Authors: Stormy Glenn
Tags: #Glenn, #Stormy
“Elliot?” he whispered.
The growl sounded again.
Tommy reached over and flicked on the light switch, blinking for a moment when the room was suddenly lit up. When his vision cleared, the air in Tommy’s lungs rushed out as his body stiffened in shock.
Crouched on the floor in the far corner of the room was a pale white wolf where Elliot should have been. The wolf’s ears were flattened back against its head, his teeth bared as a low, threatening rumble filled the room.
“Elliot?” His hoarse whisper echoed around the room. Tommy started to take another step into the pantry but stopped when the wolf let out another low growl. “Elliot, is that you?”
The wolf suddenly jumped forward and snapped its teeth at Tommy, snarling and growling. Tommy jumped back and slammed the door closed. He could feel the wolf clawing and pushing at the door as he leaned back against it and reached back with his hand to throw the lock.
Tommy took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had no idea what the hell was going on but he knew it had something to do with what happened to Nate. He pushed away from the pantry door and walked back into the living room. Nate was sitting on the couch next to Joe, Daniel and James sitting a few feet away.
“I think we have a problem.”
“A problem?” Daniel asked. “What sort of problem?”
Tommy swallowed hard. “Either I’ve lost my mind or my very human mate just shifted into a wolf.”
Tommy expected the astonished stares he received from Joe, James, and his father. He didn’t expect Nate to roll his eyes, jump up, and stalk past him. Tommy spun around to run after Nate just as Joe shot past him. They both reached the kitchen just as Nate opened the pantry door.
“Nate, no!” Joe shouted but it was too late.
The white wolf crashed through the doorway, slamming into Nate. A loud yelp filled the air as Nate fell to the floor, the white wolf standing over the top of him. Nate looked stunned. His mouth was open, his hands clenched into fists at his chest as he stared up at the wolf standing over the top of him.
“Nate, don’t move a muscle,” Joe murmured barely above a whisper.
“Not planning on it.”
“Tommy, can’t you do anything?”
Tommy stepped closer to the wolf, keeping his movements slow and easy. He held his hands out in a submissive gesture, hoping his mate was somewhere inside of the angry wolf before him.
“Elliot, honey, you need to let Nate go.”
Tommy didn’t like the glint he could see in the wolf’s dark blue eyes. He didn’t think it would bode well for him. He was even more positive when another low rumble filled the room as the wolf growled again.
“Tommy,” Joe hissed, “do something!”
Tommy turned to glare at his brother. “I’m trying.”
“Well, try faster. He’s got my mate.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Tommy snapped. “Don’t forget that Elliot is my mate.”
“Well, your mate is pinning my mate to the floor.”
“Do you think the two of you could stop arguing long enough to get this wolf off of me before he fucking eats me?”
Tommy blinked and turned to stare back at Nate. Nate was glaring. The wolf was glaring. Tommy’s feigned calm snapped. “Elliot, get the hell off of Nate before you scare the shit out of him anymore than you already have.”
Tommy almost fell over in shock when the wolf did exactly what he said and walked over to sit on the floor next to him. His legs felt shaky and he wasn’t sure he would be able to stay standing. Tommy edged his way over to one of the kitchen chairs and sat down. The wolf followed.
Nate moved slowly, sitting up then scooting across the floor until he reached Joe’s arms. Joe wasted no time. He swept Nate up into his arms and carried him out of the room. Tommy looked down at the wolf sitting on the floor next to him and took a deep breath. He cautiously reached down and stroked his fingers over the wolf’s soft fur.
“What in the hell are we going to do now, pretty baby?”
* * * *
“Hey, Dad,” Tommy replied without lifting his head. He was pretty sure he knew what his father was going to say before he said it. He’d been sitting here for the last ten minutes trying to figure out what to do with Elliot now that the man had turned into a wolf. He didn’t want to hear his father’s opinion. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t like it.
“Your mother is here and she would like to meet Elliot.”
Tommy looked up at his father in surprise. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Dad. Elliot doesn’t seem to be in any big hurry to shift back into human form.” He gestured to the wolf curled at his feet.
