Authors: Stormy Glenn
Tags: #Glenn, #Stormy
“Pack, there’s that word again. What exactly does it mean?”
“We’re just like any other wolf pack or large family with one small exception, we can shift.”
“You call that a small exception?” Elliot scoffed. “You turn into wolves. I’d call that a pretty big exception. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like something pretty big to me. Granted, I’ve never run into someone that can shift before, but still, it seems really big to me.”
“Does our ability to shift bother you?”
Elliot’s mouth dropped open and he slowly lowered his glass to his lap. “Are you serious?”
“You just told me that everyone in your family can shift into wolves and you’re wondering if it bothers me?” Elliot leaned back against the couch cushion as he rolled his eyes. “I think the word bother is just a little too non-descriptive for what I’m feeling right now. Surprised would cover it better, maybe even shocked, but if you want to use the word bother, who am I to argue with you?”
“Yes, but does it shock you enough to deny Thomas’s claim on you?”
Tommy held his breath as he waited for Elliot’s answer. The next words out of Elliot’s mouth could make or break him. Thomas tried to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. He couldn’t force Elliot to accept him, no matter how much he wanted it.
“I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean by Tommy’s claim on me. I know he said wolves mate for life and I’m his mate. I get that. I just don’t understand exactly what you’re asking.”
“If Tommy mates you, it will be for life, yours and his.”
Elliot leaned forward to set his glass down on the floor then clasped his hands together between his knees. His forehead wrinkled as he frowned at Daniel. “Okay, look, I’m not stupid, but you seem to be doing everything to make me feel that way. I get it that you don’t like me and you don’t want me to be with your son. There’s nothing I can do to change that. So, if you want an honest answer from me then you need to give me more information to form an opinion and stop beating around the fucking bush.”
Tommy blinked in surprise. He couldn't remember ever hearing anyone talk to his father in that manner, not even his mother. He was also a little bit shocked by the vehemence he could hear in Elliot’s voice. The man looked like he was starting to get pissed. Tommy just hoped his father didn’t get too pissed by Elliot’s words.
“If Thomas has sex with you and bites you at the same time, it will create a bond between the two of you that will only end when one of you is dead. Wolves do mate for life and so do we, which means that Thomas will never be with anyone except you. You will be his mate. However, you will be his human mate, which means in our pack, he is the dominant one between the two of you.”
Much to Tommy’s shock, Elliot started laughing. “Oh please, Tommy’s the dominant one between us now. How is his being a wolf supposed to change that?”
“For one, I am the alpha of this pack,” Daniel said. “That means I’m the top dog and what I say goes.”
“Are you trying to tell me that you can say whether Tommy and I are together or not?”
“No, but if you ever speak to me the way you have while we’re in front of other pack members, I will see it as a challenge to my position as alpha and fight you. And, Elliot, a challenge for leadership is always to the death.”
Tommy expected Elliot to grow all scared and stuff. Any sane person would have. Instead, Elliot’s head tilted to one side as if pondering Daniel’s words. He didn’t even drop his eyes from Daniel’s, a move that could be seen as a challenge.
“So, you’re basically saying that, as alpha, you have the right to treat me like shit, but since I’m a human, I can’t say anything about it? And if I do, you’re going to kill me?” Elliot reached down and grabbed his glass of the floor then the bottle of alcohol and stood to his feet. He tilted the glass towards Daniel in a small salute. “Congratulations, Daniel Nash, you are my father.”
Tommy waited until Elliot walked out of the room before shifting back to his human form. He pressed his lips together and ignored his father as he jerked his jeans up his legs and buttoned the bottom two buttons.
He couldn’t remember that last time he was this pissed off, and he had anger issues. Drawing in a deep breath, Tommy turned to glare at his father. “I think you need to leave.”
Tommy held his hand up to stop his father from saying whatever it was that the man felt he needed to say. Tommy didn’t care. All that mattered to him was getting to Elliot and convincing the man he was not like either of their fathers.
