With Hands to Hold

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Emilia was eager to spend time with Spiraea, and the girl in question was running out of things to wear. Vincent was happy with her just wearing his clothes but he knew that eventually she would need her own things. Besides a day out would probably do her some good, it would be a good way for her to start meeting members of his pack.

There was no doubt in his mind that his wolves were starting to get curious as to why he was being reclusive. Before meeting Spiraea, he usually went on walks, checking up on his pack members personally. However, considering his mate’s delicate state, he felt that he needed to be there to look after her.

Now that things had calmed down, and she was doing much better, he was looking forward to their relationship progressing. It had been a pleasant surprise when she had decided to take a small step forward with the kiss they shared. Even though they still had to take small steps, it gave him hope for their future; Spiraea had been through a lot, things that she never spoke about, but she seemed to be moving forward with him. It was more than he could ever hope for.

It was less than a week later when Emilia came over to take the girl shopping. Spiraea was beyond nervous- she had never done anything like this before. The idea of her body being scrutinised for the whole day made her uncomfortable.

She had always been careful with what she wore around Vincent. Her past had left its marks on her skin, and she wasn’t sure he wanted him to see any of them. In Damien’s pack, they were considerate enough never to leave more than bruises- sure there were times she had endured broken bones, but none of the abuse had ever left any external marks. Before Damien’s pack however, was a whole different story.

On the morning, Vincent noticed Spiraea’s anxiety. She could hardly eat from how her stomach was riddled with knots.

“We’ve got a big day baby, you should eat something.” The man rubbed the girls leg, he was worried about her but also did want her to feel like he was being invasive or making her uncomfortable.

“I know, I’m scared.” She mumbled. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

“You can, I know it. I’m not going to leave you at all, and neither is my mum.” Vincent tried to assure her, “we’ll get you everything you need and more. There’s nothing for you to be afraid of little one.”

Spiraea wasn’t comforted very much by his words, she didn’t know how to explain that she was worried about the way that she looked. Worried about her body. She didn’t think he would understand- he looked like an Adonis for goodness sakes.

She didn’t really want to talk to Emilia about it either- as much as she liked the woman, she wasn’t that comfortable with her yet. Besides she didn’t know if she would tell Vincent.

“Can Marianne come too?” She asked in a small voice, refusing to look up at him. He had noticed it was a habit of hers, whenever she asked or wanted something, she would submit to him to ask.

Vincent realised that she didn’t do it out of fear, but because she was uncomfortable with wanting things for herself. He supposed it was partly her past, and maybe even partly her nature. Her selflessness was endearing, and he knew that there was nothing that she could ask for that he would deny her.

“Of course. I’ll ask Jaxon to come over, but you have to eat your breakfast. You’re still building back your strength and you’ll be on your feet a lot.” He was comforting, but still stern. It didn’t frighten the girl, much the opposite- she was slowly starting to enjoy the fact that he cared and doted on her so much.

Spiraea immediately picked up her fork, shovelling some eggs into her mouth obediently. Vincent chuckled, before calling Jaxon and Marianne who readily accepted their Alpha’s request. Although Jaxon couldn’t stay since he had training to attend.

“Okay, my mum should be here in about half an hour.” Vincent read the text off his phone.

They finished their breakfast quickly. Spiraea had begun to eat more, she had managed to finish her entire plate of eggs and toast and had also half drank a glass of orange juice. Vincent was very proud of her, though he didn’t say. He had noticed a big difference in her over the last couple of days. She had put on more weight, her dark olive skin glowed, her curls were bouncier and she was more active during the day- everything about her screamed ‘healthier’.

“Alright, go get dressed. I’ll clean up down here.” He pecked her lips affectionately, helping her slide of her stool before she plodded happily up to their room to get ready.

Since their first kiss, they had been very casual and playful when it came to kisses. Vincent would sneak kisses whenever he could, catching her lips in small, soft, sweet pecks that left her blushing. He was waiting for her before he took it anywhere close to intense, as much as he wanted to he wouldn’t dare.

It scared him a little bit, knowing how much he had to hold back. He and his wolf weren’t used to being denied, especially when it came to the things he wanted. And Vincent had never wanted anything or anyone more than he wanted Spiraea.

