As Richard reached the ground floor, Teddy came running up to him and said “Alpha Richard, I want to ask you a question before I go to talk to Alpha Matt about it, please.”
“Sure, Teddy. What can I help you with?” Richard replied.
“Well, I was thinking and wondered if you guys would be interested in investing in some drones? We could fly them over the Red Moon pack and see what is going on without anyone even realizing it’s us. We wouldn’t have to put anyone in danger. Even if they shot them down, they wouldn’t know who they belonged to.” Teddy said.
“Teddy, how did you get to be so smart? That sounds like a great idea! I really don’t like putting pack members in unnecessary danger if there are any other alternatives and this sounds like a good one. How fast can you get these drones? And how much do they cost? What kind of range are you talking about?” Richard said and turned to go back to the meeting hall.
Matt had already left the meeting hall and was in his office when Richard and Teddy finally found him. He was on the phone with the alpha from the Blue Eagle pack and it sounded like their Alpha didn’t like the Red Moon pack anymore than they did. It was kind of hard to figure out what the alpha on the other end was saying since Matt just kept “Uh-huhing” and saying “I understand”. He ended the call saying “If we come down to that area, I’ll be sure to stop in and see you. It was very nice talking to you.” Matt said and then hung up.
“Who was that, son?” Richard asked.
“That was the Alpha Xaiver McDonald of the Blue Eagle pack. Apparently the issues going on down in that area are a lot bigger than we were aware of. Apparently, hunters have been alerted that girls from the human towns are starting to come up missing. A girl from Paradise was found raped and her throat was torn out on the river bank near Riverbend. She was barely 16 and there has been a huge wolf hunt going on down there. Hunters and upset fathers, brothers, uncles all tramping the woods looking for wolves. We would be stupid to go down there now.
Alpha Xaiver said he’s given the order that everyone stays inside their compound and no one is allowed to shift, day or night, outside. I think I need to call Brock.”
Brock Wright was a hunter and at one time had been one of Matt’s closest friends. But then Brock’s twin sister had been killed by a rogue and Brock became slightly crazy for a while. He had gone on a rampage, killing anything that even looked like a wolf. Matt and Brock had gotten into a huge fight one night and Matt had knocked him down, sat on his chest and made him see that what he was doing was wrong.
Matt had to sit there for almost an hour but Brock had finally broken down and Matt had been amazed when his friend started to cry like a little kid. After that, Brock moved south to Nevada and Matt hadn’t heard from him in a long time but doubted he had changed his number. He took out his cell phone to look up the number and then picked up the phone on his desk and made the call.
Richard nodded and told Teddy. “Maybe right now is not the right time to talk about our idea until I find out what is going on but go ahead and gather information on drones. I’ve got a feeling we are going to be able to use it someday soon. How much does something like that cost? We’ll probably need one with a range of up to 10 miles and make sure it has a camera that can send the images to a remote location in case it gets shot down and we can’t retrieve it.”
“I’ll print out some of the ones I’ve been looking at with costs and everything and when I have it all together, I’ll let you know. OK?” Teddy replied. He was a little disappointed because the drones looked like they would be fun and he loved anything that involved technology. Together Richard and Teddy left Matt’s office, Teddy went back to his office in the basement and Richard went outside to watch the men train.
Matt listened to the phone ring and was thinking he was going to have to leave a voicemail when suddenly a rough voice answered, “Wright.”
“Brock? It’s Matt Stone. How are you buddy?” Matt smiled into the phone.
“Matt? Wow! Long time no hear from you big guy! How are you?” Brock said.
“Good, good. I’m the Alpha of the White Feather pack now. Where are you, Brock? I’ve got a situation up here that I think I’m going to need your help with.” Matt told him.
“Well, right now, I’m about 100 miles west of you, in River Bend. Any chance what’s going on down here is part of your problem?” Brock asked.
