Chapter 16

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"No! I'm not!" I yell immediately, shaking my head back and forth.

"Yes, you are." Braxton's voice is soft, like is he trying his best to keep me calm. Let me tell you: it's not working.

"NO, I'M NOT!" I feel my face turning red, so I take I deep breath, trying to level out my blood pressure. "I'm pretty damn sure I would know if I could turn into a furry monster whenever I want!"

"We're not monsters," Braxton says.

I don't reply, mostly because I'm not sure what to say. I bury my face in my hands, as my elbows rest on my knees.

No one speaks for a little while, and I use the time to try to calm down. I'm not very rational when I'm worked up, and I feel like I need to be right now.

"Even though you are a werewolf, you don't currently have the ability to shift," Braxton says, minutes later.

I can't help but roll my eyes at his answer. Like I believe that.

"I know that you think I'm lying, but I'm not." Braxton states firmly. I stare into his eyes, and he looks like he is being serious. But I still don't buy it.

"How could I believe you? You say that I'm a werewolf, but I can't actually turn into one. That's real freaking convenient," I tell him.

"I know it sounds bad, but it's the truth. You were taken too early to be marked."

"Marked?" I echo. The word sounds kind of ominous.

"Sometime before every werewolf's 16th birthday, they are bitten by the current Alpha of the pack," Braxton says. He ignores the horrified look that crosses my face at the word bitten and continues. "It is customary in our pack to bite new members on their 1st birthday, but it differs for every pack. That bite allows the wolf genes to develop properly, which results in the member being able to shift on the first full moon after their 16th birthday. Also, the bite adds your pack's scent to your own, so you can be easily recognized as a member. But without the bite, you cannot shift."

I scrunch my nose up at the last sentence. "Why?" That sounds like a pretty weird tradition.

"The Moon Goddess created us like that because wolves are strongest when they are in packs. She did not want wolves to have any sort of desire to go rouge. But, if they do, their children will not be able to join them as rouge wolves, since they will not be able to shift."

"So... you're telling me that you didn't bite me? That's why I can't shift into a wolf?" I ask. If you ask me, I'm pretty sure he just made that up on the spot.

"Well, on your 1st birthday it would have been my father that bit you, but yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying," Braxton tells me.

"So why didn't he?" I question, looking at him expectantly.

"You were taken on the day you were born, so you weren't with the pack on that day." This time, it's Nathaniel who speaks.

"Taken? By who?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.

"Sebastian," Nathaniel, Asher, and Braxton all growl out at the same time. I notice how all of their eyes get drastically darker. It must be a werewolf thing; I'll have to remember to ask about that later. For now, I look between the three of them with wide eyes.

"It wasn't Sebastian," Isabelle says while rolling her eyes, clearly sick of all of the raging testosterone in the room.

Nathaniel rolls his eyes right back before saying, "Close enough. There's no difference between the members of that filthy rogue pack."

"Can someone please tell me what happened? Like, the whole story?" I cut in.

"I gave birth to you in the pack hospital," Isabelle tells me. Her voice is quiet, but still firm and strong in tone. "At first it seemed just like when your brother was born, but then we were attacked by Sebastian and his group of rouges. Several pack members were killed, and you were taken."

"Why?" I question.

"Because," Isabelle says, "You were the Beta's daughter. It was a well thought out plan; I'll give them that. You were the most vulnerable person in our pack, as well as a high ranking one. They wanted to initiate you into their rouge pack and train you to fight for them. That way, they'd have a weapon that we would be unwilling to harm, but would attack us without hesitation."

My eyes widen and I stare at her for a few moments. Train me? Make me fight people? Oh my god, that's seriously messed up.

"But how come I don't remember any of this?" I ask.

Asher answers for me this time. "Before whoever took you left our territory, Alpha Maddox was able to severely wound him. He later died while driving you to the rouge pack's land, and crashed into a tree. Luckily, he wasn't going very fast because of the injury, so you were fine. When the paramedics arrived, you were taken to the hospital, and entered into the system as a Jane Doe. Then the trail goes cold, hence why we were never able to find you. At least, until you stumbled onto our land."

"So... what happened to me? How did I end up in Colorado?" This still isn't adding up.

Asher sighs, shaking his head. "We'll probably never know for sure. We always assumed you were adopted quickly. So your... parents... raised you as if you were their biological child."

I take in a sharp breath at the mention of my parents. How could they not tell me that I was adopted? One of my closest friends, Chloe, is adopted, and her family told her about it when she was pretty young.

I stand up suddenly, which clearly takes everyone in the room by surprise. "I need... to think," I stutter.

Braxton nods, taking a step towards me.

I put out a hand immediately. "Alone."

He sighs, stopping in his tracks. "You can go up to our room. We will wait here until you're ready."

I don't like how he calls his bedroom "ours," but I have too much on my mind to snap at him. Instead, I shuffle out of the room, and make my way up to the third floor. When I reach the bedroom, I close the door behind me and lay down on the bed, taking several deep breaths.

Could what they've told me actually be true? Am I a... werewolf? It doesn't make any sense to me. How could I have not known about this for over seventeen years? But, the criminologist within me wonders why they would lie about something like this. I now know that werewolves do, in fact, exist. They are telling the truth about that, that's for sure. So why would they lie about me being one? There's no logical reasoning for them to lie about that. There's absolutely no gain.

And then, I think about the fact that, supposedly, Nathaniel and Isabelle are my birth parents. I want to deny it, but I can't ignore the obvious: I actually look like them. I share zero physical traits with my parents. Both my mother and father have dark hair, and dark eyes. I don't know a single person in my family that doesn't have brown eyes. And I took A.P. Biology, so I know for a fact that that makes it impossible for me to have green eyes. All it takes is one grandparent with green or blue eyes to make it a small possibility, but literally everyone has brown eyes. So shouldn't I have brown eyes too?

Not to mention, Isabelle and Asher have the exact same shade of green eyes as I do. That can't be just a coincidence. Logically, I can't help but think that maybe these people are telling me the truth... Maybe I am a werewolf.

~*~

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