Wolf in the Castle

Chapter One

            Dominic’s things were neatly folded and laid out on the bed. He carefully sorted through his closet and picked out everything he would need for the trip. Patrice, on the other hand, had her half of the bed covered in a jumbled heap of clothing.

“Do you think I’ll need my black jacket?” Patrice was holding up a jacket that he had never seen Patrice wear before, and it was the middle of the summer.

“I think you’ll be fine without it,” Dominic replied but Patrice kept looking at the jacket.

“I’ll put it into the ‘maybe’ pile,” Patrice threw the jacket onto a large heap of clothing that was her “maybe” pile. It contained pretty much everything from her side of the closet. “We shouldn’t have left packing to last minute,” Patrice’s tone was tense and Dominic could tell she was getting worked up. That had been happening a lot lately – Patrice getting worked up.

Ever since Dominic proposed to Patrice after the whole mess with the doppelganger, everything had been about the wedding Every detail had been a point of stress for Patrice. She was determined to have the wedding of her dreams, and while Dominic was happy to give her the wedding of her dreams, he had no idea how much needed to go into it. Every day something else came up, some small detail Dominic never even thought about, but to Patrice, it was life or death. The one thing they didn’t need to worry about, though, was the venue.

Ever since Patrice had been a little girl, she had always dreamt of getting married at Castle Richards in Colt city. The first thing they did after getting engaged had been to phone Castle Richards and set a date. Then the months crept by, the dress got purchased, the decorations sorted out, the flowers picked, and the suits tailored, and all that was left was to actually get the wedding started.

Dominic neatly laid out all of his clothes in a small duffle bag, zipped it shut, and threw his suit on top.

“Well, I’m all ready to go.” He said to her while moving his things to the front door.

“You’re ready to go!?” Patrice was shocked. “I’m not even close!” She was knee deep in clothing and looked around desperately.

“We’re only going for a few days,” They were planning on heading to Colt City a couple of days before their guests. Patrice was insistent that they check over the venue to make sure everything was perfect before the wedding started. Dominic wanted to go up a couple days early to see his uncle who he hadn’t seen in years. Dominic’s uncle, Lex Pearson, was the only blood relative Dominic had coming to the wedding.

Dominic’s family was pretty much non-existent. His father, Lex’s brother, had died in a clan feud decades earlier, and his mother had died from cancer when Dominic had been a teenager. He had no brothers or sisters, and no cousins that he knew of. It meant a lot to Dominic that at least someone from his family was there, and that only left Uncle Lex.

Lex Pearson was a wolf that didn’t care much for the clans, and as a result, he moved away from Timber Creek before Dominic had even been born. Dominic had only ever met his uncle once, and the memory was fuzzy at best. He had just been a little boy when Lex made an uncharacteristic appearance in Timber Creek. Dominic didn’t remember much about him, just that he was a stern looking man who had given Dominic a bag of candy as a gift. The most Dominic could remember about the visit, was Lex and his mother getting into a fight about something; he didn’t remember what it was about.

“But it’s our wedding Dominic!” Patrice said stubbornly. “It needs to be perfect!”

That had been a common line with them lately, and it was an argument Dominic couldn’t contest.

“And it will be perfect. We need to get going hun, it’s a long drive to Colt city,” Dominic stared out the window towards the driveway while he said it. Parked on the small cement slab was Dusty’s prized possession, the black ‘69 Mustang. He had lent it to Patrice and Dominic for the wedding, and Dominic was looking forward to ripping down the highway on the black beast.

“Just gimme’ a minute,” Patrice called out from the bedroom and Dominic sighed.

By the time they were ready to leave, the sun was hanging high in the sky and the plans for an early start to the day had been dashed. Dominic lifted Patrice’s large suitcase from the bedroom and into the car’s trunk, and he was shocked by how heavy it was.

“What do you have in here, a body?” He joked as he placed it beside his small duffle bag.

“Har, har,” Patrice said sarcastically. “Once you see me on the wedding night, I don’t think you’ll be complaining.” She said with a sexy smile, and Dominic couldn’t wait. Dominic opened the driver’s side door and leaned on the roof.

“You got everything?” He asked.

“I think so.”

“Then let’s get this show on the road. The next time we’ll be in Timber Creek, we’ll be married.” He said with a grin while he sat behind the wheel.

