Chapter 19: Justice
Remi and I walked so Jimmy’s car was between us and them. The parking lot was deserted other than the yelling and fighting going on behind us. Both parents were trying to pull their children apart, and they weren’t having it. The fighting only stopped when there was a scream of pain; Al’s face had shifted slightly, and his teeth were clamped around the base of Carol’s neck on the left side. The scream soon became a moan as he licked the blood from her, his arms holding her tight to him. It was done, she was marked and there was no going back without one of them dying.
Luna Kayla had to lean against her car as she felt he daughter’s bond shift to her mate and his Pack. Her face was easy to read; in part she was happy for her daughter, but she was also petrified of what her mate would do.
Alpha Dennis Coleman released his son and stepped back; he was obviously mad, but his son was now mated. He shook it off and walked over to me. “Can we speak in private for a moment?”
“Of course.” I opened my truck and gestured for him to get in. I looked over at him as he put his head back, his fingers pinching his nose between his eyes as he tried to think. “This changes a few things, doesn’t it?”
“It certainly does,” he replied. “I need to know where you stand on all this. I heard what Carol did, and I heard her apology. Are you still determined to have your revenge on her?”
It was my turn to lean back and close my eyes. Truthfully, I felt bad for Carol. She was raised by parents who didn’t believe in true mates, and I’m sure she expected to be mated off to a man of their choice. She would find the happiness of a true mate that I would never have, but she would also live with the knowledge that she took that same thing away from me. “No, I’ll forgive her.” He looked relieved. “Just like her Pack, she was doing what she was told and what they thought was right. Now, what about Alpha Tanner?”
“He’s mine. I’ll challenge him when we get to his Pack and kill him for what he did to my daughter, and to you.”
My goal had been to take everything away before killing them, and this would work. I wasn’t strong enough to take the Alpha or Luna in a challenge. At least this way, their sins would be made known to their Pack before they died. “Do me a favor, though; have someone tape the challenge and send it to me. I’d love to be there, but it’s too dangerous.” I looked over at the newly mated couple, still locked in a tight embrace. “What will happen with those two?”
“I’ll talk to her, she has to know that nothing can save her parents. Al is a good kid, he will help her unlearn some of the things she was brought up believing.”
“What about the Tanner pack? I’ve killed all the sons, and with their Alphas gone, will you let a Beta take it? Or have your son take over?”
He thought about it for a moment. “I’ll talk to them first, it is her Pack so if he wants to be Alpha he can do it. He’s strong, I’m sure he can defend the position against any Beta there. He’s my eldest son, but I guess his younger brother can become heir instead.” He watched as Kayla went up and embraced the two. “If he doesn’t take it, I’ll talk to the other Alphas and we will select someone to take it. Their Pack isn’t beyond repair if it gets good leadership again. I’ll make sure they have that.”
“Thank you. I’m glad I could get you your answer.”
“You’re quite the young woman, Ella. Your parents would be proud of you.” He squeezed my shoulder, I smiled in response. “Come on, we have to talk to them.”
We got out and walked over, Al moved so Carol was tucked close to his side as they faced us. I walked over and took Carol’s free hand in mine. “I wanted you to know that I forgive you for what you did. Congratulations on finding your mate, and I hope you find happiness.”
Carol started to cry as she moved to hug me tight. “Thank you, I’ll live in a way that makes you proud.”
When she released me, Al moved in and hugged me as well. “Thank you for that, I’ll take good care of her.”
They went back to hugging each other as Dennis moved over to Kayla. “You know your mate needs to answer for what he did, my daughter’s future was taken and now she’s dead because of him.”
“I know. I have something to tell you first, though.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a syringe and handed it to him. “I can’t do it to myself, my wolf won’t let me. It has to happen, though.”
She opened the passenger door to her car and removed her coat, tossing it in the back. She unbuttoned her blouse enough to pull it off her shoulder. “Please.”
He sniffed the needle. “Wolfsbane? There’s enough here to kill your wolf.”
Carol ran to the car. “No, Mom, you can’t do that!”
“It’s the only way to be free of the Alpha command, dear. The only way I can survive when the bond breaks. Your father will die, that can’t be stopped. I have to do this.” She looked at Alpha Coleman and nodded. He jabbed the needle into her shoulder and pushed it in, then closed the door. Carol ran to the other side and got in, reaching her Mom just as she started to scream.
We moved away to give them some privacy, but even I couldn’t eliminate the sound of the screams as her wolf was torn away from her soul. When it finally stopped, she waved us over and Dennis opened the door.
“Scott did to me what he did to your daughter, what his son tried to do to you,” she said. “He wanted me and he just did it. She didn’t kill herself, though.” We all looked at her in shock. “With him gone, she was going to go back home. Scott knew that if she changed packs, his Alpha command would be gone and she would tell you everything. He killed her and made it look like suicide.” Dennis was clenching his hands, trying to hold back a change. His son pulled him away to cool down.
“Carol, I’ll never regret having you or your brothers, but I regret that I wasn’t strong enough to stop him from taking me.” She hugged her daughter tight until the men were back. “Dennis, you have to stop him. Just promise me you won’t punish my Pack for the things he did.”
“I promise. Your Pack will continue on.”
“Thank you. Now Ella, Scott believed this might be a trap. His men are out there, they are going to follow you then take you out when you are away from people.”
I looked at Remi, who was already linking her warriors. “How many?”
“Six warriors in two vehicles, both Jeep Cherokees.”
“We’ll take care of them.” Carol had gotten out and was back next to Al. “Now what?”
