To Love a Stray Ch. 14byMygypsy©
A warning to readers -- Rape is mentioned in this chapter and while it is not included in any of the scenes it does happen.
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I watch Rosy as she lies sleeping, it is just after breakfast and she is curled up asleep on top of my bed covers. I would go in and put a blanket over her but I know any movement in the room is sure to disturb her, plus the morning is warm.
The last week has been chaotic, phone calls to attend to and several Alphas turning up unexpectedly. The strain on Rosy has made her extremely nervous and she refused to let Doc do the ultra sound to check on the kitt when he arrived with the portable machine.
"She gone back to sleep already?" Steven asks quietly from just behind me and I glance over my shoulder at him.
"Yeah," I confirm as I move away from the door and head for the lounge room so our conversation doesn't disturb her. "She said she wanted to change clothes to go into town about a quarter of an hour ago. I came to see what was taking her so long and found her asleep."
"She wouldn't need to be sleeping now if you two hadn't been going at it most of the night," Steven chuckles softly.
A smile tugs at the corners of my mouth and I feel a lightness of mood as I remember how Rosy encouraged my attentions the night before. It was the first time since I let her out of the cage and the sudden change in my status that she allowed me to do more than hold her.
I explained to her several times that until there was an official engagement, announced to the werecat community at large, relationships were conducted openly in the presence of others. My main concern is how Rosy still insisted on retreating to my room for any intimacy between us as if it was something to be hidden from the others.
"Rosy nearly ready to go to town?" Jazzy asks eagerly as we walk into the lounge room.
"I'm sorry Jazzy, but Rosy is asleep," I tell her gently.
Jazzy frowns and crosses her arms over her chest, annoyance clear in every line of her body.
"Maybe we can go tomorrow if Rosy doesn't feel up to it later," Dwayne says quietly.
"But Rosy needs new clothes now! Everything is getting too tight, Rosy even said so herself," Jazzy snaps in irritation.
I think about the way most of Rosy's tops now fit firmly over her breasts and I remember how she complained only this morning when her favourite jeans were uncomfortable over her stomach.
"I'm sure Rosy will want to go shopping later after she wakes up," I tell Jazzy soothingly.
"Rosy wouldn't be sleeping now if you had let her sleep last night," Jazzy mutters as she turns away.
I can't help the chuckle that starts deep in my chest and bursts forth making Jazzy turn and frown at me in irritation.
"Don't be so pleased with yourself," Jazzy snaps. "Being pregnant means Rosy needs all the sleep she can get."
"You had better tell Rosy that," I say with a wide grin. I can't help feeling good about the events of the night before. "I wasn't the one who started it and I wasn't the one who couldn't get enough of the touching."
"So things are getting better between you and Rosy?" Jazzy asks hopefully. "You'll be asking her to marry you soon?"
"I'm busy building a relationship with Rosy at present," I tell Jazzy firmly. "Rosy and I don't have years of knowing each other behind us. We need a good solid foundation to grow from."
I don't tell her I have been desperately trying to rekindle a spark of the matebond I was sure was forming between us before Rosy lost control and nearly changed while wearing the collar. I don't mention to anyone that I can no longer feel her presence at the edge of my mind. Every time I concentrate and search for her all I find is a weird nothingness where I am sure she used to be.
"I know all that," Jazzy says rolling her eyes as she turns away. "But there's going to be a baby kitt in a few months."
"All the more reason to build a friendship," I say firmly.
"Well you're stupid if you don't ask her to marry you soon; otherwise Rosy is going to be clearly pregnant in the wedding photos," Jazzy says and walks over to where Mitchell is studying some papers laid out on the kitchen table.
"Do you think the records in front of you are complete?" I ask Mitchell as I sit in the chair I had previously been sitting in before checking on Rosy.
"Some of the addresses and details on the strays living in the clan territory need to be updated," Mitchell says with a frown as he glances up. "These records of Wade's aren't up to date. I bet there is another newer book in his study."
"I can go back over my diary to get the relevant information," I say with a sigh. "I'll get it later; if I go into my room now I'll only wake Rosy up."
"I take it things are improving between you and Rosy?" Mitchell says evenly without looking at me.
"Yesterday and last night were parts of a real good day. Steady progress and no backsliding," I say smiling to myself.
