42 I'm Coming Baby
I see Jude’s truck pull up and take off to meet him. He spots me as I beeline and he freezes, a confused look on his face. Anger and frustration are in control as I grab him, slamming him back into the house.
“Whoa Chris, what’s going on?” he asks, wrapping his hands around my wrists.
“Where were you?!” I bellow, my emotions swelling out of control.
“I ran out to take care of some errands, what’s going on man?!” His confusion is giving way to anger as he locks eyes with me.
“How convenient you leave just before we are attacked,” I snarl, tossing him to the ground.
“Wait, what?! I had nothing to do with that. Where’s Jess?” He yells, getting back up.
“Wouldn’t we all like to know,” I growl. Jude lunges at me, we grapple trading blows before Jace, Xavier, and a few others pry us apart.
“Get him out of here!” Jace looks at me as if to say something before turning and dragging a protesting Jude away. “If I see you anywhere near here, I’ll end you. If I find out you were involved in any way with her disappearance, you’ll wish you were dead.” The last part came out as a growl.
“You think I would do anything to hurt her!?” he snarls, pushing back towards me. “Look at our track records, I’ve never been the problem.”
Anger consumes me at his dig as I throw the warriors holding me back aside and go for Jude again. Jace and Xavier desperately try to keep us separated, knowing full well if I get a hold of him, one of us likely isn’t going to get back up.
“Jude go home,” Jace orders, pushing him back towards his truck as they drag us apart once more. Cyrus is rabid in my mind, scratching and throwing himself against my barriers, trying to take over.
“I left her safe and sound in the pack house, I should have just taken her with me,” Jude growls slamming the door before peeling off. Unblinking, I watch him speed off down the road never slowing until he’s out of sight on the final bend.
“Chris, I don’t think-” Jace starts before I cut him off.
“Don’t,” I say dangerously, locking my murderous gaze on him.
Her scent hits me suddenly, so faint but there. Hope wells in me as I spin around, desperately searching for her. I can’t see her but her scent is getting stronger from the back forest, drawing me like a signal fire.
“Jess!” I yell, taking off towards the source. Movement at the tree line stops me in my tracks as I watch someone emerge.
Ethan stumbles out through a thicket, his baggy hoodie catching on branches as he struggles free. My heart pounds in my throat as I run to him, his eyes are wide and terrified with tear stains down his cheek.
“Ethan, what happened? Where’s Jess?” I practically beg, searching him for any sign of injury. He trembles in my grasp, head dropping as the tears well in his eyes once more.
I drop to my knees, pulling him into a deep hug as fear and anger boil within me. Sobs wrack his body as he loses his resolve in my arms, melting into my embrace.
“She’s gone,” he wails, struggling to catch his breath between sobs. “They took her and uncle Derek, but she made me promise to stay hidden.”
My heart drops.
They’ve taken my mate.
Cyrus is howling in my head, threatening to take over but Ethan needs me, and Jess needs me to have a clear head.
Jace immediately takes half of the warriors and starts back tracking where Ethan came from. I pick up Ethan, still wrapped around my neck and carry him back the way he had come, praying that we’re not too late.
The hoodie was hers, her scent masked his and I savour it. For a time her scent even quiets Cyrus as we make our way back to the clearing.
The area is littered with dead and dying wolves; they had gone down swinging. My chest tightens as I take in the carnage and read the field.
She was here. I can just pick up her scent, but she’s long gone.
Jace sends the trackers out while he checks the bodies for any clues as to who they were. The last one dies before saying anything but the stench of rogues is clear.
But why attack this deep in the territory? And why take Jess?
Ethan tries to pull away to look around at one point but I keep his face buried against my chest. He didn’t need to see this.
The poor kid has seen more shit and dealt with more loss than anyone should in a lifetime.
“Take him home Chris, he shouldn’t see this,” Jace says as I grumble.
I need to find her.
“You can’t do anything until we know where they took her. She’s alive, we’ll get her back man, I promise you that,” he presses on, locking his stormy grey eyes on mine.
Reluctantly, I turn and head back to the pack house with Ethan.
