When Worlds Collide Ch. 11byJazCullen©
"Demetri," Caleb ground out, his friend already nodding and pulling out his cell phone. He barked one word into the phone and hung up. It was a prearranged call to arms. Their friends would be in situ in under ten minutes. They had forty five minutes, possibly an hour before Graves reached the compound.
Jared barked orders at his betas and they went running from the room with the exception of Ben who stayed behind and moved over to Lacey's side. The Alpha turned to his brother. "Five minutes, Rafe." He was striding out of the room before he finished speaking.
Rafe collected Lacey against his side and pulled her into the study. His heart was pounding with fear as he held his precious mate against him, feeling her trembling with her own fear. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the door, resting his chin on top of her head. "Listen to Annie. Do exactly as she tells you. DO NOT under any circumstances leave this house, Lacey. I don't care what you hear, what you see. Stay inside at all costs." He couldn't keep the fear from his voice. He wasn't frightened for himself. He was frightened that Graves would somehow get passed all of them and get his hands on Lacey. That couldn't be allowed to happen under any circumstances.
Lacey could feel him trembling against her and she couldn't help trembling too. It was really happening. Richard was really coming and people were going to die. Part of her had hoped he would simply give her up, walk away and forget about her. She had known she was fooling herself. She'd lived with Richard for too long to ever truly believe that he would walk away from what he saw as his property.
She could feel her wolf stirring inside her, prowling in an agitated state. She hadn't had her first shift yet so it still felt a bit strange this other being inside her and yet, she suddenly felt less frightened. Her wolf seemed to be getting stronger and the stronger she became the more her fear dissipated.
She pulled back and looked up into Rafe's face. "Don't worry about me. I'll do as Annie says. Concentrate on keeping yourself safe, Rafe. If you're thinking about me then you'll be distracted. You need to concentrate on what you have to be doing."
Rafe could see her wolf close to the surface, hear the strength in her voice and his heart swelled with pride as he stared into her beautiful eyes. She was truly amazing his mate. She would be a beautiful wolf, strong and vibrant. "I love you so much, sweetheart," he said softly, his eyes shining with his love as he kissed her tenderly.
She kissed him lovingly, a gentle brushing of lips as she stroked his face lightly. "And I love you, Rafe," she whispered. "Now go. Do what you need to do. I'll be waiting for you right here when it's all over."
Rafe stroked her silvery blonde hair reverently and kissed her lightly again before he pushed off from the door. They eased back into the open hallway which was awash with Weres getting last minute orders from the various betas. Rafe searched through the throng of people until he saw who he was looking for. He hugged Lacey to his side until they'd made their way through the people and reached Rhianna's side.
She turned to look at them and her worried expression softened slightly and she managed a brief smile. "Lacey, stick close to my side," she said softly, her eyes not leaving her brother's face. They'd said all they really needed to say already, in the forest and only a short time earlier.
Rafe kissed the top of her head gently and stepped back. "Love you, sis," he said with a small smile tugging at his lips.
"Love you too," she answered, flashing him her own quick smile.
He took one last long look at Lacey and then turned and disappeared from the room.
Ben was still hovering close by only now he had two other men at his side. "Annie, this is Klaus and Hub. They'll be with us in the house."
Rhianna looked at them intently. She didn't recognise them from the compound. They must have moved into the city not long after she started visiting. They were both big men as was typical of male Weres, both with brown hair and blue eyes. She wondered idly if they were brothers. Their facial features seemed too different to suggest a familial tie. They were watching her equally as intently and she smiled softly. "Yes, I'm a vampire," she said dryly. "Any problem with that?"
"No problem. As long as you don't bite me," Klaus said with a cheeky grin, humour flashing in his eyes. She decided she liked him instantly; his friend seemed okay too, giving her small smile.
"Rafe would kick my ass if I brought a Were inside who had an issue with you, Annie," Ben said with a little laugh.
"As opposed to me ripping your head off?" Caleb asked lightly coming up behind them. He watched the beta's face pale slightly even as he and the other two Weres went on instant alert. He silently applauded their training as he wrapped his arms around his woman and dragged her back against his chest.