"Just as long as she's coping after nearly freaking out with all the tension around Wade," Sam says quietly as he takes a seat at the table.
We focus our conversation on the papers in front of us, both Mitchell and I making notes with pen and paper as we talk. None of us object when Jazzy starts asking questions and wanting to know how everything works. I am glad to see Mitchell encouraging Jazzy's interest in traditionally male areas to do with the security of the clan.
"Is it too late to go shopping today?" Rosy's softly spoken question surprises me and I look towards the lounge room to see her. I take in her skirt and top, one of the few times I have seen her in anything other than shorts or jeans.
"We can go shopping and have lunch in town before heading back," Jazzy says happily with a quick glance at her watch.
"Shopping shouldn't take long," Rosy says uncomfortably. "I'm not getting a lot of things."
"Pick out as much as you like. I want you to be comfortably dressed," I tell her with a smile. "I would go with you but your Uncle, Kurt Black will be here in a while to talk with Mitchell and myself."
"I'll make sure Rosy gets everything she needs," Jazzy says happily. "Marissa gave me a list of things in case Rosy didn't know what she would need."
"I'll be there to make sure you don't give Rosy a hard time," Dwayne says as he walks over to pat Jazzy on the head as if she were still a child of eight or nine.
"Don't worry Jazzy, I'll be there to protect you," Malcolm laughs from the lounge room.
A low angry rumble comes from Mitchell as he gets to his feet and I see Rosy visibly flinch at his growl.
"I'll go wait in one of the cars," Rosy rushes to say as she heads outside.
"I'll walk you out to the car," I say as I hurry to my feet and follow her.
Rosy is waiting just outside the quarters and gives me a slightly nervous look as I come out the door. She glances past me as if expecting others to be following me before turning towards the two vehicles parked close by.
"Which car do you want to ride in?" I ask lightly.
"Rosy's riding with Donny, Malcolm and me," Chris says as he comes out of the quarters followed closely by Donny and heads for Malcolm's restored Monaro.
"That leaves Dwayne, Timny and Kirby with Jazzy doesn't it?" I remark as I work the travelling arrangements out.
"Yeah," Chris agrees as I open the car door for Rosy while he goes around to the other side.
"You pick out whatever clothing you need for yourself," I tell Rosy as she hesitates with a glance my way. "Don't worry about the cost - I can afford to spend whatever it takes to make sure you're comfortable."
"I don't need a lot," Rosy protests quietly.
"Maybe you'd like to pick out something you like so I can have the fun of taking it off you tonight?" I whisper near her ear.
Rosy blushes instantly and ducks her head as she gets into the vehicle hurriedly. She chances a sidelong glance my way with red cheeks only to look away shyly. I glance into the back seat and see the way Donny is watching our interaction with interest but Chris elbows him and shakes his head at my youngest brother.
"Looks like I'm holding everyone here up," Malcolm says as he walks towards his car.
"Keep flirting with Jazzy, and Mitchell is going to kick your arse," I warn him as he opens his door.
"All of us will survive it if he does," Malcolm says lightly and I shake my head with a frown. I worry how Rosy will handle the aggression if it happens.
"I'll see you when you get back," I say to Rosy and lean in to drop a quick kiss on her lips when she glances my way. Her lips part beneath mine and she kisses me back until I ease away. Now is not the time or place for the passion that simmers below the surface of our kiss.
I shut the car door and step back as Malcolm starts the engine; he slips the vehicle into gear and drives slowly along the drive. Dwayne is only a couple of minutes behind in his SUV and follows at a more normal speed. I head back inside to the kitchen and the paperwork we need to straighten out and update.
* * * * *
I look at the top Jazzy holds up for my inspection and I shake my head. It's too girly for my tastes but would suit Jazzy when she starts her own family.
"Hey Jazz want to come look at the x-box games?" Donovan asks. I glance at him where he is standing watching his sister hopefully.
"No Donny, we're here shopping for Rosy not for another game for you to play," Jazzy says sternly. I hear the slight laughter that comes from the five toms near by and I glance at Dwayne, Kirby, Malcolm, Timny and Chris where they are standing by a magazine rack. I don't have to look to know Malcolm would be looking at the latest playboy while Dwayne would have a Four Wheel Adventuring magazine.
I glance at the trolley with maternity bras, loose t-shirts and maternity jeans in it before glancing at Donovan. "I'll have a look Donovan. I got all I need for now picked out," I tell him.
