Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Witch's Moon - chapter 5, part 2
We took seats opposite of Lex at the long conference table and settled in to wait for our host to return. Mooney said nothing, just stretched his six foot plus body out in what was clearly a relaxed pose. He was letting Lex know that he felt not the least bit threatened, a silly thing since Lex could probably have taken the wolf in open combat. Lex may not be more than a few inched taller than my own five foot three, but he was an ancient Egyptian demi god. One didn't survive that pantheon for four thousand years without knowing how to defend oneself. I knew this first hand, having been subjected to the Egyptians for most of my life.
Besides, Lex kind of wrote Mooney's pay checks. My wolf needed to watch himself.
Lex, by contrast, seemed perfectly content to sit across from us lie the cat that he was, watching to see if we got nervous so that he could pounce. We didn't of course. It was a near thing for me. My relationship with Lex was more than a little screwed up. He was one part father figure, one part obnoxious uncle and one part teacher with a dash of big brother thrown in for good measure. While he had never made any moves towards me in a sexual sense, he had also not made any effort to protect me from the perverts of Ra's court.Had even encouraged me to use my feminine whiles on his behalf from time to time, including with Mooney. I did not get why he was showing this passive-aggressive resistance to me and Mooney snuggling and it was starting to piss me off royally.
Just as I was about to loose my cool, the door to the conference room opened and the smell of sizzling fajitas wafted in followed by none other than Gypsy Rose. She was wearing a barely-there black kimono robe that did nothing to hide the fact that she was still wearing her stage costume minus the snake, which meant she was pretty much nude.
"Put the try on the table, love," she murmured to the waiter in her husky southern drawl. "We'll serve ourselves." All eyes were on the sexy red wolf as the waiter slid the huge try of sizzling meat, peppers, onions, and tortillas onto the table. All eyes other than Mooney's, anyway. I couldn't help but feel pleased that the nearly naked she-wolf failed to draw his attention away from the food. Hell, I half way wanted to jump her and I didn't swing that way. That didn't mean he wanted me over Gypsy, of course, only that he wanted fajitas more than he wanted to ogle a beautiful woman, but I was taking what I could get. And then he dished me up a plate of meat and peppers.
"Moon-dog, witches don't eat meat," Gypsy said with a smirk. Mooney stopped scooping food onto the plate he'd put in front of me and looked down sheepishly. I smiled at him, then stared at her, and pulled the plate closer.
"Wow, this smells awesome. Can you pass me a tortilla, babe?" I smiled at Mooney coyly and I popped a slice of green pepper into my mouth. He smiled back, looking a little uncertain about this but he did hand me a tortilla.
"Do you, you know, eat meat?" he asked quietly. I didn't answer, preferring to show him by popping a slice of beef in my mouth. Wait. That was not beef. That was... I didn't want to know what that was. I focused on chewing it enough to safely swallow it.
"What's the matter, monkey-child?" Lex said with a smirk, not making any move toward to food. "Cat got your tongue?"
"What an... interesting texture," I said carefully around the last traces of meat-like stuff in my mouth. "Um, that's not beef, is it?"
"No," Gypsy said with a smirk. "It's road kill special."
"Road kill?" I looked down at the meat still on my plate and carefully swallowed what remained in my mouth.
"It's, ah, mountain lion," Mooney said, grabbing for my plate. I slapped his hand away. Wolves tended to use food as courtship and he'd given me this food with his own hands. I could work with this. While I wasn't enthusiastic about eating animal flesh, this was inarguably organic and all natural, which did fit in with my food preferences. And it wasn't anything too strange.
"Ah. Yes, I guess the cat did have my tongue," I said, trying to joke about it. Lex snorted.
"What did you think it was, monkey-child?" he asked sarcastically.
"Well, when I heard 'road kill,' I admit I got a horrible premonition that I was being fed raccoon..."
Laughter filled the small room. Go me, I'd managed to amuse a room full of predators. I leaned over and gave Mooney a little peck on the chin--I couldn't reach his check while sitting down--and began filling a tortilla with peppers and onions and exactly one small piece of meat, all the while hoping Dante would come back so we could get on with this.
As if he'd been waiting for exactly that moment, the door opened and Dante stepped in. He had another wolf with him, one I didn't know. Mooney did, though. I saw him stiffen suddenly. Lex's snide grin turned malicious and Gypsy's amused smirk died. I put the food down and looked into a pair of very hostile, arctic blue wolf eyes.
"Nick," Mooney said, standing up and placing himself between me and the new comer. Ah, the big brother who had fired Mooney after his court appearance the other day. Mooney didn't talk about his brother much, but I had gotten the distinct impression that Nick didn't think very highly of Mooney. Judging by the looks I was receiving, Nick really didn't approve of his little brother trying to defend me from him. Oh, damn. Oh, holy hot damn, how was I going to get out of this? Without giving up Mooney, of course. I just ate freaking road kill for the big lunk; no way was I going to just walk away from him without a fight or even a taste of what being with the hunky wolf was like.
No one moved. No one even breathed for a long moment as the two brothers stared each other down. Nick the alpha who was expressing his displeasure. Mooney the beta who was expressing his independence. I began to realize that while Nick was not pleased to see me sitting there wearing Mooney's coat, because I still hadn't given it back, this was not about me at all and Mooney wasn't letting Nick make it about me. This was about a pack alpha who'd left one of his wolves hang out to dry. Mooney had left a lucrative career in San Diego to come back to Talbot's Peak and work at the pack's business at Nick's request. Yeah, Mooney had gotten himself into trouble, but Nick had turned his back on his little brother, too. Logic never holds much sway in family spats, after all.
Finally, Nick turned his back on Mooney and took a seat at the far end of the table, catty corner to Lex and right next to Gypsy Rose. Dante didn't take a seat, choosing to lean against the wall in a tough guy pose. Everyone started breathing again.
"Well, monkey-child," Lex began. "We are all here. What is it you found so very important?"
* * * * * * * * * *
Today's post is a little bit shorter than I'd originally planned. The last 2 pages or so of this chapter just didn't