"You going to tell me what that was all about?" Jason asked as Prophecy climbed into his truck.
She simply growled. That got him laughing. "Well, half-pint, we still have two hours in the truck together before we get to your house. And dinner with your aunt all night. I'm sure you will talk eventually. But umm…" He looked at her. "Where is the gift for Rachel?"
Prophecy dropped her head. "I got side tracked."
"So I noticed. Do you think you can grab something fast this time? I did leave you in there for a few hours already."
Opening the door she glared at him. "I know where to go." Then she returned to the store.
That was what she got for helping irritating men. Forgot to get the gift for Jason's sister. What was she thinking?
Oh. Yeah. She wasn't. She was practically a puddle of goo under that guy's stare. His pale grey eyes were ringed in charcoal. It gave him more of the look of a predator. Yet it made her weak in the knees. She was only able to keep her composure because they talked about things she knew like the back of her hand. Still, she forgot the damn gift. She grumbled as she headed back into the store quickly.
Davis watched her as he sat on his bike. The rest of the pack was leaving the sports grill where they rested their legs while the twins did their shopping. There was something just so captivating about the girl. If they were staying in town, he would think about trying to hook up. However, duty called. They were expected up north that evening. They didn't have much more time for any delays.
"Prophecy! Will you stop playing with the animals and come in for dinner?" A voice called from the house.
Jason chuckled at her. "Seriously half-pint. You spend more time with the canines than with the family who would like to see you. Come in before Luna comes hunting you down."
"I have you to protect me!" She grinned up at Jason.
"Oh no! I am not standing in that woman's way. She is way too crazy to tempt my fate and possible future children on such a thing."
Prophecy pouted. "Where is the love?"
"I do love you. But I love my life and anatomy more."
She looked down at the Mexican Gray Wolf next to her. The injured female growled at Jason as he got too close.
He shook his head. "It still amazes me how the animals always like you. Won't let anyone else close to them, but there you are sitting right next to a wild wolf."
That had always been her gift. Helping others. No matter the species. It was what drove her. Her work as a Midwife as well as the Wildlife Rehab Center on the family's property. Unless she had appointments for work, Prophecy was most commonly found with the animals. It was a passion that started with her father and his brother. The land was purchased just off of the highway, only twenty miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Uncle Max had been a veterinarian and her father ran the administrative side of the rehab program. It was a place where wild animals could be brought when they were injured, receive medical care and eventually be released back into the wild or find a home with other agencies or zoo's if they could not survive on their own again.
Nestled into heavy ponderosa pine forests, the facilities had seen everything from bears to elk, racoons to wolves. Many years with many animals. Her parents lived in one house on the large property, while Uncle Max and Aunt Luna lived in another.
That was until a semi hit a patch of ice on the highway and lost control. Both of her parents and her uncle never made it home.
After that, Prophecy moved into the house next door. Aunt Luna gained custody and the two women helped each other through the hardest of their grief.
As close as the two women had grown during that time, their methods of coping lead them down different paths.
Luna, a woman of strong will, had a very difficult time letting go of her husband. She delved further into fragments of Uncle Max's Native American culture and mixed it with research on clairvoyance. It didn't take long before Luna was wrapped up into the New Age ideas of crystals and vortexes, auras and past life regressions. She spent most of her time in her shop in Sedona, an artsy town roughly forty five minutes from the ranch.
Prophecy, however, threw herself into trying to keep the wildlife rehab center running. Uncle Max's veterinary partner had an intern that offered the help with the vet work once he got his degree. Caleb was a good man and a great vet who worked with most of the ranchers in the area. Then, after Jason moved up to Flagstaff for college, he helped keep the physical parts of the center up and running.
She would forever be grateful to both men for the help. Of course, Jason really wasn't given a choice. Prophecy had no hesitation in blackmailing her cousin into help. Being a sixteen year old girl didn't go over well in scheduling manual labor to fix fences and what not. Too many tried to scam her on costs or other aspects. And though she was willing to get in and do a lot of the work herself, she just couldn't do it all herself. Jason helped with everything.
Twelve years later, he still helped occasionally. Most of his time was spent running a bar near the university in Flagstaff. However, he still did what he could to help out.
She stood up and smiled at her home. The woods. The enclosures and sheds. The houses and animals. Everything had grown a lot over the years. Sturdier fencing. Newer equipment. Her family's dreams still being fulfilled.
"You are never going to leave here, are you?" Jason laughed at her.
"Why would I?"
He shook his head. "Come on. Let's get you fed. You will be here tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that." He said as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders to lead her into the house. "But today? Today, you have a cousin getting ready to have a baby and an aunt to celebrate her birthday with."
"Alright already with the guilt trip. I'm coming."
"So how did your grandmother handle everything while you were in Phoenix?" Luna asked.
"She is doing alright. The surgery went well. She was awake and being her witty self rather quickly." Prophecy chuckled. Her maternal grandmother could be a firecracker.
"Witty self? What Prophecy means is she was flirting with the male nurses." Jason laughed. "She just woke up from a hip replacement and was already trying to go all cougar on the staff and get some hanky panky. Ugh."
Prophecy simply shrugged. Flirting for the eighty year old woman really was more of a joke than anything else. She just loved to get a rise out of people. Shock them or get them to blush. Hell, the woman even kept score! The most points that she awarded herself at one time was when she accidentally walked into the wrong doctor's office and found herself in the waiting room of an OB-GYN. She covered her mistake by announcing that she needed a pregnancy test to be done ASAP after her weekend orgy at the nursing home. She was sure someone's condom broke. Points for everyone in the waiting room and double for the staff who fell apart laughing.
Between her Nana and Aunt Luna, Prophecy commonly thought about writing out her life in the form of some comedy show. Thank Mother Nature that Jason and Rachel were reasonably normal. And he wondered why she spent so much time with the animals? Whatever.
