Two Hearts, One Soul

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Chapter 15

All too soon, lunch was over and after the ones who smoked had a chance to step outside for a few minutes and everyone visited the restroom, they returned to the meeting room. The morning’s pastries had been cleared away and there were desserts and servings of fresh fruit, soft drinks, jugs of tea and juice along with fresh coffee available on the buffet table.

Before Sam had to stand up and tell anymore of her story, Matt said, “Gentlemen, something has been brought to my attention and before we require Sam to continue with reliving the nightmare of her past, I want to make you aware of it. Sam told me that after Alpha Raymond Glass and her father, Beta Rafe Madison were murdered, there was never an Oath Ceremony held by the Red Moon pack . She has never seen, heard or felt Nelson Glass use Alpha powers since he took command of the pack.”

All of the councilmen sat up and looked surprised at first and then concerned. Everyone looked to Councilman Jameson and waited for him to speak.

“If it is true that he never completed the Oath Ceremony, then he has assumed a position he is not entitled to and will be immediately removed, along with his entire executive staff.” Councilman Jameson said.

“Excuse me for seeming to be ignorant, but wouldn’t Nelson have received Alpha Raymond’s powers automatically when he passed away?” Sam asked.

“No, he would not. There is a whole ceremony and he must take an Oath to not only lead but to protect the members of his pack, even in an event that could cause his own death. It has to have been blessed by not only the council but our religious leader. Just because he was the Alpha’s son doesn’t mean he would automatically become Alpha when his father passed.” Councilman Jameson said.

“I didn’t realize that he had not been processed properly. You hear someone addressed as Alpha and you automatically assume that they are one. I’ll have to check into it.

But for now, let’s wrap this up. I’ve spoken with Councilman Black and Councilman Rogers and we all agree that we don’t need to hear anymore of Luna Samantha’s horror stories but we will need to see the evidence of where she was beaten. I’m sorry to have to ask you this, Luna Samantha, but can you please remove your shirt and allow us to take some pictures?”

Sam looked over at Matt and he gave her a sad smile and winked at her, then whispered. “It’s OK. I’ll be right here and I promise I won’t let it take long.” Then he looked at Councilman Jameson and asked “Is your camera ready?”

Councilman Jameson turned and asked Gloria “Are you ready?”

Gloria nodded and stood up at the same time as Sam and Matt did. Sam faced away from everyone and Matt helped her take off the button down shirt and then looked at everyone, sternly conveying to remind them to keep their comments to themselves.

He stood in front of her, then reached back behind her and gathered her hair, bringing it over her shoulder, then held Sam’s hand as everyone tried very hard not to react to the sight before them but Marianne Jameson nearly passed out and Sandra Black and Connie Masters immediately had tears in their eyes in sympathy of what this tiny, beautiful woman had been forced to endure.

Gloria had to take several deep breaths before she snapped several pictures of Sam’s back and then, with a heartfelt “I’m sorry,” she handed the camera to Councilman Jameson and ran out of the room with her hand over her mouth.

Councilman Jameson barely managed to catch the camera but swore under his breath. “Damn! We need to put a stop to this and now!” Then he turned to look at the other council members who nodded at him before he turned to say “Alpha, Luna, I think I and the others will agree that it’s time to shut the Red Moon pack down and to arrest the executive staff.

The remaining non guilty members of the pack will either be offered a new Alpha who can either be from their existing pack or choose to allow an outside qualifying Alpha to assume command of their pack. He can either choose from existing pack members to be his staff or bring in members of his choosing but this time it will be done right. Does this resolution, which will still need to be approved by the entire council, satisfy you?”

Matt looked down at Sam and asked “Is that what you want?” He helped her put her shirt back on and Sam said “I have some questions before I make a decision. Is that OK?”

“Sure.” Matt assured her.

Sam turned and said “Councilmen, I need to know what is going to happen to the members of the pack, like my Aunt Mae, who might be mated or related to the executive staff but are not guilty of doing anything wrong?” she asked.

“We are only interested in prosecuting those who are directly guilty of wrongdoing. No innocents will be harmed or prosecuted.” Councilman Black assured her.

“What about members of the pack who were involved in their crimes because they were forced to do things or that they were just following orders that they didn’t necessarily agree with or wanted to do.” Sam asked.

