Under the Moon

Soul names.

The most valuable to a werewolf's person. The hidden name that is interlocked with the very being of one's self. It is this very name that sets that one individual aside from the masses. This one name shall come forth when you stand before the one, the one true mate. It bares everything within you and a bond stronger than most forms.

Right before all hell breaks loose, Blake finds his one true mate - just to find out that his true mate rejects his soul name, tries to shatter the very bond to dust and run away. What is a fairy tale for most, is a painful nightmare for Blake. But Blake was never one to give up.

Ember stands once again in a situation where running is the only option left. So, she runs. But the matters of the heart are complicated affaires, and Ember finds out just that, when she meets her fated one, her soul mate.

In the mist of the unknown threat it is not just an unexpected mate that needs attention. The werewolf kind has an enemy ready to destroy.

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4. Chapter IV

 

Three instances, two promises, one bond

or

She was his… for a second or two

 

 

He ran with fire in his blood. His heart was thumping like thunder in his chest, his lungs working like machines. And he kept going. The dark fur was laid smooth along his body by the pressure of the wind created by the speed his legs brought him forth with. His big paws left prints in the piles of snow that covered the ground, or where the snow had melted and left the earth sore and wet.

But he did not feel, he did not see, he just ran. Running from the emotions, from the cage of pain and the helplessness that had consumed him. His breath coloured the air white. The golden eyes stood out stark and bright in the darkness. And he ran. His steps were frenzied like they were in a battle with the very ground. A bullet through the forest. Only the rays of moonlight through the branches above him would caress him, make him stand out from the rest of the night-shadows, as they played over his coat. A bush would sway lightly when he passed. Prey had scattered, feeling the raw energy that followed the beast as he made his way forward.

For this was not a hunt. He was the alpha of this land, and he made sure that everything around him knew of his presence. He had run far, no goal in his mind other than getting away. Needing to get the pain out of his system, the restlessness. He could barely be in his own body. It was all he could do to not claw at himself.

So, he ran. 

So far that he was nearing the end of his territory. But instead of running across the border, he turned left. Over a ditch, up a hill and further up some boulders. Free of branches above him, fully in the moonlight, he stood still. Dark against the moon as a silhouette, heaving from the exertion. He could feel his pulse in his paws, so hard was his blood being pumped through his veins, so hard had he hit the ground, and yet nothing in him seemed to settle, to find peace.

Desperate, he raised his snout and howled a clear, strong sound, almost on the edge of pain and rawness, that vibrated, filling the air. Barely letting the last tone out of his throat, he jumped down and kept going, running wild. Ease did not find him. 

So, he ran.

***
(A way with words)

 

It was the day after she had arrived. The news of the newly arrived mate had spread alright, but the severity of the matter had not expanded into the entire pack yet. As delicate as the situation was, only a few had been let in on what was going on. All who had a mindset of helping their alpha.

Yet nothing disturbed the early dawn. The sun was just letting the first rays hit the frozen ground. A blanket of fog, thick and ghostly white, lay heavily over the ground, making the rays of the sun pale and with the illusion of a pinkish tint. Dew was frozen on petals, chaffs spiderwebs and coating stones with a glaze of thin ice. Where the fog was thin, untouched snow sparkled like stars and the sound of birdsongs was light in the crisp air.

In contrast, the house was silent. Dark and silent, but not overwhelmingly so; oppressive and suffocating. But still, Ember thought her breath as heavy and almost disturbing in the dark corridor. The time of rest had been everything but. Sleep had not taken her down into deep slumber, only brought her short periods of fretful rest. Her bed had been more of a prison. Her duvet had been chains, holding her down, making it hard to breathe. Her pillow could just as well have been made of stone. Her skin prickled and tingled, and not in a good way.

Ember had giving up on the fight to sleep and had decided to take a cold shower. Her thoughts kept circling around one certain individual. Torturing her in a whole other way than her body ever could.

It would seem that the wild side of her blood was not content. Not at all. Blake kept filling her mind, in all kinds of way. In all kinds of ways that she should definitely not think in!

She would be thinking about anything else and then, without knowing it, slowly being lulled into new thoughts about Blake until she caught herself in the act - then trying with force to think about nothing at all but sleep… until they yet again turned to the dark-haired man, whose eyes seemed to glow in the darkness behind her closed eyelids.

