Madelyn Ch. 02byFaireSansa©
True to his word, Ulric saw to their return to Madelyn's house.
Madelyn noted that neither Ulric nor Elder Brian shifted to their human form. It puzzled her as to why Elder Brian called her Maddy. Only a few people in her life had ever called her that, specifically her parents and her attorney, Brian Hemming. She was almost certain it couldn't be him, though. Almost. She did know he was supposed to be somewhere in Oregon today, but...could he be her Brian?
She started to reach for the phone. For a moment, calling Brian seemed to be a good idea, but she second-guessed herself. What if he wasn't the same Brian as the one in the pack? She'd then just make a fool of herself to her friend and attorney. But what if he was? And if he was, did that tie into her parents' profession? Did it have anything to do with why they moved here, of all places, right next to a pack of Werewolves?
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sound outside her bedroom door. She stiffened and held her breath as she listened. The doorknob turned slowly before the door swung on quiet hinges, opening to reveal the man she'd met the day before yesterday standing on the other side. Gasping and scrambling further up on the bed, her back pressed tight to the headboard, she started to say "What are you doing here?," but only made it to "you" when he came in quickly, sat on the bed beside her and looked into her eyes. The steady stare and calm, reassuring smile made her pause, wondering...
"Conner?" she said, hopeful she was right. The smile spread wider, and she knew she was right.
"Yes, Madelyn," he said. She visibly relaxed as he took her hand in his. "How is your ankle feeling?" he asked her after a moment of silence.
"Oh, um, it's feeling a bit better, thank you," she replied to the unexpected question. "Conner?"
"What's going on?" she asked quietly. "The other one, Rolf, he..." she paused, looking down at her hands in her lap which were fidgeting nervously. She was uncertain she really even wanted to know the answer to her question, but went forward with asking it anyway. "He mentioned...mate...with me...that I would be his mate." Her voice trailed off as her face blazed pink in embarrassment.
Conner sighed. He knew she would ask. He was certain that idiot Rolf had just made his task harder, in many ways.
"He was speaking truth. He wanted to take you for his mate," Conner told her plainly, before saying, "I want the same."
She looked up at him, unsure what to say or think.
"No, love," Conner said as he saw the struggle in her face to find something to say. "Don't worry on it just now. You have an ankle that needs mending. The pack healer is here to take a look at it."
"But...what about your thigh?" Madelyn asked.
He stood, showing her that his thigh had already mostly mended.
"How..." she started, but he interrupted her.
"I'm Garou...or, in mainstream terms, I am a Werewolf," he told her. "We heal much faster than humans do." He smiled softly to her and continued, "and that is why the pack Healer was asked to come here to look at your ankle. You're human and not only do you heal slower, but healing for you is more complicated and needs more attention than Garou healing needs."
Just then, there was a soft knock at the door, and they both turned their attention to the entrance to the room to find a lovely brunette standing there. She was tall, with shoulder-length hair, olive complexion, and the most beautiful hazel eyes Madelyn had ever seen.
"Aha, and speak of the wolf," Conner said as he rose and walked over to the newcomer to invite her into the room. "This is Vela. She is the pack Healer." He motioned Vela to enter the room and invited her to sit on the bed beside Madelyn.
"Hello Vela," Madelyn greeted the...woman?...Madelyn was at a loss as to what to consider the female sitting beside her.
"Hello Madelyn," Vela smiled pleasantly. Her voice was pleasant and slightly exotic. She smelled divine, her perfume a mixture of vanilla, blackberries and spices. Conner could see Madelyn relax even more than before and quietly excused himself from the room to prepare something to eat for Madelyn and himself while the two females conversed.
"So, I understand you had a bit of a shock this morning," Vela said as she sat next to the young woman.
"It's been..." Madelyn said softly, pausing as she searched for exactly what she should say. "Odd."
"I understand, dear. I really do," Vela told Madelyn. "I can remember my Mother's stories about when she first came to the pack. Father met her far from here. She wasn't Werewolf, though she had her own mystical abilities but that didn't prepare her for becoming mated to a Garou."
"Where was your mother from? If you don't mind my asking," Madelyn said softly.
"She's from the Caribbean," Vela said as she reached for Madelyn's injured ankle. Madelyn winced when Vela's fingers found a sore spot. "Father traveled extensively in his youth and during a trip to the Caribbean, he met my Mother. He always said she was the most beautiful woman on the face of the planet."
"You're rather lovely, yourself, Vela," Madelyn told Vela as she continued examining the injury. "Why, thank you, dear," Vela responded. "Well, I think your ankle isn't sprained and there aren't any broken bones. Just a twist, dear, and I have just the salve to put on it. This stuff may make you a little sleepy, but by the time you wake up, you'll be as good as new."
Reaching into her satchel, Vela brought out a mason jar and opened it. A sweet scent filled the air. The smell was soothing and all at once it invoked a memory from Madelyn's past...
