Title: Waiting For Me To Catch Up
Characters/Pairings: Jeremiah Parks/Ray Kowalski; Benoit Franciscus; Ray Vecchio; Peter Parker; Original Characters; Members of Tallikut Clan
Summary: When Jeremiah Parks returned to the city of his birth, his life was in such turmoil that he failed to realize the most important thing in the middle of all the chaos. Now he has to learn to open his life to someone new.
~ Chicago, Illinois, February 2005 ~
Sitting with his chin resting on his fist, Jeremiah Parks watched the snow beginning to accumulate on the branches outside his office window. An email from his Operations Manager containing the year end numbers on his clubs had put him in a contemplative mood. The numbers were remarkable considering he’d bought and remodeled one property, and sold one. If the next six months continued the same way, it might be time to think about the best city for this year’s club. He was sure something would drop him a clue.
Reaching for his coffee cup, the light flashed off the diamonds and sapphires embedded in the wide platinum band on his left hand. A soft smile lightened his mood thinking about all that happened in the past seven years, including a trip to Massachusetts two weeks ago. He’d have to talk with his Mate about where he wanted to take a honeymoon trip, or maybe he should make the trip a surprise.
Speaking of his Mate … Taking a look at his watch, Jeremy transferred his files to his tablet, and put everything else he needed in his case. Stopping by his PA’s desk, he told Rory he’d be working from home after he finished his appointments. First stop was the Clan’s estate where he sat down with Peter to go over the wedding and reception pictures they wanted to order. He also went over some information he’d picked up at the club, and informed the Lead Hunter his next stop was the FBI to meet with the Clan’s Head of Security.
Leaving Peter to his work, Jeremy was headed to the front door when Benoit stepped out of his office. The Clan Leader was also dealing with the aftermath of Victoria Metcalf’s latest foray into their lives. Ray Vecchio had found out about Vampires. Jeremy suspected Vecchio would soon be joining the ranks of the Clan, and wondered at what his reaction would be when he found out he was Benoit’s Mate.
“Jeremiah, how are things going?”
Benoit and Diefenbaker came out the office. Jeremy bent down to greet the half-wolf.
“Good. I just dropped off some information to Peter from my contacts, and ordered wedding pictures. I am on my way to see James and Eliot then headed home. I want to take Ray on a trip sometime in March … Sort of honeymoon/scouting trip for a new haven location.”
“Let Bob or Carolyn know when, and if the jet is available, you are welcome to its use.” Benoit offered.
“I appreciate that. The thought of Ray in an airplane full of people for an extended period of time is a scary thought, and that’s if we’re in first class.”
That drew a laugh from Benoit remembering Ray constantly moving, even when they were engaged in a stakeout. “I have a few hours, I believe I will go see Peter about your information.”
“How’s things going with your Ray?”
Said Ray popped out from behind Benoit. “I’m going to be Turned, or someone’s going to get a smack.” Vecchio growled.
“Congratulations?” Jeremy gave Benoit a questioning look.
A small negative shake of the head indicate the Clan Leader had not told Ray about being Mates.
“Ray will be pleased to have a new Clan brother.”
“Stanley will be … Oh crap, I’m the baby of the Clan.” Grumbling to himself, Ray headed for the kitchen.
“He’s going to realize after he is Turned, especially if you are his Sire.” Benoit ducked his head. “Oh, Benoit.” Jeremy lamented.
“There’s his family and background to consider.”
“He is not the first Italian Catholic to be Turned, or to have a male Mate.”
“I know that.” Benoit hissed. “What if he says, ‘No’?”
“What if he says, ‘Yes’? I missed out on six years my Mate because of willful blindness. Do not give up this gift because of your insecurities. Do not let Victoria win.”
“Once he is settled …”
Shaking his head, Jeremy turned to leave. “You’re definitely going to get that smack.”
“Give my regards to Ray.”
“Might want to use the penthouse … More privacy.” Jeremy chuckled as he waved over his shoulder.
“More privacy for what?” Ray asked as he came from the kitchen with a sandwich and cup of coffee.
Diefenbaker added his thoughts on the matter. “Not you, too.” Benoit huffed in exasperation before turning his attention to his partner.
As he drove away from the diner near the FBI offices, Jeremy thoughts turned back to his Mate, and how he’d almost let something so precious slip through his fingers.
