Danger Zone Ch. 05byvvolfe©
Emma was awoken by the sound of someone entering her room. Keeping her breathing slow and even, she slowly slipped her hand under her pillow where she hid the steak knife she commandeered from dinner earlier. She was expecting the MacDougalls to betray her trust; she just wasn't expecting it so soon.
Emma visibly sagged into her pillows.
"I can't sleep. Can I sleep here with you?" The tentative voice called out from the doorway.
Emma sighed and lifted the edge of her covers. Lil' crept in and snuggled closely to Emma's warmth causing Emma to flinch.
"Christ Lil' you're freezing!"
"Sorry, I didn't want to wake you but it was creepy sleeping in that big room all alone after...after... you know." Lil' finished in a whisper.
Emma tentatively cradled her arms around Lil'. "Yeah I know Lil'. How long were you standing out there?"
"I dunno...half an hour maybe?"
"Wait you've been here for 3 days. What did you do while I was sedated?"
"Well the first night we were sedated too then Suzy committed suicide and they made us sleep in the same room so they could watch us...and install the cameras. Then last night we slept here because we wanted to be there when you woke up but you didn't wake up until this afternoon."
"Hmmmm...they made you sleep together? Sounds great Lil'."
"They asked nicely. They really are nice people. And ummm can you call me Lily from now on? Lil' is too...close."
"...I'll try but given that this conversation is taking place at some god forsaken hour, you might need to remind me tomorrow morning."
Lily smiled and nodded.
"Good now can we go back to sleep? I'm exhausted."
"That's surprising given your 3 days of beauty sleep." Lily teased.
"My god. My quiet, shy Lily making jokes? The world is coming to an end." Emma grinned at the personality change in her introverted, normally withdrawn friend. Maybe this Daniel was good for her. "Now shhh, some people are trying to sleep." Raising her voice slightly, she addressed the 3 girls hovering outside her door. "In or out ladies, I want to get some shut eye."
The bed sagged as the girls ran and jumped on the bed and crawled under the covers. Their breathing soon evened out and they were fast asleep.
Emma sighed as resigned herself to a night wide awake, listening to the sounds of her friends sleeping. Despite her original opinions that her bed was ginormous, with 5 people snuggled into it, the bed size shrunk considerably. The 5 girls were essentially spooning each other in order to avoid Emma or Lena falling off the sides. Emma, who instinctually shies away from physical contact, would never be able to relax enough to fall asleep so after ensuring all 4 girls were soundly asleep, she slipped out of bed and made herself comfortable in the large chair by her window. Looking up at the glowing moon, she spent the next few hours reflecting on her plan to get the girls integrated into their new life and then she spent another few hours figuring out how to get away without anyone noticing.
When Lily started shifting in her sleep, Emma slipped back into bed, snuggling into the small woman, trying to infuse as much comfort as she could into her embrace.
The next morning, the girls entered the dining room for breakfast chatting excitedly to Emma, trying to fill her in on all they have learned in the past few days. Emma, sleep deprived and wary of all the loud noises, was barely paying attention when a heavenly smell assaulted her senses.
"Omigod you have coffee?" She exclaimed as she made a beeline for one of the carafes on the buffet table. Hesitating, she looked for the alphas sitting at the head table. "May I have some?"
Smiling warmly, Jane replied "Anything we have here is free for your use. Anything you need, please let us know." Emma acknowledged the statement with a bowed head and a thank you. Pouring coffee and doctoring it carefully, she cradled the mug like she was handling blown glass. She took a sip and let out a relieved sigh. "Sweet nectar of the gods, how I missed you. Did you miss me baby?" She said to her cup.
With bemused smiles, Lena and Doc also poured themselves a cup and sighed deeply when the smooth flavour hit their taste buds. They have never seen their leader act this way, maybe it was a sign she was starting to relax.
The sound of her friends taking out dishes to fill their plates brought Emma back to earth. Glancing around, she noticed she was being watched by half the room, most of them looking at her like she was crazy the rest looked on with pity for reacting so strongly to a cup of coffee. Stiffening her spine, she carefully put her coffee cup on her tray and filled her plate with the offering of bacon, sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and pancakes.
She cackled loudly when she heard Doc mumble "You think they've ever heard of fruit?" and Alice casually reply "Why would they? Wolves are carnivores." Both ladies glanced warily at Emma, failing to see why that was so funny.
