Chapter 2 - Aubree (Part 2)
When she emerged from the washroom, feeling somewhat calmer, it looked as if Stone had gone into the men’s washroom to splash some water on his face as well as the tips of his hair were wet.
Their first flight was in first class, as those were the only two remaining seats that Stone could get that were together in such short notice.
He filled her in on the Rosmi Maana Pack, telling her that Alpha Eramis and his mate, Luna Elena, had come over from Europe a decade or two after Stone’s pack did in the nineteenth century with their three mature pups and had two more pups since their arrival. Their pack was about the same size as Vincent’s with about forty mature lycans.
“Their pack name means ‘Red Earth’ in Lykostroya,” he said. “Their oldest daughter is mated and living elsewhere in the country. Their son, about the same age as Guinevere and Gawain, is in line to succeed them should something happen to them or his parents step down. He is unmated, but he is a fierce warrior and a remarkable young male that Eramis is very proud of.”
Their son’s name was Dominius, or Dom for short. He would be picking them up from the airport with one of their warriors after their connecting flight and taking them to their pack house. It would be late, and they would be tired, but Stone assured her that she had nothing to worry about.
During their first flight, he explained a few of their customs, how they greeted each other, and other simple, though important, things that she could expect when they arrived at Rosmi Maana’s packhouse.
It would be like walking into a new world with different customs and culture. Everyone in Blauwald made her feel welcome when she first arrived, but she’d been completely unaware of their world up until that point. Now, she was a luna entering another pack’s territory. There was a certain amount of respect she was expected to know, although the Rosmi Maana Pack would be more accommodating and understanding since she was human and only recently entered their world. She wanted to make a good impression because first impressions were as important to lycans as they were to humans.
The wait for their connecting flight was short, yet long enough for them to catch it without any stress. The only thing that concerned them was that Stone got enough to eat. The meal served on the plane wasn’t sufficient for him and he growled lowly about it tasting like cardboard. Which it did, but it amused Aubree to hear him complain about it.
He managed to scarf a foot-long sub in his mouth as they waited for their connecting flight. He wasted no time in shoving that bad boy in his mouth and Aubree couldn’t help but gape at him and his lack of table manners until she reminded herself that he was a lycan after all.
What would he look like in his beast form chowing down on Bambi or Thumper?
She tried not to think about it and save her the heartache over her childhood characters.
He seemed a little better after that. She’d noticed him rubbing his face more and more as time wore on and as they settled in their seats on their next flight, she put her hand on his and asked if he was okay.
The corners of his lips curved up slightly, if only by a few degrees. “I’ll be better once we get to Rosmi Maana’s territory.”
She could feel his exhaustion creeping through his skin. Reaching up, she gently pressed a finger to one of his knotted brows and trailed it out to his temple. The ache within his head pounded through her at first, but lessened a bit as her finger moved and his forehead smoothed. His eyes closed with her caress.
Her name on his breath as he exhaled sent her heart in a frenzy, drumming furiously within as heat flushed her cheeks.
His hand pressed into the back of her head as he leaned over, touching her forehead with his. Pulling her hand from his face, he entwined his fingers between hers.
“I pray to the Goddess to seal our souls,” he whispered. “To become one. I am tethered to you, separated, not quite one, and it’s killing me.”
He pulled away and she opened her eyes to see him gazing at her. Warmth spread through her. She felt beautiful, inside and out.
He brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “How could She give me you? I do not deserve you, even as a human. I don’t want to waste these years with you. If I have only ten, may they be wonderful.”
“Hopefully, I will be here much longer than ten,” she said.
“I pray it is so, but I will be thankful for any length of time I have with you.”
“Even when I become old and gray?” she asked, the corner of her lips quirking up.
“Especially when you become old and gray. Because that means I’ve been blessed to be with you for a lifetime.”
Emotion flooded over Aubree as he reached up to cup her cheek. He brushed away a tear that fell with his thumb.
“Of course, I would rather you not grow old and die, but I have no control in that matter. Fifty years or more with you will be a blessing,” he whispered.
She opened her mouth, but no words came out.
She wanted to straddle his lap, rock her hips against him, and kiss him with every ounce of intensity that burned through her now, but the pilot came on the speakers and announced that they would be preparing for take-off soon and that everyone should return to their seats and buckle their seatbelts.
