Timber Pack Chronicles Ch. 09byrobcub32©
As Parker pushed his way through the crowded hallway on his way to class, his phone started to vibrate in his pocket. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled it out and looked at the display. Expecting it to be Colton, the name and picture on the screen surprised Parker. He hadn't really spoken with Shell in a couple of weeks, not since the split. And then it was just a mumbled "hi" as they passed in the hallway.
Parker moved out of the way and ducked behind the door of his second period class.
"Parker. I need to talk to you," Shell answered. Her voice was clipped and strained. And the fact that she called him by name instead of "girl" or "hooker" let Parker know that she was pissed.
"Now. Not on the phone."
"I'm about to go into class. Don't you have—"
"Skip it," she interrupted. "Meet me outside, by the gym side doors."
"Okay. I'm on my way."
Parker found Shell pacing outside the gym doors. When she saw him, she grabbed his arm and yanked him hard, pulling him back behind the garbage dumpsters.
The smell of the dumpsters assaulted Parker's sensitive nose. He wasn't prepared when Shell shoved his chest hard with her hands, knocking him backwards against the brick wall.
"I oughta beat your ass!"
Parker stared at her in shock, too surprised to speak.
She gave him another hard shove. "You were supposed to be my friend!"
Shell slowly backed away, slumped against the wall and dropped down to her butt. She pulled her legs up to her chest. "Why didn't you tell me?" she whispered as tears started to stream down her face.
Parker sat down next to her. He sniffled and wiped his own eyes. "I'm sorry," was all he could come up with to say.
She stared straight ahead, a haunted look in her eyes. "I knew there was something weird about Curtis. I followed him. I watched him take his clothes off..." She closed her eyes and shuddered.
"Then you saw... You saw him?"
"Yes. It's like fucking 'Twilight' and I'm playing the part of that stupid white bitch. I don't wanna be the stupid bitch." She scrubbed the tears from her eyes and let out a rough sigh. "After I beat his ass, he told me what he was. And he finally told me what happened with Colton being exiled, and what he did to you."
"I'm Colton's mate. He didn't 'do' anything to me. It's hard to explain..."
Shell unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse. She pulled her collar aside. At the curve of her neck was a fresh bite mark.
"I broke up with the bastard."
Parker gasped. "You did? How?"
"What do you mean 'how'? I told him to leave me the fuck alone."
"Don't you feel... I don't know... a pull?"
"Whatever," she said with a dismissive hand wave, but the wince on her face let Parker know that she did feel it. "I'm not gonna let him run my life. I am my own woman."
Parker shook his head. "Mm-hmm. You say 'whatever' now. But trust me, you won't be able to keep away from him. You know I'll be there for you when you change, but you're gonna want Curtis. It's kind of special. You'll want to be with your mate and you'll regret it later if he's not there. You can still be your own woman."
Shell's cell phone rang. She looked at the screen and sighed. She turned the screen to show Curtis's picture, a seductive head shot with intense eyes. "Curtis. Again."
Shell looped her arms around Parker's and leaned her head on his shoulder.
"Everything will be okay," he whispered.
* * *
Parker sat on the little porch of their cabin watching the snow fall. It was the first day of winter break and it was the first snow of the season. He liked the snow and always liked to watch it fall. It always calmed and relaxed him. The smell of wood burning permeated the air as smoke rose from the chimney. Parker couldn't wait to live here with his Colton.
Colton had moved into the cabin not even a month into their exile. Being an alpha and living under the rival pack beta's roof apparently wasn't a good idea. He and his father nearly came to blows on more than one occasion. It wasn't that his father was necessarily a bad guy, but there was definitely a power thing going on.
Jed followed a couple of days later, moving into his own cabin down the row. Not because he didn't get along with his parents but out of loyalty to Colton. His mom stocked him up with all kinds of goodies. All of his brothers helped move his things. Jed's parents were so full of love and pride for Jed it made Parker want to cry. He was so happy for Jed but just a little bit jealous too.
They had replaced the beat-up furniture in several of the cabins with some stuff they picked up cheap from a few online sellers and garage sales. Parker spent a lot of time on the interior of their cabin, trying to make it a home for him and Colton.
Jed, Trey and Colton worked on the cabin exteriors. With the repairs and fresh coats of trim paint, the rustic little log cabins looked like homes. The camp had truly been transformed from what it was when Parker first saw it.