Shaking her head, Emma directed them towards an open table. They were soon joined by Dan, Peter and Jane. Dan sidled up to Lily with his own plate and engaged her in a quiet conversation. Lily was so engrossed by the conversation; she failed to notice Dan moving food from his plate to hers. 'Probably in an effort to fatten her up' Emma surmised.
"Good morning ladies. How did you sleep?" Inquired Peter.
"Great." Replied Lena, Alice and Doc together. Emma's reply was slightly delayed.
"Really?" Peter pressed, noting the bags under B's eyes.
"Really." Emma replied with a glare.
"Would you like us move all your bed into the same room? You seem to be more comfortable sleeping in the same area." Jane asked.
"No no" Emma replied before the others could reply "We like having our own spaces, it's just been hard adapting to a new location." Thinking for a moment, she continued. "Perhaps if we had the opportunity to decorate our rooms to our liking it would make us more comfortable with our living arrangements." She suggested.
Jane smiled "An excellent idea! I will send Angie and her crew up this morning with all her fabric and paint swatches. She's our resident interior designer."
Emma thanked her kindly and returned to her food, thinking the conversation over.
"B, how would you like a tour of the compound this afternoon?" Jane asked, grabbing Emma's attention again.
Emma smiled privately. This will give her a chance to scope the compound for possible escape routes. "Love to. Thank you."
"Can we come too?" Lena asked.
"Yeah, we definitely should get another tour after we got lost last night." Alice said with chagrin.
Doc simply nodded. Lily was too distracted to notice the rest of the table.
"Of course you can." Jane replied happily.
Angie turned out to be a big blond who had the ability to talk a mile without needing to take a breath. Her crew involved a tall lanky man who could create a colour palate in mere seconds and a teenage girl who was a fabric savant. Angie was one of those people who could look at you and immediately knew what you needed, even if you had no idea yourself. And god help you if you disagreed with the lady. She was stubborn to a fault. This became obvious when she was consulting on Doc's room.
"But I don't want bright blue in my room, I want pastels and neutrals."
"No way. You need a room that will uplift your spirits and inspire creativity and pastels and neutrals will just bring you down. You'll get totally washed out" Angie stated, crossing her arms.
"Well I'm the client so you have to do what I want." Doc argued
"Says any customer service handbook!" Doc shouted.
"No. I take my orders from Madam Alpha and she said to make your room a home and pastels will only make you feel like your living in a hospital."
"Exactly!" Doc said, throwing her arms up in exasperation.
That answer took the designer back. "What?"
"The hospital was my home...before." Doc said quietly, breaking eye contact. She didn't want to have to admit her reasons for her colour choices. "Pastels remind me of better times. It makes me calm."
Angie shot her a pitying look, which Doc missed because she was looking at the floor, but Angie's expression hardened "I am NOT giving you a room just so you can live in the past."
Doc glared at the buxom woman and ground through her teeth. "Yes you will."
Emma, watching from the hallway stepped into the room. "She's right."
Both ladies relaxed, thinking Emma agreed with them and not the other woman.
"See? So just give me my pastels and we'll move on." Doc said smugly.
"Ummmm... I was actually agreeing with Angie. You can't go back to your old life. Why would you want the reminder of who you used to be?"
Doc sagged into the chair in her room where they had laid out all the fabric swatches. Erica shot her a disgruntled look for messing up her work.
She sat silently contemplating the paint colour she still held in her hand. Emma kneeled silently beside her. "Dude this is your first step towards your new life. This is your reset button. You can become whoever or whatever you want."
"I want to be a doctor. I worked all my life to be a doctor." Doc sniffed.
"Ok well you can still be a doctor. I'm sure this pack has need of a doctor." Emma said as she gently rubbed Doc's arm.
"We sure do." Jane said as she crouched on Doc's other side. She pretended she didn't see both ladies startle and shrink back "I'm sure Ethan would be happy for the extra hands. Especially some trained ones."
Doc's mouth turned down in disgust "I'm not interested in a wolf's brand of medicine. All you guys do is tear each other apart and make us fix you up."
