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    Fantasyboy69
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Homestead Pack Shorts - 2. Cali Sands "Catastrophe"

I hurt. There was little else except for the pain. Thankfully it was dulled because of the morphine. I could hear voices in the room, along with a constant beeping, as I was rousing enough to open my eyes. I could see three blurry forms standing there. All three were guys, one shorter than the others. I knew their voices. As I blinked my eyes, I could see Dean and Kao looking worried along with Xander Travers from work. Then I remembered why I was hurting and why I was in the hospital. I groaned.

Dean's head snapped around, but it was Xander who got to my side first. He took my hand in his, the heat seeping up my arm. "Welcome back," said Xander with a soft smile. I tried to return it, but my face didn't work yet. Kao darted from the room, probably to get the nurse.

"Hey," I croaked out. "How bad is it?" I had to know.

"Thankfully not as bad as it could have been. Dean and Kao flew out as soon as I called. I knew it would help to have them here when you awoke." Xander had a voice I found relaxing to hear. It was like velvet made sound, like chocolate mousse for the ears. Yup, I was still loopy to be making silly metaphors.

"Hey, Beautiful. I thought I told you to stay out of the Lycan fights." Dean brushed back the hair from my head. He was still so handsome, and the month away with Kao had him looking happier and healthier than I had ever seen him.

"Never did." At least I don't remember him saying it. I turned to Xander. "So...since I know about Lycans, you can stop hiding it from me."

Xander dipped his head a bit in a blush. God, he was cute when he blushed. He smelled good, too. Like pine needles and new leather shoes. How strange to compare it to shoes, but it was the truth. "You know I never wanted to lie to you. It's not something you tell the new gal in the office. Hi, I'm Xander Travers and I chase cars during the full moon." Both men grinned as I was able to work up a smile. "Morphine aside, you seem remarkably calm about the Lycan parts."

Dean said, "I told her about me a few days before I came to Cali Sands to learn. Took it amazingly well." His voice was caring, and a bit worried, but his eyes held something in them. I saw it. Something with Travers. Was he being protective or jealous?

I turned my head to see Kao and a doctor walk swiftly into the room. Kao came over and gave me a light kiss on the forehead as the doc grabbed my charts. "Just out of a drug-induced coma, and you're still better looking than me," he said with a twinkle in his dark eyes. I smiled again.

"Victoria, I'm Dr. King. On a scale from one to ten, how bad is the pain?" He must have read my fuzzy-brained look and smiled kindly. "On a scale from a spa day to OH MY FUCKING GOD IT HURTS!, how are you?"

"Epic blister on the heel after a bad day at the mall," I replied, which made them all laugh. "It hurts, but I can deal."

"I imagine so. Are you up to talking a little? I would like your recollection of the events that put you here." He smiled kindly again, he had that smile perfected and took out a pad an paper.

I checked with Dean, who grinned. "He's a shifter, too."

"Just checking to see how muddled I have to be." All of them nodded, glad to see I wasn't THAT muddled. "Well...

 

I walked into the boardroom to meet with the heads of the departments with a few HR concerns. A few people were worried about a new merger and whether it would affect their jobs and other work-related issues. My boss took the time out of her busy schedule to meet with me, even though I am only the VP of HR, but it seemed like the concerns were coming to me and not the head of the department.

"So, tell me what's going on," Goldie asked me, looking interested. A few new faces were there, including her new husband who previously owned the company that had merged with ours.

"Just a few concerns with the merger. With the addition of the few new employees, several are worried that it will affect their standing in the company. Normally, Mrs. D'Arlene would have gotten these, I presume, but they came to me. When I asked her for company policy for this, she said she would ask for this meeting." I remember nodding to Mirabelle, who smiled in a motherly way. By her side was Travers, her assistant, taking notes for this.

"I'll be happy to address the concerns. They shouldn't have even gone to you, but I'm glad you went to Mirabelle." Goldie was that kind of boss. She praised when it was due, and criticized when it was warranted.

I could tell it was strange for her to refer to her own mother by her first name. "The few employees are listed in this memo," I said as I passed around copies. "You can see a few of the small departments' heads are even worried about this."

