Copyright © 2019 – Nicholas Hall
"When Pack meets Pack in the jungle and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down 'till the leaders have spoken- it may be fair words shall prevail."
Chase brought up the rear, Henri in the lead, with the younger most vulnerable Jacques in the middle, as they strode seemingly confident and unafraid past the receptionist. She thought her covert action would be unnoticed since her movement was so slight as she touched the small button on her desk top.
"Henri, be alert, she's just pushed a button on her desk. It must be an alarm of some sort."
Henri merely nodded slightly, hearing his brother's telegraphed warning, but slowed his exit through the Lodge entrance door, as he swept the outside area with his eyes trying to take notice of any threat which may be awaiting them. Seeing no immediate danger, he picked up his pace toward the SUV. Chase mimicked Henri's scan, only slower, more deliberate, concentrating on the SUV itself. Nothing was obvious, so he looked beyond, concentrating on the front gate entrance to the facility. He made note in his mind the single iron bar with a stop sign on it was being lowered blocking the entrance. It'd be easy to breach the gate with his SUV if he needed to. There was bit of a problem, however. As the bar was lowered, a large, angled metal plate, the gap of the angle toward entering traffic, slowly rose about two foot from the road bed. It'd be most effective stopping any vehicle attempting to breach the entrance driving into the compound, but dubious about keeping a vehicle in.
"See the metal barricade?" Henri asked, concerned with how they'd make their escape should the necessity arise.
"Yes!" Chase answered tersely, trying to quickly develop an alternative escape route with the advent of the once hidden barricade. Eric and Evan were still inside and he hoped they could resolve what was escalating into a very awkward and perhaps dangerous situation. He decided he'd do his damnedest to insure the survival of both his younger brothers and if impossible, at least Jacques.
"Get in the car; we'll lock ourselves in. If there's an attack, we'll make a break for it. I think I can jump the traffic stopping device by getting up enough speed and using the angle as a ramp to crash through the metal bar and make our escape!"
"Then what?" a nervous Jacques asked.
"We gather up our stuff back at the house, ready our passports, and cross into Canada."
Locked inside the vehicle, Chase started it, checked his fuel gauge, noting he had about three-quarter of a tank, and let it idle while they waited. Chase vowed they'd wait a half hour, not wanting to waste fuel or to be overwhelmed by a force of wolves, or have his vehicle blocked by another. Thinking a blocking maneuver by the guards inside the compound might be a possibility, he slowly backed out of the parking space and turned the SUV so it faced the gate.
"Makes for a quicker get-away," he said softly to his brothers.
Both boys sat in the back seat where they'd be better protected. Henri was conscious of his role in helping to protect his younger brother, by placing Jacques in the middle of the seat, not close to a window or door and, he could quickly dive to the floor of the SUV if need be. It'd give Henri a chance to better defend him, meeting the attacker, hopefully, before they could get to Jacques.
Chase was beginning to have serious doubts concerning the wisdom of his parents and grandmother in sending them here. Oh, his grandmother's cousin was nice, concerned, and protectively, yet she hadn't considered the outside world, especially this particular firm of Campbell and Associates, a firm dominated by a very aggressive Alpha, would be so hostile. If they were going to survive here, he'd need more assurances they'd be protected or at least safe from Campbell.
At the moment, should Eric fail at resolving the growing conflict, Canada seemed to be the best option. Crossing here, he reasoned, if he could access their cash money and debit cards before leaving, he'd drive across Canada, re-enter the States in upper New York, and contact the Grand Council asking for asylum. It'd be their last resort for safety.
Ten minutes expired and Chase wondered why Eric and Evan hadn't appeared, causing his nervousness and concerns to increase. His attention was suddenly drawn to the front gate. It was being raised and the metal barrier lowered back into the ground. A familiar pickup truck darted through the open entrance and skidded to a halt next to his SUV. Jase and Tyler leaped out and headed toward the Lodge. Jessie came out next followed by Gaige.
