Chapter 36: Party Time
I spent the rest of the evening, outside of baby care, on the phone with allied Alphas and their mates. There was a lot of excitement over the party idea, and a majority of those I contacted wanted to come. I asked them to respond by Wednesday with the number of people attending so I could arrange housing. I still had five empty houses nearby plus the RV, and if I needed more there was plenty of room for tents.
I gave the boys their last feeding and put them down, then stripped off my clothes and went into the shower. Craig said he still had some work to do, so I figured I’d be asleep before he came in. I came out of the bathroom, towel rubbing my hair, and froze.
In the chair in the corner opposite me was a woman I’d never seen before. She was beautiful, with long straight hair that was dark as midnight and light olive complexion. Her eyes were hazel in color, and very bright, almost glowing in the dim light of the bedside lamp. Her posture and attitude exuded confidence and danger, an apex predator looking over the prey.
And she had Mitchell in her arms.
My anger flared, I went into an attack position. I could sense she was a shifter, but something about the way she moved said she wasn’t a wolf. She looked to be in her mid-twenties. I watched as she gently rocked him, singing something softly in Spanish. “Who are you?”
She smiled and looked up at me. “No one who is a threat to you, Ella Grey Anderson. He was fussing while you were taking your shower, so I helped him get back to sleep. He’s a beautiful boy.”
I nodded, looking around for a weapon I could use if I could get her clear of him. “You didn’t answer my question.”
She kissed Mitchell gently on the forehead. “Why don’t you call your mate and your head of security here. We need to have a talk.” I started to move towards the door, my eyes never leaving hers. I didn’t want to be out of sight, so instead of going into the hall, I picked up my phone from the top of the dresser. I pressed a few buttons and rang Moe. “Moe. There’s an intruder in my bedroom. Get Craig and come to my room immediately.”
“Are you all right?”
“Yes. She’s holding Mitchell. Don’t do anything stupid.” I turned the phone off and waited by the door. “Give him back to me, please.”
“In a moment, Ella. I find that babies are a good deterrent to overprotective mates acting before thinking. When they get here, you need to keep them calm. I only want to talk to you for a few minutes.” I nodded, thinking. “It’s true, I see. I had not believed that your wolf was gone, but you are Alpha. I found your story disturbing on many levels, and that is why I wanted to help you. You are something special, Ella.
I tried to listen for the sounds in the hallway. I knew that Moe wouldn’t just bring Craig, he’d bring everyone and surround the room. There was no way this woman was getting away, and as I watched her, I think she knew it. I could see her eyes moving and her nose scenting the air. And yet, I didn’t see any worry and nervousness. Honestly, she creeped me out.
I stood by the dresser, the door on my right and her and my son to the left. The crib holding Darryl was behind me, so I didn’t want to move any farther away. It was only a few more seconds before there was a knock on the door. “Enter, and don’t do anything yet. Come only to me.”
Craig opened the door slowly, his eyes going to mine. I looked over at the stranger, and he did as well. His eyes flashed as his wolf came forward, not liking the threat to his child. I grabbed his arm and pulled him in front of me. Moe came in next, calmly taking the scene in and closing the door behind him. I could see Matthew in the hallway, holding an AR-15 at the ready as he took cover in another doorway where she wouldn’t see him. Moe stood by the door, blocking her exit. He knew the windows were bulletproof glass, since he had overseen the installation of it.
“All right, we’re here,” I said. “My mate Craig and head of security Moe. You still haven’t introduced yourself.”
She stood up, Mitchell in her left arm, and walked towards me without fear or hesitation. She was my size, about five foot eight. Her body was solid, not thin, but more muscular like a swimmer. She moved with a liquid grace. “I’m Black Ker.” The men in the room immediately tensed up, and forced the aggression back down. “I heard you may have a job for me.” She handed me Mitchell, I quickly checked to make sure he was unharmed. He was sleeping soundly. Black Ker just turned around and went to sit down again like she hadn’t just penetrated a Pack’s security and grabbed the Alpha’s child. We all watched as she sat down again. The men were torn, so they stayed focused on her as I put Mitchell next to his brother and went to sit on the bed.
