We sit completely silently. Aiden is driving, I'm in the passenger's seat with Johnny and Kayden, the pack gamma, in the back.
The quiet is uncomfortable.
"I need a job," I whisper quietly and Aiden inhales sharply.
"I'm sorry, Cass. I know you're mad and I fucked things up for you..."
"I need to pay rent and tuition, I'm paid through this semester, I need to pay for my last two.
"I can pay for it."
An angry laugh bubbles up in my throat.
"Cass, I'm your mate! You can come live with me and finish school."
I can't believe my ears. I gape at him, waiting for him to laugh but he's completely serious.
"I..." I'm at a loss for words. All I can think is that I can't rely on him because eventually he'll leave. Even as the thought enters my head I feel a deep tugging in my heart, he won't do that. Trust him.
"It's not that simple..." I finally say quietly.
He chuckles, "it's that simple, Cass. It seems fast to you but... I fucked up your life, let me fix it."
"I need to have a job. I can't ask you to pay for my tuition."
"You didn't ask, I offered."
I stay quiet for the rest of the drive. I don't want to have this conversation in front of other people.
When the car stops, Johnny and Kayden get out of the car quickly. Aiden and I stay seated in the dark.
"What is your hesitation for moving into the packhouse with me? I can feel that it's something bothering you and it's not that it's too soon."
"It's still hard for me to believe that you're going to stick around. That you aren't going to leave me, or...die...or,"
"Die?" He asks softly.
He reaches over and takes my hand, as soon as our skin touches a sob bursts from me, taking me completely by surprise.
"Is this the bond?" I ask desperately.
"I don't know...I don't feel like myself. I'm not even mad at you for getting me fired...before you showed up I was anxious and upset and I didn't want to be there. I just kept thinking of you and missing you."
He pulls me across the center console into his lap.
"I'm so happy to hear that," he kisses me softly, "I don't like to see you cry but knowing that you are feeling the bond makes me so happy, Cass."
We sit quietly for a few minutes, he rubs gentle circles over my thigh with his hands.
"You think I'm going to die and leave you?"
His voice is barely a whisper.
"My parents did..."
He squeezes me against him, "when?"
"I was eight."
"Who took care of you after?"
Emotion swirls in his eyes, I know he has a lot of questions but he doesn't ask them. I press my lips to his, eager for the calming, comfort that he gives me.
"I need you, Aiden," I moan against his lips.
"Fuck, after tonight... Cass... I don't know if I can."
I suddenly feel embarrassed, I know he isn't rejecting me but it feels like it.
"Let's just go to bed then," I'm trying to hide how I'm feeling but I'm struggling and he feels it.
"Cass, I want you so bad, I'm hardly holding it together. My wolf is restless and angry and I don't know if I can..."
"Did you attack Monty because you haven't marked me?"
"No... maybe...I don't know... the more time we spend together without me marking you the more uncontrollable my wolf becomes..."
"Johnny said you've never lost control like that before."
"I've never had my mate before. I've never felt this kind of possessiveness before," he smiles at me.
"I don't know what to do. I feel drawn to you but I can't just let go of all of the shit I carry around. I'm human so everything you feel sounds like a fairytale to me. I want to just... close my eyes and jump but I'm standing on the edge and I'm so afraid. I don't want to drag you down by taking forever to be ready... I hate that I'm hurting you, that I'm making you anxious."
"I will wait as long as I have to. I want you to be fully ready when we move forward. If I have to work to calm your fears, I will. Don't feel bad about anything."
"What would happen if you marked me, right now?"
He whimpers and moves uncomfortably beneath me. I can feel his bulge hardening against my thigh.
"Umm... if I marked you right now, the bond would be sealed. You would be able to feel me more clearly, my mom found a human mate from another pack. She said she would talk to you if you wanted to."
"Yeah, she's really excited to meet you. I think she was as thrilled that I found you as I was," he chuckles and my heart flutters.
Meeting his family is a nerve wracking step.
"Is it rude that I haven't met them yet?"
"No, they know you're human. Things are different, humans don't meet the family and move in together a few hours after meeting."
We sit for a few minutes before he pulls the door open, "let's go inside. I have a meeting tomorrow morning that I need to rest for. I will need all of my patience for this," he groans.
"Let's go sleep then, that way you won't beat up anymore old men," I try to keep my fave serious but my lips twitch.
He groans, "I really do feel bad about that, he looked really scared."
We walk slowly from the car all the way to his room, he gives me a brief tour, pointing to different things as we pass them.
"I can give you an official tour tomorrow if you want," he seems nervous.
"I would love that!"
His full dimple smile stops my heart.