To Love a Stray Ch. 19byMygypsy©
Hallo to all my readers,
Sorry this has taken so long to get done but I have had some things I had to deal with in real life. I have already got started on the next instalment.
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The shrill ring of my mobile phone had woken me instantly. I had swung my legs around so I could sit on the edge of the bed as I sat up to answer the call.
I remember glancing at the illuminated screen in my hand to check who the call was from even as I was preparing to answer it. The name Sam showed clearly on the screen causing me to groan. This predawn call surely heralded trouble.
I suppose I should introduce myself before I go any further. I am Kurt Black, Alpha to my wife's clan and I rule over the territory in partnership with my wife.
Why do I tell this part of the story? Because I don't think either my niece Rosy MacIntosh or young Micah Williamson would be able to give an accurate account of what took place in those forty-eight hours. There's too much pain on both their parts to be able to give an unbiased view.
I am no stranger to troubled phone calls at odd hours, but they usually come from the mobile phone devoted solely to my counselling work. I am an Australian werecat but I make a good living working as a counsellor helping families learn to communicate or to reconnect after tragedy.
With my enhanced physical senses I can help people connect with their true feelings. Usually anger clouds and confuses the mind, masking the deeper emotions beneath it. Anger can be caused by a lot of other emotions; guilt and loss often generate anger and confuse the individual.
Once a person understands why they feel anger, understand the emotions fuelling the anger, then they can begin to heal.
Like for instance this argument between my niece and her fiancé and her wanting to end their engagement. Having spoken briefly with both parties involved I have an idea of what is causing the argument between them and hope I can help them begin to heal the rift.
"Yeah hallo," I say as I identify the caller, my nephew.
"It would be good if all of you could get here as soon as you grab some breakfast," The voice on the other end says without a greeting.
I get to my feet and move to the door that joins two hotel rooms. I open the door and walk into the other room as I talk.
"Trouble?" I ask as I glance around taking in the sight of my security crew in various stages of waking and getting to their feet.
"Yeah, we just had Micah here demanding to come in and talk with Rosy," Mitchell says with a tired sounding sigh. "Fortunately she's still sleeping off a pain relief injection for her wrist."
"We're on the move now. Call if you need us to hurry," I say before ending the call and glancing around.
"Do you want me to go and wake Ray MacIntosh?" My oldest son Dave asks as he approaches me.
Dave is the head of my security team, my band of warriors. I give a quick nod pleased to be relieved of having to face my brother-in-law this early in the morning. I don't look forward to the drawn out disagreement that is sure to resume between us.
Ray has been making no secret of the fact he would like to see Rosy leave the Williamson Clan and settle somewhere else. I had often got the impression Ray had long held the suspicion that Jeddah's friendship with Marissa Williamson had contributed to Jeddah walking out of their marriage. I push my concerns about Ray aside and watch my son leave the room heading for where Ray has rented a room by himself.
"Everyone on your feet and ready to leave in five minutes," I say firmly as I glance around.
There are seven husky toms left in the room, all of them are trained security staff at a large entertainment centre where international bands come to perform. Considering Micah Williamson's persistence in trying to speak to Rosy despite her reluctance to see him I am glad they will be with us today.
"We stopping for food on the way?"
I glance at the guy who spoke and refuse to smile as Blake, my third son, meets my eyes for a second. If he isn't eating when I see him he has either, just finished eating or is just about to eat.
"We will get something to eat before leaving town," I announce. "And since I neglected to tell anyone of the presence of so many of my warriors here it might be an idea to get something to take along for lunch as well."
"So we go in expecting trouble," Blake says loosing his ever-present smile.
"Yeah," I say with a faint nod before returning to where I slept. I have my few belongings packed before there is a brief knock on the wall beside the open door and Dave steps into sight.
"Ready to hit the road," Dave tells me quietly.
Within minutes we are in a vehicle heading out of town while I leave the car carrying Ray to collect the food items I ordered and paid for to provide my crew with lunch.
"So what is the exact situation?" Blake asks from behind me.
Dave is driving the econovan with me sitting in the passenger seat while five toms sit in the back of the van.
