The sun beat down on my skin, a thin layer of sweat coating it. I jumped back as the two men attacked simultaneously.
I twisted around, elbowing one of them in the neck, hearing a satisfying crunch.
I flipped backwards, grabbing onto the other one, and slammed him face forward into the ground.
With a final spin, I slammed my fist into the first man’s nose. He grunted as he staggered backwards, before falling to his knees. I smiled slightly, breathing hard, as I stepped back.
“And that is how you do it.” I said, looking at the group of teens who had been watching.
They didn’t say anything, just stared in awe at the two giants who were flat on the floor.
“That’s amazing.” One of the boys muttered.
I crouched down and took off the weights I had tied around my ankles. I heard a clap and turned to see my Aunt Angela walking over. Her long hair was in a high ponytail, and she was dressed in jeans and an oversized top.
“Once again, impressively done, Raven.” She said, passing me a water bottle.
“Thanks. I think every one is getting too predictable.” I said, standing up and taking it.
“Or you’re just incredible. You got an email from Elijah.” She said quietly.
My heart skipped a beat, and my nerves began to brew in my stomach.
“Yes, he has officially asked for you to come home and take the position as Head Warrior.”
I almost screamed in excitement… but going home also meant facing both of them. Just like that, the happiness I felt vanished. Aunt Angela frowned, she knew something happened that made me come here, but I never told her because she was close to Aunty Red and would have definitely spill the beans.
I knew Liam had returned a few weeks ago. I hoped that he and Damon were ok because I hated that I was the reason behind their destroyed relationship.
I snapped out of my thoughts as the wind blew through my deep purple and blue ombre hair.
“Sorry I spaced out.” I gave her a wry smile and turned to the kids. “Lessons out for today!”
“Yes mam!” They hurried off chattering amongst themselves, discussing the match or certain moves, and I smiled at the two men who were picking themselves up.
Both Aunty and I fell in step as we walked towards the packhouse. Despite being an outsider, I had been welcomed here with open arms. For the last three years, this had been my home.
“Are you going to tell your parents about the position?”
“No, I’ll tell them when I return if Uncle El hasn’t already done that.” I said, drinking the water.
Aunt Angela nodded, I knew her strained relationship with dad only got worse with each passing year. They barely talked, and when they did, they clashed.
In the beginning, Aunt and her mate, Cassandra, had moved to The Blood Moon pack, but when Cassandra’s mom became ill, they moved back to The Dark River Pack and decided to stay on. I know Dad was the reason for that, but I never really asked what the final push had been, because I too had my secrets and I didn’t want anyone prying in my life either.
“You earned this Raven, I have watched you train endlessly, push yourself further and harder. If anyone does, you are the one who deserves this. I am proud of you. So, when you go back, I want you to keep your chin up and face them all.”
Our eyes met and I wondered how much she knew, or assumed, but I simply gave her a faint smile.
I will do exactly that, because I wasn’t weak.
Two days later I had arrived home. Dressed in a pair of black jeans, a purple halter top, a leather jacket and boots, I stared up at the huge wall that surrounded the pack grounds.
When did they build this?
I approached the gate, driving slowly, lowering my car window as the guard looked me over.
A small smile crossed his lips, and I gave him a bright one in return.
“The one and only.” I said, flicking my hair dramatically.
“Damn girl! I never knew you were coming! We were only expecting the new Head Warrior… Holy shit, it’s you?”
“I guess so.”
“I won’t keep you waiting then, the Alpha’s are waiting.”
“Nice seeing you again.”
I drove through, trying to keep a cap on my emotions. I wasn’t ready for this. Goddess, I don’t think I’d ever been ready for this but I had to do it. I parked up outside the packhouse and to my relief, it was only Uncle El and Aunty Red.
“Raven. Welcome home.” Aunty Red said coming over the moment I got out of the car and hugged me tightly, I hugged her back, inhaling her familiar comforting scent.
“Thanks, Aunty Red.” I said, before Uncle El gave me a tight hug.
I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. He had lost the last of his closest friends two months ago and I knew it must be affecting him greatly. I looked up at him, my heart skipping a beat as I looked into those cerulean blue eyes, eyes that reminded me of Liam’s.
“I haven’t actually told the boys your back.” Uncle El said, smirking. “Think they’ll be happy.”
“I’m sure.” I said faking a smile, very aware of Aunty Red watching me keenly. “But I think I’ll see them tomorrow; I need to go home first.”
“Ah yes, I did tell Haru and Kimberly you were back.” Aunty Red said.
It was later that night, and I was back home. I didn’t unpack because I wanted to ask Alpha El if I could allocate in the packhouse… and boy I think I was making the right decision to do so, the tension was suffocating. I stirred my food on the plate, not even wanting to eat the orgasm-inducing dishes my mom had cooked with this tension.
“So Alpha Elijah told me you applied for the Head Warrior position?” Dad remarked, his jaw clenched, his sharp brown eyes looking at me calculatingly.
“Yeah, I did.” I said blandly.
“You didn’t once consider to, I don’t know, ask my opinion?”
“Umm, why would I?” I raised my eyebrows.
Was he seriously going to still do this?
“Raven, don’t speak to your dad like that.” Mom said quietly.
I pursed my lips, taking a deep breath to calm myself down.
“Too much time spent around Angela, it was bound to happen.” Dad added drinking some of his fresh orange juice.
Oh for real?
“Dad, how can you blame Aunty for this? Like for real, she has nothing to do with my decision!”
“That attitude is a mirror of hers.” Dad hissed.
“I’m not even arguing.” I exclaimed trying to keep my voice calm. “I’m just saying you can’t blame Aunty for my decision or anything. This is all me.”
“Well, it doesn’t really look good. So, you chose a position where you are going to prance around amongst men, befitting.”
“Dad… It’s training, I am not going to go put on a strip show for them, and even if I did want to become a stripper you really shouldn’t be putting me down like that.”
“Wow, see that, Kim? Your daughter wants to be a hooker or stripper or whatever.”
I shook my head, I can’t believe he was so backwards… I stood up, placing my knife and fork down slowly, not wanting him to lash out at me for being loud.
“I worked my ass off to become something, to be accepted to such a position… Dad, it’s no small fete… Head Warrior means I am one of the strongest fighters of this pack. I worked day and night to prove that I’m good at something. Aren’t you at least a little proud of me?” I asked, glancing at Mom only for her to look away.
That hurt, even when my mates abandoned me, I wished that I at least had my mom’s arms to cry in, but I didn’t…
“Proud? What’s there to be proud of? You’re just another Angela, another disappointment.” He stood up, slamming his fork onto the table and stormed out of the room.
“Haru…” Mom said, rushing from the room.
I stared at the table, swallowing hard.
A disappointment… A failure… Unwanted… Useless…
I took a deep breath, smiling faintly.
It was ok, I was used to it all.