“Will he listen to you?”
“I don’t know, Dad. He listened to me when I told him to get off of Nate, but beyond that…” Tommy shrugged. “I just don’t know.”
“Well, he hasn’t hurt anyone so I suppose that’s something.”
Daniel started to walk into the kitchen when the wolf suddenly lunged to his feet and bared his teeth, growling at him as he stepped in front of Tommy. Daniel quickly backed up until he once again stood in the doorway, shaking his head. The moment Daniel was back in the doorway, the wolf settled back down, sitting at Tommy’s feet.
“No, I’m thinking you might be right. Maybe now isn’t the time for your mother to meet Elliot.”
“How can he be a wolf, Dad?” Tommy looked up at his father, desperately wanting answers. “Shouldn’t I have smelled it on him?”
“Maybe, maybe not. Just because Elliot can shift doesn’t mean you would automatically scent the wolf in him, especially if it was suppressed.”
“Most wolves shift when they hit puberty. If Elliot never shifted before then, his wolf could have been suppressed. It could be due to that illness he had as a child, the drugs they gave him, or even because his wolf knew it wasn’t safe to shift.”
“So, why now? Why did Elliot shift now?”
“I can’t answer that, Thomas. I wish I could.”
“I think I can.”
Tommy’s eyes widened when he saw Nate standing just beyond his father. Joe hovered behind him, looking pissed off as all hell. “Nate? Do you know something?”
Nate squeezed into the doorframe beside Daniel and frowned when he saw the wolf curled up at Tommy’s feet. “He is a pretty wolf, isn’t he? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pure white one before.”
Tommy stared down at Elliot, the fact that he was a white wolf just now filtering into his confused brain. He reached down and brushed his fingers through the soft hair at the wolf’s neck. “Yeah, he is a pretty wolf.”
“When Elliot touched me in the living room earlier, I felt him.” Nate’s face took on a pained look, a muscle quivered in his tense jaw. “There was so much darkness. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before.”
“Are you saying Elliot’s evil?”
“Oh no, Elliot’s spirit is pure. His soul shines brighter than any soul I have ever seen. But there’s a horrible darkness that surrounds him.” Nate inhaled sharply then smiled weakly. “But the darkness wasn’t touching him.”
“That’s what you meant?” Daniel asked. “You kept saying no touching.”
“No, I said it wasn’t touching Elliot, the darkness wasn’t touching him.”
Daniel groaned and dragged his hand down his face. “Hell, Nate, we thought you were telling us not to touch Elliot.”
“Now do you believe me?” Tommy snapped. “I’ve been telling you from the very beginning that Elliot wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
“He attacked Nate!” Joe snapped right back.
“He didn’t attack me, Joe. He was just trying to get out of the pantry that you had him locked up in. He never hurt me.”
“Well, it sure as shit looked like he wanted to,” Joe grumbled.
“Joe, I love you to death, but you really need to get over this thing with Elliot. He’s not going to hurt anyone.”
“How can you be so sure, Nate?” Joe asked. “He’s in wolf form, a wolf that very obviously doesn’t answer to Dad. That gives him lone wolf status in this valley.”
Tommy stiffened at his brother’s words then quickly continued to stroke his fingers over Elliot’s fur when the wolf let out a low snarl. The rumble stopped as soon as he started petting Elliot again.
Joe’s words terrified Tommy. A lone wolf in another pack’s territory could be hunted down and killed. He looked up at his father only to find the man watching him and Elliot with an intense stare.
“As long as you can keep him under control, and until we figure out what is going on, I’ll hold off on denoting him as a lone wolf, but I expect you to keep him in line, Thomas. If he goes after anyone, I’m holding you responsible.”
Tommy nodded, relief flowing through him. For now, Elliot was safe. Assuming Tommy could keep him in line. Elliot didn’t seem to want to go after anyone as long as they stayed away. The moment someone stepped closer, Elliot’s body tensed and he gave a threatening growl.