"If anything should happen, go with Chase," Jessie instructed Gaige, as he led Gaige to Chase's SUV.
"Nothing will, Papa," came the confident response.
Jessie waited until Gaige was safely in the back seat of the SUV next to Jacques, and raced toward the Lodge to join Jase and Tyler. No sooner had Jessie hit the front steps of the Lodge when two more pickups drove up and were permitted entry into the facility. Mike Bowers, Chad Coleman, Robbie Bowers, and Rick Hayes popped out of the vehicles once they stopped in the parking area. Instead of joining Tyler, Jase, and Jessie, they took up positions, two at the front and two at the rear of Chase's SUV, preparing to defend the occupants.
Jase and Tyler hastened by the receptionist at her desk.
"Touch the alarm button and the Lodge will run red with blood and Campbell and Associates will exist no more!" warned Jase, shaking a finger at her.
Eric and Evan stood between the doorway to the Great Room where the Landry Brothers exited minutes before, talking to Art, Scott, Ray, and Ted, trying their very best to diffuse a very delicate and dangerous situation which could erupt at any moment. It'd changed rapidly from a friendly "meet and greet" into an unnecessary testy and perilous confrontation, brought on by Art's verbal attack on Chase.
Art's aggressiveness didn't set well with Chase nor did Chase's measured, defiance set well with Art.
"Yes, I'm a bit unsettled and upset by the revelation Michelle and Patrick have been screwing each other," he said angrily to the gathered group, "but it has nothing to do with that young whelp's lack of respect toward me as an Alpha."
"Or your lack of respect toward him, Dad," Scott interjected. "You really had no reason confronting him as you did. It was rude and unbecoming of you and you should apologize."
Scott, as Art's oldest son, was one of the few who dared speak "truth to power" and openly or privately criticize or question his father's actions or decisions.
Eric agreed it'd be the right thing to do and speak well of Art as a leader. Additionally, it'd lower the heat in the current confrontation greatly and lead to a "sit down" and a more welcoming atmosphere.
Art thought a moment. "You may be right, but he and his brother need to be taught a lesson in respect. You don't turn your back on an Alpha and walk away! They have no idea how dangerous it can be or what life might have in store for them when they do that."
Eric, ordinarily the calm head, the wise counselor, defending his clients vigorously, yet with compassion, bristled at Art's response.
"Art Campbell, you haven't given me a chance to even explain why those boys are here and living with me. No, you just raised your hackles and decided to try and bully them! Well, you picked the wrong three. Those three boys understand exactly what life is like; they've already lived through hell of sorts. Their parents and their grandparents were burned to death in a fiery auto crash. The wills and instructions gave custody to me and Evan as their guardians and possible adoption. Their grandmother was my cousin and her daughter, by birth as well. These boys are my blood and by god, I'll do all Evan and I can to protect them and give them a life as close to normal as possible. You've now jeopardized it by your outrageous behavior. You may very well be in danger of jeopardizing our relationship as your attorney as well!"
"Oh, great," Scott moaned aloud. "Now we're about to lose our attorney. Thanks….."
Scott's comments were stilled as his attention and the attention of the others was focused on the doorway to the Great Room. Eric and Evan slowly turned to see what was going on.
Art, Ray, and Ted stood still, suddenly becoming aware there were new dynamics entering into play and not all of them conducive to a quiet tea party.
Jase and Tyler walked confidently, side by side, fearlessly, heads up, determination creased in their faces, and with the ease of those who are used to being in charge and exerting leadership, defenders of their realm, and all those who lived under their protection. Ted and Ray carefully slipped up to either side of Art.
Art saw his sons approach, carrying themselves with confidence, strength, power, authority, and as an equal to him. Suddenly he realized these weren't the two little boys he'd bounced upon his knees, cuddled up to him to hear him read them a bedtime story, or the two lads he taught how to drive. Approaching him were two young male adult Lycanthropes; Alphas in their own right and power. They could and would challenge him and inflict some serious injury, but they'd be killed in the process!
