This wasn't happening. Prince and I are kneeling in front of the Alpha looking like idiots. We looked like wet rags ready to be thrown away. Right now neither Prince or I mattered. Right now the only thing that mattered was this little fragile looking boy laying on the bare floor.

Nasir doesn't seem like much. I don't think he's so attractive. He seems confident in a way though. He doesn't hide his naked body from the people who are looking on at him. He seems completely aware that he is the center of attention.

His voice is a little bit more than a whisper, "Walid."

You can still hear him even though he speaks so low. That's how quiet the room is right now. You could hear a rat run across the floor. It's so haunting.

"Is it really him?" Fang asks.

Walid's brother never really talked much. The fact that he is walking forward at this moment seems a little odd to say the least. His eyes light up and he seems a little more alive than I've seen him since I came to Vanderbilt castle. He takes a few odd steps towards Nasir but he's stopped by his bigger, more powerful brother. Walid blocks Fang off and takes his place.

Walid's steps aren't awkward. They are powerful. He is moving towards Nasir with this recognition and this meaning that makes me sick to my stomach. The way he is looking at Nasir is making me sick to my stomach.


Walid's eyes squint at Nasir. He walks over to him. They are face to face. The boy is so short. He's even shorter than Yuma. He is such a joke of a werewolf but for some reason Walid seems hypnotized by this little figure. Nasir's hair is the most attractive thing about him. It cascades down his back like beads of rain after a storm. It's the silkiest hair I've ever seen before. Walid touches his hair. Walid takes strands of his hair and smells it.

When he inhales his hair, he takes a deep breath.

"What's going on here?" Prince asks.

Prince is annoyed but my reaction is worse than Prince. Annoyance is petty. Annoyance is small. Right now seeing how Walid looked at this little lame piece of shit I was sick to my stomach. I was literally sick.

"How is this possible?" Walid asks.

Qadir is the one who responds, "The witchdoctor brought my brother back to life. He's returned to us."

The eyes that are looking at Nasir are eyes of wonder. I'm bothered. I'm jealous. Walid's reaction is everything right now and I'm studying his face the entire time. Does he remember Yaser? Does he remember the guy he was about to declare his Beta wolf?

"You stole him?" Naomi of the Vanderbilt Pack asks Qadir.

Qadir nods, "The witchdoctor wasn't expecting it. I snuck in. I stole Nasir right from under him."

Qadir says it in a proud way. I understand that Nasir is his brother but this is ridiculous. I'm speechless. The entire time.

Walid looks at Nasir. That's when he scoops him up into his arms like the boy child he is. He looks down at him in this protective way. Walid---MY WALID--- was claiming this fucking stranger? I didn't know their history but right now at this moment I'm beyond shocked. I'm beyond confused at what exactly is going on.

"Send the visitors home," Walid says, "The witchdoctor will want Nasir back. This place isn't safe. I have to protect Nasir."

Right now Walid's only concern is Nasir. He barely even recognizes me. He barely even sees me. The room starts to clear and Walid is carrying his past lover away. He starts walking right past me but I'm not going to make it that easy for him.

I run in front of Walid. I stand there. Our eyes connect. He doesn't expect it and hell I don't realize what I'm doing until it's done. I'm in front of Walid and I just shake my head.

"Don't you see me?"

When I ask Walid that I feel pathetic. Learning to become a Beta I am becoming used to being submissive. I've become a little bit used to putting my pride to the side. This was beyond that. This had nothing to do with being a beta. Right now I was standing in front of Walid as someone who was completely in love with him. I was vulnerable. I was weak.

"Walid, who's this?" Nasir asks him.

Walid is speechless. He looks at Nasir. He looks at me. He looks back at Nasir.

Then his eyes set on me.

"Can I talk to you later?" he asks me.

"Seriously?" I ask him.

"How many times have I told you about talking back to me?" Walid asks, "Step aside Yas."

Walid doesn't want me to embarrass him in front of the people who are leaving. He doesn't want me to question him in front of his pack. He wants to maintain this strength or whatever. Right now I could care less about any of that. Right now I am just embarrassed beyond belief.

I step aside none the less, but I'm not going to let him take Nasir off so easily. I hear him walking Nasir off. My emotions are getting the most of me. I'm thinking about weird things. What if Walid was going to fuck Nasir right here and right now upstairs? What if he was going to go commit to Walid all the things that he wanted to commit to me at one point? Would I just sit there and take it like some good Beta wolf or would I fight like a real werewolf?

