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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 5. Chapter 5: Reckless Reveal

Well...that's something I should have seen coming. Mom is the head librarian, and she knows Vincent. Mason kicked his leg up on his knee as he pushed himself in the porch swing. What I don't get is how she figured out he was my destined mate. She probably saw him at the library earlier today and caught my scent on him. But it was most likely very faint, and in no way an indication of mating.

Leaning his head back, he sighed. "How did you know?"

Elaine let out a single laugh. "Well, bookworms aren't really your type. You tend to bed with closeted sport jocks. It was more of an educated guess. I'm also guessing you haven't told your father. He would have been rather excited about it."

A smile came to the Alpha's face. "Yeah, he was always wanting another son to call his own. I plan on telling him in the morning when he stops by."

"Good!" The voice over the phone sounded chipper over the news. "How did Vincent take it?"

Oh, no. She is going to kill me! Probably hide my body in the library rafters. "Well, you see-"

"Mason. Wilson. Please tell me you haven't kept your destined mate in the dark." Yep, I'm boned. "My Gods, Mason! He was reading about shifters earlier today. The boy is brilliant, and he will find out from that book by putting two and two together! You need to handle this!"

Covering his face in shame, Mason leaned forward with his elbow resting upon his knee. "Yeah, I know. I was going to tell him, but when I was telling him of Aliz's fable, he grew upset over Yir and I didn't get that far."

"Well, I imagine so! Even I know he resents the Gods for taking his family away. But you need to be there for him, let him know he's not alone in this world. Keeping this a secret from him will result in a great mistrust of you." Elaine's stern voice grew colder. "You mess this up, and he will run from you."

"Gods, I know this, Mom! He can just vanish into thin air whenever he damn well pleases! He can be across the country in a matter of minutes."

A long silence filled the call. "Mom? You there?"

"What do you mean by that, son?" His eyes widened as he realized what he just revealed. She didn't know!

"You...you didn't know that Vincent is a shadow mage?"

An even longer pause. "He's...he's one of the rare shadow mages? Mason, do you understand the power that your mate possesses?"

Mason sighed heavily. "Yeah. Saw it first hand when he took down one of the mercs tonight. It was-"

"He was there? Were...were they after you or him?" The wolf could almost smell the fear coming from his mother.

"Him. He's hunting down his parents' killer. The mage Vincent is after sent them. The guy's name is Stefan Gre-"

"Mason!" He paused after hearing his mother interrupt him. Mason hated to be interrupted, but Elaine was one of the few people he allowed to speak over him. What concerned him was her tone. Cold. Ice cold. She must be concerned. "If you say Gregoro…"

"That's him."

More clicking of her fingernails came over the line, but louder. "I'm giving you and Vincent this one warning. Even with your mate's abilities, going after that bastard is suicide."

Mason rose from his seat. "What aren't you telling me, Mom?" I'm the Alpha and my Vinnie is one of the best mages I've ever seen! Surely this guy isn't that powerful.

"I...I fought him years and years ago." Those words struck like lightning to Mason's spine. "He is no fucking joke."

Okay. She's dead serious. Mom never cusses like that. "Mom?"

"That...that bastard. Took everything I had just to injure him. We walked away with minor lacerations and burns....but...Oh Gods, Mason, don't tell me you're going after him."

With furious determination flowing throughout the Alpha's mind, there was but one simple answer. "You're damn right! He hurt my mate and killed his parents in cold blood."

"My son. Do you remember when you were a pup when the library closed for several months?" The memory flashed to the wolf. Oh, yeah. I was five or six back then. He was disappointed when he couldn't go and listen to the story time with the youth leader.

"Yeah, why?"

"That was the result of my battle with him. We destroyed a fourth of the building when we clashed."

Mason's heart sunk. He finally got what his mother was telling him. If my Mom can't take this guy down, then this is a real problem. "What do you suggest, Mom? Vincent and I need to bring him down. I won't let him torment my mate. I already intend on calling other Alphas for assistance."

"That's a good first step. Next, tell Vincent that you two are mates, and build up the trust between you two."

"Gotcha. I'll tell him in the morning. He’s already asleep, and he’s had a full day."

"Good." More clicking came from Elaine. "That last thing that needs to be done won't be easy on you, my son. But I think it would be for the best." Mason closed his eyes. I already know what she's going to say.

"Vincent needs training." Yep. Fuckin' knew it! The wolf hated the idea, but it was the only viable option to take down Stefan. It has to be him. Vinnie needs to be the one to kill him. "Bring him by tomorrow while you're handling the other Alphas. And make sure your father is on that call!"

He couldn't help but growl. "Mason Wilson! You don't growl at me like I'm some Omega pack member! You need your father to talk to the older Alphas, and you know that."

Frustration caused Mason's nose to twitch. It's my pack, and yet, he still has such a large influence over it. "You're right." Having the former Alpha to convince the elders and more traditional assholes will help.

But Mom wants to see Vincent? "What do you want with Vincent?"

"Well, who else is going to help the boy learn about his powers? He doesn't have time to enroll in Yale to a frost education, now does he? At best, he has a couple weeks, maybe a month before Stefan figures out he's practicing his magic."

Good point. He forgot his mother went to Yale, the secret school of the frost affinity. "What about his other powers?"

"I've seen his little clouds all over the library, so I think he's decent on clairvoyancy. As far as his shadow magic, Vincent will have to figure that out on his own. To my knowledge, there's no self-proclaimed master of that affinity. I can email the Dean of Yale and see more, but I'm not getting my hopes up."

