She tried to focus on anything but T.J. and his fate, but it was really hard to do. She tried to go for a walk but found that this was not allowed, apparently, Dr Patterson had come and seen her this morning, checked her over and even pushed a bolus dose of cefazolin, sat and talked with her for the 5 minutes that he pushed the antibiotic into her.
Explained to her that he wanted her to have minimal activity over the next two days at least, that he would come here to the room to check on her in the morning and afternoon.
Then, after disposing of the empty syringe into a sharps container he had brought with him, looked right at her. “No more Jo-anne, my heart can’t take it. I hate seeing you injured.”
“I don’t mean to get injured,” she told him, and she didn’t.
“I know.” he’d nodded “So promise me, no going anywhere on your own for now.”
She’d snorted at him “Did you not see my guards out there?”
“I did, no sneaking out with Ella.” he teased her.
She’d giggled, they had done that a bit when they were 14 and 15. “I won’t.” she promised him.
“Good, now rest up. I’ll want to check your blood work again tomorrow, just to be certain there are no traces of silver left. It does look clear right now, but I want to be absolutely certain. I did not like missing anything yesterday. Made me feel incompetent.”
“What did you miss?” Jo-anne asked.
There is a very tiny scar on your heart, that blade nicked your heart. I missed it. I’m sorry.”
“Not much you could have done about it.”
Jo-anne was pretty certain she was supposed to have died, not many got to visit with the moon Goddess herself, or an offer to come back.
“I’m sorry my child,” he’d acknowledged again before leaving.
He’d obviously told the guards on the way out of her room, because Ricky had turned her around and told her “Get back to bed, you have to rest.” And pushed her back into her room, gently so, then closed her door. So no walk to clear her head.
Jo-anne just stayed in her room, she wasn’t all that tired, but did what she was told to do, lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling, trying to figure out how to fix everything her birth had caused. Tried to connect with T.J. a few times, but got the impression the man was sleeping, so left it alone.
Jo-anne knew that his night had been just as traumatic as hers. He’d have felt every injury to her, as well as the pain of her death, she supposed.
Poor bastard had suffered a lot for her and he needn’t do that anymore. It was not what she wanted for him.
Did not know if she should tell him or not, likely break his heart, but then again it might also free him of his worry about Ella, might allow him to choose her as his Mate on his own. Jo-anne was dead certain that Ella would say yes, nil hesitation.
Those two were attracted to each other like they were Mates, just didn’t have the bond. Why Cole was getting in the way of them, she couldn’t fathom. T.J. would treat her like the princess she would become the moment he marked her.
Sat up and frowned, what if Ella actually was his Mate, his actual Mate, the one the Goddess had stripped him of, got out of bed and prowled around, now that would make their attraction to each other, make way more sense. If she could fix it? Could make the right choice, what ever that meant? She was going to choose Ella for him anyway.
They were the right choice for each other, the only person she would even consider granting T.J. after hearing him talk about her, nota doubt in her mind about that. She really did have to fix this and soon, probably going to have to tell T.J. at this rate, she needed someone to talk to about all this stuff in her head.
What he would think about it or make of it she didn’t know. Ella, she knew, would be all over her, eager to help her find out what the moon Goddess had meant and get to the right choice. She was definitely going to have to talk to T.J. had to tell him the truth, regardless of how much it hurt him to hear it, he had a right to know as well.
Jo-anne didn’t think that T.J. would object to Ella becoming his Mate, and the Goddess did say she would grant it. So not a chosen Mate, but a Goddess-Gifted Mate, that’s got to make him feel better on some level. Surely. The bad news, then the good news.
She was not going to like having the conversation, that much Jo-anne did know, might need the Luna with her, to help her get through it, hated saying those words out loud, that it was her fault. He was Mateless, why had the goddess even granted her one? She frowned. She recalled the Goddess telling her she had so much heart in her, so much forgiveness, and was just like her mother.
