29 I Submit
I stare down at Chris’s kneeling form in shock. He has always dominated every encounter we have ever had, but here he is, neck bared and eyes on the ground.
“Chris,” I whisper as my heart races. “What are you doing!?”
“I submit,” he whispers, voice laced with pain. “Please don’t.”
My heart breaks at the pain in his voice. My body drops in front of his. I can’t breathe for the tightness in my chest.
“Chris don’t,” I plead, cupping his cheeks in my hands, trying to make him look at me.
“Please don’t leave me,” he whispers. “I’ll do anything, whatever you want, let Jude join, just name it. I can’t lose you.” He finally looks up at me, his eyes hold so much pain and desperation it breaks my heart.
“That’s not what this is about,” I whisper. My eyes are burning as tears threaten to fall at any moment.
“Then what? What will it take from me to show you how much I need you and only you.”
I shrink under his intensity. I’d rather face all of his wrath and fury then this pain I’ve caused him.
“Don’t pull away and shut me out, please Jess, I’m begging you. Don’t leave.”
I can’t handle it anymore, my fire has left me a crumpled, burned out shell on the floor, staring down.
His hands land gently on my cheeks, lifting my face to his. “You yelled at me in the forest that day, about how I was a hot headed, temperamental ass. Do you remember?”
I nod, swallowing the lump in my throat as I hang on every word.
“You were right,” his voice is soft, hazel eyes vulnerable. “I’ve had to fight for everything my entire life, it’s all I know. You get mad because you think I make all the decisions for you. But you would make the biggest decisions of my life for me.”
The pain and sorrow are back in his eyes. “You would rob me of my happiness and use the excuse that it’s for my own good.” He spit the last part out like it’s poison.
“If you think that little of me that’s one thing, but do not pretend it’s for my benefit.”
“That’s not it at all Chris, please you have to understand-”
“I understand more than you think. It’s you who doesn’t understand.” He tenderly caresses my cheek as he continues, “You are so busy focusing on the one reason you don’t think you deserve this, that you overlook the other hundred reasons why you do.”
“The Goddess has a plan for us. If you don’t trust me, trust in her, please baby. I don’t want anyone but you. You are perfect for me just how you are.” His voice holds such sincerity that it cuts through my wavering resolve like tissue paper.
Sensing the shift, he reaches for me and pulls me to him in a gentle embrace. “Stay with me, please.”
I melt into his embrace like it’s my lifeline. I could never reject him, I buckled at the first mention. As his arms wrap tightly around me, the knot in my chest disappears. Never have I felt more loved and safe.
“I’m sorry I-”
Chris cuts me off. “Shh, later baby.” He just holds me curled up in his arms for what feels like forever.
“Christopher, go for a run, Dear,” Grandmother cuts in. He begins to protest but she waves him off. “Cyrus needs you. She’ll be here when you get back, won’t you Dear.”
I nod not trusting my voice as I realize just how many sets of eyes are on us.
“Go.” She sends him off with a gentle pat on his cheek.
“I think the rest of you have somewhere else to be also.” Her voice is normal but the room clears as if it’s an order from Chris, leaving me sitting on the living room floor alone.
“Do you think we can sit on the couch? My old bones might not let me back up off the floor.” Her eyes are soft and sympathetic.
I get up to join her on the couch, my body feels so numb. A long mournful howl cuts through the air, renewing the ach in my heart.
I did that, this is all my fault.
“Oh my dear,” Grandmother says sadly, wrapping me up in her embrace. “You two are hurting so much. He can help heal your heart if you would just let him.”
My shoulders slump. “But Grandmother, I don’t want to be a burden to him.”
“Oh hush, who says you are a burden?!” Her eyes have turned fierce.
“You are no fool, stop acting like one!” Her tone has done a complete u-turn and I feel like a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar.
“I don’t know how to be what he needs me to be. I can’t even shift, how will I ever be able to fight or help anyone.” The frustration is making my tone harsher than I meant it to be.
“Dear, you have done nothing but fight since you got here,” she laughs. “You’ve fought Chris at every turn, butted heads with Sara, rushed headlong into a pack of rogues, oh and my personal favourite, knocked my Guardian grandson down a peg with a garden hoe. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your fighting spirit.”
I groan, “That’s not what I mean.” I drop my head in my hands as my shoulders slump in defeat.
“Does Chris strike you as weak?” She asks, fierce blue eyes locked on mine.
“What!? No!” I gasp. Ignoring that he’s built like a Greek god, there’s always been a powerful, commanding presence to him.
“Oh, so it’s Jace, Xavier and Sara that are the weak links then,” she teases, as mischief twinkles in her eyes.
“What are you talking about? I never said that,” I groan.
At this rate she’s going to dig my pit to China.
“So what part of the pack seems weak to you?” She asks leaning forward, eyes locked as she waits on my answer.
This is a trap, I’m not taking the bait.
“I’m waiting,” she chides, raising her brow.
I just shake my head and sigh in defeat.
“Still Water’s strength is solid. We are not invincible but one member won’t bring us to ruin. Chris is stronger than his father ever was; one of the strongest Alphas around. The pack has prospered under his guidance, but he gives too much of himself to the job.”
I frown, he is always working. Meetings, phone calls, emails, training, patrols, there’s always something on his plate.
“What he needs isn’t another warrior, he needs you. I have seen more joy in him since he found you, then I can ever remember. You have brought him back to his people, he’s always been there in an official capacity, but you bring him out to his people.” Her crystal blue eyes shine with joy as she smiles at me.
I scoff, “Social isn’t my strong suit.”
