Vincent had arranged for Spiraea to meet his family over dinner, the day had been set for the end of the week.
The days passed faster than Spiraea had time to blink, and the dreaded family dinner was not only a day away. Spiraea had been stressed about it in the few days that had already passed. The only consolation that she felt was that Vincent had arranged for the evening to take place at their home, so the girl would have some control and feel somewhat comfortable.
Vincent could tell that the girl was anxious, but all his efforts to comfort her didn’t seem to help. He had tried to help her with her prep in the kitchen, but judging by all her huffing and sighing she was not impressed with any of his dicing skills.
He also tried to quell her fear by giving her some information about his family; his father, since retiring as Alpha when he wasn’t offering Vincent his council was an artist. He loved to paint and draw anything he could, his absolute favourites were portraits of the people he loved. His Mother was a keen gardener, she had often spent her time whilst she was Luna, tending to the pack’s fields where they grew most of their own produce. He even told her all about his brother and niece who would also be joining the evening.
He wanted to convince her that they were gentle and loving people, and that she had nothing t worry about. He knew that she had terrible experiences with Werewolves in the past, but he wanted her to know that not all of the were monsters, even if they did have literal beasts within.
Spiraea hadn’t really listened to what Vincent was trying to tell her. That is to say she tried, but somewhere along the line she got distracted by him- he glowed so much talking about his family. It was obvious that he loved and cared deeply for them, it was endearing.
The girl found herself wishing that she had fond memories of her own family, but unfortunately the past had not been so kind to her. It was a sour pill to swallow, knowing that she would never have the picture perfect lifestyle that Vincent probably did and it made her feel itchy on the inside.
She hadn’t felt that way before, it was mostly a sadness, but there was something more- an emptiness, a longing, a void that she wished could be filled. The girl thought herself rather silly, why would she be upset over something she never really had? How could she feel that bitter way towards Vincent? Why did she care that she did?
Then she found herself being silly for a completely different reason. Why was she still in denial about the way that she felt? He was always kind, patient and gentle with her, he had proved numerous times that he wanted what was best for her and he made her feel good. She liked how he made her feel, so what was her problem?
It dawned on her there, as she watched him talk with the most brilliant smile on his face, that she did like him. She liked the sound of voice, the sparks he ignited with his touch, and the way he held her carefully in his calloused hands. She liked the small details of his face- the small cut above his dark sullen brow, his sharp nose, chin and cheekbones, she loved his laugh.
She liked him a lot, far more than she had ever liked anyone before. He had a way of making her feel things, things she hadn’t felt before and didn’t know how to deal with- it was conflicting for her. He managed to fill her, giving to her until she could take no more, only he didn’t stop giving.
He was unselfish, respectful and thoughtful in ways that nobody else had ever been.
It was terrifying.
She felt as though she were standing on top of a cliff, staring into an inky abyss below with no idea of what would greet her if she fell. It was intense and her realisation was enough to knock her breathless. She felt as if she was being consumed by him and just needed to get away.
The girl feigned tiredness, mumbling some lame excuse and said she would go lay down for a while. Vincent as ever was worried, she did seem to be rather pale, and told her that he would lay with her if she wanted.
“It’s fine,” her accent coated words dismissed him easily. “I just need a nap.”
He watched her walk out the room, something about her not quite right, but nonetheless decided to give her some space.
The girl trudged her way up the stairs, pushed open the door to her room and sighed when she looked around. Although it had become her safe haven in the past few weeks, it suddenly felt empty. The room was just an empty shell, that she occasionally decided to inhabit; in many ways she felt that her room was a lot like her.
She curled up on the fresh linen of the bed, not even bothering to get under her duvet which was still tucked neatly from when she had last made it. She had been sleeping more and more in Vincents bed. She hardly even spent any time in her room any more- even when she napped, she would go to his room because she found his scent calming.
The sudden thought of him made her emotions come back, with some added vigour. There was the nice things, but also the sour resentment. The sadness for a family, a life that she never got to have. She felt guilty for feeling that way- there was a reason she didn’t have a life like that, because she never deserved it. She had gotten the life she deserved, because she was nothing better than a piece of garbage. It had been drilled into her from the early moments of her childhood so how could she deny it.
Spiraea didn’t eve notice that she had started to cry until she was gasping for air and burying her face into her pillows to muffle the sounds. She couldn’t remember the last time she had really let herself cry, like really cry- raw, broken and unrestrained; her life was always just moments of feeling blank or simply far away.
She cried for everything and nothing, she cried until she couldn’t even remember why she was crying. She cried for her past, and her future. She cried for the kindness of Alpha Adam and Luna Leora that had given her a new chance. She cried for all the new and terrifying things that she felt. For her weakness to stand up, but her resilience to keep going.
Spiraea only slept for an hour but when she woke up she felt completely new and refreshed. Her emotional outburst was beyond cathartic and had provided much relief from the burden of the emotions she carried. Although it hadn’t made any of her worries disappear, she felt as though she could move past her emotions.
Even though she hadn’t said anything out loud, she still felt guilty for the way she felt towards Vincent and it made her want to apologise. In all honesty, she wasn’t sure how to approach the conversation with him. Part of her was afraid that he would get angry, and the other part was embarrassed for the way she felt. However, regardless of her fright, or her embarrassment, she felt that she needed to be honest with him.
