Hours passed, and dinner was going cold while I waited for Valen and Valerian. Not that I made anything special; I was too tired and wanted to sleep. So I only made spaghetti bolognese.
However, Valen said he would be home before dinner, and dinner was cooked two hours ago. Glancing at the clock, it was 730 PM, and the storm outside had intensified. Lightning streaked across the gloomy sky, not one star in sight as the clouds blocked out even the moon. Walking back into the living room, I snatched my phone off the coffee table and redialed his number. The phone didn’t even ring; it went straight to voicemail.
Waiting another 10 minutes, I picked up my phone again to call when it began ringing in my hand. A private number came through, and I sighed. Finally, he thought to ring back. Only when I answered I wasn’t expecting the feminine voice I heard.
“Hello, is this Everly’s phone?” comes my mother’s voice. Shocked, I pull the phone from my ear to look at the screen before placing it back.
“Mum?” I asked.
“Oh, thank God, I thought your receptionist gave me another wrong number,” she says. I didn’t know what to say. It was one thing seeing her on the day of the Alpha meeting, but I found myself suddenly lost for words on the phone. I no longer knew how to speak to the woman who gave birth to me. So much had changed, and I had changed. My family were suddenly strangers to me, and I no longer identified myself with them anymore.
“Are you there?” she asks.
“Ah, yes, sorry. Why are you calling?” I blurted, without thinking. She had never rung before, not even when she promised to when I turned up on her doorstep that stormy night. So many broken promises, our relationship now non-existent.
“I um. I wanted to check on you after the incident with the rogues. Your father tried to see, but your mate wouldn’t let him in.”
“Well, you could have visited; he let Ava in,” I tell her, and she falls quiet. I found it hard to make chit-chat with her. The silence as we tried to think of what to say was awkward.
“So, how have you been?” she asks, and I bite my lip, hesitant to answer. Did she genuinely care? Something bothered me with how she rang out of the blue.
“Yeah, good, waiting for Valen and Valarian to get home,” I tell her.
“He looks so much like his father,” she says, and I nod, moving into the kitchen and covering their dinners.
“So, ah, how is Ava?” I ask, trying to divert the conversation.
“Ava is Ava. She is being difficult.”
“And why is that?”
“Because she wants to go away to university, she doesn’t want to take over the pack,” My mother says.
“Well, find someone else to take over then,” I tell her, looking at the clock and the minutes ticking by. I was starting to worry that something had happened because I had heard no word. Placing the phone on the loudspeaker, I searched for Valarian’s tracking device in his watch…
“It’s not that simple, and you know that,” she answers.
I watched it load before seeing he was at the shopping complex and sigh when I see it leading toward the car park and know they must be on the way home now.
“Are you listening?” my mother asks. “Yes, still here,” I tell her, turning the loudspeaker off.
“Sorry, I was checking an email,” I lied. I had no idea why I lied, but it wasn’t like it was any of her business.
“There is another thing I wanted to talk to you about.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Your father said you put a petition in to change the laws surrounding the rogues,”
“Yes, interested in signing it?” I ask, knowing I needed at least four Alpha signatures.
“No, but you should pull it. You are drawing unwelcome attention. Your father nearly had a heart attack when it hit his email. Withdraw the application, Everly.” my mother says and laughs, shocked by her words.
“I am being serious. You have no idea what is at stake!” she snaps.
“Did dad put you up to this?”
“No, yes… But he is correct. Are you hoping to start a war? It will change nothing. No Alpha will sign that petition. It will change nothing but cause issues within the City.”
“I am not pulling the petition, Mum. I don’t care who it upsets. It is time things change. This is a good thing,” I tell her.
“It is reckless and will cause trouble for your father. You have no idea what you are getting yourself into. You have been Luna for all but 5 minutes and are making poor choices already!” she says, and I scoff.
“I know exactly the trouble it will cause in the City, and it is why I am doing it. Try living in the rogue’s shoes for once, mother. Without your credit cards or the pack’s money, you wouldn’t last one day. Nothing you say will get me to pull that petition, so jump on board and accept it. I don’t care about your reputation or dad’s. You never cared for mine.” I snapped back at her.
“You are going to start a war!” She screamed.
“War?” I laugh.
“I have been at war with the packs since I was 17. Packs don’t scare me, mother. I learned to live on my own without a pack. Instead, I built an empire. And I sure as h**l don’t need a pack because I have something far more valuable than a pack of mindless idiots that follow orders from Alpha that has no care for his people. I have a family, and families fight for each other. You may not have fought for me, but I will fight for mine!” I tell her before hanging up.
