The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 36

After several moments of pandemonium where Jayne introduced Evangelina to her family, the newcomers followed the two happy couples through the pack house to the celebration out back.

Upon the announcement of the young woman's new found mate, and the introduction of their Luna’s family, the Blood Claw pack erupted into raucous cheers.

What was meant to be a welcome celebration for their Luna’s family turned into something more.

Second-chance mates were so rare, that they were though to be a myth in most packs. They were almost as rare as chosen mates. For both things to happen in the same pack seemed, to some, to be a blessing from the Moon Goddess herself.

“I can’t believe it,” Jayne’s mother, Claudette said, falling into a waiting lawn chair. “I’m so happy for your brother.”

“Me too,” Jayne replied with a huge smile, settling with Gabby next to her mom. “Angel is so sweet, she deserves another chance it happiness with a mate.”

“She had one before?” her father, Jerry asked, handing his mate a drink as he joined their small group.

“Yes,” Jayne nodded sadly, “he was killed almost a year ago in a rogue attack along with Gabriel’s mother and brother, and several other pack members.”

“Are rogue attacks that bad around here?” Jerry asked, looking concerned.

“They were,” his daughter sighed, “but since Gabriel became Alpha, he’s put a stop to them.”

“Well,” Claudette sighed, “that’s good to hear.

“Though,” she added, almost as an afterthought, “how does your mate manage to perform his duties as a mute?”

“He uses the pack mind-link,” Jayne explained before being distracted by a fussy, hungry baby. “So for it’s worked out well.”

“What about non-pack members?” her father asked.

“Then either myself or Angel speak for him,” she replied. “If we aren’t available, then any one of his pack members will happily step in.”

“That must get tedious,” Claudette quipped, sipping from her cup.

“It’s no too bad,” Jayne sighed, looking down at the now sleeping baby before searching the crowd for her mate. “Our only real hurdle is this little monster here. She tends to interrupt conversations when she gets hungry or needs a diaper change.”

The rest of the party went well by quickly with her brother and Evangelina sitting quietly at the edge of the woods getting to know each other, Gabriel clowning around with the children, and everyone else enjoying the blessing of their new Alpha, his Luna and Gabby.

Jayne couldn't believe how much her parents had changed since she'd seen them last. It seemed like they were finally treating her as an equal, not as someone who they had to protect from the world.

As the party wound down, Jayne excused herself to put Gabby to bed, the noise and crowd having worn her out.

Once she was sure the little girl was going to stay down, Jayne grabbed the baby monitor and made her way down to the pack house living room where she’d left her parents.

Walking down the hall, she paused as she neared the door, hearing her parents deep in conversation.

“...but he’s still not her mate!” her mother was exclaiming hotly.

“Mate or not,” her father replied, just as earnestly, “he seems to genuinely care for her.”

“But with how fragile Jayne is,” her mother hissed in a low tone, “she needs a mate who was meant for her, not an over muscled brute who lived like a wild animal in the woods.”

“Gabriel wasn’t living in the woods like a wild animal,” Jayne said angrily, interrupting her parents conversation as she entered the room.

“Jayne,” her mother coughed, jumping in her seat, “how many times do I have to tell you not to eavesdrop on our conversations?”

“I don’t know mother,” she spat back, “how many times are you going to treat me like I’m unable to take care of myself simply because I don’t have a wolf?”

“I know you can take care of yourself,” Claudette replied softly, a tear escaping down her cheek, “but what about Gabriel’s true mate? What will you do if she should find him?”

Jayne paled at the thought. It wasn’t the first time the idea had crossed her mind, but to hear the words come out of her mother’s mouth made them that much more painful.

“I am his chosen mate,” Jayne replied, her voice not carrying the force she’d hoped it would.

“Jayne,” her father said, shaking his head sadly as he stood next to his mate, “chosen mates do not supersede true mates. If she shows up one day, he will leave you behind in an instant.

“We just want to protect you from that,” he sighed, looking at his daughter with watery eyes.

“No,” Jayne hiccuped, shaking her head, “Gabriel would stay with Gabby and I because he loves us.”

Silent as a ghost, the man they were talking about entered the room and scooped his mate into his arms before turning his golden eyes on her parents.

Feeling the power radiating off of their daughter’s mate, Jerry and Claudette almost fell backwards into their seats.

Hurried footsteps down the hall gave warning the another person was coming.

Soon, a breathless Evangelina rounded the corner of the doorway followed by William, the young woman’s face almost as angry as Gabriel’s.

“The Alpha wants you to know that he would rather die than hurt Jayne,” she panted, her hands resting on her knees as she tried to catch her breath. “And if you ever make her cry again, he’ll rip you limb from limb.

“And if he doesn’t,” she added, her own eyes flashing rage, “I will!”

Jayne buried her face into Gabriel’s neck seeking the comfort of his scent. Even without a wolf she still found comfort being so close to him.

I love you Jayne,′ Gabriel purred into her head. ′Never doubt that.

Hearing those words, Jayne sobbed even harder, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling herself closer to his body, needing to feel all of him pressed against her more than ever.

Without another word, he lifted his mate into his arms and carried her up to their room leaving her parents silently dumbstruck in the living room with their son and his new mate.

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