After looking it over, Goldie nodded. "I see. I'll send out an email to let everyone know that no one will be shunted aside or let go. I've had a few smaller offices remained understaffed for a few months, and I filled those positions first. Only six people joined the company."

I nodded, feeling relieved I could report back and give them reassurances that their jobs were safe. I like delivering good news.

When the elevator dinged, I thought nothing of it at first. Then I heard a loud thud and a scuffle. Goldie did too. She stood and nodded to Mr. Olsen, her husband. He nodded back and started to undress. My eyes had to have been playing tricks on me, but they weren't. I saw his body...break. It just remade itself right before my eyes.

Honestly, I felt more like the stupid bitch from every horror movie for not seeing it. The little things Dean told me about. The senses, the way Lycans moved, the power they exuded. Of the ten people in the room, I was the only human. So, if they were changing in front of me, it meant some shit was about to start. I remember Goldie seeing my lack of surprise.

"Stay in my office, Victoria," she had said, and I nodded, grabbing my satchel and running into the adjacent room.

Honestly, I think I was more scared of not being able to see what happened than if I had been in the same room. I heard the sounds of silenced guns pew-pewing among the growls and yelling. I could see Goldie, it had to be her since the wolf was blondish, fighting off another wolf shifter who stood on two legs. Um...Lunais Dean said they were called. The others from the board, who I now realized were the pack's hierarchy, were fighting. Another one was circling around behind Goldie.

Yup, I was the stupid bitch, because I hadn't remembered the one bit of office supplies I now carried in my satchel. I bought it two days after Dean showed me his feathers. A silver letter opener in a small leather sleeve. It wasn't anything suspicious for an exec to carry and might keep some Lycan from trying to make a move on me. I grabbed it, tossed aside the sleeve, and charged the one trying to flank Goldie.

I scored a nice stab to his chest, which made him roar in pain. Yeah, it was stupid. Yeah, it would probably mean my death. Yeah, I was scared. But no one was going to hurt Goldie. I had put it together in the moments I had been in hiding. Goldie had to be the Alpha the Dean said would watch out for him and her if he asked. She had to be the one who was kind enough to let a Lycan from another group, even one allied, to live in her territory. She had Dean's respect. I couldn't let anyone get some cheap-shit shot on her back.

I'm human, I can only do so much, and a Lycan is twice as fast and thrice as strong. He swiped out with a claw and got my side when I was going for my fourth stab. It hurt like hell, but I kept stabbing. I got something vital because he gasped out and slumped to the floor. I'd love to say I went on a rampage, but I didn't. I crawled back toward the office. The fighting continued, but I had done my part and it was time to slink back into hiding.

I was picked up only a moment later...by Xander. He held me to his chest like I was the most precious thing ever. I don't recall what he said, I was already pretty out of it, but I remember loving the sound of it. Even talking to him in the halls hadn't sounded this...soothing, although he had a calming voice normally. He took me into the office and called someone as Goldie rushed in...

 

"Then I woke up here," I said.

Dean looked both livid and proud. I could understand both and loved him for it. Kao looked the same, too, like he wanted to hug me for being everything he knew I was and smack me for being an idiot. Xander just looked at me like I hung the moon.

"Good recollection. Maybe a few things left out after you were too far gone, but it's a good thing to remember so much. Unless you have nightmares, then it's totally a bad thing." Once again, I chuckled at the doctor's excellent judge of when to insert a joke. "If you need anything, I'll be just a button press away." He got up and walked out of the room.

"You know my thoughts on this, dear," said Dean with the double look.

"Brave, daring, brash, fucking moron...sound about right?" I asked, and he nodded. "You didn't have to fly out here for me. I'm sure you have some business with Jon. I can see it in your face."

"I still hate that power of yours. We have some business to attend to, but we have leave from Jon for a few days." His voice told me it was pack business and couldn't be talked about, which was fine. I probably didn't want to know about it anyway.

"You were so amazing, Victoria," said Xander, once again his voice making me sigh happily. "I couldn't see all that you did, but I saw the results. You protected my alpha's flank, for which I and the Cali Sands Pack are eternally grateful. You...I mean..." I watched him struggle with his emotions, which I found a bit sweet. It was a nice change. Dean and Kao did it occasionally, but not like this. Most guys, especially the ones in the white collar world, seemed to think manliness meant apathy or stoicism. Give me a guy who gushes tears when Bambi's mom dies.

