Previous: "Welcome Home"

Next: "Cowardice"

Series 10 Episode 2

Finally, summer had arrived. First year of college was over, and Brett was exhausted. It had been an intense year of basketball training mixed with studying, and he was getting closer and closer to the dream of playing as a professional. Now, he was ready to recharge his batteries for the summer, with the one he loved most.

Johnny stepped out of the car first. It was like returning home, and they’d both been counting down the days until their return. It was a driving force behind their college work, and the time had finally arrived.

Perhaps it was strange that what was originally used as a safehouse had become their perfect holiday destination, but Brett had no shame. Ed had decommissioned the hut from police use, meaning it was all theirs for a summer spent in each other’s arms.

“At last. Peace and quiet,” Johnny commented. It was blissfully silent, thanks to the empty road and lack of surrounding buildings.

Inside, the place looked surprisingly messy. It only had the bare minimum furnishings anyway, but what it did have was strangely erratic, as if there had been a struggle.

“Has someone else been here?” Johnny cautiously wondered.

“Not that I know of,” Brett replied. The only people who knew about the hut were Ed and the rest of Dylan’s pack, and truthfully, Brett had only sent them the occasional message over the past year. Supernatural chat was off the table and it was all about small talk, but Brett understood – he’d made the decision to move away, after all, “I suppose we’d better get cleaning.”

“Oh shit,” Johnny gasped, “I forgot to pack the vacuum.” A cheeky smile rose on his face.

“Well, you’d better find one then,” Brett teased. Johnny playfully glared at him. They took the mick out of each other constantly, but it was always from a place of love. After all, they’d had their whole lives to perfect the art.

Collapsing onto the sofa, Brett felt exhausted. They had spent the whole day cleaning and tidying the hut, and now it was completely spotless. At last, their summer could truly begin. Brett laid down across Johnny’s lap, his legs dangling over the opposite end of the sofa. He felt so comfortable there, glancing up at Johnny’s beautiful face. He was gorgeous from every angle.

For ten minutes, they laid perfectly still. No music or television, just each other’s company. It was all they needed, and there was nowhere else Brett would rather be. They had space and privacy – something he was guaranteed not to get at home.

“I almost forgot,” Johnny broke the silence. Brett sat up, allowing Johnny to leap off the sofa, “Drinks. We need to celebrate the start of summer.”

“You’re talking my language,” Brett smiled. Perhaps that was the one way to make their evening even better. Johnny bounced into the kitchen while Brett found a new position on the sofa to feel comfortable in.

Five minutes passed. Brett had scrolled up and down through his Instagram while he waited. It was completely mundane, but passed the time. Strangely, Johnny was still in the kitchen. Fetching drinks was taking a surprisingly long time.

“Johnny,” Brett called out. No response. This was probably one of his pranks. He was surely hiding somewhere, ready to jump out at him for a laugh. It wouldn’t have been the first time.

Nevertheless, Brett cautiously crept towards the kitchen. It was eerily silent. It was never quiet for this long when Johnny was around. Brett couldn’t deny – he was concerned.

Scarily, the kitchen was empty, and the back door was wide open. Johnny couldn’t possibly have gone to another room – that would have involved walking past the living room – so he must have been outside. Confused, Brett looked around from the doorstep. No sign, left or right. His emotions were all over the place, but worry was definitely prevailing. Johnny’s pranks weren’t ever that elaborate.

Stepping back inside, Brett tried calling Johnny. His stomach sank when he spotted Johnny’s phone vibrating on top of the kitchen counter. That was the final straw. Johnny never went anywhere without his phone – not even the bathroom.

Then he saw it. Easy to miss on a quick glance, but now Brett couldn’t unsee it. Blood. Blood that definitely wasn’t there before. After all, they had just cleaned the place from top to bottom.

Brett panicked. He needed help, and fast.

Carrying a glass of water in one hand and a change of clothes in another, Oscar speed-walked into his bedroom. He wanted to do everything he could to help, and that included being hospitable. Nobody else seemed interested in doing that.

Brett was sat in the centre of Oscar and Cody’s bed. He looked glum to say the least, his head tilted downwards. The bags around his eyes said a lot, much like his rosy red cheeks. Archie was stood guard by the bedroom door, but quite why, Oscar didn’t know. Brett wasn’t a prisoner, and Oscar trusted him more than anyone else in the warehouse. Cody included.

