I hopped out the passenger door of the ambulance, meeting Meghan at the doors in back. As soon as I had the first one open, she had grabbed her emergency medical kit and started to jog over to the men with it. I grabbed a bunch of extra scrubs and flipflops, stashed inside for situations like this where werewolves had to shift, and put them on top of the stretcher. I followed her into the woods, where the guys grabbed the clothes and pulled them on while I put the stretcher next to the man. I heard Gabriel and the others ride off, they were going to Eve to protect her.
He was a big guy, strong and obviously used to being outdoors and working hard. They weren’t gym muscles, they were muscles of a guy who lifted logs and did manly things. Meghan was giving him a quick head-to-toe check. “How hard did you hit his head, and with what?”
“About a four-inch branch, bloop single strength to the base of the skull,” Samsiel said. “He dropped straight off, no issues breathing, bleeding stopped in a few minutes. Pulse and respirations have been steady.”
She carefully felt around the base of his skull with her gloved fingers, finding only a bump. Moving down, she listened to his chest, then checked his arms before going down to his legs. “Man, you guys tore him up,” she said.
“It’s not as bad as it looks, it’s just that we weren’t able to clean the dirt and stuff out before he started healing,” he said.
“Yeah, this will take some time, and we’re going to have to reset these breaks because they’ve started healing wrong. Come on, load him up.” We moved him carefully, placing him face down on the stretcher. We then followed her as she walked us back to the ambulance. She hopped up, helping guide him on top of the rolling gurney before strapping him down. The straps were extra-strong nylon, and she also had nylon cuffs on his wrists to protect herself in case he started to wake up.
Using a portable ultrasound, she located the breaks and reset them. I looked away during this, the snap of bones and grinding made my stomach churn. When she was satisfied, she packed towels around to keep it from moving while she worked on the deep cuts. Using wet gauze, she soaked the wounds to remove the scabs before digging out and cleaning all the dirt and fragments that could cause infection later. I looked at the clock, she’d been at it for forty minutes already. He started to wake up as she was stitching his left calf. “Huh who? LET ME GO.” He was struggling against the straps.
“Relax, please. I’m Doctor Meghan, you’re in the back of my ambulance, and if you keep struggling you’ll tear out those stitches I just spent twenty minutes putting in.” She got down into his field of view and kept a hand on his shoulder as he relaxed. I saw him take some deep breaths, a little confused. “Yes, I’m human, and you’re not,” she said. “You took a good knock on the head, I need to assess that quickly. Can you tell me your name?”
“Adam. Adam Johnson.”
She was checking his pupils with a light. “Where do you live, Adam?”
“I’m not sure I want to tell you that until I know who you’re working with,” he said. “The guys who did this to me, I can smell them.”
I laughed a little, causing him to look over towards me. “Yeah, I don’t blame you. They’re a little overprotective of their young shewolf, just like I am.” I looked at Meghan, getting her nod to undo his cuffs. He wasn’t violent, so this would help calm him down. “My name is Snake, I’m her father.”
He looked at me funny as the straps came off. “Don’t roll over yet, Adam,” Meghan told him gently. “Your legs are not splinted or cast yet, and you don’t want me having to move the bones around again.”
He pulled his hands up and I handed him a pillow he could get a little more comfortable. “She’s my mate,” he said matter of factly.
“She told me,” I said.
“She should go home,” he said softly as his eyes closed. “I won’t stand in the way of her happiness.”
I relaxed a little, I had all these fears about what her mate would end up being like. Would he be one of these cocky, self-centered guys who would try to dominate and control her? Would he treat her as his equal, or would he see her only as a breeder, a source of power and prestige? Or would he be honest and selfless, putting her first. Adam had a good start. “She doesn’t want him,” I said.
He snorted. “His scent was all over her, his essence on her skin,” he said. “I could smell it from across the clearing, they had just sex a few hours ago.”
