Chapter 12 ~~Endings part 2~~
They got a table and Ethan and Mitch chose to have a beer but not being a drinker as well as underage, Kia just had a cola. But they all decided they wanted chicken wings and nachos. They placed their order and Mitch handed over the folder of information he had gotten so far.
Kia had to take a deep breath before she opened it and Ethan squeezed her knee under the table in encouragement. Kia pulled out the report and read that her parents’ names were John and Alison Peterson and they had been residing near Sioux Falls at the time of the accident. There was a rural route address and the name of the funeral home that had dealt with their remains in Sheridan but that was about all.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t find much more than that in such a short amount of time but hopefully it will give you a place to start. I would say your next move would be to the state birth records office to file for a copy of your birth certificate.” Mitch said squirming on his seat as he watched her face and her eyes filled with tears.
“Thank you so much Mitch. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. No one could tell me anything, not only because I was still a minor but because they claimed not to know much of anything.
After I got out of the hospital I was sent to the children’s home in Buffalo. I was placed in several homes over the years I was there but then when I was almost 12 I was placed with a family that I thought was going to adopt me. The man got a job and we moved to Omaha. Six months later they found out he had cancer and I was put back in foster care again. Since then it’s been a few weeks or months here, a few weeks or months there.
The only saving grace was that Ms. Kay managed to find me homes that were in the same school district so I didn’t have to move schools too much. Then this last place, the man tried to rape me as soon as his wife went out of town over night. I kicked him in the privates and ran for it. That’s when Ethan found me sleeping on a bus stop bench by my high school.” Kia told Mitch.
“Why didn’t you call the police?” Mitch asked.
“You know what, I was so scared that it never occurred to me. I’ve gotten to be pretty self-sufficient over the years. My only concern at the time was to get away from Doug to some place safe.” Kia said.
“A lot of kids end up on the street because of people like him, some of them running from people who are not even foster parents but their own flesh and blood. They have been abused physically, mentally or sometimes even sexually and it’s not just girls. Boys too. I can understand why Ms. Kay couldn’t find anything.
She’s probably got more on her plate than she can handle as it is that doing something like research to find a missing family kind of gets pushed under the rug for “some day” but some day rarely ever comes.
Some kids end up in all kinds of trouble, usually with drugs, prostitution, crimes of all kinds and lately we’ve been having trouble with white slavers. They find these kids living on the street and promise them a safe, warm, dry place to stay and then when they have them, they 9 times out of 10 get them hooked on drugs and then turn around and sell them to the highest bidder. So Kia, you are one of the lucky ones.” Mitch said.
“It must be hard, being a cop and seeing all of that and knowing that there is only so much you can do.” Ethan said.
“Yes, it is. I’ve been thinking for a long time about changing jobs but unless I find my mate or I can find something that pays better, I’m going to stay and do what I can to help those that I can help.” Mitch said. “But enough about work. Let’s eat!” he said as the waiter sat their orders of wings and nacho’s down in the middle of the table.
Because they had a long way to drive, Ethan and Kia left soon as they were done eating, after Ethan got Mitch to promise to come to the Luna Ball.
“Just let me know when and I’ll put in for a couple of days off.” Mitch said and then waved to them as they pulled out of their parking stall and headed for the highway to home.
On the way, they talked about the Luna Ball and made plans to come into town early on Friday to go to the office where Kia would be able to get a copy of her birth certificate.
“We’ll rent a hotel room in town so that we don’t have to worry about driving back so late.” Ethan said.
“Oh that’s great. I think the ball is supposed to last from 7 till midnight.” Kia said. “I don’t care about staying that late but I would like to go. It will be the only dance I’ve ever attended with my classmates.”
“We don’t really have things like that at the pack school. Mainly because there are just not enough of one grade at a time to have one. We give the seniors a party for graduation but formal wear is not required.” Ethan said.
“No junior prom? No homecoming dance? How sad.” Kia said.
“Did you go to the junior prom?” Ethan asked.
“No. No one asked me. I could have gone stag but I couldn’t afford to buy a fancy dress and shoes and my foster parents at the time, well let’s just say that I was lucky to get food and a place to sleep off the floor from them so when it was junior prom time and there was no way they were paying for the prom expenses. Oh darn, I just remembered. There is a fee to go to the senior ball and I haven’t paid it yet because I didn’t expect to go.” Kia said.
