The plans for the trip were going rather well considering the situation and his companion for the expedition. With his Tasker still on the mend and Devon still away tending to lycan problems, Eva was Gabriel’s next choice. He’d been hesitant about taking her away from her children knowing that her mind may be more on her husband and family than on the task at hand, but she’d assured him otherwise.
So it was that Gabriel found himself in his home office making necessary arrangements over the phone with his assistant Mrs. Shepherd about the upcoming week’s appointments. He was seated at his desk with the phone to his ear when he heard a commotion coming from the front foyer and the female voice that was involved let him know that the day had just taken a turn.
“Listen here, I won’t be turned away like some unwanted annoyance. If he doesn’t want to see me, he can tell me himself!”
With a sigh Gabriel finished his phone conversation and hung up as he rose from the leather office chair. He moved to the door and stepped into the hall to save his butler from his cousin’s wrath. “It’s alright Henry, I’ll see her. Come in Isabel and let me hear your rant of the week.” She’d been making a habit of this since they had been younger. He’d taken her and her siblings under his wing along the way, at least as far as his Aunt Rose would allow. But Izzy was the wild child, a very entitled one at that.
The petite, dark haired beauty marched into the office right behind her cousin, “Where is he?”
Taking in her casual attire of faded jeans and t-shirt that’d seen better days, Gabriel rested against the corner of his desk and rubbed the bridge of his nose, “Where is who Isabel? I’m afraid you’ll have to be a bit more specific.” After all, he’d heard that question a lot lately.
“Oh Mr. Kennedy, I do apologize.” Izzy stressed every word just to emphasize her sarcasm as she went on, “Well now let’s see he stands about six foot or so tall, has dirty blonde hair and fucks me like there’s no tomorrow. Does that help?” Her lashed fluttered in exaggeration to make her green eyes look bigger then they were and she plastered a fake smile on her lips.
“The theatrics weren’t really necessary, nor were the added details.” Gabriel wasn’t impressed and it was showing as his spine had stiffened making him straighten up even more so if that were possible.
Pacing near the doorway Isabel snapped back, “You asked for specifics.”
“I don’t know where he is and if that is the extent of your tirade I have packing to see to.” Gabriel took a few steps towards his Aunt Rose’s youngest. Eva would be arriving at any moment and he needed to be ready to leave, the jet was being prepared for flight and he had no time for one of Isabel’s famous tantrums.
Stopping where she was Izzy tipped her chin up and glared bright green daggers at her uptight prude of a cousin. “Don’t think for two seconds that I’m leaving here without some sort of explanation!” The words were short and clipped as her voice rose an octave in pitch. “Largros left on an errand and said he’d be gone a day or two at the most. Now it’s been a week and he still isn’t home! I’m really worried Gabe! Largros always stays in touch and this just isn’t like him.” She chewed her thumb nail which at this point was becoming non existent which gave further proof to her worrying. “He takes contracts for your company, sometimes. You know things that I may not…”
“Why would I know where your man is?” Gabriel asked out of true curiosity. “Not everyone that works for me is constantly on my radar, Isabel. I don’t keep tabs on everyone despite what all of you think. I do have a business to oversee and my own life to keep up with.” Reaching for his jacket where it hung on the coat rack just to Isabel’s right, Gabriel slipped it on as he listened to the snort of disbelief from her.
Reaching to straighten his tie, Isabel pat it into place and stepped back to look him over. Such a waste, all that gorgeous body and perfect looks and no one allowed to enjoy them.
“Gabriel, you’re a workaholic. You’re whole life is nothing but work, work, work. You’ve involved most of your family in your work, or in charities funded by your work, or… something. So I don’t believe for two seconds that you don’t have tabs on all of us. You probably know every tiny detail of our days. It’s not like you have anything better to do. You haven’t been out on a real date in years and no I don’t count those put on for show things you do for the galas as dates.”
Refusing to be baited further, Gabriel calmly removed Isabel’s hand from his tie and let it go. “I’ll see what I can find out, but I can’t guarantee anything.” It hurt to hear what his family saw him as, but Gabriel kept his emotions in check and didn’t let his cousin know how disappointed he was in her for her close mindedness. “Eva will be along soon perhaps she knows something about his absence?” He looked at his watch and was adjusting the time he’d need to prepare once Isabel left.