"For what and why are they here? When did this happen, boys turning into men?" Art thought to himself. These were the boys he loved, the boys who held his heart, and he was headed in a direction where he might be faced with killing his own sons, something he didn't want to do, an act which would kill his heart as well. What else could it be, it certainly wasn't a social call, he was certain of that.
Scott tumbled to it first.
"Chase Landry and his brothers pledged loyalty to Jase and Tyler. This is not a good situation, Dad!"
Scott wanted no more to have to fight his brothers than his father did, but knew if it erupted, he'd have to help kill them. His eyes began tearing up at the dismal prospects ahead of them if a solution wasn't found and found soon.
"Oh, my god!" Evan lamented aloud, scolding Art and the others "What the fuck is wrong with you guys? You just itching for a fucking fight with your own flesh and blood? Is your fucking pride that damned important you'd kill your own sons and brother?"
"Don't panic quite yet, Uncle Evan," a familiar, calm voice spoke from the doorway as Jessie walked through it into the Great Room and toward the gathering storm.
Jessie entered with a certain dignified air about him, one who knows his strength and power, yet behaving with a plain humbleness and wisdom of a learned, sagacious being, an adult male, exhibiting maturity beyond his years, masking the depth of his powers. Jessie Sutton was unveiling a personage neither Evan or Eric witnessed before and were somewhat apprehensive of what they saw.
"Still water runs deep," Eric remarked softly, watching Jessie approach.
Art Campbell saw it as well. This wasn't the Jessie Sutton he first met sitting on the porch of the Lodge when Ray, Ted, and he first scouted the area as wolves; this wasn't the boy who cried his eyes out to a strange wolf or the boy who bolted from the porch when he came to visit during the remodeling process, fearful of him, or the boy who married his sons.
Walking toward him, with the ease of young adult male, confident of himself and quite comfortable in his surroundings, was a very powerful wolf; a very, very powerful wolf possessing extraordinary attributes, skills, and talents beyond few others ever saw! Art heard about very rare wolves like this as if they were legends only, but never, never had a close encounter with one or even believed they existed until now. Jessie Campbell-Sutton had a grace, ease, and presence that commanded respect and if it failed to produce respect, then fear, for he would be able to bring such terror to rest on others, hell would seem like a parish picnic.
Again, Art shook his head in disbelief, wondering again when all of this happened and where was he when it did? Why had he let his anger and pride rule his common sense, leading his family and pack to this very perilous situation? When Jessie stepped between Jase and Tyler and they assumed guardian positions and posture near him, Art realized he was no longer fearful of the death of his twin sons, but of his and his entire Pack should he make the wrong decision. This small group of wolves, strong in their own right, augmented by the powerful wolf, and augmented by how many more outside he didn't know, could bring destruction down upon the Kabetogama Pack. All because of his stubbornness and demands. He just couldn't let his emotions distract him in the future. He needed a way out!
"Mr. Campbell, my father-in-law," Jessie began respectfully addressing Art, speaking to the assembled group as well, "was just getting ready to apologize to the Landry Brothers realizing he just couldn't let his emotions distract him in the future."
That did it as far as Art was concerned. Jessie knew what he was thinking and didn't have a fucking clue how Jessie knew. Art became increasingly uneasy, convinced more so of Jessie's inordinate powers.
Jessie smiled as Eric and Evan watched his eyes take on a mysterious glow.
"Because," Jessie continued extending his hands out in front of him, index fingers of each hand pointing to the other about eighteen inches apart, "as tempers flare and neither side yields ground or comes to an amicable agreement, the air tends to become electrified," slowly easing the two fingers closer together, "until the situation becomes untenable," until the fingers were two inches apart and a sharp crack of a bright blue bolt of an electrical charge arced between the two finger tips similar to a lightning strike, "and I fear there'll be wailing and gnashing of teeth in more than one wolf den before things are normalized."