"I have to go, love," he sighed bending down to brush his lips against the side of her neck. He looked at the Weres and bared his fangs slightly. "Just so we're under no illusions here. If I come back for my woman and she's not in one piece and any of you are still living, I will kill you myself."
"Caleb," Rhianna groaned in exasperation. "We've talked about this before. You can't go around making everyone accountable for my well being when you're not around." She turned to glare up at him, his expression clearly telling her that as far as he was concerned, he could.
"Lacey, stay with Ben for a moment. I'll be right back," she said quietly pushing her vampire towards a quiet corner in the room. She opened her mouth to speak but he caught her mouth with his, his tongue dipping inside instantly as he picked her up and pressed her against the wall.
"Knew that would get you away from them for a couple of minutes," he murmured against her lips. He could always count on his woman needing to tell him off when he was being too outrageous. He cut off her muttered oath with a hard kiss, needing to feel her close to him for a moment longer.
"Caleb, we're in a room full of people who are watching us," Rhianna finally managed to get out, successfully evading his searching lips.
"They may learn something then," he chuckled softly, kissing the side of her neck gently before raising his head to trap her gaze in his. "I'm pretty partial to this beautiful head being attached to this delectable body," he breathed softly. "You'd better keep it that way. Understand?"
She smiled gently, framing his face in her hands. "Same goes for you too," she answered quietly. Their tone was light and teasing but their eyes were speaking another language. Rhianna thought she was drowning in the depth of his love as his eyes positively glowed. "Be safe, Caleb," she whispered.
"Be safe, my Annie," he echoed softly, kissing her gently before setting her feet back on the floor. "I probably won't be back inside until this is all over with so don't worry needlessly if you don't see me around much." He gave her another quick hug and then straightened up.
"Caleb, you're not doing the whole over-protective thing," she said quietly, slightly puzzled by his out of character behaviour.
"You hate it when I do that," he answered with a rueful smile. "Plus, any vampire who can outrun eleven Weres at the same time is plenty capable of looking after herself in my eyes."
Rhianna smiled slowly as she gazed up at her beautiful vampire. "As long as she's in a house surrounded by ninety odd Weres and twenty plus vampires?" she guessed accurately.
Caleb shot her a sheepish grin. "Damn, you always catch me out," he laughed softly. "I'll be back for you soon, love." He brushed his lips once more against her soft mouth, inhaling her sweet scent of lavender and jasmine before he reluctantly turned and left the house.
She watched him go, seeing the room and hallway start to thin out as Weres headed back outside. Alexei and Andrei followed Caleb out of the house and she spotted Demetri's dark head bent close to Mara. She turned and made her way back over to Lacey's side.
"I don't know why Alexei stays friends with you if you're in the habit of crushing his throat every time he says something you don't like," Mara said with more than a hint of disapproval in her voice as she gave her husband a stern look.
Demetri's lips twitched and his eyes danced with laughter as he let her censure wash over him. It was so typically Mara. An army of vampires were about to descend on their heads and she was lecturing him about the etiquette of how to be a good friend? "Mara, shut up and kiss me," he sighed, threading his hand into her hair and tilting her face up to his.
He brushed her lips gently, savouring her sweet taste. Adrenaline was rushing through his body making his nerves comes alive as the impending fight approached fast. He needed to dial into that emotion and hone it, but first he needed to ensure his woman's safety. He deepened the kiss and pulled Mara tightly against his hard body, delving into her mouth with his tongue until she groaned softly.
Satisfied he raised his head and stared into her big brown eyes as they fluttered open. "Be a good girl and stay out of trouble, wife," he ordered softly. "If you get hurt I'm going to be really pissed and you know what I get like when I'm pissed."
Mara stared at him through narrowed eyes, catching a glimpse of worry in his. She realised he wasn't sure his agreement with Graves would hold and he didn't want to frighten her by telling her so. She knew him so well and he was usually so good at hiding what he wanted to. If she could see even a hint of worry in his eyes then she was sure the level of his emotions were a lot higher. "I'm in the safest place I can be, Demetri," she answered quietly.