With frustration she had vacated her bed and left her room to find the bathroom two doors down from her own. Rawness clawed her whole being inside and out. Her legs almost buckling under her, as she laid weight on them. An annoyed sound escaped her lips when she got control of her legs. This was ridiculous!

She had not seen him since he had dumped her in this room, where she had slept for three hours (she found out later) the day before. She had heard the door open and close as she had sat in her room, trying to figure out what she needed to do. But as she heard him approach she had gone completely silent. His presence had hovered outside her door for a moment or two, as if unsure if he should knock or not.

He hadn’t.

Ember had ignored the feeling that sprung forth from that decision. Trying to busy herself, as if she needed to clean or something, but there really wasn’t much to do. Dinner had been a simple affair. The guys had had too much to see to, so it had only been her and Mrs. Macbay, which had been a weird combination. Mrs. Macbay seemed perfectly fine, but Ember did not know which leg to stand on and ate quietly and faster than fast.

Mrs. Macbay hadn’t commented on the speed. And after some hours Ember had heard Blake, but nothing more. Now her whole body was reaching out for the one person, who was just a room away. Which was why a cold bath was in order. No more of this, she decided, frustrated.

It was also in this corridor where she suddenly stood face to face with the very being she tried to escape from in thoughts. Just, now it was the solid, warm blooded version. Almost choking on her breath, she stopped abruptly. Her blue eyes glowed in the dark as she focused more intently. Making her see way too many details, that could not possible be good for her peace of mind.

Muscular, with a chest that was heaving slightly as sweat drops were gliding over his olive skin. His muscles were taut, ever so ready, veins throbbing from whatever exertion he had been doing, and his dark hair was clinging to his neck and forehead.

It should be illegal to have the appearance that he had. It almost made her mad at him. Not that he could have any faults in whatever good genes he had. It was only when she finally began thinking about what he had been up to in these early hours, with a sweat coated body, panting and holding his blouse in one hand, with his jeans hanging askew on his hips...

Get your mind out of the gutter, Ember! 

His eyes seemed to be burning in the darkness, and suddenly, as if a spark flared, they had brightened more when he saw her. She swallowed a lump at the sight. They stood close, barely a meter from each other, and being exhausted, not in her right mind, she did not move back. Her lungs were beginning to follow his rhythm, making her more breathless.

Her gaze followed, hypnotized, a drop sliding down his neck, making its way over his collarbone and down his chest. What she did not know was that he was just as much checking her out. From plump lips, sweet chin, slender neck to the heaving chest, to take in that she was only in an oversized t-shirt that stopped just above her lovely knees. 

“Can’t sleep?”

The question was simple, yet something lay underneath the surface, a deeper meaning. Her gaze flew upwards, meeting his when his voice broke through the thick silence that surrounded them. She blinked a few times before finding her voice.

“…No.” Just a single word, but feeling like she had opened up her chest, and delivered a deep secret.

Standing there with him in the corridor, in such close proximity, whatever frustration, fatigue and restlessness residing in her body, was soothed - but not completely gone. He appeared to be mulling over her reply, with a low hum deep in his throat. It almost had an effect on her, almost.

“Ember, we need to talk.” She found out that she liked the way he said her name. There was something raw to the sound, yet kind and soft, but also… sadness. Which was not something she liked very much, but she could not do anything about it. No.

“Hmm, we do, but I don’t know if this really is the time or place to do it.” Her brow rose slightly. Her voice was low and soft. She didn’t even know where that kind of tone came from. A rumble or a low chuckle escaped him as mirth swirled in his gaze. Her stomach burned, hot and boiling then and there.

She needed to get away. Now. Her eyes said just as much, and he noticed.

Whatever mirthfulness had been in his eyes faded, and worry replaced it. His free hand sought her forearm. His hold was mild, but her eyes were still taking in the presence of his hand as if it was a foreign being. He gave her a gentle squeeze, took a small step closer.

“I-I really should go,” she whispered, then forced her voice a little louder, trying to forget the sensation that was growing in her arm by his touch. Sleek and warm, pleasing and it lighten her heart to a degree that caused a warning in her mind. Yet, her arm could just as well have been boneless, because she could simply not move it.

“Ember, please listen to me.” Gold met deep blue. “I’m not going to force you, no matter how deeply I want you, but I am asking you to think this through.” Low and deep, his voice sounded. She blinked a couple of times, moistened her lips and turned her eyes down. Once more he gave her a squeeze, but this time she did not look at him before she knew what to say.

