Chapter 25 - The Plan
Daniel’s POV - Hours Earlier
I had figured, assumed, whatever you want to call it, that my first trip into the City for something other than business was going to be this fun, wild ride. Fun was not the way to describe it and the only thing wild about it were the pains that would just not go away.
The entire way here I felt like death would be a better alternative.
And dad was not even remotely sympathetic. In fact, he almost seemed happy that I was going through this. He had made sure to mention a few times that this was the Goddess’ justice and all that. I wasn’t in the mood but I didn’t have the physical capacity to argue with him.
We had been searching around, literally all over the place, for days. Dad had gotten the address for the small apartment that Tori and Irie were supposed to be staying at from Tori’s parents. But no one was there. He had gotten the landlord to tell him that they had moved out some time ago. One of the benefits of being an Alpha was the ability to get this kind of info out of other wolves. Knowing just about everything else about the girls might have helped too.
Dad called back to Tori’s parents to quiz them about the girl. Their response just gave me another headache. Not like the last one had ended, but still.
“Tori called a couple weeks ago and said that she had found her mate. It was hectic sounding and she mentioned packing up all of their stuff. Then she promised that after they had gotten settled, they would invite us for a visit.”
Dad asked what pack she had joined or if they knew if Irie was with her. He was being careful about saying why we were inquiring about Irie, making it seem like he was just checking on their safety. Neither of us had noticed that we couldn’t link Tori anymore, well until we tried just after leaving. Not that she would have responded even if we could. Well, maybe she would have to dad, but not to me.
“She didn’t say what pack and when I asked, she evaded the question. I was worried at first but then she explained that her mate was ranked and that he wanted to complete their bonding and have her all to himself, even if just for a little while. Oh and I think Irie is still with her. She mentioned that she and her mate and retrieved their things.”
Tori’s parents never had any concerns about their daughter or her choices. Honestly, she was very levelheaded and I couldn’t remember a time where she had caused or been in any trouble, so it made sense. Yet another thing that I had glossed over time and time again. Tori was a model pack member and had always made good choices. The fact that she wasn’t friends with, well, all of mine, and stayed away from drama was another reason she had earned that trust.
Right now Dad and I were really wishing that we had all trusted them a lot less.
Ever since we had left home, I was realizing more and more how fucking stupid I was. Looking back on everything, I didn’t have any real reason to think anything bad of Irie. She had always been, well, basically perfect. I always thought it was a show, another thing to endear her to my parents. Dad’s praises had graded on my ears for years.
Getting the actual truth out of them on the background on it all, well it connected dots that I had thrown around. All those things, with my now better understanding, had me thinking of her as the person instead of the enemy I had branded her as. She spent time helping at the clinic, working at the daycare, training with Tori. She had damn near perfect marks in school and hell, she never really even had any fights with anyone. Sure, she wasn’t really close to anyone except Tori, my parents, and the Beta family, but no one had a problem with her.
I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t beautiful too.
I hadn’t found my mate right after I turned eighteen and was fine with it. Faith had been my girlfriend for months by then and although neither of us felt the mate bond, we didn’t have any problem with that fact. We kept reinforcing to each other that we could just be together. Not every wolf found their mate, right?
But when I saw Irie that day and realized she was supposed to be mine, I didn’t know what to think. I was more than happy to have Faith as my choice mate. The only thing stopping me from marking her was that Dad insisted that I wait until after I turned twenty-one, to give it sufficient time for my true mate to show.
I know now that Faith had felt her position was always in jeopardy, so keeping my interest in her was priority. Once the bond was realized, poisoning my mind had seemed to her like the best idea. I didn’t blame her completely. I had been promising her for a long time that she would be my Luna. I had even been promoting the idea amongst my closest friends and Jacob, who would be my Beta. I was just as responsible for her behavior. I had cultivated it.
I was, no am, an idiot. A stubborn, selfish, idiot. And the constant pains I was feeling told me just how bad I had really fucked up. It didn’t help that dad was constantly telling me just how insulting to the Goddess I had been and how I better beg like a literal dog for Irie to take me back. I was doubting that she would. But he insisted I try.
“The bond between true mates isn’t easy to deny or fight. At least not when the mates are near each other..”
