“Would you like something to drink, Yaser?” Genesis asks.
He knew my name.
The cave looks like it's a temporary place. It smells of odd things. There is a dead goat just lying there. The blood has been drained but the body is still there. Strange medallions and other things line the cave. I am human and Qadir is looking at my naked body but I'm more interested in this Genesis Bah character in this cave.
I shake my head. I turn and see Qadir looking at my ass. He doesn't even care that I caught him staring at it. He continues to stare.
“No,” I tell the strange man.
Genesis turns and notices Qadir.
“Is he making you nervous?” Genesis asks me, “Qadir why don't you wait outside?”
“You don't tell me where to go Bah. I'm not one of your pets,” Qadir argues.
Just at that moment all these humans walk inside the cave. They aren't even called. It's almost like they know to come. They turn at that moment and surround Qadir. I look over at Genesis. His eyes are focused almost like a painter painting a picture or like a composer directing music. I am confused for a minute until I notice what is going on.
Genesis is controlling these people. At first it wasn't clear but the way the men stand there and the way that Qadir looks annoyed but turns to Genesis makes it clear that he knows who made these men come in here.
These men were being controlled.
“Qadir, you wolves love your pride so I'll play along with you,” Genesis states, “But don't push me. You know what I'm capable of.”
His eyes are glaring at Qadir. Qadir seems to rethink this. I'm shocked and nervous when I see him turn and walk away followed by the wolf hunters. Qadir is nervous. He's nervous! Seeing him shook kind of makes me a little shook. I turn to Genesis Bah. He crosses his legs on a rock. His red shawl swallows him and he lifts a hood over his head.
He stares into the fire at that moment.
“You control those people?” I ask, “The wolf hunters.”
“Is that what they told you?” Genesis asks, “They aren't wolf hunters. Walid killed all the wolf hunters in Vanderbilt country a long, long time ago. No. They aren't hunters. Yes. I do control them.”
I swallow my spit.
“What are you?”
Genesis smiles a little bit.
“Just a man who gets what he wants,” Genesis Bah states, “All my life I've been very stubborn that way. You see I can control humans. I tell them to jump. They jump. I tell them to die. They die. I like it that way. It makes things easier...”
“You're some kind of a witch?”
“I prefer witchdoctor.”
I shake my head, “That's impossible. They don't exist.”
“Like werewolves don't exist?” he asks me and laughs, “No I exist. And so do you. It was a witch who created the first werewolf. She was an ancestor of mine. A neighbor killed her dog so she turned her neighbor into her dog. I guess she wanted a new pet. It was as simple as that. That's what we witches do. We get what we want. Werewolves exist. Witches exist. There are a lot of things that go bump in the night but I am the worse.”
“Are you threatening me?” I ask him.
I give him a hard look. He doesn't seem cocky. There is something even worse in his eyes than cockiness. It's almost self-assuredness. It's past confidence. It's almost as though he is above even that. He's above everything and it scares me. A part of me wants to turn into a wolf and just rip him apart. He seems so unnatural to me.
He shakes his head, “No. You're safe.”
Why was I not so confident in that?
“What do you want then? Why did Qadir bring me here?
“Walid has something that I want and I want you to bring it to me,” Genesis says.
“Why don't you go ask him yourself?”
“He won't let it go...so you have to take it.”
“You're asking me to steal from Walid?”
Genesis looks at me. The fire grows bigger. I haven't seen this man use magic in person but I can tell there is something unnatural about him. I don't understand him. I don't doubt his talents and a part of me doesn't want to know what his limits are.
“I've traveled very far,” he states, “We had a deal. Remember the coat.”
“I don't give a fuck how far you've traveled and I never agreed to do anything for you,” I replied, “You can have that coat back.”
“I don't want a coat. I want the BONES!” Genesis says.
He picks up a knife at that moment and slits his palm. The blood falls into the fire.
It gets cold all of a sudden. I feel a pressure on my chest out of nowhere. I'm struggling to breathe at that moment. With each drop of blood from his palm my body aches in pain. It feels like I'm being eaten from the inside by a million insects. I can struggle to maintain myself but I'm on the floor.
“Stop it...or I'll RIP your fucking throat out!” I scream at him.
