On Saturday night, we have a date with Rosemary. Ezekiel suggests we take her to our favourite Indian restaurant, so that’s what we do. I can’t explain how shocked I was when she turned up with our cousin in our office. I was so pleased that she made the decision to visit our pack herself.
Ezekiel told me about the text he had sent her. He didn’t tell me about it because we had discussed it the day before. We both agreed that Livinia would be a good person for her to talk to. She’s our spirit leader for a reason, she’s unthreatening and welcoming.
We wait in the car, parked on the road outside Rosemary’s flat. She comes down after we text her, bundled up in a thick coat.
“I’m sorry that I never invite you up,” she says as we travel to the restaurant. “I have the world’s worst flatmates and the place is a hole, I don’t really want you to see it.”
“You know, you could live with us if your living arrangements now aren’t great,” I tell her.
Ez shoots me a glare. He doesn’t like my pushing her. I’m not pushing, this is merely an offer.
“Um, thanks, but it’s alright,” Rosemary replies shyly.
The restaurant is busy; it’s Saturday night. Luckily, there is no one we know from university. We’re given a booth and we order a lot of food. We eat too much good food and talk continuously. There’s already such a difference in her behaviour with us compared to Wednesday.
She’s relaxed and amazingly, even flirting back at some points. I chalk that up to the glass of wine she has with the meal. The time flies by, as it does when you’re enjoying yourself. The three of us decline a dessert. I feel sad at the prospect of our night being over. It’s only half eight.
“Do you want to come back to ours for a drink?” I ask her, adding quickly, “I don’t want to say goodbye just yet.”
To my utter shock, Rosemary agrees. Ez isn’t happy that I asked the question and potentially pressured her, but he’s definitely happy with her response. He drives the three of us back to our house. Once home, Ezekiel pours some wine for the three of us and we sit in the living room.
“I actually have something I wanted to talk to you two about,” Rosemary states, catching our attention. “I had this dream last night and I know it sounds crazy, but I swear that I spoke to the Moon Goddess,” she confesses, clearly embarrassed.
Ez and I share a smile, one that Rosemary catches. “What?” She asks.
“We believe you, kitten,” Ezekiel tells her. “It is not unheard of for the Moon Goddess to visit shifters when they are in times of crisis. She is not a neglectful deity.”
“We’ll confess, we hoped she would visit you,” I reveal to her.
She looks between us, her almond-shaped eyes wide with surprise.
“What did she say?” Ezekiel asks.
Rosemary cups the glass of wine in one hands, her finger of her other hand tracing the rim.
“That I can be a Christian and still be with you two,” she says. “Basically, the dream answered my question of whether it would be blasphemy to believe that Moon Goddess had fated us whilst simultaneously believing in God.”
“And how do you feel now?” I ask her.
She smiles back at us. “The dream answered my questions, my mind has been put at ease and…I’m ready to accept you, both of you.”
My brother and I look at each other, happiness mirrored in our eyes. Words cannot express how elated I feel at our mate’s confession. We have been hoping and praying that she would come round and, honestly, I’d been worried that she never would. I didn’t know how I was going to keep giving her space. Ezekiel has more restraint than me, it’s how we balance each other out.
“That’s…that’s amazing, kitten,” Ezekiel finds his voice.
Rosemary blushes and becomes shy again, with both of our attentions on her. She checks the time on her phone and winces.
“I should probably be getting back,” she says and stands up.
Disappointment fills me again as I follow her into the hallway. She starts to put her shoes on.
“Rosemary?” I call out to her as I approach her. “You could stay overnight, if you want. You could have the Master bedroom to yourself.”
Her eyes widen and then soften. “No, it’s okay. Thank you, though. And you can call me Rose, if you like,” she says, her cheeks are a bright pink.
I smile down at her. “Okay, Rose.”
Ez and I take her out to the car and reluctantly drive her home. She chats away in the back, seemingly comfortable with us. My mind is racing, replaying her admission of accepting us. I know I’m going to be dreaming of her tonight. We pull up outside her flat and she hesitates, her hand on the door handle.
“Can I see you tomorrow?” She asks, surprising us both.
“Of course, kitten,” I reply first. “What time would work for you?”
“Um, I have church at ten, but I’ll be finished by half eleven.”
’We could pick you up here at twelve?” Ezekiel suggests.
“Yes, please,” Rosemary replies with a shy smile. “See you tomorrow.”
She gets out and shuts the door behind her. Ez doesn’t pull away until we’ve watched her go inside the building.
“That was a success,” he comments as he pulls out, into the road.
“Definitely,” I murmur. “I can’t believe the Moon Goddess spoke to her.”
“She obviously backs this mating,” he replies.
“What should we do tomorrow?”
