Every Difference Ch. 02byoilandwater©
They were very, very rich. I wondered what they had done to become so flush. Inherited probably, I decided as I was led down a richly decorated hallway. I looked at the freshly cut wild flowers, stacked impeccably in gleaming crystal vases that were sat precariously on slender stemmed glass tables. I debated accidentally throwing myself at one of them just so I could enjoy watching the damned thing shatter.
The scent of them was everywhere, making it impossible to distinguish between so many of them. At a guess I would have said more than fifteen lived here, or at least passed frequently through the mansion.
Rachel was shivering beside me, keeping her eyes on her shoes as we were herded forward. I grabbed her hand and offered her a reassuring smile but she couldn't even muster the strength to look at me. I could feel the tension rolling off her waves and I knew that everyone around us could sense it as well. I wondered if they sensed the same from me? I was trying to keep my fear in check but it was difficult to hide anything from weres.
"What do you think of your new home?"A young one asked us, sliding up beside Rachel and slipping her hand through the smaller females arm. Rachel flinched and tried to pull towards me but the girl refused to let her go. "Aren't you glad we found you?"
"We're ecstatic." I answered drolly, moving tightly to my sisters other side. Rachel shot me a thankful look beneath her long lashes.
The girl smiled at me in genuine amusement, causing small crinkles to appear at the corner of her caramel coloured eyes. "My name's Angeni." She said. "You haven't mentioned your names yet?"
The question hung heavily between us but I had no intention of answering her. I suspected she already knew. I'd already told their alpha and even if the information had not been passed on it was unlikely they knew my job and where we lived without knowing something as basic as our names. The girl shrugged, throwing her long shock of black hair over her narrow shoulder before falling back to so speak to one of the others females behind us.
"I've never smelled so many of them in one place before." Rachel whispered, looking a little hysterical as her head whipped back and forth. "They're everywhere. We're never going to get out Nicolas. We're never going to get out!" She shrieked the latter part and our escorts all turned around to look at us.
"What's wrong with her?" The one called Lilith demanded, the look on her face clearly showing her distaste for my sister.
"She's frightened." I said, trying to soothe Rachel as best as I could with so many of them crowding around us.
Lilith marched towards us and grabbed my wrist. She used her other hand to grab Rachel's shoulder and violently pushed us apart. Rachel started crying but when I tried to go to her Lilith refused to let me go. "Stay." She ordered, increasing her hold and she pointed her finger at Rachel. "You will pull yourself together. No one has hurt you so you've no reason to go on like that."
Rachel was really gearing herself up for a total breakdown. I couldn't really blame her. A few hours ago she was sat in the first secure home we'd ever had. It was a lot to process.
"You sort yourself out now girlie." Lilith demanded. Her hand wound in my hair and she gave it a painful yank. "Remember what Daniel said. Either of you misbehave and the other gets punished. You want me to hurt him? It'll be your fault."
Rachel let out one last shuddering breath before getting herself mostly under control. "Don't hurt him." She pleaded.
"Go walk with Angeni." She snapped. "Your brother is going to walk with me. You behave and I might give him back."
I didn't get a chance to see if Rachel was doing what she was told. Lilith pulled me alongside her, her strong fingers digging into my bicep. I resisted the urge to try and pull away. I was frightened she might do something to Rachel if I started to put up a fight. "You'll stay here." She said, opening a door and pushing me inside.
"Wait, what about-" A heavy wooden door slammed in my face. "Rachel?" I finished lamely. I tried the lock but it didn't budge. No real surprise there. The room was pitch back without even a window to light my way. I fumbled for a switch, starting to panic as I imagined the walls closing in on me. My hands pressed against something protruding the wall and I let out a ragged sigh of relief when a light clicked on.
It really was a tiny space. White washed walls with a grey coloured concrete floor. A single bed took priority in the middle of the room with a tiny sink and toilet in the far right corner. It was worrying that had an actual cell in their home. How many people had they held in here? I started to shiver. I could only imagine what Rachel was going through. I hoped they had put her somewhere better and I'd just drawn the short straw.
