Chapter Twenty Eight
The journey to Caleb’s house was painful, my anxiety was erupting in my stomach like I’ve never experienced before. I attempted to keep my breathing quiet as I kept skipping breaths. I notice that Ava glances over at me a few times to check that I’m okay, she offers a small smile each time and it makes me feel somewhat calmer.
But in reality my head felt like a whirlwind.
My vision swirled the closer we got to their house, nausea creeping up my throat and making me feel like I was going to throw up everywhere. My fists clench letting my finger nails dig into my palms, the sharpness almost distracting me.
When we pull up I let my hands go and reveal moon shaped prints in my palms, red and sore. Fuck. I curse in my head.
My hands shake as I open the car door and trail behind everyone else up to the front door. I felt like I was pulling a thousand kilos of cement behind me, every step harder than the last. I didn’t want to be here, I just wanted to be alone. I couldn’t bare to see him right now everything was too raw for my emotions and mental state.
When we get through the door Caleb and his pack are standing in the kitchen, a buzz of conversation amongst them.
The second my eyes lay on Caleb I stop right in my tracks and my breath gets caught in my throat. He was wearing a black shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. His perfectly inked skin on show and his muscular body carved through the fabric.
Ava places her hand on my back which makes me jump, she smiles at me. “You okay?” She asks gently.
I swallow harshly and nod at her words. “I guess,” I breathe out.
Her fingers wrap around my arm and she squeezes softly. “I got you,” she whispers back.
I nod again and my eyes dart to the floor, I can hear Caleb’s pack greet ours. Jaxon’s laugher booms through the room as he says hello to Caleb, I can barely look at them.
Ava doesn’t leave my side which comforts me and mentally I’m extremely grateful.
Chatter continues for a few moments and I force smiles at everyone to not seem rude. I don’t dare say a word because I’m not sure what would come out my mouth, so I just stay silent.
“Okay thanks for coming guys,” Caleb’s voice echoes through the kitchen, my body shudders and Ava notices.
I can’t look at her, I can’t look at anyone. My bottom lip slips in between my teeth and I bite down.
“You’re probably wondering why I needed you all here,” he starts. “But I need to tell you all something.”
I felt sick again. A million scenarios run through my head. He’s probably going to say that he’s got to move their pack away because of his dad, or that his dads arranged for him to marry someone. Fuck. My heart shatters in my chest.
I knew I told him I needed time but if he was going to tell everyone he’s found someone then I was going to die inside. My eyes rim with tears and I try so hard to not let them fall.
“You have no idea how hard this has been for me,” his voice is calm but sounds like he’s struggling.
My heart shoots a pain through my stomach.
“I’ve found my mate.”
My head snaps up to his eyes instantly but he’s not looking at me, he’s looking at everyone around him. I suck in a sharp unexpected breath as I hear his words.
“I found my mate a few months ago and I’ve kept this from some of you for far too long,” Caleb explains as he hangs his head.
I watch as Felix and Zara stare at him in confusion.
“You’re all probably wondering why I’ve been keeping this a secret,” his hands hold onto the outsides of his arms, his teeth grip his bottom lip. “And the reason is because—he’s a guy.”
Tears escape my eyes like there’s no tomorrow, Ava’s hand finds mine quickly and she links our fingers together.
A few people gasp silently and let their mouths fall open in shock.
Caleb lets out a deep breath and then smiles, a genuine smile. It was like he had taken off a heavy backpack he’s been holding the whole of his life. “You have no idea how good it feels to say that,” he beams proudly. “I admit I was scared to tell you guys but I can’t keep this a secret any longer, I owe that to him more than anyone.”
My lips tremble and I taste my salty tears as the slip past my mouth.
“What might come to more of a surprise to you is that he’s standing in this room,” Caleb says confidently.
My eyes dart around as I watch everyone else do the same, like we’re all trying to find out who it is. I quickly wipe my eyes free of tears and drop my hand back to my side.
“And now you’re all thinking, who is he?” Caleb smiles. “Well I’ll tell you who he is.”
My hand squeezes Ava’s hard so I don’t topple over and she returns the gesture.
“He is the most caring and humble person I have ever met.” His words make my heart pound in my chest. “He’s brave and he’s intelligent. And he has a heart of gold.” His words are pronounced strong as he looks around at everyone, his eyes open with honesty.
I can’t stop the tears that run down my cheeks anymore. My body could not register what was going on.
