Noah strode into his father's office without knocking or notifying Iris. She'd seen him anyways so he wasn't really being that rude. His father glanced up then politely told the person on the other end of the phone he'd call them back. He didn't give them time to argue it. He never did. "Is something wrong?"
"I need Alex." Erik's golden eyes narrowed.
"Everyone is fine." Well not really but for the immediate purpose it was the only way to get him to do what he needed quickly. "I need Uncle Alex here now."
"Of course but why don't you just call him?"
"My phone got smashed and I didn't memorize his London number." Erik nodded. "I can't get him here before tomorrow so tell me what's going on. Maybe there is another option."
"He's dying." Noah breathed. He hadn't said the words aloud even though they'd been screaming through his brain on repeat ever since Carlie had told him.
"Who?" Noah fished into his pocket and pulled out the picture he'd stolen from her. He slid it across the desk to his father. Erik picked up the photograph and studied it.
"This could've been taken before the accident." He said softly while fixing Noah with that unwavering attention.
"It doesn't fit in my pocket unless I fold it." He wasn't trying to be cryptic or obtuse he just couldn't make the words form. His father unfolded the picture then froze. Noah watched as Erik's critical eyes examined every inch of the image of Lucas, seeing Noah and through Noah, himself staring back at him.
"I…" This was quite possibly the first time his father had ever been rendered speechless. "What's his name?" He asked instead although it came out as barely more than a whisper.
"Lucas. Lucas Drayvin." He answered.
"You said 'he's dying'. You mean Lucas?" Noah nodded. Erik's eyes narrowed even further.
"He's in the hospital where Liz is working. She doesn't work Peds so she didn't know. He's in a coma; nobody knows what's wrong with him. They think it's some kind of metabolic issue but they've never seen anything like it. I need Alex."
"I'll have him there in the morning." Erik said with an imperious hand wave. There was a moment of silence while Noah tried to calm the raging internal panic and Erik stared fixedly at the photograph. "I have a grandson." He said finally.
"Did you know about this before?" Noah shook his head. "How did she survive?"
"I don't know. She doesn't remember very well and she thought I was dead this whole time. No one could've survived that was what she said. I'm trying to figure it out but honestly I'm focused elsewhere at the moment."
"Obviously." Erik elapsed into silence again. "I always thought Meghan was going to be the first." Noah raised an eyebrow. His elder sister was happily married now true but she didn't seem inclined towards children yet. "I just, her and Ebony were destined to be or whatever so I just always assumed she would be the first to have kids." There was another pause. "Darien is not going to be happy that I beat him to this." The look on his father's face said he was actually kind of glad about that. His father had a maddeningly complex relationship with his siblings.
"I'm sure he'll get over it. Connor is probably not that far behind despite Liv's protests." Erik nodded.
"Your mother is going to go nuts over this." Noah grinned. Yeah he knew that.
"You should probably tell her." Erik turned a questioning look to Noah. "Well I have to get back and I don't want to just rush in and drop the bomb then take off. Besides, you're better at keeping her in check than I am." Noah also knew that despite any evidence to the contrary his father was also going to overdo it when it came to his grandchildren. They should enjoy plotting the impossibly ridiculous schemes that would eventually be turned down together. It was a couple thing.
"Your mother loves you Noah. She'll be very happy to hear the news about Carlie as well."
"Yeah I know." His father's face went from one of its rare moments of softness to a hardened look of intensity again.
"So tell me about this Wade character." Noah's eyes widened.
"She told you about him too?" Erik nodded. "Apparently he's a sorcerer of some kind and he's trying to get us to let him help. Carlie has gotten into some sort of bad situation with a different sorcerer. She insists it won't end if I kill him." Noah rolled his eyes letting his father know exactly what he thought of that. "But he just kind of showed up at the hospital looking for Elizabeth so she could talk to me for him. He seems legit. Sketch, but legit."
"You be careful around him. Sorcerer's tend to have some pretty interesting tricks up their sleeves." Yeah like keeping Noah's mate on a leash. That shit was going to end and fast. "Anyway I suppose you want to get going so I won't keep you. Alex will arrive at the hospital tomorrow and take this." A silver cell phone slid across the desk into Noah's waiting hands. "I'll have the phone company transfer all of your information should be there in ten." Noah smiled. Yes his father may have been gruff, tough, and not a generally well liked person but he took care of his family without hesitation no matter how trivial it seemed. Noah only hoped he would end up being the same way. At least in regards to his family. "Oh and Noah." Erik called once Noah had reached the door.
