Authors: Stormy Glenn
Tags: #Glenn, #Stormy
“Many of the businesses that your father is involved in are shady, so to speak. Some of my research led me to believe that he’s being investigated by the federal government because of some of these business deals.”
“Oh, well, that doesn’t surprise me.”
“It doesn’t surprise you?” Joe asked.
“He is your father.”
Elliot grimaced and tried to figure out how to tell this close-knit family about his relationship with his father. “My mother died when I was a baby. I think my father resented me for that. I think he holds me responsible for her death. She may have been the only person he ever truly loved because I know he never loved me.”
“Elliot, you can’t know that,” Tommy insisted.
“I do know that, Tommy. I was very sick growing up. I had to see a lot of doctors and get a lot of tests. My father never went with me. I was always sent with one of his assistants and my nanny.”
“Are you still sick?” Tommy asked.
“No, I’m fine now, but I was sick for a long time. The only time my father ever showed any concern for me was the summer I turned fifteen. Whatever I had suddenly got worse and I was in the hospital for nearly a month. God, I was so sick I barely remember anything of the time. I just remember my father being there several times when I woke up. He looked so worried, so hopeful that the doctors would fix me.”
“But you’re better now?”
“Yeah, whatever the doctors did, I guess it cured me. After that month, I was all better. I still have to go see the doctor once a month for blood tests and such, but there’s been no reoccurrence of my symptoms in the last ten years.”
“And what did your father do when you got better, pretty baby?”
Elliot inhales slowly as the remembered pain of his father’s desertion flowed through him. He’d been a kid of fifteen years old. He wanted his father’s attention so badly he had almost wished he was sick again so his father would spend more time with him. It hadn’t happened.
“Once I was better, my father went back to his business as usual and I went to boarding school. We see each other once a year at Christmas. Other than that, and a few phone calls when I fuck up somehow, I don’t see my father.” Elliot sat forward a little to look at Daniel. “Which is why I don’t think my father is going to be an issue. He hates me. He could care less what I do as long as I keep it out of the media and don’t embarrass him.”
“Elliot, I’m sure you believe that, but we still need to be prepared in case he does make problems,” Daniel said. “I am the alpha of this pack, the leader. It is my duty to take care of the pack members. I have to prepare for anything that I see as a danger.”
“I am not a danger!”
Elliot jumped to his feet and stalked over to the window, crossing his arms over his chest as he looked out into the darkness. Why didn’t these people understand that he wasn’t a danger to them? His father didn’t care about him. He wouldn’t be interested in where Elliot chose to live or with whom as long as Philip Spencer was not inconvenienced.
Not recognizing the voice speaking to him, Elliot turned to find Nate standing behind him. He gave Nate a weak smile and turned to look back out the window. He wasn’t sure there was anything Nate could say that he really wanted to hear. No matter what he did, he couldn’t win with these people. It kind of reminded him of his dealings with his father.
“I don’t think anyone sees you as a danger, Elliot,” Nate said softly. “But you have to admit, everyone here has a huge secret that needs to be kept. Being wary of anyone that isn’t part of the pack is the only way they can do that.”
“I thought mating with Tommy meant I would be accepted into the pack.” Elliot’s breath stuttered in his throat as he inhaled sharply and turned to look at Nate. “But I guess that was too much to hope for.”
“Oh, Elliot, it’s not—”
Elliot held up his hand, stopping Nate. He smiled despite the tears he could feel threatening to spill from his eyes. “It’s okay, really it is. I understand. You’re wolves. I’m human, and a stranger at that. I think it would be best if I just left and then there will be no more threat to the pack.”
Elliot started to walk past Nate, intent on getting to the front door and away, when Nate reached out and grabbed his arm. Stunned that the man was touching him after everyone explained about him not touching anyone, Elliot tried to pull his arm away but Nate’s grip was like steel.
