Home > Beck Bear (Daughters of Beasts #2)(17)

Beck Bear (Daughters of Beasts #2)(17)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“I’ll be back soon,” he said as she took a seat in the waiting area by a rack of magazines.

“Okay,” she murmured, watching him disappear as a nurse buzzed him in through a set of swinging doors.

The second she could no longer see him, the sadness was back, and it was so overwhelming her body physically ached. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and hoped she wouldn’t Change. Something was happening to her. Something she didn’t understand.

One day with him, and she felt so…different.

Chapter Thirteen

The second he opened the door, he knew Sara was okay. He could feel it. There wasn’t stress coming from her animal, only relief.

Her hair was the same color as his, but down to her shoulders, and her eyes were the same shade of blue. Her smile even looked like his. Dr. Monroe was already seated in his chair and gave Rhett a two-fingered wave.

Rhett made his way to Sara and hugged her up tight, swaying gently. She’d always been a hugger. She was affectionate like their mom.

“You scared the shit out of me yesterday.”

Sara shrugged and released him, then yanked the plastic bag of food from his hands and plopped down on the couch. “It was just a little Change. It had been a while, and my animal gets restless all cooped up in this place.”

Rhett blinked hard and looked at Dr. Monroe, who wore the same smug look Grim had this morning. “Well, that’s a change in attitude. You used to hate Changing.”

“Well, it’s still not my favorite,” she said, pouring a little plastic container of syrup over the pancakes she’d set on the coffee table, but I’m learning to accept that part of myself.”

His grin had to be so fucking big right now. He sat next to her and grabbed one of the pieces of bacon out of her Styrofoam container. Munching on it thoughtfully, he relaxed back into the couch. “Has Dad messaged you today?”

“Yes. And Mom.”

“Mom did? Wow, I’m surprised she was allowed to use the phone,” Rhett said sarcastically. He’d always hated how his mother was treated in the Pride. Like her only value was her albino lion genetics and nothing else.

“A lot has changed in the Pride,” Sara said quietly.

“Like what?”

“Like Mom left Dad.”

Rhett lurched forward. “What?”

“Yeah. She has her own house on the edge of the territory. She left him when you came and got me, when she found out he’d been giving me DeClaw. When I go back, I’ll be living with her until I feel ready enough to have my own place again. She has an extra room all made up for me.”

Okay…this was news. Good news, but Rhett still worried. He didn’t trust anyone in the Pride except for Mom. “What if you start getting pressure to use DeClaw?” Rhett asked low. Her answer mattered. It had been on his mind since the day he’d taken her from there.

“I like my animal now. I don’t want to put her to sleep. I’ve dealt with my guilt, and I’m still dealing with it. I’m a total work in progress, but I can’t stay in here forever. I’ve been ready to leave for a while.”

Rhett held her gaze for a few seconds and then looked to Dr. Monroe.

“I believe she’s ready,” he said. “She’s worked her tail off, she’s changed her mindset, and become stronger. I think she can handle it.”

“Look, I know what you gave up for me,” she whispered, her eyes brimming with tears. “Music was your escape from the Pride, and you gave that up to take care of me. I don’t want to be a burden on your life anymore, Rhett. I want you to move on and grow, too. You can’t do that if you’re stuck here watching me.”

“Well…I don’t feel stuck.”

Sara frowned. “What do you mean? I thought you said you hated your Crew.”

Rhett shrugged up his shoulders. “They’re fun to annoy. Tolerable even on some days.”

Sara’s eyebrows arched up. “Seriously?”

“No, they’re terrible. I will leave them any minute now.”

Sara snorted and muttered “liar” around a bite of pancakes.

“When are you going back?” he asked suddenly. He was going to miss these visits. It would be different for both of them when she went back to the Saga Pride.

“Dr. Monroe thinks I’ll be good to go at the end of the week. He wants me to get one more controlled Change in before Mom picks me up. To build my confidence.”

Rhett nodded for a bit and then cleared his throat. “Do you think you’re up for meeting someone new?” he asked carefully.

She stopped chewing and gulped a big bite down. “Who?”

“A girl.”

“A girl or the girl?”

He tried and failed to smile. “I can’t keep her.”

“Is she here?”

He nodded once.

“Well, bring her on in.” She turned to Dr. Monroe. “Can we?”

The thin-haired man shrugged. “I don’t see why not.”

Rhett stood to get Juno, but Dr. Monroe motioned him down and made a call on the landline phone next to his chair to one of the nurses to bring her back.

Why was his heart pounding so hard right now? Seconds ticked by, and he couldn’t keep his eyes from the door. And when it opened, he was struck again with how pretty she was. Her eyes were silver like her animal was riled up, but the smile on her lips was easy. She gave him the cutest fuckin’ little wave he’d ever seen. She was so cute when she got shy like that.

“Whoa,” Sara uttered beside him. When he looked at Sara, she was smiling, too, right at him.

“What?” he asked.

“The way you look at her…” Sara turned to Juno and made her way around the table to greet her. Rhett thought she would offer her hand for a shake, but his sister pulled Juno into a back-cracking hug and said, “I’m Sara Saga. I’ve heard so much about you in four sentences.”

Juno laughed and hugged her back. “I’m Juno Beck.”

“Beck.” Sara turned with Juno still locked in her anaconda embrace. “Hey, remember when we were growing up and you were obsessed with the Beck Brothers and had all their posters on your walls? Of course, you would fall for a girl with their last name.”

“Brighton Beck is her dad,” he deadpanned.

“Holy fuckin’ shit!” Sara yelled.

Rhett snorted. She sounded just like him.

Juno was laughing good now. “Your brother had the exact same reaction.”

And as he watched his sister and his…Juno…talking and laughing, he thought maybe he’d never had a moment as happy as this one. These two girls were the only ones in the world who had managed to chip away at the cracks in his concrete heart and let themselves in.

No matter what else happened, today was a good day.

Chapter Fourteen

From experience, Juno knew the only way to make amends with Remi when she was angry like this was a hug. So the second Remi got out of the passenger’s side of Kamp’s truck, Juno was ready. She pounced. Not gracefully, but she lurched at her friend, wrapped her arms around her, and stood there nuzzling her cheek and trying not to laugh until Remi muttered, “Forgiven,” and hugged her back.

Grim mumbled, “Gross,” as he stomped out of his navy blue Bronco and right past them.

“He likes me,” Remi said in a mushy voice.

“Really?” Juno said, frowning at the behemoth’s back. He was wearing a tank top, but it was twenty degrees out. He might be a demon. “How can you tell?”

Was it the growling, the hateful words, the trying to kill them last night, or—?

“Because he showed up.”

Huh. Okay then, she supposed that was the benefit of being a monstrous, terrifying asshole. Do one good deed, and ye shall be praised.

Secretly, though, Juno kinda liked that he was grumpy and a little serial-killery. She didn’t know what that said about her, but then again, she was dying, so who cared?

She and Rhett followed Kamp and Remi inside. Grim was already sitting at a table, ordering without them. Juno pursed her lips against a smile as Remi griped at him. Rhett’s fingertips on the small of her back as she made her way to the table felt so good, and so right. The chairs were wooden bench seats, so she got to sit right in the middle of Rhett and Remi. Grim sat on one side alone, but mostly because when Kamp sat next to him, he snarled. Kamp snarled back and slapped Grim’s water glass onto him. They both stood in a rush and nearly faced off right there in Rusty’s Fried Chicken. Messes, both of them.

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