That night, after everyone retired to bed and she could hear them sleeping soundly with her wolf hearing, she slipped out of the back door and made her way to the back of the property.
Using Kora’s wolf strength and agility, she jumped up and grabbed the top of the 10foot wall and hauled herself over it to the other side, dropping into the natural reserve of bush-land behind their home.
It was not a large reserve, about 5 acres by 7 acres, but it was enough for Kora to shift into her wolf form and run free.
Jay-la stripped off her clothes, she could already feel Kora’s excitement building within her, felt the first c0ck and snap of her bones and allowed Kora to take full control and run around the reseve at will. She chased a few small animals for fun but was not particularly interested in killing any of them, just enjoyed the hunting game she played with them.
For hours, Kora walked, prowled, stalked, pounced and ran about feeling totally free for the first time in months. She marked up a few trees with her claws and when the moon appeared from behind the clouds, she howled up at it, a mighty howl. Nothing answered her, no other wolves around, in other words, thankfully.
Then she just lay there in wolf form under the moonlight and listened to the noises of the night, the small critters that lived in the reserve as they moved about. Jay-la did not bother her, allowed her to do as she pleased. Kora had grown bigger over the last 6 years. Jay-la noted how her paw prints were nearly twice the size as they used to be when in the pack.
She had once been a small silver wolf, but was now a large silver wolf, would probably be the same size as Stephen’s wolf, Rafe, she thought absently.
Being small had made for better hiding from them all, but being bigger meant being even stronger and faster, that she would be able to put up a much better fight when and if it came down to it. It would be nice to go on a pack run with other wolves in the Winter Moon Pack. Jay-la was willing to bet Kora would out run every wolf there, but the Alpha probably. She was going to let Kora try it and display all her speed. She knew Kora was impressive.
It was an hour till sun up before Kora relinquished control to Jay-la and they dressed and climbed back over the wall and went back into the house. She was due to be in court today, but realised she hadn’t brought any clothes with her that would suit court.
She wondered if Lauren or Rae-Rae had anything suitable that would fit her, or if she would have to risk going back to her apartment, which she didn’t really want to.
To be honest, she didn’t even want to attend court today, she’d had a very long weekend and just didn’t feel up to it.
Perhaps a sick-day, another lawyer could step in or they could postpone court to another time. She would call Jordan and tell him she was unwell, take a few days off.
She was sitting in Lauren’s kitchen drinking a cup of coffee with some hot toast next to her when her phone rang. It was only 6 am. She couldn’t imagine who would be calling her at this hour, the people who would, were right here in this house.
Probably Jackson again. Though how he had gotten her number she didn’t know.
She checked the number and frowned at it deeply. If she was recalling correctly, that was her parents’ home pack number. There was no way they had her unlisted number. Only Jackson did, well now the whole unit probably. For her parents to get this number they must have called her parents and given it to them. What were they up to?
She answered a little wearily “Hello?”
“Jay-la, its Brad, how are you little sister?”
Jay-la felt hot tears prick her eyes at the sound of her big brother’s voice, “hi,” was all she could manage to get out, worried she would suddenly burst into tears with both joy and sorrow.
“I need you to come home, Jay-la. Its mum, she’s really badly injured, and might not make it. ls asking for you.”
Jay-la frowned at this, his tone did not show any signs of distress or emotional grief, he didn’t sound upset at all. “I don’t believe you,” she decided to state, because if, their mum was nearly dying, surely he would be so distressed it would be heard in his voice. Kora agreed, she didn’t sense any pain, sadness, distress or anything to make her feel this was the truth.
“What?” he exclaimed, appearing shocked by her statement. ” Why would I lie to you?” he sounded a little annoyed.
“Brad, if mum was injured as you say, you would be very upset. This is a trick by the Alpha to get me to come home. I know this because there is no way you could have gotten my number without one of the Alpha’s units giving it to you, likely Jackson.”
“Look Jay-la, he is not even here in the pack, all of them are over there with you. There was a rogue attack early this morning and many of us have been injured. Mum was one of them.”
“I don’t believe you. I’m sorry Brad, it was really nice to talk to you, but I only hear lies.”
“I’m sorry you don’t believe me,” he sighed, but even that sounded false to her ears.
She got off the phone and sent Jackson a quick text message, “Nice try. But Brad can’t lie for sh!t. Like I would believe that story.”
“Whet are you talking about?” he replied.
