The next morning, Matt groaned when he heard someone pounding on their front door in earnest. He opened the mental link he had shut off when they came back to the apartment last night. He was glad that he had remembered to do that then since he really did not want everyone in on their first night together.
“Whoever is banging on my door, please go away!” Matt thought. He knew it had to be either his mother or father but right now he didn’t care.
“Matthew Randolf Stone, you get your ass up and get down stairs. The council members are going to be here soon and we need to talk!” His father shot back.
“What time is it?” Matt asked back sleepily.
“It’s after 8 am! Now get up! We’ll meet you in the meeting room in 15 minutes.” Richard said and snickered to himself as he suspected why they were sleeping in this morning and he hated that he had to interrupt them but as the Alpha of the pack, Matt had to be there for this meeting.
Matt groaned again as he rubbed his hand over this face, trying to wake up. Then he looked over at Sam and smiled. He leaned down and kissed her ear. Like the rest of her, her ears were like delicate shells on the side of her head. He saw his mark on her neck and his smile widened as he whispered in her ear, “Time to get up, my love. We overslept and we’re needed downstairs in 15 minutes.” He said as he nuzzled her neck.
“Ugh! Go away. I want to sleep some more.” she mumbled as she pulled the pillow over her head.
Matt reached down and grabbed the edge of the sheet and ripped it back, exposing her beautiful naked body. “Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that.” He thought to himself as he instantly became hard again. He saw the small smear of blood on the insides of her thighs and could have kicked himself for not remembering to watch to make sure she didn’t continue to bleed last night.
“Come on, baby. My dad’s already been banging on the door. He’s going to be really pissed if we are more than a few minutes late and we have got to get a shower before we go downstairs.” Matt smiled at her and he fought her for the pillow.
“Oh man, I’m tired. What time is it?” Sam said as she finally gave up and tried to open her eyes. “Who turned the lights on so bright?”
“It’s after 8 am and my dad said the council members will be here soon so if you want any breakfast before they get here, we’d better hurry up.” Matt said, with a gentle smack on her bottom.
“Alright but can we bathe together?” Sam asked as she stretched like a cat, her legs straight out and her arms over her head.
“Oh lord, woman! You are going to make it hard for me to walk or concentrate today.” Matt said with a big smile on his face. He bounced off the bed, picked her up bridal style and carried her into the bathroom. He sat her on her feet, then reached in and turned the water on, adjusting the temperature so that it was hot but not scalding. As Sam waited for him to adjust the shower, she tied her hair up so that it wouldn’t get wet and she noticed Matt’s mark on her neck. It was a small white feather with his initials in curly script underneath the tip as if the feather was a quill. “What does the R stand for?”
“Randolf.” Matt answered as he looked up and turned his neck so that he could see her mark on his neck. “What does the L stand for?”
“Leilani after my maternal great grandmother. She was polynesian and it means heavenly lei or royal child of heaven.”
“How appropriate. You are definitely heavenly to lay down with and I plan on treating you like a queen.”
Sam laughed at him and hit him on the arm. “It’s not that kind of lay. A lei as in a flower lei.”
Matt laughed as he kissed her and said “Either way, it’s a good thing.”
Together they walked into the shower and bathed quickly, wishing they had time to be together again but they barely had 5 minutes left before they had to be downstairs. Side by side, they brushed their teeth and then ran to get dressed. They both came out dressed in jeans and Sam had on the halter top that allowed her back to show but she pulled a button down shirt over it to cover herself until she needed to show the council her scars.
Hand in hand, they left the apartment and walked into the elevator. “Do we have time for coffee at least?” Sam asked as Matt pushed the button for the first floor, where the meeting would be held this morning. The meeting room they had met in yesterday was only for pack member meetings. The meeting room on the first floor was larger, fancier and mostly used when they had people from outside the pack attending.
“There should already be coffee and doughnuts and pastries for everyone when we get there.” Matt said as they walked down the hall.
Everyone of the executive staff was there, seated around the table when they walked in, hand in hand. All of the men stood as they approached the table.
“Good morning everyone.” Matt said and everyone returned the greeting. “Sit down, gentlemen. Dad, what time are the council members due to arrive?”
“They should be here in about half an hour. Go ahead and get some coffee and something to eat now before they get here.” Richard said, not trying to let his amusement show.
Natalie tried to be discreet as she tried to see if they had marked each other but both of them were wearing button down shirts with their hair down so she couldn’t tell but knew she would be able to see it when Sam had to remove her shirt later on.
Matt and Sam walked over to the buffet table that had been set up under the windows and made coffee for themselves and selected what they wanted to eat. They carried it back to the table and Matt told his father he could start with what he wanted to talk about.