“Well, we’re not 100% sure but I think so. Look, do you think you could come up for a day or two? I think my mate, Samantha, can shed some light on what is going on down there and maybe you can help us put an end to our problem at the same time.”
“I’ll be there by dinner time.” Brock said and then hung up, not even giving Matt a chance to tell him that yesterday had been Sam’s birthday and there would be a dinner in her honor tonight. “Oh well, I guess he’ll just have to be surprised.” Matt thought as he hung up.
Next he called the Oak Forest pack and talked to Alpha Walter Macon. He introduced himself and asked what their relationship was with the Red Moon pack and wasn’t surprised that he got much the same response that he had gotten from Alpha Xaiver.
They had also been receiving grief from the hunters looking for the women who had come up missing and because of the girl that had been found dead. They already had 4 members shot but only injured when they had been on patrol on the border. They were also having troubles with what they thought were rogues, which is what they suspected had killed the girl.
“We are a small pack and don’t normally have trouble with the few locals who live in our area but I’m afraid to let anyone go outside anymore.” Alpha Walter said.
“So long as they only go out in their human form, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about and I think the rogue may not actually be a rogue but part of the Red Moon pack. We suspect that they are kidnapping girls and young women as breeders so I would advise that you not allow your females to be left unguarded for any reason if they are going to be outdoors. We’ve got someone coming who I’m hoping can help us all end this situation but want you to know that if you need a place to run to, you can come here.” Matt told him. “Hopefully we can clear this up quickly and you, your mate and executive staff and their mates can join us for the Luna ball we will be having soon.”
They exchanged addresses before they hung up. Matt stood and stretched. He had been sitting in that chair for over 2 hours and he felt stiff. He still had a bit of paperwork to do but wanted to talk to his parents and staff and let them know what was going on. He was also missing Sam. He linked everyone and told them to come back to the meeting room as he left his office and headed there.
Within 10 minutes, everyone was back at the meeting table and he brought them up to date on what he had found out. “Apparently Sam was right about some of the girls being human but someone made a huge mistake. They killed a girl from Paradise and her body turned up near River Bend. The Oak Forest pack has had four of its members injured from men out looking to shoot anything on four legs. Both packs are keeping their members indoors and only allowing them out in their human forms, which leaves them open to attack.
Alpha Walter Macon of the Oak Forest pack said that they have been having trouble with a rogue and I think it’s more than likely one of the Red Moon packs scouts looking for more "breeders". Anyway I told him that if they felt they couldn’t stay there they could come here. I also warned them not to allow any of their females to be out alone or without a male guard. We can offer them sanctuary until they are able to go home or they can be absorbed into our pack. They have less than 50 members.
I’ve also contacted Brock Wright who I found out is in River Bend. He will be here by dinner time. Mom, can you make sure a room is prepared for him? Maybe the guest room here on the ground floor? With the council members coming I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable.”
Everyone but Richard, Natalie and Sam got wide eyed when Matt mentioned Brock’s name and Sam noticed.
“Who’s Brock Wright?” She asked innocently.
“He’s a filthy hunter!” Frank exclaimed angrily. “Why the hell are you bringing him here?” Frank had a natural hatred for hunters and whenever Brock had been around in the past, Frank would disappear until he was gone. It was during one of Brock’s visits that Frank had started building the house he now lived in.
“Brock is coming to help us with the Red Moon pack, Frank. You will show him the same respect as any other guest to my home. If you can not put your hatred behind you, you should go home now. No hard feelings but with the council members who are going to be here, I don’t want you losing your cool and challenging Brock or for there to be a fight. We are going to have enough trouble explaining his presence to the council members as it is.” Matt said, his alpha voice just under the surface.
Sam looked at Frank with wide eyes as he started to stand up, he heard her whimper and looked over at her and then sat back down. His job as head warrior was to protect his leaders and this pack. While he knew that Matt and Richard and even Natalie could protect themselves, Sam could not and he would never allow anyone to hurt her. He knew Matt depended on him to protect her.