He would continue holding back as long as he could, but eventually he would have to speak to the girl about what he was experiencing. His wolf was starting to get antsy with not only the emotional repression but the physical one too. Human mates were difficult in the sense that wolves are ready their entire life for their mate, but humans aren’t- especially not scarred ones like Spiraea. He didn’t want to end up lashing out, and frightening her because of his wolf.

Not too long later, Spiraea came downstairs. She had sound the pair of jeans she had been wearing when she first arrived and had one of Vincent’s sweatshirts on top. Jaxon dropped Marianne off first, and she was happy to wait for Emilia. The woman in question showed up a mere 5 minutes later.

When everyone was together, they all piled into Emilia’s car (because hers was the biggest) before they headed off into the pack.

Spiraea had never really seen a pack before, she had only briefly seen Alpha Adam’s as they left it and she was never allowed out of her room in Damien’s pack so it was a whole new experience for her. She watched trees, zoom past the window, her had clutching Marianne’s tightly on the drive.

The pack wasn’t huge, more like a relatively small town, though Vincent’s home was further away from the centre of the pack. When the girl finally raised the courage to ask, Vincent explained that the centre of the pack was more communal, and that everyone’s home’s were built around it.

The drive was shorter than 10 minutes, and Emilia ended up parking in an empty clearing behind a lightly wooded area. There were a few other cars around, though cars were rare because of well, wolves.

The pack centre was quaint. A collection of stores lined its stone paved streets though a few of the ‘stores’ were simple vending stalls. It was incredibly rural, for a moment the girl felt as though she had stepped into the pages of a fairy-tale.

Spiraea looked around wide eyed and excited. A few people were staring, and it made her nervous, but she was more eager to explore all the shops. Marianne looked down at her friend with a smile, she had a feeling that Spiraea would like it; it was exactly the kind of life they had wanted for themselves. Simple, comfortable and away from danger.

“I had the exact same reaction.” Marianne squeezed her had affectionately.

“Alright, why don’t we start with Sarah’s boutique. She’s got some lovely things.” Emilia rubbed her hands together, with a mischievous look in her eye. She was excited now that her son had found his mate; knowing her son he would spoil her unconditionally, and she herself also wanted to treat her new daughter.

Simply put, she was ready to shop ’til she dropped.

Spiraea had no idea that finding clothes could be so exhausting or emotional. Emilia had helped picked a lot of clothes for her, and they all seemed beautiful until she had to put them on. She refused to try on anything that didn’t cover her arms, or that wasn’t knee length, she also refused anything that showed off her back.

She had chosen a few long sleeved tops, and some sweaters. She had also opted for plenty of jeans and sweatpants. Both Marianne and Emilia wanted her to try something different and out of her comfort zone; they wanted her to see how beautiful she really was.

They had visited a few stores, and she had met a few other members of the pack. They were all very kind, and more than eager to assist their Luna. Even when they just walked by people, they would all try to talk to her. She said hello to as many people as she could.

Spiraea was still getting used to all the attention, and tried to interact as much as she could. Though a lot of the time she ended up curling into Vincent’s protective embrace.

The store that they were currently perusing, was a small dress shop. As adamant as she had been about not wanting any dresses, Vincent had received a text from Alpha Adam, informing him of his plans to get married. Whilst only an informal invitation, his mother had was ecstatic and used their current shopping trip as an opportunity to find a dress for Spiraea to the event. As tiring as it was, Spiraea couldn’t deny that she loved seeing the excitement on Emilia’s face.

The woman who owned the shop, was an old friend of Emilia’s, called Ella. Ella was more than happy to not only meet but help find a dress for Spiraea.

She was a bubbly woman, who made the younger girl laugh. And for a moment she forgot her apprehension to putting on any garments. Spiraea found herself feeling somewhat comfortable though in the presence of a complete stranger- if the entire pack was this friendly and welcoming, then she couldn’t see any reason why she’d dislike it.

Ella picked the first dress, with approval from Vincent. Considering Spiraea’s previous dismissal, she figured having a dress picked by someone she trusted would open her up a little bit more. They had chosen a navy blue halter neck dress, it had a low back and it would go all the way down to her feet.

