Finding Love Ch. 04

bydurablue©

He claimed her lips, and this time Mary opened to him. A small moan sounded and Sam wanted to yell his joy to the heavens at the sound he brought forth for her. Mary rested her hands on his shoulders, holding him tightly... and she didn't pull away. Sam again lifted is head and looked at her heavy eyes.

"I'd say the spark is still there."

"I believe... I think you may be right," Mary grinned.

Sam raised his hand so he could run his fingers through her hair and Mary jerked in his arms. Her breath shortened, and the moan that sounded from her was not passion filled. Sam held her gently, threaded his fingers through hers, and slowly raised his hand to her hair.

"Shh, it's okay. I would never lift my hand to you in anger. Never. I've never hit a woman, Mary, and don't intend to start."

"Oh sweet lord! I'm... oh Sam, I didn't mean to, it's just-I had a moment there..." Mary's eyes filled with tears. "I ruined it."

"No, Babe, you didn't, and your reaction is normal. It'll take time not to react to a raised hand. But understand this, I will never hurt you. It's not ruined, I promise."

"You swear?"

"Babe, move that hand down a little farther, and you'll find the truth of my words."

"Oh my. Is that what I feel? Truth?" Mary asked.

"I'd forgotten what a keen wit you have." Sam kissed her fingers and pulled her toward the house. "You better go in before Daylon does start flashing the porch light. Wouldn't surprise me a bit."

"Sam? Will I see you tomorrow? After we get done shopping?"

"Absolutely."

"Okay. Well, then. Guess this is good night." Mary smiled at Sam, and the smile was carefree, light and happy, taking years off her age.

"Good night. I'll see you tomorrow."

Sam stood there and watched until Mary was inside and the front door locked. The lights were off in the hall. Mary allowed a small, happy smile to play across her lips. She couldn't remember the last time she felt this good.

* * * *

The next morning Ivy beat Daylon to the kitchen and fixed a light breakfast. She had the coffee going when Mary joined her.

"Morning. Did you sleep well, Mom?"

"Better than I have in a very long time," Mary said as she fixed the coffee. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"No, I'm done. It's nothing much, but I wanted to do this for Daylon. You wouldn't believe how good he cooks."

"Sounds like he had an attentive mother," Mary said and lowered her eyes to the table.

"Mom. You were attentive, too. As much as you could be, considering."

"Oh Honey," Mary said, and her face fell. "He hit you. Right there at the end, he hit you and I did nothing. I'll have to live with that failure, the shame, for the rest of my life, Sweetie. I didn't protect you."

"Okay, first off, the fault was his," Ivy said. "Parents are supposed to love their children, not abuse them. And... what good would it have done? I was hurt and yes, betrayed, that you didn't help me. But I know now it wouldn't have changed a damn thing, Mom. He still would have tried to force me into a match I didn't want, said horrible things to me, and then beat you for interfering. Not one thing would have been different."

"I know, but—"

"He hurt all of us. Even my half-brothers. The man is abusive, period. I'm not sure how good his grip on reality is, to be honest."

"Can you forgive me for not protecting you?" Mary asked.

"Oh, Mom. How could you protect me when you couldn't protect yourself? Yes, I forgive you. Now let's put it behind us and move on. Please."

Ivy drew her mom into a hug and closed her eyes. She meant what she said, but the truth was that moment when Mary turned and went back into the kitchen, leaving her alone with her dad... it was burned in her mind. She understood why, and didn't blame her mom, but the hurt still lingered. Ivy knew she needed time to get past that. A small noise sounded near the door and Ivy opened her eyes to see Daylon quickly leaving. Ivy smiled. He knew they needed a private moment.

"Well now," Mary said as she wiped her eyes. "So how are we going shopping?"

"Daylon is letting me borrow one of his cars, and Holland is going as protection. Daylon and Sam have some business to take care of with the pack. The plan is to meet in town for lunch and then Daylon wants to go to Lowe's. It'll be fun listening to Sam and Holland yell when they figure that out."

"And we're not telling them until I have both of them safely in the SUV... no way to escape then," Daylon said as he came back in the kitchen. "Morning ladies."

Daylon kissed Ivy, and fixed his plate. Both Mary and Ivy joined him at the table. Daylon fished around in his back pocket and pulled out his billfold. He took a credit card out and handed it to Ivy.

"I want you and your mom to buy enough clothes to at least get through a week. More if you want. And I mean everything you need... the whole nine yards. What I don't want to see is either of you come back here with two pairs of jeans and a few shirts. Everything you had is gone now, so replace it, okay?"

