Taking the Leap
Steven (formerly Abaddon’s) POV
I’d lost Meghan for the morning, after waking up at 4:30 she was buried in her research. I looked over her shoulder a few times and quickly got lost. I was a warrior, not a doctor, and she was so focused she barely noticed me.
I opened my phone and started to look at Google Earth maps of the area around Alan and Alice’s place. The site of the old Pack Houses was pretty easy to make out, even though the structures were burned out, the foundations were there. I did some sketching of the area, using the scales on the images to get an idea of how big it was. When I finished, I looked at it. Meghan was right, it was just as I had described to her in my dream. A big Pack House, almost 80 yards long and a hundred feet wide. The houses around it, in a circle starting at the back corners and surrounding a large field, were typical sizes for homes. There was a large cleared area, probably was a pole barn or training building, along the road heading to the compound. The driveway circled in front of the main house, then to all the smaller houses. It could easily accommodate twenty families in the homes, plus another hundred or so people in the main house. There was a wing straight out the back that probably held the kitchen and a huge dining room.
I did an internet search for the property, finding an old aerial photo attached to a story talking about how the vacation timeshare property had gone bankrupt and the fires were thought to be arson. The place had been beautiful, gardens and ponds, the whole complex overlooking a small private lake.
It looked idyllic, it could easily be reconstructed as a vacation resort. I know I’d love to live in that area, the woods were thick and full of game, the air was clean, and my wolf loved the snow. We had done some Internet searching earlier, and there was adjoining land for sale, even a large home. All we needed was the cash.
I kissed Meghan and slipped out about six in the morning, going downstairs and finding an empty coffee can behind the bar. I made a sign, “Northwoods Riders Lottery Pool, Donations Requested” and put it on the end of the bar. Snake came downstairs as I was pouring myself an orange juice. “Up early, Abaddon?”
“Steven,” I said. “Last night I made the decision to leave behind the name I took when I joined the Knights and take back my own name. New life, new club, new name.”
He slapped me on the back. “I’m glad you and Meghan found each other, you both deserve to be happy. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all you guys have done to keep my daughter safe.”
“It’s not over, but tonight it changes. We will still protect her, but we will do it as a Club, not a Pack.”
He pointed at the collection can. “We’re getting a pool for the Powerball together?”
“Yeah, it’s at 350 million and I dreamed the Club won it.”
“Really? The Club can win?”
I nodded. “I looked up the rules on the Internet this morning. Nothing prevents a corporation from collecting, although any winnings become corporate property. The Club is incorporated, right?” He nodded. “Makes sense, the Knights were as well, that made it simpler with property and stuff if Gabriel were to die. Anyway, it’s all legit.”
He tossed a few dollars in. “I’d hate to think I didn’t contribute then.” He went back to the kitchen as I helped set up for breakfast, putting the chairs down. One of the prospects showed up, and we got things ready as Snake was cooking up a storm.
Mia came downstairs, making a beeline for the kitchen. “Why didn’t you wake me up, I wanted to help,” she told him.
I didn’t hear anything else, I went outside to my motorcycle instead. I pulled it next to the garage, getting out the hose and a sponge to give it a wash. I was just finishing up when I smelled her approach, turning, I pulled Meghan into my arms. “Done researching?”
“For now,” she said as she kissed me. “I have a lot more to do. What time are you picking me up for our date?”
I looked at my watch, nothing would be opening until nine. “Noon sound good? We can get some lunch.”
“Where are we going?”
“That’s a surprise, but riding clothes will be fine. Wear a swimsuit under them, or bring a suit along.” I grabbed the towel to dry my bike off. “Do you want me to wash yours as well?”
She smiled as she kissed me again. “Please. The key is up in the room, I’m going to talk to Mom and Dad and have some breakfast.”
I followed her in, going back upstairs I grabbed her key. Having the time, I opened her jewelry box and used a pencil to trace the inside of the ring I’d seen her wear on her right ring finger. I went back downstairs, grabbing a plate of breakfast and joined my lady and her parents at the table. We had a good visit, but all too soon Meghan excused herself. “She had an idea last night, she started researching and didn’t go back to sleep,” I said. “Once she gets going, she just doesn’t stop.”
