Chapter 11:

Summer Solstice Summer Festival

She Wolf will not find her mate; I curse the Spring that came too quickly. I won't fall in love!

Cicadas crying was the soundtrack to my summer and just about every summer. I found them peaceful this year, though perhaps that was because of the lack of myth hunters. It seemed that they had well and truly left us alone because of the heat.

I wasn’t buying it but the Alphas were just pleased for the break. I couldn’t really blame them but I don’t think they quite grasped the severity of the situation with Crimson having left the Hirasawa mansion. I was concerned that she would just show up one day. I couldn’t let that stop me though.

Ryan and I were running through the forest in wolf form, it was much cooler in there. The trees provided a shield from the overbearing sun though the air was humid it was preferable. The air rushing through my fur was cooling as well. The exercise was just needed. We had spent so many days slumped on the cool hardwood floors we were practically burning with energy. Dogs needed to be walked after all.

We came to the river and stopped. This was the spot, the temperature had dropped even further around it. I shifted and so did Ryan. I was in a bikini and he was in swimming trunks, we had come prepared. I leapt up onto a rock and tipped my toes in the cool water. It caressed them and I giggled.

“You’re such a girl,” Ryan said before pushing me in.

Cool water enveloped me, its touch not missing a single spot on my body. My hair flared around me. I was instantly refreshed but I came to the surface for air. Immediately I got slashed by Ryan jumping in beside me.

“Ugh you’re such a guy,” I shoved him.

He laughed and swam back over to me. I floated on my back and looked up at the sky. Not a cloud in sight, just pure blue with a ball of fire. The water licked at the edge of my face as I floated, filling my ears every now and then. A warm breeze came through, though it cooled me down further. The sounds of the forest were a perfect harmony, rustle of the leaves, birds singing and of course the cicadas.

“Do you know what I’ve been grateful for this summer break?” Ryan asked.

I looked over at him suspiciously, fully expecting him to do something like splash me or jump on me, “What have you been grateful for Ryan?”

“Not having the Amanes visit.”

I laughed so hard I actually started sinking, I went back to treading water, “Are they really that bad?”

“You spent almost every day with them, you tell me.”

I thought back to all the sexual harassing Lucius had been doing, “You are right I suppose.”

“I never asked, why don’t they like you anymore?” He looked at me.

I shrugged, “I’m a traitor.”

Ryan chuckled, “I consider that a good thing.”

“I guess I sided against them one too many times.”

“Varinia you’re better off without them.”

I swam back to the bank and lifted myself up onto a rock, “I think so too but I wonder if it will be awkward when we come back from the holidays.”

Ryan sat beside me and dunked his feet back into the water, “Maybe, but it sounds like there is someone you’d prefer to spend your time with.”

I blushed, “I suppose, and it would be nice to be with Yami and Modesta too.”

“I have no complaints with you having them at the pack more often,” Ryan smiled.

I rolled my eyes. The pack had a lot of young male wolves, as I was the only young female, this made Yami and Modesta very popular. The beautiful Modesta particularly was the favourite.

“They are both coming to the solstice,” I muttered.

“Another reason to look forward to it.”

I pushed him back into the river, “You sound like Lucius!”

He laughed, treading water, “That’s the biggest insult I’ve ever gotten.”

The day before the solstice the Luna was stressed and she was pushing that onto all those around her. I avoided her by spending time with wolves around my age, Ryan of course but Hayato and Yuito who were younger than me. We were eating watermelon on one of the balconies on the top floor of the mansion. This balcony was out of the sun’s reach too. We made sure of that.

“She’s going to kill you,” Ryan nudged me.

“Once today is over she will relax, she always does,” I took another bite.

“I thought everything was ready,” Hayato said.

I smirked and Ryan replied, “Well it is but my mother is a freak about these kinds of things.”

“The details,” I muttered.

Hayato smiled, “She makes it a fun day though.”

I smiled looking out over the street which was blocked off and ready to go as the sun was setting on the final day of waiting, “I’ll give her that.”

“It’s going to be so much fun,” Yuito dangled his legs off the edge of the balcony.

“I just hope none of the Amanes show up,” as soon as I said the word Amane they all cringed. I didn’t blame them.

“I hope the border patrol would be smart enough not to let them into our territory,” Hayato mumbled.

Ryan snorted, “Yeah these disgusting rogues, they’re not allowed in.”

I shrugged, “Well if they do get in I didn’t invite them.”

They snickered and I picked up another piece of watermelon. Biting into it, it was so refreshing and juicy. I watched the street. It was bathed in the pink light of sunset and there were only a few people still making last minute preparations. I watched them working for a while until I noticed one was watching me. She pointed up at where we were sitting. She wasn’t just any she, she was Rachael.

“I found you Varinia!” She shouted up at us.

I ducked down and the boys burst into a fit of laughter.

“Shit,” I whispered and slunk back inside to go help the Luna out.

I spent the night helping out the Luna with the finishing touches after being scolded and when we were done it looked perfect. Though I was proud I was exhausted and crashed into bed.

Then it was the day of solstice. I put on my Yukata with a little struggle, it was blue in a sort of night sky pattern, a fabric design that was unique to my pack. But I chose an orange obi as well as a few orange flowers to decorate my hair. They stood out against my black hair and complimented my deep complexion. I painted my lips with a little orange lipstick to match as well and I was ready to go.

First up we had a ceremony that was only really important to the pack. It would mark the start of the festival. It also celebrated the half year we had had since the last solstice celebration and all we had accomplished. I stood on the stage beside the Luna, she looked beautiful in her Yukata. So elegant.