“Like how do you mean, Luna?” Councilman Rogers asked.

“Well, those who had to remove bodies, help with breeders, fill the burn pits and pour the gas on the bodies, stuff like that?” Sam asked.

“I guess they will have to be arrested and questioned and the council members will make the decision of what should happen to them.” Councilman Jameson stated, in true lawyer form.

“What about members who willingly and actively participated in those crimes but are not part of the executive staff? I don’t know all of their names personally, but I could identify some of them on sight but I would rather not have to see them in person.” Sam added. She hoped she never had to see any of the men that she knew had done some truly evil things to not only her but other members of the pack.

“They will be prosecuted the same as the executive staff but may or may not receive the same sentences. It will depend on the depth of their involvement.”

“Will all of them be prosecuted for what they did to those poor girls who were brought in as breeders? I can testify that none of them were actually impregnated to add members to the pack but were there only for those members who wanted sick sexual pleasure. A few, if not all, of those women did not even survive what happened to them. There are no children left in the pack. All of the mated members ran away with their children.”

“We need you to tell us more about these “breeders” but those men will be prosecuted as well as their actions may have exposed our kind to the human world.” Councilman Black said.

“Well, then it first started, the girls were brought in like they were dates that the men had picked up in a bar or something and they would get them drunk before they took them upstairs. But after a while, they were being brought in tied and often gagged. Those times they were always brought in at night. Sometimes it would just be one or two of them and sometimes more but that was rare. I wasn’t allowed out of my closet after dark usually but I could hear the girls crying and if they were not gagged, begging to be released, saying they wouldn’t tell anyone and that they just wanted to go home. Those times they were taken directly upstairs.” Sam related.

“If you were not allowed out of your closet, how do you know this?” Councilman Black asked.

“Well, I wasn’t supposed to leave my closet but that didn’t mean I stayed inside all the time. If the kitchen was quiet, I would sneak out and try to find something to eat. Sometimes Sara, she works in the kitchen, or Cook Betty would leave me things to eat if they knew I had not had anything that day. Aunt Mae and I had a special place where she would leave me my monthly cycle supplies or books to read. Ethel caught Sara one time and reported her. Uncle Lou gave her five lashes but I got ten for it and mine had wolfsbane on the whip. Mine always had wolfsbane on it.

Anyway, I saw my cousin, Ralph and half a dozen of his friends with the girls. I even saw Ralph rape one of the girls. Goddess, I will never forget that poor girl’s screams.” Sam said, becoming upset at the memory.

Brock cleared his throat and when everyone turned to look at him he asked, “Sam, if I showed you pictures of some of the girls who have gone missing, do you think you could identify them?”

“Maybe. I didn’t see all of the girls that came but I saw a lot of them afterwards in the bedrooms. This has only been happening for the last 6 months before I ran away, that I know of.” Sam smiled at him.

“Brock, I understand your need to find the human girls to find answers for their families, but they can not know that our kind are involved in any way. Do you understand? It would not be fair for all of our kind to be put in danger because of the actions of a few.” Councilman Black told him.

“Don’t worry. I have no desire to start a war. The death of my twin sister took me a long time to get over but I’ve come to terms with the fact that not all werewolves are rogues and will keep your secret. If Sam can identify any of the girls who have gone missing, then at least I can give their families some closure as to what happened to them.

I will tell them that they were kidnapped by a crazy cult or a serial killer. I will try to keep the location secret as long as I can, which probably won’t be long, but if necessary, we will find an alternate location and create a “crime site”. But I must warn you that human law enforcement is more than likely going to want to conduct their own investigation and I’m not sure if our created crime scene is going to fool them.” Brock said.

“Brock, I’ve got a feeling that most of the remaining non guilty pack members will not want to stay on the property once the guilty are removed. Too many bad memories for everyone there.” Sam smiled at him.

“Sounds good to me. I think we have enough information to convince the council to take action now unless anyone else has any questions or comments?” Councilman Jameson asked and looked around at everyone. No one seemed to have anything else to say so Matt said

“Well, then let’s call this meeting over and go have some dinner. Rooms have been prepared for you and your bags have been delivered to your rooms. If there is anything you need, please don’t be shy and just let the staff know.”