I cursed, annoyed she would ring me just to get me to pull a petition and berate me. Shaking my head, I was about to ring Valen again when I heard the front door open and close.
“Finally!” I sighed with relief as I walked toward the hall. Valarian comes rushing toward me excitedly, soaking w3t.
“It’s raining,” Valerian says, and I chuckle.” I can tell. Where did you and your father go?” I ask him just as Valen steps past me, pecking my cheek as he heads for the Kitchen with grocery bags.
“Ah, we went to get groceries,” Valarian says, looking around me to look at his father, who was unpacking the grocery bags.
“Where else did you go?” I ask him when Valen calls out to him.
“Go get out of your wet clothes, quick. Mum made dinner,” he says, and Valarian rushes off before I could question him more. I purse my lips, watching him run off.
“How was your day?” he asked before I could question him on why they took so long.
“Good, yours?” Valen shrugs and turns to the microwave to heat Valarian’s dinner.
“Worked at the homeless shelter, you should come by tomorrow so I can show you around,” he says. I nod when he rummages through another bag, pulling out my ice cream and chucking it to me.
“Oh, you remembered,” I tell him, placing it in the freezer. Yet Valen was being awfully quiet, making me wonder what he was up to. I went to ask when Valarian rushed out in dry clothes and sat at the table. Valen pulls his dinner from the microwave and takes it over to him while I watch them both.
“You two are up to something,” I tell them, and Valarian looks up at his father. I narrow my eyes at them both.
“What?” Valen asks.
“Well, first, he usually tells me all about his day when I see him, and I got vague answers. You were both two hours late, and it doesn’t take two hours to get two bags of groceries from a shop that is two minutes from here,” I tell him.
“Hm, well, care to explain why our son has a tracking device on his watch?” Valen retorts.
“You know why. Besides, it is for his safety, so don’t change the subject. Where were you both?” I told him.
“Shopping,” Valen says, and Valarian nods his head.
“Fine, don’t tell me. I will check his tracker data later,” I smirked, folding my arms across my chest.
“No, need. I made him leave it in the car except when we stopped to grab groceries, but you will know soon enough anyway,” Valen chuckles, and so does Valarian.
Valen returns to the kitchen and heats his own dinner up and mine, and we sit down and eat. After dinner, Valen stayed busy working on his laptop while Valarian did his homework. Bored with watching TV, I walked over to see what Valen was working on.
“What are you doing?” I asked, peering over his shoulder.
“The design company wants to know what I want on the sign.” I looked at his sign design. It looked good but was kind of dull “Mountain view Homeless shelter” was also kind of predictable.
“You don’t like it?” Valen sighs.
“How about you let me design it?”
“You want to help? What about your petition?”
“I can do both. Is this the designer you’re going through? I also know a better designer who is local and has a cheaper signage manufacturer,” I tell him.
“Who is your designer, the same one that did the murals along the restaurant walls?” he asks, and I nod.
“Yep, I know she would love to do it,”
“Me,” I tell him.
“Wait, you did the murals in the restaurant,” I nodded.
“Yes, and the one in the pool area along the fence. We couldn’t find anyone to do them back then, and I used to paint. Your mother found one of my drawings and asked me to have a go at doing a mural. I did one, then she got me to paint all of them,” I laughed.
“You don’t paint anymore?”
“No time anymore, but I was going to ask if I could do a mural out the front of the homeless shelter anyway, so I can design your sign and send it off to get it made?”‘ I told him. He thinks for a second before nodding.
“Any other cool things you can do?” I shrug.
“No, but Macey did all the welding statues in the gardens,” I tell him.
“Macey can weld?” he asked.
“Yep, she used to do odd jobs as a welder/metal fabricator around the city,” I tell him.
“Huh, I did not know that,” he murmurs thoughtfully, and I shrug before messing Valarian’s hair. I glance at his work to see him finished and now just doodling on the edges of the paper.
“Right, that is sorted, then. If you give me a list of what you want when you can, I will order it in,” Valarian says, and I smile. I hadn’t painted in so long, so I was excited about the challenge.
Hearing my phone bing with a message, I check it. I didn’t recognize the number, but knew undoubtedly where it came from by the statement it held.
‘Think, Everly, you could destroy everything you worked so hard for, pull the petition, or the packs will come for you.’ I growl, annoyed at the threat, and Valen looks over at me.
“What’s wrong?” Valen asks and I shake my head.
“Nothing, I will sort it,” I tell him before placing the phone back down and walking off to get Valarian ready for bed.