Chapter 2 - And Life Goes On

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Eleven years later.....

"Umph." I hear Tori grunt as I landed a blow to her stomach. "Come on woman, you should have seen that coming by a mile!" I say to her with a slight giggle. We were working on hand to hand and to be honest, I wasn't using my full speed or strength. She really should have seen that coming, but I think she's a bit distracted.

"Irie!!!! You're too fast for most of the wolves here and you know it!" Tori whines out as she frowns at me.

Eleven years ago I came to MeadowEdge, seemingly an abandoned or orphaned pup that the Beta had found at the edge of their territory. Alpha Mark Richards and his Luna Cecily knew the truth of course, but the three had helped concoct this story so their pack would be none the wiser of my origins. Since our wolves typically don't surface within us until around puberty, there was no pack connection to my old pack. And Beta Luke had made sure that my 'smell', the one that would tie me to them, was gone by the time we arrived at MeadowEdge.

I stopped going by Illyria the day I left home. Although not really a huge change, I go by Irie now. They had asked me what I would want to be referred to as. Being six at the time, and not really wanting to let go of my life, I went with a shortened version of my own name.

"Oh come on! That might be half true, you know my fighting style better than most, but not the best by far. YOU of all people should have seen that coming since you are the one who trains with me every day. And on that note, you have zero excuse here." I bark at her.

Tori Prescott has been my best friend for over ten years. She befriended me shortly after I was 'adopted' into the pack. Back then, I felt so alone. Even though I knew it was to protect me and everyone from Moonlight, the feeling of being sent away wasn't a good one. I was really withdrawn, didn't talk to anyone, didn't really go out and play. I was pouting and upset with the world because of my circumstance. I went to school because the Alpha made me, not because I wanted to. That was really the kicker too. I loved to learn, to be challenged. I loved absorbing everything around me. The fact that I didn't even want to go to school was just awful.

It was at school one day, while I was sitting alone that Tori befriended me. She came up to this sad, small girl and offered her a smile and someone to eat lunch with. She forced me to let her in and talk with her.

At first, she just forced me to allow her to sit with me. Then she started making me talk about myself. Since I couldn't say much about my past, I stuck with the stuff I liked to do. She latched on to everything and then started prodding me to get out of my depressed little bubble and learn to live. We've been best friends ever since.

"It's too early to think about these things! Who the hell needs to be up and training at 5 am anyway!" She whines back at me. For someone so determined, she's pretty obstinate when it comes to interruptions in her sleep.

Tori seems like she should be my polar opposite. With her brunette hair and brown eyes, she contrasts me in the physical appearance department for sure. Then there's her attitude. Where I've learned and grown to be decently poised, thanks to Luna Cecily, she's blunt force trauma at it's best. I weigh out situations, problems, just about everything. She goes in head first. That's what makes it seem like we're really opposites, but really, we just balance each other out. I reel her back, she pushes me forward.

"Tori, you want to toughen up and move up in the rank. You want to make enforcer some day, right?" I quirk my eyebrow at her when I ask. She nods, as I knew she would since we've been talking about this for years. "Then you need to be the first one out here, working your ass off. Showing you have the drive and determination to do this. There will always be someone bigger, stronger, faster. But you can build your skills and still take them down with the right moves. Now get your ass up and try again!"

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