30 Unexpected Gifts
It has been a full week since Derek dropped me on my doorstep. Chris has been distant, basically non existent, I’ve seen Cyrus twice, running at the back. He’s not interested in being around me right now either.
Claire and Xavier came mid week for their order, but even they were distant. Jace has sent me the odd text but everything is just so strained. Why is it every time I try to help I just make things worse?
Jude was livid when I saw him Thursday as he took in the bandages and bruises. Thankfully they were well on their way to healing by this point. He didn’t seem much relieved as I explained the whole series of events. The only time his scowl broke was when I went over the part about breaking Sara’s nose.
I told him everything including what happened with Chris. The look of shock when I talked about trying to reject him was unmistakable. What’s worse was the look of disappointment that followed.
“You said you’d give him a chance,” there was no masking the sadness in his voice.
“I know I fucked up, I just-”
He cut me off tapping my head. “This got in the way, again.”
“Don’t blame this on Sara, you’re smarter then that,” he grumbled. “Jess do you realize how big of a decision that was? That wasn’t the right way to handle it, at all.”
I dropped my head in my hands, “I can see that now! I just don’t know what to do, everyone’s acting weird with me, Chris won’t even talk to me. I just don’t know how to fix it. Even Cyrus wants nothing to do with me.”
He scoffs at that. “Cyrus will always want something to do with you.”
I raise a brow at that, “what makes you say that?”
He shrugs, “why else would he swing by here every night.”
My jaw drops. Every night? I’ve only seen him twice. “Wait how would you know he’s been here?”
“I swing by on my nightly runs just to make sure everything’s ok.” He shrugs like its no big deal.
I feel like I should be mad about the intrusion, but a part of me is relieved. “You’re the grey aren’t you?” He nods giving me a wolfish grin, his eyes sparkling a brighter shade of blue just for a moment.
“That explains a lot,” I laugh. “What’s your wolfs name?”
I smile. “Asher,” I mumble. “I’d like to meet him properly one day.” He beams at the request.
Jace: your package is in.
I frown. “What is it?” Jude asks.
“Jace says I have a package? I didn’t order anything and I sure wouldn’t ship it there, hell I don’t even know the address,” I laugh.
To Jace: Must be a mistake I didn’t order anything?
Jace: It’s addressed to you, why don’t you come grab it tomorrow night, come for dinner.
I frown reading that.
To Jace: I don’t know if I should, everyone’s being weird.
Jace: No they’re not.
To Jace: whatever.
Jace: sorry, see you at six?
To Jace: fine.
“If you scowl anymore you might crack the screen,” Jude teases.
“I just got talked into dinner,” I reply.
“Wow. What a horrible situation,” he deadpans. I just glare at him. “Well nothing’s going to fix itself with you here and Chris there.”
“You don’t have to be right all the time you know Jude.”
“And yet,” he trails off with a grin.
It’s Friday and I’m nearly at the pack house. I’m a bundle of nerves as I mull over things to say to Chris. I feel like there’s nothing I can say to fix the pain I’ve caused.
Before long I’m parking by the front door, still unsure of what to say, but I can’t hide in my truck all night.
As I get to the door Jace opens it with a smile. “Hello little elf,” he’s smiling but his tone is sad. He gives me a small hug before gesturing for me to go in.
Just before we get to the kitchen he turns, opening a door to a private dining room. Oh, I’m a secret again I realize dropping my shoulders.
“Relax, just figured the privacy was better here. Your package is on the table, I’ll be right back.” Jace heads out of sight but leaves the door open.
I walk over to the large box, the plain brown cardboard does nothing to explain it’s origins. There are only two things on it. A label addressing it to me care of Guardian Glass, and an intricate circular crest. My fingers trace the raised ridges of the design, It looks familiar but I can’t place it.
“Are you going to stand there all day petting it? Or are you going to open it already?” Derek asks from the doorway.
“There must be some kind of mistake, I didn’t order anything,” I trail off as he walks in.
