When Eve was released, she was still sleeping. Adlaric set her in the car with Eros beside her. The drive was silent.
“I failed you,” Adlaric said, looking at the revere mirror to the young pup.
Eros glanced up at the mirror and raised an eyebrow. “What do you...”
“I know you have been lying to me, Eros. I will not make you tell me the truth until you are ready, but you slipped earlier. You said your mother died. And if your mother died, you would stay with your father, only if he survived his mate’s death. And if he had survived, perhaps he became abusive and thats why you ran away. Probably not, though, you spoke fondly of him. When you are ready, you will tell me and I will help you. I will help all of you. I will save you. I failed you before, I will not now.”
“You couldn’t have known. Even the King had not known.”
Adlaric looked through the mirror again. “I should have known. It’s my job to know. As King, I will not let this happen again.”
Eros’ eyes widened in shock. “That’s why they were so submissive to you! Oh Goddess, I met the King!”
A scarce smile graced Adlaric’s face as the boy became excited.
“You said Eve was your mate that means...”
Adlaric nodded slowly. His face was vailed in seriousness, but his eyes brightened at the mention of his mate. It was a natural instinct for any mate to react lovingly when their mate was mentioned.
“I’m sorry. I never bowed to you.” Eros said, very apologetically. His eyes were large and nervous, afraid of how the big bad King Alpha would punish him.
The King smiled. He knew his image painted him as a beast or a hero, determined by the perspective of the individual. Apparently, to Eros, Adlaric was both the greatest mystery and the biggest dream.
“Do you want to bow to me?”
Eros shook his head quickly.
“People bow to me out of respect. Until you respect me, you do not have to bow to me.”
“I do respect you.”
Adlaric nodded. “Respect stems from trust. Until you trust me, you do not have to bow to me.”
The rest of the drive was silent. When they arrived at Adlaric’s house, he carried Eve into the spare room. Adlaric stayed with her all night. Eros laid with her.
Both remained near their Luna until they heard her heartbeat spike and her breath stagger. Eerily fast, Adlaric picked up Eros and sprinted them out of her room.
It would be awkward if she woke up to both of them next to her.
As Adlaric and Eros stood outside her door, the King glanced to the bay window down the hall. The sun was rising. He did not sleep the night before. He stayed up guarding his mate and the pup from danger. He knew that his house was the safest for all of them, but something deep inside him felt the undeniable need to protect the little wolf and his mate.
When he heard her anxious breath leave her lips, Adlaric walked back inside. “You’ve woken up,” Adlaric whispered, sitting beside her.
“What happened? What happened to him?” Eve asked, worry lacing her words. She trusted Adlaric. He felt safe to her.
What was he supposed to tell her? The truth, perhaps? He knew that conversation wouldn’t go well. He knew him exposing his world would destroy the world she grew up in. It’s why he moved to America, and she didn’t move to Russia.
If Adlaric told Eve the existence of lycanthropes, he would have to tell her about matings as well. There was no half-assing; either he told her everything– that she’s Queen because he’s King and she’s his mate, that she was designed to mend his broken soul, that she would bare his pups and be expected to be regal–or he told her nothing. Beneath his chivalrousness, he was selfish.
He wanted his mate. Adlaric wanted nothing more than to be buried in his little mate. It disgusted him. She was barely legal; she was flourishing. She was young, too young. Too innocent. And here he was, attempting the thought that he could tell her everything. That he could give his heart and bare his soul to the girl who unbeknownst captivated his every whim.
He was so fucked up. He hated his thirst for her.
But Adlaric didn’t know that Eve wanted him just as much. Eve knew the big aspects of his society. She wasn’t a fragile girl; she was a bursting Queen. She was eighteen. She was brilliant. She was kind. She was loyal. She was so much more than what he assumed of her.
So the biggest barrier between Adlaric and his mate was Adlaric himself.
She was human. But she was a human mated to a god.
“He’s alright, Evangeline. He’s being taken care of at the moment.”
“May I see him? Please? Please Adlaric.”
Adlaric nodded. He stood up and opened the bedroom door. The pup raced through the door and jumped on Evangeline’s bed. The Luna smiled and sat up, bringing Eros close to her chest. He nuzzled his head into her bosom as he purred from the sound of her steady heartbeat.
Eve didn’t even flinch from the oddity, which made Adlaric skeptical. Just how much did Eve know? If Eros had told their secret, she wouldn’t be as calm, right? But if he hadn’t, the purring would send off some type of signal for her.
Adlaric watched the scene unfolding in front of him. It was maternal. Evangeline was exceptionally instinctual toward his species. It made his heart skip beats in his chest; she would make a great mother. One day, a few years from now, she would swell with his pups, if she wanted, of course.
His lips salivated with the thought of seeing her plump with his offspring. It was getting hard to ignore the pull he had toward his mate.
“I’m so sorry, Evey. I shouldn’t have–”
Eve shushed him and swiped the hair from his eyes. She used both her hands to cup his cheeks, so her message would ring through him.
“You were so brave, Eros. I am so proud of you.”
“Those men hit you because of me,” he practically sobbed.
“And I’d go through it all again because you are safe now. We both are.”
Eros turned to look at Adlaric and Eve rested her head on his. Her hair fell around her face as she gazed at Adlaric with her brown eyes.
“What happened once I was out?”
Adlaric decided to answer before the pup had a chance. “Dimitri was stopping by to drop something off for your parents when he saw the wreck around your house. I came along with a few other men and handled the situation.”
“What does that mean...?” Evangeline asked.
Adlaric just stared her down with his dark eyes and she bit her lip, stopping the conversation. Evangeline didn’t want to let Adlaric know just how much she knew, and Adlaric didn’t want to be forced to tell her about his life.
Both had secrets they didn’t want to tell the other.
“Your parents will be here shortly. Rest would do you good.”
Eve smiled at Adlaric and laid back down, nuzzling Eros into her side. She was exhausted. For a moment, she shut her eyes. When she heard Adlaric get up she spoke again.
“Can you stay?”
Adlaric turned around, silently. She stared at him with such gratitude and promise, as if he stood on a fucking pedestal. Adlaric was enamored by his mate. If she asked him to jump off the roof, he would do it without a second thought. Adlaric shrugged off his jacket and laid it at the foot of the bed. He walked to the other side and laid down. He didn’t spoon her, but he laid his arm along the top of the pillows under her head.
All Eve wanted was for him to hold her tightly.
Later, when Dimitri walked in he didn’t speak. He didn’t wake his sleeping Alpha, nor the pup or his mate. He didn’t escort Eve’s parents in. And he definitely did not notice how Eros was nuzzled comfortably between them.
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