Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    astone2292
  • Author
  • 5,825 Words
  • 640 Views
  • 12 Comments
If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

Rising in the Shadows - 19. Chapter 19: Lowe's Lair

Tierney, Kaplan, and Dirk walked from their parking spot a few blocks from Cyrus' condo. Over the years, he became accustomed to the bear's preference of nabbing an opening when possible. Still, we passed a few options for closer parking. Upon reaching the destination, the trio found Wagner waiting in the lobby. "Alex."

With passing humans nearby, the lower-ranked lycan discreetly bared his neck, "Sirs. If I may ask, was there a reason my charges weren't mentioned?"

The council looked to their leader in anticipation. Sighing, Tierney shook his head, "That's why we're here to meet Cyrus. He might have something special in store for you." Moving forward, the alpha called for the elevator. They waited in silence until the doors opened and Kaplan pressed the button for the fiftieth floor. On the way up, a few residents joined. The aroma of liquor-laden breath disturbed the shifters' sensitive noses. As soon as the humans left, the council members waved their hands to dissipate the odor.

The four left the cramped box in coordination as Tierney suggested for the beta to lead the way. I haven't been to Cyrus' place. Kap should have this path down by heart. Never knew he had it in him to date an alpha! Reaching a door, Kaplan knocked twice.

Moments later, it opened. "Come in, gentlemen! Please, take your shoes off.” Cyrus walked towards the kitchen. The bear still wore his dress shirt and burgundy pants as he brandished a bottle of whiskey and several glasses. “Mister Wagner, good to see you. Do you like whiskey?”

The delta nodded, “I do, sir.”

“None of that, please. You are my guest and titles are not allowed in my home unless we are working. I suppose you are wondering why the charges weren’t brought up?”

“Yes, s—” Wagner caught himself, “Yes, Cyrus.”

“I won’t lie to you. Your first impression wasn’t the best, and your further actions didn’t help.” Pouring the whiskey into the glasses, Cyrus gave the lycan an emotionless stare, “But I realized I never let you tell me who you really are. All I’ve gotten is subtle clues and whispers.” Four glasses were laid out as Cyrus bent over to fetch a bottle of wine.

Tierney smirked as the bear gently set the bottle down. That's funny. He has Kap down to a science! Looking over the whiskey bottle, the alpha was pleased. “You weren’t kidding about the Hibiki. I love sipping on this stuff!”

A giggle echoed in the room, “I didn’t peg you for a Japanese whiskey type of guy, Tierney. You go on and on about scotch this and bourbon that! Kaplan, here’s your pinot.”

“Thanks, Cy!” The smaller man walked up and grabbed the wine glass, but not before being pulled to the bear’s side.

The five took to the living room. Tierney sat on a stool at the kitchen island while Kaplan and Cyrus claimed the loveseat and the enforcers took opposite ends of the couch. “Cyrus, you wanted to get to know Alex better?”

“Ah, yes! Alex, what do you do when not working for the pack?”

The olive-skinned man set his glass on the coffee table, making sure to use one of the coasters, “Off-pack time, I’m a bouncer-for hire for different clubs in my district.”

Cyrus tilted his head to the side, “Not to seem invasive, but does the pack not pay you enough? I haven’t delved into the finances just yet, so I’m in the dark.”

“The pay’s good, but I’m saving up for a bike. I’ve had my eye on a new Kawasaki Ninja 650.”

Dirk hummed, “Too sporty. If you’re stuck on the brand, go with a Vulcan.”

“Nah! Vulcans look too much like Harleys, and I’m not ready to look like a dad yet.”

“Good point.” Dirk sipped from his glass, “But hey, I get it. I did the same thing when I started as a regular enforcer. Bar bouncing is damned good money!”

Tierney sat in silence. This is something different. I've never sat with my lower council like this. I knew of Alex's side hustles, but I didn't know why he did it. "What's wrong with looking like a dad?"

Kaplan halted before the glass touched his lips, "You think you look like one? Has Morrine been giving you hints?"

Cyrus and Dirk erupted in laughter as the alpha lycan growled under his breath, "Pups are out of the question, at least for now."

"That raises an interesting theory!" Cyrus pursed his lips, teasing a grin, "A tiger and a wolf. What would happen should the genes get mixed? I've heard of ligers and lynxes, but this might be a first in the shapeshifting community. What should we call it? A wiger?"

Dirk nearly spit his whiskey, "Tilf?"

Despite his apprehensions, Tierney found the concept thought-provoking. We haven't talked about it, but would a mix-breed even be possible? "If we were to have pups… or cubs for that matter, I would be damned before they get called a tilf. Wiger seems like an option. I think I'll need to do some research."

Kaplan smiled, "I can call Steph at Central Park Zoo. She might have some idea if there's a proper name."

"If you feel the need to, go right ahead."

Tilting his head back, Cyrus giggled, "Oh, don't be so sour! If you and Miss Schultz are meant for each other, then the conversation is destined to happen. It doesn't hurt to be informed about the subject."