"If he stays..." I warn Walid, "Then I leave."

Walid stops for a second. For a second I was thinking he'd put Nasir down and tell Qadir to take Nasir back to the witchdoctor. For a second I think the little bit of time that I spent with Walid would refresh in his mind and he'd scoop me up instead.

None of those things happen.

Walid just walks away with Nasir in his arms...

It's Prince who comes next to me and whispers in my ears, "I guess we are both headed home huh?"

"Move," I push Prince away.

I don't know what gets over me. I pounce across the room. I'm running towards Qadir. I'm going to take him down. I swear I'm going to kill him. Qadir must see me coming because he takes off down the hall like the little bitch he is. I hate him. I hate him so much! He did this to me. He fucking did this to me.

It's Mayorga who comes out of nowhere and stops me.

"He doesn't want any problems with you," Mayorga says, "You helped him."

"You're protecting him," I tell Mayorga.

"His brother is alive," Mayorga explains, "If Yuma died how far would you go to bring him back alive if you could?"

I think about it. Funny how Qadir ran and left his beta to face off with me. This is all embarrassing. The entire room was clearing out. I'm standing around pacing realizing that I just probably lost the love of my life to his fucking ex-boyfriend.

"He just left me. You don't get it," I respond, "I understand Qadir wanting to bring him back...but why bring him back here?"

"Nasir died in an attempt to stop Qadir and Walid from fighting. He isn't some dark...twisted person. I know Nasir. He's a good guy. I'm sorry that things haven't worked out the way that you want but this is where he belongs. He challenged both Qadir and Walid to become Alpha..."

"You're shitting me. That kid?" I ask.

"Yes. That kid. That little dog has heart. And you know what? He beat Qadir."

I roll my eyes, "Your bullshitting me. Next you'll say that little fucking wolf beat Walid too."

"No. Walid submitted to him," Mayorga explains, "He was so in love that he chose not to even fight. Love can make you do some crazy things, you know. Love can tame the wildest wolf. It can make the most powerful wolf so much weaker. Ask Walid."


It all may sense how Walid walked away from me for Nasir. He would do anything for Nasir. He would literally do anything...including handing over the Alpha dog status to his Beta.

Mayorga nods, "Nasir belongs here more than any of us. Before Nasir was killed by wolf hunters...he was the Alpha dog..."

With that Mayorga seems to be letting me know my place. Not only did I have no say in this. It was clear that Nasir belonged in Vanderbilt even more than I did. The fact that Nasir was the Alpha at some point at all blew my mind.

I walk out of the room feeling defeated. I have realized that Nasir may be more of an issue than I thought...

"Why would the Witchdoctor bring Nasir back to life?" Yuma asks.

"Yuma be more sensitive right now. Your brother is upset," my mother says.

Yuma, Dakota and my mother are in my room. We've been in my room all afternoon. I've packed my things to leave but I haven't made a move out of the door. Every second that passes I think Walid will listen to the threat that I made and come back trying to force me to stay at Vanderbilt Castle. Every second that passes I realize that isn't going to happen. I'm not Walid's concern right now.

"I'm fine," I reply.

"Aren't you concerned?" Yuma asks me.

"What can I do?" I ask my brother.

"Fight for this," Yuma responds.

I give Yuma a look. I wonder if he really wants me to fight for what I have with Walid or if he is worried that me coming back home would just lead to me getting with Dakota. If he is really over Dakota like he says he is then he shouldn't be worried. I give my brother the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's not doing this out of his own self-interest. Maybe Yuma does actually care about my relationship situation.

I struggle to act like I'm not bothered, "I told Walid that I was going to leave. You saw his reaction. He wasn't concerned."

It's my mother who is acting a little bit more sensitive. She's treating me like I'm some teenage girl who just got cheated on. She walks over to me and puts her hand on my head. She pats my head like I'm some kind of obedient dog or something.

"Werewolves aren't good at showing their feelings," she explains, "Especially Alphas. I'm sure that Walid cares."

"I'm sure he doesn't give a shit," I respond.

"Watch your mouth. That's not Beta-like," she responds.

"That's the point. I'm not Walid's Beta," I state shaking my head, "I guess this is for the better. I'm free to do whatever the fuck I want now. I can stay in wolf form all day. I can run. I can hunt. I can lick myself and act like an animal."

