Raphael’s face became a little pained and even Eve winced. “Unfortunately, you cannot be the next Alpha of the Millennium anymore,” he said, face turning sad now. “While your new resolution is... admirable, it simply came too late.”
“What do you mean, came too late?” Shade’s face darkened and his hands fisted.
“It means,” he said, “that I found the next One True Alpha.”
That, I did no expect, and neither did Shade, from the narrow of his eyes. “What do you mean?” I asked, trying to get to the bottom of it. “Shade told me you said he was born to be the next OTA. So you cannot possibly have two candidates.” It made me shiver slightly, thinking about having two potential Alphas roaming the world, along with the original. Werewolves were not meant to be that strong or that potently dominant.
“That’s another thing I planned to discuss with you,” he directed his statement to Shade, and now he looked a little guilty. That was no a look one saw on the One True Alpha’s face every day. It made him almost seem human. Almost. “Shortly after the Redways came to visit, Adonis paid me a visit.”
I remembered that Adonis was a Neutral Deity, the one in charge of Immortality. He dictated that Raphael would be the first Alpha and every thousand years the title would be passed on to the next strongest werewolf on Earth. Adonis had told him that Shade was it a few years ago. So what the heck was going on?
“He said that he heard a prophecy,” Raphael seemed uncomfortable, “from the only immortal Seer of all times, a woman called Vera. She predicted that your... potential had died when you passed twenty years of age, and that another werewolf, a more powerful and dominant one than even myself, had appeared and was to be the next One True Alpha.”
Shade was so still, he looked like a statue. “And who that might be?”
Eve was the one who answered, and it was something that I did not expect. “Gerardo Redway.”
“Fuck,” I murmured, taking Shade’s hand in mine.
“The kid that came with the Redways,” Shade said, eyes narrowing again. “How is he related to them again?”
“He isn’t,” Raphael answered, “he’s been adopted into their group.”
Shade grew even stiller. “Adopted?”
I knew immediately where his mind went. “Did they touch him?” I asked, the wolf in me growling and ready to claw something. I might not have known the kid, but he was only a kid. I couldn’t imagine someone else going through what Shade did.
“He’s not a very talkative boy,” Eve said, scrunching her nose, “but he did say that he were with them for a year, and that he only tugged along with them because he had nothing better to do.”
“Teenagers,” Raphael rolled his eyes and then became somber again. “So yes, Gerardo is the one fated to be my legacy. I’m truly sorry for that, Shade,” he gave my mate a deeply regretful look, “I wish I could’ve made you the Alpha and help you beat down those two Deities, but that’s simply not in the cards for now.”
And that was final. I knew that from the look on both Raphael and Shade. There would no be going to avenge me. I didn’t feel so awful about that, but it was obvious Shade thought differently.
“Shade,” I said softly, drawing his hard gaze to me. “I never asked you to kill him. I don’t want you to risk yourself. Can’t you just be happy that I’m here, safe with you?”
He gave me a long look, and then growled and put his head in his hands, raking his hair back. “Fuck,” he snarled. “Fuck.”
“I’m sorry,” Raphael shook his head. “I wish we could’ve done something, but for the sake of all of us, it’s better if we didn’t.” He looked at me sympathetically. “I’m truly sorry.”
“It’s okay,” I said, nodding at him. “I’m just glad that I don’t have to see him anymore. I never needed anything more. I just want to live my life as peacefully as possible from now on.” I took Shade’s hand and squeezed emphatically. “With my mate.”
Eve gave me a small smile. “And that’s all right.”
“So,” Raphael rose and Eve jumped up on her feet as well. “That should conclude our meeting. Give us a call in case anything happens. Oh,” he looked at me, “your parents were worried. They want to talk to you.”
I completely forgot about them, and honestly, I didn’t know whether I wanted to talk to them or not. “I will ring them when I feel like it,” I said, not bothering to hide my not-so-enthusiastic response.
Raphael nodded curtly and he and Eve took their exit, leaving me alone with Shade, who was still looking like someone gutted him. “Come,” I said, taking his arm in mine, “let go to my room.”
He shook his head. “You shouldn’t be in my presence right now.”
