Chapter 67: Quiet
Things had slowed down quite a bit since the assassination attempt on the President. We did what the other Packs did; laid low and made sure we stayed safe. Most of us had spent time in the basement, watching the news coverage and wondering if we would be found out. Starting a war between the major Mexican drug cartels by hacking and attacking so the others would be blamed? No one would ever say we didn’t have balls.
I was up before Gunny, worming my way out of his strong arms as I moved slowly to the shower. Last night had been another night of Gunny Loving, and my body was feeling the effects. My lady parts were tender as I walked, and my legs felt like I had done a hard workout earlier.
Well, it worked out, and he was hard. My GOD, that man could love me.
I ran the hot water into the large jacuzzi tub, needing to get myself clean and ease my sore muscles before going down to see everyone. I did my business and brushed my teeth before it was full; I lowered myself into the warm water, then turned on the jets. I heard the door open, and Gunny was there smiling at me.
He grabbed a washcloth and my body wash. “Can I help you out? You’re not supposed to be in there for more than ten minutes, or I’d join you.”
I smiled at him as I grabbed a towel and placed it behind my head. “Go ahead, you need to pamper me a little after last night.”
He smirked as he took my arm and started to scrub it. “You weren’t complaining…”
“I could barely string thoughts together!” He put that down and took the other arm as I closed my eyes.
“You’ve been off lately, I can tell something is bothering you.” My arms went back into the water and he picked up the far leg. “Are you planning to tell me?”
“I don’t have to tell you everything, Gunny.”
He stopped the cloth for a moment. “If it is bothering you, I want to know. Stress isn’t good for the babies, and I don’t want secrets between us.”
I just laughed. “Secrets? You’ve kept secrets from me from the beginning.” He looked at me funny. “That night the two businessmen tried to rape me… what did you do with them?”
His grip on my calf tightened, his eyes shifted slightly. He hated the idea of someone trying to hurt me. “I didn’t tell you because you were FBI, Rose. I didn’t want to put you in position to have knowledge of a crime.”
“Well, I’m not FBI anymore. If you want my secrets, tell me yours first.”
He finished the leg and picked up the other. “Both guys were knocked when I left the room, so I carried them down and put them in the back of their rental car. I drove them both to a park that has a reputation for anonymous gay hookups. At gunpoint, I made one of them drink a roofie; the taller guy had more doses in his jacket. The other guy, I made him give his friend a blowjob while he hung from his tie, I had tied the end to a tree branch. He came and he went, if you know what I mean.” I looked at him in shock. “Erotic asphyxiation is what his death would be blamed on. The other guy I knocked out, then tossed him off a rock face; he landed headfirst. With the other dude’s semen in his mouth and on his clothing, it was written off by the cops as an accidental death and suicide. It was kept low-key by the police and the families, and now it’s forgotten.”
My jaw took a few seconds to close again. “Wow.” I thought back to waking up in that room, handcuffed and helpless. “They didn’t suffer enough, though.”
“True, but I had to get back to you. Now, your turn.”
I laid my head back. “Kelsey Stillwater came to talk to Ella and I a few days ago, she was coming into her heat.”
“And she wanted me to father her child?” My jaw dropped open again, what the hell? Did they talk? “No one said anything, I kind of expected it.” He let my leg down and pulled me forward so he could get my back. “You haven’t spent much time around the born cats, have you.”
“No, I’ve left that to Tom and others,” I said as he moved to my front.
“She probably told you why then.”
“Yes, she says her cat wants the strongest male as the father.” I moaned lowly as he cleaned my breasts and moved lower.
“It’s how she is wired. They don’t have mates, they have partners; it is normal for them to seek out the strongest male, and for that male to mate with multiple females.”
My eyes flashed, and my hand grabbed his balls. “Not THIS male, or we’ll be doing a gender reassignment with my claws,” I said with a growl.
“Of course not,” he said as he carefully moved my hand away. “But you’ve probably noticed, we aren’t normal cats.” He finished with my front and back as I lifted my butt off the bottom, then he pulled the plug and turned the jets off. “Ten minutes, you know.”
“What do you mean, not normal?”
“We act more like wolves in the matter of mates, not panthers. I don’t know why, I suspect it is something Ker had that she passed to us. All of the panthers in our Pack trace back to hers, either directly or through Ella and Al.” He helped me up. “You told her no.”
