20. Memories and meetings
Miliano continues to refuse to tell me what he’s come up with, and even though he explains why he doesn’t want to say anything, it annoys me anyway. I can’t help if I’m not aware of what it is! Aleida will skin us both alive if she finds out that we don’t cooperate. Henry and Killian look at me questioningly, but I can do nothing more than shrug my shoulders because I know and understand just as little as they do. Jason comes back with a plate full of food and digs in right away. We leave the dense subject temporarily and return to eating while discussing other things.
“What’s your favorite memory with Aleida?” Jason suddenly asks.
The rest of us look at each other with wide eyes, surprised at the sudden question since we aren’t talking about her at the moment. What’s my favorite memory with my queen? I have many, and it’s difficult for me to choose only one...
“Mine is when Aleida wanted to talk to Killian and me about the feelings she had for her mates that confused her,” Henry laughs. “She gave us an order like our luna not to tell you anything.”
We all laugh together over how naïve and sweet Aleida is. At the time, she was an innocent and vulnerable person, the exact opposite of what she is nowadays. Now she’s a strong and graceful woman that others look up to. Even though I’ve always been proud of her, I’m even more proud of her today.
“When she put Nathan in his place at your old house,” Jason chuckles. “I’ve never seen my big brother shut up so quickly and submit to anyone else!”
Jason is laughing hard at the memory of their big brother, who has never looked so scared in his life. I remember it well even though I wasn’t there; she protected Miliano and followed her instincts to the fullest. Miliano was haughty over it for weeks because she proved that he means something to her for the first time. At the time, we weren’t as close to Aleida as we are today, and he enjoyed tormenting me with the knowledge that she had shown him her feelings before she showed me. Today I can laugh at how I thought back then, but I couldn’t at the time.
“When Aleida had just woken up and was able to leave the hospital, she shook my hand to introduce herself properly. I applauded her for how she could stand for when she had done wrong and that she can until this day makes my alpha purr like a kitten,” Killian says with a proud smile.
There isn’t much that you can’t admire about Aleida, given how far she has taken herself in a short time. She went from being a weak link in society to the top as the strongest and which, moreover, leads the rest of us to prosperity every time, although she has to pay the price for it.
“On the day that Aleida disappeared into thin air, she had decided to participate in the training with the warriors to show exactly how good she is at defending herself. We sat in the dining room, and Samantha came into the room. She ignored Aleida and her growling completely and sat down on my lap,” my little brother begins with a massive smile on his lips. “But she moved damned quickly when Aleida pushed her up against a wall and threatened her. My goddess defended me against another she-wolf.”
I haven’t heard that story before; this is news. I know Aleida is possessive when it comes to Miliano and me, but not that she showed it that early in their history. Once again, I underestimate my darling, and the thought of her makes me smile. The others look questioningly at me, and I try to feverishly pick out a memory that’s extra vital to me, but it’s hard. Aleida has done so much good for me and influenced my life in many different ways that it’s almost impossible to choose just one. When she stole my whiskey and danced on the kitchen counter? The first time I met her? Our first date? When we found out she was pregnant with the boys? When she allowed us to meet our sons for the first time? Her resurrection? In the end, I figure out what my favorite memory is.
“We got a call from Henry but couldn’t understand a word of what he said because he was talking way too fast for anyone to be able to keep up with what he was telling,” I laugh.
“Hey! I was panicking, okay?” Henry laughs back.
“In the end, Aleida takes the phone away from him and asks us to get to her territory as fast as we can. At first, we think she’s hurt, but then find out she’s about to give birth. Once we get there, she almost squeezes Henry’s and Killian’s hands until they break off. We’re with her all the way when she helps our first girl, Benita, to the world. Unfortunately, we had to leave the room when Adelita and Lucia were born because complications arose. But once we get back in, our amazing mate is there, tired as hell, yet happy. In her arms, she holds three mini-copies of herself, our daughters. That’s my favorite memory.”
The others smile at my recollection, and my heart beats stronger when I think of my triplets that are currently sleeping sweetly upstairs. I can’t believe that, despite our previous violent tendencies, Miliano and I got mercy from the moon goddess in the form of our fantastic mate. Who could think that the cruel twin couple who hated each other for years would’ve to share the same mate and make it work? And besides, get five strong and healthy puppies! Miliano and I have a lot to thank our goddess for, but I hope to ask for one more thing if I get the chance... That my mate will come back.
