Family Goes, Trouble Stays

We all do things for love that we don’t intend to do. Which is why on a Wednesday morning I was on my way home from seeing that Ben’s mum made it to the airport safely. I returned her car and was waiting to be picked up by Ben. He was late. I checked my phone again for the seventh time in twenty minutes and found no call or text from Ben, I was certain that there something wrong. So I called the Sheriff.

“Ben was supposed to pick me up but hasn’t called. I’m worried. Have you heard from him?”

“No, but I can tell you where he is.” The Sheriff said with a sigh.

“Eric, please. I’m terrified.”

“He was forced in to the change again. He’s currently out of his mind and chained to a rock in the middle of Strauss National Forest.”

My heart dropped and I froze. “No,” I whispered.

“Yes. He was caught outside. Thank the stars that Miles was with him. They were shopping for your ring in  Serene Harbor.”

“You know, I never understood why they named that town the way that they did. There’s no harbor anywhere near there.”

“Focus, Marlowe. You’re panicking and it’s making your attention drift.” Eric said with a sharp tone to his voice.

Now that I’d focused back on him, I could feel the panic creep up in to my chest.

“I need to be with him. He’ll calm down for me.”

“We’ve already sent a car. You’re still at the rental place?”

“Yes. I don’t plan on moving.”

“Smart. They’ll be there in ten to pick you up, I sent them over forty minutes ago.”

“Oh good. I’ll be waiting.” I paused for a second. “Oh and Sheriff?”

“Yes?”

“The son of a bitch that keeps doing this to us? I’m going to kill him.”

“Her. We now know the person who’s doing this is female and at this point, I just might let you.”

“See you soon.” I said and hung up.

I waited in the lobby of the car rental place until the sheriffs car showed up. Inside was Pete, who I had met at Thanksgiving.

“Hey Pete.” I said as I popped inside the car and settled in. “Miles already knows I’m on my way, so does the Sheriff. Floor it.”

“Nice to see you too, Marlowe.”

I flinched at his dry tone. “Sorry. I’m worried about Ben.”

“He’s okay. Last I saw him he was trying to roast the Mayor, who was shouting that the ‘dangerous creature’ needed to be put down.”

I seethed. “Dangerous creature? He knows very well that’s Ben inside that skin.” I growled out. The force of my anger made the car shimmy on an already slick road.

“Marlowe! Calm down! You’ll make me crash the car!” Pete shouted.

I immediately checked my power and gave Pete a sheepish smile. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay, just watch it. I’m starting to see why they Mayor says the things he says about you, though.”

“Oh? What does the little weasel say?”

“That you can’t control yourself. That you and Ben together are dangerous and that the safety of the community isn’t as sturdy as everyone thinks.” Pete said.

“I can control it, Pete. The Mayor just wants me out-of-town on a rail because he thinks it’ll get his son off the hook.”

“That’s part of it, I think. Seeing what you did now, I’m sure that he’s legitimately concerned that you’re going to kill us all.”

I huffed out a breath. I could see where Pete was coming from, but there was no way I was giving up Ben. Not after everything I’d been through to find a place where I felt at home.

“I’m not leaving, Pete. He can do as he likes, but I’m not leaving.”

Pete sighed. “I really wish you hadn’t said that.”

I was about to ask what he meant by that when suddenly the car veered off the road and sailed off the side of the hill we were currently traveling up. I screamed and immediately reached out with my power to hold up the car. I was not dying because some lackey decided I needed to go. I was going to live, damn it.

Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. I’d never lifted anything that heavy for that long before. As I maneuvered the car back on to the road, I saw the faces of some of the people passing by. They were in shock to see a flying police car. I would have laughed, because it was kind of funny, but I was too busy trying keep myself alive.

As I set the car down, I heard a click from Pete’s service gun.

“Don’t even think about it.” I said as I reached out with my gift and plucked it from his hands. “You’ve caused more than enough trouble already.”

“P-p-please don’t kill me. I’m only following orders.”