"Congratulations." The softness had returned along with his little awkward smile. Noah grinned back.
"Thanks. Please tell mom to keep the happy shrieking to a minimum when she calls okay?" Erik nodded then turned back to his telephone.
"I make no promises." Noah heard as the door closed and he chuckled. Erik may have been better at keeping Ari in check but he couldn't really deny her anything either. He supposed that was a mate thing. He waved to Iris who flashed her million dollar smile and headed for his car. Back to his mate. Back to his son. He hadn't been this close to smugness in five years at least. His new phone vibrated in his pocket. Not only was all of his information present and accounted for but he'd just gotten a text from Wade. Time and place of the meeting. The night club where Carlie worked which meant she would no doubt be there. Just thinking about her got him juiced. He decided he'd go for a run before he went to the club.
Carlie waited in the club barely able to keep the anticipation from showing on her face. The lights were dimmed to the mandatory level and the laser show was dancing around the walls. Occasionally one would land on her snug white dress creating a dazzling colorful pattern before flitting away. She was draped over the edge of a raised partition looking particularly animalistic. The white dress was a second skin secured in places by straps that looked more like a bondage fetish than fashion. She wore a black collar and thigh high black boots to complete the outfit. She was hot tonight and she was damn proud of it. Noah was going to be miserable but in a good way. The smile crept back onto her face so she turned it out to the crowd. Several of the male occupants smiled back and one female looked stunned before she returned it too.
She knew the minute Noah arrived. The energy of the crowd changed to something closer to panic. Humans instinctively knew when predators were in their midst even if they didn't consciously understand it. That was why they tended to avoid her in general. But Noah was a far greater threat. She was up on her arms leaning towards one of the bouncers who had just said something to her but she was still seated on the partition. A surge of white hot lust raced down her mated link and once she'd managed to push it back she smiled. He was definitely there. She listened intently tracking his progress until he moved within visual range. She leisurely turned her head towards him as soon as Lucius had spoken first. His eyes were a bright gold and focused solely on her. Yeah Noah, very subtle. Of course, she was hot and he was male. It could be overlooked. When she was sure everyone else's attention was on each other she flashed a wicked grin at her mate. : That is a mighty fine dress you have on there babe:
: This old thing?: She turned in her seat to answer Lucius and stretch sinuously for Noah. Somehow, knowing she could get busted was just keying her up more. Noah's answering growl was thankfully below human auditory range.
: Tattoo? How did I not notice that before?:
: Your mind was otherwise engaged?:
: What does it…Is that my name?: She smiled wider showing teeth and batting eyelashes. Outrageously slutty in werewolf body language but she didn't really care. : Meet me by the bathroom.: Carlie giggled into her drink. Lucius glanced her way but she just flashed him a smile. The other man, Wade, he was much more impressive than Lucius. Probably from the fact that he wasn't obvious about it. Lucius wore the flashy suits, had his servants trailing after him at all times, and he used his power openly keeping said servants in line. Wade was taller dressed in jeans and a black turtleneck sweater, he basically ignored Noah although Noah wasn't really his servant, and he kept his shields tight. Even with them Carlie could smell the faint traces of magic swirling around him. It was impossible to describe having never smelt anything akin to it. She just defined it simply and let it go. Noah caught her gaze and flicked his eyes to the hall where the bathrooms were. She frowned until he sent a surge of lust through their bond that left her gasping for air.
"Dearest?" Lucius asked placing an overly friendly hand on her bare shoulder. Noah didn't like that but he somehow contained himself. She smiled at Lucius.
"Um could you excuse me? I need to use the ladies." He smiled indulgently then motioned for Wade to take her seat. He did with a careful smile not unlike one of Noah's. She had a moment of concern for her employer but shook it off. Lucius was a bad guy. Just because Wade set off warning bells in her head didn't change that. Besides, they were both sorcerers. They were part of a world that was no longer her concern. She sashayed all the way to the bathroom feeling Noah's eyes following her. She got halfway through the doorway wondering how long it would take him to follow when strong warm hands pushed her the rest of the way inside the bathroom. She turned and found Noah's mouth already claiming hers as he kicked the door shut behind them and flipped the latch. "Noah!" She gasped intending it to be more of a scold than it came out.