“Who’s absence?” Eva asked as she came into view. She was dressed nicely, a lovely business outfit on her, skirt to her knees at least and practical, yet flirty heels. Her normally wild hair was managed back into a thick bun then small braid. She had her purse with her, which was small enough for essentials and had left the two carry-ons downstairs. When Gabriel needed help, she wanted to be there for him. Besides, after speaking to Devon earlier, she really needed to keep her mind off of what might be happening on the other side. Her kids kept asking questions and she had no answers. This would give her a much needed break and give the kids a break from her temper.
Perhaps there was a God above listening to him after all… “Largros, it appears she has misplaced him and needs help finding him. She assumed I knew the answer, but alas I do not. Do you happen to know anything about her missing man?”
Isabel turned her attention quickly from Gabriel to Eva. “Please tell me you know something. I know he sometimes takes contracts with the pack and works with gabe’s company and security. I’m going insane worrying over him. Eva, I have no idea where he is and Gabriel is useless there too it seems.” Her irritation flared to life.
“On that note I’ll leave you ladies to it and resume my preparations for our flight.” If Eva needed him to stay he would, but h knew the vixen was very capable of handling anything tossed at her.
“He’s safe,” it was a straight answer. It was all she had, considering she was caught off guard. How much did this girl know? How much was she allowed to tell? Would Gabe be mad that she hadn’t already said anything? Things kind of went awry already, and so much had been happening, that Eva didn’t think it was important to mention who went over to help Devon with Nea.
Eva took note of Gabriel’s pause. Maybe he hadn’t expected her to actually know something? She smiled and put on her absolute BEST angelic face and posture.
“So… we need to be going, right?” Her voice got a bit higher than she had meant it to get.
“Not so fast! What do you mean he’s safe? Where is he?” Isabel stepped in front of the older woman to stop her from leaving.
Turning back to the two women, Gabriel lifted a brow towards his friend in question. “Do go on and explain further about what Largros has been up to.”
“Well, I don’t know how to answer that.” Eva scrunched up her little nose when looking at the both of them. She took a breath and decided to treat these two like she’d treat her pups. She’d just answer what was on the table. Sometimes they just wanted a simple answer. Sometimes that would work. “He’s on the other side, helping Devon.”
While Isabel didn’t understand what that entailed; Gabriel did. The look on his face promised Eva that she’d have to explain further when they were on the jet headed to Paris. For Isabel though Gabriel smiled warmly, “There now you see, he’s with Devon and will be back safe and sound within a few more days. You can ground him when he returns, but right now Eva and I have a flight to catch.”
“Oh… yes… right…” Eva turned toward the door and felt Gabriel’s hand on the small of her back, being none to gentle about getting her away from Isabel. “We’re late!” she just hoped that it added to the sense of urgency so that the girl wouldn’t ask anything else… just in case she said too much. Eva felt like she sometimes had a tendency to do that, even if she had the best of intentions. It was a fault that she accepted in herself.
She got out the office door when Gabriel turned his attention to Isabel. Eva just made sure to stay quiet and out of the way.
As Gabriel ushered her out of the office and towards the front entry, Isabel kept glancing back at Eva. There was more to it she was sure and once Largros was back he’d wish he’d told her everything before taking off like he had. “Fine! I’m going but if he isn’t back in two more days I’m going looking for him myself!”
“Oh, dear, that’s not…” Gabriel’s glare told her to shut…it… Eva pursed her lips.
Once Isabel was out the door Gabriel went upstairs and gathered his things for their trip. Eva waited in the front foyer until he rejoined her. The butler had already packed her things into the sedan and so she just took deep breaths and waited for Gabriel.
An hour later they were in the jet and taking off for Paris. The Councilor sat in his seat looking out the window when the stewardess set up his drink and laid out his papers for the trip. After doing the same for Eva, she then disappeared, knowing she wasn’t needed unless called for.
“So tell me about Largros. I want to know everything you do about him considering the fact that he is dating my cousin.” Gabriel lifted the tumbler to sip the aged scotch and sighed as he set the glass back down on its coaster.
“This is a six or seven hour trip, right?” Eva looked out the window and then slowly slid the thing to close it. She just wanted to be sure about how long she was stuck in an airtight cylinder with a man who might have a lot of questions he wanted answered. Well, Eva, gal – you did not think this one through, she scolded herself.
“Close to seven so you have plenty of time.” Gabriel was letting the Alpha female know she wasn’t getting out of it. He’d never paid much attention to the young men his young cousin entertained simply because they were never a lasting thing to her. It was more like here today and gone tomorrow with Isabel.
