Bound to My Mate Ch. 16


The three of them were all dressed identically in plain t shirts and sweatpants. It was the emergency wear the pack provided. I wondered if we should buy them clothes or go to the trailer and get what they had.

'What should we do about clothes for them?' I asked through the bond. 'Should we get them what they had from the trailer?'

'No,' Joel sent back, 'we will give them everything they need here. They must learn we can provide for them.'

'What if there is something sentimental of value in the trailer?' I pushed.

The boys all stepped into the hall about that time with freshly brushed hair and washed faces. Joel motioned and we started down the hall.

'We are watching the trailer now. I doubt the girl will come back to it, but we'll clean it out before the trailer park does,' Joel said.

I nodded at him. That was satisfactory to me.

The other young wolves on the wing were watching this with interest. All the heads stuck out the doorways looked almost comical and I struggled not to laugh. Hopefully, the Alphas' attention would be seen as a good thing and help these young men fit in.

"I'm sure you will find something you like on our breakfast table," Joel told the boys as we made our way back down the hall.

At first, breakfast was a strained affair. The boys kept waiting for Joel to explode at them. They flinched if he reached in front of them and Rick, when he talked, stuttered badly. Eventually, they started to relax the slightest.

It helped the situation when Emily and her new mate came into the room. They sat with her family where she usually sat. It was obvious, even from a distance, Emily's parents were happy with her new mate.

The boys at our table watched with growing interest as the young man was introduced to Emily's extended family. That was most everyone that came into the room. It was obvious the boy was already accepted.

"She's a pure blood, sir?" Joseph asked Joel watching Emily and Brett.

"Son, please don't use that term, nobody thinks like that. Since you mention it, I think her line has been all wolf. Honestly, I'd have to go back and check the records to find out," Joel said loading his plate back up with a thick slab of ham and passing the rest to Joseph.

"T-The other packs wouldn't take our calls when we t-t-tried t-t-to ask for help," the stuttering boy, Rick, whispered.

"Alpha De Santos used a switchboard and wouldn't let the calls outside the pack," Joel gently told them.

The boys got braver and asked Joel more and more about what had happened. He was honest with them. Joseph wanted to know if specific individuals had survived. Joel promised to go with him to call Alpha Sebastian Germain and find out.

'That's going to be an interesting conversation,' Joel told me through our bond. 'Sebastian claimed all of the De Santos pack that could be salvaged. He may demand some sort of payment for these four.'

'Would you pay him?' I asked curiously.

'Absolutely, these kids are born survivors. I have no doubt they are very skilled and resourceful. We just have to determine where their talents lie.'

The rest of the meal consisted of Joel trying to find out what the boys liked to do. At first, they were shy, but they slowly opened up. He made the conversation all about them and who doesn't like to talk about themselves?

I noticed they watched me closely. When I touched Joel, they all cringed, bracing for attack. They didn't really believe we were the happy mated pair we appeared to be.

I groaned when the doors opened and the human females were brought in to have breakfast. We were trying to acclimate the women the rogues had kidnapped to the pack, so they now took their meals in the main dining area. We kept them in the mix, but still separate. It was difficult.

"Joel, I need to go watch the women. Nobody's had a fit in a couple of days and I can feel one coming on," I told him as I rose and kissed his head.

I passed through the tables and went to sit with the five human women we had rescued. Most of their injuries were healed and now it was just the mental problems we were still dealing with. I just had to convince them wolves weren't all bad, so they would allow us to change them.

Greeting the women politely, I took a seat with my coffee cup. I was used to the attention I got in the pack and wasn't surprised when someone appeared at my elbow. My assumption was they were there to fill my cup.

"H-H-Hello," Rick's stuttering voice came from just beside me.

I was a little shocked he had followed me over. He seemed too shy to follow me around.

Looking up his big brown eyes were locked on the girl sitting to my right. She never spoke and her blue eyes rarely showed an emotion other than terror. Standing up, I pushed at his chest to move him away from her. The last thing I needed was her breaking down. She was fragile at best.