Jay-la sighed and shook her head, like she would believe that be wasn’t in on it. He was the one who always called her, had her new number even though it was unlisted as far as she could recall.
It was just over an hour later when Jay-la started to feel uncomfortable, that her chest was suddenly tight and irritating her, and no matter how much she rubbed it, the aching wouldn’t go away.
‘I don’t know, it’s odd!’ was all she replied, but Kora was pacing around in Jay-la’s mind, also uncomfortable and unable to sit still.
‘Something is wrong, but I don’t know what.’ Jay-la was pacing around in the kitchen with her children at the table having breakfast, watching her with curious eyes. They seemed a little worried by her sudden restlessness. She was not just rubbing her chest now but pressing on it. The pain was intensifying to the point that she was getting really worried, it was starting to actually hurt and cause her pain.
Lauren walked into the kitchen and looked at her. Instant concern replaced her morning smile, “What’s wrong?” she asked, the Doctor in her springing to life wanting to help her.
“I don’t know, my chest aches all of a sudden, starting to actually further phóne was ringing on the counter next to her, she was trying to breathe through the pain, ‘maybe I’m having a heart attack’. She thought ‘rubbish wolves are tough, and if you were I would know. Something else,’ Kora snorted at her.
She checked the caller ID on the incoming call, the same number. Jackson. She shook her head, just because the man had somehow managed to get her new number, he thought he could use it at will to bother her. She sighed and dismissed it, not going to pick up, she had more concerning issues right now.
A few minutes later, a text came through, Lauren had disappeared and was now back with her medical bag, trying to get Jay-la to sit still so she could get a blood pressure reading and get a heart rate, how ever Jay-la could not sit down, she needed to be up on her feet, to pace around. Could not sit still for the love of the goddess.
Another text came through. She picked up her phone and opened it, the first text “Jay-la pick up quickly, Jackson.”
The second text is “Jay-la, pick up, your mother is hurt, possibly dying. PICK UP”
Shaking her head again, she ignored it, they really were becoming bothersome and doing everything to get her to go back, using every trick they could think of.
“I don’t know..” Kora whined at her. She was lying on the ground seemingly in pain now too. Whatever was wrong with her was getting worse, escalating and not going away. Even physically affecting Kora now.
Lauren was not happy that Jay-la wouldn’t sit still and was trailing her with a hand on her wrist, trying to get her heart rate.
“Damn it Jay-la.” the next text came through, then she received a video message. She sighed, fine. Whatever it was he really wasn’t going to give up on, she clicked the play button and, to her utter horror, it was footage of her mother Vera lying in a hospital bed, covered in bloodied wound dressings.
Her father, Jody, was sitting next to the bed holding her hand, his head bowed low in sadness.
Jay-la’s chest pain suddenly increased 100 fold and pain ripped through her entire body and a scream of distress and agony peeled from her like nothing she had ever felt before.
Kora was howling in pain, curled up in her mind, unable to bare the pain either. The phone clattered from her hand to the floor of the kitchen, she vaguely heard all her babies start yelling and crying from the table.
She was unable to do anything for them, as she staggered about the kitchen trying to cope with the sheer volume of pain coursing through her body. She had never in her life felt anything like this pain before, not even the pain of childbirth compared. She fell down on to her knees, tears were streaming down her face as she clutched at her chest.
Lauren as yelling at her, asking her if she was okay, she was yelling for her husband and Rae-Rae to get in here quick, to assist her.
The ache Jay-la and Kora had been feeling this morning, was her mother’s pain, and the tearing of the bond they shared.
It was breaking as she was dying from her injuries, how could this happen when her father was the most highest ranked warrior, why hadn’t he gone to her aid.
The sobs wracked through her entire body, she stared down at the phone on the floor, the image now frozen on her mother’s wounded body. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably. There was nothing she could do, she was too far away.
Her sobs turned into howls of pain, she was really losing her mother and she was too far away to get to her, to say goodbye.. She had never even known about her grandchildren, never even seen them, never once gotten to smile at them, play with them, hug them. Pain was burning now worse than before, guilt on top of pain, on top of her sorrow it was starting to eat her alive. What had she done…
She saw Lauren touch her phone on the floor and lashed out at her in her grief, she didn’t want to loose the sight of her mother, couldn’t drag her eyes away from the image of her bloodied and wounded body, of her father so full of sadness and devastation. But she also didn’t want to look at it either, just staring at it was rapidly increasing her pain and distress about not being able to go to her mother.