“I’m not going to kill you, but you are going to get in the back seat.” I waited with the gun hovering in midair until Pete had moved himself from the front seat and around to the back. I got out and used my gift to pull the rest of the metal off his person. I dumped everything in the trunk and got into the driver’s side.

“Don’t take me back, She’ll kill me.”

“Then that’s on her, but I’m taking you to the station.” I said.

Pete started crying and I tuned him out. I was pissed and tired and wasn’t sure that I was going to make it back to the station in one piece. I got out my cell phone and called the Sheriff. Pete’s crying from the backseat got louder as I explained what happened.

“I’ll have a deputy that I trust meet you at the station. I’m sorry, Marlowe. I thought he was on our side.”

“You’ll have to explain to me what the hell is going on. I’ve only been gone for three hours, Eric.”

“Yeah and as soon as you crossed the border, shit hit the fan.”

I could hear how tired he was. “What else happened?”

“Every single shifter has changed. Every one. Magic is going haywire and I’m not sure that anything can be done to fix it.”

I thought about it for a second. “I’m coming home. I’ll call you when I get to the station. Take care of my Fiance, Eric. I want him back in one piece.”

“Will do. See you soon.”

I dropped the phone in to my back and started us back to Blueville. I stopped paying attention to Pete’s babbling and crying somewhere around the thirty minute mark. I knew I still had twenty minutes left in this damn car and I was annoyed. I wanted to be there.

I kept my cool though and finished the drive in to town. I didn’t dare go any further than that, because I didn’t know where Ben was. I was shaking with exhaustion by the time the Sheriff met me at the station. Jack and Harry watched over me. I knew I could trust them. They had siblings who were apart of the special side of the community.

“Marlowe! Thank stars.” Eric said when he saw me.

“Thank stars is right. Pete’s in a cell. He forgot to turn off the dash cam. It was all caught on audio.” I said.

Jack and Harry nodded to confirm what I said. The Sheriff looked up at the two hovering over me.

“Go see to it that none of it is erased, then I want to two of you to do a mind by mind search of the whole department. Anyone who’s had anything to do with our mystery woman and the Mayor goes in a cell. I’m done playing his game.”

The two cops nodded and left without a word. I’m pretty sure that the only reason why the orders were issued out loud was because I was here.

“Made your decision, then?”

“I’m on board with taking him down. No one tampers with my department or my town.”

I nodded. “Lets go get Ben. I need him to be steady again.”

The Sheriff helped me up from the chair just as the Mayor stormed in to the station.

“Higgins!” The Sheriff shouted.

“Sir?” Higgins answered.

“See to it that the Mayor has a guard on him at all times while he’s in my station. He’s to go no where alone. Pull in reserves if you have to.”

“Yes, Sir!” Higgins said with a salute and he went to help the Mayor, who was clearly determined to get to the Sheriff. He drew back and his mouth flopped open when he saw that I was still alive. Apparently, no one had told him.

I flashed a smile at the Mayor as Eric escorted me out.

“One of these days, the amount of sass you possess is going to get someone hurt.”

“When that day comes, I’ll sass Death to keep him at bay.”

“That doesn’t even make any sense.”

“I know. Now let’s go get Ben.”

The Sheriff stared at me as I climbed in to his four by four and then shook his head and climbed in after me. He took me out to Ben and I was not prepared for what I saw. My proud dragon was chained to the side of a mountain, shivering and curled up against the cold. I waiting until the Sheriff pulled to a stop and I shoved my way out of the truck and ran for Ben, shouting his name.

His head picked up and he roared, breathing fire at anyone who tried to stop me from reaching him. As soon as I got close he picked me up and tucked me in to my usual spot. He was ice-cold to the touch and I shouted for more blankets as I rubbed his nose. Ben paid no attention to anyone who came close now. He was too busy rumbling at me. While I rubbed his nose and kept him calm, I checked out the shackles that were around his neck and limbs. There were no holes where a key would go.

“Sheriff!” I shouted. I waited till her came closer and then told him. “These are not normal. They’re magical. There’s no lock holes.”

