This CANNOT be happening. “What about Jessie? She’s flying in to Moscow and I’m not there to protect her!”
“She is leaving with Alpha Stan on a direct flight from Dulles to Moscow in a few hours. She’ll arrive there about midnight our time. I spoke with the Alpha, he has security arranged on both ends. She made quite an impression last night, I hear. The photos? Oh my Luna, you are a lucky man, but letting all those drunk Russians near her when she’s dressed like THAT, probably a good thing you weren’t there.”
Now I was really pissed. “What do you mean dressed like THAT? That’s my MATE you’re talking about!”
“Yep, and now you’re not so focused on the shitty living conditions you are in now, are you?” Fucker. “I’ll show you the pic on my phone when I get there. She went shopping back home, spent a whole bunch of money on a new wardrobe, and she looks like a movie star and she’s going to be almost as rich as Oprah. She must have been beating guys off with a stick.”
“You know, Larry, your counseling skills leave a lot to be desired.”
I felt his amusement. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes or so. I had the chef box up some braised tri-tip, unless you’d rather have Purina One.” This went on, me getting more and more pissed, until finally I saw the door open and Larry came through with a stainless-steel bowl and a box. He dumped the food into the bowl and slid it through the opening. I was so hungry I ate it in about thirty seconds flat. “Good boy.” I growled at him, still mad at his teasing. “The lady said I could spend time with you, but she can’t unlock the gate. I saw a hose by the door, how about I give your palatial digs a cleaning?”
“Do that. While you’re at it, shoot some water at those yappy dogs, they kept me up all night.” I moved to the front left of the cage, and he mixed soap into a bucket and tossed that through the grates onto the walls. He then used the sprayer to clean as best he could from the outside.
I couldn’t avoid getting soaked with the cold water, so when he had gotten the walls and floor I stood in the middle and had him toss more soap onto me before hosing me down good. A long shake later, and I felt a little less skeeved out about the whole situation. I sat facing the door and stared him down. “Let’s see those photos,” I said.
“Not yet, first some news. Jessie, Stan and Charles did well back home. They got the US Attorney’s office to grant them limited immunity and got a letter from him thanking you, Jessie and Patrick for your help in bringing down the sex trafficking ring. Charles is going to work on the Governor for a pardon.”
“Will that work?”
”He thinks so. If nothing else, the Governor wants his 10.5% income taxes on whatever Jessie brings into the country if she’s living there, and Charles will make it clear she will stay in Scotland or Russia if you aren’t allowed back. Some Pack members in the state who have made significant campaign contributions to him will also be calling to lend their support. When you marry Jessie, it all becomes a political football so it’s better for him to do it now. Besides, what did you do other than beat the shit out of a rapist?”
“I should have waited until he was in the parking lot,” I replied. I’d had a lot of things in my life I regretted but beating him up wasn’t one of them. Getting caught beating him up in front of Jessie, now, THAT I regretted.
Then he showed me the photo of her at the Russian Embassy, and I instantly regretted not being there with her. By Luna she was a beautiful woman; she was beautiful when we met, but the addition of her wolf had made her body even more toned, her curves a little more pronounced. The dress showed all that to perfection, hiding only her legs. I started to get upset, my wolf didn’t know whether to be proud of his mate or pissed that she’d appear like that without me.
All too soon his time was up. I walked around until my coat was dry, then laid down and took a nap on the somewhat clean floor. Larry visited again on Sunday morning, letting me know that Jessie had safely arrived in Moscow and was staying with Alpha Javier and Patrick at their Pack House. They were sleeping so we couldn’t video chat, but he showed me her text messages telling me to be patient, that everything would be fine and I needed to forgive Larry and not beat him into a pulp.
I’m pretty sure he begged her to include those words.
Finally, Monday morning came around and the veterinarian arrived. I stayed on my best behavior while he checked me out for a grand total of thirty seconds before he pronounced me good. As Larry clipped the leash on my stupid Cuddles collar, I held back a growl because I was finally getting out of here.
We walked out to the parking lot, where a Pack maintenance pickup truck was waiting. He lowered the tailgate and patted it. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No way I’m letting you in my car, no telling how many fleas and diseases you picked up in there. You’re getting a flea dip and shampoo before you even shift, Alpha’s orders.” I jumped into the bed of the pickup, sitting on the carpet and an old blanket he’d left back there for me. The only good thing was that I could stick my head around the side, feeling the wind in my face as we drove through the lowlands towards the castle that was my old Pack House. After the horrible weekend, the smells of home calmed me down.