“We’ll be fine,” Oscar nodded to Archie, trying to shake him off.

“Shout if you need me,” Archie got the hint, slipping out of the room.

“He looks scary,” Brett broke his silence now they were alone.

“He’s sweet really, I promise,” Oscar revealed, approaching the bed, “Room for a little one?” Brett shuffled over, making room for Oscar to sit on one side of the bed.

“I feel empty,” Brett opened up. He had told the group about Johnny’s disappearance. Oscar had seen first-hand just how close they were. History like theirs carried so much weight.

“I understand,” Oscar consoled. He’d felt empty ever since abandoning the pack. He knew the feeling well, “Is there anything you need?” He passed Brett the water and placed the clothes next to him.

“No, that’s good,” Brett raised half a smile, “But I’d appreciate the company. I wasn’t expecting a familiar face. That was kind-of the point.”

“Why didn’t you go to Dylan?” Oscar queried. After all, Dylan wasn’t exactly miles away.

“We’ve not really spoken about anything supernatural since I left. I get it, it was my choice to leave for college, but I think I gave up my place in the in-crowd too. This way, there’s no awkward reunions. We can get straight to business,” Brett justified, “Which brings me to the burning question. Why are you here?”

“It’s a long story, honestly,” Oscar sighed.

“Is Dylan okay?” Brett was concerned.

“As far as I know. It’s been a long time since I last saw him,” Oscar mentioned. He missed his old friendships so much.

“Well, either way, these guys don’t seem as friendly. Have I come to the right place?” Brett worried.

“Yes. I promise,” Oscar assured. No matter what, he would do everything he could to help Brett.

It had been a long time since Dylan last woke up feeling so positive. He had an immediate fire inside of him, and he felt like he was glowing on the outside. It was the warmest, most exciting feeling, and only one person could make him feel that way.

Jono hadn’t woken up yet, so Dylan was enjoying just watching him sleep. He was so peaceful, and he always looked so beautiful when he slept. If nobody was perfect, Jono was as close as anyone had ever come.

Dylan couldn’t pretend he wasn’t worried about Jono, though. He was hugely shaken by his nightmare the night before, in a way Dylan had never seen before. At least he seemed to be having a better night now they were in their own bed.

That said, the main focus of Dylan’s mind was the proposal. He’d dreamed of marrying Jono one day, but now, it felt realer than ever. He couldn’t believe he was looking at his fiancée, but it felt amazing. The future was so exciting, but the next step was daunting. They had to tell people, and soon, because the ring on his finger wouldn’t go unnoticed for very long.

“Good morning, fiancée,” Jono smiled as he stirred.

“Oh, hey,” Dylan’s mood lifted further, “Sleep well?”

“Like a baby. Or wolf cub. Whatever a baby werewolf would be,” Jono chuckled.

“Baby will do,” Dylan laughed.

“I think last night was a one-off,” Jono pondered, “Thank god, because I don’t think I could manage more nights like that. I’d go insane.”

“I’m glad, one less thing for me to worry about,” Dylan admitted.

“You don’t need to worry about me, Dyl. I’m fine,” Jono insisted.

“I know, but I’m always going to worry. I can’t help it,” Dylan replied. It was natural, and only proved how much he cared about Jono.

“True. I mean, I can’t say I don’t worry about you,” Jono accepted, “And you can handle yourself better than anyone I know.” Dylan blushed. He wasn’t sure he agreed, but Jono did so much good for his self-confidence.

Interrupting his train of thought, Dylan heard a car pull up outside. He sat up in bed and peered through the window behind. He’d never seen that car before, but he knew who it had to belong to. The visitor nobody had invited.

“Is that her?” Jono questioned as two people stepped out of the car – a stylish woman from the drivers’ side and a smart man from the passenger seat.

“Yup,” Dylan unenthusiastically replied, “And her new fella, it seems. Oh, boy.”

“Come on, let’s get ready. We’ll face it together,” Jono encouraged. Dylan nodded. He always had the best ideas. Now all he had to overcome was his own anxiety.

