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    Justin4Fun
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This is Book 2 of the "New Reality" Series; reading 'Re-Birth', Book 1, is highly recommended.

Re-Forging - 11. Chapter 11

When we parked in the courtyard, Billy came running out, followed by a redheaded man who stood just a few inches taller than Billy’s 5’6” and was as wide as Tommy; the smile on Tommy’s face told me this was Leonard. Before Tommy could grab it, I opened our door, and we started piling out. After he gave me a comment about letting me do his job, I told Tommy he was officially off duty and instructed him to take care of his mate. I could tell he wanted to argue, but he resisted the urge, turned around, took three steps to his man, and wrapped him in a loving embrace.

I looked at Tommy and grinned, “I’d tell you two to get a room, but you already have one. Tommy, take your man upstairs, and I don’t want to see either of you before dawn, am I understood?”

They broke their embrace, and Tommy said, “Sorry, My Lord, this is Leonard Owen; Leonard, Baron Greg Fowler, and Baron Consort Scott Warnick. And we’re not horny teenagers; we don’t need to rush off and hump.”

Leonard exclaimed, “Tommy! Mind your place!”

I offered my hand as I said, “Relax, Leonard. Tommy’s exactly where I like him. I value his friendship over the scraping and bowing.” I looked at both and added, “Now, you might not need to hump, but you do need to catch up. You’re welcome to join us whenever you like; we will either be at the pool or playing pool in the basement.”

Before they left, Tommy introduced Leonard to everyone and insisted Scott and I leave our bags in the Escalade for him and Leonard to carry in. Rather than argue, Scott and I introduced the guys to Billy, then led them inside and upstairs to sort out bedrooms. In reality, there was no sorting needed. The twins took the small room near ours, and Brian and Chris took the other small room. We told everyone we would meet them at the pool and headed to our room.

Scott and I quickly undressed and headed for the pool where Billy was waiting. I realized I hadn’t told the guys enough when they came running onto the pool deck in their swim shorts and came to a screeching stop to stare at our naked bodies. Jake broke the silence.

“Did you forget something, Greg?”

With a smirk, I replied, “Yeah, I did, Jake. I forgot to tell you guys that the typical uniform around here is no uniform, at least during the off hours.”

The guys all looked at each other and grinned. Seconds later, they all stripped their shorts off and tossed them onto nearby chairs. Once properly dressed, they all dove into the pool. Soon after that, Tommy and Leonard joined us, and we spent the next few hours swimming, splashing, and wrestling in the water. After several attempts at dunking me, Jake finally accepted that he couldn’t do it alone; he enlisted Tommy, Scott, and Billy, and, in a successful sneak attack, I went down.

When we were relaxing in the lounge chairs later, I asked Leonard why he didn’t join in on the attack. “Well, My Lord, it wouldn’t be right. I won’t tell Tommy what to do, but I’m not used to fraternizing with my superiors.”

I sighed and looked at Tommy. “I can’t threaten him with firing him 'cause I’d never split the two of you up, but you need to get him to relax, Tommy.”

“I’ll adjust, My Lord. It will take a few days, though, so please, be patient.” Leonard said.

Jake scowled at him and asked, “What’s the big deal about him being a baron, anyway? It’s not like he rules over anyone; it’s just a title.”

“I don’t know anything about what’s involved, Jake; James hasn’t had a chance to tell me very much yet.” I turned to the other vampires. “Anyone want to give some input?”

Before anyone could reply, Josh said, “Dude, I’m guessing you don’t feel temperatures, but I sure do. The sun’s down, and my balls are pulled up inside me. Can we go inside for this?”

Once the laughter quieted down, we moved into the rec room. Billy grabbed Chris and headed up to the kitchen. They soon returned with empty mugs and insulated pitchers filled with blood, coffee, and hot chocolate. Everyone relaxed on the floor with a mug of their preferred beverage, and after a few sips, we continued our conversation.

“Now, where were we?” I asked.

“Someone was going to tell us what it means to be a baron,” Brian volunteered.

I looked around, and Scott just shrugged. Tommy and Leonard seemed uncomfortable, but Billy simply jumped right in by asking, “Do you want me to start at the top? Or the bottom?”

Scott replied, “Work your way up, Billy. I think it’ll make more sense that way.”