Why hadn’t she believed Brad, when he called, why had she called him a liar and dismissed him? Maybe he was just numb from his pain at losing their mother. She was a terrible daughter, all the things she had done, getting banished, hiding her pregnancy and keeping the triplets a secret, it would have taken just one phone call.
Surely her parents would have kept her secret, but she had to be a horrible daughter and stay away, hide everything. Guilt was washing through her, causing her pain to increase with every minute she sat there on the floor crying her eyes out, unable to cope with all that was going on around her.
She heard her phone ringing, stared at the number through her tears, reached out her shaking hand and could not for the life of her touch the answer button. She could not focus on it, her vision blurred by tears so much she could now barely see straight. She just couldn’t do it, couldn’t focus on anything other than the utter devastation of her grief, the pain coursing in waves through her body rendering her barely able to move. It was all becoming too much.
“Hello?” she heard Lauren’s voice. She had answered it for Jay-la.
Jay-la didn’t care at this moment, in too much pain, her arms had wrapped themselves around her body, her howling only getting worse. She was losing it, losing control of everything, unable to find her way through the pain and guilt alike.
The phone was pressed to her ear at some point and Jackson’s voice came down the line, there was worry and concern lacing every word, “Jay-la. Where are you? You can still get there, I’ll come and get you.” he told her.
“It… it’s too late,” she sobbed, her words stuttered out of her, she was completely broken by the thought of her mother dying, tears were pouring out of her in rivers that washed down her face and dripped onto the floor in front of her, her shaking was increasing and she could hear her teeth clicking against each other, it was all to much for her to bare, she wanted to be strong but suddenly felt so weak and useless.
“It’s not too late Jay-la, I’ll come for you, honey. Let me.
Where are you?” Jackson’s voice was calm and soft but she didn’t care, she could feel it was too late, knew it deep down inside.
She fell all the way to the floor, gasping for breath, hyperventilating as she curled up into as tiny a ball as she could, trying to contain her pain. She had never felt this kind of pain before. She vaguely heard him yell an order down the line. It didn’t affect her, she was too far gone to be listening to anyone at that point.
Jay-la had no idea of the time passing as she lay there on the floor curled into a ball, sobbing constantly, unable to explain herself or her condition to anyone. Her pain and guilt was all she knew not why, Why did she have to move so far away? Why was her life so hard?
There were gentle hands on her, one touching her arm, the other on her face. Jay-la opened her eyes, still blurred with tears, and looked up. Her eyes met with pale grey eyes filled with worry, her l!ps trembled and she howled out his name ‘Jackson.’ and reached out for him. She desperately needed his strong arms around her and to take comfort from her childhood friend in her time of grief.
Jackson scooped her up and hugged her to his body tightly, snapped at someone to get her children. He was already carrying her off somewhere. Jay-la closed her eyes and sobbed into his neck as she hugged him weakly back, not caring about where he was taking her.
He did not stop for anyone, not even Tony, who was demanding answers from him. Yelling about calling the police.
She heard Jackson tell him to go ahead as he strode out of the house with her in his arms.
He climbed into a waiting car with her still in his arms, sobbing into his neck. He was shushing her gently trying to make her calm down, telling her it was all going to be okay, that they would make it back to the pack in time, Jay-la knew better, her pain was too great, it could only mean the bond was nearly severed, they were just too far away.
“I’ve got the packs private plane Jay-la, we’ll make it honey, we will,” he was trying to reassure her.
She just kept shaking her head. How could she believe him.
She knew the pack was at least 5 hours away by plane, as it was across the other side of the country, and then they had to drive from the airport to the pack, though that wouldn’t take long.
They owned a private air strip 30 min from the pack. But still it was too long, they were too far away. Jay-la was carried by Jackson out of the car and onto the pack plane. She had no idea how long it took, sobbed the whole way there, she was sat down on a seat, and found herself surrounded by her children, their green eyes all staring up at her, they were all red-rimmed and looked so very sad. The twins had trembling l!ps, when they looked up at her, her being so upset was upsetting them too, she just couldn’t seem to help it.
As she stared down at their sad faces, grief hit her anew as she realised not only did her mother not know them, but they had no knowledge of their own grandmother either, they would never get to know their grandmother. Who would have loved them with her whole heart, spoiled them absolutely rotten and encouraged their mischievousness as she had with Jay-la.