Rummaging through the heap of clothes on the floor to find a clean shirt, Freddie was ready for his summer to truly begin. He had no plans for the first day in a long time, other than thrashing Josh in as many videogames as possible, of course.

Across the room, Josh was doing the exact same thing. Their bedroom was in its permanently disorganised state, and no matter how much effort they put into tidying up, it always found its way back to mess.

“One of yours,” Josh flung a pair of boxer shorts at Freddie. He caught them just in time, stopping them colliding with his face.

“I’m not touching any of yours,” Freddie joked, just as he finally found a t-shirt to wear.

Three knocks at the door. Thinking fast, Freddie flung the t-shirt onto his bed and answered it. Ed was outside, already dressed in full sheriff gear for work.

“Hey, can I come in?” Ed queried.

“Sure,” Freddie stepped back, making space. Ed closed the door behind him, “Any news on Oscar?”

“Sorry. I promise you, we’re leaving no stone unturned, but every road we take is a dead end,” Ed solemnly replied. Though everyone was attempting to carry on with life as normal, Freddie knew there was an underlying sadness and uneasiness because of Oscar’s disappearance. It made no sense at all, “I wanted to have a word with you both. Caroline spoke to Dylan last night but I wanted to be the one to tell you guys.”

“This sounds serious,” Josh observed.

“No need to panic, I promise,” Ed insisted, “Caroline and I, we’re having a baby.”

“Shit,” Josh was gobsmacked.

“Another kid living here?” Freddie joked, but he was half-serious. There was only just enough room for the six people currently living in the house.

“I know space is tight,” Ed was ahead of him, “Which is why we’re looking at expanding. Two more bedrooms. One for the baby, and one for you, Freddie.”

“Wait, my own room?” Freddie was taken aback. He wasn’t expecting that bombshell. Strangely, it came as more of a surprise than the baby news.

“If you want it. If not, I’ll make it my man cave, but I don’t think Caroline would agree to that,” Ed chuckled.

“I do,” Freddie accepted, “Of course. Thank you so much.” For a while now, he hadn’t really felt settled anywhere. Ever since leaving the house he grew up in, Freddie felt like he’d moved from pillar to post without settling. Now he had a permanent home.

“Awesome,” Ed smiled proudly, “I’ll see you boys tonight.” He showed himself out while Freddie collapsed onto his bed. He didn’t know what to say, but he felt elated. He was part of a family again. A family that cared for him. That was a feeling he wasn’t expecting to feel again.

“Welcome to the family, bro,” Josh sat next to him, patting him on the back. Freddie couldn’t help smiling, and he wasn’t sure he would stop all day.

Sunbathing at the lakehouse was the perfect way to kickstart summer in Lily’s eyes. She hadn’t felt so calm in a long time. For the first time in ages, she could completely switch off and clear her mind, and it felt so refreshing.

Lying either side of her were Yasmin and Sammi. It was meant to be their girly hangout, and it would’ve been if Sammi hadn’t dragged Jeremy along with her. He was sat up, feet dangling into the lake. Strangely, he’d not said a word since they arrived. Jeremy was far from the most talkative person ever, but he was never this silent.

It had been a while now since they met Jeremy, but Lily still found it strange how she had a family member that she didn’t know existed. The whole time, he’d been living his life in the shadows, yet now, it was hard to imagine a time without him around. Among the chaos and heartache of the Chadwicks, Lily loved that they had found something, or someone, to be positive about.

“What’s the deal with him?” Lily whispered to Sammi.

“He’s lonely. He was going to spend all day sulking in his room,” Sammi explained.

“I don’t get it,” Lily mentioned. Was she missing something? Why was Jeremy lonely?

“Felix,” Yasmin chipped in, “Right? I mean, we saw them yesterday.”

“Err,” Sammi hesitated. The lack of immediate denial was revealing, but Lily assumed it wasn’t her place to say more.

“Right,” Jeremy replied, turning around. Lily’s heart sank. He had been listening, and immediately, she felt guilty.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry,” Lily quickly apologised. The last thing she wanted was for Jeremy to feel uncomfortable.

“No, it’s okay. It’s about time you guys knew. Felix is my boyfriend, we’ve been dating for months,” Jeremy revealed sheepishly.

