passed down from father to son). Trevor and his boys exchange glances and then bolt away, probably thinking that if they don hurry Mr. Abbott will pull out the cane. ”Thank you for trying to stop them, Emma. ” She gives the girl who was standing behind Trevor a small smile. She then turns to me, ”Lupin, come with me. Bring your dinner. ”

I pick up my tray and follow her to her office on the second floor next to my dormitory. She holds the door open and I enter her office; it is cozy. There are a couple of pictures on the wall of what I assume is her family; she has a desk placed directly in front of a window with one chair behind it and two smaller chairs in front of it. To the left of the window is a large mahogany wardrobe, on the right a set of old filing cabinets with the labels; A-K, L-S, and T-Z. It contains all the records of the current children, and all behaviors (rule breaking, attitude during classes, etc.).

”Have a seat, ” Ms. Pennie points to her desk.

”Am I in trouble? ” I ask while I make my way over to the desk.

”Not at all. However, a pen was reported missing. ” She glances at my pocket. ”Lupin, how do you feel about being adopted? ”

”Adopt? ” I repeat, ” but no one wants to adopt me! Im odd! ”

”Its not official yet. ” Ms. Pennie takes a seat in the spinning chair behind the desk. ”A woman told me she drives by almost every day and you have caught her attention, she wants to bring you to her house and possibly adopt you. ”

”You
e lying. ” I try to come up with some reason to not believe her. ”Im way too skinny, my clothes are shabby. No one wants a kid like me! ”

”You
e not worthless Lupin. ”

”I am! Don you hear what everyone thinks of me? Trevor bullies me because I don have nice things, all the others talk about me behind my back! ” Ms. Pennie opens her mouth to respond, but then changes her mind and closes it. ”Tell me this is all just a joke. ” Ive forgotten about my food now.

”Lupin… please, just give this woman a chance, she seems like a really nice person. ”

I look down at my food, she will probably get me in her vehicle and then turn around and say this is all a big mistake and Ill be back in the orphanage. ”Okay… ” I mutter. I finish my food in Ms. Pennies office and then go to my dorm and go to bed. I look out the window at the moon and the stars, I yearn to be out there under it. Next Thursday the moon will be full and Id really love to see it just once outside in the fresh air. I mean, I know Ill get to see it when I turn eighteen and they kick me out, but I would like to see it just once while Im still a kid.

My eleventh birthday will be on Thursday too, its a coincidence being adopted right before it. Just imagine the look on Trevors face I think to myself, he will be so mad that its me and not him. I chuckle quietly.

***

”Ang! Weve talked about this a hundred times! ”

”Ive been watching the boy! He shows every trait! ”

”A lot of people do Angie, but you can just go around adopting rouge wolves, our alpha will kick us out if he finds out! ”

”How would you feel if you had been alone the first time you changed?! They won understand him, they will think he is a monster baby! ”

”You have a point. ” Echo sighs, ”but Fred will be pissed. ”

”Baby, Ill deal with the alpha, but if Im correct we need to get that boy out of there and before he turns and accidentally hurts someone. ”

”You are one crazy wolf baby. ” Echo kisses Angie on the forehead. ”Are you sure you can handle him alone? ”

”Hes my brother, I have no doubts that I can. ”

Angie and her mate, Echo go to bed in agreement that tomorrow will be a very interesting day.

Angie is the first to wake up, she jumps in the shower then quickly pulls on tight ripped jeans, a blood red v-neck, and her leather jacket.

”You going somewhere, sis? ” Fred asks as she emerges at the top of a staircase.

”I have a meeting. ”

”On a Saturday? ”

Angie rolls her eyes. ”Ill only be an hour or two, then we can talk all about it. ”

”Fine. ” Fred crosses his arms and glares. ”While you are out, get me a pack of cigarettes. ”

”Whats the magic word? ”

”Please. ”

”Good Morning beautiful. ” Echo wraps his arms around Angie and kisses her neck. Fred growls. ”Sorry Fred, good morning to you too. ” (Fredrick is Overprotective of Angie and doesn care much for Echo, but there is little he can do about it since he knows they are mates.)

”Anyways, I want a word when you return Ang. ” Fred glares at Echo then turns and marches out the door.

”Did you tell him? ”

”I will… when I get back.. ” Angie looks at the clock. ”Shit! Baby Ive got to go, I told the lady that Id be there by nine to collect him. ” Angie runs down the stairs and puts on her combat boots as quick as possible then runs out the door.

***

”Shes late. ” Ms. Pennie looks at the clock.

”Maybe she isn coming, ” I say, then realize how upset that makes me feel.

”Shes probably just… ”

”Ms. Pennie this lady ask me to… ” Trevor stares at me. ”What are you doing in here. ”

”Im going to adopt him. ”

Trevors face falls, he glares at me for a second before storming off down the hall.

”Sorry, Im late! ” The woman walks into the room and closes the door behind her.

