Chapter 6: Premson

I decided to shake the night off. It wasn’t too hard to forget about because I found it so amazing to watch Landon run with ease next to us and Andrew right behind him in wolf form. He seemed to be ready to pounce on him at any moment. Marie rode with me again and I again felt an overwhelming sense of calm with her presence. Honestly, it really did help me stop thinking about the pain the dream caused and the pain of my family. My head was still pounding with pain, and it was hard to keep focused anyway. Every time I looked up I felt dizzy and wanted to fall over, so I kept my head down, but occasionally looked at Landon or Andrew. Jack guided us out of the forest and into clear plains filled with grass and flowers. It took my breath away. The wind made the grass sway back and forth. It was like a lullaby for my eyes. I couldn’t help but look up to enjoy the beautiful scene.

“Landon!” I heard Jack shout and then I realized why he yelled at him. The scenery made me forget about my head and the dizziness, and I was falling off my horse. Landon was quickly at my side and caught me just as I was about to hit the ground. The rushing stopped and the sound of hooves slowed. I was so embarrassed, but it felt nice to be in his arms. It sent shivers down my spine. He was so cold! I looked into his eyes with curiosity. He was staring back.

“You ok?” he said, and I turned away quickly to look at Gabe. I smiled slightly and closed my eyes for a moment.

“The scenery was so beautiful that I had to look, but my head has been throbbing and making me dizzy. Looking up only made it worse. I’m sorry.”

Andrew snorted at me, and everybody joined in with laughter.

“I’m thinking you shouldn’t ride the horse for a while,” Landon finally said. It broke the laughter except for Gabe who was now trying to choke back little snickers. Andrew growled and Jack looked a little concerned.

“Oh, come on! I’m not going to hurt her,” Landon looked at Jack and Jack relaxed, but Andrew didn’t.

“Okay, it’s safe enough,” Jack mounted his horse again and so did Gabe.

“Wait, what? What am I going to do?” I looked up at Jack. Landon chuckled and looked down at me. I turned to him to see him smiling.

“I’m going to carry you.”

“OH NO! I would rather collapse! Put me down! I want to mount with Marie!” I tried to struggle to get free, but his grip was stronger than the fit I was throwing. Andrew rolled with laughter, and it looked kind of funny in his wolf form. It’s not fair I thought. I’m going to be in the arms of the most conceited, stubborn, and the most impossible guy in the world, and I think he was enjoying it. I crossed my arms and complained with a “humph.” Landon laughed and relaxed his arms again so I could move a bit more freely.

“Okay, next stop, Premson. Let’s get going.” Jack turned his horse and he started to gallop away. Landon smirked and started to run with me in his arms.

The ride was awesome, but I would never admit it out loud. It seemed so easy for him, and I felt like I was flying. It seemed almost as if he was gliding along the ground. Andrew kept really close to us now, looking at me occasionally; maybe to make sure I was still alive. He would put his shoulder on my back sometimes when I would shiver from Landon’s cold skin because his fur was warm. Landon grimaced every time I shivered. I guessed it hurt his feelings when I did shiver.

We got to Premson when it was around the middle of the day. I didn’t expect it to be so big and full of people. When we got to a lobby where we would rest, Landon finally put me down gently and handed me a blanket. I wrapped it around me while I spotted Andrew walking into the lobby. He had to change before he could enter the city. He looked at me and chuckled at Landon. It must have bothered him, and Andrew knew it. Jack got each of us rooms and then he told us to get into them without him.

“I have some business to tend to. Marie, stay with them,” he said to Marie who stopped walking with him.

I noticed I was still a tad dizzy and walking up the stairs was very difficult. Instead of Landon picking me up, Andrew’s warm hands grabbed me, pulling me into his chest and he carried me the rest of the way. I didn’t need the blanket anymore by the time we got to the door, so I pulled it off me.

All of us, except for Marie, stayed in one room to keep company. She kept to herself a lot. I honestly didn’t blame her. I haven’t had time to grieve, and I wanted to be alone, but it was impossible. Gabe sprawled out on the bed and fell asleep instantly. He probably hasn’t gotten enough sleep from all the excitement. We understood, so we let him sleep. Andrew made sure to stay awake because he still didn’t trust Landon, but Landon was very quiet and calm. Unfortunately, I loved looking at him. I was finally able to get a full look at him. He had beautiful golden-brown hair that was cut short but had enough to run your fingers into. He was tall and you could see how muscular he was with the black shirt he was wearing that hugged his body tightly. He was wearing red pants that seemed a bit worn, but he pulled it off easily. He was so beautiful. I bet that was how he would get his prey if he did drink human blood.