“Aw, that’s so cute,” Lily smiled, “No wonder you’ve been so chirpy recently.”

“Except right now,” Yasmin corrected, “Is everything okay?”

“It’s our first day apart in ages. He’s spending the day with his family, and he doesn’t even want to. It’s his little sister’s birthday so it’s a kids’ party. I miss him. I know it sounds stupid,” Jeremy sighed.

“No, not at all. Missing him isn’t stupid, or bad,” Lily encouraged, “It just means you care for him, and when you see him next, it’ll be even more exciting. One day is a small drop in the ocean in the long run.”

“Thanks,” Jeremy nodded, his face brightening up.

“You’re wasted here,” Sammi smiled, “Charge him for therapy time, Lil.” Lily felt proud of herself. She’d heard enough advice in her lifetime. Giving it back felt so rewarding.

“Hey, what’s that,” Yasmin pointed to the lake. Usually, it was completely clear and clean, and Lily never failed to be awestruck by its beauty. However, a plastic wallet was floating along the top a few metres from the dock. Yasmin sat at the edge of the dock and placed her hand on top of the water. Lily watched in amazement as the wallet glided along to her hand, as if the water was fetching it for her. She swiped it up when it got close enough and took out the sheet of paper wrapped inside.

“What is it?” Sammi keenly wondered.

“Probably someone’s lost homework,” Lily sighed. Her interest was considerably lower.

“No,” Yasmin looked stunned, “Read it.” She held it up for them to see. Lily was horrified. It wasn’t even close to what she expected. The piece of paper was a handwritten note. Handwritten in blood.

My dear Samantha and Jeremy.

See you soon.

Love, Dad x

Lily looked nervously around the group. Sammi and Jeremy had the same horrified expression on their face. Lily herself felt sick. She didn’t know what to say.

“Okay,” Yasmin broke the awkwardness, “This is a prank. It has to be, right? Whoever sent that note can’t be far, so how about we go and find them?” Lily nodded. Yasmin always had the best ideas. Whoever did this, though, clearly had it in for them. They had to be careful.

Escorted back into the main warehouse area, Brett was taking in the sights. It was a huge building with more room than Cody’s pack would ever need, yet it was the perfect hideout – from the outside, it looked like nothing more than a typical warehouse used for industry.

Finding Oscar there was a pleasant surprise. He was just as friendly as he always was, and he still seemed keen to fight Brett’s corner, but not everything added up. Why he wasn’t with Dylan was a mystery. It must have been something pretty damn serious to have ended up like this, and it surely involved this Cody guy.

Oscar led him into a cosy-looking area, with three sofas surrounding a television. Four mugs had been left on the central coffee table – a couple half-finished – next to a couple of magazines.

Waiting for them on one sofa was Cody. His body language said it all. He was sat upright and his facial expression was wholly unfazed. He knew he had all the power. Brett and Oscar sat facing him, as if they were awaiting a verdict in court. Brett felt sick. He’d waited all night, not knowing what was going to happen. It wasn’t his life on the line, either; it was Johnny’s.

“Thank you for waiting, Brett,” Cody began proceedings, “Oscar says you’re a dear friend of his, and any friend of Oscar’s is a friend of mine. I want to help you find your boyfriend. I’ve sent Keisha and Mariana to where you last saw him to gather evidence. In the meantime, is there anything you want to ask?”

That was a big question. So much didn’t make sense to Brett, but this wasn’t the time to ask. This was the only opportunity for a first impression, and he had to make it good. For Johnny’s sake, if nothing else.

“No, I’m good, I think,” Brett lied, “Thank you.”

“How long have you known Oscar?” Cody wondered.

“A couple of years,” Brett replied.

“He was in a few of my classes at school,” Oscar chipped in, steering the discussion. Notably, he seemed to swerve any mention of Dylan, “Brett was one of the first friends I made in Crystalshaw.”

“Sweet, huh?” Cody smiled. He seemed more relaxed now they had been able to talk, and Brett certainly felt it too. He wasn’t going to forget the niggling feeling in the back of his mind telling him that Cody was suspect, but for now, he was giving Brett what he had asked for. A helping hand. If he had to dance with the devil to get Johnny back, then that was what he was prepared to do.

