“What are you thinking so deeply about?” he asked her softly.
She looked down and saw that he had opened his eyes and was watching her. She blushed under his gaze. She was pretty sure she would never get over someone so handsome taking notice of her, mate or not. “I am just sad for you. You have so much on your shoulders and no one to bear it with you.”
“I have you,” he told her as he reached up and ran his fingers across her cheek.
“But I cannot be with you, not really.”
“Just knowing you are here waiting for me is enough for now, Mina.”
As she stared down at him, she felt him opening their bond up even more so that she could see his memories. She smiled at the memory of the first time he had seen her. To him she was indescribably beautiful. He saw her in a light in which she had never imagined herself, and it warmed her to know he was so attracted to her. She saw his pain over the memories of his father, and before he could sensor it she saw his mother with something in her hand and felt Vasile’s sorrow.
“What was that?” she asked breathless from the intense onslaught of emotions pouring out of him.
He sat up abruptly and ran his hands over his face. She could tell that he did not want to talk about it, and yet he wanted her to know because he wanted her to know all of him.
“My parents were not who they appeared to be,” he began.
Vasile let out a deep breath as he began to tell his true mate about his parents. He was embarrassed and yet he knew if he told her she would not judge him. His Alina was a kind, gentle soul, and if anyone could understand what he was going through, it would be her. She listened to him without interrupting, seeming to understand that he needed to get it all out. Like a dam breaking open the story rushed from him with all the gory details. And even though it was brutal to relive, when he finally finished, he felt as if a thousand pounds that he did not even realize he had been carrying had been lifted off of his chest. His heart was still pounding in his chest from the memories of finding his father a bloody mess by his own hand. If he had ever wanted to wipe his memory clear of anything more than those images, he could not remember it. He finally turned to look at her and immediately gathered her into his arms.
She was weeping silently, his little Luna, broken for him. She was not bothering to block her emotions from him and he felt all of them: anger at his parents for putting him in such a position, admiration for his mother at having loved a man that had not been her true mate for so long, and pain for his father at having slowly gone mad. Regardless of the love his mate had for him, it was not enough.
“Do not waste your precious tears on me, beloved,” he whispered to her. “It is a sad story, but it was their choice and only they are responsible.”
“That may be,” she said around quiet sobs. “But they…left you…to deal with the consequences.” Her words were interrupted by the rapid breaths caused by her tears.
When she began to shiver, he pulled her tighter against him as though his arms would be enough to hold her together. He hated that telling her had caused such hurt in her, but then he knew that was the way of true mates. They felt deeply for one another, and when one hurt, they both hurt. When one rejoiced, they both rejoiced. He knew that even though there would be times when the truth would be hard on her, he would not keep things from her. She was his mate, his equal, his beloved, and she alone deserved to know everything―even his darkest, most painful secrets.
“No one must know, Vasile,” she said suddenly, her voice urgent as she pulled back so she could look up at him, “not even my parents. If the wrong wolves in the pack had that information. . . .” Her words died away as her eyes widened at the understanding of how bad that would be.
“I know, Alina. Only one other knows the truth and he will not speak of it.”
“You are sure?”
He nodded. “Anghel was one of my father’s best friends, regardless of the fact that they were Alphas of separate packs. They respected one another and that respect will continue on past the grave.” He stood then, still holding her in his arms, and began walking back towards her home. It was after dark and past time he got her home. “It is late and you need rest. I have surely taxed you with my sordid family secrets.”
She shook her head against him. “None of us is perfect, Vasile. We all have dark things tucked away that we would rather never see the light of day.”
His wolf perked up at her admission. “And pray tell, Mina, what dark things do you have tucked away?” He dropped his voice suggestively hoping she would hear the teasing in it and the desire to know her even more.
She laughed. “I think I will wait until I bear your marks and your bite before I go digging into my gritty details.”
“There is nothing you could ever tell me that would keep me from you.” He gently set her down at the door of her home and tilted her chin to look up at him. “You are stuck with me Luna mine, forever.”
She smiled and it nearly stopped his heart to know that it was for him and him alone. “In a couple of centuries when you are growling at me in irritation, I will remind you of your words this night, Alpha.” Then to his surprise and utter pleasure she reached up on her toes and pressed a quick kiss to his chin before quickly ducking into the cottage closing the door quietly behind her.
He chuckled at her boldness as he wandered over to his usual place to sleep for the night. He stripped off his clothes, folding them for in the morning, and then phased into his wolf form. He settled down against the side of the cottage and waited.
“Goodnight, Vasile,” her voice brushed against his mind.
His wolf rumbled with satisfaction. “Goodnight, Mina.”
Alina’s eyes fluttered open as she felt something brushing across her lips. She blinked several times to see Vasile’s handsome face come into focus. She could not stop the smile that spread across her face.
“It is time for me to go.”
And just like that the smile from the previous night was gone. His words were like a jagged piece of glass cutting across her chest until her heart was exposed to the harsh elements, no longer protected in the safety of his care. She nodded as she sat up and brushed her hair from her face. Alina knew she should care that he was seeing her in such a state, but she was filled with too much sorrow to care.
He stood to give her room and she followed as she briskly braided her hair down her back and straightened her clothes. She had been so tired the night before that she had not even bothered to change into her sleep clothes.