I want to let this make me feel better. I'm pushing the idea of freedom making me feel better but deep inside I'm lying to myself. This shit hurts. It's like a physical pain being denied like that. Walid always showed me that he cared but now that Nasir was back things changed.

"Now you know how it feels to be denied by someone," Yuma responds to me.

It's clearly a shot at Dakota and I. Dakota isn't paying attention though. He is looking outside of the window. I'm confused when I see Dakota looking like that. He has this weird expression on his face when he looks outside of the window. He is just staring. His eyes are just glaring into the distance. He doesn't seem to really have an expression on his face but that is what makes this so weird. I walk up to Dakota and look outside of the window.

"What's happening?" I ask him.

"Birds. Birds are just flying into the courtyard and dying. I've counted 20 so far. It's the weirdest thing in the world..."

I look through the courtyard and realize that Dakota is right. Some supernatural shit was going on around Vanderbilt castle. There was this presence all around the castle. The dead birds are flying around the castle.

"It's the witchdoctor," Yuma states, "He's up to something."

Yuma is right. The dead birds are a sign.

"Sacrifices. That's how his magic works. This is magic," I respond.

Dakota crosses his arms at that moment, "This place isn't safe. We should all leave this place now."

"I'm sure you would like that," Yuma states.

We all look at Yuma. I was wrong. He's jealous as fuck right now. He's looking at Dakota with the same look that I looked at Walid with.

"What?" Dakota asks.

"You would like nothing more than to leave Vanderbilt castle with your precious Yaser huh?" Yuma asks Dakota.

I don't have time for this. I roll my eyes and go back to get my bags. Nasir and Walid were already complicated enough. The last thing I needed to do was get in between the situation that Dakota and Yuma had going on.

Luckily Dakota feels the same way.

"This isn't about us," Dakota explains, "The witchdoctor is powerful. He wants something. I'm not sure what it is and I don't think we should stick around to find out."

"Control," I tell them.

They all look over at me.

"What?" my mother asks.

"The witchdoctor wants control," I explain to them, "He told me when he was alone. He could always control humans but said he couldn't control werewolves. I think now that he's brought Nasir back to life he can control him."

I remember how Genesis Bah enjoyed playing with those humans. He enjoyed having them come in the room and scare Qadir. He couldn't control Qadir though.

Yuma shakes his head, "Why would he want to control a werewolf?"

"Why does any powerful person want more power?" Dakota asks, "The Witchdoctor wants to become more powerful and now that Qadir has stolen back his werewolf he'll come. I don't think it's a good idea for any of us to be around when he shows back up. We need to leave now. The witchdoctor is coming for his pet."

I look over at my mother. I'm so confused on what to do.

"It's up to you," my mother says, "Dakota is probably right. We probably don't want to be around when the witchdoctor comes to get what was stolen from him. And those birds out there dying could just be a warning. He could already be here..."

I want to stay. I want to be there for Walid. I want to love Walid. I refuse to love someone who is in love with someone else though. I refuse to play Walid's fool.

"Let's go."

Dakota helps me with my bags. I can tell Yuma is feeling some type of way. He would prefer I stay and try to work this out with Walid. He would prefer me to actually end up with Walid. Yuma has this immature attitude. He doesn't realize that I actually do want to be with Walid. I'm not treating Dakota as some second plan just in case something happens.

We head down into the foyer where we are surprised to see the Vanderbilt pack lined up at the entrance of the castle. They seem to be waiting for something. At first I think they are waiting to confront the Witchdoctor if he shows up but as we get closer I realize they are blocking me from leaving.

"Don't leave," Fang says.

The rest of the Vanderbilt Pack seem to all have the same expression as Fang. Naomi, Amina and Timus all have their eyes connected on me.

"I am removing my son from competition," my mother says.

"Step aside," Dakota says.

Dakota says it in a threatening way. He drops the suitcase. His stance is universal in the wolf world. He is about to transform. This is a threatening stance. There are four of them. Dakota is a strong wolf. He'd probably take them on pretty well. The only wolf comparable in size would probably be Fang's but Dakota wasn't alone. I didn't know if I wanted to fight over this though.

"We want him to stay," Naomi states.

"Walid asked me to stay?" I ask.

I'm shocked.

Naomi shakes her head, "No. We are asking you stay. Please."

