A few hours earlier.
“Valarian, are you dressed yet?” Mum yells out to me. I grab the piece of paper with my dad’s address on it and a small list I made of his description. Mum said I should recognize him, and the funny feeling I get in my tummy should tell me he is my dad.
“Coming, mum, ” I call back to her while unfolding the paper again because the corners didn’t match. Why doesn’t it match? I refold it. Casey walks into the room, and I hate how she taps on my door. Two taps, it should be three, odd numbers, odd numbers. I try to refold the paper, but her knock irritates me making me stuff the corners up again.
“Valarian, we are gonna be late,” mum calls again.
“Casey, knock, ” I snap, not meaning to. Casey was my best friend.
“I forgot, you are so weird, Vally, ” Casey laughs but knocks on the door again, and I let out a breath. I know the other kids think I am weird, they all do but I don’t mind when Casey says it, she doesn’t mean it in a mean way.
” Did you get it?” I whisper to Casey and she kneels pulling her bag off her shoulder and pulling out torn pieces of paper.
“I tore them out,” she says excitedly before stuffing them back in her bag when we hear footsteps.
“Valarian, come on, come on,” Mum says ushering us out of the bedroom, Casey giggles at our little secret. Today I find my dad. Mum is getting sick, I know she hides it, but I see the puffiness under her eyes, how she is always too tired to play and lately she has been falling asleep when she reads to me, she never has time, time, time, never enough time to play with me anymore. Dad will have time for me, I know he will have time, or I hope he does, then maybe he can make mum not so tired no more.
Maybe then she will play more , I miss when mum played but now she gets tired too quickly and needs to rest. She thinks I don’t notice but I notice everything about mum, she is the best mummy.
I follow mum out of the house, trying not to think of the torn- up phone book pages. I wanted the maps, I wasn’t sure how to read the maps, but it can’t be that hard, like a pirates map, dad is the golden chest at the end, and I was going to find him and surprise mum.
“Valarian seatbelt, ” mum hisses; she was always in a hurry. I clip my belt in and Casey does hers, and then mum puts the car stick on the D, and the car moves and we are on our way to school.
We stop out the front of my school. My teacher is waiting out the front, I don’t like her, and she always smells funny, smells like burnt grass and cigarette smoke, and she talks too slow. Mum gets out of the car and opens my door before walking me to the gate.
“Aunty Macey is picking you and Casey up, I have roster meetings this afternoon, okay, but I should be home for dinner, ” mum tells me with a kiss on the cheek before she rushes back to the car, honking the horn as she leaves. I hated when she did that; the other kids stared.
“Come, come,” my teacher calls and tries to take my hand, but I don’t let her. Her hands stunk bad like the rest of her, and she always looked like a poodle with her weird puffy hair and big round glasses making her eyes too big for her thin face.
Casey slides the scrunched-up phonebook pages to me on the seat at recess. I try to flatten the pages out, looking for the street name that matches the one on the paper but I can’t find it.
“Are you sure these are the right pages?” I ask Casey, and she shrugs.
“How am I supposed to know? You said get the maps, I got the maps, ” I huff, trying to think of another way to find my dad. Diego’s and Dora’s maps weren’t this hard to follow, these ones have lots of lines and cross-sections, and none said the Alpha Valen’s home.
“It is fine. Someone must know where my dad lives,”
I tell Casey.
“Can I come to find the pirate treasure, “
“I am not finding pirate treasure. I am finding my dad,” I tell her pulling out the spare clothes I smuggled into my school bag. I pulled the jumper on over the top of my shirt and the jeans over my shorts. My shorts riding up and gave me a wedgie, and I didn’t like the creases in my jeans. Mum
usually gets those out with the hot steaming iron for me. I don’t want creases. They make my pants uneven.
“Don’t look, Vally, just don’t look, and the lines will go away,” Casey tells me, and I nod, stuffing the maps in my bag and putting it over my shoulder.
“You be the lookout,” I tell her as we sneak to the front gate. They always left it open. Casey looks around the corner while eating her anchovy sandwich before giving me a thumbs up and I run out the gate before stuffing my bag in the d**d hedges out the front. I glance back at the school, feeling sneaky that I got out of my school like a ninja.
