I took the towel tossed my way and wiped the sweat off my face and chest. I looked back at Konstantin, he was groaning on the mat and holding his neck as he tried to breathe again. Our match had been fun and fair; he wasn’t charging in like his friends, he was testing me and looking for weaknesses.
He hadn’t found many. I had toyed with him, finding his limits, then when I was ready I ended the fight with a furious series of strikes. I cuffed his ear, blowing his eardrum out, then followed with a spinning elbow to the face and a kick to the hip. He collapsed on one knee, and I didn’t let up. I punched his jaw, then his throat, knocking him to the ground. When he was going down, I got my legs around his throat, hooking my right foot under my left knee. Leaning back, I smiled as he was in a submission chokehold. He tried to hit me, but I grabbed his hand and controlled it while the lack of oxygen did its job.
He tapped out, and I let him go.
“Patrick, that was amazing!” Mischa was smiling as she jumped into my arms, I caught her and spun her around. “I’ve never seen someone other than Dad take him down before,” she whispered in my ear.
“It was a good spar, your brother has some skills,” I said in a normal voice. “But no one was going to beat me while you were looking on.” She rested her head on my chest, clearly soaking herself in my scent. I was happy as well, she didn’t have my mark but she sure as hell smelled like me now. She moved back a little as her parents approached. “I love you,” she whispered while she could.
“You are my everything,” I whispered back.
“Well, Patrick, you are more formidable than we thought,” Marina said as she pulled Mischa to her side. “I’m seeing just how wise Luna was in pairing you two.”
“Thank you, Luna,” I said as I wiped myself with the towel. “I better go shower.” I tossed the towel to my mate, she held on to it and I smiled as I turned away. She held in her hand as she left, it would end up in her room with the shirt I’d given her the night we’d first met. I had come back to my room one night to find one of her sleep shirts on my pillow, and I had the best sleep ever that night. Our wolves calmed down with the scent of our mate around.
I was halfway through the shower when Konstantin joined me in the room. “You fought well, Patrick. When you return for your mating, I will give you a better fight than that.”
I shook his hand. “I’m sure you will, you are skilled enough to pick things up quickly and your size is a big advantage.” I went back to washing off.
“I didn’t know what to think of you when you arrived, but I think you will do well by my sister. She is happy, you just keep her that way and we won’t have any problems.” He stuck his head under the spray, washing the blood off.
“Your sister is an amazing young woman, and I’m so happy I found her. I will do everything I can to let her reach her potential and her dreams.” He nodded, and I stepped out. A few minutes later I was walking out of the training building.
Alpha Viktor was waiting in front of an ambulance, and Sergey was at his left. I could smell Jessie was already loaded. “Hop in, Jessie’s already loaded.” I went around to the back, the doors were open. Jessie’s gurney was inside, monitors and IV line attached to her, and Doc was up by her head. Sergey and I got in, then the Alpha closed the doors and went around to the front. The ambulance started the ride out of the main compound.
“How far away is this place?”
“I don’t know,” Sergey said. “The Alpha is keeping things close to the vest. Only he and the driver know where we are going, not even Doc knows.” I looked up, the windows in the back were blocked, and a curtain divided us from the cab. “It’s for the best. You can’t go back there anyway, and what we don’t know we can’t spill.”
He was right; the old phrase was “Three can keep a secret if two are dead.” I reached out and held my friend’s hand. Finding my own mate had made me realize just how important she was to John, and I needed to bring her back to him.
Two days later
I was floating.
Darkness surrounded me, and instead of peace I was scared. I was alone, somewhere. I tried to open my eyes, and nothing happened. I tried to open my eyes, and nothing worked. I listened, and there was no noise. I screamed, nothing happened. I couldn’t hear my breathing, I couldn’t feel my heartbeat.
Was I dead? Is this emptiness all there was now?
I drifted in the void, thinking about how my life had changed. I never knew my biological father, I was glad I didn’t. My mother was a lot like me, or so the Father said. Wait, Father Kempechny? Where is he? Did he die to? I called out to him, but again nothing happened, there was no noise. I remember walking with him, then the bright light and then this void.