“Ever since I met him I have become a better person, he makes me a better person. I’m not proud of some of the choices I have made whilst I knew he was my mate, I only wish that he can fully forgive me one day.” A hand runs through his hair as he speaks, pain evident in his voice.
He walks forward, agonisingly slow and everyone watches him with anticipation.
“I never knew I was capable of loving someone as much as I love him,” Caleb loops past people and closer to me. “I’ve been cold and miserable the majority of my life and now—” Caleb stands a few steps from me, our eyes meet and I shed tears again. I’ve forgotten how to breathe. “He makes me the happiest person in the world.”
Caleb walks forward and stands directly in front of me. Ava drops my hand and stands away from us. My body shakes as he places his hands on my face and pushes away my tears with his thumb. My skin burns like fire as his touch spreads throughout my face.
“I’ve fucked up, I know. I’ve fucked up so many times but I want to prove to you that I’m going to change. I will change.” He whispers down to me, his eyes staring into my soul.
My body trembles under his touch and his captivating words.
“I want all of you,” his lips press down onto my forehead, the words mumbled into my skin. I close my eyes feeling content and safe.
Caleb pulls away and looks at me again, his eyes watching my tears. “Why are you crying pups?” He frowns, his eyebrows dipping. “Please don’t cry.”
I sniffle and clear my throat. “You love me?”
Caleb cracks a breathtaking smile and nods. “Yeah,” he breathes out. “I love you pups.”
I cry again, my whole chest buckling. Caleb watches me with concern, he forces my eyes to look at him. “Should I have not said that?” He questions slowly.
I raise a hand to wipe my nose. “No ones ever told me they love me before.” I manage to get out. “No one has ever loved me before.”
“That’s not true,” Caleb says instantly.
All I can do is nod.
“There are a lot of people in this room who love you and care about you pups,” his words are harsh like he’s desperate for me to believe them. “Ava and Jaxon and Kayden and Lucy, they all love you.”
My eyes wander to Ava’s, her eyes glistening with tears. She nods towards me and quickly wipes her eyes.
“Please don’t give up on us pups,” he rests his forehead down onto mine and whispers quietly. My heart aches and I knew I couldn’t let him go now, if he was going to fight for me then I was going to fight for him too.
“I’m not giving up,” I croak back. “I just thought we needed some time apart.”
Caleb smiles and pulls away gently from me, looking around the room. His hand slips into mine. “Evan is my mate and I expect nothing but support and respect for him, for us.” Caleb grounds out, his voice loud and strong.
My eyes finally look around at everyone staring at us, their faces full of joy and surprise.
Ava begins to clap which erupts the room into a choir of applause. She grins through her endless tears as she watches us, Jaxon moving to stand behind her as he claps enthusiastically.
Felix and Zara move closer to us, he holds out his arms to Caleb and hugs him. “Congrats man, I had no idea.”
Zara instantly steps forward to hug me. “Oh my god! You guys make the cutest couple, this is so amazing. I’m so happy for you.” She mumbles into my ear, our bodies swaying.
For the next ten minutes everyone congratulated us, Caleb held me like the proudest mate in the world. I was expected to feel overwhelmed by everyone’s reactions but I wasn’t, I was happy. I was so happy to be around people who were ecstatic for us.
Ava can’t stop crying and it almost melts my heart. “I’m so happy for you Evan, you have no idea.” She hugs me as I let go of Caleb’s hand.
She holds me tight and when she pulls away she looks Caleb directly in the eye. “You dare do anything to upset him, I will break every bone in your body. You got it?” Ava says to him sternly.
“Ava,” I say in disbelief.
Her eyes snap to mine. “I’m sorry, I just want the best for you and only the best. You deserve to be happy forever now.”
“I will never do anything to upset Evan,” Caleb states. “I know you’re worried but I have changed. I want nothing more than to make him happy, you have no idea.”
My eyes look up to Caleb as he speaks, the glint of truth in his eyes almost made me weak at the knees.
“Good, I’m glad.” Ava nods as she wipes her damp cheeks. “I need to stop goddam crying. Are we gonna celebrate or what?”
Caleb grabs me and presses his lips to my temple. “Fuck yeah we are,” he mumbles into my skin and sends goosebumps across my whole body.
Tonight I remembered why I was alive. The love and the support, I have no idea what it’s like to have a real family but this felt exactly like it.