...She was 4 years old. She dropped a toy she'd been carrying with her then stepped on it and tripped down the two steps leading to the lowered den they'd had in their old house in California. Her ankle twisted and she was left crying while Daddy came and scooped her up to soothe her. Mother came with a mason jar of salve. When she opened it and the aroma filled the air, the child's cries slowed, and then stopped altogether. Mother rubbed the salve into her ankle gently and Daddy laid her in her bed. She slept the rest of the afternoon and night and awoke the next morning feeling as if her ankle had never hurt...
Vela paused as she rubbed the salve into Madelyn's ankle. She thought she'd heard a sob. Looking up, she saw tears streaming down the young woman's cheeks as Madelyn stared at her ankle. As concern crossed her face, she heard a noise behind her and turned to see Conner standing there with a tray of food, his gaze moving between Vela and Madelyn and back again.
Setting the tray aside, he pulled Vela from the bed, looking into her face as he spoke in a low voice. "What happened?" he hissed. "I left her in your care and now she's crying." He waited for Vela's answer.
"I don't know," she replied. "We were chatting pleasantly, and then I pulled out the salve and began rubbing it into her ankle. She never said anything; she didn't act as though I'd harmed her. She was just fine one moment, then I looked up after rubbing the salve on her ankle and she was in tears." They both glanced over to Madelyn again and noted she'd fallen asleep.
"Come," Conner said, taking up the tray and leaving the room. Vela gathered up her things, packed them neatly in her satchel and followed, closing the door quietly behind her.
Once downstairs, he set the two plates of food he'd prepared on the table and motioned Vela to one of them. Setting the tray aside, he sat with her and they ate in silence. He mulled over the scene he'd come across. Why was Madelyn crying? If it wasn't pain, then what was it? Or was it pain, but of another kind? He had to find out more about this girl and her past. He knew some about her family, but not much.
"What happened back there?" he asked Vela.
"I honestly do not know, Conner," she replied as she finished her last bite. "As I said, one moment I was putting the salve on her ankle, and then I thought I heard a sob, so I looked up and she had tears streaming down her face." She paused, thinking back on the scene. "She didn't give me any indications that what I was doing was causing her any physical pain, or even discomfort, save for one small wince when I pressed on a specific place on her ankle. That is when I brought out the jar of salve and opened it, then rubbed some onto her ankle." Her face took a thoughtful look. "Conner, do you suppose she's had that salve applied to an injury before?" she asked suddenly.
"I don't know, but we can find out." With that, he rose from the table, leaving her watching him curiously as he began his search.
Not one cabinet escaped his search. He rummaged through them all, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets. Finally, he returned with two small mason jars and handed them to Vela.
"I think this might explain her reaction, Vela," Conner said and Vela opened one of the jars. As she smelled the contents, she looked at Conner in surprise.
"They knew?" she asked him. He shook his head. She looked at him curiously. "They knew someone?"
"I think so," he replied. "But, I don't know if they knew their friend was Garou. He either didn't want them to know, or he hadn't yet found an opportunity to tell them before they died."
"Wow," Vela breathed disbelievingly. "I would never have guessed it. Who do you suppose their friend was?" she asked Conner, who was starting to explore the ground floor of the house.
It wasn't long before he returned to the kitchen table, looking through a photo album he'd brought back from the living room.
"Oh, I think I have an idea," he said as he paused and turned the album around to show Vela his discovery.
"No way," Vela said as she looked at the photos of Madelyn sitting on a man's knee. It was Vela's father, Brian Hemming. "This is where he'd go when he'd disappear? And Madelyn? Is she his?" Tears welled up in her eyes as she considered the thought.
"I don't think so, Vela," Conner said soothingly. "He was never one to do anything with another without your mother's knowledge and approval. If he'd sired this girl, you and your mother would have known." He paused, thinking. "Also, she'd have undergone the change at puberty. She'd know of us if she were his daughter." He looked back at the photos.
"No, Vela, she's not Garou, not even half. Her parents were human. She's human." He looked back up at Vela. "But not for long," he said with a knowing smile. She smiled back at him, shaking her head softly while murmuring something about unmated males and their mad inner drive to mate when they've found a female they want.
Conner made a face at Vela before leaving the room to continue his explorations of the house. The office was his first stop. He flipped through photo albums, smiling when he'd come across pictures of Madelyn as a child and young teen. He read reports Madelyn's parents would make when they'd return from their adventures.
The computer in the study wasn't set up with a password, so he did some digging there. One file was named "Werewolves" so he opened it. Among the many folders was one dedicated to Oregon. There were a few Word documents in that folder. Opening the first, he started reading and began to understand why her parents moved here.
Brian's recommendation that we purchase this property was a good one. Within weeks of moving into the house, we'd discovered there is a large pack of wolves nearby, and they seem to be quite docile. Over the last couple years, we've been approached by four or five, but not closer than a dozen feet or so from us. Madelyn has seen a few, though she has not mentioned it to us. We have watched her include them in her drawings. One even came as near as the opposite side of the meadow she loves to hide in. She thinks we don't know of that place, but we usually follow her whenever she takes off alone.
