Reese rubbed his eyes and sighed trying to focus on the report in front of him. Financial Remuneration: Project Brown was the driest piece of documentation he had had to go through in months and the information needed to be presented to the board, included Antonio, in a few hours. He felt like he was getting nowhere.
He rubbed his eyes and stood grabbing his cold coffee cup for a refill. Maybe a caffeine jolt would help. He walked down the hallway yawning and to the coffee room down the hall from Nick's office. He had been working for the company for years and been moving up steadily ever since he graduated with his MBA. It had taken almost ten years but he eventually earned himself an executive position. There were perks and there were things that just sucked about it.
He loved the freedom to influence policies and make the world a better place by being in this position but sometimes the hours sucked. Tie that in with his pack duties as an enforcer now and he had little time to himself. He supposed it was a good thing he was not interested in romantic relationships because he certainly had no time for them. He did understand now why Nick preferred to have short term relationships. Or that was he did until he met Vanessa and married her and then had two kids. All very un-Nick like things for him to do but people change.
Reese started a new pot of coffee and drummed his fingers on the countertop waiting. He walked to the window looking into the parking lot and scanning. When Elena made him an enforcer he was nervous and hyper sensitive about everything around him. He was less jumpy now but he still looked and listened everywhere he went. He understood it was his job to protect the Alpha with his own life and protect the pack. He took it more seriously than anything he ever had in his life.
"Reese?" The Australian werewolf jumped and turned with a scowl crouching a bit to get ready for the fight. Years of training had finally paid off and no one could surprise him anymore without regretting it. No mutts that was.
Noah stood in the doorway coffees in a takeout tray and donuts in a paper bag clutched in his other hand. Noah snorted a laugh and walked in setting down the food and shaking his head. "You're a bit jumpy tonight," he mused and sat taking one of the coffees and drinking with a sigh of satisfaction.
Reese stood straight and banished the sudden adrenaline rush from his chest walking forward. Noah was in his police uniform so he assumed his brother had an early morning shift. "Thanks." Reese sat and reached for his coffee eyeing Noah for any sign of trouble.
Noah was such a different person now than he had been when they met a decade ago. Changed so much after Layn's death but that was something they did not speak of a lot. Gone was the shyness and the fear to be replaced by a quick smile, confidence and what he had longer for most, strength and muscles. Noah was not the tallest or the most muscular but mutts thought twice about messing with him. Noah was not an enforcer like Reese but he had his place in the pack like Nick had. He also kept an eye on supernatural happenings and was able to do something about it legally joining forces with Lucas a lot of the time to help out.
Reese reached for the paper bag and took out his favorite, a chocolate iced, donut and bit into it instantly feeling the sugar rush. Noah took one as well and they ate in silence. When they were done, and Reese had had enough coffee to wake him up, he walked to the coffee pot and turned the annoying beeping off indicating it was done. He then turned to his brother and crossed his arms.
"Not that I don't appreciate the gesture but what's up?" Reese asked. He knew Noah better than the man knew himself. He'd watched him grow up both mentally and physically and he could not be prouder. As he waited for Noah to reply he reached up and scratched his beard, an annoying habit brought on by not enough sleep and too much coffee and sugar but being a werewolf he could eat like this for the rest of his life with no fear of heart attacks or high cholesterol. Well, until he was much much older that was.
"Not much just…the police exam today, I'm kind of nervous to take the test again." Reese nodded. Noah had to retake the police academy test every few years and the last time went a little hay wire. He used a bit too much strength and showed a bit too many non-human traits. Lucas had gotten him off of drug and steroid testing and now he had to take it again. He would do fine if he kept his powers in check and Reese told him so.
With Noah reassured Reese sent him on his way and turned back to his work. When he stepped back into his office he was surprised to see the morning light filtering in. He must have taken a longer break then he thought. By the time Antonio stopped by his office to say good morning and see how he was doing though, he had the semblance of something that would pass with the board.
