Waiting in Darkness

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Ten | Syn

My first date had to be perfect. It would set the course for what was to follow. I couldn't afford to mess this up so I sought advice from the only lycan I knew not to have mate problems.

Sani.

He and Frayah had the perfect replication of what a lycan mating bond was supposed to be. Love at first sight, rare fights that were easily forgiven, more happy moments than sad, a loving family and a relationship that flourished, growing stronger every day.

My alpha was not an ideal pick. Hakota's was cracked in so many pieces it was hard to distinguish what the original picture ever was. There were pieces missing that would never be recovered, creases that whited out color and represented scars.

Even Roshan and Innoko's was torn in half, having yet to be attempted to be taped back together or use a more permanent glue solution to fix the divide.

Yes, Sani was the best choice. And I knew he wouldn't tattle to Hakota or Cleo.

The lycan father had been surprised when I had approached him. After I had explained to him my particular situation with the stubborn werewolf he had laughed at me, not mockingly but in amusement of my nervousness. His eyes sparkled and he clapped my shoulder. "I don't like what Terrin has been putting you through, but we all know he's a good kid. He's just scared, we all saw the dark side of what a mating bond can do with Cleo and a Hakota."

"Exactly," I groaned, "and that's all he can focus on. He sees this as more of a curse than a blessing. And whenever I try to explain, or even just talk to him, he shuts me down and we fight."

Sani shrugged, his crystal ice blue eyes meeting mine, "So don't talk. Just show him Syn. He can't be always thinking of a counterargument if you never open your mouth to say anything in the first place."

It was actually a brilliant piece of advice. Terrin and I had never been good with words. Our first encounter had been him being a mouthy brat and me snarling right back in his face. I guess that was a premonition of what was to follow.

"Do you..." I trailed off, embarrassed to reveal my insecurities but I wanted an outside source to give their honest opinion. Swallowing thickly I continued, "Do you think I have a chance? A real honest to gods chance of winning Terrin through this?"

Sani gave me a wry smile, "Hell, Syn, If Cleo and Hakota still found a way to forgive each other after all that happened, I'd say nothing is impossible." He chuckled but then sobered seeing my somber expression. Grasping my shoulder tightly in one hand he very seriously said, "I can't tell you what will happen Syn. Lune is the only one who knows. If she paired you together it must mean you will work out in the end. But I know you Syn, I know what you went through and I know what an amazing mate you have the potential to be. Terrin would be stupid to remain blind to that forever."

Rubbing my arm nervously, I looked away from Sani's intense gaze, "I don't know if I can win against Heidi," I admitted quietly, ashamed I had such little confidence in myself.

"Ugh," Sani sighed and crushed me in an embrace, "damn the little brat for being such a promiscuous womanizer. Don't doubt yourself Syn. Terrin got a taste of something he liked and he doesn't want to give it up, but that doesn't mean he won't try something new." He pulled away from me and gave me a tight, sad, smile and touched our foreheads together, his hand on the back of my neck, "He never kept the other females around for very long because he knows that he's missing something. He has stayed here, Syn, not left back for the Forest Kingdom. You can say he stayed for Cleo, but I believe he stayed for you. He didn't let you leave Syn, he made this deal to get you to stay because he doesn't want to give you up. He can lie and make all the excuses he wants, but deep down he knows that you are what he wants and what he needs." Sani pulled me in for another hug, "so show him, brother, make him see."

I stayed in his embrace for a little while, soaking in the comfort and companionship before finally pulling away. "Thank you Sani, I really needed that pep talk. I—"

"Syn? Sani?" The voice of my alpha cut me off. "Oh thank Lune! Finally I don't have to be harassed by the female species."

Sani and I both turned to see Hakota making his way towards us. His tribal tattoo was on full display, the black whirls of ink curling around his arm and expanding across his chest. "Is there a reason you're only half dressed?" Sani drawled.

"My mate," Hakota gritted out through his teeth. "She kicked me out of our room. I tried to get another but for some reason all of our high positioned staff happen to be female and they all listen to Cleo over me. She must have pitted them all against me because they wouldn't even talk to me! No one would find me a shirt and Frayah damn near bit my head off when I asked to borrow one of yours," he said looking at Sani.

"All of the head staff are female?" Sani questioned.