”Its fine, all good, ” Ms. Pennie says cheerfully. ”Lupin, this is Angie. ” I look at her and she winks back with a big grin on her face. ”Let me get his records out so you can read over them… ”

”No need. All I want is the form that will let me bring Lupin home. ”

”Right… ” Ms. Pennie looks at her puzzled. ”Well, to gloss it over, Lupin was brought to us by the fire department, told us everyone else in that area was burnt to death, very tragic. ” She sits at her desk and starts rummaging through piles of paper. ”Ive watched over him since he was brought here, a bit of a loner, which Is quite normal, very good in classes well behaved, however, he does steal pens a lot. Hes an artist. ” She smiles at me. ”Youll have to show her you
e art sometime. ”

”You said they found him in a burnt area? Did they say where? ”

”Didn ask, I felt bad for the boy. Ah! Here it is. ” She pulls out a paper from her many piles and places it on the desk. ”Just sign here. ” She points. ”Oh and Ill need some form of identification please. ”

Angie signs then show her ID. She puts a hand on my shoulder and grins at me. ”Later on Ill start the adoption paperwork. ” She winks again. There is something odd about her, I can sense something in her that Ive never got from anyone else before.

”Im sorry… ” I speak up. ”Have I seen you before? ”

”I doubt it. ” She answers.

”Alright Angie Red, Ill take this up to Mr. Abbott and then Ill come back here to let you know if he gives his consent or not. ” Ms. Pennie takes the form and leaves the room.

”Consent or not my ass, ” Angie sits on the desk. Her formal attitude is replaced with a rebellious one. ”Im getting you out of here, even if I have to throw you out a window. ”

”Thats not how it works here, they have an officer on duty at all times. ”

”Well look at you, Mr know-it-all. ” She laughs. ”I know a thing or two about kicking ass, but I doubt Ill have to do much of that. ” The doorknob turns and Angie slides off the desk.

”Todays your lucky day Lupin. He said yes. ”

”Go get your stuff, Ill meet you at the front door. ”

”I don have anything. ”

”Well lets go then. ” I stand up and follow Angie out the door, we go down the stairs, but at the bottom, we are greeted by Trevor.

”So that is it? ” Trevor is angry. ”You get to go but I don ? You
e lucky you are leaving. ” Trevor waves a mop around.

”And I see you have cleaning duty, better not get caught not working. ” We walk around Trevor and through the front door. I breathe in the air, hopefully, I will never have to see this place again. We walk over to a beat up, two-door Chevy, I climb into the passenger while I wait for Angie to get in. She is talking to two men, I try to listen in but they are talking too quietly. When the two men walk off and get into a car and drive away, Angie gets in and we head off in the opposite direction.

”Angie? ”

”Yeah? ” She answers as she turns the radio down.

”Who were you talking to? ” I see her tense up.

”No one important. ”

I don ask any more questions, we listen to rock the whole drive. Soon the road turns to dirt and up ahead I can see a small town, there is a gate and electric fence surrounding. Angie rolls down her window as we get closer to the fence and a tall, blonde haired man steps into view.

”Hiya baby! ” He says when Angie pulls to a stop inches from the gate.

”We are back baby. ” She leans out the window and kisses him. ”Lupin, this is my…. ”

”Boyfriend. ” He leans over so I can see him better. ”Nice to meet you, Im Echo. ” He whispers something to her and she nods. Echo flips a switch and the gate slides open and we enter.

”Ready to meet my brother? ” She asks me as she parks in front of a big house.

I nod my head, I don care about meeting people Im more interested in looking around.

”Okay. So just to let you know, don touch anything and don say anything. Got it? ”

”Got it. ” I follow her through the front door.

”Freddie! Im home! ” She yells. A grunt comes from the kitchen. ”Wait here. ” I stay put while she walks into the kitchen. I look around, this is the sitting room, theres a large TV hanging on the wall and under a large glass window is a teal couch, and a glass coffee table. A bookshelf is snug in the corner, teal curtains are drawn open on both ends of the window, the carpet is white with stains in it.

There is a tree on the wall weaving around a staircase that leads up to a hallway that runs out of sight with several closed doors. The tree is painted on the wall and it has names of people on it they all have the last name Red. It is a large tree, with faces and names everywhere. I spot Angies up at the top next to a boy named Frederick Red.

All I can see of the kitchen from where I am standing is a large table that has twelve seats around it. All of a sudden I can hear shouting.

”YOU DID WHAT?! ” A mans voice yells. ”You should have come to me first! I am the Alpha! ” What the heck is an Alpha I think to myself?

”Please brother, just give him a chance I have a good feeling about him! ”

”Fine, but he can leave the house without you or your mate and he is your responsibility. Where is he anyway? ”

”In the living room. ”

I stare towards the kitchen when Angie walks out with her brother. He eyes me up and down, I can feel something about him like I do with Angie.

”Im Frederick, but everyone just calls me Fred. ” He holds a hand out for me to shake. Great, I think to myself, another Trevor. I take his hand and shake it, Fred grips my hand tightly and stares me directly in the eye. ”How old are you? ”

”Im going to be eleven next Thursday, ” I say, Angie and Fred exchange glances.

”Show him to his room Ang, ” Fred says then without another look at me, walks out the door slamming it behind him.

