I was happy to see that Mason had shifted back into his human state. I’d helped Moira move him into the next room so he was in a proper bed and more comfortable than being in a cage.
Moira’s clinic was designed for treating wolves and humans. She was trained as both a doctor and a veterinarian and was an extremely valuable member of the Fern Creek pack. Moira had also seemed to take a shining to Quinn which meant a lot to me, she had been around a long time and was a great judge of character.
I looked over at Quinn. She sat on a chair at her father’s bedside. She hadn’t moved since yesterday, holding his hand and waiting for any kind of change. I could tell she needed sleep but the woman was stubborn. I’d decided to make a call to my dad, he had been close friend’s with Mason when they were both Alpha’s, I was hoping my plan would work.
“Quinn” I said quietly, approaching my mate and placing my hand gently on her shoulder.
Quinn turned her head to look at me, exhaustion written all over her face.
“My father is just outside the room. He was wondering if it was ok to sit with Mason for a while. He hasn’t seen his good friend in a long time. It might give you a chance to go back to Moira’s and have a sleep...something to eat?”
Quinn sighed and nodded tiredly.
“I’d like that. Thank you” she answered.
I stepped to the side and my father entered the room. I’d filled him in about Quinn as soon as we’d arrived back at the compound the night of her twentieth. He was the only other pack member that knew of her shifter status apart from the members that saw it for themselves.
Dominic had been more concerned about Quinn’s health and how I was feeling about everything. As shocked as he was he knew that if the wolf gods fated Quinn to be my true mate then there must be a very good reason for it.
Quinn stood up as she saw my father approach Mason’s bed. She appeared uncomfortable and looked down at her feet. I forgot that apart from myself and Moira, Quinn hadn’t seen anyone since her shift and was unaware of people’s stance on her situation.
My father walked straight up to her and took both her hands in his. Quinn looked at him, a sad smile playing on her beautiful face.
“You look tired little one” Dominic said, returning her sad smile, “go get some rest, I won’t leave your father’s side”
My heart felt full watching their interaction. I was lucky to have been raised by a man like my father. He was tough, he was fair, he was loyal and above all he was loving and accepting. All of these qualities made him the phenomenal Alpha he was.
“Thank you Dom. He is lucky to have you as a friend”
My father went to Mason’s side and took Quinn’s seat. I watched as he grasped Mason’s hand and gave it a rub. It was nice to see them together again.
Quinn approached me, surprising me when she slipped her hand into mine.
“Walk me home?” She murmured, her ice blue eyes staring up at mine.
“Of course. I was heading in the direction of Moira’s anyway”
“No” Quinn said, squeezing my hand gently, “I want to go back to yours”
I felt my heart pound in my chest and a dumb smile spread across my face. Quinn couldn’t help but smile back when she saw my reaction to her request. Knowing that she was feeling comfortable enough to come back to our house was huge.
“Of course. Let’s go”
I’d planned on meeting with Cameron this afternoon but having Quinn back under the same roof was something that I wanted to make the most of.
I’d made us a nice dinner which she ate every last piece of and we sat quietly at the dining table. It was a comfortable quiet, not awkward, not forced. Every now and then she would catch me staring at her and a smile would play on her lips. I could feel her stealing glances at me but I pretended to be oblivious.
“So” Quinn said, breaking the silence, “I guess you have some questions for me...”
I looked across the table at Quinn. She appeared nervous. Of course I had questions but I knew Quinn probably had just as many questions and at this stage no one to answer them for her.
“We don’t have to do this now if you don’t want. We can talk in the morning”
“I don’t want to go to bed without clearing the air a bit. We probably need to have some sort of conversation. As much as I enjoy looking at you, I think talking is necessary”
Quinn was right. The longer we put off having this conversation the more uncomfortable and forced it would be down the track. Also, it was rather an important conversation to have. What Quinn was changed everything, eventually other packs would find out about her and there was no way of knowing what the majority consensus would be.
“Ok. Let’s talk then. Did you have any idea about your shifting...abilities?”
Quinn cleared her throat and broke eye contact with me. I knew the answer before she even opened her mouth.
“Yes” she started, “but not until we went to Eastern Ridge. Agnes told me that my mother, Claudia, could shift into all three species”
I found it hard to hide the shock on my face. I had absolutely no idea that Claudia had been the same as Quinn.
“Surely we would have known that. It was so hard to hide the fact that you and your brother were different, how would Claudia have hidden it for all those years?”
“Agnes said that her parents had a mage cast a cloaking spell on her. That was the only way they could keep it secret”
“I find it hard to believe that even a cloaking spell could keep it hidden from Mason. Surely a true mate bond is stronger than that...”
“Mason knew” Quinn replied.
I thought about how hard that secret would have been to keep. Knowing something of that magnitude and not being able to share it with your pack would have been such a burden to carry. I looked at Quinn across the table, my beautiful blue eyed mate. I knew I would have done exactly the same thing for her.
“Poor guy” I mumbled.
