STAWP | Chapter 61

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"While I am happy for you both," POW finally stops the party, "you broke the rules. Not only did you sneak out past curfew, but you've disappointed the entire pack. You're pack Beta, Jasper, and now your pack will never get to see the moment when you find your mate."

"I could pretend..." Jasper begins.

"I will not add insult to injury and deceive my pack." POW snaps. "I expected better from you. Not only did you rob the pack of the celebration, but you took a huge risk. If Zara hadn't been your mate, this sneaking around..." He shakes his head.

"I'm sorry, Alpha." Jasper bows his head in shame.

"Me too." Zara mirrors her mate.

"And Zara, I expected better from you. You're our future Beta, and I need you to prove that you can handle it. As of this moment, I'm not sure you can."

"Yes, Alpha." Zara looks like she's about to cry.

"Because you two chose to break the rules, you won't get the standard week off from school that other mates get," POW tells them. "You can skip first period and sleep in, but that is all."

Their punishment is that they get to skip first period? I look at POW in confusion. I was expecting him to tear them apart and keep berating them until they both broke down in tears. Then, I thought he'd ground them both for the rest of their lives or lock them in the dungeon. Instead, they get to skip class?

"Saffron." POW turns to me. After the Zasper punishment, I'm not all too worried. "You knew about this and purposely deceived me. Your punishment is one week of kitchen duty."

"That's not fair," Zara cries in my defence while I'm still trying to process the turn of events.

"You're in no place to argue," POW tells her.

"Sorry, Alpha, but—"

"Zara," POW snaps. "Don't interfere."

"Yes, Alpha," Zara whispers.

"Saffron, other than kitchen duty, you're grounded for two weeks."

"Grounded?" I ask in surprise.

"Yes, grounded," POW says sternly. "I'm taking away your phone, computer, and TV privileges and I want you to come home straight after school. Understood?"

"But that's—" Logan starts to say something, but POW interrupts.

"I'll be speaking with you later." He turns back to me. "Saffron, am I clear?"

I gape at him in shock. My punishment is one week of kitchen duty, no phone, computer or TV privileges, and two weeks of coming straight home from school? Is POW actually serious? Is he messing with me? Is this some sort of trick?

I examine POW's face to see if this is all a joke, but he looks serious. It's crazy! I don't even own a phone, or a computer, or a TV. He'd literally have to buy me all three before he could take them away. Plus, two weeks of kitchen duty? I'm supposed to be in for a lifetime of kitchen duty, not two weeks. POW bought me for ten freaking grand to cook and clean. What does he expect me to do after the two weeks are up? Sleep in, lounge around, and pretend I live here? And what did he mean about coming home after school? Does he think this is my home, not my prison? And after two weeks, can I go wherever I please without the guard constantly following me? I wait for POW to laugh at me and say, 'just kidding, that's the rest of your life' but he's clearly not joking.

"Yes, Sir," I reply, trying to hide my smile. Zara and Jasper get to skip first period and I only have to serve two more weeks as pack slave. Talk about reverse punishment!

"Now, you two," POW turns to Jasper and Zara, who are still in bed, under the covers. "Luna and I haven't had a chance to get your new room set up, so it will have to wait until morning. You can stay here tonight."

"Thank you, Alpha," Jasper says.

"Thanks," Zara adds, blushing.

I blush too, suddenly feeling all awkward and uncomfortable. I didn't realize they'd actually be sharing a room from now on. I mean, yeah, I get that they're mates, but I thought that meant they would date and eventually get married. I didn't think they'd literally get to sleep together under POW's roof.

"Saffron," POW gets my attention, "come with me. You'll be staying in one of the guest bedrooms tonight."

Logan and I follow POW out. He start to close the door on Jasper and Zara, then pauses. "Congratulations again, to both of you," he says, and shuts the door with a click. I hear a giggle from inside and follow POW down the hall before I hear anything else.

As I walk, I realize I feel lighter than I have in a long time. Not just since Dad sold me for ten grand, but for years before that. I might have a future here, with this pack. I only have two more weeks as pack slave, and if I behave, POW might let me off the hook. The only remaining problem is that ten grand, but maybe I can get a part-time job and eventually pay him back? Or sell my dad to someone as a slave. Although who would actually pay for him? Obviously, it's so late at night that my brain isn't working.

POW heads up the stairs first, taking them two at a time, and Logan and I follow at a slower pace. Logan takes my hand in his and squeezes it gently as we walk, and I squeeze his back. He grins at me and I start to grin back, but my grin turns into a yawn.

Logan starts to laugh, and I yank my hand away from his to cover my mouth. Good thing, too, because POW chooses that moment to glance back and see why we're falling behind. Logan and I are no longer holding hands, so all he sees is me yawning. He shakes his head and leads us up to one of the closed doors on the fourth floor.

"You can sleep here," he tells me, gesturing for me to enter. As soon as I do, he closes the door behind me, leaving me engulfed in darkness.

I listen to two sets of footsteps retreat and yawn. It's pitch black in the room, but I can see the outline of a giant bed by the light of the moon. I'm so tired that it's literally all I need to know. I cross the room, climb under the covers, and instantly fall asleep.

 I cross the room, climb under the covers, and instantly fall asleep

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