Music blares from the car radio and I’m enjoying the wind that whips through my hair. I look at the satnav and resist a yawn, massaging the back of my neck.
There is nothing more satisfying than realising you are free - free of the image you were morphed into, no longer hidden behind the shield your parents created for you. Freedom is what I saw when my pack territory disappeared in the rear vision mirror.
No more watchful eyes, no more scared whispers to try to ignore. I can finally put what happened behind me, or so I hope. The past sometimes seems to latch onto me like a damn leech, coming back to haunt me. Coming back to serve as a reminder. One slip up, and I might not be as lucky as last time. I hate to think what would have happened if mama didn’t get there in time. If she hadn’t saved him… I might not be here right now.
Less than an hour left now… it’s been a long drive from The Night Walkers Pack, home to me and my family. I wish that I didn’t have to resort to this, leaving for the edge of town near Midnight Academy, which I will attend in a week’s time.
My twin sister will live in the dorms, but after what happened at the end of last year, I can’t risk it. Since I’ve turned eighteen, I don’t know why, but it’s getting harder to control it.
I slow down a little, signalling left and changing lanes. This town isn’t huge. It’s only a ten-minute drive from the Academy. The town is part of The Luminaria Pack territory. A pack that isn’t too big, but the Alpha is someone Dad trusts. The Alpha’s father was also one of the elders on Dad’s council before he passed away.
Alpha Prescott is an honest man and lives to please my father. He had even offered to allow me to stay in his house and Dad was up for that idea, but I wasn’t. I want to stop relying on my father and everyone else. The entire point of moving out of the academy dorms is to be isolated from others.
This is my chance to step out from my father’s shadow, but that is kind of hard to do when you’re the daughter of the Lycan King himself.
“What do you think, Malevolent? Do you think we’re going to enjoy this place?” I ask, caressing the silky black fur of my green-eyed cat as she sits on the passenger seat.
Malevolent, she’s my ride-or-die chic. This little kitty has been with me since I was a kid. My dad got her for me, and since then we are inseparable. We could even pass as siblings. I mean, I have black hair and green eyes too.
She purrs and I find myself smiling at her. She’s totally going to love this place. Pets aren’t allowed at the academy after all. Of course, Malevolent always went with me, but she has to stay hidden. I slam my foot on the brake, realising I almost missed my stop, and Malevolent hisses in annoyance as she almost tumbles onto the floor.
I smirk as I turn and wind up the window, before I turn the engine off. Scooping Malevolent up in my arms, I get out of the car and stare at the small cottage that sits nestled between the trees. A low fence surrounds the front, along with some hedges that are rather overgrown. Smiling, I push open the rickety gate and make my way up the gravelled path to the door. A new start.
This place also belongs to the Alpha of the Luminaria Pack, and it’s the only reason Dad has agreed for me to live here, alone. Kataleya, my twin, had offered to stay with me, but I know she loves the academy and spends hours after classes in the library. It isn’t fair if she has to come out here when she’s part of many after-school clubs.
Stopping at the door where the blue paint is peeling, I kneel and lift the flowerpot and grab the key they told me would be placed there. “Well, Malevolent, let’s see what our new home for senior year looks like.”
Unlocking the door, we step inside, and I look around. It’s quaint, a little old, but it’s clean. The smell of citrus blossoms from cleaning products fills the air, courtesy of the Alpha and Luna I presume. I walk through to the kitchen, and the first thing I spot is the card that sits on the table propped against a ginormous hamper of fruit.
“Meow…” Malevolent purrs, before she leaps off onto the table.
I walk over to the table and pick up the card, I begin to read it out loud in an exaggerated posh accent.
Welcome to the Luminaria pack. I hope you like your new accommodations; I have made sure to have the pantry and fridge stocked. I want to take the chance to invite you to have a family dinner with us tomorrow night.
PS: We prepared a room in our house for you too, in case you change your mind. Consider our pack and our home your own.
Luna April of The Luminaria Pack”
I roll my eyes and sigh.
I guess Prescott isn’t going to just let me stay here in peace. Was this dad’s idea? A way of letting me know they are keeping a watchful eye on me?
I don’t know why they are so adamant for me to stay there. They should know I’m not going to bend to their demands. I don’t care if they want to look out for me; I don’t need them.
This year is about me and what I want for myself. I stare at the note as I pluck a grape from the large bunch that sits in the hamper, and toss it up before catching it between my red lips.
My phone beeps and I take it out of the pocket of my leather jacket, and I raise an eyebrow, staring at the message.