“Well, since Brock wasn’t here yesterday for our meeting, I wanted to show him the pictures and explain what we know so far. Then I’d like to hear everyone’s suggestions or comments. Teddy, can you please pull up the Red Moon pack pictures?”
Teddy was sitting on the side of the table that allowed him to see the extra large TV screen that covered a large portion of the wall on one side of the room. Everyone turned to the screen as Teddy brought it up and Sam again pointed out where the kitchen door was, where the grocery truck usually parked, the training field, the prisoner cells and the burn areas.
Brock was just as shocked and disgusted as everyone had been yesterday when it was explained that her Uncle always ordered for bodies to be dumped in there and burned. No ceremony. No fuss. She was going to wait to tell them that her uncle had made her watch when they dumped her mothers body in the pit and set it on fire. She didn’t like remembering it and hoped that it was one part of her story that she would only have to tell once.
Once everything had been explained, Brock asked for a few minutes to think before he offered any suggestions or made any comments. While he suspected that Sam was going to be made to relive some very morbid and disgusting details of her time with the Red Moon pack, and he was interested to hear it because he wanted to know all the details before he involved his team, he did not want to question her now. He wanted the time to think about the best way to handle this situation if the council decided against helping them resolve this problem. And it was definitely a problem that needed resolution and fast.
Brock stood and walked towards the TV, checking out the areas closely, asking Sam about what different buildings and areas around the pack house were. He asked if there were hidden accesses to any of the buildings that were not visible from this view.
Teddy took the picture down to ground level and for Sam it was like being back there and she started breathing faster. Her heart was racing and she had to take several deep breaths before she could speak again.
“I know there is one somewhere on the back side of the house but I’m not exactly sure where it’s located. It was like an escape route for the executive staff’s mates if they were untrained, pregnant or injured and unable to fight. I wasn’t allowed to be outside much and I always stayed clear of where the men would be, like the training field or the un-mated males barracks when I was in the yard.”
“Where were the safety bunkers?” Brock asked.
“There’s one under the clinic and one under the kitchen. If there are any others I don’t know where they are. My parents had a small cellar in our house that had a secret trap door that I only remember having to go into once when I was really little but then my mom was in there with me.” Sam answered.
Just then a maid knocked on the door and when Matt called her to come in, she stepped into the room and said “Alpha, the council members are here.”
“Thank you, Mary. I’ll be right there.” Matt said and pushed his chair back. He reached out for Sam’s hand and told everyone, “We’ll be right back.”
Natalie gave Sam an encouraging smile and Sam smiled back nervously. Natalie knew just how she felt right now. She had been a nervous wreck the first time the council came to their house when she had been a new Luna but also knew that Sam had nothing to worry about.
Matt assured Sam that they were all going to love her just like everyone in his pack already did. The walk to the living room, where the council members were waiting, seemed to take half the time it normally did to Sam. Just before they entered, Sam took a deep breath and raised her chin slightly so that she was not looking at the floor anymore. She did not want to shame Matt by seeming to be weak.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming! I’m Alpha Matt Stone and this is my mate, Luna Samantha Madison.”
They shook hands with each council member as they introduced themselves. Councilman Alfred Jameson was average height and build with salt and pepper hair and bright blue eyes. He looked more like a businessman than a werewolf. He introduced his mate, Marianne, who reminded Sam of Cook Betty in looks but slimmer and with a much kinder smile.
Councilman Zander Black was a large man, with jet black hair with sharp angular features, piercing deep blue eyes and a kindly smile when he shook hands with Sam and introduced his mate, Sandra. Sandra was tall and blonde with deep green eyes and a beautiful smile. She was built like an hourglass with big boobs and Sam was jealous of her 5’10” height. She made Sam feel extra small who was already feeling like a shrimp in shark infested waters.
Councilman Ben Rogers was almost as big as Zander Black but that’s where the similarity ended. He had dirty blonde hair, warm brown eyes and did not smile much. They would later learn that his teeth were rather crooked and he had always been rather embarrassed by them so he did not smile with his mouth open. In his wolf form, his canines were extra long and curved slightly away from his mouth. He could slash his face from side to side and do real damage kind of like a wild boar would with its tusks. He did not have a mate yet and was the youngest councilman in this group.
The two secretaries were actually more like administrative assistants than actual secretaries because they traveled with the council members when they had to go to meetings like this.
They were introduced as Gloria Patterson and Connie Masters. Both women were strikingly beautiful and tall with shapely figures. Gloria had dark red hair and green eyes. Connie had golden blonde hair and large warm brown eyes.
All three of the body guards were large brutish looking men that made Sam nervous as they did not step forward to shake hands but just nodded as they were introduced as Jim Bender, Councilman Jameson’s bodyguard. Alex Henson was Councilman Black’s body guard and finally Peter McDougall, who was the friendliest looking one of the three, as Councilman Rogers bodyguard.
