"I'm sorry, what?" Nick works his jaw.
"Maya was my mate." He says. I don't speak, too stunned to say much of anything.
"Explain." I can't be nice right now. I've known Nick all my life. He's never shown any indication that he was the closest thing I had to family left. He gestures to the table Kat and I had first hung out and together we sit.
"It's a long story."
"I have time." Nick nods.
"I grew up in Idaho, in a small pack in the stacks bordering Washington." He starts. "Your sister was traveling through my town with her father... your father. They were on a retreat. He was training her on how to navigate through the human world as you know they lived as wolves.
"I knew the second I laid eyes on her what she was to me because I knew what to look for. It took her a little longer to warm up. She was used to being all wolf and falling for a human confused her."
"You're not a human." Nick rolls his eyes.
"No shit. I'm referring to the idea that she grew up with wolves so naturally she thought she'd fall in love with me in my wolf form.
She spent about a month with me, before heading home to Montana and without hesitation I went with her, knowing full well that if she left without me it would be nearly impossible to find her again. My father was Beta, and so I was one. I left my younger sister to take over his position.
Back in Montana we immediately mated. Ryan was very protective of her, I remember. He didn't like leaving us alone. Even when she went into her Heat." Nick smiles. "We were so engrossed with each other we had no qualms trying to mate in front of him. Eventually he ran off crying about his eyes burning. Maya became pregnant that spring." Nick pauses, his smile disappearing. "I went hunting with the pack, Bogey and Samson and a few of the others when Eric started the fire, trying to kill you and your family. We came back to an inferno. Maya was screaming for me as she tried to find safety. But somehow instead she found you." I shake my head.
"My mom saved me." Nick looks at me with sad eyes.
"Your mom was already dead, Cameron. Eric killed her right after your father." I'm silent. The red wolf in my dreams, the one with the blue eyes, that saved me every night from the flames, I just assumed was my mother. Telling me to protect myself. To be strong. To be Alpha.
"Are you sure?" Nick nods.
"She told me where to find you and I got there right before Eric did. I convinced him you'd be easier to manipulate than Ryan. It was the only way to protect you. Maya died saving you. I felt her life go out, along with our unborn pups. I remember everything."
"Why didn't you tell me this sooner?"
"There was no way for me to without alerting Eric. He threatened the entire pack to keep their mouths shut." I believe him. I can see the pain in his eyes as he talks of her. It hurts to listen to him, but I know it's important for both of us that this be in the open.
"What are you going to do now?" Nick shrugs.
"I'm thinking of going back home to see my family. It's been a few decades. I'm sure I've got a few nieces and nephews to meet." I move to stand but Nick stops me, resting a hand on my arm. "Your brother might be alive, Cameron. Injured like you, but alive." Sitting back in the chair I look at Nick with skepticism. "You should talk to Alaric. He knows more about this than me but I know when we left, he was still there. alive. Guess with an audience Eric didn't want to get his hands dirty." It must be a long time that I sit there staring at him because he grows uncomfortable, shifting his weight in the seat. Upstairs Kat's bedroom light turns on. Nick follows my gaze.
"She's in Heat." He says changing the subject. I nod.
"Her first." I don't tell him how little I know about female wolves. It's embarrassing and none of his business.
"Are you two going to..." He trails off when I look at him. He starts again. "Do you want to?" I shrug.
"Which is very much an adult in our world." Nick answers me. "From my experience every chance you get to start a family you should take, because you never know what will happen tomorrow."
"But I don't want pups just because I might never be able to again."
"Think of it from a security stand point. In the long term it's better for the pack. I'm sure her parents would never bring this up, but having pups early releases the stress on their shoulders of finding another Alpha should something happen later in life." Rubbing my eyes I lean back in the chair, keeping my eyes on the window. "In the end it's up to you and Katalina." I only nod. It seems it's all I can do today. Slowly I stand, thanking Nick absently and head into the house.
I can hear her parents talking rather loudly in the office. Strange, when they usually have arguments in their head for privacy but whatever. I hope I haven't caused any issues. Shrugging that off, I make my way up the stairs. Light spills into the hallway from under the door and quietly I open it a crack.
Kat's room is an absolute mess. Picture frames and artwork that once decorated her shelves lay shattered over the floor. I shake at the thought of the pain she went through earlier today.
Kat's shower is running, the door to her bathroom wide open. Her smell wafts through the air and I have to shove my nails into my hand to keep myself in check. The second she walks out of that room I'm going to lose it.
"Hey, uh Kat?" I start, becoming very much aware of tightness in my pants.
"Hmmm?" She asks, her voice echoing from the tiled room.I shut her bedroom door.
"We need to talk."
"About what?" Kat seems to be lost in thought just as I am. It's been a long day and there are some things left unfinished.
"What do you think we need to talk about?" I ask her, walking closer to the bathroom. She doesn't answer me right away. I hear the squirt of some kind of bottle. "Kat."
"What?" She breaths sticking her head out of the shower, her hair wet and makeup smeared down her face.
"You're in Heat." She blinks. Then purses her wet lips. Slowly her eyes trail my body.
"mhm." I roll my eyes.
"You need to tell me what you want."
"I've got a few things in mind." She says with a smirk. I'm not laughing. This isn't a laughing matter. "Oh, come on Cam," When I don't move, she sighs. "I'm not going on a 'vacation' with my mother." She tells me firmly. "I refuse. Ive been without you for over a week. I'm not leaving. You're not leaving. We're staying together. So get the fuck out of those clothes and get into this shower."