“You don’t even know me. How deeply could you possibly want me?” she asked, but just as soon as the words had left her, she knew. She already knew that their very beings were screaming for each other, and the only one holding them back, was her. His features fell into sad lines, but he said nothing. She closed her eyes hard for a moment, then tried again in other words.  

“I could be the biggest bitch in history and you would be stuck with me! Or you… you could be…” She shook her head a little. Looked to one side, then the other. Perhaps the answer to it all was to be found in the walls around them. Getting nearer, letting the blouse hit the floor, he took her other arm in his now free hand, and bent his back - trying to capture her eyes once more, but this time closer.

“A terrorizing alpha who would cage and chain you, and just breed pups on you?” he asked, a bit of humor in his voice. She snapped her mouth open, pupils dilating, fighting for words. Though he had already taken the lead.

“I understand your worry. I mean, you’re not the only one who is in an unknown situation here, but I am asking you, for the both of us, try, give me some time, let me prove to you that it’s not a mistake.”

She said nothing. But she felt. She felt how being so close, that her hands were almost touching him, his hands touching her, chest to chest, made whatever pain that had been clutching her, melt away. As boiled water melted ice.

His hands glided down her arms and found her hands. Their fingers began a slow, if a bit unsure, mellow dance against each other. Feather light it was, leaving tender trails across their skin. His hands were so much bigger than hers, having a little bit of calluses on the inside, and strong knuckles and veins for her touch on the outside. She looked down at their hands, almost mesmerized by the movements. Perfect it seemed, too perfect.

With his lips at her ear, he asked quietly, but not so quietly that it was a whisper. It gave her chills anyway.

“Give me a chance Ember, what’s the worst that could happen?”

Slowly she raised her head. She didn’t say anything, but the silence which followed spoke for her.

Everything.

“Please.” A whisper.

This time she closed her eyes in a defeated manner. Then, giving in, she nodded.

“Fine, for a time, but then I am out of here.” She had agreed and no matter what she said after that, it could not dampen his smile. Warm and soft, blinding it was, and if it had been any other situation, it would have been contagious. But her lips stayed numb.

“Thank you.”

Shock, pure shock, made its way down her body. She had never thought that she would hear the words thank you (or please for that matter) from an alpha, but there it was. And she did not know what to do with it. So, she pushed it to the side, to be dealt with later.                 

For a moment it seemed like he was weighing what to do. But do what, she was not sure. He came to a conclusion that was ´not to do´. With a final squeeze he let her go, took a step back, collected his blouse from the floor and began to walk towards his room.

“Oh, and I am not like that.”

“W-what?” Half turned to look at him, surprised and baffled, she did not know what he meant. He had a hand on the doorknob, ready to open the door but was looking at her.

“I’m not a terrorizing man who would cage and chain you and force pups on you.” Though I do want pups. The words were hanging in the air, obvious to both of them, but not uttered out loud. With a final nod he vanished behind his door, leaving her to the semi dark corridor.

She needed more than a cold bath now, she needed a run. A long run. And she was going to do it, but later she decided. The fatigue hit her once again, but more slowly. Missing his closeness. She huffed and made her way to the bathroom.

 

***
(Raw hope)

 


A lot could be said about Jet Farrell. Most would say there always was a certain kind of glint in his pale green eyes. His lips holding that crooked smile, which most of the time hid a cocky retort on the tip of his tongue. A charming chap, that had even charmed the ever serious Ms. Macbay. That was what most of those who knew him agreed upon.

And yet. 

Even a smartass of the name of Jet had moments where a glint could not be found, nor a crooked smile – or even a smile at all. Retorts swallowed and gone before even reaching his tongue.   

It was not really early nor very late. Few were about, most slept. It was in this static hour that Jet stood outside on his guarding post, not quite sure what to do. His thoughts were not assaulted by the same track- which more than often than not turned everything inside him sour. No, instead they were on those howls haunting the night.

Jet Farrell heard them and yet to see the maker himself.  Not that it mattered, because the sound itself was enough to know who and what it was about. Whatever peace and quiet the dormant forest had settled in, was disturbed by the raw sound which travelled between the trees, over stones and embraced hills. Instantly Jet knew who the howl belonged to - though distant it was - and the ancient instinct to answer was a hard urge to suppress.

