Chapter 27 - Shock and Awe
I don’t think Mark had really thought about the fact that he had taught me enough to deal with just about anything in the political aspect of pack business. I know damn well he probably never thought that his own teachings would be used against him. But sadly for him, it was happening.
Mark had spent years teaching me about the political aspect of the Alpha and Luna positions. I spent hours and hours reading through the collection of council readings and rules and even giving my perspective on them. Those lessons are exactly how I knew what he was going to go for when he mentioned taking this to the council.
The likelihood was that they would push me to spend time with Daniel, under their supervision, so that I could test and see if I could form some sort of bond with him. They’d also force Damien and Ian to stay away from me. I couldn’t very well have that now.
Again, this is where all that that knowledge that he had shoved into my head came in handy. I was certain about the likelihood of the council’s action with the knowledge Mark thought he had. I was also very certain that with the added secret I had, they would do nothing. In fact, if Mark was stupid enough to still bring this to their attention, he would probably be admonished.
To say that he was floored would be a light way to explain it. He, and everyone else, was just and outright shocked. The best part about sharing socking news, for instance, telling everyone you were pregnant, was the ecstatic displays of joy from family.
My mother and Laura both jumped up and grabbed me from my mates. To be clear, I don’t mean they came over and hugged us all and slowly weaseled me out of Damien and Ian’s grasp while gushing and crying. No, I mean they legitimately jumped up, full on yanked me out of their arms, and were jumping around and hugging me. If I wasn’t sure that neither of these two would hurt me, I would have been afraid to be trampled.
While I was holding on to prevent an accidental trampling, I was also instantly surrounded with comments like, ‘I’m going to be a grandma!’, ‘I can’t wait for grand-pup cuddles!’ and ‘The first of many grand-pups to spoil!’ That last one made me think those two were a bit pup crazy. I almost wanted to ask exactly how many pups they thought I was going to put out. I was afraid of the possible answer, so I didn’t ask.
Meanwhile, Damien and Ian were stunned and speechless, just standing there like statues. I had looked over at them, trying to silently ask for help, but they hadn’t even moved. They were still standing, exactly as they were when my mother and Laura snatched me. I’d ask someone to check them for pulse but I could see blinking eyes and them mouthing thinks like, wha.. what?
Then, because who can forget them, there was my father and Charles. I thought the prior Lunas were bad at first but oh, oh no. Those two were clapping my mates statue like mates on their back and raving about the whole thing. The comments, oh Goddess! Things like Glad you boys know how to work it!, You know the only reason I’m not murdering you is because I get a grandchild, and my personal not favorite, Good job getting down to business.
The fact that my dad was the one to spew out the last two was just so endearing. Ew dad, just plain ew. What a way to reconnect with my parents...
As much as I seem to be whining about the best parts of this, well, it was much better than the other side. Because the worst part about shocking news, such as pregnancy, is the appalling displays of jealousy and upset you get from people who don’t like your sort of news. Case in point, Daniel, and Mark. Both of which were standing off to the side, but definitely not speechless. More like stark raving mad.
This is how I could tell that Mark hadn’t thought about everything he had taught me by the way. He was generally pretty calm and collected. Not anymore.
“She isn’t even marked yet, how the hell could this have happened.” I really wanted to ask if he was really asking that question. Maybe he should go through health class again. “This must be some kind of joke.”
“What the hell, this is bullshit.” I hadn’t expected Daniel to actually say anything. I mean the entire time he had really been kind of sideline quiet. He also didn’t seem to have a lot of feelings about this whole thing, until now that is.
The funny part about this was that my wolf was strutting around in my head, like she was showing off the ‘not really there’ bump to those two. Which was just stupid because it isn’t like anyone could see her, but oh, was she strutting. If I would shift right now, that’s exactly what she would do. And maybe pee on someone’s shoe.
While I’m laughing at my wolf and my own though process, Mark of course has to just push the bar as far as he possibly can. “Was this even consensual?”
I was seriously starting to think that he had lost his damn mind. He was basically asking for every other male in the room to shift and rip him to shreds. I mean who the hell asks something like that when I’m legitimately arguing with him about going with. What is wrong with some people.
