The day after Jolena left, Chris went and decided to go and visit his father at the clinic. He decided to not think about her and not drown in self-pity, as no one would be able to get something useful out of him.
He quietly opens the door of the room and peeks around the door. To his surprise his father is awake. Directly looking him in the eyes. “Good morning, dad,” he says as he closes the door and sits in the chair next to the bed.
“Good morning son.” His father reaches out his hand and smiles a little. “It is so good to see you. You have no idea how long I have longed to be able to hold your hand and speak to you again.” His voice is gruff, but his eyes are bright. “I hope you realize how proud I am of you, of what you have achieved.”
Chris looks at the floor, “thanks dad, it means a lot.”
“Look at me, Christopher.” Chris shakes his head. “Why can’t you look me in the eye?”
Chris sighs. “It’s nothing. You should rest.”
“I won’t rest until I know what’s bothering you. And don’t tell me those shoes of yours are that interesting.”
Chris lifts his head a little and smiles a little, but it’s a sour smile. A single tear escapes from his eye, but he wipes away hastily.
Fredric, Chris’s father, frowns. “Come here, son.” He pats on the space in the bed beside him and spreads his arms.
Chris is fast to sit beside his father and pushes his head against his father’s chest, who immediately wraps his arms around his son. Chris lets everything out. All his worries, his grief, his anger, and his pain. After a while he sits back up and dries his tears. “Feel better?” his father looks at him with care.
Chris nods and he sits back down on his chair. “I feel like I’ve let you down. That I’ve not done enough to find you. I feel responsible.” He says with a broken voice.
Fredric shakes his head. “You are not responsible for everything that happened to me. The only one who’s responsible is Verona. No one else. Forget those feelings, you have done nothing wrong, do you hear me?”
Chris nods and he can’t help but feel relieved.
“Now tell me, Nicholas and Leo told me that you have met your mate? Why isn’t she here?” His father looks curious.
Chris sighs. “She needs time. She’s human and was wrapped in the whole thing with Verona and Jones. She’s been through quite some shit and became scared of us. She needs time to think things over. I hope that one she’ll accept me, but I’m not too hopeful.”
His father’s eyes widen, and he lays his hand on Chris’s arm. “Wow, you’ve had a lot on your plate then. A lot more than I thought. It must be hard for you, I can’t imagine. Is there anything I can do for you?”
Chris shakes his head. “No, she needs time, so I’ll give her that. We’ll see what happens next. I’ve got a lot to do anyway, so I’ll stay distracted for a while.”
“You know I’m here for you son, if there’s anything I can do, just tell me.”
Chris smiles. “You can get better for me. Regain your strength, that would be awesome.”
After a while with his dad, Chris walks out of the clinic again. There’s a lot that needs to be done. He needs to sell his business; he already knows who would be highly interested. Sign those papers. Make sure Jones gets the punishment he deserves, together with all the other rogues they captured. He needs to change the insurance of his car, so that Jolena is insured as long as she’ll use it. And he needs to finish the house. He smiles while walking to the Packhouse, he’ll be busy for quite some time.
That evening, Jolena walks into a pub in a short dress. She looks around to see if she can find Joe, she agreed to meet him here. He wanted to celebrate her return. Apparently, Ava had already filled him on everything that happened and why she was with the pack. She still feels a bit guilty that she just left without letting him know, but at that moment, she couldn’t do anything about it. She told him this morning everything that happened to her and Chris. His response stuck with her. She kept thinking about it for the rest of the day. He said that she has to look at Chris, only Chris and see what she feels for him. He told her to be honest with herself. To not blame Chris for being a wolf and living his life like a wolf. That the only thing that counts is if she loves her or not. Everything else is not important.
“Jo!” She hears her name being called and looks around. Joe waves at the bar, with a couple of men beside him. She walks over to him and gives him a kiss on the cheek. “Hey Jo,” he greets her, “you look radiant!” he gestures with his hands to the guys that are with him. “These are my colleagues, if necessary, they’ll introduce themselves to you.”
Jolena looks around to see if she recognises anyone. Her gaze falls on a broad man with tattoos, holding a glass of whiskey. When their gazes meet, he lifts his glass. She’s seen the man before, but where? She digs in her memory to see where she has seen the man before. She decides to bluntly ask him and walks over to him.
“Excuse me,” she taps his shoulder, and he turns around to face her, “I think we’ve met before, but I can’t seem to remember where or when.” She smiles at him politely.
“You are right, we have.” his face turns into a smile immediately. “How is your bad boyfriend doing?”
Her eyes grow wide, then her smile grows, she knows who he is. “Drake! It’s you! But he is not my boyfriend anymore.”
“Good for you, sweetheart.” he pats the stool next to him and she moves to sit on it. “I think that he has a replacement already. A real wolf this time, am I right?”
She looks at him in surprise. “Err,” she looks down, “it’s complicated.”
He frowns. “Elaborate yourself.”
“Do you know Christopher Anderson?” She asks him.
“The famous businessman, it’s hard to not know him.” He smiles, “what’s with him?” His eyes widen, “is that him that I smell on you?”
She laughs a little when she sees his face. “I think you do, yes.”
“What’s so complicated about him?” He frowns again.
“I’ve been through a lot lately; I’ve been assaulted by the man you saw me with that day. And Christopher saved me just in time. I’ve been living with his pack for some time. He actually is my mate.”
“That’s why his scent is so strong on you, he’s an Alpha. Still, what is so complicated about him? He above all werewolves is the most wanted wolf in the area. You’re one lucky girl, you’re the most loved, most protected, most satisfied,” he winks, “woman on this planet.”
Jolena looks down again. “I have seen him fight, seen his whole pack fight. It scared the shit out of me, I got scared of him.”
Drake frowns and rubs his chin. “I can imagine, but you’re sitting beside a werewolf right now. What is the difference between him and me?”
“I don’t know,” Jolena shrugs and looks into the empty beer bottle she’s holding. “I haven’t seen you fight in your wolf-form, I guess.”
They’re quiet for a minute. “Are you a member of a pack?” She asks him.
“Yes and no.” He smiles a little. “I left my pack, but I didn’t officially break with it. I left because I wanted to explore the world, though I never returned.”
“Wouldn’t you want to be with your pack again someday? I understand pack-life is particularly important for wolves?” Jolena wonders.
“That’s why I never officially left.” He smiles, “but it’s been a very long time, I don’t know if it is a wise idea to go back again.”
“And a different pack?”
“What? Do you want me to join your mate’s pack or what?” He laughs loudly, throwing his head back.
“No! I didn’t mean that!” Jolena looks shocked. “I just wondered.”
“Oh sweetheart, I know,” he rubs his eyes with his fingers, “you are a very curious lady.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
He turns his whole body to her to look at her with piercing eyes. “You know what, I’ll make a deal with you.” He grabs one of her hands. “I’ll join your mate’s pack, if you’ll be my Luna.”
“You’ll become Luna as soon as Christopher claims you.”
“Like bite me in the neck?” She asks.
“Yep, that’s it.”
“That’s not fair. I don’t think that is a fair deal.” she shakes her head.
“Well, then I won’t join your pack,” he shrugs, places his glass on the bar and gets up from his seat. Drake puts his hand in his back pocket and grabs out his wallet. He opens it and gets a card out. “Call me if you change your mind. I’ll be your personal bodyguard when you do.”
Just like that he is gone, leaving Jolena behind, now even more doubting if she’s made the right decision to go back to the Litchley.