“Can’t we pay for it that night?” Ethan asked.
“Yeah, I think so. It’s $50.00 per person.” Kia said.
“Wow, do they provide a sit down meal for that price?” Ethan said.
“No. There will be appetizers and punch but the fee is more to cover the cost of the live band and for the decorations. A full sit down dinner for that many people would have sent the price so high that most of the kids couldn’t afford to go.” Kia said.
“Yeah, everything costs money nowadays.” Ethan said.
When they got close to the house, Ethan got quiet and Kia could tell that he was mind linking with someone.
“Is everything OK?” Kia asked.
“Yeah. Just letting my folks and Jared know that we are almost home. Jared says it’s been quiet today.”
About 20 minutes later they pulled into the garage and Josh opened the door for them. “Jared and your parents are in the living room with the Bryerson’s.” He reported as soon as they got out of the SUV.
They grabbed their things out of the back of the SUV and left them in the kitchen before making their way into the living room.
“Ah, son. I’m so glad you made it home before the Bryerson’s left. We are going to have a memorial service tomorrow. We’ve made all of the arrangements to have his remains buried on the land behind their house.” Marcus said.
Ethan turned to the Bryerson’s and said “I’m sorry I couldn’t be here today but we had business in the city to attend to. Hello, Tanya. I’m sorry you had to come home for such a sad reason but I would like to introduce you to my mate and your new Luna. This is Kia. Kia, this is Tanya Bryerson, Ronalds baby sister.” Ethan said.
“Mate? Wow. I didn’t know. Welcome Luna.” Tanya said with a sad smile but her mind was going a mile a minute as she eyed Kia. Ethan just prayed that she would not say anything about Janice.
He would mind link with Tanya and ask her to not say anything but that seemed like he was betraying Kia by asking a member of the pack to hide a secret that would come out eventually anyway.
One of these days, Kia was bound to meet Janice. If Janice made a scene, Ethan would again explain to her, in front of Kia, that Janice never has meant anything other than as a friend to him and that he had never promised her anything, especially the position of Luna. Janice was just going to have to get over her fantasies of one day being Luna on her own and accept that Kia was now his mate and the pack Luna.
Together they went over the plans that had been made for the funeral and memorial service tomorrow.
“We want to thank you for all you are doing but I think it’s time we went home. I know I’m exhausted and while I doubt if I will sleep, we need to rest as much as we can and we will be at the church first thing in the morning.” Donald Bryerson said as he helped his wife to stand up.
It was nearly 10 pm by the time Kia and Ethan made it to their room. They took a shower together but didn’t make love, both of them feeling rather solemn after the meeting downstairs. They went to bed and just snuggled, thinking over things in their own minds until they fell asleep.
The next morning, everyone was rather quiet around the breakfast table but Angela did ask about the information Kia had received about her parents.
“I found out their names were John and Alison Peterson and that they were living near Sioux Falls so we must have been about half way home when the accident happened. At least now I can apply for a copy of my birth certificate.” Kia said.
“Speaking of which, do mothers who give birth here register the birth with the state?” Ethan asked his parents.
“Yes, of course. You can’t hardly do anything nowadays without a birth certificate.” Angela said. “It didn’t used to be that way but nowadays it’s required by law that children have to be registered when they are born as well as having to apply for a social security number. I think that became a law when they started the federal census back in the early 1900’s. It was a way for the government to keep track of who was born in the US and who was an immigrant.”
“Talking about having babies, where is Lily?” Kia asked. She hadn’t realized until they began talking about it but she hadn’t been coming to meals lately.
“Late term morning sickness. She hasn’t been feeling well, that’s why she hasn’t been around much. She’s only got a few weeks left, if that.” Angela answered and smiled at Jared who seemed to turn about three shades of green in a heartbeat. He was nervous about becoming a father but more so, he was worried about his mate. This pregnancy had not been easy for her.
“Well, church is at 9 am so I guess we had better get going. Won’t do for us all to be late.” Marcus said as he pushed away from the table. He helped Angela with her chair and Ethan helped Kia with hers. They all filed out of the house and into the waiting vehicles that were parked in the drive.
The funeral was very solemn and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone followed the Bryerson’s home and they laid Ronald to rest under the branches of a large oak tree in their backyard and then everyone went back to the pack house where Edith had prepared a nice lunch for all of the funeral attendees, which was pretty much the entire pack that wasn’t currently on patrol around the borders of the pack lands.
