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Chapter 3

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The next morning, Nathan stepped out onto the front porch of his Grandparents' house, finishing a piece of toast to free his hand and get it through the final sleeve of his hoodie. He and Kaiden clearly hadn't been what their grandfather had expected to see rolling up the long gravel drive when he went for his Saturday paper, but he'd been happy to see them nonetheless. Their grandmother had insisted on feeding them, and since the motel had no offerings for breakfast, they'd been quick to accept a decent meal.

He took in the view of the town down the hill, most of which was blanketed in the early morning fog that had settled across it. His eyes narrowed a bit in thought before the front door opened and Kaid's heavy footfalls broke the silence. The older boy passed Nate as he headed towards his truck.

"You comin'?" Kaiden called to his cousin from the other side of the vehicle. With a sigh, Nate abandoned his vantage point on the porch to join him.

They'd made it halfway to the town without Nate saying a word before Kaiden decided Nate's silence didn't sit well with him. He turned down the radio until the volume was so low that it might as well have been off.

"Alright...I'll bite, what's wrong?" Kaiden wondered, receiving a soft snort in response.

"I wanna run..." the younger boy said with a small, mischievous smirk.

Kaiden's smile faltered slightly. "You know what Travis said...We aren't allowed until he and the others get here." Kaiden knew that would hardly stop Nate if it was something he was set on doing, though.

"How's he even gonna know? He's just flexing his power because he can," Nate speculated with a tone of disgust.

"Isn't that what being Alpha is all about?"

"No, being Alpha is about doing what's best for the pack...not sticking to old, dead traditions just because our ancestors did," Nate grumbled. "A leader who leads us in circles is no leader."

"Well, he is still in charge, like it or not," Kaiden pointed out, as they pulled into the gas station.

Nate pulled off his hoodie tossing it behind his seat. He could already tell that it would be too hot for it today. Kaiden could feel the heat rising as well. Werewolves always ran a little warmer than their human counterparts for some reason, and unfortunately his old truck didn't have a reliable air conditioning unit.

"Hey, isn't there a river around here?" Kaiden asked while he waited for the gas pump to finish.

"Yeah, why?" Nate asked, as Kaiden disappeared to put the nozzle back and close the gas cap.

"Maybe some rules are meant to be broken," Kaiden suggested when he got back into the truck flashing his cousin a small smirk.

Irene and Jobe Gibson's land was on the edge between the town and a state park, not far from the river that cut across Aspenview. The park had a simple setup with parking, a covered picnic table area, and trails down to the river with a few benches scattered around.

Kaiden and Nate got out and started to walk away from all the amenities up the river. They looked for a place further from where people were likely to gather, and after a while, they'd found a spot free of any signs of humans. It was overgrown, with the only sounds coming from birds and the slow rush of the river a few feet away.

Nate was the first to shift, and it was fast. A single blink and the punkish boy was replaced by a black wolf bounding off towards the water. Kaiden smiled and shook his head. Not wanting to be left behind, he shifted and followed.

The two black wolves hit the cool mountain water with a splash, darting across the stream to the other bank and then up into the trees. They spent the rest of the day patrolling their little patch of river, dodging the occasional jogger or bicycler, and wrestling in the water. When they had worn themselves out around noon, they found a cozy bunch of bushes and trees to nap under.

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