Orphan Ch. 05


Carl's tone was hard, he took his responsibility as leader seriously, having one of his own, and especially a child in harms way just wouldn't do. The groups split up, all of them keyed up as they readied themselves for the hunt. The sound of an engine cut through the morning stillness, all of them tensed at the sound.

Jenabel's head turned in the direction of the low rumble that rose in volume as the seconds ticked by. She knew that sound, it was Alexander and he seemed to be coming their way.

"I thought he was on the east face for another week?" Jenabel's question was aimed at her father.

"He is, we're not supposed to pick him up till..." Carl's response trailed off as he turned an accusing eye to his wife.

Sophie was having none of it.

"You can just stop looking at me like that Carl Benton, yes I went and got Alexander yesterday afternoon, I invited him to the party."

Carl's anger spiked, even though she was his wife he didn't take kindly to his decisions being questioned. Having them totally dismissed stoked his growing fury. Jenabel cut in before her parents could really get going.

"This doesn't matter right now, we have to find Amy. Dad, Brad you take your groups and get going. My group and Mom's go as well, we will catch up as soon as we can."

Jenabel's body hummed with emotion. Her overriding fear for Amy was now balanced by the impending arrival of her mate who she hadn't seen in over a week.

Carl, Brad and the other groups headed out. Carl gave Sophie a withering glare before doing so.

"Why don't you stay here Jenabel, I'll go see what has Alexander showing up eight hours earlier than expected and ruining my surprise." Sophie was undaunted by her husbands growling, she knew deep down that her decision was the right one.

"But I..." Jenabel's words trailed off as her own emotions warred within her.

Sophie understood her daughter's tumultuous emotions.

"I know Jenabel, you want to see him but you don't know what will happen. Just stay here."

Sophie walked fast toward the entrance, her own thoughts just as muddled as her daughters.

'Maybe this wasn't the best idea.' She thought to herself as she heard the big motorcycle draw ever closer.

Alexander was surprised when he turned down the road which Sophie had indicated led to their home. She had told him on the drive back from the east face that, along with her home, there were several others. As he navigated the small winding road questions blossomed in his mind as he caught subtle details along the way.

Small cleared areas on high ground.

The occasional well camouflaged surveillance camera in the trees.

How the roadsides had been cleared to make sure there were no places one could hide a car.

Alexander slowed his progress as the little wolf started to squirm.

"Easy there girl, we're almost there, Mrs. Benton will know what to do with you."

The pup stared up at him for a moment and then retreated inside his jacket with a small yip.

"She's not that scary." Alexander said with a smile.

Coming out of the final long turn he was greeted by a sturdy wall that ran north and south out of sight from the gated entrance. It looked ornamental. But to Alexander's trained eye he understood it was anything but. The wall was nearly nine feet high. Security lights were mounted unobtrusively every twenty or so feet around its top. The gate itself, while beautiful and well wrought looked, upon closer examination, to be sturdy enough to stop a speeding truck.

'Interesting', was Alexander's only thought before the gate slid back into the wall.

"I guess they heard us coming little one."

Alexander drove through the gate, stopping just inside. He had no need to continue following the large winding driveway further as Sophie Benton was waiting for him. Shutting off the bike and kicking down the stand, Alexander gently swung off and stood before Sophie.

"Good morning Mrs. Benton, I am sorry to intrude so early."

Alexander's tone was tentative. He could sense that Mrs. Benton was on edge, he was sure it was his presence that was fueling the chaotic emotions he felt from the woman. Sophie smiled and relaxed, the smile was one of relief, which Alexander found odd.

"You're not intruding at all Alexander, what can I do for you this morning, is everything alright?"

It took a good amount of control for Sophie to maintain her cool facade. Alexander relaxed some while reaching into his jacket.

"Well, I found this little lady out in the storm last night; her leg was pretty banged up. I thought you might have an idea of what to do to get her back with the pack you mentioned roamed this area."

Alexander said this as he pulled the pup from his jacket. He cradled her in his arms as he spoke. Sophie's smile widened as she crossed the few steps between.

