Arian saw the pain in Jed's eyes and replied. "Hell ya it was great. You are wrong though, I don't deserve you." Arian kissed his boy again. He thought, "My baby will tell me in his own time."
The family was mostly silent during breakfast. No one wanted to make eye contact. Buck always knew the right comment to bust up his boy..."Little loud boys, juuust a little loud..." While everyone laughed; except Jed whose head practically dented the table. In the end he too finally laughed.
Hachi added, "Why is it every generation thinks that they invented sex."
Arian saved his boy from terminally blushing, "We need to head to school. Don't we Buddy."
Buck replied, "See you guys at The Vault after practice. We have a long night of setup ahead of us. We're going to have a mixed crowd tonight. There will be a lot of lycans but we will have a lot of uninitiated people with us. You boys had better come up with a plan if there's an issue like last night. I recommend starting to select hiding places."
Jed's dad continued, "Your team has got the big game Friday boys. You should just stay at The Vault this week. Your folks are oddly okay with it too Arian. We all know the score boys. I know you need to stay in close proximity. At least until you change the first time. You can stay here, or Jedidiah can stay with you and your folks. Don't take this the wrong way, I appreciate the free farm labor, but I've known for some time my boy is no farmer."
Homecoming weekend in Glynis Landing was packed with student activities. Thursday and Friday there was no school. Thursday was a "teacher's workshop," and the Chamber of Commerce dinner with the team and Homecoming Court. On Friday the parade and game were the big events. Jed's father knew another thing; with a psychopath on the loose The Vault was also the safest place in town.
Maybe his mom and dad were right; it is just a building after all. Since his father insisted he keep it, he was determined to try to get people to call it something other than The Vault. It was The Plant, The Factory, The Shelter... Hell anything else was better. The Vault was for that secret hidden room his Grandpa called it his oubliette, a room of forgetting.
For the second day this week, he was met in homeroom with a note to report to the counseling office. Jedidiah presented the note to the admin assistant and took his seat next to his counselor's door. The admin assistant smiled and then said in a sweet Southern drawl, "Two doors down honey, you've been moved... You have a new Guidance Counselor. Mr. Mancuso has been assigned your file."
Jed nodded thanking her and slid down to the correct seat. Mr. Mancuso had been pretty cool in the past. Besides this was Jed's last year. Of course he couldn't help make the observation that he was the GC for every single one of the jocks he knew on the "A" squad. He also handled most of the trauma cases.
When Mr. Mancuso came out to greet him he saw a flash of amber eyes Jed knew exactly why this change occurred. "Good morning Mister Glynis. I needed to talk to you about some changes in your schedule. Carol please print out Mister Glynis is new class schedule."
When the door shut Jedidiah couldn't help but notice how the GC sniffed the air and smiled. Then Mr. Mancuso continued, "First off Jed, welcome to our family. With the murder of your friends, you were coming to me already.
With your other changes, it is for the best. I will be so happy to help you with anything you don't understand about pack etiquette. Anything you don't understand about our history. If you do not feel comfortable coming to me, go to the coach. He's our pack enforcer, but he is also a wealth of knowledge. He is the second oldest Alpha in our pack."
Jed simply nodded his head in agreement. "For such a shy boy, you have a strength about you son. Coach McNabb will be joining us in a few minutes. For the most part your schedule is going to remain the same.
Your friend Kent McCormick understands you are a vulnerable pup. With Arian's consent he asked to shadow your schedule when he is not available. I did have to swap a couple of classes in order to put your study hall periods together. Are you okay with Kent being your protector here?"
"Yes sir. He and his brother always were our... MY protector." A wave of sorrow and fear crashed over him. He once again saw the image from the sheriff's mind; the image of his friend Kyle torn to pieces." Mr. Mancuso barely got the trash can to him in time before Jedidiah threw up his breakfast.
He apologized and explained to Mr. Mancuso what had occurred and his special gifts. The educator took several minutes to calm the boy. "That's a horrible thing to have to see. I will tell you, in time it will fade. Try to remember the good times when you hear his name."