“She didn’t know, and she didn’t expect to meet her mate,” I said. “I shouldn’t be defending her, I’m wanting to kill the guy myself for daring to corrupt my daughter. There is more to the story, and it is a discussion she should be having with you. I talked to her earlier, she broke up with him because he took advantage of her.”
“Who went after me?”
“The Knights of the Moon, they are her protective detail and Pack.”
“Those freaks are her protection?” He closed his eyes.
“So you’ve heard of them.” He nodded. “They protected her mother, and they have protected Eve since she was a newborn until now, when as an adult she has found her mate. They will now protect you.”
“I don’t want them around, they trespassed on my lands and attacked me when I had done nothing.” I could see his fists clenching.
“They were doing what they pledged to do, Adam. Every one of them took a vow to find and protect the Promised One until she could find and mate her true mate and break the curse. It hasn’t been easy, there have been many close calls. They will be around until the curse is broken.” I sat back a little. “They are good men, I’ve known them since she was a baby. If things had gone a little differently, they would have known you were her mate and they would have helped you.”
Meghan had finished splinting his legs while we talked. “Well, Adam, we have a few choices here. I would like to bring you back to St. Paul where I can monitor you properly, and you can meet Eve and her family properly.”
“NO.” He looked at her. “Take me home, my brother and his wife will take care of me.” He gave me the address, and I went and put it in my phone. It wasn’t far away.
“Can Eve see you first?”
He shook his head. “My wolf won’t react well to that scent on her. Better I just go home.”
I called Gabriel and let him know. Ten minutes later we had our new plan. Abaddon was going to take his motorcycle and meet the ambulance at Adam’s house, after that he would go back to Silver Bay and find a place the Knights could use as a base for operations. The rest of them, Eve included, were going to go on a long run and scout out the territory around his house. “No playing Chase the Shewolf,” I warned.
“Never again,” Gabriel said. “She will remain in the center of the Pack. It will be good for her to stretch he legs out, to work with her wolf. We’ll be out a few days, Abaddon can get us if there is a problem.”
“Fine. We’ll take the ambulance back to the clubhouse, and I’ll bring my bike back up. I need to be here for her when this finally goes down.” At some point, Eve and Adam were going to have to meet and work things out.
Meghan stayed in the back with him while I pulled the ambulance back onto the road. I followed the directions until I came to the mailbox and the long driveway for his cabin. The trail was rough and it took a while for the big vehicle to make it to the end, where it opened to a nice-looking log home and detached garage, a pole barn with a tractor and a wood mill in it in the back yard. I stopped in front of the stairs, where a big male in his thirties was standing, his wife holding his waist from behind him. “We’re here,” I said.
I hopped down as the man came to the cab. “What’s going on?”
“Adam was mistaken for a threat and was injured by the Knights of the Moon,” I told him. “We patched him up but he won’t be able to walk for a few days.” They followed me around to the back as Meghan opened the door from inside.
The woman covered her face and started to cry as she saw Adam and the blood on the sheets. “Oh god, Adam, are you all right?”
“I’ll be fine, Alice,” he said as he looked back towards her. “A couple days in bed and I’ll be good as new.”
“I’ll prepare your room,” she said before she rushed off.
“She gets a little upset when we get hurt because we can’t go to the hospital,” her husband said. “I’m Alan, Alan Johnson, I’m this guy’s big brother. I keep telling him he’s not as fast as he thinks he is.”
“It was four on one,” Adam complained. “I got away from the first two.”
“Come on, let’s get him inside,” Meghan said as she grabbed some extra sheets and put them on his back. We lifted the stretcher, then Alan and I carried him up the stairs and into the house. It was beautiful, with an open floor plan and loft ceilings. Alice met us in the hall, leading us to his room where she had already taken off the blankets on his bed. She and Meghan laid some of the extra hospital sheets down, Meghan having told her he might still bleed until his healing kicked in. We got him in place, and he was asleep before the covers were put over him.
