Chapter 12 - Hold Me
“Where do you want to stay tonight?” Nathaniel asked, he’d appeared in the doorway several minutes ago, leaning against the door frame of my office, looking at me while I corrected sheets of paper with a red pen.
“I told Jamie that I wouldn’t stay with him, so you’ll have to put me up here,” I sighed, leaning back in my chair and looking at him.
He wore well fitted pants and a black shirt, a generous number of buttons undone displaying his smooth and tanned chest. He’d rolled the sleeves up at some point during the day; becoming the weakness of every straight woman, his biceps flexing as his arms laced in front of him.
“Are you checking me our Dr. Forrest?” he said, a grin flashing across his face and I was suddenly thankful that I was sitting down.
I crossed my arms, “If I was, would you be complaining?”
His grin widened and he flashed his teeth, “No, I wouldn’t complain about it one bit.”
I scoffed and leaned back onto the desk, running my hands across my head and then brushing my fingers through my hair, “Did you talk to Gina?” I asked, looking up at him.
“No,” he said dropping his gaze to his shoes as he shifted his feet awkwardly. “That means you won’t be sleeping in our room, will it?” he asked, running his hand through his hair.
“No, no I won’t,” I said, grimacing.
“Why? You’re my mate, aren’t you?”
“Just because I’m your mate, dosen’t mean you get a free pass Nate.”
He grimaced and walked deeper into my office, sitting on my desk and looking down at the pile of paper that I’d marked up, “you didn’t come out for dinner,” he sighed, picking up one of the sheets of paper and reading what I’d written.
“You trained a lot this morning, you must have been starving.”
“Lack of appetite,” I shrugged.
“What’s wrong? What can I do? Let me help,” he said, suddenly sounding desperate once again.
I sighed and ran my hands through my hair again, “Give me space and time Nate, that’s all I ask for. You’re, I feel like you expect everything to – I just, I feel like you expect, and I’m not, we’re not, you’re not.”
He placed his hand on the side of my face, the warm flooding through from him to me, “Alice,” he said, his voice now calm and steady.
I felt the tears welling in my eyes, hot and blurring my vision, “What were your memories of your time with me?” I asked, brushing his hand of my face as I brushed the tears away with my sleeve.
“Their happy right?” I said, “You found your mate, you were having incredible sex, you got a Luna too, you defeated an uprising, discovered that the legendary white wolf was apart of your pack, right?”
He opened his mouth “About right, yeah,” he choaked out.
“And that’s great, they’re on a whole, happy memories,” I said, shrugging and picking up the pen in front of me. “But I was given a couple of days to say goodbye to my friends, my school, my job, my family and my pack. I had never left my pack let alone travelled as far as I did to come here, with you, without choice. Then I was given a position within a pack I wasn’t sure I even wanted, I mean it comes with a lot of responsibilities and I don’t have a doctorate in leadership or running a business Nate, I was an art student, I’m an academic.” I took in a deep breath, calming myself as I scrunched my eyes closed, my hand now shaking. “The person who was meant to love me endlessly, seemed to be able to say everything wrong, do everything wrong, hurt the people I loved around me. So you had a good Summer last year, I had a bad one.”
He placed his hand gently on mine, “I’m so sorry,” he sighed, and he softly turned the office chair, he brushed the hair from my face that now stuck to the tears that rolled down my face, dripping from my chin. My breathing was sharp now as I gasped for breath, “It’s okay,” he purred.
His arms wrapped around my shoulders, pulling me into his chest as he embraced me his arms holding me firmly. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” he said.
“I can’t-” I started, as he sank down to his knees, pulling him my from the chair and cradling him in his chest.
“It’s okay,” he purred, as he brushed the hair out of my face, “We’ll do it again, we’ll take it slow,” he said.
I couldn’t control the way my body shook, his arms holding me in place as I now clung to his shirt. “Hold me tighter,” I choaked out.
* * * * * * * * * *
His body swayed, and I moved accordingly in his arms. I was pressed against his chest, I wasn’t sure how long we’d sat on the floor of my office, but I’d fallen asleep in his embrace. It was an easy sleep that I’d fallen into, not the ones I’d barely had for the last year; the ones where I’d stayed up all night writing my thesis, reading papers, doing paperwork, because I couldn’t fall asleep. Where I couldn’t face the empty bedsheet alone.
I stayed clinging to his chest as he walked up the stairs, his footsteps echoing in the empty hallway. “What time is it?” I murmured, nuzzling my way into his arms deeper.
“Late,” he purred his voice smooth and calming.
“That’s not an answer,” I smirked.
“Bedtime then,” he chuckled.
“I’m not a child, I don’t have a bedtime.”
“I’m taking you to bed,” he smirked.
“My bed in not in the Pack House,” I said, poking my head out of his shoulder, “so where?”
He bit his lip and stopped walking, he hoisted me further up his chest and I wrapped my arms around his neck, making it easier for me to carry me. But also because it allowed me to rest my face on his shoulder, inhaling the sweet citrus and pine scent. He nuzzled his own face into the crook of my neck for a moment, inhaling deeply and I was sure that he was doing the same thing I was – not wanting to let go.
“I can take you to one of the spare rooms in the accommodation wing, if you like,” he offered, his breath tickling my skin as he spoke.
I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want to be so far away from him, but I didn’t want to admit it, I didn’t want to admit it to him.
“But what I would like, is you close to me,” he continued, “I want to know you’re safe, can I keep you safe, just for tonight?” he begged.
I nodded, and I could feel the muscles in his face move, a smile most likely forming on his face.
His feet began to move again as he continued to walk down the hallway towards his chambers, the big wooden doors looming at the end of the hall. I watched the moon light flickering trough the hall, the tall thin windows flooding the white corridor with white light. I wondered what time it was for the pack house to be so quiet, or perhaps Nate had sent everyone out of this wing.