With Hands to Hold

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05

After Spiraea had spent a few short moments looking around the beautiful room, she sat at the edge of her bed just taking everything in. A part of her had expected the Alpha male to come storming back into the room laughing, telling her that it was all just a cruel joke. But he didn’t.

She didn’t think she’d ever get used to this, he had been so generous- in the short time that she had spent with him, he had shown her more kindness than she had ever seen in her entire life. Even though she wasn’t entirely sure how to deal with so much good, the girl knew that she liked it very much.

She looked around the room once more loving everything about it. It’s wooden furnishings, with soft green accents. The curtains were a pale green too matching the white carpeted rug on the floor.

She found bottles of creams, perfumes, soaps and hair products lined neatly on one of the dressers. A chair to the left had a neatly folded cream coloured towel, loofah and fluffy bathrobe sat on it.

The room itself smelled light and floral, a mix between red berry’s and rose petals. It was so relaxing to her senses, she had never experienced anything like it before.

Everything about the room was different to the space downstairs- it was more put together, more soft and feminine, as if it had actually been designed with her in mind. The thought alone made her love it even more.

Even her human ears could hear Vincent shuffling around the kitchen. She took the opportunity to creep over the room Vincent had named the bathroom, carrying with her the items in the chair and some soaps.

During her time in Damien's pack, she had only been allowed the luxury of a shower once every week. A limitation of being a werewolf and having enhanced senses meant that they couldn’t tolerate the smell of an unhygienic human for very long.

The bathroom was a mix of wood and porcelain. It was also surprisingly clean considering an Alpha lived here. The bathtub was quite large, bottles of men’s body wash and shampoo sitting on its lip. The other thing that surprised the girl was how coordinated it seemed, with its albeit rather ugly colours. The shower curtain was a patchwork of burgundy and grey whilst the mats were lavender. Nothing seemed to match, and honestly, Spiraea’s fingers twitched with the want to fix it.

Once the warm spray of water hit her skin, the girl let out a short sigh, it was comforting and refreshing to have a chance to really feel clean again. It felt so nice that Spiraea was tempted to stay under the steaming water forever. The shower gel was vibrant in both colour and smell- a mix of hibiscus flowers and honey, and the girl very much enjoyed watching it lather on her skin.

As much as she wished that she could, Spiraea knew she would have to hurry up. She didn’t want to keep Vincent waiting, hew was quite obviously an impatient man and she didn’t want to irritate him. He still hadn’t really become angry at her yet, and she didn’t want to ruin that yet- especially when she felt like she was beginning to feel used to his company.

She quickly hopped out, drying and dressing herself as quickly as she could. She had put on a night dress- one of the few she had with her, she didn’t have much else to wear. Considering her primary function in Damien’s pack, it was really no surprise that she didn’t have much real clothes.

After a short thought she decided to pull the robe over the tiny, sheer gown. After Vincent’s reaction to seeing her like that before in Alpha Adam’s pack, it was probably best if she covered up as much as possible.

She walked to the door, catching her reflection in the mirror to the left of the door. She had rarely seen her reflection before, and if she had, she had never had the time to study it like she did now.

She took in her bronze skin, her curly hair, brown eyes, very slope and angle of her face. Her palms traced the sides of her body, running down her figure to rest lightly on her hips. The girl felt strange, almost as if the reflection staring back at her seemed wrong somehow.

There wasn’t much to really look at- she was malnourished, with very little- if any- feminine wiles. The most she had going for her were her hips, which on her small frame looked rather wide. She could thank her parents for at least that, a precursor to her own Dominican descent.

She didn’t understand how Vincent could ever be paired with someone like her. She had seen some female wolves in both Damien’s and Adam’s pack, there was no way she could compete with that kind of beauty. Perhaps she could have been beautiful, if both time and experience hadn’t been so cruel.

The girl let out a sigh, the small spell she had cast over herself breaking with her melancholy thoughts. She would not let herself get swept away on the tide of depression tonight, instead she would focus on the present where she was about to have dinner with an Alpha male. An Alpha male who insists that she is his soul mate.

She quickly tied her dressing gown, before scurrying out of the bathroom and headed downstairs. She followed the ominous sound of swearing and slight clattering into the kitchen where Vincent stood, emptying a pot into the bin. His cross expression set of a flurry of nerves in the girls stomach which only intensified when he looked up at her.

His features softened at seeing her but his frustration was still evident, though it was aimed at his own incompetence than anything else. The man took in his little mate standing in the doorway, a small smile stretching across his lips. She looked both refreshed and comfortable and the pure sight of it was beautiful.

“I’m sorry little one, I tried to cook something but unfortunately I’m not much of a chef.” Vincent spoke, his cheeks tinged a light pink as he rubbed his neck uncomfortably.

Spiraea bit her lip lightly as she shifted from one foot to the other, both nervous under Vincents watchful gaze and wanting to take over his place. If there was anything that she was good at, and that she quite enjoyed, it was cooking.

“C-c-could I...?” Spiraea trailed off, pointing meekly to behind the island countertop where the stove was. As much as he had insisted on her acting like she was his equal, it would take some getting used to. It had been ingrained in her to acknowledge her superiors, she didn’t know if she would be able to break such a well trained habit.

Vincent was pleasantly surprised that she had decided to speak, he wanted nothing more than for her to feel at home with him, in their house. “Of course, you don’t have to ask Spiraea everything here is as much yours as it is mine.”