The four of us walked out and to the kitchen, where Alice started to make coffee for us. “Thank you for taking care of him and bringing him back to us,” Alan said. “What Pack are you in?”
“We’re humans,” Meghan said.
“Our motorcycle club in St. Paul has known about werewolves for decades,” I said. “Meghan is the only doctor left in the country who works on them. She started working with Doctor Vivian when she was thirteen.”
“Doctor Vivian? Vivian DelMara?” Alan’s face was shocked as I nodded. “Oh Luna, she survived.”
“For a while,” I said. “She was my wife. She died almost eighteen years ago in a fight with a pack in Wyoming.”
He pulled his wife tight to his side. “Doc Vivian was the Pack Doctor when I was a pup here. When she was forced to run away after the Alpha threatened her, that was the beginning of the end for our Pack.” As we sipped the coffee, he told Alice about the way the curse hit his Pack, but he only knew from his end. “Eventually our Alpha got greedy, went after another Pack and that is when ours was attacked and wiped out,” he said as he wiped a tear away. “Adam and I were lucky, we were at our family cabin and escaped.”
I then filled him in on what had happened on our side; Vivian’s escape, her hiding with our Club, us falling in love. I told him about her efforts to save the women and babies, culminating in the birth of Eve eighteen years ago. Both of them were crying as I told them about how Vivian died at the hands of a thirteen-year-old Alpha widow.
“So did you come back to visit your old Pack,” Alan asked.
“No, not that simple.” I explained to them the prophecy and the curse, and how we had tried to find Eve’s true mate in Chicago. “She was rescued by a man I thought I could trust, but he was trying to take advantage of her for himself. They ran and ended up at the old Pack House, which is where Adam found them.” I paused and looked at my hands. “Adam and Eve are true mates, Alan. They are the end to the curse, their mating will save the race.”
“Eve… Eve is Jessica’s daughter,” Alan said as he tried to process it all. “He gets to have his mate.”
“If they accept each other,” I said. “After their introduction, there is some work to be done there.”
Alan reached over and tool Alice’s hand. “I don’t mean anything bad when I say this, Alice. I love you and I gave up my wolf to be with you. The mate bond, it’s something far stronger. He’s stubborn, but he won’t be able to withstand the pull.”
We talked for a while longer, but when I heard the motorcycle pulling up I knew time was up. I introduced Abaddon to them, letting them know I trusted him with my life and that of my daughter. “She’s out with the Pack for a while, since her wolf won’t react well to being too far away from her mate. Their wolves have recognized each other, even if the human part is resistant,” he told them. He gave them a paper with his cell phone number. “I’ll be setting up in town somewhere, call me if you have any problems or questions.”
“What do we do about them,” Alice asked.
“Let nature work its course,” Abaddon said with a smile. “They are destined to be together, it will all work out.”
“Well, I might have to help things along,” she said. “We should pull out your old photos, find some pictures of Doctor Vivian or Jessica.” The Minnesota Long Goodbye then took place, a thirty-minute evolution that began in the kitchen and ended with Alan outside my window in the ambulance, and Alice talking to Meghan on the other side. We had exchanged numbers and promised to get together again soon. I told Alan I’d bring back some of Jessica’s photos of their old Pack to look at, and he’d see if they had anything of Vivian. Abaddon fired up his motorcycle and started to move out, clearly done with the whole process.
“Thank you for everything,” Alan said as he shook my hand.
“Come back soon, I’ll make some hotdish!” Alice gave Meghan a hug, and we finally pulled away from the two of them. I was glad we had come with the ambulance, but I realized that I had driven all the way up here to see my daughter and I’d never even seen her.
“I never hugged Eve,” I said as we drove through the rutted path towards the road. Tears ran down my face as I drove. “I miss Vivian,” I said, “but she isn’t coming back.” Meghan held my hand as I let go of her, feeling the weight lift from my soul. It was time to move on.