I stare far into the dense forest, inhaling the air, trying to catch any trace of his whereabouts.
But with an alarming realization, I smell nothing.
“How is he doing this?!” Trey yells at me through the mindlink, mirroring my frustration.
Somebody must have tipped him off, how else could he have known?
It wasn’t just him that disappeared either, they were all gone. Anyone that came here under the bullshit pretense with Keenan.
But who? Trey said he only told our closest friends of the plan, that was everyone currently taking turns guarding Angeline for me now.
I didn’t want to start turning on my own packmates, these are people I’ve known my whole life, people I know I can trust with my life.
But… what if?
I shook my head of the thought, I’ll dwell on that later as of now though, I have bigger issues.
I stood observing, as my dad sat looking agitated while Uncle Drew and Elder Bane interrogated him.
Occasionally he’d glance at me accusatorially, unable to hide his disdain. My old self might have flinched, but now I just didn’t care.
“Where is he?” Uncle Drew demanded, “I contacted Alpha Sawyer, he said Keenan left two days prior. You want to explain to me what my son was doing over there?”
“Maybe if you gave me a heads up, I’d have been able to keep him here while you arrived. is involving the Elder Council, really necessary Drew?” My father countered, balefully.
Predictably, my father still had no idea what really transpired at the Chambers, what he instigated.
He still had no idea that Keenan lost his alpha status, that he’s on the verge of going rogue, that Keenan was only here under a false pretense, and how he and his stupid minions nearly killed his…. his.... I can’t even say the words without feeling sick to my stomach.
But I couldn’t think about that right now, right now I need to focus.
“I’m not leaving until I find my son, and YOU are going to help us.”
I could tell my father wanted to refute, to explode, but to my surprise he begrudgingly agreed.
He probably figured that the sooner Keenan was found, the sooner Alpha Drew, the Elder Council, and all their warriors would be out of our territory.
“I really don’t know where he is, but you’re more than welcome to patrol the area and see for yourself.”
“Trust me, I will. If I find out you’re hiding him. Our alliance is over and I’ll be pulling out all my resources.”
“Are you serious!? What the hell is the big deal anyway? Are you going to tell me what my nephew did that was so bad? If I recall, you called me asking to train him, and now, suddenly you’re on some werewolf police power trip? I don’t know where your son is, but I don’t appreciate you coming up in MY territory, making demands of me. If you wanna challenge me, you need only say the words brother, otherwise you and your band of sheep can leave.”
Alpha Drew growled, “I told you Felix, I’m not leaving without my son.”
“I don’t like to be kept in the dark when it involves my own pack Drew.”
My father was subconsciously backtracking, I think he either knew he was no true match for my uncle or he didn’t actually want Alpha Drew pulling his resources. After all, this pack got to exist because my uncle took a chance and lent part of the land to us, most alphas out there in the world still see us as just an extension of the Chambers Pack or see my father as just a beta. Even after all these years my father’s pack still had no strong stability without the help of Alpha Drew.
“He’s being escorted back home because I found out you’re using him to do your bidding.” Uncle Drew responded.
I mean it wasn’t a total lie.
“Whatever my son,” my dad said spitefully, “told you is an exaggeration, a damn near lie really. Keenan wanted to go, I wanted to see if the kid could negotiate, it was all for practice.”
“Negotiate what exactly? You know I don’t have a good standing with Alpha Sawyer and you already have an alliance with him.”
“Exactly why it’s good practice, the kid proved himself to and secured your pack an allegiance with Sawyer’s Pack, you’re welcome by the way.”
“A pact I didn’t want or need.”
“You’re lucky you’re my brother Drew, had you been anyone else, I’d have slaughtered you and your entire pack of warriors the minute you stepped into my territory uninvited.”
“Is that a threat?”
Everyone in the room tensed, each alpha or high ranking wolf was internally fighting for dominance, their wolves making their presence known. It was even calling my own wolf to the surface, all of us wanting to be the only.
My uncle and my father were standing chest to chest now, the years of tension between them about to finally implode.
“C’mon now, everyone just needs to calm down. Felix we didn’t mean to intrude so abruptly, but we do need to find Keenan.”
“Are you going to answer my question? Why would YOU Elder Bane of the Elder Council be interested in Keenan?”
“The boy broke his probation, and we’re here to collect him.”
“For what? If he was on probation the whole time, why would you let him come here? Why didn’t you tell me he was on probation Drew? Were you setting him up to fail? Were you setting me up? How does visiting another pack violate his probation?”
Of all the times my father chooses to use his brain, he chooses now?
Drew stared at my father for a long moment before finally saying, “he nearly killed a human girl.”
My father snorted and laughed, “all this for a human girl?! For a stupid human? Who cares!?! This is why your pack is failing Drew! You have no balls, you never did, always wanting to play by the book. Allowing yourself to be used as a puppet for the Elder Council,” Felix exclaimed with disdain.
