I looked up at the house as we pulled up out the front and just seeing it sent shivers up my spine as I sighed before looking back at my daughter who was fast asleep thank god before I turned to the driver of the car…my husband Derek Hale and he met my eyes with the same haunted look before we got out and walked towards it a little, I sniffed the air smelling that Laura's scent had been here but not for a while as it was mostly faded.
"She's not here" Derek spoke up and I nodded my agreement before I looked back towards the car.
"We should get her inside"
"Kenzie you and Lia don't have to stay here"
"I'm not leaving you here alone Derek, not until we know what's going on" I argued rehashing an argument that had went on nearly the entire drive from New York to Beacon Hills, our old stomping grounds which seemed more a haunted memory then reality these days especially looking at this house.
"I just don't want Lia exposed to this" he protested and I understood where he was coming from but we didn't have much choice, for a six year old our daughter knew about way too much death.
"She's a smart kid Derek, whether we stayed here with or not she'll know something up and it's better to be straight with her" he sighed clearly not liking it but nodded so I went over to the car and opened the passenger side moving the seat forward and reached out unclipping Lia from her booster seat and pulled her sleepy form towards me.
"Shh it's okay I'm just gonna get you into a proper bed" I felt her nod and she was practically back to sleep immediately during which time Derek had grabbed our bags and we walked up into the house seeing ninety per cent was mostly intact except the back half of the house.
Derek and I walked up the stairs heading to the right and he pushed open the door to his old room which surprisingly seemed mostly untouched except for the burned off wallpaper and a few holes in the walls but there was a bed…Derek's old bed which held a lot of memories and as if we had the same thought we looked at each other with a small smile before he stripped the filthy covers off throwing them to a side of the room then grabbed Lia's blanket laying it over the mattress and I laid her down tucking another blanket around her.
"It's so weird being back here…back in this room" I spoke up rubbing my hands up my arms since the air was getting cold and with the windows smashed and shattered glass there wasn't much hope in warming it up but being werewolves meant we weren't that affected with the cold.
"I know especially with Natalia" he added looking over at one corner of the room where a small crib was set up, I frowned walking over to it and run my hands over the burnt wood gently afraid it would crumble under my touch.
It was a gift from Talia after we told our parents about me being pregnant, she'd brought it down from the attic since it was hers with Cora and it was intended for Lia but the fire ruined all that and just thinking along those lines remembering everything we lost brought a tear to my eyes as one fell down my cheek.
"This was supposed to be hers" I cried out quickly and felt Derek step up behind me wrapping his arms around my waist.
"I know Kenz, being here is going to be a lot but were here…we're together and that's what matters" I nodded turning in his arms and wrapped mine around him laying my head against his chest over his heart hearing it beating a little faster than normal as he too was letting memories in.
"We conceived Lia in this room" I sighed and he chuckled softly the sound vibrating through me. "We said I love you for the first time here, we made love for the first time here and now it's all…it's all ruined all because of that bitch" he pulled away tilting my chin up so I was looking in his eyes.
"Hey just don't think like that-"
"How can I not Der, we're orphans because of her" he sighed and I know he was flashing back to the blame but I refused to blame him. "And before you go apologizing it was not your fault"
"Yes it was Kenzie, in a moment of weakness and stupidity I was the one that cheated on you with her, who told her everything-" I put my hand over his mouth.
"I don't blame you Derek, I was the one that was stupid, I was the one that broke up with you too scared into thinking you wouldn't want me and Lia so if anyone is to blame it's me"
"That doesn't excuse what I did, I slept with her just to get back at you knowing it would hurt you the most-" I shook my head cutting him off.
"Can we just not get into it please, not here" he sighed nodding his head pulling me back into his arms.
"I'm gonna head out, see if I can track down Laura" he finally said after a few minutes and stepped away from me but I caught his hand.
"Wait" he stopped looking back at me. "Just be careful" he smiled stepping back over to me and pressed a kiss to my forehead.
"I love it when you worry about me" he remarked.
"I wouldn't have to if you weren't so irresponsible sometimes"
"Ouch babe" I laughed shaking my head at him. "I'll be back before Lia wakes up" he pressed a quick chaste kiss to my lips before he left and I watched from upstairs as he disappeared into the trees.
"Be safe" I whispered then turned towards the bed seeing Lia was still sound asleep oblivious for now of where we were and luckily unaware of the true horrors that haunted this house.
As I looked around it was as if I could see and feel the flames that once tore through the house, hear the screams but I pushed them out regaining my mind as I looked around the room and decided to clean given this is where my daughter was going to live until we found Laura and got the hell back New York.
I spent the next few hours tidying up the room and removed the crib into another room because I just didn't want to look at it and found another mattress that was mostly okay except for a few burn marks and quietly dragged it into Derek's old room into the corner and covered it with a fresh set of sheets that we'd brought with us that way Derek and I had a place to rest…not sleep since I knew there was no way I was going to ever get a proper sleep in this house.
I looked up when I noticed the sun was starting to rise and because I'd heard a noise downstairs so I took a quick glance at Lia smiling since she could sleep through an earthquake then went downstairs seeing the door wide open putting me on edge for just a second before I caught two scents in the air one being Derek's the other…blood.
"Derek!" I called out.
"In here" he replied his voice ruff and hoarse so I rushed into what was left of the main living room and saw him knelt beside a table and when I walked closer I jumped back my hand coming up to cover my mouth to stop the scream coming out as I saw Laura…half of her anyway.
