Ryker and Ember spent a better part of the morning romping and playing in the pond. Both were tired by the time they made it back to Ryker’s house for lunch.
“I suppose I should head home and see what mom needed,” Ember said when lunch was over.
“Okay, but you’ll be back, right?” Ryker asked, not wanting his mate to be away from him.
“Um, maybe it would be best if you came to my house tonight, Ryker. I think your mom was kind of upset. She and your dad might need a bit of alone time.”
“My brothers will still be here.”
“Maybe not. I heard your mom on the phone when I went to the bathroom. She was telling someone it was okay with her if the boys stayed over.”
“Oh. Well, in that case, I’ll come over later,” Ryker said.
“Okay, I’ll be waiting,” Ember whispered. Then kissing him, she headed home.
“Mom?” Ember called as she walked into the house.
“In my room,” Mom called back.
Ember walked into her mom’s room to find her folding clothes.
“What did you want to talk about?” Ember asked as she flopped down on the bed to lay on her back, hands folded behind her head.
“I wanted to talk about you and Ryker,” Mom said as she stopped folding clothes and sat down. With a bit of a huff, she pushed her hair back. “Him not shifting into a full wolf is concerning to me.”
“There is no reason to be concerned, Mom,” Ember said as she shot up. “He’s my mate, and he won’t hurt me.”
“Not on purpose, no. But Ember eventually, his wolf will want a chance at his mate too.”
Ember felt her face heat up as she looked away from her mom’s knowing gaze.
“I take it you’ve mated with him. I know he marked you. The two of you admitted to that earlier,” Mom said.
“Well, yeah. Were we not supposed to for some reason?” Ember questioned.
Mom laughed, saying, “I’m actually surprised you waited as long as you did.” Her face turned serious. “Ember, the male usually marks the female while both are in wolf form…”
“He was in his wolf form,” Ember said softly.
“… the female marks in human. Have you marked him?” Mom asked.
Ember shook her head. “No.”
Mom nodded. “But he marked you…? Hm… You were in human form, so… he may try to…”
Ember huffed. “Try to what, Mom?”
“He may still try to mark you when you are both in wolf form. I don’t understand why he did it while you were human. Now, if he’d been in his human form…”
Ember sighed. “It doesn’t matter, mom, not to me anyway, but I think it was because of me being taken. He wanted me marked as his, now I am, and I’ll mark him soon, I guess. I mean, my wolf hasn’t been pushing for me too. That’s why I haven’t yet.”
“That’s probably the omega in you, and they don’t push for anything unless asked. Your wolf may wait for his to ask you before she’ll mark him,” Mom explained. “But Ember, back to my original question, what are you going to do if he wants to mate you in his wolf form? You heard what the Alpha said about his ancestor, and he almost killed his mate.”
“Yes, but she was human, Mom, I’m not,” Ember argued as she stared at her mom.
Mom sighed. “I know that, sweetheart.”
Ember looked down as she played with a ravel on her shirt. What would she do? The thought of him mounting her didn’t repulse her. Was that wrong? Yes, his ancestor had hurt his mate, but… the Alpha said Ryker’s wolf was more human… maybe that meant it would be okay. Even in wolf form, he seemed so human because he had arms and hands and walked upright. Ember sighed. She just didn’t know.
Ember knew the sight of him excited her wolf but being a submissive wolf, and she didn’t feel right taking the initiative and coming onto him. Did her wolf crave him the way she did? Ever since they’d made love, it was getting harder and harder for her to ignore her intimate feeling for him.
“I don’t know, Mom. I just don’t know it’s something I should talk to him about,” Ember finally muttered as she stood up. “I’m going to go lay down if there’s nothing else.”
“Fine, you can go. Just be careful, Ember. I don’t want you hurt,” Mom said.
“It’ll be fine, Mom. I promise.” Ember left her mom’s room and made her way to her own. Laying down on her bed, she stared at the ceiling for long moments, lost in thought.
“That is some heavy steam coming from your head. Does it hurt?”
Ember moved her gaze to her open door to find her smirking brother. “Ha, ha, very funny, bubba.”