I took off my shoes and gently sat on the bed. With nothing else to do I lay down and stared at the single light. It was a long time before I finally fell asleep.
When our dad left us he promised he'd be right back. Literally swore to us that he'd come for us as soon as he could. I should have known better when he dropped us off at a motel with enough money to pay for a month's food and board. If he was going to be right back why did he do that? Why not leave us a couple of bucks for lunch at some random cafe?
Rachel had been frantic and I wasn't really much better. I kept us both indoors the entire time, only leaving to get food and drink. It did us both harm being kept indoors like that, our kind weren't supposed to spend too much times indoors. We'd survived it by telling ourselves that it was just temporary. Our dad would come back for us, he always did.
It was about three weeks in that I realised he wasn't coming back. I had no idea what happened to him. Numerous scenarios used to run through my mind. He'd been kidnapped by another pack, or maybe even killed. Some government scientists had captured him and he was fighting to get back to us.
Lately I started to think that he had just plain abandoned us. Trying to look after us had likely become too much for him. He must have reasoned that he better chance of surviving if he went on alone.
I looked at my pale hands and wondered why the others coveted our kind so much. I supposed Rachel was beautiful in a quiet sort of way. Her strong features lent her an almost distant countenance that often drew stares. I'd seen many men approach her just to be rebuked by her cold eyes alone. My sister was not a warm person, at least not physically. I knew that I was the same. My face didn't draw people in. No one at the bar ever tried to unload on me. If anything they went out of their way to avoid me. It suited me fine. I just wished the other wolves felt the same way.
What exactly did they want? Breeding us wouldn't make more of the same, not unless they found someone of the same race, which was incredibly unlikely given the rarity of our breed. So were we simply trophies to them? Were they so self absorbed that they would ruin our lives just so they could put their hands up and declare themselves the best collectors?
I pressed my hands over my face and tried not to scream in frustration. I'd known this would happen. I'd deluded myself into thinking we could make it on our own but as much as I fought against it some inner part of me had known that in the end it was inevitable. There had been too many close calls to count. I suppose we were lucky to have lasted as long as we had.
I shuddered as I remembered the last time we'd been discovered by a pack. It was a little over seven years ago when Rachel and I were in Germany. We'd been travelling through Norway on our way to Britain in the hope that the rumours were true and there really weren't any wares in the UK. I was tired and hungry and didn't notice we were being stalked until it was too late. A couple of males cornered us at a train station, sticking a knife into my side and threatening to slice me open if I cried out.
The experience had almost ruined me and had left Rachel permanently scared. We'd been too young for them to rape either of us, even the wild ones had to live by the rules that governed our kind, but it hadn't stopped them describing in great detail what they wanted to do to us. We'd been treated little better than slaves. We had no freedom and no say in our own lives.
I used to get beat up a lot. The beta took a fierce dislike to me; I thought it was because his mate used to stare at me a lot. He obviously decided that her interest was my fault. There were a couple of times when I thought me might kill me. I don't think the other members approved but no one tried to interfere. I supposed the alpha was the only one in a position to put an end to it but I had the opinion that he thought me soft. Perhaps he'd expected the beatings to toughen me up, make me a proper wolf.
It was a fluke that allowed us to escape them. I didn't think we'd be that lucky again.
The sound of hushed voices on the other side of the door brought my mind rocketing back to the present. I tensed as the door opened and felt a deep feeling of dislike as the alpha stepped inside the cramped little space. His chocolate coloured eyes swept over me and his scent became strong with desire.
Despite myself I flinched back. I couldn't help myself. It was so much easier to be strong when Rachel was with me. When I had to worry about her it didn't give me the opportunity to fret about myself.
He stepped in and closed the door behind him. I so wish he hadn't done that. The feeling of helplessness intensified as he crouched down in front of and caught my eye. I didn't know if he was trying to appear less intimidating by coming down to my height but it sure as hell wasn't working.
I debated kicking him in the teeth. I honest to god was really considering it when common sense prevailed. No one had hurt me yet, not really anyway. I didn't think inducing the violence was my best chance of keeping things that way.
He grinned at me.
