F I F T Y
I shifted in my bed, shifting closer to Serenity’s warm body that smelt absolutely delicious.
When I threw my arm around her waist to draw her closer to me, instead of feeling her soft body against my arm, I felt a set of abs that were definitely male.
My eyes popped open wide and I blinked a couple of times to get rid of the lasting effects of sleep.
Ethan batted his eyelashes up at me and snuggled closer into my chest.
“Oooh GQ!” he purred “Who knew you were so frisky in the mornings?”
I scrambled away from him, falling off the bed and on my ass.
“WHAT THE HELL!” I growled angrily “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY BED?”
Ethan snickered and laid back in the middle of the bed, his arms cradling the back of his neck as he stared at me leisurely.
“My niece had a big smile on her face when she left this place” he said conversationally, “Do you have anything to do with that?”
I felt the blood rushing to my face and I cursed internally at my stupid blush, turning away from him and grabbing my shirt off the bedside table.
When I faced the bed again, Ethan was sitting on the edge of the bed and narrowed his green eyes at me so hard, it looked like he was squinting.
“Where is she?” I asked, clearing my throat when my voice cracked like a pubescent boy.
Ethan kept his eyes narrowed but nodded to a note that was on Serenity’s bedside table.
A note that has clearly been opened by the looks of the envelope.
I glared and turned my back on him, eagerly reading Serenity’s neatly printed words.
Josephina summoned me this morning due to some new developments the Chief made in his research.
I wanted to wake you but you looked so peaceful that I decided to just let you sleep in a little longer, considering what the day has in store for us.
I’ll be back as soon as I can, hopefully with some good news.
My Uncle is waiting outside to keep you company and according to him, discuss some things with you.
I love you.
~ The One and ONLY Mate you’ll ever have.
I grinned quickly before schooling my features and turning towards Ethan “You we’re supposed to be waiting outside.”
He shrugged “I got bored.”
“So you decided to come into our bed and feel me up?”
“Trust me,” He grinned “I wasn’t the one doing the feeling up.”
I gagged and shivered “Why are you such a creep?”
“You say creep” He shrugged “My Mate says Romantic.”
“What is it that you want to talk to me about?”
He raised an eyebrow “You want to talk about this now?”
“You obviously have something to say with the way you keep glaring at me like I’m a diseased rat trying to give you the plague” I said “So go ahead, say what you need to say.”
He pursed his lips.
“Mr. Motormouth has nothing to say now?” I mocked, knowing it would push his buttons to say what he wanted to say “How surprising.”
Ethan’s eyes flashed and he took a step forward.
I matched his step with one of my own.
“My niece isn’t your little toy to play with and then discard when you’re done with her” he hissed “She has a life to get back to after she finishes whatever it is she came to finish for your god awful father. She has responsibilities to her Pack and our family. Responsibilities that were decided for her way before you came on your merry little way.”
He took another step forward “If you think you could come here and pretend to be her Mate-”
I cut him off with a snarl “I am her Mate!”
He continued to talk, ignoring my outburst “-And think that she’ll drop those responsibilities for you, you’re more delusional than I originally thought.”
“I’d never ask her to give up her family or responsibilities for me” I grounded out “We already had a discussion about this, not that its any of your business.”
“Did you?” Ethan asked “Or did you make promises to her with no real guarantee that you’ll be able to keep them.”
I reared my head back “I always keep my promises.”
“You’re the son of Hades kid,” he said “The son that is his father’s right hand man; the responsible one that takes care of issues even before issues actually arise. The son that makes everyone in the Underworld second guess their actions the for fear of upsetting Hades and having to deal with his Mini Me”
He took another step forward, nearly in my face, his eyes dead set on mine “If you think that you can walk away from that, truly walk away from being your father’s best soldier, then you’re more naive than I’ve given you credit for.”
“Once we find what we came here for, I’m done being my dad’s errand boy” I snarled “I promise Serenity the world and since I can’t do that from down here, we’re going Topside so she can fulfill all the destiny that has apparently been decided for her.”
“That’s just it” He said, his tone softening slightly “How will you go from being the most feared man in the Underworld, the Powerful one in the relationship, to the one that has to be in the background? The one that everyone will refer to as the Alpha’s Mate. The one where no one will be truly comfortable with because you’re not a full blooded wolf.”
My fist clenched “Why are you telling me this?”