Throat drying, heartbeat increasing, breath beginning to be a panting rhythm. His Alpha was running at a speed he could almost hear within the beating of the pulse which drummed in his ears. There was little to say, but much more to be felt. Long fingers curled itself into fists, turning the cold skin instantly white.

The alpha long gone - nonetheless, Jet’s body did not stop its agitated state. With bone crushing force Jet stopped the whimper which was forcing its way through his throat. It was all he could do not to try to seek his hurting alpha, his friend, his brother in all but blood.

So, you see, Jet had not moved from his position that night, and he had not seen his alpha leave, but he did see him return. The big beast of a wolf vanished more than once to reappear from shadows and bushes, as it made its way up to the Alpha’s den, where his mate was, the very being who was the only one that could stop whatever madness and pandemonium was in the leader’s mind and body - if not soul.

Jet did not know, because he was not soul bond. No true mate lay in his bed, waiting for him, and maybe he would never know the reaches of the soul. One would never know until one was graced by luck – or cursed.

It was so simple. So ridiculously simple to stop it all, to make peace, and still Jet could not do anything other than hope for the best, trying to damper the growing feeling that was not welcome - but not unknown to him. So, Jet stood patiently, watching the sun rise and herald a new day - a day he could only hope would bring some of the yet to be achieved.

One could only hope.       

 

***
(The feelings of a beta)

 

The early afternoon air was crisp, and more than a few of the people outside had red cheeks and noses. The sky was a light blue and only a couple of clouds were drifting above them. Laughter could be heard, and Blake did not doubt that more than a few snowballs found their way through the air. Whether they hit or not, he could not tell from his position, but hearing the unmistakably laughter of wonder and astonishment that followed a grunt, he was no longer in doubt.

Somebody had just got a taste of a snowball. The sounds that erupted after this, could only be of pups running, squealing in joy as they were chased. It was such times as these were he reaped from the hard work his position required. To hear and feel the joy of his pack made it all worth it, yet he found his soul empty and starved. For the first time in a long while this was not enough for him, but he already knew what his being hungered for, yet there was nothing at the moment he could do about it.

Only time was the cure of which he sought. But whether he had enough time, he was not sure.

As was his responsible, Blake was making a few rounds, smelling the different odours that lingered on the wind. Making sure everything was secure and peaceful. Alongside his guards that each day and night would ward the borders of his territory, and around their little community. As alpha he was not exempt from this task - not that he himself would be able to relax if he did not participate in such duty. His wolfish nature would not find peace if he didn’t make sure that his territory was marked as well as showing that he was still strong and virile enough to stand up to anyone stupid enough to challenge him or threaten his pack.

Some steps later and he ended up on the top where he would often find himself, looking down on his pack. From there he could be close yet still overlook most of the community, but especially the common ground. The earth was downtrodden from many such trips. He took a deep breath and knew instantly that she was out and about. His body was at attention, and without a command his eyes sought the ground to find her.

Just as he found her, his solitude was broken. Steps could be heard behind him, yet it was as if he was in his own bubble. His ears under water, his eyes in tunnel vision. His breath left his lungs in a ragged way, it was almost all he could do, before he would have jumped down from his place, even if that would have left him torn and bleeding, perhaps with a broken neck. 

“Blake.” The voice was unmistakably Jet’s. With a force only known by himself, he turned away from the sight of his true mate and looked at his beta. Jet’s eyes did not betray that he knew about the force to which Blake had needed to break loose, but it would not have surprised Blake if he found out about the beta’s knowledge.

Blake did not say anything to acknowledge the new presence, and he didn’t need to do so. His gaze was enough. Jet stood by his side, letting a glance slide over the environment. Blake had already done it, so his eyes simply fell on the red headed figure, who was sitting on a bench in the common ground. Besides her were May who, just as Ember, were looking on the playing Miriam, Jessica and Shane - who was the target of whatever snowballs they could throw.

It felt good, right, yet still lacking. The silence remained around the two males, but Blake knew that Jet had come for a reason.

“What brings you here, Jet?” A feeling of déjà vu. For a few moments Jet said nothing, but then he conceded.

“I’m worried...” Blake did not show any sign that he heard, but he was fighting to stay nonchalant, because Jet did not need to elaborate. Blake knew.

“I know,” Blake simply said. Because what more was there to say? “We talked and made a deal that she would remain for a time, getting to know me and the pack, before coming to a decision. Only time will tell what it shall be.” This time it did not take as much force to change his gaze from the endearing female, to make eye contact with the beta. 