"What?" I demanded unthinkingly.
"One minute I think you're gonna wet yourself, the next I think you're gonna try to kill me and then you calm yourself down all in the matter of seconds. It proves for an interesting scent.
I tested the air tenuously and the stench of his arousal was still very strong. I reigned in my panic, trying not to let him smell my terror. "Are you going to rape me?" The words came out strong, much stronger than I thought myself capable of.
Something in his expression softened. Pity perhaps, or sadness. He reached out and tucked a lock of my hair back behind my ear. He probably meant for it to be tender but it just made me feel sick with unease.
"How old are you?"
The question took me by surprise. "Don't you already know?" I asked bitterly.
"I know how old you told the owner of that bar where you worked you was. You don't look twenty-five to me Frost."
I ignored the odd name as a spark of hope hit me. "I'm seventeen." I lied, looking at him and willing him to believe me. I thought I could pass for seventeen at a push. That's why he'd asked after all, he thought I looked too young to work in the bar and if he believed I was seventeen they wouldn't touch us.
He growled low in his throat and the scent in the air changed quickly to anger. I tried to back up but his hand shot out and caught my kneecap, keeping me firmly in place. I gasped as the pressure on my knee became hard enough to almost hurt. "You're lying."
"I-I-" Instinctively I started to panic. My hands grasped his wrists and tried to pull them off my leg. Unsurprisingly his hands didn't budge. I looked up at his face and realised he was waiting for me to tell the truth. The hand on my knee clenched and a little shot of pain shot through my leg. "I'm twenty-five." I said truthfully.
He looked me up and down dubiously but he did release my leg which probably meant he believed me. "You look much younger. Seventeen is a bit of a stretch though Frost." He bit his bottom lip thoughtfully. "So you're both legal then."
His head snapped back as my foot smashed into his face. He let out a loud curse that barely registered as I fumbled open the door and bolted past a surprised Lilith. I heard her cry out behind me, screaming something about my sister. The sound of her name robbed me of my strength as I realised what I had just done. Jesus, what were they going to do to my sister?
Lilith was staring at me, her eyes smouldering as she gestured me to come back. I started towards her but then Daniel stepped out of the little room with blood pouring down his nose and I couldn't make myself take another step. Panic seized my chest as the scent of fury reached my nose.
He reached me in a few steps but stopped just short of me. "I warned you." He hissed.
I threw myself at him, wrapping my hands around his ankles as he went to walk past me. "I'm sorry!" I cried desperately. "Please, I'm sorry. Don't hurt her, please don't hurt her."
He reached down, picked me and carried me back to the small room. He dropped me on the bed and grabbed my knee again. The smell of his arousal was back, mixed with the red fury that was making him shake. "Kiss me." He demanded.
Terror made it hard to breathe but I had to think of my sister. "If I do you won't hurt her?" I asked breathlessly.
He nodded slowly. "Not this time."
I started to hyperventilate and I had to grab the bed for an anchor as the room started to spin around me. I closed my eyes, nodded my head and waited.
The door slammed shut and I was left alone.
They didn't let me out until the next day. I was sure they were doing it to punish me and I was freaked that Daniel had changed his mind and hurt Rachel because of me.
I wasn't surprised when Lilith opened the door to let me out. She growled lightly and made a swipe for my arm. I decided to play nice and allowed myself to be hauled up another corridor that eventually led to one of the biggest dining rooms I'd ever seen. Over a dozen faces looked up at us as we walked in. I ignored them as I looked for my sister. Her scent was strong with apprehension but I saw the relief in her eyes when she noticed me.
I managed a smile for her. She didn't look hurt and aside for the harrowed look in her light eyes I thought she was mostly coping. She smiled weakly back at me.
"Frost." I looked up at the sound of Daniel's voice and found him staring at me. He pointed to the seat beside him. "Sit here."
I didn't move for a second. That wasn't right, was it? The strongest pack members sat beside the alpha. I looked at my sister, situated beside two teenage kids. I wasn't an expert on pack dynamics but I was pretty certain I should have been much, much further down the table.