He's right. It's bound to come up when I move. Huffing, Tierney tried to maintain his posture but submitted, "Alright, alright. But, I'll call Stephanie!"

"Look at you taking charge! I'll drink to that!" Cyrus lifted his glass, followed by the remaining council members. "So, who were some of those members at the meeting? A few were quite pestersome."

"Mostly big wigs with influence in the city. Who was bothering you?"

"One caught my attention the most, Harold Snyder." Cyrus noticed a small fidget from Wagner's hand. "Know the name, Enforcer Wagner?"

The use of the title caught Tierney's attention. He said no titles in his home. What's with the change? Alex shouldn't know many of those people. Is this why Cyrus needed him here?

Wagner shook his head, "I know of a few of them, but I don't recognize the name, Cyrus."

"Cut it,” The bear’s tone turned dry. “I know you work with him. And that is Alpha Vonder. We are now working." Everyone sat in silent interest. The room filled with tension. "You know him because he knows you. I am quite irritated at the words spoken.”

Tierney felt on edge, “What’s going on, Alpha Vonder?”

“A wonderful question. Let’s see if we can find an answer.” Cyrus’ gaze never left the accused, “I demand to know everything about your history with Snyder. The rumors I’ve heard tonight do not bode well for you, Enforcer. I expect honesty, and maybe, just maybe, I can hold back my bear.”

Wagner was shaken and managed to set his glass down on the coaster, “He… He approached me two years ago when I made it on the council. I brushed him off, trying to keep my nose clean. He was wanting to make a deal of some kind to get an insight on meetings outside of common pack knowledge.”

“What kind of information was he wanting?” Leaning forward, Tierney’s attention was captured.

“Finances, mostly. I told him my position doesn’t involve money, so I had nothing relevant to say. Then a year later, he comes back offering shares in his construction company. He said they’d come in handy in a few years.”

“What did you do?”

The nervous lycan hung his head, “I took it. Even now, the shares are worth about twenty thousand dollars.” His head lifted as Tierney stood quickly. “I’m sorry, Alpha Scott. I’ll… I’ll take the charges. Hell, I’ll turn in my resignation.”

Tierney was livid. One of his council members had traded financial records to a prominent member of his pack. Terik only knows what Snyder wants with those!

He took one step forward, prepared to backhand Wagner’s head off.

“Hold on now, Tierney!” Cyrus’ playful tone reemerged, “This is new information to me. I’m going to hazard a guess that Mr. Snyder was lying to me about the rumors Enforcer Wagner was spreading around.”

“Rumors?” Wagner, still shaken, was blindsided. “What rumors, Al– Alpha Vonder?”

“I smell your cluelessness. Tierney, before you behead this young man, I suggest you park it before I say such dastardly things.”

He didn’t want to. The anger bubbling in Tierney’s mind only festered, “I have a treasonous council member sitting in front of me, Cyrus! I will not—”

“I said park it!” In a flash, Cyrus was standing with a navy glow in his eyes. Lights flickered across the condominium and everyone’s hair began to stand. The panda’s voice was commanding and enraged. “I will not let you lay a finger on that man’s head until I have completed my investigation! Kaplan’s name has been dragged through the mud, and I will not stand for such unprofessional behavior, both from you and the rumors! Now… sit down!”

Tierney’s eyes glowed blood red, but even as one of the most powerful alphas in the world, he knew he was outclassed. Keeping his eyes locked onto Cyrus’, he sat. Every muscle in his body trembled. Be still, my wolf.

No! Rip Wagner head off! Let me out!

I want you out here as much as you do, but I trust Cyrus to lead this pack. If he has a plan, I suggest we let him run with it.

No like! Want challenge!

That won’t solve anything, and you know it. Look at Wagner. He’s practically pissing himself. He’s clueless as to what Cyrus is speaking about. Let the bear talk.

… Okay. But want action!

We will have someone’s head for this, my wolf. Returning to the conversation, the alpha lycan’s voice remained incensed. “Kaplan’s name was slandered?”

Cyrus’ eyes faded, “Yours as well, but my bear is telling me Wagner doesn’t know of this. Isn’t that right, Enforcer?”

Slowly, Wagner’s head shook. The man stammered, “N– no… No, Alpha Vonder. I… I picked on Kaplan a lot before you came here, but… but I’d never slander him! He’s a council member. Alpha Scott would kill me!” Wagner held his head low and bared his neck to Tierney, “Alpha Scott. Please accept my resignation as Enforcer.”

Tierney did not need to think about his response. “I acce—”

“Not just yet!” Cyrus sat down, crossing a leg over his knee. His glare returned to the accused enforcer. “While I appreciate the appropriate gesture, you now serve a purpose, Enforcer Wagner.”

Tierney’s anger subsided. He understood the panda’s plan. Cyrus, you are a conniving devil!

“Seeing how you are much closer to Snyder, I need to keep you in his clutches. Whatever he is doing with the pack financials, it's simply no good. Tierney, may Kaplan arrange a hushed financials meeting for tomorrow afternoon? We need to monitor any spending regarding construction or steel. I take it this pack has a hacker?” Earning a nod from the alpha, Cyrus’ smile curled, “Activate them and find everything they can on Snyder without alerting him.