“You’ve said more than enough, Dad.”
“Thomas, you need to understand—”
“No, you need to understand,” Tommy snapped as he took a step toward his father. “Elliot is my mate, mine. You do not have the right to come in here and scare him or threaten him. Right now, I would be perfectly within my right to challenge you for threatening my mate, and you know it.”
“Thomas, if his father—”
“This is not about Elliot’s father. This is about you. Elliot is right. You’re acting just the way you keep saying his father would act.” Tommy pushed his hand over his bald head as he let out a little laugh. “I don’t know why I expected anything less from you. Ever since I refused to become a member of law enforcement like everyone else in the family, you’ve come down on every decision I’ve made.”
“That’s not true, Thomas.”
“It is true.” Tommy’s hand waved wildly through the air. “Did you act this way when Joe found Nate and brought the Teacher into our valley, or when Jim found Donovan and suddenly announced that he was gay? No. You just accepted their decisions and their mates. You won’t even give Elliot a chance.”
“It’s not about giving Elliot a chance, Thomas. I’m the alpha of this pack and it’s my duty to protect it. Philip Spencer is a big threat to us. He could destroy this pack. Why won’t you understand that?”
“And why won’t you understand that this is not about Philip Spencer?” Tommy shouted. “This is about Elliot.”
“Tommy, could you drive me back to my car?”
Tommy whipped around to see Elliot standing in the kitchen doorway. His heart sank when he saw Elliot wringing his hands together. His eyes were cast down at the floor as if he didn’t have the courage to look him in the face. He looked…sad.
“Elliot, baby, no, we can talk about this.” Tommy hurried over to Elliot’s side. The man looked so dejected and Tommy didn’t know how to fix it. He lifted Elliot’s chin, but the man kept his eyes downcast. “There’s nothing we can’t work out, pretty baby, as long as we stand together.”
“I can’t stay where I’m not wanted, Tommy,” Elliot whispered. “I don’t know what I’ve done that is so bad, but it’s obvious your family can’t accept me and I can’t stay here if I know I’m causing a wedge between you and them.”
Tommy drew in a quick breath. Elliot was going to leave him. He couldn’t allow that to happen. The mating bond between them had already been started when he bit Elliot’s neck. He couldn’t lose the man now.
“Okay, pretty baby, just give me a moment to pack a bag and we can go.”
“Wha—no.” Elliot’s eyes snapped up as he grabbed Tommy’s arm. “Tommy, you have to stay here with your family. You need them as much as they need you.”
Tommy cupped Elliot’s face in his hands and tilted the man’s head back. “I need you more, pretty baby.”
“Tommy, I can’t—” Elliot shook his head. “I can’t come between you and your family.”
“Elliot, this isn’t a choice.” Tommy tried to find the words to explain to Elliot what the man meant to him. “And even if it were a choice, I’d still choose you.”
Elliot just looked confused, his forehead wrinkling and his eyebrows drawing together. “Why? I mean I know things got pretty hot and heavy between us, but you’re talking about a lifetime commitment here and we’ve barely known each other a few hours. How can you be so sure?”
Tommy grinned. That he knew how to explain. “Because everything in you calls to me, pretty baby, the way you smell, the way you taste, hell, even the way you sound when you chatter incessantly. Everything about you excites me. Just seeing you smile makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I could conquer the world.”
“Tommy,” Elliot whispered, his baby blue eyes huge and round on his pale face.
“I don’t want to be away from you even if you’re just in another room. I was attracted to you the minute I saw you, but when Carl started talking about you, I wanted to beat the shit out of him. And then I wanted to take you away and protect you from the world. I wasn’t going to let anyone talk about my pretty baby that way.”
Elliot’s breath seemed to hitch in his throat as he inhaled, almost as if he was trying not to break down. Tommy could still see tears coating the man’s long dark eyelashes as Elliot blinked up at him.
