For as spread out as the R'asa were, if you knew the right people word traveled fast. Both Navid and his grandfather, their Pack's alpha, knew the right people. What they had heard so far was... unique. Interesting. He had no idea what to think of the Sarkis and Savia separating. It was in some respects unnatural. He had never known a man to leave his mate. At least no man other than his father Navid thought with a touch of disgust.
His grandfather, apparently had heard more than he had. He'd heard something of why they had decided to separate. If what grandfather had heard was correct it was unsettling. It was more than that, but Navid was having trouble putting his feelings into words. If she had come between a mated pair... It was hard to believe his cousin would be so stupid, so dishonorable but there had to have been a a catalyst. Something and brought them to this point.
He had arrived three days ago charged with determining the truth of the rumors even the ones that hadn't quite come to light yet. It had taken quite a bit of digging, but he'd found enough to be furious with ThÃ©rÃ¨se. He had always assumed she had more sense than this. Navid was tempted to simply grab her and shake some sense into her, if not just throw her on a plane and take her home. He could let their grandfather work this one out.
But he wasn't about to shirk his duties. He would much prefer to have this from the horse's mouth. He needed to know what in hell's name she was thinking. He'd arrived to the pack's grounds here for the first time. He knew what time she usually left the museum and when to expect her back here. He simply stretched out under a tree and waited. The sun was setting, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply taking in all the new sounds and smells. It was just after the new moon and very tempting to shift and just run, but business first.
Each time he heard a car door or an approaching person he looked up. This time though, he was her. It was about time. He stood and greeted his cousin, his favorite cousin, without smiling.
"Do you make it a habit to get back this late?"
((OOC... note to those reading or anyone who might overhear -all- dialog is in French))
In the mean time, however, her keeper had gotten quite aggressive of late, hostile. He hadn't asked anything new he was just more demanding, colder and cruler. He would occasionally become quite abusive, but was careful to keep injuries to ones she could easily hide and recover from. But it made ThÃ©rÃ¨se crave Vaughn's touch all the more, something to wipe those encounters away with. It would mean a lot if she simply did not have to go back to her empty solitary rooms.
As she hefted her laptop bag over her shoulder a familiar voice shook ThÃ©rÃ¨se out of those thoughts. She blinked once or twice not believing what she was seeing but finally smiled warmly as they walked toward each other.
"Navid! I did not expect you here."
Or any of the family for that matter. She frowned trying to work out why he would be here.
"Nothing is wrong? Grandfather? Mother?"
No, nothing would be wrong. Some one would have called her home if there was. And he shook his head saying something vague about everyone being fine.
"Come in side."
((OOC... again with the French thing.))
He countered, decisively taking her laptop bag from her and setting it at the base of the tree he had been lounging under. He suspected the conversation might be less than polite and had no wish for them to be overheard. It would defeat his reason for being here if they called -more- attention to the situation.
Guillaume still had no idea how to broach this topic with her. If it had been any one else it would be easy but ThÃ©rÃ¨se was different. She was special to him, but at the same time if these rumors were true... given what had happened with his own parents to Navid's way of thinking, coming between a man and his mate was unforgivable.
Fortunately he didn't have to make the first move, she did.
"He sent you didn't he."
There was no question in her words and his answer was equally direct.
"Yes. He did."
He said no more. The fact that ThÃ©rÃ¨se had realized why he was here and who had sent him said a great deal. It was practically confirmation. If he hadn't been angry with her before, he was now.
She very much wanted to scream. The one thing ThÃ©rÃ¨se longed to, -needed- to tell people was the one thing she couldn't and yet her grandfather was sending people from half way across the world to make sure wasn't behaving like an idiot. If there was anything more rediculous she would like to know what it was.
"You have been acting oddly and if one strings the rumors together you judgment is only getting worse."
It was what she had suspected, ThÃ©rÃ¨se set her jaw and her shoulders in anger. This visit was a slap in the face. She was a grown woman and perfectly capable of conducting her own affairs. Even if she did manage to get involved with some one she shouldn't have it was too late to undo, nor was she willing to and it certainly didn't reflect on her family.
"And what do you mean by that?"
Oh she knew. Their grandfather had a thing about honor and what was more Navid shared some of those views. But she was determined to hear it. If he was going to cross the Atlantic ThÃ©rÃ¨se was going to make him say it, he owed her that much.
It was impossible to keep his face and voice completely neutral. A touch of a sneer found his lips and some ice crept into his voice. Not entirely certain how she would respond he also subtly shifted to a more ready and braced position.
"The least charitable conclusions are that you are nothing more than a bitch in heat or making a blatant power play. Both is also a possibility."
