Jay-la woke to find Jackson sleeping on the bed next to her in a sitting position. It surely was an odd feeling, she lay there and just watched him for a solid minute, he looked very relaxed, his chin on his chest his eyes closed, his arms were folded across his chest, he was still dressed as he had been earlier.
He had not left her side the entire day, she knew it. She knew Stephen had also been around and for once truly was thankful for him. She felt very relaxed at this moment, compared to this morning, and being unable to cope with all that had happened, she felt light and with none of the usual weight that she had felt on her every day of her life since leaving the pack. Stephen had clearly used his Gamma Charm to not only calm her down but maybe take away her fear for the moment.
She glanced around the room. It was very large, with a set of large french doors off to the left of the bed, with soft sheer curtains tied on either side. She could see there was a balcony out there. The furniture in the room was all in soft grey and cream, there were two wing-backed grey and cream striped chairs with a light wood table between them, for shared meals she guessed.
A door that was open and must lead to the living space. There were also two other doors both open on her right, a bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe, she guessed. A long grey and white ottoman at the end of the bed, which was king-sized with a grey velour bedhead, there were several large windows and all the curtains, grey in colour, were open and she could see it was dark outside.
She was lying in the very comfortable bed, with a cream duvet over her. She checked to make sure she was wearing clothes. Still was, not that she thought Jackson would cross the line with her.
She reached out and squeezed his arm gently to wake him.
His light grey eyes opened and moved directly to hers. “Hey there,” he smiled gently at her, before glancing at his watch, then back to her with a slight frown.
“Where are my children?” she asked right away. She could not smell them at all, so they were not close by.” Where are we?
“With Jody at his place,” he replied, rolling his shoulders in a stretch that made his muscles ripple and c0ck, her eyes followed the movement unconsciously “You, my dear, are in the pack house.” His tone had changed ever so slightly, a hint of amusement and when she looked up to him he had this small amused smile on his face, he had seen her watching him.
“Why not with dad?” she ignored his look and sat herself up next to him.
“Your distress over your mother was really affecting them, so Stephen and I made the decision to separate you, till you could get yourself under control and together, you were really struggling Jay-la, your distress was affecting myself and Ethan too, Stephen being the Gamma not so much. It’s his job to deal with that kind of stuff I guess.”
“Oh,’ she bit her lip “I’m sorry,” she shook her head, “I had no idea my being upset would affect anyone…” though she had seen on occasion how her children reacted to her emotions, recalled if she was really sad, they appeared to be sad too, and became all quiet, she just put it down to the mother, child bond between them, but if her emotional state had effected both Jackson and Stephen that was odd indeed. “Are they okay?” she hoped that they were, her distress levels had been off the charts and she knew it, had not been able to cope at all.
“Yes, perfectly fine now it appears, happy with Jody, accepted him as your father, but l guess seeing you hug him the way you did, meant that they knew you trusted him.”
Jay-la pushed her hair out of her face and sighed “Am allowed to see them?” she could already feel that weight of worry coming back. She was in the pack after all and her Alpha could stop her from seeing her children. It wouldn’t take much at all. A simple order.
“Of course you are. Why would you think you aren’t?” he frowned at her.” You may go anywhere you like, you are a pack member Jay-la, nothing is off limits to you.” again he looked at his watch “you didn’t sleep long barely 2 hours, I surely thought you’d been out much longer.”
Jay-la shrugged, “I don’t feel like I was awake much today,” and she highly doubted that she could go anywhere she wanted.
“You spent the entire flight in Stephens’ arms sleeping, so 5 hours give or take, and then you passed out at your mother’s bedside. Its 8pm now.”
“Is this your suite Jackson?” she asked curiously, nudging him a little playfully. She had recalled how he and his wolf had responded to her flirting back in her office.
He laughed out loud, it was filled with amusement and the grin on his face when he turned to look at her was full of happiness and cheek, “Oh no, Nathan would kill me if l put you in my bed.”