“No one takes you seriously Drew, least of all me.”
I step in between them as I see my uncle’s muscles tense, he looks ready to attack. My father didn’t stand a chance against him, even I knew that.
Truth be told, I always wondered why my uncle even tolerated my father.
“Look, we’re wasting time,” I spoke up, trying to calm the waters,
“If you don’t find Keenan by the end of the week, I want you and all your packmates out, with or without Keenan.”
With that last input, my Uncle Drew left the room, seeming more for his own sanity than anything else, he looked ready to wring my father’s neck.
“So are you going to tell me what you found over there at Chambers?” Trey said as we ran through the dense forest, following the faint trace of Keenan’s scent.
I shook my head, running faster.
“It’s all way more fucked up than I could’ve ever imagined Trey. So fucked up.”
All the things that Alpha Drew told me, I simply couldn’t believe it, I refused to believe it.
Even remembering it now had the pit of my stomach swimming with despair, anxiety, and fury.
But above all else, I was dumbfounded.
“How do you know about the human girl?” Uncle Drew asked me, bewildered. He stood in front of his organized desk, a file in his hand. He was shocked when I came marching into his packhouse, unannounced and uninvited. Unlike Keenan, I didn’t come here unless it was for business meetings with my father.
So far, Uncle Drew had only answered all my questions vaguely or cryptically, it was frustrating.
It wasn’t until I’d finally had enough and mentioned Keenan’s strange obsession with Angeline that I finally broke through his fixed resolve.
“So it’s true? What he did to her.”
“Yes, but I’m confused as to why he’d tell you about his mate.”
I must have misheard, it almost sounded like he said… mate.
“I’m sorry what?” I repeated, confused. “His mat- he did not tell you what she was to him?”
“NO, “ I shook my head, in denial and incredulity, “no, that’s not possible.”
I shook my head again, “you’re mistaken, she’s human.”
“We know from history that this was always a possibility, it’s just very uncommon.”
I shook my head again, “there has to be a mistake.”
“I’m afraid there isn’t. I’m not proud of what he’s done and neither is he, but I genuinely believe that he wants to change. Now can you tell me why you’re here? Your father did not tell me you were visiting.”
“Why is Keenan training with my pack?”
“I already told Felix it was for additional training.”
“I am not my father Uncle Drew, I’m not falling for that. Why is he really there? After all that he’s admitted to, after all that he put her through, why would you still allow him to go after her?”
“What are you talking about Daniel? His mate is no longer here, her new location is undisclosed, didn’t he tell you that much already?”
“No, he didn’t, she did.” I watched as Uncle Drew’s face changed from confusion, to surprise, and then finally to seething anger as he realized what his son orchestrated.
It was apparent that he just put two pieces together and realized something grave. I, however, had trouble catching up.
But it’s evident that my uncle Drew had no idea that Angeline was at Redmond.
So then what did that mean?
“Son of a bitch!” Uncle Drew shook his head furiously, “has she been there the whole time?”
I nodded, “since the semester began. Why? What’s going on?” I demanded.
Alpha Drew stood quiet for a moment, just silently brewing in his anger, he looked like he was contemplating whether to tell me or not. He narrowed his eyes at me for a moment, I stood to the challenge and stared back. Conveying through expression alone that I would not give up, that I would not stop pressing the issues until I have all the answers.
It must have worked because Alpha Drew heaved a long sigh and said, “a protective order had to be placed on her. We felt as though she was in danger of him. We were afraid he’d come for her even after we muted the bond. So the Elder Council told me that they had moved her to another location for her safety. I don’t know why they would move her to Redmond of all places, Elder Bane thought it best that no one should know where she was moved to, to avoid any slip ups. I would have never- if I’d of known-”
“Well now he’s found her,” I interrupted, agitated. “What does that he want with her?”
“I don’t know, your father convinced him the bond was breakable. There’s a chance he still believes that, he could be after her to break the bond for good.”
A wave of worry washed over me.
“What do you mean when you say you ‘muted’ the bond.”
“It’s an ancient ritual that only a distinct coven in Sicily knows how to perform. It mutes the bond to a strictly superficial level, however it doesn’t last very long. It needs to be performed every couple months.”
I’ve even heard of such a thing, I had no idea it was even possible.
“So he violated the protective order, now what? Are you gonna tell me the real reason Keenan’s in Redmond?”
He hesitated, “it doesn’t even matter anymore, what he told me was probably bullshit as well.”
“If you’re worried about me telling my dad, don’t be, because we’ve never been close. As of right now he’s having Keenan do all his bidding.”
Drew shook his head, “of course he is, stupid boy. He was sent there to spy on your father, at least that’s what he told me he’d do. I can see now, I was just being played.”
“And my father as well.”
“It’s what my son does best, tell me, why are you inquiring about the girl? How do you know her?”
I stared at him in the eye, unwavering, “she is my girlfriend.”