“Remember, love, when you are emotional you tend to broadcast your thoughts. I try not to listen, but sometimes it’s a little too tempting not to, and when I hear his name in your mind I can’t tune you out,” Fane explained. “I know I don’t need to be jealous, but the wolf in me considers you mine even when I didn’t know you.”
Jacque grinned at him, having just realized that she would probably be able to get some dirt on him about past girls from Alina.
“I guess I'll just need to be more careful about not broadcasting when I’m emotional,” she told him innocently.
“That’s a thought, or you could just not think about him,” Fane told her, his voice getting deeper as they continued on this topic.
“That’s a thought, too. Albeit not a reasonable one, but a thought nonetheless.” Jacque winked at him as she turned to climb the stairs.
“See you later, wolf-man,” she called over her shoulder. Jacque heard him growl and couldn’t help the grin that stretched across her face. If nothing else made her smile, she could count on aggravating him doing it every time.
“Glad I can amuse you, my love,” she heard Fane’s voice in her head.
“Me too,” was the only reply she gave, which got her another growl.
As Alina and Jacque walked down the sidewalk, Jacque had a hard time not looking back at Sorin, who followed at a distance – their guard as it were. She was amazed at the fact that four days ago she was just Jacque, small town teenager, fixing to be a senior in high school, and then BAM, she’s the mate to a werewolf prince who's going to have to fight another werewolf to keep her. Seriously, what had happened that fate somehow got a wild hair up its butt and decided to throw her a curve ball. She was truly baffled by it all.
“Jacquelyn or Jacque? Which would you prefer I call you?” Alina’s voice pulled her from her disbelieving thoughts.
“Well, everyone but Fane calls me Jacque. For some reason he's called me Jacquelyn since we met and I just haven’t bothered to say anything. Then again, he rarely calls me my name, usually it’s Luna, or love, or some other Romanian word I have no idea the meaning of,” Jacque told her, smiling at how much she liked the different endearments Fane called her.
“I think that’s a mate thing,” Alina told her. “Vasile almost never calls me Alina.”
“What does he call you?” Jacque asked, and then her manners caught up with her. “I mean, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“I don’t mind. He calls me 'mina',” Alina told her.
“What does it mean?”
“You’re going to laugh when I tell you because it just solidifies the fact that werewolves are indeed pushy, bossy and possessive. It means 'mine.' How ridiculous is that?” Alina said, laughing.
Jacque couldn’t help laughing with her.
“I haven’t known werewolves for a week, and I still see the significance of that,” Jacque told her.
“What has Fane told you about us?” Alina asked Jacque.
“Well, obviously he’s told me about the whole werewolf family trait thing, and about ya’ll being the royal family, so to speak. But other than that, not really anything.”
“Fane never has been the talkative type,” Alina said. “I suppose, too, all he’s really been able to think about is keeping you safe. Grey males tend to be a little obsessive when it comes to their mates and children.”
“Yeah, I suppose he has been a little preoccupied with the whole crazy, psycho alpha trying to get in his Kool Aid and steal his chick,” Jacque said, and then burst out laughing when Alina looked at her like she had grown a third arm.
“Do you always talk like that?” Alina asked
“Unfortunately. It’s a side effect of hanging around Jen. She’s much, much worse,” Jacque told her, shaking her head as she thought about her crazy best friend.
“You care very much for Jen and Sally, and it’s obvious they care for you. I’m sorry that they won’t be able to be with you tomorrow,” Alina told Jacque.
“I would rather them be safe. If it’s going to be dangerous for them to be there, then it’s not worth having them there. You are right, I do care for them. I love them. They're my best friends and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.”
They walked a block in silence. Jacque was thinking about the question Alina had asked about what Fane had told her. Was she talking about the bonding or blood rites stuff? Or was there more that Fane hadn’t talked with her about? She would ask him tonight if there was more. She was really hoping it wasn’t something like, 'for the good of the pack you must produce a male heir within one year of the bonding', because that would really, really suck.
“Fane has explained to you about the bonding ceremony and blood rites, I hope,” Alina said, finally breaking the silence.
“Yeah, he told me about it. Not in great detail, but the gist. The blood rites thing is definitely non-traditional compared to what we do in our bonding ceremonies,” Jacque joked.
Alina laughed, appreciating the good humor that Jacque obviously took in everything.
“So, because you're female I know that you'll break it down a little better. Will you give me a clue as to what to expect?” Jacque asked Alina.
“In the ceremony, Vasile will first bond you and Fane. There are three things that must happen for a bond to be made. First you will say vows. I have a copy of the vows you will say to Fane and Vasile has a copy of the vows Fane will say to you. After the vows, the male presents the female with an offering, a way to show her that he can take care of her and provide for his family,” Alina was explaining her when Jacque interrupted.
“He’s not going to give me a dead animal, is he?”
Alina laughed. “No, that is what a real wolf would give his mate. The symbolism is the same. The offering must be something of value that required him to sacrifice in order to get it. As a wolf sacrifices energy when on the hunt, so must a male Canis lupus sacrifice to provide for his family. Want to know what the catch is? Just as a female wolf can turn away a male wolf’s offering, so can we. You don’t have to accept what Fane offers to you.”
“What did Vasile give to you?” Jacque asked Alina before she could tell her mouth not to say what her brain was thinking.