Chapter 27

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Dante headed off to the training grounds with Jackson. They had devised some new plans to add to the current training regimen. They needed to incorporate a few changes, and go over the potential scenarios they were putting together for their meeting with George and the Silver Crescent pack and the unknown pack that would be there with them. He was disappointed that Jade hadn't wanted to come with him. He didn't really understand it, and he was a little concerned that she wasn't interested in the pack's trainings and Jennifer's words from the other day echoed in his head, about Jade not being interested in pack business. He wondered if Jade truly was uninterested, and how that could negatively impact the pack, when she became their Luna. But once he reached the training grounds, he pushed all other thoughts aside, and focused on the task at hand, working diligently with his pack until they took a break for lunch.

Jade went straight to the gym after breakfast. She was bothered that Dante was leaving, and disappointed that she didn't know why, and wasn't able to ask him for more information. She decided that she would try to have a real conversation with him later that night, so as she ran on the treadmill, she went over in her mind the various things she wanted to try to say.

Peter soon joined her downstairs in the gym. He had essentially become her shadow, whenever she wasn't with Dante. It didn't really bother her, and in a way it was at least a little comforting that Dante was always looking out for her, but at the same time, she felt like she didn't want or need a babysitter. After she was done on the treadmill, she moved over to one of the punching bags. She didn't really know what she was doing, but she felt like she wanted to hit something. After a few minutes of struggling, Peter offered to give her some tips, which she readily accepted. He showed her several things, and then they moved to the mats and ended up even sparring a bit. Peter was genuinely impressed with Jade's abilities. Even though it had been about two years since she had sparred with anyone, she had well-developed skills that just needed to be remembered and regained, now that she was beginning to get her strength back. She was already feeling much more capable than she was when she had sparred with a few pack members the other day. After a few hours in the gym, Jade was feeling better about herself, and had actually felt accomplished with some of her successes in sparring with Peter.

Jade went upstairs to shower before lunch, and walked into the bathroom. This time, it was her turn to be surprised, because Dante was in there when she stepped into the room. He had apparently just finished his shower, and was standing in front of the mirror, wearing only a towel around his waist, water still dripping down his chest. Jade gasped a little, unable to immediately take her eyes of his perfect body.

"He sexy," he said to her, surprised at her entrance, but amused by the expression on her face. "Couldn't miss a chance to see me naked, huh?" he teased. "I'm happy to oblige, if you'd like" he said, as he moved his hand to his towel, ready to remove it.

Jade shot him a glare and quickly stepped back out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her, and she could hear Dante laughing to himself, obviously very amused with himself. She sat and waited until she was sure he had left the bathroom, before she entered and immediately locked the door to his room, before undressing and taking her shower, which she had to do quickly in order to be ready for lunch, which she was still late for.

Everyone was already in the dining room when she joined them, and Dante just winked and smiled at her when she entered, and of course she immediately blushed. She anticipated him making more torturous remarks at her expense, about her walking in on him after his shower, but he didn't say anything about it. He actually seemed a little pre-occupied with his travel plans. It came up in conversation that he would be leaving first thing in the morning, but hopefully coming back that night, as long as his meeting with the Council didn't take longer than planned.

After lunch, Dante and Jackson locked themselves in the office focusing on work and preparing for Dante's meeting with the Council the next day. They were organizing the information and trying to put everything together in a clear and accessible way, so that he could present all the necessary documentation to the Council in an efficient way.

Since Jade had spent all morning in the gym, she didn't have plans to exercise again after lunch, so she decided to just take a walk outside. She didn't get very far before Peter joined her.

"I hope you don't mind me being here" he said, "but if you want to be alone, I can keep my distance."

She smiled at him, and put her hand on his arm, so he would know that he was welcome to walk with her. She hadn't wanted company, but it seemed better than having him follow her at a distance. That just seemed like it would be weird. Peter was kind, she liked him. He would occasionally talk to her, say a few things about the pack as they walked by anything that suggested commentary. He chatted happily at her, never expecting her to respond. She appreciated his laid-back manner with her, that didn't require effort on her part. They were able to just walk, frequently in silence, without any pressure to interact.

It was almost dinner, and Jade and Peter were in the media room with a few other pack members. Dinner was about to be served for the pack in the mess hall, so several pack members were just killing time, playing pool and watching TV while they waited for the dinner bell to ring. They were routinely served first, and then dinner was served for the Alpha and his top-ranking wolves.

Jade and Peter were playing ping-pong. Jade wasn't very good, and kept missing the ball. For as athletic as she was, her hand an eye coordination for ping-pong was abysmal. Peter kept laughing at her with her failed attempts to return the ball to his side of the table. With Peter, she had begun to let her guard down, and for the first time in a long time, she was actually laughing. She couldn't remember the last time she had audibly laughed, and it felt really good.

It was almost lunch time, and Dante headed to the media room, looking for Jade. He had been focused on travel plans during lunch, and since she hadn't joined him at the training grounds that morning, he felt like it had been eons since he last saw her, and even though it realistically had just been since lunch, he missed her. When he walked into the media room, he saw her playing ping-pong with Peter, and then for the first time he heard her laugh. It actually caught him off guard, and for a moment he was angry that Peter was the one who had made her laugh, and that it hadn't been him. He unknowingly scowled at Peter, who happened to look up and see the scowl, before Dante had a chance to compose himself.

Peter immediately stood at attention, and nodded his head in submission to the Alpha who was glaring at him. He felt a twinge of guilt for enjoying himself with the Alpha's mate, but at the same time, he knew he hadn't done anything wrong, and was simply following the Alpha's instructions regarding not leaving Jade alone. When Peter's demeanor changed, Jade turned to see what he was looking at, and saw Dante standing in the doorway. She hadn't seen the scowl, so she just quickly went over to Dante and gave him a hug. The two of them then left the room and headed to the dining room for dinner.

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