“And yet, here it is addressed to you. Open it.”
I was surprized to see Sara follow Claire in. Shortly everyone except Chris was here. “I for one am curious to know what the Guardians have sent you,” Sara says.
I frown but take the knife Jace offers and slice the tape open. I feel Chris slip in, but he goes to the far side, so I respect his space and focus on the package.
The box opens to reveal a plain black hard case. There’s no note, so I carefully remove the case and set it on the table, discarding the box.
There is the same circular crest embossed in the case as was on the box. I spin it so the latches are facing me and carefully pop them. When I open the case, I can’t help but gasp at the beauty of its contents.
Inside was the most beautiful bow I’ve ever seen; pitch black with silver scroll work. The detail and intricacy was incredible!
“Are you going to pick it up or just pet it too?” Derek teases.
Carefully I lift it out of the case, it feels amazing in my hand, lighter then my previous bow. “It’s incredible,” I whisper.
“I figured I owed you a bow for breaking your last one,” he trails off with a shrug.
“You didn’t have to do that! This bow must have cost a fortune. I can’t accept this,” I say sadly setting the bow down.
“Too late it’s yours. I sent in what was left of your old bow so Mack could fit it properly. It’s made for you, useless for anyone else.”
“Thank you,” I don’t know what else to say.
“You’ve helped Ethan twice now, consider this my thank you. Also the arrows are silver, they’ll be more effective then those match sticks you shot me with,” he laughs.
I pick up an arrow, sure enough they are silver, but they aren’t heavy so it must be plating. They are just as ornate as the bow. There are also a few black arrows, look like carbon fiber, probably to target practice with.
I spot another wrapped bundle at the bottom of the case. I take it out unrolling it to see six silver knives. The handles are bound in leather for grip but each one is ornately caved with the crest stamped in.
“Do you know how to throw a knife?”
I shake my head no.
“Well you seem to have a propensity for danger so these daggers should come in handy.” I raise a brow. “Don’t give me that look you can learn,” he laughs.
“No,” Chris finally speaks from the far side of the room. “She gets into enough trouble as is, she’s not going to be trained to run into it on purpose.”
My head sinks, he’s right. Lately trouble seems to follow me no matter where I go.
“Care to test it out,” Derek asks, ignoring Chris.
I pick the bow back up and test the string, I don’t get it drawn back half way before my shoulder protests. “Maybe in a few days,” I say sadly. He nods.
The atmosphere feels awkward again. “Dinners almost ready,” Claire says cutting through the silence.
I start to pack up the case. “I should go,” I mumble. “I-”
“Stay,” Chris cuts in with authority. I freeze, eyes locked onto his unreadable hazel ones. “Please,” he says softer. I nod.
Everyone starts to take their seats as two ladies come in and set the table. Moments later they return with the food and drinks.
The only seat left was next to Chris who sat at the head of the table. I sat down and busied myself fussing with the napkin. Derek sat next to me and Sara was beside him. The other side of the table had Jace, Xavier and Claire. I felt like there was a deliberate layout here, but there had never been before.
Thankfully the food kept everyone occupied as the awkward silence stretched on.
‘Oh my god this is uncomfortable even for me.’ ‘So say something, anything at this point!’
I took a sip of my water trying to think of something to say when Derek beat me to it.
“So how’s the nose Sara?”
I choke instantly on my water. Everything is this tense so he thinks asking Sara that will help?! For fucks sake!
The table bursts out in the first genuine laugh of the night as I die of embarrassment.
“Healed nicely,” she replies coolly. She raises a brow before continuing, “hell of a right you’ve got there.”
‘Holy shit, did Sara just complement you?!’ ‘Yup, I think hell froze over.’
“Thanks!?” I’m not really sure how to respond to that.
“A bit of training may do you some good,” she muse.
“I said no,” Chris growls.
“Yes Alpha,” she instantly submits.