The room was quiet, deathly quiet, as all parties absorbed Jessie's actions and remarks. A phenomenon beyond explanation just occurred, all attention became focused on Jessie, concerned what he might do next.
"Well, shit and two is eight," muttered an amazed Evan, breaking the silence, bringing a reaction from Art Campbell.
"Yes, of course, Jessie, you're right. I've let this situation develop beyond what is necessary and prudent, especially among family. Wiser heads should prevail."
He watched Jase and Tyler, noticing they acted as though Jessie's display was an everyday occurrence, and shook his head in wonder.
The others in the room didn't share their blasé attitude, except for Eric and Evan, surprised at the latest demonstration, but not overwhelmed by it. It wasn't an everyday event, but something they imagined Jessie could do if he so desired and learned how. After all, they'd been around him since he was a baby and Marie Le Compte's letter led them to believe he was the one to adopt and protect Gaige, so why should anything be impossible for him?
Ted and Ray tried to move in front of Art, offering themselves as first sacrifice in defense of their Alpha should a threat to his safety be attempted by Jessie or Jase and Tyler. Art waved them aside,
"All is well. Would someone please invite the boys back in so I can offer my most profound apology?"
Jessie nodded his head and Art knew he sent a message outside to the waiting Landry Brothers. He'd lived with the secret communication his twin sons enjoyed between each other for years, but somehow it expanded to include Jessie and all of the teens and young adults who were closely associated with him; totally not understandable to anyone whom they chose to exclude. Art had to change his thinking about that; this group of young adults and teens were a Werewolf Pack, the Averill Creek Pack and no longer a sub-pack under his Kabetogama Pack.
"Chase," Gaige said, waiting inside the SUV, "Papa Jessie says it's okay to go inside now."
Indeed, it seemed it was since their four protectors were gathered together and waving for SUV's occupants to join them.
"How did you guys know there was trouble for us here?" Chase asked Mike when they joined the group walking toward the Lodge.
Mike gave a flip of his thumb toward Gaige, who only giggled in response.
"I suppose," Chase concluded addressing Gaige, "the same way you knew the Red Wolf was going to attack?"
Gaige just nodded and giggled again, skipping his way up the walk toward the porch, until Mike stopped him.
"Not by yourself, remember?"
Gaige slowed his pace, allowing Rick and Robbie to flank him, with Mike leading the group into the Lodge, followed by the Landry Brothers, with Chad as the rear guard.
It didn't stop Gaige from prancing between them, expressing his joy, his happiness, only as a carefree, loved, and safe lad could. The entourage entered the Great Room and it was then, Ted Bowers and Ray Hayes came to grip with their own dose of reality.
Entering the Great Room of the Lodge was the rest of the power structure of the Averill Creek Pack, carrying themselves with ease and strength. In the middle, protected by them was a young boy and the Landry Brothers.
Their own son's relationships with Jase and Tyler was evident by their walk. Mike and Rick carried the same protective walk and focus toward Jase, Tyler, and Jessie as Ted and Ray did toward Art Campbell. The older Beta and Enforcer of the Kabetogama Pack recognized in their sons their counterparts in the Averill Creek Pack. Their link with their sons suddenly took on an entirely different meaning. The boys they raised were not the men they saw now.
Before Rick and Robbie could stop him, Gaige darted forward, dodged Mike and Rick, and catapulted himself into the quickly opened arms of Jessie.
"Poppa," he squealed delightfully, receiving a hug and a gentle tickle to his ribs.
Jase looked at Rick, received a shrug of Rick's shoulders, giving him the "what can I say?" look. Gaige was quick and hard to keep ahead of, obedient, but would test the limits some.
"Don't be angry with Rick, Uncle Jase," he pleaded, holding out his arms for Jase to take him from Jessie.