Teri smiled. “You’ll have to get used to that, Steven.” I’d started telling people of my name change, and it felt good to be using it again. “Where are you taking her for your date?”
“It’s a surprise, but I need your help first. I need to buy an engagement ring, I was hoping Mom could come with me when I look for it. She knows what she likes.”
Her face melted when I called her Mom, before she got excited. “Of course I’ll help you, Steven.” I finished washing Meghan’s Harley, then took the fourteen dollars from the coffee container and bought seven Powerball tickets at a local gas station. I met Teri at the jeweler, thankful I had her along to help. Two hours later, a small box in the inside pocket of my swimsuit under my jeans, Meghan and I drove off side by side towards the northeast.
Our helmets had earpieces and microphones, and we talked using our phones the whole way there. She was convinced I was taking her to Stillwater, an old lumber town on the Stillwater River. She was right, but that was only for lunch at a café overlooking the old lift bridge to Wisconsin. We drove on, crossing over and going north to Taylor’s Falls. We parked in the lot, leaving our clothes and taking towels as we followed the trail. “I’ve never done this before, it’s supposed to be amazing.”
We reached the edge of the bluff, a rocky point overlooking the dark water below. Signs warned of hazards from jumping; if you hit a submerged branch or tree, you were dead. The drop was fifty-three feet. “This is scary,” she said as she pulled her phone out to take pictures.
“We’ll do it together. On the count of three, we step off. Just try not to lean forward or back, stay upright. Cross your legs before you hit the water, cross your arms like this and use a hand to pinch your nose shut.” I showed her how it would go. We walked to the edge, but she started shaking. “We can do this,” I said.
“I can’t,” she said.
“I’ll go first, then I’ll come up here and we can do it together. All right?” She nodded. “Why don’t you record this on your phone?” I walked to the edge, and when she was ready, I jumped off. I yelled on the way down, landing a little backwards, my hands smacking the water hard. I stayed down, making sure she was nervous. When I broke the surface, I was struggling and I screamed for help.
“STEVEN!!!” She had dropped her phone and was pacing back and forth at the edge. “STEVEN!!” She jumped off, landing perfectly in the water. I swam for the small beach, she gained on me quickly and I pulled her into my arms and kissed her hard. When it finally ended, she smacked my shoulder. “Did you do that just to get me to jump? You bastard!”
I pulled her close and kissed her again in the chest-deep water, my hands cupping her ass as her legs wrapped around my waist. “I couldn’t help it. It’s not the first time I’ve fallen hard for you.” I let her go after I walked her onto the narrow beach.
“I can’t believe you did that to me!”
“I can’t believe what you do to me, Meghan.” I took a knee in front of her, the box in my hand. “You take my breath away, you’re everything I’ve dreamed of. Will you marry me and make me the happiest werewolf around?”
“YES!” She almost knocked me over as she fell into my arms. Her hands were still shaking as I put the ring on her finger, the big oval cut diamond surrounded with emeralds. I’d saved a lot of money over two decades, and a chunk of that looked amazing on her finger. I heard cheering from above, as some of the teens gathering to jump were clapping for us. We climbed up to the top, grabbing her camera and our towels.
“I saw your phone was still recording, so I got it all on video for you,” one of the girls said. “It was SOOOO romantic!” The other girls all agreed, and as the guys jumped off to avoid the subject, we thanked them and headed back down the trail holding hands.
The girls and I worked with Snake, Mouse and the prospects to put together a menu for the party. We had invited about a hundred people in addition to both clubs. It was going to take a LOT of food.
The prospects had been sent to Wal-Mart with a list, while Sheri took some people to her bar to grab party stuff she kept in storage. We were going with a barbecue theme; Snake was going to make pulled pork and brisket on the huge smokers the Club owned. I got back late, having been shopping with Steven, and preps were well under way. Snake had the charcoal beds started already, the smell of cherry wood and cooking meat heavy in the air. I went to the kitchen to help with sides; Mia was making a cold Italian pasta salad, I was making my famous potato salad, and Sheri was making her mac and cheese with bacon and peppers. Snake was making big trays of corn bread, and they were prepping to bake a half dozen large sheet cakes.
