Adversaries are overcome and minor problems are brushed underneath the rug as Chuck and Stephanie find themselves blissfully out of danger. They speak of many choices in their future and the pair must decide what is best not only for them, but for future offspring.
The large room was eerily quiet. No one dared move with Ivanovich holding the gun in the direction of both Chuck and the crowd of werewolves. Everyone realized there was probably a full clip of silver bullets in that weapon, and they didn’t want him firing at them. Chuck held still with his eyes glaring at the weapon.
Stephanie waited for the moment when she would need to run to her partner’s rescue and maybe take a bullet for him. However, she couldn’t understand what had just happened, or why. Ivanovich was a lackey for Gregory and yet he had just done away with his boss, his leader. Even Miss Seville, long an ally, didn’t flinch, but her eyes were trapped by Gregory’s naked body on lying on the floor. Her face held a mix of contempt and pity. He was not a good person, but to be shot in the back was a terrible, demeaning end to his life.
“I’ve seen you dodge bullets before, Charles, but I don’t know if you could do it at this range,”
Ivanovich quipped with a smirk on his face. Chuck growled and pulled back to launch himself at his aggressor, but his partner interrupted his plan of attack.
“Is this what’s supposed to happen? Is this fair?” Stephanie finally spoke up. She cautiously stepped forward toward the center of the room, being mindful to avoid the naked body. “Weren’t these two supposed to fight it out and then anyone else can fight the winner?”
“It doesn’t matter what’s fair, it just matters who’s alive,” Ivanovich informed her. His eyes never left Chuck’s wary form. The transformed werewolf didn’t trust the man to turn the gun on him when he, too, wasn’t looking. “Relax, I don’t want to kill you. Here, I’ll prove it.” Ivanovich lowered the hand which held the gun and held up the other, empty hand. Still none of the others moved from where they stood. “What? Still not believing me?” Ivanovich asked them in a fake disappointed voice.
“What’s the catch here?” Stephanie asked him.
“The catch is that I want you two to leave here and never come back,” their new opponent informed her. “I may not be as strong as Gregory was, physically speaking, but I’m a hell of a lot smarter.” His eyes glanced over to the crowd of werewolves. They weren’t sure what to think of their self-appointed new leader. “Also, I wasn’t stealing from the general fund to enrich myself. Not like Gregory and Seville over there.” He nodded in her direction and she looked away, evidently ashamed of her actions. “Now what do you all say to that?”
“What the hell?”
“I want my money back!”
“When the fuck did he do that?!”
There were many more expletives and questions, but one stood out from the rest for its accusation.
“If you weren’t doing it, how come you knew about it?” somebody shouted from deep inside the crowd. That got the crowd riled up against the informant and murderer of their leader.
“Yeah, how come you knew?”
“Where’d you help hide the dough?!”
Ivanovich, sensing the crowd growing hostile to himself for now two reasons, held up his hands for silence. The gun that was still in his grasp more than his gesture quieted them down.
“Because as treasurer he told me to do it or else,” Ivanovich told the people.
Stephanie couldn’t understand the severity of the situation and she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was creep a little closer to Chuck, and she used the financial discussion to creep up to him. The moment she reached his side he pushed her behind him. His hand kept a firm grasp around her arm just in case things got ugly. He understood the severity of the situation, and that was enough to worry both of them.
“I killed Gregory so that gives me the right over all his assets, but I won’t use that blood money for myself,” Ivanovich announced to his subjects. “I aim to get back that money you sweated blood for and put it back into the general fund where it belongs!” There was a great cheering. Even if he hadn’t won them all over, Ivanovich was well on his way to a nomination slot.
“What’s going on here?” Stephanie whispered to her partner, but he only shook his head. Apparently the explanation was too long or too complicated to deal with right now.
“Now instead of fighting amongst ourselves like we’re some sort of animal, let’s try and use our heads,” Ivanovich suggested. To prove his point, he tossed the gun away from himself. Chuck glanced over to the weapon, and then Stephanie realized he was slowly reverting back to his human self. He would be in a better position to speak with her and argue with the new wolf leader.
“You spoke of us leaving, do you still intend to keep your word?” Chuck called out to Ivanovich after he was fully human. His shorts were still intact but his other clothes were mere shreds, both from the change and from the fight.
“Of course. I don’t want troublemakers like you sticking around,” Ivanovich replied with a grin. He looked out over the rest of the werewolf pack. “I may not have played fair against our despicable deceased leader, but I think this werewolf proved himself worthy enough to get a full pardon and never be bothered again.”
Stephanie’s face lit up at the promise and she excitedly looked to Chuck. He appeared more relieved than glad, but he smiled back at her. Then, as her eyes fell on the lone figure close to Gregory’s body, Stephanie realized there was one last loose end to deal with.
“What about Seville? What are you going to do to her?” Stephanie asked them. She nodded toward the young woman and felt some pity for the frightened look in Seville’s eyes. Stephanie appreciated the help Seville had given in interceding on their behalf during the fight.
Seville flinched and stepped back away from the angry pack. They connected her to Gregory, and he had fallen out of favor with the news of the embezzlement. She defensively held up her hands.
“I can lead you to where the money is. We never spent any of it, Gregory wanted it saved. If the embezzlement was discovered, then we’d leave,” she quickly explained to the other werewolves. “I can get all of it out and put it back in the treasury.”
“So you admit you were in on it?” Ivanovich accused, but here she vehemently shook her head.
“I was as much a part of it as you. He had me deposit the money in the bank . If anyone noticed it was gone and he didn’t have time to get away, I would be the fall guy.”
“It’s like some sort of mystery novel,” Stephanie whispered to Chuck. He snorted and nodded his head. Then she noticed him shiver a little. It was dark outside and he was nearly stark-naked.
“Well, if we’re done here then I think it’s time for us to leave,” Stephanie announced to everyone around them, and there was a friendly smile on her face. She took hold of Chuck’s shoulders and turned him around toward the exit. “We’ll just show ourselves out.”