Hope you like chapter 5! 

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Saffron

I stand in the doorway for a few seconds and stare at the girl's mess of a room.

I can't believe this is happening. It's all Dad's fault, but this is way worse than anything he's ever done before. Not this room, this entire day. How could he sell me to a wolf pack and make me their slave? He had no right to do that!

I cross the room, careful not to step on anything, and look out the window. It overlooks the front of the house and I can still see POW's truck, right where he left it. Beyond the paved driveway, no matter which direction I look in, all I see are trees.

I set down my bag and slide open the window. A slight breeze ruffles my hair and the sun warms my face as I lean out and look down. I could squeeze through the opening and make this jump, no problem. I could probably hang off the window sill and still make it down unharmed if I were human, but as a Wolf, I have absolutely nothing to worry about... except guards. I definitely have to worry about those, which means that escape will have to wait; at least until I'm sure POW's forgotten about me and no one's watching.

I turn back and look around the room. I should just toss everything from my side of the room onto the girl's and let her deal with it when she gets back. I mean, come on! That's what any sane person would do. That or make a run for it.

Instead, I move my duffel bag out of the way and try not to grind my teeth as I start putting things away. The girl doesn't scare me and I'm not all that worried about making her mad. It's the Pissed Off Wolf that I'm most concerned about.

For POW to believe I'm an Omega, I need to act like a complete pushover. I can't afford having the girl tell him that I stood up to her and didn't do as I was told. For all I know, she could be POW's daughter or maybe even this Alpha Patton's. Unless POW is Alpha Patton, in which case I guess she could be both. She doesn't really look much like the Pissed Off Wolf, but she has his coloring. Plus, the fact that she was sent to come get me probably means she's someone important.

If I don't clean the girl's room, next thing I know POW will be beating the crap out of me or starving me in some dungeon. Neither option seems very appealing. There's also the fact that POW did just buy me for ten grand and cleaning is sort of in my new job description. Whether I like it or not, from now on I'm three things: housekeep, Omega, and slave. At least until I can run away.

As I get to work, I remind myself that this is practically the same thing as cleaning up after Dad. Better, actually, since the girl doesn't have bad B.O., her stuff doesn't smell like an ashtray, and her clothes aren't bloody or stained. Actually, the worst is always cleaning clothes covered with my own blood. Rubbing at a stain while remembering the pain I felt from the blow that caused it. In comparison, cleaning this girl's room is definitely an improvement, even if she does have more stuff than I can ever dream of owning.

I'm piling all the dirty clothes onto my bed when a little girl who looks maybe seven or eight interrupts. "What are you doing?" she asks from the doorway. She's wearing jeans and a pink t-shirt that has Justin Bieber's name and photo printed on the front. The girl has long, black hair and dark brown eyes, which kind of remind me of my roommate.

"I'm cleaning," I state the obvious. Not rudely, just matter-of-factly. For a second, I'm tempted to ask the little girl if she wants to help. Maybe I could convince her that cleaning is fun, like in Tom Sawyer, which we read last year at school. On the other hand, this girl might be someone important, like the Alpha's daughter, and making her work could get me in a lot of trouble. "Do you know where the laundry room is?" I ask instead.

"Sure," the girl tells me, heading out the door and turning right. "Come on! I'll show you."

She runs down the hall and skids to a stop in front of an open door. I catch up and see that the room has four washers and four dryers. "All the stuff's in here," she tells me, crossing the room and opening a door that leads into a large closet. She points to a shelf where the laundry detergent is and I spot some other cleaning supplies that I'll need.

"Thanks," I tell her.

"Welcome." She smiles. "I'm Nicki."

"Sofie."

I grab a duster, mop and some floor wash and head back to my room with Nicki by my side. As we walk, a door down the hall swings open, and two girls my age step out. They're both dressed in tight yoga pants and tank tops, their blonde hair tied back in ponytails.

The girls stop and stare at me in surprise. "What is she wearing?" the one on the left whispers, and her friend giggles. They're pretty far away, but since I'm a Wolf, I have no trouble hearing them.

"It's a Justin Bieber shirt!" Nicki yells, also having heard every word, and storms down the hall toward my room. I'm pretty sure the girls aren't laughing at Nicki's shirt, but at my faded, ill-fitted clothes. I bought my outfit at a thrift store last year and I've had to sew it back together dozens of times. Usually, when Dad and I fight, I shift first, saving my clothes from damage. Sometimes, though, Dad and I fight in human form, or shift mid-fight, and my clothes suffer.

My current outfit may suck, but I don't really have money to spend on new clothes... especially not when I'm here to pay off a ten thousand dollar debt. Plus, I'm lucky I'm not wearing Dad's hand-me-downs. Dad, who's probably lounging in front of the TV, drinking beer and not sparing me a single thought!

Tears spring to my eyes and I storm off after Nicki, so upset about Dad's betrayal that I couldn't care less about what some stuck-up girls think.

When I get to my room, Nicki is standing in the doorway, her hands on her skinny little girl hips. "I like Justin Bieber," she tells me, stretching out her shirt to show off his photo. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"No?" I phrase it more like a question. Please don't get upset, I beg silently. I have enough problems right now. I don't need some kid crying or throwing a tantrum. I wish I knew what to say, but I don't really know how to talk to kids. The only one I've ever spent time with was Jen's little brother, Noah. He was always glued to an iPad, bragging about his high scores and telling me about games I'd never heard of. All I've ever had to do was to nod along and act impressed.

"Okay," Nicki grins and lets go of her shirt.

I sigh in relief, suddenly wishing I was a kid again. If only my problem could be so easily fixed. Except the only problem I can fix right now is this mess of a room.

I set down the cleaning supplies and grab a handful of laundry. Luckily, the mean girls are no longer in the hall. The room they exited is closed and when Nicki sticks out her tongue at it, I stifle a giggle.

"Jess isn't so bad," Nicki says, and it takes me a second to realize she's talking about the two girls, "and the mean one's Kaitlyn." I wonder which one's which, but before I can think on it too long, Nicki asks "Are you going to clean my room next?"

"We'll see," I tell her, even though what I really want to say is in your dreams.

Nicki watches me as I fill and run the washing machines and then plops herself on my bed to watch me clean. She never offers to help but she doesn't get in the way, either.

As I work, I realize that it's the perfect opportunity to dig for information. I need to plan my escape, which means figuring out how many guards POW has, and when and where they patrol. I should also get a better idea of POW's plans for me, so I know whether to rush my escape or bide my time. Nicki's a kid, so I could probably trick her into talking, unless POW sent her to act all innocent and report back everything I say. Should I just take the risk and ask her a bunch of questions, or stay quiet and wait to see what happens next?

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What would you do? Stay quiet? Or ask questions? 

And do you like Nicki?

How about Jess and Kaitlyn. Any idea which one's the mean one?


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