"Oh Alexander." Her voice was rich with emotion. She had to struggle to not hug the life out of him. Instead she gave his arm a comforting squeeze.

"Yes, the pups do get separated from their pack from time to time. We can look out for her, let her mend then get her back where she belongs."

Sophie gently took the pup from Alexander's arms. She was greeted with slobbery wolf kisses on her cheeks. Alexander smiled at the pups antics.

"I heard her whimpering during the storm, she got pinned underneath a fallen tree, I found her and got the bleeding stopped. I tried Brad this morning but couldn't get him so I was hoping you would know what to do." Alexander patted the pup tenderly as he related the story.

Sophie smiled at him, reaching up to gently cup his cheek.

"You most definitely saved her Alexander, thank you so much."

Alexander was a little surprised by the strength of her emotions but chocked it up to the Benton's love of the mountains and everything that lived within them.

"Well, I'm glad that you can take care of her and get her back where she belongs." Alexander said as he walked back to his Harley. "I have a good amount to clean up after last nights storm, if the invitation is still open I'll see you this afternoon?"

Sophie picked up his hesitation about the invitation.

"Of course it is still open. I'm looking forward to having you meet everyone. I think you'll really enjoy yourself. After all the work you did this week, you earned it." Sophie noticed that his big body un-tensed.

"I'm looking forward to it." Alexander paused as he straddled the Harley. The wind shifted and a familiar scent caught his attention. Sophie watched as Alexander's eyes closed involuntarily as his head turned in the direction of her house.

Alexander shook his head to clear it. As soon as the scent found him the wind shifted again and it was gone. Returning his attention to Sophie he kick started the motorcycle.

"I'll see you at two then." He said with a thankful smile before turning the bike and heading out of the compound.

Sophie stood at the gate watching Alexander's retreating form until he disappeared around the bend. She turned to find Jenabel standing behind her. Sophie noted the flush on her youngest child's cheeks and the feral smile that graced her beautiful face. Sophie shook her head and laughed at the absurdity of the situation. Jenabel had found her mate, there was no denying it.

"Here, take her over to the infirmary and have Doc check her out. I'll go catch up with your father and the others."

Her mother's words broke her from the longing stare she gave the road which Alexander had disappeared down.

"You invited him to the party?" There was so much hope in Jenabel's voice that Sophie could do nothing but pull her into a gentle hug, the wolf pup cradled between them.

"He's your mate Jenabel. Whatever else happens, however it works out; that is the truth of it. If you fight the call you'll live a life of misery, I can't let that happen. Now get out of here, we have a ton to do before this afternoon."

Jenabel kissed her mothers cheek before running off with the pup in her arms.


Alexander couldn't get the scent out of his head as he manhandled the large branches that had been brought down by the storm. On the ride home from the Benton's he had remembered when the scent had found him before.

The deep musky feminine scent had set his blood to fire that night at his place just a week ago. Though this time it was different, it was deeper. It had the essences of clove and the subtle nuance of spring rain. These coupled with the erotic feral and oh so feminine musk had Alexander grinding his teeth as he worked.

There was nothing in his experience to relate it too, nothing in his past that even came close to eliciting the powerful emotions of need and want that this did, and now he couldn't break its hold on his attention.


Alexander was none too pleased when his errant thoughts led to the large branch he was carrying slipping from his grasp.

'What the fuck.' Alexander chided himself as he picked the branch up and muscled it over to the ever growing pile at the side of the house. Seeing the Benton's compound, the hurt wolf, the scent, all of it had his thoughts whirling. A quiet chuff behind him caused all of these thoughts to fly from his mind. His big body tensed as he slowly turned around.

Sitting just inside the clearing behind his house, Blondie lay on her belly with her snout on her paws watching him. Alexander relaxed, a smile crossing his lips.

"I didn't expect to see you again; you're kind of far from home aren't you?"

The young wolf chuffed again, as if responding to his question. Alexander found it curious that a young wolf would range so close to civilization.

"I didn't expect to see you again Blondie." He didn't know why he found himself talking to animals so often these days. It was a good thing he was going to the party this afternoon. Being around people seemed like a good idea considering his current penchant for talking to himself, or whatever breathing thing happened to be in close proximity.