My feet hurt and my tummy rumbled. I had been walking forever, and it was getting cold, and the light was gone now. Mum would be worried. When I came across a man at the traffic lights I stopped. I didn’t know if I was going in the right direction when I saw a man dressed in a suit, like those coming to Mum’s Hotel. He glances down at me, and I tug on his suit Jacket and he sighs loudly. “What kid?”
“Do you know where this place is?” I ask, showing him the piece of paper. He huffs and takes it from me and laughs.
“Alpha Valens?” I nodded; he knew where it was. Where my dad is.
“Now, why would a rogue boy want to see him for?” “I ‘m not a rogue boy; I am an Alpha like my dad,” I tell him.
“Ha, and who is your dad?”
“Alpha Valen Solace, ” The man laughs harder.
“Is that so?”
“Yep,” I tell him.
“Well, my Alpha doesn’t have a kid, but I am sure he will think this is really funny, come on then, boy, maybe he will give you an autograph or let you get a picture with him, ” The man says, gripping my shirt and tugging me across the road.
“Really, you will take me to him?”
“Yep, I am going there anywhere. He lives in that big building in the penthouse apartment, “
“Do you work for my dad?”
He laughs. “If you say so, kid,” he says, and we walk up the hill toward the big building with the bright lights. The door opens as we climb the stairs, and a man that looks like a butler with a funny hat on greets us at the doors.
“Who is that boy, Tatum?” The man in the funny hat asks.
“Some kid who thinks the Alpha is his dad,”
“Ha, they all think that, wonder which rogue-wh0*e sent their kid up this time claiming he fathered it,” Both men laugh.
“My mum is not a rogue-wh0*e. He is her mate, she told me,”
“Whatever you say, kid, they all claim that too, but come on, let’s get this over with, ” He says, leading me inside. The foyer is grander than our Hotels’ it is all white and gold. The elevators are so clean I can see my reflection in them, and something smells yummy, making my belly rumble louder. I forgot to eat lunch, but it would be dinner time now.
“So what’s your name anyway, ” The man asks. “Valarian, sir,”
“Valarian? That’s an odd name. Damn, you really could pass as his though, you have the same eyes, now I can see better in the light,” The man says, rubbing his chin and staring funny at me.
“And you have a big nose, now that I can see you better, it’s bright in here, “
“Ha, funny bugger you are, my Alpha is gonna like you,” The man presses buttons on the panel, and we go all the way to the top floor.
“What do you do here?”
“Security work, I kick out the bad guys,” He says. “Do you have a gun?”
“I don’t need a gun; I got these, ” He laughs, showing me his hands when claws slip out of his fingers.
“Cool, like wolverine, I can’t wait to be able to do that,” I tell him. He laughs “one-day little man, one day you will, ” he says, and the elevator doors open up to a long corridor. He walks down it before knocking twice on the door. I grind my teeth before not being able to stop myself.
I knock on it again.
“Three times, odd numbers, you need to do it with odd numbers, or it’s bad luck,” He raises his bushy eyebrows at me.
“Whatever you say, ” He laughs when I hear footsteps on the other side of the door.
The door jiggles, and excitement bubbles in my tummy; I was going to bring my dad home to be with us. The door opens, and I look up and see the man, but I don’t get the weird tummy feeling, and he is not my dad. Did my mum lie again?
“Tatum, what brings you here, ” The man asks.
“Sorry, Beta, but this boy claims the Alpha is his dad, ” he says and the man notices me and looks down at me. He blinks at me.
“I know freaky aye, got the same eyes,” Tatum says.
“Do you know my dad?” I ask him, but he continues to stare at me when I hear more walking, and I try to glance around the man and I sniff the air.
“What is it?” I hear another man’s voice, and the Beta man moves to the side, and I see him. The funny feeling in my tummy does big jumps, and I feel my heart racing, and the man stops, and his mouth opens and closes like a fish blowing bubbles.
“Dad!” I squeal, running to him.
“I found you, I found you, I knew I would find you,” I hugged his legs. He was so tall; I was happy I found my dad. Mum will be so happy too when I bring him home.