Chapter 27: The In-Laws
“You know our son?” the man asked, his eyes displaying his desperate need for the answer to the question.
I nodded. “I-I’m his m-mate,” I hiccuped out, finally pulling my hair away from my mark for the first time since Grace and I stepped over the border. Wanting to further prove the fact, I channeled my wolf long enough to overpower the scent-masker I was coated in; it didn’t matter what I smelled like now, Grace and I had already been caught red-handed. My scent enveloped my body, though I could barely catch even a hint of my own as Knox’s was so heavy it nearly drowned mine out. I brushed off the odd potency, pegging it down to being all in my head - after all, I hadn’t been able to scent myself for almost twenty-four hours.
As Knox and I’s conjoined scent permeated the room, I heard a feminine voice cry out. There was more shuffling in the cell before a small, worn down woman came to kneel next to the man. Knox’s mother and father.
“All this time I thought we were crazy whenever I was convinced I’d caught a hint of his scent,” she cried, grasping onto her mate’s arm and holding tight. I found myself becoming worked up once again. They never stopped looking for him, either. I couldn’t help the soft, short laugh that escaped through the thick lump of emotion in my throat. I couldn’t figure out how it was possible that they were all three looking so adamantly for each other, but still managed to evade one another for such a long time.
“He’s been looking for you, too,” I rasped out, wanting to comfort them during this crappy time. They both snapped their gazes to me instantly. I nodded, answering their silent question. “After your brother took them both away, he separated them. Knox was kept inside an isolated facility until the day he shifted. When he did, he took the opportunity of being outside and got away. After that, he never stopped looking. He searched all the unclaimed territory he could, but he was finally forced to join a pack in hopes that the Alpha would assist his search through all claimed territory. It didn’t amount to much until recently,” I said, rehashing every detail I could remember in my frazzled state. They nodded, looking more than thankful for the information.
“And our daughter?” Knox’s mother asked so softly I almost didn’t hear it. I smiled brightly.
“I grew up with her in my home pack where she was ended up,” I revealed, “she’s my best friend. We did practically everything together,” I gushed, happy to have a joyful memory to recall during such a dark time. Knox’s mom covered her mouth with her hand, quietly crying into it. I couldn’t imagine the relief of knowing both your children were okay after something so horrific had separated them from you. The mere thought made my gut clench.
I leaned my head against the bars, a wave of exhaustion taking over my body as silence settled around us. I sighed heavily and forced my eyes to stay open. I didn’t want to risk falling asleep and being vulnerable to whatever Knox’s horrible uncle had planned next.
“What’re your names?” I asked them, trying to distract myself from passing out.
“I’m Jim and this is my mate, Angela,” Knox’s father murmured, wrapping his arm around his mate and pulling her close to his chest.
“I’m Poppy,” I replied, fighting back a yawn while rubbing my eyes with the heel of my palm.
“Are you tired?” Jim asked, eyeing me knowingly. I nodded sheepishly before sitting back up to try and counteract my need for sleep.
“Lay down, then. We’ll watch over and make sure nothing changes. If we hear something, we’ll wake you,” he insisted. I couldn’t believe how incredibly sweet he was, but, then again, he is Knox’s father and Knox takes incredible care of me. It must run in the family...minus the uncle. I slowly lowered my body onto the cold, concrete floor and used my sweatshirt covered arm as a makeshift pillow. I fell asleep surprisingly quick for how anxious I’d been.
What felt like two seconds later, I heard Knox’s dad smacking the ground to make enough noise to wake me. I rolled over with a groan, my body aching from sleeping on such an unforgiving surface.
“How do you feel?” Angela asked, concern heavy in her tone and eyes. I scrunched my eyebrows in confusion from the change in her attitude, wondering if I’d missed something major while I slept.
“I feel alright. Still a bit tired and a little sore from the ground, but nothing horrible. What happened?” I asked.
“They’re bringing us food,” Jim responded, nodding towards the end of the hall.
“What time is it?” I questioned.