“I’ll try.” Frank said with a humph as he sat back down and it earned him a big smile from Sam.
“Thank you, Frank.” Sam said quietly.
Matt knew he should be jealous but he also knew that the two of them had such a similar past that they were becoming kindred spirits, even though they had not had a real chance to interact yet.
“OK. Now, I know the next few days are going to be very hectic and there’s going to be some tension in the house but I want everyone to keep their cool. If you get upset, walk away.”
“The next item I want to start everyone thinking about is, once this is all over, we need to plan the Luna ball. The Hunter moon is on Halloween this year and the un-mated females will be in heat so I suggest we hold the ball either the weekend before or after Halloween.” Matt said, looking mainly at his mother.
“Actually I was thinking about that too. Halloween is on a Sunday this year so actually we could do the Luna ball on Friday night which is the night before All Hallows Eve. We can still do a costume ball which is so much fun.” Natalie said.
“Do you think that will be safe, hon? I mean sometimes females start going into heat before the actual full moon.” Richard said.
“That usually only happens if she has found her mate but not mated and been marked yet.” Natalie said.
Matt was suddenly wishing he had not said anything just yet as he noticed that Sam seemed to feel very uncomfortable. She had not looked up since they had begun discussing it and her cheeks were slightly pink now.
Seeming oblivious to how Sam was reacting, Natalie went on to say “Ok. So it looks like everyone will have to come as their favorite Halloween character so start looking for costumes. Please let’s not have another night of the walking dead this time? Remember this is a ball. Let’s do real costumes!”
Matt knew this was Natalie’s forte. She loved to have parties and would decorate the entire house for them. No nook would be left without some kind of adornment. Matt loved the parties his parents put on and the Halloween ones had always been one of his favorites. His mom went all out on decorating the house and turning it into a fantasy land.
“Does anyone have anything to add?” Matt asked.
Richard brought up Teddy’s idea of using drones to check out the Red Moon pack house and informed them that he had authorized Teddy to gather the information on what he thought they should order and that he had said he would present cost and options for them to review before he ordered one.
Matt nodded in agreement and made a mental note to talk to Teddy again later. Right now, he wanted some private time with Sam. “Mom, do you need Sam for anything else today?”
“No but lunch is going to be ready in a few minutes. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m ready to eat!” Natalie said.
They all walked down to the dining room and sure enough, the kitchen staff was putting the last of the lunch out and they all lined up to eat. Everyone sat around the large dining table and laughed and joked about what they were going to be for Halloween, tossing ideas back and forth.
Kate said “If this baby keeps growing at this rate, I’ll be able to come as a pumpkin without having to make a costume.” she laughed.
“Then William can come as Charlie Brown!” Stuart laughed. One of the favorite movies that was always played for the pack children on Halloween was “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” which had a tendency to have as many of the adults gathered around to watch as the children.
As soon as lunch was over, Matt whispered to Sam. “Wanna go for a run with me?”
He saw her eyes light up and she got a huge smile on her face. He told everyone, “We’re going for a run. See you folks later.” He took Sam’s hand and they walked through the kitchen and back to where they could get some shorts, and for her a tank top, to put on when they were out and Sam cracked the door to the changing room before she shifted and then used her nose and a paw to open the door and joined him in the hall.
Matt chuckled when he saw she had already shifted but understood that she was uncomfortable about anyone seeing her naked, even though it was a pretty normal occurrence in most wolf packs. No one was really ashamed of their bodies but since she had scars all over her back, she felt self conscious about being seen nude.
As soon as they were outside, Matt shifted and they took off running towards the woods. He couldn’t go at his full speed but he still enjoyed running with her. She was a beautiful contrast to his jet black fur with her golden caramel fur. She was about half his size and upon closer inspection of her eyes and something he hadn’t noticed before, there was a golden ring around the iris of her eyes which were otherwise a brilliant, beautiful deep turquoise blue.