Dinner continues with a bit more small talk, mostly dominated by Derek, Jace and Xavier talking about the rogue situation. I was happy to just listen and pick at my food.
“Have you seen any wolves around?” Derek’s attention is fully on me drawing me back into the conversation.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” I mumble.
Derek raises a brow at that clearly looking for an explanation.
“Only Cyrus and Asher.”
“Who’s Asher,” Derek asks.
“Ah the infamous Jude I’ve heard about. Took you all this time to meet Cyrus but you know Jude’s wolf?” Derek is heading for dangerous waters, I can feel Chris getting riled up.
“Meeting Cyrus reminded me how little I know about your world,” I deflected. “I haven’t actually met Asher like I have Cyrus. I just asked Jude his name when he admitted to checking up on me. I’ve seen his wolf at a distance a bunch of times, never up close.”
At this Chris visibly relaxed.
“That night you showed up at my house with the three wolves, I struggled to know who to hit. I almost shot you in the heart, something made me pull up last minute. When I thought about it later I realized I’ve never met any of your wolves. Maybe some time I can so I know who’s who and don’t risk an accident one day?”
Jace is the first to jump up, grinning, “absolutely!”
“Cool it pretty boy, there’s lots of time for that yet. You’re too eager to strip,” Derek grumbles.
I can’t help but giggle at Jace’s scowl.
“So how’d you know which was which if you don’t know anyone’s wolves?” Derek’s focus on me is unnerving, I doubt a shrug will put him off.
I sigh, leaning back in my chair. “I watched Ethan.” Everyone is just staring at me for more. “He looked equally terrified of you all, I couldn’t tell if the wolf was pulling him away from you or vice versa. But when the second wolf lunged at his face that was a clear shot. The third wolf I couldn’t tell as it was equally after you, so I took a winging shot to hopefully break it up.
When it was down to you and the last wolf I didn’t know what to make, Ethan was terrified of both of you. You felt like an intimidating ass, but he felt” I struggle for the word, “wrong.”
I look up and everyone is just staring at me. Derek how ever is leaning forward as if I’ve just told the most interesting story ever.
“How often do you get these feelings?” Derek’s scrutiny is really beginning to make me uncomfortable.
I shrug, “I don’t know, just comes and go. Don’t read into it, it’s just a gut feeling, lord knows I’ve fucked up on that before.”
Chris abruptly stands, “excellent dinner as always Claire. If you’ll excuse me I have some business to attend to.” After his tight lipped speech he turned and left.
‘He thinks you mean him.’ ‘I was talking about my ex, he had me snowed.’
I frown looking at the door way Chris left through.
“We aren’t done talking about this,” Derek says softly. “Go.” He nods after Chris.
I sigh and get up, making my way through the door towards Chris. I didn’t even know where he was, so I just followed my feet.
This house is a giant maze, but after a short while I’m standing in front of a large wood door. I don’t know how, but I know he’s in there. I knock but there’s no answer. I try the doorknob and it’s not locked, the door swings open easily.
Chris is sitting behind a large wood desk, papers spread around with a drink. “Close the door behind you,” he says not looking up from his paperwork. I slip inside closing the door as quietly as I can. He’s still focused on his papers only pausing to take a drink occasionally.
I inch forward suddenly feeling unsure as to what I thought I could accomplish here. I take a moment to look around. It’s a study, with wall to wall books, his large wooden desk dominates the space but there are a couple couches to the side.
I can’t get a read on him and it’s feeding my nerves. He sighs and leans back setting his paper down. “Drink?” He asks without looking at me.
I shake my head no, he throws back what was left in his glass and heads to the side bar to refill. Instead of sitting back down in his chair he comes to the front of the desk sitting against it he looks at me. His eyes are hard but emotions swirl in them, anger, pain and fear are all I can see.
“Why are you here?” His voice sounds strained.
“Jace invited me for dinner when I picked up the package,” I state weakly.
“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” he growls.
“I came for you,” I whisper.
“Your monster?” He scoffs.