”Hes just a little mad, don let it bother you alright, ” Angie says as she walks up the stairs. The hall at the top of the landing is fairly empty, in total there are fourteen doors lining the hall. Angie guides me to the very last one and opens the door.

”Everythings a bit dusty, we haven used this room in years. Its Freds old bedroom, he took our parents when they died. ” I walk into the room, hardwood floors, midnight blue walls, and what I assume are stars and clouds are hand painted on the ceiling. A white curtain hangs over the window and a wooden desk that is severely scratched up and very used looking. A twin bed is crammed in the corner, with a white pillow and a neatly folded, extremely soft looking, violet-blue blanket. There is a glass cabinet shelf that is completely empty standing next to a dark wood dresser with a huge mirror on top.

”Its perfect. ” I smile and look at the ceiling. ”Its like being outside almost. ”

”Later on Ill have Echo take you out to get more clothes. You can wear those rags forever. ” Angie takes a good look around the room. ”Make yourself comfy and, welcome to the Red family house. If you need me, Ill be in the kitchen making lunch. I hope grilled cheese is good till dinner. ”

I wait till Angie closes the door to really take a look around. I really like this room, but Im worried about Fred kicking me out… he doesn seem to like me much. I notice a door that I didn see before so I walk over and open it, an empty closet. Having nothing with me I don have to unpack so I sit on the bed, it slumps under my weight. I run my fingers over the blanket for a bit and stare at the ceiling. This house is super nice for two siblings sharing it.

I get up and walk to the window, I pull the curtain over and look out. I can see Fred talking to a bunch of people, they act very respectfully towards him. This gated community is pretty much just one road with a bunch of wood cabin houses, but they are all nice and neatly kept. The people here take extremely good care of their homes, its almost heavenly compared to the orphanages dead brown grass and under watered trees.

I continue to watch Fred and plan what to say if he makes Angie take me back. Ill tell him Ill do anything to stay, polish boots, clean the whole house, anything as long as I don have to go back to the Orphanage. I pull the pen and the paper I hid in my pocket yesterday and set them on the desk. If Im going to work to stay here Id better start by dusting this room. I hear footsteps coming down the hall and then my room door swings open.

”Do you have a duster? ” I ask without looking at the door.

”Yeah, downstairs, ” Angie says stepping into the room. ”But you can do that later, lunch is ready. ”

I follow Angie down to the kitchen, she sits on the counter and eats her grilled cheese in silence. ”Echo should be almost off shift, then he can take you to get some new clothes. I have to attend a meeting or Id take you myself. ” She hops off the counter and places the plate in the sink then gets into a closet in the far end of the kitchen and pulls out a duster brush and a steam cleaner. ”For the floor. When you
e done put them back in here alright. ” She smiles at me when I nod my head.

”Got it. ” I finish my grilled cheese and put the plate in the sink then grab the duster and steam cleaner. I take them up to my room and begin to clean.

***

”Im off shift baby. ” Echo sneaks up on Angie.

”Good you can take Lupin to get new clothes now. ” Angie turns around to face Echo. ”I have a meeting, Fred wants to hold a council meeting about the boy… ”

”Of course he does baby. ” Echo kisses her. ”I hope your right about this or that boy will have to go back to that orphanage. ”

”If he is… he will be a rouge, but even still, at least here he will be taught how to control it unless Freddie kicks him out. ”

Freds head pokes in the door, ”Ang, the meeting is going to start, we need to go. ”

”Wouldn it be better for you to find your Luna? ”

Fred ignores Echo and stares at Angie. ”Hurry. ”

Angie kisses Echo and then walks out the door behind Fred. ”Hes got a point, Freddie, you do need to find her. ”

”Ive been running the pack just fine without one Ang. Ive looked, shes not in our pack, trust me I would know if she was. ”

Angie and Fred enter into an empty field were a couple other people are waiting.

”About time. ”

”Whats this meeting about? ”

”Are they coming back for more resources? ”

”Settle down everyone. Listen. ” Fred glares at Angie. ”My lovely sister… has brought an orphan into our territory with the belief that he is a rogue wolf. ” The people in the clearing gasp and some ask questions. ”The boy will be eleven on Thursday, if he is a wolf he will transform for the first time and then we will decide what to do with him. If he doesn , I will personally take him back to the orphanage myself. Until such time as he turns, please do not talk to him or tell him anything about this place. ”

”Any questions? ” Fred asks after a few moments of silence.

”Yes. Angie. ” The girl turns to face Angie. ”We know you can have a child, but still, thats no reason to bring a boy into the pack! What if he is a spy? ”

”Hes not Ive been watching him for months! ” Angie growls. ”He is an outcast in the orphanage I took him from! ”

”Oh, so you feel bad for him? ”

”I know the signs, Gina! ” She growls louder.

”Thats enough you two. ” But Gina turns into her wolf.

”Oh, you want to fight? ” Angie smirks then turns into her orange lava wolf. They walk in circles sizing each other up. Gina goes to prance, but in midair is struck down by another lava wolf (this one is darker and redder). Gina quickly shifts back and hangs her head. Fred shifts back and glares at the lava wolf.

”I said enough. ” He barks. ”I am the Alpha! ” Another member giggles.