Billy gave a curt nod, took a breath, and explained. “James is a baronet, which is the lowest title we use. In ancient times, they were called ‘Alpha,’ but that died out centuries ago when we also changed from being packs to being clans. James is responsible for roughly two thousand vampires, from Erie to the Mason-Dixon line, from the Ohio line to US Route 219. Two other baronets cover the remainder of Pennsylvania, two for Connecticut, two for New Jersey, and six for upstate New York. They all have roughly the same number of vampires in their territory.

“These thirteen answer to a baron who lives in James’ territory, just south of Pittsburgh. That baron, plus the ones for New England, Quebec, Ontario, and the two for New York City, answer to a viscount who lives in Manhattan. He, in turn, answers to a Count who lives just outside of Boston. That count is responsible for every vampire in the US east of the Mississippi River and all of eastern Canada.

“There are three counts in North America; the one in Boston, one in San Francisco that covers the western US and western Canada, and one in Mexico City that covers from Mexico down to Panama. These three counts answer to Prince George, the Prince of North America. The rest of the world is set up in a similar manner.”

Up to now, I had seen Billy as a friend of Scott’s who was quickly becoming a friend of mine. We were buddies, but not much more. After listening to his concise explanation of things, I realized that he was more than my buddy; he was my advisor; more than that, he was my right hand. I was pulled out of these thoughts by Chris.

“Ok, so James is responsible for two thousand vampires. But responsible for what exactly? Does he make laws? Does he hold court? Decide who lives and dies? What?”

Billy thought for a moment like he was looking for the right way to put things. “The council of princes makes the laws. James manages the businesses that Dracul owns and—”

“Wait, what or who is Dracul?” Chris interrupted.

Scott explained. “All vampires are citizens of the Nation of Dracul as well as citizens of the country they live in. I haven’t studied it all, so I can’t say much about how it worked before 1945, but when the United Nations was founded, it recognized Dracul. As far as I know, we’re a people without a land, and we self-govern to a point while also following the laws of where we live.”

From the expressions on their faces, everyone was as confused as I was. I asked, “Ignoring the details of Dracul, what do baronets and the other nobles do?”

Tommy decided to speak up. “Well, Greg, some take it to the extreme of assigning jobs rather than letting their vampires choose careers, but most simply keep track of their clan. A baronet can arrange marriages, or deny them, although that tradition has fallen by the wayside in the last century or so. They assign foster homes for orphans, approve or deny moves to other territories, and generally decide what is done in the clan.”

I was dumbstruck, and my face obviously showed it. Scott said, “Dad hasn’t done any of that stuff for decades, Greg. He’s focused on the businesses that Dracul owns, as well as his own. He has vampires that work for social services to deal with the orphans and always approves the few that still come to him for marriages and moves.”

“He does it that way, but I bet there are others who are power-hungry and love the control.” I spat.

Leonard spoke for the first time. “Yes, My... er, Greg, there are those who hold to the old ways.”

Frustrated, I said, “Fine, now we know what a baronet does. Do I assume that a baron does this on a larger scale?”

Billy jumped in with, “Oh no, Greg. As a baron, you won’t actually have a clan. You’ll have your immediate team, like me, Tommy, Leonard… everyone that works for or with you, but every other vampire is under a baronet.”

I sighed and waited; he took the hint. “A baron is kinda like the next level of management, or court, if you will. If a vampire under James’ control doesn’t like the ruling he gets, they can appeal to the baron. Since you’ll have a dozen or so baronets, those appeals add up. There are some issues that go straight to the baron, though. Things that carry an actual penalty: violations of the feeding restrictions, approving renewal attempts, changing of humans; just the most serious of issues.”

When I turned to Scott, he knew what I wanted to know. “Dad had the approval to change you the week after we met, Greg. My eyes changed the night we went sledding; the fates knew you were going to be my mate and a baron.”

I turned to ask Billy something when his words registered; I turned back to him, astonished. “That was you, wasn’t it? Why haven’t you told me?” Then, more clarity forced itself through the fog. “Wait, you mean that Mr. Z is your grandfather?”

Scott looked properly ashamed as he said, “Yes, Greg, the man you knew as Mr. Zell is my grandfather, Baron Erich Zell.” I opened my mouth to ask, but he cut me off. “He was the Baron of Zell, Germany, for three hundred years.”