"Do you realize the kind of money you're talking?" Ivy asked, shocked.

"Yes, I do. But it has to be done. And I don't want to hear anything about it Mary. I don't want this to feel like charity, so we'll figure something out," Daylon said. "And I can afford it, trust me. So don't go buy the cheapest things you can find. You'll just have to replace it then when they fall apart."

"Daylon, I don't know what to say."

"Sweetheart, you are my mate. Mine to provide for, take care of. You and your mom can't go without the basic necessities. So go get what you need and have fun. That's the main thing I want you both to do... have fun."

Ivy threw her arms around Daylon, and he pulled her into his lap. "You are the sweetest man."

"Shh, my beauty," Daylon laughed slightly. "I do have a reputation to uphold. Besides, I know a couple of folks who would argue venomously with you."

"Oh please. Sweet? He'd take candy from a baby," Holland said as he entered the kitchen.

"Shut up, Holland." Daylon kissed Ivy once more and set her back on her feet. "Why don't we meet at The Silver Crest for lunch, say about one o'clock? Will that give you time to get some shopping down?"

"That sounds good. We can always go back later," Ivy said. "Mom? Does that sound good to you?"

"Yes Sweetie, that should be enough time."

"Ivy, go finish getting ready and I'll clean up the kitchen," Daylon said. "You cooked so I'll clean. And thanks, it was great."

Mary and Ivy went up stairs to finishing dressing leaving Holland and Daylon alone in the kitchen.

"You hungry?" Daylon asked.

"Naw, I ate at home. I could go for some coffee though."

"Help yourself. You know where everything's at."

"And such a gracious host, too," Holland said as he got a coffee mug down.

"Keep in mind that stuff is hot, Holland."

"Is that a threat? I distinctly think I heard a threat buried in there."

"Ha-ha. And speaking of threats... take one of the black Escalades. That should give them plenty of room for their new stuff," Daylon said.

"My Alpha, I love you like a brother, but you are so gonna owe me for this. And I'm talking big time, man."

"Just bring them back safe, Holland. I can't keep them tucked up here at our village; they have already lived life like that. But being out in the big city makes me uncomfortable. Keep your eyes peeled."

"You think there could be trouble?" Holland asked.

"I'm not willing to take any chances. I don't think Dolmas has had time to do much, but why leave our asses uncovered? If he does do something, it will be underhanded and sneaky. More of a scare tactic. At least... for now."

"Gotcha."

"And don't say anything to them, either. Neither Ivy nor her mom is stupid, but why rain on their parade if we don't have to? It means a lot to me to see them having fun, Holland. They haven't had many opportunities for that in their lives," Daylon said.

"It's just a matter of time, Daylon. Dolmas will do something and you'll have to—"

"Yeah, I know. I should have killed him in the beginning. Damn noble urges. I thought Dolmas's ego was driving that train, but now... I truly wonder if he isn't a few bricks shy of a load."

"Boy, aren't you just full of clichés this morning."

"And you're full of shit, as usual. Go get the ride and pull it around front."

Holland, Ivy and Mary left while Daylon cleaned up the kitchen.

* * * *

Holland was standing in the middle of the Lingerie section holding piles of 'unmentionables' and sweating buckets. The things Ivy and Mary were throwing on the pile had Holland's blood pressure rising, along with embarrassment. He was supposed to be off in the middle of the tool section, not here in the middle of frilly lace land.

And Jesus god, what was that thing hanging up over there with all the little hooks up the back? It looked like a medieval torture device. Then he saw something that made his blood freeze, his shoulders hunch, and his stomach roll. The curses of his existence, the bane of his life, the never-ending pains in his ass...

His sisters.

"Oh no, please god, no. Not them... anyone but them," Holland mumbled, red faced. "Just shoot me now, god, and please, please don't miss."

Tara and Jade stood gawking at him, eyes wide and mouths slightly opened. Then Tara smirked, and nudged Jade.

"Oh now, would you look at this," Tara said, moving closer to Holland. "Hmm, I don't know, but I think the black would look better. Black is slenderizing, you know."

"Oh god," Holland moaned. The big, brave warrior that was second in command seriously thought about dropping the arm full of lacy things and bolting for the door. But he couldn't because he gave his Alpha his word he would protect Ivy and Mary. "I'm gonna kill Daylon."

"Oh, I don't know. That lace around the legs would be so flattering on him, don't you think Tara?" Jade walked around Holland then stood in front of him again. "But you may need to get a bigger size. I don't think a size small is gonna cover that rather large ass of yours."

