Chapter Twenty-Six Part 2
-The Princess Bride, continued-
“Alright, so before we dig into this gorgeous dinner, Ava and I would ask that you bare with us a second as we express some of our deepest gratitude.”
Dominic was absolutely positive he was going to faint from starvation soon. He was Italian after all, and as soon as he sat at a table he needed bread within fifteen seconds of sitting down.
“How much longer?” He leaned forward to whisper in Hailee’s ear. Maybe if he was lucky he could get a little oil to dip his non-existent bread in. They could have at least put a little antipasto on the table or something.
When she silently waved him off with her hand, however, he started to get even more antsy. “But I’m hungry,” he whined. “Hungry!”
“We know this past week couldn’t have been easy on you or Dominic--”
At the sound of his own name, Dominic’s head snapped up in attention.
“--And I still can’t believe you were able to pull off the wedding of my dreams,” Ava gushed.
As he followed her sweeping, outstretched hand, for the first time that night Dominic took note of lavish looking reception hall.
“You did all this?” He mumbled under his breath towards Hailee. The glowing lights seemed to put a sparkle in her evergreen eyes.
Frankly he was shocked, but he knew he shouldn’t have been. He had seen hundreds of white flowers littering his apartment floor for days. From the tall vases in the center of each table, to the various goblet shaped candle holders, even the golden sashes with large amethyst gems wrapped around the white satin draped chairs-- somehow Hailee had managed to take Ava’s vision and turn it into something absolutely magical.
With a humble nod of her head, Dominic reached for her hand before giving her fingers a little squeeze.
“This is incredible,” he mused.
“You think so?” She smiled up at him as her eyes searched for his approval. “A few people have already approached me about helping them plan their wedding.”
Dominic smiled before nodding his head in genuine agreement. His little event planner, he beamed. It was the perfect distraction and would definitely keep her out of Bojing’s grasp.
“I think you might be onto something there,” he admitted.
As he leaned forward to tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear, the wait staff suddenly exited the kitchen in unison-- like an all-star football team shooting into the stadium of cheering fans. Dominic’s eyes grew wide as the large skewers filled with delicious meats caused his mouth to salivate at their mere sight. He eagerly flipped the card next to his place setting over to the green side, indicating he was ready for the servers to load up his plate. Little did they know, when he meant load up his plate, he meant load up his plate.
“What is this? The vegetarian portion?” Dominic muttered under his breath as server after server passed him by. “There isn’t even enough here to fill a cavity,” he exclaimed.
“Dominic.” Hailee tried to shush him in warning, but by now the weremale was beyond hangry.
As another waiter with a rod of roasted steak passed by, Dominic reached out and snagged the man by the arm.
“Sorry, sir. I thought you were done,” the man quickly apologized. Though a look down at his card revealed that the green side was still visible. “Would you like rare, medium or well done?”
“All of it,” Dominic snapped.
The waiter looked irritated for a moment, but placed his metal plate next to Dominic before beginning to shave off some of the meat.
“I don’t think you understand,” Dominic growled as his large hand forcefully wrapped around the tip of the skewer. “I’m telling you to leave the whole damn thing.”
“You can’t be serious--” The server began to protest.
But at his animalistic snarl and glowing sapphire eyes, the man not only dropped the truss with the meat, but dropped it and ran.
“So much for keeping our existence a secret,” Jupiter replied hotly. “Next time, why don’t you just wolf out in front of everyone?”
Dominic narrowed his eyes before noting that the rest of the table, along with pretty much the entire room had flipped their cards over to the red side. With a shrug of his broad shoulders, he figured it was just more for him. It took a lot to keep his huge, three hundred and forty pound body fueled throughout the whole day. He had never apologized for it yet, and he certainly didn’t plan to start now.
Instead, he was about to make some off handed comment that she was probably just jealous, when a server with a towel and a what appeared to be a chilled bottle of expensive looking champagne conveniently interrupted.
“A gift,” the waiter announced, before popping the cork and pouring champagne in to each of their five glasses. As he turned to walk away, he handed a small, ivory envelope off to Ava.
“Are you sure you shouldn’t wait a second?” Dominic watched Hailee warily as she downed the contents in a single gulp. Justin quickly followed suit while Jupiter raised the glass to her lips.
As she eagerly tore into the envelope, Ava dropped the letter with a gasp. “Oh my gawd,” she whisper yelled. “Spit it out-- spit it out!”
It was too late for Hailee who had emptied her entire glass-- but she had been poisoned by Big Dragon so often, the trace amount of wolfsbane barely had any affect on her at all. Her wolf senses however, would be dulled for the remainder of the evening. Luckily for Justin, he was human.
Dominic snarled as his long arm stretched across his mate and plucked the letter off of Ava’s plate.
“You know, you guys really need to eradicate yourselves from that vampire,” Justin commented after asking Dominic to pass him the note. “Isn’t your bite poisonous to him or something? Or fatal?”
“Not Big Dragon.” Hailee’s words were slightly slurred as she leaned back against Dominic’s broad chest. His arm was propped across the top of her chair, classic scowl etched in his face. “The only way to kill that bastard is to remove his heart,” she supplied. “And that’s pretty much impossible.”
