He told me about places he and his friends hang out at and places I should avoid because of rogues. “Why should I be worried about rogues? I am one.” He took my hand and kissed my fingers. “You’re not anymore. You didn’t know about werewolves until a day ago. Rogues are usually violent. They’re shunned by their pack because they did something to piss off the Alpha.” He continued after a while. “Werewolves don’t usually fit in around humans. We’re stronger, faster, we have heightened senses. Also we tend to lose our tempers easily. You’re a rarity. You grew up as a human, you know how to fit in. Most rogues don’t. They like to stir up trouble anytime they go to new territory. Some develop a blood lust. They kill wherever they go.”
We pulled up to Zeke’s house, my house, just as the sun was beginning to set. Derek walked me to the door. “I’m on patrol tonight. I’ll come by tomorrow.” He caressed my cheek then leaned in to kiss me. His soft lips were delicious. I couldn’t get enough. His kisses went down to my neck. He subtly licked just below my right ear, tickling me. “I think right there would be a good spot.” My hand went to the location he was now rubbing with his thumb. “Spot for what?” Derek’s eyes flashed with desire, “my mark." Although the idea of bearing his mark was intriguing, I wasn’t comfortable with it being on my neck. “Does it have to be on the neck?” Derek smiled at me. “No babe, it can be anywhere. It’s customary to be on the neck because its visible.”
My eyebrows must have creased because he touched his finger there. “What is it? Do you not want my mark?” I kissed him softly. “Of course I want your mark. I just don’t think I want it on my neck.” Derek smiled. “Where would you like it?” In that moment I got shy. Thinking of his mouth on my body made me hot all over. I looked at him through my eyelashes, “I don’t know.” Derek kissed me softly. “We'll figure it out later. I’m sorry I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He kissed my softly one more time, then headed to his house.
Zeke chose that moment to open the door. “Hey baby girl.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and kissed my head. “Hey, old man. How long were you standing there?” He pulled me inside. “Long enough. I didn’t want to interrupt you. There are some things we need to discuss.”
Zeke lead me to the same stool I sat at the first time I met everyone. “Is everything okay? Did I do something wrong?” They’re going to send me packing, just like every other family. Does Zeke want to get rid if me? “No, baby girl. Nothing like that. I just wanted to find out what your plans are. Derek hasn’t marked you yet, but very soon he will. I’m surprised he hasn’t yet. When he does, he will be the new Alpha and you will be our Luna. It’s a huge responsibility. I just want to make sure you’re aware.”
I nodded. I felt so relieved to know I didn’t have to leave. I really am part of the pack. “Allie told me yesterday. She introduced me to Luna Sabrina.” Zeke smiled. “I think you should spend some time with her. She can show you what’s expected of you.” I smiled, that did make sense. If I’m supposed to fulfill my role in the pack, I need to know what that role entails. “That is a good idea. Will she want me following her around though?” Zeke gave me a look that basically said duh! “She’s your soon to be mother-in-law, she won’t mind. I’ll make arrangements for you starting first thing tomorrow.”
“Thank you.” Zeke nodded and began pulling items out for dinner. “There’s one more thing. I want to know where you plan on living, at least until your mating ceremony?” My eyes bulged. I tried to swallow the knot in my throat, but it wouldn’t go away. I don’t have a place to stay after all. Zeke does want to get rid of me. “Baby girl, calm down. You know you are always welcome with me. You’re practically my daughter. I meant that since you have a mate, I would imagine he would want you to live with him.” Zeke came from around the counter and wrapped me in his grizzly arms. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I figured you would know by now that you’re one of my kids.” He kissed the top of my head.
I took a deep breath, well as deep as I could being crushed by a giant. I looked up to Zeke. “I’m sorry. You’re right, I should know by now. Old habits, ya know. You’ve been there for me long enough. I trust you more than anyone. It’s just that everything has happened so fast. I’ve never been so happy my whole life. I’m afraid it’s all going to get ripped away, somehow.” Zeke nodded and let me back down. He went back to fixing dinner. “So, are you staying with us or do you plan on living with Derek?”
He handed me some potatoes, a cutting board, and a knife. I washed my hands and began cutting. “Well, Derek and I haven’t talked about anything like that. We just spent time getting to know each other today. I think he gets me, he’s taking things slow.” Zeke set out a pot for the potatoes. I began filling it up. “That’s good. He’s a good one. You’ll be protected and cherished having him for a mate.”
