Evan pushed his way through the double doors of his father’s quarters. From behind him were the disgruntled sounds of the she-wolves on the way to the nursery. He ignored them, shutting the doors behind him and leaning back against them.
Anger coursed through his veins as he replayed the conversation he and Lorelai shared. It was insulting enough that she continued to reject him. But to insinuate that he was the type of man to rape and defile women, suggesting Bethany died because of him. It was too much.
He wasn’t stupid; he expected some resistance. Though he couldn’t imagine what made the young wolves leave their respective packs and join a band of misfits, he realised that Lorelai’s upbringing was not a happy one. It made sense she would feel some loyalty to her pack and the wolf she loved for so long.
But he was her mate, dammit.
That alone trumped anything else. His entire life he’d searched for her, wished for her. And all she did was reject him. It was humiliating as well as insulting.
Pushing off the door, he sighed, searching out his father. Surely the old man would have some wise words for him, a way to bring him out of this foul mood. His father had never failed him before in that regard.
It had been just the two of them for so long, unheard of in wolf packs. He was the only of his litter mates to survive the brutal attack that killed his mother and siblings. His father had never taken up with another woman and instead threw himself into protecting his pack and raising Evan on the right path.
Though the old man had plenty of years left in him, he’d made sure, when the time came, Evan was ready to take his rightful place as Alpha. He’d learned a lot from Theo and the way he handled their pack. Firm when you needed to be, forgiving when you could be. Even in his advanced age, Theo showed the strength of his many years. He had the respect of their clan and, above that, their approval.
Given everything that had happened since he first caught Lorelai’s scent, Evan had a long way to go to gain the approval of his pack.
“Ah! What a welcome surprise.”
Evan jumped as Theo’s voice came from behind it. Fuck. For a big man, he could move so silently. Evan cursed himself for not paying attention to his surrounding. Theo should not have caught him unawares like that. And it seemed his father was thinking along the same lines.
“Bit twitchy are you, son? Caught you by surprise?” The older man clapped him on the back. “You’re lucky you’re home and safe, lad. Out there in the wild, you have to be constantly alert. Always aware. Alert and alive…”
“Distracted and dead,” Evan said, finishing his sentence. It was one of the first lessons Theo had taught him, and he felt his face flame at being caught out.
“I think I can guess the cause of your distractions,” Theo said, moving past Evan to pour them both a drink. “How is your lovely mate?”
“Not so lovely, as it happens.”
Evan sighed as he took a seat on the spacious sofa. Centuries old, it was threadbare and uncomfortable, but Theo refused to replace it. It was a part of history, so he said, and deserved its place in their home. Evan was sure once these quarters belonged to him, it would be the first thing to go.
“Ah. Trouble in paradise?” Theo handed him a glass and took a seat opposite him, perched on the arm of a chair. “She’s still resisting?”
“Father, the resisting I can handle. I expected it,” Evan said, swirling the amber liquid in his glass. “It’s her wicked tongue I’m having a problem with.”
“So your lass has a bit of spunk! You’re made of stronger stuff than that, lad!”
“Apparently not,” Evan muttered, knocking back his drink. “Father, I don’t understand how her words have such an impact, how she makes me feel smaller than the pups at the nursery.”
“Because she is your mate, son,” Theo said, sighing his words. “There was no one else in the world who could reduce me to nothing like your mother could. I’ve been in countless battles, suffered injuries I wasn’t sure I’d come back from. But nothing cut deeper than your mother when she was mad at me.”
“That’s incredibly frustrating,” Evan said. “So. How do you deal with it?” Theo chuckled and smirked lightly.
“That’s the thing, lad. You don’t. Not really.”
“Well, that’s fucking fantastic,” Evan said, rubbing his fingers into his eyes. “I just want to find some common ground with her, father. I want to bond and start our life. But she’s so resistant, so stuck on that wolf she left behind.”
Theo fell silent as he contemplated Evan’s words. He felt for the lad; it was a unique situation he found himself in. But not impossible. Wolves had gone through bigger problems that this, he himself had too. Evan could fix this problem with a bit of patience and understanding.
“You’ll get there, lad,” he said finally. “The mating bond is damn near impossible to resist. Just so happens you’ll need to woo your lass a wee bit first, that’s all.”
“Woo her? You mean flowers, chocolate and all that other human shit?” Theo laughed and shook his head.
“Nah, lad. I doubt that would work,” Theo said, chuckling once more. ”A sympathetic ear might go a long way, though. And an understanding why this is so important to you.”
“I’ve already told her why it’s important,” Evan said, playing with the glass.
“No, you haven’t.” Evan looked at his father with confusion. “Aye, there’s that look of a man who has a lot to learn about women.”
“I know plenty-.”
“No. You don’t. Have you told her what finding her means to you?” Theo asked.
“Yes. It’s destiny.”
“My point, exactly,” Theo said with a sigh. “You’re telling her the shit she already knows. I’m sure her pack raised her with all this knowledge about mates and destiny, just as I did with you. But have you told her what it means to you personally?”
“Father, I don’t understand.” The old man was talking in riddles. Evan had expressed his happiness to Lorelai more times than he could count. And besides, actions spoke louder than words. He’d done everything he needed to keep her safe. More than most men in his position would do. Theo sighed and stood, shaking his head.
“There’s not a wolf out there that doesn’t think of pups when they find their mate. One of the first things we’re taught is securing the next generation, continuing the family line. Destiny and fate and all that shit, it’s a standard response, Evan.
“What you haven’t told Lorelai is what you want beyond that. Why meeting her was the greatest thing to happen to you. Why no one else in the world matters anymore.” Theo turned his gaze on his son, his eyes intense.
“And I know it’s not about pups for you, lad. You want what your mother and I had. May she rest in peace. You want companionship and love. You want more than a wolf to mount to incubate your children. So fucking tell her that.”
Evan considered his father’s words. What a terrifying concept. Could he open himself up and be vulnerable with Lorelai? Was it even worth it? He leaned against the back of the sofa and sighed.
Regardless, how could he not at least try?