That was not the answer I wanted to hear. “Why the hell not?” I asked, irritation spiking through me and shoved back to him through the mating bond.
He glanced up at me. “Because I want to punch something. And if I’m with you, I’d channel this violent feeling into something else neither of us are ready for.”
The irritation turned to butterflies at this remark and I swallowed hard. “What do you mean?”
Without warning, he suddenly pushed me onto my back on the sofa and loomed over me, trapping my body between his legs and hands. “It means,” he growled against my mouth, “that I can feel lust for the first time in my life, and only as a result of being unable to punish the one who’d hurt you.”
I took a deep breath slowly, trying to calm my rapidly beating heart. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
“It is,” he leaned closer, “I want to fuck you. Not like before,” he said sternly, “but slam into you over and over again until I can chase away any remains of that sick fuck inside you. My wolf is urging me to do so, almost aching for me to do so, and I cannot risk it. Not when we’re still recovering from the first time.”
He was right. I knew he was right. We were planning to take our time, to ease ourselves into it all, but things changed. What Raphael and Eve told us changed something vital inside him, and he was no longer himself. He was being a better version of himself, protective and possessive, loving and caring in an enrage kind of way. It might not be what most women were looking for, but I wasn’t most women.
I found him seriously hot.
And I was turned on.
For the first time in this past few months, I felt lust bolting down my spine, making me shudder. I wanted him. I wanted to ease this pain and dissatisfaction inside him. I wanted to help him as helped me. I wanted to make him forget about Damon and what he did to me, forget about revenge, and have him drown in me instead.
And so I cupped his face and whispered against his lips, “I’m yours to do with as you please.”
A switch had been flipped in his brain. Suddenly I was draped over his shoulder and he was blazing out of the lounge and up the stairs until we were in my room. He locked the door behind him and threw me on the bed almost roughly. But I didn’t care. Something in me flipped as well.
This conversation with Raphael and Eve changed us. We were not the same as few nights ago. We were better. We were stronger.
And we were going to have sex again.
When he had me trapping him between my thighs and pinning me to the mattress, an odd sensation invaded the lust. Panic, I realized. This position was one that I couldn’t take at the first time, but this time was different. He’d already been inside me. He was my mate. He was different. He was everything.
And so I swallowed the panic and wrapped my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck. He must’ve felt my panic because he tried to coax me with his lips on mine into relaxation, and it worked. My limbs loosened and my muscles calmed down. He kissed me senselessly until my head was foggy and I couldn’t think about a thing but having him inside me.
Clothes were off and when I felt his skin on mine, it was like everything came into place. Every piece of the puzzle that was Shade and me suddenly created a picture for the future. In that moment, when he thrusted his cock inside me, I could see our future together. I could see him painting in that beautiful house at Freedom Island, and me watching him with a baby in my hands. I could see us traveling together, me joining along for some journey he had to do for Raphael as part of his crew. I could see us having kids, having a family, and one we would do our best not to fuck up. I could see an entire life full of happiness and love.
And the hope inside me swelled so deeply that I began tearing up a little as he took me. And when he brushed my tears with his lips and asked what was wrong, I said, “I just love you so much.”
And he said, “I love you just as much.”
And it was sappy and sickeningly sweet but it was what we needed. We needed to be sappy. We needed to be sickeningly sweet. We needed it after being through shit. And neither of us minded, I was sure.
Later, when we were lying in bed, embracing each other, I asked him about kids and the future in general. He told me he’d never wanted to have kids before, but while he was more open to the idea now, he still needed some time to get used to the thought. I told him we had all the time in the world. He grinned then and kissed me until my toes curled. Then we talked about everything and nothing, about the deep stuff and shallow stuff, and we had sex in between, and the panic slowly withdrew into the a mere shadow in both our minds. Our mating bond linked us together more tightly than anything else, and it shoved away any threatening darkness with a burst of hope and love.
It was amazing. It was exhilarating. I loved every moment of it.
We went to sleep clinging to each other, and our slumber was a peaceful one. In the morning, we would see that we shifted in the night. His wolf was curled around mine, fur touching, and hearts aligned.