“I’m from a town called Beacon Hills, California,” he sighed. “Lovely weather. Mom, Dad, big brother and me for a few years. Camden died in Afghanistan and mom… she couldn’t take the loss so…” he said softly. “Things got bad with my dad, but he’s dead now too so… Then my girlfriend died and her dad took me to France so I could live with their family, become a hunter but then I became a chef.”
“So, you went to France to learn how to make a decent Italian lasagna?” Bella asked, smirking. “Mine is better. The marsala wasn’t bad though.”
“Nah, the American way is the better Italian cooking if you ask me,” Isaac laughed. “Seriously, any pasta is better here, we season it in such a way that’s it’s an insult to most Italians, but so damn good. But France has great chefs. I did some internships in England and Italy, too.”
“Any food is good if it’s made fresh,” she shrugged. “So, where are we going? Texas you said, right?”
Isaac shrugged. “Anywhere you want, really. Thought it’d be nice to just drive for a few days and see where we end up, although… I want to tell you something about how I became a werewolf, if that’s alright with you.”
“Sure,” she said as she pulled off her shoes and settled into the chair more comfortably. A few days driving, seeing the sights, was probably a great thing to settle her mind. To process things, because she still felt as if she was being overwhelmed by information.
“I know that a lot has come to you today, a lot of information, new information, and I guess that if you’ll stick around for a bit longer, you’ll learn more and more,” Isaac said, when Bella nodded, he continued. “After school hours, I worked at the graveyard, digging graves. I was a quiet kid, trying to be invisible and study hard because my dad… he… well, he was really big on me getting great grades and make something out of myself. Like my brother Camden. One night, there was something at the cemetery, something out of the ordinary. I mean, sometimes you see lights or white figures, but this was something different. Rustling of leaves, frantically running around. I wasn’t aware of what was going on but I found myself out of my digger, into the grave I just dug, scared shitless,” he chuckled. “I was pretty sure I was going to die, until I heard some growling and fighting and the digger was pulled off of me and there he was… my saviour. My… Alpha. Derek offered the bite to me, knowing that I was quiet, shy, or at least pretended to be and the bite would make me stronger, more durable. So he bit me and I became his beta. But man, he was a dick, and for an Alpha quite incompetent. I felt more safe around Scott, another beta, than I felt around my own Alpha. Not to mention, Derek had a psycho uncle who… well, is quite a character himself.”
Bella listened silently until he finished. She felt that he wasn’t done and nodded. “Sounds like quite the experience. Your city sounds like it must be a blast with so many creatures running around.”
“Beacon Hills was a supernatural mess,” Isaac chuckled. “Don’t get me wrong, we had our dealings with supernatural crap, but there were some good times too. I thought I had found some great friends with Scott’s pack, I felt safe, but they always kept me out of the loop. I never knew what was going on, unless they needed someone who had anger issues. But for a while, I didn’t feel as awkward and out of place like I had felt for years.”
“And now?” she questioned. “With this whole supernatural rescue project you’re working on with Peter?”
“Well, after my girlfriend died, her dad took me to France with him. I wasn’t 18 yet, an orphan, so yeah… In any case, I tried to reach out many times to them, sending emails, never getting anything back. So I gave up. They weren’t real friends then, were they? I did try to keep up with the happenings in Beacon Hills, Chris Argent, Allison’s father, occasionally emailed me back after he returned to Beacon Hills, but he was far too busy to respond all the time. But he did tell me not to come back, because it was dangerous,” he let out a snort. “Too dangerous for a werewolf who had been trained to be a hunter. I could have helped them while they were fighting hunters lead by Chris Argent’s father, but I wasn’t allowed to. Oh, I got mad, so mad, and Chris eventually sent me to Peter to do our own thing for the supernatural community. There are now two separate Argent hunters. Those who go by the new code; ‘nous protègons ceux qui ne peuvent pas se protèger eux-měmes‘ which means ‘we protect those who can’t protect themselves’ and those who go by the old code; ‘nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent‘, meaning ‘we hunt those who hunt us’. It’s those who live by the old code that are hunting us.”
Bella let out a breath as she thought about him being pushed aside while his former friends sounded like the type to do about the same thing, except knowing what little she did of Peter as she did through Jasper, she was certain of one thing. The vampires had been around long enough to have money and connections. No doubt they would be able to set up a strong and successful network that would trample whatever his puppy friends tried. “I would think that was a good thing. You’d do more than they could ever accomplish, but it does make me curious about them.” But damn, hearing Isaac speak French was sexy.