"No…no" my feet moved on their own accord and I fell to my knees beside Derek and I looked up at him seeing his haunted eyes as he looked down at his sister's body, Laura was our Alpha having inherited Talia's power when she died but I knew he felt this more because she was his twin. "Derek" I reached out putting my hand on his shoulder before sliding it up to cup his cheek tearing his gaze away from her body and I saw the tears that threatened to fall. "I'm so sorry"
"I…I found her in the woods" he replied barely above a whisper that told me he was in shock. "She…I…I should have known" I shook my head at him.
"You couldn't have known"
"She was my twin" he looked down and a tear slipped out of his eye.
"I know baby" I croaked out barely holding in my own tears especially from seeing him crying since he rarely cried…almost enough to say he never cried but there were moments in my life with him where I'd seen him cry and it broke my heart every single time. "Go…go upstairs and clean off, lay down with Lia" I told him standing up pulling him up with me and led him up the stairs into the bathroom that backed onto his room and grabbed a towel out of my bag along with a bottle of water and wet it wiping away the blood that was on his cheek from carrying Laura here then helped him into some new clothes before getting him to lay down in the bed I'd made up stating I'd take care of Laura and whether it was still shock or just pure grief he did as I said.
I went back downstairs with his filthy clothes and a tattered old blanket I'd found cleaning up earlier and walked over to Laura and covered her body with it giving her a final goodbye for myself since she was my best friend, my sister-in-law and my Alpha.
I took the clothes out to the sleek black Camaro and dropped them into the boot before closing it opting to dispose of them later since I didn't want Derek or Lia to see them then sighed pulling up the cover that was over the spare tire and pulled out the shovel we kept in there just in case and walked over to the side of the house and began to dig since she deserved to be buried here, next to her family.
I don't know how long it took but when I'd dug a deep enough hole I climbed out and went back inside not caring about the mud and dirt caking my clothes surprised to see Derek up and wrapping his sisters body even more tying it up with rope to ensure the blanket remained around her.
"Lia's awake, I told her to stay upstairs and gave her my phone to keep occupied" he spoke sensing me behind him but didn't look back and I sighed nodding head.
"We have to tell her" again he didn't look back but nodded so I went upstairs walking into the room seeing Lia sitting on the bed playing a game on Derek's phone but she dropped it when she saw me and ran up.
"Mommy what happened, are you okay?" she asked and it almost brought tears to my eyes. "Daddy told me to stay in this room" I nodded kneeling down to her level.
"Lia you remember what we told you when we said we were going to mommy and daddy's old home?" I asked and she nodded.
"We're looking for Aunty Laura, did we find her?" she asked and it broke my heart that yet again my six year old daughter was going to be exposed to death.
"Yeah your dad found her last night" I replied and her eyes lit up ready to run downstairs like she did every time Laura had visited in New York since we had different apartments but she couldn't do that now. "Baby wait" I held onto her hand. "Come here" I lifted her up into my arms and carried her over to the bed sitting her down and took the spot beside her. "You remember our talk about how my parents and daddy's parents arent here?"
"They're in heaven" she nodded looking up at me with curiosity.
"Well…Aunt Laura's gone to join them" I told her ready to break at any moment myself let alone looking down at her sweet innocent face.
"But…I don't understand" she replied tilting her head which reminded me so much of Derek and knew that was a quirk she'd inherited from him. "Why…why'd she leave?" she asked and finally I saw the tears coming in as she comprehended what I was saying.
"She didn't want to baby but sometimes life doesn't give you a choice and people are taken way too soon" the tears started rolling down her face and seeing them finally made mine spill over. "Come here baby" I pulled her into my arms and rocked her as she sobbed.
"But daddy, what…what's gonna hap…happen…to him?" she asked through her sobs.
"Nothing baby I promise, your dad is not going anywhere any time soon and neither am I" I knew I shouldn't promise that but I had to because I had to believe it myself.
"But what…what if you's don't want to and you get taken anyway" she cried out fear lacing her words and I didn't know how to soothe her, she hadn't meet my parents or Talia or Cora so it was easier to tell her about them but she knew Laura, she loved her Aunty Laura and she shouldn't have to deal with this at her age.
I looked up when I felt the bed dip and saw Derek had come up and sat beside me and he reached out taking Lia from me and she looked up at him in surprise before it turned back to sobbing as she clung to him, she had always been daddy's little girl even when she was a baby and I loved it especially when I couldn't help her, I'd always doubted my motherly instincts and having Derek be this close with her certainly helped outweigh my lack of confidence in these situations.
"Natalia you listen to me okay, your Aunt loved you and she shouldn't have left us this soon but I promise you, your mother and I arent going anywhere not while I'm around because-"
"You protect us" she sobbed out cutting him off.
"That's right baby girl, I'll always protect you and your mom because I love you and because I have you's in my life means that I'll always be around" Lia nodded accepted her father's words and we sat just soaking in our own grief cuddling up as a family before we all went downstairs with me carrying Lia while Derek carried Laura's body luckily hidden from Lia's view as she didn't need that image of her Aunt and we buried her as a family.
By the time we'd covered her body over with dirt we went back inside and Lia had fallen asleep exhausted from the emotion of it all so Derek carried her upstairs to bed while I started cleaning the blood off the table letting complete sobs come out as I scrubbed furiously slowly rising in the anger at whoever did this and declared to myself that we would get revenge because not only did whoever do this mess with what little left of our family but they'd tarnished my daughters innocence even more.
"Kenzie stop" I felt his hands grab mine pulling the scrub brush out of my hand before he pulled me into his arms and let me break down into the sobs I had to get out and was comforted to do so just by being in his arms.
"Who did this?" I sobbed soaking his shirt with tears.
