I could tell something was wrong with Everly, feel her stress through the bond. I could also feel she didn’t want to worry me about whatever was bothering her. She was so used to dealing with her struggles herself, I think she forgets she can actually share them and that she was never a burden to me.
“Are you going to stop by the homeless shelter today?” I ask her as she gathers her handbag and keys.
“Yes, I will stop by after I see Emily. Any news from the patrols about any more forsaken sightings or anything on her son?” she asks me. I really wish I had an answer for her, but I didn’t. We had no leads, no scent trails, nothing. It was like they vanished altogether.
“No, but as soon as I hear anything, I promise you will be the first to know. There have been talks about a city meeting in the coming weeks to figure out something to do about the forsaken sightings and missing rogues’ situation. Pack members are becoming nervous, and it might also be a good time to bring up the rogue issues?” I tell her, and Everly nods.
“Yes, let’s hope the petition goes well and I get a date to be heard sometime today.” Everly sighs and rubs her temples when her phone goes off in her handbag. She pulls it out, glances at the screen, and shakes her head.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, watching her as I tie my shoelaces.
“Nothing, mum has been pestering me to pull the petition and drop the rogue issue,” she says and I noticed she sounded tired. Everly did look tired, actually. And I noticed she was tossing and turning all night in her sleep.
“What did she say?”
“That I would start a war,” she says with a shrug.
“Funny, your father said something along those lines at the hospital,” I tell her. Everlychews her lip nervously.
“What war, though,” we say simultaneously, and she giggles.
“Jinx,” I tell her while getting to my feet.
“I have no idea. Mum rang me last night,” Everly explains.
“So that is why you have been in a weird mood then,” I tell her while wrapping my arms around her shoulders.
“Maybe I can try to get a hold of Ava. I am not sure what is happening, but even your father thought something was going on behind the scenes with my father,” she tells me.
“Try your sister and come see me at the homeless shelter when you aren’t busy. I will be there all day. I have contractors coming to assess the damage,” I tell her. However, I was dreading the bill for that.
“Well, you are going in the opposite direction, so I will run Valarian to school,” she tells me before calling out to our son.
“Yeah, I am coming,” Valarian growls, making me raise an eyebrow at his grumpy mood.
“What’s wrong with you?” I ask him.
“I don’t want to go to school. I wanted to come to the homeless shelter,” he pouted.
“Not today, maybe on the weekend. Besides, there is too much machinery and people working there at the moment. It isn’t safe,” I explain, and he sighs. Everly quickly fixed his tie and blazer while I placed his lunch in his bag.
Waiting for them to leave, I quickly cleaned the kitchen, packing up the school supplies Everly left out. I didn’t want to say anything, but when she is rushing around, she tends to forget to put stuff away and leaves it out. It was a pet peeve, but damn, it made me flustered. Finally leaving, I caught the lift to the underground car park. I didn’t go straight to the homeless shelter. Instead, I went to the jeweler.
Valarian said Everly didn’t like diamonds, which I wanted to put in my mother’s ring, but Valarian wanted to pick. And he chose Serendibite. He liked the color of it. The only issue is sourcing one to fit in the ring because Serendibite is a rare mineral and hard to source. The jeweler only had one, but it was tiny, and the ring I wanted it in would need to be altered to hold the stone.
Once I get to the plaza, I walk up the side alley where the jeweler is, pushing the door open. The bell sounds to alert Dion of customers. He was around my age, and we went to school together.
“Hey Dion, any luck?” I ask, closing the door behind me and walking toward the counter. Dion was looking at his laptop, chin propped on his hand. His glasses perched on his nose as he stared at the screen. He sighs, pulling his glasses off and placing them on the glass display cabinet.
“Your son had to pick Serendibite,” he chuckles while shaking his head and running his hand through his gelled hair. He leans back in his chair, folding his tattooed arms across his chest. Dion looked more like a biker than a jeweler.
“Can’t source one?” I ask.
“Oh, I can get one, but are you sure you want to use that ring? Your mother’s ring, I can melt it down and remake a nicer one using the gold?” I shake my head, and he sighs.
