Devin finally stopped pounding on the bathroom door. I could hear talking coming from the other room. It sounded like Alexander and Cameron. I am sure Devin is in there watching the whole scene in amusement.
He has not liked Alexander from the first time they met. It did not matter to him that he is my long lost brother. Stupid man.
Levering myself up from the cold floor, I leaned against the sink and stared at my reflection in the mirror. A thin, pale, sad eyed woman stared back at me. There was a scar running down one side of the woman’s face, giving evidence to the violence she had lived through.
The golden eyes, that should have sparked with life, were dull and hollow. I still cannot believe that Devin yelled at me.
‘Don’t worry about it. He’s just stressed out. Everyone is.’ The familiar voice of my wolf said to me.
I wish I could believe that. I know we have been a little distant lately, but never once has he been short with me in his tone. This was a reprimand, and one that reminded me too closely of the man who had held me underground all of my life.
‘Leah, he is not like that monster,’ my wolf tried to reassure. ‘He loves you, and wants you to be happy.’
I want to be happy too, but I do not know what to do to make things right between us.
He has not touched me since the day we found out we were having a baby. I thought he would want to mark me again as soon as possible, but he has made no move to rectify the fact his mark is gone from my neck. He barely looks at me anymore. When we are in bed, he sleeps on the edge, as if he wants to get as far from me as possible.
Am I that ugly, that my own mate does not want me anymore? Is the fact I am carrying a pup driving him from me?
‘Do not even think those thoughts!’ My wolf scolded. ‘Devin is ecstatic that you are carrying his pup. His wolf told me so. And if you think that having another life living inside of you is getting between you two then you need to think again young lady!’
A smirk crossed my lips—reflected back at me in the mirror—at my wolf’s scolding. I may not have known my mother, but my wolf was as close as I would ever come to having a parent. She was always with me. Giving me advice, and helping me through the unknown.
I do not know what I would do if she was not with me.
‘That’s right,’ she stated. ‘Now, pull yourself together and get back out there. You can’t be holed up in this room all night long. You need to go out there and have a long talk with Devin. I think there are some things that need to be said, and are long over due.’
Staring into my lifeless eyes, a small spark shimmered in their depths. Nodding to myself, I turned towards the door and had my hand on the knob, when a knock sounded.
The breath caught in my throat as I froze.
“Leah, honey, I know you’re mad at me. I understand that you don’t want to talk to me right now, so I will be in the other room if you need me.” There was short pause, and I held my breath as Devin continued, “Cameron is going to order food in if you are hungry. You can let me know what you want. You know, if you want to. I’ll…just…be in the other room.”
I was getting light headed from holding my breath for so long, and let it out in a rush. He sounded so dejected, I wanted to bawl my eyes out.
My hand was still on the knob, and I concentrated on the contact of warm skin on cold metal as I brought myself under control. Slowly, I opened the door and peeked around the frame.
I could hear someone moving around in what I suppose is the kitchen, and I could sense Devin not too far away.
Linking my fingers in front of me, my head down, I walked slowly to where the others were in the house.
There was a small couch in the middle of the room, so I made my way there and sat down. Devin was on the other end, and did not say anything as I sat there fiddling with my fingers.
A miniature version of Alexander ran into the room and plopped on the couch next to me. He stared at me for a minute before opening his mouth.
“Hi. My name Quinn. I two. Who you? You pretty. Want to play game? I play the guy. He jumps and gets coins, and spits fire. I show you.”
He jumped off the couch and proceeded to jump around in jerky motions and act like he was spitting fire and falling over. I was stunned from his constant babble, but wanted to laugh at his antics. He was so adorable.
He finally stopped pretending to be dead, and climbed back up next to me. “So, want to play?” I had no idea what he was talking about, but nodded any way.
He jumped off the couch again screaming, “Yahoo!” then ran into the kitchen. “Cam-on, the pretty lady said she wants to play. Can we play? Please! I be good, please.”
Cameron’s laugh floated out to us at his joy in the little boy. “Sure kid, just give me a sec. I’m on my cell. We are having pizza for dinner.”
“Yay! I want Michelangelo pizza!”
“I know kid. Now go in there with the pretty lady and behave.”
Quinn came running back into the room and went to the T.V.. He pulled out a couple of little boxes attached to cords, and gave one to me. I had no idea what it was. It was small and had little buttons on it. He kept the other one for himself.
