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August 15, 2022

Strange Bedfellows 37

By Lydia Manx

Desiree snapped onto Randy's throat and began to gnaw deeply. Blood was flowing freely from her attack on Randy. We were all watching and waiting to see what she was going to do. I knew she had it in her to finish him but it wouldn't be the best political move for us. Renee was still trying to keep Scott appeased on the cell phone while we all watched.

Harry turned to me and said, "Natasha, your turn."

Smiling, I jumped into the fray after first carefully dropping the Civil War sword at Harry's feet. I didn't need the temptation. I didn't let my fangs out, either, but did use my vampiric strength. I put my fingers behind Desiree's eyes and pushed on the nerves. She relaxed her jaw for a second and with my other hand I tore Randy's throat free from her teeth. His werewolf frame sunk down to the ground while Marcus came behind me and cuffed Desiree. She flinched and dropped down with her tail tucked tightly between her haunches. He tugged her up by the scruff of her fur, tossed her back to where he'd been standing and commanded, "Stay."

I was tempted to say something snarky to Marcus but was still dealing with the nearly feral Randy. His werewolf form was nearly as slimy as his human shape. But I knew without asking that Harry wanted him alive. For now.

Randy had the cornered look that could be seen on any trapped animal. The blood loss didn't smell fatal and given that werewolves tended to heal phenomenally fast, it wasn't fear of death making him hostile. No, Randy had overstepped and knew there'd be a price. Add in that Desiree was not as cowed behind Marcus, once he stepped away from us, as she should be. I saw her flick a long tongue over her speckled, bloody muzzle. A soft whine came from one of the other weres. It wasn't out of sympathy for Randy and his injuries, I quickly figured out, but more along the lines of hunger to sup on the nasty, damaged Mr. Zova. He really wasn't popular.

Renee was assuring Scott that Randy was still alive. The conversation was soft and she was using intimate tones. That was not going to go over well with Carlos once everything settled.

My fingers dug into one of the many spots where Desiree had bit into Randy's pelt causing the werewolf to cringe but he didn't utter a sound. Maybe his werewolf side was smarter than his human. Not that I'd place any bets on it.

The thought had barely run through my head when Randy lashed back and tried to bite me. I cuffed him hard on the back of his skull. I didn't pull my punch and he stumbled onto his forepaws tucking his tail. I saw the previous were who'd been enjoying Randy's beating flicker his tail in a tentative wag. I tilted my head towards the werewolf and caught Harry's eye. I think we found the best werewolf to deliver any message if Renee couldn't come to an arrangement with Scott.

Carlos was regarding all the drama with a closed expression. As the West Coast alpha he didn't have the same power in another were's territory but still he had power. Marcus didn't have Desiree under his full command, but her fast response to Randy's shift had definitely shifted the odds towards us.

"Scott, I really hadn't planned on stopping back in the area until later," Renee was answering something Scott had said.

A cough of a laugh from the alpha werewolf, "You mean after you got married next month to Carlos?"

Renee flushed lightly -- that wasn't something we vampires did much of since it wasted precious blood -- Scott had caught her by surprise.

"Scott," she tired to get the upper hand, "it definitely would have been more considerate to ask permissions first for us to go between disputed packs but Kenyon has been a tad difficult lately." Renee understated.

More laughter, "Renee, my pet," Carlos bristled, but bit his tongue. I could smell the blood in his mouth. "You never have to ask my permission to visit. You have always been a welcome visitor to my family."

The remaining werewolves turned as one to look carefully at Renee. Yup, she'd taken Scott as a lover when he had been a were. I don't think he'd been alpha at the time but werewolves were nearly as long lived as us vampires so her encounter with Scott could easily have been decades ago. There'd been nothing I'd noticed in her memories to indicate how long ago they'd been together but it seemed no matter when there was much about Renee I hadn't known.

And from the tightening around Carlos' eyes he, too, hadn't gotten all the fine details on his intended.

Harry cleared his throat reminding Renee of our current situation. It wasn't going to take all night for the rival pack of werewolves to return with the rest of their friends. My fingers gouged deeply into Randy's pelt but I could feel a rippling of his muscles as he was preparing to do something. Something stupid, I'd wager, given his previously ill-plotted actions.

Renee smiled a very wicked grin, since she was still sporting partial fangs, and said, "So why does Randy have you in his cell phone contact list as 'King of the Pricks'? Is there something particularly outstanding about your pack?" The tossed in sexual tease was cute but the growls from the closest weres pulled Randy back in line.

Scott snarled, "Because Randy has a way with words that tend to land him in the muck more than not."

There was a promise of future pain and at the least a thorough beating from his alpha; Randy's ears flattened. The watching pack members started twitching and moving from paw to paw with an aggressive purpose that boded for some punishment sooner rather than later. They seemed to have already got permissions from their stance.

I wondered how far an alpha could cast his thoughts, looking at the decisive and controlled anger rolling through the pack. Harry answered me softly, "Farther than one usually thinks."