“I didn’t realize we had an appointment,” Moe said.
Black Ker laughed. “I don’t do appointments, if someone knows I will be in a specific place at a specific time, it’s likely to get me killed. I’m sorry about making your security system look impotent, Moe. Consider it a demonstration of my talents. You know my reputation, no one is safe from me.”
Moe chuckled and sat down on the blanket chest at the end of the bed. Craig relaxed a little, moving over to sit between me and her. He would protect me if things went bad, I knew, while Moe would protect the babies.
Craig spoke up. “Moe said you were the best, I believe him.” She nodded at him. “The former Alpha of the St. Cloud Pack, Marvin Goodwin, was one of the Alphas who killed Ella’s parents during the forced mating attempt. He stole millions from his Pack and fled to South America. We believe he is being protected and hidden by a werecat in Argentina, but we don’t have contacts there. You also know that a werewolf down there will not be welcomed.”
“True, most panthers will not either. There are a number of cats powerful enough and greedy enough to take him in, but they stay remote and hidden. It will be difficult to determine which one has him, especially if he is smart enough to stay hidden.” She leaned forward a little. “So you want me to find him and kill him?”
“Find him yes,” I said. “I want to be the one that kills him. I want him killed in front of his former Pack, after he has lost everything he holds dear.”
She nodded. “I’ve done my research on you, I know you can pay so that isn’t my worry. Killing bad men is my specialty, but extractions are a completely different thing. You need a bigger organization; support staff, vehicles, air transport, bribes to Customs, medical staff. It isn’t something I can give you.”
My face fell. “So you can’t do it?”
“I can do the hard part for you, Ella. I can locate him and maybe make the person holding him realize the error of his ways.” She gave an evil smile. “I will call you when I find him, and you can decide then how you want to proceed. My fee is one hundred thousand dollars American, wire it to this account.” She stood up and handed Moe a card, on it were a series of bank numbers. Walking over to me, she shook Craig’s hand and then mine. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Alphas.” She walked towards the door.
“You’re just going to walk out?” I looked at Moe, shocked.
“Yes, I am.” She opened the door and walked out, waving at Matthew as she tossed her hair over her shoulder. Moe linked his Pack members as Craig linked ours, telling them to stand down. She walked out the front door and down the street like she had just dropped in to welcome us to her neighborhood.
“Fuck me,” Moe said. “She’s got huge balls for such a beautiful woman.”
“Maybe, but she waltzed right in here and held MY baby and nobody even noticed her.” Moe looked over at me, he was disappointed in himself and his team. “I need you to figure out why and fix it.”
“I will.” Moe stood and went to the door, opening it before he looked back. “You know, I’ve been in a lot of bad situations in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as I was when she said her name. Everything they said about her, it’s true. My wolf was shaking inside me. I can see why they call her the Goddess of Violent Death.”
I laughed. “She looks like a model, and you’re afraid of her.”
“Yes, I am too,” said Craig. “Our wolves can sense it, that part of her that is so dangerous. I’d hate to see her mad.” He shook his head. “I did some research with Josh about her since her name was brought up. She scares the shit out of me.”
I yawned, I wasn’t getting enough sleep still. The boys were starting to sleep through the night occasionally now, but not last night. “I’m going to bed.”
“Goodnight, Alpha.” Moe stepped out of the room.
“I have a few more calls to make, love.” Craig tucked me into bed and kissed me tenderly. I was out before the light was.
By noon on Tuesday, we had the party mapped out. Most of the Alphas wanted more time to discuss Pack issues and our alliances, so we decided they could come out a day early. Most of the single wolves would be arriving during the day Friday, but a good number were coming with their Alphas. It was turning into quite the event.
I had asked each Pack to contribute kitchen help to the party, since we would be overwhelmed by so much food to prepare each meal. Mabel took the lead on this, coming up with a menu plan and a strategy for using the multiple houses and my large kitchen to get it all done. She and Marge were busy ordering food; we pulled from as far away as Minot to get the quantities we needed. Some of the menu items were suggested; Moe liked to barbecue, and he saw this meetup as a chance to shine. He rented a huge smoker and bought four whole pigs to slow cook.