She and the Alpha made their speeches with big smiles. They introduced a few new members to our pack, both pups and bitten wolves. We all shifted and commenced our howl. Our voices carried to those on patrol who could howl along with and with that those wolves were now members of our pack and the festival began.

I shifted back into my human form and ran into the crowd. Yami and Modesta were to meet me at the end of the court. I weaved through all the vendors everything smelt so delightful but I would get to that later.

They were starting on the corner of the court, around them non-werewolf myths were walking in. They looked adorable. Modesta was in a completely green Yukata with pink floral embroidery. She looked perfect and people turned their heads to look at her as they walked by. Yami was wearing a sunflower yellow Yukata, hers was much more simple. I ran towards them. They waved and smiled at me.

“You look amazing!” I caught up to them.

“So do you girl,” Yami grabbed my hand and made me twirl.

“You looked like you belonged on the stage,” Modesta said, her voice sounding adrift.

I blushed, “Thank you.”

“Were you nervous?” Yami asked.

“Oh not really, most of the people in the crowd I know personally,” I said, downplaying it.

Yami looked to Modesta, “See that’s the sign she’s becoming a Luna.”

Modesta giggled.

I was kind of embarrassed that they had seen me on stage, I thought it was just the pack that cared about that kind of thing.

“Anyway I’m starving, who wants some Takoyaki?” I asked.

Yami jumped up and down at the idea and we walked into the festival. Even though the delicious smells made it difficult to navigate I was able to find the Takoyaki vendor quite easily and we were munching on some deliciousness.

“So how has your summer been?” Yami asked us between bites.

I had my mouth full so I looked to Modesta. Her eyes looked a little glazed over and took a second to focus, “The Nymphs enjoy the summer, but there are a lot of water activities. We even went to the beach.”

Modesta didn’t live on the pack’s land like Yami did. She lived in the forest with the wood Nymphs, the tree spirits. She was born to human parents but she had mythical nature powers. She couldn’t stay with them, it was too dangerous. A young child who didn’t understand her powers and a ruthless force of myth hunters, it wasn’t a good combination. The Nymphs had taken her in and she had grown up around them despite being human; her powers lended her to be quite similar to them.

I smiled at her, swallowing my food, “Sounds like a good time, I’ve been firstly preparing for this but mostly just trying to stay cool. It’s tough being a wolf during summer.”

“Yeah you smell horrible,” Yami teased.

I shoved her, “I do not!”

She poked her tongue out at me.

“You actually smell like the forest,” Modesta said softly and Yami and I quit rassling.

“See,'' I told her.

“Yeah a bunch of rotting leaves,” Yami smiled.

I laughed, not even knowing how to respond to that. I guessed that was what we were smelling in the forest. Just a very strange way to put it.

“Let’s go get photos taken before our hair gets frizzy,” Yami said and grabbed our arms, dragging us further into the festival.

The pack had hired photobooths for the festival as usual. We all piled into one and posed to look hot then to look stupid then to look cute. The perfect formula. When we were done I slipped the strip into my bag.

Ryan walked over to us with some shaved ice, one for each of us.

“Well aren’t you just the gentleman,” I said as I took one.

“Gotta take care of the ladies,” he said and winked at Modesta.

She didn’t seem to notice but took one from him and began licking it. I licked mine as well, it was nice and refreshing with a strong sugar syrupy taste, but I didn’t mind that.

“Do you want to join us in watching the fireworks? I've got a great place in mind this year?” I asked him.

He considered it for a second, “Why not, it can’t be as bad as last year.”

I was slammed with the memory of us climbing up a tree and the branch snapping.

“I don’t want to think about that,” I mumbled, defeated.

“As long as it doesn’t involve trees I’m in, there is a reason wolves don’t climb trees,” He scolded me.

“No trees included,” I crossed my arms over my chest.

Ryan waved goodbye to us as the werewolf boys passed by.

Yami, Modesta and I hit up a few more vendors and we had a feast to snack on as we watched some traditional dances. The performers were wearing huge costumes with beautiful flowers adorning them.

Yami got closer to me, “You know I think trading Modesta in for the Amanes was a good call.”

I chuckled, “You know that’s not how it works right?”

“Still, this year is much better,” Yami bit into some Ikayaki.

I bit off a piece of Yakitori and chewed on it. It was peaceful this time, with my girlfriends, there was no pressure I could just enjoy myself. I looked at Yami and smiled, “I think so too.”

We spent the rest of the daylight hours playing games probably aimed for pups. Most of which required good aim, something I didn’t have. At least Yami was somewhat decent at the shooting games but still pups showed us up.

I was having so much fun with my two best friends that the sunset snuck up on me and so did Ryan. He poked me in the back and I jumped.

“Time for that viewing point Varinia,” he smiled at my reaction.

I smiled back, “Yes follow me everyone.”

I marched down the court toward the mansion. They followed behind.

“The mansion really?” Ryan scoffed.

“Just you wait Ryan,” I replied as we approached the gardens, instead of going inside I took them around the back. There was a shed at the end of the gardens just before the forest started. No one was back there so it was perfect.

I whipped around to face them all, “Ta Da!”

“I have to say I’m impressed,”Ryan nodded

We all climbed up onto the roof of the shed and looked up at the night sky full of stars. A beautiful sight to behold on its own. We didn’t have to wait long for the fireworks to begin and dazzling colours lit up the sky. We had the perfect view for it all. Laying on top of that roof watching the explosion of colour, I couldn’t stop smiling.