The decision to share was then made, and Jet found himself uncertain - like a pup once again, trying to speak a matter from the heart was not easier just by being so much older. Age had nothing to do with it, when you found yourself lacking the certainty of what was right and wrong, what was overstepping one’s bounds. Only a few times had Jet found himself in a similar situation.

And he wished that he wasn’t now.

“Jet, have I ever forbidden you to speak your mind?”

Confused, Jet blinked. “…No?”

“Then why are you hesitating? I can almost hear the gears turning, my friend.” It was becoming too hard to lock eyes with the alpha, who’s gaze was steady, unmoving and a force that the beta knew he would never be able to keep up with. Instead he lowered his eyes, quickly finding what had enraptured the alpha’s attention before. Red hair, and eyes he knew were blue, it was no surprise. He also knew his leader was waiting.

He swallowed, even though he recognized that he should not feel so nervous about sharing his concerns, but he knew soul mates and everything regarding the issue was a tender topic, in which one always should tread with care.

“I-I heard you… this… I heard you this night and saw you when you returned. I did not mean to spy, Blake, but…” Words died – Jet did not know how to finish, something that almost never happened. Blake held his eyes steadfast on him, but then turned to look outwards. Just out, not on a certain individual down below, nothing but what may fly or walk into the path of his gaze.

“I see, you do not need to say more Jet, I understand.” Calm voice, nothing threating underneath.

“I’m worried.” And with that, Jet found himself coming full cycle, not knowing what to think or say, he just knew that he needed this feeling out, needed to show his alpha that they cared. He cared.

Blake nodded - then he turned away from the peak, prepared to make way down.

“Walk with me,” he invited and not seeing any reason to say no, Jet walked by his alpha’s side, knowing what must be said had been said and whatever may be, was not for now - no matter how unsatisfied it felt.  

 

(Must believe)


Unbeknownst to the two males, they were being watched by a pair of deep blue eyes belonging to an individual that had felt warmth settle in her when Blake had looked at her. She was not sure why at first, but the more the warmth spread in her, making its presence known, little by little she knew what it was, and then her eyes began seeking automatically around the area.

She found him standing on a peak some distance away, yet not so far away that she couldn’t make out some of the of the details on him, and on his beta. They were talking to each other, and afterwards they left side by side. In all that time she sat there, completely lost for air, her gaze intense. Only when their intended target could no longer be seen was she able to tune slowly into her surroundings again.

The eager, high-pitch scream of a little girl’s voice shattered whatever was left of the bubble she had been in and made her turn back to the playing daughter and father. Jessica and Shane. And Miriam. There was no doubt that they indeed were parents and offspring.

It took a second. A buzzing could be heard. Disturbing and not at all in tune with the surroundings. Then Ember remembered that she had her mobile in her pocket, and the vibrations she could hear, and when paying attention, could feel, came from her ringing mobile. She only used it for work, so it was an older model, but it could what it should, and most of the time it had an okay signal. She didn’t know the number, but as soon she got it up from her pocket May stopped talking to her, and Ember answered the phone.

It took a moment before she recognized the voice. Deep, older and a little hoarse. It was Steph. With everything happening, she had completely forgotten about her work and why she had been in the city. In a rush she jumped down from the table. She could feel curious eyes on her as she walked away to get some peace to be able to concentrate on the conversation.

The conversation was short, barely ten minutes, but Ember felt refreshed when it was over. He wanted to talk to her about the price and the opportunity to purchase a series of commissions. They even had a possible buyer. That was more than Ember had hoped for. Being a photographer was not easy and needed hard work. But it suited her and she loved the solitude some of the work brought with it. There was a tranquillity about it, that could not be found in most places.

She had hardly reached the others when May turned her whole attention to her. A certain small and expecting smile was on her face. “So, who was that?” May asked.

Ember was looking at Shane and the pups. They seemed to be finished with playing. The poor Shane looked winded, having to keep up with the energy of pups.

Turning her attention to May, she said: “That was Steph, the guy from Corron’s photo shop. They wanted to talk about prices for my pictures and a possible commission.”

“Nice,” May smiled. Ember nodded her agreement. It was nice, and it would mean Ember would again have some income, meaning bread on the table. A giggle interrupted them just as May was about to say more. The two females turned and saw Jessica running towards them, arms raised and a face splitting grin on her lips.

“Mommy, mommy!”