“Tell me, because I’m definitely behind the times, how did you two meet?” Brett saw his moment to get some answers, in the most natural and least suspicious way possible.

“College,” Cody replied very casually. Brett desperately wished he had the ability to listen to his heartbeat. He had to rely on his own powers of deduction instead, “LGBTQ+ society.”

Brett noticed Oscar seemed quite happy for Cody to answer the question, offering no other details. Being reserved wasn’t unusual for Oscar, but the lack of eye contact spoke volumes.

“I love that,” Brett smiled. He was being careful about what he said – though he couldn’t hear heartbeats, Cody could, and the wrong sentence could expose him. Everything he said needed to be the truth.

“Excuse me,” Cody slid his phone out, reading a message for a few moments before turning his focus back to Brett, “Keisha’s got something. They’re on their way back. This could be the clue we need to find Johnny, Brett.”

Brett felt nervous. He desperately needed good news. So far, things were looking up.

Dylan felt sick. It was overwhelming, fogging his brain up with uncomfortable nerves. He hated how much social anxiety consumed him. There was so much he was able to do; being a werewolf came with so many perks, and he could control them like flicking a switch, yet meeting new people still provoked an untameable fear.

It had been a while since the possibility of autism was mentioned to Dylan. He’d spent many a night googling it, and he was amazed at how closely it matched him. Finally, he had a reason for the routines he valued so much. The jokes he missed. The unique viewpoints he brought, for better or for worse. At the very least, he had a reason behind his social anxiety, even without a diagnosis.

For now, though, he had to push through his worries. There was no exit route, not without making a terrible impression. Dylan had to pretend everything was fine and normal, when his life was anything but. He’d become so used to openly discussing werewolf details at home that watching his mouth was going to be a challenge.

Dylan took a deep breath at the bottom of the stairs. He wanted to compose himself and put a brave face on, but it was easier said than done. Jono was a source of encouragement by his side, but that didn’t change the reality. He hated being the centre of attention, and the spotlight was ready and waiting for him.

“Are you ready, fiancée?” Jono whispered. Suddenly, the nerves in Dylan’s stomach gave way. Just for a moment. One blissful moment.

“I am now,” Dylan smiled, “You go first.”

“Okay,” Jono accepted, leading their mini-procession into the living room. Caroline was perched in her usual spot on the sofa, opposite a man and a woman. The woman had a face Dylan knew well, though naturally it had aged slightly in the years since Dylan last saw it.

“Maria, this is…” Caroline introduced.

“Dylan,” Aunt Maria stood up. Her hair was styled as impeccably as Dylan remembered, and she was wearing a stunning light blue dress, keeping the glamour levels at their peak, “Wow, you’ve grown.”

“I know,” Dylan awkwardly replied, not knowing what else to say.

“And this must be Josh,” Maria turned to Jono, who concealed his amusement politely.

“No, that’s Jono,” Caroline corrected with a big, beaming smile on her face. Nothing had ever looked more fake.

“Oh, the boyfriend,” Maria remarked, “Are you both allergic to the hairdressers?”

Dylan wanted to roll his eyes badly. Not once had he ever laughed at a hair joke. He took his appearance seriously. It was his identity, and an integral part of how he expressed himself. Without his hair, he wouldn’t have felt like Dylan Drummond. His looks were not the butt of someone’s joke.

“No,” Dylan stated bluntly but calmly. He held back, opting not to rant at his aunt, but he wasn’t going to play along either. Jono winked at him. An approving wink. He made the right decision.

“Anyway,” Maria looked taken aback, as if she wasn’t used to a tough crowd, “Everyone, this is Mark, my husband.”

She gestured to the gentleman sat next to her. He was a similar age to her, his hair greying but smartly slicked backwards. His style was suave, matched perfectly with Maria’s. His suit jacket was dark blue, over the top of a black, unbuttoned shirt. He meant business, that much was obvious.

“Nice to meet you,” Mark smiled, standing up next to Maria and offering out his hand. Dylan obliged, timidly shaking it before Jono did the same.

“Hey,” Josh sauntered in. As always, he didn’t have a care in the world. If he felt any anxiety, it was covered up expertly, while Dylan felt like he was drowning. Freddie followed behind, much more reservedly. He noticed the company in the room and stopped dead in his tracks. He looked like he’d seen a ghost.