Another piece of the puzzle dropped into place. “So… my car is the first one he’s ever sold?”

Scott grinned and explained, “Since he knew you were my fated mate, he knew it was staying in the family.”

Jake asked, “What the hell is a fated mate? Is that like a soulmate?”

“Kinda, but not really,” Tommy replied. “Vampires believe the fates have their hands in much of our lives. They choose our nobles, and they choose our mates. Not to say that vampires don’t sometimes marry a non-fated partner, but some will wait several lifetimes for theirs.” Glancing to his side, he smiled at his mate. “I found mine after only two.”

Josh slowly said, “So that explains why Greg fell for Scott so fast. They were fated?”

Scott nodded as I pulled him to my side and said, “I honestly felt like I had no choice. The minute I met Scott, er, I guess the minute I met him the second time, I was drawn to him and couldn’t think of anything else.”

After giving me a kiss, Scott said, “I was prepared to chase you for the next twenty years if I had to.”

When I returned the kiss, Brian stood and smirked. “I think we should leave the lovebirds to themselves. Anyone up for a game of pool?”

Chris and Josh stood to join him, but Jake remained seated. “I’m just going to stay and watch the show,” he quipped.

Scott reached over and slapped him on the butt, then we all followed the others to the pool table. After being dominated by Tommy and Leonard, Chris and Brian took over the video game console while the twins did their best to beat Scott and me at nine-ball. They had already lost four games when I heard Dad’s ringtone coming from my phone upstairs. When I turned to go get it, I saw Billy darting up the stairs at supernatural speed. He was fast, but not fast enough; my phone had stopped ringing by the time he handed it to me.

I quickly hit redial, and as soon as it connected, I said, “Hey, Dad, sorry I missed—”

I was interrupted by a voice I didn’t recognize telling me that my father had been in a car accident. As he gave me details, the emotional overload stunned me to inaction; I couldn’t even reply. Sensing my emotions and noticing my silence, Billy asked me what was wrong. When I didn’t reply, he tried mind to mind. Getting no reply to that, he took the phone from my hand and put it to his ear.

“Mr. Fowler, what’s wrong? Greg’s gone catatonic.” Billy said into my phone. After listening for a few minutes, he ended the call and turned to Scott. “Call your dad; we’re going to Los Angeles.” He then turned to Tommy and said, “Get Greg some clothes packed and get a car out front, now!”

The guys kept their distance and watched Tommy and Leonard rushing up the stairs while Scott called James. I still couldn’t move, but I was aware of what was happening, and I was shocked when I heard Billy on his phone. “Lord Steward William White for Prince George, it’s an emergency.”

I turned my head and listened. “I’m sorry to bother you, Highness, but Baron Fowler has a personal emergency and needs to get to California immediately. I was wondering if you could help us?” After a pause, “That’s what I hoped you’d say, Sir.” Pause. “I will keep you informed, Your Highness, and thank you.”

While relaying all of this to James, Scott came to my side and tried to get me to speak. I was still too stunned, so he turned to listen to Billy’s call. When Billy looked up, Scott asked, “Pittsburgh?” When Billy nodded, Scott told James we were headed to the airport, then he disconnected and asked, “What’s the plan?”

Billy held up a finger to delay Scott, then turned to the humans, “Greg’s dad was in an accident and is headed to the emergency room. He’s in bad shape, so we’re heading to California. Greg considers you his brothers, so I know I can trust you in the house alone if you guys want to sleep here tonight. I can get someone to cook for you in the morning.”

There was a short discussion, and then Josh, Brian, and Chris all ran for the stairs while Jake explained. “They’re going to call our folks. We want to come; Greg doesn’t need to be alone right now.”

Leonard appeared with clothes for Scott and me, then went back upstairs. While we dressed, Billy said, “He won’t be alone, Jake; he’ll have Scott, Tommy, Leonard, and me.”

“And Dad. He’s already on his way,” Scott inserted.

Billy held up his hands and shook his head. “I don’t even know if there’s room for all of us. The prince is arranging a plane, and I don’t know how much room there will be.”

Scott looked at my friends and said, “Billy’s right, guys. There’s nothing you can do to help, and more bodies will just complicate things.” He then turned to Billy and said, “And you, go get dressed. You can’t board the plane naked.”

