Rejected Mate and Following Fate

Chapter 22: I Won't Give Up

"Okay, maybe. I mean we always knew he would try and maneuver some sort of union around the mountain, I just didn't think he would physically expect them to move here. The device, we don't know enough to be able to second guess what it would do to us all in the valley. The range was limited in what we brought back." Colton is stiff, uneasy, and I can tell he doesn't like his pack questioning orders from above. He truly is hooked by the nose when it comes to his father, and I need to figure out how to get in there and remove the darn thing. Maybe I wasn't paired with Colton so he could save me from my life… maybe I'm meant to save him from his. The fates work in mysterious ways and thing's aren't always obvious.

"You can't keep tabs and instill fear into people if they're not close enough to feel your wrath." Radar butts in again, and it's not hard to see that when it comes to Juan Santo, Radar isn't completely loyal to his alpha. There's a hint of malice in that tone, definite sarcasm in what he said, and I glance to Colton to see if he reacts in any kind of way.

In fact, this whole conversation isn't all that friendly where Juan is concerned, and Colton isn't biting back in the way I expect. Outside, if anyone dared to offend his father, he would rip them a new one and leave their remains smeared across the mountain, so I'm a little surprised to find he lets them speak freely. I guess he respects them enough to let them be honest with their opinion, and nothing said is repeated outside of their circle of trust.

I'm envious for a moment, a longing of belonging I used to know well eating at me, and it pushes me to go sit in the corner on a stool by the bar. Listening, but not part of this as it's not my place, and they are not my pack. My opinions on this mean nothing.

"Whatever the reason… he wants us out tomorrow afternoon, driving to the other villages and changing minds." Colton gazes at the floor this time, that same twinge of jaw muscle and the color of his eyes glow a little amber for a second. A hint he isn't happy, his emotions in turmoil, as I feel them ebbing this way strongly and suddenly and it only takes a second to find out why.

"Is he really suggesting we apply force to families and children if they refuse to be rehomed?" It's Cesar who bursts out with it, outrage in his tone and almost accidently evicts Meadow from his lap with his aggressive thrust, who looks equally startled, adjusting her position with a frown at him

Colton remains silent and the room falls into matched hush as they take it in. I can feel and taste the confusion and disgust, but no one wants to be the first to say it. I gawp at him, not sure I heard that right, but looking from ashen face to ashen face, of a group of people who all know what he means, it dawns on me that's exactly what Juan wants.

He expects his sub packs to go and forcefully move people from their homes and into the valley floor on the south side. In the name of protecting them from attacks, but the motive is bringing them in and taking control. Refusal will not be tolerated, and I wonder what kind of punishment he plans to exact. Juan is a cold bastard of a man and this isn't even as low as I expect he'll go. Juan always intended to push his agenda and now he's using the attack as his excuse. He hungers for power and reign across the packs and has been biding his time for so long.

They won't be any safer camping in the valley than they will in their own villages under the guard of patrols and watchers. Setting up alarm systems and training all who can fight how to do so is a better use of their time. They can all work together to safeguard and improve security from their own homes. How are they going to care for and cater for the hundreds who live around the mountain skirt if they dump them all in the center of the valley on this side?

There are enough Santo's to successfully spread out and patrol the mountain every night after dark, the only time Vampires can come out. They can rest in the day. Raising an alarm is enough to get them there fast… the orphanage is proof that they can span miles in half the time of a human in a car, and if they had warning, they would move to get there in time. With patrols already out there, the people would have way more expectation of getting through it. It makes no sense to bring them here. Matteo is right; this is about control.

"What good is gathering us all in one place. Like Matteo said, they set off that machine and every one of us, corralled in the valley, will be rendered useless. No one will be able to turn or fight back. It's easier to massacre a race when we're all laid like fish in a bowl, and no one'll be free of its effects if the only area we patrol is the valley. I'm sure they can make bigger, or use multiple, to hit us all at once." Jesus is now on his feet pacing, agitated, and getting worked up by the second. I'm starting to feel the restless unease spreading through them all like a virus, as they mumble their agreeance and I keep looking to Colton to say something.

"This is pointless… you think I don't think the same and that I didn't try and reason with him? Nothing I said made a difference. It never does." Colton stands up, losing his temper, agitated too, and utterly drained. I can feel it coming off him intensely, and his eyes lock on mine again as he catches me across the room, ignoring Carmen throwing her own his way.

"Come on, Lorey. I need to show you to your new room. I'm too tired for this, and we all need to meet down at mess hall for dawn. Go to bed, you reprobates. Stop arguing with me because it's futile, and it's not my place to make you obey him. We need sleep."

I don't need to be asked twice. I jump up, suddenly a little too excited at being alone with him again and know it's because I've mentally taken another path and have a plan in place. One that hopefully involves those beefy arms around me and the sexy mouth on mine once again. I go to follow him as soon as he makes a move towards the door and almost gloat at the way Carmen's face crumbles.

"One of us could show her." She snaps bitterly, and he spins his head back, stares down at her with a blank expression and doesn't move a step further.

"Yeah you could… but that isn't what's happening. I want to do it." He shrugs with one shoulder, his tone icy cold and it seems to shut her up. Recoiling back as though she's been burned, and I can tell he's in no mood for more defiance or squabbling. Her eyes mist over with what I expect are fake tears, maybe not this time, and I really try hard to figure out what it is he ever saw in her. Carmen's a horrible person with a selfish spoiled attitude, and I really don't like her.