Written in Red Page 120

Thaisia’s history, on the other hand, was a different matter altogether. Humans and Others held very different opinions about that subject.

But that day’s report of arithmetic, reading, and writing had been covered in the first two minutes of the drive. Now Sam was back to a more important topic.

“But Nathan isn’t doing anything,” Sam said. “Why can’t he play with me?”

“He is doing something,” Simon replied. “He’s on guard, so he can play only during the midday break when Meg isn’t in the office.”

“How come Meg needs a guard now? Nathan wasn’t guarding when I was with Meg before.”

He didn’t want to tell the boy about the intruder, but if he didn’t say something, the pup would keep on pestering him and Nathan about why the Wolf on guard couldn’t play.

“A man came into the office. He was mean to Meg. We didn’t like that, so Nathan is there to make sure nobody else is mean to her.”

Sam looked out the window. Then he asked in a small voice, “Is he the man who hurt Mom?”

“No. Those men ran away. We’ll find them one day, Sam. We will. But the man who came into the office wasn’t one of them.”

“I want to be Wolf when I’m at the office.”

Simon glanced at the boy. “Meg can’t communicate the way the terra indigene do. You won’t be able to tell her what you learned in school today if you’re Wolf.”

“I can tell her when we get home. I can’t wear the harness in this form, so I have to hold the safety line in my hand, and sometimes I forget and drop it.”

“You don’t have to wear the harness anymore.” He wished the boy wasn’t so focused on that harness and leash. It made the other Wolves uneasy. Well, it wouldn’t bother any of them much longer. The pup had grown sufficiently in just a few days’ time that the harness wouldn’t fit him in another week.

Sam gave him an incredulous look. “If I don’t wear the harness, how am I supposed to pull Meg out of a snowbank when she falls in?”

Simon kept his eyes on the road. The boy had said when, not if. Just how often did Meg fall into a snowbank? Was she clumsy, or was it play? Or did she end up in the snow after getting tripped by a puppy?

“And Meg isn’t a good digger,” Sam continued. “As Wolf, I’m lots better at digging.”

“Is that why you were the one digging out the BOW when it got stuck in the snow yesterday?” Simon asked mildly.

Sam scooted down in his seat and mumbled, “You weren’t supposed to know about that.”

“Uh-huh.” He had fielded a dozen calls from Hawks, Owls, Crows, and a couple of Wolves who had watched that piece of idiocy and couldn’t wait to tell him about it. He found it interesting that none of them had offered to help. In fact, the Wolves told him they had deliberately stayed out of sight, letting Meg and Sam work it out for themselves. And they had. Between them, they had gotten the BOW unstuck and continued with the deliveries.

It also explained why, when he’d returned from an hour’s run with Blair and a few other Wolves, he’d found the television on and pup and prophet sound asleep on the living room floor.

Since she was spooned around Sam to keep him warm, Simon had figured it was only sensible to stay as Wolf and tuck himself against her back to keep her warm.

The fact that tucking up against her made him feel content had nothing to do with that decision. Nothing at all.

When they arrived at Meg’s office, Simon helped Sam fold his clothes and place them in one of the back room’s storage bins, then opened the door to the sorting room after the boy shifted to Wolf. The pup gave Meg an exuberant greeting, arroooed at Nathan, then began sniffing around the room for the cookies Meg had hidden.

“You have anything you want me to walk over to the consulate?” he asked.

“No, thanks,” Meg replied. “Darrell came by and picked up the mail.” She paused, looking puzzled.

He caught a whiff of uneasiness in her scent and took a step toward her. “Something wrong with him coming by?”

She shook her head. “Just that no one from the consul has come for the mail before this week.”

He debated about whether to tell her about Darrell’s scheduled monkey f**k, but he didn’t say anything because she suddenly yelped.

“Your nose is cold!” she said, looking down at Sam. “And don’t think I’m buying that ‘I was just checking for cookies’ look as an excuse to stick a cold nose against my ankle!”

Sam talked back at her, sounding quite pleased with himself, then trotted around the sorting table to resume his quest for cookies.

Grinning, Simon left the office and walked over to the consulate.

Darrell was at a desk, looking like he’d already caught the scent of a female in heat and was about to lose his brains over it. Giving the human a nod, Simon went up the stairs to Elliot’s office.

“You wanted to see me?” he asked when his sire looked up.

“Yes.”

Elliot gestured to the visitor’s chair, and Simon wondered which politician he was mimicking. He also wondered why the other Wolf looked uncomfortable.

“Everything still going well with Ms. Corbyn?” Elliot finally asked.

“Some reason it shouldn’t be?”

“I saw Nathan and Sam chasing her yesterday afternoon behind the office. They seemed . . . serious . . . in their pursuit.”

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