They all filtered out of the meeting room and most everyone visited the bathroom before going to eat. Again it was a sit down meal but this time it was just the head table that was being served. The rest of the pack was behind a partition which was a series of sliding wooden doors that had been pulled into place. It made the head table dining area smaller and more intimate. Away from the noise of the rest of the pack talking and laughing and moving around, they were able to enjoy a more relaxing meal.

Sam had kept her hair over the side of her neck where her mark was so no one had seen it yet and Natalie was dying to know if they had mated last night or not. She had been so focused on what had happened during the meeting that she had forgotten to look at Sam’s neck.

Sam kept wondering why Natalie kept watching her with a curious look on her face then realized she was trying to see if her son had marked her. With a grin at her mother in law, she put her finger to her lips and when Natalie nodded that she understood, Sam flipped her hair back over her shoulder and pulled on her collar discreetly.

She was so happy when Natalie’s face lit up with a huge smile. Natalie mind linked her husband to not react but to look at Sam and he too got a wide smile on his face and winked at her when he saw the mark of his family on her neck.

They both mind linked to her that they were very happy about it and Sam got wide eyed as their voices came into her head and she got a wide smile on her face. She looked over at Matt who began to smile and his voice also entered her head. “See, I told you they would be happy about it. Can we announce it after dinner to at least the pack? We will have the Luna ball later but I’m so happy that you are my mate that I can’t wait to tell the world.” He thought to her and Sam blushed but nodded her head. She was proud to be the mate of this wonderful man.

Matt opened a link to the entire pack and said “Do not leave when you are finished eating. I have an announcement to make after dinner.”

“Are you going to make the announcement tonight?” Natalie linked him.

“Yes, just to the pack and the council members who are here tonight. We can do the Luna ball later. I want the world to know how proud I am of my mate. OK?” Matt confirmed with his mother.

“Ok. But we need to begin planning for it right away. Are we still going to do it the night before Hallows Eve?” Natalie asked.

“Yes! That’s perfect.” Matt linked them. Then he closed the link to everyone but his mother and told her, “Mom, I need your help. Can you find out what size ring Sam wears and what she might like as an engagement ring?”

“Of course, son! Oh I’m so happy that you have decided to do it! I just know it’s a memory that you and Sam will treasure forever.” Natalie had a hard time staying in her seat after that. She wanted to jump up and hug them both and then drag Sam off to talk about wedding plans. There was so much to be done, especially with what was happening right now, the holidays coming up and now they had to plan not only for the Luna Ball but a wedding as well. She was so excited and wore a smile all through dinner.

Sam actually made a pretty decent dent in her dinner tonight but still did not manage to eat it all. She was going to have to talk to the cook about putting less on her plate when they had meals like this. She hated wasting food.

They all chatted comfortably and as soon as dinner was over, the partition wall slid back. The council members gave them curious looks as Matt and Sam stood up and walked to where everyone could see them.

“Everyone, I want to introduce you to your new Luna. This is my mate, Samantha Leilani Madison.” Matt announced and the applause and cheers from the pack was almost deafening until Matt lifted his hand to quieten them down.

“Please do not approach her all at once tonight. You will have a chance to meet her and introduce yourselves soon as we will be having the formal Luna Ball the night before Hallows Eve. It will be a costume ball so everyone start thinking about what you want to be. And people, please put in a little more effort than coming as the walking dead this year.” Matt announced and then they returned to the table. Matt held Sam’s chair and then Matt told the council members “We will be sending formal invitations in the mail but I do hope you will all be here for the Luna Ball?”

“I’ve been to one of Luna Natalie’s Halloween parties before and it was a fun night. We will be here for sure.” Councilman Black confirmed and most of the others agreed.

As dinner wrapped up, some headed outside to smoke while the rest of the executive staff and council members headed over to the living room to have after dinner drinks and to just relax. As always seemed to happen, the men ended up on one side of the room while the women went to the other. The talk between the men besides the meeting earlier, revolved around sports and politics, which led to a surprise for Richard when Councilman Black asked Richard if he would be interested in taking a seat on the council.

“A few of the older members are going to be stepping down in the next year and several members told me to ask you if you would be interested.” Zander Black told him.

