She was sitting in West’s office with both T.J. and West, they were all waiting for Belinda and Jonathan. It was just after breakfast. T.J. had told her that Ella would be here for her but he’d not wanted to wake her up, had wiggled his eyebrows at her and grinned “She’s exhausted and needs the sleep.”
Jo-anne had laughed and shook her head. It did not surprise her in the slightest. West had always tired her out, bloody Alpha-Blooded males, had needs and a lot of them, could go all night long if they so desired to, and need very little to no rest in between. It had been a long time coming for T.J. and Ella and now they were Goddess-Gifted Mates.
She could well imagine T.J. going all night long with her. Ella was likely to sleep all day.
She herself had woken up to find West watching her sleep, yet again. Had raised an eyebrow at him and he’d just smiled at her, liked watching her sleep, he’d told her. Before pulling her into his arms and murmuring into her ear, “l used to watch you sleep all the time, every day.”
It had shocked her and she’d stared up at him, he’d just chuckled softly “It was the only thing I allowed myself, though it did make it hard not to touch you sometimes.”
“You should have just touched me.” she’d teased up at him.
He’d growled at her softly, then k!ssed her chastely and said “Up, before I have my way with you.”
“You don’t want to?” she’d asked a little worriedly.
“Oh, I do.. but I might get carried away, and we don’t want to risk Marking you, till the taint is out of us, so I will refrain.” Then he’d bitten her softly right on the ear, and gotten up and out of the bed.
They’d eaten in the pack-house dining room, where many of the packs members smiled at them, were even addressing her as Luna. She’d looked at West questioningly “Did you announce me to the Pack?”
“No, T.J. may have or the fact that you are here and Jayden was escorted from the pack would have been enough for them to all figure it out. But I’ll do it right now.” he’d told her and then she’d heard it, a pack wide mind-link he’d opened, a simple straight forward statement “I’m happy to announce to you all, I have a Luna. Jo-anne Carlton, who is my Goddess-Gifted Mate, has accepted me. Please make her feel loved and welcomed.”
Jo-anne looked right at him. “Loved and Welcomed?”
“Felt right.” he shrugged at her.
They were now sitting waiting on her parents, who when arrived, walked in and closed the door before sitting down across from her. They both smiled at her and she’d smiled right back. It felt more than nice, she realised to have them as her parents.
She was seated in one of the single chairs, T.J., was in the other chair and West had perched himself on the arm of her chair, seemed comfortable, his hand was playing with her hair, the man was always touching her now, mostly she thought it was absently done, wondered if he even knew if he was doing it.
“What would you like to discuss first?” Belinda asked her.
“The taint in West and how to get it out of him,” it was her most pressing need. They could not Mark each other till it was out of her, and for Volt and Clova to complete their bond and be able to fully connect to each other, they needed that.
“Alright.” Belinda nodded and took a deep breath in “Bleeding you to another line, was the only way to hide you from the royal family. It also would taint your blood. As a baby, you wouldn’t have a choice in the matter the bonding would happen but as an adult, to taint your blood, you actively have to want that. I already knew your blood was special, the Warlock that took me, Merrick, he knew and couldn’t wait for you to be born, so very excited about it.. not in a good way, mind you. Your blood is rare and special, due to your royal bloodline, and the Alpha Royal blood line at that.
Merrick himself was also an Alpha Male from a Royal Warlock coven, very old at that hundreds of ears old, though I never found out exactly what his age was.
This made your blood special, anyone who tastes your blood, even without the ability to foresee, can receive a vision of their future, or that’s what Merrick raved about. On and on about the purity of your blood, the benefits he would gain from it.” she sighed and shook her head sadly “I only made the mistake once, of asking him what would happen if your blood was tainted by anothers,..” sighed” I think he took it as a sign I was going to try and taint it, got one hell of a beating while he screamed at me, all his anger and fury directed at me, about how dare l consider this, that your tainted blood would only give twisted altered versions that could drive one to hurt and kill you.
And that he needed you to be pure and not like some mongrel with another’s blood inside of you.”
“Were you pregnant with me at the time?” Jo-anne asked, more than horrified by the thought of this man beating her while with child.
“Yes.” she saw Belinda nod, “It was not the first time I’d been beaten by him, he did not care for me at all. Only what I could breed for him. Barely looked me in the eye, only when he wanted to frighten me or was punishing me for trying to escape, which I did do, even with his mark on me, I did not and neither did Wren want to be there.
“You were bled into Heaths line and this was what tainted your blood, though my understanding is Heath took your blood first and then his was given to you. It’s likely Heath had a vision of himself or of you at that time. Your blood would have been pure. A good vision, I imagine. He loved you a lot, cherished you so much. I’m not sure why he changed.”