“And yet you got him to the club, BBQs, parties, and the carnival... He would follow you to the ends of the earth and be happy about it, as long as he was with you.”
I do remember them saying he always blows them off at the club. And Jace has said more than once that Chris works too hard. His people do love him, and flock to him whenever I’ve seen. Everything she has said has the ring of truth.
“Who’s Cyrus?” I ask, suddenly remembering what she said.
“You haven’t met Chris’s wild side yet?” She asks, not hiding her surprise.
“I haven’t really met anyone’s wolves yet. I don’t really know anything about that side of things.” My ignorance is actually embarrassing.
“Don’t you think you ought to meet your mate’s other half?” She chides, raising a brow.
Okay now I feel like a complete idiot, thanks Grandmother.
I just nod.
“Good, because he’s out back in the garden. Keep in mind that Cyrus is in control right now. He’s suppressing Chris. Maybe you can calm him and get him to give Chris back control.” She nods to the back door. “Go on dear.”
Before long I’m on the trail leading to the back gardens. It’s park-like in nature with flowers throughout and lots of benches. In the center, there’s a grand wolf fountain. I wander aimlessly before stopping by the fountain.
It isn’t long before I feel eyes on me. From the forest’s edge, Cyrus is watching me. I stare as he stalks out of the forest towards me, head low and wary.
His ebony tipped coat glistens in the setting sunlight while his chocolaty eyes seem to glow. They are unreadable though, so I slow my breathing and focus on his feel.
He radiates the same power that Chris does, though there’s a dangerous edge to him. He’s being very guarded as he approaches. Hurt and anger flash in his eyes briefly.
Do I pet him like a puppy? Or will that make things worse?
Grandmother really could have prepared me a bit better for this.
I nibble on my lip to steady my nerves as I opt for the safer option of just holding my hand out for him. Let him show me what he wants from me.
His low growl is a warning, but I don’t know of what.
Back off or don’t run? If I thought Chris was hard to read, Cyrus is a pissed off enigma.
‘You pissed him off, don’t blame him.’ ‘Fuck dude, I’m trying here, everything just went to shit.’
In an instant, he brings his muzzle to my hand. The same sparks I feel with Chris still dance through our contact.
‘He is Chris, genius.’
His fur is softer than I expected, like crushed velvet on his muzzle. He leans into my touch so I bring my other hand to his face.
“You’re beautiful,” I murmur.
He lets out a wolfish snort, almost as if I’ve insulted him.
I couldn’t help my giggle, which in turn causes him to relax also. He rubs against me pushing me back to the bench. My fingers skim through his lush black coat, admiring the shimmer as the silver undercoat dances in the wind.
He basks in the contact, leaning in to my touch as my hands moved across his body. Seated, he’s an even more imposing figure. He stands at eye level with me, larger than my visiting grey wolf.
“So soft,” I murmur, again met with a snort. “Your fur, geeze.”
So Cyrus is just as twitchy as Chris.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” I say.
He steps back and cocks his head to the side.
Clearly not the right answer.
I flashback to when I needed space but he wouldn’t stay away, so I fired a warning shot inches from his head. “Shit, right, sorry about that, I was having a bit of a rough patch.”
He drops his big head in my lap, so I gently stroke his fur. Apparently that’s the right move, as he’s practically melting and purring. His energy has shifted dramatically since he first appeared. A relaxed state is seeping through him.
I guess Jude was right about proximity calming mates down.
“I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt-”
I’m cut off by his low growl as he flattens his ears.
This is dangerous territory.
“Cyrus,” I begin as he instantly relaxes at the use of his name. “There is so much I don’t know and have to learn,” I sigh. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” the frustration is clear in my voice as I buried my face in my hands.
He shifts bringing his snout to my neck, I freeze. He inhales deeply, taking my scent in. His tongue runs across my sweet spot causing a shiver. “Cyrus don’t,” my voice wavers.
He growls, pushing in closer. My hands tangle in his neck fur, trying for more space. I push harder falling onto the ground as he towers over me. His jaw opens as I turn away, tensing for the impact.
“You would forcibly mark your mate, brother?” Cyrus freezes at Derek’s challenge, but doesn’t let go. I hadn’t even seen him come but I was thankful for his presence. “Don’t mark her in anger, you will regret it.”
Cyrus growls but slowly releases me and takes a step back. His eyes flash green for a moment as he takes me in, crumpled on the ground, and whimpers.
I go to him, cupping his face in my hands. I know he’s angry and hurt over what happened. I caused that pain, I don’t want him thinking I’m afraid of him also.
“Go for a run, I’ll take her home.”
Cyrus growls a low warning and takes a step towards him.
“Don’t fucking take that tone with me, brother.” His aura is pushing hard again, willing Cyrus to relent. “Her presence isn’t doing you and Chris any good. The pack needs their Alpha back and under control, now go.”
Cyrus gives me one last look before taking off for the woods once more. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in.
“Come on, I’ll take you home,” he holds out a hand.
“Thank you for-”
“Don’t thank me,” he spits. “I did it for him, he would never forgive himself for marking you out of anger and against your will.” He looks at me with cold eyes. “You’re playing a dangerous game with him. If you think I’m going to stand aside while you rip-”
“It’s not like that at all!” I plead. “I never meant to hurt him like this, I just wanted him to find someone better.” I drop my gaze feeling crushed.
Fuck, I hate this.
“Well, it’s not all about you, princess,” he says, turning back to the house. “Let’s go.” The tone is commanding but the edge has left his voice. I obey and follow him back to go home.