Out of Darkness Ch. 05bylilgirlsix©
"I tried to explain this to Erobos, but he wouldn't listen. He insisted I continue the research. I finally said that I would not. It was then that I realized how trapped I was. He looked at me with an evil grin. He told me that he had just learned that Drago had surviving family that wanted him back. He said he was bound by pack law to report this to the Council so he could be placed with his real family."
Carla couldn't stop herself from crying as she felt her mate's pain at his admissions. It had been so long since they had told the truth to anyone. It almost felt good to let it out. Lee rocked her as her body was wracked with sobs.
Silvano tried to block out his mate's pain so he could continue. "My mate begged the Alpha to reconsider. She promised him we would do anything in order to keep our son with us. I agreed to continue my work with Gary, which I did diligently for five more years. At that point, Drago had been with us for seven years. Erobos contacted me and said that he thought Gary was holding back my research and 'suggested' that I return to Italy and work at a were lab there where I could have more freedom. Of course, I had to agree. So we left."
"I never realized Silvano and Gary had been working on this for so long. They hid it well." Xylon had a hard time admitting he had been so in the dark about something this important happening in his own company.
"Gary and I still exchanged information, but of course, we both held things back. I didn't want anyone to find the correct formula, and Gary didn't want anyone but himself to find it. I hoped that the misinformation I gave him, at the very least, slowed him down. I think Erobos knew I wasn't giving him one hundred percent of my effort. The next year he informed us that Drago had been chosen for Beta training. He was maybe fourteen years old."
"Fourteen? That is insane! He was still a cub. He had no business taking that kind of training. Mentally and physically it's too much for one so young." Sandalio was floored. Even eighteen was too young as far as he was concerned.
"I agree, Sir, but we had no choice. He took him to the pack compound in Sardinia while we waited in Rome. My mate was devastated, as was I. But I had no choice. I had to work diligently. Erobos had made it clear that if he felt I was not giving it my best effort he could do with one less Beta in the pack."
"A threat," Alistair said under his breath. He was learning a great deal about Erobos from the scientist, whether he realized it or not.
"Yes, I knew what he meant. My son was dead if he thought I was betraying him. If anything happened to Drago, I knew Carla would not survive. My entire family would be destroyed if I didn't go against every fiber of my being. I had no choice." He lowered his head in shame.
"And did you succeed in finding the formula?" Rhys dreaded the answer. If Erobos had an army of Dire Wolves how could they possibly hope to defeat them? The only thing that had helped them take Gary down was his own arrogance and inexperience at being an Alpha. Erobos had survived for a thousand years.
"No, I did not, thankfully. I had no choice but to try my best, but I was unsuccessful. However, the Alpha made me experiment on prisoners, some who carried the gene, and some who did not. Some of the formulas did absolutely nothing, others had horrible side effects." His voice lowered. He was so disgusted with himself. "By that time, Erobos had brought in other were scientists who showed no compunction in following through with the experiments."
Konstantin was stunned that all this had been going on under their very noses in Europe. He had thought it had all been happening in America. They should have known. They should have acted.
"Erobos had more operatives at Xylon's company who were keeping him informed of Gary's progress. And when he'd realized that Gary had succeeded in activating his own latent Dire Wolf gene, Erobos pressed me even harder to find the formula for him. He was obsessed." He saw Xylon's surprised expression. "I'm sorry I had not told you sooner, my friend. However, I can't identify them for you. I don't know who they are."
"Don't worry, Silvano, we have a few suspects we're investigating." Carr knew Cole and Brett had come up with a list of eight "wolves of interest" and were continuing their background checks. He had a feeling Erobos had even more contacts in America than they could imagine. There were six right outside their property now.
Xylon gave his old friend a reassuring pat on the back. "I understand, Silvano. I wouldn't expect you to know. Erobos seems to be good at compartmentalizing his operations so no one knows too much, just enough to do their own job."
Guillame ran a hand through his unruly brown hair and sighed loudly before abruptly slapping his hands on his knees and standing. "So, now what?" He looked around the room at the blank faces in front of him.
Another bus! Why did he always choose a bus? Weren't there more comfortable ways to travel? He certainly wasn't hurting for money. The duffel bag was still half full of Euros. She hunkered down in her seat, a frown on her face. At least she'd had a nice tour of Europe in the last several days. It was so beautiful here. Her plans had been to travel after she was settled with her job in Rome. She'd wanted to just be a vagabond and explore the countryside. Well, guess I got my wish.
You know what they say, Kelly. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. She snuck a peek at Drago, sitting quietly next to her, studying the maps he had on his ipad. Damn he looks good in a leather jacket and sunglasses. Her friends would be so jealous if they saw him. Yes, she had to admit, her guardian angel was a hunk! And she had him all to herself!
Too bad they were running for their lives. Maybe, if they were lucky, they'd live through this and have time to really get to know each other. She couldn't turn away as he pulled off his jacket and laid it in his lap. He looks just as good in that t-shirt!