"Travers, did you want me to step in? I'm guessing that is why you called us," said Dean with a knowing smile.

"I...Yes. If you would be so kind. Alpha Kirkland will want to know you're awake and thank you personally. As Alice, I am sure, will want to know you two are here." He kissed the back of my hand...swoon!...and left the room.

Dean sat down with another knowing smile. "So, do you want the details or the short version?"

"One big question. Have I been infected?" It was all I really cared about. It wasn't even a worry if I had been, just very curious.

"You had a small amount of the virus in your system, but they purged it. You won't be getting all slobbery next week." It was reassuring to know I was still human. "But, with it all out in the open, you do have an offer to join the pack should you wish. Your work makes you a valuable asset to the company, your protection of the alpha make you an asset to the pack."

Now I knew why he was here. Dean could help me decide without too much input from members of the pack. "I'm guessing it's a big honor."

"To be asked, it's pretty big. Even if you said no, Goldie would be rewarding you with a medal or something. What you did was a big deal. Stupid, but only in hindsight." He took my hand and gave it a bit of a squeeze. "There is another thing to consider. I'm guessing you noticed Travers looks at you the way I used to...still do on occasion."

I know my brow crinkled. "What's with that? He's a sweetheart, very easy on the eyes, but we've only talked work before."

"He had to keep his distance. You didn't know about Lycans, as far as Cali Sands was concerned, so he couldn't do what he wanted."

I'm not that dumb. I see things. "So, the thing you're trying to deliver delicately is he thinks I smell great and wants to get to know me." I saw Kao grin and chuckle. "With me knowing, he's going to be asking me out, I guess." I found I was looking forward to it. With Dean out of the romantic picture, I could use someone to cuddle. While I could both Dean and Kao, they didn't live in the same time zone, let alone the same state.

"More than that. If you join the pack...he's going to want to marry and mate with you. I know the reaction he's having, and Kao and I agree that you and he are meant to be together."

God, it had to be strange to be Dean. Having to tell me someone else wanted to be and was my destined mate when I know he still cared deeply for me and I for him. I knew we always would have feelings no matter who we were with. "So, I would be pack, and have a mate...and I'm not freaking out."

"It's the morphine," said Kao, still grinning. Why was Kao cracking the jokes? Isn't that normally Dean's job? I could see Dean struggling to tell me this, so his mate would try to keep things light.

"So...I'm his true mate or something?" It could be far worse, even were it so. I mean, what's not to like about a smart, handsome, kind, talented, hard-working, caring, tender...okay, so maybe I was a bit more interested in Xander than I thought. "Even with the brief time I was infected, would that change how I see Travers?"

Kao nodded. "It started almost immediately for Dean. Within the time it took to get me out of that little valley, he was already imprinting on me, and I him."

So when he scooped me up and out of the fight, I was already falling. "So..." I chuckled. "I say 'so' a lot when I'm on morphine." They both grinned. "Dean, you know me best. Would it be such a bad thing for me to accept?"

"No. The change is painful but less than childbirth and worse than bad cramps from what a few ladies have told me." That was a wide spectrum, but I got the gist. "And I know Travers will care for you like I never could."

"Huh."

I watched as Goldie, Mr. Olsen, and little Alice came in with smiles larger than I thought necessary. That or the morphine was distorting my vision. "Kao and Dean!" cried the little whirlwind of cuteness. It was always so adorable when Alice saw her two favorite sitters, Kao being only marginally ahead of Dean. She blew into their arms for hugs.

"Hey, pumpkin head," said Dean with a smile of his own. "Is Alpha Olsen making you eat your veggies?"

"No, silly," she said with her perfect eye roll, "Sarge does that. Daddy makes me go to bed on time."

I watched Dean's and Kao's hearts melt when she so easily called Alpha Olsen daddy. Got to get used to that title. Goldie would always be Goldie. "How're your grades?"

"I've been bumped up to fifth grade." Smart little pest, she was only seven.

"Do I need to beat anyone up for picking on you?" asked Dean, booping her nose.

I heard Goldie grunt a laugh. "No, she already beat up the school bully. He's an eighth grader."