“Ladies and gentlemen, now that we have been introduced, let us proceed to the meeting room and get to the business at hand but before we go, I will tell you that one of the men in there is a hunter and guest in my home. He is a long time friend to this pack and is here at my request. Do any of you have objections to that?” Matt asked the last question when he felt the bodyguards tense up.
“May I ask this hunter’s name?” Zander Black asked.
“Brock Wright.” Matt answered and was relieved to see a look of recognition spread across Councilman Black’s face.
“Ah, I know Brock. He’s been involved in some issues we’ve had in other locations in the past. He’s a good man and I look forward to seeing him again.”
With that they all began walking back to the meeting room. Everyone stood up to greet their guests as they entered the room and Sam offered the guests coffee and pastries after the introductions were made again and people started finding their seats. Only the three body guards choose to sit away from the table as they would not really be included in the meeting but could ask questions if they thought they could offer suggestions that might be helpful. Instead they helped themselves to coffee and pastries and sat in easy chairs with an easy view of the large TV.
Once everyone was comfortable and had coffee and, if they desired, pastry to eat, the meeting began. Matt took control and explained how he and Sam had met 4 days before and began relating what they had learned about the reasons she had run from the Red Moon pack.
It wasn’t long before Councilman Jameson said “Alpha I have no doubt that what you are saying is true but in a court of law, your testimony of what your mate has told you would be considered hearsay and only be admissible if she were unable to speak for herself. I’m sorry but in order to make a good judgement of whether or not the council should get involved here, I need to hear her story from her own mouth.”
Matt had had a feeling this was going to happen and gave her hand, that he had been holding under the table, a gentle squeeze as Sam took a big breath, swallowed and began her tale.
“When I was 12, my Uncle Louis Madison convinced Alpha Raymond Glass and my father, Beta Rafe Madison, that the reason they could not locate my mother one day was because she had gone to meet a rogue off of pack property. He told my father that my mom was having an affair with the rogue and was plotting against the pack.”
Councilman Jameson interrupted her to ask “Do you know where your mother was? Or were his allegations true?”
It took a lot for Sam to hold back her outrage but she took another deep breath and said in no uncertain terms, “No, they were not true. My mother loved my father dearly. Actually, she was set up by Uncle Lou and his mother, my step grandmother, Sasha after my father found out about some of her “shopping trips” where she was spending more than the pack could afford on stuff she didn’t need.
My father had already left for work when Sasha had sent my mother on an errand to pick up some things she had ordered from a store in Missoula. It was a last minute thing and she had claimed it was a surprise so had asked my mother to tell no one where she was going but my mom told my Aunt Mae. Neither of them trusted Sasha. She was a cruel, sneaky, greedy person who did not like my father or our family. She was killed in a car accident not long after my father was killed. Does that answer your question, sir?”
“Yes. Please continue.” Councilman Jameson , with a nod of his head.
“My mom dropped me off at school and drove to Missoula and picked up the items Sasha had ordered, which was some very expensive jewelry for herself. My mom ran some other errands she had to do and then went home. When she got back to the pack house, she was arrested and thrown into the cells. She didn’t even know what was going on but denied having done anything wrong. She tried to explain where she had been that day but no one would listen to her. No one had even told her yet that my father and the Alpha were dead.
“Louis had told my father and Alpha Raymond that he had seen her at an abandoned campground just off of pack lands.” Sam stood up and walked over to the TV and asked Teddy to zoom out a bit until she could point to the area where her father had been ambushed by the rogues. “Here. When my father and Alpha Raymond arrived, they were surrounded by over 50 rogues. They fought but there were just too many for the two of them and they were both killed.
Louis convinced everyone that he and his men got there too late and found them dead. What my Uncle did not know at the time was that one of the guards on the clean up committee was loyal to my father and the Alpha and he told my Aunt Mae that it had been obvious that they had been set up.
He told her there were hundreds of footprints all around the campsite and from the way their bodies had been mutilated that it was just as obvious that they had been attacked by more than one or two wolves. He confided in Aunt Mae before he was found guilty for trying to leave pack ground without permission and killed for it.
My mother was “tried” by Uncle Lou and Alpha Nelson Glass, who is a weak, sniveling wanna be Alpha, and found to be guilty of adultery and betraying the pack and causing the death of the pack Alpha and Beta. She was beaten, tortured and starved for months and finally died of starvation and her injuries then they dumped her body in that square burn pit and set it on fire. They made me watch them burn her up and Uncle Lou told me that she had joined her husband and my father by going the same way he had.
He wouldn’t let me go back to school and made me work in the kitchen. I had to be up at 4 am to help Cook Betty and the other kitchen workers by keeping their areas clean. I was not allowed to eat anything that wasn’t given to me and anything I had was always what was left over from what someone didn’t finish.