Scowling, Mason wished he could do more, but for now, he succumbed to his mother's wishes. "Alright, we can stop by after my meeting with Chief Henry."

"Sounds good, son. I'm going to get off here, we all need some sleep. Good night, Mason. Love you."

A smile crept across the wolf's face. "Love ya, Mom." He ended the call and placed the phone in his lap. How did life get so complicated, so quickly? Sighing heavily, Mason got up and made his way to the front door. He crept inside and walked through the hallway, being careful to make no sound that may disturb his mate’s slumber. Once in his bedroom, Mason heard a light snore coming from his shirtless mate, who was sprawled out across the entire right side of the large bed. Hmph. What a bed hog! Good thing I have a big bed.

Mason slipped himself between the cover and sheets, and curled next to Vincent. The wolf wrapped his arms around the smaller man’s body, who subconsciously shifted himself to be spooned. Pushing his urges to the side, Mason slipped his hands down to hold Vincent by the waist. No time for more play, must sleep. Satisfied that his mate was secure, Mason drifted his mind away.

***

Gazing upon the crystal clear waters of the canals, he looked back to his table. He flicked his thin finger across his tablet, reading e-mails. The bony digit traveled to the loop of his ceramic cup, and lifted it from its saucer. Tasting his tea, the middle-aged man was pleased, taking his mind off the small errors occurring in his life.

Swallowing the warm liquid, Stefan admired the sights before him. He sat on an old white cast-iron chair along the edge of a streaming canal in Venice. The mature mage adored this particular city of his home country, even if it was too popular with tourists. They come, but go too quickly. These people never stay to appreciate the true beauty of Venice. Just to sit and enjoy tea. This is life.

As much as he wished to stay and appreciate the sights, business was knocking on the proverbial door. Stefan sent those two lowly thugs to the small drugged up town, and haven’t received word from them. Either they took their up-front payment and ran away, or they’ve been disposed of. Little Vinnie, you’ve been growing rather nasty as of late...

The mage leaned back in his sturdy chair. Owensville. This place haunts me. I went to see their fancy library, and that damned clerk recognized me. Stefan curled a smile. What a minx. She was very strong with her frost. I felt her presence when I walked in. That was an exhilarating exercise. Shame about those burned books.

The cup clinked on the saucer as Stefan’s frown took over. If I were a betting man, Little Vinnie may have made some allies. Oh, that wouldn’t be good. Interesting. But not good. Stefan leaned down and reached into his satchel, retrieving his notebook and inkwell pen. Maybe a little letter would be the play here.

Stefan took several minutes to write his short letter, and sealed it in a plain envelope. Putting the finishing touches on, he placed his book and pen back in the satchel, and slung it over his shoulder. Getting up from his slightly uncomfortable chair, the mage walked away, directing himself down the stretch of path along the canal and began looking for a way to move faster.

Ah, there we are! Stefan found that there was a lip along the edge of the pathway next to the canal. He looked around and scanned for any wandering eyes. Satisfied he wouldn't be seen, he bent down and grabbed the lip of the sand-colored concrete, slipping into the shadows along the edge.

***

Mason awoke from his deep sleep. He heard the rubble from his driveway shift. Dad’s pulling in. Better get some clothes on. Getting out of the bed, the mattress squeaked, and Vincent began rolling over. Eyes widened, Mason regretted moving so fast. Almost forgot he was here. Mason moved around to the other side and leaned in to whisper in his mate’s ear.

“Hey, hot stuff. My dad is here. Feel free to stay in here and get some more sleep.” A mumbled confirmation left Vincent’s mouth, causing Mason to chuckle to himself. He can sleep like no one I’ve ever seen! Light as a feather, Mason moved his feet to the closet, and grabbed a t-shirt. He pulled it over his head, forming the slightly tight shirt to his body.

A loud knock at the door threw Mason’s attention, as he turned to see Vincent bring his head up, alarmed at the sound. “It’s okay, Vinnie. Go back to sleep.” Vincent squinted through his eyes, nodded, and nearly collapsed back into the covers. It took quite a bit of willpower to keep himself laughing as Mason closed the bedroom door behind him.

He walked into the living room and opened the front door, revealing his Dad. “Hey, Dad. Thanks for stopping by.” Mason stepped back, allowing his father to enter.

“Any time, son.” Leidolf Wilson moved inside, and examined the room, reminiscing old memories of his former home. He’s made this a proper modern house. Taking a big deep breath, he could still smell the faint remains of his family scent.

Oh? There’s someone else here. Another nasal inhale confirmed his suspicions. Yep, another male. Lei turned to stare down his only son. “Mace, were you going to tell me about your...guest?”

Mason got ticked off. He would be damned if Vincent was going to be huddled in with his previous flings. A small, but barely audible growl escaped his throat, and caused his father’s head to turn.

“Hmm? More than a guest? Your mother hinted that you may have found someone that can be your mate. Congratulations, my son! I meant no disrespect to your destined.” Lei grabbed Mason’s arm and pulled him in for a large hug. “So, what’s my new son’s name? What’s he like? Does he know about us lycans?”

Mason began shushing his father, encouraging him to use a softer tone. “Dad, quiet! Vincent is still sleeping. And yes, he knows, well...most of the supernatural world. I’m still teaching him about lycan culture.” He looked down to the hardwood floor. “But I haven’t told him of our bond yet.”

