Last night had proven to be a complete and utter bust. Aside from the taking down of a very personal demon of his, things did not at all go well for Bear. His problem, he decided was women. They were always so damned unpredictable. Snow had gone into full on war rage in that penthouse last night, which was completely unnecessary. Their assignment wasn’t to go on a killing spree; it was to get the troll to run. Snow had decided otherwise.
Red had been even worse. Why did the woman need to use a World War II relic to take down a copter in the middle of downtown Los Angeles? Couldn’t she have just used a sniper rifle? She had many in her ownership, and her skill was second to none. No, that would have been too easy. She had to one up her would be sister and go old school with the kill. Red was always using some extinct, or highly out of use weapon just to show off.
To make matters worse, she had gotten his hopes up. Generally when Red sent for him after a mission, it was solely for pleasure. She’d allow him down to her lair and find new and exciting ways to please him. She was a hell act in bed. He’d expected seduction from the likes of a vampire, but she was wild and untamed. He’d been looking forward to her tantric pleasures when she’d called for him, and had been even more excited when she’d asked him to pick up the red head from the sting first. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d allowed him to share in her evenings sexual appetites. Bear had been more than disappointed when he’d been told to drop the girl at the door and take off.
Finally, he’d hoped to have Snow ease his disappointments. Generally, he’d never go to her with expectations of sex. Her body was a gift, and one that could only be volunteered to him. He would never, on risk of pain or death, trivialize what he shared with her. Snow was pure, she was perfect. Hell, the woman was an angel. He’d expected her to be as feisty in bed as she was in life, but found the star opposite. He could never just screw Snow; she had to be made love to. Her kisses were soft, delicate, cleansing, and honest. Her touch was not that of a gun slinging warrior angel, but of a woman, desperate to connect with a man. When he’d texted her longing to feel that connection Bear’s heart sank to his feet at her reply. She was busy last night, entertaining her husband. Her husband? Since when did she have a husband? So much for that honest touch of hers. Yeah, women were his problem, and not just the supernatural kind.
“What the hell are you doing here Dylan.” The voice of yet another troublesome woman affronted Bear in his place on the park bench. He’d been sitting their silently watching a children’s soccer game from a long way off. Of course she would spot him. Patricia Harris stalked over towards the bench where he was sitting with her green eyes locked on Bear like lasers. Her long brown hair bounced in its high ponytail as she marched forward.
“Nothing Patty, I’m just sitting here on this bench trying to enjoy the quiet.” Defeat wrapped through his tone like a well tied bow. His wife was still pretty, even in her soccer mom jeans and conservative polo shirt. Patricia was still as gorgeous as the day they’d met, and the day he married her.
“You aren’t supposed to be here Dylan.” She huffed, using his name as a weapon. He’d been Bear to her once as well. Their daughter had coined that nickname for him one night during story time. He’d been reading her the story of Goldilocks. His three year old had appropriately deemed him Papa Bear, since everything of his was so big. The name stuck. His older son and wife had since resigned to calling him Bear, and that had never changed, not until he did.
Dylan heaved a weighted sigh and peaked around his wife’s intentional body black. His daughter Jennifer was playing in the game. Her team had made it to semi finals.
“I’m within the distance signified in your restraining order. You came over to me, I don’t approach you. I just wanted to see her Patty. I swear I wasn’t going to come any closer.” His sorrow feels like literal weights resting on his shoulders. He’d have never imagined when he’d married his high school sweetheart that things would end like this.
Dylan Harris had been the star quarterback of their high school, and the same in college. Everyone thought he was going to go all the way, until he’d busted his knees. With his scholarship gone, a pregnant wife and a small son, Dylan took to working wherever he could find it. One day, it seemed he finally got his break when he took on a job as security detail for a big time private investor. That was the beginning of the end.
“If she sees you, she’s going to want to speak to you Dylan. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me telling that girl why she can’t see her daddy? Do you even care?” Unshed tears welled up behind her crystalline green eyes and stabbed at Dylan like one of Snow’s many daggers.
“I know Patty, and I’m sorry. Maybe we can renegotiate the terms so you don’t have to. I’m clean now. I’ve been clean for more than three years. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but please give me a chance to see my kids.” Dylan quite literally pleaded with his wife.
He’d begged her for another chance, but he’d hurt her too many times in too many ways. She could never trust him again, and why should she? Under the influence of his addiction, he’d made a mockery of their wedding vows. She’d tried to work things out and get him help until he’d crossed a line. Once he became violent, she’d packed her things and their kids and disappeared into the hallowed halls of her mother’s house out in the valley. That was the end of their marriage and the end of everything good in Dylan’s life.
“I don’t know Dylan. I don’t know if we can trust you.” Patty said with a less than subtle amount of sadness in her voice.
“I Know I made some inexcusable decisions Patty. I know that nothing I did is forgivable. I’m not going to be unreasonable and expect you to trust me again. I could sue you for partial custody if I wanted to make things hard for you Patty, but I don’t and I’d never do that to our kids. All I’m asking is for visits even supervised visits. I just want to see them.” Dylan didn’t want to beg, but he was damned close to giving in to the urge. “It’s too late for me to make it up to you Patty. Let me try and make it up to our kids.”
