Jax picks me up and hugs me close to him before swinging us around in quick circles. We both start laughing from all the excitement that is buzzing through us. Mine is more of a giggle, whilst Jax’s is more of a hearty laugh. When he slows his paces, he gently places me back onto my feet. He cups my face and forces me to lock eyes with his. Even though I have no choice, I can’t seem to look away from him. The man I am going to marry.
My soon-to-be husband leans down and softly brushes his lips against mine before he fully connects them as one, giving me exactly what I want. Him. His lips were filled with nothing but passion and love. My everything revolved around this one man. Love was an extraordinary feeling, but trust, trust was magical.
I reluctantly pulled away, gasping for air, but Jax didn't waste any time as he buried his head into the crook of my neck. His lips placed gently open mouth kisses against my skin. My hands wrap around his torso, bringing him even closer so there is no gap between us. A deep growl pours out of Jax’s mouth at the motion. The next thing I know, I feel Jax’s canines brushing against my neck, and for some reason, I don’t pull away. I am overcome with the sudden urge of wanting to be marked. I want him. But the moment is ruined when Jax pulls away and shakes his head as if to try to stop his racing thoughts. Does he not want to mark me?
“No, trust me, I want to. I just want it to be special for you,” he says as he rests his hands at the base of my back. “So now you have said yes, when would you liketo get married?” The biggest smile makes its way on his face.
I want to marry him as soon as possible. I know there is no one else for me, only him, so what is the point in waiting. Lately, I have become so possessive of him. I hate it when I see other females even near him, let alone look at him all drool worthy. It drives me insane. Only I’m allowed to do that. “When is the...earliest we could have it?”
“I guess we could have it... this Sunday, which is only two nights away. Tomorrow we can set up the preparations for the wedding if you want. Tomorrow, I will inform the pack, so they know what’s happening. The sooner you become my wife, the better.” I couldn't agree more.
I know I have got stronger from when I first came to Jax's pack; I want to get more involved with helping Jax, and the first way to do that is to do the thing I’m most terrified of. “I’m ready to meet the pack,” I say with confidence, "maybe... I could come with you when you tell the pack." I am petrified to meet them all, especially when there are so many of them, but nothing is getting done with me doing nothing, and it’s time I changed that. I don’t think I am ready to be Luna. It would just end in a lot of tears and panic attacks. Yeah, I’m definitely not ready. I can’t look after myself, let alone an entire pack. But I want to be by Jax's side. I want to prove not only to him but myself also, that I am not some useless, weak human that can't do anything. I want to show him the ways he has changed me for the best.
“You can lead this pack, Hayley. You are destined to be this pack’s Luna, you are strong enough, you just need some faith in yourself. Until then, I know they would love to meet you, it has been the pack’s gossip for weeks now. You are the last piece of the puzzle that makes this pack complete.” Jax has a way with words, that just melts me entirely. "If you are ready, and I mean completely ready, then I would love for you to join the meeting, but I don't want to pressure you-"
"You're not pres-sur-ing me." That's a difficult word to say. "I want to do this." I’m not used to feeling looked after, nor wanted. I don’t understand why he would want me. Yes, I’m his mate, but he didn’t have any other female before me. He must have felt huge disappointment when he saw me. He could have anyone he ever wanted, and yet he is stuck with me. I feel comfortable enough with Jax to voice my thoughts, I don’t feel like he will judge me as much as I judge myself. It is either that, or he reads my thoughts. So in the end, the result will be the same. “Why would you want to... marry me? You could have anyone...” Why does he love me? I don’t deserve him. I’m nothing special. Forgetting that Jax can hear my thoughts through the bond Jax growls under his breath and his eyes flicker from their deep misty grey to bright golden orbs as Aaron starts to shine through. And he is angry.
“Don’t ever talk about yourself in that way. You are everything, even though you don’t see it in yourself, I do. I know how strong you are, I know you are worthy of love, and I know you question whether I truly love you or not.” He guides my hand and places it over his heart. “This beats for you, and only you. It will take some time for you to realize that, but I will be by your side through everything, loving you unconditionally. Do you hear me? I’m not going anywhere.” Tears stream down my cheeks at the rawness in Jax’s eyes. He isn’t lying. He does love me, and I need to wake up and realize it. I shouldn’t run away from his love, I should embrace it. Jax deserves to feel the way I do - loved.
“I love you,” I say then lean up and place my lips against his. Our lips move in a gentle rhythm and nothing else matters except this moment. This man standing in front of me has taught me how to love again. He has made me the strongest I have ever been but he is also my weakness. I could never live without him.