I am in too much pain to even change into a wolf at this moment. Genesis takes a few steps towards me. He kneels down and studies my face. I'm in so much pain at this moment.
“Wolves are strong. Resilient. A human would have given up a long time ago and given me what I wanted. That's the problem. Bring me the bones. Steal them from Walid. You have 10 days.”
“10 days or what.”
“When I was in Pittsburgh. I met a very pretty woman. I believe you know her. Her name is Yona. In 10 days either I get my werewolf bones or I make new ones from her.”
He had my mother.
I struggle to get up at that moment but I end up fainting and passing out.
I wake up in a bed. I'm back in my bed. I'm back at the castle. I wake up screaming unsure of how I got back to the castle. How did he knock me out without even putting a hand on me? Was it magic? Was that boy able to do something so powerful?
I get out of bed and make my way out at that moment.
I go to Yuma's room door and frantically knock.
Someone comes to answer. It isn't Yuma though.
“Really?” I ask.
Dakota is standing there. He doesn't have a shirt on. I can feel all this jealousy run through me but I know right now isn't the time. I just woke up in the fucking castle after something strange happened. Right now wasn't the time to get in my feelings and confront Dakota again.
“How are you doing?” he asks me, “Your butt OK?”
“What?” I ask.
“I heard about your 'public display of affection' with Walid,” Dakota replies coldly, “Congratulations. You really are outdoing yourself.”
He's being smart and for some reason it hurts knowing that Dakota found out about it. I should have known Yuma would have run and told him the first chance he gets. Now Dakota is in Yuma's bed.
“Is my brother here?”
Dakota nods, “Yeah. I put him to bed. Bae!”
I cross my arms and storm into the room, “Excuse me.”
“I was going to bring him to the door for you,” Dakota argues.
“He's my little brother. I can talk to him if I want.”
The room smells like sex. I shake my head. I hate this feeling. I make my way to Yuma however. He's under the covers.
Yuma's eyes get wide, “You just love walking in on us don't you? It's the middle of the night Yas.”
“When was the last time you've spoken to mom?”
Yuma raises an eyebrow, “What?”
“Yuma...when the fuck was the last time you've spoken to Mom?”
“Not since you showed up here. I've tried calling the house but she hasn't picked up. I figured she was busy or...”
My mom was never too busy to pick up the phone for Yuma. This was a problem. By the look on Yuma's face I think he was starting to see this was a problem as well. His face gets long and he all of a sudden looks scared as fuck.
“Yuma...there's something you should know.”
It's almost morning by the time I get done explaining everything that I went through to them.
“So Walid has bones that the witch wants?” Yuma asks.
“Yeah. The Vanderbilt Wolf Qadir is working with him.”
“So why can't Qadir just steal the bones?” Yuma asks.
“I don't think he knows where they are,” I respond.
“Neither do you.”
He did have a point.
Dakota is the one who figures it out though, “Yas is closer to Walid. He can figure it out.”
“If the witch can do mind control then why not get Walid to give him the bones himself?” Yuma asks.
Yuma has been asking questions all night. It was clear that he wasn't just going to help me. He wanted to know every small detail first. He was definitely different from the old Yuma. The old Yuma just went with things without asking. This new Yuma was a lot more skeptical.
I shrug, “I don't think Genesis can control wolves. The Vanderbilt wolf Qadir is working with him and he wasn't able to make Qadir leave. I think he can only control humans.”
“Then what's he going to do with the bones?”
Yuma looks like a spoiled brat when he rolls his eyes, “You can't answer anything. This is dumb...”
“I was confused by exactly what his intentions were,” I reply to Yuma, “I'm doing my best here. You have no idea how weird this guy was.”
“Then don’t come to us until you figured something out?” Yuma asks.
“Yuma stop it,” Dakota argues.
Yuma rolls his eyes.
Dakota is next to Yuma. Yuma has his legs resting on Dakota's legs. I watch at that moment. I hate myself for watching this. I hate myself for feeling something for Dakota still even though I was starting to develop feelings for Walid. I was being selfish. I was being wrong.
“I don't know why he wants the bones,” I explain, “He said something about pets and a whole bunch of other weird shit. Then he just cuts himself and I start feeling all these pains. I wake up back at the castle. I think Qadir carried me back.”