“Not on your pathetic little life.” A voice spat from behind Dylan. A cold chill crept up his spine at the recognition. Of course it was his mother-in-law. His weekend had been a crap shoot thus far; he should have seen this coming.
“This doesn’t concern you Margaret.” Dylan said, already sounding defeated. Ever since he had taken a turn for the worst Margaret Miller, his mother in law, had made it her personal business to kick him at his lowest points. She’d been Dylan’s biggest fan until he was injured in college and his trip to the big league was canceled. Since he ran upon misfortune she’d been little more than an opinionated annoyance. Since the separation she’d gone full on bitch.
Margaret hastily stepped in front of the bench and stood between Dylan and her daughter. Her short red hair bounced in the curls atop her head and her fingers angrily gripped her rotund hips. She was one of those pear shaped women. It wouldn’t be totally unflattering, if she didn’t wear such loud colors and bright patterns.
“That’s where you’re wrong. When my baby had to pack up her babies and run from your worthless hide, it became my concern. I tell you, if my husband were still alive you wouldn’t have any breath left in you to waste on bothering my Patty.” Dylan knew the truth behind that. Patty’s father had been an army ranger. Had he lived long enough to see what became of their marriage, he’d have made Dylan disappear in very permanent way. Even with his size and skill, Dylan never thought to test the old ranger.
“I understand your concern Margaret, but this is between Patty and me.”
“The hell it is Dylan! You’re a shit of a father, a worthless abusive husband, and a thieving drug addict. I wouldn’t trust you near my fine china, let alone my grandchildren. I bet you’re sitting here, thinking about your drugs now.”
Hell if she wasn’t right. Since Snow had healed him, Bear hadn’t had a single craving, but sitting beneath the scrutiny of his mother in law, suddenly he wanted a hit. He wanted to get lost in the waves of a high to hide from her accusations.
“You know that you’re never really clean from that stuff. Once a drug using loser, always one, that’s what I say.” Man he needed a hit of something, anything, before he hit her. “Do you have any idea the burden you’ve put on me? Imagine, a woman my age having to raise and support your family. You should be ashamed.” He was ashamed, but not about the issue of support, not any more. Patty had a great job at one of the largest news outlets in Los Angeles, and he’d been sending her half of his pay ever since he got clean and picked up by The Unit. His family was well taken care of and they honestly no longer needed to live with Margaret.
“Mom please,” Patty finally interjected. “I can handle this. Go back to the game before the kid’s notice that we’re both missing.” Margaret huffed her disdain towards the request.
“You will miss everything, but I won’t. I will always be there, watching over your children. You are filth and you will never be with your family again. They will forget you. I will make sure of it.” Margaret’s eyes narrowed to slits and Dylan could see a familiar darkness cloud them. Something had taken up residence inside his wife’s mother, something very bad.
Dylan didn’t respond to the beings open gesture. It knew that he saw it. It was trying to be seen and lure him into action in front of his wife and kids. It was no wonder he was suddenly having cravings. That dark thing hiding inside of Margaret was bating him. The darkness rarely came that hard at a man unless he’d made himself a problem for them. Had his last three years of paranormal crime fighting finally registered somewhere? Was he actually being targeted by the darkness?
Dylan sighed wearily. Where were his warrior angel and deadly vampire when he needed them?
“I’m so sorry Dylan.” Patty said once her mother was out of earshot. “Mom is just trying to protect us. She goes a little overboard, a lot over board recently, but her intentions are good.” Dylan could see the reservation in Patty’s eyes as she watched her mother leave. He’d always known when she was hiding something from him. Something was definitely going on with Margaret that Patty didn’t want to discuss. Luckily for her, she had no idea what it really was. Bear sure as hell was not about to inform her. It was one thing to tell your wife her mother is bitch, it’s completely different to tell her that her mother was a demon, or at least shrouded by one. He’d never get his family back that way.
“Don’t worry about it Patty. I’ve earned her mistrust. I understand.” He said attempting to sound genuine. “I would still like to discuss visits with you, please.” He said remembering to focus on the important.
“I’ll think about it Dylan.” She conceded, turning to look back at the game.” I have to get back before Jen and Jeremy start looking for me.”
“Okay, you’ll hear from me soon Patty.” Bear stood and stretched his 6’8 frame as Patty walked away.
He’d gotten what he’d come for. He’d seen his children playing, if only from a distance. He also got a little more than he anticipated. He’d learned his mother in law had been overshadowed by something very dark and targeting his family… targeting him.
He didn’t have the magic, powers, or whatever it was that Snow and Red had. All he came with was an arsenal of weapons and a lot of practice in ending lives. Going at this alone would definitely be an adventure. There was only one way he knew to protect his wife and kids.
Bear was going to hunt and kill his mother in law.