I heard a few of them whispering and received a sudden shove in the back. I stumbled forward and made it the rest of the way there on my own. I sat down shakily and the alpha placed his hand on my knee almost instantly. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be an act of intimacy or his way of threatening me to behave.
The huge back skinned one sat on my left, staring at me so intently that it sent the hairs on the back on my neck on edge. I almost shifted away from him but that would have meant leaning into Daniel. I settled for lowering my lashes and letting my hair fall forward so it mostly obscured my face. I let their words flow over me, trying not to inhale the heavy sent of arousal that seemed to be wafting gently from either side of me.
Beasts, I thought hatefully. They were sitting at the dinner table for Christ sake! Why couldn't they control themselves?
A plate of food was slapped down in front of me, causing me to start badly. I looked up and a few of the other pack members were smiling at me. I looked for Rachel but she was staring resolutely at her food. She nibbled away at it, not bothering to wait for anyone else.
"Eat." Daniel said softly, leaning into me and purposefully inhaling my scent. I shot him what I imagined might have been an alarmed look. He was being awfully congenial considering I'd kicked the man in the face the previous day.
I looked at my dinner, raw steak and thick chips. It looked great but I was way too nervous to eat. I picked at it half heartedly just to keep Daniel happy and listened to the quiet hush of conversation around me.
As far as I could tell there were eighteen men and women in the pack, a huge number by anyone's reckoning. They weren't all of Native American decent. I could see an older white woman with bright silver hair and see green eyes and an African American man with smooth ebony skin and eyes the colour of polished gold. I thought he must have originated from the Ethiopian wolf pack as there were few other species in that part of the world. They were a very rare breed and would have been highly coveted in a pack as numerous as Daniels. I wondered if he was here of his own free will. He was a very tall man but as thin as a wrath. I suspected he would be strong but doubtful he was much of a threat to the Alpha. A possible ally? I decided to approach him when the opportunity presented itself.
"You ever been fucked?" the dark one asked beside me, leaning into me as his lips pressed against my ears.
I jumped, only making it partially out of my seat before the hand on my knee yanked me back down.
"What's wrong with you?" Daniel gritted out softly, though I doubted there wasn't a person in the hall that couldn't hear us. I chanced a look at the dark one but he wasn't paying attention to me anymore.
What was wrong with me, did he have a spare hour? I shook my head and looked back at my plate. I spent most of the meal just staring at it. Eventually it was taken away and then I was looking at my table setting.
The hand on my knee eventually let go and I watched Daniel get to his feet. He tapped his fork against a large wine glass a few times to gain everyone's attention. The whole room hushed and looked up at him admiringly. It had to be said that Daniel was clearly well-liked among his pack. "As you all know we're here to welcome the newest members of our pack. We'll adorn to the next room shortly but firstly I would like to be the first to say welcome home.
Oh god, I thought I might be sick. For a moment I felt a fierce streak of anger run through me and I looked up boldly and stared back at the dozen or so people gawking at me. I think they sensed my anger and a few of them growled, pulling back their teeth and moving into a crouch. I went to stand up and a fist slammed down in front of me, making me jump half a mile. There was a tense moment and then Daniel started to laugh.
"The puppy had teeth, has he not?"
Laughter exploded around me. I felt my face burn and damned my pale skin for making it so obvious. I glared at Daniel but it just made him laugh harder. "Obviously our newest members are not thrilled to be with us but I trust we'll all help them through this newest stage of their lives without taking too much offense." His hand landed on my shoulder, holding on almost possessively. "Into the next room then, and please everyone, enjoy yourselves."
When Nicolas had said he was throwing a party I thought he meant he had invited the people from his pack but there had to be at least fifty different were's in the hall. Where in the hell had they all come from?
"Not enjoying the party?" Daniel asked, sliding up beside me and throwing a well muscled arm across my shoulders. The unwelcome touch sent a shiver of revulsion through me and I instinctively tried to shake him off. A low growl and an uncomfortably tight grasp kept me firmly in place. "You could at least try to look like you don't want to rip out everyone's throat Frost." He said, smiling easily as he looked out across the huge crowd, waving occasionally at the people that called out to him.