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I stood in the doorway and watched everyone as their smiles brightened when they realised it was us. “Is everything ok?” Georgie asked. I haven’t seen her in ages, she’s a nurse in the pack hospital so I know she’s always busy. I nodded my head and stepped further into the room, Rhydian grabbed my hand and ran his thumb over my knuckles. I took a deep breath before I spoke, trying to gather all the courage I could.

“We have an announcement,” I started, “We already know you’re mates.” Ezra quipped, grinning at us. I chuckled and rolled my eyes, “Well that much is obvious.” I retorted. “Cory is coming to live with us,” Rhydian announced, nothing like ripping the bandaid off. There was no sound, no gasps, nothing. I looked around the room and everyone had smiles on their faces. “I knew this was coming.” Tristan chuckled. I raised my brow at him, “You can see the bond you both have with him. It’s a strong one.” He mentioned.

Ria came running towards me and wrapped her arms around me. “I’m so happy for you. You’ll make an amazing mum.” She gushed. I shook my head and pushed her away, “No, no. I’m not being his mum, more like a friend.” I explained. “Girl, you’ll be like his mum.” She deadpanned. I groaned and decided against arguing with her. She stepped forward and leaned her head close to my ear, “I need the details of yours and Rhydian’s mating.” She whispered. Everyone coughed and made repulsive noises. I rolled my eyes and shoved her away laughing.

“It’ll have to wait though,” She sighed dramatically, “I’m swapping with Elijah tomorrow so he can come home and Lucas can stop acting like a spoiled pup.” She goaded, sticking her tongue out at Lucas. Alex was stood in the corner being overly quiet. I made my way over to him as everyone started talking about pack business. “Are you ok?” I asked. He glanced at me and shook his head. I grabbed his arm and slipped out of the door leading to the kitchen, dragging him with me.

I took him outside and we sat down on the patio steps. “What’s up?” I asked, linking my arm through his. “I’ve been thinking about what you said.” He replied sighing. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.” I sighed. He shook his head and turned to me. “No, I’m glad you did. I think deep down I knew something was going on but I trusted them well, I trusted mum.” He whispered. “I need to leave.” He sniffled.

“What?” I choked. “No, you can’t leave me. You only just came back.” I panicked. “It won’t be forever, I want to see if I can find my mate.” He bleated. I sighed, I can understand that. As much as I don’t want him to go, I can’t make him stay, just for me. He needs to go off and find himself again. He needs his other half, I didn’t realise how sad and lonely I was before I found Rhydian.

“I understand.” I whimpered. “You do?” He asked, his voice laced with hope. I nodded and smiled sadly at him, “You deserve to find your happiness.” I sniffled as the tears were falling slowly. He wrapped his arms around my back and pulled me against him. “I promise I’ll come back.” He promised, stroking my back. “When I come back I expect you to be the Luna.” He declared. I chuckled and pulled back.

“So, you don’t want to be Alpha?” I questioned. He shook his head and chuckled, “Hell no. I saw Lucas nearly lose it being Alpha for a few days. I’m good,” He chuckled. I let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding in. “You’re this packs rightful Alpha, Amaris.” He smiled, I shook my head. “Technically you are,” I smirked. He grimaced and shook his head. I chuckled and rested my head on his shoulder. “When are you leaving?” I asked.

He sighed heavily and rested his head on mine. “Tonight.” He whispered. I nodded, not trusting my voice. “We’ll keep in touch though, I’ve just got you back, I’m not losing you again.” He exclaimed. I nodded and sighed. ”You disappeared on me... Everything ok?" Rhydian asked. I chuckled out loud and Alex looked at me, “What’s up?” He raised his brow. “Rhydian’s looking for me,” I replied with a smile. He nodded and dragged me up.

“Let’s deliver you back to your mate before his Dark Wolf comes out to play.” He joshed. I laughed and stepped back onto the patio. “I still can’t believe he’s a Dark Wolf now. That wasn’t in the diary was it?” I asked. He shrugged, “I don’t know. We only read a little bit.” He answered. “But, you seem stronger than Imran. He only had one power, you have 3.” He stated proudly.

I nodded as we entered the kitchen. “I’m gonna slip out now and leave. I can’t deal with the goodbyes, will you tell them?” He asked, glancing at the floor. “What do you mean goodbyes?” I spun around to see Lucas stood by the door. Oh, this isn’t going to go down well. “At least say goodbye to him,” I muttered. I leaned up on my tiptoes and planted a big kiss on his cheek. “I love you, Mari.” He expressed, I hummed in response and went over to Lucas. I stopped next to him, “Make sure you listen to him and don’t go off on one.” I warned. He furrowed his brows at me as I went back into the living area.

“You ready to go, my love?” Rhydian wrapped his arms around my waist from behind, startling me. “I won’t be if you give me a heart attack.” I panted, holding my hand over my heart. He chuckled deep and kissed my cheek. “Sorry, beautiful.”

I blushed and leaned into his touch. Tristan and Georgie were looking at us in awe and smiled at me. I said goodnight to everyone as I went to leave, Lucas came back into the living area sobbing. “Wait.” I blurted to Rhydian and rushed towards Lucas, throwing my arms around his neck. “You know he has to right?” I asked. He nodded his head and sobbed on my shoulder. “What’s wrong?” Tristan asked, grabbing Lucas from my arms and bringing him into his embrace.

“I was going to leave without saying anything but I couldn’t do it,” Alex announced as he stepped around the corner. “You’re leaving?” Tristan choked. Alex nodded sadly. Ria walked up to Alex and wrapped her arms around his waist, “I’m sorry we didn’t get to spend that much time together. But I’m so glad you’re back and if you ever need anything, I’m here.” She uttered, squeezing Alex. He nodded and hugged her back. “I love you all, but I’m going to make the run to The Moon Lake Pack so Elijah can come straight here. Lucas is gonna need him.” She revealed. “Drew is on his way here with Elijah now. You can drive back with Drew.” Rhydian said, glancing at Ria.

She nodded and made her way out of the packhouse. Alex walked up to Tristan and Lucas and wrapped his arms around both of them. “Thank you both for looking after Amaris.” He whispered. “I’ll come back. This isn’t forever.” He declared. Tristan nodded as a single tear escaped his eye, he quickly wiped it away. He came over to Rhydian and placed his hands on his shoulders. “You’ll always be my anchor, man. Thank you for what you did all those years ago, I remember everything from that night.” He choked. “I’ll never forget what you did.” He added. He pulled Rhydian into a hug and started crying. “Look after her, please.” He whimpered. “You don’t even have to ask.” Rhydian returned, hugging him just as hard.

Alex stepped away and stood in front of me. “Practice bringing your wolf forward, you’ll master it in no time. Practice your abilities too.” He insisted. I nodded and wiped my eyes before any tears could fall. “Be happy, Amaris. You deserve it.” He breathed. “I will.” I croaked. He gave me a quick kiss on my cheek before turning and leaving. Rhydian wrapped his arm around my shoulder and nodded at Tristan who was still consoling a sobbing Lucas. Tristan nodded back and brought Lucas down to sit on the sofa with him.

We left the packhouse and I broke down as I saw Alex shift into his wolf and run along the road towards the forest. We reached my house and Rhydian pushed open the door, he led me up to the bedroom. “Shower or bed?” He questioned, holding me close to him. I yawned, “Bed it is.” He decided as he walked me towards the bed. I stripped out of Rhydian’s clothes and crawled into bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I started succumbing to sleep. I barely registered Rhydian climbing in next to me and pulling me against him.

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