Leo breaks down. He never cried, he never let a tear fall but now, right now. He can’t stop it. The ache in his chest is too intense. He has a hard time breathing. He lets himself drop to the floor, leaning with his back against the desk. His knees pulled up, his arms around them and his head between his knees.
Someone knocks on his door and opens it without waiting for a reply. “Leo, I need you to look at the schedules for the warriors for next week- Leo?” Chris looks around and finds him on the floor. “Leo, hey,” Chris kneels in front of Leo, placing his hands on Leo’s knees. “What’s wrong? Elianne?”
Leo nods, not able to speak a word. “It hurts,” he breathes, and he holds his chest with his hands. “My chest burns like crazy.” The words come out as a whisper.
Chris looks worried. “It’s normal for Alpha’s to freak out like this, but warriors? Not really. Especially when that warrior is called Leonard Anderson, one of the toughest and composed men there is.” He pushes his fist playful against Leo’s upper arm. “Leo, where are you? What have you done with the Leo I know?”
Leo shakes his head and smiles half-heartedly. “Sorry, that Leo is taking a vacation right now.”
“Hang on a second,” Chris gets up suddenly. “I’m going to get Jo for you. She’ll get your wolf calmed down with her aura.” He bursts out the door and within less than five minutes, he rushes back in, with Jolena hot on his tail.
“Chris, what- why are we in Leo’s office, Leo isn’t here. Is it your horny wolf again? I am not going to do anything in Leo’s office, Chris-” Jolena tries to wriggle out of Chris’s grasp.
Chris turns around and smirks, “it’s not my wolf this time, sweetheart, although I wouldn’t mind a little playtime.” He points at Leo on the floor. “It’s Leo here, he’s having a hard time. Thought he could use a bit of your calming aura.
The moment Jolena crouches down in front of him and places a hand on his shoulder, Leo relaxes significantly. The heavy feeling isn’t gone completely, but it doesn’t wear him down anymore. He sighs. “Thanks Jo, I really appreciate this.”
“You’re welcome, honey.” Jolena smiles compassionately. “Whenever you need me, I’m here. We both are.” She looks for a quick moment to her mate, before turning her full attention to Leo again. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He shakes his head. “Not really. The thing that’s bothering me most is that she came to me today, twice. With questions and she wanted me to give her a chance. And that’s just the thing. I can’t, at least not yet, and turning her down every time gets harder and harder. I’m battling my own wolf, and he gets more and more persistent. The worst thing is even, that I feel like my wolf is right. She is mine; she is my mate. I want her, I want to hold her, I want to kiss her, I want to live with her for the rest of my life and I want her to carry my pups. I want what you guys have. But I can’t and my wolf doesn’t care about age, and what’s the proper thing to do so. He just wants to claim what’s his.”
Chris crouches down and sits himself beside Leo, leaning against his shoulder. “Leo, I know how hard this is. I have been battling my own wolf numerous times when all I could do was smell Jo’s scent and I wasn’t able to find her. My wolf went crazy. Do you remember how many times I have torn a room apart out of frustration? Just try to hold on, you will have her, keep that in mind. The road will be tough, but it’s not impossible for you to get there.”
“I’ll try and talk to Patrick to see if he can keep Elianne away from you. I hope it will calm your wolf down a little.”
“And I’ll be here whenever you need to calm down some more.” Jolena grabs his shoulders. Again, he feels the warmth and comfort coming from Jolena.
“Thanks guys, I really appreciate this.” Leo rubs his face with his hands.
“What do you think, family dinner at our house, instead of in the big Packhouse?” Jolena smiles as she gets up from the floor. “I know a couple of little bandits who would find it awesome to have the undivided attention of their uncle.” She winks.
Despite everything that’s going on, Leo smiles. Just thinking about his nephew and niece puts a smile on his face. He wonders how it would be when he has his own kids. Oh, no, not again. He’s not going down that road, it’ll only make him more miserable than he already is. He gets up from the floor as well, standing in front of his brother and his mate. He shakes his head to get rid of his thoughts.
“What is it?” Jolena asks when she sees him shaking his head.
“Oh, nothing.” His face reddens. “Just trying to get rid of some thoughts.”
Chris laughs loudly, throwing his head in his neck. “Time for us to leave the room, Jolena. It’s getting hot in here! My baby brother is thinking about making pups. I don’t want to stay here any longer to witness him getting turned on.”
Leo’s face turns a shade darker. “Gosh, Chris shut up.” He pushes his brother against his shoulder playfully. “You were talking about making pups yourself when you brought your mate in here just a moment ago!”
Elianne walks over to her father’s house. She needs to see if Thymen has a supply of cigarettes hidden somewhere. Now that she lives with her grandma, she’s been out of smokes and she misses it. Smoking keeps her sane and makes her relax better. She opens the back door quietly and enters the house via the kitchen. She listens intently if she hears someone in the house. When she has established that no one is home, she sneaks into Thymen’s room and looks everywhere for his secret supply. After opening every drawer and every door, but finding nothing, she decides to look under his bed.
Jackpot! A whole crate of little cigarette boxes is hidden underneath his bed. She grabs some and walks over to the door. When she’s about to bolt out, she changes her mind. She grabs a piece of paper and a pen from his desk and scribbles on it, to thank him for his cigarettes.
A little while later Elianne is back at her grandmother’s little cabin. Outside smoking one of the cigarettes, she took from her brother. She’s already starting to feel at home there. She loves the moments when she and her grandmother work in the garden. When the weather is not that good, her grandmother teaches her how to paint. She sits herself on the garden bench and puffs out a cloud of smoke.
Elianne thinks about the moments that she talked to the Captain today. How he refused to accept her apologies, how he didn’t want to give in to her. He had a hard time. Especially when he walked into his office and hunched over his desk. As much as his rejection hurt her, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. She saw his internal battle, how he wanted her so badly, but his morals and maybe her threatening father kept him from acting. The thing is that she wants to know, she wants to know if there’s truly a bond between them. She really wonders if there’s already something noticeable between them. But as long as she’s a minor, she will never know. Elianne sighs and inhales deeply on her cigarette, she must let go, somehow.