With Hands to Hold

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31

“The last thing I want or need is a pack war.” Vincent tried to keep his tone steady as he rebutted Killian’s suggestion to challenge Damien. “I will not have good wolves, good men, risked callously to take out a mad man.”

“Besides, if any of us were to challenge him, the winner would be in charge of two packs not just one.” Renee pointed out cautiously, speaking up for the first time during the meeting. “I don’t think any of us have the capability to take care of two packs, far less for the consequences if Damien were to win.”

The other Alpha’s recanted, pausing as they realised that Renee was right. No Alpha could care for a pack that big, the pack structure would crumble or there would be wolves suffering in poverty as a direct result. Neither were acceptable. Not to mention the unthinkable, if Renee was right and Alpha Damien was able to win the challenge then it could be a recipe for disaster. Who knows how many more would suffer his cruelty? Who knows what ideas it would put into his head after conquering another pack?

It was too dangerous to risk.

“Vincent, didn’t your mate and her friend mention that the pack was internally compromised?” Adam thought aloud, his hand scratching his chin in thought. Vincent nodded in agreement spurring Adam on to continue. “If the pack is already dissatisfied, maybe we don’t need to start war. Maybe we just need to help them stage a coup somehow.”

“But how do you rebel against a leader that isn’t yours?” Vincent scrunched his brows in frustration. For all the progress that they made, is seemed that 10 more problems would come up. He was slowly growing a headache, and his heart ached to see his mate. “Not to mention ensuring the safety of the pack members of a pack that again, are not our pack.”

Silence descended, the frustration piled into the room. All Vincent could really think about was how much he needed a run, to have his mate in their bed- or maybe they wouldn’t even get to the bed- just to get rid of the stress on his shoulders.

“Give them hope.” Sebastian spouted suddenly, Vincent could’ve sworn he could practically see the lightbulb switch on above his head. “I mentioned it before at Adam’s wedding, I can’t believe I forgot! There’s been rumours of a rogue in the north, a rogue who is supposedly the rightful Alpha to Damien’s territory.”

“You want to risk everything on a few rumours, cousin?” Killian raised an incredulous brow, he thought the idea was rather far fetched. It wasn’t as if he didn’t think the plan had merit, but he felt that it would be better to put energy elsewhere. “Vincent, I know you said that you don’t want to risk war, but if there is no other solution, you need to be ready for a war.”

“Of course,” Vincent acknowledged. It had always been his intention, he never wanted to be caught off guard in the slightest. But he would also pursue every bloodless option that he could too. “But I want to make sure that avoided war at every cost, even if it means chasing rumours.”

“We can spare as many men as you need for this,” Jaxon informed his Alpha. He was somewhat glad that his Alpha was searching out other means to resolve this conflict, now that Marianne was pregnant he was rather reluctant to have to lead any wars.

“I will find him myself.” Vincent spoke, determination coloured his tone. “Nothing more than a small team, we wait for Sebastian’s information before making any real plans. We will sort the details later. For now, as Killian rightly suggested, the pack needs to be ready for a war just in case. Make sure that if that happens, we are ready.”

“Yes Alpha.”

“I admire you desire to avoid conflict,” Killian complimented Vincent’s diligence. It was an improvement from the usually hot-headed male that he was.

Adam smiled, he knew it probably had something to do with his mate; especially the state she had been in when Vincent first found her. It wouldn’t surprise the man if his friend never wanted to part with the small girl. He felt the same way about Leora, even being away from her now made his heart clench painfully.

Killian’s voice cut of Alpha Adam’s trail of thought as he continued to speak. “If you need them, my pack will glad stand by yours.”

“As will mine,” Adam smiled, never once hesitating.

Renee hesitated, she was the only female Alpha amongst them which made her ever more cautious. She knew that they could all be trusted, but that wasn’t her worry. She knew that she had men back at her pack that questioned her leadership, declaring war would not go over well with them. But she knew that as a united front, it would be a benefit to them all, and she would be a part of it if a situation arose. She just hoped that Vincent really was able to find this Rogue Alpha that Sebastian had mentioned. “You have my support too.”

Sebastian nodded adding his own confirmation of support, before pulling out his phone to send a message to his Beta. He needed to gather as much information about the mysterious Rogue Alpha since Vincent was treating it as a proper lead.

They discussed a few more details, training, tactics. Anything and everything that could’ve happened they were diligent to plan for it. Sean, Fletcher and Jaxon were very helpful in providing insight and making preparations. Sebastian made sure to tell Vincent that he would have all the information that he had sent over as soon as he could manage it, to which Vincent was beyond grateful.

All in all, the meeting itself didn’t last much longer, they all closed after an hour and a half.

When Vincent opened the door to his office, Spiraea was walking up to the door as if to wait for him. He smiled to her, the girl instantly coming to stand beside him, his arm wrapping securely around her waist protectively.

“Perfect timing, little one.” He praised her gently, kissing her forehead in welcome. “Our meeting is finished, the Alphas are about to leave.”

“Are none going to at least stay the evening?”

“Not this time, little one.” Vincent smiled softly, he could see the Luna within her wanting to provide them all with warm hospitality. “They all have reasons to want to be back home as soon as possible.”