"I don't know I couldn't get a lock on a scent over the blood and r…rot, she's been dead for days and just left out there" he replied voice still raw with emotion.
"If it was a werewolf then he's an Alpha now and he could be coming for us, for Lia" I spoke stepping away feeling the tears stop as the anger took over the sadness.
"Could've been hunters, I caught Argents scent out there" he replied and I looked up sharply.
"Hers?" I asked and he knew who I was talking about.
"No it was Chris" he replied and my anger depleted just a fraction.
"Well whoever did this, whoever ruined my daughters innocence is going to pay with blood, I don't care who it is they don't get to live"
"Kenzie don't focus on the anger please-"
"Oh come on, like you're not thinking the same thing"
"I am but that doesn't mean I'm letting it control me, my anchor might have used to be anger but now that I have you and Lia I can't risk letting myself be ruled by the anger, yes I agree with you that whoever did this deserves to die but we have to be smart about this we can't go running around in blind rage and get ourselves killed, Lia can't handle any more death especially her mother's" I sighed feeling his words hit me like ice water.
"I hate it when your right" I sighed sagging in defeat. "Even though it is a rare occurrence" he shook his head at me with a small smile and it felt good that I was able to make him smile despite the situation.
"Yeah well we also have bigger things to worry about"
"Like what?" I asked and his response was to pull something out of his pocket and toss it towards me and I caught it looking down seeing an asthma inhaler making me look up with a confused look.
"It was near blood that wasn't Laura's but not too far from her and it was mixed with another werewolves scent probably the one that killer Laura" he explained and I looked back down at the inhaler in my hand. "I think there is an Alpha in town whether it was the one that took Laura's power or someone else but I think he bit someone" my eyes widened.
"Oh my god" I looked up since that definitely wasn't good since that's all we needed right now in the middle of all this some noob baby werewolf.
"The scent was male, young so I'm guessing a teenager"
"Great even better that a baby wolf is a baby teen wolf" I sighed sitting down on the tattered up sofa.
"We were teen wolves once"
"Exactly my point, look where we ended up" I argued with a small smile.
"Whatever the case whoever this is could help us find this new Alpha" I nodded looking up at him.
"I guess this means were staying a while" I stated and he sighed nodding his head. "If that's the case I'll call Lia's school get transcripts sent to the primary school and I'll look into the local hospital for a job" he took a seat beside me.
"It'll only be for a few months"
"Hopefully" I muttered and he took my hand.
"It will be, I don't want Lia here any longer than we have to be" I nodded about to reply when we both looked up hearing voices nearby, this used to be private property with the Hale's living here but after the fire and us moving to New York it became county property but that didn't mean we want people poking around. "Could be the new Beta, I'll go check it out" he stood but I grabbed his hand slipping the inhaler into it and he nodded then walked out with me following him to the porch but that's as far as I went with my daughter upstairs but I was able to listen.
"…I dropped my inhaler" I heard a young boy ask and I took that as this is the new Beta.
"Maybe the killer moved the body" another boy added making me glower since that was Laura they were talking about and I didn't care that they didn't know that they should have more respect for the dead and what the hell were they doing out here anyway, they woods is no place for kids.
"If he did I hope he left my inhaler, those things are like $80 bucks" the Beta replied and I smiled a little since Derek…not the killer didn't leave his inhaler but would be there shortly returning it and anyway he wouldn't be needing an inhaler anymore.
"What are you doing here?" I heard Derek demand having finally gotten there. "Huh…this is private property?" I rolled my eyes since it wasn't but they didn't need to know that.
"Uh sorry man, we didn't know" the Beta's friend replied having a lot of guts since I wasn't hard to guess Derek was pulling his macho tuff guy on them.
"Yeah we were just looking for something but…uh forget it" the Beta replied and again it wasn't hard to guess he was being intimidated by my husband's glaring green eyes staring at him, I didn't hear anything else so I took it as Derek had given him his inhaler and was walking back towards me. "Alright come on, I gotta get to work" the Beta added definitely meaning Derek had left.
"Dude, that was Derek Hale" his friend said peeking my interest since I hadn't even thought about people knowing better yet recognizing Derek. "You remember right, he's only like a few years older than us"
"Remember what?" the Beta asked him.
"His family, they all burned to death like ten years ago" the friend said and I rolled my eyes since it wasn't that long, six years, two months and eleven days to be precise. "Along with another family…the Lupe's I think" he added and my frown deepened.
"I wonder what he's doing back" the Beta asked his friend and I frowned being made to think about what we were doing back here and it hadn't gone at all like we'd planned.
I was shaken out of those thoughts when I saw Derek come out of the trees towards me before he sat on the porch with a heavy sigh so I sat next to him and just waited until he spoke not knowing what to say in this moment especially seeing his posture, elbows on knees, hands clasped together with his chin resting on them it was his worried pose and I knew that.
"He's turning alright" he finally muttered and I sighed looking down at my hands in my lap.
"We'll help him as long as I doesn't come back to hurt us or Lia" he nodded his approval and as if hearing her name Lia was suddenly there giggling as he jumped on his back and I saw his mood instantly change at the sight of his daughter.
"Got you daddy"
"You got me baby girl" he pulled her over his head into his lap and started tickling her sides making her giggle louder and beg him to stop which made me smile since no matter what Lia could put a smile on his face, she had been since the day she was born.
"…that's it, that's it Mackenzie just one more push" my doctor was telling me as I continued screaming through the pain before I felt an immense pressure then it was all over as a loud cry filled the room and I fell back against the pillows.