At eight he stood and gathered the paper and the USB for the Power Point Presentation ready to go and then beyond ready to leave work and crash at home for the next few hours. He straightened his rumpled tie and ran a hand through his semi long hair and just as he was stepping from the room his phone rang. He hesitated but went back for it just in case Elena was calling or someone had something extra to add to his report.
"Hello?" he asked glancing at his watch and almost cursing as the papers started to slid from his hands.
"Reese, it's me. We have a problem." He tensed and let the papers slide to the floor hearing the thud but not registering it. He knew that voice because he would know it anywhere. He dreamed of that voice almost every night. I floated in his memory sometimes laughing with him on the many occasions they had fun, lots of fun, and sometimes laughing at him on the day his life almost ended and his heart broke in two. He dreamed how he might one day silence it as well.
He watched his mother race around the hotel room gathering things and shoving them in either his knapsack or her own bag. He stayed perfectly still with his hands folded on his lap with only his eyes moving back and forth scrutinizing her like he was watching a tennis match. His name, Ira, meant watcher after all so he figured it was something ingrained in him.
"Get your toothbrush," she snapped. Ira calmly stood and walked to the bathroom. He took both his and his mother's toothbrushes and carefully set them in their Ziploc baggies. When he brought them out his mother snatched them distracted and he went back to watching her. Ira loved his mother more than anything he thought he loved in the world.
Sometimes his mother could be like this but all he had to do was sit quietly and wait for the storm to pass. His stepfather, Keith, was much worse. The man had the temper of a bull seeing red and Ira was always red for him. Still, he was the Alpha and Ira had to obey. He did obey but nothing he ever did seemed good enough. He learned being quiet and invisible was best because sometimes the man, realizing he would have no children of his own, would be kind to him and treat him as a son. Those were good days but he was always walking on egg shells and always waiting for something to happen.
Two days ago a storm rolled through their farm where they raised sheep. His mother had confided in him years ago that his real father had owned the place before he left and he gave it to them. They lived there with the pack which included several other families and some kids as well. His best friend was one of the enforcer's daughters. Irene was his age and she was as opposite him as could be. She was loud and loved adventured and Ira preferred to be quiet and stay home reading. He considered himself a modern day Bilbo Baggins who was not interested in stepping much past his front door on any given day.
The places he liked best were close to home and offered shelter from the weather both environmental and his step fathers sudden rages or equally awkward random niceness. Irene would sit with him for hours and they'd read together or talk about the future. He was going to marry her someday and have werewolf children. They were meant to be together and she knew it too. The women of the pack were essentially servants to the men but Ira promised Irene she would never be like her mother and sisters. He would serve her but she wasn't a slave.
His favorite memory was of them holing up in their rock shelter, a place half a mile away from their home, after his step father became angry with one of the pack wolves. He had broken pack law and he'd probably be killed. His screaming was enough to send all the kids scampering. Most of them ran to their mother's or their room cowering inside or behind skirt tales or pant legs. Irene had grabbed Ira's hand and raced with him to the shelter where they would stay until supper.
It began raining as they read, How to Kill a Mockingbird, a books assigned by their twice weekly tutor from the city. He set the book aside and she grabbed his hand so they could watch it rain and listen as it beat the ground like a drum. When he turned back to her he met her lips and they kissed just like in his books. She pulled back suddenly and so did he and they never spoke of it again. It had been his first kiss and he never forgot it. A nine year old, almost ten, would never forget that.
"Ira, are you listening?" his mother asked probably not for the first time. He snapped out of his day dreams and looked at her frantic face.
"Yes mum, sorry," he apologized. She looked at him. Worry and doubt flashed through her eyes so sudden he was sure he had imagined it. Weren't they just going on a trip to the city like they sometimes did? She would take him away from the pack and tell him about his dad or take him for ice cream and a new book.
When she spoke about his father she always sounded full of regret like he was not the one to just abandon her when he was a baby without a backwards glance. He had told her so but she said he did not understand. Maybe he didn't but it seemed simple to him so why did she sound so guilty when she spoke of him or the past?