 I felt sick so I lay down on the couch and curled into a ball. It was then that I made the mistake of bringing back the memories of my recent dream and that tragic morning. The tears finally came. Landon didn’t budge, but Andrew looked at me. He looked concerned and I wanted to tell him, but I knew that if I did I would never stop crying. Instead, he started talking to stop the silence. I guess he thought it would help.

“Even though it’s very rare and genetic, I became a werewolf when I was thirteen. It’s not like the stories that have been told for centuries. Like if you got bitten by a werewolf, you would become one. That’s not true at all, but I do have venom. It’s very deadly to a human. No human can survive after being bitten. Also, purposively werewolves are supposed to be allergic to silver, but that’s also not true. I can be killed just like a human can, but in wolf form it’s almost impossible to kill me. Vampire venom is one thing that is deadly to a werewolf. My dad told me that the venom would mix in with my venom and would backfire with my blood. My venom would be deadly to me along with the vampire venom. I’m lucky to have fast reflexes.

“When I told my parents, my dad was proud, but my mom was very skeptical about it. It’s very hard to tame honestly. Every time I was mad or scared or got too excited, I would change, and it would be hours and sometimes even days before I could change back. When I was about fifteen, I learned how to tame it and my mom felt better about it, so she was around me more. I felt better that my family was back to normal. When I turned sixteen, I stopped aging because I had changed too much. I didn’t understand why I was changing so much until one of those leeches like him came around,” he stopped talking and looked at Landon. Landon flinched, but showed no emotion so Andrew continued.

“I then understood why I changed in the first place, and why I’m still sixteen years old. One night, the leech finally cracked and attacked my family. I tried to stop him. I did the best I could, but I didn’t stop him in time. He got away wounded with the pleasure of killing my mom. I saw her lying there, lifeless on the living room floor. My dad screamed like nothing I’ve ever heard before, and it didn’t stop until morning. I couldn’t take holding onto all that anger, so I took off to look for the leech. I searched all night, but I never found him.

“When I got back the next morning, my dad was still on the floor next to mom. I finally had to pick my dad up and remove him from the room so I could place her somewhere else. I burned her body into the wilderness. She loved the wildlife, so that’s what we did for my mom. It’s what she would have wanted. My dad didn’t take it well at all. He changed completely. I could barely talk to him anymore because he wouldn’t speak to anyone. Finally,” he cleared his throat and wiped the tears that were streaming down his cheeks.

“He ran into the river, and I haven’t seen him since. I never found his body or anything. That was about three years ago, and I haven’t aged since then. I have been stuck at sixteen.” He turned to me.

“Riley, the pain never goes away. It’s okay to be upset.”

I saw tears stream down his face while he wiped them quickly away. He placed a hand on my shoulder and looked at me. I could tell he was trying to help my pain, but the lump in my throat seemed to get stronger and bigger.

“It’s…too much,” I finally got those three simple words and turned away from him. More tears streamed down my cheeks, and I held my sides tightly, trying to keep myself together from the pain that was tearing me apart. Andrew walked away before I could say another word. I’ll have to thank him for that later. I wasn’t ready to tell or even think about my family like he can, and I guess he understood that. I fell asleep with tears still streaming down my cheeks and a vision of Robin smiling at me.

“It’s ok Riley, calm down,” I heard Landon’s gentle voice. I must have been shaking and screaming again. My nightmare was ending, and I could hear Landon’s voice in the distance. I was still dreaming. I saw Landon standing there in my dreams with open arms and I took to them with no hesitation. Finally, I woke up with Landon looking at me with a hand on my forehead. His ice-cold hand felt so good against my sweaty, hot face. My dream went back to that morning of screaming and fighting with my family. I wrapped my arms around his neck without hesitating. I know it was crazy to collapse myself into someone I barely knew, but I was so desperate for the hole within myself to mend. He put his arms around me and held me gently against him. His skin was so smooth and hard. He felt like an ice sculpture.

“It’s ok, it’s ok. The nightmare is over.”

I stayed in his arms until my shaking horror faded, then I got cold and backed away. Well, tried to. It took a minute for him to realize that I was struggling. He moved quickly and was in the opposite corner of the room in a second. I grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around me.

“Sorry,” I heard him say in a low, mumbled tone.          

