Chapter 13: Grandpa
I was emptying the last of the drawer out into my suitcase when someone knocked on the door. I opened it up to find Remi there; her eyes widened when she saw what was on the bed. I quickly gave her a hug, careful of her arm which was still in a sling. “Oh my, come in Aunt Remi! Are you feeling better?” I felt a little guilty as I had been avoiding the dining hall since the attack, staying mostly in my room. As a result, I hadn’t seen her since we were both in the clinic.
“I’m fine, just a few more days of healing left.” She walked over to the bed and sat down while I stood at the door. I felt like I was caught trying to sneak out of my house, which, well… basically yeah, that’s what I was planning to do. I was going to leave a note and sneak off. “What’s going on, Ella?”
I slowly walked over and sat on the bed next to her. “You’ve talked to Doug about what happened with the attack, right?” She nodded. “I feel horrible about it. Because of me, Darryl is dead, you were almost killed and Renee was put in danger. It’s all my fault, I can’t stay here and let you pay the price for me being here.” I flopped back on the bed, I couldn’t even look at her without the guilt hitting me.
“You know that’s not the case, Ella.” She laid back on the bed next to me. “If you’re at fault, tell me exactly what you did wrong. Were you wrong to kill those three wolves? Wrong to make an appointment for that thumb of yours? Wrong to kill that man outside the hospital? Wrong to kill a man who was raping you?” I was bawling by now. “Were you wrong to resist the people who drugged you and handed you over to a man to be forcibly mated? What exactly have you done, Ella, that was so wrong you’d leave your family and friends and go off alone?”
I rolled on my side and placed my head on her shoulder as I continued to let the pain and hurt out. Remi pulled me close and ran her fingers through my hair like my Mom used to do. “If I hadn’t asked to go to school in Minnesota we never would have made the trip.”
Remi laughed. Actually laughed. At me! “So what? You had dreams, Ella, and they were good ones. You saved yourself for your mate. You wanted to go to a good business school so you could be eventually take over the family and Pack businesses. You wanted to prepare yourself to become Alpha someday. What exactly was wrong with that, Ella? Are we supposed to give up our dreams because something bad might happen?” I buried my face in her hair. “It was a good plan for you and your Pack, that is why your parents arranged it. I’ve talked to the members who came here, and I know how my sister and her mate were. They were VERY successful in business, and as a result they had one of the richest packs, even though they were one of the smallest.”
I perked up a little, we didn’t brag given our Midwestern values, but I knew how hard they worked to get the Pack to where it was. “Mom was on the phone that last morning as we drove in, she was divesting out of the oil business since she figured the boom was over. I was looking at the markets this morning, and she was right.” Oil prices had cratered, already down to $40 a barrel and some forecasts had it going down even farther. Our lawyers had finished the sales with the liquidation of the Pack assets, and it was a good thing.
“Your Mom was very sharp about these things. She was a LOT smarter than Alpha Marvin. You really screwed him over by giving him those mineral rights, you know.” I laughed to myself, I had realized the same thing. “He’s going to owe millions in capital gains taxes come March 15th, and those rights are worth a fraction of what he owes now. If oil prices don’t rebound, he could go bankrupt.”
I gave her my best Evil Overlord “Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!” and we broke up laughing. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” I said.
“True. I’d say your path of revenge is already going, and you haven’t had to do a thing.” She sat up and pulled me with her. “I know you think you have to do everything on your own, but you need to stop being so impulsive and think through things a little better. An Alpha who doesn’t consider all the options, who doesn’t weigh the costs, is one who will get them all into trouble.” I looked at her and my shoulders dropped. “Why exactly do you think you have to run off? Do you think we will be better off if you run off by yourself and get killed?”
“You wouldn’t have been hurt.”
“Oh please,” she said. “You’re my niece, the only link I have left to my only sister. I promised her I’d watch over you, and I did. I’m sorry about Darryl, but he died protecting you as he had vowed to do, he died with honor and don’t you DARE cause that to be in vain by doing something stupid.” I nodded at her. “But there is something else, isn’t there?”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Aunt Remi.”
“You should, though. People don’t walk out of the clinic crying for no reason. Why do you think I came to see you, dear?
Crap. If I didn’t tell, she’d ask Doc and it would be out anyway. “I’ve been throwing up in the morning. Doc had me take a test.” I buried my face in her chest, the water works had started again. “It was positive. I’m pregnant.”
“Oh, Luna…” She hugged me to her tight. “I’m so sorry this has happened to you, Ella. What do you plan to do?”
“I can’t have an abortion,” I said. I looked up at her eyes, she was crying now too. “On the way here, I got together with Mark. He’s been my friend forever, I would have gone out with him if he wasn’t human.” I looked at the floor. “He was so good to me, and I just wanted to erase all those memories. We made love. It might be his.”
“Can Doc tell you?”
“Not until the sixth month, and by then it will be too late. Even if it is David’s, it’s still just a pup. I can’t do that, it hasn’t done anything.” I got up and got the box of tissues and blew my nose as she wiped her eyes. “If it is a wolf, I’ll raise it myself or give it to you to adopt out. If it is Mark’s, I can’t take it away from him. He doesn’t even know.” She looked at me again. “It’s far more likely to be Mark’s, so I need to see him, I can’t do this to him over the phone.”
We talked for another hour on my bed, and by the end I was feeling a lot better about things. She promised they would help me out, and I asked her if she and Doug would stand in for my parents when I go through childbirth. I was afraid, excited, nervous, apprehensive and angry. We cleaned our faces up and then went down for lunch. I was able to get some foods that agreed with me, and afterwards the Alphas brought me up to their office.
“Ella, I think we need to stop dealing with the symptoms and fix the problem.” I looked at him quizzically. “Instead of trying to defend you from attack, we need to remove their motivation to attack you in the first place. Only then will you be able to travel and live freely.”