"Your cousin Rosy has had an argument with Micah Williamson and wants to break off their engagement," I state without going into more detail. "I'm hoping that if I can get them talking they can work things out."
"I heard a rumour Mitchell is engaged to Jasmine Williamson," Dave says evenly. "This would make things ... delicate,"
"Yes, things are more than a bit strained for both couples." I admit remembering Jazzy's attempts to lure Mitchell away from his sister's side the previous evening.
"And we are along to keep Micah Williamson from preventing our cousin from leaving if she decides to?" Blake offers from behind me.
"I doubt Rosy will leave him. I doubt she will even break up with him once she calms down and has a proper talk with him." I say as I meet Blake's eyes as I glance over my shoulder at him.
"I hope she decides to come visit with our family for a while," Blake declares. "I want to get to know this mysterious cousin of ours that appeared out of nowhere."
"She didn't appear out of nowhere," Dave says even as he keeps his eyes on the road. "From all accounts she has been raising hell in several Clan territories for a few years but staying just out of range of sight and smell of clan warriors."
I listen as conversation flows between the warriors in the vehicle. There are several different theories as to why a she-kitt would choose to avoid the company of another cat.
The multiple conversations that flow between the warriors stop me dwelling too deeply on the fact I am bringing a strong force unannounced into the home compound of the Williamson clan.
It's not to long before conversation turns to the individual toms that live at the Williamson compound and I listen to the comments made by the warriors of my clan.
Everyone falls quiet as Dave slows the vehicle for the turn into the driveway that leads to the Williamson clan headquarters. I already have my phone out of my pocket and I am press the button to speed dial my nephew Mitchell and the call is answered almost immediately.
"Just turned in off the highway, be there in a few minutes," I say without ceremony.
"Good, not a minute too soon," Mitchell says tightly.
There is a loud thud in the background, a frightened squeal that sounds feminine, and then I hear both Mitchell and Sam swearing clearly.
"Back off! Now is not the time for talking!" Mitchell says angrily.
"Everything okay?" I ask.
"Yeah. Just be aware that Micah is leaving the quarters as I speak and he's not in a pleasant mood," Mitchell warns.
"I'll warn you now -- I got six warriors with me and there are another two somewhere behind us with Ray." I say evenly. There is a moment's silence on the other end of the phone and then a soft grunt, almost like a sarcastic laugh.
"That will just top off Micah's morning," Mitchell says sounding tired. "See you in a few moments,"
A few minutes later the vehicle was stopping near the building where I knew I would find my two nephews and my niece. As I got out I turned my head to watch the group heading back towards the main house.
There was no mistaking the tall, solidly muscled tom as he turns to face our vehicle. Standing about six foot ten inches, in the old measurement, light brown hair shot through with gold and a few hints of ginger, he is very similar to his maternal grandfather. His face is made up of hard planes forming strong masculine features and even from this distance I can see the whiteness around the clenched mouth. There is no other tom as large or uniquely recognisable as Micah Williamson.
"You're not taking my mate away from here!" Micah yells angrily and takes several steps back towards us but a figure nearly as large as his moves in front of him blocking his path.
"Calm down boyo," I recognise Baxter Barnes and am somewhat relieved when his voice confirms my first glimpse.
I hear the soft, almost whispered conversation between them but most of it is too low to understand. I turn my back on them and head for the door to the building.
"I'll come inside with you," Blake says falling into step beside me and I know that Dave will stay outside with the other warriors from our clan.
"Alpha Kurt Black coming in," I call as I give a brief knock on the screen door.
At the end of the hallway I glance in the entrance into the lounge room and kitchen beyond, I give a quick nod to Dwayne Williamson as he stands silently watching us.
We walk past and head for the bedroom where I had left Sam, Mitchell and Rosy the previous evening.
"Kurt, Blake," Mitchell acknowledges us as he opens the door and lets us into the room.
"Mitchell ..." even as his name leaves me the tension in the room hits me almost like a physical kick in the stomach.
Mitchell is at the door, one hand on the doorknob, Sam is back a few feet from the door as I walk in but it is Rosy who immediately draws my attention.