"I saw you from over t-t-there," he continued, watching her over my shoulder, "you are so beautiful. What is your name?"

The girl stared up at him with a mixed look on her face. The terror was still there, but she looked curious about him, too. I prayed terror would not win out, when that happened we had to literally put her in a padded room.

I placed one hand on Rick's chest and one hand pulled his chin until he was looking in my eyes.

"She has been hurt and she is not a wolf. Why are you over here? Go back with the others," I commanded.

My claws had grown a little and I knew my eyes were glowing gold. Rick looked stunned and the emotions washed over his face.

"I just want to talk to her. I won't hurt her, I promise. May I please talk with her, Madam Alpha?"

Joel's voice crept into his mind and I heard him sigh, 'It's probably his mate the way he's acting. You aren't going to be able to keep them apart.'

Watching Rick I had to agree and shot back to Joel, 'What are we, the new dating game?'

Taking a deep breath I pushed my protective instincts down. This male would never harm his mate.

"Rick, do not touch her unless she permits it and do not crowd her. If I see you overstepping the boundaries I will remove you," I stated.

Rick pulled up a seat next to the girl and looked at her. She cowered in her chair some, but she wasn't panicking yet. That was a good sign. He pushed a plate of bacon toward her and she took some, yet another good sign.

"You should eat more," he whispered to her, "the food will help you get stronger."

She nodded to him and I was floored. This particular young woman never responded to anyone. We had figured out her name by running her features through a missing person's database. It was April, she was only twenty-two.

"Can you t-tell me your name?" he asked pouring orange juice in her glass.

Those blue eyes looked like they were going to bug out of her head, but she didn't speak.

"It's not a big deal," he soothed, "you'll t-tell me later, when you want t-to. My name is Rick."

A kitchen worker appeared and refilled my cup of coffee.

The table ate quietly for a little while. Rick made no attempt to touch April and I was glad. Removing him seemed like it would be a big scene.

"Rogues hurt her, Madam Alpha?" he asked me.

"Yes, they hurt all these women."

"I'm sorry for that," he said directing the comment to the group. "How can I help?"

One of the other girls spoke to him, "You could let us go and leave us alone. We never wanted to be part of this," she said bitterly.

"Donna," I addressed her, "I'm sorry, but that is not an option. We've talked about this."

This was an old argument and I felt for the girl. She was right. We were keeping them because we could, but we had no right. It was a useless debate, though. The rules were set in stone.

"I remember being in a pack when I was younger," Rick told her. "At the end, it was bad. In the beginning it was wonderful. This pack seems like that, the way it was in the beginning."

"What happens when it goes bad?" she asked him harshly.

"I don't feel like it will happen here. The Alphas here are strong and stable. Our Alpha was always afraid of something, we never knew what it was," Rick said scooping more eggs onto April's plate.

"I think he was afraid of weakness," I added to the conversation, "from what I've heard."

"Who isn't afraid of weakness?" Donna asked. "I'm weak and I'm terrified. Anybody here could beat me, just like those thugs that took me did. There is nothing to stop them."

"Then you should let them change you," Rick said. "You'll be stronger after the transition and able to hold your own."

Evidently, Rick remembered the rules about humans stumbling onto wolves.

He continued to talk with Donna and shockingly, she responded to him in a positive way. He didn't say anything different than the rest of us had said, he just said it differently. The women leaned toward him and spoke freely. It was change from the way they usually talked to us.

I watched Rick talk to the women and it suddenly struck me. He was getting through to them. In this noisy crowded hall, he had done something that allowed them to trust him. For weeks I'd tried to do that and had failed. He was markedly good at this naturally.

'Joel, I know what Rick can do,' I shouted into his head.

'Very good, love, he's yours then,' Joel called back laughing.

April never did speak to Rick, but she watched him closely. When his arm was on the table next to hers I saw her scoot closer, so they touched. It was a good first step for her.

Joel took all four boys when he went to call Alpha Sebastian Germain. He was able to provide the information the boys had asked about.

