Lilly took a deep breath. “Your father is a Canis lupus, a werewolf.”
When Jacque didn’t respond Lilly just continued. “I knew there was something different about him when I met him. The longer we dated, the more sure I was that he wasn't normal. So one night I just asked him, ‘What are you?’ And he told me. At first, naturally, I didn’t believe him, but then he showed me his wolf and he was beautiful. Over time, he told me more and more about his culture and species. I knew one day he would leave because he would find his true mate. He was honest with me about it and I chose to stay with him anyway because I felt that whatever time I could have with him was better than none at all.”
Lilly paused for a moment and looked at Jacque, who was just sitting there staring at the table in front of her. Fane took one of her hands and looked like he was waiting for her to go into hysterics at any moment. Still, she said nothing.
Lilly continued. “Three days before he left I found out I was pregnant with you. I was going to tell him that very night, but when I got home there was a note waiting for me instead of him.” Jacque looked up at her mother when her voice wavered and saw she had tears in her eyes.
She realized then that her mom still loved her father. Even though he's a Canis Lup-whatever, she thought to herself.
“Canis lupus, meu inimă,” Fane told her.
“I wasn't thinking to you, was I? No, I was not. I was thinking to myself. So if you don’t mind, keep your nosy Romanian brain out of mine,” Jacque growled.
Fane just squeezed her hand and this angered Jacque even more because she didn’t want anyone’s comfort or understanding, she just wanted to be pissed off.
Lily pulled herself together and when Jacque still did not say anything she said, “I had no idea what would happen to you as half Canis lupus. I didn’t know if I would come in your room one day and find a wolf puppy in your crib. As time went on and you seemed to be completely normal, I decided to just let it go. When you hit puberty I was worried maybe that would trigger some change in you, but it didn’t and I thought we were home free. And then,” Lilly looked at Fane, there was no condemnation when she said, “you came along, and I knew all my hope was in vain.”
Fane looked Lilly in the eye and told her, “I am sorry to have brought your fears to pass, but I am not sorry to have found Jacquelyn. She is my mate and I will claim her, as is my right. You know she will not be complete without me, nor I without her.”
Lilly nodded. “I know this, Fane. At first I was angry and scared. However, now that I have spent some time with you, albeit not enough, I can tell you are a good man. I say 'man' because you can no longer be a boy, you have to protect my little girl.” Her voice sounded almost desperate now.
Jacque’s head snapped up when she heard her mom’s tone and saw the fear in her eyes.
“Okay,” Jacque started, taking a deep breath, “give me just a moment, ok? Let me process this…out loud.” She turned her head to look at Fane. “You, Casanova, give me some space, you’re freaking me out right now.”
Fane let go of her hand and moved away from her, though only a tiny bit. Jacque rolled her eyes.
“So my father turns all hairy once a month, is that what I hear you telling me?”
Fane and Sorin both let out a snort of laughter but pulled it together when Lilly glared at them.
“No, all the things you think you know about werewolves are false. Canis lupus can phase – they don’t call it changing – whenever they want to. They can phase their whole body into wolf form, or just their eyes, or teeth, or whatever. It has nothing to do with the moon.”
Jacque knew her mom loved interesting things, and she definitely found the whole werewolves-being-real bit interesting. She was past the whole trek down memory lane and moving right along onto the highway of the unbelievable.
“I can’t phase though, right?” Jacque asked apprehensively.
“No,” Lilly, Fane, and Sorin all said at the same time.
“Surround sound, nice,” Jacque said sarcastically.
What can I say? she thought to herself. I get sarcastic when I’m freaked out.
“Well, that’s a crappy deal. Here you have a dad who can turn into this cool wolf thingy and you can’t even get a sexy, bushy tail,” Jen said as she and Sally walked into the living room.
Jacque stood up, the relief very obvious on her face.
“What are you two doing here?” she asked them.
“I asked them to stay and listen in. I knew you would tell them anyway and figured you would need some support from people you didn’t feel like were hiding things from you,” Lilly told her.
“So you guys heard everything?” Jacque asked tentatively.
“Every page-turning word. I wanted to pop some popcorn. I figured there might be some tense moments and you know I eat when I’m tense, but goody two shoes here wouldn’t let me,” Jen said irritably.
Sally patted Jen’s hand in mock sympathy. “We know, sweetie. But see, since it was Jacque finding out it was her dad who gets hairy, not yours, I didn’t really care if you were tense.”
Jen took Sally’s hand off hers and bit into it hard enough to leave teeth marks.
“Hey! What the hell, chick?” Sally exclaimed.
“See, don’t you wish you'd given me the popcorn?” Jen retorted.
Jacque started laughing, she just couldn’t help herself. She was so grateful to have Sally and Jen giving her something normal to grasp onto.
Jacque turned and looked at her mom. “So my father left because he found his true mate, or whatever?”
“Yes, and I want you to know I don’t blame him. I knew that it would eventually happen,” Lilly answered.
“Did he ever know about me?” Jacque asked, not really sure if she wanted to know the answer because if he did, and he had never bothered to come meet her, it was really going to hurt.
“No honey, he didn’t know. After he left I had no way to contact him. If he'd known he would have wanted to be a part of your life. He is a good man, Jacque. Only problem was he wasn’t really a man. Just my luck, huh?” Lilly said with a sad smile.
Jacque thought for a moment and something Fane had said earlier came to mind – he had called her his mate!
She slowly turned to look at him and saw that his head was down, shoulders slumped as if he were deflated. It broke her heart to see him look so broken. Jacque walked over to him and got down on her knees in front of him. He still did not move. Jacque took her finger and placed it under his chin and raised his head so she could see his face. The look she saw brought tears to her eyes. She didn’t talk out loud, she felt like this was private, just between them, and for the next few moments there was no one in Jacque’s world but Fane.