Part 5

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Pic of Lucien!

Lucien makes good on his promise to put me in school. I'm actually really excited about it because Alpha Ferix stopped me from going to school two years ago. He'd say there was no use trying to get smarter, it would never happen for me.

This makes me worried that Lucien will be disappointed if the school rejects me for not knowing enough so I voice it.

"Ash, you go to school to learn in the first place," Lucien reassures me.

I'm feeling uneasy but I let Lucien take me to the main office of the local highschool, Shadow Creek High, to enroll. It's all new to me, picking out an elective(I choose art because I love drawing), and getting a schedule. No one is there, to my relief, as it's still the weekend. I only see a couple of guys out on the field for football practice.

"I want you to know that you deserve an education, Ash. Every kid does," Lucien tells me as we get in the car to go back to the house. I feel myself getting emotional all of the sudden, becoming choked up. It's no surprise because I've always been a sensitive little baby. No one's treated me with such kindness in years. "T-thank you, Alpha Lucien," I sniffle, wiping my eyes.

Lucien's eyes soften. "Don't thank me, boy. I'm just doing what I should be. And just call me Lucien. None of that alpha crap,"

I nod, wiping my tears with a tissue Lucien hands to me. Despite Lucien's reassurance, I'm already worried that I'm becoming a burden to him. I know that love is conditional and will eventually run out one day. How long before Lucien gets tired of me like Alpha Ferix has?

Before bed that night, Lucien comes to my room and I ask the question that's been lingering on my tongue since I first arrived: "Why are you being so nice to me? I mean, you don't even know me,"

Lucien is silent for a moment, a swirling of conflicted emotions in his eyes.

"I'm going to tell you everything soon, Ash. All in good time," he says as he walks to the door. "All in good time."

The answer leaves me more confused than before I'd asked. What does Lucien know that he's not telling me?

. . .

On Monday morning I wake up early and get ready for school. I can barely get down breakfast. I'm so nervous, my hands trembling and rattling the cutlery. I go get my bag from upstairs, rushing back to the stairwell only to stop when I see who stands at the bottom of it.

Daemon. Leaning against the wall in all his 6'7" glory. He looks up when he hears me approach and we lock eyes as I descend down the stairs.

I don't mean to hold his stare but it feels almost impossible to look away, like I'm hypnotized.

It might have kept on going if I didn't trip on the last step, sending myself stumbling forward and into Daemon's firm chest. With lightning quick reflex, the alpha catches me, large hands grabbing my thin shoulders to set me right again. "Careful, omega," he says, quick and stern, as he lets me go. I feel almost disappointed when the contact ends.

"S-sorry," I mumble, awkwardly looking at my shoes.

Daemon doesn't reply.

"Ah, Daemon. Glad you're here. You'll be taking him to school from now on," Lucien bursts in the room, chipper and ready for the day.

I feel my heart drop to my feet as the mood of the room quickly sours. "You called me here for that?" Daemon asks the question with such contempt that makes me want to call off the whole thing. I hate being the cause of confrontation and will do anything to avoid it.

"He needs a ride and you know I have my duties with the pack council. We'll be in correspondence with the Silver Lake Pack the next few weeks."

"He can't drive himself? Why the hell do I have to look after some Dark Moon omega?"

I wince at the way Daemon says my pack name like an insult, a reminder of who I am. An outsider, an enemy, even, here in the Shadow Pack.

"Daemon," Lucien gives him a stern glare. "You will drive him, end of discussion."

Daemon huffs out a sigh, seemingly giving in to Lucien's demand. He doesn't wait for Ash as he walks out to the car.

Lucien turns to me, ruffling my hair in encouragement. "Have a good day at school, bud. Don't let Daemon spoil your mood,"

"I won't," I attempt a meager smile back before heading out the door. I'm actually dreading the car ride but I have no choice. I go to the passengers side of the sleek black car and pull it open, piling in with my school bag and books.

The first part of the car ride is silent. My leg is bouncing nervously and I fiddle absentmindedly as I can practically feel the waves of irritation radiating off Daemon.

"I can-" I start, gulping nervously when the alpha looks to me expectantly. "I can walk, if you want,"

"You'll be late, then," Daemon replies to dismiss him.

"I just don't want to trouble you-"

"You know what?" Daemon cuts me off abruptly, "You can quit it with the nice, naive act, omega. Why the hell did Dark Moon send you, huh? Did you put my dad under some spell so he'll let Dark Moon take over?"

My face flushes at the accusation, overwhelmed by the weight of it. "What? No..! I would never do anything like that!"

"Then why am I the only person who sees something wrong with this? You need to go back to your pack..!"

I feel my throat tighten, willing myself not to cry and to instead face Daemon's words head on. "You have no idea what I came from. I will never go back there," I cross my arms to add finality to my statement.

"So you're going to be stubborn with me? Face it. You don't belong here and you never will."

I don't know what emboldens me to fight back but my blood is boiling. My rational mind goes out the window, like it usually does when I let my emotions take over. "Why—Why do you hate me so much?! What did I ever do to you? Sure, my pack is your enemy but I've never done anything that warrants you being so–so mean.!"

Daemon looks taken aback but then he scoffs, jaw ticking. "You really don't understand the severity of the situation, do you? If the council or other alphas find out my father has been harboring a traitor they won't hesitate to banish him from the pack, or even execute him."

That effectively silences me, my eyes widening in horror. "See? If you're not a spy and really just a dumb kid, then you'd better be careful. Keep your mouth shut today at school. Because Lucien's risking his neck for you, though I have no idea why,"

I nod fearfully, clutching my bag as my hands tremble. I...could bring harm to Lucien? After everything he's done for me? No, I can't. I won't be able to live with myself if that happens.

I have to do whatever it takes to conceal my true identity.

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