“Wolf bones are very rare,” Dakota explains, “When a wolf dies they are supposed to be burned. Those are wolf laws.”
“What's he gonna use them for? A collector's edition?” Yuma asks, “I don't get why some fucking bones are useful?”
“Who cares why he wants the bones Yuma? Mom is in danger. I have to get the bones! I have to get them!”
I'm panicking. It's Dakota who moves Yuma's legs and makes his way to me. Dakota grabs me and pulls me close. He hugs me. It's a weird thing for him to do especially in front of Yuma but it makes me feel better. Dakota does it for a few seconds until I see Yuma staring at me from behind. I quickly release Dakota when I notice Yuma's expression.
“I wish we could stay and help,” Yuma states, “But I was leaving the competition.”
“What?” I ask.
Yuma rolls his eyes, “Oh come on Yas. After yesterday, it became very clear that Walid was falling for you. What's the point of me staying in this competition? I don't even like Walid. He's not a gentleman. I have my knight in shining armor.”
Yuma walks up to Dakota. He pulls Dakota away from me. His arm hugs onto Dakota. He looks so pathetic. I wonder if I look like that with Walid yesterday. Yuma seems so clingy and insecure by how he is holding onto him.
Dakota surprisingly pulls away from us, “Yas—and your mother need us. We can't just leave Yuma.”
Yuma's immaturity is showing on his face. He is damn near pouting at this point. I want to roll my eyes so hard when I see him do it.
“I should have known you'd go running to save Yas whenever he needed you,” Yuma responds.
Dakota gives Yuma an annoyed look, “This isn't about that, Yuma. This is about our pack. Your mother has been kidnapped. We can't just leave now. We are the only ones Yas can trust.”
Yuma sighs. I can tell he is being resistant but like usual sooner or later he comes to his senses. He nods at that moment and gives in.
“Fine. What are we going to do?”
“We have to find the bones first,” I state, “That's what I can do. Then we have to steal them. I may need some help doing that part.”
I arrive at his door late the next night. He opens it and sees me standing there. Walid is surprised to see me over there.
“That's not how this works,” Walid tells me.
“What do you mean?”
“You're not allowed to come to my room,” Walid responds, “I have to come to yours.”
“Oh. I'm sorry. I just wanted to see you,” I tell Walid, “I guess I can come again later.”
He looks so cute standing there. I have to admit. I almost forget why I'm here in the first place. He has on this wife beater and these sweatpants. He looks like he was sleeping or something when I came to the door. For a minute I think he is going to let me leave but he pulls me into the room and closes the door behind him.
“You must have wanted some dick,” Walid laughs.
He immediately starts pulling at my pants, threatening me with his instant hard on. I struggle to keep my composure and I manage to slip away from him and make my way to the other side of his bed.
I roll my eyes, “I just...wanted to talk.”
“It's about those three guys isn't it?” Walid asks, “Don't worry. They'll be out of here as soon as the storm passes.”
“No. That's not it.”
“Is it about the competition at all? You look upset. I'll make another cut. You know that? How about today I cut Karamo, Yuma and Adi? I know you're close to Karamo and Yuma but I never was interested in those two either way. Adi, I checked his room and found that the poor idiot was drugged. I smelled his cup when I was investigating. He still doesn't know that happened. I guess that's how they were able to cut his hair. Seems like he's being targeted by the other Betas. I don't want him to suffer much anymore if he won't win.”
Poor Adi. I can see Ian in my head going to so many lengths to fuck Adi over. These Betas were ruthless to say the least.
“It's not the competition, sir,” I tell Walid.
Walid raises an eyebrow.
“I just wanted to talk. I want to get to know you. I know nothing about you Walid,” I state, “You know nothing about me.”
Walid sits on the bed at that moment. I look over at him. He looks over at me. It's awkward. Our relationship so far hasn't been much of one about talking or getting to know one another. Our situation had always been something different.
“Fine. Let's talk,” Walid says.
I'm not expecting him to say it but he does. He actually agrees to talk to me. I'm nervously looking around the room for anything that looks like bones. I don't know where bones would be but I figured if he kept them anywhere they would be in his room.
