You made this choice, Fane told himself. Now you have to live with it. So get out of the car.
Fane wasn’t really sure why he had even decided to apply to the foreign exchange program. He just knew he'd felt a pull, like a moth to a flame, to come to the United States. And not to just any city in the United States, but to Coldspring, Texas. Why he'd thought it was a good idea to leave his home in Romania, which had the largest number of Greys in the world, he didn’t know.
There were other places that Canis lupus held as territories, like Ireland, the Balkans, and Poland – even Italy and Spain had some Grey wolves. One would think that a Grey would go to another territory where other Greys were. The problem was that wolves were extremely territorial, especially among males, and unless a wolf wanted a fight, you didn’t wander into another’s territory. Fortunately, there weren’t any Canis lupus in the small town of Coldspring, so Fane was free to come and claim his own territory, which was completely in his nature to do.
Okay, no more stalling, Fane thought. He looked up at Sorin, his driver and friend, and said, “I guess this is it. Mulţumesc (thank you), my friend, for coming all this way to drop me off. I appreciate it.”
“Think nothing of it, my Prince. It is always an honor to serve you.”
“Oh, come now. Don’t go getting all formal on me. Here in Coldspring, I’m just a high school student, not a prince,” Fane said.
Fane knew this was hard for his friend, though Sorin’s title was actually “Guard to the Prince” and had been since Fane was a child. Sorin had actually wanted to stay in the U.S. with Fane, but Fane had insisted Sorin go home and let him be on his own for a while. Because there were no other Greys in this area, it wasn’t likely that he was going to get into a battle.
Sorin got out of the car to open Fane’s door, but Fane was unfolding his tall form before Sorin could even get around the front of the car. Fane stood six foot two inches tall, which was a good five inches taller than Sorin, so once out of the car he had to look just a little lower to meet his long-time friend in the eye. Sorin bowed only slightly, a show of respect and love for the Prince, and then broke formality and hugged him. Wolves took great comfort in touch; it was as much in their nature as breathing and even in human form they tended to touch more than humans. Fane patted Sorin on the back and stepped away.
Out of nowhere, Fane caught a passing thought in his mind that caused his wolf to perk up.
“He must be more than just his driver.”
Fane turned his head to look toward the thought’s origin, and locked eyes with a girl in a window of the two-story house across the street.
The belief by humans that men “changed” into werewolves was false. Fane was able to do what the Canis lupus called “phasing”. The wolf and the man were one, there was no changing from one to the other. A change would mean that once a man was in wolf form he was no longer a man, but fully wolf, and when in human form that he was fully human. This was not the case. A Canis lupus was always aware of his wolf, as was the wolf always aware of the man. They usually existed together harmoniously. When Fane was in his wolf form, he could still think and reason as if he were in his human form. When he was in his human form, he could call on his wolf to phase only the parts he needed to use instead of phasing his entire being.
He phased just enough to let his wolf eyes do the looking. Although the Grey wolf’s eyesight wasn’t as good as its hearing, its night vision was the best of all the breeds of wolves. He found himself looking into eyes the color of emeralds.
It registered in Fane’s brain at that moment that he had “heard” her thoughts. There was only one person in the world that a Grey could hear thoughts from – his mate. His wolf growled possessively, and he took several deep breaths to keep from phasing. He discovered for the first time was what it was like to not be in harmony with his wolf. The wolf wanted out, he wanted to go to his mate, his other half. Fane knew it was a better idea not ti phase into his wolf and go pining at her window like a lovesick pup. He couldn’t get her scent, so her window must have been closed. A wolf’s mate also carried a certain scent that only he would recognize.
Reflexively, he sent her a thought as he picked her name out of her mind. “At last, my Jacquelyn.” It was so natural to claim what was his, and she was without a doubt his, whether she knew it yet or not.
Judging from the look on her face, she had heard him, and for a minute he thought she just might pass out from shock. Further confirming that she was his mate, he could feel her distress and confusion. But he knew she would be fine, she was strong. She had to be because she was the mate of an Alpha and she was to be his Luna. She was so named because she, like the moon, had a pull over many things – she had power that other female Greys did not.
Fane turned and, ignoring his wolf's instincts to go to her, walked up to the house, so breaking the gaze that had locked them together. As he knocked on the door, he couldn’t help himself and sent her another thought, one to assure her this encounter wasn’t their last.
“Soon,” he thought, and once again felt her confusion.
The Henrys were the family he would be living with for the next year – the “host” family was what they were called in the exchange program. This was the first time he had ever seen them and he was surprised at how young they were. They both looked to be in their early thirties. Mr. Henry was a little shorter than Fane and had sandy brown hair and brown eyes. He was thin, like a runner, and had a friendly face. Mrs. Henry was much shorter, with dark brown hair and pale brown eyes. She was average in size, neither heavy nor thin, and had a short, cute nose and rose-colored cheeks.
“Welcome to our home, Fane,” Mrs. Henry said, reaching out to hug him.
Fane was a little surprised, as he knew Americans to be stand-offish when it came to touching. But he found comfort in the touch and sank into that feeling.
Mr. Henry held out his hand and Fane responded by shaking it. “We are very glad to have you here with us,” Mr. Henry said.
“Thank you for allowing me to stay in your home. I appreciate your generosity greatly,” Fane said sincerely.
“You must be tired from your long trip. Why don’t we show you your room and let you get settled for the night. If you're hungry, I can show you the kitchen and you're welcome to help yourself to anything you find. We can visit more tomorrow and get better acquainted once you have rested,” said Mrs. Henry kindly.