Spiraea still didn’t want to try it on, especially when they told her that she couldn’t see what they picked. But she eased up when Ella assured her that she didn’t have to show anyone what she looked like if she didn’t want to.

She took the dress, and slid into its soft material behind the closed door of a dressing room. She loved it. But she also hated it. Looking into the mirror she couldn’t help but to just break down in tears- the worst part was she didn’t know why.

Vincent, being her mate, was in tune to her emotional rollercoaster. He busted into the changing room, scaring the girl a little, though his arms around her made her forget all the sadness. She tried to push him away, it startled him and saddened him. He thought they were doing well, so he didn’t know why she would push him away. Though one look in the mirror behind her gave him the answer.

The man had never seen her scars before, she had always kept them well hidden. Some of them were worse than others, though a lot of them had faded to pale lines, a few had healed over puffy but they all made her feel ugly. She had never felt that way before, especially not in front of Vincent. She felt so much, so fast, she almost wished she could turn it all off; with all the turmoil there was also a lot of confusion.

“You look beautiful,” he murmured into her ear. “Absolutely beautiful.”

“No, I’m disgusting.” She pulled away from him, trying to get as far away as she could from the man, though in the very small changing room stall it was somewhat impossible.

Vincent didn’t once hesitate in his resolve. He pulled her into him, wrapping his arms safely and securely. His lips kissed her temple, then her neck, then her shoulder as he slowly turned her around.

She shook her head, wanting to look away when he turned her around to face the mirror. She had never cared or payed much attention to her appearance before. They had always told her that she was worth nothing, that she was disgusting- and right now she felt those words hung around her shoulders.

“Look baby, you are so fucking beautiful.” He whispered against her ear, their eyes meeting in the mirror. The first thing that struck Spiraea was how much his eyes shone with pure sincerity and desire.

She still didn’t believe Vincent’s words, just because he said something didn’t make it true, but she was still grateful that he was there. Maybe one day she could come to believe it.

“A part of me can’t even believe that this is me,” she wiped away a tear as she looked at her reflection. “I don’t know if I’m ready for all of this.”

“That’s okay. We can can do this again when you’re ready, my mum will understand.” Vincent soothed the girl. He didn’t like seeing her upset, though a part of him was very proud of her for trying something new and being vocal about what she wanted. She had come so far and she hadn’t even noticed it.

“Please don’t tell her why,” The girl suddenly whimpered. She didn’t want to offend Vincent’s mother, nor have her thing any differently of her. Vincent didn’t really understand why, but he would oblige her anyway.

“I won’t,” He promised. “But it’s okay, nothing will change how I or my family, or my pack, feels about you.”

Vincent wasn’t very good with long speeches, he never could find enough words to say what he wanted to mean- and this was one of those moments. Still through frustration, he felt that it was important for him to reassure Spiraea that her insecurities and doubts were unfounded.

Vincent went back outside, waiting for the girl to get dressed. He took the moment to explain to the other women, about the girl’s reluctance to continue shopping. “Spiraea’s really tired, and she’s got an appointment at the clinic soon, so I think we should just go home and relax a little bit.”

Marianne suspected otherwise, but she knew better than to bring anything up. Whatever her friend needed, she trusted that Vincent would look after her. It was surprising how easily she had trusted and fallen into the system of the pack; but how could she not, it felt as though it was where she belonged. With Jaxon, in Vincent and Spiraea’s pack.

It was beginning to draw close to 3pm, and they had gotten all of the essential things that the girl would need. It was perfect time to call it a day.

Especially after the girl’s emotional outburst, Vincent was more than ready to take her home. He hadn’t even told her about her appointment yet, and he was afraid as to how she would respond.

Spiraea came out a moment later, giving the dress back to the woman in the store. They all piled back into the car. Emilia dropped Marianne home, then the couple before going on her own way.

When they were left alone, the pair worked in silence to pack away all the things that they had bought that day. Besides clothes, she had gotten lotions, shampoo’s, conditioners, hair oils, brushes, clips and hairbands. She had gotten soaps, perfume and even make up, though the girl was sure she would never use a lot of it.

After an hour, they had packed everything away, and Spiraea actually felt like she belonged there. Seeing things that technically belonged to her lying around the room made her feel as if it were her space too.

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