I feel my inner cat rouse alertly as I take in the way she stands by the far window. She is turned to face us yet her eyes dart continuously between us, never settling on any one of us for longer than a moment. Her chin is slightly higher than normal, just a fraction, and her breathing almost unnaturally even. I sense rather than see a slight flaring of her nostrils as I realise she is continuously sifting through the scents in the room.
Her injured arm is held up against her chest, the wrist shoulder high while her other hand rests on her lower ribs diagonally across from the elevated wrist. The rest of her body stands loosely; with her feet shoulder width apart and seemingly at ease.
I almost don't catch the slight shudder that shakes her body and it is then I am shocked to realise she is poised as if for flight without it being obvious.
"Does your sister always act like this?" I ask abruptly.
"Like what?" Both Sam and Mitchell say in unison.
"Like prey," Blake says from just behind me and I hear the tension in his voice. "She's over there poised ready to run. Looks and smells more like prey than predator ..."
I hear the angry hisses from both Sam and Mitchell.
"Micah was just here demanding to talk to Rosy, plus Edwin was in the quarters as well," Sam tells me tightly.
"Apparently Micah took it on himself to invite Edwin onto clan territory without consulting me, claims Marissa had some kind of mini break down last night." Mitchell snarls.
I see the way Rosy flinches and wonder why neither Sam nor Mitchell is comforting their sister since she is so clearly upset. Also concern over the claim Marissa isn't well preys on my mind, I doubt either of my nephews know the full details of her fragile health.
"Marissa hasn't been well?" I ask hoping for more information.
"Marissa has been ... delicate since Alex was murdered by strays," Sam says with a sigh and glances towards Rosy with a worried frown. "She was definitely not doing well when Donovan and Rosy were kidnapped by strays, but she has been doing much better since they returned."
I don't know if my niece and nephews know the story of how Marissa's mother and two youngest brothers were murdered in an attempted Clan takeover when Marissa was barely a teenager. Through my own sister Jeddah, Marissa's best friend, I had came to understand how witnessing the murders of part of her family in such a savage way had came close to destroying Marissa mentally. After that Marissa had not been very strong mentally or emotionally until she had met Wade.
Deciding not to go into that history I turn my attention onto Rosy, she is still overly alert and I force a smile to prevent the frown that hovers in my mind.
"Good morning Rosy," I greet her brightly. I don't miss the slight start or the way she watches me from the corner of her eyes.
"I haven't introduced my son Blake yet, have I?" I say gesturing towards Blake where he stands between Sam and Mitchell.
I am struck by the strong family resemblance between the three toms. All three share the same body type. Tall and strongly muscled in the upper chest with slim waists, narrow hips and strong thighs. Even the difference in colouring has little effect, Sam has dark blonde hair and the dark blue eyes that run in the Black family. Mitchell has light brown hair and the same eyes while Blake shares the same inky black hair and dark blue eyes as his brothers, his sister and myself.
Sam has his long hair pulled back in a tidy manner and secured with a band showing the high cheekbones and solid jaw line that make up his strong features. Mitchell's face is very similar but his lips are slightly fuller and he has a slight cleft in his chin the same as his mother had when she was alive.
It is not surprising Blake is nearly a mirror image of Sam except both he and Mitchell favour the short back and sides' haircut that is almost military. Blake and Sam stand around the six foot five mark while Mitchell might be a fraction under six-feet. His solid muscular build destroys any illusion of not yet being fully-grown.
"G'day Rosy, pleased to finally meet ya," Blake says with a smile as he steps forward.
"Sam! Mitchell!" The scared, almost panicked cry comes from Rosy and I look her way startled.
I am shocked by the way Rosy moves nervously at the edge of the barred window, the way her eyes flick frantically around the room.
"It's okay Rosy. You know Kurt, and this is Blake. Our cousin," Sam says quietly as he walks over towards her.
I am disturbed by the way Rosy watches him. Clearly she is highly stressed and her wariness and distrust is overlapping to even those she knows.
Rosy lifts her chin as she continuously sends nervous glances around the room. She turns her head slightly and suddenly I catch my breath. It is like I am once again seeing my sister's face in profile. The straight hair that falls back over her head and shoulders, not onto her face, the elegant curve of the eyebrows above large darkly lashed eyes. A small slightly upturned nose, but I see the gleam of deep violet eyes instead of dark blue, yet they are above the same sculptured cheekbones. The same full, lush lips that many toms had claimed were just begging to be kissed are above that firm chin that hinted at stubbornness.
