Masquerade (The Angel Pack #13)(4)

By: Maggie Walsh

The two pulled back, and Storm stepped forward, embracing Aaron, too. Aaron wrapped his arms around Storm and hugged him back, then pulled away and looked at Storm questioningly. “Not that I don’t appreciate the warm welcome, but why do I get the feeling someone died or something?”

Storm exchanged a worried look with Bastian, then met Aaron’s gaze. The smile had dropped from his face, and now worry lines marred his brow. “Oh Gods, someone did die. Who? What happened?” Aaron asked.

“I’ll leave you two alone. Aaron, it was great seeing you. Give Raith and Rory hugs for me,” Bastian said and turned to Storm, giving him a pointed look, then stepped away and left them alone.

“Why don’t we have a seat?” Storm offered and motioned toward the big leather couch that sat in his office.

Aaron went to the couch and sat as Storm took the chair next to it so that he could face Aaron. “Now I’m getting really worried, Storm. What’s going on?”

Storm blew out a breath and met Aaron’s gaze. “First, I wanted to let you know that Seth called me.”

The worry lines quickly left Aaron’s face and were replaced by that cold, stoic mask Aaron used to always wear. His eyes turned hard. “Oh yeah? And what trouble is he trying to stir up now?”

Storm sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “Nothing like that. Well, not yet at least. Seth called me and asked if he and Sky could move in here until Dante’s new coven house was finished being built. This isn’t the first time. He’s asked me a few times over the past six months, but I’ve managed to hold him off. I don’t think I can delay anymore. I wanted to talk to you first, as well as the pride, and get everyone’s opinion on this.”

“I appreciate that, Storm, but I don’t see how this affects me. I’m not a part of the pride anymore. I belong to Micah’s pack now. If Seth moves here, it has nothing to do with me,” Aaron answered.

“Unfortunately, it does. I know it’s been hard on you having him living at Micah’s all these months. And from what Micah and Jesse have told me, you spend most of your time out of the house and at the clinic since they moved in. They also said that when you are home, you stay mostly to your suite. Even cooking meals there instead of joining everyone like you used to in the main kitchen. They all miss you and your mates, and I’m sure you miss them, too.”

“Well, it’s not forever. I mean Dante’s new home is coming along great, and Raith says it should be ready by the new year,” Aaron added.

“That’s true, but it kills me knowing that you’re isolating yourself from your family while they’re there, and I know it’s because of Seth’s presence. But I also hear that Seth has been trying to stay in the room that they are in, as much as possible. I don’t want either of you to live that way. Especially you, Aaron. That’s your home, your family. And as much as it hurts me to say this, I know it’s true. It’s the first place you have ever felt like you were truly home, and I don’t want you to lose that even for a little while.”

“I’m sorry, Storm, and you’re right. I love living at the pack house, and I love my big, crazy family. However, I still don’t understand what you’re trying to get at.”

“I’ve talked to the pride, and nobody wants Seth back here. I know you used to warn me that the pride wasn’t thrilled with Seth and I wouldn’t listen, but I never realized it was this bad. My problem is, I know everything that has happened between you and Seth and how you feel. And as your brother, I want to protect you. I don’t want you to have to deal with Seth anymore day in and day out in that house. I know seeing him has got to be bringing everything back. Furthermore, I don’t want you to have to hide either. I don’t want you to feel you need to isolate yourself from your family. You need them, and they need you. You all make each other happy. Yet, because of what the pride has told me, I can’t allow Seth back here. It would cause too much strife, and the pride finally feel like this is home, and they feel safe here.”

“I understand, Storm, and I thank you for talking to me about this. But I think you need to put the pride’s feelings and concerns first. There are amazing people, good people, in this pride, and after what they have been through they need to feel that safety. And if they don’t with Seth around, then you can’t in good conscience bring him back. Even if you move him and Sky into one of the empty houses, the pride would still have to deal with him.”