“Does he have everything?” Kai rummaged through RJs spiderman backpack one more time, pulling each item out and setting them on the floor so he could check. “I--is this a knife?”
“How else is the little tike going to defend himself?” Mace called from where he was leaning against the wall. “Kindergarteners are ruthless.”
“That’s middle school,” Ember said, contradicting him. “Middle schoolers are the ruthless ones.”
Mace grimaced. “Well, it has been quite a while since I attended school, luv.”
Kai narrowed his eyes at the sluagh. “No, shit.”
“No swears next to the toddler!” Isa sighed, marching in with a bagged sandwich in her hand with Rhys not far behind. “I swear, if he says a bad word at school and the teacher calls me, you’re all sleeping outside.”
“RJ is not even listening.” Kai gestured to the RJ on the floor who had a small blue car in his chubby fingers, running it back and forth on the carpet as he made small engine noises with his mouth. “And you know, if you don’t want him to swear, he could just sta--”
“Kai,” Rhys stopped him, “we’ve talked about this. We want RJ to have friends his age.”
“He has the pack!”
“And we’re only one clown short of a circus,” Mace muttered. Ember punched his shoulder before she glanced down at RJ to make sure he hadn’t seen, breathing a sigh of relief as Mace pouted and rubbed his shoulder.
Kai frowned before taking the sandwich from Isa in exchange for the switchblade Mace had put in RJ’s bag. He slowly put all of the pencils, notebooks, a tiny ice-cream shaped eraser from Neoma, his pencil case -- separately from the pencils, just so Kai could drag out the time -- shaped like the Superman logo, and scented markers with Chinese lettering along the side -- a gift from Oggie -- into the small bag. When Kai was finally done, everyone was just as fidgety as him.
Mace raised his eyebrow. “Want me to grab the kitchen sink too, mate?”
Ember huffed, stomping her foot slightly. “Why are you so sarcastic today?”
“Tristin and Tate aren’t here,” Mace said. “I’m compensating for their sarcasm as well.”
Kai stopped zipping the bag and gave Mace a salute. “Thank you for your service.”
“Zip the bag, Kai.”
Kai didn’t get why everyone was so anxious for RJ to go to kindergarten. Half the town despised them and the other half tolerated the pack’s existence so Kai was sure that Isa would get a call to bring the baby werewolf home before noon.
Honestly, Kai would have preferred they run the risk of sending RJ to the Wolf Creek kindergarten and if RJ happened to shift, Miller could just use his sketchy, Jedi powers. Wolf Creek liked the pack. Relatively. Their diner was one of the main places for high schoolers and relaxed dinners, so he was sure that RJ would be welcomed with open arms.
Isa had outright denied the Wolf Creek idea from the start though. Police were already investigating Isa, Tristin, and Ember for sacrifice, so the last thing they needed was a toddler changing into a tiny wolf in the middle of class.
“Is the wolf pup gone yet?” With sweat dripping off of his brow and a bottle of water clutched in his hand, Tate cautiously peeked his head into the main foyer before he looked at RJ. “Nevermind. Tristin,
the danger zone is still active!”
“What does that mean?” Kai frowned and stood up. “Why are you two--”
“Babe, I swear,” Rhys growled and zipped up the backpack Kai left on the floor. RJ reached his hands out to Rhys as the wolf put a tiny sweater on the toddler’s arms.
Tate paused, blinking innocently. “The banshee ordered me not to tell. Unless you want to see my entrails draped across the lawn, I can’t say.”
“I would like to see that, actually,” Rhys chirped in his happy-RJ voice as he closed RJ’s jacket.
“Tristin isn’t that scary,” Ember said, turning to Tate. “Just tell us.”
“Just because you’ve got your shared girl power or whatever,” Tate grumbled, “doesn’t mean that she isn’t scary.”
“He smells anxious.” Rhys patted RJ’s head, looking back to the group.
“Thanks, spidey,” Tate snarked. “Are you wolfy senses tingling too?”
“I don’t need shifter sense to know he’s defensive,” Ember said. “Are you anxious about RJ?”
“I am not.”
“You are too.”
“I am...maybe.” Tate pouted his lower lip. “So, maybe I’m scared for the wolf pup. What of it?”
“Ha,” Mace said. “Imagine that.”
Isa sighed heavily, pulling her phone out of her pocket and checking the time. Her face tensed immediately. “We’re late.”
Rhys swallowed. “Well, at least we’re predictable.”
“Get in the car!”