Alpha Coleman looked at his son. “You need to take your mate back home, she can’t get caught up in any of this. Take her car.” He looked at Remi. “I’ll make a few calls, I need to have two other Alphas there to witness the charge and officiate the challenge. I won’t let that man see the sunset.”
I looked at Kayla. “What do you want to do now?”
She thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know. I can’t go back to our Pack, not this way.”
“Mom, come back with us,” Carol said. “You are going to need help, I need to be there for you now.” She looked at Dennis. “If that is all right, of course.”
“That will be fine. Al, call ahead and let Doc know what happened. Kayla, thank you for the information. You are welcome on our Pack lands as long as you wish to stay.”
She bowed her head to him, then sat back. He closed the door and in moments she was asleep. “Do you need help with his men?”
“No, we have people. You guys get going.” Remi and I gave them all hugs, then watched as they drove out. “Come on, we need to talk to our security guys.”
Ten minutes later, we left the restaurant with Jimmy and Melody behind us. Our private security guys had been briefed on our route and the threat, and had left a few minutes before us to set up. I had made it clear that I didn’t want anyone hurt, we just needed to get away clean.
I spotted the tail cars after five blocks. We kept driving our route as I looked for our security guys. They must have had some contacts locally, because two Fargo police cars had our tails pulled over to the side of the road in minutes. I laughed a little as they were ordered out at gunpoint and forced to kneel down in the street. I got a call from one of our guys. “Yeah, we had enough from what Kayla said to make a 911 call on a potential carjacking in progress. I told them you were carrying cash and being followed.”
I smiled, this was better than my plan. “How long will they be tied up?”
“Thirty minutes, easy, if they don’t find anything in the cars. It’s a felony stop, they have to run all their records and search the vehicles. They won’t be a problem for you. Have a good trip home, Miss Ella.”
“Thank you.” I hung up the phone, Remi was smiling as she could hear both sides of the conversation.
We got onto the freeway and soon were in the middle of nowhere again. I was busy checking my phone, I’d gotten a number of messages from Mark and a few made me blush.
“So, when are you going to tell me?”
I looked at her in shock. “Tell you… what?”
“That you are in love.” I blushed hard and looked down. “We know you too well, and you’ve never been like this with a guy before. What happened last night?”
“We had sex, Aunt Remi, you KNOW that. I’m sure you smelled it before I even got in the room.”
“You had sex with him before, but something changed in you last night. Tell me what happened.”
I went through the evening, telling her about the conversation and how he reacted to finding out I was pregnant. It felt good to talk about things that I would have shared with my mom if she was still here. She kept prying, and I gave in. “Mark proposed to me, he wants us to get married in a few weeks. He said it would be the best thing for us and the baby.”
I could see her grip the wheel tighter as she thought. “What do you think?”
“It’s sudden.” I looked out the window. “I’ve known him forever, we’ve always been good together, and I would have been his earlier if it wasn’t for the mate thing. Still, it feels right to me.”
“You still have a mate out there somewhere, Ella. Someone made just for you. You fought so hard to have the choice, and now you’re turning your back on him before you even meet him. There’s nothing forcing you to get married now, is there?”
“So why rush off into something that will change your life forever? Human relationships don’t have the certainty that a mating does. You just watched it happen with Al and Carol, their bond is there and it will grow. Would you rather be like her, or like Kayla? Trapped in a marriage when your mate comes along? One thing you know for sure is that Mark is NOT your mate.”
I closed my eyes and thought for a while. “I don’t want to be a single mom, Aunt Remi.”
She shook her head. “You won’t be, you’ve got Marge and Mabel with you, and Mark and his family will still be there to support you. It’s not uncommon for humans these days, so don’t feel you have to get married or your baby will be something less. Take your time, let your relationship develop, and when you are completely sure, THEN you get married.”
“But I already accepted his proposal. I am in love with him.”
“You’re also still in high school, and he’s in his first year of college. Even if you didn’t have everything going on with the Packs, you’d still get the same talk from me. Take your time, use the engagement to learn about each other and grow. You can always get married later.” She patted my thigh. “I bet if you talked to him, he’d be relieved. He just wants you to be secure, and to show you he’d do anything for you. I bet his parents would be happier with a long engagement as well.”
This was true, I could tell his parents weren’t happy with us eloping but were deferring to what I wanted. I needed to talk with them alone when we got back.
“There’s more to this. You realize that with what just happened back there, you’re no longer as protected from the other three Packs. The Tanner Alpha will be dead by tonight, and his Pack taken over by another; your baby is no longer important to the line of succession. We are protecting you, but that only goes so far. What do you think will happen when those three Packs learn you are married? They may not touch you because of Doug, but…”
“They’ll go after Mark.” I slapped my forehead. “Fuck, what was I thinking.”
“You weren’t, and that’s the problem. It sucks having to grow up so fast, but that’s the lot Luna has for you. Don’t get ahead of her.” She thought for a few moments. “You still want your dreams, Ella, there’s nothing wrong with that. You just need to have your revenge first, eliminate the threat, and then pursue your dreams again. It’s not fair to Mark to drag him into your revenge.”
She was right. Dammit. I sent a text to Tom, asking if I could talk to him and Shelley before our scheduled meeting Monday. I then sent a text to Mark, telling him I was getting cold feet and I didn’t want to rush into a marriage anymore, but I still loved him.
He said we could talk more when I got back, and that he loved me too.
I laid down in the seat and placed my head on Remi’s lap. “Thank you.”
“I’m sorry, Ella. I wish I could do more.” I fell asleep as we kept heading west.