“As for you, Wagner.” The bear turned to face the shaking lycan, “Have you performed undercover work before?”

“No, sir.”

“How good are you at lying? Acting?”

“I’m decent at lying, but I’ve never acted.”

Cyrus’ sighed, “You bounce for bars, correct? Then you can act. You have to keep up a rough persona to intimidate others. Working undercover is no different. I can arrange for a specialist to work with you. Consider this a mission. I want anything you can find. Go in deep, if you have to. I suggest becoming interested in his business to get closer to him. Do you understand, Enforcer?”

The lycan’s nervousness and fright were overcome with a sense of duty, “Yes, Alpha! It might be hard to keep calm around him, though. If he’s made statements and said they’re from me, I don’t know if I can stop from beating his ass!”

Tierney nodded. He was ready to put all of his proverbial chips into Cyrus’ game, “I understand, Alex, but you must for the sake of the pack. If he’s up to something with our finances, I need you at your best. This may take many months before making any progress, so patience is necessary.”

“Yes, Alpha Scott.” Wagner furrowed his brow and turned to Cyrus, “Alpha Vonder? What did he say about Kaplan?”

Cyrus growled, “Tierney, can you hold yourself?”

“I’ll do my best.”

The panda’s nose twitched, “Snyder implied Wagner was spreading rumors that you were forcing…” Cyrus paused to clench his muscles, “You were forcing Kaplan to service you.”

Tierney rose from his stool, knocking it over. Flames erupted from his eye sockets as he seethed in a fit of pure rage. Wagner and Dirk quickly bared their necks in fear of their enraged alpha. Such lies! Insolence! I will rip that bastard’s heart out! His hands were aching to shoot streams of fire throughout the condo. The thought of torching the whole building came to mind. He heard a whimper. His eyes landed on Kaplan.

The beta was curled in Cyrus’ arms. Tierney smelled fear wafting from the council member, but he did not need to sniff for other emotions. He’s in pain. I’ve treated him like a son, just as he looks to me as a father. Most of the pack doesn’t know his past, but I will be damned if such lies spread throughout my lands! Retracting his oculory flames, Tierney approached Kaplan.

“Kaplan, look at me.” The wolf’s face was still smothered in Cyrus’ shoulder. Tierney dropped to a knee, “Those words were lies. Nothing but lies! You’ve carried yourself with pride and honor in this pack. Ever since I found you, I… I’ve treated you like the son I never had.” He watched as Kaplan slowly lifted his buried face, “I see a lot of myself in you, strong-willed, passionate, and caring. You’re stronger than Synder’s words will ever be. We will overcome this, together.”

Tears rushed down Kaplan’s bloodshot eyes as he nodded. Tierney stood and placed a hand on the beta’s shoulder. The alpha’s red eyes darted to Cyrus and were met with emerald ones. From the deepest pit of his throat, Tierney borrowed his wolf’s voice, “You protect him. You protect him with your life. Got that?”

The green irises flashed brighter. “I’ll take down the seven if I have to.”

***

The meetings were arranged. Mason set the dates in his phone’s calendar. Bartlett and Ashford come Monday, Stuerm on Tuesday, and McCabe’s flying in on Wednesday. From the calls between him, Vincent, and the interested parties, the beta and enforcer politely accepted the offer to stay with the alpha couple, while McCabe opted for a hotel provided by the Owensville County Pack. All we need to do now is wait.

“Hello? Earth to big guy?” His mate’s waving hand broke Mason’s concentration. “You do know what today is, right?”

“Uh, Friday? Is it date night?” He was puzzled when Vincent shook his head. What’s with that grin?

Vincent slapped his thigh, “C’mon, Alpa…”

Fuck me! The wolf realized it was the weekend they were watching Lowe. Remind me why we agreed to this?

Little one fun.

I swear, you and Vinnie are too much!

He like run.

This is true. He’ll make sure we get our workout in. “Do you even know how to handle a toddler?”

“It can’t be that hard. Caleb said he and Tasha have everything laid out for us. We might need to get some of the juice blend Lowe likes to drink, but they’ve packed us enough supplies for the whole weekend. There’s just one little problem.” Vincent’s grin curled, “He’s currently potty training.”

Mason growled, “I thought we settled that you were on diaper duty?”

“Yes, but we need to work together to make sure he stays on the regiment. If I’m busy cooking dinner, you might have to take one for the team.”

Combing through his spiky hair, the alpha sighed, “I guess I can do that. Speaking of dinner, what’s on the menu tonight?”

Vincent rested his head on Mason’s shoulder, “From what Tasha told me, our diet’s in for a change. Lowe eats very basic food and has a hard time eating veggies. They’ve been trying all the greens but haven’t had much luck. That’s where the juice comes into play.”

“When you say basic, what do you mean?”

“Mac and cheese is a must. He also likes hot dogs and typical dinner foods like spaghetti.”