He watched her closely but she didn't flinch at his words, she ground her teeth and her muscles tensed as she apparently considered a physical response. But she remained control, at least for now.
Although, he was family, she did not need to be as politically correct with him. In fact trying to be correct and proper might only hurt her cause with her family. Obviously they had the wrong understanding about this and if they objected, what was to stop others?
ThÃ©rÃ¨se slowly and deliberately walked toward her larger cousin invading his personal space. To his credit Navid didn't give way, not until she was almost touching him. Only then did he take a fraction of a step back. Satisfied with that minor display of dominance she stopped.
"I thought you knew me better than that Guillaume."
She deliberately used his first name, throwing it in his face that he was acting on orders and not thinking for himself. ThÃ©rÃ¨se had the satisfaction of watching him wince slightly at the sound of that name too. She hadn't called him Guillaume since he was a teenager.
Damned it. She forced him back. Short of coming to blows there really wasn't an option but to give way. It was something done on a very instinctive level, you didn't even think about it. Some wolves, most, he would challenge, he would refuse to let them force him to back down.
Angry at his reaction and angry at her for behaving like a manipulative slut Navid turned on her. He gave vent to his temper. It wasn't in his nature to shout, his voice lowered, he growled. Undoubtedly it carried, it was a very good thing they had not gone in doors.
"It must hurt to know you weren't successful. She has not stepped down. What is your next move?"
He stepped back into her space, intent on reestablishing his dominance in this conversation. But the suborn wench wouldn't give. He opted to go for a low blow to try and shock her into submission.
"Was that what the child was for?"
That bit of information had been the hardest to find. In truth he'd only stumbled on it by accident. Navid was torn. He did know his cousin and losing the child would have caused her a great deal of pain. But, to put an innocent in the middle of this was twisted and spiteful. It was a level of manipulation he had not thought she was capable of.
"Come home, now. Before you do anything else stupid."
He moved through the change more quickly than he would have liked, which worsened his already bad mood. The other voice obviously didn't know Therese at all if he could think such things about her. The last statement though caused him to pull up short, still kneeling on the ground, chest heaving from the rapid transformation.
Therese didn't have a child. Had she been pregnant? Was she pregnant now? It had been stated in the past tense but that could mean that the man simply thought Therese was using a child to gain her a position as the Savia and that it hadn't worked. The entire pack knew that the Sarkis and Savia were remaining the leaders of the pack despite their divorce.
The remark was cruel. Gris was a lawyer and even he thought that it was low.
Stepping out from the screen of the trees, he crossed his arms and leaned a shoulder against a tall oak.
"She is home, Friend. So why don't you leave?"
This guy was big. He hadn't expected him to be so big. Ah, hell it didn't matter. The Grayson confidence didn't slip even an inch as he sauntered naked to Therese's side. Gris placed his hands on her shoulders and spoke quietly to her, ignoring the man completely.
"Do you want me to toss him out of here. Or write up a petition for a restraining order. Either one. I'm good with."
It was only a second or two but the pause was long and said more than words could. Even if it had been a guess on her cousin's part she had now confirmed it.
"Idiot! Was the cabin not pressurized on your flight? Too much time at high altitude. How could you even say that to me?"
Angry or not, hurt or not it did at least explain a good deal of how he was reacting. That, however, didn't matter to ThÃ©rÃ¨se right now, but she wouldn't let him see the pain. Which only hurt her all the more as Navid would be one of the few people she might have shared this with. Not with him like this though.
Standing up even straighter but the anger burned, she held off her change by the barest of margins. It would feel quite good to go for his throat right now.
The other voice startled her, ThÃ©rÃ¨se turned on him sharply fully prepared to defend herself on two fronts, physically if necessary. Immediately recognizing Gris and trusting him enough to give him her back returned her attention to her cousin who had not moved an inch.
While she knew she couldn't show so much as an iota of appreciation or gratitude to Gris without appearing weak, she didn't shun the support. She laughed, totally without humor at his suggestion, but was too angry to remember to speak English. Still Greer was doing well enough in French.
"No I don't think that will be necessary. Greer, this is my cousin, Guillaume. We are only having a minor family disagreement."
There would be no doubt of the truth there. Despite the obvious differences she and Guillaume did very clearly resemble one another.
Watching carefully he could see the tell tale signs of her change. Subtle changes in her eyes, teeth and hands ThÃ©rÃ¨se was having a hard time with her anger. But why, was she angry because she'd lost, because he'd found out? Right then Navid didn't care. His nostrils flared his own change clawing at the surface wanting to answer hers.
At least she had the sense to drop the details when some one new appeared.
