It was so good to see all her old friends again. Lots of hugs and “oh my goddess your back’s” she found that most of them had been Mated off. No real surprise there they did lead full pack lives, not out in the human world like she did, isolated off from other wolves most of the time.
Most of them were also mothers, but all of them were happy to have dinner out with her. It seemed, a night away from the kids, probably a rare thing, was a good thing. It started as dinner but quickly turned into drinking and soon they were all laughing and having a good time. Chatting about old times and new times. Just catching up on everything she and they had been up too.
She had missed them, not one of them asked about what happened between her and West. Either they didn’t want to upset her, or had guessed. She did leave him. What he had told his parents or the pack she had no idea. Had never cared to ask.
Some of them knew her and West never got along. Her closest friend, Ella, knew she never really did and the entire pack knew West wasn’t happy about it, it was clear to all in the pack. No-one envied her being his Mate, that she was certain of.
‘Where are you Jo-Jo?’ T.J.’s voice came down the Mind-Link.
‘Having dinner and drinks at the Tavern.’ she answered him. It was nice to hear his voice inside her mind.
‘On my way to join you.’
T.J. arrived and none of her friends were surprised to see him at all. Greeted him easily “Beta.” they’d all said, he’d smiled right back at them “Ladies.” his tone all smooth and full of charm, setting them all off giggling, as he’d hugged Jo-Jo right in front of all of them.
They opted to walk down to Maxi’s, only about a 20 minute stroll. The music was already pumping “shots.” she’d yelled over the music. Several of her friends were shocked by this. She had not been allowed to drink before she left, under age, and West would likely have gone ballistic if she’d come home drunk or, at least she always thought so, never saw him drink either, for that matter.
3 wolfen loaded shots later, and they were all on the dance floor. T.J. however, was leaning on a wall just watching, drinking a beer. Yuck she hated beer. She beckoned him onto the dance floor. He did not budge, just shook his head and stood there ‘stickler.’ she shot at him via the mind-link.
He just smiled at her and raised an eyebrow. She was bumped into a few times, but this time the man that bumped right into her landed both his hands on her hips as if to steady her. She knew better his hands lingered and didn’t let go. “Oh, sorry…Why don’t we dance together.” he smiled at her, brown eyes glinting.
“Move away.” T.J. was suddenly next to her.
Jo-anne was yanked from the man’s grip. She had been going to remove his hands anyway.
“Hey sorry Terence, I didn’t know she was here with you.”
“It’s Beta, to you, move along.” He growled right at the man, who bowed his head and backed away quickly from them, apologising again.
Jo-anne turned her eyes up to his, questioningly, he was still staring after that un-mated wolf. She laughed “Just dancing T.J.”
“That wolf has sticky fingers,” he stated, still felt all Beta to Jo-anne.
“Hey come on T.J. lighten up. We’re all, well most of us un-mated here, try to relax a little…you might even hook up yourself, if you relax and play nice.” she teased him.
T.J. was suddenly frowning down at her, then she was pulled off the dance floor and pushed onto a bar stool. “Are you looking to get laid Jo-Jo?”
Jo-anne snorted “Why now T.J. are you interested?”
He was just staring at her. “Knock it off Jo-Jo.”
“Then why ask?” she prompted him. She was not out here looking to get laid, had already had two shivers today, and the second one had been a lot longer and stronger than the first one. She thought it wasn’t going to stop, goddess had climaxed twice with it. That was more than enough.
“No reason,” he shrugged.
“Well then, let me go and have some fun. I don’t get to hang out with my own kind that often, what’s a little fun going to hurt?” she hopped off the chair.
“Don’t go screwing any one Jo-Jo…please.”
She turned and looked right at him “meaningless s*x. I’ve had enough of that to last me a lifetime.” she stated, and walked back onto the dance floor, and she had. That is what it had been her entire Mate Bond to West. Meaningless s*x.
Besides with her shivers, she had all her needs sorted out and didn’t get all she-wolf angsty, no desire to go and just have s*x with just anyone. Didn’t need it at all. Already twice today, once this morning before coming here and then again near lunch time, at least the 2nd time she’d been alone in her room and had been able to shower and change get the scent of her arousal off of her.
More shots with the girls, lots more dancing and laughing going on, T.J. it seemed was only here to keep all the un-mated males away from her, and he was doing just that, laying down his Beta aura with everyone of them that got too close to her. Stupid. She was a free, un-mated she-wolf and, realistically, if she wanted to, could date any un-mated male in the pack or have meaningless s*x with them, for that matter.
“Jo-Jo. We need to get going.” T.J. told her.
“Why?” she was leaning on his chest, her arms around his waist.
“It’s near 2 in the morning, you have to pledge loyalty today,” he told her.
“So?” she waved her hand at the others around them. They did too.
“Come on, you’ve had way more than enough to drink. You’re drunk and can barely stand.”
“I am wasted.” she grinned up at him, leaned back a little and looked up at him, tugged at his shirt “Dance with me.”
“Enough Jo-Jo. Home now.”
“I don’t have a home.” she sighed “Not here, not til I get to South Korea, anyway. I have a home there now.”