”Yeah, but for how long can you remain Alpha, most of us prefer to follow your sister. ” Freds wolf gets angry but Fred remains calm.

”Angie, is not you
e Luna. ”

”Yeah, well shes as good as one, ” the member winks at Angies wolf.

”Well Jaxon, you may be my sisters childhood friend but that doesn change the fact that I am the leader! I am not afraid to banish you if I feel your loyalty sway again. ” Fred growls, making Jaxon bow his head. ”This meeting is over. ” Angie shifts back and smiles at Jaxon before following her angry brother.

”Freddie, Ive tried to tell you! If you don find a Luna the pack is going to shift its loyalty! ”

”Shut up. ”

”Fine, don come crying to me when you
e not the Alpha anymore. You have a year and a half left brother. ”

”And until then I am the Alpha. ”

”Gina only stopped her attack because you attacked her brother, your councils loyalty is faltering, I imagine the pack has too… they all know the rule. ”

”I know the damn rule! ” Fred growls and stops dead in his tracks. ”You will have to kill me before Ill willingly give it to you! ”

”I won kill you for it Fred, but the pack will leave if you don hand it over to me. ”

”And then what? ” Angies wolf is starting to get annoyed with Fred.

Fred angrily turns into his wolf, he stands his position growling at Angie. Angie shifts too, Angies wolf is bigger than Freds. They both walk in a circle growling and baring teeth. A crowd is now starting to form around the two, Fred lunges first, but Angie dodges out of the way and bites Freds tail making him yelp in pain. Other people shift into their wolves to prepare for things to get worse. Angie releases Freds trail and stands back growling defensively, Fred doesn get Angies message telling him to stop, his need to prove he is the true alpha is blinding him. He lunges again and misses because of Angies swift movement. Angie doesn want to hurt him, but she is running out of options. Before Fred can do anything else Angie goes for his throat, she bites it hard but he gets out of her grip and jumps on her, baring all his teeth again he bites into her back and rips out a chunk of fur. Now she is pissed. She doesn hold back. They fight all the way up the street countering and dodging the whole way. Angie is winning since her wolf is bigger and tougher than his. Neither wants to submit so they keep fighting, Angie is slowly backing Fred towards the border of the territory. If he steps even one paw out of it as a wolf he will become a rogue and Angie will become a true Luna. Angie howls, warning the others to back off. The other wolves are even smaller than her brother and hers. She doesn want them involved.

”Angie! ” Jaxon yells from the open gate, but she ignores him and lunges at Fred, pushing him closer to the gate. Then the unexpected happens, Fred, tail hanging between his legs bolts it out of the gate as fast as he can, his broken tail dragging along in the dirt leaving a trail of blood behind.

”And don come back, ” Angie yells as she shifts back. She has a large gash on her back that is bleeding into her blood red shirt making it darker. She has several cuts. ”Somebody get the doctor dammit! ” She limps to Jaxon. ”Jaxon, I appoint you as beta until my mate can choose someone. ”

The doctor breaks through the crowd shaking her head at Angie. ”You should have called me over before the fight! ” She eyes the wounds on Angie. ”If you had, you wouldn be bleeding so badly and for so long. ” The healer wolf places a hand over the worst wound and says something in a different language (Et ego in te leporem sanitatem locus noster Pack nova luna, lupus. ut in brevi tempore salus).

Jaxon helps Angie back to her house and makes her sit down. ”Ang you need to rest or those wounds won heal correctly! ”

”But Jax! ” She groans. ”I need to find Echo and Lupin! I have to tell Echo about what happened! ”

”Relax! You can tell them when they get back. I let them out the gate a few minutes before I saw you and Fred. ” Angie lays out on the couch and closes her eyes to rest.

***

”So whats your story? ” I ask Echo.

”Its not that interesting really, ” Echo shrugs his shoulders. ”I was out hunting for dinner and I ran into Ang. We became friends, though I admit she wasn too trustful with me in the beginning, and her brother was way too overprotective. He didn want to let me in but was forced to when they found out. ”

”Found out what? ” I ask curiously.

”What kind of music do you like? ” Echo abruptly changes the subject. ”Weve got classic rock, indie, pop… ”

”Anythings fine. I don much care for music. ” I say. Why did Echo change the subject? What the heck is an Alpha?

”Rock it is. ” Echo turns up the radio in the truck. (Its the red one Angie took earlier). ”This is my truck you know. Ang uses it too, the dirt road isn good for her motorcycle, ” he chuckles. ”Or so she says it is. I think shes just trying to keep it in new condition so she can show it off. ”

”Thats cool. ” I sigh. ”I want to see this motorcycle, Ive only heard about them from the kid, Trevor. ” I crinkle my nose at the thought of Trevor.

”Whos Trevor? Is he a friend? ”

”No, absolutely not! ” I almost yell. ”He hates my guts. He bullied me all the time I was in the orphanage, he picked on me for having shabby clothes and for being odd. He is younger than me by a year, but he has two friends that would loyally do anything for him. ”

”Oh. Thats a shame. If I ever run into this Trevor kid, ” he quickly glances at me. ”Ill kick his ass for you. ”

”You don have to, ” I smile and look out the window. ”I dealt with him for several years. He doesn bother me anymore. ”

”Well if you ever meet him again… ” he says as he turns off the road and into a parking lot. ”Well here we are, I don have much money on me, so go cheap but get something you like. ” We park, get out and head into the mall. I look around excitedly at everything in the mall.

