Favor Redeemed Ch. 01bymeelana©
As she made the right hand turn that took her down the road with "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" signs posted among the many trees and thick underbrush her heart thumped just a bit harder than it already was. In her right hand, clutched tightly along with the steering wheel, she had the pendant which she hoped gave her the right to ignore the signs.
If her mother had been wrong, if it was just a story . . . No she couldn't think that way. She had to hope that the tale that had been in her family for three generations was true. If it was not and they rejected her . . . Again she pulled herself back from those type of thoughts. She had to remain positive.
After several yards down the road she felt eyes watching her between the trees. She wanted to believe it was her imagination but she knew in heart that she was being watched. She kept going down the winding road and anxiously looked at her gas gauge mentally hoping that there was enough gas in the car to get down this road, make her request, and then get to town. She tried to coast along the dips when she could, but the winding road that led her deeper into the woods seemed to go on forever. Finally the light of a clearing with a massive wooden house appeared at the top of a hill. It was not a mansion, in looks, but certainly in size, but it looked like a massive log cabin or hunting lodge. It was at least three stories and out from it were several outbuildings as well. There was a circular drive in the front that came to a set of double front doors. She was not surprised to see a "welcoming party" at the door of four men and one woman, all dressed in dark clothing and looking rather tense.
"Always be a lady," her mother's voice echoed in her head so she pasted on a smile despite her fear and parked the car and got out. She could feel everyone's eyes on her, and maybe even a few extra sets. A particularly tall man with sandy blond hair and an air of authority came down the steps and said in a calm but firm voice, "Miss, this is private property, and you need to leave." A part of her wanted to do just that, but she knew she could not. There was, after all, no where else to go. She took a breath and said the words her mother had taught her, "I'm here to speak with the Alpha." She held up the pendant still clutched in her fist so that he could see. "I'm here to request a favor in repayment." She watched the man who paused in watching her as she showed the pendant and he looked from it to her and back, the only indication of what she suspected was his surprise. In fact, where before there was tension, there was now something else as seemingly everyone recognized what she was holding.
His tone was much softer when he spoke again, "May I have the honor of your name?"
"Amelia Calhoun Sloan," she replied, then continued because talking was her nervous habit and she was certainly nervous. "I am actually married, so Mrs. not Miss. Calhoun is my maiden name and my mother was a Beckett before she became a Calhoun which is probably the name you associate with this," she said as she waved the pendant in the air a little.
"I see," responded the man. "I am Jeremiah, and the Alpha is not here right now. I am his Senior Beta."
She watched him watch her and reevaluate her as he spoke but his words, that the fact that the Alpha was not here made her stomach drop and her mind scatter. In all her planning the fact that he might not be here had not occurred to her. Her mind raced and she found herself asking, "Do you know when the Alpha will return?"
"He should be back late tonight or tomorrow. He is on his way back from a business meeting," Jeremiah replied and watched the face that had originally been smiling and then anxious fall completely into a frown. Jeremiah wondered what in the world had happened to this young woman, who would be an honored guest in their den, come here and claim the repayment of the favor so long overdue her family. He had noticed that her call was older and packed full of personal belongings and clothes. He wondered what favor she could need and. Jeremiah had always been blessed with instincts that almost bordered on pre-cognitive ability, and at the moment his instincts were telling him that it was imperative that he keep her at the den. "Please," he said gently, "Let's go inside and talk some more. Though the Alpha is not here, it is truly an honor to have one of the Beckett family here."
Her mind was frantically wondering what she could do. She knew that the rules of southern hospitality required her to accept the invitation, but if she was going to need to get to town and see if any of the items with her could be pawned, then she needed to be getting on her way. "I, um, thank you, but I can't stay long" she said, the last part in a slight rush.
He reached to take her take her arm to guide her inside, the gesture an old one, but much ingrained and he wondered if she would hesitate to allow him to touch her; he wondered if she knew the truth about what he and his family were. She knew to ask for the Alpha, as the head of the family, and did not seem confused about his title of Beta, so he had to assume that she knew something of his nature. As he touched her though, it was not fear that made her flinch, but pain, and her heard a gasp fly out of her mouth. "You are injured?" he said, but a part of him knew this was not the case.
"I'm fine," she said, almost automatically, but still pulling back from him. Then she saw him look her over more carefully and sniff the air, and she wanted to sink into the ground. She watched a fierce look pass over his features as he said, "Are you really 'fine? Or do you really need medical attention?"
Amelia knew in that instant that he knew the truth and as tears started to pool in her eyes she thought to herself "what a cliché I am. Poor little woman who gets herself beaten up by her husband and runs to others who could be just as dangerous for help." Then fierce pride came to the forefront and she pulled herself straighter, despite the pain, dried her impending tears and said, "Yes, I am fine." She took his arm and allowed him to lead her inside, telling herself that maybe if she explained to him, he could go ahead and help her in place of the Alpha.
He led her into a foyer, past a large staircase, and then down a hall to an office. A young woman was following them and Jeremiah turned and asked her to have Reyna join them. The young woman nodded and said, "Yes Sir" and scurried down the hallway. Amelia noticed that Jeremiah left the door to the office open, which surprised her. What also surprised her was how normal his office, and what she had seen of the house looked. He asked her to sit before his desk and no sooner had she sat than a beautiful woman of medium height with honey-brown hair that reminded her of her own hair coloring walked into the room wearing a floral broom skirt, white shirt, and smile.
"I heard we had a visitor," she said, "and they are so rare I am glad I get the chance to meet you. I am Reyna." She extended a hand to Amelia, which Amelia shook gently, as she said, "I'm Amelia" and then Reyna walked behind the desk and gave Jeremiah a kiss full on the lips and they rubbed noses. Amelia smiled at the affection. Jeremiah straightened, smiled, and said, "Amelia, Reyna, my mate, err, wife."
"Pleased to meet you," Amelia said and smiled at the open affection, thinking of the affection her parents had always shared during their lifetime. Then the dark thought of how she had never known that crossed over her mind, but she pushed it away and continued smiling at the pair. Reyna perched on the arm of Jeremiah's chair and they both looked at her as if she was an interesting puzzle.
"If you do not mind Amelia, I have a couple of questions," Jeremiah stated. Amelia knew that as the Beta he was probably far more used to asking questions that answering them.
"Sure," Amelia replied.
"Do you know how your family came have that pendant?" he asked as he nodded toward the pendant still clutched her hand.
"Yes". She replied and continued, "About fifty years ago some people were hunting you and burned your house down. Since my mother's family lived across the highway they saw the flames and came and helped your family. Your family asked what they could do to repay my family for their help and my family said nothing. The new alpha carved the wolf that is this pendant and gave it to my grandfather than told him that if he or his family ever needed help, to come here and ask for the Alpha and present the pendant and the help would be given."
As she told the story Jeremiah thought that she made it all sound so simple. He had not been alive at the time, but he had heard the stories and these stories prompted his next question. "Do you know why they were hunting my family?"
"Yes," Amelia replied, "Because you are werewolves."