“If you get there,” he sighed and picked her up bridal style, “Come on back to your room.”
“Ah, you stickler.” she poked his chest.
“Mm, the Beta remember.” he was carrying her outside. The night air was nice and cool.
“Got a stick up your ass.” she giggled. “Like Westley does.”
“Hey, knock that s**t off.” he frowned down at her.
Jo-anne reached up and grabbed his face, moved his mouth with her hands for him “I got a stick up my ass.” she said for him and giggled, leaned into him a little bit sleepy.
He pulled his face away from her hands. “When’d you start being a toad?”
“Always was.” she sighed and curled into his big arms “You’ll put me to bed?” she yawned and closed her eyes.
“Hmm, I suppose.” was the last thing she heard him say.
Jo-anne woke in her bed, still fully clothed but shoes off. Smiled and shook her head, he had put her to bed. Then she recalled telling the Beta their new Alpha had a stick up his ass. Oops. Bloody wolfen alcohol loosened her tongue every time. Oh well, only here for another 24 hours.
She doubted T.J. would tell West, it would likely send the man into a rage and he’d come banging on her door or busting it in to punish her. Wouldn’t be the first time she’d taken the brunt of his anger. Showered and dressed, she’d missed breakfast. It seemed nearly 11am, the ceremony would begin at 3, no rush. She could go for a run and let Clova out. She could feel her wolf liked the idea. Better get permission first, hadn’t been here in years.
‘Yes Jo-Jo.’ he replied right away.
‘Can Clova go for a run?’ she asked.
‘Best not this close to ceremony. After Yes, I don’t see why not.’
She sighed ‘Alright.’ she acknowledged him.
‘Jo-Jo, you’ll be last today, it seems.’
‘What a shocker.’ she nearly laughed ‘it’s fine T.J. I understand. Do you think he would mind if I took some proper photo’s of the ceremony? I’m sure his mother and father would want them.’
‘I don’t see why not, just…’
‘I got a good zoom lenz.’ she finished, knowing she had to keep away from West.
‘Alright.’ he cut the link.
Considering how warm a reception she had gotten from West yesterday, she was not all that surprised that he had placed her last to swear loyalty. It was usually done by ranked order. Guess she was pretty low in his mind. Didn’t want to see her, or deal with her. She had given him his freedom and he was still annoyed and angry with her.
Got her camera out and spent time just cleaning it and making sure it was good to go.
Stood at the very back of the ball room and took pictures of him all dressed in his formal suit, pack colours she noted, very traditional. He looked good, though even now being the actual Alpha, the man did not smile. Not at his father, or even his own mother. They however, were both smiling proudly at him. Even Miranda looked happy and proud of him. Did he never smile.
He had as a teenager, she was sure of it, him and T.J. always together and laughing. Til what happened to them. Then nothing. Turned him into an angry man, she supposed. Stopped taking photo’s after his whole Alpha Unit had formally been announced and they had all pledged loyalty to him and his pack.
Stood and waited patiently for her turn, saw her father walk up to pledge his loyalty, hadn’t seen the man in 10 years. He looked much the same though unhappy. Then her stepmother and half sisters, they all looked annoyed. West, to her surprise, looked to be completely fuming. Why she wondered?
Finally, it was her turn, she walked up on the stage, heard several shocked gasps and comments get flung around, which were gone the second, West snarled angrily at his pack. His Alpha Aura rolled out of him at them, for once it wasn’t directed at her. A miracle, she thought absently. She walked right up to him, no hesitation in her steps and his eyes were locked on hers. His jaw she noticed was ticking like crazy.
Oh, he really did not want to do this, she realised as she held her hand out, palm up for him, he had to cut her palm just a small nick, nothing more than a centimetre, and then his and ask her to swear her loyalty, then press their palms together and accept her loyalty that was it took less than a minute.
It was a solid minute of him staring at her, still nothing, he wasn’t going to do it. She realised “It’s okay Alpha.” she addressed him properly with his formal title “If you don’t want to. I’ll understand if you wish to turn me rogue.” the quiet in the room suddenly felt very different, she knew the whole pack were all listening, they all knew she and West were ex-Mates. He was still just staring at her. She lowered her hand. “I’m leaving for South Korea tomorrow, it’s fine Alpha.” she reassured him. Part of her had always known this day would come, that he’d cut her loose. Today was that day, it seemed.
Then he suddenly had a death grip on her left wrist. “I demand you pledge your loyalty.” he practically snarled at her. She felt the blade slice across her entire palm.
Jo-anne’s eyes widened as she turned to look at her hand. It was supposed to be a small nick. His blade had sliced clear across her palm. She could see her own blood dripping from her hand onto the floor. Knew the wound would not seal and close over til his blood merged with hers. It was a special ceremonial blade. Enchanted for this very thing, to keep the wound open till loyalty was pledged and accepted.
Heard Alpha Damien swear from his place on the stage.
“Pledge.” she heard West, Alpha Order her about 10 seconds later.
Her shocked eyes moved to his and the words were forced out of her “I, Jo-anne Morris, pledge my loyalty to you, Alpha Westley Carlton and your pack, The Eclipsed Moon Pack.”