”Can we get some ice cream? ” I ask as we walk past an ice cream parlor.

”Depends on how much you spend on your clothes, but I could give Ang a call… ” he shivers. ”She will call me a dumbass for grabbing the wrong wallet, but then we will have more money to spend… ” I laugh at him.

We enter a few clothing stores and I look around for something I like. I end up going with a black shirt with a moon on it and a plain pair of blue jeans.

”That all? ”

”Yeah, I really want some ice cream! ”

We make our way back to the ice cream parlor, its very cold inside. The display case shows a large variety of colorful ice creams; white, pinks, brown, green, etc. Some of them even had nuts and bits of chocolate in them. Echo orders a mint chocolate chip and then he and the man behind the counter wait for me to make a choice. I take my time looking at each one and asking what the flavor is before I settle on an Oreo flavored ice cream.

”Thats Angs favorite kind. ” Echo tells me as we sit at a booth next to a large poster of a new ice cream that is coming out soon.

”This is the best ice cream Ive ever had. ” I lick my lips after finishing the last of mine. ”I have only had chocolate and vanilla before. ”

After echo finishes his, he pulls out his phone to call Angie. After he asks her, I hear laughter and her voice say ”dumbass ”. When Echo says bye, he hangs up and then looks at me with big eyes.

”Told you She would, ” he smirks. ”She said she will send someone over, with the right wallet. Want to go to the arcade while we wait? ”

We throw away the paper bowls and head to the arcade. The room is painted black, and black lights hang from the ceiling making everything that is white or neon glow. The only other light is coming from the many screens with a Variety of different games. They even have a section dedicated to the classics. The room is very loud with the sounds of excited kids playing games and the sound of the games themselves. Echo and I blow whats left of his money on racing games because Echo makes a bet that he can beat me, but every round I win anyways.

”How did I know to look for you here? ” a man asks making Echo jump. ”Heres your wallet, dumbass. ”

”Thanks, Jaxon, ” Echo takes the wallet and shoves it in his other back pocket; he looks slightly embarrassed.

”How much money did you bet Lupin? ” He asks looking at the game we are standing next to.

”Not much. ”

”How much did he bet you, Lupin? ”

”Fifty per game. ” I grin.

Jaxon covers his face as he snorts. ”Not much?! Angie is going to whoop your ass. ”

”I want to use the money for something besides clothes. ” I smile at Jaxon.

”And whats that? ” he asks me.

”Drawing supplies! ” I shout excitedly. ”Ive never had much and I love drawing. ”

”We have a whole room dedicated to art the house. ”

”So? You let me win three hundred dollars off you, and thats what I want to spend it on. ” I grin. Today has been the best and maybe most crazy day of my life. Somebody better hit me so I know its real and not a dream.

”Alright, alright! ” Echo puts his hands up. ”Just don go too crazy, we don have much room in the truck. ”

”See you later then Echo. ” Jax nods his head in Echos direction and then waves at me before turning to leave.

”Where first? ”

”Is that really a question? ” I smirk at him.

I half run, half walk towards the art department with Echo barely managing to keep me in his sight. I beat Echo to the department by a good ten minutes, and I look around while I wait for him to catch up. He grabs a small cart and pushes it around following me while I continue to look at every art set in the room. I decided on getting a Royal & Langnickel Essentials Deluxe Box Sketch & Draw Chest, priced at eighty bucks. Then I walk around looking for a decent watercolor paint set. I grab two sketchbooks, a couple of artist canvases and a package of paintbrushes. The price goes a little over three-hundred, but Echo seeing how happy I am to have them, offers to pay the remaining twenty bucks for me. Then we go back to by some more clothes.

Echo helps me find a nice suit for occasions he won explain to me, and then he has me pick out more shirts and pants, underwear, a hoodie, socks (not that I have much choice with those besides long or short, black, grey or white), and shoes (boots for the winter and sneakers for the summer). Echo has to find a cart to put all the art supplies in because there is too much to carry not to mention all the bags of clothes. Once everything is loaded into Echos truck we head back towards the gated community.

”Hey Echo, ” I ask when I can see the dirt road coming up. ”Why do you live in a gated community when you
e so far out from the city? ”

”We
e not gated… the electric fence just protects us from stray wolves and bears and that. ” Echo responds while trying to carefully drive around all the dips and bumps in the road so nothing goes flying out of the bed of the truck. It takes a lot longer to reach the gate because of this. Finally, when its almost four we pull into the driveway, Echo helps me get my stuff up to my room. We set them in the middle of the room so that I can go through them and figure out what I want to go where.