"Wait a moment you pair," Timny orders before putting some magazine back and walking towards us.
"Give me five minutes to run these things through the checkout and pay for them and I'll be right behind you," Dwayne says as he takes hold of the trolley with my shopping in it.
"Meet you at The Eatery in half an hour for lunch?" Malcolm asks.
"Sure thing," Timny acknowledges even as Dwayne adds his agreement. Donovan leads the way out of the shop and I glance across the road at the small café Malcolm mentioned. The breeze is hot and reeks of the smell of exhaust fumes and hot bitumen as we walk along the sidewalk. We pause at a street as we wait for a break in traffic so we can cross the road. I can feel the heat of the road through the thin soles of the sandals I wear and I look around uneasily not liking the smell of so many hot and sweaty humans. The games shop is at the far end of the block of shops and I am glad when we walk in the door. A feeling of unease touches me briefly but Donovan grabs my hand with an excited gasp.
"They've got the latest Alien Invasion style game here," Donovan cries excitedly and rushes towards the display. Behind us Timny laughs and I smile to myself as Donovan lets go of me in his excitement.
"Can I help you?" The salesman immediately descends on us and although his words are directed at Donovan his eyes don't leave my body.
"Yes I want to see what games that have been released this last ten days," Donovan says confidently.
"Certainly, come this way," the salesman says to me before turning and leading the way towards the display wall at the back of the store. "What exactly are you looking for?" Again he looks at me and I notice Donovan frown.
"You'd do better to talk to Donovan. He's the one interested in looking and buying. I'm just here for the exercise," I say and look away trying to convey my disinterest.
"You don't look like you need the exercise," the salesman says flirtatiously.
"My boyfriend said that as well this morning but I did promise to take his little brother shopping," I say without looking his way as I wonder why Timny isn't stopping this.
"He's a lucky man," the salesman says and Donovan clears his throat drawing his attention.
I frown as I glance around looking for Timny. He is half way to the back of the store and I immediately see the two slightly scruffy looking guys standing in the walk way between him and us. I don't need to smell them to identify them as strays as they take a step or two blocking his path. I turn my head at a faint sound not far from me and fear wells up in me almost stopping me breathing for a few seconds as I recognise the well built form beside Donovan and the salesman. He glances my way and smiles as his black hair falls over his forehead nearly covering his silvery grey eyes.
"This is a top game, you should try it. Big Five they call it. It's about capturing the five most famous animals in Africa. Must be exciting to go after a big cat, don't you think?"
Donovan must have gotten a smell of the tom talking or recognised the veiled hint because he stepped back towards me with a nervous smile not once taking his eyes off the mature tom so close to him. I hear a soft sound behind me and glance back over my shoulder. One of the strays is standing toe to toe with Timny and I see Timny stagger slightly. I move swiftly to grab Donovan by his arm and pull him towards me several steps.
"We're late for lunch. We will just have to come back," I say firmly without taking my eyes from the black haired tom. Donovan doesn't take his eyes from the tom and I have difficulty guiding him along backwards.
"Where's Timny?" he whimpers as I jerk at him to lead him towards one side of the store.
"He let one of the strays get too close," I mumble just loud enough for Donovan to hear. Donovan glances around and I feel him start trembling and I know he has started to panic as he realises we are without protection and there are strays in the shop.
"We can't do anything to help him. We need to get out of here," I tell Donovan under my breath.
The two strays leave Timny who slowly sinks in a drunken manner to sit in one of the side aisles between rows of dvd's, games and movies. I meet Timny's eyes for a second before focusing on the two strays heading our way as if they are merely browsing through the goods on sale.
Two strays in front of us, and one behind. The memory of those cold grey eyes from other times crowd into my mind and I would prefer to face the two strays rather than the owner of those eyes.
"The other one's not far behind us," Donovan whispers and I tense as I reach near where the two toms wait to ambush us. I see the gleam of a blade and tighten my hold on Donovan's arm. A fast flick of my other hand sends a row of dvds tumbling onto the floor and I jump to the side as if startled.
"You clumsy clod," I say loudly attracting the attention of everyone in the store. "You knocked those on the floor on purpose! I saw you do it!" Indeed the tom looks guilty with his hand extended towards where the fallen items had rested an instant before. Only the presence of half a dozen potential witnesses keeps the two strays from trying to stop me as I dodge behind two rows of dvds and keep them between me and the strays.
