Vasile’s eyes snapped open and his massive head jerked up as the light of the early morning sun broke over the horizon and began to filter through the tree branches. It was not the light that had woken him, it was a voice. He waited, desperate to hear it again though he did not understand why. He could hear the pounding of his heart and the steady breathing of his pack mates. Leaves rustled as the wind danced through them and critters scurried about searching for their morning food. Still he waited. His wolf was a patient hunter, and the man had learned to trust him during a pursuit. There, his wolf growled pricking their ears up drawing his attention to a soft, barely audible hum. Vasile was sure that not even the angels could sound as beautiful as the quiet melody that glided through his ears and into his soul. His lips turned up as his wolf smiled. They both knew there was only one person on earth that could ever make them respond in such a way. Mate, his wolf rumbled with a desire that matched his own.
Alina pulled up the sleeves of her dress as she dropped one of her father’s shirts into the wash barrel. She picked up the bar of lye soap and began scrubbing the material, covering it in the cleaner. As she began running the shirt up and down the wash board, she started humming one of her favorite lullabies that her mother had sung to her when she was a child. She stopped humming to scrub four times roughly, and then the humming resumed as she swished the shirt around in the water. She repeated this several times before she finally took the shirt out to the pump to rinse. The wisps of her hair had fallen out of the braid she had woven it into that morning, and she brushed them away with her wrist smearing water across her forehead.
It was a beautiful day. Alina smiled as she looked up to see birds twirling in the air swooping down and snatching up unsuspecting insects. Her father and mother had gone to one of their neighbors’ homes to check on Drist, one of the younger males. He had gotten a poisonous thorn stuck in his paw on a hunt not too long ago, and without a healer to dispel the poison, they had to resort to more mundane ways of treating him. She was lost in thought as she went about her daily chores. She gathered more clothes to wash and hung them up as she finished with each one. She did not hear the wolves approach as she scrubbed and hummed her last shirt clean. She wrung it out after rinsing it and spun around frolicking as if she were ten again and not nearly sixteen. Her feet froze and her breath caught as her eyes landed on the figures before her.
All of a sudden she felt thoughts pouring into her mind that were not her own, and she tried desperately not to reveal to the three wolves, especially the massive blue eyed one, that she was receiving them.
Slowly, she assumed not to frighten her, they made their way to some of the clothing that had already dried, and each wolf tugged down a pair of trousers with their muzzles. They started to phase right there, and Alina gasped as she spun around giving them her back. Many of the wolves were comfortable phasing in front of each other, but Alina had never liked being naked in front of anyone, pack or not.
“We are decent. You may turn around now, female.” His rich, deep voice rumbled, causing a shiver to run down her spine. She did not miss the amusement that laced his tone. Alina gritted her teeth. He thought it was funny that she was embarrassed by their nudity.
She could feel him attempting to communicate with her through her thoughts but she shut him out. She was not ready for this. She tried to still her rapidly beating heart as she turned around slowly. And when her eyes landed on the three men she took an involuntary step back, not because they were shirtless―and all-be-it quite nicely formed, but because of who they were. She recognized the one who had given her that cloth to wipe her eyes so many years ago, and behind the stern demeanor, she could still see the kindness he possessed. A low growl brought her attention back to the real threat. Their Alpha was finally here. After weeks of waiting and fretting and yearning, there he stood less than thirty feet away. When she looked at his face, she saw something that she only ever saw on mated males, possessive jealousy.
No, she thought to herself sternly. It cannot be.
“Luna.” Vasile’s voice caressed her skin and she fought to keep the moan that rose up inside of her silent. “Mina.” Her eyes widened as she realized he had not said that one out loud.
She shook her head at him and started to take another step back, but the one who had helped her in the market place held up his hand to stop her. “You know better than to run from a predator.”
His warning seemed to snap her out of her flight mode, and she took a deep breath and steadied herself. For now she would just continue on as if they had shown up and nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. “My father and mother are at the neighbor’s house tending to one of the young males,” she explained making sure to keep her eyes from staying on Vasile for too long. “They should be back shortly if you want to wait.” Silently she begged them not to. “Or I can point you in the direction of the meeting place.”
“We will wait, Mina.” Vasile smiled and it was breathtaking.
Alina decided then and there that if she never saw another sunset or sunrise in her life it would be alright as long as she got to see his smile every day. The smirk that over took his lips told her that he had caught her thoughts. She tried to close the bond that had burst open between them the minute she had seen him but he was much stronger than her and he refused to be blocked. Irritated by his smugness and her inability to act unaffected by him she shrugged. “By all means, make yourselves at home.” She motioned towards their small cottage and tried not to cringe at the idea of him seeing just how slight it was, a house where she did not even have her own room. She did not hold it against her parents. They were doing the best they could and they loved her dearly. Love made up for a whole multitude of wants that could not be met. “You will have to excuse me, I am supposed to be meeting a friend in a few minutes. There is bread on the table if you are hungry.” She turned to go but had to stop abruptly to keep from slamming into the massive man who had suddenly appeared in front of her. Her head tilted back and she looked up to see a frown staring back at her. Someone so beautiful should never frown, she thought. His face smoothed immediately. Now she was frowning.
“I wish you to stay,” Vasile said softly, but she did not miss the command in it. As she stared at him―his dark hair long enough that she could see the subtle wave in it, his high cheekbones, straight nose, and strong jaw making him indescribably handsome―she wondered if anyone had ever told him no before. If not, there was a first time for everything.