The two went over his schedule. For the most part, if Kent was not in his class, Arian was, or the teacher was a lycan. Mr. Mancuso told him those lycans were taught to help cover for Jedidiah's current condition. When Jed commented it was as if both he and his mother were sharing a pregnancy. His mother was carrying his sister, and he with his inner pup.
"Jedidiah that is a very astute observation. In a way, you ARE pregnant. There's another personal ability growing inside of you. It is an aspect that will sustain you hundreds possibly thousands of years to come."
The door opened and Coach McNabb entered. He sniffed the air and looked down at Jedidiah grinning ear-to-ear, "That was going to be my second choice." He and Mr. Mancuso shared a laugh at the confused boy's expense.
Coach saw the confusion, "I had you wear his jersey today so you could keep Arian's essence close to you." He pointed to his nose, "The better way is to put it in you. Someday soon you'll be able to smell what we smell."
The boy blushed and dropped his head into his hands.
The GC quickly explained after a shared chuckle, "Jed, its okay. It's just a canine thing. When we sniff the air we're reading the news, and the big news is that you are off limits. Both of you are great guys. We are happy for you. For lycans sex is just a thing. When one of us finds our 'true life mate,' we all rejoice."
Coach added, "We celebrate a bond that is closer than marriage. You two are linked in a very special way. You know how long our kind lives. Some of our kind; never find that true life mate. The smell you share will be permanent when you go through the mating ritual once you shift."
The Coach went on, "All that said, the smell is a little weak, how long has it been? Jed told him a couple hours. "OH, so you two... um..."
Mr. Mancuso rescued the coach asking, "Oral?" Jed again blushed.
Coach agreed and added, "Nothing to be ashamed of. You'll just need to do it more often for full effect. It will be hard on Arian. The urge to mate is very strong in us. Poor kid must be rubbing himself raw."
The GC shot back, "Outta line Coach! You know better. We're not total animals here. It's up to Jedidiah to set the pace."
Coach put his hand on Jedidiah's forearm, "Dutch tells me this is how you know I'm telling the truth. Is that so?"
Jed nodded yes as he replied, "Y-yes sir. Sometimes I can tell if someone's lying at a great distance, but when they're in physical contact I know instantly if they're lying. I've only been fooled twice. One was a doctor who was very, very good liar and I was a little stupid. The other, I was dumb and blinded by love for my Grandad."
"Okay pal, Mr. Mancuso is right. I was far out of line, and I am sorry. It is up to you to set the pace. What I am worried about is the fact that Arian is young. Don't tease him. There are cases when the dominant lost control, shifted and raped its mate. There are some deaths recorded as well."
Jed whimpered softly. The coach moved his hand to the boy's shoulder "The fact Arian is an alpha is a big concern. Betas can only perform a hybrid shift during a full moon. Alphas can go hybrid at will, but the young have..." The big man was searching for the right word.
Mr. Mancuso offered, "Impulse control issues."
Coach was annoyed at the interruption, "Mr. Know-it-all-thesaurus is correct. Be careful and everything will be okay.
Then Coach added, "I'm not trying to scare you. I'm trying to inform you of a potential risk." He handed over a card to the teen. "This is not to be abused. What you boys did this morning has a medicinal benefit for you.
If you get to the point where your chest is hurting, and you get that out-of-control feeling, give this to your teacher they will send you on your way. Your pack guardians in your classrooms also know the signs and they'll help you.
As soon as you're out in the hallway text the number on the card with the message 'NOW.' One of us will pull Arian from class and take him to my office. I'll make sure no one sees you two go into or leave the office. I know this is very uncomfortable for you and I know you would prefer it being completely private. But that is not an option here. You have any questions?"
"What is the deal with people's eyes?" The CG was surprised by the next. "I smell weird stuff too... Jed's shirt I know it is sweat but it smells like the best cologne EVER. Both of you, I smell your aftershave but there is more... I can't explain it... Oh, and the period chime are they louder or is it just me. Sometimes it is so loud it hurts."
