Seeking happiness

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XXXIX

It’s the next day, just before breakfast. Chris feels like he needs to question Vince. Somehow, his instinct tells him that Vince has some answers he needs. He descends the stairs into the dungeons. It’s cold, damp and it smells, it’s definitely not his favourite place to be. He tells his guards to let him in the cell that Vince is in. When he walks into the cell, Vince looks up, a nasty smile appears on his face. There is a table with two chairs across from each other. Chris sits down on one of the two. “Sit,” he orders.

Vince slowly gets up and sits himself across Chris. “What do I owe you the pleasure of your visit, Alpha?”

“I was just wondering something,” Chris draws invisible lines on the table with his index finger. He looks how his finger moves, seemingly uninterested in Vince’s challenging tone. “Why me?”

“Alpha, Alpha,” Vince shakes his head. He seems to enjoy provoking Chris. “Why do you think this is all about you?”

“Because you’re targeting me. First my pack, then my company, my mate and now my pack again? I don’t know,” Chris shrugs, still drawing lines without interruption. “Just looks a lot like it’s about me.”

“Well Alpha, you think too highly of yourself.” Vince smiles again, his eyes glimmer, “because it’s not.”

“Then what is this about, enlighten me. If it’s not about me, what do I have to do with it?” Chris keeps drawing lines, seemingly extremely interested in those lines.

“It’s about the past.”

“Tell me more,” Chris encourages Vince.

“I think you need to find out for yourself, Alpha,” Vince smiles smugly.

“Tell me more,” Chris repeats with a little more force in his voice, but he keeps drawing lines.

“If I told you, it wouldn’t be fun anymore. And I like to have a little fun.”

Chris suddenly lunges forward, grabs Vince by his collar and pulls him over the table. Their noses are almost touching. “Tell me!” He roars. He pushes Vince back and lets him go.

Vince tumbles backwards, almost falling on his ass. He laughs loudly, satisfied with the reaction he got out of Chris. “Alpha, Alpha, losing your patience? You know that doesn’t work.”

“Sit,” Chris orders him again.

Vince lazily sits back down on the chair, leaning back like he has no care in the world.

“Now, tell me.” Chris leans back also, but he folds his arms in front of his chest and looks at Vince with a piercing gaze.

Vince sighs dramatically. “So much for having fun.” He looks at his fingers.

“What is your link with Verona, why do you work for him?” Chris tries another question.

“He pays well,” Vince shrugs.

“I think there’s more. Chris leans forward, his elbows on the table, his fingers put against each other. “Why would a tough guy like you, work for a rich and wealthy man like Verona?”

“Maybe he is my father.” Vince looks at him with an unreadable look. “Maybe not.”

“Your father?” Chris raises his eyebrows. “He is human, and you have a different last name.”

“So?” Vince shrugs, “I have my mother’s name.”

“Now what does your father want from me?” Chris asks again. He leans against the back of the chair and starts looking at his fingernails.

“He wants nothing from you. He just wants to destroy you.

Chris looks up. “Why? What did I do that I deserve to be destroyed?”

“You did nothing. Maybe it’s someone else he wants to get at. And maybe he does that by getting to you. You’re just collateral damage.”

“Then who is he targeting?”

“You find out yourself, I’m not going to tell you.”

Chris sighs. He knows getting angry and hurting Vince is useless. He’s not going to give what Vince wants. He gets up and walks out.

The dining hall is busy. Everyone is waiting for Chris. Jolena is at his table too, he looks at her for a second. He needs to talk to her; he thinks by himself. He quickly sits down and starts eating. Alpha Krane sits next to him again. “Good morning Christopher.”

“Morning.”

“Rough night? You look tired.”

“I didn’t sleep much. I got some news that kept me thinking all night.”

“What news? Am I allowed to know?”

“Actually, I’d like to tell everyone at this table. Then I’ll have to tell it only once.”

Chris tells everyone at the table about the letter from his father. Everyone is shocked. Nobody expected their former Alpha to still be alive. Leo gets up and walks away. Not prepared to share his grief with everyone else. It’s silent at the table, you could hear a needle drop.

Chris stands straight, ready to go after Leo. “Let him go,” Nick interrupts the silence, “give him a minute, he’ll come back.”

Chris sits back down and sighs. The men at the table start talking among themselves quietly, discussing the things just being said. When Chris looks up, he sees that Jolena is getting out from her chair. He frowns, what is she going to do? When she pushes the chair back against the table, she looks at him, a little unsure. When she sees that he doesn’t respond to her actions, she moves a little closer, still uncertain.

When Christopher told them about his father, she was shocked. It must be hard for him to go through all of this. She could sense his feelings being all over the place, she could see how hard he was fighting to keep them all in. When she looked at him, she felt the urge to go to him and hold him, to comfort him. She couldn’t fight it, so she just decided to do it.

Everybody at the table starts talking about the news. Nobody notices that she’s getting up. Now she’s nearing him, he looks at her with a bit of confusion. She has no idea what to do, or how to act, but she cannot just do nothing. When she’s within reach, he turns his upper body to her, looking at her expectantly. “What is it?” He whispers.

She shrugs and looks down, fumbling with her fingers. How can she explain what she’s feeling right now? How does she tell him that she can’t fight this urge to comfort him? He moves his right leg a little more to the right, spreading his legs and pats his leg with his hand. “Want to sit down?” As if he feels her need to touch him.

She nods shyly but moves forward and carefully sits herself on his knee. He puts his right arm on her right hip. His left lands on her knees. He pulls her closer to his chest. Inhaling deeply with his nose in her hair. She feels his muscles relax instantly, his heartbeat slowing down. “Thank you,” he whispers quietly.

She shrugs and shakes her head. “I have no idea why I’m doing this,” she says quietly.

“It’s probably the bond,” he says and looks down at her. His right hand stroking her back. “Do you feel it tingling? Do you feel the warmth?” She nods. “That’s our bond. Did you feel my distress?” She nods again, “that’s the mate bond as well l. I do feel your nervousness and insecurity too.”

She looks up to him, with big eyes. Damn! Did he really notice that? A small smile appears on his face. “Don’t be so surprised. When I want, I can feel every little emotion you have. I’m not going to do that all the time, I have other things to do. But sometimes, when you’re not together, it’s nice to know how your mate is doing, without having to ask all the time.”

They are quiet for a while, listening to the chatter at the table. “I’m sorry about your father,” she says softly, a sad look on her face.

“Don’t be. You’re not the one responsible, are you?”

“No, I’m not, but I can sympathize with you. I know how it feels to lose your parents, but I have no idea how I would react if I came to hear that one of them may still be alive.”

He looks at her with a frown. “Your parents passed away?”

“Yeah, they died in a car accident when I was almost sixteen.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he says. “You really know how it feels, then.”

“Yeah.” she nods.

“We need to talk, by the way.”

“We do? I think we’re already talking.”

“Privately.”

“About what?”

“About us, about what happened. Jolena, we really need to talk. I know you fear me and my wolves, I can sense it. I really need to talk to you about it.”

Jolena nods.

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