Drago glanced at Kelly out of the corner of his eye and caught her looking at him. He grinned, and she gave him a shy smile and looked away. She really was lovely. He was actually enjoying this time traveling with her. He didn't have to share her with anyone. That made his wolf extremely happy. The only interference was Erobos and his Betas, who he knew were attempting to track them. He hoped he'd been elusive enough. But he wouldn't know for sure until they were safe, or he was dead. He had his money on the former.
The air brakes made an annoying sound and brought Kelly to attention. They were pulling into the bus station in Amsterdam, and it was finally time to get off. She stood up and yanked her backpack out from underneath the seat in front of her while
Drago pulled her suitcase from the rack above. She caught a quick glimpse of the muscles in his upper arms as he reached up. She had to wrench her eyes away before someone noticed her gawking at him. Geez, he has a beautiful body.
Drago's wolf was ecstatic. He loved knowing that she was excited by him, and he could smell it. He was practically prancing. His mate didn't know it yet, but they belonged together. And he was so ready to meet her for himself, but his human half wouldn't allow it until they were safe. It would never be soon enough for him.
"Where to now, boss?"
His head whipped around, and he glared down at her. Kelly's surprised expression stopped him in his tracks and his face softened. "I'm sorry, it's just that we call him 'Boss,' and you kind of surprised me with it. I know that's not what you meant."
"I'd forgotten. I'm sorry, Drago. I didn't mean to compare you to him. Believe me, I don't think you're anything like him!" For a moment he'd looked really upset. Think fast, Kelly. We need to lighten things up here.
"So, seen any good movies lately?" She wasn't sure her attempt at humor would fly, but what the heck. What did she have to lose? She didn't have any other knights in shining armor standing by to rescue her.
Drago looked at her for a second, confused, and then burst out laughing. "No, you? I've been thinking about watching the Twilight Series. I like the werewolves the best. What about you?"
Kelly rolled her eyes. "Seriously? Werewolves? C'mon, I like the Vampires much better."
"Vampires? They're dead." Drago made a face of disgust, but inside, his wolf was in a panic. She doesn't like werewolves! She wouldn't deny us, would she?
"Vampires are sexy! Haven't you ever seen Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire?"
"He's not really my type. Actually, I was thinking more of Nastassia Malthe in Skinwalkers."
Kelly's eyes locked onto him, practically burning him with their intensity. "Seriously? Wasn't she kind of a whore in that movie?"
"Nothing wrong with that." He ducked just in time to miss her backpack flying into his head. See? She wants us. Don't worry. When the time comes, she'll accept us.
"Tell you what, we can change genres entirely. I'll be Kyle Reese, and you can be Sarah Connor." He grinned from ear to ear.
"Ah, Terminator reference. Why am I not surprised?" Whew, crisis averted. Damn, he's hot!
Drago picked up the fallen pack and handed it carefully back to Kelly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Kelly could see the flashing display. His father again? They hadn't heard from him for a few days. She knew Drago had been worried, but of course he was too macho to admit it.
"Ciao." His face brightened when he heard the voice on the other end. "Sì. Questo è meraviglioso!" He winked at Kelly. "Lei sta bene. Sorprendentemente bene, in realtà." His voice softened. "Tu e mamma sarà il suo amore." He looked up and rolled his eyes. "Sì, papà, saremo attenti. Vi aspettiamo per le vostre istruzioni. Spero di vedervi presto. Ti amo anch'io. Dillo a mamma lo stesso."
He sighed and returned the phone to his pocket. "He thinks I'm going to do something stupid. I had to promise to wait for his instructions."
"And would you? Do something stupid, I mean." Kelly smirked.
"Not if it endangered you, Kelly." His eyes bored into hers, like he could see through them into her soul.
His suddenly serious tone took her off guard. She felt like he knew everything that she held inside. Like he could see into her heart. Like he knew how she was feeling about him. Well, that's silly, he's not a mind reader. Too bad he isn't though. I wish I could tell him, but how can I admit I've fallen in love with someone I barely know?
"C'mon, we need to find a place to stay." He led her to a tram and they made their way through the city.
Kelly gazed out the window at the canals that ran through the entire city, the bicycles crowding the streets, and the tourists and locals that mixed seamlessly on the sidewalks. She glimpsed a couple, sitting at a bench that overlooked one of the canals. They were arm in arm, leaning in close to speak privately.
For a fleeting moment, she was jealous. Why did they have time to be happy while she and Drago had to run for their lives? Someday, maybe we'll have that chance. She felt a sudden wave of sadness come over her. Here she was sitting next to him, and she felt so alone.
Drago caught a sudden change out of the corner of his eye and could see the way her shoulders slumped. Something had upset her. What was it? He leaned closer to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. He felt her stiffen under him at first, but then her entire body relaxed and molded against his chest.
She burrowed her head under his shoulder and he rested his chin on the top of her head. "Kelly, we're going to be okay, I promise. I would never let anything happen to you. Never!"