Griffin and I were getting along so much better after I put him on the ground. I wasn’t the pansy he thought I was. Though his thoughts betrayed him, he was waiting for the con to be up. And while I was well aware of how this all started with Alex, we were past it. I was happy, he was happy and this wasn’t a con. But Alex was a con man. May be reformed but still a con man – my con man.
We walked up to the house, the boys in wolf form were already stalking around Ryan at the grill. He’d become the hunted. I watched as Rider rallied his brothers to calm down. They’d become more aggressive around the food. They had to be starving.
Griffin ushered me into the house and Alex was smirking at me, “Your con man eh?”
I grinned at him, “Always mine. No matter what you do.”
Griffin looked at me and then back at Alex. “That has got to get old real fast. I hated when he’d respond to my thoughts like that as a kid.”
Cass was flinging herself around my legs and climbing up my body, “Daddy likes it. If Alex wasn’t in his head, he’d be sad. And I don’t like Daddy sad.”
“I don’t like being sad either.” I agreed with my daughter as I flung her up to my hip so she could sit carelessly in my arms. I pressed a kiss to her cheek and she giggled. “Were you good for Alex?”
“Daddy! When am I ever not good.”
Both Alex and I guffawed at her proclaimed innocence. She was the worst out of all eight of the kids… it was eight right? Fae, Quinn, Matt, the twins made five and three little ones… fuck with two on the way. Ten fucking kids.
Alex groaned and Cass was giggling. “We have a big family Daddy! You aren’t even counting you and Alex. Uncle Ant and Uncle Ryan. And Alec and Vin, even Jae and Seraph and I guess new guy over there too. But I don’t know if he’s staying.”
“Stay out of his head.” Alex and I said at the same time.
Cass pouted. “I’m good. He’s the one projecting.”
Alex chuckled, “You are a little, Griff.”
He looked at me and then back at Alex. “So when’s the con over? What are you getting out of this.” Griffin asked.
I sighed, “It’s not a con.”
I walked outside to help Ryan with the boys and finish up our dinners. It smelled great. I could still hear them talking.
“It’s not a con.” Alex said. “It’s not.” Alex sounded incredulous, like Griffin didn’t believe him.
“I’m supposed to believe Alex Kennedy has forsaken everything he’s ever known for what a good fuck.”
“He’s more than a good fuck.” Alex said.
Rider head butted me and was growling. “Fine.” I said to him. “But Alex hasn’t even told him we are married, or living together or anything permanent.”
Rider continued to growl. “Feed him before he bites me.” I said to Ryan who was laughing.
“He’s right though, don’t listen in.”
I rolled my eyes, “They listen in all the time.”
Ryan shrugged, “You’re better than those pesky telepaths.” He ruffled Cass’s hair who slid down at the onslaught of abuse.
“Hey! I ain’t a wolf.”
“No just a cutie pie.” Ryan said chasing after her.
I sighed as I took the spatula from Ryan as he scooted past me. I guess I’d feed the wolves then. There was a cooler beside the grill where Ryan was cooking. Inside I found several more steaks, most of them unseasoned for the boys. I pulled them out and tossed one to each of the large wolves. They’d need more, but for now one would do. They devoured them while I gauged the meat on the grill.
Ant joined us on the patio. He sat down on a lounge chair and kicked back like he owned the place. I chuckled to myself. “Don’t get too comfortable.”
“Why?” He asked, “You gonna kick me out? You and your boy toy want some alone time?”
“We do want that, but no, Griffin saw a red laser light while we were on the run. Said it could be a reflection, but he didn’t want to take any chances. He suggest we go back to the City where we can control things more. But I told him the boys have two more transition days, and I’d rather do it here than in the City since they don’t want to join the pack.”
Ant laughed, “It’s not that they don’t want to join the pack, they don’t want to leave you. Rider is afraid of what everyone else will do to his family.”
“I hate you telepaths.”
Ant chuckled again. But I went on. “He’s an alpha, Adrian will accept that. I think Dom might press the issues.”
I heard a popping sound and a soft whine and I turned to look to see Rider shifting back. “Rider, dude, you shouldn’t do that until later.”
He groaned as the pain subsided. “I’m okay. I can do that can’t I? If I’m an alpha.”
I nodded, “Yes, but now Lake and Fae need to stay in form longer cause you pulled on their power too.”
He nodded, “They’ll be okay though, right?”
Again I nodded. “Don’t do it too often.”
He shook his head, “I won’t. But I’d rather talk to you myself.” He grabbed a towel that was left over from swimming and wrapped it around his waist and grinned at me, “I still need more food though. I’m starving. I caught a strange scent too, gun, oil, powder something. We should go home before the full moon. We can go with Adrian on a run tomorrow night. Ant can take us, and everyone else will stay with you.”
I handed Rider a mostly rare steak from from the grill and he smiled happily, “Thanks. But tonight we should go home, with Lake and Fae as wolf. In the morning they’ll shift back, and we can call Adrian.”
I sighed, “Everyone gets a say.”
He smiled, “Who’s everyone?”
“Ant, you, Alex, me, Ryan, and Griffin I guess. Jae and Seraph too if they want to chime in.”
“Why does Rider get a say and I don’t.” Cass called from her hiding spot around the corner of the patio.
“Because you are five.” We all said and then laughed.
“I’ll go with the majority. I don’t need a vote.” Ant declared, “I’ll protect Nox however he needs to be. Ry, Jae and Seraph don’t count – Griffin either. We go where Nox goes.”
“So you, me and Alex.”
“You include the boy awful quickly.” Griffin said. Their conversation apparently over.
Alex came up behind me and looked over my shoulder at the food, “How come he gets to eat?” He did a double take at Rider, and then the boys still chewing at their rare steaks. “Is he supposed to be a boy?”
“He’s alpha. And that’s why he gets a say, he leads the pack if you hadn’t noticed. We don’t change, we don’t rank in therian hierarchy.”
“How does he know that though?” Alex wondered as he stole a piece of Rider’s food he was slowly cutting and chewing as if it were going away. Or more likely so that he didn’t devour it like his wolf brothers were.
I shrugged, “It’s gotta be in the power he has now.”
I pulled a steak off the grill and piled on some grilled veggies and handed the plate to Alex. “Here you eat. Did you hear the conversation?”
Alex nodded. “I did. I’d love to stay for more sand and sun, but we probably should get you back where it’s safer. But we’ll finish today off. Go back tonight. Is that acceptable?” Alex looked to Rider.
He nodded. “I’ll take everyone to go play in the sand one last time. Hunter can stay with you?” He asked.
Alex nodded, “Yeah, we can make use of him. But you take one of the bodyguards.”
“Seraph will come with us.”
Our wolf bodyguard started to bristle with defiance, but Rider’s power rose with her inkling and she clamped her mouth shut. It seemed she didn’t want to make an issue of it. Rider smirked and looked up at me. “You will still keep me in check?”
I nodded, “Either I or Alex will make sure you don’t abuse your power with carefully worded concern.”
He grinned, “Okay. I am only sixteen.”
So that was settled. We were going home later tonight. But there was still some time for some fun.