“You know, I think I can get used to you doing my hair every single morning.” Shadow smiles in front of the mirror as I finish her French braid. Both of us sit on the floor before the body-length mirror in my closet. This time, I decide to put her entire hair into one braid rather than two. I love how she enjoys my fingers between her platinum locks as I make the braid.
“Well, I am willing to do your hair any day you want honey.” I smile as I picture doing her hair when we are older.
“What happens if Owen goes to the cabin and does not find Amara there? He will not come and ask you.” She changes the topic as I wrap the hair band around the end of the French braid.
She turns around to face me, and I see the unsettlement in her features. Also, she keeps biting on her lip piercing; she is nervous.
“What is on your mind?” I get closer to her and wrap my arms around her neck. The position is weird and almost uncomfortable since both of us are sitting down, but I do not mind.
“It is stupid, and it is certainly not the time for it.”
“You are worried about living with my mother under the same roof.” I realize.
“I told you I am just being stupid, so can we please not talk about it?”
She is not fucking stupid!
I know that Amoux! I do not know what to tell her! My wolf exploits my moment of hesitation and takes over.
“You are not stupid, never say that.” Amoux places our right hand on her cheek and gently moves her head so she can face us.
“Amoux.” She whispers his name once she sees our pitch black eyes. As a result, my wolf lets out a low growl.
“You are one the smartest and bravest she-wolves I have ever met. Do not ever doubt yourself. No emotion you feel is stupid; it is normal to have silly or negative emotions. It is completely normal and there is no need to find them embarrassing.” He is about to ask to meet Accalia the moment I regain control.
“Thank you Amoux.” She gives him a smile knowing that he can see and hear her even though our eyes have turned back to blue.
You promised me that I will fucking meet her! He practically yells in my head causing me a headache.
And you will, I promise. I never break my promises, so why are you worried?
I am not worried, I am eager. He angrily shuts me off.
“Alright, I think we should get going so we do not get there late because I want to go to the orphanage first.”
“Alright.” We get off the floor, and we leave the house. When I told Shadow about my plan to move Amara to the house, she insisted that she accompanies me, and I could not say no to her with the way she looked at me.
We walk to the orphanage hand in hand as I hum with the birds that move between the trees’ branches. I am actually excited because I want Shadow to meet Emily and the rest of the children.
“I am excited to meet Emily.” Shadow speaks up as if she reads my mind.
“Trust me, me too.” I say as we approach the orphanage.
“Alpha Xander, we were not expecting you today.” Jensen appears from the orphanage’s front door and walks towards Shadow and I.
“It is just Xander, Jensen, and this is my mate Shadow.” The older man’s eyes sparkle when they land on her.
“The pack’s savior, it is a pleasure to finally meet you.” Both of them shake hands.
“Please, I am no savior.” Shadow latches on to my arm once Jensen lets go of her hand. Jensen notices her discomfort, so he urges us inside and into the playroom where the children spend most of their time.
“Xander.” Emily runs to me the second I enter the room. I immediately detach myself from my mate and pick the little girl up. I hug her as tight as I can.
“I missed you so much. How have you been?” I watch her tiny face as she smiles brightly at me.
“I am good. Is this her? Your mate?” Emily’s gaze turns to Shadow.
“Yeah, do you want to meet her?” I take a step closer to Shadow with Emily still in my arms.
“You are so pretty. I love your hair.” Emily does not even bother to introduce herself.
“Well, thank you. You must be Emily, Xander told me a lot about you.” It does not go unnoticed by me or Amoux that she called me ‘Xander’, but I choose to try to ignore it even though it slightly bothers me.
I think she does not want the children to call you with the nickname she chose.
I think you are right Amoux. I have to admit I kind of like that.
“Will you help us build a Lego castle?” Matt along with the other children come up to us as I put Emily down.
“I like your earrings.” Ashley’s focus is solely on Shadow’s piercings. My mate gets on her knees so she can meet the child’s eyes.
“Earrings are the jewelry that you put in your ears. These, however, are called piercings.” She points at the piercings that are on her face.
“They are really pretty.” Ashley dreamily looks at the black star screw in shadow’s nose.
“Well, when you grow up you can get one.” Shadow gives Ashley a gentle smile.
“Xander, can your beautiful mate also help us with the castle?” Matt’s innocent eyes beg me to say yes.
“Well, I think you should ask my beautiful mate and see what she says.” I almost chuckle at the blush that appears on his cheeks when he looks at Shadow.
“Will you build a Lego castle with us?” Emily asks when Matt fails to direct even a word at Shadow.
“Of course.” Within seconds, both of us are sitting on the floor with children who start to build their castle with the countless Legos that are on the floor. While the children are focused on the castle that slowly comes together, I only focus on my mate; how she makes sure to help every single child to put the pieces they desire in the castle, and how she completely abandons her walls while she talks with them; a child can never do anything that will seriously hurt you.
This is one of the most beautiful things I have fucking witnessed.
Yeah, I do not think I have ever seen Shadow smile this widely.
I never thought she would be the kind of woman to be patient.
Sadly, our time in the orphanage is cut short when we receive a letter from Josh.
Nick is headed to the cabin. I am busy so I sent him in my place. Tell me how moving Amara goes –Josh
Hence, we are forced to say our goodbyes to the kids who made Shadow promise them that she will visit them again. We decide to walk to the cabin, I wanted to turn into my wolf form, but Shadow claimed that she would like to enjoy some peace before she has to be in the same room as my mother.