“You may want to think very carefully about your next words. What exactly are you accusing us of?” Damien was holding Ian back while he said that. I mean he was outright restraining him because Ian was the one about ready to rip him to shreds. I was standing in front of them both, trying to calm them while the mother hens stood around us. I think it was just so they could pull me to the side if it got sketchy again.
“I’m saying that if she is in fact truly mated to both of you, considering there are two, how do we know that you didn’t use the bond to overpower her senses? I think she should be sequestered with the council, away from all of us, and interviewed. That’s the only way that we’d know that whatever this is, hasn’t impacted her decision-making abilities.”
It’s a sure thing now, he has lost his mind. He should know damn well that unless the female herself was coming to them for help, the council would not separate mates. Or perspective mates. Or just pups from their blood. Especially not Alpha pups.
Damien and Ian grabbed me back and were holding me tightly between them now. I was going to end up with a case of whiplash after this. Unsurprisingly, both of them ended up with an arm around my middle as they did though, which felt kind of nice. I can’t say exactly how, but even with arms wrapped around me, tightly I might add, I was also very comfortable in their embrace. I felt protected, safe. Guarded against the insanity literally in the room with us.
“You are not taking her from us. Try and I’ll gut you where you stand. I’ll do so in front of every council member there is too.” Oh Ian. It might be the hormones but the murderous rage he was displaying was kind of hot.
“We have done nothing to impair her mental abilities. The only thing we’ve done is treat her as a mate should. In fact, I would say that we’ve helped her mental state after your shitty son did some serious damage. So please, try it. Between whooping your ass and making a fool out of you two in front of the men who you think will support you, it’ll be a hell of a time.” I was thinking that at least Damien wasn’t threatening them. But then he added that other part. Oh, then there were the not-so-subtle growls which easily said they were about to do more than that.
“Oh for the love of... I am an adult and knew full well what I’ve been doing. These two have had their own mess ups and have done the right thing by talking through situations with me. Considering Daniel’s choice was to reject me, shut the door on me, and proceed to screw his girlfriend after the fact. Damien and Ian have never done anything that’s made me attempt suicide, unlike Daniel.” My mother’s indrawn breath made me cringe.
They didn’t need to know that, but it’s a bit too late now. At least I didn’t blurt out everything.
“What the hell! I trusted her care, her future, and specifically her safety with you, Mark. First I find out that your son had rejected her, now I’m hearing that his bullshit caused more issues. You swore to me that you would protect her. Tell me how exactly you didn’t notice shit like that.” My father had Mark’s shirt in his fist and I’m pretty sure was about to pound his face in. If not Mark’s, then Daniel’s for sure. Luckily for them, my mother was already pulling him back and keeping him from doing so.
Everyone was arguing now. First it was about how Daniel’s crap was more likely to have been an impact to my mental status than anything Damien and Ian could or have done. Then we moved on to commentary about my pregnancy. You know, how this isn’t good for my emotional state and that any separation could be harmful to both the pup and I.
All I wanted to do today was get marked by my mates. Well, maybe I wanted them to do more to me than that. Anyway, at the rate this was going, I wasn’t getting any of my wishes. I seriously just wanted to get the marking ceremony over with.
“What do you think you are going to gain from this? Separate me from my mates, the fathers of my child, to what? Have me talk to a bunch of men about who I want to be with. There isn’t any other choice and you know it. You also know that they wouldn’t dream of doing that given my condition. Especially with the very small amount I’ve just said.”
Since he hadn’t been listening very well, I figured blunt and straightforward might be the best bet. I just wanted to end this ridiculous meeting, move on from this stupid argument, and try and end the night on a good note.
“You know as well as I that even if we separated all of them, sequestered her, and then had the council talk to her, they would instantly return her to my sons. No wolf, no Alpha, is going to keep a pregnant mate from her males. Especially if her desire is to stay with them. Furthermore, once the council is made aware of who she is and what has happened, there wouldn’t be any argument. Like she said, they wouldn’t think twice. And they are most likely to let and want her stay in the most capable hands, for safety purposes. Do you recall the last pack ranking list, what pack is at the top?”
