With Hands to Hold

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When the girl woke up the next morning, she felt refreshed. Something about seeing her belongings around the room made her feel settled, and having Vincents arm rubbing her shoulder added an extra warmth and comfort.

There was part of her that wanted to stay in bed and enjoy this moment a while longer with the man she had grown attached to. However the larger part of her felt compelled to get up and get breakfast ready as her routine compelled her to.

Vincent felt her movement beside him, but he could feel her apprehension through their bond. He interlinked her fingers with his, kissing each finger tenderly. “You don’t have to get up if you don’t want to.”

Spiraea blushed, it was both endearing and embarrassing that he could read her so easily. She turned over to look at his face, surprised to see him staring intently at her; she was half expecting him to still have his eyes closed.

As if trying to convince her to say, he kissed the inside of her palm and then her wrist lightly. Her pulse there jumped at the intimacy of the gesture. it was enough to convince her to settle in beside him again, her head resting above his beating heart. She supposed that she could rest for a little bit longer- another hour couldn’t hurt.

The couple slept soundly for another couple hours after that. Vincent awoke to the sound of Spiraea’s soft snores against his chest; it was the first time he had really seen her at peace, and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

She had come such a long way without really realising it; she had been so painfully shy, and the way she called him nothing but Alpha. In close to two months, she had come out of her shell a lot more. Of course they still had a long way to go, a part of him was in pain just thinking about talking about her past with her but there was another part that was excited because they were in a place that they could perhaps start talking about the future.

He knew that she wasn’t ready to dive into everything, but with baby steps they would get there. The Alpha in him was eager to get to when they had a house full of pups, but to rush could mean taking steps backwards instead of forwards, especially if he scared her. For now he would have to continue holding back that part of him, just a conversation for now would be enough.

Besides he was looking forward to each moment spent with her, he wanted to take advantage of all the time he had. That moment, that day. He had planned to spend a day with her, just them talking and being together. He had wanted to for so long, but things kept getting in the way; it was long overdue. He wanted it to be perfect.

He watched her as she slept, taking in everything about her. Her olive skin, the small smatter of acne scars on her cheeks, the shape of her brows sloping into her nose. He couldn’t could help but to be captivated by her full lips or the way her hair fell in soft curls. Goddess, everything about her. Every goddamned thing.

His heart swelled with something new, for her. He had always felt affection for her, but this was more than that. He wasn’t entirely sure what but he knew that he loved feeling it, and he never wanted this feeling to go away. He had a feeling it wouldn’t.

He fingered one of her delicate curls, pushing it behind her ear before lingering there lightly. Her eyes fluttered open, she found that she couldn’t look away, completely locked in his magnetizing gaze. Hazel-green to brown.

“Good morning,” he murmured gently as he stole a kiss from her lips. It was slow and gentle, he took his time as if they had all the time in the world. He pulled away, loving the dazed content on her face. “I want to take you out today, do you think you're up for it?”

The girl thought back to the day before- shopping had been disaster but she did enjoy being out of the house. All the people and shops were fascinating and she was excited to see more of the pack. “Alright, are we going after breakfast?”

“Well, I was thinking that we could go get breakfast.” Vincent spoke, lips grazing her temple as his fingers grazed her shoulder languidly. “One of my pack members, a man named Patrick, owns a great diner. The breakfast there is amazing!”

“More amazing than mine?” Spiraea pouted, a newfound playfulness filling her. Vincent, not expecting her to be upset, turned to her with eyes wide with surprise. The girl couldn’t hide her giggles, he doted on her too much for her own good.

“That wasn’t nice,” Vincent growled lowly, meeting her playfulness. He pulled her below him tickling her fiercely on her sides and her armpits.

The girl tried to hold it in but could stop her shriek of laughter. A part of her could hardly believe such a joyous, bubbly sound really emanated from her. She had forgotten what it sounded, or felt like to laugh. She could hardly manage to breathe between her laughter, “I’m sorry!”

Vincent stopped in awe. Her laugh was adorably strange, it was light and gaspy with little snorts, he had never heard anything like it. In fact he was just in awe at hearing her laugh. Spiraea caught her breath looking up him first dazed, then confused. “What?”

“Nothing,” Vincent rasped breathily. It didn’t matter how beautiful he thought she was, he would never find enough, or the right words, to vocalise how he truly felt. “We better start getting ready.”

It was drawing close to half 10 and the diner Vincent had in mind only served breakfast for another hour. He had a feeling that if they dallied any longer, they wouldn’t make it in time. So both Spiraea and Vincent got up, took quick showers and changed.

Spiraea decided to wear a pair of light blue boyfriend jeans and a plain, loose-fitted, black long-sleeved top, not that it mattered because she picked out one of Vincent’s navy green hoodies to go on top. She had gotten used to wearing his clothes, and felt an added comfort of his scent on her.

Vincent was silently pleased with the girls decision to wear his clothing. She wasn’t yet marked, and the beast within wanted his pack to know she was his- that he was proud she was his.

Vincent put on similar apparel. Dark washed jeans, a white t-shirt, and a grey flannel which he paired with a dark pair of casual trainers.