"You did it Kenzie" Laura whispered brushing the sweaty hair out of my face and I nodded tiredly.
"It's a girl" my doctor announced and I looked over at Derek to see him staring down at our baby with a look of shock and wonder as they cleaned out her mouth making her screams become even louder clearly not liking that and Derek's eyes went wide in protectiveness so I grabbed his hand in reassurance right before they held our baby up now swaddled in a soft pink blanket and placed against my chest finally meaning I could see her face and the first thing I saw was the soft tuff of raven black hair covering the crown of her head.
"She's got your hair" I stated looking up at Derek who's eyes still remained fixated on his daughter as he held a tiny foot in his hand and with his touch she finally seemed to quiet down into a soft whimper before her eyes blinked open and I felt myself drawn in my the simple beauty of her newborn eyes feeling my heart swell with love and pride that I'd made this beautiful baby girl with Derek.
"She's beautiful" Derek whispered and I smiled looking up seeing the briefest signs of tears threatening to fall. "You did amazing Kenz" he kissed my forehead before looking down at her.
"You can hold her Der" he looked up a little shocked but smiled and nodded leaning down and we carefully transferred her into his arms and he held her like he's been doing it for years. "I have the perfect name for her" I said and both Derek and Laura turned to me since I'd been the one so indecisive over names but when I looked at her I just knew. "Natalia" it paid tribute to both our moms, Natalie and Talia…Natalia.
"Oh that's so beautiful" Laura cried wiping the tears off her cheeks as she furiously was snapping away pictures. "We could call her Lia for short that way she still has her own identity as well" I smiled nodding since I really liked that…Lia.
"It's perfect" Derek smiled never moving his eyes from his daughters and hers locked on him, they were so in love with each other and I didn't mind sharing my boyfriend with my daughter.
Back to Present
Laura had been the one to call her Lia and now that name meant even more to us, she meant the world to us because in our darkest days no matter what she was the only thing that could bring out our smiles, after the fire we'd all lost our family…our hope that was until Lia was born…she was our happiness, our light and I loved her more than anything especially seeing her with Derek.
"How about we go out for pizza?" I suggested seeing as it was getting close to dinner time and there was no way I could cook anything in this place, I might have to invest in a camp stove or a small barbeque since there was no way we were having take out every night.
"Yeah" Lia agreed straight away. "Pepperoni pizza"
"Sure, I know a place" Derek smiled and I knew exactly the place he was referring to, it wasn't that far from here.
"Go get dressed Lia" she nodded and took off inside to get changed.
"That place could be closed" I told him.
"It's not, we passed it on the way here yesterday and it's still open but if you don't-" I shook my head.
"No it's cool, it'll be fun to visit our old date spot, maybe show Lia the places we used to hang since we both know she's always asking for stories on how we fell in love" he chuckled.
"Wish I could tell her the moment I fell in love with you but I really don't know, I just knew that I did" I nodded since it was the same with me.
The first few months of me moving here was filled with a lot, the upset that my pack had been slaughtered with my parents and me being the only survivors, joy of meeting the Hale's especially Laura and Derek as they were my age and my old pack I was the only kid my age so it was nice to have others who knew what I was going through as I was still learning control back then and so was Derek so it helped especially when we figured it out together and found the things that bonded us to our humanity, for him it was anger…for me it was fear, fear of hurting the people that I loved but as time and our friendship progressed we realised that we cared deeper for each other then we let on.
Once our relationship started it moved fast and I wasn't long until I realised I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love him which was scary considering the amount of time we'd actually known each other but when our parents found out about us Talia had revealed that she'd had a feeling about us which lead to her telling us we were mates and everything just went from there including the result of us actually having sex and conceiving Lia just shy of my eighteenth birthday which lucky for us was just over two years into a solid relationship given I'd been with Derek since I was sixteen and now twenty five my feelings had never changed if not they'd gotten stronger now that we had a child together.
"I'm ready!" Lia exclaimed breaking me out of my thoughts and I smiled at her as she skipped down the stairs dressed in jeans, a pink butterfly top and her little all-star chucks with the laces undone since she still struggled tying shoes.
"Hold on shoes" she looked down pouting at them. "Come here" I got her to sit on the step and showed her how to do the left one then got her to do the right and she shrugged a little with the last bit so I stepped in and helped. "All done, now let's go" she smiled and hopped off the step rushing towards the Camaro right as Derek came out of the house with his keys and wallet.
When we arrived at the pizza place Lia was holding our hands and trying to swing between us making me laugh when we indulged her a little helping her propel forward before I told her to stop once we were inside and I grabbed a booth…the same booth Derek and I used to sit in while he grabbed the pizza.
"Hey mommy look" I looked up and saw her pointing to the corner of the table next to her and my eyes widened seeing them. "D.H + M.L, that's you and daddy!" she exclaimed and I blushed nodding my head right as Derek came back and sat down across from me.
"These still here" he smiled running his fingers over them.
"Did you's do them daddy?" Lia asked him and Derek laughed.
"Yeah we did back when we were dating"
"You's used to come here?" she asked like I said she was entranced by anything to do with our road to where we were.
"Yeah baby girl we did, this was our favorite place to come when we went out on dates" I told her before I looked back up at Derek and saw him with a fork engraving something else onto the table. "Derek!" I scolded quietly looking around but it wasn't that busy that people would take notice but what example was that setting for Lia, sure we did it as kids but we were adults now.
"There that's better" I rolled my eyes but smiled when I saw what he'd done, instead of M.L for Mackenzie Lupe it was now M.L.H for Mackenzie Lupe Hale.