Kia finally got to see how big the pack was and how many house staff were actually employed to take care of all the household members. There were maids winding their way around the room making sure that everyone had what they needed and Edith packed up two baskets for the Bryerson’s to take home when they finally left around 1 that afternoon.
As soon as they were gone, Angela pulled Kia to the side. “Nasty business funerals. I pray that is the last one we will have to have for a while. Let’s talk about planning your Luna Ball. What is your favorite color?”
“I’ve always been rather partial to blues. Why?” Kia asked.
“Your favorite color will dictate how we decorate the ballroom. Any particular color of blue?” Angela asked.
“No, not really. But I will say I do love the color of Ethan’s eyes.” Kia said with a blush and Angela grinned. “But shouldn’t we use the pack colors when we decorate?”
“We can if you prefer but we can add some blue in there as well. What size ring do you wear?” Angela asked.
“Well, I ordered a size 5 for my class ring but I haven’t had a chance to try it on yet.” Kia said.
“Well, when you do, please let me know.” Angela said. “The night of the Luna ball we will have dinner and dance to live music. What is your favorite food and what type of music do you like?”
“I’m not really picky when it comes to either but if I have to choose, I like Italian the most and music is just about anything except for the opera and heavy metal. Oh and I can’t stand the dirty rap that so many of the kids are into today. In fact, if that’s all they play at the senior ball, we might be home early.”
“Are you getting excited about going to the senior ball?” Angela smiled at her.
“Yes! I’ve never been to a dance before. I wasn’t going to go to this one but then Ethan agreed to take me and after the reaction we got at school today, I think I’m really going to enjoy going.” Kia said with a sly smile.
“Hahahaha! I hope you have a wonderful time.” Angela said.
“What happens at the Luna Ball? I mean, am I supposed to give a speech or anything like that?” Kia asked. She hated public speaking and knew that if it was going to be required of her, she was going to make a fool out herself, probably by throwing up in front of everyone.
“No. No speech is required. You will however make an entrance and then Ethan will introduce you to the entire pack as the new pack Luna. Now about your entrance. Would you like to come out in your human form or as your wolf?” Angela wanted to know.
“How did you do yours?” Kia asked.
“I came out as my wolf but then I had to disappear to get dressed before I could make a second entrance in my human form. I know now that I wish I had done it the other way.” Angela smiled at her.
“Oh, please do tell me. I’m lost when it comes to stuff like this. I do hope I can count on you to help me learn to be a good Luna.” Kia asked shyly.
“Of course. Your decisions affect the entire pack so you have to learn to think things through before speaking or acting. That was the hardest thing for me to learn since I used to be very prone to speak my mind about my own feelings before thinking about how my decisions would affect everyone else.” Angela told her.
“I think that’s going to be a big problem for me as well since I’ve never really had anyone to watch after, except for other foster kids at the homes where I was placed.
A lot of foster families only take in older foster kids to be built in and unpaid maids or babysitters for their own younger children. I love kids but resented being forced to babysit for them especially when it meant I had to miss out on doing things I wanted to do, like going to parties or other school events with kids my own age.” Kia confided.
“I understand. Well, I won’t tell you that being a Luna is easy but it can also be very rewarding. You will be sort of like the mother or aunt that a lot of the members of the pack are missing those members. After I had Ethan, it became a lot easier for me because I had to think about what was best for him before I would even think about what was best for me.” Angela said.
“Did you and Marcus ever formally marry?” Kia asked.
“Yes. We had a small wedding because the pack wasn’t nearly as big as it is now and then we spent a whole week in Greece and another in England as our honeymoon. Even though Marcus met with some other packs there and we ended up with part of our honeymoon being spent on business matters, it was wonderful.” Angela shared with her.
Angela sensed that Kia was hoping that Ethan would propose to her and that they could have the fairytale wedding that every young woman dreams of and she made a mental note to talk to Ethan about it. Men are sometimes just so clueless.
Angela told her “This weekend we will get together with the pack seamstresses and design you a dress for the Luna Ball that will knock everyone’s eyes out.”
Kia was so overcome with emotion that she hugged Angela and had big tears in her eyes as she said “Thank you so much!”
“Whatever for? I haven’t done much yet.” Angela returned her hug but was lost as to what Kia meant.