Mason squinted his eyes, “Uh, pup? You are joking, right? I outgrew hot dogs many years ago. I’d rather eat your rabbit food.” He couldn’t see Vincent’s face but knew the man’s eyes were rolling. “Hey now, I’ve gotten used to broccoli, onions, and carrots. I still don’t know how you eat the other stuff.”

“I’m not going to start on that. Anyway, they’ll be here within the hour.”

From the corner of Mason’s vision, he saw a finger creeping towards his neck, “You really like that mark, don’t you?”

A hum came from the mage, “I’m having a hard time believing I bit you. It looks so mangled, but I can’t help loving it.”

“Touch it. It sends shivers down my spine.” The digit traced the circumference of the scar. Mason’s eyes rolled to the back of his head. Gods, it feels so nice! His wolf crept to the surface and let loose a rumble within his chest. “The things you do to me.”

“So, I’ve been meaning to ask. How did I do?”

Mason turned his head to see Vincent’s patented puppy-dog eyes. When his mate flashed a toothy smile and raised an eyebrow, the wolf understood, “Oh, that! Baby, that was very different from what I expected. My wolf’s opinion has drastically changed about it.” He nuzzled Vincent’s head, “Anytime you want it, it’s yours.”

A sultry growl came from the smaller man, “Any time?”

“Hell yeah! But I think we should try to hold out while we have Lowe. I’d rather not get an earful from Tasha if the little guy gets scarred.”

“True, but as soon as he’s out of our hands, you’re mine.” Vincent leaned upward and met Mason for a kiss. A few minutes later, a knock came from the door. “Is it crazy to ask for them not to knock? I smelled them coming.”

Mason chuckled and playfully messed up Vincent’s hair. He rose from the couch and opened the door, “Come on in, guys! What’s going on—”

“Alpa!” Lowe rushed in and latched onto Mason’s leg.

One day, kid, I will make you pronounce it correctly! “What’s going on, Lowe?” Mason swiftly swooped the toddler up and childishly roared with the child. “Are you excited to be staying with Al-pha?” He made sure to emphasize the proper pronunciation of his title.

“Yeah, Alpa! Put me down!” Respecting Lowe’s demand, Mason set him down. “Vinsy!” Lowe bounded towards the smaller alpha and was met with the same treatment.

“Guys, I can’t thank you enough for this!” Caleb entered with a duffel bag and a colorful backpack, followed by Tasha with a cardboard box. “Are you sure you can handle him for a whole weekend? We’ll still be in town if you need to call it quits.”

Vincent took a moment and glared at his enforcer, “Sounds like a challenge to me! I’m sure we got it, G-man. To be honest, this will be a breath of fresh air for me.”

Tasha went into the kitchen with her box of supplies, “I’ve been meaning to ask! Everything goin’ alright with Mesker Park?”

“Yeah, we have some meetings next week with potential candidates to take over. I’m looking forward to meeting Alpha McCabe and Beta Bartlett.”

The leopardess’ head bobbed, “Bartlett? As in Bartlett and Ashford in Canton? You are jokin’!”

Mason heard Tasha’s excitement, “Do you know them?”

“Remember, Cay-Cay? We ran into them when we were chilling in Texas before I popped?”

The lion’s shoulders scrunched, “Rin’s sword, that wolf was scary as hell! And that guy is coming here?”

With a snicker, Mason clapped Caleb’s back, “Yep, and you’ll be seeing him again. Vinnie wants you and Dave at all the meetings.”

Caleb’s teeth landed on his bottom lip, but glanced at his son. “Can I ask why?”

“You’re our enforcer, and as a member of the council, your input is important. We are taking advice from both you and Dave in regards to Mesker Park’s new owner.”

Grumbling, the lion gave in, “As long as I don’t have to fight him.”

“Vinnie and I talked about that. We’re not expecting a physical challenge, but Vin’s called dibs if there is a chance to spar. If anyone’s got a chance, it’s him.” Mason smirked at his mate, proud of the mage’s capabilities.

“Alright, boys!” Tasha handed Mason a notebook, “Got a schedule for Lowe. His meals are at eight, one, and seven. He can have a snack if he's hungry in between, but don't make it a large one or he'll be harder to put down for nap time, which is an hour or two after lunchtime."

Mason thumbed through it, "Seems pretty straightforward."

"Yeah, the gremlin doesn't want to eat sometimes, so you can put off a meal for an hour until he's ready."

Caleb opened up a backpack, "This is everything for activities. He really likes to color and he'll go through a whole book in a couple of hours. You might need to look up some online pages to print if he blows through them all."

Vincent set Lowe down as the toddler grew interested in the coloring book. His dad gave it to him and made a makeshift office on the floor. "I'm about to start dinner. Do you like hamburgers, Lowe?"

The mention of food caught his attention, "Yeah! Boogers!

Mason stifled his laughter, "Bur-gers, little guy."

Lowe was adamant. "Boogers!"

Caleb slapped Mason's back, "Yeah, good luck with that, Alpa. Honey, you ready?"

"Ready when you are, pussy cat. You guys got him?"

Mason nodded, "Get out of here and have some fun. That's an order."

