Vasile tried to focus on the needs of his pack, instead of letting his mind dwell on a certain she-wolf. He thought about the lies that he had had to construct in order to protect his father and mother’s legacy and the betrayal the pack would feel if they ever found out. He thought about the young male he had sent back to the castle to inform Alin, his second, of his commands. He thought about all the pack members who had been suffering needlessly for so long because of his father’s neglect. All of that time and he never noticed it because he was so focused on his father’s failing mind. Even with all of these worries he could not stop her face from popping up in his mind or the memory of her scent from filling his lungs. He could not even fight the want―no, the need―to know if she bore his markings. With every breath in and every breath out she held him captive. He could not reach her through their bond and feel her light and goodness, and yet she was just as present in his mind as before.
As the group bed down for the night, Vasile decided to stay in his human form in hopes that he might be able to catch her when she awoke the next morning and started about her day. He could not leave with their bond disconnected. Being away from her was going to be a form of torture in and of itself, he could not handle the separation of their minds as well.
Alina lie on her bed staring up at the ceiling of the cottage she had always called home. She found a certain comfort in the familiar scents and sounds, comfort that she truly needed. Her life had been turned upside down in a single day. She had found her true mate, or rather, he had found her. And what should have been a joyful, exciting time had turned into a frustrating, disappointing mess. She had stayed in her parents’ room all afternoon and evening until they had finally kicked her out but not before her mother checked her back―no markings…yet. She had cried, then gotten angry all over again, and then cried some more, but now she just felt drained. Their bond had only been open for a matter of hours, and yet now that she had closed it off it felt as though she had removed her own heart. How could something that had only just begun already have such a hold on her?
Once again the intensity of the mate bond proved itself to be completely unexplainable. It was something that only those who experienced it could understand, which meant there was no way to prepare yourself for it. Her mother had told her to just take it one day at a time. But looking out over the expanse of four years separated from Vasile, one day at a time was not doing anything to ease her pain. Instead she focused on making it from one breath to the next. As she finally began to fall asleep, she had almost managed to convince herself that the day had just been a dream. She would wake up in the morning to find that Vasile and his men had not even shown up yet. She would not feel the gaping Vasile shaped hole, and there would be no wondering of how she would make it through the next few years. It would just be another regular day. And if she happened to be wrong, well, she would just stay in her parents’ home forever, or until they finally forced her out.
“Are you sure you are doing the right thing?” Gerogeta asked him for what must have been the tenth time.
Petre wrapped an arm around his mate as they lie in their bed and pulled her tightly against him. They had been sleeping this way since the first night they had bonded, and no matter how upset she ever got with him, he still would not allow there to be any space between them.
“No, I honestly do not know,” he admitted into the dark room. “Part of me thinks that I should leave the decision up to Alina and Vasile as to when she goes with him, part of me thinks that maybe eighteen is old enough to be bonded, and part of me thinks that they both have a lot of growing to do before they should complete their bond.”
“Do you think he will leave her here?”
“He is a man of integrity,” he told her. “Just from what he said to us today in regards to the changes that will be made and the help he will be sending shows me his character. He will not go against my wishes, but then he might be stubborn enough to move the pack headquarters to our little village until he can claim her.”
“One thing I do know for certain, my love,” Georgeta said through a yawn. “He will not leave her until she opens their bond back up.”
Petre chuckled. “I do not think I have ever seen our Alina so angry as she was today. She was truly a sight to behold. If she had been holding a switch in her hand, I do believe she would have tanned his hide with it.”
“From what I understand, you both deserved tanned hides.”
“We might have been a tad inconsiderate of her desires,” he started but was interrupted by his mate.
“A tad inconsiderate? That is like saying when you phase to your wolf you are a tad hairy. I would caution you, mate, not to use those words when you apologize to your daughter for being a tad inconsiderate. I have a sneaky suspicion that if you do then she will give you a tad of her own mind.”
“We had good intentions, Georgeta,” Petre argued.
“Good intentions are about as useful as teats on a bull. They are there hanging out in all their glory without the ability to produce anything useful.”
Romanian Proverb # 8
Ce naste din pisicã soareci mãnâncã.
It must be a diamond that cuts a diamond.
“Alpha, not to cause offense,” Ion said from the seated position on the log, “but it has been three days since your female closed the bond, and she still has not spoken to you. Perhaps giving her some space should be considered.”
Vasile bit back the retort he wanted to fling at his third. He had no right to berate one of his own for being honest with him. It was true. Alina refused to speak to him not only that but she refused to even look at him. That, of course, was when he could even find her. She was very good at slipping past him when his attention was elsewhere. Ion was also correct in encouraging him to go home. There was much that needed to be dealt with now that he had spoken to the pack members, and he could not put it off for much longer.
“I am sending you and Nicu back,” he told them. He made a motion with his hand when they started to argue. “I need you to be my eyes and ears while I am absent. Even though we have had a good response from the pack, that does not mean that there are none who are unhappy. With the changing of the guard, so to speak, there are always a few who might attempt to take advantage of the upheaval that such a change brings. I need to be able to squelch any possible uprisings before they happen, and I cannot do that if I do not know about them.”