  When my breathing soothed to a steady rhythm, I sat back down on the couch and put my arms around my knees. I noticed that Gabe and Andrew were gone. They probably had their own room, I thought, and since Landon oversaw my dreams and never slept, he must have the same room as me. I finally took control and pushed the dream away. Landon was standing in the corner looking outside through the tiny window we had in our room. It was dark outside. I must have slept through the afternoon. Before I could say anything, Landon spoke still looking out the window.

“You looked quite peaceful until the dream started. I could tell when you started to whimper that you were dreaming.”

He looked at me and smirked a little and then he flinched. “I just didn’t expect to hear my name in your nightmare,” he hesitated a little with the last words. “Did I kill you?”

I thought about the end of the dream when I saw him with open arms. Did I really want to tell him that I was happy to see him, or did I want to lie to him and tell him that he really was killing me in my dream like he said? I didn’t know what to say. He looked at me even harder and looked a little hurt. I couldn’t stand to see him that way, even if I couldn’t stand him.

I sighed and stood up. “No, Landon it wasn’t that. I’m not sure why I said your name.” I sat back down to look at the ceiling. I was sure he couldn’t wait to rub it in and show off about it, but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t even smirk about it. I stared at him, waiting to hear something. Even a random remark would have been nice to hear. I just couldn’t stand him just sitting there.

“Hello? Don’t you want to gloat about it?” I said as I saw a little smile sneak up on his face, but it quickly faded. Again, I waited for him to speak to me in any way. He finally got closer and looked at me. He chuckled and finally smiled. That almost took my breath away, but I hid it the best I could. He sat on the table that was in front of me and ruffled the back of his golden-brown hair with his hand.

 “I guess you have me all figured out then,” He laughed even harder and waited for my response.

“Well, yea! You’re a conceited ass who-,” he started laughing so hard that I couldn’t even finish my response. I looked at him in disgust, but also in awe. I hated admitting that even to myself. He was just like the other boys back home. He was just more beautiful than they were. He finally stopped laughing and looked at me straight in the eyes. The smile faded from his face, and he just stared back. His eyes just had this warm feeling to them that I couldn’t look away. He was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on, and it didn’t matter how conceited he was. His hand lifted close to my face, but he soon put it back down to his side. A big knock at the door made me come to my senses and I jumped at the sound. I didn’t move, but Landon quickly got up to get the door. When he opened it, Andrew was standing there looking at him with the most furious eyes I have ever seen.

“Don’t even think about it buddy.”

Landon put his head down and chuckled once. “That mind of yours.”

Andrew shoved him aside and walked in. Landon closed the door and walked towards the corner he was in earlier with a little smirk on his face.

When I finally got my mind back, I saw Andrew sitting on the chair across from me, smiling. “Hey little one, good evening!”

I hated being called little, but he had a reason. Standing next to him was like me standing next to a tall tree. I smiled back and nodded at his greeting. I guess he was here to keep watch and make sure I would live through the night.

“I would have killed her by now if I wanted to, you don’t have to check up on us like this,” Landon said looking out the tiny window once again. Andrew didn’t say anything back, but I flinched at the words. The door opened once again, and it was Gabe, Jack, and Marie.

“Good, everyone is awake. I just got back from the city and there was a bunch of talk about a murder recently. We must be careful ‘till morning.” Jack tossed me a bag full of bread, jerky, and cheese. I grabbed a handful of jerky and chomped down on it. Jack smiled and then looked at each of us.

“I’m not sure when we will leave, so be alert Landon. If she is sound asleep when we leave, you’ll have to carry her.”

Landon smirked and then nodded while Andrew flinched and growled under his breath. I looked back at Landon and saw that he had the biggest grin on his face. It almost hurt to look at it. I quickly looked away and stuffed my face with bread.

Landon chuckled a little bit and looked at Jack. “Where was the murder placed? Do you know?”

Jack hesitated for a moment and walked towards the window next to Landon. “I’m not too sure of the destination, but I’m pretty sure that it was close to the end of the city. I don’t want any trouble.”

I knew then what he meant by “business to tend to”. I saw a sword connected to his belt and a small dagger on the other side. He was getting weapons to protect us. Something about the city scared me and I wanted to get out of here, but most likely we had to stay another night because Jack looked very tired. It didn’t matter how I felt, Jack did need rest too.