It takes a couple of seconds for me to realise Rosy's hair is so blonde it appears almost white instead of black with burnished copper highlights like her mother's. Then Rosy moves slightly and the sunlight coming in the window catches the strands of pale burnished copper under the top layers of blonde making her hair shine and sparkle. Rosy's soft milk coffee coloured skin is a different hue to Jeddah's rich mahogany skin tone and I give a soft sigh as I remember it is not my sister I see.
Rosy turns her head with a jerk to look directly at me. All I see are the two large black pupils lined with a thin line of purple. Her eyes appearing too large in her face. Her lips are slightly parted and I am surprised to find I can hear her breath coming in soft pants. She shifts from foot to foot uneasily and I see the same liquid grace my sister had had when she was alive.
The shape of her face, the long straight hair and the graceful body -- so similar to Jeddah's but with the MacIntosh colouring. There's a life, a vitality about her that draws attention to her in a way my sister never had.
"When I look past the different colouring and skin tones you look so much like your mother, but so different," I tell her with a smile I know must be tinged with sadness and echoes of my memories.
"I think I'll go wait outside with Dave," Blake interrupts and I realise he is uncomfortable with Rosy's behaviour.
I turn and walk back to the door and watch as Mitchell opens the door to let Blake out.
"We'll come in when everyone else does," Blake tells me softly.
"Someone come let me know when Ray gets here," I order quietly. Blake nods and I watch the close behind him before turning around to glance between Sam, Rosy and Mitchell.
"Micah has been causing some hassle?" I ask quietly.
"He keeps coming over and insisting he wants to talk to Rosy by herself," Sam says with a glance at his sister.
"You really should sit down with Micah and talk," Mitchell says sounding as if it is something he has been repeating.
"No! I'm not talking to him!" Rosy denies on an almost frantic note. She turns away to look out the small high window and rocks back and forth on her feet uneasily. "He wants to hurt me, I don't trust him,"
The tone of her voice, the way her words come out, worry me.
"Come on Rosy," Mitchell says in a strained voice, "Micah just needs to talk to you. To hear it from you if you want to be with him or not, at least have the common decency to talk to him."
"I don't trust him! I wont talk to him! He'll hurt me again!" Rosy protests with a frantic edge to her voice.
"We have already explained Micah never meant for you to get hurt, he's upset and sorry about what happened Rosy!" Sam snaps then clearly regrets his harsh tone as Rosy flinches into the wall with a whimper.
"He'll hurt me," Rosy protests once again in a pathetic voice. I hear the nearly inaudible exhalations of frustration from her brothers and I glance between the two toms.
"He's already hurt me once!"
I am shocked by the tone of Rosy's voice as I swing my head to face her way. She is no longer cowered against the wall but moving towards us, or rather her brothers, with narrowed eyes, chin almost on her chest and her uninjured hand clenching and unclenching against her ribs. She is no longer the scared she-kitt cowering against the wall, she is in full fight or flight mode and obviously she has chosen to stand and fight.
"Micah will hurt me, I know he will, I don't trust him!" Rosy spits out frantically. "I won't be alone with him, I don't want to talk to him and I don't want to marry him!"
Her voice has risen to nearly a hysterical scream when she finishes what she has to say and halts to stand panting in agitation.
"Mitchell I need to talk to you outside, Sam are you okay to stay in here with your sister?" I ask in little more than a whisper.
"I might wait just outside the door, give Rosy some privacy," Sam says with a shake of his head.
"No! Don't leave me alone! Yous are my brothers! You're supposed to protect me!" Rosy demands frantically.
I glance between the three of them. Sam and Mitchell are clearly puzzled and worried by her behaviour while Rosy is in a near panic in a mixture of fear and desperation.
"I won't leave the room," Sam says soothingly. "I'll keep you safe,"
"I'll be back as quick as I can," Mitchell says firmly and Rosy starts crying silently as she shakes her head slowly.