When she emerged from the stairs, he was sat on the sofa with his laptop on the coffee table in front of him. He wasn’t actually doing any work, he seemed far more lost in thought. The girl was afraid to disturb him, though just the sound of her light footsteps and her scent of flowers in spring had brought him out of his troubled thoughts.
“Did you have a good nap?” His voice was gravelly, and for a second the girl was acutely aware of how good it sounded. Her earlier revelation cam back to her, and she had to fight a blush.
“Um, yes.” She murmured, her hair curtaining her face as it grew hotter- turned out that the blush had won her out in the end. She bit her lip uncomfortably as she took another step closer, then another, her smalls legs closing the distance between them with cautious but purposeful steps.
She sat beside him, the soft fabric of the sofa dipping slightly under her weight. The sofa itself was small, meant for two people but Vincent was so huge that he took up more than half of the space. Suddenly Spiraea noticed how small she was beside him, and even more troubling how close they were. His thigh pressed against hers, heat emanating from his body as she leaned closer to him.
“I feel that I should, how do you say...” She began, struggling as she tried to explain herself. “Excusarse?”
She looked so frustrated as she tried to think of the right word in English, had she learnt it? She wasn’t sure. Luckily she didn’t have to, as Vincent grasped her meaning- his family was Italian and though the language was different to Spiraea’s Spanish tongue he could still somewhat understand.
What he didn’t understand was why she felt she needed to apologize, she had done nothing wrong, at least not in his eyes. He wasn’t entirely sure that she could do any wrong, it seemed entirely against her nature to be malicious or hurtful in any way. Besides any mistakes that she made were part of her learning and growing, so he simply didn’t understand. Nonetheless he paid her his utmost attention, and decided to hear her out.
“To say sorry,” he supplied for her, and she nodded eagerly glad that he could understand what she had meant. “Why do you need to apologize, Little one?”
Their eyes locked with each others as he spoke, an invisible thread holding them both in place. Gazes meeting green to brown in an unflinching battle.
The fondness of his endearment struck her, she had never really paid much attention to them before, but she was starting to think that perhaps she enjoyed it. It was comforting to her to think that he had pleasant emotions towards her, though it only made her guilt grow.
“When you spoke earlier of your familia, you are so happy about it.” She smiled sadly, finally looking away as her shame took over. Her voice dropped lower to a whisper, and part of her almost wished that he wouldn’t hear though any such hope was in vain. “I didn’t have a life like that, and it made me envidiosa.”
Vincent’s eyes widened at her admission, he was glad that she had spoken to him though his heart was also heavy knowing that she carried this loneliness within her. Little did she know that she was no longer alone, and the man had every intention of filling her future with so much light and joy that she forgot all about her dark past.
“Look at me baby,” Vincent spoke gently. When she shook her head in disagreement he placed a finger under her chin forcing her to look up at him. Her green eyes were glossed over with tears, the mere sight a blow to his heart. “You don’t need to envy me. I am your familia now. Tu sei mio e io sono tuo.”
“En ingles,” the girl looked at him confused, her voice breathless between them as his tenderness swept her away. Italian was only so similar to Spanish, but she still felt his words resonate within her- it was as if he wasn’t simply addressing her mind, but her soul.
“You are mine and I am yours.” He spoke just as softly, his thumb brushing her cheek with a ghost of a touch. The delightful feeling from his delicate touch sent a shiver running down her spine.
She wanted to look away, but between his gaze and the pressure of his finger under her chin she felt trapped. She could feel it, their connection, and she knew her fear would return though not while he was touching her. She was never afraid when he touched her, perhaps that was why she spoke whilst she had the courage to be utterly truthful:
“The way you make me feel terrifies me.” She swallowed a small lump in her throat. “You make me feel things I’ve never felt before.”
She felt like a puppet on a string for him, but he felt the exact same way about her. There was nothing that she could say or do that would ever stop him from loving her the way he had come to. Perhaps he wasn’t entirely in love with her yet, but it wouldn’t be long before he was.
He was scared too, though for different reasons, but all were about- were for- her. he had never felt anything so deeply before, or felt as much emotions as she made him feel. Before Spiraea all he knew was frustration, being Alpha took a lot out of him and there wasn't much time for anything else. He was happy around his family, but never in the way that he was when he had finally found his mate.
“This is new for me too,” his lips quirked up slightly as the girl let out a surprised gasp. “We’ll do this like how we do everything else. Together.”
“Together.” She tasted the word on her tongue, she decided that she liked it.
Vincent couldn’t stop himself from staring at her, drinking in all her features. The Goddess had given him nothing short of a goddess; to him, there was nothing more beautiful than the woman before him.
The small pout of her lips, the softness of her cheeks that were beginning to fill out, the slight ridge on the slope of her small nose. Her eyelashes that brushed against her cheek, the curve of her thick brows- and those fricking eyes. Her eyes wide, beautiful and glittering were gazing at him with a new look. It was if she was finally seeing him for the first time, but it was more than that it was as if she had become anew herself.
And she had. She had finally allowed herself to relax with him, her fear long forgotten. She could feel the change within her, practically taste it on her tongue. Vincent could smell it in the air around her as it leaked out of her pores- it was crisp and fresh, like rainfall after a long drought.
It was acceptance.