Comfortably Numb

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Chapter 37

The funeral was held for Evan Peters three days later. They'd ordered an autopsy, and the results had come back as we'd expected- Evan had fought valiantly, but ultimately succumbed to injuries made by a sharp blade. He'd been stabbed multiple times, and died of his injuries.

It was a very sad affair. He hadn't been that old. He was just shy of his 26th birthday. He'd never even met his mate. The whole pack turned up for the service, and Alpha Cardinal made a moving speech about his bravery and valor before lighting the funeral pyre.

That was yesterday. Today, we are all trying to function as normal- but it's hard. Someone had lost their life, attempting to protect me from the monsters of my past.

"Come on, Andy." Arrow calls for my attention from her desk beside me. I glance up at her and am surprised to see that the classroom is slowly emptying. We are sitting in our first period class and apparently I had missed all of it. The second semester had just started, and apparently I was determined to be made to repeat it.

"I really need to start paying attention..." I murmur. She gives me a weak smile.

"I would agree, Ms Romans," Mr. Burns, my first period teacher calls from his position at the front of the class. He turns to offer me a sad smile, "although given the circumstances I will give you a pass for ignoring me this once." I offer him a tentative smile and he nods in acknowledgment.

"Now off to class, the both of you. Other teachers might not be so understanding of pack matters." He offers me a wink and turns back to his chalkboard. I shake my head at him, speaking so casually of our werewolf lives. With that, I turn and follow Arrow out of the classroom.

The rest of the day passes in a blur. I watch the world pass me by, only taking notice of a few particular moments. Mostly, I just let myself feel sad.

When the final bell rings, and we are allowed to go home I am so thankful. This day had been excruciatingly long and all I wanted to do was go home and bury my head in a pile of pillows.

We drive home in silence. Ryker is driving as per usual, and I am sitting beside him in the passenger seat. He always insists that I sit there, and I'd gotten tired of arguing that I should sit in the back. It is easier to just agree with him and focus all of my energy on keeping my arms from reaching for him.

Today is no different in that regard- I still feel like the rubber bands that stretch between us are straining too hard, trying to pull me closer to Ryker. But I am determined to keep as much distance as possible between us, and thankfully he doesn't push closer as he sometimes does.

Before I know it, we arrive back at the pack house.

"Andy?" Ryker calls as I go to pull the door open. I pause and turn to look at him.

"Can we talk?" I nod and furrow my brows. What could this be about? I settle back into my seat and he sighs before turning to look over his shoulder. Arrow and Rowan are still sitting in their seats, staring at us as if he's asked them to stay too. He raises his eyebrow, and Arrow glances at me for a second before turning back to her brother.

"Well we'll just leave you two alone then...." Arrow sighs, obviously wanting to know what is going to be said but fully aware that she isn't wanted, Slowly she eases out of the beast. Rowan shows no signs of leaving though, so she sighs again before jumping back up, grabbing his ear and tugging him after her.

We watch them go in silence.

After the front door clicks shut, Ryker turns his attention back to me. For a moment he simply stares at me, tracing the lines of my face.

"What did you want to talk about?" I whisper. The heat of his gaze warms me from the inside out, making it more difficult to keep my hands from wandering. He shivers at the sound of my voice, his eyes get that shining gold ring that tells me his wolf is listening in.

"I wanted... to talk about the other day." He breathes. I frown but nod for him to go on.

"When we were sparring...." he trails off.

Immediately, my face burns bright and I reach behind me to grab the door handle and escape. I don't want to have this conversation- or any conversation remotely related to that incident.

"It's locked, Andy." He murmurs. I tug on the handle anyways, still trying to escape. He sighs before turning so he is facing me head on.

"I'm sorry." My eyes go wide at his apology and I start sputtering, unsure of what to say. He frowns and reaches up to cover my mouth, so I have no choice but to stop talking- or rather just making random sounds.

"Just listen, ok?" I gulp at the feeling of his skin on mine, but after a minute find the strength to nod for him to continue.

"I'm sorry for making you uncomfortable, and for running after you when you obviously didn't want to talk about what had happened.... And I'm really sorry that I didn't follow you to your house." He drops his hand from my mouth and uses that same hand to run his fingers through his hair. My mouth goes dry at the motion, but after a second I snap myself out of it.

"Umm..." I clear my throat. "You d-don't have to be sorry." I run my hand over my face and then focus on my lap. "I'm actually s-sorry..." I trail off, hoping he knows what I am apologizing for without making me say it.

"Why?" I groan and put my face in my hands.

"Andy, you have nothing to be sorry for."

"What?" I squeak, my head snapping up. "But when you r-reached into my mind-" I cut myself off, my face heating up impossibly more. I drop my eyes again, unable to face him while having this extremely awkward conversation.

"What do you mean?" I growl at his tone. It almost sounds like he is teasing me. One glance at his face confirms that. He is smirking down at me.

"Shut up." I snarl childishly. He laughs at that, and I feel my heart stutter at the sound.

"Andy are you honestly apologizing for thinking about us in a... compromising position?" His voice lowers, and it sounds like he’s smiling wider. I groan and push my face further into my hands.