A moment later Cameron came out of the kitchen and went to a box under the T.V. and pushed a button. He then turned the television on, fiddling with something I could not see.
A jumpy little tune sounded before he turned towards us. He sat on the floor and placed Quinn on his lap. “Okay, Leah. Quinn and I are going to school you in the fine art of Mario Brothers. Prepare to learn.”
“Yeah! Prepare to learn.” Quinn mimicked.
The two of them showed me how to work the buttons on the thing in my hands. I was having so much fun, I was disappointed when we had to stop with the ringing of the doorbell. Looks like the food was here.
Good thing too, as my stomach let out a massive growl.
When Leah had sat at the other end of the couch, so far away from me, I wanted to pull her to me and hold her close. She looked so sad and dejected.
Before I could do or say anything, the little boy came in and bombarded her with questions, never giving her a chance to answer. Not that she would have said anything anyway, but…
When Cameron came in and set up the old Nintendo for a game of Mario Brothers, I was sure Leah wouldn’t know what to do. But once, Cameron and the little boy, Quinn, showed her how to use the controller, she was a natural.
She seemed disappointed when the doorbell rang, announcing the pizzas were here, but cheered up when Cameron said they could play after everyone had something to eat.
She lit up when she was playing with the little boy, just letting him talk and bounce around.
She was going to make a great mother. I glanced down at the small belly forming on her slender frame. I wanted to reach out to her and hold her, run my hands over that soft swell, and just revel in the fact she was mine.
I wanted to mark her again. I hated that my claim was no longer visible for other wolves to see. But the words of the doctor reverberated in my mind.
“You cannot mark her, or you’ll risk losing the baby from the stress. She may seem stronger, but her body is still repairing itself from years of abuse. She needs all the energy she has just to make sure the baby is healthy.”
Once it was explained to me, I was okay with not marking her until after our child was born. I thought I could handle it. After all, it was for the health of my mate and child. But after our kiss in Colorado after finding out we were expecting, I haven’t touched her.
It was too much of a temptation. I knew if I kissed her, touched her, or got close enough to become ensnared by her scent, I would lose control. I would end up marking her. Possibly losing her and the baby in the process.
If I could, I would have left her in Washington with Jack and left all temptation behind. She just had to be stubborn and come with. It didn’t help that she had me wrapped around her little finger.
From the way she’s been acting, she may have noticed the change in my demeanor. She no longer glows with the light of a soon-to-be mother. The light in her eyes is dim and dull. We need to talk about what’s going on between us, before she becomes so stressed it hurts the baby or herself.
The ringing of my cell stopped me from what I was about to say to Leah.
“Devin, it’s Clayton.”
“What’s up? Is there a problem withe the pack?”
“Not the pack. It’s Jack.”
“What about him? Isn’t he taking care of things while I’m gone?”
“See, that’s the problem. He’s in the hospital.”
“What?! What happened?”
“He had a break down. He didn’t come into work this morning, so I went to his place, and found him throwing stuff into a suitcase. When I tried to calm him down, he attacked me. Then he spaced out and collapsed crying. I called the hospital and had an ambulance come and pick him up. He’s sedated, but his wolf keeps fighting it.”
“Shit. Is there anything I can do? I mean, I can’t leave yet. We have a lead, but haven’t followed up on it yet.”
“Yeah. Find Emily. If you guys don’t have her back here soon, I’m pretty sure we will have a very pissed off wolf running across the country killing anything in his path. He needs her, and he needs her here now. I don’t know how much longer we can keep him under.”
I huffed out a breath, “Okay, I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t guarantee that she will be back anytime soon.”
There was a commotion over the phone, lots of yelling and screaming. “I have to go. Lover boy’s awake and fighting the nurses. I need to go and help hold him down.”
“Alright, keep me posted.”
I hung up, becoming aware of the room around me.
“What was that about?” Cameron queried.
I looked pointedly at the little boy sitting wide eyed on Leah’s lap. “Hey Quinn, buddy, why don’t you take the pretty lady to your room and show her your Ninja Turtles?” Cameron asked.
“Cool!” He jumped down and pulled Leah into the other room. She shot a look over he shoulder at me. It looked like she was going to say something, but thought better of it, following the boy into his room.