Jace is good at his job, I know he will find every trace. But it’s hard to step back.
“What do you mean there’s no sign of them?! How does a group just disappear,” I roar. “She’s out there and-”
“We are looking for her,” Jace cuts in. “We will find her, we’ve got teams scouting well past our borders. I’ve contacted the Guardians and they are sending someone to assist.”
I know he’s trying, they all are, but I’m going crazy!
“Three days, they’ve had them for three days already,” I trail off, running my hand through my hair for the millionth time.
His hand is on my shoulder and gives a reassuring squeeze. “We’re not giving up,” he says, his grey eyes shine with determination. I can only nod.
“I know you haven’t marked her yet but do you feel anything?” He asks with a hint of desperation.
“Nothing. I get waves of despair and fear, but I don’t know if they are from me, Cyrus or if they are floating through the bond from Jess.” I haven’t slept much since she was taken, her scent still lingers in my bed but it’s fading fast.
“I know he’s a tool but maybe check with Rob, see if they’ve found anything?” Jace suggests. He is a tool but if it gets her back to me, then I’ll gladly suffer through him. Frowning I sigh and nod, heading off to make the call.
A full week passes since they were taken. Two Guardians arrived a few days ago and have been sweeping both with patrols and solo runs. Unfortunately, they have had no more luck then we have, leaving Rob as our last chance.
Jace and Rob are currently arguing over the next course of action, so far trying to have a meeting to come up with a plan has equaled a lot of arguing and very little progress. Guardian Wright has been silent, she isn’t fond of Rob either. She’s petite with curly brown hair and bright green eyes and although her demeanor is outwardly quiet and calm, I’m certain she’s not to be underestimated. I’ve seen her take down Xavier like a child and she’s quite fond of knives. Having seen her pull at least half a dozen from concealed places around her body, I have no doubt there are more hidden.
Guardian Thomas is a tall spry man, built with a typical lean tracker’s frame. His rusty short beard stands out from his sandy brown hair. A long jagged scar runs from his left eyebrow to his jaw. He’s a man of few words but he misses nothing.
Sara grabs the map and spreads it across the table as we go about setting a new plan. In my distracted and irritated state, I’m struggling to keep my temper in check and focus to run a simple meeting that should be second nature to me.
A searing pain slices through my back, making me stagger against the table. I gasp at the unexpected pain as it comes again, furrowing my brows as I concentrate on it. Jace’s concerned voice barely registers to me as the pain comes again and again in waves.
“Chris! What is it?” He asks, gripping my shoulder to steady me, his face inches from mine. The pain hits again, but not as blinding.
“I can feel it,” I rasp out. “They’re hurting her!” More pain comes in waves, for the next twenty some minutes, before I’m left drenched in sweat and trembling.
“How can that be? You haven’t even marked her yet?” Rob asks skeptically, narrowing his gaze on me.
“I don’t know, but that wasn’t my pain,” I growl, gripping the table hard enough to make my knuckles go white..
“Some bonds are that strong,” Guardian Thomas cuts in, thoughtfully knitting his brows. “The Goddess links some pairs tighter then others.”
“Jace-” I warn.
“We’ll find them, they are running out of places to be. We’ve already swept this whole region,” he gestures to the area surrounding our territory. “All that’s left is here,” his hand lands in an area half between New Moons border and half in the northern wild lands.
“Our patrols have been scouting this area.” Rob gestures to the area closest to his territory. “Patrols have been out there as well but have not reported anything.” His tone is guarded but it sets Cyrus on edge.
“Then go.” I look to Jace. “How long till we can have a squad ready?”
“They’re packed ready to go now, waiting for orders,” Sara cuts in. She may have had a rocky relationship with Jess, but she has put her full effort into this. She has personally pulled double duty running added patrols to keep warriors out looking.
“I can dispatch a squad within the hour,” Rob adds with little comfort.
I don’t want to leave this in his hands.
“We will rendezvous with your squad and do the sweep together,” I compromise, not in the mood to have it out with the prick right now. Once I have Jess, we will be revisiting our alliance, his lackluster response has done very little to help my already less than impressed opinion of him.