“We figured that when they appeared out of no where and chained him to that rock.” He said. “Is there anything that you can do?”

I reached out and touched them with my fingers and got a nasty shock. I yelped and rubbed my hand.

“No. They’re warded.”

The Sheriff swore. “I’ll get someone out here to help.”

“You have to hurry, he’s not going to make it out of here if he’s chained here much longer.” I said.

The entire dragon shuddered and Ben keened lowly.

“More blankets. He needs more blankets and try building a fire.” I shouted.

It was going to be a long night.

-Marlowe.

Advertisements

The Burning of a Dream

Ben and I arrived at the shop. The whole place was engulfed in flames and the Mayor was standing next the Sheriff. A smug look decorated his features and at that point, I wanted nothing more than to break his nose. I’ve never broken anyone’s nose before. I stood there, shaking with anger at him when the Sheriff came up to me. I didn’t hear him talking to me until Ben pulled me around so I couldn’t see the Mayor anymore. It turns out I was making every car in the parking lot shake and the metal groan. If Ben hadn’t pulled me around, I might have totally lost my temper. I owe him for that.

“Marlowe, I’m sorry.” The Sheriff said.

I shook my head at him. “Not your fault.”

“It kind of is. We released Steve this morning on bail. His father put up the money.”

I sighed and leaned in to Ben, laying my head on his chest.

“Did he do this?”

The Sheriff nodded. “There was a note in spray paint in the office before it went up. The firefighters who went in saw it on the wall.”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I was so upset, angry, distraught that I couldn’t find the words. So I nodded.

“Was he still here when you arrived?” Ben asked.

The Sheriff shook his head. “I’ve got patrol officers looking for him, but we haven’t found him yet.”

I finally spoke up and looked the Sheriff in the eye. “Eric, I want to take out a restraining order on him and his entire family. I don’t want them near my place of business, my home or within one hundred and fifty yards of me.”

The Sheriff sighed. “I thought that’s what you’d want. I’ll have the paperwork for you in the morning.”

I nodded at him. “That family picked  the wrong person to bully. I will not be cowed.”

Ben ran his hand over my back and I could feel it through my coat. I buried my face in to his chest to steady myself.

“I’m going to talk with the lawyers after the holiday about all of this, see what they have to say.” I said to Ben.

Ben sighed. “Okay. I’m with you, whatever comes our way.”

I nodded. “I want out of here. Eric, do you need us here?”

The Sheriff shook his head. “No. You can go. I’ll send the Mayor away, make sure that he doesn’t come near you or the house.”

“Miles, Mark, Miss Maggie and Murphy are on that list as well. They will not be harmed because they’re family.” Ben said before I could.

“You’re still coming for Thanksgiving, right?” I asked the Sheriff. He nodded. “Good. We’ll save you a place. The Twins and your sister-in-law too.”

“She’s going back home. The Twins are too much for her.” The Sheriff said with a small smile.

I smiled back at him. There were four of us in the house and they wore us all out. Ben tugged on my shoulders and we walked together back to his car. We got inside and with one last look at my shop, left the yard and headed home.

“Tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours.” Ben said as he picked up my hand.

I was embarrassed that it was shaking. “I wanted to kill him tonight. drive a hunk of metal straight through his black heart and leave him there.”

Ben jolted at my tone and sighed. “Vengeance gets you no where, habibi.”

“I know that. I didn’t do it, did I? But I wanted to.” I gripped his hand tight and looked up at him. “Will you marry me?”

Ben nearly ran off the road. He brought the car back under control and looked at me. “You couldn’t wait four more days?”

I laughed. “No.”

Ben huffed. “I had it all planned for Thursday and you go and do this while you’re all keyed up and angry.”

I smiled up at him. “I’m angry, yes. I no longer want to kill him though. I want to marry you and give him a the finger by living happily together.”

Ben tapped his fingers on the wheel as he looked at me. “No.”

My face fell and I looked down at my seat. “Oh. Okay.”