Words didn’t need to be said. Mason could feel the palpable rage permeate through the living room. Oh...he’s pissed. “Mason.” Yep. Real pissed! “I’m going to keep this as quiet as I can, but you haven’t told him that you two are destined for each other? Are you barking mad? That’s ‘Alpha Training 101.’ Tell me you’re handling this…”

“Of course! I just had some trouble with the Gods tale. Vincent holds some resentment against them, and I had to defuse that situation.”

Lei simmered down and raised an eyebrow as he took a seat on a couch. “Defuse? Is that what the pups are calling it nowadays?”

Mason pinched his nose. Jeez, when did he start with the dad jokes? “Not what I meant, Dad.”

The older Alpha wolf withheld his boisterous and gritty laugh. “Alright, alright. So tell me about this...Vincent. Is he strong?”

A surge of pride swelled through Mason when thinking about his mate. “Dad, he’s beyond strong. He’s a powerful mage, and can perform spectacular magic. He spends almost every spare moment in the library, studying and learning more about the world.”

Chuckling, Lei could tell his son was enamored. “So, if I were to place a bet on who covered your truck in ice last night, would Vincent be the correct answer?” Mason allowed a face of bewilderment to show. “Yeah, I stopped by Old Man Richard’s to see the damage. Some of the ice was melted, but it looks like it’ll take a couple more days to thaw. Be thankful, Mace. Your mate really saved your ass.”

A small moment of silence filled the air: Mason realizing how lucky he was that Vincent could react so fast during the accident, and Lei letting his mind wander. Making a connection, Lei couldn’t help but let a light laugh fill the room, against his son’s wishes. “Do you know what I just realized, son?”

That your voice box needs to take a chill pill? “What’s that?”

“That our mates are incredibly similar.”

Lightning flashed through Mason’s mind. Holy crap! He’s right. Mom and Vincent do share the frost affinity, and their love of books and knowledge. “Yeah, didn’t connect those dots.”

“Oh, man. That’s…” Lei’s ears twitched, hearing very faint movements in the house. “...a real coincidence.” He stared down his son’s gaze. He really doesn’t pay enough attention around him. The middle-aged shifter leaned up, and mouthed the words, “Your mate is awake.”

Mason’s eyes widened, and listened. Bed creak, carpeted movement, clothes being slipping on. Yep, he’s awake. “Let me check on him real fast, Dad.” Lei responded with a head nod and moved his hands behind his head, getting comfortable. He watched his son get up and make his way to his old master bedroom. Ha! If that boy knew what all happened in there, he would sell this place...

Mason opened the bedroom door. “Vin, you good?” He saw the bed was empty, and the bathroom was dark. "Vinnie?" His mate wasn’t there. The wolf scanned the room from top to bottom, and froze when he laid eyes on the air vent. Thin black wisps flowed from the grates.

His heart ran cold. No, he couldn’t have. Maybe he went to go get something. Delusions filled his mind, trying to push away the ultimate negative thought. Mason turned and rushed to the front door, praying for the smallest sight of his little man. Nothing. He could tell his father was concerned for his current behavior, but there wasn’t time.

He probably heard our entire conversation. Damn it! I did it! I scared him away! Mason practically ran through his house to the back door. He opened the door frantically, almost breaking the door off the hinges.

Vincent was nowhere to be found. Mason couldn’t understand why. He barely had the mental capacity to question himself, as frustration and sadness caused him to sway. No. No no no! He can’t just leave me! Sniffing the air, he made his final attempt to find Vincent. It’s faint. He’s nearby! Mason swiftly took off his clothes and threw them to the side as he began shifting. Need to find him before he disappears! Seconds later, the silver wolf began running towards the forest, following his mate’s scent.

***

“Hey, hot stuff. My dad is here. Feel free to stay in here and get some more sleep.” Vincent was barely awake when Mason spoke. Tired, he let loose a mumble. ‘Kay, I’ll sleep more. He heard Mason shuffle his feet around the room for a few seconds before the mage snuggled his face against the sleek-feeling pillow and got comfortable.

The knock of the door forced Vincent’s eyes open. He jumped up, feeling like he needed to hide or jump out a window. “It’s okay, Vinnie. Go back to sleep.” Those words caused his eyelids to droop back down. You don’t have to tell me twice. Vincent curled himself back into the bed, but before he closed his eyes, he stole a peek at Mason pulling his shirt down over those sexy abs. His gaze trailed down and saw the large bulge coming from the gray sweatpants. If he wasn’t so sleepy, he’d pull the man closer and drag him back into bed.

Mason left the room and closed the door behind him, and Vincent made the attempt to go back to sleep. He heard the front door open and his boyfriend greeted the guest. The walls weren’t the thinnest, but Vincent could still hear the voices as if they were in the bedroom.

“Any time, son.” The new voice was so loud and exuberant, Vincent had no choice but to pay attention. Woah! Sounds like a jolly brickhouse of a guy! “Mace, were you going to tell me about your...guest?” His cheeks began turning rosy red. Oh, crap! He knows I’m here! Do I need to come out? Should I stay here? The sound of Mason growling halted all thought.

“Hmm? More than a guest? Your mother hinted that you may have found someone that can be your mate. Congratulations, my son! I meant no disrespect to your destined.”

Mate? Destined? What? Vincent’s mind began searching for answers to the questions that began popping up. I know Mace kept bringing up the word ‘mate’ a few times last night, but he didn’t go into detail. He continued eavesdropping on the conversation, hoping to get some more clues.

Vincent heard Mason make a shushing sound before speaking again. ““Dad, quiet! Vincent is still sleeping. And yes, he knows, well...most of the supernatural world. I’m still teaching him about lycan culture. But I haven’t told him of our bond yet.” The mage’s heart stopped for half a beat. Bond. We...we have a bond? I mean, I feel pretty close to him, but there’s a bond between us?