“Josh, Freddie, this is my sister Maria and her husband Mark,” Caroline introduced.

“Dad?” Freddie stuttered. Dylan’s stomach dropped. The mood in the room shifted completely. He didn’t know what to say.

Stepping cautiously over a strangely shaped twig, Yasmin wasn’t feeling so pleased to be trawling through the forest. She’d planned for a day of sunbathing at the lakehouse, not a wild goose chase. That said, she hadn’t thought twice about heading into the woods. This was for Sammi and Jeremy, and they deserved peace of mind.

The strange thing was, they didn’t even know whether this had any connection to the supernatural or not. In fact, Yasmin felt pretty sure it wasn’t. Notes floating along the river weren’t David’s style. It was a practical joke, and the real concern should be finding who the joker was. Somehow, someone knew their story, and they weren’t keeping quiet.

By her side, Yasmin had Jeremy, who wasn’t taking the news so well. Understandably, his dad was a gigantic trigger for his anxiety. After all David had put him through, the fact he hadn’t run away screaming was a testament to Jeremy’s strength.

Yasmin could sympathise, too. She knew all about unhealthy relationships with fathers. Even before she discovered his sickening hobby of hunting werewolves, Yasmin had become distant with her dad. She was better off without him.

“Got anything?” Yasmin questioned, making conversation.

“Nothing at all,” Jeremy sighed. They had split up, with Lily and Sammi venturing in the other direction. It made sense to have one werewolf on each team (or part werewolf, in Lily’s case). Any scents they could discover, or any clues they could find would bring them one step closer, “I don’t think I’m being much help. My mind is so foggy.”

“You’re doing so well, Jeremy,” Yasmin consoled, “All we’re doing is putting your mind at ease. He’s dead, he can’t hurt you now.”

“I know,” Jeremy replied, his mop of curls obscuring eye contact, “But he’s never really gone. He’s still in my mind. In my nightmares. I’ll never be rid of him for good.”

“It gets better,” Yasmin assured, “In time. You will move on, and you will be able to cope. You’ll get there, Jeremy.”

“I hope you’re right,” Jeremy sighed, his voice nervously quivering, “Because I can’t spend any more of my life living scared.”

“Hey, don’t forget that you’re smart, and you’re strong, and you’re your own person. You’re nothing like your dad, and trust me, your mom would be so proud of you,” Yasmin motivated. She knew Jeremy’s story inside out. She knew how much he resented his father for the time he stole from him. The time he could have spent with his mother. Jeremy smiled, brushing the curls out of his eyeline for the first time that day.

“Hold on,” Jeremy’s smile dropped suddenly.

“You got something?” Yasmin quickly refocused. This sounded serious.

“Blood. Down here,” Jeremy led the way down a small slope. At the bottom was exactly what Yasmin had feared. A body. A young man, eyes wide open but with no life inside them. His throat had been slashed, with dried blood coating his naked body. Yasmin needed to call Ed. They needed back-up.

His arms were shaking. His mind was spinning. Freddie wasn’t sure what to do. All he knew was that he needed fresh air. The walls of the house were too close. He felt trapped. He had to get out.

Freddie was so confused. Why the hell was his dad in the front room? Why had he decided to show up now? They had spent so many years apart that his arrival was simply an insult. How dare he walk back into Freddie’s life just because he felt like it?

Leaning against Caroline’s car, Freddie felt a little relief from the fresh air. The gentle breeze helped to slow his mind down, but that didn’t change the core emotion he felt. Freddie was angry. He wanted to scream and yell at him, but Freddie knew better. If he lost control, the wolf would take over. He had to try and keep his composure.

“Freddie,” Josh ran out immediately after him, “Are you okay?”

“Oh my god,” Freddie couldn’t formulate a coherent answer. He was overwhelmed, and emotions were clogging up his judgement.

“Deep breaths,” Josh encouraged, “Sit down, come on.” Josh sat on the ground, his back leaning against the car. Freddie did the same, focusing on his breathing. It was working. He felt his mind slowing still, little by little, but his hands were still awfully shaky.

“How can he be here?” Freddie ranted.