“I think we’re safe as long as no one comes too close.”
“He’s protecting you,” Nate said as he leaned back in Joe’s arms. “You’re Elliot’s mate, even the wolf knows that. He sees everyone else as a threat to you and he’s letting us all know to stay away.”
“We haven’t even completed the mating yet,” Tommy said. “How can he know we’re mates?”
“How did you know?” Nate countered.
Tommy felt his face flush as he remembered the moment he knew Elliot was his mate. “Yeah, okay, I get what you’re saying.”
“If your face is anything to go by,” Joe said, “I’d be interested in hearing how you knew Elliot was your mate.”
Tommy groaned. “Carl was making remarks about Elliot and it made me want to pound him into the ground.”
Joe grinned. “So, basically, you wanted to protect him.”
Joe chuckled as he hugged Nate closer to his chest. “Sounds about right to me.”
Tommy opened his mouth to reply to his brother when he felt Elliot stiffen beneath his fingers. He cocked his head to one side, listening. Tommy heard a car stop, the engine going quiet and then a door slammed close. A moment later, there was a knock at the front door.
“That’s probably Ben or Reece,” Joe said as he nodded toward the living room. “I told you that they were on their way here.”
“Daniel, the boys are here.”
Tommy recognized his mother’s voice and suddenly felt a pang of longing. Maryann Nash had always been able to make her children feel better with a simple look or gesture. Tommy suddenly felt the need for one of her special Mom hugs.
Elliot was his mate, whether in wolf form or human, but this situation was getting stranger by the minute. Tommy didn’t know if his family would accept Elliot. He didn’t know if his mate would ever turn back to human. And he didn’t know if Elliot would leave if he did. He basically didn’t know anything at this point beyond the fact that the entire situation was totally fucked up.
“Daniel, did you hear me?”
Tommy looked up when he heard his mother’s voice much closer than it was moments ago. Maryann Nash was standing directly behind his father. Tommy sank his fingers into Elliot’s fur, ready to pull the wolf back if he made a threatening move towards his mother.
“Thomas, is this him?” Maryann asked as she pointed to the wolf at Tommy’s feet. “Is this your mate?”
“Hey, Mom.” Tommy couldn’t even voice the relief he felt at seeing his mother’s smiling face. She always made things better. But Tommy’s relief quickly dwindled away when Maryann started to walk past his father, reaching out for Elliot. “Mom, no, stay back.”
“Maryann!” Daniel snapped.
“Mom, stop,” Joe shouted, “we don’t know if Elliot’s dangerous or not.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Maryann waved her hand in a dismissive gesture as she walked across the room. “He’s Tommy’s mate. He wouldn’t hurt me.”
Tommy held his breath as he watched his mother walk over and squat down in front of Elliot. He tightened his hold on Elliot’s fur. Tommy just didn’t know if he was trying to defend his mother or his mate.
“Hello, Elliot,” she said softly. “I’m Maryann Nash, Tommy’s mother.”
Much to Tommy’s shock and surprise, and he guessed everyone else’s in the room from the way they all remained eerily silent, Elliot leaned up and sniffed Maryann then licked a long line across her cheek before rolling over onto his back, exposing his belly to Maryann.
Tommy inhaled softly and looked over at his father, incredulously. Rolling over and showing your underbelly was a sign of submission in the wolf world. Did Elliot’s wolf understand that or was he showing his submission to Maryann?
Maryann’s soft laughter filled the large kitchen, brightening it somehow. The tension that had filled the room for what seemed like forever started to lessen. Tommy could see smiles start to break out over the faces of those around him. His mother always had that effect on people. She made a perfect mate of an alpha wolf.
“Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing,” Maryann said as she pet Elliot’s tummy. Everything seemed to be going fine, the relief in the room almost palatable, until Ben stepped into the kitchen.
Elliot stiffened and rolled over so fast that Tommy barely had time to reach over and catch his mother, preventing her from falling to the floor. Elliot’s claws scraped across the floor as he rushed over to stand between Tommy and Maryann, and the new threat that came into the room.