STAWP | Chapter 25

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I make my bed, grab my toothbrush—which I shouldn't have risked my life for, since there's a cupboard full of them—and stop by the bathroom to fix my hair and brush my teeth. Now that I have nice stuff, I think about wearing makeup, too. I could never afford it before, and Anna and Jen didn't wear any, so it wasn't really an option. Zara has a whole collection though—her desk is lined with it. If I get a chance before school, I'll ask her if she has space lip gloss or some eyeshadow or something that I can take with me when I escape. Maybe she'll even teach me how to apply it.

I stop by our room on my way down to the kitchen and drop off the toothbrush. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going, but I saw the dining room when POW brought me here, so I head inside and walk past the large, wooden table. It's a lot longer than I thought, and I think I count close to a hundred chairs. What am I going to cook for that many people? Will there be enough food? They don't expect me to hunt too, do they?

There's a door at the back of the dining room that I hope is the kitchen. A peek inside confirms it. There's a giant stove to my left—so long that it runs half the length of the wall—and a fridge across from it. At the back, there are two sinks, side by side, and tons of counter space. There's also an island in the middle of the room, surrounded by bar stools. Every surface is filled with mixing bowls, cutting boards, and hundreds of clean plates and utensils.

Three people—wolves—are assembled in the kitchen, and they're all grownups. There's a really tall, skinny man grabbing plates and bowls from the top cupboard. He passes them to an equally tall woman, who sets them on the counter. The two look very much alike: skinny, in their forties, with short, light-blonde hair and pale skin. They're dressed casually in blue jeans, with matching white t-shirts, and if it wasn't for the other woman in the room, I'd think there was a dress code. She's around my height and dressed all in black. Her skin has a nice tan to it and her hair, which is pulled back in a ponytail, is a few shades darker than mine.

"Good morning." I call from the doorway to get their attention. The adults immediately look up from what they're doing and turn to stare at me.

"Come on in." The short brunette smiles warmly and lets go of the chunk of dough that she was kneading.

"Hi." I hesitantly enter the kitchen.

"You must be Saffron." She extends her right hand and then pulls it back when she realizes it's covered in flour. Her musical laughter fills the room and I can't help but smile back. I wait while she wipes her hands on a towel and then on her pants for good measure, leaving a trail of white. "Sorry about that." She winks and shakes my hand. "I'm Luna Patton, but everyone just calls me Luna."

"It's nice to meet you, Luna," I answer politely, trying to hide my shock. She's married to scary, angry POW? Luna seems so nice and friendly—all happiness and laughter—while POW is... well, POW. At least now I know where Logan gets his good side.

I wonder what she sees in POW. Maybe it was an arranged marriage and now she totally hates him... or maybe it had something to do with the mating instinct, the one that's going to tear Zara and Jasper apart. If it can make Luna and POW fall in love, they don't stand a chance.

"These are Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs. Mark's parents," Luna introduces the tall, blonde couple. "I'm sure you'll meet Mark later today."

"Hello." I smile at them politely and they smile back.

"Mark was supposed to have kitchen duty today, and no one told his parents there was a change of plans. They came to spend a little bit of time with their son, but did James think of that? No. Of course not!" Luna complains, shaking her head.

Zara told me that POW made her switch kitchen duty shifts with Mark and then order me to do it, which means that POW must be James... Alpha James Patton.

"Oh, don't worry about it, Luna." Mrs. Jacobs pats the other woman's shoulder.

"We'll still get to see Mark at breakfast," Mr. Jacobs adds.

"Saffron," Luna turns to me, "why don't you start by bringing everything out into the dining room?" She points to the stacks of dishes and cutlery that Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs are piling on the counter.

Inwardly, I groan. I'd much rather cook—which I'm actually kind of good at— but I know better than to argue. I'm an Omega, I remind myself and obediently carry stacks of plates out. There are enough to feed an entire army, and it takes me several dozen trips just to get everything into the dining room. I try to hurry so Luna doesn't think I'm slacking off, but it feels like forever before the plates, knives, and forks are all set properly.

When I come back into the kitchen, Luna hesitates. "James told me you didn't grow up with a pack. Usually, when one of the kids gets kitchen duty for the first time, they get paired up with someone more experienced who teaches them how to cook. Maybe for today you can just watch?" 

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