I'm shocked that Naomi of all people was asking this. Naomi was Prince's cheerleader this entire time. She and the others wanted him to win this entire time. Now they were asking me to stay? I'm not the only one confused. Dakota still seems on guard even though Naomi's tone has changed up into something a lot softer.


"We don't trust Qadir," Amina states.

"Isn't he a member of your pack?"

"That doesn't mean we trust him. He's trouble. What does Qadir get out of bringing Nasir back?" Timus asks, putting his hand under his face.

"That's his brother," I respond.

"Qadir thinks about himself above anything," Fang responds, "If there is anyone else here that would want Nasir to be alive it would be me. Trust me. I...cared about him just as much as my brother did. Still this isn't the way to do it. Qadir is dipping into some sinister shit messing with this witchdoctor."

"What can I do by staying?" I ask, "You expect me to fight a witchdoctor?"

"We expect you to refocus Walid. He isn't thinking right. He's ready to go up against a witchdoctor for Nasir. You're the only one that can get through to him."

They are saying this as if this is some sort of peace treaty between us. The Vanderbilts have rooted against me the entire competition but now I'm they clearly saw that I was no threat compared to Nasir. I am so confused.

Dakota grabs me by my arm, "It's dangerous to stay here..."

Yuma shakes his head, "What if Nasir is really under the control of the Witchdoctor? You really want to leave him alone with your man?"

"Yuma you aren't helping!" Dakota argues.

"I'm not helping you!" Yuma screams back.

"SHUT UP!" I tell both of them.

They both look at me. I have to make a decision about this. Do I leave and take the safe route? Do I just concede Walid to whatever fate he has waiting for him? He deserves it. I gave him an ultimatum. He chose his ex-boyfriend. Why should I care?

Still. I do.

I care.

"I'm going to stay. I'm going to talk to Walid."

Dakota shakes his head, "This is such a bad idea. Yas, I heard stories about this Witchdoctor. They aren't good. This guy isn't a joke. Walid and Qadir are playing with fire. I don't want you to end up getting burned."

Dakota had a point. He had a damn good point. But I was already burning. It sounded corny but I was burning for desire for Walid. I couldn't just leave right now. I couldn't just pretend like I wasn't in love with Walid.

"I know the Witchdoctor is dangerous, Dakota. That's why I want you to take my mother and my little brother back to Pittsburgh."

Dakota grabs my arm.

He pulls me away from the others. I can tell he is stressed out. The look in his eyes is full on panic when he pulls me into a side room. He closes the door behind him. Dakota has this shaky look in his eyes when he keeps looking at me.

"I'm not leaving you here," Dakota explains, "I'm your guardian. Something bad is going to happen here. I don't think this is going to end well. I have a feeling about it. I have a feeling about that Witchdoctor Yas."

I shrug, "I'm willing to take that risk.

"I'm not," He tells me, "Leave with me. You don't need Walid. You don't need this big ass castle or these woods. You don't need any of that shit. There is another way to be happy. I can show you. Remember the two years we spent together. Tell me you weren't happy. I can make you happy again Yaser."

He's pulling at my heart strings when he says what he says. He is touching the side of my face. Dakota leans in. He kisses me. His lips smack against mine. They are so soft. They are so tender. He attempts to let his tongue enter my mouth but I block it.

I block his tongue entering my mouth and I take a step back.

"I'm not in love with you Dakota," I tell him.

It hurts to say it. It hurts because Dakota looks broken when I say it. I don't know how else to be clear except being completely honest. I don't go to sleep thinking about Dakota. I go to sleep thinking about Walid. I wake up thinking about Walid. When I saw the rest of my life---I saw it with Walid. There was a time that I would have given anything to be with Dakota. That time has passed.

"This is about me and your little brother isn't it?" he asks.

"He loves you and I love him," I explain to Dakota, "He looks up to me. You and him were intimate and he is in love with you. Maybe if you hadn't slept with him, things would be different. Maybe if there weren't real emotion there then things would be different."

"I told you that I'd rather be with you," Dakota explains.

I smile weakly, "And I understand. You should go talk to him about that though. You should make him understand that. I'm not saying you have to be with him. All I'm saying is I can't be with someone who my brother is in love with. It's not something that I am going to do to Yuma."

Dakota takes a deep breath. He walks up to me. At first I think he is going to try to kiss me again but instead he just touches the side of my face. He smiles. He's so handsome. He's so attractive. A part of me wished that he hadn't been intimate with my little brother. Maybe then I could have still had the feelings I had before. Now it was too late.

