The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 40

Gabriel bounced Gabby nervously on his knee as he waited for Jayne and her mother to join the rest of them at the table.
Seeing the velvet box, Jayne's father broke into a big smile before nudging his son in the ribs.
When Ethan looked at his father with confusion, Jerry used his chin to indicate the box Gabby was currently trying to put in her mouth.
As he same smile that was on his fathers face began to grace his own, Ethan turned to smack his brother across the back of his head.
"Hey," William said, disconnecting his lips from his mates', looking at his brother ruefully. "What the hell was that for?"
"Look," Ethan whispered, pointing to Gabriel and Gabby.
"Awe," Evangelina cooed, seeing the box and knowing what it meant.
While being mated was more binding than being married, there was something about the simple human ceremony that just made the whole thing that much more.
"Come on mom," they heard Jayne call as the kitchen door opened and the two women walked out, "we can finish cleaning up after we eat. We're just going to have more dishes anyway."
"Okay, okay," they heard Claudette reply before the two of them joined the rest in the dining room.
Everyone watched as the women sat in their seats, oblivious to the anticipation of everyone in the room.
Getting settled, Jayne finally looked around at the rest of her family confused by the looks they were all giving her.
Using their mind link, Jayne's father filled in her mother on what was going on, smiling when he saw understanding and excitement light up her face.
"What?" Jayne asked, looking at her father and brothers, trying to figure out why that all had goofy grins on their faces.
"What am I missing?" she asked, turning to Gabriel.
Seeing the box Gabby was holding, Jayne's breath caught in her throat.
"Gabby and I have something for you," Gabriel said, gently prying the ring box from his daughters little fingers before sliding out of his seat to his knees.
"Jayne," he said, coughing slightly to clear the sudden frog in his throat, "you are my mate, the mother of my daughter and the reason I wake up every morning wanting to be a better man and Alpha.
"I know it seems like overkill," he continued, the words just pouring from his mouth before he could actually think about them, "but I also want you to be my wife. To be bound to me by the bonds of not only the Goddess, but also the bonds of man.
"Will you marry me?" he asked, managing to open the ring box with just one hand.
Jayne sat, her eyes tearing up.
"Yes," she breathed, joining her mate and daughter on the floor, wrapping them both in her arms as she kissed her mate passionately.
Around them, the room erupted in raucous cheers and applause as Jayne's family jumped out of their seats to join the couple on the floor, their arms encircling each other until it was hard to tell which appendage belonged to who.
Hearing a disgruntled Gabby begin to fuss, the group disentangled themselves until the newly engaged couple and their irritated daughter could rise and receive a round of hugs from everyone.
"I am so happy for you," Jayne's father whispered in her ear as they embraced. "I wish you both the best."
The same sentiments were repeated by everyone until congratulations had been given all around and everyone finally settled into their seats once more.
"So," William sighed, "not to take away from Jayne and Gabriel, but Angel and I have our own announcement to make."
Without a word, both he and his mate turned their heads to reveal fresh mating marks on their necks.
Another round a congratulations was made, this time with a content Gabby gnawing on her teething biscuit in her highchair.
"Well," Jayne's dad said when everyone had finally settled down and began to fill their plates turning to look at Gabriel. "I think that it's time I asked you a serious question.
"Claudette and I were wondering what your requirements are for joining your pack?"
"What?" Jayne asked, her fork full of pancakes stopping on the way to her mouth, her eyes darting between her parents.
"Well," Claudette said, dabbing her lips with her napkin, "with you being Luna and William mated to the Beta, it just seems like the most logical thing."
"What about Ethan?" her daughter asked, looking at her brother.
"Well," Ethan said, interrupting his mother as she opened her mouth, "I've talked to mom and dad about this, and I think I'm gonna travel for a little while.
"I haven't found my mate yet here or back at High Mountain," he continued with a heavy sigh. "I think it's time to hit the road and visit some other packs, maybe see the country a little bit."
"I am allied with several packs around here," Gabriel said, looking at his mates eldest brother, "I could make some inquiries of their Alphas and get you permission to visit their packs."
"That's a great idea," Jayne cried, clapping her hands happily.
The rest of her family agreed happily, enjoying the rest of their meal until Gabby began to get fussy, tiring of being confined in her highchair.
"Let me take care of her," Claudette offered, rising from her seat.
"Can you boys take care of the dishes?" she asked, looking at her husband and sons.
Understanding her intent of giving Gabriel and Jayne some time alone, the others agreed happily beginning to collect the dirty dishes and utensils.
"Why don't you two go talk wedding plans," Jerry suggested, his hands already full.
Gabriel nodded his thanks, rising and taking Jayne's hand in his.
"By the way," he said, turning back to his mates' father, "if you are serious about joining the pack, we can hold the ceremony tonight."
Leading Jayne up to their room, Gabriel knew there would be very little wedding planning going on.
Ever since she'd said yes to his proposal, all he'd wanted to do was take her in his arms and claim her as his again and again.
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