"Do me, do me!" Lia exclaimed and he smiled leaning down but I kicked his shin when I saw a waiter heading straight for our table with a pizza in his hand and Derek hid the fork quickly as he put the pizza down about to walk away but I saw his eyes fall to the new addition to the initials and silent scolded Derek even more since when we originally did them we did it just before we were leaving.
I smiled leaning back in my seat with Derek's arm wrapped around my shoulders as he finished off the last of our pizza, I loved coming here and it had become our place…a place away from everything, here we weren't werewolves, we weren't Mackenzie Lupe or Derek Hale teen werewolves destined mates, we were just Kenzie and Derek.
"You look happy?" Derek suddenly asked making me open my eyes not realizing I'd closed them.
"I am" I smiled laying my head on his shoulder. "I love that we get to do this, just you and me without Laura or Cora teasing us about the mate bond and singing kissing in the tree every time we touch, don't get me wrong I love your sisters but they can be so-"
"Annoying" he laughed finishing my sentence for me and I nodded my head.
"This place is ours and ours alone, it's like no one can bother us here" he smiled nodding his head then looked down at the table and suddenly pulled his arm off my shoulders and grabbed one of the forks and started carving into the table. "What are you doing, we're gonna get in trouble" I said quickly looking around.
"No we won't, Leo loves us remember" I rolled my eyes but couldn't help smiling since the owner Leo always greeted us with a smile when we came in and rushed our pizza out stating we were his favorite customers.
"What are you doing?" I asked again trying to see what he was doing but he was blocking my view until he leant back and I looked down seeing a neat and cursive. D.H and looked up at him seeing him holding the fork out to me. "This is so juvenile" I said taking it with a smile and carefully added my initials too right beside his with a little plus sign.
"There this is officially our place and we can smile about it every time we come in here in the years to come"
"Your such a dork" I said leaning up and captured his lips…
Back to Present
"Mackenzie Lupe and Derek Hale as I live and breathe" we heard and looked up a little confused until it dawned on me.
"Leo?" I asked and he nodded with a broad smile on his face.
"I almost didn't recognize you kids if it wasn't for the new add on to that" he pointed down at the initials. "I've replaced a lot of tables in this place but could never bare to replace this one" I smiled at that thought. "Haven't seen you kids in near six years, how you's been?"
"Good" Derek and I replied at the same time as I tried to hide my embarrassed blush since I never thought Leo would still run this place let alone remember us.
"I was real sad to hear about your families" he said sympathetic and for once I didn't get angry or upset when someone apologized for the fire. "Was sad to hear you'd moved away too but it's real great to see you two back in here, you are after all still my favorite customers" I laughed smiling up at him. "And look there's a mini Mackenzie" he added looking right at Lia who blushed under his gaze hiding behind Derek's arm.
"This is Natalia, our daughter" Derek introduced her with a proud smile on his face.
"Hi sweetie" Leo said holding out his hand and Lia being polite reached out and shook it despite being shy. "It's nice to meet you Natalia"
"It's Lia" she nearly whispered but he'd heard her cause he smiled.
"Well it's nice to meet you Lia, would you like a chocolate sundae, on the house" he asked her and she looked up at us expectantly.
"Sure but she's got to eat dinner first" I told him with a small laugh and he joined in.
"Of course, I'll bring it out once I collect your plate"
"Thank you Leo" Derek said and I smiled.
"It's quite alright, we'll I won't keep you from my delicious pizza any longer" he smiled then walked back out into the kitchen and I watched him go before looking up at Derek.
"I can't believe he remembers us" I said grabbing a smaller plate and put two slices on it and put it in front of Lia.
"I used to tell you he loved us, we are his favorite customers" Derek replied and I loved throwing a bit of pepperoni at him which again was immature in front of our daughter but he asked for it.
"Real mature babe, it's almost like 2004 all over again" I smiled since that was an awesome year, the rest of dinner was uneventful with just us talking like a normal family and eating with Derek and I finishing off the pizza with Lia eating the two slices I'd given her and another one before Leo came bearing her sundae and she managed to eat half of it since it was huge and Derek finished the rest before going over to Leo and paid the tab which included a few soda's before we left with Leo making us promise to come back.
We returned to the Hale house and Lia was almost asleep so we took her upstairs and gave her a small wash with a towel and the same water bottle I'd used on Derek before getting her in her pj's and into the bed which I'd changed into real sheets and tucked her in with her blanket that she couldn't sleep without then Derek and I went downstairs into the lounge room sitting on the dusty sofa together to just stay up and talk with each other before we too went upstairs and curled into bed.
I was restless just like I knew I would be and tossed and turned most of the night fighting with my mind to shut off to at least give me a couple of hours since I had a busy day tomorrow with calling Lia's school in New York and organizing the transcripts to be sent to Beacon Hills primary school not to mention try and con a job at the hospital and put my nursing degree to good use.
I'd gone to college in New York and obtained my nurses degree while Derek babysat during the school days and I took the night shift so he could rest and it worked out great and I was actually looking forward to putting the degree to use since I haven't had the chance as of yet as I was looking for a decent hospital in New York before all this happened.
I continue to lay awake listening to the heavy rain that was pouring down leaking through the roof in some areas but we'd already taken the precautions to stop any more rot by catching the droplets in bowls we'd found around the house but my head snapped up when I heard a wolf howl coming from the woods knowing that it was the Alpha since there wasn't any actual wolves in California.