"Yes, Alpha, don't have to tell me twice!" Tasha bent down and ruffled Lowe's blonde hair, "We're gone, monster. Make sure you listen to the alphas, 'kay? Give Mommy and Daddy a kiss."

Lowe planted his feet and rose to bid his parents farewell, "Buh-bye, Mommy!" He gripped Tasha's shoulder and pecked her on the cheek and rushed to Caleb to repeat the process. "Buh-bye, Daddy!"

"See you, squirt. Love you lots." The parents waved to their son as they left.

Mason closed the door and gazed at Lowe and Vincent sitting on the floor. This might be easier than I thought. "Alright, Vinsy. Need help cooking?"

"If you want to grill the burgers, that'll be cool. I got the rest taken care of. Do you want to come in the kitchen, Lowe?"

"Alpa going outside? I want to go with Alpa."

Vincent smirked, "You heard him, big guy."

The mage strolled away as Mason was about to follow, but was curious at Lowe's outstretched hand. "Want to hold my hand? Let's put your stuff away first." Lowe folded the book closed and stuffed the crayons back in their box. Once the supplies were back in the bag, Mason held out his hand and stooped slightly for the toddler to grab it. On the way through the kitchen, the alpha grabbed a package of pre-formed patties from the fridge and continued outside.

After the food was cooked, Vincent and Mason were pleased with Lowe’s behavior. I don’t know what Caleb and Tash complain about. The little guy is acting like a saint! The only issue the couple came across was when they tried to get Lowe to eat the stir-fried vegetables.

“No! No like brown thing!” With the tiny arms crossed and bottom lip out, Mason had instantly given up hope.

Vincent pierced a sliced mushroom. “I know, bud. Mace hates these things too. But he’ll eat them because it will keep him big and strong.”

It took everything in his willpower not the blow air between his lips. Sorry, hot stuff. I’m one-hundred percent meat and potatoes here. You won’t get me to eat that fungus!

The mage leaned towards the toddler. “Do you like steak?” Lowe nodded his head enthusiastically, “Well, I got a secret. These things are called mushrooms. They taste like a vegetable version of a steak.”

The alpha’s willpower couldn’t hold out any longer and his disbelief blew across the dinner table. “Yeah, right.”

Vincent smirked and whispered under his breath. “I’ll mow the lawn for the next two weeks if you try it and pretend to like it. He needs to eat some of these veggies.”

Wait, two weeks? I’m game! Mason took a fork and nabbed some of the sliced mushrooms. After a moment of hesitation, he ate them. He chewed but halted. These… These actually taste alright. It’s like Vinnie said, vegetable steak! Piercing more, the wolf planted them on his plate. “Yeah, Lowe! These taste like steak.”

Lowe watched and slowly used his yellow, plastic fork to nibble on one. The nibble became a full bite. “Steak things!”

The couple felt accomplished with their feat. Mason whispered, “Good job, baby. Now, how are you going to convince us to eat the squash?”

***

By the time Mason and Vincent had gotten Lowe to finish his food, theirs had gone cold. Vincent didn’t mind and scarfed it down while Mason zapped his in the microwave. As Mason finished, he took charge of the dishes while Lowe found a new wave of energy. Vincent took it upon himself to figure out what to do with the young shapeshifter.

The taller lycan loaded the dishwasher and looked to the living room doorway. Noise and cheers filled his ears. Vinnie’s doing so good with him. I can’t even find a way to get the kiddo to eat a vegetable! Closing the appliance door, Mason sighed. Am I cut out to be a parent?

Vincent poked his head through the walkway, “Big guy, what’s up?”

“Nothing much, just finishing up in here.”

The mage mounted his hands on hips, “Bull! I could feel your sadness from out there. We have a bond, remember? I can feel what your feeling. Now tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”

Mason pinched the bridge of his nose, “Alright. I’m just feeling pretty useless here. You’re so much better with Lowe than I am. I don’t know if it’s timing or what, but I’m used to dealing with him for short periods. You already got him to eat his veggies and I didn’t provide anything to the situation.”

A raised eyebrow was his first response. “Mace, it’s been less than three hours. You need to take a step back and breathe. I’m literally winging it here, and I suggest you do too.” Vincent stepped forward and grabbed him by the waist, “I know we really haven’t talked about kids and the thought of having them, but this is a good way to challenge yourself. Is your wolf afraid of a little toddler?”

Power flew to his eyes, making them shine bright. “No.”

“Then have some fun, big guy! Besides, I need my mate right now. We’re making a fort in the living room and I need some extra muscle to move the couches.” Vincent stood on his toes as Mason stooped to kiss him.

The alpha turned on the dishwasher and headed to the laundry room. We’ll need blankets and pillows for a fort! Grabbing everything necessary from the linen closet, Mason returned to the living room to find the beginnings of chaos. Bol and Terik might be at war here! The couch cushions were out and on the floor, arranged as a makeshift mattress. Lowe pushed the leather squares as close together as possible as Vincent lifted a side of a couch over. “I think this is a good start, fellas. Let’s make the best pillow fort ever!”

