Prieten adevãrat este acela care te sfãtuieste spre bine,
iar nu acela care îti laudã nebuniile.
I cannot be your FRIEND and your flatterer too.
~Romanian Proverb # 0
“We’ve called a girls’ weekend,” Jen announced as she strode into the dining room of the Romanian pack mansion as if she still lived there. “I’ve had a baby, Jacque is knocked up, Sally is about to embark on some crazy wild goose chase with Peri, and we need some serious estrogen time.”
Vasile looked from his mate to Jen and then back to his mate. “Is she actually asking for my approval?”
Alina laughed. “I highly doubt that, Alpha. I think she is just informing you that she’s kidnapping me.”
“And do you wish to be rescued?” he asked her with a mischievous glint in his blue eyes.
Jen scoffed, “Psht, as if. You and what army could possibly rescue her from my clutches?”
“Jen, tone it down a little. I think your post pregnancy hormones are still getting to your head,” Jacque piped in, as she drug out a seat at the table.
“Was it too much,” Jen asked with squinted eyes.
Jacque held up her hand with her fingers separated by a tiny sliver of air. “Just a tad.”
“I think I can handle the girls for a weekend,” Alina told her mate. “Besides, I think it’s time they heard our story.”
“Mina!” Vasile’s voice was full of warning.
She shrugged innocently. “What? I won’t make you look bad.”
He huffed knowing there was no way to make him look good. Vasile remembered their courtship like it was yesterday, though it had been over two centuries since he took Alina as his mate. He had matured a lot in those two centuries, thank the Great Luna for that.
“So we’re finally going to get to hear how the great and mighty Vasile claimed his mate? Or is this more of a fall from grace sort of story?” Jen asked as she grinned at the frowning Alpha.
“I would say it’s a little of both,” Alina told her. “Do you all want to go to the cottage?” Alina asked them.
“If it is a no testosterone zone, then by all means, the cottage it is,” Jacque answered.
“So eager to get away from me, Luna?” Fane’s voice whispered through her mind.
“I love you, Wolf-man, but I need a couple days of girls, chocolate, and no possessive mates. You can help Decebel with Thia and get some daddy practice in.” Jacque laughed at the low growl her mate gave her. He hated when she was away from him, especially now that she was carrying their child, but he also knew she needed space or he would smother her, and that in turn would lead to her smothering him―with a pillow, while he slept.
“I heard that,” he huffed.
“I’ve told you to stop eavesdropping and then you won’t hear things you don’t like hearing. If you weren’t so hardheaded you would take my advice and mind your own business.”
“Stay safe, love, and come back to me quickly,” he told her, totally ignoring her snide comments, as he often did.
“Love you,” was her response.
“How long will you be gone?” Decebel asked Jen as she tossed some clothes in a suitcase.
“Just for the weekend, B. You totally got this dad thing down, and Vasile will help if you run into any problems,” Jen said with a reassuring smile.
“I’m not worried about taking care of Thia; she’s a piece of cake compared to you,” he told her with a smirk.
“Dude, I can totally stay gone a little longer if you think you got this,” she threatened as she met his amber gaze.
“No, you couldn’t,” he purred as he took a step towards her and then another until he was standing right in front of her. “You would miss me too much.”
Jen rolled her eyes. “You get me knocked up and suddenly you think I can’t keep my paws off of you.”
“Do I need to refresh your memory of the past week?”
Jen actually blushed. “No need to be bringing up old stuff, Dec.”
“Oh, I definitely think there is a need.” His voice seemed to drop even deeper.
Jen held up her hand to hold him off. “No means no, my insatiable mate. I have a chicks’ weekend calling my name and you, my furry love, have the wrong equipment to come and play. I love you.” She leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss and dashed out of his reach before he could grab her. She headed over to Thia’s bed where she lay sleeping and leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Give’em hell, mini me,” she whispered to her daughter. When she turned to face her mate she saw that he was standing in front of the door blocking her escape. He looked quite confident in his ability to keep her from leaving. Thankfully, she had planned ahead. She smiled sweetly at him as she picked up her suit case and then counted down under her breath. “Five, four, three, two, one . . . any time now.”
Peri suddenly appeared right next to her. She grabbed Jen’s arm, gave Decebel the finger, and then flashed out of the room.
Decebel growled as Jen’s laughter filled the room and then she was gone. He stared at the place she had just stood and then he chuckled. “Well played, Jennifer, well played. Just remember what you always say about payback.” He sent to her.
“Bring it, baby,” she whispered back.
“You’re sure this is a good idea?” Vasile asked his mate for the second time.
Alina narrowed her eyes at him. “Vasile, I bonded with you because of the man you were, not because of the man you were destined to become. It is good for others to see that you are not perfect. We have both grown and changed over the centuries; I think for the better.”
“Then why is it necessary to share with them all of our past mistakes?” he grumbled.
She laughed. “Oh mate, you know the answer to that. It is our mistakes that make us who we are. Without our mistakes we would never grow in character, or mature. Without our mistakes we would not be able to tell our children and grandchildren that yes you will fall, but then you will get up, brush yourself off, and be stronger because of that fall. You know this better than most. Let me have this time with the girls. Let me share with them how you came to be the most powerful Alpha in our history, and let me tell them how you won my heart.”
Vasile took her face gently in his hands as he looked down at her. His female who had taken him on time and time again, who had loved him through good and bad, who knew the ugliest parts of his soul and still claimed him, looked up into his eyes. “You tell them what you think you need to, but in the end the only thing they really need to know is that I am the man I am today because you gave me the honor of becoming my true mate.” He kissed her deeply, with all the passion of two centuries worth of love, pouring into her mind the images and emotions of his feelings for her.