Wolf woke early in the morning by alarm, wanting to get used to waking at that time for work. He got up and then yawned and stretched his full length which was appreciable, as he stood six-foot-ten. There hadn’t been too many who had messed with him in prison. Besides his size, he had his werewolf strength and speed. It was one reason he was able to get out on good behavior. If not for all the guns, the DEA agents never would have been able to take him in, to begin with.
Wolf walked around the small house, checking his mental list and then headed out the door. He had to get to the next largest town that had a twenty-four-hour department store. All Bon Faire had was a small general store and he needed more than what was offered there. Plus, it was Sunday, so in this town, most businesses were closed.
Wolf intended on checking for yard sales for some furniture. He’d need a rollout couch because the parole officer told him that Travis needed a room of his own if he were to stay there, which meant Wolf had to sleep on the couch or at least ostensibly. What true arrangements Wolf made would very likely vary once he gained official custody of his son. Wolf’s pack-oriented nature hadn’t changed any; Travis would sleep on the couch, as Wolf was Alpha.
A few early risers glanced Wolf’s way as he walked into town. They, of course, knew him, as he had grown up in Bon Faire, but he had been in prison for ten years, and they also knew that too. So, many of the looks were looks of disapproval. This was a God-fearing town and drug dealers were highly frowned upon. Plus, Wolf had never attended church nor baptized his son, so that alone was a major sin in this small town.
Wolf went to Buford’s home, who had only served a year in prison. Buford blinked at the loud knock and looked at the clock. “What the hell?” He grumped to himself and then groaned when the knocking didn’t stop, as he forced himself up and shouted. “Alright already! I’m coming. Stop banging on my door like my house is on fire.”
Buford startled when he saw Wolf but then grinned. “Hey, man. I heard you were out. How you been? Come on in.” Buford stepped back to let the larger man in. Wolf stepped inside, looking around. It was a small two-bedroom home, better than he had. “Nice. You must be doing well for yourself.”
Buford shook his head. “Not really, I work for the county crew, minimum wage, but I inherited from my old man; the house, an old truck and some cash.”
Wolf nodded. “I noticed the truck and was wondering if you could give me a lift to Paterson? I need to go shopping. They found my boy.”
Buford’s eyes went wide. “No kidding! Travis is alive? Everyone swore the boy drowned.”
Wolf chuckled. “I knew he’d make it. He’s at the nut house in the city right now though, until the DNA test comes in to prove I’m his father and to socialize him a bit.”
Buford shook his head, still in shock. “Damn. That’s incredible. Well, I’m glad the boy’s okay.”
Wolf nodded in agreement but then asked, “So?”
Buford startled. “Uh yeah, sure. Let me take a piss and put some clothes on first.” He was just wearing a pair of boxers.
Wolf and Buford set off for Paterson in the clunky old truck but it worked, so Wolf wasn’t complaining, nor was Buford. Wolf lit a cigarette, knocking the ash out the window from time to time; the window wide open and blowing his long hair about wildly.
Buford looked over at him from time to time. “Glad you got out early. Must have been hell at the state pen.”
Wolf nodded, blowing out more spoke. “Yep. Hell, pretty much describes the place.”
Buford nodded. “I’ve heard stories. I got lucky and just served my year in County.” Buford then looked nervously over at Wolf. “I didn’t set you up, man. You know that, right?”
Wolf looked over at Buford. “Did I say you did?”
Buford shook his head. “No, but people have been talking and speculating and saying that I did, but I swear to God I didn’t Wolf. I just want you to know that. I’d never set you up, man.”
Wolf nodded, believing Buford. He hadn’t thought the man had. He would have smelled the fear on him when he got put in the back of the police car if he had.
They were silent a time and then Buford ask. “So, what all are you needing? If you need a loan or outright charity, let me know. Anything I can do to help you out.”
Wolf looked over at him again after flicking the cigarette out the window. “Thanks. I might need some help. I need to get the place proper for a kid, which means real furniture.”