Rachel had been laughing so hard that she dropped her spaghetti on her distended stomach. That broke everyone down.
"No babies tonight! Please!" Prophecy scolded. "I am looking forward to meeting your little one, but wait just a few more weeks."
"Oh no you don't!" Jason's sister challenged. She and her husband had moved to Flagstaff a year prior. Hoping to escape the Phoenix heat. "I am tired and cranky and I want this little girl out already!"
Jason and Brian nearly choked. Brian was excited to be a father, yet terrified of it at the same time. Typical first time dad. "Calm down baby. No need to rush things."
"I am calm!" Rachel yelled. "And damn it, now I have to pee. Again!" She stormed away.
"What about you Luna? How was your week with the shop?" Prophecy asked, trying not to laugh at her cousin and get the attention focused elsewhere.
"It's Spring Break. Always a busier time of year. Not as much as summer or the holidays, but still, more traffic. Had a whole group of college students from down south, all wanting their palms read. Before they went on their jeep tour of the vortexes. So exciting."
Jason grinned. "Has Tom been getting any business with his UFO tours?"
Luna blushed. It was nice to see her getting out and meeting people again. Tom had been asking her out since he started running tours from a shop two doors down from hers. It took a full year before she said yes.
The family laughed. Sedona was a town known for it's quirks. Artsy people with money, New Agers, UFO seekers, and nature lovers all flock to the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. High enough elevation to get dustings of snow and cooler weather. Low enough to not be buried in it. Open for hiking year round. Luna and Tom blended in to the tapestry with ease.
"That is why he is not here tonight. Has a group out searching the skies for those UFO lights. Personally, I think they are a nuisance. But I can forgive them if it makes Tom happy and keeps his business going. Just as long as they leave people alone."
Jason raised a brow and shook his head. Prophecy didn't know why he bothered to expect anything different. Jason may have been family from Prophecy's mother's side of the family. But he had been around long enough to learn.
That was how dinner went on. Some light teasing. Luna and her odd comments. Rachel and her pregnancy. Men and their confusion. Lots of laughter. It was good to have family.
Davis pulled his bike up to the address that he had been given. It was a small cluster of houses off into the woods. Typical for a pack. Close to a town, but isolated enough to not be bothered much.
"Who knew Arizona got snow?" Jax commented as everyone settled in and turned off their bikes. "I thought it was all desert and cactus, like we drove through in the south."
Devyn shook his head. "Obviously you were wrong. There are even ski resorts here. One just north of the city here." He pointed to the tall mountain peak covered in white.
The warmer weather recently had melted a lot of the white powder where they were, leaving little in the trees. However, there was still plenty protected in shade of the tall pine forest around them. Fortunately, the warmer weather also meant they hadn't had to ride through any storms. Gotta love the small miracles.
The alpha rolled his eyes as someone opened the door to the house they were at. A good sized man with the aura of authority. Hopefully the alpha and not the beta.
"What the fuck do you want?" He growled.
"Are you Anton?" Davis stood slowly and squared his shoulders. "Because I am here to talk to the alpha, not a lacky."
The wolf huffed but lowered his eyes. No. He was not the alpha. "He is out. Leave a message and leave in peace. We don't want any problems with other packs."
"Do you even know who you're talking to?" Devyn sneered.
As soon as the wolf's eyes snapped up to Devyn, they snapped back to Davis and bounced between the two as realization sunk in. The Wild Hunt were the only pack that had twin brothers for alpha and beta of the pack. It helped them stand out a bit.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend…"
"Don't grovel. I hate groveling." Davis interrupted. "Just fetch your alpha."
The wolf jumped into giving orders to someone else in the house. Soon after, a wolf was seen running out the back door and headed into the woods.
"Do you want to come in? I'm Marko. The beta here." He opened the door to the lodge style home. The large living space was filled with several couches and chairs, a billiard table and a side bar. The pack common room. The alpha and his family would live at the back of the house. Others lived in smaller houses close by.
Letting Davis and his men into the home, where their families were, was a sign of submission. Nervous submission. Showing their vulnerability, hoping that they not be attacked in the process.
It was no different than the animal showing its belly or exposing its neck. His beast stood proud at the respect shown. However, they were not there to fight. At least not yet.
Steps could be heard as they quickly approached the lodge.
Anton Guadeloupe rushed in. Though he allowed no concern to show on his face. He was an alpha. Lower in rank than Davis. Lower in strength than Davis. Yet, an alpha.
"What is the meaning of this?" He demanded.
Davis looked up to appraise the other wolf. Typical bearing. Broad and well built. Gray and tan hair with golden eyes. Like most of the pack from what Davis had seen of them. "The Council sent us. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?"
Teeth ground together in frustration. "Bad news."
"There have been reports that some of your boys have been taking advantage of the human girls in town. Drugs. And such."
Anton growled and looked at Marko. Marko's eyes fell.
Davis continued. "Normally, the Council wouldn't flinch over random sex. However, when police reports are filed by girls saying that they were so high, they thought that they were having sex with a wolf…"
The string of curses that left the alpha's mouth helped to calm Davis a little. He was honest in his surprise at that news. As much as he liked a good fight, he also hated the idea of a pack that felt emboldened to make such choices so openly. It would have been a pathetic alpha who allowed such things. It was good to see that the man didn't know.
"And what in the hell is the good news?" Anton asked.
"The Council did also hear about your daughter's disappearance. We can help to look for her while the other issue is handled. Because of your divided focus, they will give you one slap on the nose and a chance to fix the problem. There will not be another chance. Clean up your pack. We will search and check in often."
"Marko, get me one of Ana's shirts and use that time to carefully consider the words that come out of your mouth when you return. I want names and details."