“Well, that’s why I wanted to tell you about me, and how my life was, because I think that you and I should make the trip down to Beacon Hills,” Isaac said carefully.
“You sound like you’re about to puke by saying that. What don’t you want to tell me?” She demanded.
“Where are your pills? Your medication?” He wondered as he looked at her briefly, before turning his attention back to the road.
She narrowed her eyes. “In my bag. Why do you want to know?”
“Could you get them for me, please?”
She grabbed her backpack and slowly dug out the bottle as she watched him cautiously. “Here. They’re for my mood swings. I don’t know what the big deal is.”
He snatched the bottle from her hand and looked at the label, recognizing the prescribing doctor. “Yep, just as I thought,” he said as he opened the window and threw the bottle out onto the road. “No more pills for you.”
Bella jumped up onto her knees on the seat, screeching. “Why the fuck would you do that?! Do you understand how insane I could get without those?!”
“Yeah,” Isaac nodded slowly. “I think I have a pretty good idea how insane you could get without those. When’s the next full moon? We might have to get kinky, I might have to tie you up very tightly to make sure you don’t take my head off.”
“WHAT THE FUCK?!”
“Those pills were nothing but dried moss in casings. Letharia Vulpina, or wolf’s lichen. It weakens a werewolf up to a point where the werewolf becomes more human. Your dad’s house is laced with it. The shampoo you use? Laced with it. The plants? Well, the green moss is pretty.”
Bella could only shake her head in disbelief. “No, you can’t possibly be right because then I would have had to come in contact with one of those other types of wolves, like yours or the kind you mentioned because I’m definitely not Native American.”
“No, you’re even more important, more precious than that,” Isaac said. “Those pills were prescribed by a Doctor Deaton from Beacon Hills, California. Now, I happen to know Dr. Deaton, and he’s a veterinarian.”
Her jaw fell open and snapped it closed. “I am not a fucking dog.”
“He is also the Druid Emissary to the Hale family and loyal to Scott’s pack. And friendly with Chris Argent,” Isaac explained.
“Still doesn’t explain how the fuck you believe I’m a werewolf of whatever kind.”
“When I entered your dad’s house, I felt it immediately, the effects of the moss all around the house. Also, your dad had a one night stand with a werewolf, and he admitted that it was Talia Hale. You’re a born werewolf.”
She blinked and shook her head again, fully in denial. “No. That was before he met my mother, Renee. I’m eighteen, so you see, that can’t be true.”
“And that’s why we’re going to Beacon Hills to get you some answers, but Bella, you are a werewolf and if you’re truly a Hale, you’re basically werewolf royalty.”
Bella sneered at him as she settled into her seat. “Yeah, great. Just get me a crown and scepter and I’ll just tell everyone to go fuck themselves.”
Isaac started to laugh. “That can be arranged. And if you’re truly a Hale, you’d be the youngest of Talia’s children. You’ll get along with Peter swimmingly. You might still want to punch your brother Derek.”
“Wait. The same Derek that turned you and asshole Alpha that can’t lead shit?” she asked.
“One and the same! Oh wait, this is an even more fun story. So, in theory, if you’re Derek’s sister, you have an older sister called Cora, then there’s Derek and Laura. Laura was an Alpha until Peter, your uncle, stole it from her. Then Derek stole it back from Peter because Peter was being a dick and then later Derek gave up his Alpha spark to save Cora from mistletoe poisoning.”
“How do you steal an Alpha status?” she asked, rubbing her temples, trying to learn the new werewolf jargon that was now her world if what he was telling her was true. That and what seemed to be her family history. Add in the mental note to call and bitch out her father when they stopped for the night…
He flicked out his nails one one hand. “With these. When you’re a beta and want to take your Alpha’s power. Another way to become an Alpha is when a bunch of us betas or omegas are together and the strongest of us becomes our leader. Scott became an Alpha because he’s a True Alpha, something that’s incredibly rare. Or, you know, in your case, being an Alpha is hereditary. Peter had to steal the Alpha power because his sister was one and passed it down to her children in succession after her death. He’s outside the blood line, sort to speak. So, it’s quite possible that during your first moon off your meds, you’re going to be a lot stronger than I am and I will have to restrain you so you won’t hurt yourself or others.”
She blew out a breath. “This is a lot. It sounds like I come from a family of assholes. At least it explains why I seemed to get along with Jasper and Peter so well now.”