Parker was happy.
He heard the SUV's engine before he saw it. He stood up when he saw the official sheriff's department vehicle come around the bend and through the trees on the two-track.
Parker watched Deputy Carlton Butler park the truck in the parking area and walk up to the cabin.
Parker couldn't help but notice how much Colton looked like his father. Though the Forest View Pack's beta wolf was looking tired these days and he seemed to have a little more gray in his beard and hair than he did a couple of months ago.
Carlton pulled his leather glove off and held out his hand. "Parker."
Parker shook his hand, but Carlton didn't let go, gripping Parker's hand in an overly tight grip. He stared Parker down. Only when Parker dipped his head and turned his head slightly to bare his neck to the bigger man did he let go.
The display of power made Parker nervous and unsettled, if only because it would have sent Colton through the roof if he had witnessed it.
Parker put on a careful smile. "It's good to see you, Mr. Butler. Colton's not here. He and the guys went into the city to get some more building supplies. We're working on the common building and the mess hall kitchen this week."
"Would you like to come in? I have a fresh pot of coffee brewed and a fire in the fireplace."
Parker went inside and shrugged his winter coat off and hung it on the coat rack behind the door.
Carlton followed Parker into the cabin. He unzipped his coat, pulled his uniform hat off and set it under his arm. He looked around the cabin, taking in the surroundings. He walked over to the fireplace and stoked the fire with the poker.
"You two have made this a nice home. It's cozy." The genuineness in Carlton's voice made Parker smile.
"Thank you," Parker replied as he handed Carlton a mug of coffee. He took the deputy's hat from the older shifter and hung it on the hook on the back of the front door.
"Not what you are used to, though, hmm?"
"I suppose, but I love it here."
The burly deputy sipped his hot coffee. He stood silent for a moment, clearly uneasy but trying not to be. "Have you been living here with Colton then?"
"No. I'm still living at home. But I stay here with Colton sometimes."
Parker's eyes darted uneasily towards the bed. He now wished that he had made it when they got up this morning. Of course, it reeked of sex and there was no hiding that. Damn. He should have changed the sheets. The last thing he needed was for Colton's dad of all people to be reminded of their private business. It was bad enough that the older man had seen him when Colton had turned him, all naked and just-been-fucked, laid out on the floor of Colton's bathroom.
"That's one of the things I wanted to talk to Colton about. Your father is not happy. He came to me to break you two up. Colton needs to deal with this now. You may want to suggest it to him. He won't listen to anyone else."
Carlton's eyes drifted down Parker's neck to the mating scar before he looked back at Parker.
Parker understood what the man was trying to tell him.
Parker noticed Carlton cocking his head slightly towards the window. Parker stretched his senses, trying to detect what the other man had heard or smelled. He could hear Jed's big truck coming up the drive.
"That's them now."
Carlton nodded at Parker's obvious statement.
A couple of minutes later, the door opened and Colton came through. Jed walked in behind him, and leaned against the doorway, assessing the situation.
"Hey, pup," Colton said as he walked through the door. He walked past his father and planted a kiss on Parker's mouth.
He turned around, standing between Parker and his father. He unbuttoned his coat as he gave his father a watchful eye. "Dad. Something I can help you with?"
Colton looked over at Jed. Jed nodded and walked out of the cabin, closing the door behind him.
"Why don't we take a seat?" Colton said, waving towards the living area.
Parker grabbed his backpack, laptop and math book off the armchair so that Carlton could have a place to sit.
"I'm here about the rogue wolf," Carlton said as he sat down in the armchair.
Parker and Colton sat down on the couch together. Colton stretched his feet out and crossed them at the ankle, then slung his arms along the back of the couch, his fingertips resting on Parker's shoulder.
Everything about him said that he was king of the castle. Well, it was more of a shack than a castle, but here Colton was king and Carlton was merely a visitor in his territory.
He didn't speak but waited for his father to continue.
Carlton frowned. "He was spotted by a pack member. Sonia. She works at the high school, in the facilities department. He was apparently underneath the stadium's bleachers. When he saw her and a human co-worker approaching, he ran off. It took some convincing on Sonia's part to calm the human down."
"The stadium?" Parker asked. "What would he be doing at the school?"
Carlton ignored the question from Parker, and focused his attention on Colton. "He also attacked a group of kids in the woods by the old water tower. TJ Carlisle was hurt pretty bad." Carlton glanced at Parker, before looking back at Colton. "Curtis Lakewood tried to fight him off... The damage was very extensive. He nearly didn't make it."
