Chapter 67 - Unspoken
The puzzle pieces of his mind came together by the next morning...so that no one would know Brandons struggles in the night.
Emerging from his room, he descended the steps the next night and just as he hit the bottom floor, the front door was thrown open and six tired looking Guardians shuffled into the front room. Leading their weary trek into the front parlor where most of the Shifters simply plopped down onto the carpet was Mantilo. All of them shoe-less and with eyes glowing and....claws out on their fingertips that looked sharp enough to gut a man. Instantly Brandon was gripped with....joy to see all of Ezekiels family returned safely after hours of hunting....but shocked and disgusted with the reaction Brandon shook his head and dropped the smile he felt on his face.
Brandon tried to turn back, but he had barely shifted his feet on the steps backwards before a familiar and feminine voice was calling out to him.
“Brandon...sweet heart...?” It could be no one other than Glen. And as Brandon slowly turned back around from the steps he was attempting to climb. He saw the small Shifter making her way to him, thick sandy curls tumbled as though from sleep and big green eyes looked him over softly, before finally coming to rest on his face. Secretly checking him over for injuries form the night before.
“Brandon...I thought I heard you come down. I’m glad to see you.” Glen began, looking both happy but apprehensive. “Can I ask you for a favor?”
“Ummmm.” Brandon began, glancing over to the small group of Shifters panting and other wise resting from their activities in the night. He wanted to deny her....he had nothing to do with any of it.....but when he looked at Glen again and noticed her hands and clothes.....he just couldn’t do it.
“What.....what do you need?” He asked her, as he noted the fresh blood on her hands, and sleeves and on her chest. Possibly from where Glen had wiped her hands.
“I need towels from the kitchen and I put on some hot water and antiseptic, could you go and fetch these things for me....I’ve got a nasty cut over here that needs my attention...” Glen explained, casting a glance over her shoulder.
“Who’s hurt?” Brandon asked her, glancing towards the blood on her hands again.
“All of them....” Glen hissed, unceremoniously wiping her hands on her dress, smearing stains. “They say that they ran into something big last night, and apparently they got into multiple fights....but in the end they weren’t able to pin it down or even really see what the beast was.....it seemed to have gotten away. And as they were tracking it further into the forest....they ran into a bear.” Glen shook her head. “Can you believe that?”
“Mom!” came a call suddenly and Brandon recognized it as Nates voice. Glen looked back and Brandon glanced past her shoulder to see Nate waving at them, his right hand in the air, dripping with blood, his other hand clamped over his leg, Brandon guessed that he was holding a gash closed.
All right.” Glen called softly, then she sent Brandon a small pleading smile. “Please....fetch that water....but be careful not to get burned and don’t forget to grab towels, they’re just under the sink!” The she turned and went to her son.
Brandon did as she requested. He quickly traveled to the left and into the kitchen. When he entered he gagged as the sharp scent of hot steam and chemicals hit him. And without too much hesitation he removed the boiling pot of water, stuffed a few towels under his arms, and returned.
After he brought Glen the things she requested Brandon was more than a little unsure of what to do. But couldn’t quite stop himself from hanging around her as she separately and effectively went through her family members and patched them up. Out of them all it appeared to Brandon that Ezekiel, Nate were the most bloody, and that Mantilo bore the worst of the wounds ranging from a few broken fingers, from striking the bear, and the mysterious intruders....as well as nearly ten open gashes on his chest and arms.
“Thank you sweetie for your help....you can go and take a seat in the day room for now....none of these Guardians...” Glen hissed as she turned Mantilo’s arm to the left and she discovered another bloody wound. “None of my patients are going to be patrolling tonight....”
“Oh....” Mantilo grunted. “And is that you official prescription.” You think you can tell me what to do?” Ezekiel’s father asked her, an edge to his tone, that would have been a threat addressed to any other being on earth.
Glen simply smiled and none to gently shifted her body so that she knocked into Mantilo’s shoulder....where a horrible gash stretched over his upper chest full of dirt and blood. If such a man could pale, that is what Brandon would have said that he did.
His face screwed up in agony and his teeth clenched. From behind tight lips he tried to snarl. “Woman....I cant believe you just did that...!”
Glen sighed “Oh I’m sorry baby, it was an accident..I swear.” She said and with a slight hiss Glen looked at her husband, large green eyes veiled. “Oh, but is there anything you want to say while I’m sitting here...with this very sharp needle and thread about to close you up. Anything at all Mantilo my love...?” She asked and this...was a clear threat if Brandon had ever heard one.
In seconds Mantilo’s eyes widened, then he had turned, looked at his sons, all bashed up and bandaged, sighed and said to them. “Rejoice! No one is on patrols for the rest of the day.”
Ezekiel and all of his brothers cheered.
Minutes later found Brandon watching all of the brothers walking or limping out of the room flowing their parent up the stairs. Lander rand Glen supporting their father, who was wrapped from fingertip to shoulder in gauze, curtesy of Glen.
The Mates took time to share a delicate kiss of pure affection that hurt Brandon deep inside, infact seeing the Guardians parents treating each other so wonderfully always gave him pain, so he quickly got up, turned and walked further into the mansion to escape the envious sight.
The last one out of the room was Ezekiel, but instead of following his family, Ezekiel approached him directly and openly looked him up and down.
Felling vulnerable under his gaze for no good reason Brandon shifted from one foot to the next. The blisters on his arms and back were gone from the boiling torture the night before...but in Ezekiel’s gaze he felt their old burn. The secret of their existence felt all to know in his sharp blue look.
“What....What is it?” Brandon finally broke out and asked as they stood in a cocoon of impregnable silence.
“Im...not sure.” Ezekiel suddenly sighed and crossed his arms. Gauze around his hands and wrists covering the bits and cuts he had received during his hunt. Ezekiel shook his head as though he felt silly or out of place. “But I gotta ask....Brandon...are....are you okay? Do you need...anything?”
For a moment Brandon feared that Glen had mentioned his actions the other night....but he quickly realized that Glen wouldn’t have had the time to say anything, since she had spent hours strapping on medicine and closing up gashes. And he also didn’t know why....but Brandon couldn’t help believing that Glen wasn’t the gossiping type, not the type of woman to go blabbing about his melt down to the entire house hold.
So after a moment he took Ezekiel’s question in stride as his usual behavior and simply shrugged. “I’m fine, I’m not the one that got chewed on by a grizzly bear...” he responded.
To his surprise this didn’t elicit a smile from Ezekiel, all it garnered was an analyzing look. A look that glanced over him...as if searching for something. Not knowing what or why Ezekiel was staring at him....Brandon decided to turn the question back on him.
“Hey....Ezekiel are you okay? Your sort of spaced out...Did you get hit in the head?” he asked slightly concerned when Ezekiel once more didn’t change his expression. With a sigh the guardian just steeped back.
“No....No, it’s nothing....I’m going to go catch some suds. Take it easy.” Ezekiel said, and before Brandon could muster a response. Ezekiel had turned and started to walk away. “...I’ll see you later.” He said as he disappeared up the steps.
And for reasons unknown to Brandon Ezekiel’s unease made him feel terribly guilty and exposed.