Once again, all thought was put on hold, as a warm, but serious aura permeated throughout the house, penetrating Vincent’s mind and body, causing him to be still. What...what is this? I feel like someone’s anger was bottled up and thrown as a smoke grenade.

“Mason. I’m going to keep this as quiet as I can, but you haven’t told him that you two are destined for each other? Are you barking mad? That’s…” Vincent’s mind forced his ears to close up. We...I...Mace...We’re...destined...for each other? What the hell does that mean? Memories of last night’s tale were recalled. Right! Aliz, Dinbe and Yir made an agreement of sorts. Is this the agreement? That random people were chosen to be with certain shifters?

And I was destined for Mace. It all began to make sense, down to every detail since the two men met. He probably realized it when he saw me at work that night. Him picking me up from work, taking me for coffee and Biacci’s. I just don’t know if he did it because he cares for me, or if he was trying to butter me up. Is he trying to woo me? Vincent furrowed his brow.

I thought I knew his intentions, but now...now I don’t even know if I can trust him. Just thinking that tore Vincent up. We shared something special last night. It was the best night of my life, and now I can’t help but wonder if it was a lie.

Vincent sat up on the bed, and found his borrowed clothes spread across the floor. He shuffled across the room, putting them on. Maybe I should go out there and talk with him. Or, hell, maybe I should go back to the apartment. I need some time to think.

“Let me check on him real fast, Dad.” The mage shot up as he pulled the hoodie over his head. Fuck! He’s coming! Vincent wanted to stay and handle it like an adult, but his heart commanded the decision making. I need to leave. I need to go. He looked around, searching for an out. Vents. Vincent closed his eyes, confirming his selfish commitment, and dashed over to the air vent on the floor, quickly fading into the dark shadows. Vincent worked his way into the ducts, finding his way onto the roof through the exhaust release.

He saw what direction the sun was rising, and went to the opposite side of the house. Good. There’s shadows on the grass. Vincent stopped at the edge of the two-story roof, and jumped. Once his body touched the shadow of the house, he dived right in, becoming ethereal. He pushed himself in the shadows as far as they allowed him, but the sun’s rays reached over the roof, kissing the grass before the forest. He solidified and looked back to the house. Mace will probably come running. I need to get moving before he finds me.

Vincent let out a ragged sigh and walked toward the treeline. The forest ahead of him was both illuminated from the risen sun and darkened by the collection of branches that interlocked like embraced fingers. It almost intimidated Vincent, but he walked past the treeline, and found a small patch of shadows that allowed him to travel faster. Light shined high through the green leaves above.

But that didn’t leave a solid line of shadows for Vincent to flow in. He tried traveling by dipping in and out of the shadows, but it began exhausting him both physically and mentally. Well this sucks! I can’t move very fast, and there isn’t a better way to travel. Vincent would give anything for it to be a little later in the day. If it were noon, the sun would be directly above the forest, allowing a little bit more shadows to feed through the foliage.

After a few minutes, Vincent gave up on working with the shadows. I’m wasting my energy. I’ll just walk. If Mason finds me, he finds me. Then I’ll lay into him! Anger began setting in the mage’s mind. He felt his trust had been betrayed. If he would have just talked to me about this, I would have been...okay? Maybe? He ran his fingers through his hair, knocking the hood off his head. Who am I kidding? I’d still freak out. But that would be better than finding out by eavesdropping.

A snapping sound made Vincent’s blood run cold. He twisted his head to the direction the noise came from. Nothing. Vincent waved his arms out, three fingers on each hand pointing outward. His eyes shined lavender as six tiny cloud-like sight wards conjured above the fingers. Shoving his hands out, the clouds took to the air, spaced evenly, and circled the area around the mage.

Quickly blinking his eyes, he kept switching between his ward’s views. If someone, or something is here, I’ll find them. He twitched his fingers, pushing his wards out slowly, and scanning every direction.

A blur ran behind several trees in his southern ward. There! He flung his fingers in that direction, focusing his wards on their alleged target. Vincent closed his right eye, and returned it to his normal vision. He thrust his left hand out, summoning a dagger as he turned to face the south. Slowly, he stepped over to the nearby tree, hugging it with his back. He sidestepped along the trunk until he could place a foot in the shadow of the large red maple. His mind felt reassured by his failsafe plan.

Something was wrong. Vincent could feel it in his heart. I’m being set up…

A growl came from his left. How? Vincent blinked, eliminating his wards, but kept his dagger in his left hand. “Come around so I can see you.” I swear, if a silver wolf...

Vincent’s heart took another nosedive. An auburn haired wolf stepped out in front of the mage, a little too close for his comfort. Different wolf, but I’d bet it’s a shifter. The wolf’s eyes never strayed from its target.

I can at least climb the tree from the shadows, but I would be stuck up there. The thought scared Vincent. I don’t even know if wolves can climb trees. Ever so slowly, Vincent raised his arms over his head, hoping that the wolf would understand his body language. “If you understand me, I mean no harm. Just need you to back up a few steps.”

The wolf never moved. It never even stirred its head. Okay, non-negotiable. “Alright, then. If you’re a shifter, then talk to me. I’m...I’m friends with the local Alpha.” A sharp growl came from the wolf. Vincent was about to ascend the tree, but his gut was telling him to stay. I can convince it.