With the foundation started, Mason and Vincent brought the sofas together but decided to turn them so their backs would face one another. They gauged the proper space for the three to be seated comfortably. Vincent started by creating a ceiling from bed sheets while Mason turned his recliner around as an additional wall. Seeing his mate’s progress, the bigger lycan chucked a pillow into the fort. “C’mon, Lowe! Throw ‘em in there!” From his encouragement, the toddler joined in.

Once a considerable amount ladened the area, Lowe rushed in, bountiful with joy. The couple rushed to bolster the roof to prevent an overnight cave-in. Mason grabbed a spare comforter and sprawled it over the leather cushions for additional padding. His mind’s creativity was surging as he scrounged the kitchen drawers for flashlights. Dad always said to keep a couple handy. Didn’t think this would be the reason why!

For the finishing touches, Vincent turned on the lamp in the corner, turned the TV on, and cut the rest of the lights off. With the flashlights lit in the corners of the fort and aimed at the makeshift ceiling, the room was perfectly illuminated. The three judged their work, and the verdict came from Lowe, “Cool!”

Mason agreed, pulling his mate closer, “Couldn’t say it better myself. Last one in’s a rotten egg!” At the statement, all three scrambled to make it inside. Just as Vincent became the second one to enter, Mason grabbed his ankle and pulled the mage back out. “Oh, no you don’t!” In a hurry, the alpha inserted himself in the fort.

Stunned by Mason’s maneuver, Vincent laid on the hardwood floor. “That’s just petty!”

“Oh, yeah? What’cha going to do about it, pup?”

The moment the words left his lips, Mason knew he would live to regret them. He saw Vincent disappear, leaving a puff of black smog on the floor. Uh oh. The color faded from his vision, and the living room blurred out of existence. As his body settled from the fast motion, Mason looked around and took note of the night’s sky. Okay, you want to talk about petty? He stood, careful to maintain his balance. Staring at the driveway, the lycan laid out a plan to get off the roof. Making it to the top of the garage, Mason vaulted to the loamy grass with a roll and a grunt. Great, now my socks are dirty!

Entering from the backdoor, Mason rolled his socks off and stepped back into the living room, “That was a little much.” Seeing Vincent’s giddiness brought a smile to his face. “Since you’re in the mood to use your magic, how about you go get some ice cream for us?”

“Ice cream!” Lowe threw his hands up in excitement. “Chot-lat ice cream!”

Vincent snickered at the mispronunciation, “I can do that. Let me grab my wallet. Do you want something from Greenthumb or something from a creamery?”

Creamery? “How fancy of ice cream were you thinking?”

“There’s this place in Chattanooga that’s open for a few more hours. I think I gained a few pounds when I lived there for a week.”

Here we go! Vin’s Shady Delivery Service! “Sounds good to me. I’ll have a mint chip or something with caramel.”

Ruffling Lowe’s hair, Vincent crawled out of the fort. “I’ll be right back, Lowe. Mace, do you want to start a movie? I’ll be back before I miss too much.” Mason nodded and took the remote as Vincent went into the shadows.”

Lowe was bewildered. “Woah! Where Vinsy go?”

“He went to go get ice cream.”

“But he poofed!”

Mason laughed, “Yeah, Vinsy’s pretty special. He has magic powers. Do you know much about magic?” The kid shook his head, “Well, he can play in the shadows. You should ask him to make shadow puppets when he gets back in a few minutes.”

Lowe gasped, “Shadow puppets!”

“Come here, kiddo. Let’s get a movie started.” Skimming through the children’s section of a streaming service, Lowe pointed one out. Looks ridiculous, but hey, if it makes the kid happy. The movie started its opening credits, so Mason crawled in the fort. I think this thing needs a nickname. “Need your help with something, Lowe. Every fort needs a nickname. What sounds good?”

The question puzzled the toddler. Might have been too complicated of a task. “How about… The Den?” Lowe’s face remained blank. “Okay then. Lowe’s… Lair! Lowe’s Lair sounds pretty cool.”

“My lair! What’s a lair?”

“It’s like a cave, but filled with super cool stuff.”

“Yeah!”

With the name settled, the two turned their attention back to the film. Shortly after the main character was introduced, Vincent popped back from the shadows. “Who wants—”

“Ice cream!” Lowe was the first to make the exclamation, but Mason quickly joined.

Vincent smiled as he handed out small containers with plastic spoons to each of the boys and went to the kitchen. Returning with his, he sat inside the established lair. "Good choice in the movie, guys."

The ice cream was demolished in no time and Mason took the trash away. Minutes later, Mason had his arm around Vincent. He watched both the movie and the mesmerized face on Lowe. Much to the mage's surprise, Mason was sucked into the plot. Vincent whispered, "I didn't know you liked these kinds of movies."

"I don't but I like this one." He grabbed his phone and took a selfie of the three in the fort. "Sending this to Caleb. He'll be jealous!"

Lowe fell asleep halfway through but the couple remained, comfortable in their position. Time flew and the movie ended. When the two decided to get up, Mason covered the boy with a blanket and was taken into the shadows to avoid disturbing him. Vincent turned the TV off without making a sound. "He looks so peaceful."