Buford suggested, “We’ll hit up Olsen’s Flea Market on the way back for furniture. It’s really cheap. Can get some decent stuff for a couple of bucks. Social services ain’t too picky out here though. You know that. Look at the home you were raised in out there in the swamps. How many times they come out for your daddy because of moonshining?”
Wolf smiled slightly. “True, but things have changed a lot. Back then they didn’t give a crap if a kid was knocked around, or what environment he was raised in. Now they have standards. Can’t even swat your kid’s ass these days without being accused of child abuse.”
Buford made a pshaw sound. “Not out here. Link’s got twelve kids in a four-room shack. Hell, they don’t even go to school, half of them. Social services come by and chastise him for beating their asses too much and not making them go to school. But do they take them away? Hell no. They’re all right there with him. Link wishes they’d take a few away. His woman up and died, leaving him with the entire brood to raise by himself. But at least Lucy’s eighteen now and helping out with the younger ones. He’s got her knocked up now though. So, number thirteen on the way.”
Wolf chuckled. “That sounded like Link. He never could keep his pecker in his pants and his wife just had one kid after another with him and apparently, he’s taking a liking to his oldest daughter now.” Wolf being raised as a werewolf didn’t ascribe to the normal taboos of incest. So, he saw nothing wrong with Link impregnating his daughter. Wolves did that all the time. All the females belonged to the Alpha male.
Buford continued, “Yeah he lied of course and said some kid knocked her up. If it were only a matter of losing the kids, he’d fess up, but they’d toss his ass in jail for that.”
Wolf laughed and nodded.
Wolf did some basic necessity shopping at a discount department store in Paterson which was a bit larger than Bon Faire and not as far as the city of Leever where Travis was staying. Then they headed to Olsen’s and picked out some cheap but fair conditioned furniture. In all, it only cost him twenty dollars to fully furnish the home. Buford was right that the prices were really cheap. The incidentals had cost more; thirty-five dollars. Then Buford had loaned him money for some clothes for the Travis; two pairs of jeans, a six-pack of t-shirts and socks and sneakers. Wolf knew Travis’ sizes because the doctor had measured him before he had left the mental hospital knowing that he would need to buy clothes for his son. Even if Wolf didn’t get custody, he still intended on bringing the clothing by.
Buford then loaned Wolf some extra money for groceries, as it took all his food stamps simply to stock the basics. The two then spent the afternoon setting the place up and it looked fairly decent inside when done, especially after Buford ran a vacuum through the place while Wolf scrubbed the bathroom down, which had been outright scary. But together they got the place looking like a home. It wasn’t a wealthy home by far, but it would meet the standards of social services.
Wolf then spent the late afternoon mowing the lawn and picking up trash around the yard and loaded all the junk into Buford’s truck for the dump the next day. In payment for his help, Wolf cooked Buford dinner and they ate a couple steaks with baked potatoes and warm beer; sitting with a candle between them, as Buford couldn’t see in the dark as Wolf could.
Buford looked around and pointed with his fork, talking with his mouth full. “It looks good. They’ll let you have your boy for sure. They can’t keep him from you just because you got a record, because it’s not to do with child endangerment. You weren’t charged with that thank goodness. Personally, I’m surprised though.”
Wolf shrugged. “I made a deal. I’d confess if they left out the child endangerment. I knew I’d be out one day and I had a good idea Travis would make it.”
Buford’s eyes went wide. “Really? How? It’s dangerous out there in the bayou. Or you thought they’d catch him, huh?”
Wolf nodded, not bothering to elucidate and instead took another bite of his extremely rare steak. Buford made a face watching him eat it. “Damn, man. How can you eat it dripping blood like that? Turns my guts over just watching you. I like mine like shoe leather.”
Wolf chuckled, but then shrugged. “Just do. Me and Travis both like our meat rare.” He would have said raw but that would have brought on questions.