Cari and Ant both helped set up wards around the compound and that’s what Cari was calling it since it wasn’t the whole building we were fortifying, just the living spaces. We had a lot to fortify after all. If the Council was on the run, then Valence and his New World Order would be at their door eventually.
It was all very mundane really. We’d know if anyone attacked and they would be protected if it did, hopefully give us enough time to get back here.
Alex met me downstairs with Ant; Cari and Ryan were waiting in the tunnels already with several of the other vampires.
The vampires save Ant were all going to Central park though the tunnels below the city. It was dark but some of them didn’t want to walk the streets of New York without a full entourage of people to guard them. I entwined my fingers with Alex’s and we walked with Ant leading the way.
The kids had all been tucked in bed before we left, they knew we were leaving but they didn’t need to worry. Hunter was sleeping with Matt and Laker despite the fact that Matt had told me it was my turn. Their date had to be cancelled too but I’d make it up to them. They’d gone to dinner but I’d requested them back early. They had agreed without too much issue, they usually did, but I owed my brothers everything. I’d have to do something special for them.
Alex squeezed my hand. “Stop thinking so hard. You are going to give me a complex.”
I bit my bottom lip. “Sorry.” I grinned at Alex. “I could think other thoughts.”
Alex smirked. “Like you need a hard on walking into meet with a much of supernatural leaders.”
“We could be late,” I teased.
“We need to walk faster Ant.”
Ant chuckled but we were already in the park and it wasn’t long before we were at the gazebo area we’d designated at the meeting place. It was nice, and we were the first ones there. I just hoped everyone showed up.
We weren’t waiting for long before Cari and Ryan were there with Tony, Bernstein and Armand. The vampires short of Desmond were here as one group. There was a gaggle of Dragons with Reginald when he came. I didn’t know any of them, but they were the clan leaders or at the very least representatives. I saw several different brands visible among them.
The werewolves came out together too, Dom and Adrian seemed like fast friends even though they weren’t really. The only people missing were the CCB. And Desmond should know and so should Marshall, but I didn’t see either of them or their representatives.
I wasn’t sure how long to wait to see if they showed up but I guess it didn’t matter, they weren’t really concerned with my allegiances. I sat down and everyone else followed suit. Alex sat next to me and I wrapped my hand around his, he was the strength I needed even in all this. He squeezed knowing how I didn’t want to do this. I wasn’t a leader, but here I was running a fucking dragon clan, a werewolf pack and an entire bloodline.
“I’m told the community has a problem with my living arrangements?”
But no one said anything there was quiet nervousness coming from the group. I illuminated the gazebo with a ball of light. “Either talk now, or I stay in the Night Life building.”
Reginald spoke first. “When the Venatori claimed you, you were neutral. Now the vampire house and guard you. The rest of us must go through them.”
“So give me guards. Ant is complaining that we don’t have enough daylighters to watch my family. Give him men and women you trust that Ant and Jin can vet.”
“Your staff is all vampire,” another dragon claimed.
“Okay. My staff is working for me for free. And as an added note, I just hired a demi-demon as…”
“Wait! You did what?” Alex asked, “After P.. whatever his name was you hired a demon.”
I smiled at Alex. “I hired a demi-demon, his father or mother was possessed by a demon. He is gifted with illusion and charm magics that will help the kids out. Particularly Drake and possibly Hunter.”
“He? Ricky? Ms. Wadsworth. Wait I hired him.”
I laughed. “You and Jin hired him and I confirmed it this morning. Anyway, I don’t know what I need, or when I need it. I use Trix when I can’t get Sage, or when I need extra help. Alex handles the money so you have to deal with him.” That was a fun conversation after I gave Alex access to my bank account so he could at least buy stuff with my money. Something about investing it, so I just told him to deal with it. “What else is bothering you?”
“We don’t want to have to go through the heart of Il Cane’s domain. She is between you and us,” Adrian said.
Reginald said, “I propose that all factions provide the financing of a new community center. Neutral territory, no one above the others. We all chip in for Nox to use as he sees fit.”
Dom laughed. “You rule the city in all but name, chico. Adrian ceded to you. I hear a European vampire calls you prince, and you killed The Dragon in a fair fight. By all accounts, you keep the peace. I will second the motion.”
“I didn’t know this was a committee,” Francesco said.
“You honestly think that Nox is just going to rule with a strict hand?” Tony asked his father.
“He could dictate he’s not leaving and they’d have to live with it.”
“Clearly you don’t know Nox.” Bernstein stood “I will stand with the motion.”
“Stand if you agree,” Tony inclined and everyone but myself and Alex were standing. But that had been a poor choice on our parts as the next thing I knew we had a fireball and a hail of bullets flying at us from all directions.