Conflicted Affection

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"Hey Dillan," Ryland catches my attention.

"Yeah?" I ask, still looking at the trees above me.

"Will you marry me?" He asks.

I allow my eyes to widen and my heart to pound, he must be joking.

"Sorry," He chuckles nervously.

"No. It-It's just... Are you serious?" I ask.

"Yeah, unless you don't want me to be." He says awkwardly.

"I don't know... I can't marry you right now... I mean we haven't even graduated." This makes Ryland giggle.

"No," He grabs my hand, "I would marry you right now if I could, but I can't. When we're both ready, I want to marry you. Lets just hope it remains legal in the states." He says, looking down.

"You want to marry me?" I ask, still dumbfounded.

"Why wouldn't I? Sure, marriage is pretty stupid, but I always dreamt of it and I know its only a piece of paper and a ring that makes us legally bound to each other... But I just... I don't know. I love you, and I want something like that to be something special between us." He confesses, looking into my eyes.

I play with his hand, "What would it be like?"

Ryland smiles, "Well, maybe not a church wedding," He chuckles, "But maybe it can still be special. We would have vows and you would be in a suit and tie," He smirks.

"What is that for?" I ask.

"What?" I point to his smirk, "Oh... Just you in a suit and tie... It seems nice."

"Don't be gross." I tease, "But if it was me talking, I think I would react the same for the thought of you in one. You would compliment it well."

"Thanks," He smiles.

"We could have it on a beach, or in the mountains..." I trail off, laying back down on my back and staring up at the trees.

"Is that a yes?"

"You'll have to wait until you propose." I smirk.

"You evil man!" He teases, pushing me jokingly.

I giggle, "What if we had children?"

This time Ryland sits up in shock, "Really?"


"That's a hard question to answer when you're two boys..." He says.

"That's why I asked... I don't know. When my cousin found out she said she would be the surrogate. Or maybe we can adopt?"

"Maybe... Maybe both?" He suggests.

"Maybe. We'll figure it all out in time." I say, making him smile.

"I'm excited for the future with you."

"I'm excited to marry you one day."


"What?" I smirk.

"Dillan?" Ryland asks.

I get up and run away. He chases after me, tackling me to the ground. I giggle while panting.

"You said you're gonna marry me?" He asks.

I turn around to look at him, "Maybe." I smirk.

He whispers in my ear, "Its a yes or no question."

I shiver as his breath tickles my ear, "Yes... No." I joke.

"Dillan." He whispers threateningly against my neck.

"You're making me pretty horny right-" He smacks my arm and I giggle.

"Don't be gross!" He shouts, standing up.

"Payback." I smirk as I stand up as well.

"At least I didn't say, 'Oh Dillan the thought of you in a dark suit and tie makes me want to fuck you.'" He says in a girlish voice.

"Does it?" I ask.

"That's not the point."

"Its a yes or no question."

He doesn't speak for a while, "No," He says quietly.

"Fair enough." I say, yet I know he was lying.

"Did you mean what you said?" He asks nervously.

"A little bit... Lot." I smile.

"Fair enough." He says quietly.

I smirk and grab his hand, "Wanna go for a swim?"

"Sure." I look at him and notice his blush.

We run toward the lake and onto the old, broken dock. Ryland remains behind me as I slip my shirt off.

"Coming in?" I ask him. Ryland shakes his head and sits down, "Alright," I sigh and jump into the lake. I pop my head up from the water and shake off the water in my hair while I smile at Ryland. He seems distant, so I swim over to him.

"You alright?" I ask. I rest my arms on the dock and he simply looks at me. He seems to glance down a lot, which somewhat made me nervous.

"Ryland? Are you ok?" I ask again, but he doesn't speak.

Suddenly he moves my hair off of my forehead and pushes it back before moving his fingers over my neck and collarbone. My heart beat quickens as my breath slows down. He grabs the back of my neck and pulls me closer.

He leans in and the feeling of his warm breath on my cold body made me shiver. He brushes his lips and teeth against my neck as he moves down a bit further.

