Oops I forgot! I need to preschedule these next week. *nods*
* * * *
The rest of the week was quiet. Jacques kept waiting for some word from Nevio. He refused to admit he might be interested in what the vampire offered. Resolve hardened his momentary weakness. If he gave in now he would always be giving in to the vampire.
“You’ve got some mail.”
Jacques snapped out of his daydreaming to find Sarah, the pack secretary, waving an envelope at him.
“Mmhmm, want to share what’s bothering you? You’ve been walking around the pack house with your head in the clouds the past few days. People are starting to take bets whether you’ll walk into a wall soon.” She lifted one highly waxed eyebrow. If there was one thing the pack females took seriously it was body hair.
Jacques forcefully shoved any ideas about where else she might wax from his mind with a shudder and stared at his envelope. “Wolves will be on anything.”
A husky chuckle left her lips. “True.”
Before he could say anything else she spun on her three inch heels and strutted off. She might be called the pack secretary but Sarah was more like the administrative backbone of the pack who could rip out your spine if you tried to cheat on your business report. Some of the pack found her almost as scary as the alpha.
Jacques opened his mail and found his acceptance letter to the Master’s program in Museum Studies. He let out a breath. He had been accepted. A wide grin spread across his mouth. He ignored the small pang that reflected wistfully on the vampire. He wasn’t mean to be a vampire companions.
“I was surprised to hear you turned the vampire down.”
Jacques jumped, dropping his letter with a squeal. Once he could gather his breath he spun around and glared at his adoptive father. “Don’t do that!”
Alpha Caldera laughed. “You were to engrossed in your letter. You shouldn’t block out the rest of the world. You never know when you might be attacked.”
“In the middle of the pack house?” Jacques lifted his right eyebrow as he filled his voice with doubt.
His father nodded. “Yep, you know how the wolves like to pounce on their favorite lion.”
Jacques wished he could deny his father’s words but he couldn’t. The wolves did like to play pounce on the tiger. His father always claimed it was a learning exercise and ignored Jacques claims it was a way for the wolves to attack him with consequences. More than once he had ended up in the pack healer’s office.
Although he got along with most of the pack there were the occasional wolf newcomers who didn’t appreciate a lion among them and they often looked the other way while their children ganged up on Jacques. Through the years he had learned how to handle multiple opponents in a fight so he figured it wasn’t all bad.
“I got my acceptance letter.” He snatched it up off the floor and handed it over to his father.
His father scanned the pages before returning them with a wide smile. “Congratulations. I think you will do very well with this. When do you leave?”
Jacques examined the deadlines on the sheet. “After a bit of shopping I think I’ll leave next week. I’m going to drive.”
“Why? It’s a long way for you to go alone.”
“I’ll be fine.” Jacques waved his father’s concerns away. “I want to have my car at school and this is the easiest way.”
“I could have one of the pack take it over for you.”
“Father. I can do it. You don’t have to coddle me any more. I’m all grown up now.” He patted his father’s shoulder.
“I know.” Caldera let out a long breath. “I just keep thinking of you as the sad, shaggy lion cub I found years ago who needed me for his survival. I forget that you’ve left those years long ago.”
Jacques impulsively hugged his father. “I’ll always need you, father, just maybe not as much.”