Parker covered his mouth as he gasped in horror. "What? No!"
Parker thought of Shell and his heart broke for her. What if it had been Colton? He didn't want to appear like a wimp in front of Colton's dad, but he couldn't help it. Tears welled in his eyes and he burrowed closer to Colton's side.
Colton put his arms around him and held him tight. He kissed Parker's head and whispered soothingly, "Shh... It's okay, pup. Breathe..."
Carlton cleared his throat. "Has there been any activity here?"
"You know about the second attack on Parker. He also attacked the pup who's mated to the bear in the village, but Buck managed to scare him off." Colton paused for a moment, then added, "And Jed and Trey chased him away from the camp last weekend."
Parker's head lifted and his jaw dropped. "What? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want to worry you."
"You didn't— But what if something happened to you or Jed or Trey—"
Parker was about to have a full-blown meltdown.
Colton's growl was barely audible, but it was enough to stop Parker. Colton's eyes glanced towards his father for a split second. Parker backed down. He didn't want to show Colton disrespect in front of a rival pack member, even if he was family.
Carlton stood up. "I'd better be going."
Colton rose from the couch and shook his hand.
His father picked up his hat from the hook on the door and put it on and buttoned up his coat. "I was telling Parker that you've made a nice home here."
"Thanks, Dad." After an awkward pause, he added, "I'll be in touch."
"Goodbye, Mr. Butler," Parker said.
"Bye, Parker. Colton." With a dip of his chin, Colton's father left the cabin.
* * *
Parker paced back and forth in his parents' backyard. A sound coming from the house next door broke his daze. He hurried over to the fence and, hidden behind a row of pine trees, watched Shell close the back door behind her and look around.
Shell turned towards the noise and rolled her eyes at Parker. "For real with the 'psst'? You would make the worst spy, double-O-gay. Meet me in back by the big tree."
Parker made his way to the back gate. As he swung the iron gate open, he smelled the distinct odor of Colton's piss. It smelled recent. He rolled his eyes, shut the gate behind him, and hurried into the woods.
"Hey," Parker whispered. "How is he?"
Shell sat down on the grass cross-legged. Parker mimicked her, sitting facing her.
"He's doing a lot better," she said with relief. "He's sore and exhausted, but he's finally getting up and moving around."
"I'm so glad," Parker said with a relieved sigh. He grabbed Shell's hand and squeezed it. "I was so worried for you when Colton's dad told us what happened."
"I just don't get why they were attacked."
"I don't know either. Colton thinks it's a territory thing."
Shell narrowed her eyes. The growl building in her chest surprised Parker. "I could kill Seth Forrest. You know what he did? When the wolf attacked, he stepped back while Curtis and TJ fought for him."
"Seth is an asshole and a coward. But he'll probably be the next leader of the Forest View Pack..."
"Oh god. Don't get me started on that pack stuff."
"I know right. Curtis sounds loyal."
"He is," Shell said as she beamed with pride.
"You should be proud of him. It's a shame that someone like Seth just abuses it."
Parker smiled inwardly. He couldn't say anything to Shell about leaving her pack, but that didn't mean he couldn't manipulate the situation a little bit with some hints. "So you two are back together then?"
"Well... we're still working things out," she said as she subconsciously rubbed the bite mark over her neck.
"Are you nervous about meeting the Alpha?"
"I met him at the clinic. Did you know there's a medical clinic for werewolves? Yeah, that wild animal clinic by the forest ranger's station. What the fuck, right? Anyway. Despite being related to Seth, he seems kinda nice."
Parker blinked. "'Kinda nice'?"
"Yeah. He hugged me and everything, and said 'Welcome to the Pack.'"
"You're kidding me. He didn't grab your head and sniff you?"
Shell looked at Parker like he had lost his mind. "Sure, he sniffed me, but he didn't grab me."
"He didn't say anything about you being human?"
"No. Why would he?"
Parker scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Of course. Since you're a girl. And you can make pups," he said bitterly.
Shell gave him a sympathetic smile. "Sorry."
Parker shrugged. It wasn't like there was anything he could do about it and it didn't make a difference. He was part of a new pack where bullshit like that didn't matter. Parker's stomach growled loudly and he grabbed at it and gave Shell an embarrassed smile. "Sorry. I'm hungry."