“If you don’t believe me, then smell my clothes.” Vincent saw the eyes of the wolf squinted. After a moment of hesitation, the wolf put one paw in front of the other, and made its way closer to the human. Vincent held his breath as the wolf’s muzzle inched in his direction. Noises came from the animal’s nostrils, ending in a loud snort as the wolf turned and stepped away.

The wolf surprised Vincent when it dipped his head to the ground. Well, he’s part of Mason’s pack at least. When the auburn furred wolf lifted his head, it laid itself on the ground, and nodded toward the ground. Vincent was perplexed by its behavior, but was startled by a light woof as it stood back up, and repeated its movements.

Oh, I get it! “You want me to sit down, right?” Another woof came as a confirmation. Okay...what could go wrong? Vincent squatted down against the tree, as the wolf got back up and began running off to the right. Did I just get put in time-out or something? It wasn’t but ten or fifteen seconds later when the wolf came back, but with a backpack in its mouth.

The wolf went behind the tree a few yards ahead of Vincent. The sound of bone crunching echoed in the air, causing Vincent to flinch and look away. Silence emanated. The mage started to get up, but a zipper being undone paused his movement. Realization hit Vincent. Right. When they shift back to human, they end up naked. Thoughts of Mason at the intersection accident flowed in the mage’s mind. A smile crept on his face, but Vincent squashed it fast. He was still too upset with Mason.

“So, how do you know my Alpha?” Vincent shot his head up at the new voice. Next to the tree, stood a familiar face, but the name kept escaping Vincent. The mage looked him over quickly as the shifter pulled his black sweatshirt down to his waist.

“Um, I’m sorry. You were at the intersection last night. You’re an officer, right?”

The bald man squinted at Vincent, confusion covering his face. “Name’s Ingle. And you are?”

Vincent smiled. Yeah, he was one of the two officers who came. “Sorry. I’m Vincent. I was with Mason. I’m his boyfriend...sort of.”

Ingle’s eyes shot open. “You’re the Alpha’s boyfriend?” The mixed man immediately turned his neck to Vincent. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get a good look at you last night when we got to the scene.”

“Yeah, Mace...Mason kind of hurried me out of there when you guys arrived. If you don’t mind me asking, what were you doing here?”

A smirk came across Ingle’s mouth. “I could ask you the same. I’m on orders from Mason to patrol his woods. Making sure no more mercs come snooping.” The shifter looked at Vincent in the eyes. “Aren’t you supposed to be with Mason?"

Vincent scowled. “Yeah. Supposed to be.” He stood up from the ground. “Apparently, I’m supposed to be with him for...quite a long time. But the big bad wolf didn’t have the balls to say it to my face. Had to overhear him talking with his Dad to find out.”

Ingle couldn’t believe what he just heard. “You’re...you’re the Alpha’s mate. His destined mate?” Vincent winced at the word he grew to dislike. The wolf caught the facial discomfort. “And he didn’t tell you.”

“No. No he didn’t.”

A sigh came from the bigger man. “Big surprise, there. Mason likes to keep stuff to himself. That’s who he is, Vincent. You’re probably real pissed at him, man. And I get it, but if you two really are mates, and destined on top of that, you can’t stay away from him.”

Ingle darted his eyes past the tree Vincent was resting on and inhaled through his nose. “And speak of the devil…” Vincent moved his head to see what Ingle was staring at. There’s nothing there. What is he...

***

Found him! And Ingle, too. Mason sprinted further into the woods, following Vincent’s scent. Ingle didn’t get to see Vincent last night. He muttered a growl in hypothetical anger. He hurts my Vinnie, I will skin him alive!

The silver wolf locked his gaze on his pack member and mate, and darted to close the remaining hundred yards between them. I need to make this right. He is my mate, and I need him! Mason slowed his pace as he approached the two men.

Mason’s wolf trotted up to the scene, glancing at Ingle before turning his attention to Vincent. Gods, he looks nervous and pissed off. He’s practically shaking! Need to change that. He let his tongue out, giving his best impersonation of a dog panting. Vincent appeared to snort out of his nose, but kept his stance and demeanor. Well, that didn’t work.

He spotted Ingle’s backpack and snatched it with his mouth. Mason moved behind a nearby tree to shift. Several seconds passed before the Alpha opened the backpack to find an extra pair of dark blue pants and a hunter green jacket. He grimaced looking at the sizes. One size too small. It will have to do. He rushed to put on the clothes, struggling to button the jeans together. After sucking in his gut and zipping the jacket halfway, he stepped out to join the conversation.

“Ingle, you couldn’t get anyone else to patrol the woods?”

The man leaned his neck, and let a long sigh loose. “It was either me, or Scratches. Take your pick, sir.” Mason rolled his eyes. Ah, shit. Better to have Ingle pull an all-nighter than to have Scratches in my woods. Every one of my trees would have been torn up by mornin’. “Go ahead and get some sleep. I can take it from here.”

Relief swept across Ingle’s face. “Yes, Alpha. Thanks.” He grabbed his backpack, leaned his neck, and started walking away. Man, I need a damn shower! Remind me to ask Chief for a raise!

Mason kept eyes on Ingle as he left for a few more seconds before diverting them to his real target. He hasn’t calmed down any. Man, I really fucked this one up! "Vinnie. I need to talk to you." He took one step toward his mate.

Vincent didn't want him any closer. "Stop! Just stay right there." His voice was cracking from his broken nerves. He pressed his back against the tree, wishing he had an easier path to move in the shadows.

