I woke up with a groan and a throbbing headache that just seemed to get worse when I moved in my bed. I kept my eyes closed as I took a deep breath of my space. I slowly got up from my bed and moved across the room to the bathroom. I grabbed a cup from the counter and filled it with water from the sink. I downed the water before looking in the mirror. I looked a little rough at the moment, but not too bad. My mid-length black hair was a bit of a mess but my blue eyes were bright as ever.
"You'll be fine by just drinking more water."
I squinted my eyes while looking in the mirror, then realized it was my wolf talking to me in my head. I smiled and snickered as I filled my cup with water again.
As I drank the water, I asked, “what should I call you?”
“My name is Bruno, but you can call me master.”
I almost choked on my water and ended up coughing loudly and gasping for air as it went down my windpipe instead of my throat. I took a deep breath to quell my cough and cleared my throat.
“Oh look, I made you choke. At least it was water.”
I fully understood that it was a sexual reference and I wasn’t at all impressed. What a jerk, even if it was funny.
“Seems someone has jokes,” I told him while breathing deeply.
“Yep. Think of me as payback for all the smartass things you have said or asked over your lifetime.”
“Great. I’m so fucked.”
I heard him laughing in my head and it made me smile. This might actually be fun. Just as long as he has a serious side too.
I shook it off and got dressed for the day. When I was ready, I went down to the dining hall for breakfast. Mom and Dad were already down there eating with one another. I didn’t see any of my younger siblings, which was odd. I slowly walked up to my parents and sat across from them while looking left and right to make sure the others weren’t around.
“Good morning, James. Happy Birthday!” my mom, Meredith, said with a giant smile.
“Happy Birthday. How are you feeling?” my dad, Duncan, asked me.
“Thanks, I’m alright. My headache is finally going away.”
“That means you’ve talked with him,” mom said with a big smile.
I smiled and nodded my head.
“Tell us about him,” dad said, giving me his full attention as he took a bite of his eggs.
“His name is Bruno and he’s a total ass. Does Max ever play games on you or act like a smart ass?” I asked.
Dad busted out laughing along with mom and I sat there irritated that they found it so damn funny. A plate of breakfast was placed down in front of me as I looked at them in disbelief that they were acting like they were.
When dad finally stopped laughing, he looked at me and asked, “did he say he was payback?”
I stared at him in disbelief and nodded my head. He started laughing again and I was now annoyed. What the hell was going on here?
“Max did that too and he still acts up but not as much.”
I sighed out in relief and picked my fork up to eat my food. I took my first bite of blueberry pancakes and sighed in happiness. Right as I swallowed my first bite, I was tackled by three tiny people. There are the siblings.
“Happy Birthday!” the three of them screamed as they hugged me as tight as they could.
I laughed at them and said, “thank you.”
They let go of me and sat next to me at the table. Alison is my younger sister. She’s the only girl in our family and completely spoiled. She’s now fourteen and will be fifteen soon. Cam was twelve and seemed to be keeping his baby chub. Poor guy. He was sweet though. Leland was the youngest of the four of us at nine years old. He was still young and developing a personality and finding the things that he enjoyed the most. He was smart though.
All of us ate our breakfast while talking and waiting for guests to arrive for my birthday celebration. My aunts and uncles were currently headed here to Trinity Forest Pack from their packs. You see, today was a really big deal for our family and our pack. My dad was the Alpha of the second wolf pack in Texas. Me turning eighteen showed that I was of age to take over the pack, shift for the first time and find my fated mate, my Luna. Dad has already talked to me about taking over for him starting tomorrow. He was feeling the weight of the leadership role and I knew I was ready to take it on with him supporting me.
After we finished breakfast, Dad went to his office as usual and I waited on the front porch of the packhouse with my siblings and mom. We didn't have to wait long and uncle Cameron and aunt Jamie came through the front gates of the territory. Uncle Cameron was the Alpha of Hunters Moon, which was the other wolf pack here in Texas. Aunt Jamie was my dad’s baby sister. She was special since she was the Alpha Forest Wolf, a living Goddess that could manipulate plants and all kinds of things. She was amazing.
Where uncle Cameron and aunt Jamie went, all five of their pups came with them. Their oldest, Eric, was a year younger than my sister Alison. I was by far the oldest of everyone and most of the time it sucked. I had no one close to my age to hang out with at family functions and during the summer we spent three weeks away from home with family.
They got out of their vehicle and we greeted everyone. It was a rush of conversations, hugs and happy birthday wishes. It wasn’t long before mom took aunt Jamie and uncle Cameron inside to see dad. Cam and Leland took our cousins to the game room while I sat on the porch with Alison and Eric. I wanted to wait for uncle Sean and aunt Paris to get here.