Coming in, he sat down. “Want to talk about it?”
“Where’s your mate? And why are you here? Don’t you have your own place?” Ember asked Emerson teasingly as she sat up, trying to side-track him.
“Staci had to work, and I didn’t. Yes, I do have a place of my own, but I was bored. So, I thought I’d come visit,” Emerson answered.
“Still making that poor pregnant girl work. Shame on you, bubba.”
Emerson snorted. “Make? No, I was informed she would work as long as she wanted to.”
“Ah, so you did try and make her quit,” Ember said with a laugh.
“Maybe,” Emerson muttered. “But enough about me. What about you?”
Ember huffed. “Are you really sure you want to know? I mean…”
“Does this have anything to do with Ryker and his half-shift?” Emerson asked. “I heard about it from Dad.”
“Yeah,” Ember said, leaning into his shoulder.
“So, tell me,” Emerson encouraged as he wrapped an arm around her.
“Well, it seems as if for him it’s going to be the norm. He actually has someone in his ancestry that shifted the same way,” Ember began.
“Okay, well, that isn’t so bad, I guess,” Emerson said, and she felt his nod on top of her head.
“Yeah, well, try telling that to Mom. She’s worried about him hurting me because his ancestor Levi almost killed his mate when he mated her in a half-shifted wolf form. Alpha says that Ryker’s wolf is more human than his ancestor was, though,” Ember explained as she looked up.
“Ah…” Emerson said, his cheeks now stained red. He cleared his throat. “Well, I’m not sure I’m the best person to discuss your… um, love life with, but I’ll give you my opinion if you want.”
“Sure. It can’t be any worse than what’s been rolling through my head.”
Emerson took a deep breath. “Well, first, exactly how wolf-like is he?”
Ember frowned. “Head, tail, back legs…”
“So, does he have hands, I mean like human hands?”
“Sort of. I mean, he has claws, but he still has normal fingers, well, except they’re really fat and furry,” Ember explained.
“Okay. Well, it sounds like he can… you know, feel you like a human male would even if he can’t kiss you. Does his form freak you out? Is it creepy or scary to you?”
Ember laughed. “No! He’s actually quite cute, and he makes my wolf stir inside longingly. She’s waited so long for him,” Ember softly told him. She knew her wolf had waited even longer than she had.
“Alright, so…” Emerson stopped and frowned. “Well, my opinion is, if he’s mostly human, then there shouldn’t be a problem with the two of you getting frisky. If he has enough wolf in him, then your wolf shouldn’t have a problem with him mounting her,” Emerson said before he cleared his, his cheeks turning even pinker. “Anyway, I say, either way, enjoy yourselves!”
Ember laughed and laughed until she had tears rolling. “Oh, Emerson, I love you.”
Ember hugged him tightly, and Emerson hugged her back just as tight as he said, “I love you too, Ember.”
Letting out a long sigh, Ember whispered, “Thanks for this. Mom had me worried, I guess, and doubting things. I know he wouldn’t hurt me, but I thought maybe it was wrong of me to…”
“Get ideas about his wolf form?”
“Yeah. I mean… some people would find it wrong, I guess.”
“Ember, he’s your mate. Although I have a feeling most of those feeling about his wolf form comes from your wolf,” Emerson told her. “Now, I’m not saying I’d want my wolf to mount Staci in her human form because he would hurt her. The difference is, my wolf is completely animal. Ryker’s isn’t. The way it sounds, he’s more human than he is a wolf, am I right?”
“Yeah, he is. He can even talk to me in my head.”
“Then talk to Ryker, see what his feelings are about it. Don’t let the omega side of you let it slide, talk to him,” Emerson encouraged.
“Talk to who?”
Ember and Emerson turned to find Ryker standing in the open door.
“Speak of him, and he shall appear,” Emerson said as he stood. “Good luck, Ember. Good to see you, man.”
Emerson and Ryker exchanged bro hugs, and Emerson left.
“Talk to who?” Ryker asked again.
“You,” Ember softly said. “Close the door, my baby, and sit down.”