“You’re not understanding me. No, I’m not living happily with you just to give him the finger. I want to live happily with you because you want to live with me. You’re it, Marlowe. There’s been no one else I love as much as I love you.”

I was shocked. I looked up at him.

“So my answer is no. Not until its me you want. I won’t put up with being someone’s revenge goal.”

He started the car and we headed for home. I sat in the seat looking at him, heart hurting. I’d fucked up.

“I love you.” I said to him as we pulled in to the driveway.

“I love you, Marlowe. I always will.” Ben said as he pulled in to the garage and got out.

I sat in my seat a while longer, thinking. Ben opened up my door for me and grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the car. I made frustrated noises because I’d forgotten to take the seat belt off. While I fiddled with getting the belt off, Ben knelt next to the car. When I’d gotten it undone and swung my legs out of the car, Ben moved between them and cupped my face in his hands.

“I need to know, right now, why you’re in this relationship, because if it’s just for giving that man the finger, I want out.”

It hurt to hear him say it, but I understood why. I’d been so infuriated by that man I’d made a stupid mistake. I looked him in the eye and there were tears in my eyes. My own soon filled. I leaned forward and laid my forehead against his.

“I love you.” My voice was raw and heavy with the tears that I wanted to let out, but I couldn’t just yet. “Just you. No one else. I was angry earlier and I let it fuel my words. I’m sorry.”

Ben kissed me, but stayed silent.

“There won’t be anyone but you. I can’t promise eternity, but I can promise my life. As long as I’m with you, there will be no one else.” I opened my eyes and looked in to his again.

Ben’s eyes were closed. The tears I didn’t want to let come were over flowing and I couldn’t stop them. When he finally opened his eyes and then spoke, his voice was very raw and he croaked out the words to me.

“I’m not going to ask you yet. We need to put some time in between tonight and what happened, but I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me.” With that Ben kissed me and dragged me up and out of the car. He closed and locked it, reached for my hand and linked my fingers with his. Together we walked in to the house to face the questions that would be coming from all members of the house. Even the dogs.

It didn’t really matter if their question was “Hey, you gonna feed me?”

-Marlowe.

End of the First Week With the Parents, Part 3

I slept in the dungeon with Ben and my boys that night and woke up surrounded by naked men. I started laughing, that’s what woke up the others.

“Why’s she laughing?” Mark asked Miles.

I was in tears from laughing so hard. Ben just looked at me like I was insane.

I hiccupped my way through an explanation: “Bad porn movie.”

That set the rest of them off. We sat there for what must have been twenty minutes just laughing.

“Come on, the lot of you. Get up. I don’t want Ben’s mother coming down here and finding you all naked. Not good for first meetings.” I said as I stood up and reached over to the stack over towels that we kept down there for full moon nights. I passed them out and watched Miles and Mark leave.

“Oh, Marlowe?” Miles said.

“Yes, Miles?”

He threw the vest and bow tie at me. “You ever pull that crap again I’ll shred you. You should know pink isn’t my color.”

I watched him sail out of the room as only a miffed gay man could. I dissolved in to laughter again and Ben followed me.

“You didn’t really put that on him, did you?”

I nodded. “Yes and your mother helped.” I started laughing again.

Ben gaped at me. “Oh that’s brilliant.”

“I know.” I said as I calmed down and wiped the tears from my eyes.

Ben grabbed my hand and pulled me close. I stood up on my tiptoes and kissed him. “Shower?” I murmured.

“Shower. Then greetings to my mother. I need you first though.” He said as he secured the towel around his waist and hauled me up.

“You have this need to carry me, don’t you?” I asked him as we made our way out of the door and up the stairs.

“You’re not getting away from me, Oberly. I carry you so you can’t run.”

I kissed him again. “I’m not going anywhere.”

We were up the stairs without seeing anyone and back downstairs for breakfast in less than 90 minutes. The scene in the kitchen when his mother walked in was priceless. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man that large, cry that hard. It was something I’ll never forget. I might have started crying and been hugged by Miles when he walked in and saw what was going on. There might have been enough tears in the room to make Alice jealous.