“From what we’ve gathered during our time in here, it’s about seven a.m.,” he replied, causing me to gape in shock. What is with me and sleeping so much recently? I opened my mouth to speak, but the sound of footsteps approaching halted my words.
“Breakfast time,” one of the men hollered in a condescending sing-song voice. Two plates were carelessly dropped down in front of Knox’s parents at the same time my plate was placed delicately in front of me. I stared quizzically at the man, wondering why I was getting special treatment.
“We’re not to rough up the Alpha’s new toy until he gets the chance to do so first,” he sneered with a disgusting grin that made my skin crawl. I stared at the plate of food, wanting to reject it for fear of it being laced with something but I was so hungry I couldn’t resist. I picked up the plastic fork and was about to dig in when a second plate slid across the floor and stopped right next to my own. My head shot up to see Jim eyeing me with a small smile.
“What are you…?” I started to ask before he brought his index finger to his lips in a 'shh' motion.
“You’re pregnant, Poppy,” he whispered quietly. Those three little words were all it took to rock my entire being straight to the core.
“W-what?” I choked out, blanching almost immediately.
“I can hear the heartbeat if I focus close enough, but that wasn’t the only giveaway. I knew the second I scented you. You almost don’t smell of yourself at all - just of my son. It’s a common protective instinct a female’s body will adapt when she falls pregnant. It tricks people into thinking you’re your mate; the tactic used to be necessary back in the days of the first werewolves when people were constantly fighting over territory and taking females as hostages for leverage,” he explained. My mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water, fighting for something to say.
My hand wandered down to my stomach before I pressed my palm against it. Despite my initial disbelief, I knew he had to be right. It explained so much; my constant hunger and exhaustion as well as the recently increased appetite I had for Knox’s presence and touch. Tears clouded my eyes before I closed them, an image of Knox holding a little boy or girl in his arms instantly clouding my mind and causing a warmth to spread over my entire body. I was pulled from my reverie when my stomach growled loudly.
“Eat, your body needs all the nutrition it can get,” he insisted. I nodded but felt horribly guilty as he sat there watching me scarf down every last morsel. Angel shared her meal with him, her eyes never leaving my stomach. Now I know why she looked so concerned when I woke - Jim probably told her of his discovery.
I couldn’t believe I’d missed my period and didn’t realize it. In my own defense, though, things have been absolutely crazy ever since Knox and I mated. I was sure that was when this all happened because I know we didn’t use protection that day. We haven’t really used protection ever, quite frankly, so I should’ve expected this. I knew I wasn’t too far along, maybe only a couple of weeks or so, but that made the situation so much scarier. I knew that pregnancies were extremely fragile during the first trimester and that I would have to do everything I could while here to protect myself and our baby.
“We have to get out of here,” Jim mumbled, speaking my thoughts exactly.
“But how?” Angela asked. “We’ve been stuck here for weeks, Jim. We’ve done and tried everything we could think of to open these stupid bars. They’re too high tech,” she stressed.
I started looking around my own cell, taking note of every detail. In the middle of my inspection, another set of footsteps barreled down the hall, sounding like they were on a mission. The second Travis’s face came into view an idea popped into my head.
“Travis!” I yelled, gripping onto the bars for dear life. He came up to my cell, glaring down at me with hateful eyes. Oh boy, an act isn’t going to fix this. I have to be honest. “Just listen to me before you say whatever it is you came down here to say,” I begged. He opened his mouth, no doubt to yell at me, but I didn’t give him the chance to even start. “I’m so, so sorry I lied to you but you have to understand that I didn’t have a choice! My loved ones’ lives were on the line, Travis. If I were truly an unmated female, I would’ve loved to spend more time with you and get to know you. But, the fact of the matter is, your Alpha is a cruel man and I did what I had to do to protect my family,” I said. “What would you do if your mother and father had been kidnapped and tortured by your own blood?” I asked, begging him with my eyes. I could see the glare soften just a tad, but it still remained.
