Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A New Leader is Chosen

Even though birthdays are supposed to be a fun time, today didn't feel any different. I woke up in a regular fashion and did everything like I normally did. I went downstairs to find Adam waiting for me, "Happy birthday!"

"Wow, you actually remembered this year." I smiled as he handed me a small, rectangular box. It was messily wrapped so I knew he had done it himself, which meant a lot.

I quickly unwrapped it and opened the box. It was a silver necklace with a neat oval locket. I un-did the small clasp and opened it. One side help a picture of Adam and the other had a picture of my mother and father on their wedding day.

I hugged him and lightly kissed his cheek. I smiled as he rubbed his cheek attempting to be grossed out.

I left to go to my car. I was skipping school today because I had a meeting with our pack leader, Tuomas. He lived nearly three hours away so I thought I'd leave early so I could get there as quickly as possible.

I had no idea what Tuomas could want. Had someone realized what had happened between Jack and I? I calculated all of the possibilities while I drove. All too quickly I had arrived at Tuomas' mansion.

Well, technically it wasn't only Tuomas' mansion. The place that Tuomas lived was actually Lycan headquarters. Each pack had at least one member living there. That specific Lycan would report to his or her pack leader about new information. Tuomas lived there because he had started the headquarters with Julianna and Calebe, so they stayed there instead of one of us.

The mansion looked more like a small castle. It was made out of stone and had a tapestry on each side of the large front door that had pictures and symbols that represented wolves.

Calebe greeted me at the door. Calebe had long black hair, which was now lightly sprinkled with gray, that fell about four inches past his shoulders. He wore a suit, now that I thought about it I don't think I've ever seen him in anything else other than a suit. The same suit, to be exact. "Alexa, so good to see you dear!" He said as he hugged me.

"I could same the same to you, Calebe," I said smilingly brightly. I had always thought of Calebe and Tuomas as my other fathers. Calebe more than Tuomas.

"And a very happy birthday to you! How old are you now?"

"Seventeen…I feel forty though," I said sighing.

He laughed, "Just wait until you hit a hundred, then you can complain." I cringed at the thought.

Calebe took me to the west wing where Tuomas' room was. When we reached the large oak door I took a deep breath and knocked.

"Don't worry, love. It'll be fine." Calebe rubbed my shoulder. He was gone before I got the chance to ask him what was going on.

The door opened to a smiling Tuomas. I couldn't understand why – or how – he was smiling. He looked terrible to say the least. His golden hair was messy and his eyes had lost their glow. His clothes hadn't been ironed like they usually were. It was all so strange.

"Alexa, darling! Please come in." He even sounded terrible. His voice was raspy as if he'd lost it.

"Tuomas, are you okay?" I asked as I sat down.

He slowly sat down, making a pained face. He smiled wearily, "You see, that's why I called you here, I'm not all right. I'm dying, Alexa."

I was shocked. How could this have happened? I'd just seen Tuomas a month ago and he was fine.

"I don't know either, Alexa," he said reading my expression. "All I know is that I have less than a month left."

"Tuomas, no! I'll – I'll fix this! There has to be something, anything, that I can do to help you! You can't-"

"There's nothing, dear. The reason I summoned you here is because I must choose someone to take over the pack after I'm gone. It's between you and your brother and we've decided to let you decide who takes over," he said. I could see his eyes tracing my face trying to read my thoughts. If he could read my mind it would've been no use since I had so many thoughts running through my mind at once.

"This is crazy! You're making me choose Adam and I. That's way too much to ask of me!"

"I need an answer before you leave here so we can make the necessary arrangements and-" He stopped talking when I moved my hair away to reveal my scar from Jack.

"Do you see what I'm already dealing with here? And now you're asking me to make a decision like that!" I was furious.

"How…how did this happen?" Tuomas whispered in shock.

"It was a stupid mistake and now I'm marked!" I was yelling now.

Tuomas swallowed loudly before speaking, "I wanted you to run the pack, too."

"Do you still want me as your stupid leader?" Any other time I would have been honored to be offered the position, but not now. It was too much right now.

He thought for a moment, "Yes, and no. You have the smarts to be our leader, but with you being marked, I'm not sure," he stopped to think again. "Yes, I still want you as our leader."

I was surprised. Then realization came over me. I had no choice but to accept. I nodded silently.

"Just promise me you'll be careful. We've had a three hundred year feud with the Vampires and it's no different now. Hey, maybe you'll be the one to end it all," Tuomas said mockingly.

I laughed nervously. That's what I'd been planning. "Tuomas, I promise to try my damn hardest to be as great of a leader as you are."

He smiled, "And I know you'll succeed. Gregory will stay here at the mansion and send you updates."

I stood up to leave, but Tuomas stopped me, "Alexa, do what's right. You know, for the pack, and yourself."

"I will. Goodbye, Tuomas."

"Goodbye, Alexa."

A tear rolled down my cheek. This was the last time I'd ever see Tuomas. Calebe was waiting for me at the end of the hall, "So, how'd it go?"

"I'm pack leader," I said wiping the tears from my face.

Calebe couldn't believe it, "But you're so-"

"Young? Yeah, I know. Now listen to me. When he – passes – I want an autopsy done on his body. I want you to see what made him so sick," I said with apparent authority in my voice.

"I will. Anything else?"

"And…a proper burial." With that I left. I was now pack leader. What a birthday this turned out to be.