“Before you hear it, you must first realize that Vasile and I have been mated for over two centuries, so what was ‘in’ then, is most definitely not ‘in’ now,” Alina teased.
Jacque was shocked to hear how long she and Vasile had been together.
“Well, I must say you don’t look a day over thirty five,” Jacque told her.
“Now that you know just how long ago it was when we bonded, I will tell you that Vasile gave me two things. The first was something I needed. My family was poor and we didn’t have much, so he gave me a horse. She was beautiful.”
Jacque watched as Alina’s face alighted with the memory of an animal she'd obviously loved.
“She was sable with dark chocolate mane, tall and very elegant. I named her Cosmina, which means beauty. The second thing requires an explanation as well, maybe a small history lesson. In that day and age, wealthy families and nobility all had family crests or signets. Vasile comes from a long line of Alphas, which are our equivalent to royalty, and so his family has a signet. The signet was used to identify the family you were from, the social class you were in, and in our case, the pack you were in. Different families carried their signets in different ways. Vasile’s was a ring,” Alina held out her hand to show Jacque the gold ring.
It had an oval-shaped face and on the face was a grid of four diamonds. In each diamond there was a symbol. The top left was a crown, the top right was a wolf, the bottom left, a sword, and the bottom right, a full moon.
“The crown represents the royal lineage, the wolf distinguishes that we are werewolves, the sword is to testify that as the Alpha family we are the sword of justice, and the moon is to acknowledge the importance of the females in the Pack,” Alina explained.
“So what was the significance of giving you the ring?” Jacque asked.
“It was his way of offering me a place in the royal line. He was telling me that no matter my lineage, if I bonded with him, I would be accepted as the Alpha of the female Pack members. In essence, he was offering me unconditional acceptance,” Alina answered.
“I take it that was really significant,” Jacque said.
“Yes, it was.”
“And what is the last thing required for the bonding?” Jacque asked.
“Since you are human, this final act might seem very weird. The third thing is the blood rites, where you will exchange blood and Fane will put a visible mark on you for others to know you are his.”
“Ok, you’re right. It is quite freaky-deaky to me because we don’t go around biting each other, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. Does it hurt?” Jacque asked, sounding very nervous.
“Well, I’m not sure how it is going to be for a human. It does cause some discomfort. It is a bite, after all, but some find it pleasurable because it is so significant to the bonding. It’s the way you complete becoming one with your mate,” Alina said, making it sound so normal, even though it was definitely so not normal.
“Well, I’m not going to say I’m not nervous because that would be the understatement of the year. I'm trying very hard to keep an open mind,” Jacque told Alina.
“I think Fane is very blessed to have you as his mate. I know it is going to be a big change for you, especially once you move to Romania, but…”
“Wait, wait, throw it in reverse. What do you mean move to Romania? Fane has not said a single thing about moving to Romania!” Jacque didn’t realize she was yelling, on the sidewalk, in the middle of her neighborhood.
“That’s what I was afraid of. Fane is next in line to be Alpha of the Romanian pack. He has to be there in order to learn what that entails. You also need to learn what it means to be Alpha to the females. It's going to be hard for some of the females to submit to one who is half human. You are going to have to learn to hold your own,” Alina told her.
“What about my senior year? What about my friends, my mom? What the crap, man?” Jacque said, once again yelling.
“The plan is to get you and Fane private tutors for your senior year. When you are not studying, you will be learning about the Pack and traditions and how to be Alpha. As for your mom, she is welcome to come with us, and if she doesn’t the Pack will pay to fly her out any time you want. Your friends are welcome to come, too. The tutor would work with them as well. We realize we are asking you to give up a lot and we want to make every effort to make it easier on you.”
Jacque just stood there, staring at Alina in total disbelief. She felt completely blindsided. Why hadn’t Fane said anything to her? How could she possibly leave her life here? Would her friends parents even consider allowing them to go with her?
“Fane is so busted,” Jacque said aloud, although really only saying it to herself.
“Is everything okay, Luna?” she heard Fane ask.
“You have been holding out on me. And just to prepare you, it might be wise of you to get anything I could use as a weapon as far from me as possible,” Jacque told him.
Fane did not respond to the thought. She was already getting angrier because she knew he wasn’t going to argue with her, that he would surrender. She wanted a good argument. She needed to vent her own frustrations at the injustice of it all.
“Jacque, are you okay?” Alina asked her.
“Not real sure just yet, but I’m not going to have a melt down or anything,” she answered.
“I think we should head back now. It’s nearing lunch time, and I’m sure Fane is probably edgy with you not in his sight,” Alina told her.
“Right now it might be a good thing that I’m not in his sight,” Jacque muttered under her breath.
Fane knew he was in trouble for not telling Jacquelyn that she would need to move to Romania after the bonding, but there were so many changes happening all at once, he hadn’t wanted to throw more at her. Obviously he had been wrong not to tell her. Man, this whole mate thing is difficult. Even if they were meant to be together, apparently that did not mean things would be smooth. Although he would still rather have her, even if she was mad at him, than not have her at all. She was actually pretty cute when she was mad. Hopefully he could smooth things out when they talked tonight.
Fane’s father had talked to Lucas Steele and set up the time and location for the challenge. Lucas had asked several times if Jacquelyn was going to be there and that had set Fane and his wolf on edge. He also had the nerve to ask if she received his offering. This caused Fane to let out a ferocious growl, and his Alpha chastised him for it. “You never lose control. It gives the other wolf the upper hand,” he told Fane.