West was still just standing there staring at her, her blood flowing freely. He’d not even cut his own hand yet. Then she was suddenly yanked forward, right up close to him, his mouth touched her ear. “You will not be leaving this pack, Jo-anne. I forbid you to set a single foot in South Korea.” his words were deathly quiet in her ear, only those close to him would have heard his words.
Her eyes widened again at his words. He couldn’t do that. She had a contract from his father saying she could go. Then he stepped back and cut his palm, pressed his hand to hers, her fingers automatically laced with his, “Welcome home Jo-anne.” he stated, sounding much calmer now “I accept your pledge of loyalty to me.” she felt it, the tether to him, inside her mind now always there for him to track her at will.
He let go of her hand the second it was completed and turned to his pack, effectively dismissing her. Jo-anne looked to the floor a small pool of blood there. It was also, she noted on the sleeve of his dress shirt, she turned and walked away as the cut on her hand healed over finally, she sighed softly and left the stage. So much for that. She touched the scar hoping it wasn’t going to affect her painting.
It was getting late and he was making some speech to the pack. Knew that West would not care if she slipped out and so did. All the way out of the ball room and into the cool night air. She took a long deep breath in and let it out slowly everything would be fine, shook her head to clear it and headed for her room.
Put her camera away and headed back outside, time to go for that run. T.J. had said it would be alright after the swearing in. That was now done, so it should be good. She stripped off her clothes just outside the mud room and let Clova shift them into her silver wolf, steered her away from the ball room and the party to celebrate the new Alpha, it would go all night long.
Headed south into the woods, Clova seemed happy to be back on pack territory, running freely. She chased a few rabbits and wandered about smelling everything, from trees to plants on the ground, did some digging in a small burrow on the ground, but nothing came out and moved on to lay down by the lake after having a drink from it. Sat and looked up at the night sky felt peaceful.
Turned her head at the sound of paws on the ground behind her, wagged her tail as her eyes landed on Volt. He was stalking towards her, she stood up to greet him, head lowered slightly in respect.
‘Go Clova, move away, he’s not your Mate anymore.’ Jo-anne reminded her, but Clova didn’t move, it was the first time she had seen him in 10 years. felt happy looking at him, Jo-anne noted.
‘West, what are you doing?’ she shot down the mind-link to her new Alpha, more than concerned about his wolfs behaviour.
‘It’s not bloody me.’ he shot right back, sounding more than angry to her.
Then Volt was on Colva mating her, and Clova didn’t even try to fight him off, accepted it, her ex-Mate, now her Alpha mating her. Jo-anne had no control and neither did West, it appeared.
Clova lay down on the ground afterwards, Volt sat next to her. They could no longer communicate with each other the way they had used to be able to when bonded, but it was pretty clear they still had residual feelings for each other.
‘Alpha, your Mate…I’m sorry.’ she knew what it would do to Miranda.
‘Forget it, Jo-anne.’ he replied, ‘Volt’s problem. Try to make Clova leave before he mates her again. And he will, I believe.’ sounded oddly calm about what had just happened.
Jo-anne urged Clova to get up and go back. Surprisingly enough, she did just that. ‘I’m sorry Alpha.’ she apologised again for the distress it would have caused his Mate.
He said nothing at all.
‘How could you, Clova?’ He’s got a Mate, Miranda!’ she chastised her wolf.
‘Volt wanted me. He is my Alpha.’
‘You can still say no.’ Jo-anne sighed and shook her head.
‘Never say no to my Alpha.’ Clova replied simply.
They were shifted back, where she left her clothes and put them back on. Jo-anne went right to her room, this was not good. Was likely to ruin West’s bond with his Mate. Goddess, we’re going to be put in the cells for this for sure. Punished terribly.
She showered and sat on her bed. Biting her lower lip worriedly, Clova was already asleep inside her mind. Sated it seemed, what was Jo-anne to do? She didn’t know. Would West come banging on her door and turn the full force of his anger on her? Goddess she hoped not. Just have to get through the night, she’d leave first thing in the morning.
West would have Alpha training first thing tomorrow. It would be the perfect time for her to slip away without having to see him or him her. It was likely the best option for both of them. Keep their wolves apart. Seems being around each other was not a good idea.
Best to just go, she definitely thought. Keep Clova away from Volt and vice versa. Jo-anne didn’t understand it wolves only Mated their Mates and Volt and Clova were no longer that. Hadn’t been for 10 years.
She had not expected Volt to Mate Clova, had thought it was going to turn into a wolf fight, to be honest, and with Volt being a lot bigger and stronger than Clova, who was quite small compared to him. Only an average-sized wolf, there were many wolves bigger than she was in this pack.
Clova could actually pass for a regular wolf out in the wild. She barely stood a metre high from her paws to the tips of her ears, and fighting, had no training there. She’d not been allowed to train in her wolf form. West had stated no. Because it meant she would have to be naked in front of others and he did not approve of that, he may not have wanted to be Mated to her, but he still didn’t want others seeing her naked. It was the Bond and nothing else. She had always known that.