I stayed up all night. Landon didn’t speak much, but when he did it was to see if I was awake or not. I was lying down on the bed just looking at the ceiling. Afraid to think too much, I sat up and grabbed the bag of food that Jack gave me. I thought eating would help. The bag was almost empty. I didn’t realize that I was that hungry. I ate what was left and got up to throw the bag away in the small, black trashcan in the corner of the room by the door. Landon was still standing by the window like a statue. He didn’t move from that spot since Jack and the rest of them left the room. Before they all left, Andrew gave him a mean, suspicious look. Landon just looked back at him and almost looked scared, but confident on whatever he was thinking. Andrew stormed out of the room quickly after that. I didn’t really think about it until I had time to, but I wasn’t going to ask him about it. He was in deep thought, and I wasn’t going to disturb that. He kind of looked a little scary to be honest. I walked back to the bed and sat down on the edge. Sleep was no option, and I wasn’t going to talk to smug, conceited Landon over there. He did comfort me though. That wasn’t like him at all. Maybe I was being too hard on him I did barely know him, but he was an ass, and he was proud of it from what he showed. I decided to lie down again and look at the ceiling. It had an interesting pattern. It was wavy in some areas, and it was ridged with zigzags in the other areas. I found every way to stop myself from thinking about terrible things because I did not feel like crying again, not now. I finally stopped looking at the ceiling and sat up to check and see if he moved at all. Landon finally moved a little bit, but it was kind of an awkward movement. He seemed disturbed. It bothered me. I wanted to go touch him to see if he was okay, but I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to go any closer to him than I already was. He might be having a blood crave issue and I didn’t want to die right now. Then, someone slammed their fists on the door very angrily. That took Landon out of his trance, and he was moving so fast that I didn’t know where he was. I was pushed onto the bed, and it soon felt like there was a huge iceberg on me. I then realized that it was him on top of me. He whispered in my ear, “Don’t move a muscle.”

I breathed very carefully to make sure I wouldn’t lose my mind. Even in a whisper, his voice was amazing. I felt fear of everything at once. When the door slammed open, Landon put his arms around me and held me so tight that I thought I would snap.

“Let her go you idiot! You’ll snap her in half!” Andrew grabbed him and tried to pull him off, but he couldn’t. Landon finally relaxed and moved. I could finally breathe. I breathed deeply until my lungs were satisfied.

“Sorry Riley,” Landon finally said. Andrew put a hand on the back of my neck to warm me up a little. When I felt warm enough, I pulled his hand off and charged at Landon.

“What the hell was that?! You almost suffocated me!” I wanted to punch him, to show him how I felt, but I knew that would be a bad idea. If Andrew couldn’t move him, I sure couldn’t hurt him. Landon ignored me and looked at Andrew. Andrew’s eyes were horror-struck and then his expression quickly turned into anger.

“We’ve got to get out of here Andrew. Tell the others, I’ll move Riley as far away as I can and then I’ll tell you where we are.”

“I don’t trust you with her.” Andrew looked at him with his hesitant hazel eyes. He shook a little bit, but Landon rolled his eyes and got serious.

“Don’t worry! We’ve been through this already. Do we really have to do this again?”

Andrew stopped shaking and backed up a little. I was lost. What was happening? Landon picked me up gently and held me firmly. They were having this conversation in front of me that I couldn’t hear nor understand, and it was making me mad.

“How will you tell him? Where are we going? Tell me what’s going on!” I squirmed, but I knew it was a false attempt.

“No time let’s go. Here, you’ll need this.” Landon grabbed the heavy blanket on my bed and covered me with it. After that I couldn’t really budge.

Andrew ran out the door hesitantly, going in the opposite direction. I then realized that Landon was running straight to the window. This was a little too much for me to comprehend so I buried my face into his chest and tried not to scream. I was still angry, but I was also afraid. I didn’t want to watch him jump out of the window. Of course, he would land on his feet, but I just didn’t want to look. I heard a small break from the glass, and we were flying down to the ground. I was expecting a hard thud, but I barely noticed the landing. When I decided to look, we were flying across the streets. It was a good thing that nobody was awake to see this. If I saw this on the street I would freak out.

He was running for a long time. I lost track of the time and gave up trying to ask him what was going on. He wouldn’t answer me at all. It was a good thing he gave me this blanket. The cold wind was spitting at me, and his cold skin wasn’t helping. Landon didn’t even flinch at the wind. It kind of made me jealous. One thing I did notice about him was that his warm, gray eyes turned hard and dark.

The rush of the cold wind came to a dead stop and it took me a moment to realize that we had stopped. He put me down and pulled me behind him.