“Excellent,” his smile falters ever so slightly. “I can’t help but wonder if we had just joined up to push the wild lands before she was taken, if we couldn’t have prevented this,” he trails off, heading into dangerous territory.
Is he trying to blame me for not doing more in his area?! But is he right? All that matters is finding them now.
The first sweep of the grid comes up empty as does the next two grids. That leaves two more grids to search tomorrow, as much as I want to push on we’ve been running nonstop and everyone is exhausted. Exhaustion leads to mistakes and mistakes cost lives.
“We are going to push on,” Guardian Wright says with Thomas behind her. “Strictly scouting, that will give the main party time to rest so that when we find something everyone is fresh.” I reluctantly nod, but the woman looks like she has the stamina of ten men.
“I’ll go with them,” Luke pipes up. Omegas make poor warriors but he is a natural born tracker that was late to bloom. Sara has taken a special interest to develop him to his full potential. His stamina is unmatched and will give them a tie to our link should they find something.
“Be careful,” I warn. “You’re just there to look, link us if you even think you’ve found something.”
“Yes Alpha,” he nods, grabbing his pack and taking off with the Guardians.
“He’ll be fine,” Sara comments, takes a seat, and passes me some protein bar garbage. “Eat, you can’t be running on empty when we find her.” I grumble but start to eat the chalky bar.
“Try and get some sleep. I’ll wake you up in a few hours to take over.” I nod, lean back against the tree, and am out in no time.
‘Alpha!’ Luke sears my mind link, startling me awake.
‘Where are you, what happened?’ I reply, instantly on my feet.
‘Ambushed, north of you. Got them all but they got me first,’ he trails off.
‘Hang on, we’re coming,’ I link back, motioning for Sara to get going.
Everyone in my pack and Rob’s is already on their feet ready to take off. We head north blindly but move on high alert, the scent of blood comes to us quickly over the next rise and the scene is complete carnage. Guardian Thomas and Luke lay slumped against a tree with Guardian Wright working the bodies.
“What happened?” I demand.
“Ambushed, like they knew we were coming!” She growls, her green eyes constantly scanning the area.
Fifteen against two Guardians and an Omega is shit odds, but they pulled it off.
“Sorry Alpha, I-”
“None of that! You did well, rest now,” I say, trying to force a grateful smile. Luke looks like shit, with blood coating most of his clothes and multiple bloody bandages around his arm, but I can see he’s already healing. Thomas didn’t look too bad, only the one major bite on his leg but his skin has a grey cast to it.
“Fuckers silvered me, the pussies,” he spits angrily. “I’ll be in fighting shape in no time.”
“The fuck you will,” Wright cuts in. “You’re staying here with Luke.”
“I’ve got a score to settle,” he argues, locking eyes with her.
“And I will settle it, I promise you that. But if I push to you and Derek’s in worse shape when we find him I won’t have enough for him,” she reasons, pursing her lips.
“This way,” Jace cuts in, pointing to a path to the left leading into dense woods. “They didn’t expect to lose, didn’t even try and cover their tracks.”
“Full alert, we can’t afford any more ambushes,” I growl, scanning the group. Wright’s warning sets my teeth on edge.
‘I want more squads here now, if she’s right someone is selling us out. Keep it quiet from everyone,’ I link Sara.
‘Got it, I’ll bring the fourth and fifth wild so they come fast. I’ll have the sixth come up asap with supplies, but that will get you bodies the fastest.’ Sara is a cunning tactician, she has more than earned her rank.
‘Perfect, this is between me and you, it will be easier to keep everyone in the dark to sell it,’ I reason.
“Maybe we should pull more bodies,” Jace suggests. “I mean we took the best but we don’t know what we’re walking into.”
“I’m not leaving the pack unprotected without knowing what we’re up against,” I dismiss him, noticing Rob’s third watching us. The guilt for leaving my Beta in the dark hits hard but he will understand.
“You sure? We may only have one chance at this?” Jace carefully questions.
He knows me far too well.
“Let’s go before the trail goes cold.”
Hang on baby, we’re coming.