The GC replied, "Doc said you were advanced I didn't know that far... I'll get some earplugs to you, they are small, hard to see and they will help you out here. If someone does see them and asks say... Damn, you can't lie..."
Coach took over, "Tell them the truth; you are having trouble with your ears. Leave it at that. But take the plugs out after school so you can adjust to the increased sensitivity. The same thing is happening to your nose, increased sensitivity, you'll adapt."
Mancuso took over again, "Eye color... When in human form our eyes are how we say hello."
Jed had a horrific thought, "Oh, god! Could you people smell the other people on me when...?"
The Coach knew why the question was asked. "Frank give us the room."
"No sir. He is my GC. I have to be able to go to him for help. If he could smell the changes in me too... Is it better that he thinks I am a slut?"
The Coach's mouth drew into a fine line as he nodded. "Jed, we could. We put people around you hoping you would confide in one of us, if something was wrong. You have to understand to us sex just smells like sex. Dutch just told me what Quade made you do. Jed, why didn't you say something?"
Jed began crying as he replied weakly, "I had to protect my family."
With that the enforcer understood the boy understood pack loyalty. He has the ability to sacrifice everything to protect the pack. The muscle-bound coach hugged Jed. The two men helped calm the pup. Both men were feeling like crap for missing so many signs.
Once calm the coach continued, "Jed, give me your phone." Jedidiah hesitated for a moment remembering the last time he gave his phone or tablet to another. In the end he complied and the coach programmed in three phone numbers; the phone number for the text message, his own, and the pack alphas.
"Don't blame him; Arian did what he was required to do. He told me that you were having other... issues. He says you felt someone was watching you. If you get that feeling again like this morning, call me immediately. If by some miracle I don't answer by the third ring, call the sheriff immediately. Do you understand?"
Jed nodded yes. He also felt the concern, bordering on worry radiating from the coach. He asked the logical question, "Am I in danger? Is there a problem?" He asked nervously.
Initially the coach tried to pass off the story he and the sheriff came up with. He saw the boy's eyebrow arch. The coach asked, "Want a partial truth, or a comfortable lie?"
"THE truth sir lies hurt more."
"THE truth, well your change happened at a bad time. Our pack is under pressure from a rival pack. The newly converted are vulnerable and make a tempting target. Wolves are territorial, and this rival wants what we have. We're going to keep you safe or die trying. You have to understand, the pack MUST come first."
"I understand, and thank you, sir." In the back of his mind he wondered if the sins of Papa Quade were part of the new difficulties. The answers were probably in The Vault. The pack was withholding information from him; it seemed only fair to do the same in return until he knew the truth.
The rest of the morning consisted of more sniffs and smiles from the younger pack members. Students kept walking by Jed saying, "You got my vote" or "I voted for you". Jed didn't know what was going on until later.
Arian took Jed to the coach's office for a "treatment" before lunch and again before the pep rally that took the place of last period. Jed taught Arian how the Wiley Wolf costume goes on.
Arian was also using the time to touch and tease the tender parts of his mate's body. They were ten minutes late for the rally earning a smirk from the coach, and a playful scowl and finger wag from Stephanie.
At the end of the rally, the announcement everyone was waiting for was made. The homecoming King and his court were announced. No one was surprised when Arian's name was announced as King. The big surprise for Jed was when Stephanie's name was announced as first runner-up in the Queen's court.
The principal (also a lycan) announced that the years "Homecoming Co-Monarch" would be Jedidiah Glynis. Steph and the cheer squad helped Jed out of the wolf head, to the cheers of the crowd.
School was over and Jed had to switch to the practice uniform. It was the original prototype costume. The major difference between the prototype and the performance costume was that the prototype was plain fabric and not fitted for the field air conditioner. That device was used to keep the mascot cool during the game between cheers and skits.
For safety sake the acrobatic head was used. It was necessary for choreography, to practice with the same field of view you have during the performance. Arian couldn't keep his hands off his boy. Jed reminded the QB of the punishment for him being late for football practice. Arian announced he was happy to run those laps.
