Alina watched her mother scurry off, looking all too pleased with herself. It was when she considered her mother’s words, find him in your usual spot, that she realized that Georgeta had just played her like the Pied Piper. She shook her head as she hung the shirt back up that she had just taken down. The smile that threatened to break across her lips finally broke lose when she imagined Vasile going to her mother for help. That must have been something to see.
Alina took her time as she walked towards her favorite spot by the river. Her thoughts were going a hundred miles a minute as she went over and over what she wanted to say and how to say it. But the minute she saw him standing there, his broad shoulders pulled back and his narrow waist tapering down to strong powerful legs, all coherent thoughts were gone. The wind blew through his hair as he stared at the running water. His arms were folded across his broad chest, and his handsome face was narrowed in a frown. It irked her that even frowning he was still the most handsome creature she had ever seen. She hoped that she would go unnoticed so she could just watch him, but werewolves were not easy to sneak up on. The incredible hearing kept a lot of mischief at bay in their world.
“I did not know if you would come.” His deep voice carried over the sound of the rippling water and rustling wind. He did not turn to face her, just continued to stare at the river.
“I am not sure why I did,” she admitted. “I am still mad and hurt.”
He turned then to look down at her. His features had softened and the frown was gone now, replaced by a tenderness that made her breath catch.
“I would sooner cut off my own arm and feed it to the dogs than hurt you. That was never my intention, Mina.” His voice rang with sincerity.
She nodded. “I do not think your were trying to hurt me, and I know my father would never intentionally hurt me either. Regardless of either of your intents, your words and actions are what matter not your intentions.”
“I agree with you and that is why I am asking for your forgiveness.”
Vasile’s words were then followed by an action that shocked Alina. He knelt down on one knee before her. Her mouth dropped open, not for the same reason a human woman would think. She knew he was not proposing marriage. That was not their custom. Her mouth dropped open because an Alpha, a dominant, was kneeling before her. He was submitting himself to her, something that Alpha’s never did to anyone.
She was speechless. All she could do was stare at the man before her on his knee looking at her with such devotion that she thought her heart would burst.
“Can you forgive me, Alina?” he asked again.
“I already have,” she admitted.
His head tilted slightly and she saw the flash of his wolf behind his eyes. “Then why is our bond still closed?”
She started to step back but he placed his hands on either side of her hips and held her in place. The warmth from his palms penetrated her through the material of her clothes, and she wanted to sink into him and allow it to warm all the cold places inside of her.
“Mina,” he murmured drawing her attention away from his touch.
“I wanted to open it back. Last night all I could think about was how you will be leaving soon, and I knew that there was no way I could let you leave before I opened it. But…,” she paused.
“But what?” he breathed out.
“Now I wonder if it would be less painful if we did not have any contact at all while we are apart and you are off being Alpha, and I am stuck here being me. Maybe….”
“NO.” His voice was firm as he interrupted her and stood quickly to his feet. “It would not be less painful, Alina. Has it been pain free for you the past few days? Even with us only feet apart, has it been painless?”
“It has not,” she admitted.
“It has been hell,” he growled as he turned away from her. He began pacing and she imagined had he been in his wolf form the fur on the back of his neck would have been standing on end. “Even now, standing this close to you, with the bond closed I feel as though we are miles apart.”
“I do not understand how having the bond open when we cannot even touch will matter. How is that going to take away the torture of being apart from each other?” she snapped back. “Maybe I do not want to talk to you if I cannot see you. Maybe not being able to touch you will be easier if I cannot hear you either.”
“Open the bond, Alina,” Vasile rumbled at her. His words were slow and sounded calm, but she knew better.
She simply stared at him. As his eyes began to glow, she realized maybe staring down an already upset Alpha was not the wisest thing she had ever done.
His jaw clenched but he did not raise his voice. “Please, open it.”
It was the please and the way he said it that finally had her caving. She mentally watched the walls crash down as she opened the mate bond between them. She heard him gasp and felt her own gasp as their emotions crashed into one another. Volatile would be putting it mildly. She felt everything he had been feeling: anger, hurt, fear, worry, and pain. All of it rolled through her, mixing with her own emotions. But even in the midst of the chaos, it was right.
“What do you feel?” Vasile’s voice brushed through her mind.
Her first inclination was to list off all of the emotions, but then she felt something else entirely. Her eyes widened as she looked at where he stood at least ten feet from her, and yet she could feel his hand on her face. She could feel his breath on her neck and the warmth of his body as though he were standing only inches from her.
“How?” she murmured breathlessly as she felt his fingertips skitter across the back of her neck.
“You asked what good it would be to be able to hear me but not feel me. I am showing you that the bond is more than just being able to speak to one another through a mental pipeline. It is a connection, a very important connection. Our wolves crave touch, crave each other, and when we are a part, it is one way for the wolf to cope with the distance.”
Alina was trying to listen to him but his touch and scent were all around her, and she was consumed by it. Her eyes fluttered closed as she opened all of herself up. For three days she had not allowed herself to be near him, had not allowed herself the comfort of his presence, and now she was drenched in him. Her wolf wanted to wiggle in delight under the attention of their mate. She wanted to roll and play and never be parted from him again. Alina wanted the same thing.