Jo-anne thought about that while Belinda had a drink of water. “ls it possible he got my blood, after Karen was mated to him.”
“It is.” Belinda nodded “is there any time you know he was exp0sed to it?”Jo-anne tried to recall if there was anything but
shook her head. “No, but Karen did”. She nodded. “When I was 12, I cut my finger while helping to prepare dinner, and she k!ssed it better, then went to get a band-aide and never came back.”
“I remember that day, we looked for her.” T.J. added “not in the house at all.”
“But I don’t think that Heath did.”
Heard West sigh on the heavy side “He could have, when you were 16, in the hotel room, you had blood all over you.”
Jo-anne looked up at him a little surprised.
She’d not considered that “l quess. That was not your fault, West. Karen did that to us and you know this now.”
Watched him just nod, but say nothing, still blamed himself, it seemed, even with the knowledge that he’d fought against it and not wanted to. Tried hard to resist it. Even under whatever drug she’d had him he’d tried to resist, he was a good man deep down inside.
“He did bite me when I came home, or Jester did.” she offered up.
“Hmm, it seems your unrealised blood at 16 had a slightly different effect on both of them, West and Heath. Heath would likely have seen a future, the one when you were a baby, but was at war with himself till he bit you, likely why he stayed away from you after your mating to West. Till his wolf bit you.
“West likely got a compulsion to hurt you, but not kill you because you were not yet fully realized as a witch. Why he was that way with you in your bond,” saw her eyes move towards him a little sadly.
“Do you think Jester bit me to try and make me go away? He did tell me to leave, that I should have stayed away before he actually bit me.
“It is possible, then a bite after you turned 18, which is when your witch’s powers would have come into being in all likelihood, showed him another twisted or altered vision of something he could not cope with. Therefore, killing you was his solution to that problem. The compulsion would have been very strong, likely unable to help himself not with so much of your tainted blood in him already.”
“So it’s my fault that he attacked me.” Jo-anne sighed.
“It’s not your fault Jo-anne.” It was West “How were you to know? None of us knew…bar Belinda.” sounded a little on the angry side to her.
“I couldn’t protect her West… Hendrick and his witch’s would have found her as a child. If I didn’t leave her bonded to Heath. It was the only way to hide who she was, what she is.” she was frowning at him.
“Please don’t fight about it.” Jo-anne looked up at him. He didn’t say anything more, but looked more than annoyed to her.
“West, I am sorry, I couldn’t stop what Karen did to the two of you. I never foresaw it, and by the time I found out, it was too late. I have tried to fix you. Nearly killed you doing it actually. I can’t. It is not within my power to do so.”
“Would you have intervened, if none of that had happened… stepped up and stopped me from Marking Jo-anne at 18 if things had moved along the normal path for us?”
“Yes, because you being Mated to her would have protected her from Hendrick. I would have. I mean that. It would have been a private conversation in this office with you and your parents only” her eyes moved back to Jo-anne”.
Though I likely would have left you out of it. I’m sorry, Jo-anne.”
“I understand…there is real pain there for you.”
“Yes,” Belinda nodded “I’ve never actually told anybody everything.” she shook her head. “I don’t want to…” watched as Jonathan hugged her gently.
“It was not a good place to be, but if.” she sighed and looked right at Jo-anne “you want me to.”
“Not if you have to relive it.. no.” Jo-anne shook her head, she did not want to cause her mother pain more than what she had already lived through.
“You said you tried to fix West once? And couldn’t.” Jo-anne asked.
“I did, though he doesn’t recall it.”
“I don’t” West stated. “When was that?”
“About 4 months or so after you were Mated to Jo-anne. You were really hard to get alone. Terence was always with you.”
“There was a reason for that. I was constantly worried I was going to hurt Jo-anne. Needed Terence right there to stop me.”
“I’m sorry” she sighed again. “I did try, used the packs ceremonial blade on you. You were blind drunk and passed out in a guest room down the hall from your and Jo-anne’s room. It didn’t work, just made you scream in agony, your heart rate quadrupled and you were thrashing about all over the place. At one point, you just stopped breathing and I panicked thought, knew it was going to kill you, rescinded the order on the blade, it still took a full minute for you to breathe. I’m sorry I really did try to renmove her blood from you, but your bond to her was not a blood bond, or not entirely, so I couldn’t remove it. Your bond to Jo-anne was a Mate Bond, much more difficult a thing to remove.” she sighed, “and I only know of two who could do that, remove a mark at will. Without the person involved doing it via rejection anyway.”
“Who?” Jo-anne asked maybe these people could help her.
“The moon goddess and Merrick..He removed mine fronm Jonathan. When I woke up, it was gone.”
Jo-anne was the one to sigh now. “So we can’t fix him them. He’ll never be able to Mark me!” This was not what she wanted to hear at all.