“Okay? That’s it?” Tommy chuckled. “That’s all you have to say, pretty baby?”
“And what about me shifting into a wolf?” Tommy’s heart pounded faster. “How do you feel about that?”
Elliot shrugged. “I guess I’ll invest in flea powder.”
Tommy gaped at Elliot for just a moment before he wrapped his arms around the man and hugged him tightly in his arms. He buried his face in Elliot’s hair and inhaled his mate’s welcoming scent.
“You won’t regret this, Elliot,” Tommy whispered. He closed his eyes when tears sprang up in them, his heart overwhelmed by Elliot’s willingness to accept him in any form. “I promise, pretty baby. I’ll do everything I can to make you happy.”
Tommy held Elliot in his arms a moment longer then leaned back to look down at him, cupping the side of Elliot’s face in his hand. “Just give me a minute to grab some clothes and stuff and we’ll be on our way.”
“Thomas, you can’t leave.”
Tommy turned around to glare at his father, making sure he stood between Daniel and Elliot. “I can leave and that’s exactly what I plan on doing. You can’t accept Elliot? Fine, that is your choice. But I also have a choice and I choose to be with Elliot.”
“You need a pack, Thomas. You won’t be able to survive without one.”
“Elliot and I will make our own pack.”
“Elliot is not a shifter.”
“No, but he is my mate.”
Daniel’s hands fell to his sides, a strange look coming over his face. “You really mean it. You’d leave your pack, your family, to be with him.”
“In a heartbeat.”
Elliot’s heart beat so rapidly in his chest he could barely breathe. He felt like his lungs were constricted as he tried to keep from crying at Tommy’s words. No one had ever wanted him enough to make a second date, let alone leave their family for him.
“Very well, Thomas.”
Elliot pushed his face between Tommy’s shoulder blades when he heard Daniel’s words and felt their effect on Tommy. This wasn’t how things were supposed to be between family members. Even with his limited experience with his own family, Elliot knew this.
“My mother died when I was just a baby. I never really knew her,” Elliot whispered, feeling Tommy jerk as he talked. “And my father, my father is a man driven by greed. He never had any time for me or anyone else that didn’t bring him some sort of advantage in the world. Don’t let this come between you and your family, Tommy. You’ll regret it and then you might start to hate me and…and I don’t know if I could live with you hating me.”
Tommy turned around and grabbed Elliot’s arms. “Elliot, I could never hate you. You’re my mate, the most important person in my world. I will never regret choosing you.”
“No buts, pretty baby.”
“If you mean to go through with this, Thomas, then we need to go speak with your brother and make some plans. I suspect we won’t have long before we find Philip Spencer on our doorstep and we need to be prepared. Your mother is also going to want to meet your mate.”
Elliot’s heart stuttered when Tommy stiffened and slowly turned to look at his father. He knew Tommy was angry at the way his father was acting. Elliot was too, but to give up his family was not something Elliot could let him do, not if he could prevent it.
“Tommy,” Elliot stood on his tiptoes so that he could whisper into Tommy’s ears. “Listen to your father. Don’t let this come between you. At least listen to what your father has to say. If we don’t like it, we can leave afterwards, but give him a chance. He loves you and you don’t know how rare that is.”
“I do love my son, Elliot,” Daniel said. “I’m glad you can recognize that.”
Elliot shrugged, although he wasn’t sure Daniel could see it with Tommy standing between them. “It’s not hard to recognize. You just want what’s best for Tommy. But you need to realize that what is best for Tommy in your opinion may not be what he thinks is best.”
“If Thomas chooses to be with you, so be it, but we still need to discuss this situation with your father.” Daniel pointed his finger at Elliot. “You know as well as I do that he is a threat to our world, especially knowing what you now know. If your father were to discover our ability to shift—”
“He’d use it to his advantage,” Elliot finished for Daniel.