: Running Free
When the kids were well into their dinner, Dana let herself in. The kids waved to her, slopping pasta
sauce on the floor. Serena shook her head, grabbing a wet paper towel to clean up the mess. “It‘s late,
isn‘t it?” Dana asked. Serena nodded, tossing the paper towel out.
“My mother brought a lot of gifts over for the kids,” she explained, motioning to the boxes stacked on
the floor. Dana chuckled.
“Very good. I wanted to talk about schedules, making sure we are coordinated,” Dana said. Serena
nodded, motioning to the couch. While Dana sat, Serena broke down the boxes and folded them up.
“Adriana has me working regular office hours at the hospital, unless there is an emergency or some
kind of special event,” she said. “That is what I expected,” Dana said. “I will be at the daycare most
days and can watch the kids then. I can help with breakfast and dinner too since those are around the
times you‘re coming home or leaving.” Serena smiled, surprised by how relieved she was at the offer.
“That sounds great,” she said. Boxes flattened and stacked, she sat on the couch with Dana.
“Any time you want me to put them to bed, I‘m around,” she said. Serena smiled and nodded again. “I
really appreciate it. I thought I was busy in medical school, but rejoining a pack has been a lot more
complicated than I remember,” she said. “As a single mother, it is nice to have an extra pair of hands.”
“Do you have a boyfriend, or any kind of regular social life?” Dana asked. Serena creased her brow.
“I‘m sorry, I don‘t understand,” she said. Dana chuckled. “Are there any standing nights you‘d like me to
watch the children when you‘re not here?” she clarified. Serena sighed, smiling. “No…My social life has
been…almost non–existent for five years,” she explained.
“Because of the kids?” Dana‘asked, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, no! I was in the human world. It is hard to
get close to people while hiding a big secret from them,” she said. “Alpha Logan told me that you lived
in the human world for a while,” Dana said, putting her feet up on the coffee table. Serena curled her
legs under her, resting her arm on the back of the couch and leaning her head against her arm. “What
is the Alpha‘s story?” she asked. Dana sighed, looking around the room a little.
“Logan had to take over the pack very young,” she said. “It was hard on him. There are times when it
still seems like he thinks he isn‘t the right fit, but none of us have any complaints.” Serena hummed in
response, her eyelids drooping. It had been a long day working and visiting with her mother. She
watched her kids from over the back of the couch, feeling sleepier with each passing moment. “You
look exhausted, dear,” Dana said. Serena jolted up, yawning and stretching. “I am,” she said. “Annual
physicals at the medical facility. No end to the patients for the next several days.” “Oh yes, it is a busy
time,” Dana said with a chucklę. “I can put the children to bed, if you‘d like.” “Thank you,” Serena said,
reminding herself that Dana as there to help. She was drowsy, watching trough blurry eyes as Dana
went to the kitchen, cleaning up the kids and the dishes before ushering them both upstairs.
While she was partially asleep, her ears were working just fine! She listened as Dana got them washed
up and into their pajamas. Oliver decided he wanted to sleep in Olivia‘s room with her. It didn‘t surprise
Serena; they‘d gotten used to sleeping in the same room. She hadn‘t had the means for a three–
bedroom place while she was in school. The house was big and empty in comparison. They just
wanted to be close together. She remembered climbing into Santino‘s room a lot as a child too. It would
take them a while to get comfortable enough to sleep on their own. They‘d already crawled into bed
with her too.
Serena forced herself awake when Dana came downstairs. She stood up, stretching, her skin feeling
tight. It had been a long time since she shifted. Too long! In the human world, it was hard to shift into a
werewolf regularly. There weren‘t a lot of places to run around as a wolf in the city without raising
suspicion. She could have bene caught by animal control. She could have been seen as a threat and
hunted with guns or by an angry mob. With two young kids, getting a babysitter around her class
schedule and going out of the city where she could run free wasn‘t as easy to plan as she would have
liked. It had been so long since she had been able to shift and run whenever she wanted to, it was
something she had to remind herself she could do! “I‘m going to go for a run,” Serena said. “Are you
okay to stay with the kids?”
“Yes, of course. It is a good night for it,” Dana said. “The stars are out in full.” Serena peeked out the
window. She was right, the stars were so bright! “The moon is full too,” she said. Dana smiled. “Enjoy
yourself. I do not think you had the chance as much as you should have in the human world,” she said.
“No, I did not. I won‘t be gone long,” she said. Dana nodded. “Thank you.” Once outside, Serena made
her way to a small patch of bushes near the house. She shed her clothing. She looked up at the sky,
the moon was large and perfectly round. A full moon night was always the best to run on, the night sky
just hummed with wolf energy. She was sure there were other pack members out running on a night
like this! Serena shifted into her wolf form, the transformation from two legs to four fluid and smooth.
She pressed her paws into the ground, feeling the cool, damp earth beneath her. Yes, it was a good
night for a run! Taking off into the forest, Serena leapt over a fallen log, running at full speed, dodging
through the trees. A howl burst forth from her throat, calling to the moon and the pack. In the distance,
she received several howls in response, members of Night Sky that were taking advantage of the night.
It was good to feel like part of a pack! She couldn‘t see them, but through their howls she could feel
them. Through the moon, they were all connected. She could practically feel that connection buzzing
through her entire body! Serena slowed to a walk near a little stream that cut through the forest. She
leaned down, lapping at the cool water. It sank into her stomach hard, but made her feel more alive.
Her fur rippled with a night breeze, and she lifted her head to the sky. The full moon was so bright,
reflecting in her eyes, drowning out some of the nearby stars. Away from the human city that was
littered with lights, cars, and loud sounds. She had such a clear view of the sky out in the woods, and
she began counting the constellations. Twigs snapped nearby, and Serena snapped her head in the
direction of them. She lifted her nose into the air, sniffing for the scent of whoever was nearby. She
knew there was a chance that whoever it was, she wouldn‘t recognize. She hadn‘t met very many
members of Night Sky yet. She was looking forward to connecting with more people than her boss, her
babysitter, the Alpha, and the Alpha‘s jealous mate. The scent was faint at first, wind blowing in the
opposite direction of where she was standing. When the wind shifted, she caught it full in the face,
Logan! She didn‘t want to see him. The more she was around him, the more she worried she would get
too comfortable and slip around him. She couldn‘t speak to him in wolf form, but any scent she gave off
would be far more potent. She couldn‘t risk it! Swallowing the instinctive growl that rose to her lips,
Serena gauged where the wind was blowing. She went to the nearest patch of bushes that was upwind
from Logan and lowered herself down to be out of sight. She hoped he wouldn‘t smell her, but he was
too close for her to try and run. Serena held her breath, waiting for the moment when Logan was far
enough away that she couldn‘t smell him anymore. She couldn‘t tell if he was moving. Was he smelling
her too? She kept herself low in the bushes, hoping the wind wouldn‘t change direction again. It took
several heart stopping minutes before Serena heard the padding of feet and the rustling of leaves. The
sound was receding, and so was Logan‘s scent. She let out a low whine of relief.
[HOT]Read novel Kids from One Alpha Chapter 18
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