"Ignore it" I heard whispered in my ear and I turned my head seeing Derek's eyes closed but I knew he was awake. "Just relax" I sighed nodding my head rolling onto my back and he adjusted himself with his arm around my waist head practically on my breasts and I moved my hand up into his hair. "You need the sleep Kenz" I sighed again closing my eyes trying my best to relax enough to fall asleep.
I don't know when I'd actually gotten to sleep last night but I was woken up when the mattress started being jumped on and I laughed opening my eyes seeing Lia jumping and down right before Derek came into the room.
"Lia I told you not to wake your mom" I sat up grabbing her and pulling her into my lap.
"It's afternoon mommy" Lia said and I frowned looking over at Derek before reaching down and grabbed my phone checking the time and saw it was well after 11:00 in the afternoon.
"Derek why didn't you wake me"
"You needed the rest and don't worry I took care of things, I've called Lia's school and their sending over her transcripts to the school so she'll be able to start sometime next week and Lia and I even went shopping for some things to keep us settled here for a little while but I'm thinking it'd be better if we rented some place that way Lia can have a proper bath so I've also rang the real estate to have a look at a few places.
"Wow since when are you responsible" I joked and he rolled his eyes at me.
"We just got back and I brought coffee, black two sugars just how you like it" he handed me a take away cup. "We also muffins, isn't that right Lia"
"Yep…oh I forgot them downstairs, I'll got get them" she jumped off the mattress and took off out the door.
"Don't run down the stairs!" I shouted after her before looking up at Derek. "So what are you sucking up for?" I asked him.
"I'm not sucking up" he argued but I just raised my eyes at him as I took a sip of the coffee and it was exactly how I liked it. "I just know that you were stressing out last night so I thought I'd let you sleep in and handle a few of the things on your list"
"Well thank you" I stood up and pressed a kiss to his cheek right as Lia returned with a brown paper bag.
"We gots chocolate, blueberry and banana"
"Mm can I have a banana muffin" she reached into the back and pulled out the banana muffin for me.
"Thanks baby girl" I kissed the top of her head.
"Daddy can have the blueberry" she said grabbing the blueberry muffin out and handed it to Derek before skipping out of the room with the remaining chocolate one making me laugh.
"So what's next oh great conquer of my list"
"I was gonna go to the high school, get a feel for this new Beta see what he's like that way we can help once he figures out what's happening to him" I nodded finishing off my coffee in one big go really needing the caffeine boost since although he'd let me sleep in last I was still a little tired.
"Alright, I've got Lia now and I can take her to the hospital with me so I can drop of a resume and hope they have a position"
"Okay I'll leave the car with you two and I'll run to the school" I nodded leaning up to kiss him.
"We've also got to talk about the howling last night, no doubt he was calling the kid out and maybe that's our best chance at tracking this son of a bitch"
"I know but right now the new Beta is what we should be focusing on because if he isn't careful he could reveal us to the humans and then you know it's not just the hunters after us all its everyone"
"Yeah, yeah I know" I sassed him and he rolled his eyes at me with a smile.
"At least we know where Lia gets her sass from"
"Get out of here before I hit you" he laughed kissing my forehead before he left and I heard him saying bye to Lia promising to be back soon while I dressed then met her downstairs. "Come on Lia, we got a few errands to run now that daddy's out"
"Where we going?" she asked taking my hand as we walked out to the car.
"First we gotta go to the hospital so mommy can try and get work then we gotta buy you some new school supplies since we left your other stuff in New York" I clipped her into her seat then got behind the wheel with a smile since I didn't get to drive very often and loved Derek's car…loved it's potential but would never dare speed with Lia in the car.
"Do I haft to go to school?" she asked and I looked up at her in the rear view mirror seeing her crossing her arms in a total Derek pout.
"Yes baby girl you do just like mommy has to go to work"
"But daddy doesn't haft to go to work or school"
"That's because daddy doesn't need to, he's…babysitting"
"Who?" she asked curiously and it was better to be honest with a child like Lia.
"A new werewolf sweetie, he's turning and is gonna need our help"
"He's like me?" she asked and I shook my head.
"No he was bitten, not born" she knew a little about our werewolf heritage how Derek and I are born wolves and that she is too but that there are cases where a werewolf is bitten by an Alpha, like I said she was smart for a six year old and that came from her werewolf genes…adapt to survive and werepups mentally matured quickly.
I pulled up at a print place quickly dashing inside to print of my resume and cover letter before we got back into the car and drove over to the hospital walking to the front desk seeing a nurse sitting behind the desk, she had brown hair and brown eyes a perfectly ordinary person but I caught a whiff of her and noticed a subtle scent of werewolf on her like she lived with one and this filled me with curiosity.
"Hi, can I help you?" she asked and I smiled appearing friendly.
"Actually yes, I was wondering if there were any jobs going and how I'd go applying if there was"
"Actually yes, we're looking for a new nurse, do you have experience?"
"Not exactly but I'm fresh out of college and willing to start immediately and learn as I go" she smiled nodding then seemed to notice Lia. "I have my resume here if you were able to pass it on, it has all my contact numbers on it" she took it off me.
"I'll pass it onto my super, I look forward to working with you if you get the job" she reached into a jar and held up a lollypop to Lia and she looked at me so I nodded and she took it.
"Thank you" Lia said making me smile as did the nurse.
"Such lovely manners, what's your name?" Lia looked at me because we had gone through the whole stranger danger with her about not telling people her name unless it was okayed by us.
"Lia" she replied once I nodded that it was okay and she smiled.
"That's beautiful, is it short for something?" she asked looking up at me.
"Natalia" I responded this time settling Lia onto my hip. "And thank you for passing my resume on…"
"Melissa McCall" she said filling in her name.