“Oh,” Spiraea relented. She walked with Vincent all the way outside and stayed by his side. The two saw off the other Alphas, wishing each one a safe journey, a wish to see them again, and an open invitation to their territory if so ever they needed or wanted to return.


After the Alphas left, Vincent and Spiraea went home. Spiraea was about to start making dinner when Vincent got a call from Emilia, inviting the couple over for dinner. She had gone overboard with the carbonara that she had made and she wanted to see her son and his mate.

Vincent accepted before hanging up the phone- it would be good for Spiraea to get a rest for once, plus he knew they had to tell his family about the ceremony. There was also a part of him that smiled in memory at his mothers carbonara, after a long day it was just the comfort food that both he and his mate needed.

Spiraea went upstairs, taking a quick shower whilst Vincent gave the kitchen and living room a quick clean. He put away the clean dishes, swept the floor, and wiped down all the counter tops. Once he heard the sound of the shower stop, he trudged up the stairs pausing to peek into the bedroom at his half naked mate.

He couldn’t help but furrow his brows in concern as he watched her. She stood in front of the large, full length mirror dressed only in her underwear watching her reflection carefully. Her small hands caressed her stomach gently, a wistful expression plastered onto her features.

He didn’t want to make her feel as though he was spying, so instead he went straight into the bathroom for a shower. He took a short one, hoping to the Goddess that Spiraea had put on some more clothes- goddess knew that he would end up going to dinner with a raging hard on if she hadn’t.

He dried off, wrapping his towel around his waist before heading into the bedroom. Spiraea was still in her underwear, searching through her closet with a frown. Her eyes were somewhat blank as if she wasn’t entirely focused on what was in front of her, her thoughts were elsewhere.

The man quickly pulled on a pair of boxers before creeping up behind his mate to hug her from behind. He forced himself to focus on her, ignoring the fact that she was in very thin, lace underwear that he could have off her in mere seconds.

“Did something happen with Marianne?” He kissed her temple gently. He lifted her gently, perching himself on the edge of their bed and placed her on his lap. “What’s on your mind, little one?”

“No! I mean,” Spiraea sighed trying to think long enough to make a proper sentence. “Marianne told me she’s pregnant.”

Spiraea sucked in a breath, she could feel Vincents own brief intake of breath. She couldn’t bare to look at him as she spoke, her emotions in a complete whirlwind.

“I’m happy for her, I truly am.” She insisted, her teeth gnawing at her lip gently.

She was happy for her friend, beyond happy for her. It was amazing news and she was happy, but she also felt guilty for the other things that she felt too.

She couldn’t deny that she felt the sharp stab of sadness, but it was more than that. She felt envious too. She felt like a horrible friend, how could could she feel that way towards her best friend?!

“Baby, you can be happy for your friend and still feel sad for yourself.” Vincent told her gently, as if reading her mind. His thumbs brushed her cheeks gently, wiping away tears that she hadn’t realised she had let go.

Just hearing him say that it was okay, that she wasn’t a terrible friend made her feel a little bit better. Spiraea shook her head, wiping her tears furiously.

“I’m sorry,” She mumbled. “I just thought that I’d be over this by now.”

“Hey, this isn’t something you just get over. You’re allowed to hurt, it’s your body.” Vincent hugged her to him, stroking her hair gently as she cried gently.

“We’re going to be late for dinner,” She spoke once her sobs had calmed to small hiccups.

“Right, we should hurry.” Vincent agreed but he didn’t move, his hands just continued stroking her back in a comforting manner. “After all, we have to tell my family about the ceremony, and us adopting Max.”

Spiraea’s head whipped up to face him, her sadness forgotten as she looked at him in surprise, confusion and delight.

“But you said—” She spluttered. “I thought you didn’t want to adopt him?”

“Of course I did, baby.” Vincent corrected her, suddenly upset with himself that they hadn’t had this conversation sooner. “I just think we need to sort the house out first, y’know baby proofing and all that stuff before we bring a baby into it.”

“But you want to adopt Max?”

“I want to adopt Max.”

Spiraea squealed, hugging Vincent tightly before kissing his lips. Once, twice then a third time.

“Wait.” She stopped her excitement short to look at him seriously. “You’re not just saying this because I was upset right? Because if you—”

Vincent cut her off with a kiss, tasting her gently. He nipped and sucked at her lips before pulling back, just a hairs breath away to murmur against her swollen lips. “I’m serious baby.”

The his lips were back on hers, kissing her. His lips moved against hers slowly, with precision like he knew every inch of her.

Spiraea moaned against him, his kiss sparking a fire within her at the delicious contact. Part of her was tempted to take it further but she was beginning to grow hungry and knew that they were expected for dinner soon.

“We have to get ready for dinner.” She forced herself to pull away, getting off of his lap and going back over to the wardrobe to pick out an outfit.

Vincent grumbled slightly, he would definitely be sporting a hard on, but he complied nonetheless. It took them both a total of 10 minutes to get dressed. Spiraea had picked out a pair of opaque white tights and a powder blue, vintage styled summer dress. Once Vincent managed to tear his eyes away from his beautiful mate, he managed to put on a pair of dark washed jeans, and a clean blue shirt that unwittingly matched Spiraea's dress.

The two slipped on shoes and headed out the door, walking hand in hand the short distance to Sean and Emilia’s home.

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