“Can you do something for me, Alina?” Vasile’s voice resonated in her mind sending chills down her body as it did every time he spoke to her.
“I will not promise until I have heard your request,” she answered with a slight grin on her face. She knew better than to agree to anything her mate said before knowing what it was, lest she end up promising to live in the trees in a remote jungle somewhere in order for her to stay safe.
“Will you step outside?”
Her heartbeat sped up at his request. She was up and moving towards the door before she even realized what she was doing. Was he out there? Had he finally come back?”
“Oh, beloved, there is nothing I want more, but it is not time.”
She felt herself deflate as if all the air in her lungs had been forced out. She knew better than to get excited because that only led to disappointment, and she knew that those feelings only stemmed from her ache to be with her mate. “I am outside.”
“Do you see the full moon?”
She looked up into the night sky, and her eyes met with a large full moon that seemed so close she could reach out and touch it. The light beaming off of it lit up the darkness and wrapped the forest in a soft glow that sparkled off of the leaves of the trees and plants. “It’s beautiful,” she replied.
“Knowing that you are out there looking up at the very same moon that I am seeing makes me feel close to you. I was hoping it would do the same for you. For this brief moment the world does not seem so big, and the chasm that has kept us apart does not seem so wide.”
The moon blurred before her as tears filled her eyes. They ran down her cheeks, first just a few, until they were flowing freely. “I fear the chasm is only going to grow before you find your way back across,” she admitted as she wept silently. “I did not mean to take something that you meant for good and turn it into something….”
“Shh, Mina,” he interrupted her. “I am your mate. Who will you go to when you hurt if not me? Who will treasure each and every tear for the special gift that it is? Because though I do not want you to cry, every drop is reassurance to me that you long for me as I do for you. I am the one you come to and crumble before because I will always be there to catch you. Do not ever apologize to me for how you feel, beloved, because I feel all of it as well. You are inside of me―in every cell that makes my body, in every bone that holds my frame, in every muscle that grants me strength, in every breath that fills my lungs, and in every beat of my heart that grants me life, you are there.”
His words broke the wall inside of her that was holding her emotions back and suddenly she was on her knees. Her arms were wrapped around her midsection as if that would somehow hold her together. “I miss you. I miss you so much that sometimes I wonder if I will be able to take in another breath.” Alina felt his arms wrap around her, felt his lips on her neck, and his breath on her skin, and though it was only in her mind, she grabbed onto it like the lifeline it was. He rarely used their bond for touch because he still felt she was too young, but he must have seen just how much agony she was in and he knew what she needed.
“When you cannot breath, I will breath for both of us.”
She knew what he was really saying was that if her faith and hope were waning, then he would have enough for the both of them. For that night, that is what she needed—for him to be her Alpha and her mate―to protect her not only from the outside enemies but also from herself. It would not be the last time that he would have to shelter her, because for all the strength she possessed, she had an equal amount of love and compassion. Though those things could be assets, they could also strip a person until every weakness was laid bare. So she would wrap herself in his care and security, because for now she did not see the chasm growing any smaller. She did not see their foe collapsing under their strength, not yet.
Romanian Proverb # 16
Omul întelept face ce poate, nu ce vrea.
If we can't do as we would, we must do as we can.
Three years after exile.
She is turning nineteen today, Vasile thought. Another birthday that he could not hold her, another year gone, lost because of the greed of one man. For three years he and his warriors had been thwarting, battling, and killing the wolves and sometimes other creatures that Emilian paid to pursue them. He had not sought out the help of Anghel or any others because this was his fight, not a species-wide battle. Vasile was tired of running. He was done with being separated from his mate and his wolf was barely under his control. It was time. He would begin seeking out those in his pack that were not loyal to Emilian, and then he would start exploiting the weakening Alpha’s paranoia. He knew they would have to be cautious because Emilian no longer had any control over the most dominant males in the pack, and they were beginning to realize just how much freedom their beasts had. He would also have to be careful who he approached to join him in the fight because of those same dominants. Their growing urge to rule might cause them to reveal Vasile and his warriors before it was time.
He stood high up on a mountain that looked down into the territory where the villages of his pack lay. He imagined he could see Alina doing the wash, talking with Sisily, laughing with her mother. His eyes closed as he pictured her face as she turned at the sound of his voice. Her face lit up as she ran to him throwing herself in his arms and finally he was holding her. Warmth seeped into him from her body heating his blood that had grown so cold over the years. Her touch, and hers alone, chased away the darkness, filling him up inside with peace and love. A limb cracking behind him snapped him out of his day dream and his eyes opened. Soon, beloved, but not soon enough, he thought as he turned away from the villages and saw his warriors waiting on him.
“I do not know about you three, but I am tired of sleeping on the ground, eating raw rabbits, and constantly looking over my shoulder.” His eyes narrowed and he knew they were glowing with his wolf. “I want back what is mine.”
“Finally,” Ion muttered drawing a chuckle from the others.
“Now we get to kill him?” Nicu asked as his claws emerged from his very human hands.
Vasile smiled a wolfish grin. “Feeling bloodthirsty?”
The warrior shrugged and then scratched his head with his long, sharp claws. “I do not know what would give you that idea.”
“Could not possibly be the glowing eyes or sharp nails,” Alin said dryly.