"I fully intend to appreciate this dress more later." He commented as he lifted her up by her hips and set her on the counter. Perfect lips descended on hers once more chasing away all objections about propriety and getting caught. She sighed happily and fought with his clothing to get at what she really wanted. His skin. Pressed against hers. Just the thought had a moan bubbling out of her. Noah's hands roamed her skin and pulled her close. She wrapped her legs around him without direction reveling in their closeness not in the fact that they had to hurry. They needed more time. Lots of time. As if to make up for the brevity of the moment Noah took his time merging their bodies. Causing her eyes to widen and then narrow at the smug smirk. "Mine." He growled.
"You are going to get us caught." She returned. It was halfhearted. She gasped as he rocked his hips, fully sheathed inside her sending sparks dancing over her skin.
"They're busy trying to prove who is better. I doubt they even notice we're gone." She would've snorted or at least said something in retort but her ability to speak had fled under the sensual onslaught. Whatever. She was sure she'd remember how to do it later. They strained together as quietly and quickly as they could manage to achieve that sense of total oneness and pure bliss. Noah growled deep and sank teeth into her neck just before she came apart. She was too far gone to caution against it.
She came back to earth first watching with a delight that was all knew as Noah slowly followed her. His breathing slowed and molten gold orbs flipped up to hers. She smiled and softly kissed his lips earning a brief smile back. "Now I just have to find a way to explain the flush." She admonished. She felt Noah's chuckle vibrate from his chest to hers.
"I'm sure you'll think of something. You're a resourceful woman." Her eyes widened.
"You're not going to help me with this?" A very feral grin graced her mate's face.
"I don't think you would like my particular brand of help in this case, my love." Mmm. Knowing him and the sheer possessiveness of his wolf Lucius would not survive his 'help'.
"Fine." She tried to sulk but a coy grin was permanently stuck to her face and she couldn't get it off. Even as she fumbled with her clothes and then helped him right his.
"My uncle is going to be arriving at the hospital tomorrow to take over Lucas' case." Her fingers froze mid button. "I didn't want you to be surprised when you heard about it."
"You don't think that might cause some suspicion?" He frowned down at her.
"Honestly, I don't actually care. But no I don't think it will." He hurriedly added when she'd opened her mouth to protest. "I told you I'll take care of it and this is me taking care of it."
"I believe you mentioned something about subtlety as well." She grumbled. He tilted her jaw up with a finger and kissed her soundly sending her thoughts scattering again. When he released her she sighed and smoothed the wrinkles from his shirt. "So this was the purpose of our little rendezvous? I mean, other than you appreciating my dress of course." His eyes had started to cool back to their pale blue and now were glinting impishly.
"That wasn't me appreciating your dress." She raised an eyebrow at him. "That was me saying hello to my mate." She had a perfectly good retort when a banging on the door followed a loud complaint. Noah looked at the innocent wood like he was seriously contemplating taking it off the hinges. She valiantly stifled a giggle and shimmied around him.
"Don't follow me right off." She called over her shoulder as she opened the door and glared at the offensively loud bar patron. They immediately ceased their protest and walked around her. She figured her anger was a little softer than her mate's though both of the girls cast him curious glances as they passed. She didn't pay him any more attention as she returned to her previous perch. She blinked rapidly when she discovered Lucius alone on his little throne. He was studying her intently with an expression that usually signaled an evening of pain for her. Her muscles were coiled tight and ready to bolt as she dropped onto the partition and leaned close to his chair.
"You were with him." He stated flatly. Her eyes widened with a feigned innocence but real fear was behind it. Wade had clearly left and she wasn't sure where Noah was anymore. Knowing him he'd probably climbed out the bathroom window.
"Was I not allowed to?" She asked, choosing ignorance instead of offense as the best weapon. He frowned quickly but then shook his head.
"Of course not, you are free to do as you like." Bullshit. But while she appreciated the leniency it made her anxious about the cause behind it. "In fact I'd like you to keep our guest entertained for as long as he's here." His eyes told her that polite tone or not this wasn't a request. "If you think you can manage to do so?" She gave him a wide smile flashing teeth.
"Oh I think I can handle it."
Author's Note: Ok I'm really trying to be better about posting I swear. I just started college so the chapters won't be as quick as they were (you know before when I posted much more regularly) but they will be more regular than the last few have been. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me even though I'm forgetful And thank you as always for all of the adds and reviews. Your input is very much appreciated.