Suddenly he took him in her arms so fast he gasped in surprise. Her hug was long and so strong like she never wanted to let go. He wrapped his arms around her but they didn't quite reach one another. He laid his head on her shoulder and sighed content. Maybe his step dad was not the nicest man but his mother made up for him. She was always defending him or hiding him and making sure he was ok. "Ira, you need to listen to me right now," she started pulling back. She backed up to sit on the bed and brought Ira in between her legs holding onto his hands.
"Mum?" Ira asked looking into her eyes but she couldn't or wouldn't look at him for the moment. His gaze fell to the floral bedspread instead which went along with an equally spring oriented room of soft pinks and vases full of stinky flowers.
"We are leaving Australia Ira. It's not safe anymore. Do you remember when I told you that your step father had a child a month ago? A child by someone else?" Ira nodded. He had been livid about this. The man was married to his mother but he had been seeing other women. Finally one produced a son for him, his little brother Jackson. Technically he was of no blood relation to him but he was a pack brother. He didn't understand why that meant he had to leave though.
"Why?" he asked. His mother started to shake her head but then stopped. She watched him like she sometimes did trying to figure out if she should lie to him or tell him the truth.
"Ira, your brother will be the next Alpha which means…" she trailed off but Ira got it.
"He doesn't need me anymore. He wants to kill me?" Ira asked wisely. His mother nodded and her eyes filled with tears. She hugged Ira to her again sobbing quietly.
"I've tried everything I could to keep you safe sweetheart but…now we have to go. Do you understand?" Ira nodded and wiggled from her grasp. He grabbed his bag from the opposite bed and turned to her expectantly.
"Plus, this will keep Irene and the other safe right?" he asked. His mother nodded but he caught the doubt in her eyes. His stomach tightened. He said nothing.
The presentation had gone horribly but he could not really bring himself to care. He was distracted by the time he got to the board and almost in shock. He could not remember what he said in there or how they reacted. He didn't even remember going back to the office and grabbing his coat and car keys. Daniella was all he could think about.
The first thing he registered was Antonio appearing in his office doorway and gently taking the keys from him and easing the door shut. "Sit and tell me what's wrong," Antonio demanded. He guided Reese back to his chair and walked around the desk taking the one on the other side. He supposed he could have chosen the couches on the far side of the room Reese sometimes slept on when working late, but this was closer.
Reese mumbled something shaking the cotton from his head. He took a deep breath and tried to focus rubbing his eyes again. Maybe it had been a dream? He glanced at his phone to see the call log already displayed. It was no mistake. When he was finally able to concentrate he told the older werewolf everything.
"She wants to meet you tomorrow at noon? It could be an ambush." Reese nodded. He had thought of that. "You need to write down everything you remember about the Australian pack including all the key players their names, strengths and weaknesses and we need to call Elena," Antonio ordered getting his phone out and starting to dial.
"The whole pack would not come after me Antonio, it doesn't make sense. It's been ten years. I am a rogue mutt to them but I haven't broken any pack laws and I haven't even set foot in Oz since I left." Reese pushed a hand through his hair thinking frantically. What infraction had he caused? Why would they chase him so long? Was Daniella lying? The last was the easiest to answer. She always lied and now would be no different.
He remembered holding the gun that his parents had killed themselves with and wanting to use the last bullet on her. It was a burning need in his chest that had eased a bit over the years but was now back full force.
"I know but these are precautions. I will call Elena and you start on writing things down. Go home but be careful and make sure to tell Nick there may be danger. It's a teacher's day so Clary and Dominic will be home today," Antonio reminded. Reese nodded again and grabbed his keys hurrying from the office.
He rushed across the lobby floor and to the parking lot where his Ferrari waited in his usual spot next to Antonio and Nick's spaces. Nick's car was not there today so Reese assumed he was home with the kids. Antonio's Mercedes was parked neatly in front of the President and CEO sign. Reese's sign proclaimed he was a CEO as well like Nick but he had more work and much more dealings with the company than Nick by choice.