“For making me feel so welcome and for trusting me to be able to learn to be your son’s mate and the Luna of this pack. I promise to do the best I can.” Kia gulped.
Angela felt tears well up as she replied. “I’m sure you will be both an excellent mate to my son and Luna to this pack. Come on. Let’s go check on Lily. She’s been feeling very guilty that she hasn’t been able to perform her Beta duties because of the morning sickness that has been lasting most of the day, poor thing.” Angela said and led her through the halls to the bedroom three doors down from her and Ethan’s bedroom.
They spent about an hour visiting with Lily, who was propped up in bed, looking rather pale but she claimed to be feeling better today. “I’m so sorry that I haven’t been there for you Luna but this pup has been messing with my stomach and left me feeling so lightheaded that I can’t get any farther away from the bed than a few feet before I feel like I’m going to pass out. I told Jared that he should just set me up a bed in our bathroom.” Lily apologized.
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve got a LOT to learn and right now I’m just trying to get stuff from my old life settled before I actually start even trying to be the pack Luna. You just take care of yourself and have a healthy baby. We will have time to work together once you are back on your feet.” Kia reassured her.
When they left Lily’s room, Angela walked back to Kia and Ethan’s room with her and Kia tried on her class ring which fit perfectly on either her right or left hand but she chose to wear it on her right hand and Angela knew it was so she wouldn’t have to take it off if or rather when Ethan proposed to her.
“How are you going to wear your hair that night?” Angela asked.
“I don’t know yet. I rarely ever do more than just braid it when I go to sleep at night or when I know I’m going to be active during the day.” Kia admitted.
“Do you mind?” Angela asked as she put her hand out to touch Kia’s hair. “I could help you put it up to look a little fancier than just a braid down your back if you like?” Kia nodded her approval and turned her back to Angela slightly.
“I would like that. Thank you.” Kia said.
“My goodness. It’s not just long but very thick. How do you deal with the heat?” Angela said as she ran her fingers through the long silky strands. She immediately realized she was going to need help and mind linked the girl that she had chosen to be Kia’s personal maid.
A few minutes later, a young woman knocked on the bedroom door and Angela called out. “Come on in, Lucy.”
Lucy was only slightly taller than Kia but she was slightly heavy set, with chestnut colored hair, warm brown eyes, a small button nose and a ready, bright white smile. She was dressed in a standard maids uniform of a black dress that stopped right at the knees with a white apron and sensible shoes. She stepped into the room carrying what looked like a makeup case and a carry all tote. Angela introduced the two women
“Kia, this is Lucy. She will be your personal maid. She will take care of your clothes and anything else you need.” Angela said with authority. “She’s also a great seamstress.”
“Welcome to the Silver Forest Pack, Luna. Please let me know if there is anything that you need that I’m not already doing.” Lucy said with a curtsy.
“I have a personal maid?” Kia looked at Angela with wide eyes in disbelief.
“Um, hello Lucy and thank you. I’ve never had a personal maid before.”
“Lucy will make sure your clothes are kept washed, mended, pressed and ready for you at all times. She’s an excellent seamstress so if things need to be adjusted, she can take care of it. If you need help getting dressed or when you are ill, Lucy will be the one to attend to you. She’s also very talented when it comes to hair.”
They spent the next hour playing with Kia’s hair, styling it different ways and everyone finally agreed that Lucy would pile most of it on her head in a ponytail and then braid a portion and wrap it around the base of the ponytail then curl the rest to hang freely down her back. Lucy produced some lovely blue butterfly pins to push into the braided portion that would help keep it in place while she danced and moved around.
“Oh yes, I think that will look great with your gown. It’s fancy without being overdone. Well done, Lucy.” Angela said. “Well, as much as I’m enjoying this, Marcus is calling me. You two spend some time getting to know each other but don’t forget dinner is going to be served soon. We’re having lasagna tonight!”
After Angela left, Kia glanced over at Lucy and said “Tell me about yourself, please?”
“Well, my mom is Edith and my dad is Jacob, he’s the head gardener and works closely with Angela to keep the gardens and grounds looking their best. I’m 21 years old and so far, have not found my mate, I’m sad to say but I’m hopeful that one day soon I will. I was born here in the pack hospital and I have a younger sister and a brother.
I like music and art and would love to become a fashion designer one day. Angela wasn’t wrong when she said I’m good at sewing because it’s a passion for me. I love working with fabrics and can never resist going to the textile store and just running my hands over the different fabrics.” Lucy said. She definitely wasn’t a shy person and Kia smiled as she described herself and what she wanted to do with her life.
