To say I was surprised was an understatement. I never imagined she would come find me, nevermind choose to stay.
On our way back to the cabin our wolves caught some fish for dinner. I hoped I would have something worth eating at the cabin, but it was unlikely.
I seared the fish on the wood stove and I cooked some rice I found in the pantry. I managed to find some good looking green beans in my back garden that had overgrown and become a mess of weeds and neglected plants.
“Dinner is almost ready,” I said, “sorry it isn’t much.”
Adara smiled, “It’s fine, don’t worry Ryder.” She patted the bench next to her and I sat down. We ate in silence, neither of us really knowing what to say. I was a bit upset I didn’t have everything I usually had, my garden having overgrown a bit from the neglect.
“Are you tired?” I asked as we finished eating.
“A little,” she replied quietly.
“I’ll go grab some more firewood and then fix the bed, you can change into one of my shirts if you want. It’s probably more comfortable than wearing jeans to bed.”
Adara laughed, “Yeah, I didn’t plan this well. Next time I get myself banished I’ll make sure to pack first.”
I walked out the door to grab more wood, my eyes glancing through the window to see her slipping on my shirt over her thin body. I inhaled deeply, trying to clear my mind. I walked into the house and set down the wood before walking to the bed. I carried off the blankets and shook them out, “I’ll clean them tomorrow. I haven’t been here in three months, so everything is a bit dusty.”
Adara touched my arm gently, “Ryder, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Tomorrow I’ll help you clean up everything and then we can start planning on what to do on the house.” I gave her a warm smile, glad she was being so patient. I was a bit embarrassed that she was seeing my home like this. It was a mess, looking exactly how I left it three months ago when I had been taken, only now covered in a thick layer of dust. I remade the bed, taking one of the extra blankets and sitting in the large armchair by the wood stove. Adara hugged her knees to her chest and gave me a smile, “Are you sure I can’t sleep in the chair? It’s your home after all…”
I shook my head, “You hush. I’m sleeping in the chair. Goodnight,” I said from my seat, cuddling the blanket up to my chin.
“Goodnight,” she whispered.
A few hours later I was awakened by a small noise. I sat up slowly, trying to tell what the sound was. I realized it was Adara. I let out a long breath, realizing she was crying.
Comfort her... she’s hurting, you know the type of loss she is feeling. Her own father just banished her, my wolf whispered.
I got up from my chair and walked to the bed in the corner. I laid on top of it, noticing Adara stiffen at the movement. I laid close to her, “It’s alright to be upset,” I whispered. She relaxed a bit and I could feel her shaking in an attempt to keep her sobs at bay.
A small sob escaped her lips, “Don’t worry, I’ll be alright… I just-“
I placed my hand on her shoulder, “Adara, look at me.” She rolled over and looked at me, her eyes red and filled with unshed tears, “You don’t have to act strong all the time. I know how strong you are, you are allowed to feel sad. You just gave up your home, your family, and your pack all in one day. It’s a lot.”
She sniffed before pressing her head to my chest, “I don’t want you to think I regret it or blame you, because I don’t.”
“Thank you for that. But as someone who has also lost their family, home, and pack in one day I can tell you, it’s alright to be a little upset,” I said, stroking her hair.
She took a deep breath, “Will you stay?”
I smiled, glad to not have to keep sleeping in the chair, “I’ll stay as long as you want, Adara.” I climbed under the covers and she pulled in close to me, holding me against her as she let out a few more tears before falling asleep.
I laid awake with Adara in my arms, thinking about how much had changed. In the span of three months I had gone from angry and alone in this old cabin to a rogue prisoner to finding a mate and ending up back in this old cabin. We were about to start a new life tomorrow and I was worried I was going to end up scaring her off or worse, disappointing her.
Mate her, then she won’t leave... my wolf muttered.
I sighed and looked down at her sleeping face, “I don’t want to trap her into a life she doesn’t want. We’ll wait and see how things go for a while.”
My wolf grumbled, irritated at my hesitation but knew it was the right thing to do. He cared for her, probably more than I did, and he didn’t want her to stay because she had to. We both wanted her to stay because she wanted to.
And I was determined to make a life we could be proud of.