The meeting is about to begin. Miliano set the ball in motion yesterday and demanded our betas to call every alpha nearby to invite them to the discussion we’re about to hold. Or well, not “we,” but Miliano will lead. Since I don’t know what’s going on, I can’t contribute my insight either. Jason walks in first, then Henry, Killian, and finally us. The other alphas are already sitting at the long shiny mahogany table and to say that the mood is tense is an understatement. However, there’s nothing unusual about it, as you probably understand by now. Alphas rarely meet each other unless it is indispensable and that we get along well enough with Nathan, who’s also an alpha, depends solely on Aleida. If he weren’t our mate’s big brother, we would never be able to joke and hang out with him as we do. High-ranking wolves rarely manage to be in close proximity to like-minded people without getting into fights, where they fight for dominance and try to get the other or others to submit. It may seem ridiculous, but on the other hand, it belongs to the wolf’s instincts; we aren’t wholly human after all. In addition, some alphas aren’t only dominant as wolves, but also as people, like yours truly. Even if I had only been a human being, I would’ve automatically demanded submission, though not in such a violent way as Jax prefers. Most alphas have a dominant wolf, while the human form is neither dominant nor submissive, preferably something intermediate. It’s hard to explain because you’re probably not a werewolf. But you wish you were one, right? Believe me; I often wish I was a simple human instead; werewolf politics is exhausting. Miliano and I sit down at the short side with our betas at our sides. I don’t have a gamma, not anymore. Philip left my pack a week before I found Aleida; he had found his mate and wanted to get a new start with her. Given all the chaos that occurred shortly after my mate came tumbling into my life, I never got the opportunity to pick out a new one either. Besides, I have Henry by my side, which helps me out at all times, which has also postponed my choice repeatedly. Although my pack is now a mix with Miliano’s, we still need two betas and gammas. My group was big before we merged them, and my brother was the same. Now we’re several hundred members and at the moment the largest in the region. But if we combine it with Aleida’s in the future, ours will be the largest globally. However, it isn’t a choice that neither Miliano nor I can or should make without Aleida’s approval. She’s our alpha, and it’s she who decides how things will develop. Should it turn out that she wants to rule over our joint members, then that’s also what’s happening; her words are our law.
“Welcome, alphas,” Miliano says with a strong voice. “We’re grateful that you take your time and come here despite possible disputes among yourselves.”
A number of those present stare at each other and growl lowly. As I mentioned earlier, dominant wolves always try to make others submit, and this situation is no exception to the rule. Therefore Miliano needs to hurry up to shift the focus on what he called them here for; otherwise, there’ll be trouble.
“I take for granted that you either attended or at least heard of what has happened to our mate, aka your queen,” my brother says, and several whimpers spreads inside the room. “Aleida is gone in her ferocity, and we don’t know if it’s temporary or if it’s too late to save her.”
The atmosphere that earlier was angry, change to full of sadness with my brother’s words. Other high-ranking wolves look at us with compassion, and usually, I have something against it, but not today. Because today, it feels like my heart is about to burst when I think about the possibility that Aleida won’t come back yet again.
“No matter how it is with our queen, I know that she would disapprove that we all sit in self-pity, unprepared for the war that the witch will commence. That’s why I’ve called you here today to build a solid strategy. You, who attended the last large meeting that my brother and I held, signed a blood alliance with us to protect Aleida no matter what. I’m grateful for the progress made, and I know you’re doing your best to ensure that the conditions are fulfilled. But now we can’t just protect her because we don’t know where her sanity is,” Miliano says, looking at the others present.
I don’t understand where he’s going with this; I guess he’s fishing for a possible alliance, even if it’s temporary. But the question is how long the potential cooperation lasts and how many the other alphas are ready to sacrifice for wolves that don’t belong to their flock. Alpha Paul stretches his hand up.
“What do you suggest, alpha Miliano?” Paul asks and looks at us.
“An alliance,” Miliano responds, and an annoying murmur spreads in the room instantly. “I understand that some of you have an old quarrel between you and that you don’t feel that you’re ready to sacrifice the lives of your members to help your enemies. But what you must remember is that our queen has sacrificed herself time and time again to protect us without asking for anything in return! How many times do you think that Aleida has sacrificed not only herself but also caused pain in ours, as well as our puppies’ lives, to protect wolves that don’t belong to us!? It’s your queen we’re talking about; the question remains whether you’re truly as loyal to her as you always claim? If you are, then we fight together for our queen until our last breaths!”
Silence spreads momentarily in the room before Paul stretches his hand up without hesitation and says “aye” to indicate he’s in on the idea. One by one, the other alphas follow his initiative, and eventually, everyone is in, no matter what they may think about each other.
“What’s the plan?” Clark asks, and Miliano’s smirk gets bigger; he will create chaos on Earth to bring back our mate.