"I'm Mackenzie and thanks again I hope I'll see you again"
"Me too, bye Lia" she said and Lia smiled and waved at her as we left.
Next stop was the store where we picked up all new school supplies including a blue backpack, pencils and work books before we grabbed some subway sandwiches for dinner then finally we returned home and walked in immediately coming face to face with Derek who looked like he was about to leave again.
"Whoa where you rushing off to, is the Beta okay?" I asked.
"What…oh yeah he's fine" he replied and I frowned at him dropping the bags next to the door.
"Then why do you look for flustered?" I asked and he sighed peaking over his shoulder at Lia who was watching with interest. "Lia go play upstairs, take my phone" I handed her my phone and she took it going upstairs. "Der what's wrong?"
"You don't know what tonight is?" he asked and it dawned on me.
"The full moon" I sighed running a hand over my face as I looked up the stairs, I'd completely forgotten about it.
"There's a party tonight and the Beta's gonna be there, I have to go" I nodded knowing that left me with Lia alone.
"We'll be okay Derek, we'll stay here and I'll lock us in the bedroom that way if she does experience it I'll be able to contain her" he sighed taking a seat on the bottom of the stairs and I knew where his head as at, this was the first full moon without Laura, without our Alpha.
"I don't want to go to this stupid party-"
"But you have to" I finished for him.
"I should be here with Lia, she's starting to come of age and without Laura, without an Alpha we have no idea the affect that's going to have on her"
"She has us Der" I rubbed my hand over his shoulder. "I can help Lia if I have to but we also need to make sure this new Beta doesn't hurt anybody so I'll be fine just you be careful since we still don't know if there's hunters still in town and being out tonight has more risk of running into them"
"I'll be careful Kenz and if anything and I mean anything starts to happen with Lia call me and I'll be home as soon as I can" I nodded my head knowing that he'd want to be here just as much as I would and if Lia did experience her first full shift tonight who better to calm her down then Derek. "Alright I got to go" he stood up and I followed him.
"Lia come down here please" I called up the stairs and we quickly was rushing down them despite my many warnings to be careful.
"Come here Lia" Derek said kneeling at the base of the steps so he was eye level with her as she stood on the second last one. "Now tonight is a full moon, you remember we talked about those" she nodded.
"Will I turn?" she asked looking back and forth between us.
"We don't know" Derek replied looking her directly in the eye. "Now I have to go out tonight because there's a new Beta-"
"I know mommy told me" she cut him off and Derek nodded at me.
"Well he's gonna need help with it just like you sometimes need help when you get scared and your eyes glow, so I'll be out there with him and I want you to stay here with your mom okay, can you do that for me?"
"What if I turn?" she asked a little fearfully.
"Your mom will be there and she'll call me okay, just remember that you are brave and strong"
"I'm a Hale" she smiled proudly and Derek chuckled.
"That's right but your also part Lupe and your mom can be just as strong and brave, if not more than me so I want you to stay with her and tell her if you feel anything okay"
"Okay daddy" Derek smiled at her then hugged her as if it was the last time he was gonna see her and kissed the top of her head.
"I love you Lia"
"I love you too daddy" he smiled then stood up and suddenly pulled me into his arms.
"We'll be okay Derek" he nodded then left closing the door behind him and seeing it was almost dark I decided to go upstairs with Lia into our room and shut the door moving the dresser in front of the door just in case.
Lia and I ate our dinner sandwiches and hung out watching movies on my phone before I started to feel the moon hitting its peak and I pushed back using my anchor watching Lia carefully but it was as she was oblivious which gave me a sense of relief that she wasn't going to shift completely this full moon.
When it got late I got her dressed into her pj's and into bed tucking her blanket around her sitting on the edge of the bed brushing her hair down lulling her to sleep hoping this lasted since there was still a lot of moon left.
"We're you scared mommy?" she suddenly whispered.
"Of what?" I asked her.
"When you turned?"
"A little but I had my mommy and daddy and they helped me through it" I told her with a small smile in remembrance for my parents.
"And daddy helped you find you're an…anchor?" she asked and I nodded. "Daddy's was anger until you and me" I laughed nodding my head again. "Yours was fear"
"That's right but then it became you and your dad" I admitted half a truth since in some way it was still fear…fear of losing them so I still used fear sometimes. "Now go to sleep" I said and turned off the camp lamp that Derek had brought today.
"What's my anchor mommy?" she asked and I thought about how to answer that for a second.
"That's entirely up to you but remember Lia, your anchor doesn't have to be an emotion or even a person, it can be those things yes or it could be a memory of something that you hold dear to your heart, so long as it's strong" I explained standing up but leaned down and kissed her forehead.
"You, daddy and Aunty Laura, your my anchors" she said barely above a whisper as she started drifting off.
"Maybe so" I smiled moving the blankets up around her tighter then went over to Derek and my makeshift bed and laid down but didn't dare fall asleep and kept my eyes locked on my daughter.
This whole situation was annoying and aggravating being at this stupid teen party watching a dumbass new Beta dance with his girlfriend when I should be at home with my wife and daughter in case she shifted for the first time, when I felt the moon reach its peak apex and start giving me the strength I locked up gaze on the teen…Scott was his name and he started wincing pulling the girl tighter to him before he looked up and suddenly took off meaning it had started.
I followed the girl as she followed him…something about her was familiar but I didn't have time to dwell on it as I introduced myself stating I was a friend of Scott's and with that she agreed which was easier than I thought it should've been, did kids these days not understand you don't just hitch a ride with a stranger, god hope Lia didn't do this crap at this age.