The smile on her face at his reaction to her question was gone in an instant and replaced with a glare, she threw the duvet off and got out of the bed. Just because she’d had his pups, didn’t mean he had control over whose bed she was going to be allowed to get into. Yes she’d had to send Tim away, but she was not going to be bullied by him into being alone for the rest of her life, just because his wolf didn’t like another man around her children, he would damned well have to deal with it.
“Where is he?” she asked her, worried about being in pack territory finally coming back to her completely. “when am l going to have to report myself to him.. be punished?” she sighed the last two words out, it was unlikely she could get away from him now.
Jackson chuckled at her softly and got off the bed. “He’s not here, dealing with Rae-Rae and her family. I’m not sure when he’ll return, no eta at this point. But he did tell me, you may go wherever you like, no restrictions at all. Including Kora,”
She was staring at him now, eyes narrowed on him, she didn’t believe it. To be honest, she turned away from him, spotted the bathroom and headed for it. She looked a right mess, puffy eyes and slightly swollen bottom lip, from biting on it she guessed, her clothes were all rumpled and her hair was a mess.
She used the toilet, washed her hands, then her face and ran her hands through her messy hair, trying to neaten it as best she could.
When she came out, Jackson was leaning all casual like on the doorway which she thought led out of the bedroom, waiting for her, she supposed “pups or mum first?” he asked.
“My children, I am sure they are worried.” Kora agreed, though she was acting a little odd, pacing around in circles inside of her mind, ears flat against her head, tail low.
‘What’s wrong Kora?’
‘Vera smelled funny, want to go there again.’
‘Pups first?’ Jay-ła queried, wanting to help Kora’s needs out First. She didn’t usually act this way.
Whatever it was, I was really bothering her.
‘Of course, yes’ Kora snorted, as though that was a stupid question.
Jackson walked her out of the suite. Her eyes widened when she realised she was on the Alpha’s floor, she could suddenly feel fear ebbing into her, she felt Jackson’s gaze on her, she had been on this floor a thousand times growing up, she knew it just by sight. She turned and looked at the room she’d been in and nearly stumbled over her own feet. It was the Luna Suite.
She heard Jackson chuckle at her reaction and turned her eyes on him questioningly.
“What? Where else would I put you? You did birth his pups Jay-la. Heirs to the pack.” he was smiling that very amused smile at her. Like the unspoken question she had turned on him was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.
That doesn’t make me the Luna!” she muttered. She was not his mate. “I don’t think it is at all appropriate, Jackson.”
“It’s completely appropriate,” he replied “unless..” his voice trailed off as they walked down the long hallway heading for the stairs or elevator, she guessed.
“Unless what?” she bit her lip nervously, wondering if he meant a cell
“Unless,” he nudged her playfully, “you wanted me to put you in the Alpha suite?” and his head nodded to the solid oak double doors that they were passing on her right. She could hear more amusement in his voice.
Her head whipped around “Why the hell would I be in there?” she gasped at him, a little horrified by the question. The last time she’d been on pack territory he’d been furiously angry at her, “Like he’d want that.” she snapped at him.
Jackson’s laughing at her was igniting anger in her. “Oh come on Jay-la, its not like the two of you have never.” he left it unsaid. Knowing she would get his meaning.
“That was a very long time ago, before he hated me.”
Jackson was still smiling at her amused it seemed even more so than before. “Hmm, I don’t think he hates you, I think the man would love nothing more than to punish you in the fun way.. if you know what I mean” he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Anger claimed her. “He can go shove it, if he thinks after all that has happened I will crawl back into his bed, he’s in for a rude shock.” she grated out between clenched teeth.
“oh l’m sure he will shove it somewhere, the first chance he gets.” the laughing that was coming out of him was practically making him bend over from pure amusement.