“Did your mom teach you how to sew?” Kia asked.
“Yes, some but she has enough to do with keeping up with the kitchen and the staff that it requires to keep such a large pack fed three meals a day.” Lucy said.
“I don’t know how she does it. I can barely manage scrambled eggs, bacon or boil hot dogs. The foster homes I grew up in quickly learned that I’m not very adept in the kitchen.” Kia grinned.
“You were an orphan? Oh that must have been awful.” Lucy said with compassion.
Kia explained about her parents death and growing up in the foster care system. “But yesterday I found out my parents’ names and now I can find out where I came from. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that.
All I could remember after the accident was my first name. I only knew my parents by mommy and daddy and I had no clue where we lived. I just remember a big house in the woods with lots of smaller houses around it, just like it is here. Until Ethan found me, I didn’t even know I was a werewolf. I just thought my wolf was my subconscious.”
“Oh wow! I can’t even imagine not knowing my wolf. She is my very best friend.” Lucy said.
“Can I see her?” Kia asked.
“Sure. Excuse me. I’ll just step in here.” Lucy said as she walked to the bathroom and quickly stripped out of her clothes before returning to the bedroom as a mostly reddish brown wolf. The fur on her belly and under her chin was more blonde than the rest of her and she stood about half way between Kia’s waist and shoulder. Kia put out her hand and Lucy walked over and allowed Kia to scratch behind her ears. Her eyes were a honey colored gold and seemed to almost glow as Kia smiled at her.
“Hang on. I’ll be right back.” Kia said and quickly walked to the bathroom and stripped. She wasn’t as fast at shifting but she noticed that it wasn’t as painful this time as it had been before.
She stepped back into the bedroom and the look of surprise that showed on Lucy’s wolf’s face was comical. Tia stood several inches taller than Lucy’s wolf but as they touched noses, Kia somehow knew that Lucy and her wolf were going to be good friends to her and Tia.
“You look amazing, Luna. You are truly beautiful. I expected you to be all black, like Alpha Ethan. Your mask makes you look very mysterious.” Lucy linked to Tia.
Tia mind linked back “What is your wolf’s name?”
“Lana.” she replied.
“Very nice to meet you, Lana. I’m Tia. I do hope we are going to be fast friends from now on.”
“I would like that very much.” Lana replied. “As much as I’m enjoying getting to know you, you are going to be late for dinner if we don’t get a move on.” Lana said and headed back to the bathroom.
She quickly shifted and came back out fully dressed carrying Kia’s clothes, neatly folded. She laid them on the end of the bed and then turned her back to gather up her stuff while Tia shifted back to Kia.
Together they left the bedroom and while Lucy left her to return her makeup and hair supplies to her room, Kia went to join Ethan and the others for dinner.
Kia could smell the lasagna as soon as she hit the ground floor and she hurried in to find everyone standing in the buffet line. It was easier for everyone if they helped themselves instead of Edith choosing the portions and serving them individually.
Everyone enjoyed the delicious meal and chatted comfortably. No one mentioned the funeral or Ronald’s death for which Kia was very grateful. That kind of thing may be commonplace to them but it was an issue that made her very uncomfortable.
When they were all done eating, Angela turned everyone’s attention to the Luna Ball. “The colors will be silver and green, which are the pack colors, of course, but we are going to add some blue since it’s Kia’s favorite color.
Kia has her senior ball tomorrow night and her graduation next Tuesday, so I’m hoping that we can have the Luna Ball the following Saturday night? Jared, can you please get in touch with the band that played at the Christmas party? They were very good. We will begin decorating either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning and I expect everyone to pitch in and help.” Angela said, looking at each one of the men.
“Sure. I wish our pup would come before then so that Lily could attend as well but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” Jared said.
“I think we may be in for a surprise here in the next few days and may have miscounted her time somewhat. Doc agrees with me too.” Angela smiled at Jared who suddenly went two shades paler than his normal color.
“Sounds good, mom. Kia, would you like to go for a walk in the garden?” Ethan asked as he pushed back from the table.
Kia nodded and stood up as Ethan helped her with her chair. Together they walked hand in hand through the french doors and out into the garden. “They look good together, don’t they?” Angela said to no one in particular and everyone hummed in agreement.