It's Always A Trap

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It was around six o clock when I finally decided to begin making dinner. It didn't seem like mom was going to be home in time to cook, so I figured she'd be happy when she walked in the door and food was already made and waiting for her. 
Hehe. Of course it wasn't going to be anything super fancy since I was tired from my awesome day, but some home made macaroni and cheese with garlic bread sounded just right.

After climbing up onto the counter to get down the garlic, parsley, and pepper I put up there yesterday before bed, I carefully got down and found the cheese mom had bought today while I was at school. Pasta was taken from the pantry and poured into a pot of boiling water, and yay! We're cooking!

In a separate pan I began to melt the cheese with the spices, but turned the heat down on both and ran to my backpack when I heard my phone vibrating inside the top pocket. When I got the compartment open I clicked the accept button and held it to my ear.

"Hello?"

"Hi honey, I got offered an amazing job today and considering we only came here with a little money, I couldn't really find a logical reason to turn it down. Unfortunately, it means I have to be out of town often each month..."

"Oh...uh, that's okay..."

It really wasn't considering we had just lost dad only a month ago, but I knew she was just doing what she had too to keep food on the table.

"So...Arron...you're going to have to stay with another family while I'm gone. I managed to meet a nice man today who wouldn't mind taking you in. He has several boys your age, so it will be a great chance to make friends."

My face drained of color as she spoke. I didn't want to go live somewhere else...hadn't we just done that? Isn't this the 'somewhere else'?? At my silence she quickly continued;

"I know we just moved, but you're already packed so it shouldn't be too much trouble. Just think of it as a chance to get to know one of the more influential prides in the area."

"Pride...?"

My stomach felt like if I had eaten lunch, I would be losing it right about now.

"Yes. The Leo pride has agreed to take you in, though I haven't been to the home, I was told it was plenty big and they had several spare rooms you could choose from."

After a good shake of my head I pursed my lips and replied;

"Th-That sounds nice."

The words left a sour taste in my mouth but my mom's new excited tone told me that I had definitely said the right thing to make her happy.

"That's the spirit! I'm sure you'll have a blast! They have a pool and a playground in their backyard, too!"

"Mooooom, I'm not ten anymore."

"Oh don't go telling me you wouldn't be out there swinging for hours if you got the chance!"

Okay...I couldn't argue that.

"Don't worry honey, you'll have fun and I'll be back as often as I can. I'll be making good money at this job so we'll be much better off soon."

I couldn't think about getting her hopes down, so I put on a fake smile and happily spoke into the phone.

"Sounds great mom, do they want me over tonight? What's the address?"

As she told me that they did indeed want me to come by, and that the father of the household was actually going to come over and help me out tonight, I swallowed and told her how excited I was. After taking down the address and phone number we told each other good night and she told me she'd call as soon as she could. Once I hung up the phone I quickly gobbled down my dinner, storing the extra portion in a tupperware on the counter before running upstairs to drag down my suitcases.On my second trip upstairs I grabbed my pillow and one of my smaller blankets. It had a worn picture of spiderman on it and was definitely childish, but my father had given it too me two years ago for my birthday because I had been so obsessed with that new movie. I know I should leave it here, but if I was going to walk into the lion's den, I needed my superhero...or at least the memory of him, walking right besides me.

It was about twenty minutes later when I heard a firm knock at the door.

Well. Here we go...

I quickly ran around switching off all the lights and making sure all the chords were unplugged so we didn't waste electricity, then ran over to the door and quickly opened it. As my eyes rose to the man standing on my doorstep my jaw nearly dropped.

He was huge! His hair was the epitome of a mane as it circled his face partially as normal hair, then picked up as a medium sized golden beard. While it would normally make a human look awkward, it always worked perfectly with male lions. A full mane showed exactly how powerful the lion shifter was, and judging from this man's stature and perfect mane, he was top cat in the Leo pride.

"H-Hello Sir!"

I almost felt like I should bow down, but when a loud booming laugh echoed into the night I blinked and raised my eyebrows.

"No need for Sir, just call me Jordan."

"O-Okay...my name's Arron..."

His right hand reached out and I quickly placed my much-smaller one in it to shake.

"Nice to meet you, Arron. You ready to go?"

Ah, he noticed my suitcases behind me. Well, I guess I was. The one good thing I could think about in this situation was that it really didn't feel like this place was home yet, so moving again didn't take too much of an emotional toll...however, knowing that mom wasn't waiting for me at this new place did hurt a lot.

"Don't worry kiddo, your mom is going to be home sooner then you think. Till then, you're welcome at our home."

He offered his hand to me again, but this time when I took it he pulled me into a strong hug. I'm not sure why, but he reminded me of how my father used to hug me when he got home from a rough day at work. Before I knew it I was sniffling against his dark red sweater as I tried to blink back tears that just wouldn't obey. His hand switched from mine own to my back and began rubbing firmly. It felt so good...

"It's okay, Arron. Your mom told me what happened and if you ever need a shoulder or a hug, just come get me."

It felt so nice to hear those words and receive that hug. Sure mom had hugged me plenty of times since the accident happened, but Jordan's hug felt just like dad's had...

"Alright! We need to head back. I see you've already made yourself dinner but I'm starved, haha."

I took a step back as I sniffled and nodded, rubbing at my nose with the back of my hand before turning to grab my backpack, blanket, and one of my suitcases.

Jordan grabbed the other and pretty soon we were on our way to his home.

"I'm sure your mother told you I have four boys. Two are in elementary school, twins, Jared and Jamie. Tarren just graduated high school last year and Rylan is a junior, just like you."

R.....Rylan..................?

She had said he had boys... and being part of the Leo pride was manageable...but he was Rylan's dad?!

"Hey kiddo, you feeling okay?"

It took me a long minute to find my voice again, then stumble over my poor excuse.

"Yeah...just...stomach upset, from dinner and a stressful day..."

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