I drove with her giving me directions and when I pulled up at her house I understood where I knew her from when I caught Argent's scent…this was his daughter, Scott was dating an Argent.
I took off as soon as I thought it was considered polite just to get away from this house and looked down seeing she'd left her jacket making me smirk since I could use that, if there was one thing that draws a male werewolf it's the scent of the thing he holds most dear and for Scott right now that was Allison…I think that was her name.
I pulled up at an entrance to the reserve and got out with the jacket in hand walking through the trees till I was a decent way in then spotted a low hanging branch and hung the jacket before stepping off a decent way waiting for Scott to find the bait as I checked my phone sending a quick message to Kenz to make sure everything was okay.
Everything's fine, Lia's asleep so I don't think it's tonight – Kenz xoxo, I let out a small sigh of relief since that lifted some weight of my chest for now but my attention was quickly back when I heard Scott arrive landing with a thud and saw him looking straight up at the jacket making me smile since it had worked like a charm.
"Where is she?" he asked and I saw him looking around especially as I made noise to alert him that I was here enjoying the chase a little more than I should but it had been a while since I was out in the woods playing a good old game of hide and track, a game we all used to play, me, Laura, Cora and Kenzie with sometimes Peter but mostly just as and that thought filled me with grief that I had to push back.
"She's safe from you" I told him letting my voice echo off the trees through the darkness then made my move moving towards him with speed and grabbed him throwing him to the ground and he reacted rolling us down a hill but I easily got the upper hand pinning him down against a tree.
"What did you do with her?" he asked but my head snapped up hearing and smelling that we weren't alone.
"Shh quiet" I warned him but it was already too late and glared up at the forest. "Too late, they're already here" I stated then looked down at this kid. "Run!" I told him before taking off since I was not taking a bullet for this kid and hopefully he had some self-preservation to listen to me but of course he didn't and I heard him scream out after an arrow shot through the air and hit him in the arm pinning him to a tree after being blinded by a flash bulb tip with Chris and his gang appearing to stare him down as I stopped kneeling close to the ground not to be seen.
"Take him" Chris ordered his men and I groaned since I still needed the kid so I attacked disarming his goons knocking them out using that as a distraction to snap the arrow freeing Scott before we got off and I followed him before he collapsed against a tree and luckily we were far enough away as I looked behind us but Chris wasn't following.
"Who were they?" Scott asked and I noticed that the pain of getting shot had reversed the shift.
"Hunters" I stated still keeping my eyes back the way we came before finally turning to face him. "The kind that have been hunting us for centuries" I told him scanning my eyes around us.
"Us?!" he snapped looking up at me. "You mean you, you did this to me!" he exclaimed standing up a little only to lean back against the tree and I glared at him.
"Is it really so bad Scott?" I asked since I knew people who'd found out and begged for this. "That you can see better, hear more clearly, move faster than any human could ever hope?" I stalked towards him. "You've been given something that most people would kill for, the bite is a gift" I added using one of Peter's lines he'd used on me so long ago but I refused to go deeper into that memory.
"I don't want it" he argued.
"You will" I shot back at him since they always did. "And your gonna need me if you want to learn how to control it" I leant down and pushed his shoulder back onto the tree leveling my gaze with his. "So you and me Scott, we're brothers now" I told him opting to leave our Kenzie and Lia since I couldn't trust him with his hunter girlfriend.
With those final words I turned and left taking the long way home in case I was being followed but everything seemed clear so I walked up the front porch steps opening the door stepping inside noticing how quiet it was, I shut the front door then slowly walked up the steps towards my room and pushed on the door but it didn't budge I frowned using a little more strength enough to get the door open and crack and saw my old dresser pushed in front of the door.
"Kenz?" I called out quietly and she sat up on our mattress quickly getting up and came over moving the dresser as quietly as she could allowing me to enter and I pulled her into my arms. "How is she?"
"Asleep indefinitely I think, it's not happening tonight" I nodded sighing into her neck before letting go and walked over to the bed looking down at Lia smiling at the small smile playing on her lips while she slept which told me she was having good dreams. "How'd it go with the Beta?"
"As expected and I finally confronted him but then Argent turned up and shot him" her eyes widened. "I got him out and gave him the whole introduction speech" she raised an eyebrow in question making me smile as I turned towards her lifting my hand to trace the curve of her eyebrow. "He thinks I'm the one that bit him and I didn't exactly correct him since the least he knows right now the better which is also why I left out saying anything about my plural 'others' meaning my wife and daughter" she nodded biting her bottom lip which was her anxious and nervous tell but for me it drove me to thoughts and I couldn't take it I leaned down and captured her lips.
"Derek not in here" she pushed me off just slightly making me chuckle.
"Downstairs then" I suggested and she rolled her eyes at me.
"Think with the upstairs brain during full moons Der, that's how Lia was conceived" I smirked since she had a point, we'd given in during a lust filled full moon…granted it wasn't our first time but in the haze of the moon and emotion I'd forgotten the condom and thus brought Lia into our lives which I couldn't totally fault since she was the best thing to happen to us but I knew Kenzie was not ready to have any more kids, she probably never would be since I know how much she is afraid that she'll fail Lia one day even though she's a fantastic mother I know not to push it.
"Let's go to bed then, I just need to hold you preferably naked but-" she hit my shoulder rolling her eyes at me but I didn't relent with the smile as we walked over to our bed and she quickly changed into some sleep shorts and a tank top while I stripped down to my underwear then climbed onto the mattress with her and we both managed to get some much needed rest with the relief that Lia was fine and wouldn't be shifting tonight.