"Come on let's get out of this store," I say as I drag Donovan after me. He has the presence of mind to turn and follow me and I spare one quick glance for Timny who is holding one of his hands tightly against his side while he fumbles for his phone. I know that if I leave Donovan behind to make a run for it by myself he will face the same fate as Timny.
I burst out into the heat of the day to immediately smell the strong scent of a stray close by. I dart to the side as a lanky form straightens from the storefront and I am forced to lead Donovan away from the direction we need to head in.
"Keep moving Donovan," I say between gritted teeth as I walk fast. Donovan manages to catch up to me and I glance around quickly. I catch sight of another form slinking among the people across the road in front of us as well as another on the other side of the road.
"They're hunting us," Donovan gasps sounding terrified as he too identifies the predatory movements of the strays on the street. I grab his hand and pull him along with me as I walk fast.
"I know, I know," I chant nervously. "Follow me and stick close." I reach the roadside curb and hesitate a moment as the tom on the other side of the road steps onto the crossing. I tug on Donovan's hand and turn down the street instead of crossing the road.
"Run," I hiss and take off. Donovan is only a step behind me and I stick to a pace he can manage. A form too stealthy to be human steps around the corner before we reach it and I swerve towards the road. I dart through traffics ignoring the blaring horns but realise Donovan has hesitated. He arrives at my side of the road nearly a minute after I do and I see the toms from behind us on the same side of the road and closing in on us.
"Rosy! They're hunting us," Donovan says sounding close to panic.
"Stick with me," I say and dart back into the traffic. Donovan hesitates and I lose sight of him for a moment as a bus goes between us. When I glance his way again he is struggling between two bigger figures and they both have a tight hold on his upper arms.
A black haired figure crosses the road nimbly and I stand on the centre line of the street watching with horror as he walks towards where Donovan is being held. I take a deep breath of air that smells and tastes of foul exhaust fumes and make my way back to the side of the street Donovan is on. Not surprisingly no one seems to take notice of the drama going on in the street.
"Hey Rosy," the black haired tom says with a triumphant smile. "Long time no see. Looks like your little friend here would appreciate your company. I think he'd like it much better if you were with him than if Terry were to ride in the back of the van with him, don't you agree?"
"You let that pervert Terry near him, Kendal, and I will personally shred your sick pet then come after you," I hiss in a low under tone.
"Don't be like that little Alley Cat. We're old friends remember; we go way back," Kendal purrs at me.
A courier van comes to a halt at the curb near Donovan and the two toms holding him. The back door is slid open and in the blink of an eye Donovan disappears inside. I shift uneasily on my feet and Kendal Darnel smiles.
"Your choice Alley Cat: either you join him voluntarily or we leave with just him and I come back for you later," Kendal tells me. "I've been watching and waiting for you to show yourself here in town for a couple of months now. Word on the grape vine was you were holed up somewhere around here. Though I must admit I thought you would be with Jasper again, not some clan cat."
I remain motionless as I stand staring at Kendal in what I am sure is wide-eyed horror. I know this is where my life returns to the old, familiar nightmare of life as Kendal's plaything.
I hear a horrified smothered sound come from inside the van and a familiar chuckle. I am unable to stop my own furious snarl as I step close and hesitate for a few moments.
Get in; don't make me wait any longer.
I know I didn't actually hear the words but I feel the compulsion to do as Kendal wants, and I look his way. The smile is still on his face but fails to reach the cold almost gunmetal grey of his eyes.
The almost silent sounds of a struggle within the van reach me and I look at Kendal once again. Kendal reaches for the door to shut it but I move fast, slipping beneath his arm to get into the van. The door is slammed shut behind me but not before I see the bulky form bent over Donovan. I don't hesitate as I launch my attack. My knees meet yielding flesh and my fingers curl into long greasy hair as I grip and pull savagely.
"Get off him, you pervert," I snarl. The reaction is instant and I realise he must have been waiting for me as a heavy hand smacks me in the side of the head and a second hand connects with my ribs in a strong punch. I kick out savagely with my feet and have the satisfaction of hearing his gasp of agony before someone else slams me against the side of the van that is now moving. I lay still as I gasp to get air into my burning lungs and I feel a trembling figure huddle down beside me.