Her anger boiled over. “I know you think you’re being funny. But it is not in the slightest bit funny to me, Jackson!” she yelled at him.
He stood, cleared his throat, reined in his laughing and nodded “Noted…you know, you’re not as fun as you used to be.”
“Well, I wonder why?” she glared at him and then stormed off towards the staircase. She knew there was an elevator she could take. The pack house was 5 stories high but she really wanted to stomp all the way to the bottom floor, allowing her anger and displeasure at his stupid remarks to be known.
Jackson trailed her down the stairs and out of the pack house. It was snowing outside and more than a light flurry, her eyes moved around the pack, she had always loved it when snow covered it, made everything seem just that little bit magical, there was a good couple of inches of snow. She turned her eyes upwards ‘Are we expecting a snow storm?”
“Looking to hide in a snow drift?” he seemed amused again.
“No, just curious is all.”
“It’s the first snow, actually, a small blizzard is expected. The Alpha might not make it back tonight if he’s not careful.”
Those words were music to her ears, to be honest. A day/night on pack territory where she didn’t have to worry about him coming for her, was a relief. She wasn’t looking forward to their showdown.
Jackson went with her all the way to her parents’ house.
“Are you going to follow me everywhere?”
“Probably,” he nodded simply, “you might run away again?”
“like you or Apollo could catch me,” she shot back. “Kora is so much faster than you, always has been, nothing has changed if you recall.” she smiled at him knowing he would recall he had not been able to catch her the last time she was here.
He simply chuckled, not taking the bait. “Hmm, maybe we should go for a run later and let our wolves just see about that”
She snorted at him. He had no idea just how big and powerful her beautiful Kora was nowadays. None of them did.
She guessed they were going to be in for a hell of a shock at some point. Especially if they were to come to blows, she hoped it wouldn’t come to that, Kora would likely tear into them and leave very deep wounds, ones that would leave them scared for life. She could only imagine as she recalled the way Kora had come forward against Alpha Blaine.
Jay-la knocked lightly on the front door of her parents’ house and called out as she opened it to let her father know it was her, “in the kitchen baby girl,” he called back.
She walked into the house and headed directly for the kitchen. She could smell her children in that direction as well, and the delicious aroma of steak and Alfredo pasta, plus there was something sweet. Kora put her nose to it. OMG her father was cooking all her favourite dishes. That something sweet was a blueberry and apple pie.
Jay-la walked into the kitchen and there were her precious babies all sitting together eating away. They all turned their big green eyes on her and smiled at her. Kora purred so loudly at seeing them in this setting, happy with their grandfather, that her chest vibrated and the children all laughed at her and yelled.
“Hi Kora,” waving at them.
Kora growled playfully at them, and Jay-la went over and kissed each one of them on the top of their heads.
“So they do know what they are?” Jackson mused aloud.
“Of course, they do!” Jay-la frowned at him.” Why would they not?”
“You could have raised them human? For all l know,” he shrugged.
“And how would I have explained Kora to them? if that was the case.”
Again he just shrugged at her.
Turning away from him, she asked her father “ls everything okay, how is mum doing”
“Still unconscious for now, but the doc assured me she will be just fine”. He walked over to her and hugged her to his chest.
“I’m sorry baby girl.”
“What for?” she enquired, frowning up at him.
He kissed her on the forehead. “Everything,” he said simply.
She was a little confused, didn’t understand why he was apologising to her, when she had been the one who’d never come home.
“I’m sorry I got banished,” she hugged him back.
“Not your fault.” he sounded a little angry.
“Have dinner with us, baby girl.”
She was hungry, hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast which had been a cup of coffee and some toast. So just nodded, it would be nice to eat dinner with her family in her family home.
She turned and looked at Jackson for permission, figuring with him following her everywhere she probably needed it.
Clearly he was under Alphal’s orders not to leave her alone. He’d told her she could go anywhere and with him right next to her she guessed she probably could. How very annoying.