"Gonna kill him slowly, and no man on this planet will fault me," Holland said quietly. Ivy stood off to the side, watching. Never would she have teased her brothers in such a way.

"Oh Tara! What about a sheer teddy?" Jade said.

"Don't start. I mean it!" Holland looked around desperately. "I'm here for a reason."

"Really?" Jade sounded the word out, and smirked at Holland. "Doing a little shopping on the sly are we big bro?"

"No! Damn it Jade, that's not what I meant, and you know it. Jesus, don't you have to get your eyebrows plucked, or toe nails waxed, teeth whitened... something? And somewhere else?"

"Toes nails waxed?" Tara snorted. "Good one."

"He's hopeless," Jade said to Tara. "You dummy, cars are waxed, toes nails are polished, and a free gift certificate for the works at The Body Works Salon wouldn't drag me out of here right now."

"Slow, agonizing, painful death..." Holland hissed under his breath.

Ivy finally laughed. "You referring to yourself or Daylon?"

"I'm there now, Daylon's is coming... soon," Holland promised darkly. "Ivy, these are my sisters. This is Tara, and that other one is Jade."

"That other one?" Jade said. "It not a wonder you're still single, Holland."

"Yeah well, look who's talking."

Jade scowled. "If my mate is anything like you, then I'd prefer to stay single, thank you very much."

"He'll thank his lucky stars," Holland mumbled.

"I heard that!" Jade gasped, and slapped Holland on the shoulder.

"It's nice to meet you two. Holland has mentioned you both before," Ivy said. "And this is my mother, Mary."

"Oh, I can just imagine what he said. Ignore anything that comes out of his mouth. You'll be least likely to beat your head against a wall," Tara said. "It's nice to meet you both. Jade and I were trying to give you some time to settle in before we invited you to lunch."

"Translated that means pump you for information. Lucky you," Holland said to Ivy.

"Oh, I'm sorry! Did you say you needed a matching bra to go with that thong, Holland?" Tara asked loudly, causing several older ladies to look at Holland.

"On second thought, I think I'll kill the both of you instead of Daylon."

"Oh please. You've been threatening that for years, Holland," Jade said.

Ivy giggled at the three of them. She couldn't imagine a relationship like theirs, but envied it.

"Okay, I give up. Just stop, please. Have mercy," Holland begged.

Jade turned to Ivy. "He's better than he used to be. It doesn't take nearly as long for him to give up now. I guess that makes him trainable."

"You're lucky your brother cares for you so deeply. And for the record, I like him."

"Yeah, he's worth keeping. And we love him dearly," Tara said. "He'd rip the head off any male that looked at us wrong. That doesn't mean he doesn't need to be taken down a peg or two."

"Which they do... frequently," Holland said. "Ivy? It's nearly lunch time. Are you done here? We need to get a move on if we're gonna meet Sam and Daylon."

"Oh, are we having lunch?" Jade asked.

"WE are... got no clue what you girls are doing," Holland said as he made his way to the check out.

"Holland!" Ivy shook her head. Turning back toward Jade and Tara, she added, "would you care to join us for lunch?"

"And there goes my appetite," Holland groused.

"We'd love to," Jade said. "We'll follow you... where?"

"The Fisherman's Warehouse," Holland volunteered.

"Would you stop," Ivy said, laughing. "We're meeting at The Silver Crest."

"I tried," Holland said.

"It'll be fun," Ivy said. "I'm sure Daylon won't mind."

"Oh course not. They're not his sisters." Holland helped Mary and Ivy back to the vehicle, keeping an eye opened for any suspicious characters. They drove to the restaurant and Holland again checked to make sure the coast was clear. The only blip was his sisters did show up. One could hope they got lost, forgot where the restaurant was located, drove off into a deep hole... something.

Lunch was nice, and everyone had a good time. Then Daylon informed the group that the next stop was Lowe's and the collected groan could be heard outside.

"Oh come on! You had this planned, didn't you?" Holland buried his face in his hands. "Damn, what a day."

"No wonder you've been in such a good mood," Sam sighed. "I think I need to keep a closer check on what's going on inside that head of yours."

"You stay of out my damn mind, Sam," Daylon warned.

Yes mighty warrior.

"SAM."

"Okay, okay," Sam laughed. "Couldn't resist."

"So what's the big deal about going to Lowe's?" Mary asked.

"You won't have to ask that question after we've been there for several hours," Sam groaned.

"What in the world can he find to look at for that long?"

"Everything!" The group yelled, and Ivy giggled.