“He’s Maria’s husband. What a weird coincidence, huh?” Josh calmly answered. Perhaps it seemed like a coincidence, but Freddie remained unconvinced. Josh didn’t know everything yet.

“I got a text, from an unknown number, claiming to be my dad. I thought it was a stupid joke, but now he’s actually here. He got my number. He knew exactly where I’d be,” Freddie mentioned.

“Oh shit,” Josh processed.

“He’s been out of my life for sixteen years. I’ve got no memories of him at all. When mom died, we heard nothing. Not even a word. George became mom and dad to me, because my real dad couldn’t even be bothered,” Freddie let out his frustrations.

“You don’t owe him anything, dude,” Josh reminded, “If my birth parents showed up out of nowhere and wanted to get to know me, I’d tell them where to shove it. Family isn’t always about blood. George isn’t your only brother. You’ve got Dylan. Jono. Me. Your family is here.”

Freddie wiped tears from his eyes. Josh was right. Family had a new definition for him, and he had so many people around him that cared. There was still one problem, though, and it wasn’t one Freddie could swerve so easily.

“He’s living here, though. He’s living in my house. I can’t get away,” Freddie sighed.

“Hey,” Dylan rushed out, “Sorry, we tried to get away but Maria kept talking.” Jono followed straight behind him and they sat cross-legged in front of Freddie and Josh, “Are you okay?”

“Not really,” Freddie sighed, “Thanks for being here for me, all of you, but I think I need a bit of alone time.”

“Of course, whatever you need,” Josh heaved himself up, Dylan and Jono following his lead, “Text me whenever you’re ready.”

“I will. Thanks,” Freddie nodded, wiping another tear from his eye. There was only one person he wanted to speak to. He had to talk to George.

Having seen so much in the supernatural world, very little seemed to faze Sammi these days. She felt confident in herself and her abilities, even as a human. Dylan had never made her feel lesser for not having all of the powers that the rest of the pack had. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

That said, there was one exception. One thing always sent a shiver through her entire body. Her father. Sammi never could have predicted how quickly she would go from being her dad’s number one girl, to being terrified from the mere mention of his name.

Of course, Sammi wasn’t stupid. She knew her dad was dead, but why did she still feel so terrified of him? She’d tried to bury him so deep inside of her, and amazingly, it had mostly worked. Having a boyfriend and discovering a twin brother helped distract her mind. The downside was that hearing his name dragged those memories straight back up. She’d never truly be able to escape him.

“If only this were handwritten,” Lily thought aloud, taking another look at the note. Sammi found it intriguing – why would someone go to the effort of printing off a typed-up note? Somebody was very keen to cover their tracks.

“Notes were never his style anyway,” Sammi recalled, “I mean, he unleashed a whole damn virus.” Her dad was ruthless, and never cared who he was hurting, even if it was one of his own. This was a pretty weak imitation.

“But how does anyone know about this? How did they know you were here?” Lily pondered.

“I mean, he did infect almost every werewolf in Crystalshaw at the Nemeton. He’s not exactly unknown around here,” Sammi sighed. His reputation followed her around, and quite frankly, it made her feel embarrassed.

“So we narrow it down. Someone’s after revenge, and it’s not okay,” Lily insisted, “Nobody messes with my cousins. Us Chadwicks have to look after each other.”

“How did I ever cope without you?” Sammi chuckled. Lily and Jono felt much more like her older siblings. They protected each other at all costs.

“It’s a true mystery,” Lily laughed. Quickly, her smile faded. The mood rapidly shifted. Sammi felt that now-familiar sensation at the bottom of her stomach. She was nervous. She knew they were in danger.

“What’s up?” Sammi questioned, keeping her voice low.

“We’re not alone,” Lily replied with a quiver in her voice. Sammi couldn’t help panicking. Very few people knew where they were. Either it was Yasmin and Jeremy playing a practical joke, or they’d succeeded. They’d found the person they were looking for.

Something swooped past. Sammi spun around, just missing the opportunity to see what it was. As she spun, Sammi’s heart dropped. Lily had gone. Whoever it was – or whatever it was – had taken her. Sammi was on her own.

“Lily?” Sammi called out, to no avail. Silence followed. She needed help, and fast.

Previous: "Welcome Home"

Next: "Cowardice"

In this series...

Get in touch!