Chapter 21

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Dante knew when Jade had passed his office, he was tuned into her scent, and knew when she had come downstairs. He could also tell that Peter had followed her down the corridor. He didn't like the idea of Jade spending a lot of time alone with another male wolf, but it couldn't be helped. He had chosen Peter though, because he had already found his mate. Dante would never have assigned an unmated wolf, even a loyal high-ranking one, who was unmated to keep an eye on Jade. Even the thought of Peter getting to spend time with her alone, still made him jealous.

Dante brought his mind back to the task at hand.

"Where are we with setting up the meeting with Jade's Uncle George?" he asked Jackson.

"They've responded that they're willing to meet at a neutral location, but they don't want us on their pack territory" responded Jackson.

"Yeah, nothing suspicious about that" Dante said sarcastically. "Have we set a time and date yet?"

"I was waiting to confirm with you" Jackson said, pulling up the calendar on his phone. "They suggested the 19th, that's about a week and a half from now."

"Why do you think they want to wait so long and aren't willing to meet sooner?" Dante asked. "Any indicators on the delay?"

"Hard to say" Jackson considered. "Could be one of two things. Either they have nothing to hide, so they aren't in a hurry, but know they're still putting things in order, so there's no rush. Or, and this is the more likely scenario, they realize we're onto them and know they had a hand in everything, so they're trying to figure out what we know, and they're stalling while they figure out their plan of action."

"Ugh, I wish we had something more, some real evidence against George that proved he was in on it and helped to orchestrate things. I'm not quite sure how to move forward, even knowing he's guilty, if we don't have anything tangible to move with." Dante let out a frustrated growl.

"Well, we've got about a week and a half to figure it out" Jackson said optimistically.

After dinner, Jade wanted to shift and go for run. She wrote it down, and asked Dante if it would be ok, and if he wanted to go with her.

"Ah, I wish I could" he said to her. "But Jackson and I are right in the middle of something, and I feel like we need to come to a good stopping point, before we stop for the night. I'll mind link the guards though, and let them know you'll be out tonight, so you go ahead. Have a nice time." and he kissed her on the forehead, before he returned to his office.

****

Jade was disappointed that Dante wouldn't be joining her, but decided to go for a run anyway. But, since he wasn't coming, she decided she would try out the obstacle courses, since it was late and nobody would be there at night. So she made her way to the training grounds and began the simplest course. She felt that in her prime, she would have been able to tackle it with minimal effort, but since she hadn't used the necessary muscles for so long, she struggled with every stage. But, she was determined to return and keep working at it, and as long as Dante was spending days locked up in his office, she would continue to work out in the basement as well, and she hoped she might quickly regain some of what she had lost.

She went through the course three more times, before she decided she had tried enough for one night, then she found a nearby changing house, shifted and took off for a glorious moonlight run with her wolf. She stuck to areas she had already seen and traveled with Dante, as she didn't want to end up lost, and was completely exhausted when she finally returned to the changing house. She dressed quickly and headed back to the pack house for the night.

She quietly entered the house, and tiptoed to the stairs. She was pretty sure Dante was still in his office. A light was on and shining under the closed door, and she thought she could smell that he was close. So she quietly went up the stairs, not wanting to disturb him, with whatever it was he was doing. She went into her room, and feeling somewhat sore from all of her exercise that day, decided to run a bath. The hot water soothed her aching muscles, and she felt so relaxed, that she actually started to fall asleep in the bathtub, until she heard Dante's door to the bathroom start to open, and she realized she had forgotten to lock it. She quickly sat up, pulling her knees up to cover her chest, and wrapping her arms around herself, trying to cover her fully exposed body, as the suds had long since dissipated.

Dante was already in the room before he realized she was in there, and he was startled to see her huddled in the tub, her back to him, and looking over her shoulder at him. She was blushing and looked away as soon as they made eye contact.

"If I'd known you were in the tub waiting for me, I would have come up sooner" he said teasingly, not able to help himself from joking at her expense. She looked back over her shoulder at him and growled.

"Hey!" he chuckled "Not need to get all riled up, I'll be in to join you in a minute" he said, as he took off his shirt. He could see the panic in her eyes, and realized his joke had gone a little too far. "I'm just teasing, I'm leaving he said" but as he left, he couldn't help but notice the multiple scars across her back. Scars that the doctor had told him about, that were most likely caused by lashes with silver. "Take your time" he then said, as he quickly closed the door. He worked hard to suppress a growl. The thought of someone hurting her, hitting her multiple times with silver, and leaving that many scars angered him, as well as his wolf within, not to mention suppressing her wolf with the wolf's bane, so it wouldn't heal properly. He was angry and ready to tear someone apart. So, he did what he often did when he was upset, he went down to the gym and took out on the gym equipment.

Jade hurriedly got out of the tub, as soon as Dante had closed the door. She grabbed a towel and quickly went into her room and closed the door. She was mortified that Dante had walked in on her. She had accepted him as her mate, and knew that they would need to complete the mating process sooner or later, and she definitely felt the pull to be with him, but she wasn't ready. She had only just begun to trust him, and she was still trying to figure out how, and if, she was going to tell him she was a coward. She wanted him to know everything, so he could make an informed decision before fully committing to her. But just thinking about his standing there, when he had taken his shirt off, she shuddered. Her entire body screamed for him to hold her. She did her best to shake it off, and quickly dressed for bed. Fortunately, she was tired enough, that she fell asleep quickly.

*****

"I told you it was bad" the man snarled at Luther.

"Watch your tone with me, I can take everything away in a second" Luther responded, take a step closer to the man he was arguing with. 

"Not only do they want to talk now, but they have my niece! I told you she was alive. You could have ended all of this months ago, but your damn ego got in the way and you didn't even notice she wasn't an omega. How could you not know who she was, when she was living there with you for months?"

"You were supposed to catch her that night, don't try to put the blame on me" Luther snarled as he took a step closer and stared menacingly down at the man. "Schedule the meeting with Dante, and I'll take care of it this time. But don't forget who you are, George and that it's because of me that you have any control at all over that pathetic Silver Crescent Pack. And more importantly, don't forget who I am, and that I can take it all away with a snap of my wrist." And as he said that, he placed his fingers around George's neck and lightly squeezed.

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