New York – New York, USA
“Sir, Nathan and Ecaterina are here to see you.” Gerry’s secretary informed him. He punched the speaker button, “Thank you, Ashley. Please send them in.”
Gerry finished the email he was working on and stood up as the door to his office opened and Nathan stepped in, followed by his mate Ecaterina. Both smiled at him, and they met in the middle of his large office. He shook Nathan’s hand and hugged Ecaterina briefly. “Couch or desk?” He asked.
“I am thinking the couch,” She replied pulling on Nathan’s arm and changing his direction. “These shoes are beautiful, but they are not comfortable.” She rubbed Nathan’s back in passing and Gerry tried to keep the smirk off of his face.
He sighed inwardly, he was happy for Nathan. He was getting up in age, he shouldn’t be jealous of Nathan’s happiness. Now that the politics had been reduced substantially by Bethany Anne he might have the time to look around one last time for a significant other. Probably a human woman as a Were lady would outlive him.
The couple sat down on his small couch and Gerry asked if they wanted anything. Nathan replied that he would like a Scotch this time but Ecaterina demurred. Gerry raised an eyebrow to Nathan, who shook his head and slightly shrugged his shoulders.
That was interesting, Gerry thought. “Perhaps a water with lemon?” She agreed and Gerry made their drinks and handed them out. He made a gin and tonic for himself and sat down.
“So,” Gerry started, “how did the recruiting run go?”
“Too well, perhaps,” Nathan replied.
Gerry was surprised, “What? That’s kind of shocking. I figured with the fall-out from the last council meeting there would be a lot of bullshit cock-blocking of recruiting effort.”
“Oh, they tried that in the beginning.” Ecaterina agreed, “But it didn’t work very well.”
Gerry looked back over to Nathan for an answer.
“You really didn’t hear any news?” Nathan asked and then was surprised when Gerry grinned. “Who would have thought you would take so well to not being the top guy?” Nathan mused.
Gerry shrugged, “I was mostly doing it to keep the lid on anything Michael would do again. That massacre made an impression on me. Since Bethany Anne is heading things, I feel comfortable relaxing on this. Plus, you are my contact. If they have a problem with you, well shit – they can just complain to you!”
“You sneaky bastard, you turned off your phone!” Nathan accused.
“Not true.” He replied quickly, “I shunted anything but a couple of people off to voice mail.” He took a sip of his drink. “So, back to how you got them to get in line.”
Ecaterina cut in, “He grew furry and picked both of the alphas up and growled right in their faces. It was an exciting moment for many, I assure you.” She grinned, “The younger crowd got so excited about seeing a Procilici that anything the Alphas said went right out their ears.” She made a gesture with her hand, “Poof!”
Gerry chuckled, “Discussion through Intimidation? I thought Bethany Anne was a kinder, gentler influence on you?”
Nathan smiled, “That was Ecaterina, who told me to ‘get this dick-beating over with, it bores me.’”
Ecaterina blushed when both men leaned towards each other and high-fived as they laughed loudly. She interrupted their howling with, “I just asked myself what Bethany Anne would say…” That didn’t help any at all, now they were practically rolling out of their chairs. Finally, she stood up, “I think I will go talk to Ashley for a moment while you two boys get this out of your system.”
Nathan reached under to push her up more quickly and she popped his hand when she was standing then winked at him, “Promises, promises!” She stepped out of the room, and the two men turned back to each other.
“So,” Gerry asked, “turn into a Procilici and everything is good?”
Nathan grimaced, “Not quite that easy. Having to fight the rage that occurs when in that form is a challenge. It isn’t something that you want to provide to just any idiot with the raw ability. I’m a little surprised that Peter handles it so well.”
“Peter?” Gerry asked.
“Yes, John started calling him Peter and said that Pete was his old, younger name. It kind of caught on. Occasionally we will call him Pete within the group, especially if we are trying to tease him. But outside, and now more often inside the group, he is Peter.”
“He’s grown up, huh?” Gerry asked before taking another sip.
Nathan looked around the office for a minute, Gerry could almost see his mind replaying the incident with Peter’s dad and Nathan in this very office that decided Peter’s fate. “You know Gerry, for Wechselbalg, he is basically our chosen child. You know that?” Nathan mentioned, somberly, “He was the child sacrificed to the vampires and has risen up to become the leader of our next generation.”
Now, Gerry felt taken back to that moment. A moment which at the time had felt a lot less momentous and much more spur-of-the-moment decision-making. “Who would have thought?” He concurred with Nathan, “Now, we have three that can turn into Procilici and we are tied at the hip with one of the most powerful vampires ever to have existed.”
“The…” Nathan said.
“What?” Gerry asked, “Do you mean that she is stronger than Michael?”
“Oh, maybe not in sheer physical violence. I imagine he can still take her on in a one-on-one display. He has a thousand years of practice she doesn’t yet. No, I’m talking about her organization and what she heads up. Bethany Anne has built our group, and we are on the Moon, Gerry.” He took a sip of his own drink, “The damned Moon!”
Nathan turned to look around the room before coming back to Gerry, “We have over two hundred Wechselbalg volunteers right now, and that is the first wave. I expect by the time we finish with the U.S. and Canada, we will have close to a battalion of Wechselbalg eager to sign up.” He exhaled, “I don’t know if they are signing up because of me, because they need change or because they understand who Bethany Anne is.”
“Well,” Gerry answered, “My experience suggests no matter the original reason, Bethany Anne will focus their attention where it needs to be.”
Nathan saluted Gerry and downed his drink.