Hakota scoffed and crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Looks that way. I have no doubt this is all Cleo. I knew I shouldn't have trusted her with being in charge of staff. She probably planned it just for stupid things like this to get back at me."

"What exactly did you say to piss her off?" I hedged, knowing Cleo wasn't usually this childish and vindictive. And if she even got Frayah to turn on Hakota for whatever little argument they had this morning, it must have been a touchy subject.

Hakota ran a frustrated hand down his face and groaned, "I swear to Lune if you laugh I will slaughter you," he warned us before struggling to get the words out. "...I, well you see...it's—we haven't exactly—well, how do I put this..."

"For Lune's sake, out with it!" Sani snapped.

"Argh, fine! We haven't had sex yet okay?" He snarled. "It's driving me fucking crazy, she always wants to cuddle and 'play around' and stuff," he made air quotes with a sneer, "but the moment I even try to take it a step further she freaks out. I mean honestly what does she expect? I don't have that much self control."

Sani was as shocked as me. "Wait, you guys haven't..."

"No!" Hakota shouted and ran an angry hand through his hair in frustration. "And I always try to tell her that it could be a good thing for us, something that can help us but she always blows up on me and says if I can't wait until we fix our problems first then I can just stay celibate forever."

"Woah," Sani replied, his pitying expression mirroring mine. "That really sucks, I mean I can't imagine if Frayah did that to me–"

"And she's such a little tease!" Hakota growled, "how can she expect me to cuddle and kiss her and other things and always be satisfied with that? I'm an alpha male, I have needs! So this morning...well you guys know how it is...anyway, I started light just with kisses and as it got a little hotter I wanted–"

"Look, can we skip the details and just move on to what you said or did that pissed her off?" Sani questioned.

Hakota didn't even pause, "She stopped me like always," he said skipping to important part, "and I got a little flustered okay? She literally gave me blue balls. So I brought up the question. All I said was: 'you know, if we completed our mating we would be stronger and we could heal our bond faster.' But then she totally took my words the wrong way and twisted them and was all like: 'don't blame me for the slow recovery of our damaged bond. That fact that you think sex is the answer to fixing it shows how ignorant you are to how deep the scars run. You aren't getting sex from me until I think you are actually trying your hardest which at the rate you've been going will probably be never.' So I said: 'you can't lock me out forever.' And she said: 'watch me.' And then she kicked me out and literally locked me out of our room! Gods! Why are females so damn sensitive and aggravating? She thinks she knows everything about a lycan mating bond but she's not the damn lycan in the relationship, I am! And she thinks I don't know what I'm talking about."

Hakota was telling the truth. The actual mating part of a lycan mating bond connected the two individuals on a soulful level. Essentially it was almost like exchanging pieces of your soul with your partner. You gave and you took, a fair trade. We believed mates were two halves of the same soul. By mating it was the way for the two halves to join. Typically, mating did help when there was a problem. It was a way for the couple to remember how important their partner was, how essential their relationship was if they wished to live happily. It was used as a way to heal as much as it was used to find pleasure.

"I can't really help you understand females as I do not quite understand them myself," Sani told the seething alpha. "What I have learned in my years of successful mating with Frayah is that if you have an argument having to do with your relationship, the female is always right. So just do as she says and it will all work out just fine."

"I can't take this much longer," Hakota moaned.

Sani shrugged, "You don't really have a choice."

Our alpha scrubbed his hands down his face. "I can't deal with Cleo and her female sensitivities right now. I'm being run ragged. I'm struggling to come up with a solution to establish a hierarchy to take the stress and weight off of all of us. I need to have werewolves I can trust or at the very least predict to take superior roles throughout our kingdom. The best solution that I can come up with is dividing our kingdom into packs like in the Forest Kingdom and establish a werewolf as alpha to govern the pack on their own but always abiding by our superiority. But I worry to leave the Forest Kingdom in the hands and werewolves. We all know that they are at the most risk of rebellion. They hate us more than the Old Kingdom and it's far enough away that it would be a struggle for us to keep an eye on them and squash any rebellion before it has already taken root."

Sucking on my lower lip, knowing all too well myself that our grievances with the Forest Kingdom was proving to be a raging pain in our side, I was reminded of my own problematic werewolf. "I know this is a pressing matter Hakota, and I promise that I will try and help you to find a solution, but I have something really important to attend to right now. I will talk to Cleo for you but I make no promises on getting her to see your side."