The wolf sighed and sat on the ground, legs crossing one another. "I know, I really fucked up. But you have to understand where I'm coming from. If I just came up to you and said that we were destined to be together, I don't know how'd you react. So I took baby steps. I wanted to warm you up to the idea before I-"

"No!" Vincent was seething. Mason smelled the anger oozing from his mate. "Mason, I trusted you! You come barreling in my life, offering all this help, and you can't bother to communicate with me? And I had to overhear a conversation with you and your dad about how I'm your...your mate thing! I mean...how many people knew other than me?"

Mason sat motionless and void of emotion. "Just my parents and Dave. If it helps, my parents figured it out on their own.”

Somehow, Vincent got even angrier. Oh, right. Dave is Mason’s pet dog. “And I bet Dave went along with your little game too, didn’t he?”

The wolf shook his head. “I instructed him to help me. Don’t be mad at Dave over this. I’m the only one who deserves the blame, Vin.”

“You’re damn right you deserve the blame! What do you think was going to happen if you kept this a secret from me? Huh, Mace?” Vincent dug his eyes into Mason’s face, who had his eyelids closed tight, face directed toward the ground. “Answer me!”

Mason lifted his head up, his eyes showing sadness for the first time in a very long while. His heart pounding, he gazed into Vincent’s infuriated eyes. “I kept it a secret because I care.” The mage shifted his weight to one leg and huffed, which ticked Mason off, but he kept the irritation to himself. “To answer your question, I had no intention of keeping it a secret from you. I wanted to tell you last night.” He could tell Vincent was opening his mouth, about to throw another serious tantrum, so Mason added more truth to the fire, in hopes to douse it.

“Before we went to bed.”

Vincent stopped. Entirely. All of his anger and body trembling took a pause. Before we… Realization hit the mage hard. The Gods story. He was telling me the story. And I couldn't control my emotions, and interrupted him. He felt like an idiot. Mason was going to tell me that I was his mate.

Lips shaking, Vincent tried to form sentences. "Y...you were. You were going to tell me." Tears formed in his eyes as his mouth attempted to recreate what his mind was telling him.

"Yes. I needed to tell you before you finished your book. I didn't want you to find out on your own." Mason looked to the ground, letting his eyes droop in self-disappointment. "Not like this. Vincent, I don't know if you'll ever forgive me."

The wolf shot his head up full of newfound determination, staring a hole through his mate. "But I can't live without you. We belong to each other, and I never want to hurt you like this ever again!"

Vincent's heart couldn't take any more. The tears started pouring down his face, knowing that Mason's words were true. His legs were moving on autopilot toward the larger man. Mace. I...I forgive you.

Mason got up from the ground to meet Vincent halfway. Please, Gods. Never let me harm him like this again. If I do, strike me down. His heart was pounding in anticipation to learn Vincent's decision.

When the two men were mere feet from one another, Vincent leapt into Mason's arms, sobbing uncontrollably. He grabbed the larger man's back as he dug his wet face into the hairy chest. "Mace. I-"

"Shh, shh. Just let it out, Vin. I'm here. I'll always be here." Mason ran his hand through the back of his mate's hair while the other clung to the waist with intentions of never letting go. His nose inhaled the boy's scent, committing it to memory. He's mine.

Mason gently pulled Vincent's head back and looked into his eyes. "Are you okay? You know, with this?"

Vincent sniffed, getting any mucus to return to his nose. "Yeah. I'm okay." He rubbed his eyes with his sleeve, trying to clear his vision. "Just trying to stop being mad at you. But, I think I can deal with being your m...your mate."

The Alpha's heart soared in triumph. Gods, yes! His wolf was howling in his mind, begging to be unleashed. Mason smiled, and leaned in. His lips met Vincent's and sparks flew throughout both men. They held the kiss, feeling each other's warmth and sincere emotions.

Mason broke the kiss unwillingly. "I know I just asked, but are you sure you're okay? I'll understand if you need some time to clear your-"

A finger pushed Mason's lips closed. Vincent was looking at him, smiling ever so slightly. "I'm good, Mace. And I don't need time to think. The only thing I might need is for us to keep...dating, I guess. I don't know if us being mates means we are immediately married or whatever, but I would still like to to take time to get to know you as a person."

I can live with that. Makes sense too. All I know about him is that he likes to read, he has kick-ass powers, and can eat Biacci's carbonara for the rest of his days. "That sounds perfect. Now, there is more to our mating, and I can tell you every detail whenever you are ready. But for now, I guess I can deal with having you as a boyfriend for a while." Mason flashed a grin to let Vincent know he was joking.

Vincent laughed as he hugged Mason again. "Good. So, there is one more thing you could help me with, big guy."

"Anything."

He looked up to Mason and gave a sheepish smile. "Could you walk me back to your house? I have no idea where I'm at."

Mason roared with laughter at the question. "Only if I get to hold your hand on the way though."

"Deal."

The wolf took his mate's small hand and guided him through the woods towards his home. On the way, he noticed Vincent was looking around at the different trees and foliage along the way. Probably memorizing the way back. Mason grinned with pride, knowing that his mate would never leave his side.

Several minutes passed, and they reached the clearing that led to Mason's backyard. When they were a few yards from the back porch, Mason slowed his pace. "So, my dad might still be there. Just a heads up, he's the former pack Alpha."

Vincent turned his head in astonishment. "Oh wow! So does the Alpha position go with the family line then?"

"Nope. It's a power and strength kind of thing. Anyone who wishes to be a pack Alpha must duel the current shifter in position. Dad wanted to retire, and I was the only one who was strong enough to take the spot."