“Nate, what…” Elliot’s words trailed off when he looked up as saw Nate’s face. It was pale white, as if totally drained of blood. His jaw was clenched, one lip slightly curled back. But Nate’s eyes were the worst. They were white like they had rolled back into Nate’s head. “Nate?”
Nate’s body suddenly started shaking. Elliot reached out and caught Nate right before he would have hit the floor then slowly lowered him the rest of the way. Elliot had just a moment to stare down at Nate in horror before strong arms shoved him away, breaking the strong hold Nate had on his arm.
“Nate!” Joe shouted as he knelt on the floor next to his mate. “Nate, baby, what’s wrong?”
Elliot backed away, his eyes widening when Nate lifted a hand and pointed at him through the trembles racking his body. “N–no— no t–t–touch—touching.”
Elliot cringed when every eye in the room turned to look at him. Sheer black fright swept through him. He backed up until he felt the wall behind him, shaking his head the entire time.
“What the fuck did you do to my mate?” Joe growled.
“I didn’t do anything,” Elliot replied in a small, frightened voice. “I swear.”
Elliot could feel the animosity aimed in his direction and knew he would find no understanding from anyone there. He sought out Tommy, spotting him standing just beyond where Joe knelt on the floor with his mate. A flicker of apprehension filled him when Tommy stared at him with something in his eyes that Elliot couldn’t identify.
“Tommy?” Elliot reached a hand out towards the man only to watch in horror as Tommy stepped back. Elliot’s hand slowly fell back to his side when Tommy refused to take it. Instead, the man that professed to want him always just stared at him like he had done something evil.
“I want him locked up until Ben and Reece get here and we can figure this out,” Joe snapped as he swept Nate up into his arms. The look Joe sent in Elliot’s direction was scathing and filled with more hatred than Elliot had ever seen in someone’s eyes, even his father’s. “Put him in the pantry for now.”
Elliot scooted back when Daniel and his son, James, stepped forward but they didn’t touch him. In desperation, Elliot tried to jump past them to get to Tommy. He just knew if he got to Tommy everything would be okay. Tommy promised.
But Tommy quickly stepped away from Elliot, avoiding his frantic grasp. Anguish unlike anything Elliot had ever felt filled every cell in his body. Swallowing the sob that rose in his throat, Elliot stared at Tommy.
“You made me believe…” Tears blinded his eyes and choked his voice. “But you lied.”
Tommy didn’t say anything, just stared at Elliot with wide eyes and a stunned expression, leaving Elliot with an inexplicable feeling of emptiness. He didn’t resist when Daniel and James led him out of the living room and into the kitchen.
Daniel opened a solid wood door on one side of the room and gestured for Elliot to enter. Elliot did, having no other choice and not caring if he did anyway. His sorrow was a huge, painful knot inside that weighed him down.
Elliot walked to the back wall and slid down to the floor, his trembling legs no longer able to hold him upright. He held himself upright until he heard the door shut behind him and the room plunged into darkness.
Elliot sank down onto the floor and wrapped his arms around himself, yielding to the anguished sobs that filled him. He knew Tommy was too good to be true but he’d wanted what the man promised so very much.
Once again, Elliot was shown that those he wanted love from would never really love him. He knew he shouldn’t have expected it. He should have been satisfied with just one night with Tommy. It would have given him a pleasant memory to visit on those lonely nights he spent without anyone to hold him.
He’d hoped for too much and now he would pay the price, again. Elliot curled further into himself as he tried to reason why he even tried. It was obvious he had some fatal flaw that made him undesirable, unwanted. Every time it was proved to him, Elliot ignored it and kept on trying, hoping.
But it wasn’t worth it. Nothing was worth the anguish he felt when Tommy turned away from him. Elliot’s sobs quieted to the occasional hiccup. He wiped his eyes and promised himself it would be the last time he cried over anyone.
Elliot closed his eyes and prayed for sleep as he buried everything he had, everything he felt, as deeply inside of his mind and body as he could go. He was never going to allow anyone to touch him again, not the real him, and certainly not his heart.