Just then Gina and Allie walked into the kitchen carrying grocery bags. Zeke kissed Allie on the head then picked Gina up and kissed her hard. “Hey, what’s this about a mating ceremony I hear?” Gina said as soon as Zeke put her down. “Cass. She’s all about the mushy stuff.” Gina turned to me, “Would you like a ceremony? Allie and I would love to help you plan it.” Allie nodded with enthusiasm an added; “I’ll bet Luna Sabrina would want to help too.” I helped Gina put the groceries away. “Oh, yeah. We should definitely ask her to help. After all it’s her son you’re mating. So, do you want a ceremony?” Of course I did but I have no idea what Derek would say about all this. “I would, but I have to talk to Derek first. I’m seeing him tomorrow. He asked me to go with him to his Aunt’s house for dinner.”
I began mashing and seasoning the potatoes. Gina and Allie looked at each other. “What? Am I missing something?” I looked between the two of them. Ally bit her lip but explained, “Monica is… a bit odd. She’s nice, but she rarely leaves her house. It’s more of a cottage. Also, she’s Vanessa’s mom, which means Priscilla will probably be strutting around. She’s always trying to get Derek’s attention. I guarantee she’ll be there." Ugh. “Fabulous. Well maybe I should play nice. Priscilla really isn’t worth my time, but Vanessa... Derek is all I care about. He cares about his Aunt and cousin, I should too. We are going to be family after all.”
Gina put her hand on my shoulder and looked proudly at me. “Very wise. That’s exactly how a Luna should be.” Zeke started setting the table. He whistled up the stairs. “Boys, dinner.” Matt and Nate washed up at the sink. Will was no where in sight. “Where’s Will?” Zeke lead me to my seat. “He’s on patrol tonight.” The doorbell rang just as I sat down. Zeke brought the rest of the food to the table while Gina lead our guests in. Alpha Ruben and Luna Sabrina. I had about 3 seconds of shock before I took a deep breath and calmed nerves.
Zeke makes the best gravy in the world. The food was delicious, but the company was better. Alpha was the same guy that came into the diner every Sunday. I quickly realized he’s exactly who he is. There’s no guessing when it comes to Alpha. Luna Sabrina was perfectly charming and attentive. I had the pleasure of sitting next to her. She informed me that since we are to soon be family, I should call her Sabrina or mom. I prefer Sabrina, as I haven’t had a mom in 13 years, and no one could ever replace her.
Gina was excited to tell Sabrina that I wanted a mating ceremony. They began making plans right away. “Um, I’m sorry, but Derek and I haven’t had a chance to discuss if he would like a ceremony.” I politely told them. Alpha cleared his throat. “My dear, Derek would love nothing more than to have a mating ceremony. I just informed him of the conversation. He would be honored. His words exactly.” I smiled to myself. Oh, I love him. Wait, what? Could I possibly be in love after just this short time? Derek truly is my knight in shining armor.
Alpha spoke to his mate. “Would Saturday be enough time, my love? Derek would like it as soon as possible.” I felt a lump in my throat and my mouth gaped open. Sabrina took my hand. “Don’t worry, dear. We’ll have plenty of time. In pack life it’s customary to be speedy when it comes to mates. Mates are special. They are of the utmost importance and highly respected.” I looked around the table. The adults were making goo goo eyes at each other, while the twins were nodding their agreement. Even at 15 they understood. I smiled up to Sabrina and nodded. “Great. Gina and I can take care of the details. Allie, I’m sure you will be an asset as well.”
The twins cleared the dishes and quickly brought out dessert and coffee. When made our way into the living room, we continued making plans. Zeke and Alpha were discussing business, while the twins made their way to the door. “Midnight, boys.” Gina raised her eyebrow. “Yes, mom.” They spoke in unison then each kissed her cheek before leaving. I wondered what kind of mischief they were planning now. “Do you want to go dress shopping tomorrow?” Ally asked me. I could see how excited she was. “I would like that. Oh, I’m supposed to be with Derek tomorrow.” Gina waved the statement away. “Derek can see you at any time. Besides, he won’t be awake before noon. He’ll need to rest. That gives us plenty of time. Shall we say 9:30? Luna, does that work for you?” Sabrina nodded. “That would be lovely. I look forward to tomorrow.” Alpha and Sabrina said their goodbyes. Sabrina kissed my cheek and the couple left.
After cleaning up, Allie and I went to her room. Her room suited her personality perfectly. Her walls were covered in posters and artwork. She had pictures of her family scattered around the room. Her bedding, curtains and rug didn’t match, but somehow they went well together. She had a comfy looking chair with a blanket and a bookcase in the corner near the balcony.