"No, the safest place you could be is out of the city," he remarked dryly, raising an eyebrow at her.
"I thought we'd already had that conversation," she countered pressing herself against him tightly. "Do we have time for a domestic right now?" she added with an impish smile.
Demetri laughed and shook his head. "Hold on, I'll call Graves and ask if he can postpone the attack so I can argue with my wife." He stroked the side of her face with gentle fingers, his expression turning serious. "I mean it, Mara. Don't you dare let anything happen to you because I won't be responsible for my actions if anything does."
She answered him by pulling his mouth back to hers and kissing him deeply before she pulled back. "Go do what you have to do, Demetri."
He nodded and slipped an arm around her waist, walking her over to the group left standing in the dining room. His thoughts were already starting to drift towards the upcoming battle as his eyes settled on the three male Weres standing beside Annie. He unconsciously growled and the little redhead rolled her eyes.
"Can we just assume we've done the whole 'threaten the Weres with impending death if my woman isn't safe' speech? They've already had it from Caleb, Demetri. They know the drill." Her tone was full of amusement and Demetri found himself laughing lightly.
"Fine, Red. Consider it said." He released Mara and dropped a quick kiss on her lips before he turned to Rhianna and kissed the top of her head. "Take care of my heart for me, Annie," he said softly. She nodded and he shared another lingering look with Mara before he turned and walked away.
"So what's the plan of action?" Ben asked as the house cleared completely leaving just the six of them in the dining room. Rhianna looked at him and realised that everyone was looking at her, expecting her to know what to do. She swallowed and bit her lip. How was she supposed to know? She was only twenty-two years old and had been a vampire for less than one of those. The Weres had to be so much older and more experienced than her and yet they were waiting for her command.
She squared her shoulders and tried to think of what Caleb would do. "Ben, you probably know more than I do about war tactics," she said. "You organise the Weres as you think best. Do whatever Jared or Rafe would expect you to do. I'm going to head upstairs with Mara and Lacey. We'll use Lacey's bedroom as a base."
The Were nodded his head, his handsome face taking on an alert expression. "We'll stay on the lower floor. If anyone tries to come in we'll be ready for them. I know vampires can climb very easily so being upstairs isn't necessarily much safer than being down here, but at least if you're all in one room then that's only one place to be guarded."
Plans set, the three women headed out of the dining room as Ben set Hub and Klaus to ensure as many windows and external doors which could be secured, were.
Jared stripped off his clothes and dumped them in the large basket beside the community hall. Some of the pack had already shifted but there were still some in human form walking naked around the compound as they finished giving or receiving orders.
"Demetri reckons Graves will make a full frontal attack," he said to Rafe as the big man tossed his clothes into the basket.
"Then we need to guard the door to the house," he answered, his eyes shifting to where his mate was. His wolf was howling furiously inside him, wanting out to protect their mate. He kept him at bay for the moment, knowing the time would soon come when he could release his beast and allow him free rein.
Loretta jogged up to them, her expression tense. She stripped off her sweatpants and top. "We're ready, boss," she said tersely, stretching her legs muscles as she spoke. "Everyone knows what's expected of them."
"Okay, let's do this," the Alpha growled softly. "Everyone shift!" His voice boomed throughout the compound.
"Thank fuck for that!" Alexei sighed. "Nothing worse than having to watch naked dogs running around with their bits bouncing about. It's enough to make a vampire puke."
"Didn't know vampires could puke," Jared retorted dryly striding up to the vampires. "Once I shift we're out of communication range. Any last words?"
"Don't get bitten?" Andrei suggested with a slight smirk.
Caleb sighed and rolled his eyes. "Go and make sure our people are in place," he said to no one in particular. He moved off a little distance with Jared following . He regarded his friend intently. "We'll do our best, Jared, but you know we're not infallible. Some of the vampires are going to get through."
The Alpha nodded a deep frown on his face. "I'm going to lose some of my pack, I know that," he answered quietly. "But I'd lose a hell of a lot more if you weren't standing with us, Caleb. You have my eternal gratitude."
The vampire smiled. "Isn't that what friend's do?" he asked reaching out and clasping Jared's upper arm with one large hand. His friend echoed his action and they stood silently for a moment, arms clasped together.
