“Uh,” Alex stopped to think about his reply. It wasn’t a trick question, but for some reason, it felt like one. “Not really. A pack has a hierarchy.”
“OK. Just asking.” Marcus said.
Pausing for a second, Alex took the initiative. His friend had asked that question for a reason. “Unless you’re saying it like I mean to defend you guys.”
“That’s the impression I’m getting.” Marcus said. The tone in his voice sounded neutral, or at least semi.
“Not that that’s a bad thing, I hope.” Alex said.
“No, it’s not.” Marcus said. “You did it again, though.”
“Backing off from him? I know, and I wish I hadn’t.”
“I saw your eyes turn yellow too.” When his friend replied, Alex felt a chill run through his body. How close had he come to showing his fangs or claws? “That scared me.”
“I thought he was going to shift in the store, or something.” Alex said, trying to deflect what he thought was coming.
“He likely realized you were onto him.” Marcus said. “I mean, you said it straight up. You thought he was stalking us, and then he gets defensive about it.”
Although Alex agreed with his friend’s assessment, something still felt off. “Makes me glad Trevor didn’t notice.”
Marcus nodded at that statement with a “Mmm.”
Not long after, their meals arrived. Both of them fresh, hot cheeseburgers. While Marcus paused every so often to text, Alex stayed on his meal, thinking of it, and the good company of his friend, as rewards for not shifting at work.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Moon Phase – First Quarter
As he sat into his classes the next day, Catherine once again stopped by. Meeting her outside the classroom, she was quick to ask what had happened the day prior.
“He was acting like a customer, at least until I started talking to him.” Alex said. As he spoke to her, he kept his nose trained on any scents around her. Her fear scent wasn’t there.
“He said he wasn’t stalking us because we’re pack members?” Catherine asked, her tone rising halfway through in question.
Alex looked back to the door, dropping his voice in response. “As far as I could tell.”