"I want a sandwich."
A low grumble of interest.
I curl my toes, willing them not to ask. It's not very often I catch a bit of TV, and I really want to know if Sam and Dean were going to exterminate the ghost, but...
"Hey looser," someone throws their spare sock in my face. "Go make a sandwich."
It's on the very tip of my tongue. Go fuck yourself. Why don't you fucking get it? But attitude is a dangerous thing to have, when there's a rank, and you place at the very bottom. If the alpha was here, my stepdad, he wouldn't be happy to see the behaviour of his offspring. He didn't want them bullying me, but inevitably that's what always happened.
I wasn't one of them.
My parents were dead, and I was just a little runt, their dad picked up sixteen years ago.
"Going to get up or what?"
Someone shoved their manky foot near my mouth, and I quickly stood up, fighting my instincts to bat it away. The foot kept prodding into my thigh, again and again, and it didn't take long, to spot Keeley smirking at me.
"What do you want?" my tone was borderline mutinous.
"Olives please," she faked a large grin. "With ham and cheese."
At the mention of "ham" that started everyone else off, eagar to get their order in. I literally felt like the most pissed-off waitress ever. It didn't help, I always carried a notepad around, especially for this.
"Hang on," I muttered, scrawling it all down. A quick glance up, told me the tension had boiled down. It was funny how quickly they settled back, after preparing to put me in my place. But I was too wise to give them the pleasure. Although I wasn't physically strong, I was easily the cleverest.
I walked into the kitchen, and saw the Beta standing by the sink. He was staring into space.
"Do you want a sandwich?" I interrupted his thoughts.
Grayson gave me an annoyed, pointed look that was especially reserved for me. He was the oldest son of the Alpha. Nearly 21. And though he never asked me to get anything for him, he didn't exactly support me either.
He was a good looking boy, if you were into that sort of thing. Tall, athletic and not afraid to throw his weight around. He had graduated from college last fall, with a degree in Sports engineering. Whatever that meant. Three years away from home had done him a world of good.
Though the moodiness was still the same.
I took in his dark, closely knitted, hair and wide gray eyes, currently glaring.
"Do I look like I want a sandwich?"
"Yeah," I nodded, knowing it was a cheeky thing to do. I let him watch me, as I took out some vital ingredients for the hungry beasts back there. Having being pushed into the chef role, I was now adequate at rustling up snacks and hot meals. And the lack of complaints, meant I was onto something good.
Five more days, I internally smiled. And then I'm out of here.
"Come to my room after dinner," Grayson abruptly said.
He didn't give me an opportunity to respond, before he strode out in a cloud of mystery.
"Here you go," I balanced three plates on my hands, trying to find the right person. There was a slim chance of being tripped, but I was trusting the TV to do it's distracting job.
I served Keeley last, and she took the plate without a thank you.
But then, what was I expecting?
For such a rude, ungracious girl she was undeniably gorgeous. She was in her ugg boots and baggy sweatsuit with blond, unkempt hair scrunched in a bun. But she oozed confidence. A camera crew could burst in, for the latest reality TV show, and she wouldn't be fazed about being "caught out."
"You can sit down now," she nudged the spot by her feet.
"Would love too," sarcasm was second nature. "But I need to clear the kitchen up."
Keeley rolled her eyes, but didn't argue. She knew I liked putting things in their place, and always have, from a young age. Sometimes, the other wolves tracked muddy pawprints across the floor, just to do my nut in. And it worked. Every single time.
Grayson's weird request popped into my memory, and I decided it couldn't wait until dinner. Taking the stairs three at a time, I cleared the first landing, the second, and reached the third. Grayson had the attic room. Rather him than me.
"Grayson?" I knocked a few times, feeling apprehensive.
I didn't want to be here, but refusing an order from a Beta, is like high treason.
He opened the door straight away, and I nearly fell in. It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the cool, darkness of the room and the shutters banging against the window. Another thing about altitude. The higher up you are, the more gustier it gets.
Grayson reached out and steadied me. I thought nothing of it.
We are social creatures, and crave skin contact wherever we get it.
Grayson seemed to be thinking along similar lines. He started...wrestling with me. He put a hand in my hair, roughed it up, and then swung me by the arms so I was plastered to his wardrobe. I pushed back, and it was clear my efforts were trivial, because he pinned me to the ground.
After a few heavy seconds, he got up, helping me to my feet.
"You're too weak," he watched me carefully. "I might as well wrestle thin air."
"Well, why don't you!" I snapped back. It would save me the humiliation.
"Aren't you tired of being the omega? Is it a coveted spot for you?"