They ran for a little over half an hour until they came to a lake that was nestled against the mountains in a deep valley. There was a field of beautiful yellow daffodils and purple ground cover in patches. There was a huge Maple tree whose leaves were beginning to change as fall began to settle in after the Indian summer they had been having. The weather was already cooler than it had been so far and it was a beautiful day.
As they reached the edge of the lake, they both took a drink and then Matt shifted and pulled on his shorts. Sam followed suit and then they settled in the grass under the maple tree. “Oh wow. It’s beautiful up here.” Sam breathed as she leaned back on her hands and looked over the view.
“The whole pack comes up here in the summer. We have a BBQ on the 4th of July and shoot off fireworks over the lake. We usually spend the whole day swimming and just having fun. Frank’s house is not far from here, up on the side of the mountain, over there. Matt said, pointing to the mountain off to their right.
“Why doesn’t he live in the pack grounds?” Sam asked.
“Well, he started building it whenever Brock was around but the main reason is because he used to have night terrors really bad and he would get really violent. He was afraid he was going to hurt someone. When Brock’s twin sister was killed by a rogue, Brock went a little crazy for a while. Brock and Frank got into a big fight one night. If I hadn’t stopped Brock, one of them would have killed the other and I’m afraid that it would have not only meant I would lose one friend but two. Frank would have killed Brock but then he would have gone crazy and probably would have turned rogue.
They absolutely hate each other. I wasn’t going to stop Frank from leaving today but he feels an obligation to protect you so he’s going to just try to steer clear of Brock while he’s here.
Brock is not a bad man and he and I used to be pretty close in high school but he was also really close to his sister, Tiana, and when she was killed, it changed him. They had a connection similar to what mates have and shared a lot of the same characteristics. Brock went from being a really laid back, funny class clown type of person to............hell, I don’t even know how to describe what he’s become. He was just so filled with rage and hate for a long time after she died and I’m not sure if he will ever get over it. I mean, they were identical twins and if they hadn’t been of different sexes, you couldn’t tell them apart.
One Halloween, Tiana dressed up like a guy and they went to a party as conjoined twins. It was hilarious. At midnight, she whipped off her half of the costume and had on a really sexy red one piece bathing suit. The boys at the party were checking her out, making wolf whistles and lude comments and Brock got pissed. It was supposed to be funny because all he had on was some tight bathing suit trunks and he was quite muscular. He got pissed when some drunk made a comment that was totally rude and seriously out of line and Brock beat the shit out of him.
A year later, Tiana was killed and Brock lost it. If he had been a werewolf, he would have become a rogue but it was a rogue that killed his sister so he became a hunter. He moved away since he knew our family and our pack were not bad and he didn’t want to hurt anyone here. I kept track of him for a while and learned he was living down in Arizona but you know how it goes. I went to Alpha training school and then came back to take over from my dad and we just kind of stopped communicating as much. It will be good to see him again. I just wish it was under happier circumstances.”
They laid in the grass talking for a while until the sun began to sink behind the hill and Matt finally said “We’d better get back and get ready for dinner. My mom will choke me if I make you miss your birthday dinner.”
They took their time as they jogged back to the house. They went upstairs and got their showers and got ready for dinner. Sam had been hoping that they could take a shower together again but Matt got called to his parents apartment and told her to go ahead. While Sam went to bathe, Matt walked over to his parents apartment, wondering what it was they wanted to talk to him about.
Matt knocked on the door and almost immediately his mom opened the door. “What’s up, Mom?” Matt asked as soon as he stepped through the door.
“I wanted to give you something for Sam. I’ll bet you haven’t even thought about getting her a gift for her birthday, have you?” She asked then laughed when he got a deer in the headlights look on his face.