Jane rolled her eyes "That may be the case in a rogue pack but you are in a real pack now. We have things now like pregnancies and births and pups falling out of trees. Sure there is the occasional stich needed but it's only if our warriors need to defend our pack. Or if they get a little overzealous when sparring. Men." Jane finished wryly.
The room fell back into silence as Doc thought.
"Neon blue is too much for a bedroom. Can we go with a warmer colour?" She asked Angie tentatively.
Angie was about to insist on the colour choice until her alpha's voice entered her mind. "I don't care what your artistic vision is, compromise this once."
"Sure. What about a cobalt blue or a topaz blue?" She said as she pulled out the paint chips. "We'll have to play with the colour palate a little to get the right feel but I'm sure Lou and Erica are up to the challenge."
Doc's smile brightened "Awesome. That sounds great."
As Lou and Erica started to pour over the options with Doc, Emma got up to leave. Angie called after her "Oh just give me one moment and I'll come by to do your room."
"No need." Emma calmly called over her shoulder. "I'm very happy with my room. I don't want to make any changes."
Angie chased after her to her bedroom door "But I was put in charge of making sure you all felt at home. You won't feel at home if your bedroom feels like a guest bedroom."
Emma turned, blocking entry to her room. "It doesn't feel like a guest bedroom, it feels like my room and I don't want you to change it." She challenged.
"What's the problem with just looking and making some suggestions?" Jane said as she witnessed the confrontation.
Emma snorted "Suggestions? After what I just witnessed in there, Angie would be like a dog with a bone until she got what she wanted. No thanks" She turned towards the Alpha female, trying to instill as much respect into her next comment. "I appreciate your effort to make us feel at home Madam Alpha but I would feel much more at home if people didn't feel the need to mess with my stuff."
"How about Angie tells us about her vision for you and you can decide whether you agree with the vision. No need to go into your room." Jane said, calmly stepping between the two ladies.
"Fine Angie let's hear what you see when you look at me." Emma stated sarcastically as she crossed her arms.
Angie looked Emma up a down, noting how she bristled at the close scrutiny. "Buttery soft leather chairs with a red area rug in front of the fireplace and a 4 poster bed with chocolate brown draping and a bright red bedspread. Maple hardwood floors. You have an en-suite correct?" Emma nodded; jaw still clenched "I see a claw footed tub and a large shower in the corner with blue...no forest green tiles. The rest of the bathroom is white so the green stands out." Angie finished, confused as to why Emma was smirking.
"Well in that case, come on in." Emma said as she opened her door with great pomp and circumstance. Inside the room was designed exactly how Angie described with the exception that the chairs were suede and the shower was a midnight blue.
"Oh" Angie said as she looked around the room.
"Yes and I am perfectly happy with suede chairs and blue tile, matches my eyes and all that. So you can go now." Emma grinned as she took a seat in her favorite chair in front of the window, dismissing the intruders in her personal space.
"Oh" Angie repeated stunned as she walked out the door, Jane trying not to smile as she followed her out.
The coming weeks passed uneventfully. Somehow, Emma had convinced the alphas that the girls needed to learn how to protect themselves so they had combat lessons every morning followed by their pack chores every afternoon. As punishment for losing his temper, Greg was put in charge of teaching the 5 girls. After watching her mate struggle teaching the girls technique while handling their aversion to contact by any male pack members, Drea finally took pity on Greg and came to his rescue, offering to teach the girls weapons training. Within a week, Emma, Lena and Alice became quite proficient at hand to hand combat as well as knife training. Jane and Peter recognized their natural talent and encouraged Greg and Drea to teach more advanced skills.
Doc excelled at defensive tactics but refused to learn or use any offensive tactics, stating her Hippocratic Oath when questioned.
Dan was not happy about Lily being involved in combat training. Her frequent scratches and bruises that she felt proud to show off upset his wolf, putting him on edge and as a result their relationship suffered. Lily, oblivious to the tension, brought the argument to a peak when Dan informed her she was done with combat training after 2 weeks.
"What do you mean I'm done with fighting?" Lily asked as they returned to her room after dinner.
"This is not up for discussion Lily, you are done hurting yourself learning to fight. I will protect you in the event we are attacked." Dan said as he paced down the hallway.
Lily stopped dead in the hallway and crossed her arms "In the event we are attacked? So you're some sort of psychic and know when we will be attacked? Or were you planning on crowding my space 24/7? Newsflash, I already have 4 paranoid freaks doing that. Just because I'm small does not mean I'm fragile. Why can't you just trust me?"