I still don’t know if his motivation to find her and help me win her back was because he wanted me to be happy or not. Obviously since the revelation that she was the moon baby, I had learned a lot more about why Irie spent so much time with Dad. He had always known that she would likely end up a Luna, so he and my mother had basically been preparing her from the moment she was brought to our pack. I don’t know if they secretly hoped I’d be her mate or not, but given how attentive she was versus how uninterested I was, it was obvious that they had favor for her.
On the way here, dad had warned me that once I started to accept the bond, rather than fight it, I’d start to feel my need for her grow. It wasn’t often that mates rejected each other, which yes I know, made me more of an ass. But there were cases were mates kept their distance before accepting each other. He had explained a few situations, such as when pairs were in different packs and met while still in school for instance. Generally it wasn’t just a matter of moving one over to the other. Because of that, the pair would have to fight the bond for a bit.
Once they stopped fighting or ignoring the bond, it was like a buildup let loose. Meaning that he expected me, once I really accepted it, to start panting after her like a starved man. He wasn’t exactly wrong either.
“What’s the plan here dad? We’ve gone over their apartment like it was a crime scene, yet nothing. We’ve searched every bar and club in the area. And we’ve questioned dozens of cashiers at the stores around here. Still nothing.”
He turned to me and I could see how pissed he was. That wasn’t my intent but I sure the hell had triggered it. “What, do you think we should just give up?”
“That’s not what I said. I just don’t know what to do next.”
Dad sighed and then motioned for me to follow him, again. “Come on, let’s sit down and get something to eat.”
We entered a small bar and sat down in one of the booths. There was a decent amount of people around, so I’m sure he had an ulterior motive, the same one he had everywhere we sent. To ask people if they had seen Tori and Irie. Dad was careful about making sure to talk about both of them and not just put the focus on Irie alone. The moon baby deal was something he put heavy stock on and wanted to make sure no one had any thoughts towards who she really was.
He had a few pictures of them in his pocket, school pictures I think. He would pull them out as he said, ‘have you seen these girls’ and then stuff back into hiding. Mostly he was looking to see if anyone knew what pack they had went to or even just who they had left with. I asked him about it once and got yet another snarky reply about how I ‘loose’ things. Like people. Whatever.
As if on replay, when a server came to see if we wanted anything, he pulled out the pictures and asked. After the server said no and then collected our orders, I finally lost it on him. “You know, if we haven’t found her by now, we’re not likely going to. Whomever whisked Irie away isn’t likely to let her go. If Tori is with her, you can bet your life that they aren’t being held against her will. Tori isn’t some weak-willed wolf and would fight if there was a problem. Even more so, all the pain that I’m in is a pretty good tell that she’s willingly participating.”
That was another thing I’d learned. The pain wasn’t something I’d feel unless my mate was a willing participant in the activities.
Before he could open his mouth, probably to jump my ass, someone else decided to jump in on our conversation.
“Did you say you were looking for Irie and Tori?” A pretty female with brown hair and eyes strolls over to us and stands at the end of the booth. The look on her face doesn’t scream helpful pedestrian to me.
“Do you know them?” My dad doesn’t even bother with the fact that this is the only person in days who seems to know those names. Or the fact that she popped up out of nowhere. Or again, that she doesn’t look like she’s in this for them.
“That depends. Why are you looking for them and what’s in it for me if I give you information?” Point proven, she’s not in this for them. Self-serving at best...
“Well miss, we’re looking specifically for Irie because she’s my son’s mate. Tori just happens to be her friend and would likely be with her. And as far as what’s in it for you, what exactly is it that you want?” Dad’s interest in this information is obviously. I can tell just by the fact that he opened the ‘negotiations’ asking that. I’m sure it’s painfully obvious to her too.
“I want a place in your pack, specifically a high ranking one.”
“And how do you know that I can even offer you that? Or that you would even want that since you have no idea where we are from.” At least he’s thinking enough to ask and throw something back.
“I can tell you’re an Alpha. I’ve been a warrior for years and have spent a lot of time in the presence of Alphas. It’s just part of your aura. I’m also not stupid. I’ve seen your face before and know who you are and what pack you’re from. I know it isn’t a shithole.” Intelligence can be just as dangerous as stupidity. This one reeks of dangerous intellect and stupidity. Calling out who dad is when he was obviously keeping it to himself is basically posturing.
Dad appears to be pondering how to respond. I can’t tell what is running through his mind, but based on the fact that he hasn’t reacted, he must not feel she is a threat. Giving her a look over, I can tell she’s pretty toned. Between that and the intelligence, I’m not sure it’s a good idea not to think of her that way, but I can see at least that Dad’s sizing her up too.