“Well I think you should know about my background,” I state, “My mother's name is Yona. My father is Joseph. He was killed a while ago. Since then my mom raised my brother and I...”
“I know all of this.”
“Yeah. Wolves are close. I knew all about you before you knew I existed,” he responds, “I know your mother Yona. She was a sweetheart. She was one of the most beautiful women I knew when I was younger. The only thing I wasn't aware of is that her son was so striking.”
I wasn't expecting him to be this nice. I'm starting to feel a little guilty that I'm actually in here spying on him looking for these goddam bones.
“I love my mother. I'd do anything for her,” I state.
I'm talking to myself more than him at that moment. I have to keep focused. I have to realize that I'm here for a reason.
“I only felt like that about one other person,” Walid explains, “The feeling where you would literally do anything for them.”
“Yes Yaser. I see you've been doing your research too.” Walid responds.
I nod, “Nasir must have been an interesting guy.”
Walid nods, “He was sweet. He was handsome. He had these really soft hands. That's what I remember the most from him. His hands were almost like butter. I used to squeeze them and wonder if his bones were malleable. No matter how rough I was with him, he never broke. He was passive when he needed to be but had that stubborn side to him. Just like you.”
When Walid talks about his love his eyes light up. I can't help but smile. I move closer. It's nice to see Walid let his guard down like this.
“I've never seen you like this,” I realize.
“I should probably shut the hell up. You don't want to hear about this.”
I shake my head. He had no idea.
“No. Tell me more.”
Hours on hours pass. It is in the middle of the night and we are still talking about all the things that Walid felt for Nasir. There is so much passion there but so much pain as well. Soon we are sitting Indian style on his bed as Walid tells me about him. It's hilarious to see big ass Walid with his legs crossed on his bed. He stares at me deep in my eyes. It's late at night but his breath still smells so good as it ruffles against my face. I smell it. I smell him. I love every moment of this.
“How'd he die?” I ask Walid.
“Wolf hunters,” he responds, “They interrupted a fight with me and Nasir's brother Qadir.”
Fuck. Interesting this name was coming up again.
“Qadir challenged me to be Alpha,” Walid responds, “He was going to lose. I was going to kill Qadir but Nasir jumped in. Out of nowhere the wolf hunters came. I thought after that situation I drove them all out. Now they are back.”
Walid was so unaware. They weren't wolf hunters. They were something much worse. A part of me wants to explain this to Walid but then I think about my mother. I have to do what Genesis Bah wants me to. I have to get these bones no matter what.
“How'd you handle the death?” I ask, “Initially?”
Walid shrugs, “Not well. I knew he was dead but I couldn't let him go. I faked burning his body even. That finality of it all. It just scared me. You know? When you burn the body...it's over. It's real. It's saying goodbye. I just couldn't say goodbye yet. I know that sounds crazy...”
Walid was so vulnerable now.
“It's not crazy. People cope in different ways.”
That's when Walid moves his hands over to mine, “I didn't want to move on. I didn't think it was possible. Then I met you. And now I feel like maybe letting Nasir rest in peace wouldn't be such a bad thing.”
My heart was racing.
What was he saying?
“Do you think you can ever feel the way you felt with Nasir for someone else?” I ask.
He shrugs, “It's easier to be tough. It's easier to be strong. Being in love is being weak. It's been 5 years since Nasir has died and I've kept his bones like an idiot. I've been weak. So no. I don't think I can feel the way I felt about Nasir about anyone else.”
I sigh a little bit.
I get up off the bed, “I understand.”
“Where are you going?”
“It's getting late. I'm going to sleep.”
“Wait. I want to show you something,” he states.
Walid grabs my hand at that moment. He holds my hand and drags me over to the furthest wall in the room. I watch as he goes to the bookshelf. He pulls out a book on the second shelf that's red. I'm shocked when all of a sudden a trap door opens up in the room. Walid pushes the trap door and grabs my hand. He leads me into the room. He's more gentle than I've seen him.