“Well then, you best get your wallet out then, Alpha. Serendibite is $18,000 a carat, and the earliest I can get it is in six weeks. Then, I will have to cut it to fit. I can only find raw material so far,” he tells me. However, I already researched it last night while Everly was asleep and knew it would be costly because they were in scarce supply and rare.
“Invoice me, and I will transfer it. Also, the band, you said it was thick enough to engrave?”‘ I ask. Dion nods. I pull the piece of paper from my pocket and hand it to him, and he reads it.
“So much for big bad Alpha, big softy,” he smiles.
“Send me the invoice and ring when it is ready,” I laughed while turning and heading for the door.
Driving to the homeless shelter, I was prepared to get my hands dirty no matter how much that thought made me shudder. I was not ready to find the roof completely ripped off from the storm. My jaw dropped when I stepped out of the car to see a huge cleanup. The roof ripped off as if it had been peeled away. The structure stood. However, the inside was flooded, and I groaned with annoyance. Just what I needed.
The storm was the worst we had had in years. The damage I could see on the main street was shocking enough, but this side of town seemed to take a more brutal hit. It made me wonder how Everly’s Hotel was. No doubt it would have been smashed by the wild weather.
Walking over to one of the project managers, he ordered around his leading hand and a few supervisors and designated specific areas to start the cleanup.
When he notices me, Bill turns around to face me. “Alpha,” he nods to me, stroking his beard before twirling the end through his fingers.
“So do you want the good news or the bad news first?” he asks.
“Is there any good news?”
“There is. The building didn’t collapse,” Bill states.
“Is that the good news?” I ask, and he laughs.
“Yep, now the bad news. This just added another month to the timeline and raised the cost.”
“Yep, the sewer overflowed out the back, and it seems the entire city’s shit washed into the far playground out the back,” he tells me. And there was my queue to leave because, shit? Naah, I ain’t touching, smelling, or going within the vicinity of the sewers out back.
“Got you some gumboots,” Bill says and I shake my head.
“Nope, just remembered I have an emergency meeting,” I tell him, and he laughs.
“I thought you were willing to get your hands dirty for once, Alpha?”‘ Bill taunted.
“Important meeting,” I tell him.
“Yeah, with who?” he knew I was full of sh*t, no pun intended, and was determined to call me out on it.
“With someone important.”
“More important than the Blood Alpha?” he asks, scratching his chin and squinting at me. I swear he twirls that beard on purpose because he knows it irritates me. I wanted scissors to cut it off.
“Of course, far more important,” I tell him.
“Name?” he challenges, and his eyes crinkle around the edges while he watches me try to get out of helping.
“Luna!” I tell him.
“Ah, nice save, Alpha. I see, hiding behind our Luna now,” he laughs. “I’ll be sure to tell her that next time I see her,” he laughed before motioning for me to go. Yep, blood, puke, I can kinda manage s**t, nope! I draw the line at fecal matter.
“I will be sure to send Marcus over. He would love to help.” I tell Bill as I climb back into the driver’s seat. Marcus had rung me early this morning when he was on his way to get Casey from Macey’s. Zoe’s heat had finished, although she would be remaining home today to rest. Marcus said he was ready to come back to work, and I now have the perfect job as my replacement.
“Siri, call Marcus,” I tell my car stereo as I pull away from the curb. Marcus answers as I pull into traffic and stop at a traffic light.
“Hey, what’s up? I was actually about to ring you,” he says.
“Can you do me a favor?” I ask him.
“Depends,” he says warily, and I try to suppress my laughter.
“I am supposed to help at the homeless shelter, but something has come up. Bill needs extra men, so can you grab Tatum and a few others and go help him in the rear playground and help clean up?”
“Yeah, sure thing. Just give me an hour.”
“I will let Bill know,” I tell him.
“Sweet. I don’t suppose you are going anywhere near the council chambers?” Marcus asks.
“No, I was headed to the hotel. Why?”
“Everly got a rejection letter. I just dropped Casey off to Zoe, and she said Everly is on the warpath. I was about to head over there,”
“I will go; I am turning around now,” I tell him before ripping a U-turn and earning some blaring horns from other cars. I curse. This was not good.