I nodded. “I couldn’t stand the thought of you having children with anyone but me.”
“I wouldn’t even consider it unless you asked me, and then only for a relative who couldn’t conceive otherwise. It would be too weird with Kelsey being around this Pack. That’s why you asked Joe?”
“Yes, he agreed, but it hasn’t taken so far. Joe has a day or so more of whacking off every four hours, or as you probably call it, a bachelor weekend.”
He wasn’t surprised. “It’s tough for them, there is so much inbreeding in some of the cat populations that fertility is a real struggle for them. Luna wouldn’t give them a mate that wasn’t a good match genetically. I’m hoping that born cats have mates, they may not recognize them as easily, or their lifestyle means they rarely find them.” My stomach rumbled, he laughed and kissed it, rubbing his hands over the slight bump. “Come on, let’s feed those babies.”
I finished drying off as he went into the shower, my thoughts going a mile a minute. I dressed quickly and went downstairs.
Mabel and Patricia had prepared the breakfast this morning, it was sausage or ham omelets and pancakes. I prepared a plate, again thankful to be past the morning sickness phase, and joined a dozen others at the table. I smiled as Charlotte came into the room, her hair up in a ponytail. “Morning baby, how are you?”
“Bored,” she said. “Josh went to bed at seven last night and still hasn’t texted me to say he’s awake, we’re in lockdown AGAIN, and I haven’t been to school in weeks. I never thought I’d miss school, but I miss the friends I made there.”
“I know, honey. Things will calm down.” I looked over at Jane Spencer, who had the same expression on her face. “Carl is still sleeping?”
“No, he’s down in the room now, he volunteered to stay on nights for now. He said they need someone monitoring things around the clock, and with Enrique gone, he and Josh need to alternate. They are going to trade off at nine, and then he’ll go right to bed and sleep for eleven hours.” Charlotte sat down beside her, she took a piece of bacon off her plate and offered up a toast. “To the computer widows!” They tapped bacon then ate it.
“I want to hit the stores today,” Charlotte told me. “We’ve already done this week’s homework, and we need to find paint and shelving for our new rooms.” The Guns and Roses Pack members had met earlier to figure out who would be staying where after the Belden Pack left for Panama. The converted stables that were now bunkhouses for the youth would go, instead there were a dozen bedrooms in the basement for the children. The adults would take bedrooms upstairs; the post-bombing remodel and addition left room for two offices and ten bedrooms there. The Alpha and Beta rooms and offices were in the new addition, while the remainder were in the original home.
“You’re not the only one needing stuff,” Gunny said as he loaded his plate with food. “We need to talk about what we are going to do with all the cat shifters that are gathering by our territory, plus we still have the people we rescued and the family members that were being blackmailed into doing the Cartel’s bidding. They have nothing, and since we don’t know how long they will be here, they need clothes and supplies. I’ve got a list, and some of the stray cats want to go.”
“You should make two trips,” Craig said as he entered the room. “More people will want to go to the Mall than Lowe’s, and you’ll need more drivers and security people for that.”
“I need to go too,” I said. “With the quadruplets I will be showing a lot faster than normal, I need to buy some maternity clothes. I mean, I’d borrow some from Ella, but she’s ALWAYS USING THEM.”
Everyone laughed as Ella took a bow. “Not ALL the time, Rose, sometimes I wear my normal jeans for a month before I start to show again!”
It took two more hours to get everything arranged, and by the time we left, it looked like a Presidential motorcade. Gunny and I were in the lead vehicle with Charlotte, Jane, and two cats who were considering joining the Pack. They were staying with other newly-arrived cat shifters at a house we had just purchased a few miles away. Keisha Jackson was a tall, slender black woman from Alabama who had a runner’s build. She was friendly and was wearing a colorful African-styled dress. Minka Petersen was from northern Minnesota, she was a tiny girl, not even five feet tall, and weighed maybe ninety pounds; she looked like a gymnast, all tight muscles. “So, what kind of cats are you,” I asked, my nose not experienced enough to know.
“I’m a Canadian Lynx,” Minka said. “I need some light clothes, this heat is not what I am used to.”
“And I’m a cheetah,” Keisha said.
“What brings you to our Pack?”
“Safety,” Keisha said, and then Minka quickly added, “Finding other cats.”
“That’s a problem?”