“Fine, as long as your information lead us to her, I can guarantee you a place. But you’ll earn anything of rank. I can promise my support though.” Jee, don’t sound so desperate.
“She’s in RiverRun.”
“Daniel, let’s go.” He was already geared up and ready to head out. We both knew where that was so it wasn’t like we needed anything more.
“Hold up. You may want to have a bit more information before you jump in ass first.” Dad cocked a brow at her attitude but she continued her explanation without pause. “Tori is mated to the Beta, Kota. The Alphas plan on marking Irie at a ceremony under the full moon, tonight.”
I had been paying attention to her the entire time, but that comment wired me pretty fast. My wolf shot up, interested and angry over someone marking his mate. That wasn’t the only thing I clued in on.
“What the fuck do you mean mark her? And what do you mean by Alphas? Like two?”
“He speaks. RiverRun’s Alphas are twins. Damien and Ian. And they plan to mark her as their Luna tonight.” Her cocky attitude isn’t calming me down at all. I gloss over that for now, needing to be more focused on a few other glaring facts and concerns.
“I get the feeling that you’re from there, aren’t you?” She nods. “Why are you giving us this information, wouldn’t your Alphas see that as treason?”
“They are no longer my Alphas. I questioned her right to be their Luna and paid the price. I have been there for Ian for years and he was going to choose me until she seduced them both.” I didn’t like the way she was talking about Irie but I wasn’t going to interrupt her tirade since she was giving us info. Dad was sitting back too, just listening. She prattled on about a few things, reminding me of how Faith talked for a bit, then caught my interest again.
“During my questioning her real motives, she collapsed and they blamed me for it, then threw me out. I have always been loyal to them and to the pack, and they threw that away. No questions, no attempt to hear my side, just threw me away like garbage.”
Dad must have heard enough because he got up, then started walking toward the exit. “Come on Daniel. You too I suppose. Uh, what’s your name?”
“Come on Riley. I assume based on what you’ve said, you know your way around the territory, which will be helpful. Given that we have very little time it seems, I don’t want to chance getting lost once we get there.” Dad was already up and out of the booth with both of us trailing right behind him.
“Are you sure you want to do this. I have no problem taking back my mate, if she’ll have me, but you’ll never be able to go back.” The malice in her tone when she was talking about her ordeal, combined with my experiences with Faith clue me into the fact that she’s feeling victimized, spurned, whatever. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into revenge reactions like this. Not much but hate.
“I don’t plan on going back. But do you really think that she’s going to take you back? When I was booted out, she seemed pretty determined to stay there with them.” She had a fair point. The same point that I had made to dad in fact.
“Don’t worry about that.” Dad piped in. “Since we started looking for them, I’ve been poking around to see what options we have. We can’t force her to accept a bond, no were council would ever agree to that. But we can potentially prevent others from claiming her.” I hadn’t heard any of this and I hadn’t even known he was looking into things. I mean, there had been plenty of times I was out cold, but still.
Dad mind linked me, obviously not wanting to give up too much information to Riley. Good call since I didn’t really trust her.
Illyria is the moon baby, meaning she’s intended to be with her true mate and be mother to the next generation of leaders. There’s nothing in lore about a moon baby being with anyone but their true mate. I’m pretty sure that I can convince the council to restrict these Alphas from marking her.
He had to have been thinking on this for a while. This wasn’t a plan he had just thought up on the fly. And what’s the plan then, convince her that the best thing to do would be to give me another chance?
Like I said earlier, true mates are drawn to each other. You’re clearly already feeling the pull to her. With enough time with you, she would be likely to give you a chance just because nature demands it.
We hopped in the car and, with Riley, and headed toward RiverRun.
It was already late when we left, so by the time we got there, the place was already pretty closed off due to the ceremony. And we weren’t exactly invited. Luckily for us, another Alpha and Luna that dad knew were there to visit, and we were able to get inside with them. Riley had given us information on where to go before hopping out of the car too. We separated from the couple just after getting inside, Dad said it wouldn’t be good for us to be caught before we could catch Irie.
Only we just about didn’t catch her. We caught sight of her only after we heard one of the Alphas making their speech, just before they were to mark her.
Dad yelled out before that could happen. “Wait!”