After dinner Jolena and Ava walk back to their cabin. “The people here are very nice, don’t you think?” Jolena says.
“Yes, they are,” Ava smiles a little. “I haven’t had the chance to tell you something.”
“What do you want to tell me?” Jolena asks.
“The reason that this community is so closed off, is because these people are werewolves. They can shift into wolves.” Ava tells her. “This afternoon, while you were on your hike, a guy named Christopher was at the door. He told me everything about the people here. Apparently, wolves have mates, as in soulmates. They have an almost unbreakable connection.” Ava looks a bit nervous, a bit agitated as well.
“Wow, that’s - That’s,” Jolena holds still at the door of their cabin. She doesn’t know what to say.
“Yeah,” Ava responds while she unlocks the door and walks in, “it was a bit of a shock for me too when he told me this. You know what is even a bigger shock?”
“No, I don’t,” Ava shuts the door, and they throw their coats over the back of the nearest chair. “I have a mate.”
Jolena freezes, then looks at Ava with big eyes, in shock. “What?”
“The man that picked us up this morning at the station,” Ava tells her as she sits down on a sofa near a big window. Her eyes are set on the floor, “Danny, he is my mate. I saw him just before dinner. He is genuinely nice, very handsome, tall, muscular. I am very attracted to him. He really wants to start a relationship with me, he wants to mate me, but he understands that it is too fast for me. Wolves’ relationships develop much faster than humans. Once they find their mate, they stay together for the rest of life. He told me that that is why he has a hard time not being able to do what his instinct tells him to do. Or his wolf, apparently they have a wolf inside that can talk to them.”
Jolene is quiet. She slowly sets herself on the couch that is nearest to her. With her elbows on her knees, she buries her head in her hands. Her mind seems to turn, the thoughts tumble over each other. It is a lot to digest. After a while she lifts her head back up and looks at Ava. “So, if I understand this correctly,” Jolena tries to understand, “you have a soulmate, who wants to be with you, like in an arranged marriage where you don’t know each other, only you’re not married?”
“Something like that,” Ava says with a slight smile, “strange, huh?”
“I don’t know what I would do in your place,” Jolene admits.
“When I held his hand earlier, where we touched it seemed to tingle, I got a knot in my stomach and my throat went dry. I even got aroused in a way I’ve never experienced before,” Ava tells Jolena. “My body already seems to know that he is my mate. But I don’t know what I should do. I don’t know if I want to stay here, it’s only wolves here after all.”
“I don’t think you’re in danger here. These wolves don’t seem to be hostile. They are actually really nice.”
“That is not what I mean. They are genuinely nice, but I don’t know if I want to throw myself into a relationship with someone I hardly know. If I move here, Danny will expect me to be his mate. What if he expects me to do the mate-thing immediately, I don’t know if I can do that. It all goes way too fast.”
Jolena yawns, “you can talk to Danny about it. That you want to move here, but that you are not looking for a relationship. Or you can tell him you want to try, but you want to take it slow. If he really is your mate, he will wait for you until you’re ready for him.” Jolena yawns again. “You have a little time to think about. Hell, you even have all night to sleep on it. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty tired.” They both decide to go to bed early. After all, it was a quite eventful day.
The next morning Jolena starts her day with a delicious cup of coffee. The cabin has a tiny kitchen. She hasn’t slept so well in a long time. Also, the coffee here is good. She checks the fridge to see if there is anything to make breakfast. When she opens it, she notices that it is loaded with all kinds of things. When she checks the other cupboards, she sees that they are very well taken care of. She did expect something, but not so much. She takes some things to make breakfast and sits down at the little breakfast bar in the kitchen to eat. When she is done, she strolls into the living area. Halfway on her way to the couch she hears a knock on the door.
When she opens it, she sees Danny in front of her. “Good morning, Jolena it is, right?”
“Yes, it is, good morning,” she says, “would you like to come in?”
“I am actually looking for Ava, is she around?”
“She is still asleep, but come in, you can wait for her, if you like.” Jolena steps aside and opens the door further so he can come in. He hesitates, but when he sees her friendly smile, he finally decides to come in anyway. Jolena walks in front of him to the living room. She decides to get the big elephant out of the room and turns around to face him. “So, you and Ava, huh?” She says.
“Yeah, I don’t want to bother you with these things, but I can’t really do anything about it. She and I, we’re connected, especially now that I have seen her, it initiated things, feelings.” He looks down uncomfortably, a little bit nervous.
Jolena walks into the kitchen and turns on the coffee machine. The coffee machine is ready quickly and she hands Danny the warm cup of coffee and sits down on the armrest of one of the sofas. She gestures to him to sit down as well.
“Thanks,” he smiles.
“Is this thing between you and Ava, normal for you? Is this how it always goes?” Jolena is curious, she wants to know more.
“For us it is,” Danny says while sitting down on the other sofa, “When mates find each other, they complete their bond almost immediately. If we wait too long, our wolves will go crazy and may take over in the end to get their way. It is pure instinct, I suppose.”
“What about love, do mates love each other?”
“They do. Their wolves love each other immediately. The human side does too, but the love grows over time, their bond will grow even tighter.”
“So, it is not just physical, it is also emotional, then?”
“Of course, it is,” Danny answers, “if a mate does not respond to the mating call, the other can get extremely sick, very weak, they can even die from grief. We can prevent this by officially rejecting each other, but it has to come from both sides.”
Jolena is surprised by what she learns from Danny. “Sorry I ask so many questions, I just want the best for my friend,” She smiles lightly, a little shy, “and I am a bit curious too, I guess.”
He smiles back at her, “no problem, I think it is normal to want to know about something you have never heard of in your life.” He pauses a moment before he continues speaking, the thing he really wants to ask Jolena makes him a bit anxious. “Do you think Ava will accept me as her mate?”
“I don’t know,” she looks at him compassionately, “It is a lot to process for her now, give her some time. At least she is not against the idea of having a mate. I hope you figure this out together, she deserves to be happy, but you deserve that too. I feel like you are a nice guy, the way you handle this situation shows how much you care for her already.”
“Thanks,” he smiles at her again, he places his empty cup on the coffee table. He seems a bit absent minded for a moment. His eyes stare into oblivion. But it is only for a moment, then he gets up from the sofa. “Sorry, the Alpha called. The Alpha needs me to help him with some things. I will come back later to talk to Ava. I really need to talk to her before you leave.”
“I will let her know you were here,” Jolena says. She follows Danny to the front door. Before he opens it, he turns around. “You know, you can’t have a better mate than a wolf,” he says. “They are much more loyal to their partners than even the most loyal humans are. I really hope you’ll find your mate too, Jolena, even if you’re not a wolf yourself.” His eyes are sincere.
Jolena blushes a little, “how do you know I’m not with someone?”
“You don’t have a male’s scent on you,” he shrugs, then smiles and steps outside. “Bye, Jolena. In case I don’t see you before you leave, travel safely. I hope I will see you again, soon.” He gives her a hug.
“Bye Danny,” she smiles when he walks to his car and takes off.