“Yep, but the good thing is that you don’t have to be an asshole yourself. Talia was all about promoting good will with her powers. Just like the hunters, there’s a good and bad side now.”
The glare she shot him would have told him enough of what she thought of him at the moment, that she could easily fall into the category of asshole family if she so desired. And she was certainly running the line pretty close. “I think it might be a good idea to come up with some plan.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we’re going to Beacon Hills, right? You want to confront this Deacon doctor and why he’s been giving me these pills. May as well arrange a family reunion if it’s true. I mean, they are my family, even if they are jerks. If it doesn’t go well, then I can’t say I didn’t try.”
“Oh, I know why he’s been giving you the pills, to subdue your werewolf side, likely to keep you safe. But yeah, we go in, we find Deaton, find Derek… and hope to avoid Scott and his friends,” he let out a breath as he fumbled his phone out of his pocket. “On second thought… Let’s make sure things are good there before we arrive in… about 13 hours,” he connected the phone to the USB in his car and placed it in the phone holder. “Oh, if you want something to snack, you can get through that door behind us, I’ve got plenty of food in there. Or if you want to sleep, I’ll pull over and get the bed out for you, but I think I’m going to drive through the night.”
“I don’t think I can get much sleep anyway,” Bella replied as she stared out of the window.
“Yeah… sorry for the overload of experiences and information,” he apologized. “But you kinda brought it onto yourself by demanding answers.”
“I know,” she muttered, slowly coming down from everything and processing as she gestured to the phone. “Weren’t you supposed to call someone?” It was strangely easy to relax next to Isaac for some reason. She hadn’t felt uncomfortable in his truck with him that morning, either. Yeah, he had lied a little, withheld a little information, but maybe that was because of Peter.
After all, she had demanded answers and Peter had told her that she’d have to find out herself.
Well, she’d rather know that her life is stranger than it was now than later. A werewolf? Really? At least she wasn’t like Jake. She made a mental note of asking Isaac about being his kind of werewolf later, she still needed to digest everything else.
Sighing, Isaac unlocked his phone and called Chris Argent on speaker phone. He was about to hang up after the phone rang a couple of times but Argent picked up eventually. “Hey, it’s Isaac,” he said as he kept driving, his hands tightly gripping the wheel. He really didn’t want to go back to Beacon Hills.
“Hey Isaac, how’s it going? Are you still running with Peter?”
“I’m fine… and yes. Sort of. I don’t know. He calls when he needs me,” Isaac replied. Which was the truth because even though Isaac was working with Peter, it wasn’t as if they were together all the time. It were usually just phone calls. Text messages. And he wasn’t told a lot, either. “He’s annoying, especially when he decides to interfere with the job he sent me on in the first place. How’s Beacon Hills? Is it safe?”
“The situation is manageable, why do you ask?”
“Ah, I… uh… am coming to Beacon Hills.”
“What! Isaac, you can’t!”
“I can. And I will. I don’t want to, but I have to. Can you make sure that Deaton and the Hales are available for me and keep Scott out of my way while I’m there?”
It was quiet on the other side for a moment. “You are supposed to be heading to Virginia.”
“Something came up,” Isaac retorted. “Can you help me or not?”
“Why Deaton and why the Hales? Why not me?”
“I need you to keep Scott occupied because I might want to slam my fist into his face when I see him,” Isaac gripped the steering wheel, hard. “I need Deaton and the Hales. If you’re not going to help me, that’s fine, but I’ll be going in and whatever happens will be on you.”
“You found her, didn’t you? You actually found her…” Argent said after a while, after connecting the dots inside his mind.
“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Isaac said sheepishly.
“Of course you don’t. Yeah. Sure. I’ll help you. And let me make sure Kate’s out of the country too.”
Isaac was surprised at that. “Kate is still alive? How the fuck did that happen?”
“She’s an Argent and a psychopath, what do you think?” Chris shot at him. “I’ll send you a text when I know it’s safe and have arranged your meets. But for fuck’s sake, Isaac, I hope you know what you’re doing.”
If Bella was a Hale, it’d be best if Kate was indeed far away from Beacon Hills as possible. Either Kate would kill her, or Bella would kill Kate. Or at least try to. “Thanks, bye,” Isaac said as he disconnected the call. “Yep, 26 years old and I still can’t do anything by myself. It’s a miracle I can tie my own shoelaces!” He then let out a snort. “Sorry.”