Billy glanced down, grinned, and headed upstairs. When he was gone, Jake firmly said, “I know you guys will be there for him, and I understand about the space, but if there’s room, we still want to go.”

All this chaos had happened around me as I stood mute. Something about the sound of Jake’s voice brought me out of it. I stepped over to Jake and took him in my arms, “Just the fact that you want to come means more to me than you can imagine.”

We held each other until Josh nudged Jake. “Get dressed, bro; everything’s being packed in the truck.”

As Jake dressed, he told his brother they might not be going; his reactions told me how much these two cared about me. While they were talking, Billy returned and told us it was time to go. We followed him upstairs and into the courtyard, where we found Chris and Brian putting the last of their bags in the back of Josh’s pickup truck. Leonard was putting a bag into the back of the new Denali, and I noticed it seemed quite full.

We rolled down the driveway with Josh close on our tail; Scott's phone rang as we took the ramp for the interstate. “Hey, Dad. We just got on the interstate. We should be at the airport in an hour.” Pause. “Ok, we’ll see you there.”

I had expected to go through the main terminal, so I was confused when, an hour later, we pulled in and parked at Carnegie Air Services. Billy explained that this was the FBO, which means Fixed Base Operator, the private contractor that provided ground support for private aircraft that come in and out of the airport. While Tommy and Leonard unloaded our bags onto a cart, Billy made a phone call.

“Lord Steward William White for Prince George; he’s expecting my call.” Pause. “We’re at the airport, Your Highness.” Another pause, and then Billy glanced at his phone. “Yes, Sir, I got it. Please give the baron our thanks.” Pause. “Oh, well, in that case, thank you, Your Highness.”

Billy disconnected and then turned to the attendant who was helping Tommy. “We’re to use Baron Evans’ plane; we’re heading to Los Angeles. The tail number is…” he glanced at his phone, “DRB-NEC5.” When the attendant nodded and headed off with our bags, Billy turned to our assembled group.

“I wish I could say that everyone could go, but sadly, there’s simply not enough room. We’re taking our baron’s Falcon 50; it only seats eight, and six seats are spoken for.”

The guys only took a few seconds to decide that Jake and Chris would accompany us to California. They quickly pulled their bags out of Josh’s truck and said their goodbyes. After they were gone, Billy led us into the terminal, where we waited for James to arrive. We didn’t wait long, and once he arrived, we walked outside to board the plane.

As we neared the built-in stairs, the flight steward approached me and gave a slight bow. “My Lord, I notice you have two human passengers with you. Are they aware of things, or shall I refrain from serving blood on the flight?”

I smiled and replied, “They’re aware, but thank you for asking. May I ask what types you have onboard?”

“We have usually stock beef and chicken, My Lord, as that’s what Baron Evans prefers, but your Chief Marshall has shared that you prefer stag, and Lord White enjoys sheep. I’ve taken the liberty of contacting our supplier, and we’ll have both onboard before we take off.”

I thanked him for being conscientious and climbed the stairs to the plane. I had taken several commercial flights and had always dreamed of flying private; I was not impressed. The plane was smaller than any I had ever flown in; I couldn’t even stand up properly. As I walked, hunched over, to my seat, I hoped there wouldn’t be many flights like this in my future. Scott, Billy, and I chose to sit in three of the four seats that faced each other. James took the fourth. On the left side, Tommy and Leonard faced each other, and on the opposite side, Chris and Jake sat facing each other.

Once we were aboard, the flight steward closed the door, introduced himself as Albert, and gave us a version of the standard safety briefing you get on a commercial flight. He pointed out the exits, demonstrated the life vests, and held up the little oxygen mask. As he was doing this, the pilots began taxiing. Albert made a quick check that we were all properly buckled in, buckled himself in, and we were racing down the runway.

The plane was still climbing when Albert asked me, “My Lord, we were told to fly you to Los Angeles, but no one specified which airport. The pilot needs to know this soon so he can request a change of destination.”

“I’ll need to make a call to find out. Is there a phone I can use?” I asked.

“Your cell phones should work onboard, My Lord. We only ask that you have them in airplane mode for takeoff and landing. While I’m here, would you like something to eat or drink?”