No one in the room needed to think about that answer. RiverRun was the highest-ranking pack in the area. No one outside the pack really knew its true size and the magnitude of their success, but they all knew that it was not a good idea to mess with them. The pack was at the top of earning reports, educational and production reports, and warrior, strength standings. The standings outright told other packs; we will tear you apart.
It made me proud. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be associated with them. And the men that lead it were mine.
Mark’s face was priceless. Absolutely priceless. He had been digging his heels in the entire time, using every single argument he could. Even when I was throwing his own knowledge back at him.
Everything Charles had just said had destroyed every single argument or possible stance he had. He was right of course. We could all say it a hundred times and he could argue a hundred times. The reality would always be that no Alpha would force any pregnant female away from her mates.
It wouldn’t matter if they were choice or true, a pregnant female was not something to mess with. Although marking was usually the reason for it, separation from their mate could be detrimental to the pregnancy. Given how unprecedented my case was, I doubted they’d even attempt to challenge the fact that I wasn’t marked. But then add on RiverRun’s standings, there would be no way the council would support Mark. None of those Alphas would want to be on the bad side of my mates.
“If that doesn’t settle this mess, then I don’t know what else will convince you. Listen to me. I’m. Not. Changing. My. Mind.” I enunciated every word, hoping they would get through their thick skulls. Well, mainly Mark. Daniel had gone back to being quiet.
“We have a marking ceremony to finish and you not only weren’t invited but have delayed it long enough. Unless anyone else wants to make some big dramatic deal over something and further piss me off, I say we end this.” Not a peep out of anyone. I was a bit surprised that he had finally given up. Surprised but happy as hell.
“Alright then, can we go now?” I didn’t even wait, I walked right out of the office.
Kota was just outside the door and I asked him to go and make sure everything was ready, we’re finishing the ceremony damn it. As I descended the stairs, I heard more arguing. “Hurry up, we’ve got people waiting!” I don’t know what they could possibly still be going on about.
I feel like my life over the last few months has been nothing but dramatics. I don’t even want it to be, yet I continue to find myself in the middle of it. I’ve been responsible for some and I’ve been surrounded by the rest. I’m so far over it at this point.
I just kept walking even with the voices and all still yipping behind me. I got all the way down the stairs and to the front door before I paused. I turned around and didn’t see anyone behind me. Unfortunately. I had hoped that they would quickly follow me down and out. But no, I could still hear some light rumbles from upstairs, meaning that they were still fighting about something.
“Seriously, enough is enough.” It was like herding cats, I swear. I went to climb back up the stairs when I felt someone grab my arm. I instantly went to swing back but I wasn’t fast enough. There was a pinch in my neck and I started to feel lightheaded.
“What the...” I couldn’t say anything else. The words were caught in my throat, unable to come out.
“Sorry not sorry. I thought that just maybe they would be able to get their way and leave with you. Well, I had a bit of hope. I knew that Damien and Ian wouldn’t give up that easily. It just isn’t like them to give up. Now, since those two idiots seemingly didn’t get the job done, obviously I’m going to have to do it myself.” I was losing consciousness fast and my legs were giving out.
“Come on princess, you’re coming with me. We’re going to go for a nice long drive.” I was being drug somewhere. I knew that voice too.
I turned my head enough to see her smirk at me. Then everything went dark.
I don’t know how long it was when I kind of regained consciousness. I tried to open my eyes several times, but they were so heavy. At least that’s what it felt like. I could hear someone talking and made out what sounded like wind blowing by. All I could think was, where am I? I tried a few more times to open my eyes, but it was taking so much strength to even try, that I was becoming very, very tired. Eventually, even the sounds washed away.
I wondered for a bit if I was dying. No, I wasn’t, but it was still scary.
I went in and out of consciousness many times, although I couldn’t say that it was over minutes or even hours. I couldn’t tell how much time passed between each period of ‘wakefulness’. Each time, I tried to open my eyes but simply couldn’t. Each time I could hear someone talking or maybe a radio playing and sounds of the outdoors. Wind was the most prevalent sound, making me think I was moving. Or I guess being moved.
I couldn’t move anything; I couldn’t even really feel anything. The only sense I had was my hearing and that was only when I wasn’t out. The only thing I knew was that Riley had done something to me and I was obviously not int he pack house anymore.