Alexander walked into the house and retrieved the bag of jerky. Pulling out two large pieces he stepped back out onto the porch, only to find the young wolf now sitting expectantly at the bottom of the porch stairs. Alexander tensed once again. While he appreciated the animal's beauty and seemingly tame ways, he was not a fool. A wild animal was just that, wild.

He took a hesitant step backwards and the wolf chuffed again as it lay down and then surprisingly rolled over. Her tongue lolled out of her mouth as she watched him. Alexander couldn't help but smile. Wild or not she was the friendliest damn thing he had ever met.

He walked forward slowly and sat on the top step. About four feet separated the two as they regarded each other. The wolf flipped over but stayed on her belly. Alexander couldn't resist the smile that came to his lips.

"You're trouble, I can tell." He said with a happy tone as he tossed the wolf a piece of the jerky. As before on the mountain, she moved fast, catching the morsel in her mouth, downing it with one gulp.

"Not very lady like are you?" He laughed at her quiet growl. "I'd swear you could understand me."

Stepping off the porch, Alexander went back to work. It was almost noon and he still had about an hours worth of work to get done which would leave him time to shower and change before going to the Benton's. Alexander picked up another branch and dragged it to the pile.

"I may have found one of your pack mates last night. You really shouldn't let the young ones out alone you know."

He could have sworn the wolf scowled at him but brushed it off as his imagination.

The hour passed quickly as Alexander squared away the last of the debris, the young wolf staying close the whole time. Sitting back down on the steps, the wolf walked slowly toward him.

"I'm going in Blondie, I appreciate the company but I have a party to get to."

The wolf barked at him and moved closer.

"Ah, you're looking for that other piece of jerky aren't you?"

Alexander pulled it off the railing and offered it to the wolf. He didn't throw it, simply held it in his hand, waiting to see what she would do. The wolf gave him a look that almost seemed as if she was raising her eye brows at him, well if she had eye brows that is. She walked slowly forward and gently took the piece of meat from his fingers. She didn't move away as she ate this piece more slowly than the first.

"See isn't it better when you savor it." Alexander laughed as the wolf looked mortified.

"I never knew wolves could be this expressive, you're an amazing young lady to be sure. Well, thanks for keeping me company Blondie I've got to get moving."

Alexander was surprised when, as he stood, the wolf moved closer to him, running her head gently against his thigh. With a tentative touch he reached down and scratched behind her ears. They stood that way for a moment, and then she was off, running in a few tight circles and yipping happily before bolting off into the woods.

"Could this day get any stranger?"

Alexander's question hung in the air as he turned and went in the house to get ready.

Should the universe had deigned to answer his question, the gentle spring breeze would have most assuredly whispered...yes.


"You had no right to go behind my back Sophie!"

Carl was, to say the least, upset with his wife.

That she had invited Alexander to the party was bad enough, but it hurt him to his core that his mate would keep something like this from him. Sophie felt the pain emanating off her husband as he paced around their bedroom. In all the years they had been together, neither of them had ever kept anything from the other, until now.

She walked behind him where he stood looking out over the compound from their window and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you. It was wrong of me to keep you in the dark and for that I apologize." Her tone shifted from conciliatory to a stronger timbre. "However, I'm not sorry I invited him Carl, he's meant to be with Jenabel. There is no fighting it. You and she, all of us will just have to see where this path leads. You know it Carl; you feel the pull to him just as we all do. Hell Willow is so convinced she stood up to Brad when he told her to drop it."

This surprised Carl. He turned and pulled his wife into his arms.

"What do you mean? With Brad's position, she knows better than to question him." The group's hierarchy was clearly defined, to have a child argue with Brad was unfathomable.

"Last weekend Willow found Alexander in the woods, she thought he was a new member, she took him to the glänta. Brad found them there, caught her just before she was going to say things she shouldn't to an outsider. When Brad told her he wasn't one of us she basically scoffed at him."

