With Hands to Hold

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22

The wedding was a little less than a week away, which gave Spiraea little time to find a dress.

She was still angry at Vincent for not telling her about the wedding, and also for making it seem as though he was obligated to want her. She was also angry at herself because she had absolutely no idea how to bring up how she felt in conversation with him. She didn’t want them to argue - it would be their first real argument and she wasn’t sure she wanted to be the one to start it.

Between her distance and closed mind, Vincent could tell that she was upset, though he didn’t really know why. He had apologised for not telling her about the wedding, explaining that they had been working through things and he was going to tell her as soon as things calmed down a little bit.

Vincent had ended up asking Marianne and his mother to assist Spiraea with finding a dress appropriate for the event. The two women had arrived just after breakfast and had ushered the girl out the front door with much haste.

The wedding was to be in a chapel in the human town Willsden Brooke, and the reception was to be held in Adams pack territory. Adam and Leora had sent an official invitation and stated the dress code as semi formal— they wanted to have their guest respectful for the church but not too formal for the middle of the woods.

The women had spent a good two and a half hours searching for a dress in the small boutiques within the pack. But Spiraea didn’t like the dresses that they had found.

Now that she had grown and put on more weight, her figure had begun to fill out. Her hips were slightly wider her legs were thicker and she had grown a small pudge to her stomach. She had grown a little bit more insecure with all the changes to her body.

In the end Emilia decided that a tailor made dress was probably a better idea. She offered to make the dress herself but Spiraea didn’t want to stress the woman out so they agreed to see the packs tailor.

It’s was a small shop, run by an elderly woman that the pack called Mama D’Leau and her husband Papa Bois. The building was made out of a rustic raw wood that reminded Spiraea of the homely cabin she shared with Vincent. The plaque above the door read ‘Forest Fittings and things’, everything about the place just felt so right.

“Afternoon, Afternoon.” Papa Bois greeted, his accent thick and heavy. It was the first accent Spiraea had heard, besides her own that sounded particularly foreign.

Everyone she had met had the same proper, English accent when they spoke. Even Emilia, Vincent and Ellis; though they had a slight Italian lilt, it was hidden behind the other accent. It was a breath of fresh air for the girl.

The man was relatively short in comparison to all the others she had met. He stood around 5′11, though he was still very well built despite his evidently older age.

He had minimal wrinkles on his fair skin, and his features were testament to his heritage elsewhere. His eyes were dark, nose wide, lips covered by his bushy moustache and beard. His hair had gone white, perhaps from age, but it was neatly groomed in dreadlocks that he held back with a headband.

“Mama D’Leau, come and see who we have in de shop!” He called out to his wife and mate, whilst giving the customers a big smile. There was a small string of cursing, and a sound of clattering and shuffling before the woman emerged.

She was just over 5′5, womanly in all the right placed, and just a little plump. Her greying hair fell in braids to her hips and were decorated with charms of snakes, golden beads and ribbons. Her facial features were similar to her husbands, though her eyes were lighter and lips plumper.

The woman took in Spiraea's form with a glint in her eyes before she finally spoke. “Luna, You is from the Caribbean, ent?”

Spiraea nodded, “Dominican Republic.”

Mama D’Leau grinned wide before turning to her husband. “I did tell yuh so! I say she have that dougla look.”

“Alright darling,” The man admonished, though with his accent it sounded more like ‘dalin’. “Yuh make yuh point. Yuh gonna help the girl now?”

The older woman rolled her eyes good maturely before turning back to her waiting customers. “What allyuh need?”

Emilia made quick work explaining the situation, to which the elderly couple nodded along to good naturedly.

Once she was done Mama D ’Leau took Spiraea to the back of the shop to look at fabrics and dress patterns. It didn’t take very long for Spiraea to pick out a light, emerald coloured fabric. Picking the style of the dress was a little bit more of a challenge.

Mama D’Leau let Spiraea look at a few patterns before they went back out to sit down with everyone. The elder woman had brought her sketch book and listened, as she began to put pencil to paper.

“I would prefer something that had long sleeves,” Spiraea thought out loud. “And the crossed front thing was quite nice.”

“Perhaps an ankle length dress? Vincent did say the ceremony was mid-afternoon into the evening.” Emilia suggested, and Spiraea agreed with an eager nod.

“I don’t want anything too flashy, just a normal dress is fine.” Spiraea tried to insist.

“Oh hush,” Mama D’Leau stopped her with a grandmotherly warmth. It reminded Spiraea briefly of a time long ago—a time of which her memories were of scents, and feelings. “You have good shape, something that comes in at the waist perhaps.”