Other male wolves would have felt offended or disrespected hearing their mate talk about their mother in such an unpleasant way. I, however, do not feel that way. After all, the feelings that Shadow has towards my mother are nothing but a result of my mother’s actions. Also, Shadow never insulted my parents; whenever she talks about them she just expresses her dislike for them and how uncomfortable she feels being around them. I am ashamed to admit that lately my feelings towards them mirror my mate’s.
“Why is Joshua so busy? I mean did you give him any mission to carry out?” Shadow breaks the tranquil silence surrounding us.
“Well knowing Josh, I bet you he gave himself a mission to bury himself in as much books as he can in order to find something that will help with our situation.” I get closer to her and hold her hand as we walk. The simple act of tightening her hand around mine brings me happiness.
“Owen will not notice what we are doing, will he?” She turns her head and faces me with a concerned look in her green eyes. Small strands of her platinum hair escape her braid and attack her face due to the wind. I am tempted to pull them behind her ears, but one of the many things I have learned about Shadow is that she hates clichés. Thus, I restrain the urge.
“Do not worry honey; both Nolan and Clay are with him. They will keep us updated on his movements.” I notice her body slightly relax at that. The rest of our walk is quiet.
When we approach the cabin, we see Nick standing at the door waiting for us. Once his eyes land on us, he gives us a lazy smirk.
“Hello love birds.” His eyes focus on our intertwined hands. I feel my cheeks heat up and I am about to let go of Shadow’s hand, but she does not allow me to as she refuses to relinquish my hand.
“Hello Nick.” She gives him a fake sweet smile.
“Is everything ready?” I ask.
“Yes, I teleported their stuff to the house. Listen man, there is still time to change your mind; your house is going to be crowded. And no offense, but with your mother around, we will lose every ounce of privacy we have.”
“You live in Joshua’s house.” Shadow gives him a raised eyebrow.
“Exactly, I do not live in the house, and I feel scared for you!” The witch hisses at us. I only chuckle at him. He is right; having my mother live in my house will be extremely unsettling, but I would do anything to keep her safe. Also, it is only temporary until this whole crisis is over.
“Speaking of Josh, where is he?” I change the subject.
“Oh you know him, he is drowning in his books believing that one of them will give him the answers to every problem we have.” Nick rolls his eyes at his brother’s behavior.
I told you. I tell Shadow through the mind-link. I feel her smile at that.
I think he prefers books over people. She replies.
Well, you are not wrong.
“Finally, you are here.” My mother emerges from the cabin with Lorenza right behind her.
“Are you ready?” I keep my voice devoid from any emotion.
“Yes I am ready. I cannot believe you forced me to come to this abandoned cabin.” She mutters, but I pretend to not hear her as I turn to Chance’s mate.
“Can you tell Amara and Hope to come outside?” Lorenzo only nods before she goes back into the cabin.
“So, where is your father?” My mother asks me as she glares at Shadow.
“He told me to tell you that he will miss you while he is gone.”
“That is not the answer I wanted.” She snaps at me while pointing her finger in my face. I take a moment to study her; she has gained weight since the last time I saw her, minus the day before, and it is clear now that she is pregnant even though her baby pump is small.
“Well, it is the only answer you are getting.” I do not know what it is, it could be my blank voice or my low tone, but she puts her finger down, and does not say anything more.
I would never disrespect my mother, but I am not going to pretend that she is a good person or that her actions do not hurt me.
“Alpha.” Amara practically runs to me and clings to my left arm like her life depends on it. I look at Hope and give her a nod to which she replies with a smile.
“How are you today Amara?” I look down at her and give her a soft smile.
“I want to leave.” She practically hugs me from the side.
“Okay, Nick will teleport you to my house, okay?” Immediately, she vigorously shakes her head and a tear falls down her good eye.
“No, do not leave me. I want to stay with my alpha.” I am tempted to convince her that Nick will not hurt her, but I know that I will only waste my energy.
I look around the people with me at the cabin’s door as I calculate my options. Whatever we do, we have to make sure that Owen does not notice that Amara is leaving the cabin.
“Okay, here is what we are going to do. I will turn into my wolf form and have Amara sit on my back. I will run to the house. The rest of you go with Nick; he will teleport you into the house. Wait for me in the living room.” They all nod except for Shadow.
“I am coming with you.”
“Okay.” I nod approvingly.
Hope hugs Amara for a few seconds before she walks to Nick and her teleports her, Lorenza, and my mother to my house. I sigh at that before I turn to Shadow.
“I will turn first, once I am in my wolf form, help Amara get on my back and then turn. We will run side by side. Okay?” Once she nods, I take both my shirt and pants off causing Amara to gasp and close her good eye. I smile at her as I feel my bones break.
Do you want to take control? I ask Amoux as I pull myself into a sitting position to make it easier for Amara to get on my back.
No thank you. He blocks me; he seems to be in a bad mood. Thus, I leave him alone.
Shadow helps Amara get on my back, then she takes her clothes off, turns into her blonde wolf, puts her clothes between her sharp teeth, and looks at me.
Okay, I am ready. Accalia says through the mind-link.
We both start running, and although Amara practically takes my fur out with her tight grip, I still feel a little content. I love running with Shadow in our wolf forms; it gives me clarity.