I open the closet door and put all my art stuff on the middle shelf, I step back and look to see if I like it (and I don its not neat enough), I rearrange it again making it look better. Then I start to put my clothes away, I hang twelve shirts on hangers in the closet (I color code them), I nearly fold all my pants then put them in the bottom left drawer, underwear, and socks share a drawer but are divided down the middle. I hang the whole suit (in a plastic suit bag) with the shirts in the closet. Then I change into a pair of yellow shorts and a black tank top.

***

”Hes up there being OCD about where his stuff is going. ” Echo whispers to Angie. ”I watched him hang all the shirts we got him in a colored order. ”

”Good, he will be distracted for a bit. ” She glances up to the landing. ”Baby, Ive got to tell you something. ”

”What is it? ”

”Freddie has been outcasted… ”

Echos eyes go wide. ”That explains the blood but… by who? ”

”I ran him out.. ”

”So that means…. ” Echos face goes pale. ”I don want to be the Alpha… Im not a good leader at all! ”

”Dumbass, give yourself a little more credit. ” Angie smirks, ”You
e an excellent leader in bed, and besides that, most the pack likes you they just didn want to be yelled at by Freddie for talking to you. ”

”When will it be official? ”

”Tonight after the feast. ” Angie glances back up at the rail above the stairs again. ”After he is asleep. I want to tell him before it happens end even if it doesn we will still keep him, but I want him to get settled in first. ”

”Show him the art room and he will get settled in just fine. ” Echo jokes. ”Seriously, Lupin would have bought everything in the art department if he could have. ” Angie laughs as she curls up into Echos side. All her wounds are mostly healed except the worst one on her back. Echo kisses the top of her head then turns on Netflix to browse for something to watch, he settles on Criminal Minds.

***

Now, what do I do with all these bags? I look at the pile of now empty bags. Ill save them for later. I stuff all the bags inside of bigger bags then put them in the corner on the floor of the closet.

I sit on the bed again and think about what to do, I end up getting out the fancy pencil set I got and the first sketchbook with stars on it. I flip it open and stare at the blank page waiting for an idea to come to my head. When an idea comes I press the pencil lightly to the paper and let my hand do its thing. It starts getting dark so I have to turn on the light before I can continue. I stick my tongue out in concentration.

”… and done, ” I look down at my drawing. Its a white wolf standing on a cliff howling to an overly large drawn moon with more white wolves drawn into the shading of the moon, but the wolf is alone on the cliff. Like I feel somewhere deep inside me, it grows stronger the closer I get to being eleven… but Im not alone! I have Angie and Echo now. I rip the page out of the sketchbook and leave it on the deck while I put the other stuff away.

”Knock knock. ” Echo opens the door. ”Hows it going in here? I came to inform you that dinner is ready. ”

”Its going great! ” I glance at the paper on the desk. ”Im starved! ” I follow Echo down to the kitchen, Angie is already seated with a few other people they are in a whispered conversation. Jaxon is one of them but I don know the others. Angie looks up and smiles.

”Everyone, ” She beams, ”This is Lupin. ” Everyone stares at me then goes back to talking about things. I take a seat next to Angie and Echo brings everyone plates. Angie introduces me to everyone at the table; Jaxon a beefy fawn haired guy, Miranda, black hair and quite skinny hanging off the side of Axl, dyed purple hair and Cassie, brown-haired and very young looking.

We eat steak with mashed potatoes, corn, Brussel sprouts, green beans, and yellow squash. Then we have homemade cheesecake with raspberries for dessert. When everyone is mostly done eating, Angie pulls out a fruit tray and a cracker, meat, and cheese tray while Echo pulls out some card games; Uno, phase ten, and three packs of solitaire cards.

We play Uno first, we play four rounds, Echo wins two of them and Angie accuses him of cheating. Then we play phase ten until Miranda ties with Jaxon. While Angie puts the two games away Jaxon leaves and comes back with a bottle of Jack Daniels and two party size bottles of coke. Echo gets plastic cups out and hands them out to everyone, Angie pours me some Coke and then Echo fills his cup too, everyone else either drinks the whiskey straight or mixes it with Coke except Angie (she drinks something from her personal collection). We play canasta until everyone has such high scores that they take forever to lay.

”Poker! ” Angie yells. ”Lets play poker! ” Everyone agrees, so Echo gets up and goes to the closet with all the games in it and pulls out a tin box full of poker chips. I don know how to play poker, but I definitely want to learn.

”Lupin, you can play till you
e older, ” Angie says making me slump in my seat. ”We use actual money so don worry because Echo isn allowed to play, ” (Echo bets too much money and ends up losing most of it) she winks at me. ”But you can watch an learn from a master. ”

I watch them play poker till Im too tired to stay up later. I finish the last of my coke, throw my cup away and then go up to my room and fall asleep almost as soon as my head touches the pillow.

***

Angie wins everyones money on the last round, but instead of keeping it to herself she splits it evenly with everyone at the table. ”Great game! ” Everyone laughs while putting their shares into their wallets (purse/pockets). ”Thank you, everyone, for coming to the celebration! ”

”Youll probably celebrate some more after the rest of us leave, ” a drunk Jaxon splutters out.

”Well celebrate for you too! ” Miranda chimes up still clinging onto Axl who goes red in the face. (They are newly found mates.)