“Damn. I didn’t even think about it to be honest. There’s been so much going on that it totally slipped my mind. Oh, Mom, what am I going to do? I don’t have time now to drive into town to get her something before dinner.” Matt said as he began to pace as he ran his hand over his head, pulling on his hair.
“Calm down and relax. I had a feeling you would forget and when we were shopping yesterday and Sam was in the fitting room trying on clothes, I saw this at the jewelry counter and knew you would forget so I got it for you to give her. I particularly like the transcription inside.” Natalie said as she handed Matt a long gray velvet box.
Inside was a gold heart shaped pendant and chain. When Matt opened it, he read “I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.” engraved inside the two halves of the heart.
“It’s perfect mom. Thank you!” Matt said and kissed his mom on the cheek and gave her a big hug.
“You are welcome, son. I hope she likes it. Your dad and I got her a cell phone and a laptop and your father has arranged for a credit card for her. He’s gone to pick them up at the bank and should be back soon.” Natalie said as she walked back to their front door with him.
“Thanks. I don’t know what I will do without you two when you fully retire and go to Europe.” Matt said.
“Well, there is one other thing I wanted to talk to you about and that is a wedding. All girls want to get married and they dream of their wedding day. I know it’s not usually normal for werewolves to do the whole wedding thing but I think Sam would feel more complete if you asked her to marry you and you give her a ring. If she doesn’t want the whole wedding, then fine but give her the choice of changing her name to Stone. OK?” Natalie said.
“You mean get down on one knee and ask her to marry me?” Matt asked in amazement.
“Yes. For a woman, it is something she will always remember and it will cement in her mind your love for her. Your father proposed to me and we had a small wedding with just our families and executive staff and then we had a honeymoon of a wonderful week in the Bahamas. All of it is memories I will cherish forever. Do that much for Sam?” Natalie asked.
“I can do that and more for her.” Matt smiled at his mom.
“Well, we’re hoping you can do it before your 21st birthday and once you are back from your honeymoon, we’re leaving for Europe. I noticed that you have not marked each other yet?” Natalie couldn’t help but be curious about why they were waiting.
“Dr. Andy told me that she needs to gain some weight and to build up her strength some. I know you’ve seen her back but mom, she is so skinny, I can count her ribs with my fingers. I’m afraid to be intimate with her just yet. I’m afraid I’ll hurt her. Dr. Andy said so long as I go slow, it would be OK but I don’t want to take any chances. We have our whole lives together. I can wait for her to be ready.” Matt admitted with red cheeks. It had been hard enough talking to other men about this but he was very uncomfortable having this conversation with his mother.
“Oh Matt! While I admire your restraint, let me offer you this advice and I know your father would agree with me. You can’t put off the good things in your life until tomorrow because no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. Goddess knows that I pray for nothing bad to happen to either one of you but you never know what might happen.
Except for what is going on with the Red Moon pack, we are at peace right now and it’s quiet. Make the most of this time. Don’t wait. With the full moon coming up and her now being 18, her first heat is going to be intense and very painful if she has not mated before then. I’m not saying to rush anything and I agree with Dr. Andy that you will need to go slow and be gentle with her but don’t wait and make that experience worse than it has to be. I did not meet your father until I had been through heat twice and believe me, it’s as painful as they say it is. I felt like I was going to die and believe me I begged for someone to put me out of my misery.”
“Thanks mom. I’ll think about it. I think for now, I’m just going to let things play themselves out. If we both decide the time is right, then so be it. I definitely won’t say no but I don’t want to rush her into something she’s not ready for or able to physically handle.” Matt replied. This conversation was not only very embarrassing but becoming irritating. After all, his and Sam’s love and sex life were their business and no one else’s, not even his parents.
“Well, I’d better get going or she’s going to think something is wrong. Thanks mom. See you in a little while.” Matt said and gave his mother another quick kiss on the cheek and then let himself out of their apartment. He slid the box with the necklace in it into his back pocket and walked back to his apartment.