"Andy all of that stuff is completely normal, you know that right? Because we're mates?" My face has never been hotter. I feel him tug on my right hand, trying to pull it away from my face.

"I liked seeing that you think about those things."

My head snaps up.
"Don't lie!" I bite at him. His eyes widen and he leans closer to me.

"What do you mean?" He whispers. I roll my eyes and push a picture of his face when he'd slipped into my mind. The beat red embarrassment, the tight lips and darkened eyes.

His eyes drift shut and he swears softly to himself.

Pink crawls up his neck and he clears his throat twice before he is able to speak.

"Andy... my face looked like that because I was fighting hard to keep my wolf at bay... after seeing your thoughts... and the OTHER things your wolf was thinking..."he pauses to smirk at me and I glare right back, jaw tight. "It was hard for me to not do those things." Heat floods my face again and I try to push my way out of the car once again. He sighs and reaches for me, but I press myself against the door.
"Andy..." he sighs but pulls his hands back to his side of the car. "I'm not going to hurt you." He promises. My eyes fly wide open.

"I d-don't think you're going to hurt me!" I let the honesty bleed into my voice. His eyebrows furrow.
"Then why are you trying to slide through the door?"

"Because I'm embarrassed?" My voice breaks on the word. A startled laugh breaks through his chest for a second before he collects himself.

He sighs after and runs his hands through his hair again.

"Why are you embarrassed?" I roll my eyes and tug on my hair.

"Because you were in my m-Mind and you saw stuff I didn't want you to see and it was... p-personal." I whisper. He snorts and shakes his head.
"Andy, I'm your mate. Do you know what that means?"

I frown at him. "Y-Yeah your dad explained it to me...." he shakes his head.

"No I mean... Do you know what it really means? More than what my dad told you about the moon goddess and all that."

"I don't know w-what you mean?" I breathe. He reaches out slowly and pulls my hand into his. Immediately fireworks erupt along my skin wherever it touches his.

"Andy, mates are everything that my dad told you, and they are sacred and wonderful. But the bond is so much more than that... From the Minute we looked into each other's eyes, I knew you were mine. And I knew I was yours. We were designed for one another. A perfect match, an instant connection. For me, I instantly knew what you are to me."

"What am I to you?" I breathe.

He smiles and it feels like the Sun breaking free from the clouds. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and it warms my heart that this smile seems to be only for me.

"Everything. You are my soulmate, the reason I was put on this earth. You are to be my partner in everything, and my equal in life. Wherever I go, you follow. Wherever you go, I follow. Andy...." he squeezes my hand and leans down to place a kiss on the back. Butterflies dance in my belly at the action.
"From the minute that our eyes first met, I knew that we were meant to be together. Forever. Full stop. There is no separating us." He reaches up with his empty hand and pushes my hair out of my face, trailing his thumb back and forth on my cheek.
"I'm nothing without you. The connection we share is hard to explain to someone outside of this world, but being in it... It's the most wonderful part of what we are. And so you're going to have to get used to the idea of us sharing... personal things." He winks at me, causing my blush to come back. It had faded while he was talking, but the idea of us sharing personal things has me flushing once again. I shake my head to clear those thoughts and focus back on him.

"So that's why I c-can't stop thinking about t-touching you?" I whisper. His smile grows, kicking the beat of my heart up a notch.

"Yeah. It is." He traces his hand around my wrist before connecting our hands back together. "And I can't stop thinking about touching you either." I gulp, my chest aching with the need for air.

"And why it f-feels like there's a rubber band stretched too tight w-when we're not touching?" He laughs at that.

"Yeah. It's the bond. It wants us to complete it." I furrow my brows.

"Complete the Bond?" I question. He tugs his bottom lip between his teeth and hauls in a deep breath before wiggling his eyebrows at me. It takes me a second, but when I get his meaning my blush burns brighter and I struggle for the door handle again.

He laughs again and rolls his eyes.

"We don't have to complete the Bond until You're ready!" He promises between guffaws. I relax minutely at his words, but still hold myself closer to the door than I'd been when we'd been talking. He smiles wider and shakes his head at me.

"Andy..." he sighs my name, causing shivers to run down my spine. "I want you to know that I am completely and totally in love with you. And I don't say that because I want you to say it back, or because I want into your pants," he pauses to wiggle his eyebrows again, "I say that because I need you to know that it's the truth. So that you understand that I won't let anything bad happen to you ever again, and that I will fight to the death to protect you from everything, even yourself. And I will wait forever for you to feel the same way." He smiles in such a way that my heart stops for a second. He looks so... beautiful. Which is a crazy thing to think about when he is sitting here baring his soul but honestly when he smiles.... there is no other way to describe it.

I feel bad that I can't say it back. Although every part of me is aching with the need to tell him that I DO feel the same way about him, I'm not ready to do that just yet. And although I know that love is the word I've been dodging every time he smiles at me, I still can't admit it out loud.

So instead I lean forward so our foreheads connect and our breaths mingle, and wonder what it would feel like for him to press his lips onto mine and give me a real kiss for the first time in my life.
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