Chapter 7 - Stone (Part 4)
She turned as he stepped up to her. He felt her gaze on his face, but his attention was on the padded cups of her bra caging her breasts.
Why did she insist on wearing such silly undergarments? Was it to drive him crazy? To tease him by covering that which he longed to gaze upon and cup in his hands with such scant little cloth and lace?
He shifted his gaze to her shoulder as he brushed her hair over to the other and stepped up against her back. He nuzzled the curve of her neck before peeking down into the hidden depths of her bra.
She seemed somewhat distant now. Her touch hinted at her exhaustion, but also sadness and fear.
“What are you thinking?” he asked, trying to focus on her rather than the tantalizing darkness between her breasts.
As he wrapped his arms around her waist, she sighed as she leaned into him.
“A lot of things. About Gwen and Lance. The Spirit Walker. Children. You.”
His lips curved up against her shoulder. “What of me?”
She swallowed as she pulled away and turned toward him. Her eyes searched his as she reached up and cupped his cheek in her palm.
“You’ve been struggling. Fighting with yourself. I feel it every time I look at you. Every time I touch you.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Stop lying to me and yourself, Love,” she said.
He closed his eyes and allowed her emotions, warm and comforting, to envelop him. He relaxed into her touch. “I’m trying,” he murmured.
“I want to seal the bond.”
“I want to have pups with you.”
She froze, her heartbeat stopping for a moment before kicking up again at a quickened pace.
“But, I thought—”
“It’s not just you who wants them. I want them too. With you. I do.”
Pulling her hand from his face, he entwined his fingers with hers before lifting her knuckles to his lips.
“I didn’t want to think about pups before because I know the risks. I didn’t want to hold onto hope when the odds are against us in the first place. I just wanted you. To love and protect you until you breathed your last.”
He swallowed. “But now I can’t help but think about it. To hope for it. To picture them in your arms and mine...” He took in a haggard breath. “I want that with you.”
Her emotions swirled thick and sweet around his as he released her hand and held her face in his palms as he exhaled slowly.
“They won’t be lycan, and they won’t be born as pups and grow into wolves, but I want them. Having pups was the best decision I ever made, and I didn’t want them at first with Adelaide either. I was scared back then, like I’m scared now. But my fear is different this time. I know I can be a good father because I’ve done it already. But I had Adelaide with me then, and I don’t know if I can do it again if you’re not here with me this time.
“I love you, Aubree. I can’t do it all again, no matter how much I want to, if you can’t be here with me.”
Her heart thundered as he bent to kiss her.
They made love long past midnight before falling asleep, entangled in each other’s arms and the blanket twisted at their feet.
He woke up around five o’clock in the morning, unable to breathe.
His face was in the curve of her neck. His lips pressed open against her tender hot flesh. His canines extended with his head whirling in a murky fog of desire and primal instinct to sink his teeth into her flesh and join their souls.
The air was so thick and sweet with her scent and their love-making that it took every last ounce of strength to fight the beast and pull away.
He got up to open the windows and drag in lungfuls of air greedily. The cool, fresh air hit him and the call of the night drew him from the house and out into the forest.
He ran for miles until he came to the rocky edges of the canyon.
Climbing up a small mound, he looked out over the land with the jagged land and cliffs hundreds of yards away and let his thoughts drift to Laurencius and Gwen, and Aubree and the Spirit Walker.
Gwen deserved a mate like Laurencius. She deserved happiness. She deserved to be luna of a pack alongside the one meant to share her life with.
He had no doubt that Laurencius would make her happy, but a part of him ached thinking about losing her to another male. He had depended on her far more than any father should.
He had to let her go.
I always knew you were destined for greatness, Schatzi.
He hung his head.
And I held you back for far too long.
He closed his eyes and turned his head up to the sky, the moonlight shining on his face.
Goddess, grant me strength and perseverance.
Adelaide, forgive me for asking too much of our pup.
He held her face in his mind. The ache in his heart for her would always be there, but it was less now.
You would want me to love again. To be happy again. I know you would. You were always so selfless. I didn’t deserve you, and I don’t deserve her. I don’t deserve this chance with Aubree. This doesn’t happen to males like me. I am not worthy of love. Of second chances.
He buried his face in his hands as he inhaled and exhaled a ragged breath.
I should have died long ago, and yet, every time I have been spared. Why? What have I done in this life to be spared death three times?
The wind ruffled his hair gently, like fingers of a lover.
Pulling his hands from his face, he listened to the breeze as it tugged, twisted, and twirled the tips of his hair. It whispered through the leaves of the trees, carrying the scent of juniper, aspen, and oak. Among them, the burnt scent of cedar and the heartbeat of the cursed one watching from a distance.
Why am I here?
What is it you wish to tell me, Adelaide?
I can’t fight it much longer.
I’m losing control.
I will take her.
I will claim her.
I will die fighting every last one of them if they try to take her away from me.
May the Goddess strike me down if it means I harm her, but I can’t fight it any longer.
You will forever be a constant memory and ache in my heart.
But she is my future now.
She is my heart now.
Forgive me, Adelaide.