“Yes,” Keisha said, “There aren’t many of my kind left, wild or were type. I’ve given up on finding a sperm donor of my kind, I’m hoping to find a related species- mountain lion or panther- who can donate.”
Oh shit, here we go again. “Are you looking for a heat partner or…”
“I’m gay,” she said. “Although, I’d love to find a mate. The Goddess knows it’s tough having a heat every two weeks or so. Cheetahs ovulate year-round, it only stops while pregnant or breast feeding. A mate would at least take the edge off.”
Oh my LORD, I would DIE if that was our way. A couple times a year is quite enough bleeding, I figure. “I’ll introduce you to Kelsey when we get back, she’s a mountain lion, and she’s gay as well. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for you, so few others to start with; your mate must be one of a kind.” She smiled and looked out the window, we were a few miles away from the mall.
“I’m hoping to find a Lynx male farther away than a cousin,” Minka said. “I couldn’t imagine mating one of your kind, I’m like a third of your size. The baby would probably kill me,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting.”
“Life is always interesting in this Pack,” I said, “and don’t blame me, I just got here a while ago.”
We spent about three hours at the mall, and another hour in the food court. I was craving Butter Brickle ice cream with caramel and whipped cream, so Gunny, Keisha, Minka and I were relaxing in the food court. Gunny’s arm strength was being tested today by the bags of clothes and accessories we kept piling onto him; he refused to leave us to take things to the car, so it just kept building. Of course, his poor pregnant-with-four-babies mate was too tired for carrying all that stuff!
Oh, you better believe I was milking this for everything it was worth, because in a few months I’d look like a beached whale, then I’d have a year as a milking machine.
I looked over at Keisha, she was starting to sweat. “What’s going on?”
“Dammit,” she said, “This wasn’t supposed to start until tomorrow.”
“My heat.” Fuck. We didn’t have much time to get her isolated before she started attracting every feline in the area. “I have to leave, find something remote.”
“Come on,” I told everyone. I linked the rest of our Pack members. “Gunny and I are taking Keisha and Minka home, anyone else who is ready can come along.”
The rest of the groups checked in, they were all still shopping so we decided to just leave. Charlotte and Jane had already found another ride home. “Let’s get her out to the car, at least then we can limit the spread of her scent.” We walked out of the mall, loading everything up and getting in. Gunny turned up the air conditioning as Keisha continued to sweat and we pulled onto the highway.
Her scent was getting stronger, and it was starting to affect Gunny as we got closer to home. As we entered the winding canyon road, we had to open the windows. As soon as we did, I saw Keisha’s eyes turn black. Gunny was at a stop sign, he turned around when he heard the door opening. In a flash, Keisha was out the door and had shifted into her cheetah form.
“Holy shit, she’s fast,” I said. Panthers were quick, not fast; we didn’t chase our prey, we were ambush predators. Our bodies were too big and muscled for that. Keisha was long, lean and insanely quick. Gunny accelerated after her, but even the big V-8 engine couldn’t catch her. “Guys, Keisha is coming in fast, she’s friendly… and I think she scented her mate,” I sent to the guards. The gates barely started to open before she was through them, her claws digging for purchase on the driveway.
By the time we pulled into the garage, it was all over. Keisha had shifted on the way through the door and followed the scent downstairs. She pounded on the door, to no avail; it was heavily reinforced and had an electronic lock. Gunny ran down and opened the door for her, and she ran to the cell containing Kelsey. “MINE,” she said as she gazed at her mate, who was in the tail end of her heat.
“MINE,” Kelsey said, rushing to the door. Gunny opened it and they rushed together, biting each other at nearly the same time. The contrast between the two women was striking; one blond and heavily muscled, the other black and lean, but both were strong cats.
I arrived just as they were moving the action to the bed. “Come on, stud,” I told Gunny as I pulled him away. “Let’s get our stuff put away.” We moved back to the door, just as Joe came down the stairs holding a cup.
“What’s going on, there’s another cat in there,” he said as he took a whiff.
“Yeah, you might not want to go in there just yet, they just marked each other.” I wasn’t sure if he would be safe, new mates could be volatile.
I shouldn’t have worried. “JOE, DAMMIT, GET THAT BABY FORMULA IN HERE AND GRAB THE TURKEY BASTER,” Kelsey yelled. “Her heat is just starting, you’ve got three more days of this now.”