We gave him our orders, and as soon as he headed for the galley to get our blood, Billy was on his phone. His first call seemed to be to a California Highway Patrol officer, and I saw him write down the name of a hospital. After that, he called Prince George and asked him to have vehicles waiting for us at Burbank-Glendale Airport. He then called the hospital and, after identifying himself as me, asked if there was an update on Dad’s condition. After receiving their reply, he said we would arrive in roughly four hours.

I caught Albert’s attention as he returned from giving the other four their drinks and told him we were headed to Burbank-Glendale Airport. He quickly relayed this to the pilots, and I soon heard them on the radio, changing our destination from LAX to BUR. This required no course change at this point because these two were roughly twenty miles apart, and we were still almost two thousand miles away. With that issue dealt with, I turned and stared through the window at the dark landscape passing below us. My thoughts turned to my father and the possibility of a future without him. Unfortunately, Scott’s hand on my arm did little to reassure me.

I was pulled from my thoughts by Albert, asking us all to buckle our seatbelts in preparation for landing. When I asked, I was told we would be on the ground in half an hour. I spent almost four hours watching the occasional lights of the few cities we passed as we flew through the night. I think I remember Scott saying the last one was Las Vegas.

To say it was chaos when we landed would be an understatement. Tommy and Leonard led us to three Suburbans waiting at the curb. Tommy loaded Scott, James, Billy, and me into the lead vehicle, climbed into the passenger seat, and directed the driver to take us to Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center. Leonard loaded Jake and Chris into the second, and they took off for Prince George’s estate. The driver of the third quickly loaded up our baggage and followed Leonard.

It took our driver roughly half an hour to get us from the airport to the hospital, where he deposited us at the main entrance and parked nearby to wait for our return. Inside, we found a desk with a frazzled young woman answering the switchboard and directing the occasional visitor.

I waited for her to finish a call and cleared my throat. “My name is Greg Fowler, and my father, Charles Fowler, was brought in a few hours ago. Can you tell me where I can find him?”

She looked up from her computer and asked, “Do you have some identification?” When I handed her my driver’s license, she looked it over and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t release any information to a minor.”

Billy handed her the emancipation paperwork, and after looking it over, she said, “He’s still in surgery. I can only allow the immediate family access to the recovery waiting area; the rest of you will have to wait.”

Without hesitation, I pushed my thoughts out and convinced her that James, Scott, and Tommy were allowed to accompany me. She gave us all visitors’ passes and directions to the elevator and the waiting room.

We easily found the waiting room, and James checked in with the nurse, who said she’d let the doctors know we were there. After sitting on the plane for four hours, I had no intention of sitting. I was relieved to see that we were alone. That allowed me the freedom to pace around the small table in the center of the room. I had done several hundred laps when two men came out in surgical garb.

“Mr. Fowler?” The younger of the two asked as he approached us.

I quickly stepped forward, saying, “I’m Greg Fowler, Doctor. Is there news?”

“Your father had several injuries when he was brought in. We’ve removed his spleen and one kidney; fortunately, he can live a long life with just one kidney. He also fractured his right forearm, his right femur, and has a skull fracture.”

The second doctor added, “I am the orthopedic surgeon on call, and, fortunately, I was brought in early. I've stabilized his arm and leg with a rod and several screws and attached a plate to the right side of his skull, just over his ear.”

The first doctor continued, “We have a drain in place to help reduce the cerebral swelling, and I have a call to the neurologist for a consultation. He has been tied up with another patient, but we expect him to see your father before dawn.”

My high school biology classes didn’t teach me enough to follow fully, but I understood enough to grasp the severity of my father's condition. My voice trembled as I asked, “Will he make it?”

Copyright © 2023 Justin4Fun; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

19 minutes ago, gmc said:

Friends and family are what Greg needs in a crisis. Support is essential when emotions are so strong that it is difficult to function. I hope his Dad’s injuries can be overcome! What a cliffhanger! 

Greg was nowhere near a cliff; he was in a hospital!

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Things do happen quickly sometimes. IBEX, think you're right and this will mess up Greg to some extent as it is now.

I like how Greg is recognizing Billy is way more than first impressions led him to think.

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I wonder if this was a deliberate attempt on Charles's life because Greg is a Baron? 

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I finally remembered, Justin.

Yes, this rewrite is much better than the original. The story flows much smoother than it did.

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Albert1434

Posted (edited)

What a sad day this turn out to be! I just hope that Greg's dad will make it thru this!

Edited by Albert1434
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