Though who her mother was, who knew? Abandon and unwanted it seemed, for whatever reason, hadn’t even had the chance to ask who her mother was. Too late now. Jo-anne shook her head.
Well, she’d never had one before, and not likely to have one in the future either. So it didn’t really matter.
Jo-anne guessed the woman had her reasons.
It was likely something very terrible. She didn’t know any she-wolf that would give up their child, an actual shudder ran through her body, poor woman likely had a horrid tale to tell, and Jo-anne did not want to think about that, let the woman be in peace. Hopefully she had been able to move on.
Find a way to get through whatever it was and be happy. That was all that really mattered.
Jo-anne had nice memories of Heath talking about Jo-anne his first Mate, the woman she’d always believed was her mother, worked in the packs armoury alongside her own father, who had been the head of that department. Heath had told her, was going to take over from her own father till she had passed away.
Had lots of good memories of how Heath talked about the woman. Jo-anne had always believed that her mother would have loved her, because Heath had always told her how much she would have, how she’d be proud of the young girl she’d grown into. She had never doubted it, not for a single second.
Even now knowing that she didn’t have parents, that T.J. had found her in the snow, she would not dishonour the woman she had grown up believing to be her mother or the memories Heath had shared with her. Named after Heath’s first mate even, it was a nice thought, a mother who would have loved her
Luna Natalia collected her from her room to go and have lunch with Alpha Jayden. Apparently, some schedule had been worked out for her to get to know him and West. Why West she didn’t know, already knew that man, why the Goddess would pair her with him officially as a Goddess-Gifted Mate was a bit confusing, considering their past history. Though he had seemed different last night, actually when she thought about it on more than one occasion he’d been different with her over the past few weeks.
Shook it off.
Clearly, the Goddess had decided not to make her life easy. That was for sure, would be hard to come back, and it was. She had certainly not lied to her or deceived her in anyway. Had told her with complete honesty, it would be difficult and not easy.
Left the choice up to her even, and Jo-anne had chosen to come back. Needed to, not even for herself, had come back to figure out a way to help T.J. Was walked into the private dining room, Alpha Jayden was standing by the table, wearing a three-piece suit, his hair all nicely done. Not how he’d looked this morning. Fancied himself up, she realised. He smiled right at her, and she felt annoyance roll right off of her wolf, seemed still annoyed with the man.
Luna Natalia sat herself down in a chair next to Jo-anne. She did not mind at all, was kind of thankful for the woman being here, didn’t really want to be alone with him herself, still felt weary of him and his attempt to Mark her last night. Didn’t sit well with her or Clova.
Though she could tell by the look he gave Luna Natalia he was not happy about her being there in the room. Or sitting right next to Jo-anne.
“Alpha Jayden.” she acknowledged him formally. Did not want to be informal with him after last night.
“Please you may call me Jayden, I am your Mate”
Jo-anne nodded but didn’t say anything, as she sat herself down.
He sat directly across from her. “Firstly I would like to apologise, for last night, my behavior was…rude and unacceptable.”
“It was,” Jo-anne agreed simply.
He frowned right at her “That is not an acceptance of my apology.”
“No, it’s not.” she nodded. If he could not actually say the words ‘I’m sorry’, she would not actively say she accepted it.
Saw what she thought was a flicker of anger cross his face, but then it was gone, didn’t particularly like seeing that, turned to her Luna.
“Jo-anne.” Jayden’s voice, very stern to the ear.
She turned and looked at him questioningly.
“The Luna is not actually here, just a chaperone. Do not acknowledge her.”
That raised her eyebrows, this Alpha was used to having his own way and being the centre of attention, it seemed. Turned back to Luna Natalia “Where’s T.J.?” she asked and could feel anger rolling off of Alpha Jayden at her lack of what she could only think was the following of his order. She had, had enough of Alpha’s ordering her around and if West was going to be like this too, thinking he could order her about as well, he too would get the same reaction. She was done with that.