When I got caught trying to sneak food and water to my mom before she died, Uncle Lou tied me up to a tree branch in the yard and beat me with his fists until he got tired and then picked up a board and hit me with it until I passed out. He broke several of my ribs, my nose, dislocated my left shoulder and blackened my left eye and I couldn’t see out of it for a week.”
“How old were you when this happened?” Councilman Black asked.
“12, one week before my 13th birthday. I spent my birthday in the hospital.” Sam answered and Councilman Black nodded for her to continue.
“After I got out of the hospital, I was taken off of kitchen duty and not allowed to sleep in the maids quarters anymore. It didn’t matter much since I never had a bed anyway, just a spot in the corner and an old scrap of towel. I was told I could sleep in a closet in the laundry room and that was my “home” for the next 6 years.
Now I could keep us all here all day telling you stories about how I was blamed for things I didn’t do or got caught doing things I shouldn’t have been doing but all of that is really irrelevant to what this man is capable of.”
“For instance? I know it’s hard to talk about but we need facts and evidence as to what happened.” Councilman Jameson said.
“Well, one of the worst beatings I took was right after I turned 15 and had my first monthly cycle. My cramps were so intense that I could barely stand up, much less carry stacks of linens up stairs to deliver to the rooms that had people staying in them since Uncle Lou and Alpha Nelson required that sheets be changed on the beds daily. I took 20 lashes with a whip soaked in wolfsbane for “shirking my duties”. Sam said, using her fingers to make quotation marks in the air.
“You mean he beat you for having your monthly cycle?” Marianne Jameson said. She had been looking like she was going to be sick since Sam had told her about her being made to watch them burn her mother.
“Basically, yes ma’am. Uncle Lou gets off on hurting people. I saw him cut off Cook Betty’s little finger for making something different than the way he wanted one night. He made her put her finger on the edge of the counter and then he chopped it off with a big butcher knife because she hadn’t put enough whipped cream on his strawberry shortcake. He likes lots and lots of whipped cream all over most any dessert he eats.”
“Oh this man is beyond sick. He’s sadistic!” Councilman Rogers stated.
“Excuse me please. I think I’m going to be sick.” Marianne Jameson said and Natalie stood up to show her to the bathroom.
“Gentlemen, I think it might be a good idea if we all take a break and get some fresh air.” Richard suggested when he noticed that the other women and half the men looked rather pale or green, like they wanted to be sick too. “Wait until they see her back.” He thought to himself.
As most everyone left the room, Sam turned to Matt and gave him a weak smile. Matt stood up and walked over to where she had been standing, telling her story in front of the TV. He wrapped his arms around her and just held her close. He was surprised that she was not shaking or crying.
“Are you OK, my love?” Matt asked.
“I’m ok. I think I’ve got half of them ready to puke and I won’t be surprised if the women asked to be excused. How much do I have to relive my life? Can’t I just show them my back and be done with it?” Sam asked as she leaned her head up against his chest and wrapped her arms around his waist. She highly expected to have night terrors tonight if she has to relive every bad thing that Uncle Lou and her cousin Ralph did to her.
“I don’t know. Councilman Jameson is a lawyer by trade and is a stickler for following the rules. I know it’s harder on you even more than it is for me to have to sit here and listen to how that monster treated not only you but other members of the pack he was sworn to protect.” Matt said.
“What do you mean sworn to protect? He was never sworn in to be anything. Even Alpha Nelson was never sworn in, as far as I know. They just took over command when Alpha Raymond was killed. At least there was never any ceremony or anything. I may not have worked in the kitchen long but I was there during that time so I would have known about something like that happening.” Sam said.
“You need to tell the councilmen that. I think that will be a major factor to getting them removed. If they were never sworn in, then they are committing fraud. I know when I took over as Alpha here, I had to take a pledge and be sworn in by a member of the council. We had a big celebration that night. Then my father was allowed to pass his Alpha powers on to me. Have you ever seen, felt or heard of Nelson Glass using Alpha powers?” Matt said, wondering why Councilman Jameson had not checked on that before he came.
Sam thought for a minute, trying to remember if she had and realized that she had not, so she shook her head and said “Not that I know of. Besides, it’s Uncle Lou that makes most of the decisions and Nelson just seems to do as he’s told.”
“Come on, let’s go find out about lunch. I’m getting hungry since we didn’t really have breakfast. I think this information is going to guarantee the council’s support and hopefully they will not require you to relate any more of your past.” Matt assured her, hopeful that he was right.
They joined everyone in the dining room and Matt and Richard managed to keep the conversation off of Sam and more directed at the councilmen’s families and packs. Natalie was a big help here since she had met all of their families at different social gatherings in the past.