Instead of arguing Dakota just nods.

"It's my fault," he responds, "I made the choice to do what I did with Yuma. I may spend the rest of my life regretting it. But please be careful here. Don't make me spend the rest of my life regretting that I left you here alone."

I nod.

Dakota smiles at me again before walking away. A few minutes later I feel the awkward tension between Dakota and Yuma. My brother and my mother hug me and give me words of encouragement. I have a feeling they both would prefer me to stay here anyway and try to get through to Walid. They seem happy about my decision.

When Dakota, my mother and my brother leave I realize that I'm alone in this castle. I don't have a guardian. I don't have anyone. All I have is myself.

There is a howl that comes from the living room as I standing in the front doorway watching my family leave.

I turn to the Vanderbilts, "What is that?"

It's Fang who gives me a confused look, "A problem."

The other Vanderbilts start walking away without me but I follow close behind. I follow them to the main meeting room. The first person I notice is Nasir. He is just sitting there. His brother Qadir is sitting right over him. The brothers are a lot closer than Yuma and I even were. I notice by how close they are sitting and even just their body language.

Mayorga sits off to the side. Our eyes connect. He gives me a warming smile as though letting me know that everything is going to be OK. I don't think he fully knows for himself what is going to happen but it's nice that he's trying to give me some sort of confidence.

I remember what he told me about Nasir earlier during our conversation. Mayorga doesn't rub me as a bad guy but he is so in love with Qadir. He would do anything for Qadir. I guess I just feel like I have this connection with Mayorga. I understand him more than anyone else here.

As I approach I notice the big white wolf in the middle of the floor. Within a matter of seconds, the wolf transforms back into human form. Walid is the white wolf. He stands in the room completely naked. A part of me knows Walid has probably been naked in front of these people a million times. It still doesn't make me feel less jealous when I watch Nasir studying Walid's body as though he's seen it for the very first time. Maybe he forgot just how amazing Walid looks naked. Nasir is blushing a beet red. He even fans himself a little bit when he sees the size of Walid's dick and the chiseled body that is attached to it.

I swear I hear Nasir whisper, "Oh my..."

I'm breathing so heavy at that moment. Knowing how attracted Nasir obviously is to Walid is driving me crazy. Luckily Walid puts on his fur over his naked body to kind of conceal his goods.

"I called you all over here because I have something important to discuss," Walid explains, "As you all know I was about to choose Yaser as my Beta wolf before Nasir came back."

It was common knowledge. I cross my arms as the other Vanderbilts seem to shrink down next to Walid's greatness. I'm not scared to challenge him.

"Let me guess? Your ex came back and you changed your mind," I state.

"Don't be like that..." Walid says shaking his head, "Please...let me just explain first..."

"I'm not your Beta...what is there to explain," I state.

He was choosing this FUCKING Nasir guy. I couldn't believe him. I knew he would but I still felt like it wouldn't be the same fucking day he would make this sort of decision.

"I LOVE you, Walid," I state.

The room gets quiet. Walid takes a deep breath. I don't think he was expecting that. I don't think anyone was expecting this.

Nasir gives me the most interesting stare I've ever felt before, "Do you?"

"I do," I quickly respond.

It's Walid who interrupts us, "Yas. It's not what you think. It's not the reason you think why I'm not choosing you as my Beta anymore."

"He's not choosing you because he can't," Nasir responds relatively quickly.

I'm confused. I think I'm the only one that is confused though. The others all seem to have the same look on their face. It's as though they were expecting something that I didn't expect. Maybe they knew more about being werewolves than I did.

"Why can't you choose me anymore?" I ask Walid.

"Because I was the Alpha when I died," Nasir responds, "Now that I'm back I intend on taking my proper role as the leader of this pack. Unless Walid would like to challenge me..."

My mouth drops open. This is some bullshit. Nasir was claiming the Alpha role? Impossible. Walid was the strongest one in this pack. He was clearly the Pack leader of the Vanderbilt Pack. He was clearly the most powerful wolf.

Or was he?

I remember Mayorga's words from earlier. I remember what he told me about what happened in the past. When Nasir challenged Walid he didn't even fight him. He rolled over. Love can tame the wildest wolf. It can make the most powerful wolf so much weaker.

Walid BOWS down to this smaller, lesser wolf.

"I submit," Walid says.

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