He took a step back and sighed.
“Because, believe it or not, I do care about my niece’s happiness” he mumbled under his breath “And since you’re apart of that happiness, I must care about you too.”
He ran a hand through his hair, his young face looking weary beyond his years.
“Do you know how many times I had to confront Serenity’s mother every time my brother missed important milestones in his family’s lives because he had Pack duties to attend to” Ethan frowned “He saw the Pack more than he saw his own family and because of that, their Marriage took on a great strain.”
“Not to mention, the Pack didn’t take too well that their new Alpha female was a human” he frowned “There was always a power imbalance between the two of them and because Kaden was never there to see it truly, some members of the Pack got away with far more than they should have.”
He sat down on the end of my couch and gritted his teeth “I loved my Pack dearly but they didn’t take kindly to newcomers. Especially outsiders that they see as a threat to the Alpha Power lineage.”
“If the Pack is so bad then why does Serenity want to stay?” I demanded “I don’t care how much her responsibilities mean to her. I know for a fact that she would never stand for that behavior in her Pack, especially towards her own mother.”
“This happened in the beginning of my brothers relationship with his Mate, before Serenity was even concieved” he said “My brother was on the brink of losing his family when he finally yanked his head out of his ass to see that the Pack he dedicated so much of himself to was driving a wedge between him and his wife. If Sky didn’t threaten to move in with her brother while she was four months pregnant with Tristan, we would be having a very different conversation today.”
“So you’re saying that if I leave with Serenity, your Pack won’t accept me?” I said incredulously “Even if I am Serenity’s true mate?”
He shook his head.
“My brother made it his mission to get rid of as many bad seeds in his Pack as he could” he said softly “But even though times have changed, and while I have no doubt that a majority of the Pack will see you as one of their own, there will always be a few bad apples causing trouble and making things harder than it should be for both you and my niece.”
“So you just want me to what...break up with her?” I scowled and my heart twisted uncomfortably in my chest.
Just the thought of living a life without Serenity made me want to claw my own heart out to escape the pain.
“I’m not telling you to break things off with her because that will undoubtedly destroy you two” he stood “But I’m making sure that you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Once you bond with my niece, and I mean really bond with her, you can’t suddenly wake up one day and decided that being the Alpha’s Mate just isn’t for you anymore. You need to make sure you’re one-hundred percent committed to the relationship and done being the errand boy for your father before you take things further with her.”
He patted my shoulder condescendingly “One last thing.”
“Great” I muttered under my breath “More bad news.”
“If you break her heart, I will make it my mission to make your life a living hell” His eyes gleamed “And don’t think that because I’m dead that I can’t make it happen. You’d be surprise what I’ve learned we could do as Guardian of the Gate.”
I opened my mouth to say something when Serenity walked in with a beaming smile.
The witty retort died on my lips as she made her beautiful way over to me.
She paused to let her Uncle hug her before whispering something in her ear that made her laugh.
He gave her a goodbye kiss on the cheek before giving me the one finger salute with a smirk on his stupid face.
I scowled at his retreating form before turning my eyes on my Princess who was trying to control her snickers.
“What’s so funny?” I asked, whisking her in my arms and leaning my forehead on hers.
“Nothing.” She sniggered harder.
I nipped at her bottom lip “Tell me.”
Her laughter increased “I kind of don’t want too.”
“Because you might get embarrassed.”
“Now I really want to know what he said to you” I pulled back as she bit her lip “It was something stupid, wasn’t it?”
“Maaaaybe” she smiled “It depends on what you consider stupid.”
“Anything that comes out of his mouth is stupid” I deadpanned “So tell me what it is so I can still catch up to him and kick his butt.”
“Did you really just have the Birds and the Bees talk with my Uncle?” She twisted her lips in a wry grin “I mean, I guess you would have had that talk with your parents already, but it kind of explains why you were so shocked with what I said last night.”
I just stared at her for a few minutes, processing and reprocessing her words at least ten times, before gently nudging her out of the way.
When I was outside of our tent, I found a grinning Ethan waiting for me at the entrance.
“YOU!” I pointed at him, stalking him like a predator hunting his prey “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”
“Kill me or cuddle with me GQ?” He taunted, running fast “Because I really don’t have time for a repeat of this morning!”
“ARGH!” I growled chasing after him to the laughter of my Mate watching me from out tent entrance.