Turning back to Cameron, I said, “Jack is being sedated, and his wolf is fighting it. If we don’t find Emily soon, then we will have a very pissed off wolf running around. Killing everything and everyone in his path until he finds his mate.” All the color drained from Cameron’s face at the seriousness of my tone. “Now I need to know exactly what this lead is you have. I need to try and find Emily tonight. Tomorrow at the latest.”
He was speechless for a moment. His mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. “But…but…but Kayla is the only one who has any idea where she is. We won’t be able to talk to her until she comes home tomorrow morning.”
Fuck! I turned from Cameron and punched a hole in the wall next to me. “Crap, sorry, I’ll pay for that.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not like it’s the first time somethings put a whole in these walls. We have the stuff out in a shed in the back. I’ll fix it up before Kayla comes home in the morning.”
All I did was nod, and fall onto the couch.
“Devin, what is going on?” Just the feeling of Leah in my mind was enough to make me want to moan out loud. Seriously, I had to do something before I end up hurting her.
“Everything is fine. Just Jack wanting to find Emily. We have to wait for Cameron’s sister, Kayla, to come back home so we can talk to her.”
There was silence for a moment before she answered. “If you are sure.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
When she didn’t say anything else, I figured she was busy with the boy in his room. I closed my eyes and tried to let the stress flow from my mind and body. I really needed to relax, or get laid. Yep, most definitely need to get laid.
I was fantasizing about what I would do with Leah once the baby was born—not really helping my situation—when she interrupted my thoughts.
“Devin, are there really men that look like turtles?”
“Quinn is showing me his collection of little men that look like turtles. He says they beat up bad guys and save a girl named April. Are there really men like that? Can they help us find Emily?”
I burst out laughing. Startling Cameron, who was sitting on the floor in front of the T.V. playing more Mario Brothers.
“What’s so funny?” He asked, pausing his game.
I shook my head at him, and tried to answer Leah’s question without making her feel silly. “I’m sorry, but they aren’t real. They are just a kid’s T.V. show.”
“Oh. Well, I guess they cannot help us then.”
“I’m sorry. I wish they were real so they could help us.”
“What about the Power Rangers?”
I’d only been on shift for a few minutes, and already been hit on more times than I care to count. I was on my way back when a man, old enough to be my father, slapped me on the butt. I stopped and looked at him over my shoulder. As politely as I could, I told him that if he did that again, I would have the bouncers escort him out.
He gulped and apologized. Making sure he was properly chastised, I headed to the table I was taking care of. The group of young men were out celebrating one of their own getting married.
Why they think bringing a man about to marry a woman he loves to a strip club is a good idea, I’ll never know.
I was about to leave their table when one of them grabbed me and pulled me onto his lap. I caught the eye of one of the bouncers and he came right over.
He grabbed the guy’s hand and bent it backwards. Once I was free, I headed to the break room. There was no way I could work tonight. I was too worked up about what happened with Lex, and I can’t handle the perverts the way I normally could.
Everything was just getting to me. I ran into Ron in the back and told him I was heading home.
“Sorry, I just can’t deal with the jerks tonight. Some guy tried to proposition me by grabbing my arm and pulling me into his lap. One of your guys is out there holding him for you. I just can’t handle anymore. I need to go home and curl up with my son, and have a relaxing evening.”
Ron’s face turned red with anger. He had a strict rule that the girls—servers or dancers—were for looking and not touching. “It’s okay. I’ll have one of the dancers cover your shift. Go home and relax. I’ll see you later this week.”
“Thanks. See you.”
I grabbed my purse from my locker and headed out the back door.
“Night Joe-Joe. I’ll see you later in the week for my next shift.”
“K.K.? What happened? You okay?”
“I’m fine. I just need a night off. Want to walk me to the truck?”
Joe made sure the door was securely closed, and walked with me to my brother’s Chevy. I thought about mentioning the dancer Carly to him. Feel him out, see if he liked her the way I think she likes him.
“Do you know the girl Carly?”
“Dancer. Sure. Why?”
“Well, I think she may like you.”
Joe stopped in the middle of the parking lot. We were about ten feet from my car. “Huh?”
“I think she may like you,” I repeated. “When you opened the door for me earlier and I kissed the top of your head, she was sending me death glares, and longing looks your way. I think you should ask her out.”
