“I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble,” Candace said.
That rang a little insincere. She might not have wanted to be trouble, but she definitely wanted to be the center of Tobias’s and Suzannah’s attention. Of their protection. I didn’t call her on it, but I stored it away to mention to Tobias later if he hadn’t picked up on it.
“It won’t be trouble,” Tobias said. “This is your first hunt with our pack, and it would be irresponsible of me not to stay with you. You’ll be fine with us. Kirk and Kyle will be along as well, and maybe a couple of our friends from City Pack.”
“But I don’t know them.”
“You’ll meet them before we shift.” Tobias spoke in a low tone, the way he spoke to me when I had to shift back to human after spending a few hours as a wolf. I hated the shift and needed him to guide me through it even now. I didn’t know if his calming effect was an alpha power or just part of him. Probably the latter, since none of his other alpha powers worked on me.
The tone had the same calming effect on Candace as it did on me. “As long as you trust them, I guess I can.”
“Yes, you can.” Tobias sat on the chair opposite her. “We always hunt in groups, Candace. And it will be good to have other wolves with you in case I have to leave the group to address an issue with another pack member. You’ll have four wolves you know right there with you, and I’ll make sure you’re introduced to anyone else who’s going to hunt with us before the shift.”
She nodded and swallowed hard. “Okay. I’ll try.”
“That’s all I ask.” He smiled at her again. “You’re one of our pack, Candace. That isn’t going to change unless you endanger the pack, and I don’t think you’d do that, would you?”
“Not if I could help it.” She paused and then looked up suddenly as what he’d said hit her. “You talked to my old Alpha. You know why he sent me away.”
“I e-mailed him,” Tobias said. “The Anax didn’t tell me much about you, and you said you were asked to leave the pack only because of the arguing. I needed to know the whole truth.”
“I didn’t lie to you!” She jumped to her feet. “It was because of the arguing. I didn’t go near any humans!”
“Sit down.” This time, Tobias spoke as Alpha. We all felt it. Candace immediately plopped back down in the chair, tears running down her face. “I am not accusing you of anything, Candace. Don’t twist my words. You knew that your former Alpha believed you showed yourself to humans, didn’t you?”
“Yes.” Her voice broke. “But I didn’t!”
“Please only answer what I ask you.” Tobias leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “We were just talking. Now I need to be your Alpha, because you’re upset and frightened and you’re about to lose control, aren’t you?”
“I need to run.” She tensed but didn’t stand. “Please let me run.”
“No. Not by yourself, and not in daylight. You’re safe with us, Candace, and as your Alpha I will keep you safe if you can’t do it yourself. This is how you felt when those humans found you on the bridge, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” She brushed a hand across her eyes.
“Tell me what happened.”
I didn’t know if Candace actually wanted to talk about it, but she couldn’t ignore Tobias’s compulsion. “I didn’t go on the hunt with the others. Two of them had threatened me earlier and I was afraid they’d follow through.”
“Why didn’t you tell your Alpha?” Kirk asked. Tobias glared at him and Kirk shrugged.
“He believed I caused the problems the others had with me,” Candace said. “When I asked him for help he told me that if I stopped causing problems, everything would be okay. But it wasn’t my fault.” She paused. “The ones who threatened me, they’d talked to him. The wolf who—who did things to me. I saw them. Afterward, they said they didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t remember seeing him. I think he made them threaten me.”
That sure sounded like something Saul might have done. And I wasn’t a bit surprised to hear that the other weres hadn’t remembered seeing him. Kind of like Tobias didn’t remember fighting him two nights earlier. I think she’s right, Tobias.