When his Sire, Victoria Metcalf, had kidnapped Detective Stanley Ray Kowalski, and showed up in Jeremy’s living room trying to find Benoit, he’d felt drawn the to the blond man. Suppressing his emotions in order to deal with Victoria’s insanity, and to keep anyone from dying, he didn’t realize what Ray was to him.
After Victoria was once again on the run, Kowalski had come to him for the job as General Manager of his Chicago club because he was tired of living undercover in his own life. Though they had become close friends in a short period of time, Jeremy was still dealing with his own traumas related to Chicago, so he’d returned to his home in New York City.
For the next six years, he’d only seen Ray once or twice a year, though they talked often on the phone. Because Ray was such a great manger, Jeremy only stayed in Chicago long enough to pat him on the back for a job well done because Javier was calling about case that needed his expertise.
Jeremy turned his thoughts back to his driving when traffic finally started to move. The snow was beginning to accumulate on the roads, trying the patience of Chicago rush hour drivers. Finally pulling into the garage next to the GTO, he shook off the show off his coat and boots before heading up the back stairs to the apartment that covered the third floor of the historic firehouse. Halfway up the steps, his sensitive nose picked up the smells of fresh bread, and a mouthwatering blend that meant his Mate had been busy this afternoon. In the time it took him to divest himself of his boots and heavy coat, his beloved had danced over the rugs, and slid across the wooden floor in sock feet to catch Jeremy around the neck for a kiss that thoroughly explored the inside of his mouth.
“I gave our information to Peter, Malone, and Ness. Now, I am going to put on something warm and comfy, until I need to go down to the club.”
“I could keep you warm and comfy.”
Pulling Ray in for another kiss that momentarily distracted the cook. Jeremy left the distracted blond standing in the kitchen as he darted around the corner to the master suite.
“Not buddies!” Was shouted down the hall after him.
Jeremy spent most of his hours at the club moving between the underage side of the club, and the adult side. Each side had an area set aside where the psychologist could talk privately with anyone who sought him out. It also gave him an opportunity to observe the employees for problems, or perhaps someone needed recognition for outstanding work. No one paid a lot of attention to a watcher in the shadows, giving Jeremy an opportunity to watch for predators that might need dealt with. None of Jeremy’s people had tolerance for anyone who preyed on the patrons of Lost Children of the Blood.
Ray was his usual high energy self … Talking to the patrons, dancing to the jukebox, taking over the bar when their bartender got a call from his babysitter. Jeremy smiled when his Mate brought him a perfect Irish coffee, delivered with a kiss.
Seeing Ray’s wedding band flash in the bar lights, Jeremy’s thoughts were drawn to last year when he had fled from New York to Chicago after a particularly nasty undercover job in which he’d become a suspect. At the same time Kowalski called to say Benoit had found his Mate. The Tallikut Clan had converged on Chicago for fear history would repeat itself.
Once again focused on his Sire, Jeremy knew he needed to protect Ray, but had no time to examine why. He’d Fed from Ray on several occasions, but had been so tied up in his own issues, he failed to realize he’d started a Bond with his friend. It wasn’t until New Year’s Eve, when his fears had been quieted, and his mind clear that Jeremy realized what he’d been missing. With Ray in his arms as they danced across the club’s hardwood floor, he knew without a doubt the slender blond was his Mate.
The realization caused him to stop in the middle of the floor, and take the smiling mouth in a chaste kiss. When the kiss ended, Kowalski never missed a beat.
“It ain’t midnight, and I’m not complaining, but …”
Jeremy silenced the runaway words with another kiss. When the kiss ended, he placed his lips against Ray’s ear. “You are my Mate.”
It was Ray’s turn to stop. “If you’re messing with me, I’ll kick you in the head.”
“I am sorry I have been so blind.”
“How’s your eyesight now?”
Jeremy had called John Carter the next day, and three days later, Ray was Turned. Once John was satisfied everything was fine, and Ray had Fed from Chosen Ones to quell the Hunger, they kicked the Clan doctor out, and Ray had tackled him onto their king-sized bed.
The inclement weather kept a lot of people home, or caused them to cut their evening short. There was no one to monitor in the playrooms, so he began sending people home around eleven. By one everyone had cleared out except the crew, and they had everything cleaned up, so Jeremy sent them home.
Standing at the door watching the snow covering the tracks in the parking lot, Jeremy felt arms wrap around his waist. Leaning back into the warmth of his Mate, Jeremy only had one question … “Where would you like to go for your honeymoon?”
~ TBC ~