He then bit the skin right between my collar bone and the end of my neck. I gasp in shock, feeling pain at first, until the stinging slowly turned into a slight pinch. I then calm down, feeling relaxed and also pleasured as I continue to allow him to bite me.

When he lets go, he breaths on my neck for a little before kissing it and leaning back. He looks relaxed--up until he looked at me again, looking where he bit me with wide eyes.

He jumps up, "Oh my fucking god! I'm sorry, Dillan!" He begins hyperventilating.

"Woah, Ryland, it's ok." I reassure him, but he continues pacing.

I get out of the water as quickly as possible and go towards him, but he stops me, "No you can't come near me... Not right now." He then sighs, "Come sit down."

I do as he says, sitting in front of him as he begins talking, "I remember hearing them talking to you about mates."

That damn word again!

"Maybe you already know... I don't know... Maybe I should still tell you..." He trails off.

"What is it?" I ask.

"They weren't lying when they said you were... My... Mate." When I give him a look mixed of confusion, doubt, and shock, he says, "You remember in the coffee shop? We stared into each others eyes. I knew I found you but I didn't even think male mates could be with other males! I didn't think it could exist! I was scared, especially because it was you. I freaked out and ran away... I still remember my thoughts as I stared at you... I never once noticed how great your eyes were until that moment... It was the most amazing experience in my whole entire life. Of course, I was scared then, but I wouldn't take it back for anything. You must've felt something... Something new."

I couldn't speak. I wanted to, but the words wouldn't come out, so he spoke for me, "Look, I don't want to- Well, I don't want to scare you with so much information... Just forget it." He chuckles nervously.

"No... J-just tell me." I said quietly.

"What did you feel there? What happened with you?"

"Well..." I forced myself to speak up, "It felt... Odd. I knew I liked you before, but I didn't know what happened.. I can't explain it." I admitted, scratching the back of my neck.

"Its harder for humans to explain what it is like... Look, I just did something... Something I've been avoiding for some time now... When you have a mate... Uh," He stops.

"Its ok." I reassure him.

"Well... Usually when shapeshifters are wolves... They get much closer to their mates than normal wolves. For instance, we only have one mate in our whole lifetime, but real wolves have more than one. So, to make sure no other wolf... Or shifter... takes our mates, we mark them... Some wolves mark them when they...have sex. Some do it randomly or when they're real close to that... Well... A-arousal." He finished, gulping and looking down at his shoes.

"So that might... Wait," I stop, then start again, "Do they... Scratch their mates?" I ask.

Ryland shakes his head as his eyes remain fixed on the ground.

"Do... Did... Uh..." I trail off.

"They... Gosh... Um, they bite them."

"You just... Wait," I stop again.

"You're my mate... And I just... Marked you... So now um, we will be more close and I will know where you are more and well, soon enough other things might happen... That's why I didn't want to do this." He finished nervously.

I looked down at the mark, noticing it was bleeding. I gasp and grab my shirt, trying to stop the bleeding. I could feel eyes on me still, but I tried to ignore that. My mind was clouded with disbelief.

"I'm sorry." Ryland says from far away. I guess I didn't hear him move.

I look over at him and we lock eyes. I feel my new wound warm up and I slowly made my way towards him. I grab his arm and stare into his eyes.

"Dillan, we can't." Ryland says, but I don't want to listen.

"Can I tell you something?" I ask him softly with my forehead touching his.

"Yeah.." He says quietly.

"I love you, Ryland." My lips slowly curve into a smile, "I love you." I laugh a little and put my hand in his hair.

"Dillan, this would just be the moment talking... And the mark..." Ryland says in fear.

"No it isn't. I love you." I plant my lips onto his, letting the heat of this moment guide my actions.

Ryland pulls away, "Dillan, calm down. The marking process is harder on humans... You have to-" I cut him off by kissing him again. I feel Ryland's body relax. He pulled away again, "Listen, calm down. Get it together." He said calmly.

I nod my head and step away from him, giving him a small smile, "I do love you." I said before putting my now bloody shirt back on. My wound stopped bleeding as well as heating up. I slowly walk away, only looking back to smile and wave a goodbye to him.

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