Ez smirks. “I have an idea.”
We pick our mate up at exactly twelve the next day. I’m driving this time, and I take us out of town. We drive for thirty minutes, going two towns over. We wanted to take her somewhere that we probably wouldn’t see anyone. I want a proper date with my mate, without her feeling self-conscious.
It’s a cold day. Rosemary is dressed in a teddy coat and her adorable pom-pom hat again. The ball of faux fur is almost the size of her head. Her little nose is pink when we step out of the car. She looks around and then turns to us.
“We thought we could get a hot drink and then walk around the park,” Ezekiel tells her, making her smile.
“That sounds really nice.”
All three of us are wearing gloves. It might only be September, but the temperatures have plummeted this year and we’re in for a cold winter. The Northern territory is so different to the Southern. There’s only about four hours between us, but the distance makes all the difference in weather.
There’s a little café at the entrance of the National Park. We treat our mate to a hot chocolate. Ezekiel and I have coffees in our hands, whilst our mate orders a luxury hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows.
The look of excitement on her face when I hand it to her is adorable. Her tongue darts out to try a little of the whipped cream and a million dirty thoughts rush through my head. They all involve that tongue and whipped cream. Ez looks at me and shakes his head in disapproval. He knows exactly the direction my thoughts have taken.
“Pervert,” he mouths to me when Rosemary is looking away.
To spite him, I offer out my gloved hand to her. Rosemary blushes but slips her gloved hand into mine. There’s no contact between us, but it fills me with warmth and pride that we now look like a couple to passers-by. Rosemary has her drink in her other hand, leaving her unable to hold Ezekiel’s. He walks next to her, glaring at me. I smile smugly back at him.
Shouldn’t have called me a pervert then.
With the chilly temperature, the park is relatively empty. There are only a few other people wandering around, mostly dog-walkers, bundled up to their eyeballs. Our breaths form fog in front of our faces as we walk along the path. It’s a simple park, but rather beautiful. The sculpture garden is probably the most interesting part.
We walk around it, commenting on pieces and giving our opinions. It’s a rather unexciting date, in the grand scheme of things, but Ez and I just want to spend time with her.
When she finishes her drink, she bins the cup when we pass a trash can and then hesitantly offers her free hand out to Ezekiel. His eyes light up and he grins, eagerly grabbing her hand. She walks between the two of us, our hands joined. It gives me a glimpse of what our future will look like and, shit, it looks damn good.
Once we’ve walked most of the park, we start to get hungry. Ez suggests stopping back at the café for paninis. We each buy one and find a bench to sit on and enjoy the hot toasted bread.
“You visit your Grandmother on Sundays, don’t you?” Ez asks, referring to a conversation we had last night.
“Yes, I do,” Rosemary replies.
“We were wondering if, maybe, we could come with you today and meet her?” Ez says softly. “Only if it’s okay, though.”
Our mate chews on her bite of panini as she considers it. She swallows and licks her lips.
“I guess now is as good a time as any. She only has two weeks left of the month the doctors gave her, I would like her to get to meet you before she goes. But let me go in first, you know, to ease her in?”
We quickly agree. We both want to meet her grandmother, no matter how much she may disapprove of us. We discussed it and we feel like Rosemary would regret us not meeting the only family she has. Even if the woman does just shout at us, it’s probably nothing we don’t deserve.
It’s about a forty minute drive from the park back to town and to the nursing centre. Rosemary leads us in and Ezekiel and I wait in the hallway whilst she goes in first.
“Grandmother?” I call out as I push open the door.
She’s laid in bed, propped up so that she is almost in a sitting position. She turns at the sound of my voice and gives me a faint smile.
“Rosemary,” she says weakly. “Come in, child.”
I approach her bed and slip my hand into hers. It feels fragile in my hand and I gentle rub my thumb over her thin skin.
“How are you feeling today?”
She smiles. “It’s God’s day. I’m feeling good, thank you. Take a seat.”
I pull up one of the chairs by the bed and take a seat.
“I need to tell you something. I prayed to God for answers, asked Him what I should do,” I tell her slowly. “Then, the other night, I had a dream and I was visited by the Moon Goddess. She told me that I can be a Christian and still accept the mate bond.”
My eyes scan her face, trying to gauge her reaction. She is looking at me thoughtfully, but I cannot decipher her feelings.
“It sounds crazy, but I know that God is not angry with me. He doesn’t care that I have two mates, He doesn’t think it’s a sin.”
A frown sets on her face, her eyebrows drawing together. My heart sinks and I wait for the tirade of verbal abuse, the one I’ve been getting during my last few visits.
“I know,” she says quietly. I almost think I’ve misheard her. “I know, because He visited me in my dreams.”