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I don’t know how long we have been laying beside the lake. Aurora is laid with her head against her paws with Ryder resting his head on top of hers.

"Ryder wants to meet you," Rhydian commented through our link.

He wants to meet me? Why would he want to meet me?

We’re his mate. He’s met me, now he wants to meet you.′ Aurora whined.

Suppose so...′ I groaned as Aurora moved her head slightly making Ryder grunt.

"Make sure he stays where he is," I warned Rhydian through our link.

Ryder sat on the ground, keeping his eyes glued on us. Aurora crouched low and we began the shift. The sounds of bones cracking and snapping filled the air. My bones snapped back into my human form as the fur disappeared.

I kneeled in front of him, waiting for him to come to me. He stood up and wandered over cautiously. He stopped maybe a foot in front of me, sat down and just watched me.

When neither of us attempted to move, Ryder laid in front of me, resting his head on his paws. I giggled and sat on the floor. “You aren’t going to come to me, are you?” I chuckled.

He lifted his head slightly, tilting it, giving me a sort of smile... well as much of a smile a wolf can do.

"He’s not going to hurt you," Rhydian spoke calmly through the link. I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath.

He’s our mate, you can go to him.

I guess I’m going to have to trust him... I sighed then crawled towards him carefully. I kneeled in front of him, slowly reaching my hand up and hovering it over his head.

He tilted his head slightly as if giving me permission. I rested my hand on the side of his head, the shocks spreading through my body were so intense, I pulled my hand away and gasped.

"I felt it too," Rhydian whispered through the link. I rolled my eyes then placed my palm on the top of Ryder’s head. He leaned into my touch, letting out a satisfied growl.

I brushed my fingers against his fur, he was so soft. “You’re beautiful.” I cooed rubbing my fingers through his fur.

I sat back on my knees as Ryder placed his head on my lap, nuzzling my stomach. I giggled and ruffled his fur with both hands.

“I don’t know if you’re my mate, I don’t know if I could ever trust you,” I whispered, leaning my head forward and placing my forehead on his head.

"I don’t know what happened to you but I promise, you can trust me." Rhydian declared through our link as Ryder whined.

I took a deep breath then sighed. ”I’m going back. Are you coming?" I asked Rhydian through our link.

The conversation was turning drastically and I wasn’t in the right headspace to have this talk. I needed sleep if I’m going to tell everyone tomorrow.

Ryder stood up then licked the side of my face. I giggled, wiping my face. “I guess you’re ready to go back too?” I chuckled, scratching behind his ear. He let out a playful growl and jumped back. I chuckled, standing up.

Did he even ask my name?′ Aurora grumpily asked.

“My wolf isn’t happy with you.” I playfully scolded, pointing my finger at him. Ryder cocked his head to the side, ”Why?" Rhydian asked, confused.

“You never asked what my wolf’s name is.” I sighed, speaking out loud. “She’s a little dramatic.” I rolled my eyes, chuckling. I heard Rhydian laugh through the link and my heart fluttered a little. His laugh is like music to my ears, I could listen to it on repeat.

"That’s because I knew her name already... Aurora." Rhydian chuckled through the link.

I need to get out of here. His laugh is affecting me more than I’d care to admit. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my breathing as Ryder stuck his snout in the air and inhaled deeply. His eyes burned a brighter blue and he let out a deep growl.

I scrunched my eyes together at him, “Why are you growling at me?” I scowled.

You’re sexually attracted to him.′ Aurora purred. ′He can smell it.

Well, that’s fucking embarrassing. I shook my head and took a step back. What is going on with me? I need to get far away from him. I spun on my heel to leave and Ryder whined. I turned my head, staring at him.

"Where are you going?" Rhydian asked through the link.

“I’m going home. I’m hungry and tired.” I replied, staring at Ryder.

"Can I walk you?" He asked again through the link. Ryder’s ears pricked up and he looked hopeful. I chuckled and raised a brow at him, “Do you mean, can Ryder walk me?” I retorted.

Ryder huffed, turned and sauntered off towards the trees. I watched as he disappeared behind a tree. The sounds of bones snapping filled the air and I spun around. “You’re not walking me home naked,” I shrilled.

“There are spare clothes everywhere for these situations,” Rhydian yelled back. I chuckled, turning around. Rhydian came out from behind the tree, grinning at me, “Not everyone can shift back fully clothed.” He sighed.

He strolled towards me, stopping in his tracks “I’d like to know why you can shift back fully clothed.” He suggested, staring at me intensively. I nodded nervously then took a deep breath. “So, can I walk you home?” He beamed at me. I rolled my eyes as he chuckled at me. I turned, starting to walk... “Aren’t you coming?” I asked, glancing over my shoulder at him.

He grinned at me then jogged towards me. We walked home in silence, it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence either. It was like no words needed to be said at that moment. I felt an odd calmness around him, much more than the other mate bonds I’ve gone through.

Because he’s our true mate, Amaris. Tell him everything.′ I sighed, blocking Aurora out. I would tell him everything and if he’s tricking me I should be able to tell.

“Can we still have that talk tomorrow?” Rhydian questioned, breaking the silence. My breath caught in my throat and I nodded my head.

“We need to start being honest with each other.” Rhydian sighed as he stopped. He tugged my arm gently, forcing me to face him.

I stared at him blankly. “I know you feel this between us.” He said in a stern voice. I opened my mouth to protest and he quickly placed his finger on my lips, shutting me up. I huffed but kept my mouth shut. I wrapped my arms around myself protectively, pouted and waited for him to carry on.

“I need to be honest with you... There's something I should have told you when you got here.” He said in a hushed voice. It was so quiet, I could have imagined it... But I didn’t. His eyes held an emotion I couldn’t decipher.





Regret plastered all over his face.

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