Joe hadn’t moved since I started talking. He had this far away, confused, look on his face. He looked at me with his forehead furrowed, “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I mean I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. I think you should give it a shot.”
A smile lit up his face. He looked like a kid in a candy store. “Sure K.K.. I’ll ask her after shift tonight. I’ll let you know what happens when you come in for your next shift.”
We continued to my car. I kissed Joe on the cheek and climbed into my brother’s beat up Chevy truck. Waving good-bye, I headed home.
On the drive back I pulled into a fast food joint, using the drive-thru. Knowing Cameron, there wasn’t going to be any food left for me when I got home, so I grabbed a chicken sandwich on the fly.
Munching on my fries, and sipping my sweet tea, I didn’t notice the black SUV following three car lengths behind.
A little over an hour later, I pulled into my driveway. I noticed the flashy sports car wasn’t there anymore, but my car and another were still parked in front of my tiny garage. I hope the car that’s gone belongs to Lex. I don’t think I could deal with his holier-than-thou attitude yet.
Getting out, and heading to my front door, I didn’t notice the car that had been following me park a few houses down.
Letting myself in, I saw one of Cameron’s friends from earlier sprawled on the couch. Cameron, himself, was lounging on the floor, in a fierce battle with King Koopa.
Walking past him, I slapped the back of his head. “Hey bro. Did Quinn behave for you while I was gone?”
He paused the game and looked at me quizzically. “What are you doing home so early? I was expecting you to come stumbling in around seven tomorrow morning.”
Sighing, I plopped on the floor next to him. “Just one of those nights. Ron gave me the night off so I could relax. Speaking of which, where’s my little man?”
“He’s in his room with Leah. I’m guessing he’s showing her every single toy he owns, as they haven’t come out of the room yet. I’d check on them, but every once in a while I hear him giggle. So I think he’s having fun, and I don’t want to ruin it for him.”
“Oh, okay. Who’s Leah?”
“She’s this dude’s mate.” He pointed behind us to the guy sprawled on my couch. “They are part of the group looking for Emily. You know, the girl we think is held at the other place you work.”
“Oh. Well, I guess I’ll go and talk to her. This guy is passed out.”
“Ha. Good luck with that. Leah is mute. She can only communicate through mind link.” He was silent for a moment, while I was in shock at what he said. “She may be able to talk to Quinn though,” he pondered. “I’m not too clear on how all that works. But, hey, have at it.”
He went back to his game, while I nodded numbly.
After a few moments, I got up and headed to my room. I could hear Quinn’s giggle in his room across from mine. He must be having a blast showing off his prized possessions. I took my time changing into my p.j.s—shorts, baggy shirt. Trying to think of how I would be able to communicate with Leah if she couldn’t talk. I may know brail, but I haven’t the foggiest on how to do sign language. Spying a pad and paper on my nightstand, I grabbed them and went across the hall.
Quinn was jumping on his race car bed. From the way he was acting, I think he was trying to be a ninja. Leah was perched on the end of one of his little kid chairs, watching him with amusement clear on her face.
My little ball of energy noticed me, and with a whoop, jumped off his bed and into my arms. I held him close, inhaling his wonderful little boy smell. I could tell he was due for a bath from the faint smell of little boy sweat mixed with the unmistakable aroma of Crayola crayons.
“Mommy! I like pretty lady. I show her all my toys. We play guy who jumps and shoots fire, and I show her how to be ninja!”
“I see that,” I laughed. Turning to Leah I introduced myself. “Hi, I’m Kayla, you must be Leah.”
She didn’t answer, only tilted her head to the side. “Cameron told me you can’t talk, so I brought some paper and a pencil. Will that work?”
I held it out to her, but she didn’t take it. She just kept her head tilted, and seemed to be concentrating. “Hello Kayla. I believe you know where my sister is.”
What. The. Hell. Was. That. Did she just use mind link on me? That can’t be. Even Lex couldn’t use the mind link with me, not even after we mated.
“Do not worry,” what I’m assuming is her voice, floated through my mind again. “I am not sure how I am able to talk to you this way either, but it is very convenient.” She stood to face me. In the back of my mind I registered she was pregnant, but didn’t say anything. “Now that we can talk. Where is my sister?”