Behind her walked Shane and Miriam. Shane had a warm smile as he approached his family. His height was average. Dirty blond hair, that was tousled by the game, and the light tan of his skin gave him a boyish look, but his brown eyes gave away that he had age, alongside the few adoring smiling lines. There was a little golden tint to his eyes, Ember had seen earlier. Jessica had gotten her mother’s brown hair and her father’s eyes. Her mother’s dimples and soft cheeks, but her father’s smile.

They all had warm clothes on, and more than once, Shane had run after Jessica with her lost knit beanie hat in hand, trying to get it on her again - a hat which had just fallen off, leaving Shane resignedly shaking his head, but the smile he couldn’t, nor would, hide as he picked it up.

“Dad, he, Dad, he was running, and then he, he didn’t see, mommy, he, he-“ Ember was impressed that a being so small could talk so fast, but the little ting could barely breathe.

“Easy darling, breathe for me, what are you trying to tell me?” May asked, patience and love imbedded in her voice, her focus on her daughter.

“HE GOT A SNOWBALL IN HIS FACE, MOMMY!” Jessica burst out, before breaking into a fit of giggles. They knew of course, since they had kept an eye on them, but hearing it retold by the little girl made Ember fight to contain her laughter. May was doing the same, but a giggle did leave her as she swept her eyes up and met her mate’s. He shrugged with a smile as he was ready to give the little girl her hat on.

“Did he now?” May asked. Jessica nodded quickly and said just as fast.

“Yes, mommy!”

She had almost crawled upon the bench, but with a speed Ember had not believed possible (until she saw them play), the girl was down and running again, leaving her mother and father behind - a father who was still holding onto the hat, suspended in the air just where her head had been.

“Jess-“ Shane began until they saw where she was headed. Blake and Jet. Both males were walking toward them but stopped when the vigorous little girl busted forth and into their path. Ember didn’t realize until after - that she was holding her breath, her back almost rigid as she looked on. Jessica ran without a care in the world and certainly not in mind that it was the alpha she was running to.

Instead of disaster (which Ember had unintentional expected), Blake looked upon her with warmth and squatted down. You could almost hear the impact when she ran into his open arms. Only with a certain amount of strength did he not topple over. In a swift and elegant move, he stood up, making her sit on his forearm while the other held onto her, so she did not fall down.

Just as before, she animatedly talked with blushing cheeks and a red nose, winter stars in her eyes. She held onto him in a hug, but had her face centimeters from his, not thinking a single thought about personal space. But he held her as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Listening to her with all his attention. Jet stood silent and watched Jessica with calm expression, but there was a twist of something, a sort of longing. And if it was not for the fact that Ember was completely absorbed by the display of Jessica in Blake’s arms, she would have hurt for the poor male, who was more than ready to be a father of his own.

Nevertheless, in that moment her whole being was tuned into Blake (as it so often did in his proximity). Taking everything in and trying with every source within her to ignore the little voice in the back of her mind, saying he belonged with a kid in his arms - their kid.

The others’ voices were reduced to blurred mumblings in her ears. Heart strings were throbbing, pulling her, urging for her to give in. She didn’t. What she did do was keep looking. Perhaps her stare was beginning to poke him, and he moved his attention from Jessica face (as she looked down on her fingers, probably counting something off), and hit the target spot on - her eyes. He had not moved position, only his eyes, and her lungs lost all air.

His face took on a knowing expression. When he finally let her eyes go, everything seemed to rush into her with a dizzying speed. The spell was broken when Shane finally got the hat back on where it belonged. Being confined in the space of Blake’s arms, Jessica was fated to get her hat on. She turned a charming smile up at her father, who stood with his hands at his sides and once again, just shook his head at her.

Blake’s smile broke when a chuckle escaped him. Once on her own two legs again, Jessica ran over to Miriam with a handful of snow and tried very hard to seem big and dangerous. Miriam caught onto the game and began to dash across the ground, with enough speed that Jessica thought that she could catch up.

“If only I had that kind of energy,” May mused, turned to look at the playing kids. Ember silent agreed. Shane? Not so much. “If you had more energy, I don’t know what I would do with the both of you,” he responded.

“Ha ha, very funny,” she replied. Shane gave her a charming smile, though something mischievous was shining in his eyes. “I thought so, yes,” he grinned.