“I’ll catch you up at the pack hospital then.’ and he turned and headed out the door.
That surprised her, that he had left her there alone. She was, it seemed, actually going to be allowed to be able to roam free without constant surveillance.
She sat down as her father, Jody dished her up a plate. It was heaven she had missed his cooking. The triplets were also enjoying it, it seemed, she watched Nate ask for seconds and was promptly given another serving by her father. She asked about her brother Bradley and was informed he was at his place with his Mate.
She stared at him, she had not known Brad had found his Mate. She had missed out on so much, it hurt more than a little “do they have pups?”
“Not yet Jody laughed” Brad wants to wait, he’s a bit older than Victoria, and thought she might like to live her life a bit first before becoming a mother.”
“How much older?” she asked. Brad was3 years older than her, 29 now.
“Ten years, he only met her last year, Victoria is just 19.”
Yeah, a bit of a surprise. He and | trained her too, when she was a junior. She’s a lovely girl.”
“Wait, what? Why are you training the juniors?” Oh goddess, he had gotten demoted because of her actions, had her whole family been punished by the Alpha over that one slap.
“My choice baby girl, and when I opted to train the junior’s, Brad followed as well.” he tried to waylay her fears, that were probably noticeable for him to see. He had always been able to read her like book.
“Did he demote you? Because of what I did” she still asked. She couldn’t help herself even though he had told her it was his choice, she still worried that it wasn’t and just didn’t want her to feel responsible for it.
“No! I refused to continue to train him because of what he did. Brad also refused to take over my position because of it as well”
“Oh! May I ask why?”
“I was pissed off, baby girl, and so was your brother and mother for that matter.”
“Probably didn’t go down so well then?” she hoped they had not been punished for their actions.
“Not particularly, Alpha Blaine tried to convince me to keep training the Alpha Unit, but l just couldn’t. He lost my respect that day and I told him as much.”
“Did you get into trouble because of me?” she worriedly asked.
“No, Alpha Blaine said he completely understood, was also mad about what his son had actually done. But what was done was done. He tried to reassure your mother and me that you would come back at some point. I think he truly believed you would. There was this certainty in him and a tiny smile on his lips.”
“I was never coming back,” she said softly, sadly, her eyes moving to her children, who were chatting amongst themselves enjoying pie now.
“I can see why,” he nodded.
“It’s not a good situation dad,” she sighed, not wanting to elaborate in front of the triplets.
“It’ll be fine baby girl… I assure you.” he patted her shoulder reassuringly.
She had very serious doubts about that. But didn’t even know if he knew she’d been here a few weeks ago and didn’t want to bring it up just in-case he didn’t.
She made her way to the pack hospital after dinner. The snow was really coming down now.
Thankfully, her parents had left her room as it was and she’d found all of her winter clothing still in the wardrobe where she had left them. They had not thrown anything out, nothing had changed in her room. It was obviously cleaned on a regular basis as there was no dust in here and the room didn’t smell musty, so her parents must have opened the window regularly to air it out as well.
The triplets were to stay in Brads old room, while she could use her old room apparently. She avoided looking at the photos in the frames on the shelves and walls, there were many of her and them, the alpha unit growing up, and two of just her and him as well. She was surprised that her parents hadn’t thrown those ones out.
She was watching the triplets as they wandered about her old bedroom looking at the photos in her room. They seemed quite curious. She guessed they were recognising the men in the photos from their plane trip today, they didn’t look much different.
She watched as Nate stood in front of a picture of her and Nathan and just stared at it for a long moment, his head tilted slightly to the side, his eyes narrowed, then he just walked away. She wondered if he had guessed the man in the photo was their father.
“Probably, the resemblance is very uncanny,” Kora piped up.
‘Maybe’, Jay-la thought. Her children were not known for their tactfulness, they just asked for whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. She’d never curbed their curiosity. A curious mind was a learning mind.