Seeking happiness

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XLII

The sky is slowly turning dark. The first stars show them above his head. Chris looks up from his windows. His hair is dripping wet from the shower he has just taken. His thoughts are far away. A knock on the door pulls him back to reality. He turns around and adjusts the towel that he threw around his waist when he came out of the shower.

“Come in,” he calls.

Slowly the door opens and the head of Jolena peeks around. When she notices him and sees the state he is in, her cheeks flush. “Oh, err, sorry, I’ll come back in ten.” She wants to shut the door, but he is quick and stops her from doing so.

“No, it’s alright. You can sit here.” He points at the armchair in his room. “I’ll quickly put some clothes on in my dressing.”

Her cheeks turn a darker shade of red, but she nods. When he turns around, he hears her gasp. He turns his head and looks over his shoulder questioningly. “What?”

“Your back, there’s a lot of scars.” She points at them.

“I know.” And he turns back to walk further, but she stops him.

“What happened?”

“I’ll tell you when I’m dressed.”

He is quick to put on some pants. His mate is waiting for him. They are finally going to have that long awaited chat. He takes his shirt back to where Jolena is and catches her gaze when he walks in.

Her eyes roam his body but keep hanging on the tattoo he has on his chest. A tribute to his late father, who now appears to be alive. He smirks but doesn’t say anything. She can deny all she wants, but the bond is there, no doubt about it. He pulls his shirt over his head, when she says, “tell me.” She leans back in her seat to get comfortable.

“Most of them are from an attack that took place just before you saw me the first time in the office. Vince did that. But some are from my father, he used to punish me with a whip.” He says, he sits down on the sofa.

Her eyes widen, then they reveal a bit of anger. “What kind of father hits his kid with a whip?”

“Mine did.” Chris shrugs. “He wanted to prepare me for my task as an Alpha.”

“And beating up your kid is part of your upbringing? Do all werewolves do that to their kids?”

Chris sighs. “No, not all werewolves do that. When you’re an Alpha, you’re just a very easy target for enemies. It’s like walking around with a bullseye on your back. It’s not uncommon for Alphas to be kidnapped, abused, murdered even. My dad wanted to prepare me for the worst. We Alphas, we have to be able to endure a lot of pain, to be able to protect our packs.”

“Still, couldn’t he have done it a different way?”

“You can’t prepare someone for a lot of pain, unless you give him a lot of pain. The amount of pain I can tolerate is much higher than I would have tolerated without this treatment.”

She leans forward in her elbows and looks him straight in the eye. “Are you going to treat our children the same way?”

He raises an eyebrow. “Our children?”

Only then she realises what she’d said. “Err, yes, hypothetically speaking, I mean.”

Now Chris leans forward too. His nose almost touches hers. “I think you meant it.” He smirks. “Do you want children with me? I thought I was going too fast, but you’re already thinking about children?”

She leans backwards again and sighs, to get out of his reach. “Just answer my question, please.”

“I don’t know how I’ll be once I become a dad. My first-born will become Alpha though, so he or she will get a different treatment. I’ll push him or her to its limits and far beyond. I will make sure that they are in the best shape possible, but no, I won’t beat my children.”

Jolena lets out the breath that she apparently was holding in. She turns her head and looks out the window. They both keep quiet for a while, just enjoying each other’s company. Chris keeps looking at her, taking in every inch of her, really looking how beautiful she is. He can’t help but smile a little, he is one lucky guy.

After a while she looks back at him. “When Vince held me, you told him I was only a mere human. Is that really what you think of me?” He notices the hurt evident in her eyes.

“No, of course not! I just told him that so he would let you go.” His eyes grow wide when he realises that she thought he would think that low of her and he didn’t realise! He drops down on his knees right in front of where she sits. He grabs her hands, lays his own on her knees and holds them there. “You have to believe me when I say that you mean the world to me. You’re everything I have waited for my whole life. You’re on my mind all the time, from when I wake up in the morning, to when I fall back asleep at night. I can’t think of anyone else. I want to hold you, keep you near, have you with me every minute of the day. I want to claim you, show everyone you’re mine, just as much as I am yours. Let everyone know that I love you more than anything else in this world.”

A droplet falls on one of his hands. When he looks up, he sees that her eyes are watering. He frowns. “What is wrong, did I say something wrong?”

She shakes her head but doesn’t say anything. When she looks in his eyes, he sees a storm going on. She takes a deep breath. “You didn’t say anything wrong. I just,” She shakes her head again and looks down.

“What is it,” he says softly, “tell me.”

“I don’t know if I can do this.” Another drop falls down on his hands, “if I can adjust to your way of life. It’s so much different than mine. There’s so much I need to learn about you. The thing I would love to do most, right now, is to run back home and crawl under my comforter. When I saw you fighting those rogues, I got scared, it looked so vicious, so very violent. I don’t know if I can live in a world where there’s so much bloodshed, so much hate, so much violence.” The tears stream down her face.

Chris puts his arms behind her back and pulls her closer to him so he can hug her. “Hey, look at me.” He cups her chin with his hand, so he can look her in the eyes. “There’s a reason that you are my mate. It is not for nothing that you were chosen to be at my side. Only strong women can stand next to an Alpha and have them begging at their feet. The fact that you have me at your feet already, says a lot about how strong you are and how much I want you. Need you. If you need time, I’ll give you time. If you need distance, I’ll give you distance. Hell, I’ll give you everything you need, as long as you give me a chance. As long as you give us a chance.” He wipes away her tears. “Please.”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can do this. I want to go home.”

He bows his head, feeling rejected. This is what he feared most, this is what he’s been afraid of and it seems like it’s all coming true. He doesn’t want to show her how hurt he is. That will only make it more difficult for them both. “Then after everything is safe, I’ll let you go back home.” He looks back at her, hiding his emotions. “As long as you’re here, I won’t bother you.”

She nods and wipes away a few stray tears. He lets go of her hands, takes a step back and walks over to his window to look through it. Waiting for her to leave the room. He doesn’t see how she hesitantly walks out, looking back over her shoulder.

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