I gathered from his cryptic comment that the communication was like Master and Fledgling bonds so that meant pretty damn far. Not that I thought Scott was half a state away but more along the lines of a few rural roads past hell's half acre. Which seemed to be quite a bit of Kentucky from my brief observations. I wasn't a big fan of the outdoors -- give me the city any day of the week.

Renee said, "Scott, we need safe passage back to the airport. Is that a possibility or --" she let the question trail off.

Scott was again chuckling, "Why don't you all come to my house and we discuss the situation?"

Harry shook his head softly. We didn't have any idea of how many werewolves were in his pack and didn't see the need to find it out up close and personal. Renee saw the motion and laughed.

"Please, you know better than that. We just need to negotiate the passage. And we have to go before a territorial war starts." She kept the tone light.

Scott's sigh was loud.

"Fine, I had to give it a try. I didn't feel like waiting until your wedding next month to see you." There were tones in his reply that completely stopped everyone. The wedding was going to happen come hell or high water and it certainly appeared that hell was quickly becoming the venue of choice. We needed to get free from the Kentucky squabbles and head back to the coast. Harry had been arranging for our flights and selling the property, but it looked like the property wasn't the only thing in contention.

It was Renee's turn to sigh.

The stillness gave way when Harry's cell phone vibrated in his pocket. We all could hear the noise the 'silenced' phone made the same as humans would hear the phone if it had been set on top of a table and vibrated around. It was loud.

Harry shrugged and pulled out his cell phone with his left hand. His right hand still had the Civil War sword that Renee had given him. An eyebrow went up at the name of the caller.

"Yes, Simon." Harry looked at me and tried not to smirk. We all heard Simon ask if I was near.

It was my turn to cringe. I remembered that I had left my cell phone in the car earlier not even thinking to call my Master. He hadn't tried to tap into me via our blood link but it never was good when he couldn't easily get a hold of me. I knew I had a few missed calls on my phone without looking.

"She is. But currently we are negotiating for safe passage. Is it possible she can call you back when we are clear?" He waited.

Simon agreed and hung up.

"Where were we?" Harry asked Renee casually, as if Simon hadn't called. I did all I could to be invisible. I wasn't thrilled to see the look on Marcus' face at my dereliction of duties to my Master. He didn't bother trying to hide his smirk. Desiree was still looking smug in her werewolf form having torn into Randy so thoroughly.

Renee was still on Randy's phone chatting with Scott. There was a tension running through everyone that defied logic. As far as I could see we needed to leave now and everyone was busy playing games. Scott wasn't going to kick Carlos out of the wedding line up as the groom, so anything Renee and he had was in the past. But here we were dancing in the dark.

Looking around at the hunched shoulders and stress running rampant through the gathered predators it was Harry's turn to sigh.

"Renee," Harry said, it wasn't really a request for the phone but a reminder. Carlos looked like he was more than ready to tear apart any and all that ventured too close. Desiree had picked up on the alpha's stress and was beginning to look a tad feral again. Most of the bits and pieces she'd torn from Randy had been either shaken off or lapped off as she'd groomed.

"Well, Scott, I will look forward to seeing you at Carlos and my wedding next month. Thank you for the permission." She handed the phone to Harry.

We hadn't heard him say we had safe passage permissions but she was acting like it was a done deal. Harry went with that saying, "I will notify my crew that you have first refusal on the property. I, too, look forward to meeting you next month."

I could hear Scott's heartbeat pick up tempo at Harry's words. He'd been calm when talking with Renee but Harry invoked a rather different response. Harry did tend to dominate both vampires and supernatural creatures, I'd noticed, but I didn't realize he could do it over the phone.

"Thank you for that. I will be happy to make your acquaintance. And please let me know if there is anything my pack and I can do to make your stay in Kentucky more comfortable." There was a formality to the reply that seemed to indicate some alliance had been reached other than the one that had been discussed.

Harry tossed the cell towards Randy's crumpled figure and asked Renee, "So what did Scott say we could do to this cur?"

"Wow, you know it wasn't discussed." Renee grinned.

The one attentive werewolf who'd been listening to us and seemed to agree with all we had done took the matter into his own hands. He padded to the werewolf and with a swift snap crunched Randy's larynx. It wasn't a fatal injury but I doubted Randy would be whining the same ever again. I could already see Randy healing the bite but the damage done seemed to go deeper than the fur. Randy whimpered and it came out a squeak. The other werewolf stood and shifted. Standing naked before us he nodded to Carlos first saying, "Thank you for your patience."

To Harry he tipped his head slightly and acknowledged the vampire, "Master, thank you for your kindness. It will not be forgotten by our pack."

He picked up the discarded cell phone and commanded the pack back into the surrounding brush. Randy snarled slightly as the werewolf yanked him by his scruff and tossed him towards the rest of the pack. Before he was out of sight Randy turned back to us all and raised his lip slightly in a snarl. He didn't make a sound but it was perfectly obvious to all of us he'd be an enemy. Desiree met the glance and licked her furry hide and smiled back with a light yip of delight. She was reminding him who bested him.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-05-10
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