As he approaches the room I realize tears are coming down his face. I didn't think it was possible for Walid to cry. I don't know how to respond to this. I'm scared and nervous about him crying. It's almost like seeing your father cry for the first time. He was so tough. He was so stern. He was so unmovable. The love that he had for Nasir must have been ridiculously strong for him to shed a tear. It isn't a wailing cry or anything like that. It's a silent cry. I would have never noticed if I didn't look up at his face but still it is amazing nonetheless.
“What is this place?”
“It's his bones. Nasir's bones,” he says pointing.
He points in the corner where I see a casket sitting there. The casket just sits there. I look over at the casket. My heart drops for Walid.
All of a sudden I feel guilty. I would have had an excuse not to betray him if he hadn't shown me this. I would have had an excuse not to do anything about this if I didn't know about it. I didn't have that excuse anymore.
“Why are you showing me this?” I ask him.
He steps behind me. Walid wraps his arms around my shoulders. He hangs his head on my shoulder blades. He breathes a few minutes and then he hugs me.
“Because I can't feel the same way that I felt about Nasir about anyone else,” Walid explains, “But the more time I spend with you the more I know I can feel a different way about you. A brand new way.”
I turn to him. Tears are rolling down my eyes. Why the fuck am I crying? I didn't lose anyone. Walid catches them within his arms.
“I'm sorry. I just got emotional out of nowhere.”
“Stop apologizing. Here. Let me help you.”
He lifts me up and cradles me in his arms.
“Thank you, sir,” I state, “Are you taking me to my room now sir?”
I look up at Walid. My eyes glisten at him. The strong arms are wrapped up around my body. He looks down in my eyes. I hold my hands around him.
He shakes his head, “No. Tonight you're sleeping in my bed with me.”
I wake up the next morning and I walk down to breakfast hand in hand with Walid. The Vanderbilt reaction is one thing but the reaction of the Betas is completely another. I can see Qadir staring at me. He has a smile on his face. He seems to be liking the fact that I'm closer to Walid. I hate it. I want so badly to tell Walid about Qadir.
Walid doesn't stop holding my hand when we get into the breakfast room. The others are sitting around. They are all looking at Walid and I. It's clear that they don't know what to say. Ian and his friends aren't even in the room. I don't think they've been invited.
The only thing Walid even says during this entire breakfast is his normal good morning and, “Thank you all for your patience. This competition won't be lasting much longer after the storm ends.”
Walid looks over at me when he says that. I know what that means. I know because Walid held me all through the night last night. He didn't fuck me. He didn't do any of that. Walid just held me and it felt so right. It felt like I was falling in love. And I enjoyed every moment of it. I knew this competition would be over soon and I didn't think there was much competition left at all.
Fang walks over his brother, “Walid---it's time for the morning hunt.”
Walid nods, “OK.”
“In the blizzard and all?” I ask Walid.
Walid nods and smiles, “Yeah. Blizzard and all. Don't worry. All the Vanderbilt Pack is coming with me as well. I've got all my back up with me.”
I smile. It makes me feel good knowing that Walid will at least have his Pack going with him. As if our private conversation isn't enough, before Walid leaves he leans in and gives me a kiss on the forehead. It's more gentle than any of the other guys have ever seen Walid being. I look over at the Vanderbilt pack and can see they don't seem to like their guy acting soft either. One person in particular stands out. Qadir leans over to Mayorga and whispers something. I don't know what it is but I just roll my eyes and assume it's nothing. There's no way Qadir had the balls to fuck with Walid again. Walid told me he already failed at that.
As soon as Walid leaves I can feel the awkwardness in the room. There is a desperate hatred in their eyes at that moment.
Yuma leans over, “Did you find them?”
“You know what,” Yuma states.
He's asking about the bones. I wonder if I should tell him. I still had over a week to get the bones back to Genesis. Walid was still so connected with these bones. I couldn't just steal them. I could see his love for Nasir. Maybe I could replace that in the upcoming days. Maybe I can make it easier for Walid to lose those bones without being hurt too badly.
So I shake my head to Yuma.
“You guys plotting?” Prince asks me.
He is paying attention to Yuma and I talking. Yuma is being private about it. I can tell he doesn't trust Prince and honestly no one does. I don't think anyone trusts anyone else either.
I shake my head, “No Prince.”
Prince laughs getting up from the table, “Well played Yaser. You are making this game very interesting. I'll give you that. I thought this was going to be really easy.”