She laid out on her bed. “This is so exciting! I can’t wait to see you in your dress.” She patted her bed inviting me to join her. I kicked off my shoes and laid out. “What are mating dresses like? Are they anything like wedding gowns?” Allie sat up and grabbed a brush. She loosened her hair. “I’m not sure. I’ve never been to a wedding, but based on movies, I would say no. They’re not those big puffy monstrosities.” I laughed at that. I understood her meaning. “But are they white?” She shrugged her shoulder. “If you want it to be. I think if I had a mating ceremony, I would pick a black and white dress. That’s a big if.”
“Do you think Dane is into this stuff?” Allie dropped her brush. “What do you mean?” I handed her brush back to her. “Dane is your mate, right? I saw the look he gave you last night. It also explains why he holds back when you’re sparring.” Allie looked far off. “I think so. I’m very attracted to him. He’s a really good guy…” I looked at her until she looked back to me. “But?” She went to her dresser. I saw her reflection in her mirror. She had a tear going down her cheek. “I think I’m going to reject him.” I stood up, “What! Why would you reject your mate?” She turned back to me and wiped at her face. “When I was younger I had an accident. Normally we heal quickly, but it left me infertile. I can’t give him a pup.”
“Have you told him? He already knows you’re his mate, at least give him the choice. Don’t reject him, it’ll crush him.” Allie shook her head. “I know he’ll want pups. I can’t take that away from him.” I couldn’t imagine what she’s going through, to know you’ll never be a mother. That is truly heart wrenching. But I couldn’t imagine rejecting my mate. Derek is everything to me and I just met him. “Allie. Your situation is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’m so sorry for your pain. But I guarantee it will be much worse if you don’t tell him. I just learned about mates and already I can’t imagine my life without Derek in it. Please, tell him.”
I could tell she was thinking about what I said. “Do your parents know?” She shook her head. “They know about my accident. They don’t know about Dane or… no one knows, but you.” She had a pleading look in her eyes. “I promise I won’t say anything, but I think you should talk to Dane. At least then he’ll know that your rejection isn’t his fault, not that it’s yours, but…” Allie smiled. “I know what you mean. You’re right. He should know why.”
Allie and I moved on to lighter subjects. We stayed talking for hours. “I decided not to go back to school,” she informed me. “Really? Why not?” By now we were both in pajamas and just relaxing. “There’s really no point in pack life anyway. Unless you’re planning on being a doctor or lawyer, you know things you have to go to school for.”
A rock hit Allie’s window making us jump. We went out on the balcony. Dane and Derek were there waiting in just basketball shorts. “We have phones you know.” Allie called down. “Derek is love sick, he wanted to see his mate.” Dane shoved his shoulder. “Aren’t you guys supposed to be on patrol?” I asked as Derek jumped up grabbed the landing and pulled himself up. “We’re on a quick break.” He stroked my face and kissed me. My hands rested on his bare chest. His solid pecks held strength and power. His heart raced under my touch. Dane jumped up just as Derek had. “Hey Ally. Sorry to be a bother. You know how mates get.” Allie pulled Dane into her room giving us privacy.
Derek pulled back to look at me. “Hi beautiful. We really are on a break. Will is on lookout right now, but we do have to get back soon. I just had to see you.” He kissed me again. No matter how many times he kissed me, it was never enough. I never wanted to stop kissing him. His tongue played with mine. My body became warm with desire, as did his. I pulled back to clear our heads. I laid my head on his chest with his arms wrapped around me. I was perfectly content in his arms. “I’m going with your mother in the morning to pick out a dress.” He rubbed his hand up and down my back. “I know. I cant wait to see you at our ceremony. You’re already gorgeous, but that body in a dress.“ He whistled at me. I chuckled. “I don’t know anything about mating ceremonies or dresses. Don’t get your hopes up too high.” He chuckled.
“It’s okay Allie. It doesn’t matter to me.” I heard Dane whisper. She shushed him and they continued their conversation. “You know, I think you’re right about them. I started noticing subtle hints.” Derek told me. I just nodded. I hope she’s telling him about her condition. Derek lifted my chin and kissed me again. “I won’t accept that, Allie." Dane strode through the balcony and jumped down. He tore off into the woods without another word. “I guess I better go. Bye, babe.” Derek pecked my lips and jumped, following after his enforcer.
When I walked back into the room Allie was crying on her bed. “Allie, are you alright?” She wiped her tears. “I told him. Everything. He’s mad that I want to reject him. He still wants me. He even kissed me. My first kiss.” I gave her a tissue. “Isn’t that a good thing?” She blew her nose. “I don’t know. It felt right kissing him, but I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m sorry, but I want to be alone right now.” I nodded and headed for the door. “Good night Cass. I’m really glad you’re here.” I smiled. “Good night, Allie.” I went to my room and got ready for bed. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.