Erasing Bad Memories
It took a while for the shock to wear off amongst my pack members, but it eventually did. Alex was effectively my partner now, and people had to treat him as such regardless of if they were wary of him or not.
“Dad?” I looked up, following Elan’s gaze to the play room’s door. I’d missed the person that had walked by, but I could smell Alek and hear his voice echoing from the end of the hallway.
A smile formed on my lips, and when I looked from the door to my son, I found him staring at me with curious eyes.
He’s probably wondering why I’m staring at the door. I thought to myself as I reached out a hand to brush his dark hair away from his face. We were alone in the small playroom. It didn’t have much. Wolves preferred to play outdoors, but a few toys, crayons, drawing books and coloring books were kept in case someone fell ill and couldn’t go outdoors.
Elan was an exception, of course. He’s always been reserved and quiet, mostly sticking close to Len, and recently, Alek if he wasn’t busy.
As I continued to run my fingers through Elan’s dark hair, I thought of what my son had said previously. He had called on to Alek as if he was his father. Instead of feeling a little uneasy about it, I wondered where he picked that up from. Maybe it just occurred to him to do so because other cubs had two parents, and assuming Alek was a parent in some way wasn’t far off. He spent a lot of time with me, and we stood side by side when meetings were called, or adults were discussing issues.
And in the eyes of children, like parents and married people in the pack.
The past weeks have been odd. Len still won’t look at me in the eyes, and he always avoided me, leaving the rooms when I entered them or pretending not to hear me when I called out to him when we crossed paths. I had wondered what that was about and asked Kaya, and she had just shaken her head, clicking her tongue as she lamented to me about breaking the boy’s heart. I had been confused but had slowly realized that Len had a crush on me and being with Alex made him upset.
I felt bad about it. Not because I was with Alek, but because I hadn’t noticed that Len saw me in that way. Maybe I would have established some sort of boundaries over the years.
A weak smile formed on my face as I rocked Elan in my arms. Len would be eighteen in a year plus, and he would feel a pull to his mate and forget all about me. With that knowledge, I decided not to feel too bad about it, but I made a mental note to myself to try and hunt him down for a talk. I couldn’t bear him avoiding me or Elan.
“No,” I said in a low voice when Elan reached for a fist full of my shirt. I unclenched his small hand, putting it away before raising him on my lap a bit so that I could press a kiss to his forehead.
My son laughed when I playfully nibbled his earlobe, and I laughed too, letting my deeper voice join his high-pitched squeals of joy.
Looking at Elan now, I couldn’t believe that there was a time that I didn’t want him. I couldn’t believe that I acted like he didn’t exist for almost a month after I gave birth to him. A frown formed on my face as I thought about it, but I almost instantly put up a smile so that Elan wouldn’t see me said.
After giving birth to Elan he was taken away from me when I rejected the midwife’s proposal to hold him. I kept refusing to see him for days, weeks — the whole month. I just sat in bed and cried for the most part. It wasn’t a happy memory. Honon’s rejection had eaten me from the inside out. He left after being with me in such an intimate way. He left the pack the next day, not the next week or month. The next day. Being with me like that had been that painful for him.
Finding out that I was pregnant had felt like someone had dunked my head underwater. On one hand, I was happy I had a bit of Honon with me, and on some days, I’d remember what happened and just cry and cry.
I shut my eyes, and opened them again, holding on to Elan closely as he played with the beads strung together into bracelets that he had on his wrist. I didn’t need to think about that horrible experience anymore. I had Alek now.
My face warmed up when I thought of sleeping with Alek. We’ve been together a few more times after the first time. Before sleeping with him the only person I’d ever known that way was Honon, and Honon engaged with me in a way that communicated his disgust for him — in a way that communicated his disgust for himself. Alek’s touches were sweet and gentle. The way he looked at me made my heart melt and toes curl. Honon never looked at me like that. Honon never looked at me like he loved me. Alek was everything I was told a mate should be, and Honon failed in every aspect of it.
I blinked a few times, realizing where my thoughts had run to.
Did Alek love me?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t think he did. He looked at me like he loved me. He treated me like he loved me. He did everything a person who was in love did aside from saying that he was in love. And actions were greater than words, weren’t they?
“There you are.” Focusing on my thoughts had made me not realize when someone had walked up to the door. A smile formed on my lips when I saw who it was. Kaya was resting her side on the door, holding her hip with one hand, while gesturing to Elan with the other.
“It’s time for lunch,” she said, making Elan stare at her without saying anything. I picked him up from my lap before dropping him on the floor, and he seemed to get the hint because he wandered off to meet her.
“Dad?” he said out of the blue when Kaya took a hold of his hand. The playroom seemed to attain pin drop silence at Elan’s word. Kaya looked over to me as if expecting me to react. It seemed she already knew what he was talking about and hadn’t just told me. I smiled at her, confirming that I didn’t have a problem with it.
“He’s in the kitchen,” Kaya, turning Elan towards the exit before leaving with the boy.
Aponi doesn’t like that he does this. I swallowed down the spit in my mouth when Kaya’s voice filled my head. Yes, I knew she was still skeptical of Alek and didn’t treat him too kindly. I wondered what that was about. Even Kaya had warmed up to him even though Alek and her hand had a little spat over Zeke.
It wasn’t like Aponi was Honon’s relative. She had no reason to keep pushing Honon on me, but she did. She occasionally asked me when I would tell Honon that he had a son even though she knew I never planned to. It seemed she had a reason to believe that alone would have him rushing back to me. Her pestering about it increased since Alek and I got together. It made me uncomfortable, and I’ve slowly spoken to her less because of it.
As I picked my fingers and thought about this, I didn’t notice when someone walked into the room and snuck up behind me until there were hands on my shoulder giving them a small squeeze.
I let out a small gasp, looking up to find a cheeky grin and icy blue eyes. I looked away sharply because I couldn’t handle the feeling that overwhelmed me.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you,” Alek said in a low voice.
I shook my head, realizing that my reaction must have worried him. “It’s okay. You didn’t scare me. I just—” With a pause, I swallowed the saliva in the back of my throat before looking back at him. I bit my bottom lip, watching as his brows formed a confused frown and his eyes observed my features.
“Elan calls you dad,” I said, trying to fill the soundless void. Alek’s lips curved into a smile at that, and his eyes twinkled.
“Do you want to be his dad?” I asked, and Alek nodded, hugging my shoulders as he looked on the blackboard hanging in the corner. I looked away from him, feeling my chest swell up with happiness.
I reached out to hold the arms he had wrapped around me, letting myself be enclosed in his embrace and his warmth. The calm feeling of my wolf further enhanced the experience.
Alek took my hands off him after a while before leaning off my chair and taking his hands away. “I need to be in the kitchen. Elan wanted me to cut his fish up,” he said, and I chuckled, waving him off as he walked away. When the door closed behind him, I smiled to myself, not believing that he really was mine.