The woman trailed off as she continued to sketch. Marianne peeked at the drawing, admiring the woman’s skill.

“Oh, maybe you can do cuffed sleeves,” She suggested. She traced the paper with her pale finger to demonstrate. “It would match the waist.”

“Good eye,” Mama D’Leau praised. She made the amendments before turning the sketch pad around so that everyone could see.

It was nice, simple but not too plain. It was just what the girl wanted.

“It's perfect.” She smiled gratefully at the woman. Her fingers brushing the paper gently, she was actually a tiny bit excited about the dress, even if she was still mad at Vincent.

Mama D’Leau took her measurements and instructed Spiraea to return the next day for a muslin fitting. Since she only had 5 days to make the dress, a fact she wasn’t entirely happy about, she decided they would only have enough time to fit it two or three times.

When they finally left the shop, a good two hours later Spiraea felt hugely accomplished. She wanted to run back home to Vincent and tell him everything about her day, about how excited she was for her dress.

Then she remembered she was still mad at him, so she had to hold it in.


After the dress consult, Emilia had to go straight home. She was supposed to take over baby sitting Larissa from Sean. Ellis was at the pack hospital for a consult and wouldn’t be done until late, but Vincent needed Sean for a meeting he was holding.

After being blindsided by the wedding, Vincent had made a it a point to tell Spiraea about the things that was happening so she knew about the meeting. She was grateful for Vincent including her without throwing her in too deep— they both recognised that she didn’t want to be a part of the gritty dealings of the pack and that was okay. She quote enjoyed just looking after people, talking to people, and letting them feel connected to their leaders.

Spiraea knew that Vincent was trying, and yet she was still upset. It gnawed at her stomach, slowly eating away at her. It was horrible.

Marianne could see that there was something bothering her friend, she had that look on her face, the one she had gotten used to in all the years they had know each other. So, she took the girl to a small café where they both ordered lunch and Marianne tried to pry the truth out of the smaller girl.

“So, what’s happening with you and Alpha Vincent?” Marianne wiggled her brows cheekily. “He marked you right, that’s good.”

Spiraea bit her lip, her hands playing with the rim of her coffee cup. She contemplated telling Marianne the truth— she was the only person she ever fully trusted besides Vincent, and she had always been there for her.

But she didn’t seem to have these problems with Jaxon, she probably wouldn’t understand.

“Come on Raya, what’s going on?” They playfulness left the other human girls voice, concern taking over. That was enough for Spiraea’s eyes to fill with tears.

“I’m mad at him.” She whispered, “But I don’t want to be mad at him. And I just- Yo siento loca.”

“That bad, huh?” Marianne reached over to hold one of Spiraea’s hand. She had known her friend long enough to know that whenever the Spanish came out, she felt way out of control. “Why are you mad at him?”

“I told him about my past, at Damien’s pack.”

Marianne held in a gasp, her own memories of that time surfacing. It had been beyond difficult for them both, she remembered the times that she just wanted to die to get away from it all. Her hand squeezed Spiraea’s gently.

“I’ll kick his ass myself if he-” the redhead began to sputtered heartedly before Spiraea stopped her.

“No, he said none of it mattered that he still loves me.” A small, sad smile pulled at the corner of her lips just as a single tear ran down her cheek traitorously.

“That’s a good thing right? Did you tell him about... before that?” Marianne asked cautiously. It was a part of her life that Spiraea tried not to remember, she had always had a hard time acknowledging the moment that her life really fell apart.

“Not yet,” Spiraea shook her head quickly. “I’m mad at him because he said he loved me because I was his soulmate.”

Marianne stopped, surprised. She hadn’t expected something like that to leave the girls mouth, and she could tell her friends was half embarrassed herself by the blush that she was trying to hide. A few emotions clouded Marianne before she could formulate a response, after the initial shock came confusion, realisation.

She couldn’t help but feel happy for her friend too. Even though she was upset now, Marianne knew that Spiraea had found something that was worth all the pain she had been through in the past. It would take work from them both, but Marianne had no doubt that they were made to last. Or that Spiraea was made to do, to be, exactly who she was with Vincent.

“You’re allowed to be upset, and to feel hurt. But this sounds like a misunderstanding, talk to him first before you let yourself hurt too much.” Marianne told her gently, watching her friend carefully. “You love him don’t you? It wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t.”

Spiraea stopped, her heart almost missing a beat. Was it so obvious? She hadn’t ever said it out loud, because if she did, it would be real. But even through her hurt she felt it more than ever- she couldn’t deny it neither did she want to. She wasn’t ashamed of how she felt, she just wished he loved her they way she loved him.

“I do, I love him.”

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