I was glad our home’s safe room had a huge walk-in freezer and cool room, because we needed it. Food that could be prepared ahead of time and heated up or cooked was made and put in there. When Thursday came and the Alphas arrived, the kitchen help did too. I left that to them, I was too busy acting as the Host Alpha for this gathering.
It was exhausting fitting in all the greetings, hugs and meetings around the boys and their needs, but it was worth it. Doug and Remi had flown in from their Pack. Their eldest, Dave, stayed home as his mate Alice was getting too pregnant to travel comfortably. Derek and Amanda stayed home too, but my cousin Nathan did come, hoping to find his mate. Renee was here too, she even promised to babysit her young cousins if they would bring her along.
It was like Christmas in August for me, as my mating with Craig and the birth of my sons were both being celebrated. I was in tears as I opened gifts from new friends and old.
Many of the Alphas I had visited in my goodwill tour were already here. We had finished a huge meal on the back patio, and all the Alphas and Lunas were now relaxing around the fire pit in the back yard with adult beverages. Looking around the circle, I smiled as I thought of all the friends I had made in a short time.
Craig was sitting in a big Adirondack chair with me on his lap. I had the babies with, not that I got to hold them much in this crowd- all of the Lunas and some of the Alphas wanted to hold my boys. To our left were Charles and Elise Jennings, of the Vermillion Pack, then Roman and Christine Peters of the LaCrosse pack, Nicholas and Abby Anders of the Battle Lake pack, and Doug and Remi across from us. On our right side was my parent’s close friend, Alpha Female Rose Stormwater of the Fort Berthold pack to our south. She was the one who granted Olivia permission to live with Mark in Dickinson. To her right were Frank and Tina McDonald of the Minot pack, and Al and Carol Coleman, new Alphas of the North Shore pack.
Carol was starting to relax now. Things had been a little testy for her since the other Alphas and their Packs knew of her involvement in what happened to me. I squashed this hard when I found it, going out of my way to hug her and talk up our friendship and alliance. I made it clear that I had forgiven her and that was that.
There had been one mating thus far, and we were all thrilled with that. Doug and Remi’s son Nathan found his mate in Nicolette Anders, the eldest daughter of the Battle Lake Alphas. It was funny, one moment he was helping man the steaks on the grill, and the next he was kissing the hell out of a pretty young blonde who had dropped her bowl of salad on the ground. All matings were celebrated, so when this happened just before dinner it made the night. Both sets of parents were thrilled, and the happy couple was sent by me to a remote cabin on my property where they could have some privacy. Remi and Abby were already talking about baby names and nursery patterns as they got to know their mate’s parents. Nicolette would return to the Johnson pack with Nathan, and Nicholas and Abby would visit them in a week and bring her stuff from their home.
There were high hopes that this was the first of many, as the majority of single wolves would be arriving tomorrow.
We updated everyone on the progress of our plans to get revenge on the remaining three Packs, including what happened with Olivia. Alpha Lewis was still out on bail, and the County Attorney had set a trial date for the first week in October. Alpha Goodwin was still hiding in Argentina, and when we told the story about Black Ker’s visit, the emotions and reactions were all over the place. It seemed everyone had a healthy respect for the panther, but none wanted to be anywhere near her. They were hopeful she would help retrieve him. Alpha Anderson was down to a single son and heir after ‘losing’ Craig and banishing Olivia. We asked the other Alphas to use their command to keep any of their members from talking about Craig being alive and the Belden Pack Alpha, and they all agreed.
The Alphas had done a fine job of isolating the three Packs. Our intercepts and the intelligence we gathered from allied Pack wolves showed the Packs were losing patience with their Alphas. The St. Cloud pack was practically on our side now, since we both wanted Marvin dead. I wasn’t ready to call them an ally or trust them just yet, though.
When the boys woke up, it was time for me to go. I collected them and Renee came to help me get them ready for bed. The fellowship time was almost over anyway, and the combined Pack Run that was coming I couldn’t participate in anyway. Renee got to sleep over with me, as the adults would not be back until near sunrise.
I went to sleep that night more optimistic for my future than I had ever been. Everything was going according to plan.