Carl had to smile at that; he could imagine young Willow giving Brad a dressing down. While it was no where close to appropriate it was most definitely amusing. Sophie's tone dropped low again as she looked up into his eyes, her hand gently cupping his cheek.

"I am sorry my love. Jenabel is in so much pain. I can't believe the universe would be this cruel. I have to have hope that there is a way they can be together."

Carl gave his wife a gentle smile as he bent to tenderly kiss her soft lips. He could never stay angry with her for long, but this had hurt him to his very core. Through their bond he let her feel his pain at her not trusting him. In return he felt the true remorse she had for not trusting him with what she thought was best for their daughter.

Pulling away from him, he saw the tears in her eyes. He brushed them away with his thumb.

"I love you. If Jenabel and Alexander are meant to be as you believe, I'll move heaven and earth to see that it's done."

Sophie smiled at her husband, her love for him was boundless, the joy she received from being his mate and having him as hers was what drove her to help Jenabel. Determined that she and Alexander could know the completeness, the joy, the safety of what having a mate truly means.

"And I love you Carl, always and forever. Now let's go, I have to make sure everything is ready for this damn party. And you have to figure out how you are going to handle Mr. Bouchard and Jason when they get here."

Carl scowled at the thought of the two men who were undoubtedly on their way. Thomas Bouchard had been pushing his son Jason toward Jenabel since almost the day they were born. While the tradition of a Bouchard and a Benton wedding once every generation was long standing, he had never felt quite right about leading Jenabel in that direction. He always assumed that if it was to be, then they would feel the attraction and that would be that.

With Alexander capturing Jenabel's heart, that was never going to happen. Carl doubted that Thomas or Jason would be too pleased with this turn of events.

'Ah well, there is nothing else for it, they'll both just have to get used to it.' Carl thought as he made his way down stairs. The party would be starting in less than an hour and there were still a few details to work out.

'If there's time, a conversation with Willow is in order as well.' Carl smiled once again at the thought of the girl standing up to Brad as he headed off to take care of his honey do list.


As was always the case with such get togethers, people started showing up early. By one-thirty the party was in full swing with folks from the compound mingling easily with people from town and Jenabel's friends.

The ages ranged from toddlers to senior citizens and every age in between.

Sophie and Carl moved easily through the crowd. They had known most of these people for more decades than either of them cared to count. All of them they greeted by name, passed a moment to ask about family and business before moving on to the next person.

While they seemed the perfect host and hostess, both had anxiety levels that were well beyond tolerance. Jenabel had been like a cat on a hot tin roof since Alexander's surprise arrival that morning. Now she sat pensively on the sidelines, holding herself back, watching the gate with growing uncertainty.

Carl was on the other side of the grounds, talking with a few of the workers at the mine when he noticed Thomas and Jason Bouchard making there way toward Jenabel where she was perched on the front porch railing.

'This isn't good.' He thought to himself as he excused himself from the men and began to hurry toward the house. Sophie heard Carl in her mind.

'The Bouchard's are here, they're heading toward Jenabel, see if you can head them off.' Sophie looked around, it only took her a moment to find Jenabel then locate the Bouchard's who were moving in her direction.

At the same time one of the company jeeps pulled through the gate and parked. Alexander, after checking the weather forecast and finding more rain in the offing he decided to run by the yard and borrow a jeep for the day in case the rain decided to let loose before the party was over.

Stepping out of the Jeep he smiled at the generally happy vibe that permeated the place. Families and friends were spread out all over the compound. A large barbecue had been set up with what looked like more than twenty picnic tables surrounding it. The compound itself had the feeling of a small subdivision. Houses lined small lanes that radiated out from the central circular entrance drive. A large three story house dominated the main area.

"Probably the Benton's home." Alexander said to himself.

He was surprised to get a response.

"It is the Alp...Benton's home. Hello Alexander."

Alexander recognized the voice as he turned to find Willow smiling up at him.

"Good afternoon Miss Willow, it is nice to see you again."

Willow giggled at his use of Miss before her name.

"I was surprised when you...when I found out that you were coming Alexander. Here, let me show you around." And with that Willow slipped her small hand into his and proceeded to give him the fifty dollar tour.

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