“What is it with you and the Beta? Are you two fvcking?” he snapped, his anger showing fully.
Brought her eyes back to the man. “What if we are?” she questioned him. Everyone always just presumed that.
“It bloody stops now, is what! You are my Mate, not the Beta’s.” he retorted.
Turned her eyes back to her, Luna looking for the answer to her question.
Watched the woman’s eyes glaze over, frown and then a moment later return to normal “On his way. Though he appears unhappy about it” she snorted, put her hand to her mouth and covered a chuckle.
“I’ll accept the blame, for waking him.” Jo-anne told her, though that chuckle and the smirk on face this morning, Jo-anne was thinking the man had not been alone. Oops. But he would forgive her, always did in the end.
“Are you always this rude?” Alpha Jayden grated out.
“No, actually I’m not. But your sudden rise to anger bothers me. And l’d like to have the Packs Beta as security around me where you’re concerned, to be totally honest with you.” She explained to him.
He was frowning at her now. “You don’t trust me!” sounded annoyed.
“Not after what you did last night, no.” she admitted truthfully.
His frown deepened. “It won’t happen again. I did apologise.”
“You did.” Jo-anne acknowledged. “Doesn’t mean you won’t do it again.”
“I will not do it again. The choice is yours, I believe, who you choose.”
“Mm.” she wondered what would happen if she chose neither of them. She had been alone for a long time now, didn’t mind it, just Clova for company. Perhaps that was the right choice, she did not need to be in another Mate Bond with an overbearing Mate. Already done that once, didn’t particularly relish the idea of doing it again. Heard Clova snort in her mind and got the impression neither did she.
“Would it help if I gave you my word as Alpha?”
“I don’t know, is your word good. I don’t know you.”
“Why are you being so difficult” he muttered.
Jo-anne smiled at him “To see what you’re really like. I know you’ll come in here all dressed up.” she indicated to his clothes and hair, “all charm and try to sway me with your good looks and that smile of yours, be all flirty and funny, but that’s not the real you. That’s you just trying to get what you want, to make me choose you.”
He was staring at her now, more than shocked.
She had spent years in therapy, understanding herself, understanding her wolf. She knew not everyone was who they said they were. Most weren’t, in fact, most only showed their true selves when uncomfortable and couldn’t hide it. Pushed to the point of not being able to hold onto their mask anymore. She had been just like that.
“Want to know what I learned in the last 5 minutes?”
He ignored her question, “I will tell you anything you want to know about me, Jo-anne, and in return I would expect the same TJ. strolled into the room and she turned her eyes on him, his hair was wet still, showered quickly, and it was tied back with two of his own dreadlocks. He was wearing just jeans and a tee-shirt, still barefooted.
“What Jo-Jo, I was sleeping, finally.”
Heard the Luna snort, smiled herself. “Nothing, thank you for waking up for me.” he had probably been with a she-wolf.
“It’s alright Jo-Jo,” he nodded and sank down in the chair next to her.
Saw Alpha Jayden frown, also unhappy with this turn of events. “Will you have all these people in here, when you and West sit down?”
Heard T.J. snort, fully amused by the man’s annoyance.
“Yes, if that makes you happy. Though I know West. A grumpy possessive man, arrogant even. I know what to expect from him.”
A young female omega showed up with their lunch, blinked at seeing T.J. apologised to him for not having a meal. He waved her off and told her not to worry about it.
“Don’t mind me, act like I’m not here” T.J. stated as he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. Made himself comfortable to nap it seemed.
She looked at Alpha Jayden he still looked unhappy.
Jo-anne picked up her fork, to start eating her lunch, Cajun Lobster Tails, with steamed vegetables on the side. Looked and smelled delicious, told her he’d order the meal for her, thought she might like a taste of the things they ate in his pack. It was as delicious as it smelled.
