Vasile was beginning to utterly loath those words, what is best for her. What about what was best for him?
“Nicu’s mate has planned the ceremony to honor your parents. Now that you have visited everyone and made yourself known, it is time to put them to rest. It is to be held in five days,” he paused before continuing pointedly, “The entire pack will be invited and expected to attend.”
Vasile did not comment on the information. He simply watched Ion bear his neck and then leave closing the door quietly behind him. She would be there and he would be unable to hold her or to have her hold him as he grieved for his parents, his Alpha’s. In a crowd of more than a hundred and his mate present, he would be alone. His chest rumbled as he embraced the pain and let it feed the demon inside of him. He was Alpha now; he had to do whatever it took to take care of his pack. He had to sacrifice his own wants and desires to be able to keep control, and with a pack as large as his, with as many dominants as he had, controlling them was paramount. He had no room for weakness or no time for one who would no doubt require his attention and energy when there was so much to do. Perhaps she had been right, perhaps, space was indeed what they needed in order to do what was necessary for the good of the whole. He had survived without her for a century, and he would survive without her for another if that is what was needed of him.
“She has not eaten in four days, Petre.” Alina heard the fear in her mother’s voice as she once again confessed her worry to her mate. She wished that she could reassure her mother that she would be alright, but she would not lie to her.
“What do you expect from her, beloved? He has shut her out. She is responsible for it and that makes it hurt double.” Her father never had been one to honey coat the truth. Early that morning they had heard her saying Vasile’s name, over and over, asking him to hear her, to let her in. She had not even realized that her thoughts had begun to pour out of her mouth. She had been reaching out to him since a few minutes after he closed the bond, but it was in vain. He refused to answer her. Her parents had forced her to tell them what was wrong. They had reassured her that they understood why she had asked Vasile to give her space and that everything would work itself out. But she still felt ashamed at her weakness. He had needed her, had reached out for her, and instead of giving him understanding and empathy, she had basically rejected him.
“She made a mistake. She was trying to help him cope with the separation,” her mother snarled, “not to mention cope with it herself. She is barely sixteen; she has just found out she is mated to the world’s most dominant male and apparently biggest ass. Does that count for nothing? Does she not deserve a little grace?”
Had Alina’s heart not been in shreds, she might have found her mother’s foul mouth humorous. But there was no laughter in her. With Vasile’s presence gone from her, it was as though everything was suddenly muted. Her father’s voice drew her attention away from the emptiness.
“Give him some time, Georgeta. He is hurt; males are stupid when they are hurt. Tomorrow is the ceremony for his parents; he will see Alina at the ceremony and realize just how much he misses her and that his hurt has caused him to act rashly.”
Her mother laughed but there was not an ounce of humor in it. “Is that what you truly believe, mate?” she bit out the last word. “You believe that after four days of ignoring her pleas, her tears, her apologies, her…begging,” she roared in anger before the next words came out. “She begged him, for goodness sakes. And yet after all that, he will simply gaze upon her lovely face and, poof, fall at her feet declaring his love?” Her mother did not give him time to answer as she stormed out of their bedroom.
“It does not matter, Mother,” Alina said softly. “I am not going to the ceremony.”
Her father stepped out into the kitchen; his face flushed with anger. “Everyone in the pack is required to go.”
She shook her head. “Though he does not seem to want to acknowledge it at the moment, it does not change the fact that I am his true mate and therefore his equal. I do not have to obey him.”
“Agreed,” her mother said through gritted teeth and tight lips.
“Alina, do your really think that wise?” her father asked.
“Leave her be, Petre. Can you not see that the child is ill, for crying out loud? She has worked hard for the past few days and her body is worn down. Consequently, she has come down with a fever. I am her mother and I simply insist she stay home and rest.” She looked at Alina and motioned for her to lie down. “Get under the covers, dear. You look like you are cold.”
Alina’s lips turned up ever so slightly at her father’s exasperated sigh. He knew he had been beaten. When Georgeta Sala put her foot down, there was no moving her come hell or high water, and the Great Luna help any who stood against her.
“You try my patience, female,” her father growled.
“If you are just going to stand there and snarl like a mangy mutt, please take it outside. Otherwise, make yourself useful and heat some water over the fire to make a broth for your ill daughter.”
Alina listened to her father mutter under his breath as he went about his mate’s orders. She looked up at her mother who was tucking her in as if she were a child and truly ill. “I do not want to cause strife between you two as well. I have damaged enough bonds for one week.”
Her mother waved her words away as if they dirtied the air around her. “You are not responsible for any discord, Alina. That lies squarely on your father’s shoulders.”
Alina shook her head at her mother’s stubbornness. “And you play no part in this disagreement?”
Georgeta’s eyes narrowed. “Rule number one about your mate: he is completely wrong until you decide he is not.”
“And when do you suddenly decide he is not?”
“When I finally decide to swallow my pride,” she says matter-of-factly.
“That easy huh?” Alina smiled tiredly.
“Nothing about being mated is easy, love; and both of you will make mistakes. Unfortunately, no matter how badly you might want to force your mate to see things your way, you can only be responsible for your own actions. You can only control what you do.” She leaned down and kissed Alina on the head and patted her cheek as she had done when she was young. “He cannot live without you, Alina. Eventually, he will have to answer you.”