"Oh, okay. Does that mean I need to do that neck thing when I meet him?"

Mason held his other hand out horizontally, wiggling his thumb and pinky. "It's your discretion. It's not necessary, since you're an Alpha's mate, but I know it'll score you brownie points with him. Same with Mom, when you meet her later today."

Vincent nodded. “Gotcha. Your dad isn’t scary or anything, is he? I felt that big angry feeling earlier this morning. Almost made me piss myself.”

“He’s only intimidating when he’s in a bad mood. Besides, I think he already likes you.”

Confusion swept Vincent’s thoughts. But, I’ve never met the man. “Um, Mace? How is that possible? We’ve never met.”

“True, but from what I’ve told him, he’s pretty excited to get to know you.” Mason put a hand on Vincent’s back. “Now come on. Let’s go inside, I’m starving!” The two men continued walking, nearly arriving at the porch.

The mage’s eyes widened in sudden awareness. That’s right, we haven’t eaten yet today! “Alright, alright! I’m going! But I’m not gonna be the first to walk in your house and get eaten by your dad.”

Mason snickered at the idea. Hehe! That’s really funny. “Relax! Dad won’t eat you.” He stepped up to the porch and opened the door to walk in, with Vincent following close behind. "Dad! You still here?"

A loud and booming voice came from deeper within the house. "Yup! In the living room!"

The two men walked through the kitchen with Mason holding Vincent's hand for reassurance. When Mason entered the living room, he saw his dad sitting in the recliner, typing slowly on his phone. Mason's eyes flashed gold as he gave an irritated look to his father. That's my chair, asshole! Probably did that on purpose.

Vincent stepped in, and saw a mountain of a man in the chair. Holy crap! He's huge! He could eat me for breakfast and still need more food. Leidolf looked up from his phone, showing his face. The middle aged man looked young for his prime age of 55, but that was a benefit of being a shifter. Compared to Mason, his hair was nearly identical, but longer, and the full beard was replaced by a long handlebar mustache. Yep, he's a dad. Vincent looked back at Mason to compare the resemblance. Dang. They're pretty similar.

"You must be Vincent!" Out of pure reaction to his name being called, Vincent moved his head almost directly upward to see that the humongous shifter had silently got up close and personal. How did he…? "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Mason's dad, Leidolf."

Lei outstretched his hand to shake Vincent's as the mage lifted his. Vincent felt the palm of his hand get crushed, making his fingers feel like they were going to pop like balloons. Damn! It hurts, but I’ll live. “Hi, Mr. Wilson. I’m Vincent.” The mage leaned his neck to the side, giving the larger man the respect deserved.

“Woah, woah! Easy there, Vincent! I appreciate the gesture, but that’s not really necessary. I hope you and Mace talked everything out."

Vincent nodded, giving a thin smile. "Yes, sir."

A gleeful snort came from Lei's nose. "No calling me sir or Mr. Wilson either. You can call me Lei."

"Okay, Lei. It's really nice to meet you."

Lei ever so gently squinted his eyes and grinned. "You have great manners. I can see you were raised proper."

Mason closed his eyes in anxious anticipation. For the love of Gods, don't bring up his parents! "Yeah, Vinnie is one of the nicest guys I know, Dad." He wrapped his arm around his mate's small frame and whispered in Vincent's ear. "Your parents would be proud of you, I'm sure of it."

The sentence meant so much to Vincent as he unknowingly leaned his head against Mason. "Thanks, Mace."

Lei got the meaning of the statement. That was more directed at me. His parents must not be in the picture. Must be estranged or gone from this world. Poor kid. I was literally about to ask about them. He flashed a smile to his son. Good job, son.

"Well, you two must be starving. 'Bout time I get out of here and you two can rustle up some grub."

Mason loved the idea. "Sounds good, Dad. Thanks for dropping off the truck."

Lei dug through his pants pocket and pulled out a long gold key and tossed it to Mason. "Any time, pup. Vincent, was good to meet ya." He started for the door, but turned around as he was halfway out of the door frame. "And Mace. Don't forget about stopping by later to see your mother."

"Yeah, I got it. See ya, Dad!" Lei closed the door behind him and Mason turned the lock to the deadbolt. He returned his attention to Vincent. "So, do you like omelettes?"

Vincent heard the word omelette, and he grew a large grin. "Yes! With plenty of cheese."

"Alright. Let's go and fix some." Mason grabbed his mate's hand and they went off to fill their stomachs before tackling the day.

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Congrats on your wedding!!!  And again, another amazing chapter!!!  I can't wait for the next one!!!!!!!

 

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Firstly, congrats on the nuptials. Best wishes to you both for a long and happy life together.

So glad we got past the "mate" issue relatively quickly and easily. Mace's Dad sounds hot.

So is Mace's Mother Human or Shifter as well? If she is Shifter, then that is awesome that she has Mage Powers as well.

Love, Love, Love that Mace is a progressive Alpha e.g. has other types of Shifter's in his Pack, etc. That is way awesome and the kind of Pack I'd LOVE to belong to.

Loving this story very much :)

 

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Awesome chapter, not a good way to find out but I am glad that they settled that issue , now onto really meeting with mother

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Firstable, I apologize for my poor English. I'm not used to write in this language, even if I can read it without any problem. I've really enjoyed these five chapters. There is only one little flaw: Venice, I assure you, has no sewage system. The town was built in the early Middle Age on artificial islands that were created in the low water of the lagoon by thrusting millions of wooden poles in the sand. The dirty waters coming from every single house of the town go directly into the many canals separating the islands. So, no sewage system in Venice to be used by Stefan. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 12:19 PM, centexhairysub said:

Great chapter, well written and flowed beautifully.  Well, we got our first brief glimpse of the villain, but can anyone that truly loves Venice, really be all bad?  Mace can't keep secrets from Vincent, his past makes that hard for him to deal with.  