Spiraea admired the simplicity, she hadn’t ever seen him wear bright or flashy colours. His personality matched his style - simple, black and white with grey around the edges. His complexity masked by his desire to always have a straight forward approach.

The man took her hand in his, pulling them both to the full length mirror in the corner their room. She had barely used the thing, mostly because she didn’t like what she saw when she looked into it.

She expected to see the frail, scared girl she was before and so she deliberately looked down. Vincent was relentless however, his index finger below her chin guided her gaze until it fell on their reflection.

She looked different. She had put on weight since her time in Damien’s pack, and unlike looking in the mirror yesterday in that very open dress, she looked comfortable. She still didn’t like what she saw, but she liked it a tiny bit better than she had the day before.

“You are beautiful,” Vincent filled the space with the sound of his voice. The gravelly sound was gentle as he could make it, with an undeniable intensity behind it. “Say it.”

Spiraea’s met his through the mirror, he was looking at her with this look, it was one she hadn’t seen before. It took her breath away. He gave her another encouraging look, and her eyes fell back onto herself.

“You are beautiful,” she told herself. And even though she didn’t believe a word that she had said, she still felt strange.

Vincent knew that she had a long way to go. Maybe she wouldn’t believe it today, or even a week later, but perhaps one day she would. And that was enough for him.

Patrick’s diner, named Patty’s, was still serving breakfast when Vincent and Spiraea finally arrived. They had decided to walk to the pack centre which took them almost 20 minutes with Spiraea’s slow walking. It was a nice leisurely walk, and the girl felt somewhat at ease in the peace of the woods.

It was beautifully rustic, something that seemed to be common with a lot of the pack. The walls were wooden, as well as all the interior furnishings.

The chairs and stools were padded with green and white checked cushions, and around the whole space were hanging plants, and greenery. The tables and bar was a lighter wood than the walls, and we’re varnished with a pine scented finish.

The whole place smelled like breakfast in the forest- which is exactly what it was. It was absolutely magnificent.

They received a few stares from the other people in the diner, it was interesting for the pack members to see their Alpha after his rather impromptu reclusive act. And with a human girl too, it was beyond fascinating.

There was nothing to set Vincent apart from the rest of the people in the diner. He looked like everyone else, and for a moment Spiraea forgot that she was a human amongst wolves.

It didn’t last long though, one look out the window to see pups playing with each other in the street outside broke the spell.

She was anxious at first, she couldn’t stop fidgeting in her seat, a part of her wanted to run away- it hadn’t been so busy the day before. Plus everyone kept staring and she didn’t know how to deal with it. She could hardly focus on the Menu in front of her with all the looks.

Vincent put a hand on hers, her discomfort was evident. His fingers brushed against her knuckles relaxing her.

The excited chatter that had filled the small place when they first stepped in ceased when Vincent cleared his throat loudly. His voice was low as he addressed the diner full of people, nonetheless everyone could hear him. In fact it was so silent, a pin dropping would be audible.

“This is my mate, and she is not comfortable with all your eyes on her.”

And that was enough. Everyone turned back to their own business as if nothing had ever happened. It was enough to calm Spiraea down, a small blush on her cheeks.

A tall man came over to take their order not too long after. He was blonde and greying, with light eyes against pale skin. Everything about him looked friendly, save the claw like scar that ran from his right brow down to his cheek. His age hardly showed in his face the man was approaching his late 70′s, not that Spiraea could tell.

Spiraea smiled politely; it wasn’t hard for her not to stare. She had seen worse scars on the girls in Damien pack, she was sure she had worse ones on her own body.

“Good morning Alpha, and you Luna.” He spoke cheerily. “Are you ready to order?”

“Not quite yet Patrick, and please just Vincent.” Vincent smiled at the man kindly.

“You know I can’t do that Alpha,” He inclined his head lightly. “I’ll give you guys a few minutes longer.”

The girl was a little bit overwhelmed by all the options on the menu, but Vincent was patient at explaining everything.

It was strange, he had never been a patient man, in fact the amount of times he had been patient with her was remarkable. There was a small part of him that did find it difficult, but one look at her and he knew it was worth it.

Patrick came back with a relaxed smile. He had known Vincent as a child, and there was a softness between the two men that was unmistakable. Patrick was almost like a grandparent to Vincent, the man hadn’t known his grandparents. His mother’s parents were from a pack in Italy that he had never visited (his family being Alpha’s meant he couldn’t), and his fathers parents had died in a battle at Damien’s hands when he was little more than a toddler.

“Have you decided yet?” He asked as he pulled out a notebook. Vincent looked over at Spiraea who nodded shyly.

“Yes, I’ll have my usual.” He looked back to Spiraea with an encouraging look, “What do you want baby?”

“Waffles with strawberries and syrup,” She mumbled quietly. Thankfully both men had enhanced hearing, otherwise they never would’ve heard her. “And some orange juice, please.”

Patrick nodded, leaving with them to each others company. Vincent smiled, intertwining their fingers and enjoying the pleasant tingles where their skin met. That feeling from before surged up within him, taking over his entire being. He couldn’t wait to spent the whole day with her.

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