“Poor guy?” Quinn repeated, a pained look on her face, “is that what you think of yourself too? Poor guy being mated to a…a thing. What about me? What about Claudia? Living with that kind of secret your whole life knowing you and anyone that loves you will be shunned...hated...hunted...”
Quinn’s eyes glistened with tears and she bit her bottom lip to stop herself from breaking down.
“That’s not what I meant at all. It came out wrong. I would do exactly what Mason did if I felt like that was the only way to keep my mate and babies safe. Being an Alpha and keeping something like that from the pack just shows how much Mason loved your mother. As I said...I would do the same thing if it was necessary”
I wanted to reach across the table and hold Quinn’s hands, stroke her cheek, comfort her. I knew it was a bad idea though. I had been apart from her for too long, a week was too long. Now that she had turned twenty the pull between us was so much stronger than before. The wolf gods wanted us to complete the mating bond, until that bond was made the heat between us would just get stronger and stronger until one of us gave in. If our human side didn’t give in then I was certain a shift would be forced upon us and that could be rather dangerous under the circumstances.
“You don’t think hiding what I am from the pack is necessary?” Quinn asked, breaking me from my train if thought.
“I don’t” I answered, “My father, Cameron, Moira and Matt all know and are accepting of what you are. Maybe initially it wasn’t that way for Cameron but he was just doing what a good Beta does and playing devil’s advocate. Now that he knows what page I’m on he is behind us one hundred percent”
Quinn sat back in her chair and nodded. I could tell that wasn’t an answer she was expecting.
“What if the rest of your pack doesn’t feel the way they do?” She asked hesitantly.
“If that happens, that is a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. We are a close, strong pack though. I’ve never led them down the wrong path and my father and I have always had the pack’s best interests at heart. It’s going to be ok”
I needed Quinn to feel like she was going to be safe here, the truth was though that I had no idea what the pack’s thoughts were going to be. I hoped that because my father and my Beta were supportive of what she was then the rest of the pack would fall in line. There was also the fact that Quinn was my true mate, this was a huge deal and something that wolves usually never questioned.
“What about Clayton?” Quinn asked.
I’d almost forgotten about the Clayton situation with everything else that had been happening this last week. Alec had contacted me a few days ago with some information from one of his neighbouring packs. A couple of weeks ago one of their wolves had gone missing and was located in the forest; tortured and decapitated. Alec believed it to be the workings of Clayton and thought I should know. If it had been Clayton then that meant he was close and if he was close that meant Quinn was in danger.
There was no doubt in my mind that Clayton had tortured the wolf for information and now that he was dead it would be impossible to know what, if any, information he shared with him.
“I won’t let Clayton hurt you Quinn” I answered firmly.
“What about the danger it puts your pack in? Me being here puts everyone else in danger. That’s not something I can live with. There are kids here Jayce”
“Our pack is trained for this. Clayton would be stupid to take us on”
I didn’t want to let Quinn know about the tortured wolf in the forest. There was a chance that it had nothing to do with Clayton, even though it was very unlikely. I knew I had promised Quinn that I wouldn’t keep anything from her but until Clayton’s involvement was confirmed there was no point scaring her over nothing.
“I don’t think I could live with myself if anyone got hurt because of me” Quinn continued.
I shook my head and gave her a reassuring smile.
“It’s not going to happen. Anyway, now that you’re twenty there is a chance with some training that you’ll be stronger than anyone here at Fern Creek”
Quinn looked up at me, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.
“A chance?” She laughed, “without training there is a chance I’d be stronger. With training any wolf that takes me on will have their arse handed to them”
My wolf stirred in me, liking the sound of her challenge. I also didn’t doubt what she was saying at all. Quinn shared the DNA of all three shifter species, her power and capabilities were immeasurable.
“I’ve got a zero loss record” I reminded her, “although the thought of you throwing me to the ground does sound rather appealing”
Quinn’s gaze heated and her cheeks flushed as her thoughts clearly drifted to the same place as mine.
“Pretty sure my panther knocked you flat on your arse in that clearing”
“That’s not fair” I laughed, “I was human. Also, I was trying to get on your good side after...”
Quinn looked down and her hands, the smile disappearing from her face.
“I’m sorry about Mason” I said slowly, knowing she was thinking about the events of that night, “if I had known it was him I wouldn’t have hurt him the way I did but keeping you safe was the only thing playing on my mind. I won’t apologise for that”
“I know. You don’t have to apologise”
We sat for a few minutes in silence and I watched as Quinn yawned and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. The poor girl was exhausted. I was relieved to have her back under my roof. My wolf felt slightly more relaxed by having her close by but I knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would want more. Fuck, I wanted more.
Quinn’s eyes met mine, almost as though she was reading my thoughts. There was a tension in the air and I felt the energy crackle between us. Quinn pushed her chair back, standing up from the table.
“I’m going to bed” she sighed and walked over to the stairs.
I couldn’t drag my eyes away as Quinn began ascending the stairs. She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. She was sex on legs but had a level of grace and tranquility that made her almost goddess like. As my gaze moved further up Quinn’s body I realised she was watching me.
“You coming?” She purred.