Benji didn’t really agree with me about things, but he also didn’t make it an issue. Though I saw it in his face when he caught a glance at the cross swords to my temple. It didn’t surprise me, not the way his father had reacted to me. I’d ask later why he didn’t like me but right now I was just trying to get through the night. My day had gone well enough and all I really wanted to do was curl up with Alex and worship him. But I could sleep too.
There were no more incidents between us, everything looked alright on the outside, but inside I was hiding things, and I wasn’t enjoying the feeling. Both Ant and Alex knew it, but neither told me to let it go. I was manning up for Benji’s sake. A telepath who didn’t need my baggage. When dinner was finished I’d had three glasses of wine. Each one different and perfectly paired with the food Alex had suggested and ordered. I wasn’t a wine guy, but it was nice to have someone who actually like pairing food with wine. Made me wonder how many times Alex used his talents with his marks. I sighed. There was always going to be that jealous streak. Alex was a con man. He’d seen more places than I’d ever dream of and he’d done so many more things. I had lived a sheltered life, and that life was more adventurous than most Venatori. And I was the outcast, straddling two worlds not a part of either one.
We left the casino with Benji heading to his parents home to tell them they were leaving. All of them. He was going to blame it on the Venatori, tell them the only safe place was New York. He had protection there. Which wasn’t very far from the truth, but it wasn’t the reason he was going to New York. Alex had been very convincing – as I expected he was in most things. He had a talent for persuasion and not just because he could nudge you one way or the other. His power came naturally as well – that con man upbringing at work.
Ant was going to shadow walk us all home – Serenity included. He was going to set Benji up in the Night Life building until they found themselves a new home. Which Ant also offered to get their real estate guy on the line to start the process. I never really did understand what Benji had heard that got him in trouble with the vampires, but Ant was going to help him out. And if Ant understood I didn’t much care about the rest. I trusted both Alex and Ant.
Alex and I got the rest of the night to ourselves which meant as we walked I was curled around his arm and trying not to fall into complete emptiness I did have plans. I was in the middle of a naughty thought with Alex sitting by and watching in my head when a bolt of flesh rammed into my hip and the three of us toppled to the ground.
A fourth man lumbered out of the shadows yelling, “Come back here you flea ridden son of a bitch.” He was about to pounce on top of us when I held up my hand and he flew backwards while I helped myself and Alex up before squatting down to assess the boy who’d run into me. My hip ached but it was already feeling less like I’d been run over by a werewolf. The boy raidated the power of the pack with no connections looking for that home – a place to belong. I felt for him and smiled when the boy looked up at me. “Fancy meeting you again.”
The other man had recovered from his push backwards and was looking at me like I was an alien. “He’s mine Feras. No need for you to get involved.”
“Seems he’s running away from you, plenty for me to get involved in.” I said even as I felt Alex cautioning me with his hand on my shoulder and a mental nudge in my head. I looked at the boy, “He harassing you?”
But the boy didn’t answer just stepped behind me and glared at the man chasing him. “What’s he done?” I asked.
“He stole from me for starters.”
“What did he steal?” I asked.
The boy tapped me on the hip he’d run into and handed me a half mouldy piece of bread likely from the dumpster behind the man’s shop. He had the look of a mechanic, so an old lunch. “Let me guess you were going to eat this after you threw it in the garbage.” I stepped away from the man and handed it back to him. He stood and stared at it but didn’t take it from me. “Well take it. Eat it. He’s returning the stolen item now off with you.”
The man looked at me and growled. I wove a weave of air and made the man my puppet. He struggled against the bonds of air as I placed the stale bread in his hand and closed his grip on it. “I said take it.”
The man’s hand closed but he fought against the bonds as I pushed the mouldy bread towards his mouth. “Was that his only crime?”
The man shook his head. But he didn’t say anything. “So what did he do to deserve your wrath.”
“I’m a fucking alpha and he stole from me.”
“An alpha huh? If you were an alpha the boy wouldn’t be looking for a pack.” I held out my hand to the boy and he came and took my hand without question. “Seems he listens quite fine to someone who isn’t going to beat him.” The boy stood behind me hiding from the man. “He seems rather afraid of you. Do you want to tell me why that is?”
He shook his head violently. “No, you take him. Just get him the fuck out of my face.” I released the bonds and the man almost fell over as he righted himself. He started to back away. “I want nothing to do with you. Leave me the fuck alone.”
I grinned at him, “My pleasure. Next time I find you are beating young boys I’ll have your head on a pike and we’ll see who makes that mistake again.”
The boy grasped my hand and I looked down at him. His power was lessened without the fright and I felt the call of the pack when he brushed his cheek against my arm.
Alex was standing where I left him watching me with a smirk on his face. “Pretty boy, please remind me never to get on your bad side.”
I stepped into Alex, “You could never be on my bad side. Even if I’m angry with you.”
Alex took my free hand and we walked the rest of the way to the hotel.