Next morning, Chris is up early. He spent most of the night thinking about Jolena, where he went wrong, how he did not realise she was right under his nose. But most of all he thinks about how to go from here. He just can’t barge into the office, tell her she’s his mate and claim her then and there. For one, she’s human. She won’t let something like that just happen like that. She would want to be able to decide for herself. Second, their worlds are way too different. And on top of that, he has the feeling she is a strong woman, who just doesn’t take alpha bullshit just like that. If he doesn’t handle this well, he could lose her before he even has her. He really needs to think this through.
When he arrives at the hall for breakfast, he sees Danny with his mate already sitting at the table. “Good morning Alpha.” Danny looks at him, “had a rough night? You look like crap, Chris.”
“Morning,” Chris grumbles as he cuts a baguette in half. “Didn’t sleep much.”
“Still feeling your back?” Danny asks.
“Nah, that was alright. Did a lot of thinking. My mind wouldn’t stop thinking.”
“Seriously, don’t interrogate me. I’m not in the mood. Something else, do you know how Gabriel is doing?”
“Yes. He still hasn’t woken up, yet his situation is deteriorating. He is in a critical state. There’s not much they can do; his body has to fight this.” Danny looks concerned.
“Are they keeping him in a coma?”
“No, but they will do that if he doesn’t get any better.”
“I will make sure to pay him a visit later.”
“You should. Maybe it’ll give him the strength he needs to fight for his life.”
“Or it will give him the courage to give up.”
Danny’s head jolts up to look at him with anger. “Are you serious right now?”
“I am only stating a fact Danny. He is heavily injured. The longer it takes for him to wake up and heal, the slimmer his chances are that he will fully return to his healthy self. You know Gabriel, he is a warrior, it’s what he lives for. What do you think will happen, if he won’t be able to function the way he was before? You have to be honest with yourself Daniel. He’ll never be the same. He’ll never be happy again, he’ll be depressed. He will want to die.”
Danny looks at Chris with wide eyes. His sadness is obvious. “You’re right, I know. But still.”
“I know it’s hard. I don’t know who could ever replace him. No one can. Gabriel leaves big shoes to fill.”
Lisa walks by with a big pot of coffee. “Lisa, please pour me some,” Chris says.
She takes his cup and pours in the steamy black liquid. “Do you need anything else, Alpha?”
“No, just coffee. Thank you, Lisa.”
When Lisa is out of hearing range, Danny looks at Chris. “How is Lisa doing, by the way? Is she adjusting well?”
“I think she is doing fine. The things she has to do for me, she does well. For the rest, I don’t know, you have to ask Simon about that. He’s about following up the chores and stuff.”
“Hmm, I will. Because she has asked to leave the Pack grounds at night a lot recently. Like remarkably often.” A frown appears on Danny’s face.
“That’s strange. Do you think she has a mate outside the pack or something?” Chris wipes his mouth with his napkin. He’s done eating.
“She told me she has lost her mate years ago, so I don’t think so.” Danny shrugs.
“Then why does she want to leave the Pack grounds that often?” Now Chris frowns too.
“You tell me, I have no idea.” Danny finishes his breakfast as well.
“Hmm, strange. Something smells fishy. We need to sort this out. What is she hiding?” They both get up from their chairs. “I’d like to continue our conversation. Do you mind walking with me to my office?”
“I’ll come with you,” Danny kisses Ava goodbye, they both walk out and go up the stairs to Chris’ office. Once there they drop down in the chairs.
“Usually, I would ask Gabriel to look into it when he is on his rounds at the border.” Chris continues the conversation, “but that’s out of the question right now.”
“Maybe you could get a temporary replacement?”
Chris thinks about that suggestion. “That’s not a bad idea actually. There’s still a threat lurking just outside our borders, so we need someone to keep the warriors in line.”
“What about Leo? He was looking for a purpose within the pack, wasn’t he? You can immediately show him that you trust him. He’ll feel important.”
Chris frowns. “I don’t know. He’s so immature lately.”
“Maybe this will give him a push in the right direction? He’ll need to learn to be responsible and all.”
“I’ll think about it.” Chris gets up and walks behind his desk. He has a lot of paperwork to do. He sits down on his big leather chair.
“There’s actually something else I’d like to discuss with you.”
“Shoot.” Chris looks up for a moment, then moves around some stacks of paper to make some space.
“I was thinking about reintroducing pack training. And not only for males, but also for females. Everyone should be able to defend themselves. Especially with the threats lately.”
“You should make that proposition at a meeting with the Elders.” Chris leans forward and rests his elbows on the desk. “It’s a major decision that involves everyone in this pack, that’s not only up to me to decide.”
Danny sighs, “but that will take way too long, before we get them all together, the rogues will waltz over us.”
“I understand and I support you fully, but still, it’s not just up to me, you know. The Elders represent the people in our pack, they do have a say.”
Danny sighs again and gets up from his chair. “Alright then, I’ll make sure that we’ll have a meeting soon.”
When Chris is done working through the piles of paperwork that were on his desk, he gets up and leaves the packhouse. It’s time to visit Gabriel.
Once at Gabriel’s bed, he is shocked by what he sees. His face is bruised, wires run from Gabriel’s chest to machines and tubes run from his arm to IV bags. He even has a tube for oxygen under his nose. This really looks bad. Chris sits down on the chair next to Gabriel’s bed and thinks about his conversation with Danny earlier. His face saddens. He won’t give up on his best Warrior, but he can’t help but have the feeling that Gabriel will never be alright again. He can’t help but feel responsible, even though the rogues are responsible for Gabriel’s situation. He should have protected him better one way or another.
Then and there, Chris decides. No one else will get hurt again. He will do everything to protect the people here. He’ll start by pointing out someone who’ll take over Gabriel’s position as long as needed. That person has to investigate all about Lisa. What she’s doing is smelling fishy and it needs to be sorted out. Then he will ask Nick to contact his Alpha to get him here. He needs to talk to the Alpha himself. To discuss what is going on with the rogues, join teams, it’ll make them stronger. He won’t wait for the next rogue attack, no, he will find them and destroy them.
He gets up. That’s what he is going to do. “I’ll make this right, Gabriel.” He says and touches the warrior’s hand shortly. “I’ll make sure your sacrifice was not for nothing. I promise.” Then he turns and leaves taking big strides, there’s a lot of work to do.