"It's been good knowing you, Caleb," Jared finally said quietly taking a step back and preparing to shift..
Caleb smiled. "I'll remind you of that the next time I piss you off," he answered. He refused to think that there may be a possibility his friend wouldn't survive the next few hours.
Jared shifted, his large black wolf standing before the golden brown haired vampire for a moment before he chuffed and turned on his heel, vanishing into the throng of wolves now filling the compound.
"We should be alright with the vampires in the forest," Demetri said striding up to Caleb. "We lucked out. Nors decided to come along to the party. Apparently Graves killed his latest paramour a few nights ago and he's only just found out who was responsible for it. He's agreed to keep the others in check. The Weres should be okay if they venture too close to them in the forest."
Caleb sighed with relief. Nors had a reputation for busting heads when people stepped out of line. If he was in control of the other vampires and had a personal axe to grind against Graves, then the Weres were practically guaranteed safe passage within the forest. It was one less thing on his mind.
Demetri was practically humming with tension beside him and Caleb smiled as he looked at his friend's flashing eyes. He was riding the edge between vampire and humanity, a place he particularly thrived in. A place Caleb hadn't visited for such a long time.
"Can you smell it, Caleb?" his friend whispered excitedly. "The anticipation. The steady thrum of power just beneath the surface?"
Caleb closed his eyes and slowly let go, his vampiric nature rising up and consuming his more human side. The air suddenly smelled so much fresher, the sounds around him so much sharper. His big body quivered with anticipation of what was to come, his hands curling into fists and then slowly relaxing. He growled softly and opened burning amber eyes as his fangs elongated and his fingernails sharpened into long, wicked looking talons.
He turned his head to see Demetri had transformed too, as had the twins. The four vampires inhaled deeply, caught the scent they were looking for and growled as one.
"Time to dance with the Devil," Demetri laughed loudly taking off into the forest in a blur of movement. The others were a fraction of a second behind him.
Rafe watched the vampires change and then disappear, a shiver running through his body. His wolf growled automatically even though he knew they were on his side. Seeing the other vampires like that didn't seem all that strange even though it was the first time he had seen a vampire let go of their human side. Seeing Caleb like that, so wild and untamed, shocked him though. If that was Caleb's true nature then was that Annie's too? Would she change like her lover when threatened? His big head turned to the house for a moment and then swung away. It didn't matter to him anyway. She would always be his Annie, no matter what.
Jared howled into the night and the wolves took up their positions around the house, one circle tight against the walls, a looser circle a few feet outwards. Rafe moved over to Jared's side, taking his place in the outer circle. He felt the absence of Aaron at his side. It was the first time since he'd become a Were that his friend was not right there with him. The only consoling thought he had was that at least his friend was safe and keeping Millie safe too.
Jared watched as Mike and Pete slipped in beside Rafe like guardian sentinels. The huge brown wolf at his side had no idea how much loyalty he commanded within the pack. Mike and Pete would lay down their lives for any pack member but Jared suspected they might do so a little more willingly for Rafe, such was their close bond to his brother. The tension reverberated throughout the wolves as they suddenly picked up foreign scents approaching. It was time.
Graves stepped out of his car, quickly surveying the dense forest. His humans where gathered to one side, a full one hundred expertly trained men. They were essentially cannon fodder and he knew it. It didn't matter how well trained they were, the dogs would take them down easily. Which was what he'd planned for. The more dogs engaged with the humans the easier it would be to slip vampires behind their lines.
He turned and crossed over to his own people. Intelligence said Cullen had only managed to score up twenty, maybe twenty-five vampires to his cause. Graves had thrice that amount. He wasn't smug about his numbers though. A large percentage of the gathered vampires were younglings. Cullen's crew were mainly elders along with a few ancients. Plus, Demetri had drafted in the Romanov twins. The combination of those three together was equal to having an additional thirty younglings to hand.
Aben stepped forward, his black eyes flashing with excitement. "Sir, we tracked two jeeps leaving the compound just before dark," he said tersely. "One of the woman you want was in the convoy."