He [we believe the one that continues to approach Maddy is male, though haven't made the attempt to verify up close] has come as close to Madelyn as about 3 feet, but she was unaware of his presence. He held himself perfectly still and more than quiet as he came near her. Marie was nervous when she witnessed this, but kept her distance downwind of the two, so as not to alert him of her presence. She watched as the wolf inspected our little daughter as she played with her dolls in the grass of 'her' meadow. Marie reported back to me that an odd feeling came over her as she watched this wolf. He seemed to desire our daughter, she said. I have not yet explored what exactly Marie meant by this, but I can only guess that it did not mean for dinner. Perhaps this is our first evidence that Werewolves really do exist?
More research needed. We will continue to monitor the situation and record our findings here."
Richard E. Randell
August 1, 1999
Conner mulled over this for a bit. 1999. That would have put Madelyn at about age 10. She'd been 5 years old when they moved here. He'd already watched her for 5 years, and they knew he'd watched her. How? How could they watch him without him knowing of it? Yes, they were adventurers, but he was Garou. He was wolf. Surely he was cleverer than they. This troubled him. He had to speak with Elder Brian about this.
Vela shifted the minute she left the house. It hurt her to believe her father wanted to spend more time with Madelyn as the girl grew up than he ever spent with his own daughter. What was so special about this girl that he'd neglect his own flesh and blood?
Grasping her satchel handles between her teeth, she ran at as hard a pace as possible, wanting to get back to their home before her father had a chance to leave. Questioning him about this was foremost on her mind at the moment.
Upon reaching the house she and her father shared, she shifted and took the satchel from between her teeth. She hurried inside and found her father sitting at his desk, speaking on the phone.
"Yes, Cindy? ... She called? When? ... Ok ... Yes ... No, go ahead and accept that offer. The sooner that transaction is done, the better. ... What? Why? ... Ok ... Yes, 25% ... Well, that is what she said, so be certain it is in the documents. It must be disclosed to the other party. ... Yes, Cindy, do it. ... Thank you, Cindy. I will miss working with you, but it's for the best. ... Yes, begin transferring my current caseload to the other partners. They'll be very happy to receive my accounts. Make certain the clients are aware, and agree with the choice of partner to take over their case. If they do not, assist them in finding new attorneys, please. ... Yes, that's right. ... No, Cindy, I will not reconsider. I'm way past due to retire..." He sighed, running a hand across his face. "No, Cindy, I was very specific about this: I will keep Madelyn Randell's case for myself. Hers is one of the few I will not pass off to another attorney. ... Yes, hers is a special case. ... No, I'm not sleeping with her; she's much too young for me. She is like family to me and I will not pass her to anyone else."
Vela listened to her father's call, wondering exactly what it was about this girl that had her father so captivated with her. She was about ready to leave when he turned and saw her standing there.
"I suppose you heard the entire call," he said.
"More or less, Father," she replied. She walked into his study and sat down in a chair he had against the wall near the entrance of the room. After a few minutes of awkward silence, she looked at him and spoke, working hard to keep her tone even. "Who...or what...is she, Father?"
He sighed heavily, his head dropping, one hand raising to rub his neck.
"Her name is Madelyn Randell," he began, his head still lowered. "She is the daughter of Richard and Marie Randell."
"Yes, Father, I know that much," Vela replied.
"There's more, my darling daughter." He looked at Vela, then got up and walked to the kitchen. Pouring himself and his daughter some coffee, he returned, handed a mug to Vela, and settled back into his chair.
"Richard, Jr. was the last male of the Randell line," Brian began. "He is the only son of an only son of an only son." He paused to take a sip of coffee before reaching into a desk drawer to bring out a file. "This details his family tree. Decades ago, I did extensive research on the Randell line."
He paused to open the file to the last page. Vela moved closer to note that Madelyn's name was the last left there. Richard, Jr., was next to last. His father, Richard, Sr, was immediately before Richard's name. Sure enough, there were no male siblings listed for Richard nor Quinn. The same situation existed for both Sr's father, Ralph, and his grandfather, Wolcot II. Wolcot's father, Wolcott Randell, Sr, had had one other son, who died in a fire when he was just 4 years old. His wife died in the same fire.
"These names," Vela began.
"I know, I noticed the same," Brian said to his daughter. "They are all names that have similar meanings. Richard is outside the naming scheme. The others, though...well, look here. Their surname, Randell, means 'shield-wolf.' Richard Sr's father, Ralph, his given name means 'wise wolf,' while his father's and grandfather's names mean 'wolf's cottage.' And this is not a coincidence, daughter."
Vela looked at the book as he showed her the line going back as far as he'd been able to trace it. He continued his explanation.
"Randell is a variant of the name Randall. Both of them happen to be traditional names among Garou of the British Isles."
"Are you saying what I think you're saying, Father?" Vela asked.
"I am, Vela-dear," Brian replied as his daughter sat there, dumbfounded. "Madelyn is descended from the first European Garou to inhabit the Americas." He paused as his daughter considered the implications of that. "But that's not the only thing that makes Madelyn special. You'd better get some tea made, Vela-dear, this is going to be a long tale."