He roared from the parking lot and raced home surprised he did not get caught for speeding in the early morning rush hour. When he stepped inside the foyer and set his brief case down he stopped and sniffed like he had outside. No one had been through the front hall in the last hour or so. Reese toed off his shoes and followed the voice of a familiar little girl to the kitchen.
Inside he found Nick sitting at the kitchen table watching his seven year old daughter with reverence as she read the morning paper to him. No one had ever pictured Nick in this role but it fit him like a glove and he loved it. Not all couples were meant to have children but when Vanessa found out she was pregnant, a big surprise, they couldn't do anything but have the baby. They had never regretted the choice. Dominic, his two year old son, sat on his lap swinging his legs and drinking from his sippy cup. "Good morning Uncle Reese," Clary called in his sign song voice. Dom looked up understanding and held out a hand to Reese flexing and un-flexing his fingers towards him.
Reese smiled tiredly and walking in kissing Clary on the head and looking at Nick who tensed immediately knowing something was up. "Where's Vanessa? Can she watch the kids for a bit?" Reese asked before Nick could say anything.
"Mommy is at her meeting with Mr. Rhys," Clary informed. Vanessa still worked for Rhys and still went away a lot. It was a job she loved almost as much as being a mother so Nick was more than happy to be with his children. Luckily his boss was an easy man to convince.
"Res, Res, Res," Dom suddenly blurted out taking his cup and banging it against the table. Nick gently took it from him and raised an eyebrow at Reese.
"Right, ok Nick can you call your dad while I watch the kids?" he asked. Nick nodded and stood handing Dominic to Reese and starting to leave the room. His footsteps sounded a bit heavier on the tile floor indicated he was tense.
"Daddy, I'm reading to you," Clary protested. She crossed her arms and pouted, one of her best expressions.
"I know sweetheart but I'll be back. You can read to Reese in the meantime." Clary rolled her eyes with the full attitude of a teenager but accepted her father's word. Nick was definitely more comfortable with spoiling his children rather than disciplining them but that was what Vanessa was for. Clary knew attitude was not acceptable and she didn't push the boundaries too much.
Dominic giggled and grabbed for Reese's hair pulling on it as Reese walked to the counter and grabbed a fresh cup of coffee. "Res," Dominic suddenly said and pointed to the counter where a box of cheerios sat. Reese grabbed them as well and brought them back to the table.
"Reese," Clary corrected, "His name is Reese, Dominic," she scolded lightly. Dominic had been having trouble with speaking and stringing sentences together but he had been progressing albeit slowly. Every child developed at their own rate though so they were not worried. Dominic would be fine.
When Nick came back he was trying to hide his worry. Reese caught it but both of the kids were satisfied that nothing was wrong. Hopefully everything would continue to be fine. The feeling in his gut told him otherwise though.
He watched from the playground set where his mother told him to stay. They were in a small park surrounded on all sides by pine tree except for one side which had a parking lot. The park had a small play area consisting of the swing sets and a slide and some picnic tables. It was deserted at this time of year.
He was swinging slowly letting his feet skid the sand below him keeping a razor sharp focus. First the tall blonde muscular man walked into the park but when the man spotted his mother he just froze there. His fists clenched and unclenched and his eyes flashed with anger, resentment and longing. Finally he walked forward and his mother stood to meet him.
Ira couldn't hear what they said so instead he studied the new man and their surroundings. He had a hunch as to who this new man was. His hair was blonde a little long and he was lean, so was Ira. He had scanned the area when he first got there and Ira saw his eyes were a cerulean blue like Ira's. This man was his father. He felt longing and intense anger as well.
Their body language suggested that neither his mum nor dad wanted to be near one another. They were both suddenly leaning away while pretending they were fine. His mother was more tense though which Ira understood. She had no powers at all while the man was a werewolf and could easily kill her. Ira swallowed and stood suddenly anxious. Would he kill her?