Stone reached over and buckled hers before buckling his own as she continued to gape at him like a fish.
Once they were both secure, he leaned over and grasped her lips with his. She moaned as his tongue danced with hers until the sound of someone clearing her throat tore them away.
All hot and bothered, Aubree looked around for the source but found more than one set of eyes shooting uncomfortable glances their way.
The plane began to move forward now and she leaned back in her seat, her fingers tangled with Stone’s on the armrest between them.
This was to be a short flight and Aubree couldn’t wait to land and crawl into a nice comfy bed with Stone. Flying was exhausting. She could only imagine how taxing it was on him and his hyper-sensitive senses.
Looking over at him, his eyes were closed, but he looked more peaceful. She could feel that he was only mildly stressed compared to before, and that was better than nothing. She leaned her head against his shoulder and stroked his knuckles with her thumb, pushing warm, comforting feelings through their touch.
A minute later, he pressed his lips to her hair. “Thank you.”
She gave his hand a little squeeze. “Anytime.”
Their plane touched down at the small municipal airport barely an hour later. They breezed through the building and soon they were wandering through the arrivals doors, looking for Dom.
Not knowing who Dom was beyond the little description Stone gave her earlier, she let him use his senses to track down the lycan.
She didn’t have to wait long before Stone was guiding her through the small crowd of people to a dark-haired man, who looked to be in his early twenties if she didn’t know better.
He held his hands out, palms up, in the greeting Stone showed her as they set their luggage down and raised their own hands in greeting.
He had on a pair of black cargo shorts and a red T-shirt, exposing his thick biceps and strong calves. The same height as Stone, he held Stone’s gaze for a moment before looking down at Aubree and smiling.
“Welcome. It is good to see you again, Alpha,” he said, looking back at Stone. “I trust all is well with your pups and pack back in Minnesota?”
Stone gave a curt nod. “Yes, all well, though we encountered a little bit of trouble two nights ago. Nothing we couldn’t have handled without our Luna here.”
Aubree raised an eyebrow to that but kept her mouth shut.
Stone’s hand came around and rested on the small of her back. “This is my mate, Aubree. Aubree, this is Dominius, son of Eramis and Elena, and the future alpha of the Rosmi Maana Pack.”
Aubree inclined her head the way Stone had shown her earlier, a sign of respect. She tried to maintain eye contact but she could feel the power of his bloodline in his dark brown eyes. As a luna, she was Stone’s equal, and only alphas and lunas from other packs spoke to each other with direct eye contact. Lower-ranking pack members had to lower their gazes out of respect.
“Pleasure to meet you,” she said.
“The pleasure is mine, Luna. Please, call me Dom. Dominius makes me sound like I’m ten thousand years old,” Dom said with humor crinkling the corners of his eyes.
“It will be very fitting when you achieve such a milestone,” she said, mentally scratching her brain for something appropriate to say to someone of such a powerful lineage and roughly three hundred years old.
That earned her a chuckle from Dom as Stone grinned.
“Goddess, even the Ancients aren’t that old,” Dom said. “I can’t imagine living longer than Amora.”
The air became more relaxed and Dom shouldered Stone’s duffel bag and took Aubree’s luggage and led them out the glass doors to their waiting car. Another young-looking man stood waiting by the open trunk of the car and Dom introduced him as Alec, the beta’s son.
Alec gave them a curt nod before he and Dom loaded the car up with their luggage.
The pair climbed into the front seats, Alec driving, while Stone and Aubree got in the back seats.
As they pulled away, Dom turned in his seat and smiled at Aubree. “We’re very excited to have you, Luna. We know of Stone’s past, and we’re just as curious as I’m sure you must have been upon finding out that a human is not only a soulmate but the reincarnation of another lycan. Very curious, indeed.”
Aubree swallowed, trying not to feel nervous. She suddenly felt like a human-guinea-pig and would likely be asked the same questions over and over again in the coming days.
Now it was Stone’s turn to give her a comforting hand-squeeze, despite the exhaustion he tried to contain from his touch. She looked up into his weary, yet warm eyes.
“The Goddess has truly blessed me,” he said.
Dom nodded. “I pray that I may be fortunate enough to find my mate soon too.”
“I’m sure, you will,” Stone said to him, although he kept his eyes on Aubree as he rubbed his thumb over her knuckles.