He thinks this is a game. He's having fun at this. He had no idea that I was actually catching serious emotions for Walid. I was starting to fall in love with Walid and Prince was just laughing about this thinking this was some sort of joke.
When Prince leaves I can feel Karamo's arm on my shoulder, “C`mon. Don't let him get to you.”
I spend the afternoon waiting for Walid with Karamo in the tea room. The storm is unlike anything I've ever seen before. A part of me wonders if it has anything to do with the witchdoctor. We sit for the most part in silence looking at the heavy storm brewing outside. It isn't until Aunt Annie falls asleep that Karamo leans over to have a serious conversation with me.
“So are you and Walid really...”
“You know. Like are there feelings involved. Because it kind of looks serious,” he tells me, “He had sex with you in front of all of us.”
I feel bad all of a sudden.
“Karamo I know this might be awkward.”
“Awkward?” Karamo asks, “No, I'm happy for you. C`mon. Let's go eat.”
Karamo leave lazy ass Aunt Annie sleeping on the floor in wolf form. We walk out into a separate part of the castle. I'm stuffing my face before I know it. Karamo smiles watching me the entire time. I know what he's thinking before he even says it.
“You're going to get used to this aren't you?” he asks me, “You get anything you want. Once you win this competition Walid will make sure you are taken care of. Isn't he?
“Yeah, I suppose,” I respond, “I mean, we'll take care of each other.”
He rolls his eyes and sighs, “There you go. You need to be more passive Yas.”
I laugh, “I'm trying. It isn't second nature.”
“Maybe that's what he likes about you. You aren't as feminine as I am. You think that's what it is?” Karamo asks, “I jumped through hoops to get his attention but he's only interested in you. What am I doing wrong?”
“Karamo I know it's your duty or whatever to do this,” I explain, “But love has to mean something to you. If there is no chemistry than there is no chemistry. There are other Alpha wolves...”
“None as strong as Walid,” He promises me.
“But there will be others who you may have chemistry with,” I respond to him, “And once you find that guy...you'll know it. You'll see him across the room and you'll know that guy is the one for you. You'll know that there is nothing you wouldn't do to please him and there won't be anything that will keep him away from you.”
“Is that how you and Walid are together?” Karamo asks me.
He leans in close daydreaming about it.
I laugh, “Yeah. I guess.”
“Do you guys talk often?” Karamo asks, “Does he confide in you?”
All I can think about is the bones. Of course Karamo wouldn't have any idea about those bones. He wouldn't be concerned about that.
“You mean the competition?” I ask.
Karamo nods, “Yeah. Whose getting eliminated next?”
“I'm thinking Adi,” I respond, “After the haircut thing.”
I don't want to tell Karamo about Walid saying he'd be on the list of getting eliminated as well. Karamo is clearly into Walid. I don't know if it's chemistry but I know he wants Walid. I've seen how he looks at Walid. Sometimes I wonder if he even loves Walid.
Karamo nods, “Yeah. I mean the guy after all those drugs he had in his system the haircut was kind of a mild way to get him out of the competition. I think it had to be Prince.”
“How'd you know about Ian getting drugged?”
Karamo smiles. He seems to think about it for a second. His smile grows wider.
“I think Ian mentioned it.”
“Ian didn't know he was drugged. Walid figured it out and kept it from Ian.”
“Really?” Karamo asks.
Just at that moment there is a knock on the dining room door. I find it weird. Karamo jumps up to his feet. I start eating the meat and thinking about how weird it was that Karamo knew that Adi had been drugged. It wasn't a common knowledge thing.
Karamo couldn't have...
Or could he.
“Who is it?” I turn to Karamo.
I look over at Karamo. His face gets white as bleached tiles.
“I'm sorry,” Karamo states.
“Sorry for what?” I ask confused.
Just at that moment three people walk into the room. Karamo leaves the room behind them and locks the door behind them. My mouth drops open when I see Ian, Matty and Johan standing there.
“You've gotten away too many times,” Ian says, “Today is the day you die.”
It's clear Karamo has locked them in with me. It's clear he betrayed me! At that moment, Ian, Matty and Johan turn to wolves.
Then they attack...
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com