Mason smirked, "Yeah. Never seen him sleep before. It's a lot different than when he's running around. I know it's early, but I'm ready to turn in."

"I think I'll stay up a bit and read. I'm almost finished with the lycan standards book." The two adjourned to the bedroom. Mason climbed under the comforter while Vincent grabbed his reading material. "Mind if I turn on the lamp? I can read without it, but it's almost too dark for my eyes."

"Go for it. Night, hot stuff." Mason rolled away from the light and shut his eyelids. It wasn't long before sleep took him.

Copyright © 2021 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Well the big bad Wolf snarled at the notion of a simple hot dog but then was baited to try Lowe’s little brown steak veggies; was Vinsy training Lowe or Mace? 🤪

The joy of the kid experience is how the parents think they have the kids psychology down , but one weekend with alpa and Vinsy and they have to learn the new terms and favorites. Vinsy poofs, I like strong…I want little brown steaks, let’s make Liars…Lairs, and Chot Lat Poofed Cream…Hmmm….kids are an educational experience; Vinsy is raising his just fine; even if resorting to enhanced bribery by Vin’s Shady Delivery Service.

It’s pretty neat when the current residents get to pick who is buying into their neighborhood, cay cay may be intimidated by the delta but it seems to be more respectful intimidation than fearful; his partner definitely seems thrilled.

Thrilled is not the best explanation for how the bushwhacking of the NY Delta feels but he bought unto his own setup and now may yet earn some forgiveness if he can help with…is it THE or DE construction of Snyder. Round and round the money goes, but Cyrus has a Beta that reads the flows. With the arrogance of Synder the investigation should flesh out quickly…but then again, has it metastasized?

Edited by Philippe
  • Like 2
  • Love 2
Link to comment
26 minutes ago, Philippe said:

Well the big bad Wolf snarled at the notion of a simple hot dog but then was baited to try Lowe’s little brown steak veggies; was Vinsy training Lowe or Mace? 🤪

The joy of the kid experience is how the parents think they have the kids psychology down , but one weekend with alpa and Vinsy and they have to learn the new terms and favorites. Vinsy poofs, I like strong…I want little brown steaks, let’s make Liars…Lairs, and Chot Lat Poofed Cream…Hmmm….kids are an educational experience; Vinsy is raising his just fine; even if resorting to enhanced bribery by Vin’s Shady Delivery Service.

It’s pretty neat when the current residents get to pick who is buying into their neighborhood, cay cay may be intimidated by the delta but it seems to be more respectful intimidation than fearful; his partner definitely seems thrilled.

Thrilled is not the best explanation for how the bushwhacking of the NY Delta feels but he bought unto his own setup and now may yet earn some forgiveness if he can help with…is it THE or DE construction of Snyder. Round and round the money goes, but Cyrus has a Beta that reads the flows. With the arrogance of Synder the investigation should flesh out quickly…but then again, has it metastasized?

Listen, if I had to choose between a hot dog and some stir-fried mushrooms, I'm going with the mushrooms every single time! Vinsy probably had his own agenda to get both toddlers to eat their veggies.

I have not been around a lot of kids in my life, and this has created an innate fear of them. (my opinion...) They're incredibly unpredictable, and their vocabulary is not exempt. The things I heard this past weekend from a defiant toddler...

I'd say THE DEconstruction. What's with this story and moles?!?!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment

Absolutely loved this chapter!  For not being around kids much, you perfectly nailed it!!!  Lowe is awesome!  I can't wait to see what he does next...toddlers are so unpredictable!!!  This chapter was a perfect blend of light-heartedness and seriousness.  I believe the NY pack is in for a few revelations (and maybe some lightning strikes!🌩️).  You know how much I love Cyrus and Kaplan.... Seeing how protective both alphas are of Kaplan was heartwarming.  Someone is in big trouble with 2 very powerful and pissed off alphas!  I wouldn't want to be around when the lightning and the fire are brought down on a certain wolf....  There may not be much left of him.  💖👑💞

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment

Really loved both sections; although the second section with the toddler was just too cute.

Wagner came clean; which was a plus for him.  Just how strong is Cyrus that he was able to back Tierney down like that?  Hurting Kaplan will cost those behind it big time.

Mace and Vincent did better than I expected with Lowe.  I would kill to be able to just pop out and get what I wanted when I was craving it...

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Great chapter, I think so far the two of them make awesome baby sitters , over in New York things are going to be getting very tough for Snyder and he will not even see it coming until it is way too late, interesting times ahead without a "shadow" of a doubt, I wonder if the other evil shadow mage has a hand in it?

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
5 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Listen, if I had to choose between a hot dog and some stir-fried mushrooms, I'm going with the mushrooms every single time!