“Well, he’s dashing and young but not too young to still be stupid – just sometimes thoughtless as you saw where Isabel is concerned. He’s wealthy. He owns several businesses in New Orleans and real estate and he’s into revitalizing the area. He sometimes… works contracts… with the security company the pack owns and also has a bit of a deal with them for his own properties.” Eva took her glass and sniffed the drink. She grimaced at the odor, but shrugged and slammed it all down her throat. Then, she made sure to keep one piece of the ice in her mouth for just enjoyment before setting the glass down.
“And?” Gabriel’s fingers tapped a slow steady rhythm on his arm rest. “While I’m glad that he is well established and can afford my cousin’s every whim, I know there is more to it than he is handsome, intelligent and rich. If there weren’t more, your husband would have little use for him on the other side. So exactly what type of supernatural has my cousin unknowingly tangled herself up with?”
Eva’s mouth went into an “O” around the ice and she let her brows go up with his question. She sucked the cold water in and crunched down on it before swallowing and answering. It meant she was taking her time. It meant she was thinking about it. Eva had never been one to hide that from those who knew her well enough.
“Well, your dragon was sick and Inea needed someone to take his place. Since Largros has had Tasker training, he was the first one I could think of. Derek hated it – he’s never been a fan of the fellow, but he went along with it for Devon’s sake, just like he went along with the Dante inclusion.” Eva reached over to get more ice in her fingers to pop into her mouth.
Gabriel’s mental wheels were turning as he pieced what she gave him together. Eva was very good at twisting words to her liking, but Gabriel was equally skilled at reading between the lines. He thrived on puzzles and complex cases. Those made his world turn and made the light glimmer in his eyes. The Councilor finished his scotch and held Eva’s gaze as he replied, “Since Senias was unavailable you put Largros in his place. You’re telling me that Isabel has attached herself to a dragon?”
Still holding the full piece of ice in her mouth, Eva wound up with the same “surprised” expression that could lean toward innocent as she needed. She slowly nodded.
Rubbing a hand over his face Gabriel sighed heavily as he sat back in his seat and went silent while his mind mulled this over. Not only was there a dragon and a dragoness connected with their family, but now there was another dragon as well? How many others would find their way to a scaled one? He had tried to keep his aunt Rose and her children out of supernatural sights, but it seemed all for naught at this point.
CRUNCH…. Eva chomped down on the ice when it had finally melted enough to her liking. She smiled at Gabriel. Shrugging, she kicked off her heels and unwound her unruly, curls. She sighed before lifting her weight on the arms of her seat and pulling her feet into a lotus position there. If it was going to be seven hours, might as well get half way comfy, right? She was glad the stewardess had taken her blazer.
“Soooo… you realize your family are like beacons to dragons, right? You’ve been reading the texts and the histories already. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that other Kennedys have the same thing you have. I just… I was nervous around Izzy because I don’t actually know if she knows. Dragons are such secretive creatures…”
As his fingers laced together in his lap Gabriel dropped his head so that his chin rested nearly on his chest and his eyes closed a moment. “No, I didn’t realize my family is some sort of beacon to the draconic race. Yes, I’ve been reading the history for some time now, but no it never dawned on me to think such a thing.” Though it definitely made sense. The crest, the ability to somehow manipulate these two specific dragons? Something had to have lured the Kennedy Clan into this in the first place, right? Kept dragons near them? Turning his head so that he faced her, Gabriel opened his eyes and licked his lips as his voice dropped low, “Silly of me to think I’m the only one to become enamoured of a dragon. I don’t know if Isabel has realized it yet. The graphic way she described their relationship somehow gives me the idea that she does know.”
Pushing his papers into a disorganized pile was a very definite sign that Gabriel was out of sorts on this. “Everyone has secrets right?” Rubbing his forehead Gabriel was suddenly wishing Senias was here. “I don’t know what to do about Isabel right this moment. It’ll require thought and strategy that I’m not capable of right now.”
“I suppose I could ask Rose. It’s her daughter we’re talking about, after all. She may know whether Izzy knows. Or she may at least help us out with whether we should say anything at all. She and Isabel are soooo alike. Or at least, Rose used to be like , Izzy, anyway.” Eva sighed and stuck her fingers back in the glass for another piece of ice. The quiet got to her, though, so she reluctantly looked to Gabriel again. Oh shit. Now what?
He was literally staring at Eva as if she had just grown an extra head. “How on earth are they so alike?” Just as quickly Gabriel closed his eyes tightly and shook his head sharply. “No… wait… don’t say it…”
“I love seeing you blush and be flustered. You’re so adorable when you do that.” the lycan giggled before adding, “Got anymore ice and… what’s this stuff? I don’t like this stuff. Just ice.”