“Don’t say a word. Stay behind me.” His voice made it sound like harsh commands, but I obeyed. I was too scared not to. We were in the woods again and there was barely any light. Landon was looking straight ahead with a very serious, but comical look on his face. That was typical. He had a smart-ass look to him. I couldn’t see what he was seeing. I couldn’t see anything at all actually. Finally, I saw four bodily figures come into the little clearing. I looked and saw four boys that looked almost like Landon. They were all unspeakably beautiful, but their eyes were abnormally bright and strange colors. 

“Lucas, Cody, Mike, Jonas! What a great pleasure!” Landon sounded a little sarcastic.

The one closest to Landon spoke with a small grin.

“Cut the smart-ass comments Landon. I know you like an open book. You’re not happy to see us any more than we are happy to see you.” The rest of them laughed and waited for an answer.

“Lucas, why do you want Riley? She has no importance to you besides blood and you’re not a hunter. You could have anyone else anyway.” Landon placed his cold hand on my back behind him to keep me close. That wasn’t necessary since I was so close to him that there wasn’t enough to slide a piece of paper between us.

“Wrong you are brother. You know there is a price on this girl. Maybe that’s why you have her?”

Landon’s face looked shocked and hard. His jaw locked and he stared at Lucas carefully. It seemed he was trying to hold something back. Lucas chuckled and shook his head.

“I always knew you wouldn’t have the guts to be in this gang. You don’t even drink human blood! Now you are going to fall back on us and not give her to Logan? Shame, shame, Landon, OH! What is this?” Lucas came closer to him, and Landon grunted in defeat.

“You definitely have guts for something! Our little Landon scored after all, good for you! Your first real craving is hard isn’t it? Hard to control, hard to tame. That burn inside your lungs, the thirst, the wonder. The wanting to just give in and take it! But the question is, why haven’t you?”

Landon fidgeted, but didn’t move his hand. “Shut up Lucas you’re just crazy.” He watched Lucas turn to me. My heart raced faster than it has ever before. I started to shake some, but Landon’s firm hand controlled it. I kept my mouth shut like he told me to, and I let Lucas look at me without question. He touched my cheek with his palm and stared at me. His hands were even icier than Landon’s. I had to admit, he was also beautiful. He had white, blonde hair and a strong, boss-like look to him. He was taller than Landon and his skin was winter white. His eyes were a bright red. It made him look unique from the others because he was the only one with red eyes. It also made him look evil, but it was beautiful in its own way, which made it more frightening. I shivered, and Landon flinched. A small snarl came out of Landon’s throat, and he turned his head to glare. Landon moved me aggressively to the other side and changed hands.

“Ahh, I see now.” Lucas chuckled as his hand slipped away from my face.

Landon was protecting me. Another side I have never seen from him.

“You’re not taking her Lucas. I won’t let you.” Landon growled at Lucas and the other three laughed from the other side of the clearing. One of them came closer so I could see his face. This one had black hair and had bangs that covered his right eye. I could see that his eye color was bright yellow, almost like a cat’s eyes, but scarier. His fangs were showing from his grim smile.

“Back off Mike, she’s not to be tasted.  Logan wants her alive remember?” Lucas looked at him and smiled.

Mike hesitated and then frowned at Lucas. He backed up some and didn’t breathe.

“Give her to us Landon, it will get her off your hands and you will be rewarded.” Lucas turned back to Landon still smiling. He moved closer to where I was, but Landon backed away snarling even louder. Lucas laughed and backed away with his hands up.

“Okay Landon, have it your way. I thought this would be pretty easy to settle, but something has changed you.” Lucas chuckled once again, and Landon growled.

I thought a fight was coming, and it was my fault, but I really didn’t know why.

“I left for a reason Lucas.” Landon backed away even more and was ready to fight.

“Oh, don’t worry, we’re not fighting for her. We’ll be around. I just wanted to try and compromise.” Lucas turned to Mike who was now jumping up and down from anticipation.

“Calm down Mike, we’ll go find someone later.”

I looked at him in disgust and Lucas turned to me again. A smile reached his lips and it showed off his bright white fangs. The other two that I didn’t get to see started to walk away with Mike behind them. They really didn’t seem too interested in what was going on.

“Take care of yourself. It’s impossible for you to feel that way. It’s just the intensity of the crave so let it go.” Lucas had turned to Landon and put his hand on his shoulder. Landon shook it off fiercely and glared at him. Lucas chuckled and raced away. Landon finally let me go and paced himself back and forth. Before I knew it, I saw a black wolf come to the clearing with 3 horses.

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