“Oh, I’m not sure about that. I mean, it would be a great honor but I’ve been planning on taking my wife for a real holiday in Europe for a long time. I’d have to discuss it with her. When do I have to let you know?” Richard said, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Well, I need to know if you want to have your hat in the ring by the first week of January but then you have to be chosen and then trained on the legal obligations of being on the council and if selected you would be expected to take your seat in June.” Zander replied.

“I’ll talk to Natalie and see how she feels about it and let you know. OK?” Richard replied.

On the women’s side of the room, they were all talking about the Luna ball and how much fun it was going to be to attend a costume ball. Natalie noticed that Sam was being very quiet and when the other women got into a discussion about costumes, Natalie asked her “You seem to be awfully quiet tonight. Is something bothering you?”

Sam nodded and said “When Matt introduced me to the Council members today and again to the pack, he called me by my last name of Madison. I thought once we marked each other, I would be taking his last name.” She sounded so disappointed.

“Oh, hon, the name change only happens if you formally marry each other or go through the court system to have it changed. Are you wanting a wedding?” Natalie asked.

“Oh! I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve always just dreamed of finding my mate. I just assumed it would be that way. Did you and Richard have the whole wedding thing?” Sam asked curiously.

“Yes, we all did.” Natalie said, swinging her arm towards all the women there. “I will tell you this, let Matt surprise you and be the one to propose. I promise, it will be one of the best memories you will ever have.”

“How did Richard propose to you?” Sam asked curiously. She was really enjoying talking to Natalie, getting closer to her mother’s old friend.

“Oh, it was so romantic. He proposed on Halloween! Our pack was holding a fall festival and Halloween party. There were about 6 couples on a hay ride through the trees. The guys had set it up so that ghosts and ghouls dropped out of trees and jumped out of the bushes, scaring all of the girls, making us scream and hang on to our guys. We all knew they had set it up so that they would have a chance to put their arms around us and steal kisses.

Richard and I had just found out we were mates but hadn’t sealed the deal yet, so to speak. He waited until we came out of the trees, under the stars on one of the most clear and beautiful nights I think I’ve ever seen. He pulled out a little black box and I thought I was going to faint when he opened it and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes and when the ride ended, we stayed in the hay and well, I think you know what happened next. We got married two months later and Matt was born three months after the wedding.” Natalie finished with a big smile on her face.

“Is that the ring he proposed to you with?” Sam asked as she pointed at the rings on Natalie’s left hand.

“Yes! I’ve never taken it off since he put it on my hand on our wedding day.” Natalie said.

“What about when you shift? Doesn’t it hurt if you don’t take it off?” Sam asked in amazement.

“No. I had a witch put a spell on it so that it will disappear when I shift and reappear when I shift back.” Natalie said.

Sam’s eyes got wide when Natalie mentioned a witch. She had always thought they were a myth or had died out long ago and were now just characters in children’s books.

“It’s very beautiful.” Sam said. She noticed that all of the women also had wedding rings and decided that while she did think Natalie’s ring was beautiful, she liked the ring that Connie was wearing, thinking it would be closer to her own taste. It was smaller and more delicate looking and couldn’t resist asking Connie if she could take a closer look at it.

Connie gladly held out her hand for Sam to look at her ring. Sam saw that it had beautiful scrolling engraving in the gold that swept up each side of the diamond as if it was being nestled. Connie explained that she and Gloria had their rings custom made for them and that the scrolling actually spelled their names in calligraphy. Sam was able to make out that Connie’s ring had Gloria’s name and Gloria’s had Connie’s name.

Sam thought that was very romantic. Connie also had a simple gold band that had the same scrolling engraving on the band. She was obviously the feminine part of their relationship and her hands were slender and more delicate than her mate, Gloria’s. Gloria’s ring was similar except for the diamond part. Hers had the diamond set down in the band which was bolder and heavier but seemed to suit her thicker fingers. She wasn’t heavy set but she did have large hands and feet. Sam liked both of them.

When Sam leaned back in her seat again, Natalie casually asked “Do you know your ring size?”

“No. I wouldn’t have a clue. I’ve never had any jewelry until Matt gave me this necklace.” Sam replied.