Dean tried to look stern, but he broke into a grin. "That's my girl." I chuckled when Goldie swatted at his head.

When Goldie stepped closer to me, I could see her gratitude. "You saved me a world of hurt, if not my life, Victoria. I can never repay that."

"The company is footing the hospital bill, right?" I asked with a smirk. She nodded. "Then we're even. Saves me from dealing with HMO's and stupid bill collectors."

Goldie grinned. Lars Olsen, who had such a kind glimmer to his eyes, took my hand briefly. "You are a brave woman. Beta Whitmore-Saechao may have told you, but with everything that you have done for us, we would like you to join our pack. Even if you remain human, we would like to extend membership."

Both Dean and Kao blinked a bit in shock. "I'm guessing by their bug-eyed stare, humans are rare as members."

"Only two others and they are mated to wolves in the pack," replied Goldie, and I nodded.

"When I am not so gorked on drugs, I will give you my answer." I could feel my eyelids drooping again.

"Come, let's give her some rest," said Goldie, and their conversation faded out.

When I woke again, it was dark outside and I could see Xander reading a book in the chair. He looked so peaceful, so handsome, with his reading glasses on the end of his nose. I was feeling better, less drugged. Still in pain, but I could manage. "A Lycan with glasses?"

He jumped a bit when I spoke, and the glasses slid off his face. He fumbled but caught them before they even hit his lap. The smile on Xander's face lit the room. "They're...uh...for looks. I've been told I look good in glasses." He seemed so sheepish, embarrassed even.

"You do." I held out my hand, and he took it with the biggest boyish grin ever. "So, Dean tells me I'm your mate."

I watched his face turn beet red, and he started to stammer before clearing his throat. "I wasn't expecting him to tell you that. I'm sorry for presuming..."

"Shut up, Xander." He did. "I'm very pro-shifter thanks to Dean and Kao. I've learned enough from them to know what it means and what would happen. It's why Dean and I broke up."

He dropped the book in shock. This time he didn't catch it. "God, I am so spastic right now. You and Dean dated?"

"You didn't know?"

"No. I mean I smelled you on him, and on Kao, so I knew you were close enough to cuddle with them." I watched him go pale and then blush again. "I put him in such an awkward position."

I had to laugh. "Dean is the king of awkward. He mated with Kao, so I stepped back. I'm letting you know I still and always will love Dean as a very good friend. So, if you can deal with that..."

"Of course. Even after, I mean, if we..." His head dropped to his chest. "Someone just shoot me."

"Nah, I think I'll keep you around for a while." Could he be any cuter? "If I accept entrance into Cali Sands, then I would need someone to show me the ropes." Watching his hopes rise was honestly more than I could handle.

"I would be honored."

"Okay then. Now, as for mating." This would be the deal breaker. "When I heard Dean was switching teams, I knew he would be cutting off a huge part of his dreams. He's always wanted kids."

Travers's eyes sparkled. "And you would surrogate." I nodded, glad he saw it so quickly. "He is a man worthy of your love, and if we were to mate, I'd love to be able to help them with that. I'll be honest. I don't know if I could handle the natural way. Wolves can be very territorial. Artificial I would have no problem with."

I could not believe he was so open to it. I knew from Dean that mates were protective, but he would not stop me from being a surrogate. "You're a wonderful man, Xander." I took his hand again. I made up my mind. "So...where will we go on our first date?"

 

So, a little fan service for you all. With so many people loving Victoria, here's a blurb about her. While it's not directly linked to Homestead, I felt it was enough to be included in the shorts.

 

Thanks so much to my husband for providing a sounding board for ideas and to Tim my editor, for once again taking my 2 am writings and making them sounds normal

Copyright © 2015 Fantasyboy69; All Rights Reserved.
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I am so happy for Victoria. She gets her HEA!!!   When she learned about and that she would be working with lycans she started carrying a silver letter opener. That is one smart cookie.  Looking forward to more stories from homestead. Thanks so much. 

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Caught up on all the Homestead stories and shorts. The stories were all re-reads, but I enjoyed them just as much the second time around. The shorts were wonderful! Feel free to pick other characters and do short side stories. I'll read everyone, and I bet your other fans will too! Thanks for sharing your stories.

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