Snarling at the new comer Navid deliberately looked down his nose at the man. The blond wasn't exactly tiny, but he also clearly had some height and weight on him and Navid had no issues playing that card right now.
"Sir I don't believe any of this concerns you. Perhaps you would wish to excuse yourself. -Now-."
It didn't matter who the naked new comer was, he could be the Alpha for all Navid knew. But the other thing he knew was that he was that the man was making a claim on his cousin and that was not going to go well right now.
He dropped a heavy hand on top of the man's, clearly challenging the claim on ThÃ©rÃ¨se.
"A pleasure to meet you."
He said with a great deal of irony and far more calmly than he felt. Navid couldn't remember the last time he had been this angry.
He snorted slightly when she called their argument a minor family dispute. Some of the Grayson disagreements looked much the same. They were a private proud bunch and no doubt Therese and her family were similar. Perhaps it was simply a wolf thing.
However when the other man suggested, forcefully, that he leave, Gris was more determined than ever to do no such thing. His eyes narrowed dangerously when the man placed a hand on top of his. Greer stifled the his first reaction which was to shove the man hard in the chest. Therese -had- said he was family.
"I cannot say the same." Gris sneered coldly in return. "I don't give a damn if you're the brother to the Sarkis himself, I'm not leaving unless Therese makes it clear she wants me to. Until then I'd suggest you remove your hand before I take it as a souvenir."
She snapped at him sharply asserting authority, her dominance again. This was apparently the way the whole evening was going to go. At least they hadn't drawn blood yet.
"You can behave like a human being or we can continue this tomorrow."
By keeping his attention at least partially on her ThÃ©rÃ¨se hoped to keep her cousin from doing something stupid and as a result keep Gris from doing something equally idiotic.
Far back in the recesses of his mind, Navid was not totally displeased by the man's reaction. He had stood by his claim and hadn't been bullied into backing down. He had no idea who this Greer was to ThÃ©rÃ¨se but she had apparently chosen well. Part of him hoped that this Greer was her lover, that would solve so many problems.
He stalked off a pace or two giving himself space to cool down.
"Ah now you want to continue this discussion... How much does -he- know?" He half sneered in Greer's direction. "Has she drug you into this mess?"
As hostile and hateful as his words were, Navid's eyes softened, just a little almost imperceptibly. He was imploring his cousin to explain this was all one big misunderstanding, that things had gotten mixed up as they made their way across the Atlantic.
He stepped back from Therese and waited to see if her cousin was going to behave himself. Gris was not entirely sure he knew everything; he certainly had not heard about a child. Gris also wondered if he would have given the same advice if he had known then that Therese was involved with the Sarkis of the Vyusher. No, he would have still given her the same counsel.
Crossing his arms again, Greer raised his eyebrows at the newcomer. "Therese is my friend. She has not dragged me into anything. I would willingly side with her if she needed it."
He turned and gave her an encouraging smile. "I hope he's good to you though. I'd hate to have to try and kick the Alpha's ass." Gris's expression was mildly cheeky and mischievous before he turned back to Guillaume with a more neutral demeanor.
She watched them both take a few steps away, rather like boxes retreating to neutral corners, and continued to remain wary. She didn't know what either one of them was libel to say... or do. Smiling silent thanks to Greer she only barley caught the expression in Guillaume's eyes. That was considerably more like Navid, more like the cousin she knew..
Wonderful she was going to have to separate them yet. Before her cousin could say anything or jump to any conclusions ThÃ©rÃ¨se interjected.
"No. Was not common knowledge. I spoke to Greer a while ago. No I didn't tell him -anything- he is a bit too clever for his own good."
She relaxed just for a moment, just enough to roll her eyes at Gris. At least he had the good sense to keep his conclusions to himself until just now. But it didn't surprise ThÃ©rÃ¨se at all that he'd reached the correct ones.
The Alpha was going to be a problem he wasn't sure he was equipped to deal with. After all Navid had only been told to find the truth of the rumors, not how to deal with them. Well he had the truth now, he was going to have to find out what the next step was.
He didn't relish the idea of a physical confrontation with the man... but if he had to, he would try.
"You'd stand by such dishonorable actions? You are either a fool or she has drawn you in too."
He had almost asked what Greer was getting out of this arrangement with ThÃ©rÃ¨se but thought better of it.
She'd talked to him? Maybe, just maybe this wasn't as bad as they'd first thought. Navid took a deep breath and forced himself to think. His eyes locked with the other man's,
"And what did you two find to talk about?"