As expected the other Alpha demanded some form of payment if Joel was keeping them.

"I've got a couple of unmated trackers I could loan you for the year," Joel bargained.

"I don't expect you'll let me take those young men back at the end of a year, why should I let you have your trackers back?" Sebastian argued.

"My trackers are fresh eyes on an old case. They'll help you make more headway. If it's still open in a year and you want new eyes, I'll send you two more for a year," Joel said.

"And how long would this continue?" Sebastian asked cooly.

Joel turned and looked at the boys before he spoke. "Ten years, two of my best trackers every year until she's found."

"Make it twenty years and you have a deal, Joel."

"Done," my mate said nodding.

"Your probably getting the better end of this deal, aren't you Joel?" Sebastian asked.

Joel patted Joseph on the shoulder and agreed with the other Alpha.

"These are special kids, Sebastian, I'm glad I found them," Joel said.

We talked to the boys for a while after they got off the phone. During the light conversation I noted Rick's stutter had returned with a vengeance, it had almost disappeared this morning. I wondered about it, but didn't ask for fear it would embarrass him.

After the meeting I took Rick and headed for the infirmary while Joel dealt with things upstairs. I wasn't wrong about Rick. He had a sixth sense about dealing with people. He was an excellent listener and knew how to speak to people that had been hurt.

As the days passed I came to trust Rick completely with the injured women. He spent most days watching over them. It was a big relief for me not to worry over whether they were with someone that would scare them.

Rick listened to the survivors, they told him all their stories. It was like they'd known him their entire lives. His capacity to really appreciate someone's position was awe inspiring.

I knew he must be counseling them, too. They were more open about the pack and less angry overall. His presence was a help to all of us that had been trying vainly to help them. They were less resistant to the idea of change and I was grateful.

Something was also helping Rick, his stutter was disappearing. At first it was just when he was around April, soon it was all the time. He sounded like a different person without it. I hoped it was gone for good.

Rick spent hours with April, sometimes he talked to her while she rocked back and forth. Other times he got out paint supplies and drew while she watched; he was quite an artist. All the attention finally opened her up.

It took a couple weeks, but Rick got April talking. She told him everything that had happened to her. As usual, he listened and didn't interrupt. I found her sound asleep in his arms after she had finished her story.

Rick lay her in her bed and closed the door to her room in the infirmary. He walked right past me and out the main door into the hallway. I followed him on instinct.

Leaning over on the marble floors he lost the contents of his stomach. He vomited until there was nothing left. I stroked his back as he leaned on the wall.

"The rogues that are left cannot continue doing this," he told me. "Those spells are evil, they give too much power to them. My sister, June, she knew something. I don't know what it was. She never would tell me. We have to find her. We have to stop the magic and the rogues."

"We're looking, Rick," I told him, "for the rogues and your sister. June is proving difficult, we don't know where she went. It's like she disappeared."

"Give me five minutes and a phone and I will find her, Madam Alpha," he promised me.

Joel wanted to be part of this as did the entire security team that had been looking for the sellers. Lucas was ecstatic, of course, and demanded to be there. All in all, the security room was full of people as Rick started dialing.

The other ex-renegades weren't as hyped as Rick was about finding June. Joseph still had reservations, I could tell, but there was nothing he could do now. He had to stand by as Rick dialed the numbers.

Joel had it set up so we could trace the call if we found June. The phone was also set up so the room could hear both sides of the conversation. As a group we would catch every nuance and hint to find her. Joel didn't want her to get away, especially if she knew something. Rick seemed sure he could get her to turn herself in without a lot of drama.

The first couple calls were a bust. Rick tried several people that they had stayed with in the past. Finally, we hit pay dirt when he called a girl named Dia, he just called her D for short.

"Hey, D," he told her when she answered the phone, "June's run and we're looking for her."

"Sounds bad, mutt," she said back to him, "but I haven't seen her."

Joel's brow furrowed at the derogatory term and the security team looked a little pissed, too.