The girl moved cautiously over to the small kitchen area, she could feel his gaze on her. She first did some minor investigation, opening cupboards and looking in the fridge so see what was available to her. With some help from Vincent she was able to get all the ingredients she needed for a simple meal of rice, beans and stewed meat.

Vincent sat at one of the stools on the island, watching as the girl bustled around the kitchen expertly. It was as if she had lived there all her life. Something about her just seemed to come to life when she started to cook, she seemed to be happy.

Vincent decided, as she looked so at ease stirring away at a pot, that he would try to initiate a conversation. Perhaps in her relaxed state, she would not over think their interaction.

He took a deep breath, the meaty scent of spiced stewed meat filling his senses at the pot began bubbling away.

“That smells amazing! Where did you learn to cook?” Vincent asked, his palm resting on his cheek as he continued to watch her.

He was absolutely mesmerised by the sprite, he just couldn’t keep his eyes off her, just the way she moved was enchanting. It was refreshing to see her do something without asking for approval first- perhaps one day she would be able to live her entire life that way.

“Mi papa used to cook, he teach me everything.” Spiraea replied, her accent strengthening on the word ‘papa’. With her mind focused on managing the food, she didn’t have much room to concentrate on her nerves.

“I love your accent,” the man compliment. He was so enamoured by the sound of her voice, he would listen to it all day if he could. He vowed to himself then and there that he would try to get her to speak every single day, just so that he could hear the sweet Spanish coated words. “Where are you originally from?”

“I was born and mostly grow up in Venezuela,” Spiraea spoke. For the most part she had enjoyed her childhood, it was perfect- up until her father died. Then everything seemed to fall apart. Just thinking about it was enough to leave a bitter taste in her mouth.

“So, when did you decide to move to the UK?” Vincent asked curiously, not realising he had hit a sore spot for the girl. It wasn’t his intention to bring up any of her traumatic life experiences he simply wanted to know more about her, nonetheless, his question dug up memories the girl had tried to train herself to forget.

In her mind, Spiraea knew that the man across from her did not know the depths of the box he had opened. She also knew that it was a huge weak point for her, one that she had only spoken about with Marianne- she didn’t know if she was ready to talk about it with anyone else. As much as her body felt comfortable around this man, she still felt a great degree of vulnerability and she did not want to willingly increase that feeling.

So instead of answering his question, she simply focused on chopping some fresh coriander for one of the pots. She could tell he was waiting for her to say something, so to appease him she uttered a vague: “I didn’t.”

The Alpha immediately took the hint and decided, much to the girls relief, not to broach the topic again. Instead he tried to steer the conversation away, to something far less intrusive but still equally uncomfortable to the girl- them.

“Do you like your room?” The man immediately cringed as the words left his mouth. It was stupid, and he felt ridiculously awkward- was this how it was supposed to be between mates? He’d have to ask his father.

Vincent wasn’t one for conversation, so trying to make things better for both him and his mate was something he was admittedly struggling with. He wasn’t used to feeling awkward, and most times he could ignore the feeling. However, the silence between them, ( that was remarkably intensified by the emptiness of the house), made him want to acknowledge their bond.

“Yes it is really nice.” The girl nodded, her attention more on the pot of rice that was ready to be strained. With a little bit of difficulty she tried to move the pot, she didn’t get very far before Vincent had taken over straining the water out of the pot and placing it back down.

“I’m glad you like it,” he told her sincerely as he reached for two plates in one of the higher cupboards. “This is your home now and I want you to feel safe here.”

His intense stare burned into hers, their eyes meeting in an unflinching battle. Brown to green. Spiraea almost felt like she was melting under the heat of his gaze. She couldn’t help herself, she just had to avert her eyes. It felt as if she had been pinned down by that look for what felt like forever, but in reality was nothing short of a few seconds.

Her cheeks felt hot, in what was quite possibly, her first real blush. His endearment was something that, though uncomfortable, was still incredibly heart-warming to her. That feeling that she had had when she first saw the cottage came back again, like if something about the place- about him- was just right somehow.

Though Vincent didn’t like the fact that she had looked away, he could sense a great deal of her embarrassment so decided not to act on his impulses. He stood behind her, watching as she finished the beans and the stew, switching off the stove completely.

She dished him up a plate filled with the delicious smelling meal before she decided to clean. In her time in Damien’s pack, she hadn’t been allowed to eat the food she prepared, especially not with the pack so the thought of preparing her own plate hadn’t even crossed her mind.

Once Vincent realised, he immediately sat her down on one of the stools at the counter before fixing her a plate himself. It both saddened and angered him to think that she had been neglected so much that she didn’t even think that she could eat.

Spiraea was surprised. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been allowed to sit down and eat a proper hearty meal like this one. A small salty tear sneaked past her lashes to slide down her cheek with her first spoonful of the food.

This was a huge moment for her. A part of her knew how sad it was, that for the first time in 7 years she was finally having her first taste of a real, substantial meal. She had only ever had scraps before.

She had only been with Vincent for a few days but already he had given her so much. A room she could call her own, the freedom to cook, the privilege to eat. Already she knew that her time with him would only be filled with more new and tumultuous experiences.

If the girl was being entirely honest with herself, the idea was terrifying. The good kind of terrifying, like the anticipation one feels when sitting at the top of a really high roller coaster waiting for the fall. And for the first time in her life, Spiraea was excited for the fall.

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