They spoke and the man's voice rose but he controlled it. His hand moved and Ira took a step forward in case he meant to harm her. Suddenly he did grab her arm and was scowling at her speaking angrily all of a sudden. Ira rushed forward shouting. He didn't care if he wasn't to interfere. He had to protect his mother. "Leave my mum alone!" He commanded in the best Alpha voice he could conjure.
The man turned surprised and let go of his mother as Ira rushed up and stood in front of her glaring up at the man. He stared at him confused for a minute and then shocked. He understood and all he could do was watch Ira with a mix of complicated emotions.
"Reese, meet your son, Ira Gavin Wright. He is the reason I need you help Reese Williams," his mother said and set a hand on each of his shoulders. Ira looked up at man seeing all the similarities he had never seen in his mother. They looked so much alike it was almost scary. He was a miniature version of his father who still stood shocked.
"Ira, be polite."
Ira nodded at the command and held out his hand. "Hi, it's nice to meet you, sir," he said using exactly the words his mother told him too. He swallowed his anger and did as he was told even if he wanted to kick the guy and force his mum to leave. Reese swallowed and nodded taking his hand lightly and looking at his mother again.
"How could you keep this from me?" he growled angrily and his mother tensed. Ira tensed as well watching for any sudden movements. The pack had taught him some moves and maybe he could hurt him so his mother could escape, maybe.
"You already knew. You left us so don't bother her," Ira growled back feeling his mother's hand tighten on his shoulder. Ira glared at the grass he was standing on instead taking a deep breath. They were standing by the picnic table which was on some loose gravel.
"Ira," his mother warned and he snapped his mouth shut. He looked back up watching his father closely not trusting him.
"I didn't know anything about you. I left and I didn't even know you existed, Ira," Reese said still looking at him. Ira tipped his head back and looked at his mother confused. He could always tell when she was lying to him so his father must be lying then.
"We're all going to go somewhere and talk." Ira turned to see a blonde woman and some others. There were six of them so they were surrounded. He swallowed and looked at his mother again who suddenly seemed worried. He had to protect her.
"We're part of the Australian pack and if any of you hurt my mom they will come and kill you," Ira threatened. His mother tensed behind him and inhaled sharply. This time both her hands tightened so much his shoulders he knew he would have bruises.
"He's wrong. We are not part of any pack right now but I have a werewolf child and wish to be granted safe passage because of him," she explained. Elena nodded to this and turned to a man with curly blonde hair saying something. He nodded before she turned to another dark haired man who was in a police uniform.
"Noah, take Daniella and Ira back to the house and wait for us," she instructed. Noah nodded and immediately moved forward. Ira was pulled back when his mother took a step back. Her fear was palpable in the air but Noah gestured with his hand and smiled.
"I'm not going to hurt you, either of you. I'm here to protect you. See the uniform?" he said talking to his mother and then Ira. He eyes the uniform and then the gun on the man's waist. Noah looked down and nodded taking it out and handing it to the blond woman. "Better?"
Ira nodded and turned taking his mother's hand and pulling her towards the man. They walked across the park and beyond the parking lot to the road leading in, a few vehicles waited there including a police cruiser. He got into the back of a police cruiser because Ira refused to be in the front. He wanted to stick close to his mother who was pale and a bit shaky. In the front seat Noah showed Ira what all the controls were for and even flashed the lights and sirens for him when they were almost to the house.
When they reached the house after driving through the town of Catskills Ira fell silent staring. They passed through a massive gate with two hug S's intertwined and they drove up a long drive. The house was behind a mile of trees. When it came into view Ira's mouth almost dropped. It was huge, the biggest house he had ever seen surrounded by a water fountain and what looked like statues. It had three stories and a huge front door surrounded by large windows. It was a tan colour and reminded him of some of the European house shows his mom liked to watch on TV.
"Welcome to the Sorrentino Estates."