I thought back to my trip to Russia, all I had seen and learned. If I had never learned my Father’s name, I might still be alive, I might be happy. I might have filled my camera with photos I could bring home and show my friends.
I did find out, and then I did something about it. Why? Would knowing my father was a criminal, a rapist and a murderer of my own mother, did that somehow make my life better? Would taking his fortune somehow bring my mother back?
I knew it wouldn’t, yet I still wanted it. His brother was just as vile as my father was, and the money was better in my hands. I could do great things with it; I could help people. Change lives. Make a legacy.
If I could only open my eyes.
I drifted off again.
A noise made its way into my consciousness. A buzzing, like an alarm. I tried to turn, to open my eyes and see what it was, but nothing. The buzzing stopped, but then I heard something else. A voice. “She’s starting to come out of it now,” the man said. I didn’t recognize it.
I started to see lights, but I still couldn’t open my eyes.
“Come back to us, Jessie,” a different voice said. I felt something… he was squeezing my hand. I started feeling pain; my head, my stomach, even my leg. It felt like I was swimming for the surface as more and more of my senses started to come back. A sharp pain in my stomach caused me to try to squeeze my hand on his. “Doc, her hand,” he said. “She squeezed me back!”
A light shone into my right eye, my eyelid moved out of the way. I looked away, it hurt. “She’s waking up. Keep talking to her, Larry.”
Larry. Patrick’s friend, the one who helped me move. Where was Patrick? The doctor sounded Russian, why was Larry here?
I squeezed his hand, I was so confused. I wasn’t dead, I hurt, I was so confused. “Just relax, Jessie, you’re doing fine. We’re here with you.” We? Where is Patrick?
“Just open your eyes, Jessie. Larry promised he’d buy us pizza if you woke up today.”
“Leave her alone, Brian. You can’t make her wake up to win a bet!”
“Hey, it’s pizza. She’ll want some when she wakes up, we’ll order her favorite.”
I blinked my eyes open, the light was too much and I closed them again. “Gar…” My mouth wasn’t working too well.
“Relax, Jessie. Take your time, we’re right here,” Larry said.
“Jessie? You’re back!” I felt a hug, and Brian kissed my forehead. I cracked an eye open as he was dancing a little. He started singing to the tune of ‘My Boyfriend’s Back.’ “My Jessie’s back and we’re gonna get some pizza, Larry, Larry, go buy some pies.”
The doctor moved the boys out of the way and I spent the next half hour being checked over by the doctor. I was able to drink some water, which felt amazing, and sit up in bed. He checked my vitals, my eyes, asked questions to see how much I could remember, and finally left me alone with my friends. “My pizza?”
“It’s on it’s way,” Larry said. “I’m so happy to see you up and talking again. You scared me, scared all of us.” The Doctor had filled me in on all my injuries, giving names to all the places I hurt. My leg was still in a cast between ankle and knee, and I had a bandage over my stomach. My ribs hurt when I breathed, and my head ached. Other than that, I was fine.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think anything like all this would happen when I left. I just wanted to find out about my biological parents.” I looked at the two. “Where are we?”
“East of Moscow,” Brian said. “We moved you from the hospital because it was safer to hide you here than leave you around others. We think Yuri tried to kill you, and he will try again if he finds you.”
“He’s got billions of reasons to do so,” I said. I’d been out for a week, I just couldn’t’ believe I had been targeted so quickly. “What happened to Father Kempechny?”
Brian picked up my hand and looked in my eyes. “He didn’t make it, Jessie. He died soon after the blast.” I felt the tears flowing and closed my eyes as I laid back in the bed. Brian kept holding my hand as I dealt with my grief. “He was buried two days ago.”
“And Patrick? Why are you here and he’s not?”
Brian looked over at Larry, who decided to leave the room after saying he had to wait for the pizza guy. “Patrick is at his engagement party.”