“Well, Christmas is coming up and every woman should have nice jewelry to wear. Let’s see. Your birthday is September which I believe makes your birthstone a sapphire. Oh sapphires are lovely stones. Beautiful blues which would look great with your eyes. Do you like yellow gold or white?” Natalie asked.

“I never knew there was such a thing as white gold. Is it really white?” Sam asked.

“No, it actually looks like silver but it’s much more valuable.” Natalie said. “I have a ring sizer in my jewelry box upstairs. When we go up tonight, I’ll size your fingers for you.”

“Oh that would be great! What size does Matt wear?” Sam asked.

“You know what? I don’t know!” Natalie laughed. “I guess I’ll have to size him too. Would you like to custom design a ring or just leave that choice up to him?”

“Well, I think the idea that Connie and Gloria have done is very romantic but I would be happy with anything Matt chose. Is it possible to mix the two colors?”

“Oh yes. And if done by a talented jeweler, it can be quite lovely. Do you have something in mind?” Natalie fished.

“Oh, I’d have to give it some thought but I think I would like to include the family symbol of the white feather. I’ll play around with it and see if I can draw it out. Otherwise it’s hard to explain what I picture in my head and that’s mainly because the idea keeps changing.” Sam blushed. “My mom’s ring said “2 hearts 1 soul” inside. I think that if my Uncle Lou had not killed her she would have died of a broken heart after my dad was killed.” Sam said sadly.

“I know I would if something were to happen to Richard. We’ve had a few close calls over the years but I thank Goddess that she has not taken him from me yet. I hope I go first because I don’t think I could go on without him.” Natalie said as she watched her husband and mate across the room.

“I know what you mean.” Sam agreed as she looked up and saw Matt looking at her. She smiled at him and he smiled back and then she heard in her head “Just say the word and we can go upstairs, whenever you are ready.”

“Ok.” She linked back “I’m enjoying talking to your mom.”

“Is she telling you all kinds of embarrassing stories about me when I was growing up?” Matt linked back.

Sam grinned at him and replied “No but now I’m going to ask her too. I wonder if she has naked pictures of you as a baby?”

“Don’t you dare ask her to bring those out with all of these people around!” Matt chuckled before he turned back to respond to something Stuart was saying.

Natalie realized that Matt and Sam were linking to each other by the changes in Sam’s face and wondered what they were talking about but didn’t ask.

Just then Marianne stood up and said, “well ladies, it’s been lovely visiting with you all but we were up at 4 am to get here by 9. It’s almost 10 pm and I’m dead on my feet. I think I’m going to head on to bed. Good night everyone.” Marianne said and told Alfred that she was ready for bed. They excused themselves from the men and headed to the room they had been assigned.

She was soon followed by Connie and Gloria and then by Sandra as she collected her mate and they all headed off to bed. Finally, Natalie and Richard said goodnight and that left only Matt and Sam with the single men. Stuart and William didn’t smoke but they walked outside with the guards and Ben Rogers while they had their cigarettes and assured Matt that they would keep them company if they wanted to go on to bed.

Frank had left not long after dinner, choosing to go home to his own house tonight since Brock was in residence at the pack house. The two men were minding their manners around each other but still did not like each other.

Matt and Sam agreed and went upstairs. As they rode up in the elevator, Sam linked Natalie to let her know they were coming up and as soon as they reached the fourth floor, Natalie stepped out of her apartment with what looked like a bunch of metal circles on a larger loop.

Matt looked between his mother and his mate and wondered if his mom had spilled the beans about him proposing to Sam and raised one eyebrow at his mother. Natalie linked him not to worry but to just listen.

“I want to do something special for the Luna Ball and Christmas is coming up too. Sam doesn’t have any jewelry and I don’t know what I’m going to get yet but just in case I decide to go with rings, I need to get both your ring sizes.” Natalie said.

“Thanks mom!” Matt linked to her as he held his hand out. Not surprisingly, Matt would need at least a size 15 for his ring finger while Sam would take a size 5. Natalie measured each one of Sam’s fingers just to be sure that they were all the one size apart so that rings could be worn on different fingers. “Pinkie rings are so much fun and index finger rings are very fashionable.” Natalie said.

“Well, your father has already gone to bed and I’m tired. See you two in the morning!” She said and kissed them both on the cheek before turning to go back into her apartment.

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