“Thank you, the feeling is mutual,” Jacque responded.
Fane took Jacque by the hand and led her back to the couch.
“Ok, I’m good. Let’s keep moving. What else do we need to discuss?” Jacque asked Vasile.
“I think for now that is enough. I want Boian, Skender, and Dorian to go over to the Henrys' and get some sleep. I need them at their best at the challenge.”
The three wolves were up and moving before Vasile was done speaking. Jacque felt Fane relax as the three walked out the front door. She turned and looked at him questioningly. “Is it really that hard to be around them?” she asked, heedless of those around them.
“We’ll talk about it later, Luna,” Fane told her gently.
Jacque shrugged. She was tired and, frankly, didn’t want to think about the challenge any more. Alina must have seen it in Jacque’s face because she tactfully asked her if she would like to take a walk with her.
“Lilly, you don’t mind, do you?” Alina asked Jacque’s mother.
“No, not at all. I think it'll be good for her to get out of this house and away from all this testosterone,” Lilly told her.
“Amen,” Jen and Sally said in unison.
Jacque stood up and looked down at her wrinkled cloths and realized she had slept in yesterday's clothes. What a wonderful first impression I must have made with Fane’s parents.
“Alina, let me take a quick shower. I feel all grimy,” Jacque admitted.
“Go right ahead, take your time. I would love to spend time with your mom as well, since we’re going to be family,” Alina told her with obvious affection.
“That sounds like a great idea. Alina, do you like coffee or hot chocolate?” Lilly asked her as the two women headed in the direction of the kitchen.
Jacque turned to Fane and told him she’d see him in a little while, but apparently that wasn’t sufficient. As she walked away he followed her to the bottom of the stairs.
“Jacquelyn, are you -”
“If you plan on finishing that question with the word 'okay', I just might save Lucas the trouble and strangle you myself,” Jacque growled at him.
“Man, Sally, you would think getting to sleep on the couch with her man would have put her in a better mood. Maybe he’s not as good as he looks, if you know what I mean,” Jen was telling Sally as they walked past Fane and Jacque and up the stairs.
“Jen, we really, really need to have a conversation about when to keep your mouth shut and if you don’t then how fast you should run,” Sally retorted as she followed her mouthy friend upstairs.
Jacque lowered her head and was silently shaking it, feeling so overwhelmed. She knew she needed to give herself a pep talk or a good kick in the ass, which was even more effective. She was not a “wuss,” dad-gummet, she was not a frail, little flower that withered at the slightest show of bad weather. So what on earth was her problem?
“It’s the bond, Jacquelyn. It makes you feel things at a whole different level than that of a human. I know it’s hard to understand because it’s all so new to you. You aren’t weak, love, your spirit recognizes that I am your other half and it rebels against any notion of being separated from me. My spirit also rebels against being separated from you, and even worse, I’m constantly fighting to keep my wolf under control because all he sees is that you are our mate, you are in danger, and you need to be bonded to me,” Fane explained to her.
Jacque lifted her head and looked into Fane’s beautiful blue eyes, eyes that she wanted more than anything to be what she saw every morning when she woke up and every night when she went to sleep. Fane was right, she didn’t understand. She wanted to, but it was like her brain couldn’t keep up with her emotions. She would just have to come to grips with it all and accept it. Maybe then it wouldn’t be so scary. Yeah, good one, Jac. You almost had yourself convinced.
“Thank you, Fane. I can imagine it must be frustrating for you because I am so clueless. Crap, it’s frustrating for me because I know I must be frustrating you,” she admitted to him.
“I am not frustrated, Luna. How could I possibly be frustrated with the one person who gives my existence meaning? If you begin to understand anything at all, I hope it’s that you have given me what every male Canis lupus longs for, needs, and can never be complete without. You, and only you, complete the very core of who I am. No, love, I am not frustrated with you. I am wholly, ardently, unabashedly in love with you.”
Jacque wrapped her arms around his waist, holding onto him as if it would keep the storm raging around them from tearing them apart. She laid her head against his chest and listened to his heart, allowing the rhythm to calm her. Fane kissed the top of her head and gently rubbed her back. As he had done before, he whispered words in his language, and they seemed to ease the tension in her mind.
“I love you, wolf-man,” Jacque whispered and knew with his wolf’s hearing he wouldn’t miss it.
She took a deep breath and pulled away from him. He reluctantly let her go but did not take his hands off her hips.
“I’m gonna go now, ‘k? So I can spend time with your mom. What are you going to do?” she asked him.
“I’m going to be with my father when he calls Lucas and then I think I will sleep for a little while. I didn’t realize how tired I was until the Pack left and I was able to relax,” he told her.
“That reminds me, are you going to tell me what the whole staring contest was about? And about the guys leaving and you suddenly deflating like a balloon with a hole in it?”
“I will tell you about it, Luna, but not right now. You go take your shower. I know my mother is eager to get to know you and seeing as how I plan to have you all to myself tonight, she better get her fill during the day,” Fane said as he pulled her close one more time and kissed her.
Jacque pressed closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck, pressing her lips firmly against his. She loved it when he kissed her, his lips were so soft and gentle. Fane pulled back much too soon for her liking, but she let it go.
“I’ll see you later,” he told her.
Just like when he had left to go back to the Henrys' earlier, Jacque felt this impending sense of doom at the idea of him not being with her. She hated how desperate it made her feel. She was not the desperate type. She'd never had a problem if she and Trent went several days without talking. At the sound of Fane’s growl, she realized her mistake.