I couldn’t sit there and cry any longer, so I got up and started making breakfast while they were catching up. I had beef sausage frying when Ben finally pulled himself away from his mother. He came over and kissed my neck. I laughed and pushed him off.

“Sausage thief.”

He laughed and his mother joined him.

“You are so my child.”

Ben grinned at her and stole another piece of sausage patty when I wasn’t looking.

“You’re going to be dead if you steal another one.” I slapped his hand when he tried again and he looked offended.

Miles and his mom just laughed at him.

“She warned you.” Miles said as he sipped his coffee.

I took a good look at his outfit today and laughed. “I thought you said pink wasn’t your color, Miles.”

Jude caught on and started laughing. His shirt was pink and he was wearing a light blue tie. Miles just winked at us both. Mark walked in and Jude went over to hug him. What ever was said, I couldn’t hear, but Mark smiled and kissed her cheek.

I slid Ben’s plate in front of him when the eggs were done and murmured in to his ear that we needed to talk later. Ben nodded and tucked in to his breakfast. Soon the whole kitchen was in want for a lack of noise as it was filled with the goings on of a reunited family breakfast. We got the whole story of the time Ben went spying on their Jewish neighbor because he was convinced she was a witch who could talk to animals. She couldn’t, but Ben could. So when he tripped over a brick and landed face first in her garden, it was an interesting when he was able to tell her dog not to kill him. That lead to a lot of teasing at the table and a red face for Ben. It was adorable.

Ben had taken the day off so he was in charge of dishes while I went upstairs to change for work. I had a 1968 Impala coming in to the garage that I was itching to get my hands on. I was out the door in less than an hour and at the shop to open for the day. When I got there though, the Sheriff was waiting for me with Steve’s father. That pissed me off. He was supposed to be staying away from me and my place of business. I was finally getting the chance to reopen since his idiot son’s plan to kill me. I pulled the car in to the lot and parked it, got out and walked over to the Sheriff, completely ignoring the pompous ass.

“Good morning, Sheriff. Any news on my shop?”

Sheriff Stiers smiled at me. “As a matter of fact, I do.” He tossed the keys to me. “You’re all set to open up this morning and I need my cruiser’s break pads changed. They’re starting to squeal.”

“Happy to help the BPD, Sheriff.” I  smiled as I tucked the keys into my pocket.

I could see the Mayor out of the corner of my eye getting even more pissed off the longer I talked to just the Sheriff. Good. I was still supremely pissed and I wanted him to suffer. However, the Sheriff changed things when he spoke to the Mayor.

“You had a few words to say to the victim, Mayor.”

“Hello, Mayor Miller. I trust you’re well?” I said as politely as I could. I couldn’t help the tone of ‘fuck you, old man’ that managed to sneak in to my tone.

“Very well, thank you. I’m sorry to hear about your shop and the troubles you experienced here last week.”

“Thank you for your kind thoughts, Mayor. I’m sure my attacker will get justice done to him.” I immensely enjoyed the bright shade of purple that came over the man’s face.

“I’m sure it will be fair.”

“Oh, I hardly think it will be fair in this town. That’s why I had my lawyer issue papers last Friday to move the arraignment and trial down to Goose Creek.” I said.

When the Mayor’s mouth started moving like a guppy and no words came out, I enjoyed the fight that took place on his face. Whether to respond to me as the Mayor, or as the father of my assailant. The Mayor side won, which was a pity because I would have enjoyed the shouting match that would have happened.

“I’m sure you’ll get fair and swift justice, then.” He said. “I must be going. I hope you have a good day.”

“and to you as well, Mayor Miller.” I replied.

I watched the man get in to his car and drive off. Then I lost it and the Sheriff joined in with me.

“Oh, I don’t ever think I’ve seen that man, that pissed off.”

“I have and the show that’s going to happen down at the court house is going to be something I’m sorry I’m going to miss.”

“It’s a good thing I didn’t file the  papers there, but in the federal court down in Goose Neck.” I said as I tried to regain my composure.

“You did what? I thought you were joking.”