The very accusation that I wanted to be playing second fiddle, outraged the hell out of me. I gave Grayson a very dark glare, one I had no business giving, but he was pushing sore buttons. It was almost like he was giving me a pep-talk. Some friendly advice, like those cheap do-it-yourself-manuals about How to succeed in Business.
"Why did you call me up here?"
He nodded towards his bed, and for the first time I noticed things spread out on it.
Not just any old things. My things.
I gapped as I saw bras and panties clearly rummaged through. A wallet bulging with money. Some ID, and bus tickets that cost a small fortune. essentially it was my leaving bag. Anyone with two brain cells, would be able to say I was skipping town. And Grayson had found it under my bed.
Grayson was not spitting or howling in anger. He looked like he understood, a little, because there was a time he couldn't wait to get out of here. But he wasn't happy. My ears turned bright scarlet.
"Those aren't mine."
He picked up my ID.
So outright denial wouldn't work.
"And what if it is!" I snapped. "It's not a crime to have these items in your bedroom! What were you doing in there, by the way?"
He ignored my question. "You're right. None of these items individually will arouse suspicion in your bedroom. But in a bag, together? That screams DANGER. This girl is about to leave town. To Michigan, if I'm correct, some 300 miles away."
"And?" I raised an eyebrow. "Ever heard of coming back?"
"I don't think you were," he shook his head. "There was no return ticket."
"Are you going to stop me?" I challenged.
"Do you want me to?" He made it sound, like there was an "opt-out" box to tick. Which I was. Firmly.
"No," I smiled, "Is that OK?"
Grayson slammed his fist to the side, and hit the wall, causing a small crack to appear. This outburst of violence was unexpected and I suddenly remembered who I was talking too. This was the BETA. He could easily overpower me, or snitch to his dad, who I desperately didn't want to face.
"No, it's not fucking OK," he hissed. "We murder deserters."
"You left us," I replied, stung. "You left us for three years!"
"THAT WAS DIFFERENT," he roared. "I WAS ALWAYS COMING BACK! I WAS ALWAYS COMING BACK FOR-"
He stopped himself, shaken, and stared at my shivering form. I wish I was one of those cool girls, who remain unruffled in the most physical of confrontations, but strength was my Achilles heel. If someone started displaying violent tendencies, it common to find me shaking like a leaf.
It was embarrassing. And I questioned myself many times, why I was like this.
"For goodness sake," he shook his head. "Where's that smart mouth gone?"
He looked at me, exasperated, like he didn't know what he was going to do.
"I just wanted to visit where my parents came from," I said in a small voice. "Track down any family I might have. I could have uncles, aunties, cousins...I wanted to know my birthright."
Grayson gave a bark of laughter. Perhaps with bitterness. "I know exactly what this is. You're coming of age."
"Is that necessarily a bad thing?" I pleaded. "I know everyone loves my sandwiches, and I get good grades at school, but I feel like there's something more waiting out there. Like I'm destined for another path."
There was a loaded silence, a few minutes spent blinking earnestly at him and not getting much in return. The death threat was still still looming over me, but Grayson wasn't yelling anymore, which was a good sign. If I had to have a favourite sibling, I suppose it had to be him.
Not that I ever considered him a sibling.
The next beat, both of us tensed. Downstairs, we heard the closing titles draw across the screen and the rest of the pack start to wonder where we were. Or mostly me. I was their bitch after all. Grayson grabbed a handful of things and shoved it back into my bag.
"This isn't over," he warned, as I went to the door.
I felt tempted to give him the middle finger.
Keeley was coming up with her twin brother Dominic, as I was heading down. "Where were you?" she asked.
"Cleaning the bathroom," I replied sweetly.
"You sound like Cinderella," Dom peered at me.
"Don't be silly," Keeley elbowed him in the gut. "Her colouring is too dark."
My grin grew constipated, as they continued walking up the stairs. Another thing that didn't fit. The rest of the family were fair, and blond or dark. My hair was brunette, waist-length, with bleached lowlights from the sun. My skin was olive and eyes a dash of caramel.
My colouring was exotic. Italian or Moroccan. Romanian or Brazilian?
Bugger me if I know.
All I have is the name my parents gave to me at birth. Sasha Mary-Louise Parkman. My parents died in a fire, before I was rescued by Jeff, the Alpha of this pack. He recognised the kindred spirit within me. Knew I was part wolf. And he also knew he couldn't let me get lost in the American Welfare system, to be paired of with unsuspecting humans.
Because when my time eventually came, they would be ill-equiped to face our world.
The world full of danger and...