“I don’t care what you have to say! You made a mockery of me! I just came down here to tell you I hope the Alpha dishes you the karma you deserve,” he sneered, smacking his hands against the bars for dramatic effect. “Oh, and just in case you were trying to find a way out, rest assured knowing that this system has never failed,” he hissed with an amused smile. He cackled while walking off once again, disappearing into what I assumed was the control room.
“I have an idea,” Jim hissed just as the Travis locked the door behind him. “There’s one thing we haven’t tried yet.”
“What’s that?” Angela asked.
“Brute force. Disabling the system from its controls isn’t the only way to mess with the technology; brute force sometimes works too,” he explained mischievously. “We were afraid to try this at first because if it doesn’t work it would immediately alert that asshat in there,” he said while motioning his head towards the room Travis was in, “but at this point, anything is worth a try. Stand back, sweetheart,” Jim ordered before positioning himself in front of the wall that the control panel to his cell was installed.
“If I can kick in the wall hard enough, I could crush the controls from behind, cutting off the electricity to our door,” he murmured quickly, backing up a few steps before lifting his leg and charging it into the wall at about the exact height the screen was located. The sound his foot made when meeting the metal wall echoed throughout the barren hallways, but he didn’t stop for even a split second. After the fourth kick, I saw the screen go completely blank as a telltale unlatching sound greeted our ears. I shot up to my feet, staring in disbelief as he used all his might to pry the door open. He looked back and forth between me and the now-disfigured bars like he couldn’t believe he’d actually done it.
“Fuck yes!” he whisper-yelled with excitement. He quickly gave my cell the same treatment from the outside, freeing me within minutes. Thank God I mated into a strong, intelligent family. They both rushed forward and enveloped me in a tight hug, my heart almost exploding with happiness as I could feel the love they already felt for me seeping into my skin from their touch.
“Okay, we don’t have much time. I don’t know what your plan was before coming in here, but I know neither you or my son are stupid. Once we get out of here, I need you to update me on what’s happening so we can try and finish the job,” he rushed out. I nodded seconds before Travis’s door swung open.
“Hey!” he yelled while grabbing a gun and barreling towards us. Jim lunged towards him faster than he could pull the trigger, disarming him within seconds before wrapping him up into a tight choke hold. Travis clawed at his arm, begging for Jim to let him go between gasps for air.
“No one wishes ill on my daughter-in-law and gets away with it,” he growled before banging Travis’s head against the cement wall, effectively knocking him out. He tossed his body onto the ground as if he were a mere sack of potatoes. I gasped as my wolf pushed herself forward in my head and tried to force my body to shift. Knox’s parents both eyed me with a questioning look.
“I think Knox is here or he’s close. My wolf won’t stop trying to take over. I can’t sense him because of this stupid place, but she can,” I explained, massaging my temple to try and ease the painful throbbing in my head.
“Okay, new plan,” Jim said with a deadly serious look on his face. “Angela, you get yourself and Poppy the hell out of here. Hide yourselves well and don’t even think about coming out until I come and find you. I’m going to find our son,” he rushed out. Before Angela or I could protest, he was placing a kiss to both of our foreheads and pulling us behind him towards the exit. Angela sighed in resignation before following along, obviously knowing that her mate wasn’t going to change his mind about us being out of sight and out of mind.
“Fuck,” Jim cursed as we sped our way through the facility, not once being stopped by a guard. “It’s worse than I thought. He’s got all of his best men out there ready for Knox.”
My stomach started to ache just thinking about Knox going up against nearly an entire pack with only a few men behind him.
“Go! Try and find a spot near the border just in case you need to escape quickly,” Jim hissed before turning and running towards the pack house. Angela and I shared similar looks of worry before taking off in the opposite direction. Despite being locked up in a cell for weeks, Angela never once slowed her pace. After what seemed like ten minutes, she skidded to a stop and looked up. I followed her gaze to see her eyeing the massive tree branches that loomed above.
“Can you climb?” she whispered the question. I nodded and jumped, grabbing the lowest hanging branch and pulling myself up. Angela followed my lead and we repeated the action over and over again until we couldn’t go any higher. I panted from exertion, but my heart raced for an entirely different reason. Please dear God, let Knox be okay.