We stopped at the maintenance shed, where two Omegas were waiting with a tub of water and scrub brushes. “In you go,” Larry said. I jumped in, splashing the water, before the ladies came over with cups and started pouring the chemical mix over my head. I kept my eyes closed as they worked it in, then finally let me jump back out. I shook myself, making sure only to get Larry, before the girls soaked me again with clean water and shampoo. When they were done, I was clean-smelling again. “Now you can shift,” he said as the two ladies walked away to clean up the mess.
I shifted and pulled on the sweats he handed me, along with a pair of shoes. “You will pay for that, but not now,” I said. “I need to get on a plane.”
“You have time to shower and eat, in that order,” he said as we walked back to the main house. There were lots of smiles but no hugs, word of my ordeal had spread quickly I could see. I didn’t know if I’d ever live this down.
I went back to my old room, quickly showering and changing into travel clothes before packing a suitcase and garment bag. Patrick had sent word that there would be a formal reception and dinner party along with less formal functions, so I packed my tuxedo, two suits and enough clothes for a week. Jessie had court today, and I wasn’t going to be there in time. That made me very nervous.
Larry took my bags while I went to see Alpha Esca to say goodbye. My old friend and his mate Eleanor were in the enclosed courtyard, watching the Pack young play in the grass and on the playground, a few curled up in the Luna’s lap. “Alpha, Luna, I apologize but I must be on my way,” I said as I bowed my head to them.
“Ah, John, good to see you back and so freshly scrubbed,” Esca said with a smirk before his mate smacked his arm. “You have been a good friend and have served us well over the years. If you and your mate decide that you will not take an Alpha position, you will always be welcomed here as Betas.”
“I will tell her, sir. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but it will be interesting,” I said.
“Take care of her, John. So many people will want to get close, to take advantage of her or use her for their own agendas. Make sure she knows she is to be a mate and mother, first and foremost. Tell her congratulations for me as well.”
“I will, Luna Eleanor.”
She got up and gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. “May Luna guide your ways,” she said as she stepped back.
“And may her blessings be on you and your Pack,” I replied. I walked towards the car, saying a few goodbyes along the way, but soon was in the back seat of the car taking us to the airport. Jessie had chartered the jet for us, and as soon as we were onboard the engines were spinning up and we headed for the runway.
When we arrived in the small airport on the outskirts of Moscow. A Customs agent stamped our passports and left to inspect our baggage. When we stepped out of the plane, a big guy was waiting by an armored black SUV. “KONSTANTIN!” Larry ran forward, embracing the man briefly. “I didn’t expect to see you picking us up.” I took the baggage from the air crew and walked over with it, depositing it in the back of the vehicle. “Beta John Pearson, this is Alpha-Heir Konstantin Kirolinko of the Kstovo Pack.”
He held out his hand, but I pulled him into a bro-hug. “I can’t thank you and your family enough for keeping my Jessie alive,” I said.
“It was our pleasure. Things have worked out well for our families, and we are pleased to have developed such strong alliances. I have heard of you as well, how was prison?”
I laughed. “State or Customs?”
“Either one, I just need to verify you’ve had your shots.”
“I have, but there’s a chew toy I’ve been itching to gnaw on that I’ll get to later,” I said. “How did you get roped into taxi duty?”
“I volunteered. I am Mischa’s protection while we travel, but now that she is with Patrick and the Moscow Pack, I don’t have much to do.” We jumped in the vehicle, and he caught us up on things as we left the airport. Jessie’s court had gone well, and she was waiting for the ruling to come through on the probate case. “We have to hurry, the formal reception started an hour ago and your mate is stealing the spotlight.” Oh Luna, she wasn’t wearing THAT dress again, was she? “Here, take a look.”
He handed me his phone, the image was of a smiling Jessie in a royal blue gown and looking absolutely radiant. The shimmering silk was plain, folded around the bodice and two straps over her shoulders, but it formed to her body perfectly and hugged her hips and thighs. I flicked to the next photo, from behind her. A daring slit up the side of the dress showed a glimpse of her legs, and the back was cut nearly to her waist. I was instantly aroused. “Drive faster,” I said as I handed it back.
I couldn’t get to her fast enough. I was going to grab onto her and never let go.