Tabby threw away the inedible danish. She’d eaten better food out of garbage bins. Someone needed to smack the hospital nutritionist upside the head. “I’m Outcast.”
She studied her mother-in-law, relieved to see no condemnation in the other woman’s face. “For being a thief.”
“Long story short? I was dating the Alpha’s son. I snuck into his room to fool around, got caught sneaking out. The Alpha assumed I was there to rob him and wouldn’t listen to what I was saying. His son didn’t even try to explain things to his father.” Her lips twisted in a smile. “The Alpha never heard anything he didn’t want to anyway. No one bothered to speak up for me and the Alpha Outcast me. I roamed for about eight years as a wolf and finally landed in Halle. I’ve been here ever since.”
Barb studied her for a moment, her whole body relaxing. “Then we’ll have to fix it.”
Tabby blinked. How did you fix the unfixable? “How’s Chloe?”
Barb sighed, the tension returning to her shoulders. “Not good.”
She took hold of Barb’s hand and squeezed. “I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Yeah.” Barb’s smile was weary. “Take good care of my son.”
Tabby nodded, her eyes following Barb all the way back to the hospital room door.
Tabby grinned as her friend’s sweet voice flowed over her. Glory was standing there in one of her colorful peasant skirts and glittery tops, her pale blue hair done up in a sweet-looking ponytail. She looked like a pixie gypsy. “Hey, girl.
What are you doing here?”
Glory held up Tabby’s gym bag. The bangles on her wrist jangled and her grin was wide and sparkling. “Not quite the way we’d envisioned you spending last night.” She giggled. “Okay, bringing you work clothes after your night of debauchery, yes. Bringing you work clothes after a night in the hospital, no. And hey, no walk of shame, right?”
“Thanks a lot.” Tabby rolled her eyes, but just the presence of her bubbly friend soothed her. It was hard to be upset when Glory was around. “Is Cyn all alone?”
The store had opened over an hour ago.
“She posted that we were closed for a family emergency and moved the appointments we had to later in the week.” She handed Tabby the bag. “I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s cousin.”
“Thanks.” Tabby headed toward Julian’s room. She’d rather change in his bathroom than in the public restroom. And there was no way she was going into Chloe’s room, not with all those people in there. Julian would guard the door for her while she changed. He was one of the few people she truly trusted to keep her safe.
“Where is your new man, anyway?”
Tabby shrugged. “Alex is getting some sleep finally.” And hadn’t that been a battle and a half? He’d argued with everyone but his mother until the woman had pinched his ear and literally dragged him off for some rest. He was due back any minute now. “Oh, I almost forgot. Julian’s here.”
She thought about trying to explain, but decided she wanted a nice tall pitcher of margaritas next to her when she did. She still hadn’t figured out how he’d saved Chloe, or what was up with the funky white hair. “I’ll tell you later, but he’s fine now. He’s waiting on his discharge paperwork in his room, so I’ll change there.”
“Well, Cyn says to take your— oomph !” Tabby spun around. Glory was sprawled on the floor. Ryan stood over her, the strangest look on his face.
Glory blew her pale blue bangs out of her face. “And hello to you too.”
Tabby had to stifle her own giggles at the disgruntled look on her face.
Ryan blinked. His expression was stunned. Tabby had seen Glory have that effect on more than one man. “Hello.” Tabby shivered. Ryan had practically purred the salutation. “Who are you?”
Glory smiled up at Ryan. “Glory.” She held up her hand, every inch a dainty princess. “Help me up, please?”
Ryan jumped. “Oh! Right.” He took Glory’s hand and easily pulled her to her feet.
Ryan smiled. “Yeah. She was admitted last night. You know her?”
Glory’s mouth dropped open. “You mean…?” She turned to Tabby. “You didn’t tell me it was Chloe in the hospital.” She tugged on her hand, frowning absently when Ryan didn’t let go. “Chloe’s a friend. I need to go get her some flowers or something.”
“She’d like that once she’s out of ICU.” Ryan took Glory’s hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm. “Maybe I can help you find some?”
Glory tapped her foot. “Your sister is in the hospital and you’re flirting with me?”
Tabby coughed. From the look on Ryan’s face, things were about to get interesting for her friend. “I need to borrow Glory for a little bit.” Ryan frowned at her. “Seriously. She’s my coworker, my roommate and one of my best friends.”
Glory tilted her head toward Ryan, her mouth hanging open. “Him?”
“Oh!” Glory yanked her hand free. “Shouldn’t you be, I dunno, with your mate?”
She hissed. Glory had a real hate-on for cheaters. Tabby still didn’t know why, though she could guess. Glory’s parents were divorced, and she knew Glory would have nothing to do with her mother.
Ryan threw his head back and laughed. “Not yet, anyway.” He loomed over Glory, his expression intense. He towered over her petite friend. The move screamed possession.
Uh-oh. “Um. Ryan? Why don’t you go check on Chloe?”
He looked over at her, and for a moment the predator he was peeked out of his suddenly deep brown eyes. She could tell he was debating whether or not to do what she’d asked. “Where are you two headed?”