"Good thing you're not very big, or you'd be hard to hold," Jase joked as he too, hugged the boy closely.
"Oh, boy," Eric muttered to Evan. "This should be more than just interesting, watching how Gaige is explained. Hope our story about the fiery crash holds up."
Art stood, mouth agape, almost flummoxed by the sight of Jase holding the wriggling, energetic, cute, young man who called his son, "uncle."
"Ahem," Art coughed, drawing attention. "May I be so bold as to ask, if it's not too much bother or extremely personal, who this young chap might be?"
Gaige scrambled loose, scooted over in front of Art, looked up at him, pointed first to Jessie and then to Jase and Tyler.
"My name is George Wyatt Saulnier and this is my new Poppa, Jessie, and so are Jase and Tyler, but I call them 'uncle' so they don't get confused. And who might you be?" he asked, frowning trying to figure out who'd be asking him who he was. "Parle vous Francais?"
"It's French, Dad," Scott prompted.
"Well, I can't speak French but I suppose I should having spent several years in Canada where both English and French are spoken," he snorted back, irritated his oldest son had to remind him he couldn't speak the language.
"Don't forget Louisiana," Gaige prompted seriously, still standing in front of Art, looking up, "many speak French there as well."
"Apparently," Art replied, trying to explain himself. Sighing with a certain degree of resignation, looked down on the precocious young boy, "I'm your grandfather." He noticed, with great chagrin, this youngster didn't bare his throat in subservience either, causing him to shudder, wondering why this one didn't just like the Landry Brothers and the members of the Averill Creek Pack. "What's this younger generation turning into?" he thought to himself, then realized Jessie probably heard this as well.
It was confirmed by a slight smile sliding across Jessie's face.
Switching his conversation from Gaige, Art quickly addressed the Landry Brothers, not wanting them to think he was ignoring them. In fact they were really enjoying themselves, desperately trying to suppress laughter watching Gaige engage the Alpha.
"Pardon me, Chase, Henri, and Jacques, but my son's sudden growing family has piqued my interest how this came about."
He turned his attention back to his twin sons.
"Jase and Tyler, have you told your mother somehow you got Jessie pregnant and he's delivered," eyeing Gaige carefully trying to guess an age, "a seven or eight year old, bouncing boy?"
"You're funny," giggled Gaige, not giving up his position in front of the older man or willing to relinquish his conversation to someone else, remained standing in front of Art.
"Boys don't have babies and Poppa Jessie is a boy."
"Oh, my," sighed Evan aloud, shaking his head, wondering where this conversation was going, giving Eric a poke in the ribs. "Can we leave yet?"
"No," snickered Eric. "This is really starting to get fascinating."
"You know why, Mr. Apparently my grandfather?"
Without waiting for an answer, Gaige went on to explain. "Boys have an outie," pointing at his crotch and thrusting his hips out, "and girls have an innie," again pointing at his crotch, but sort of hunching over as he squeezed his legs together.
"The boy puts his outie inside a girl's innie, and voila, out pops a baby someday."
Gaige hesitated a moment before, using his hands to illustrate; "Some boys have bigger outies than other boys. Poppa Jessie has a ginormous outie," holding his hands some distance apart to emphasize the proportions of Jessie's penis, "but Uncle Jase and Uncle Tyler have much, much bigger ones," extending his hands even further apart.
"They're really not called 'outies' but Tante Marie said it was impolite to use the word penis or cock in public or around strangers," he announced in an apologetic tone but added, "that's what the older boys call them; and so does Uncle Jase and Uncle Tyler."
Art just moaned. He'd been bested by a young boy; a young boy who, "apparently" was his grandson by whatever means. Gaige, undaunted in his explanation of how conception happens and how it is or is not possible, pushed forward in his attempt to explain why his Poppa Jessie can't get pregnant.