Gris dropped his arms and readied himself for a confrontation with the man as Guillaume stalked toward him, eyes narrowed and jaw set. This guy was starting to get on his nerves. What the hell was he mad at him for, anyway? Being a friend to his cousin? Being here to watch him be an ass? Or was he like this all the time? It was a shame. He'd probably look almost handsome if he smiled. Whatever the reason Guillaume seemed determined to pick a fight with him instead of Therese.
Raising one eyebrow, he said. "What dishonorable action? Falling in love? It might not have been the ideal circumstances but the Sarkis obviously loves her. Has that not gotten through your thick head? He made his choice and he chose Therese. She stayed away. I have been here to know that she did. It hurt but she did." Gris stepped forward again. "So before assuming the worst of your cousin who is one of the best people I know, perhaps you should calmly ask her what happened. Without all the judgmental attitude...if that's not too much to ask."
He sighed and looked at Guillaume, squarely. "Look, its not so simple, life never is but Therese has a chance to be happy with someone who is happy with her." He turned and smiled at his friend for a moment before turning back to her cousin. "Forget about pack politics for a moment and be happy for her. Love is too rare to demand it be wrapped up in the perfect package."
Was all she said. ThÃ©rÃ¨se very much suspected that Gris had reached his own conclusions long before the news had reached Guillaume and her family. But she wasn't prepared to pick another fight, especially over something so trivial and especially when Greer was on her side.
She didn't interrupt Gris at all, very much aware that she was looking at the two extreme reactions of the Pack in microcosm. Well if Vaughn could manage the Pack she could manage these two. But on the other hand the odds were quite high that she was going to catch hell from others in the Pack too. It would mean a lot to have Navid on her side, if not on her side at least not opposing them.
Watching the two men she was relieved not to see any signs of violence from her cousin. Obviously he wasn't exactly accepting or even relaxing but he was at least considering. She wasn't sure he would be willing to do that if it were just her here, he'd made up his mind before ever speaking to her. Any protest she made would only have been taken as confirmation.
"Is that a closing or an opening argument?"
She asked her friend very quietly. It had been well done either way.
"He is not... was not... free to choose. She knew that. It didn't stop her."
It was galling that this stranger should tell him his business, how to handle this. Even worse that he was right. Navid rarely jumped to conclusions and he had to admit that he had possibly blundered very badly here. He didn't have to like it, but he had to acknowledge the possibility.
He was still having a hard time letting go of the ideas he'd come with though. Granted, they weren't much like the ThÃ©rÃ¨se he knew, but....
He turned to her and raised an eyebrow, questioning wanting her side of the story but unwilling to ask for it at this point.
"Even if that romantic bullshit is true, not everyone will see it that way."
She was the other woman and that was all there was too it. Far too many would question her intentions and feelings for this to be the first and last confrontation ThÃ©rÃ¨se would have to endure.
Still, it was the calmest he had been thus far, he was considering this fairy tale. That was a start.
Guillaume seemed to be listening and for that Greer was thankful. He gave the other man a warm smile of gratitude, believing they both likely had Therese's best interests in mind. The man wouldn't be willing to consider other alternatives if he didn't like his cousin and want what was best for her. When Guillaume pointed out that the Sarkis had not been free to make a choice, Gris shrugged. That was what he had meant by it not being a perfect situation. Only Therese and the Alpha knew all that went on. In a fantasy world it wouldn't be the business of anyone else but that was not going to be the case here.
He sighed and nodded, running his fingers through the unruly mass of blonde curls, pulling them away from his forehead. People were going to talk and they were probably going to say bad things. "No, not everyone will." He shrugged. "All the more reason for friends and family to stand by her, knowing her better than that."
Gris turned his attention to Therese. " How has everything been? Has anyone said anything to you about it yet?"
"It was not like that. I didn't ask him to chose."
It was the first time ThÃ©rÃ¨se had moved to defend herself to her cousin. It was weak but it was a start. When he was ready to -really- listen she would tell him the details. At least she was able to relax a little bit, it seemed the worst of the storm had passed. Oh there would still be some thunder and possibly lightening but at least it wasn't threatening to become a hurricane. She found a largish rock and sat down.
ThÃ©rÃ¨se flinched as both men asked basically the same question although Navid was a little harsher than he had to be. She noticed for the first time that Gris was naked. He must have been out running when he decided to intervene, she smiled faintly appreciating what he'd done for her.
She shook her head slowly.
"I have been... I thought perhaps discretion was the better part of valor in this case."
Truthfully ThÃ©rÃ¨se felt like a coward. She wasn't quite sure how to fight this battle and never knowing where an attack would come from. The idea was unsettling especially when home was considered a place you were safe.
"I haven't given any one the chance to say anything."