“I can’t wait,” Patrice replied while she buckled herself in. “So long as no Hunters, or Doppelgangers, or crazy wolves interrupt us.” She chuckled. What they didn’t know, was that Castle Richards had its own plans for their wedding.

The open road stretched out in front of them and the hot sun burned above them. The car purred as black asphalt moved smoothly underneath of the wide wheels. Dominic put his foot down on the accelerator and the car sped ahead. The highway was pretty much deserted, there wasn’t a lot of traffic towards Timber Creek and even less leaving it. The open road was like a joyful dream for Dominic. He had always admired Dusty’s car and spent countless hours with the man fixing her up. As he shifted up, he could tell that the car had been well taken care of.

“So for tonight,” Patrice sat beside the open window while her blonde hair danced around her face. “We’ll get into Castle Richards, check in, and then I’m going to meet with the wedding planner while you go to your uncle’s.” She said it very matter-of-factly. Dominic had known the plan for days, but he knew it made Patrice feel better to recite it out loud.

“Sounds good to me,” He replied.

“Excited to see your uncle?” Patrice asked while taking off her shoes and kicking her feet onto the dashboard.

“I guess so,” Dominic said reluctantly. “I’m not too sure what to expect. He seems like a strange fellow. I couldn’t imagine being a wolf without a clan.”

“Why did he move away from Timber Creek?” Patrice had asked the question before, but Dominic had always shrugged it off.

“I couldn’t tell you. My mom never talked about it, just said the clans weren’t for him. All I really know about him is that he’s a lawyer and doesn’t seem too interested in being a paranormal.”

“That’s so strange,”

“Like I said, he seems like a strange guy, but he’s the only family I have.” Dominic gripped the wheel. What he didn’t expect when he proposed to Patrice, was that he’d have so many thoughts about his own family.

The hours moved by on the road and the landscape changed from forests and rivers into sprawling hills. As they crested a large hill, Colt city stretched out before them, nestled in a valley and hugging a river. Dominic had only been to Colt city a handful of times and had never been to Castle Richards.

“So what’s the deal with this castle?” Dominic asked. “You don’t see too many castles in America.”

“Oh, it’s so beautiful, Dominic,” Patrice gushed. “It’s more like a mansion shaped like a castle. I’m not too sure what the whole history is, but I remember hearing about some eccentric millionaire in the 20s deciding he wanted a castle. I guess he imported every single stone from Scotland to build it. I can’t wait for you to see it, hun, it’s so nice.” Patrice sat on the edge of her seat and looked out the window as they drove into Colt city.

It took them a little bit to find the right turn off, but when they did, they were driving up a hill on a curved road that was lined with beautiful trees.

“Quite the entrance,” Dominic said as the car moved slowly up the road. It was hard to believe that at one time, this whole stretch of land belonged to one man. The estate was huge, with forests and ponds all over the property. Every inch of it had been meticulously groomed and cared for, and as the car crept up to the front entrance, Dominic’s jaw dropped.

Castle Richards was an impressive stone building that stretched right into the sky. Dominic pulled the car around the cement circle in front, there was a beautifully maintained garden in the middle of the circle, and a valet in a red coat rushed over to them.

“It’s alright,” Dominic told the valet as he stepped out of the car. “I’m only going inside for a minute.” He craned his neck to get a better look at Castle Richards. Ornate stonework covered the outside of the building, and high above them, gargoyles leered out around them. Everything about the castle was beautiful – the oak front door, the narrow windows, the stepped roof. Dominic had half-expected a crumbling mess, that’s just what came to mind when he thought of castles, but Castle Richards was not that. Looking around at the manicured lawns and perfect gardens, Dominic didn’t even want to think what it cost to stay there, much less host a wedding, and was very grateful that Coleman was paying for the whole thing.

“This place is something else,” Dominic said with awestruck eyes.

“Isn’t it?” Patrice ran over to him and gave his hand a squeeze. “It’s just perfect.”

“Not as perfect as you.” Dominic broke his eyes away from the castle and looked at Patrice. She was beautiful.

“Awe shucks,” She replied sweetly. “We can explore the castle once you get back,” Patrice said and broke the trance over Dominic.

“Sounds good,” Dominic gave the castle another look and climbed back into the driver’s seat.Available at your favorite stores

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