Viper and some other guys were out getting the kegs of beer needed, and enough ice to fill the big Rubbermaid tubs. Crash was busy with Mitch getting the audio and light system set up. We had moved all the vehicles and motorcycles out of the fenced-in area, parking them over at the Knight’s. We set up tables and chairs inside the garage, since the dining area wouldn’t be near big enough for the group. We had benches, picnic tables and folding chairs set up around the edge of the lot, keeping the middle open for dancing. The kegs were set up between the main entrance and the garage doors, and the food would be set up inside.
The party was set to start at seven, but at five the Clubs got together to do business. Right as the meeting was about to start, Steven walked in, hand in hand with Meghan. I spotted the ring on her finger and shrieked, pointing at it, and the other girls picked up what it was. The meeting start was delayed five minutes as their engagement was celebrated and everyone went to congratulate them.
The Club voted in Adam as a full member, since he was now married to club member Eve. Crash had filled out the paperwork, no ceremony was necessary or wanted. He was given a cut and patch, which he donned with a big smile. I could see Mouse was looking at it, Snake whispered something in her ear and she just smiled. Viper then officially accepted the Knights into the Club. He had paid for a rush order on the patches, and our seamstress had worked all day getting the new patches put onto their cuts. One by one, the Knights put on their new colors, and were congratulated by our Club.
The votes had been tallied, and the new generation of leadership was in place. Snake was the new President, Dagger the new Vice President, and Abaddon was the choice for Master at Arms. “I didn’t even put my name in,” he complained as he accepted the patch.
“You’re welcome,” Meghan said. “I figured you needed a job down here with me.” They kissed and accepted congratulations.
“Any other business,” Snake asked, the gavel in his hand. Crash yelled out he did. “Crash, you have the floor.”
He stood in front of everyone, bible in his hand. It wasn’t until we saw Steven and Meghan stand in front of them that I figured it out. “Holy shit!” Meghan gestured me over, and I practically ran to her side. Everyone laughed, then Crash took over.
“Dearly beloved, we are crashing this epic party because this Wolf and this Doctor can’t wait another night before they bang the shit out of each other. Love, honor, yada yada yada, repeat warnings about being married, hell, none of you listen to me anyway.” We all were cracking up by this point. “If anyone has any reason why these two disgustingly sweet lovebirds shouldn’t be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
He looked around, no one spoke up. “Perfect, we have stuff to do anyway. The rings?” Gabriel had come to stand next to Steven, he dug in his pocket and handed them to Crash. “Meghan, your vows.”
I handed her his ring and she put in on. “Steven, my secret crush, my love, my protector, I promise to be a loving wife, to care for and support you, and to make you the happiest man around. No more jumping off cliffs, though.” We all laughed, the story had been quickly told and she had forwarded the video to some of us. “I promise to be by your side as we raise our children, and to love you until the end.”
“That was sweet, but not what I’m used to,” Crash said as he handed Steven the band for her.
“Meghan, you’ve entranced me since the moment I first saw you. I promise to love, honor, and protect you and our family with all that I have, and to make you the happiest damn woman ever to ride a Harley next to her man.”
“Jesus, you guys are boring,” Crash said. “Well, by the power vested in me by the State of Minnesota and the Church of Mastercard, I hereby declare you husband and wife. You may now…”
“MOLEST THE BRIDE,” the whole Club yelled out in response. We cheered as they kissed, they didn’t come up for air for at least thirty seconds. Hammer tossed some ice water at them, causing them to come apart.
“Hey, ice cold water works to get humans unstuck too,” Gabriel said as the wolves all laughed.
“And with that, the meeting is over. Let’s get ready to party!” At Snake’s announcement, people started to head back out, there was a lot to do. Hammer and I hugged Steven and Meghan before passing them off to others. “Wow,” I said. “He moves fast.”
“He didn’t string her along,” Hammer agreed as he pulled me into his lap. “I’ve never seen her as happy as she is today. This isn’t official, they have to get their marriage license and fill out the forms, that will take a few days.”
“They made this memorable,” I said with a smile. “Our little girl is all grown up.”
“She is. What was all that talk about family and children? Are they adopting?”
“I don’t know, but if Meghan said it, she has a plan to do it. Always has, always will.” I got up, leading him outside where I could put him to work getting ready for the party. It was going to be epic.