“I do not understand how I could possibly feel the way I do about you if you were not my true mate. I will not attempt to kiss you again until the signs show but neither will I stay away.”
She had to give him one thing, if he was nothing else, he was persistent. “I am not asking you to stay away. As I said, you are my friend and that will always be true.”
He nodded but the intense look in his eyes did not lessen. She bid him goodnight and turned to go in. Just as she entered she saw the blouse that Sisily had asked to borrow. Alina had asked her mother to lay it out for her. She grabbed it quickly and hurried back out the door. “Serghei,” she called. He had already made it to the turn in the road that would take him to his home. She held up the blouse and waved it. “Could you please give this to your sister?”
He jogged back to her and accepted it with the smile she was used to seeing. “I will see that she gets it.”
“Thank you!” she called back as she turned back towards her house.
“Sisily?” Alina sat up abruptly as her thoughts began to turn into ideas—ideas that she hoped were not true.
“Hmm,” her friend answered.
“What did you do with that blouse I let you borrow?”
“What blouse?” Sisily sat up beside her. “You never gave it to me. But it was no bother. I figured you forgot about it. My mother had one that was perfectly fine for the next time we go to market.”
“Gâscă!” Alina snarled.
Sisily gasped because young women did not typically swear, especially Alina. “What is wrong?”
Alina stood up and brushed herself off and then grabbed Sisily’s hand and helped her up. “What is wrong is that I gave that blouse to your brother a couple of months ago and told him to take it to you. If he did not give it to you, then what do you think he has done with it?”
Sisily’s eyes went wide as she realized what Alina was implying. “Surely he would not keep it,” she reasoned. Her eyes darted from side to side as if at any moment someone was going to jump out and yell ‘caught you’! “Oh, oh no!” Sisily grabbed Alina’s arm to stop her from walking. “What if it is in his room? He would not do something so improper, right?” When Alina did not answer she shook her. “Right!”
“He kissed me,” Alina finally admitted. She had not told her friend out of respect for Serghei. She knew that males could be touchy about their egos, and she did not want his sister to think less of him, not that she would.
“HE WHAT?” she shouted.
Okay, so maybe she would think less of him. “It was just another attempt to see if maybe the signs would appear,” Alina said quickly and then began walking again. She was not sure where she was going until her feet were moving in the direction of the meeting place, where she hoped the males remained. If they were not, then that meant that Vasile was probably making his rounds to homes to say hello and introduce himself and his warriors.
“Did you kiss him back?”
Alina shook her head and then huffed. “Of course not. I don’t feel anything for him other than brotherly affection. He is simply infatuated with me.”
“Stealing your clothes and hiding them is not simple infatuation,” Sisily argued. “You know why he took it. It is, I mean, how,” she stumbled as her face grew redder and redder. “He wanted your scent, Alina! Your scent is in his room, probably in his bed because that is more than likely where the little pervert stashed it.”
“Do not call him that. He is just confused.”
“You had better stop defending him, Alina. If Vasile catches your scent in another male’s bed, the worst thing you could do is defend that male to your mate. If you want my brother to die a painful death than tell Vasile not to call him all the things that you know he is going to.”
Alina was not worried about Vasile yelling obscene names at Serghei; she was worried he would not yell at all. She had seen in his eyes that his silence was so much more deadly than any snarling could ever be. She quickened her pace as she thought about poor, albeit stupid, Serghei facing off with one such as Vasile. When they reached the covered area where the larger gatherings were held her feet came to a sudden halt. There was no one there.
“Gâscă.” It was Sisily who swore this time and Alina did not give it a second thought. She was too busy pulling up her dress so she could run. She called on her wolf’s power and felt her muscle move inhumanly fast as Sisily stayed right on her heels.
They finally reached the dusty track that would take them to Sisily’s house. Alina knew immediately that they were too late.
“Why is it so quiet?” Sisily asked in a whisper as though talking any louder would somehow cause all hell to break loose.
“Because someone is about to die,” Alina answered soberly.
Romanian Proverb # 6
Orice pãcat poate fi iertat.
There is mercy for everything.
“We can start at Sain’s home,” Petre told Vasile as they left the gathering hall. Things had once again gone well. There had been a great sense of relief when Vasile had explained to them that he had been unaware of the state of many of the villages, and that he would be remedying it immediately. He let them know that he knew what his job was as Alpha and that he would make sure that things would never get like that again. Many had offered their condolences to him and welcomed him as their Alpha. All of the males had submitted to him when the time came for him to ask for any challengers. It was a good thing there had been none because he was edgy. Being away from Alina, with no commitments from her, was making his wolf very agitated. And knowing that she was too young to claim was not doing a whole lot for his control either. It was not completely unheard of for true mates to find one another before they were mature, and in truth as long as the female was able to bear children and the parents were amiable, then she could be claimed. But Vasile knew it would not be fair to Alina to ask her to become an Alpha and be mated to one as dominate as he at the tender age of sixteen. Even he was not that selfish. At least he hoped he was not.
“Alpha, I am Sain.” A man shorter than Vasile, though almost as wide held out his hand. Vasile took it shaking it once. “We are honored to have you in our home. My mate, Theris, has made some special treats for the occasion.”
“She need not have gone out of her way,” Vasile said congenially.