”Baby! ” he bites his lip. ”You
e embarrassing me! ” Everyone laughs at them while Miranda lunges for his neck making both of them fall out of their chairs.

”Get a room! ” Echo hollers when Miranda starts biting Axls neck. Jaxon just chuckles before finishing the last of the whiskey.

”Whiskey is gone, ” he holds up the now empty bottle. ”It might be a good idea to have someone take me home. ”

”Echo is the only one who didn drink. ” Cassie points at him.

”Well, that settles it! ” Jaxon gets up and slams his fist on the table, but being too drunk to stand, he falls face first into the table with an unpleasant thud. ”Ow. ”

It takes Angie, Echo, and Cassie to get Jaxon up to carry to the couch. Miranda and Axl leave as soon as they know that everything is under control. Cassie smiles and waves goodbye then leaves. (They all walk because they have drunk too much to drive, but not as much as Jaxon did). Echo grabs a blanket and throws it on Jaxon who is producing a quiet snore.

Echo holds Angies hand as they make their way up to their room. Echo closes the door quietly behind him.

***

I wake up early in the morning as the first light of day comes through the bedroom window, but I don get up instead I lay in the bed, letting all the memories of yesterday running through my mind. Then I realize… Fred lives here too, but he wasn here all afternoon… maybe he left, maybe he won make me go back to the orphanage. Finally, my curiosity and hunger get the best of me so I get up and leave my room with only my shorts on. I can hear water running in the bathroom, someone must be showering I assume.

I get to where the wall turns into raining that overlooks the living room. Jaxon is passed out on the couch. A door behind me opens.

”You
e up early. ” Echo yawns. He has a dark purple hickey on his neck.

”Im hungry. ” I look back at Echo.

”There is some cereal in the pantry. ” Echo pats my head and then walks to the bathroom, entering without knocking. I tiptoe down the stairs, trying to be quiet so that I don wake up Jaxon. I go straight to the kitchen and look into the pantry, I grab the only box of cereal and set it on the counter. I look through every cupboard till I find the one with bowls then I grab one of them and put it next to the box of cereal. I get into the fridge. Shocked by its size, I forget what Im looking for, for a second. I make the cereal (and use the last of whats left in the box) then sit where I was sitting last night and slowly eat the cereal.

”Well good morning, ” Angie says from the stairs. ”Getting all settled then? ” Her hair is in a wet brown braid and shes wearing blue jeans with a plain black spaghetti strap tank top. I nod my head as I gulp down the last bite of cereal. ”Good. ” She smiles at me.

”I ate the last of the cereal. ”

”Thats fine we needed to get more anyway, ” Angie laughs. ”Hey, Lupin, when you
e done why don you go take a shower and get dressed. I want to show you around. ”

”Okay. ” I put the bowl and spoon in the full sink then head off towards the stairs. ”Hey, Angie, where are the towels? ”

”Just use the white one hanging on the rack, its clean. ”

I get a pair of clothes from my room and then I go take a quick shower. Angie and I walk up on side of the street and down the other and she points and tells me who the people are and what the buildings are. Most of them are houses, theres a library, a dinner, and a gym with an indoor pool. Angie tells me that there are more places she wants to show me but that shell do it later this week. They don have a school building, but I can see kids running around so I assume everyone here is homeschooled. By the time I am done exploring, its lunch time. We go back to the house and Angie makes three ham sandwiches. On Tuesday, we spend the whole day at the park, it doesn have playground equipment, but its a large open space with lots of room to run around and go crazy.

On Wednesday, I notice Angie keeps me closer to her and in her sight at all times. She even makes me leave my bedroom door open. Echo and her whisper things to each other when they think Im not paying attention. Im happy when I get to lay in my bed alone without being watched. I can wait for tomorrow night because it will be the full moon and Ill get to see it outside for the first time.

***

”Ang!! You still haven told him! ” Echo whispers almost panicking. ”Hes going to freak out! ”

”I couldn find the right time! He was always so excited that I didn want to ruin it by telling him what we are yet. What if he runs away, a rogue could attack him thinking he was from our pack! He has our sent all over him. ”

”Oh well. We are just going to have to listen after midnight, and watch all day tomorrow till it happens if it does. ” Echo sighs. ”If he doesn shift in the middle of the night, you are telling him tomorrow morning. ”

***

I wake up in a lot of pain, my whole body is aching and I feel like Im going to break in half. Its one in the morning, Im covered in sweat, I try to get up to go tell Angie that something is wrong, but as soon as I stand up I fall to the floor. So I yell, ”Angie! Echo! Someone help! ” but my voice box seems broken, words don leave my throat. Something powerful takes over and all the pain intensifies before completing stopping altogether. Im on all fours… four white paws, I glow in the dark room, I start to panic, what the! Whats happening to me? I bolt out the open door and barrel over Angie in the hall, I don stop till I run smack into the door. Whats going on! Is this a terrible dream. I turn to see Angie and Echo running toward me from the stairs. Both of their eyes are wide staring at me, but then where Angie was standing is a wolf. A glowing reddish orange wolf.

The wolf slowly approaches me, and I realize immediately from the scent that the wolf is Angie. I sit and stare at her until she is directly in front of me, staring down at me, still with huge eyes.