“I’m not. I’m going to put that man in his place. It’s long past time someone did and I’ve had enough of him. He may be a damn good Mayor, but he’s shit with everything else.”

“Be careful, Marlowe. He’s not know to be forgiving.”

“Neither am I, Eric. That man is going down.” I pulled the keys back out of my pocket and jingled them. “Now, about your cruiser,”

“All right, all right. It’s all yours.” He said.

Three hours later the Sheriff was on his way with a full set of brake pads, new spark plugs, new oil filter, oil change and his tires changed over from summer to winter radials. I was just starting to think about the Impala that would be coming in when the Mayor charged back in to the yard. I immediately picked up the phone and told the Sheriff, then stepped out to greet the Mayor. I was thankful I had the common sense to have a video surveillance system installed after the incident with Steve. I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.

“You bitch!” He shouted as soon as he stepped out of the car.

I stayed where I knew the cameras would pick up everything. I’m not stupid and he knew it, which is why he surprised me when he slapped me.

“You filed them in FEDERAL COURT?” Mayor Miller shouted. “Are you insane?”

“Not insane, Mayor. Pissed off. Your son assaulted me. I wasn’t going to make it easy on you to get him pleaded out to a lesser charge. Your son committed a feral crime.” I said back, biting off my words because I was trying my hardest not to hit him back.

When the Sheriff pulled back into the yard, I stepped back from him and behind the door to my shop. I locked the door before he could follow me inside and busied myself with the tape of what just happened. I watched the Sheriff through the glass door as he argued with the Mayor. I wiggled the DVD case at him when he looked at me. He nodded and motioned for me to wait. I waited until the Mayor was done shouting at him and then pulled the recording of the last hour, burning it to a DVD. I let the Sheriff take photos of my face, which was still red from where he slapped me.

“That’s going to bruise, Marlowe.”

“I hope it does. More evidence.”

“You’re falling in to their trouble.”

“All I did was move here, Eric. They started it, I’m just going to finish it.” I said firmly.

The Sheriff stepped close and dropped his voice. “Do us all a favor and don’t get killed in the process. You’re not the only one in this town that has power.”

I dropped mine and let my eyes go silver as I stared at him. “No one knows just how much power I have, Eric. Not even you or Ben.”

I forced my eyes to go back to normal as he stared.

“You,” He paused. “are trouble.”

I laughed. “Possibly.”

He stepped back with DVD case I handed him.

“I’ll be down after work to sign the papers, Sheriff.”

The Sheriff nodded at me as he strode off and put the Mayor in his car. Front seat, of course. I shook my head and went back to work. Today had given me a headache and it wasn’t over yet. I waved at Miles as he drove by, his eyes were huge. Well that takes care of one problem, I thought.

I worked straight through the day, went and signed the papers and made my way home. Ben met me at the door and got a look at my face.

“Miles called. He was driving by when it happened. Why didn’t you call me?!”

“I called the Sheriff. He wasn’t that far away and was there in five minutes. I signed the papers, he’s got an assault charge on him now.” I pushed my way in to Ben’s arms and sighed.

Ben kissed my hair and held me close. “I was worried.”

“I know. I saw Miles drive by and knew he’d tell you. That’s why I didn’t bother to call, Miles is a one man gossip network.”

Ben kissed my hair again. “He is, but you still should have called me.”

I didn’t want to fight about something this dumb. I knew where he was coming from. “All right, so long as your promise that the next time George sends your for stitches, you’re calling me and not James to come get you.”

I felt Ben flinch at that one and I smiled. “Two can play the ‘you need to call me’ card, Ben.”

I pulled back and looked up. He smiled and bent to kiss me.

“All right. No more calling anyone else. We call each other first.”

“Deal.” I said and I kissed him again. “I made breakfast, who’d got dinner? I’m starving.”

“My mother cooked.”

“Oh did she now? I said as I shed my coat. It was cold as hell outside. “Lets go eat. I can’t wait to try what she’s made.”

I hooked my arm in his and we walked in to the kitchen.

-Marlowe.