Part 44: The End of an Era

Tyler could hardly believe time had gone by so quickly. It seemed like only yesterday that he saw Luke and Sophia marry before the pack. The two could not stop smiling the entire day and happiness radiated off the couple through the shared mental link of the pack. Now they were graduating and he was a father to an adorable baby girl named Amanda Willa Creed.

The graduating humans would be leaving Wolf Lake soon to attend university while the Hill kids began the family trade or went to a close community college to gain the knowledge they needed. Luke and Sophia were going to attend Silver Lake Community College in the town over as many Hill kids did over the years. It was one of the only places of higher education that the pack could attend given their need to stay close to Wolf Lake. Leaving was not an option, it never was. Those who left soon understood why as his wife Ruby had when she ran from the pack and from Wolf Lake.

Wolves were pack creatures they needed one another to survive. A long separation from the group led to a slow and steady strain on the psyche of the wolf until the wolf tried to separate from the human and head back to its pack, but the wolf and human were one and a separation was not possible. The two beasts would fight for dominance slowly sending the person who left the pack mad with need to head back to their people. This slow torture was why the punishment of disownment was as severe as it was. No one wanted to be shunned from their pack.

Many of the young wolves dreamed of leaving and exploring far off places hating that they had to stay in Wolf Lake. Tyler had seen it for years, felt the ache to leave when he was young. It wasn't until he was able to leave and be free of the pack when the panic and pain set it and he like those before him knew that leaving was not an option.

Ruby had fought against the panic and lived away from her pack longer than any other wolf had before, but when she was found it was obvious she was suffering. She did not want to admit it to her father and Vivian but Tyler could see the relief she felt being home in Wolf Lake. She preached to the pack for months that she wanted to be free again but her heart was not in her fight. Tyler knew that her human lover had more to do with her struggle to stay away than anything.

The doorbell rang pulling Tyler out of his memories. Sophia's wild scent tickled his nose and a grin tugged at his lips. He missed having her over every day now that she was married. He quickly made his way down the stairs and to the front door eagerly pulling it open.

"Managed to ditch the husband I see."

Sophia rolled her eyes at him a small laugh escaping her. She had stopped trying to keep Luke and Tyler from sneaking in verbal jabs at one another. Before their comments had annoyed her but now she knew that it was an odd form of bonding between the two. Sophia knew that the two would never really like one another but as long as they stayed civil she was happy.

"One of the machines at the brewery is malfunctioning and the repair man is giving Viv a hard time so Luke has to smooth it over. Apparently the guy can't take a woman in charge."

"Well he better get used to it since Vivian isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I swear the woman is more cat than wolf with her unnatural nine lives."

Sophia shook her head at him knowing he would not dare say something like to Vivian's face. Ruby bustled into the room with Amanda on her hip. A content glow radiated off the white wolf as she cooed at the baby.

"See I told you Auntie Sophia would be coming to see you today," Ruby gushed at her baby girl.

Sophia extended her arms for the baby and Ruby readily gave her over. There were few that the mother trusted with her young and Sophia was at the top of her list. The dark haired baby with bright blue eyes blinked at Sophia a gooey grin coming over the drooling baby.

"Thanks for agreeing to watch her for the weekend Soph." Tyler said as Ruby rushed around the house gathering together the baby bags she had packed for Sophia to take with her.

"No problem. Luke and I are excited to have her with us. She will give us a ready excuse to leave Kit's early."

Tyler laughed at that having heard from Sophia numerous times how reluctant she was to attend her friend's going away party. Kit was heading off to California early for school that fall. Sophia's relationship with the human had become desperately strained since she married Luke a year ago. At first it was just little comments from the human that raised Sophia's hackles until Kit started to become downright belligerent towards Luke and Sophia. The only reason Sophia was even going to the party today was to say goodbye once and for all. She knew that once Kit left Wolf Lake they would never speak again even if she did come home for holidays.

"She still with that Scott kid?" Tyler asked with a hateful glare.

Sophia nodded shifting the baby. "Yeah they are still together. Rumor has it he is pissed that she is going so far away for school when he is going to UW."

"They won't last past the first football game," Tyler chuckled.

"What makes you say that?" Sophia asked.

"He has a wandering eye," Ruby answered from the kitchen.

Tyler nodded a vindictive grin on his face. He hated the human that dared to date his baby sister. Scott liked brunette girls that looked like Sophia. Tyler had been on his way home a few months ago when he caught Scott and a Sophia look alike going at it in Scott's car by the lake.

Sophia looked sad. "Poor Kit, she really likes him."

Tyler scoffed at his sister's kind words. He felt that the human girl did not deserve Sophia's kindness. Kit had been nothing if not rude and hateful towards Sophia and Luke. None of the Hill kids would mourn Kit leaving Wolf Lake.

Ruby came back with all her bags for Amanda and helped Sophia out the door. "Just think Soph. you won't have to deal with her much longer. If she starts to get on your nerves tonight just leave. You owe Kit nothing."

Sophia let out a deep sigh knowing Ruby was right. It was time to move on from Kit. She had a new life with Luke and Kit wanted to keep her stuck in the past. Tyler and Ruby said goodbye to their daughter and Sophia before the two were off to the Cates home.

Sophia smiled as she watched Tyler and Ruby vanish from her rearview mirror. Amanda cooed happily in her baby seat in the back of her SUV. She loved that baby girl with everything she had. Amanda was a little copy of Ruby with hints of Luke and Tyler in there.

What had surprised Sophia was how amazing her mate was with Amanda, turns out Luke loves kids. Luke adored his niece Amanda even if she was the spawn of Tyler Creed. Between his niece and Buddy's kids Luke was starting to get anxious for pups of his own, a feeling that Sophia knew all too well.

It had started three months after she married Luke before the pack. One night she had a dream where she was surrounded by brown haired, golden eyed children and that morning the feeling set in. The need for pups was a deep longing that pulled at her constantly. It had frightened Sophia how abrupt the need was; one moment she was fine and the next morning she was in a sea of longing. Vivian had noticed her strange mood and confronted her about it sensing that Luke was unsure what to do.

Sophia had been relieved and shocked when Vivian explained that the need she was feeling was normal. On some level Sophia knew her instincts were going to kick in soon but she had not expected it to be so abrupt and all consuming. Vivian and Ruby warned Sophia that the need for her to have Luke's pups was only going to grow with each month that passed until the two could no longer ignore what they wanted desperately.

She had become so used to the intense longing that when the feeling slowly stopped four weeks ago she panicked. Thousands of explanations had raced through Sophia's mind that day when she realized the need was gone. It happened so slowly she had just assumed at first that she was used to the feeling and no longer noticed it. A larger part of her knew that was not the case though and soon Sophia had found herself in the alpha's office talking to her mother-in-law who looked far too pleased with herself when she heard Sophia explain her lack of longing. Vivian confirmed what Sophia had secretly been hoping for, she was pregnant.

Sophia had wanted to race up to her room with Luke and tell him their news but Vivian's warning had held her back. The first six weeks for female wolves were very precarious. Over half of the pregnancies were lost in those six weeks. Many believed it was due to inbreeding and a lack of a large gene pool, others believed the high miscarriage rate was due to their two natured existences. All Sophia knew was that she had to wait for her scent to change before she could tell her mate that they were expecting and from the strange look Ruby had given Sophia earlier that day it looked as though Luke was going to find out that night.