All of her fun-loving, pranking nature had come from her mother, who had loved to tease and rile up her Mate until he was chasing her around the house or out of the house in a fun game of catch me if you can.
More tears spilled down her face, “I’m so sorry.” she told them and bowed her head in sadness, unable to look at them.
She had hurt them and didn’t even realise it till right this minute.
Jay-la felt a hand slide down her back, soft and gentle, knew it was Stephen by the affect, a calming sensation was falling over her, he was using his Gamma Charm to try and stop her distress and she was now actually thankful for him and his Gamma Charm.
She lifted her tear-filled eyes to meet his caramel brown ones, he was looking directly at her, sadness filled his eyes, matching her own, “Jay-la..honey, just breath,” he whispered with that southern drawl that came with his use of his ability.
Jay-la actually opened herself to him completely, accepting his Gamma Charm and allowing his calming aura to fall over her, because she really did need to calm down and she honestly couldn’t find a way to do it herself. She had seen her babies’ sadness and worry as well, but not even that had broken through to help her ease her distress. She didn’t understand why she was like that, normally she was so very strong. She needed to calm down for them as much as for herself.
Her children had been removed along with her from Tony and Lauren’s house by a bunch of strangers. They had no idea what was going on, or who these men were, or where they were being taken or why their own mother couldn’t stop crying She could only imagine their inner emotional turmoil at the events taking place.
Jay-la suddenly found herself tired, exhausted actualy and felt herself lean towards Stephen. He slid his arms around her completely and pulled her to him, resting her head on his chest and lulled her grief and pain-riddled body into sleep with softly whispered words of comfort.
She vaguely recalled being moved about, being carried everywhere. She did not, it appeared, to have the strength to get up at all and walk on her own. She sat down on a chair and heard a familiar voice “Jay-la, baby girl”. Her eyes moved to the sound of the deep but soft barrow tones of her father’s voice, and there he was standing right in front of her.
Tears washed down her face, she was finally home, she stood slowly and reached out to him, it had been 6 long years since she’d felt the comfort of being in his arms. He pulled her into his big barrel chest just like he had always done when she was a child and a teenage girl when she had been upset over various things and hugged her tightly, just stood there and held onto her. His chin rested on the top of her head.
“mum?” she sobbed.
“Alive, the doctor says the worst is over.” his voice was still soft and carried an optimistic tone.
“She’s going to make it?” more sobbing
“Yes, yes she is baby girl.” he nodded, “look, she’s right here.”
Jay-la turned her head and looked at her mother lying in the hospital Bed. She could see the wounds still weren’t healing “Ivy?” she asked about her mother’s wolf.
“WoIfs-bane in her system, baby girl, it will eventually leave and she will wake up soon. But not likely till tomorrow. She was hit with a wolfs-bane loaded arrow, almost a lethal dose, but she hung on, calling your name before passing out.”
Jay-la sobbed again and moved out of his arms to go and sit by her mother’s side, took her hand and held it in hers, her forehead bowed down to rest on the back of her mother’s hand, in the hope that somewhere in there, she would be able to sense her daughter who she’d call for was here just like she wanted.
Though Jay-la knew better, having been on the other end of wolfs-bane herself, it somehow brought her comfort to hold her mother’s hand and just be with her.
She had wanted to be with her mother just days ago and now here she was, under horrible circumstances, but here non-the-less. Jay-la felt a hand on her shoulder. “Jay-la, the triplets are very tired. I’ll take them to the pack house for rest for a while okay.”
“no’ she looked up at Jackson and shook her head, she turned to look at her father, “let my father take care of them, I trust him.”
“Alright,” Jackson stated calmly, he didn’t even argue.
Jay-la knew if he took them to the pack house they would end up in the Alpha suite and getting them out of there would be an issue, she might not be able to see them for a long time.
She sat there for hours just staring at her mother’s unconscious body. Kora occasionally whimpered or whined in her own pain. At some point she found herself falling asleep in the chair, felt she was lifted out of it and being carried again.
She just leaned into Jackson’s strong comforting embrace, she knew it was him, could smell him. Felt herself being laid down on a bed and tucked in “my babies”
“Safe with your father as you wished, I promise.”
She reached out and clutched at his shirt just near his rib-cage, not wanting him to go, he settled on the bed next to her ‘I don’t think it was rogues, familiar scent on Vera’ Kora huffed at her as she prowled around in her mind while Jay-la drifted off to sleep again. Her emotional state was really taking a toll on her body.