Dan stopped and turned toward towards his mate. Noticing her defensive posture, he knew he was up for a fight. "I trust you can protect yourself after having 2 weeks of combat training. You don't need to learn to fight Lily, you have a mate. I would give my life to protect you."
Lily snorted. "Great so when you die what am I supposed to do? Lie down and become another person's sex slave? I'd rather die."
Dan snarled, his wolf barely contained under his skin. He growled "Don't you dare talk about dying. I will not allow it."
Lily, seeing the brilliant yellow eyes and large canines that normally indicate an imminent shift, took an instinctive step back, fear permeating her scent. As the scent of her fear reached Dan, Dan reacted to his mates fear and fought his wolf down. Taking a step towards her with his arms extended he apologized for his behaviour. "Lily, I'm sorry, my wolf is just on edge seeing you all bruised and scratched up. He just went a little crazy thinking about you dying."
Lily retreats another step and bared her neck to Dan, making sure to direct her gaze at the floor. "You should go. I can find my way back to my room."
"Lily..." Dan took another step closer, wanting to comfort his mate.
"Please don't" Lily started trembling.
Dan stood mute, fighting between leaving his mate alone in the hallway and encasing her small body in his trunk like arms and never letting go until she forgave him for scaring her.
"I believe the lady asked you to go." Ice's quiet voice came from behind him. Turning around, Dan spotted Ice leaning casually against the wall. Dan knew from watching her fight, she struck like a viper, without a moment's notice. Lena leaned against the other wall cleaning her nails with the tip of a dagger acquired a couple of days earlier from Drea.
"Yeah we don't mind walking with Lily. Now that we've been here for a while we don't get lost anymore. We won't need your help tonight Dan. I hear the pack is going for a run, you might benefit from a nice relaxing run. You look pretty wound up." Emma said as she approached from the other end of the hallway and wrapped an arm around a shaky Lily, nonchalantly putting her body between Lily and Dan.
Realizing his situation and sighing defeat, Dan made his way back towards the dining area, making sure to give Lily and B a wide berth. Before he disappeared from view he turned around and issued one last apology. "Really...sorry... I want to come talk to you tomorrow when I'm more... normal. Ok?"
Squeezing Lily's shoulder, Emma whispered in her ear. "You don't have to."
"No...I want to." Lily whispered back. Raising her voice "I'll see you tomorrow Dan... Enjoy the run."
Flashing a brilliant smile, Dan disappeared around the corner and out of sight. Lena and Alice sagged into the wall.
"Seriously Lily, can you NOT piss off the tense werewolf? I don't think we're skilled enough to deal with a full-grown, pissed off werewolf, no matter what Greg says." Lena groaned.
"Yeah you should know by now not to provoke them." Alice gripped. "And you." She said, addressing Emma "What took you so long? I thought you were just getting your book from the library not browsing the inventory while you were there."
Emma became enamoured with the expansive library that took up an entire wing of the compound the day of the tour and most nights could be found in the bay window, reading her latest find, a large tome about werewolf history. She would get so engrossed by the book that she would need to be reminded to eat. She bored her group constantly with historical facts.
Emma blushed "I did but then I stumbled upon an entry from 1812. Did you know the Canadians used wolves in the attacks on the Americans? They were their attack dogs or something."
"Really wow!" Alice said, rolling her eyes.
"No it's really cool. They didn't even know that they had recruited a pack when they were making relations with the natives. They seemed so impressed that so few people could control such a large group of dogs." Emma said excitedly as they walked towards their rooms.
"I soooo do not care." Alice replied causing Emma to scowl at her. Lena and Lily giggled at them.
They walked in silence to their rooms. Just as Emma was closing her door she heard Doc's tentative statement from her doorway. "Uhhh talking about 'pack runs' B... you need to..."
Cutting off the awkward statement Emma testily replied "Yeah I know. I'll do it tonight. Nobody come into my bedroom tonight. And lock your doors."
They all shuddered as they closed their doors and threw the deadbolt.
"Sir we have an intruder in our territory."
Peter, happily sated and half asleep in post-coital bliss growled loudly, causing his pined mate to twitch in her sleep.