“Not true. I believe you can now, remove your blood bond from West. You healed Heath, you have Merrick’s powers in you. You just need to figure out how is all”
“Hang on,” it was West “our Mate Bond was severed by the moon goddess when Jo-anne rejected me. I was in agony for bloody hours, felt Iike my skin was being cut off of me one layer at time, I was in agony and pain for hours.”
Jo-anne stared at him in surprise. She’d not felt anything. “l know it’s supposed to hurt. But hours of it?”
“You didn’t feel a thing, I know.” he looked down at her. “But T.J. can attest to my agony if you like.” he comment and her eyes turned to T.J., it wasn’t that she didn’t believe him. It was more out of surprise that was all.
“About 4 hours, he ran around like a bloody mad man, I couldn’t even contain him started all over the pack but we ended up out in rogue territory mostly.”
“Didn’t need the pack, seeing that.” West muttered.
“I’m sorry.” Jo-anne looked up at him. She’d had no idea, put a hand on his knee.
Saw him shrug “Perhaps I got your pain as well as my own. Punishment for my treatment of you. It’s what I’ve always believed. Deserved it.”
Jo-anne frowned at him now. “Don’t say that, it was not your fault, West.” she shook her head, none of it was his fault.
“Perhaps..” Belinda was now looking right at West “perhaps that part is now all gone and all that remains is any blood from bites inflicted by Volt”
“She did have bite marks all over her…” West nodded and looked down at her. “I’m sorry about that.”
“That is not your fault, West, even Clova is a bitey creature. And it’s not like I haven’t bitten you recently.” her eyes moved to his chest where she had bitten him that night, a good bite at that.
Saw him smile a little at her, knew he was thinking about it.
“Perhaps, Jo-anne you just need to do what you did to Heath.” Belinda commented.
“What? I didn’t do anything to Heath.”
“Actually you did.” West said “Whatever it was, he vomited up your blood and then he seemed to just be fine, got better and is back to his old self, the real Heath I believe, the one that was your actual dad that loves you.”
Jo-anne frowned and thought about that, she’d not really done anything to the man, just.. wanted, really wanted him to get better, like prayed for it,.. turned her eyes to West and wondered if that would work on him. She’d prayed for Heath to return to that loving father she’d always known.
Would praying for West to return to who he was before her at 16 fix him.
“What are you thinking?” he asked her.
“I really don’t know, maybe.. if I really want it, you’ll just get better. I have always prayed to the moon goddess and if I really wanted it, got given what I wanted, I guess.”
“Sweetheart, that was not the moon goddess, that’s just you. Your powers as a Royal Alpha witch.
You healed so many things growing up, because you willed it. Merrick was ancient, he did not need spells and potions or not, that I saw, just used his will to get what he wanted. Was very powerful.”
Jo-anne was more thana little confused, her power was all attached to her anger, how could she use that to heal someone, frowned, she was not going to turn that on West, it might hurt him. “I don’t think so,” she shook her head “my powers are all anger, triggered when I’m angry only.”
“Actually” she turned and looked at him, saw him smile a little “1 don’t think its only your anger.” he smirked a little. “Your eyes do glow when your happy, really truly happy and..” he chuckled “When your… well really happy.”
Heard T.J. laughed and when she looked at him saw him wiggle his eyebrows at her suggestively.
“Mm” West laughed. “Yes.”
Heard both Belinda and Jonathan chuckle as well. They all got his meaning.
“I think your powers are all tied to all your emotions, just woke up with your anger like I thought yesterday.” West smiled down at her.
“Came into your full powers Jo-anne.” Belinda drew her attention. “Because you could hear Heath’s pain and agony. You needed to heal him. It was Heath, who you loved as your father, he was dying and a part of you, deep down inside, knew you could heal him, fix him. It’s why I told West that he had to take you out there to see him, that next morning.”
“Alright.” Jo-anne nodded “I think I need a minute.” and she did, likely needed more than a minute, this was a lot to absorb.
West saw everyone out while she sat and thought. Then he came and sat next to her. “I know you’ll figure it out.” he smiled at her gently.
“Can I go and see Heath? | want to ask him something.” She asked.
“Sure, I’ll walk you over.”
Bit her l!p and looked at him. “Can I go by myself, on my own?” she knew he was likely to say no, but wanted to go on her own.
He raised an eyebrow and then sighed “I’d prefer not…but I guess he’s not had a single episode in days, nothing since you healed him.. T.J. is not going to like it though. Still doesn’t want Heath anywhere near you.”
She understood that about T.J, “He might not West, but he needs to. And I think a walk on my own, to clear my head, will do me some good right now”
“Alright.” he nodded “I’ll let the guard know you’re coming.” Jo-anne smiled right at him, he was definitely different, allowing her to do what she wanted most of the time. “Thank you.”