I despise mushrooms, at least for eating. Anything which grows on excrement in the dark, I don't eat.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
  • Wow 1
Link to comment

I really liked this chapter. The evil side of me really wants to see Snyder as the birdie in a Badminton match between Cy and Ty. I can envision flaming birdie  :devil:...  The section with Lowe was priceless! The mushroom part reminded me of my brother and his son. My brother hates Broccoli with a passion. One evening at the parents we all were having dinner and mom had Broccoli. Mom was trying to get the 5 year old grandson to eat the vegetable and was failing as expected. Typical of a mother she approached the problem with "Your dad really likes this"! She was batting a thousand as my brothers face hit the table...  To end quickly, BOTH sons and grandson ate their Broccoli. I actually like Broccoli 🤣!! 

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
9 hours ago, Patch1 said:

Absolutely loved this chapter!  For not being around kids much, you perfectly nailed it!!!  Lowe is awesome!  I can't wait to see what he does next...toddlers are so unpredictable!!!  This chapter was a perfect blend of light-heartedness and seriousness.  I believe the NY pack is in for a few revelations (and maybe some lightning strikes!🌩️).  You know how much I love Cyrus and Kaplan.... Seeing how protective both alphas are of Kaplan was heartwarming.  Someone is in big trouble with 2 very powerful and pissed off alphas!  I wouldn't want to be around when the lightning and the fire are brought down on a certain wolf....  There may not be much left of him.  💖👑💞

Thanks for this comment, Patch! I knew as I wrote about Cyrus' navy blue eyes, you and Philippe would get excited for the Electric Panda. 

7 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Really loved both sections; although the second section with the toddler was just too cute.

Wagner came clean; which was a plus for him.  Just how strong is Cyrus that he was able to back Tierney down like that?  Hurting Kaplan will cost those behind it big time.

Mace and Vincent did better than I expected with Lowe.  I would kill to be able to just pop out and get what I wanted when I was craving it...

Thanks for commenting, centex! I think Tierney backed down due to being in Cyrus' condo and he hadn't seen the blue irises before. To see them and everyone's hair stand from the electricity would be a frightening sight. 

6 hours ago, mikedup said:

Great chapter, I think so far the two of them make awesome baby sitters , over in New York things are going to be getting very tough for Snyder and he will not even see it coming until it is way too late, interesting times ahead without a "shadow" of a doubt, I wonder if the other evil shadow mage has a hand in it?

Mason just needed a swift kick in the tushie. He and Vincent are doing just fine... I wonder how they'll handle potty training...

I doubt Stefan has interests in New York, but who knows...

5 hours ago, drpaladin said:

I despise mushrooms, at least for eating. Anything which grows on excrement in the dark, I don't eat.

Blasphemous! They are delicious! 

3 hours ago, wenmale64 said:

I really liked this chapter. The evil side of me really wants to see Snyder as the birdie in a Badminton match between Cy and Ty. I can envision flaming birdie  :devil:...  The section with Lowe was priceless! The mushroom part reminded me of my brother and his son. My brother hates Broccoli with a passion. One evening at the parents we all were having dinner and mom had Broccoli. Mom was trying to get the 5 year old grandson to eat the vegetable and was failing as expected. Typical of a mother she approached the problem with "Your dad really likes this"! She was batting a thousand as my brothers face hit the table...  To end quickly, BOTH sons and grandson ate their Broccoli. I actually like Broccoli 🤣!! 

Broccoli is equally delicious! I dash mine with some ranch seasoning and I'll eat it all. I wonder if Mason will hold Vincent accountable for mowing the lawn?

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
10 hours ago, Patch1 said:

Absolutely loved this chapter!  For not being around kids much, you perfectly nailed it!!!  Lowe is awesome!  I can't wait to see what he does next...toddlers are so unpredictable!!!  This chapter was a perfect blend of light-heartedness and seriousness.  I believe the NY pack is in for a few revelations (and maybe some lightning strikes!🌩️).  You know how much I love Cyrus and Kaplan.... Seeing how protective both alphas are of Kaplan was heartwarming.  Someone is in big trouble with 2 very powerful and pissed off alphas!  I wouldn't want to be around when the lightning and the fire are brought down on a certain wolf....  There may not be much left of him.  💖👑💞

 

4 hours ago, wenmale64 said:

I really liked this chapter. The evil side of me really wants to see Snyder as the birdie in a Badminton match between Cy and Ty. I can envision flaming birdie  :devil:...  The section with Lowe was priceless! The mushroom part reminded me of my brother and his son. My brother hates Broccoli with a passion. One evening at the parents we all were having dinner and mom had Broccoli. Mom was trying to get the 5 year old grandson to eat the vegetable and was failing as expected. Typical of a mother she approached the problem with "Your dad really likes this"! She was batting a thousand as my brothers face hit the table...  To end quickly, BOTH sons and grandson ate their Broccoli. I actually like Broccoli 🤣!! 

Following the burnt Birdie served by chef Ty... I mean Clan Alpha Ty, the jealousy and protectiveness over Kaplan by one supercharged Electric Panda, brings the Peter Gabriel song of jealousy to mind...SHOCK THE MONKEY 🐒

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
3 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Blasphemous! They are delicious! 

The Buddha thought so too. The one which killed him was really good.

3 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Broccoli is equally delicious! 

Now broccoli I like.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..