I wanted to laugh, but held it in. “So far I’ve killed two Alpha sons and three other wolves to be named later. How exactly do I do that? ‘Sorry’ won’t cut it.”
He sat back in his chair as Remi rubbed my back. “No, I think this news will be just the ticket. Can you trust me to handle this? I don’t want to put more on you, and I think it will be more effective coming from me.”
“Of course, Alpha. What is your plan?” A few minutes later I left the room with a smile on my face.
At two o’clock, I was in my room and logged on to the video conference meeting system that he was using. I had a monitor-only feed, there was no camera on me and I couldn’t talk to them. My laptop was at my desk, and I was sitting there with Remi by my side; if I needed to say something, she could relay it to Doug over the bond. Doug was already in place, looking intimidating as he sat at his desk, and soon the other meeting participants arrived. I watched as Alphas Tanner, Anderson, Lewis and Goodwin came up on the screen.
“Alphas, thank you for agreeing to this conference,” Doug said.
“What is this about, Johnson? Did you figure out whose wolves attacked your mate?” Alpha Tanner had balls, I had to give him that.
“No one owned up to it. The dead wolves, as promised, were disposed of as I directed.” He played a short video, it showed each of the dead wolves lying on the ground, then one of them being skinned, the pelts being hung up to dry, and finally the bodies being tossed on the burning trash pile.
“That’s unacceptable!” Alpha Anderson said.
“Well, so is a sneak attack on my mate and daughter.” He leaned forward and looked at the camera. “And I know these wolves were sent by the four of you.”
They objected and carried on, but Doug didn’t care. Finally, he pounded his fist on the desk and they shut up. “Do you remember the scene in The Godfather where Vito was negotiating to bring Michael back? I loved what he said. ‘I’m a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall Michael - if he is to be shot in the head by a police officer, or be found hung dead in a jail cell... or if he should be struck by a bolt of lightning - then I’m going to blame some of the people in this room and then I do not forgive.’ Understand this, gentlemen- Ella Grey is my niece, she is family and she is under the protection of me and then entire Johnson Pack. I don’t care what your problem is with her, get over it. If she is harmed my Pack and those allied to me will destroy you and your families without hesitation or mercy.”
“You can’t really expect…” started Alpha Goodwin, but Doug smacked the desk again and stopped him.
“Yes, that is EXACTLY what I expect. And Alpha Tanner, I understand that she killed your son who was raping her and then killed your other son who was trying to kill her. Leave her alone. She’s carrying your first grandchild.”
“WHAT? HOW?” Alpha Tanner had jumped to his feet and was clenching his fists.
“David put Tab A into Slot B, what the hell do you THINK happened to her in that cabin? She found out this morning that she was pregnant. I advised her to abort this abomination of a child; however, she refuses to kill the innocent baby because of the sins of his fathers. You don’t deserve the kindness she still has in her heart. She is going to carry this child to term, and raise it as her own, and she will do this under my protection. You will allow her to return home and you will leave her alone.” He stood up and glared at the four Alphas. “Remember my warning.” He cut the feed.
“Holy shit,” I said as I looked at Remi. “Your mate can be a scary dude when he wants to be.”
“Maybe, but we all can be that way when we are protecting something important to us.” She hugged me again. “Wasn’t this a better plan than just running off alone?”
“Yes,” I said. There was a knock on the door and I told Doug to come in. Remi embraced him, then I gave him a hug. “Thank you for what you said.”
“It was my pleasure, Ella. Do you think they will listen?”
I thought about it for a moment; Alpha Tanner was the one I was most worried about because I’d killed half his children. The others were allies and conspirators. “I think so. Once Alpha Tanner heard I was carrying a potential heir, it all changed for him. He only has one son left to take over for him, if I have a son it could be next in line. The others, they probably sent people to the attack, but they won’t push that since it went bad.”
Remi looked at me. “It won’t last forever, though. If the baby is fully human, or if it is a wolf but female, he won’t count it as his heir and he might start it up again.”
“That’s seven more months I have to get my life in order and plan, though.” I looked at both of them. “I really do need to go home for a while. I have to talk with Mark about all this and take care of affairs.”
“That’s fine, but why don’t we wait until after Thanksgiving before you go. Let your arm heal, let the thumb heal a little more so you can get off the pain pills and drive on your own. Plus, I don’t think Renee wants you leaving before we can take our shopping trip.”
I laughed, she would definitely want to go. “How will we know if it is all right, if they really back off?”
“Make another appointment,” Doug said. “We’ll send a decoy group out, in your truck, using some Pack warriors and dressing one of the female fighters up to look like you. If they are not attacked, it should be safe and we can send you three out in a less conspicuous vehicle.”
I thought about it for a while. “Aunt Remi, would you like to come back with me? I could use help going through my parent’s stuff, and there are probably things of hers you should have. I haven’t been home since they were killed, and I don’t know if I can do it alone.”
“Of course, dear, you know I’ll be there for you. I’m pretty sure Marge and Mabel will want to return with you. They never wanted to leave in the first place, but you made them.” Remi looked at Doug, there was a mental conversation there probably dealing with her protection, but she looked back at me and smiled. “We could combine it, go shopping and to your appointment then after we’re done I could have the boys bring Renee back, and I’ll continue on with you and your Pack.”
I laughed. “Some Pack, a pregnant 18-year-old human and two old housekeeper wolves.”
“It’s your Pack, and you should be proud of them. They are loyal to you.” Doug stood up to leave. “If you ever wanted to, you could build your Pack again. Wolf or not, they would follow you.”
I shook my head. “Where I’m going, I don’t want anyone to follow. I swore a blood oath, I will not give up on my vengeance.”