"She's nowhere, D, that means she went to you. We need to find her," Rick said.

The line was quiet for a moment before Dia spoke again.

"Where's the stutter, mutt?" she asked, "You sound like a new man."

"We're in a good place, the stutter's gotten better here. If June knows where we are she thinks we're in trouble. This is a safe place. They are taking care of us and taking care of other humans the rogue werewolves have hurt."

I sucked in a gasp. Either this girl was a lone wolf or she was human that knew way too much. Joel looked as concerned as I did and was silently running a hand through his hair.

"Mutt, mutt, mutt..." she murmured, "how are your brothers? Haven't heard from you guys in a dog's age."

The other boys all got on the phone and greeted her. They reiterated they needed to know where June was. The line was silent for the longest time and the security guys were trying to get a trace on it.

"You can't trace my line, you know," Dia said quietly.

"D, what's going on? Put June on the phone," Joseph demanded taking the phone.

"Or what, Alpha boy?" she asked aggressively. "What the fuck are you going to do?"

"I'm not an Alpha," Joseph told her, "but I'm looking at one and you're pissing him off. If you have June, she needs to come in. She will not be hurt."

"I've heard a thing or two about Alphas," Dia said. "Gossip is that around here their word is gold, if they'll give it."

We all noticed that Dia said 'around here'. June had never left the area, that was good to know.

"What do you want?" Joel asked snatching the phone. "My name is Alpha Joel Latro."

"Protection, Alpha Latro, and I know who you are. I want out when I give you the girl and her stuff. Let me walk away like I never met you and you never met me," she said.

Joel's eyes flicked to me and I nodded, if June knew something we needed her.

"Done," Joel answered.

Dia took a breath and then spoke, "June's hurt, badly. We are outside town on route 301 now. I can take her to St. Sebastian's, they're about forty minutes away. It's the closest place, but she'll need protection. I'll drop her stuff off to you after."

Joel looked at me and said, "No, bring her to me, we have an emergency room on site and you're probably just as close to us."

"The den in the woods?" the girl asked and Joel winced at the terminology.

Dia knew way too much and he had agreed to let her go.

Rick got back on the phone and Dia knew exactly where we were. Joel sent Anthony and several other wolves to watch the roads as June was brought to us. We didn't want her to disappear again.

After Joel hung up the phone he looked crossly at his new wolves.

"How did you know this girl and what is she?" he asked.

The boys explained Dia was a human. She had been burglarizing a fifth story condo and fallen. She caught herself, but her grip was slipping. They had been in the alley below and June had begged them to help. Joseph climbed the building and lowered her to safety.

"You told her you were werewolves?!" I accused getting irritated along with my mate.

"No, ma'm," Rick said, "she knew what we were. Dia knows all about things she shouldn't know about: werewolves, magic, just about anything. She taught us a lot about how to survive. We helped her steal for about a couple years and then Joseph said we should stop. He thought it wasn't a good way to earn money."

Joel and I both commended Joseph on his good judgement. Stealing was certainly a bad way to make a living. It was nice to see that when he was Alpha, he had his pack's best interest at heart.

"She's gone straight now, I've heard," Brett told us. "She came into some money and bought a semi truck. Now she does cross country trucking."

Will, Sarah, and I went downstairs to ready the infirmary for a human. We had supplies, so we took a gurney upstairs to transport the girl on. It was equipped with oxygen and a defibrillator in case we needed it. We were prepared for whatever emergency was coming our way.

Anthony contacted Joel when he saw a semi pass. Evidently Dia was driving a her truck to drop June off. We all wondered how much 'stuff' June had in the back of the semi.

June's adopted family was all excited. They were desperate to see their sister. Lucas was also having a hard time containing himself. I hoped they wouldn't fight over who got to see her first. Especially, if she was injured. Their excitement added fuel to the energy in the den.

We were all edgy. Everyone felt like something strange was getting closer. The mood on the main floor was tense and we all were waiting anxiously.

Something big and something bad was headed our way. I don't think any one knew just what it was, though.

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