"Uncle Jase and Uncle Tyler stick their outies into Poppa…….."
"Gaige?" cautioned Jessie softly, but sternly, bringing an abrupt halt to Gaige's elocution.
"Yes, Poppa," Gaige responded obeying the implied request to say no more and moved to Jessie's side where a protective and forgiving arm was placed around his shoulders, pulling him close for comfort and reassurance.
"Okay, let's try you, Jessie," Art proposed, since his sons really didn't have the opportunity or desire to offer much in explanation. "When and what did your parent's have to say concerning this revelation or haven't you told them yet?"
"We do apologize, Mr. Campbell, but truly, Jase, Tyler, and I fully intended stopping by in the morning to inform you of our 'blessed event.' We told my folks yesterday while working out a new work schedule. Only two of us will work at a time, since we work the dinner shifts one of us need to stay home with Gaige. Although I think he feels he can handle things all by himself, it's not going to happen. Gaige was with us so there it was the perfect opportunity to introduce him."
"What did you tell Jim and Evelyn?"
"Why, the truth of course!" Jessie answered with one of his most charming smiles. He had no intention of revealing to anyone other than those who already knew, the truth of how and why Gaige and the Landry Brothers came to be in Kabetogama. The explanation he gave conformed to the story promulgated through the information in his packet and the text message he received.
"Gaige is the adopted son and great-great nephew of Uncle Eric's cousin Marie Trempealeau Le Compte. She contacted Uncle Eric after she read of our involvement in the Peters pedophile serial murder case and explained she and her husband were getting older and she thought I'd be a good guardian or parent to Gaige if the need arose before he was eighteen. Uncle Eric explained it to me and I gave my permission to proceed and to inform her of my financial position. She agreed I was in a position to give Gaige a good life if needed. I just never expected it to be this soon."
"The fiery accident killing the Landry Brothers parents, Marie and Jean Le Compte's daughter, Sarah and her husband Herbert, also killed Gaige's Tante Marie and Oncle Jean. So, voila, we have an energetic eight year old who we are growing to love very much. Mom and Dad were fine with it. After all, didn't Diondre Carlson become part of our family?"
"God, this is getting more complicated by the minute," Art sighed.
Eric sort of smiled at Evan. They both were thinking the same thing; if he only knew how complicated it really was. In its entirety, it was better than a television soap opera without the commercial interruptions.
Gaige grabbed his crotch, whispered something to Jessie and Tyler responded, "I'll take him."
Gaige clutched Tyler's hand with one of his own while the other had a death grip on his own crotch. The lad was jigging and wiggling.
"I gotta pee bad, Uncle Tyler."
"Well you'll have to hold it."
"I can hardly walk now I'm squeezing it so tight."
Tyler picked him up and made a dash to the men's room just off of the Great Room.
The break allowed all parties to relax and, at Art's invitation, to sit down in the lounge area. All did except Jessie, Jase, Chad, Mike, Rick, and Robbie. They stood, waiting for Tyler and Gaige.
Little boys empty quickly and often it'd seem, so it wasn't long before Tyler and Gaige emerged, Gaige skipping, hopping, holding Tyler's hand, swinging their arms back and forth, and chattering.
"Are we going to meet my new 'apparently grandmother' now, Uncle Tyler?"
"As soon as Poppa Jessie is done with his business."
Jessie announced all was well and he was done. It was time to leave and go about their own business, including stopping by the Campbell residence so Gaige could meet his "apparently grandmother." With a nod of his head, those of the Averill Creek Pack left.
"Wait on the porch," Jase instructed Mike and Chad, "just in case you might be needed. Leave when Uncle Eric and Uncle Evan leave. Okay?"
The Great Room was quiet until Chase offered, "My apologies, Mr. Campbell, for my abruptness. It has been a stressful week so far with travel and all. We are unaccustomed to your country and your customs. Hopefully, we can adapt and live in peace. We know we are strangers in a strange land."
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