She licks the top of my head. ”Lupin, ” She says calmly. ”Its okay, everyone here is like you. Please don freak out! ” Another wolf, whos is a lot smaller then Angie comes and sits next to her. Its Echo, his fur doesn glow, but because of the light reflecting of me and Angie, I can see that he is a grey wolf.

”Hes white, Ang! ” Echo states. ”How is that possible?!? Akantha, her mates and their pack killed them all in a fire almost eleven years ago, no one made it out! ”

”I don know. ” Angie shakes her head. They both stare at me. ”Well, now I know my gut was right. ”

”Your gut is always right. ”

”Will somebody tell me whats going on! ” I howl getting their attention.

”Its really a lot to explain in one night Lupin. ” Echo starts.

”I want to know! ” I howl.

”We will try, but Lupin, I don understand, you shouldn be alive. ” Angie looks down, her crystal blue eyes meet mine.

”Until you shift back you cannot leave the house, understood? ” Echo tells me. ”If Akantha gets word that we have a white wolf… ” he shutters.

”How do I shift back? ” I ask them.

”Well… ” Angie exchanges a look with Echo. ”The first couple of times are unpredictable… you have to learn how to control it, then you would be put into another class so that you can learn combat. ”

”We need to hold a meeting about this Ang… ” Echo looks from her to me. ”We need to be careful about who sees him.. ”

”Why? ” I ask.

”Because someone in the pack could tell the black wolves and that will be bad for us. They already take whatever they want from every territory and after what they did, who would want to stand up to them. ”

”Echo, be patient, he doesn know everything, ” Angie growls at him. ”I bet old Abbott didn even notice him in the orphanage, he would have been too focused on making sure his pack is safe to look right under his nose. ”

”Mr. Abbott is a wolf? ” I ask in surprise.

”Yeah… ” Echo snorts a bit. ”He used to be my Alpha, but I didn have a rank back then, he walked all over non-ranking members. ”

”Im so lost. ” I curl up into a ball on the floor.

”How about this, ” Angie lays down next to me. ”Go back to bed, and when you get up in the morning we will start to try and explain everything. ” I like the idea of going to bed, maybe when Ill wake up this will all just be a wacky dream that I can tell Angie and Echo all about.

I wake up to the sun shining into my window on my face. Immediately I hold my hands up to look at them. It was just a wacky dream. I get out of bed, go to the bathroom and then head downstairs in the direction of delicious smelling food. Echo and Angie are both fully dressed and in the kitchen talking.

”Youll never believe the dream I had, ” I exclaim. ”I dreamt that… ” the look on their faces make me stop talking, they both stare at me as they did in the dream. ”… that… that wasn a dream was it? ” I sit heavily in the chair next to Echo.

”It wasn . ” Echo pats my messy hair. ”So where do you want me to start? ”

”Not till he has breakfast. ” Angie holds a knife up pointing it at Echo. ”If hes anything like you, his brain will function better after he has something. ”

”Okay okay! Put the knife down baby. ” Echo grins at me.

Angie drops the knife back in the sink. ”Its your turn to do the dishes baby. ” She winks at him as she walks back over to the stove. She finishes the last chocolate chip pancake, then brings a plate stacked with six of them to the table. We each take two and when I finish I wait patiently for them to finish.

”Start talking, ” I demand when Echo puts his fork on his plate.

”What do you want to know? ”

”Everything. ”

Echo looks at Angie, then back at me. ”Well then… ” Echo rubs his chin. ”There are six big packs, we are one of them. There are the amber and gold pack, then theres the blue one and the black one. ”

”Thats only five, ” I state before it clicks.

”The black wolves wanted to rule over all of the packs. Before everyone reported to the white wolves, your family, and the black wolves being who they are attacked your pack in the night. They burned every member to death, and that made everyone else too afraid to stand against them, with the fear that if they made them mad they would be burned alive. ”

”So… so Im supposed to be dead. ”

”Remember what your teacher told us when I came to get you? ” Angie looks at me. ”It should have clicked sooner, she said a firefighter brought you in after a nasty fire killed everyone in the area… I should have thought about it then. ”

”Okay… ” I feel slighted disappointed. ”If I was so important, why didn anyone come for me sooner? ”

”No one knew you were alive. ”

”But… ” I think for a second. ”Angie could tell! How come no one else could? ”

”That was before you turned. Angie was going of certain signs you gave off, it was a guessing game. ”

I feel frustrated. ”So… it was luck that you found me? ”

”Kinda yeah. ” Angie nods.

”Angie, why is your wolf larger than Echos? I learned that male wolves are normally larger than females. ”

”Its a trait that is passed down through my families generations. ” Angie shrugs her shoulders. ”Thats about all anyone really knows about it. Its like that for all the other wolves we told you about, including yourself too. ”

”Okay. ” I feel puzzled. ”Where is Fred? ”

”He left, ” Angie answers quietly.

”Oh… ” I raise my eyebrow at her. ”Thats all I think. ” I put my dishes in the sink then go up to my room, I shut the door and lay on the bed to think.

***

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