"Apparently this is a big deal, and a thing to avoid at all costs," Ivy told Mary. "Daylon didn't tell anyone he planned to go there... just sprung it on everyone."

"Well, thanks for lunch," Jade said.

"Ah yes, we really need to be getting along..."

"Oh no, my dear sisters. You're going, too. I will have some enjoyment out of this one way or another," Holland said and grinned evilly. "Besides, you two wanted to spend time with Ivy, right? Well, here you go. You wouldn't just back out and leave her at Lowe's all by herself, now would you? With no other females besides her mother?"

Jade took a deep breath, and planted a smile, which was mostly teeth, on her face. "Of course not, even though I hate Lowe's."

Tara just laughed.

"Enough belly aching. You guys act like I'm asking you to walk across hot coals," Daylon said.

"At least that would be quicker," Holland said.

"Oh now, how bad can it be?" Ivy asked.

"That's my girl," Daylon said.

"Remember you said that later, Ivy," Sam said, shaking his head. He helped Mary up, and everyone left.

They arrived, and Sam couldn't stop the groan that worked the way out of his chest. "Good god, it's like an addiction. Look at him."

"I think it's sweet he enjoys this place so much," Mary said as they walked inside.

"Okay... again, remember you said that." Sam grinned slightly as Daylon immediately headed for the tools. "And here we go..."

"Damn, I don't have a saw like this," Daylon said.

"Daylon, you do to have a saw like this, it's by another maker," Holland said.

"Huh. Well, this one might be better. Holland, go up to the front of the store and get me a pulley cart thing."

"Oh god, not a pulley cart thing," Holland said to everyone. "Damn, that means he plans something freaking big."

"I thought I'd build Ivy a swing out by the waterfall."

"Oh sweet mother... he's building again!" Sam groaned. "I thought we agreed that you were not allowed to play with sharp objects after the last time."

"Oh my... the last time? What happened the last time?" Mary asked as Daylon started gathering tools, nails, and screws.

"Let's just say it included tall grass, some grape vines, and a... machete." Holland sighed as he watched Daylon.

"Boring," Jade whispered to Tara.

"I agree, actually. A couple of aisles over are some lamps, and ceiling fans. Let's wonder over there," Ivy said. "Daylon? We'll be a couple of aisles over in the ceiling fans and lights area, okay?"

"Yeah, that's fine. Just stay close."

Ivy, Mary, Jade, and Tara walked a few aisles over.

"Why does he want us to stay close?" Tara asked.

"In a word... my father."

"Right. I heard about that. Scary man," Jade said. "Look, I need some light bulbs so I'm going over on the next aisle. I'll be right back."

"Okay, we'll be here," Ivy said.

Jade walked around the corner and strolled along the aisle until she found what she was looking for. Of course, the light bulbs she wanted were above her head.

"Swear to god, they want people to buy these fluorescent light bulbs, then they make it as difficult as possible," Jade said, standing on her tippy toes. When that didn't work she boosted herself up on a shelf. Stretching as far as possible, she reached for the bulbs. Her foot slipped, and Jade felt herself falling. "Oh damn!"

A pair of strong arms caught her before she landed on her ass in the middle of the floor. Jade blew her long, dark brown hair out of her eyes. And speaking of eyes... his were the color of chocolate. Her own green eyes widened. His hair was a light brown, and messy, but the style fit him. He gently helped her to the ground, his eyes never leaving hers.

There were finger marks on his throat like someone had tried to strangle him, and a bruise on his jaw. He was the sexist thing Jade had ever seen. She sniffed lightly, and there, under the smell of man, was the scent of wolf. Her wolf liked what she saw, liked it very much. From the way the guy was staring at her, he apparently liked what he saw, also.

"Are you okay?" He asked.

"Oh yes. Stupid of me to climb up on that shelf like that," Jade said. "I was trying to get those light bulbs near the top."

He continued to stare at her.

"Could you get it for me? Please?"

"Huh? Oh man, yeah, sure. I'm sorry. I was staring wasn't I? I'm an idiot. Yeah, light bulbs... I'm on it."

Jade hid her smile. He was the cutest thing! Her body certainly agreed. She couldn't ever remember being this attracted to a male so quickly. Her heart was beating fast and she wanted to kiss him. Just wrap her arms around his neck, pull him down to her and lay a lip lock on him that would curl his toes.

Then nibble over to his ear and... lord have mercy. She was about to melt right here in the store. From the looks of the bulge in his jeans, he was in the same condition as she. Finally he managed to get the packet of bulbs she wanted. He stood there, holding them.

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