“This is no threat. It is an offering, and a demonstration,” he answered.
“Offering for what? And to demonstrate what, exactly?” Sally asked.
“Lucas is offering Jacquelyn kills from his hunt, a peace offering of sorts. He is also demonstrating his ability to provide for her and the pack. He wants her to know that he is able to take care of her should she become his mate. It is a wolf thing, so to speak,” Fane explained.
“Okay, first of all, EWW!” Jacquelyn started. “Second, why in Sam Hill would I want four carcasses laying in my backyard, and three, what the hell am I supposed to do with them?”
“I’m thinking bonfire,” Jen said.
“Huh-uh, nope. That would stink,” Sally responded.
Fane pulled out his phone and dialed Sorin’s number. Sorin picked up on the first ring.
“Da,” Sorin answered.
“Am si eu ceva am nevoie de tine sa faca (I have something I need you to do),” Fane told him.
A few moments later he put his phone away having explained to Sorin that he wanted him to take the four animals over to the car dealership where he had purchased his motorcycle and put them out front. After a brief silence, he pulled his phone out again and dialed another number.
“Da?” Fane heard, as his Alpha answered the phone.
“Unde eşti tu (where are you),” Fane asked him.
“Your mother and I have just landed in Newark and are boarding the plane to come to Houston. It’s a little less than four hours from here to there. How far is Coldspring from Houston?” his father asked.
“It’s fifty five miles, so a little less than hour,” Fane answered.
“We should arrive at Jacquelyn’s between one thirty and two am, then. What has happened?” Fane’s father asked, concern lacing his tone.
“The Alpha Lucas Steele broke the challenge rules by harming Jacquelyn. Sorin stopped me from killing him and now he has left four dead animals in Jacquelyn’s yard.”
Fane heard his father growl. “How did he harm your mate?”
“I wasn’t there to protect her,” Fane told him with obvious shame in his voice. “He saw the markings on Jacquelyn’s back and neck. He got angry and grabbed her arms and gripped her hard enough to leave bruises on both arms. Imi pare rau am ratat ai, tatalui (I am sorry I failed you, father).
“Tacerea (silence). You have not failed me, son. You had no choice but to honor the rules of the challenge. You don’t have time to sulk over what has happened, do you hear me?”
Fane took a deep breath. He knew this is what he needed to hear and was thankful that he'd decided to call his father.
“I hear you, Alpha,” Fane answered.
“You have a fight to prepare for and a mate to protect. What has happened is past. Take whatever anger you have over this and use it to fuel you during the challenge, but do not dwell on it.”
“Thank you, Tata (father). I will see you soon.” Fane ended the call.
Fane took Jacquelyn’s hand to lead her back into the house. “Ladies, I don’t think our furry friends need an audience any longer,” he said as he held the back door open for them.
Without saying anything to each other and without any conscious choice, they all went and sat in the living room. Jen and Sally each took an end of the couch while Jacquelyn and Fane sat on the loveseat. Fane was absently tracing the markings on Jacquelyn’s neck.
Sally finally broke the silence. “So what now?” She directed the question to Fane.
Fane was staring at Jacquelyn and had to pull his gaze away to look at Sally.
“My father and mother will be here around one thirty or two. Tomorrow he will call Lucas to make him aware of his arrival, and then they will set the time and place for the challenge,” Fane explained.
“Are you nervous?” Jen asked him.
Fane felt Jacquelyn tense at the question, the anxiety came off her in waves.
“Inima mea, va rog sa nu faceti griji. (My heart, please do not worry),” Fane thought to her.
“I have no idea what you just said, but I have a feeling you are telling me to chill out. Am I right?” she asked him.
“I didn’t exactly put it like that. What I said was, 'my heart, please do not worry'.”
Turning to look at Fane, Jacquelyn said, “How can you tell me that? You're going to fight another wolf to the death and you tell me not to worry. Yeah, I’ll get right on that.”
“Jacquelyn, I am not without defenses. I am from a strong bloodline, I am a dominant and I stand to be Alpha to the largest pack of Greys in the world. All of these things make me stronger and I have found my mate. Please, love. I don’t want you to be upset,” Fane implored her.
Jacquelyn didn’t say anything, just stood with her back to Fane, head down, looking utterly defeated. It broke Fane’s heart.
“I think a hot bath is in order. What do you think, Sal? Hot bath for the wolf princess?” Jen posed to Sally with a look that said 'get up off your butt.'
Sally was a quick study. “Yep, most definitely. Hot bath is just what the doctor ordered…or something like that.”
Fane watched helplessly as the two girls took his defeated and worried mate upstairs, away from him. His wolf was protesting, and so was the man. We should be the one comforting her, she is ours to protect and love. Fane began to step toward them, but stopped when Jen pierced him with a stare and gave a shake of her head that was most definitely a command for him to back off. He couldn’t help the growl he let out.
“Don’t you growl at me, White Fang, I’ll have you neutered and de-clawed so fast you won’t know what hit you,” Jen retorted.
Fang cocked his head to the side and then shrugged his shoulders. “At least you got the species right.”
Fane let the girls go without further protest and sat back down on the loveseat. He let out a deep breath and laid his head back. He was tired, and to his chagrin he was worried. Not worried about winning the challenge, he felt confident he could beat Lucas. No, he wasn’t worried about that. He was worried about Jacquelyn wanting to watch. He was sure that she had no idea just how messy it would get and he knew it would scare and anger her. He was learning that when his Luna was angry she tended to be impulsive. His only consolation was that his mother would be there to keep Jacquelyn from doing anything that would put her in harm's way. The thought of something happening to her caused him to be short of breath, like maybe he was having a panic attack. Okay, Fane, get a grip, he told himself.