May shook her head, and turned to Ember, “Anyway, when do you think you will go?” That was ultimately the wrong thing to say. Absolutely. At once the two out of three males became tense, whilst Shane did not know of the deal made between Ember and Blake, didn’t go quite as alert. Ember had only focus on the stare that belonged to Blake. She did not look at him, but the strength of his gaze was hot and burning, making her very aware of him.

“Go?” Jet repeated before anymore could be uttered. May being the chatty type, elaborated.

“Yeah, to the city. Ember just got a call from the guy at the photo-shop about her pictures - they agreed to meet  and discuss prices and a probable commission.”

Daring them to speak against it, determined Ember turned with a look. Dare me could just as well have been written in her eyes. Ready as she was, it did not come, and it stumped her for a moment. Whatever tension - which had been coming in waves - was reeled in at the explanation.

“I see - half an hour from now and I can take you there,” Blake offered, though there was something in his voice - or perhaps it was through the bond they shared - which made Ember think it was not merely an offer, but a slight demand. She was not sure and therefore did not comment. Besides, there was still the whole tensing up before, and that did not sit well with her.

There was also the fact that Ember could very well drive herself. But be as it may, it would seem that fate had other plans than for Ember to speak up. Some of the children came over and if there was one thing Ember did not want, it was making a scene in front of the younger ones.

It was only later, when the half hour was almost up, that Ember got to speak to Blake, and speak she did. They were walking down the corridor. Blake two steps ahead, nose in some papers that Ember didn’t really care about.

“You know, I can drive,” she said. Blake simply looked a little over his shoulder. “Well I don’t know about that, but I would assume so, since you have a car and had planned to drive away, when you ran from us.” From me.

“I can - drive that is - but why is it that I can’t go then?” Blake looked at her again, a little bewildered, almost coming to a stop but didn’t. “Who says you can’t go?” he simply asked.

“Well… nobody, but you didn’t seem like you wanted me to go without you.”

“Hmhm, and what made you think so?” Skeptically, her blue eyes narrowed a bit, and said with a voice perhaps a tad stronger and sterner than necessary, “Your voice? And the sudden tension - and don’t say that there wasn’t any tension, I may not know you very well, but I’m not completely daff. Besides, if you could, you would have made a hole through me with your stare, why did you even…” Ember stopped when realization finally hit her.

“You thought… you thought I was going to drive away?” 

Blake stopped, turned and saw her stare at him with an intense gaze. The implications of her words made his mouth go dry with guilt. She appeared genuinely upset that he had not trusted her word. He cleared his throat a bit. “As you said yourself - you don’t know me very well, that apply both ways; I don’t know you either - “

“I gave you my word. Just this morning!”

“And now I know better.” Not aloof - his voice - but still she shook her head a little. “But you still thought that I would break my word.” He was silent. They stood still in the corridor, facing each other.

“Yes, for a moment there I did,” he revealed, seemingly disappointed - in himself. The earlier hours pressed in on her.

Please…

Thank you…

And now, it was admitting to being wrong.

Ember could only blink, a whisper from the bond between them convincing her the words were genuine. Whatever fire that had begun to blossom in her chest, faded. It was not the time to think about these things, she knew, but she had barely known the guy for more than 24 hours, and already he had turned most of her knowledge about alpha males on its head. What would be next?

It almost scared her. Almost.

A small sigh. “Alright, I will give you that, but I will keep my word, so you better keep yours!” She was not sure where the last bit came from, but it suddenly seemed important to say. His papers long forgotten, settled in his hand by his side, a little wry smile lifted his lips.

Fascinating, she thought - the smile that was - before she could stop herself.

“I will - of course, I never intended anything else.” She nodded, not really knowing what to reply. “And I will say, that while I will not forbid you to drive by yourself, I would very much like to take you there.” Eye contact, silence and a blooming warmth spreading and coiling around her heart. “And since it seems like you have waited for me, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.” There was probably a little smugness in that tone, Ember surmised, but she could not find it in her to care. He was right, they could just as well go together now that she had waited for him.

“Fine,” she agreed. He nodded, never losing his smile. Then he turned and walked ahead.

 

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*Edited 2018-6/4

This chapter has been ready since... well, forever, but my beta-reader has a lot on her plate, so now you are just going to get it, with mistakes and weird sentences and everything! Sorry...

I hope you enjoyed! and I am sorry for the long wait! I didn't think it would take so long D:

This one was really long, and I tried not to make it so long, but it just kind of happened... x)

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