She found it interesting to talk to him once he calmed himself down, he was happy to discuss art with her, quite freely, and he was knowledgeable when she questioned him about art topics. He told her he owned not just art galleries but a couple of museums and an antiquities business. That was really interesting to her. She could and did actually hold a conversation with him, enjoyed talking to him, they even managed to have a laugh and get along.
Her personal interests were aligned with his, it seemed, that shocked her. She had not been expecting that at all. Jo-anne asked him about the art he had given her, how he’d known what to get her.
Told her he’d simply done his research, that her human portfolio had all the information he needed to purchase her the perfect gift, she’d smiled at him.
“Well, thank you. I really do love it. It will go perfectly with the one I already own.”
“I’m glad you love it. And I’m certain you’ll be able to decorate our pack-house wonderfully, by purchasing fantastic artworks.”
“I’m certain you’ve already done that.” Jo-anne chuckled.
“I’m happy for you to change it to your liking,” smiled right at her, did not deny he’d already done so. “May ! walk you back to your room?” he asked. Their meal had actually ended nearly an hour ago. They’d been talking about art for a long time, it was really nice.
“I’d like that.” she nodded.
Not only Ricky and Ben walked with them, so did the Luna and T.J.
“Are you working on anything right now?” Jayden asked her as they walked back.
“Yes,” she nodded.
“May I see it?”
“I’d prefer not,” she answered. Did not think it would go down so well with him, seeing as it was a portrait of West. And she was not ready to have him in her room either.
“Then can I ask what it is of?”
“It’s a portrait.”
“Ah, that is what you do,” he nodded.
“It is. And it is what I would like to continue doing as well.” she told him, didn’t see a problem with it, he was into the arts.
“With all your Luna duties, you may find it hard to find the time,” he commented casually.
“Really, so as your Luna, you wouldn’t want me to use my given talent?” she questioned him instantly.
“You would be allowed to paint in your free time,” he shrugged.
Jo-anne frowned at him. “In my free time?”
“Yes Jo-anne, a Luna has many duties, their lives are very busy, realistically, I’d prefer you use your translation skills rather then your art skills.
Would be more beneficial to the pack.”
“I’m not saying that you can’t paint. It’s just unrealistic of you, to think you would be able to do that full-time. I’m just trying to be honest with you.
Then, once we have a pup, well,” he smiled, “you’ll be even more busy.” he bid her farewell and walked off down the hallway.
Jo-anne frown at that, saw Luna Natalia frown as well, as she leaned on the wall across the hall from her room. T.J. was there, his eyes closed. The man was obviously still tired.
She watched him walk down the hallway, did not much like that he thought her artistic skills could just be dismissed. Surely, as heavily into the arts as he was, he would want her to continue, or I encourage it at least. Sighed, wondered if she should ask if he would build her a studio, that would tell her a lot about what he actually expected of her.
“Jo-anne.” Luna Natalia
“Mm.” she turned her eyes to the woman.
“Dinner with West is at 6. I’ll pick you for it.
“Alright.” she nodded.
“Does there always need to be a meal involved?
“Not if you don’t want there to be. But today please have dinner with West. We can discuss other options afterwards.”
“Now go and rest as per Patterson’s instructions.”
Jo-anne stepped inside her room, sighed. She did have a lot in common with Jayden, but was he just being charming? The first 5 minutes had shown her his temper. He was quick to anger, it seemed. She already knew he didn’t like to be disrespected, had told her that last night, and even wanted her to control Clova, who actually stayed out of there so-called Date. Had to stay in the back of her mind.
She’d never had to control Clova, she was a happy wolf, or always had been, though she did not seem comfortable around Alpha Jayden. Did not know him, Jo-anne figured, had snarled at the man and his wolf more than once now.
Though Clova had receded to the back of her mind to allow Jo-anne to have lunch with the man she had been listening just not participating.
Thankfully, neither had his wolf Loch, probably a good idea for now.