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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 18294

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:49

Chapter 6

Simple or not, it was the only thing they could really do. And Ivy had to admit, she knew the wolves liked that Russell was a part of the decision making process. She was pretty sure they thought he was in charge of the process instead of being invited in as a human lie detector, but she didn't see that correcting them would benefit anyone in this matter.

At dinnertime they put aside any discussion of politics and Irina and Nick filled the family in on local gossip. Ivy didn't know half of the people being talked about and suspected many of them were actually characters in Irina's soap operas, but the stories were entertaining and the group enjoyed the conversational change.

Jerome and Hackett both joined the family and added the gossip gleaned from the Starlight Diner in Isliton. There were a couple of marriages, a few minor accidents that were more comical than tragic and three new births. Ivy was pleased to hear it was just general life taking place rather than something needing her attention.

She was sure Russell as new pack leader needed to do something for births and marriages and might even need to do something for the minor accidents. If her attention was needed it would no doubt be in a token capacity and he would tell her what was needed.

'At least there are no mage related tasks, ' Ivy thought. Picking up wedding presents and gifts for baby showers was fine. 'I just hope things stay quiet with the pack until Hamilton's issue is resolved.'

While she didn't think she needed the protection of a bodyguard, Ivy was pleased that both Russell and Alex were going with her. She suspected trouble or routine work, it would be a long time before she felt comfortable going to the council building on her own. 'Even if my nightmares are tapering off.'

During dinner, no one mentioned Hamilton's call and Alex made no comment about Theodore's books. After coffee and port, everyone dispersed to their own spaces and private plans.

Ivy and Russell spent some time in the spa area soaking in the hot tub. When they returned to their room, Ivy found several books stacked just outside the door to their suite. When Russell carried them in, leaving them in the sitting room, she guessed them to be golem related and decided she didn't want to think about golems before bed, lest nightmares resurface. Instead, she slipped between the sheets and let Russell turn her thoughts to other, more pleasant topics before they slid into sleep.

The next morning, Ivy woke early, worry over Hamilton and his golems feeling sharper than her concern over Lee and James. In truth unless Russell and Irina unearthed some serious problem, she already decided to let them stay. Their retail experience would prove useful in the store. The store was located in downtown Isliton and would no doubt be frequented by the pack often enough that the pair would be more or less watched which would hopefully nip any deception before it could start.

She had no particular use for Seers, but didn't wish them ill. Making them a productive part of their community while keeping them from being underfoot was all she really wanted if they stayed. She wondered if she was favoring an out of sight out of mind policy because of her family's past.

When her family was split apart, the Seers cast the deciding vote for the separation. There was never any explanation as to why the family was separated. As she and her siblings were all newly eighteen and splitting off for college and other adventures, they were separating anyhow and would only have expected to gather at the holidays.

Given their grandmother's recent passing and the fact that she was the last of any older generation holding them together even gathering for holidays seemed an uncertain prospect. In all likelihood, they would have each drifted into their own separate spheres. Forcibly separating them made no sense. All it accomplished was to make them more determined to stay connected despite the enforced distance.

'So we just became sneakier, adapting technology to our use when needed and hiding out connections, ' Ivy thought. 'The enforced separation probably made our actual connections stronger.' Idly Ivy wondered if that was the plan, to make them want to stay connected. 'Maybe Hamilton was using some sort of reverse psychology on us.'

Ivy shook her head as she slipped out from under the sheets. She shivered in the cool room once she lost the warmth of the blankets. 'Regardless of the reason for the split, those two weren't responsible for the politics around my family separation so holding them accountable would be pointless, ' Ivy decided. From what little she learned, only the upper echelon of the Seers, maybe even just their head, made those decisions. 'They would have had as much control as we did, ' Ivy thought. 'And I don't like Carlson anyway so holding him accountable isn't a hardship.'

There was always the possibility that despite his protests, Carlson was actually sending the two Seers to her to infiltrate her house and find Irina, and that was what Russell and Irina would find out during the interview later. Worrying about evil intentions wouldn't help her now, it would just make her more paranoid. 'Besides, Irina isn't going to put either herself or Nicos in harm's way.' Mind settled on the matter, she grabbed her robe and wrapped it tightly around her for added warmth.

'At least there were no nightmares,

t there will be a reason for the furniture to need to withstand a beating, " Ivy told him. "You are just here to let Irina know if anyone tries lying to her. And you get first crack at the trays Winston is bringing rather than fighting over the cookie jar."

"That's something I guess." He conceded. As Ivy moved around the room double checking that everything was in order and mentally ran through her few questions, she noticed Russell lifting the edge of one of the couches experimentally.

"You know most people when shopping for furniture don't start by asking, can this be easily tossed by a rampaging wolf in a temper, " she told him.

"Which is why your favorite reading chair was smashed to pieces, " he reminded her with a grin. "Although I'm pretty sure not everyone thinks 'how easily can I get magically placed trackers out of this' when buying furniture' either."

Ivy laughed. "True, " she conceded. "But I only had to replace the chair while you and Eric had people spying on you in the shower."

"Really?" Irina said adding as much of a leer as she could pack into one word. She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Nick shook his head. "I will never get used to this, " he said.

"You always knew I was a mage, " Ivy said. In addition to answering his questions Ivy sent him a copy of the laws, both the once that were established by the Shadow Council and the new rule book they reverted to with its disillusion. While she explained that the new laws were actually the old laws that existed before the formation of the Shadow Council, they hadn't really discussed them much.

"Yeah but knowing you and seeing some of the things you do isn't really the same thing. Even knowing that you fit into a larger…picture…a separate society…isn't the same as actually seeing it in motion."

"And you do not like this?" Russell guessed looking at him.

Nick shook his head. "It's not that I don't like it, " he said. It's just that it sort of upends my worldview. And I don't like not knowing the rules or understanding how to work with them."

"Meaning it was easier to see me as your strange friend then to realize that I am part of a well-established system?" Ivy asked, knowing how Nick's brain worked.

When she met him, Nick was so used to dealing with nefarious doings he had a hard time accepting that there were those who considered speeding and jaywalking the height of their clandestine activities. She suspected that he still always suspected they committed criminal activities when he wasn't looking.

"Yes, " Nick said, pleased she got it.

"I'm actually surprised you've taken it so well, " Ivy admitted.

"I would have thought you'd be more fluid in your understanding, " Russell said.

"Why?" Nick asked.

Russell blinked and Ivy suspected he was thinking of Nick's computer hacking skills and flexible notions of privacy laws. "Because…you are Ivy's friend." He said. Ivy smiled and shook her head. She suspected that if another Shifter was in the room, her husband would be accused of lying.

The conversation was tabled as Winston rolled the tea trolley into the room. "I saw your guests approaching, " he informed them.

As Russell was the only one wearing suitable outdoor footwear, he strode off to escort their visitor's back while Ivy helped Winston unload the trolley. As Winston rolled the empty trolley back towards the kitchen, Ivy saw Nick testing his strength by lifting the edge of the sofa up off of the floor. While he could lift it, he did not do so with the ease Russell had. Ivy caught Irina's eye and they shared a smile before they heard footsteps approaching.

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