Hakota just waved my excuse aside, granting me permission to go. He was much too frustrated with his own mate struggles to even ask about mine. Sani only gave me a prideful look and winked before turning his attention back to his alpha who continued to unload all of today's problems.

I made my way out to the courtyard where I had already prepared all the supplies I would need for today. I waited nervously for Terrin, constantly overlooking my preparations. I was beyond anxious, terrified I had picked the wrong plants and worried that I had made the wrong choice for our first date. I paced back-and-forth as I waited for his arrival, repeating to myself to show Terrin and not tell. I knew I couldn't push him too far today, I didn't want to scare him and I didn't want to make him retreat further into his shell. I knew making friends with Terrin would be a good first step but I also worried that I would never make it out of the friend zone. I had to be somewhere in the middle. Make it known to him that I was not willing to just be his friend that I wanted to be his partner and his companion.

When Terrin finally arrived I knew he had just left Heidi. His lips were slightly swollen and his eyes still held a little gleam to them. But when he looked up and saw me, that sparkle instantly dulled. I tried not to let his reaction disheartened me, but it did. All of my self doubt instantly flooding back into me as Terrin approached.

I was frozen as I watched him. His dusty brown hair was tussled and I knew it was probably from little delicate female hands. His hazel eyes with vibrant green flecks that reminded me of pineneedles on the forest floor catching the light so brilliantly. He was beautiful, absolutely astounding, and I wondered what made me ever think that I could have such a beauty for myself. For just a second I thought to call the whole thing off but then Sani words rang clear in my head, reminding me that Terrin had stayed for something and that something could be me. Even the slightest chance of that being true was enough for me to steel my resolve and take this very important first step.

Grabbing the first wheelbarrow I started making my way to the first station I had set up with all the plants and soil I'd need for that location. Terrin trailed after me not saying a word. Reaching my first stop I handed him a shovel and pointed to the first shrub I had placed. I then turned to my own and started to dig. Making a nice deep hole for the shrub, I gently set it down, careful not to break the roots and began to fill the hole. Terrin left his own hole to hold the plant steady and straight as I packed the soil around it.

Wordlessly we continued the same pattern for the other five I had picked. I kept stealing glances at the werewolf, trying to gage if I had made the right decision in doing this. It wasn't until I moved my wheelbarrow full of supplies to the second station and then the third that I knew I had been right.

Terrin was now relaxed and even changed up my landscaping plan to his satisfaction. I watched the way his hands moved, deftly and swiftly. He was gentle with the plants and I wondered if he held Heidi with the same care. The thought saddened me, but then I forced myself to remember he was here with me now and that's what mattered.

I watched my mate down on his knees, patting the soil around the base of the last plant that would be the conclusion of our date. I had picked an oak sapling as the finale, knowing Terrin enjoyed the colors their leaves turned in fall. I examined him, capturing the sight of my mate with a soft smile on his face to keep forever. He was so adorable with streaks of dirt smeared across his face and bits of leaves and pineneedles in his hair. His tight form fitting black t-shirt allowed me to see every hard edge of his body as if he were bare. He was perfect, unparalleled. His height and his bode were just right, big enough I didn't have to constantly worry about being gentle and yet small enough that I could cradle him. His head would fit perfectly under my chin, his lips right in line of where my mating mark would be placed. Those lips, so full and tempting, especially when they were curved up in that delightful smile. I stared at him, inhaled his scent as the breeze carried it towards me, ruffling his soft hair.

I must have been staring for too long because Terrin glanced up at me, the smile fading and his cheeks flushing a deep red. "What?" he snapped, getting to his feet and dusting off his hands of the soil. "We're done now right? I can go?"

I couldn't even be offended because I knew he was only being rude out of habit. He was embarrassed and he didn't know how else to respond to me.

Letting the shovel fall from my hand and land on the ground with a dull thud, I grabbed Terrin's collar and yanked him towards me, landing a bruising kiss on his lips. Holding it just for a few seconds, not giving him a chance to respond before pulling away, I picked up the shovel and tossed it in the wheelbarrow before carting it away and leaving my mate to stand there in shock.

A giant smile spread across my face, my heart light as I strode away.

I had embarrassed him, which meant some part of him had to care what I thought. Even better he was embarrassed that I had caught him enjoying our date.

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