Uncle Sean was the Alpha to a new pack called Midnight Forest. Since he was the fourth Alpha to be born to his family, he went out and started his own pack. The oldest of all of my dad’s siblings isn’t talked about much. He went crazy and killed my grandparents and his own mate the night of my dad’s eighteenth birthday. There’s a lot of trauma there.
We weren’t waiting long when we saw another vehicle pulling up to the packhouse and parking. Out stepped uncle Sean with a big smile on his face, but he was the only one that came. Where was aunt Paris and their two sons, Carter and Ezra?
"Hi, uncle Sean," Alison said as she engulfed him in a hug.
When she let go of him, I hugged him next and asked, "where's everyone else?"
"Back at home, sick and in bed."
Uncle Sean hugged Eric as we kept talking.
"Oh, that sucks. I'll call Aunt Paris later," I told him.
"She would like that. She wanted to be here today and tomorrow night."
I smiled at him before we all went inside. Alison and Eric went to the game room while uncle Sean and I went into dad's office. Dad was behind his desk talking with his Beta, Freddie, aunt Jamie and uncle Cameron. Everyone greeted uncle Sean before we sat down to talk.
"So tomorrow you take over the pack?" aunt Jamie asked.
"Yes ma'am. The old man looks a bit too weathered so I figured I'd give him a break and look for my Beta to give the other old man a break," I told her with a mischievous grin.
I looked at dad and Freddie. They were both scowling at me and I wanted to laugh at them.
"And you wonder what Bruno is paying you back for?" Dad asked.
I laughed and said, "Oh, I already know, but that's not going to stop me."
Aunt Jamie laughed then said, "it's way more fun when they go along with your mischief."
I smiled at her then listened to uncle Cameron ask me, "so you don't have a problem with having over half a year of high school left while taking over?"
"No sir. Dad did it. I can too," I answered with a shrug.
He nodded his head and smiled at me. We all sat there and talked for a good portion of the morning before I left to go see everyone else in the game room. It was loud in there and the younger pups were going crazy. I shook my head before spending some time with them. I eventually had to take a break to call a few people.
My first call was to Aunt Paris. I talked with her for a while as she explained what was going on with her and how she was feeling. She apologized for not being here and I told her that it was ok. If she didn’t feel well she wouldn’t be able to enjoy this and it wasn’t her fault.
After talking with her, I called my uncle Mason and aunt Calla. Mason was the youngest of all of my dad's siblings and happened to be a half-sibling, but he was still close family. He and his mate couldn’t make it today because of work at Red Moon, but they promised to come to see us soon. I could live with that.
Soon it was the end of the day, mom and Willow, Beta Freddie’s mate, had set up a big birthday party for me and invited the entire pack. The future Alpha’s eighteenth birthday was a big deal and everyone wanted to see my wolf.
The party was great. I got to hang out with family and friends and I made my rounds to say hello to everyone. While I made my rounds, all the girls that were of age or getting ready to be of age tried desperately to get my attention. It was honestly annoying even if they were cute.
I made sure to say hello to Micah, Freddie and Willow's oldest pup. He was now thirteen and was a good friend. If I had to wait for him to turn eighteen to be my Beta I would.
Dad pulled me aside during the party to ask me how things were going. I let him know that things were good but I felt like my mate wasn’t here in our pack. I would need to visit other packs in order to possibly find her. He nodded his head and said that I would find her when I was meant to.
Once the sun had gone down, everyone gathered to watch me shift to let Bruno out. I stood there ready to shift and tear my clothes apart. I was just wearing a simple blue t-shirt and black athletic shorts. It didn’t matter if they got ripped up.
Everyone went quiet to listen to the first bone break as was a tradition here at Trinity Forest. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes while connecting with Bruno.
“Everyone is here to see you, so it’s time to show off,” I told him.
“Easy enough. Just relax as much as possible and don’t fight me. Let me have control,” he said calmly.
“You got it.”
I relaxed just as he had instructed and let the shift take over my human form. It happened quickly and with more than one bone breaking at a time. I grimaced at the pain and gritted my teeth to silence my cry of pain. I felt more bones break, my skin started to grow fur, and my muscles started to stretch to incredible lengths. I heard my clothes rip apart and fall from my body. The searing pain made me cry out in pain before it was all over.
Finally, it was done and I looked down to see pure black fur all over my wolf's body. I looked over to dad to see him standing there with a blissful smile on his face. I’ve never seen him like that before and it made me happy.
Dad quickly shifted to let his wolf, Max, out for a father and son wolf run. We both took off into the woods for my birthday run just like dad did with everyone else. This one just meant more because it was me. The next time I would shift would be tomorrow night and the whole pack would shift and run with me as I would be taking on being the new Alpha.