The sun was almost up when I finally got back to the Swag Pag's house, and all I wanted was to collapse in bed and not wake up until sunrise the next day. I couldn't, though. With Stark behind Majestic bars, I no longer had anyone to help me get Kimberly through her first change. I did my best to convince myself I could handle it alone, but in the end common sense won out, and I decided that wasn't a risk I was willing to take. Stark hadn't told me exactly what the risks were, which only made me even more nervous. If I was going to get her through the full moon, I was going to need help.
And there was only one person in this house that I trusted enough to ask for help.
“Tyler!" I whispered outside his bedroom door, knowing that would be more than enough to wake him up. I expected it to be a minute before he got up and got dressed, but his door opened almost immediately. He was already completely dressed.
“Yeah?" he asked, without even a hint of sleepiness in his voice.
“Um," I glanced down the hallway towards D.K. and Kaylie's room. “Can I come in?"
“Sure," he said, and stepped back to give me access to his room. I stepped inside, and he shut the door behind me.
I'd never been in his room before, and I wasn't sure what I was expecting. What I found didn't surprise me at all, though. There was a mattress lying on the floor beside a pile of dirty clothes. A small dresser in the corner probably held all the rest of the clothes he owned. There wasn't a closet, just a window looking out into the backyard. It was plain, but it suited him. If anything, more furniture would just make it cramped for the gigantic man.
“I need some help," I told him, cutting right to the chase.
He crossed his arms, his expression unreadable. “With what?"
“The next full moon," I explained. “It's only a couple weeks away now."
He didn't respond.
“It'll be Kimberly's first."
Understanding dawned in his eyes. “It's not gonna be pretty."
“I don't know what to do," I said. “But I don't trust D.K. or Kaylie. Will you help?"
Tyler paused, and then glanced at his door. “You want to get her away from the pack?"
“Yeah. The farther away she is from that idiot, the better."
Tyler sighed and shook his head. “D.K. tries to keep us where he can see us on the full moon. He won't like it if we try to sneak her away."
I groaned, and gave his door the evil eye. “You're kidding! What's he afraid of?"
Tyler gave me a grave look. “He has plenty to be afraid of."
That comment made me pause. It reminded me again of his massive size, compared to D.K.'s sticklike figure.
“Is he afraid you'll try to take him out?" I asked quietly.
“Don't say that," he responded immediately, taking a step toward me. “Never say that."
When he came at me, I flinched and backed away. My back was against the wall before I had even taken a full step. He stopped, but the look on his face didn't change.
“I don't like him," he said, “but he's still our alpha. You need to respect that."
I stared at him for a few seconds, waiting for my heart to stop beating so quickly.
“What is there to respect?" I asked, at last. “He's running the whole pack into the ground."
“Amber," he said, warningly.
But I refused to back down this time. “You could take him out! One punch and he'd on the ground like a rug!"
“Amber," he said again.
“Don't you care about your pack? Don't you want it to be better than this?"
“Shut up!" he ordered, and my mouth snapped closed. “Of course I care about the pack. But it's too risky!"
He pointed at me. “I already told you."
I remembered. “Right, your sister."
Tyler nodded. “If I try anything, he'll kill her."
I shook my head, trying to think of something else I could say to him. “Who is your sister, anyway?"
“This pack only had one girl in it before you came along," he answered. “Who do you think it is?"
“What?" I spluttered. “Kaylie? You're joking!"
Tyler didn't answer, but the look on his face while he folded his arms told me he wasn't happy with my response. It made sense, now that I thought about it. They didn't look much alike, apart from their skin color, but that was probably because of their size. Tyler was huge and loaded with muscles, but Kaylie was more… normal, I guess.
“Sorry," I finally said.
He was quiet for a few seconds, but then he sighed and shook his head. “Amber, think about it. He's your alpha. Try to imagine fighting him yourself."
I tried, and immediately shuddered. I couldn't fight him. He was bigger, stronger, more dominant, and…
Wait, no he wasn't.
Tyler saw the look on my face and nodded. “Exactly. Size and strength doesn't have anything to do with it. It's all about our instincts. He's our alpha, which makes it against our nature to challenge him."
He was right, I realized. It had been so long since I'd thought about it, but my submissiveness was still there. Just as strong as it had been the night it came. I couldn't challenge D.K. any more than I could bite my own fingers off, and there wasn't anything I could do about it.
I nodded, wearily. “But will you help Kimberly? However you're able to?"
He hesitated, giving his door another glance, and then nodded. “I'll help, if there's anything I can do. For now, you'd better get out of here before D.K. finds you."
I headed for the door, but couldn't resist one more question. “What does it matter if he finds me with you? Am I not allowed to talk to you?"
This time, the look he gave me was one of surprise. Like he couldn't believe what I'd just said.
“He'll think I'm, uh," he faltered for a second before hesitantly finishing, “taking what's his."
I froze, my hand halfway to the doorknob. “What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, even though I was pretty sure I knew exactly what it meant.
Tyler sighed again. “As the alpha, he has the right to claim any female he wants."
My heart fell into my stomach.
“Even you, Amber."
NEXT TIME: Ooh, do I smell a romantic interlude between Amber and D.K. a-comin'? Just FYI, I totally ship DeeKaymber. Because that's what that pairing would be. I'm the author, I get to make these decisions. But what about Kimberly? Is she still okay after Amber's night long disappearance?