"Me too. I haven't had anything to eat all day."
"There's this diner in Timber. We could go there. No one would see us together. And they have fantastic cake."
Parker got up and followed Shell to her car and the two of them sped off, taking the two-lane highway towards Timber.
"I feel all sneaky," Parker chuckled.
Shell scoffed. "I can do whatever I want with whoever I want."
When they turned onto the village's main street, Shell parallel parked in front of the diner. Stepping onto the sidewalk, Parker looked down the street at the Timber General Store.
"Hey, let me introduce you to Buck and Stan first," Parker offered. He motioned down the sidewalk towards the Timber General Store. "They just joined our pack. They're mates, too. Buck's a bear."
"Is he really a bear?" Shell whispered. "Like a were-bear?"
"Yes. But don't worry. He won't eat you. Were-bear", he added with a snicker. "It rhymes. Were-bear."
"Oh my god, you are such a dork."
They walked into the store. Buck was standing at the register behind the counter looking up something on his computer. The burly man looked up from the counter.
Parker waved and smiled at the big bear. "Hey, Buck."
"Parker," Buck nodded. He tilted his head slightly and scratched at his thick beard as he looked Shell over.
"Hi, Parker," Stan said with a smile as he came from the back room. The small, dark-haired wolf wiped his hands on his apron and gave Parker a quick hug.
"This is my friend, Shell," Parker said. "That's Buck, and this is Stan."
"You looking for anything in particular?" Stan asked.
"No. We didn't come in to shop. We were going to the diner to grab a bite to eat and I wanted to introduce her to you guys." Parker glanced at Buck. He wanted to ask Stan to come along, since he wanted to get to know the guy better.
Buck put his hand on Stan's shoulder. "Why don't you take a break and go grab a bite?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I'll be fine." Buck leaned down and gave Stan a quick kiss on the lips and then smacked him on the ass. "Go on, cub."
Stan's cheeks went pink as he looked at Parker and Shell with an embarrassed smile on his face, which made both Shell and Parker laugh.
The trio walked down the street to the diner. Parker and Stan waved to Dottie then took the booth furthest from the rest of the diners. Shell slid in next to Parker, and Stan sat across from them.
"Hello again," Dottie greeted them happily and took their drink orders.
After a moment of awkward silence, Shell looked at Stan and asked, "So your mate is a bear, huh?"
"Yeah. He's a big Kodiak bear, actually." Stan smiled. It was obvious that he adored his bear.
"Damn. I'm just getting used to the fact that there are werewolves." At Stan's frown of the word 'werewolf,' Shell quickly amended, "I mean lycans. Wolf shifters. Whatever."
Stan nodded. "From what I understand, they're not very common, the bears. So, I take it you haven't been mated long, since you haven't had your first shift. You're part of the Forest View Pack?"
Shell rolled her eyes. "Mm. I don't have a mate and I don't need a pack either."
Parker exchanged a glance with Stan. "She's going through a rebellious stage."
Shell opened her mouth to retort, but Dottie arrived with their drinks and then took their orders.
Once Dottie left, Stan played with his straw in his glass, swirling it around his ice cubes. "You won't be able to resist him," he said quietly.
Shell let out a sigh. "I'll take the big idiot back, but he's gonna have to do a hell of a lot of groveling. But how did you know about that?"
Stan shrugged and gave her a small smile. "I can smell another wolf on you."
Shell actually looked like she was blushing. "Ew, gross."
All three laughed.
"You'll get used to it," Stan said. "Most shifters tend to have no sense of modesty when it comes to stuff like that."
"I am not very good at smells yet," Parker interjected. "Except for Colton. I can pick him out anywhere. He's got the best smell."
Shell rolled her eyes and pretended to gag, making Stan laugh.
Stan added, "And I can just tell that you haven't shifted yet."
"Were you born a wolf?" Parker asked Stan.
"Yup. I was born in the De Soto Pack in Mississippi."
"Really?" Parker asked. "I guess that explains the accent. So what are you doing way up here?"
"Well... My pack isn't very accepting of people who are different. And being smaller than most of the pack, they pushed me around... They decided they didn't want me around and I decided I couldn't stay..."
"Hmph," Parker grumped. "That seems to be a common theme."
Shell rolled her eyes. "See, that's bullshit. That's why I don't want a pack. Are they all homophobic like that?" she asked.