Tommy felt numb as he watched Joe fuss over Nate. The little man hadn’t moved since he collapsed in Joe’s arms. Tommy didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew Elliot couldn’t be responsible.
Elliot was kind, gentle. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. Tommy had just been so stunned by what happened that he didn’t know what to do. Once his senses came back to him, Tommy knew the safest place for Elliot was locked in the pantry away from everyone.
Until they could figure out what happened, Tommy didn’t know if he could keep Joe from attacking Elliot. But that didn’t mean Tommy wouldn’t defend his mate to the death if Joe went after Elliot. And he didn’t want to fight his brother.
Tommy knew Joe had a right to be angry with Elliot because he didn’t know the man like Tommy did. Joe didn’t know Elliot wouldn’t hurt a fly. Until Nate regained consciousness, Tommy wouldn’t be able to prove that his mate was innocent of any wrongdoing.
Tommy was so intent on watching for any little move from Nate that he almost jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand come down on his shoulder. He turned to find his father standing beside him.
“Hey, Dad,” he said softly.
“We need to talk, Thomas.”
Tommy so didn’t like the way that sounded. “Elliot didn’t do this.”
“You can’t know that.”
“I do know that. Elliot doesn’t have it in him to hurt someone.” Tommy waved his hand out and gestured to Nate. “He wouldn’t do this.”
“Thomas, I know you want to believe that, but what do you really know about the man? You just met Elliot a few hours ago.”
“I just know, okay?”
“No, it’s not okay, Thomas.” Daniel pointed to Nate. “Look at him, Thomas. Look at your brother’s mate. Something happened that caused that and Elliot is responsible.”
“And what about my mate, Dad? He’s locked in a pantry like a common criminal. You didn’t even give him a chance. None of you did,” Tommy snapped as he turned to take in the rest of the people on the room. “You just assumed he was guilty.”
“Did you see what happened to Nate?” Joe shouted as he jumped to his feet. “That man did this and you expect me to feel sorry for him? What if Nate doesn’t wake up? What then? Will you still expect me to feel sorry for him?”
“How many times do I have to tell you,” Tommy snapped. “Elliot didn’t do this!”
“He’s right.” The softly spoken words were louder than all of the yelling and shouting between Tommy and Joe. Tommy swung around to see Nate’s eyes on him. “Elliot didn’t hurt me.”
“Nate, baby,” Joe crooned as he raced over to kneel next to the couch, his hands running over Nate’s body. “Are you sure you’re okay? What happened? I was so scared when you passed out. I didn’t know if you were going to wake up.”
“I’m fine, sheriff,” Nate said as he cupped the side of Joe’s face. “I just had a little overload.”
“Overload? What in the hell are you talking about? You told us not to touch Elliot and then you passed out. You were having seizures, Nate.”
“I never told you not to touch Elliot.” Nate frowned and glanced around then he sat up and looked some more. “Where is Elliot?”
“Your mate had him locked up in the pantry.” Tommy said with a distinct curtness. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Joe. He was getting really tired of people picking on his mate.
“Joseph!” Nate sat up and swung his legs over the side of the couch. “I can’t believe you locked Elliot up. How could you do that?”
“Nate, you passed out. You were having seizures. What did you expect me to do?”
“I expected you to treat him civilly until you knew exactly what was happening.” Nate shook his head. “What is wrong with you, Joe? You’ve never jumped to conclusions before without having hard evidence. This isn’t like you.”
“Stop, please.” Tommy stepped forward and held up his hand to stop the argument he could see coming between Joe and Nate. “All that matters is that Nate is okay. Joe can rest easy now and I can get go get my mate. Agreed?”
Joe’s face flushed but he nodded. “Yes, go get Elliot and bring him back in here. Maybe between him and Nate we can figure out what in the hell happened.”
Tommy couldn't run to the kitchen fast enough. He unlocked the pantry door and flung the door open, ready to take his mate into his arms. The hairs on Tommy’s arms stood up when he heard a low growl came from the darkness. Tommy froze.