“How did he even find us?” Jupiter asked. “I thought you turned your cell phone into a mobile jammer?”
“I did,” Ava hissed.
Dominic watched as her face scrunched up into a frown. No doubt because intentionally scrambling wi-fi, cell phone service or GPS was one hundred and ten percent illegal in the states. It dawned on him now, that this was how Hailee had been able to hide from him for those five days a couple of weeks ago.
Ava was a certified professional hacker.
The group fell silent for a minute as Dominic assumed that a bunch of conspiracy theories ran rampant through their minds. He knew an idea had popped into Hailee’s head first when he felt her stiffen beside him.
“Did you bring your cell phone with you?” Hailee suddenly asked him.
“Why? You won’t be able to use it,” Ava stated as she gave her cousin a curious glance.
Dominic quickly fished around in his pocket anyways. Obviously his mate thought she was on to something and he wanted to be supportive. His brows knit together as he looked down at the tiny phone dwarfed by his large hand.
“Full bars,” he said before handing it over.
“That’s impossible,” Ava stammered. Her mouth falling open as she snatched it from him. “Who in the hell carries a flip phone now days?”
“Is that a problem?” Dominic asked.
He watched as she flipped it open, inspecting it over and over before finally popping the back metal casing off.
“My software only works on digital phones,” she replied. “LTE, 4G, hell, I even accounted for some third generation users. But this? This isn’t even 2G,” she remarked. “It’s primeval!”
Without even a word of consent, Ava snapped the sim card in half before dropping it into her champagne flute.
“Hey!” Dominic shouted, but a second later the phone’s battery floated to the bottom as well. “I knew I should have purchased the insurance plan,” he grumbled.
“Ok, Grandpa,” Jupiter snickered as she leaned over her wife’s shoulder. “Where do you even get a phone like that? AARP?”
Dominic’s arms settled over his massive chest.
“Oh shit, please tell me that wasn’t a jitterbug,” Jupiter continued to tease.
As Justin and Hailee fell into a fit of quiet chuckles, Dominic turned away.
“Oh my god. It was!” Jupiter cackled.
“Try consumer cellular,” Dominic corrected. “And I saw it on Shark Tank.”
“Its ok, baby,” Hailee purred as she tried to compose herself. “If you’d like, I’m sure we could find you something to replace your old phone.” She patted his chest in an attempt to calm him down.
“Yeah, sure,” Jupiter agreed. “I’m sure Justin and I could string together a couple of cans!”
A deep frown etched into Dominic’s normally handsome features. He wanted to be angry, especially at the fact that this new round of laughter had erupted at his expense. He had worked hard to make sure that sticks and stones could never break his bones, but words? After years of being bullied, no matter how thick the muscles built up under his skin, he knew for a fact words could indeed hurt him.
For a moment he thought about storming out of the room, but what good would that do? Besides that, as he looked around, he realized this wasn’t a group of maliciously intent teenagers. No. Whether he had chose them or not, this was his new family. And for the first time in his life, Dominic actually felt-- happy.
“Let me take care of getting you a new phone,” Ava proposed after all the laughing had finally died down. “And I promise it won’t be a couple of tin cans.” As she turned towards her wife, she narrowed her eyes. “What I really want to know though, is why did Big Dragon do this?”
“You don’t think it’s because he didn’t get an invitation, do you?” Justin offered.
“No.” Hailee replied as both her and Dominic shook their heads. “This was something altogether different. A reminder,” she suggested.
“Of what?” Jupiter challenged. “Not to do drugs? Because I’m pretty sure we got the memo. And I’m pretty sure nobody here wants to become his own personal blood bag.”
“It’s not just for him,” Hailee pointed out. “When it comes down to it, it will be hundreds, maybe thousands across the city.”
“Thousands--” Ava chimed in. “But why? Usually when Bojing feeds, he drains one person and is good for the rest of the month.”
Dominic pulled his arm from around Hailee as he suddenly sat up straight.
“Hailee, why does Big Dragon need so much blood?” He asked as he leaned in closer.
“I don’t-- I don’t know.” Her eyebrows scrunched together as her hand flew up to her temple.
“You don’t know, or he compelled you to forget?” Dominic’s eyes scanned her for answers.. “He’s planning to keep all those people alive for a reason, Hailee,” the alpha male pushed. “What is it?”
“I told you,” Hailee hesitated. “I don’t know!”
“Bull shit!” he snarled. “A large supply of fresh blood on constant demand, for what?”
“Dominic, stop!” Ava warned as Hailee swayed in her seat. “You know she’s sired to him.”
“And she’s mated to me!” he snapped.
He grabbed hold of her hand at the feelings of her frustration. “That’s it,” he encouraged as he sensed her drawing on him for strength. “You’re almost through.” His tone had softened immensely as he felt her tearing down the walls of Bojing’s compulsion.
When her eyes snapped open a second later, Dominic was startled by the look of terror on her face.
“Dominic,” she breathed. “He’s creating his own coven.”