“Eh,” Bella shrugged, but found it strange that this man Chris – who could have been a father figure for Isaac, or maybe not, or maybe it was complicated, sounded as if he didn’t want to see Isaac. At all. “Do you have friends, at all?”
“Me? Not since I left Beacon Hills. Can’t trust anyone but me. Learned that the hard way.”
Trust issues. Well, she supposed that would happen when you felt like you had been betrayed by the people you supposedly were friends with. Right now, she had some serious trust issues herself. Bella wasn’t sure if she could ever trust a Cold One again. And that included Peter Whitlock. “What about Peter?”
“We have a common goal. I mean, he wants to do good, wants to help the broader supernatural community, and other than that, he’s bankrolling everything, so he’s a means to an end. I’m using him as much as he uses me,” Isaac explained. “He might be easy to be trusted because he seems to know everything, but that also makes him very dangerous.”
Bella nodded as she looked at him, his hands still gripping the steering wheel. “You really don’t want to go to Beacon Hills?”
“You need to be there, so I’m taking you there. You can decide whether or not you’re leaving with me after we get to the truth of who you truly are. I’ve already done my job, I got you out of the grasp of a set of Cold Ones,” he replied, not sounding like a happy camper anymore, but more like a wounded puppy who wanted to kick and scream. “And I’m possibly reuniting you with your family, so that’s a bonus.”
“The asshole former Alpha and the psychopath.”
“And a cousin. I heard nothing but good things about her.”
“Okay… so… werewolves like to be in a pack, right? There’s an Alpha and a handful of Betas?” Bella asked, turning a little in her seat as she looked at him. “Like… Jake is an Alpha and he has his betas. As does Sam.”
“Unlike the Quileute shifters though, the rank of Alpha and Beta does come with an increase or decrease in strength. My kind of werewolves are stronger in a pack. An Alpha gets his strength from his subordinates and gives it back in return,” Isaac replied. “You can be a Beta of an Alpha who hasn’t bitten you, you can choose your own pack, it’s just that the Alpha has to accept you as a part of his pack.”
“So you’re still a part of Scott’s pack?”
“No. I made the conscious decision to leave the pack once I was in France and realized that my pack hadn’t contacted me for months despite my best efforts,” Isaac said bitterly. “I’m an Omega. A lone wolf. No Alpha, no pack. The main difference is is that I’m weaker than I used to be and less protected. But that’s alright, I’ve had hunter training. I don’t have to rely on my werewolf side if I don’t want to. Uh… Chris actually told me to live as human as possible so that I would be safer.”
Bella liked it that Isaac was being truthful and honest about things. He didn’t quite volunteer the information himself, she really had to ask, but for someone with trust issues – as he had explained – she could understand completely. Besides, if she were his kind of werewolf she needed to know this. “But you’re still strong, though, aren’t you? Because you are a werewolf, you must be stronger than an ordinary human.”
“Oh yeah, I am still strong and fast and have my healing abilities.”
“So what else do I need to know about your kind of werewolves?”
“In our community being a werewolf is considered a gift, and in a way it is. However, the gift comes at a cost. Our abilities come from the moon and during the full moon everything is heightened. Our strength. Our emotions. Oh, definitely our emotions. Without training, werewolves will cause death and destruction during the full moon.”
Bella let out a snort. “Sort of like PMS.”
He laughed at that. “I guess, I wouldn’t know now, would I?”
“So all the anger issues that I’ve had and got those pills for, they all come from my werewolf side?”
“Well, to be honest, your werewolf side was severely suppressed and I honestly have no idea what you’re going to be like on your first full moon as a free woman,” he quickly looked over to her, genuine worry in his beautiful blue eyes. “If you are a Hale, it’s best if a Hale talks to you about it since they have experience with being a born werewolf. There are various scenarios that could happen on your first full moon off your medication and away from the dampening of your house and the tribe area.”
“Well, you could become unhinged and want death and mayhem, or you could be riding it out like it’s nothing. Or even a combination of both.”
“Do you remember your first full moon?”
“Yep,” Isaac nodded with a sigh. “I was at the police station, they had just arrested me for the murder of my father. I nearly killed innocent people if it weren’t for Derek to have found me in time. My second full moon was… interesting. Derek chained us all up but Erica and Boyd – the other new betas – broke free and then I broke free but managed to help Derek to subdue them, I think I may have surprised Derek with that.”
“It’s basically training to learn control, right? Is it hard?”
“Nah,” he half shrugged. “If I can do it, you can do it too.”