When I pull away, I notice Jax has tears gathering in the corners of his eyes. He has his own demons, and it’s about time I help him as well. We’re in this together. “Say it again,” he whispers.
“I love you.”
“I love you,” I say with a slight giggle.
He picks me up again and holds me against his chest, where his heart is hammering. “I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing you say those three little words. Moon goddess knows I have been waiting for them for so long.”
As the shock of everything slowly dies down, I register I need to go do something important. “I need to go tell Lily!” I tell Jax as excitement fills me once again. I hear Jax chuckle as I start to leave Jax's office, but quickly turn around and gently kiss Jax before murmuring, "I love you." As I bolt out of the room, I hear Jax repeat those three little words.
I relate so much to Lily. I know what it feels like to be an outcast and feel abounded. Even though my mum didn’t have a choice, it is hard to not feel resentment, especially as I never got to meet her. It feels like she left me. I have no memories of her apart from the make-belief I created in my head. I feel protective of Lily because I see myself in her, just a scared little girl who wants to be loved.
Axton meets me on my search for Lily. I’m guessing Jax mindlinked him. I wish I could do that. I really miss being a wolf. I only got to experience it as a pup, but those times were the best bit about my childhood. I have been feeling Aurora more lately which I’m guessing is a good sign. I want her back. You don't realize how much she means to you until you don't have her at all.
Ax uses his senses and steers me in the direction of where Lily is. She is sitting on a swing that is attached to a tree, swinging leisurely, but the shocking thing I notice is that she has blood running down her knee to her bare feet. Lots of blood. I and Axton quicken our pace till we are standing right in front of her, Axton arriving before me. I bend down, so I and her are the same height and ask, "What happened, Lily?"
Her eyes flicker from me to Axton and then back to me before she slowly shakes her head and whispers, "I just fell over..." I know she is lying, this is a lot worse than a little fall. I can feel Auroura starting to stir at the sight of Lily's tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. Both I and Aurora feel protective of Lily, and we won't tolerate anyone hurting her.
I turn towards Axton, with my hand resting on top of Lily's. "Would you mind getting the...first aid kit please?"
"Hayley, you know I can't leave you. The Alpha will have my head," Axton says in an unwilling voice.
"Please, Axton. You won't be more than a couple of minutes. Jax won't even know," I say with puppy dog eyes. Contemplation swirls in his eyes before he sighs in defeat.
"Don't move. If anything happens get Lily to mindlink me," he says in exasperation. Axton starts running towards the infirmary, to grab a spare first aid kit, but not before he mutters, "Alpha is going to kill me." Snorting at Axton's dramatics, I turn my attention back to Lily.
"Lily, please tell me who did this to you. I care about you, and I hate seeing you hurt. If you tell me who did this, I'll be able to help you," I pause, taking a breath. Tears stream down Lily's pale face and gather at her chin before diving onto her pink skirt. "Please, Lily, talk to me."
A choked sob escapes her swollen lips as she glances to the floor in what looks like shame. "It was," a sob, "just some older kids," another sob, "from school." Her voice is croaky, and I wonder how long she has been crying before I and Axton found her. “They said I have no friends b-b-because my mummy and daddy p-p-passed away. They s-s-said I should d-d-die too.”
"Well their liars, because you have me, and Axton, and even Jax. We're your friends, and we are not leaving you. I will sort it all out. Okay? Don't worry about a thing."
"No, you can't! They will do it again! They told me not to tell anyone! They're gonna hurt me even more if you tell!" Panic shines bright in her eyes as she quickly protests.
"Breath, Lily. Everything will be okay. I won't allow anything to happen to you. I will protect you," I promise.
As Lily's breathing evens out I whisper, "Thank you for telling me. I know that it wasn't easy." I know firsthand how difficult it is to talk about something that pains you, not only physically, but also emotionally. I pull Lily into a tight hug, trying to pour all my love into her.
Axton returns shortly after, panting heavily. I carefully patch Lily's wounds up, but only the bodily ones, as emotional tears take time to recover. Axton tries to make Lily laugh by making dad jokes, but I think Lily was only laughing because she didn't want to upset Axton's feelings. She has such a kind heart. Always wanting to please everyone else. “Come on, bestie, why don’t we go play some Just Dance?” I ask, trying to keep Lily distracted for her thoughts. Lily nods her head frantically whilst jumping up and down, clapping her hands together. I think she likes that idea.
"I thought I was your best friend," Axton fake pouts.
"You're both my best friend," I giggle. Hand in hand, all three of us start to walk back to the packhouse, ready to bust some moves...