Thank you centexhairysub! I always appreciate your comments when I get a new chapter posted! Stefan has a mafia boss mindset:  he enjoys the pleasures of life, especially the beauty of Italy, but his work and personal hobbies keep him on the bad side of the law. And I believe Mason has learned his lesson involving Vincent's trust issues. I doubt there will be more kept secrets between the two...

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On 10/12/2020 at 6:17 PM, Patch1 said:

Congrats on your wedding!!!  And again, another amazing chapter!!!  I can't wait for the next one!!!!!!!

 

Thanks Patch! Husband just walked by, told me to tell ya thanks! I had to actually re-write the majority of Chapter 5, so some plans for Ch. 6 have been goofed up. Hopefully, I'll have it done soon!

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On 10/12/2020 at 6:21 PM, Buz said:

Firstly, congrats on the nuptials. Best wishes to you both for a long and happy life together.

So glad we got past the "mate" issue relatively quickly and easily. Mace's Dad sounds hot.

So is Mace's Mother Human or Shifter as well? If she is Shifter, then that is awesome that she has Mage Powers as well.

Love, Love, Love that Mace is a progressive Alpha e.g. has other types of Shifter's in his Pack, etc. That is way awesome and the kind of Pack I'd LOVE to belong to.

Loving this story very much :)

 

Buz! Every time I get an e-mail, saying I have a new comment, I stop whatever I'm doing to read yours. Thank you so much for the feedback and thoughts, and thanks for the wedding wishes!

As far as Mason's mother, I'll go more into detail about Elaine and Leidolf's relationship in later chapters. But yes, she is a shifter with frost affinity powers. I've actually been thinking about writing some mini-side stories/chapters on special events that have happened in the past, before Vincent and Mason met (i.e.: Elaine and Stefan's encounter, when Dave first met Vincent, etc.)

I am excited that you are enjoying both Mason's ideals and the story! 

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On 10/13/2020 at 2:31 PM, shifterslover said:

Firstable, I apologize for my poor English. I'm not used to write in this language, even if I can read it without any problem. I've really enjoyed these five chapters. There is only one little flaw: Venice, I assure you, has no sewage system. The town was built in the early Middle Age on artificial islands that were created in the low water of the lagoon by thrusting millions of wooden poles in the sand. The dirty waters coming from every single house of the town go directly into the many canals separating the islands. So, no sewage system in Venice to be used by Stefan. 

I have to say shifterslover, your English is pretty well written! I also have to say that I totally dropped the ball on Venice. I wrote the Stefan portion when I was at work, and did absolutely no research of the city, and that is my bad! This will definitely be a learning lesson when I write future chapters and stories. Thank you so much for pointing this out to me!

Edited by astone2292
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4 hours ago, Robertmarcus said:

Great story!  I’m jealous of your talent. 

Glad you like it! Keep checking back, I try to post a chapter once a week-ish!

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This was a great chapter! I really enjoyed meeting Mason's parents, and I hope we get to learn more about them later in the story. I am glad Mason told Vincent about their bond. Now that they have passed that hurdle, we can get on to the next part of their adventure! Thanks, and congratulations on wedding!   

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1 hour ago, JeffreyL said:

This was a great chapter! I really enjoyed meeting Mason's parents, and I hope we get to learn more about them later in the story. I am glad Mason told Vincent about their bond. Now that they have passed that hurdle, we can get on to the next part of their adventure! Thanks, and congratulations on wedding!   

Thank you, JeffreyL! I'm happy to say that you will see more of Leidolf and Elaine, as they are integral characters for the story. As of typing this, Chapter 6 is in moderation, so get ready!

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As a reference, I just updated this chapter to fix the Venice-sewage snafu, as well as some grammatical errors. 👍

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I’m happy Vinnie accepted Mace. Phew crisis averted... if it were any earlier in the day and with more shadows around Vinnie might have escaped and caused this entire mate thing to extend for another chapter or two hehehe. 
 

I’m curious how this story will unfold and I’m looking forward to Vinnie’s training, learning more about pack dynamics and of course some sexy time hehe

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Well, well, well! Very interesting! The only thing that is going to be funny is when Vincent gets to meet mom whom he has already met! lol I can just imagine the look on his face!

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49 minutes ago, Story Reader said:

Well, well, well! Very interesting! The only thing that is going to be funny is when Vincent gets to meet mom whom he has already met! lol I can just imagine the look on his face!

Oh, Vincent's face...yeah it's good. 

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It was a heck of a way to find out the needs, but the fixing was painless.

Mace's mom already knows Vincent from the the library and they have already had a run-in with Stefan. Not good.

I meant to say it before, pleather sofas?? Seriously?

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11 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

It was a heck of a way to find out the needs, but the fixing was painless.

Mace's mom already knows Vincent from the the library and they have already had a run-in with Stefan. Not good.

I meant to say it before, pleather sofas?? Seriously?

Now, what is wrong with a faux leather couch? Don't tell me that's the deal breaker on the story being read :gikkle:

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14 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Now, what is wrong with a faux leather couch? Don't tell me that's the deal breaker on the story being read :gikkle:

Pleather is an in thing for vegans these days, but t can also be tacky and cheap. I would think a lycan might prefer real leather over plastic.

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