Arian provided another treatment in the locked sound booth. Immediately after dispensing the orgasmic medication, there was a knock on the door. The voice of the dramatic arts teacher was asking if Jed needed help. The boys scrambled for decency. Jed stood adjusting the costume, as Arian scrambled to fix his trousers and belt. Jed yelled out, "Just a minute sir."
When Jed opened the door, the director smiled and stroked his thumb against the corner of his own mouth with intent. When Jed did the same he felt the dampness. He buried his face in his hands and his face burned bright red.
"It's okay Jed; I know your big secret." There was a flash of panic on Jed's face as he shook his head no. Mr. Thomas the theater arts teacher was not a lycan.
"Jed come on now, you were wearing the star quarterback's jersey today, your an artist, theater nerd, cheerleader AND a gymnast. Throw in a campy lisp and you'd be the poster child for gay boys everywhere. My gaydar is still pretty good son. I'll even admit I did experiment back in college."
Jed breathed a sigh of relief that he was talking about 'THAT' big secret. The educator continued, "Okay Jed, take a deep breath, and center yourself. There's someone who wants to talk to you down near the stage."
Arian walked with his pup and the teacher. "Jed this is a new freshman transferring in from Miami and he reminds me of someone I met three years back. I'll leave this to you; I want you to pick the new understudy." With that he turned and walked away. Mr. Thomas liked to keep the cast on their toes and thinking. This was one of his spontaneous IMPROV your ass out of this one moment.
Jed was dumbfounded but knew he needed to have an air of confidence, "We have to be out on the field for practice, so we'll have to make this quick."
Jed noticed the frosh's eyes go from pale blue to amber and back to blue. "Um... Hello sirs." Jed was fighting back a chuckle, as the shy boy began to stutter. "I'm J-Jason March s-sir. My dad was t-transferred here from his old FHP p-post in Miami.
I was on the s-swim t-team and in the t-tech crew in o-our theater program at my last s-school. I'm still t-trying t-to find something g-good to be a p-part of. My dad thought this m-might be a good f-fit."
"Okay Jason, you've given me a background. Now you're going to have to give me a clue what are you asking me to do?" Arian started laughing earning him a quick elbow to the ribs from Jed.
"I heard ab-about the boy who w-was your helper and p-played your sidekick Scruff the P-Pup. I was j-just wondering if..." The request hit Jedidiah very hard. He hadn't thought of replacing his friend. He zoned out.
Arian sensed his pup's hurt and weakness. He stepped in to help, "Your dad is Trooper Jake March?" When Jason nodded his head yes, Arian told Jed the trooper helped his father process the scene. "They are a good family, and new to the pack."
That was enough to snap Jed back to the present. The drama teacher was fond of saying about those actors who understudy, "The part must always survive the player people. The show MUST go on." Wiley must survive Jed's graduation and Scruff had to survive too.
"Well Jason, we've decided to leave the Scruff costume and Karl's gear setup on the field empty during the homecoming game as a memorial. But I can use some help with my gear while Arian is on the field kicking Razorback asses. Let's see how you do, we'll call it your tryout. I know it's last-minute but are you available to sit in on practice tonight?"
The freshmen painted on a huge smile shouting, "Y-Yes sir!"
Jedidiah couldn't hide his amusement then said, "Take my head out to the practice field, we practice with the cheerleaders. The boy took off sprinting carrying the wolf head as if it were fragile as glass but worth more than gold.
"Damn Jed, you knew the kid fifteen minutes and you're already giving him head. Should I be jealous?" Jed blushed then Arian continued as they walked out to the practice fields, "Oh that boy is such as zed it's ridiculous. He's gonna get passed around. You saw his eyes?"
"Yeah what was that?"
"In every pack there are a few alphas, there are many betas and then there are a few zeds. Other packs call them omegas, the end of the line. That would be him. He is pliant, just terrified of offending anyone. He's afraid to even show his wolf publicly. Hell he can't even shift unless there is a full moon, assuming he has shifted yet.
He can sense you're in the process but when he looks at your eyes he is seeing amber and it frightens him. It actually is frightening a lot of the weaker betas too."