— Eveline —
He was right, I needed to talk, and I knew who would really know what I needed to know.
This time, I took the time to knock on Kaden’s door.
“Yes,” he answered.
“I didn’t think you’d be back already,” he said as I came in. “You still have some time.” Then he hesitated, looking at me. “Are you alright? Did something happen?”
“It got a little heavy in there,” I said
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we don’t have much time, so it went straight to ‘are we doing this?’, ‘will there be any moving?’ and all that.”
He nodded as he shut his laptop closed. “So what? It was too much? Not working out?”
“No. It’s just. Can I ask you a few questions?”
“Sure,” he said, putting documents in folders.
He looked at me, put everything down, sat back down, and nodded.
I sat on the bed.
“Have you ever thought about your mate?”
“About what she’d be like? How things would go? These kinds of things?”
“What if she’s not what you expected? Would you still want her? What if she’s not the best match? What if things don’t click? What would you do? Would you just dismiss her? After all this time? How far would you go? You must have thought a million times about this.”
“I have,” he said. He leaned back in his chair thinking. “My position is a little different than yours. I can’t just decide to go and have a life elsewhere with my mate.
I know how the stories go. How your mate is supposed to be the right one for you and all that. But I’ve seen enough to know it’s not always so straight-forward. No one fits perfectly in every aspect. Maybe someone would have the best possible personality to fit with mine, but could be a terrible Luna, or vice versa. Even if a few things works perfectly, there are plenty of others that could not. That’s how relationship works to begin with. Bond or no bond.
I know a lot of people have a very romantic viewpoint on the whole thing, but if you don’t make an effort, bond or not, a relationship can suffer.”
“But you kept looking?”
“That’s why you’re always gone. Why you travel so much. Why you always involve yourself in all sorts of businesses everywhere.”
“You could have made the bond with someone else. Have pups. A family?”
“I can’t have a made bond.”
“Because you need to either never have connected with your mate, or reject her to be able to forge a new bond.”
“But you’ve never met her.”
He sighed. “No, I never met her. But I can feel her. The connection is not visual or physical, but it’s there. And I can’t reject her without getting in contact with her.”
“But how is this possible? I’ve never heard of anyone else who can feel a mate without being able to find her.”
“Me neither. I’ve researched, but never found anything plausible.”
“So, it’s like Darren and I never seeing each other again, but feeling the connection? For decades?”
“That sounds like torture.”
“It’s like the pull is there. Like she’s nearby. But the pull pulls me nowhere. It’s … frustrating.”
“So you still know nothing about her?”
“What if you find her and she’s not what you wanted?”
“I thought about that. About her having bad health, or with a bad personality, or heavens forbid, ugly…” he gave me a joking smile, but it was a little sad. I’ve barely ever seen him smile, and I nearly always saw sadness in there. “… We could not get along. Not speak the same language. She could be much older or younger. She could not want me. Or be terrible with a position of leadership.”
“What then?” I asked.
“It took me so long, so I think I’d try to make it work. See how it goes. Give it a chance. If not then shut this down and finally move on.”
“What if she’s sick, old, ugly, terrible with no leadership, and a bitch.”
“Then I’d begin thinking that I’m actually cursed.”
I chuckled. “Isn’t it painful? The distance I mean,” I asked. “They say the worst thing is the death of a mate, followed by rejection, followed by separation.”
“How do you cope?”
He shrugged. “It’s been this way for so long.”
“Does it get worse?”
“It does. Time makes it a lot worse.”
“Does it affect you? Nana said once that being away for too long could be dangerous.”
“It does and it is.”
“Look, I don’t like to talk about it, Mom and Dad found out only last year, but I suppose if you’re contemplating a distance relationship you should know. But I don’t want you to spread this, okay?”
I nodded anxiously.
“Distance like that eventually takes a toll. At first, it seemed harsh, but in retrospect, it was nothing then. And in my case, I began feeling the pull very gradually for a very long time. It started around puberty. It got a lot worse a few years ago. My guess is that she’s younger. The number of years between when I began feeling it and when it intensifies would fit birth and puberty. But I could be wrong.
The biggest symptoms are psychological at first. But it becomes physical with time. I don’t know if occasionally meeting make things worse or easier. A lot of texts say conflicting information. Maybe not everyone experiences it the same way.”
“Shortness of breath, trouble sleeping. It messes with your appetite and mood. I think it could potentially affect immunity and your ability to heal. Then it gets bigger. Attacks. A little like asthma attack or panic attack, heart attack.”
“Heart attack?” I nearly screamed.
“That’s how Mom found out. I had a massive one.”
I clapped my hands over my mouth in shock.
“My heart healed, I don’t have any sequelae.”
“But a heart attack, it’s dangerous,” I said, my body filled with dread.
“It is. And it’s not my first one. It was the biggest though.”
I was in shock. How could this have been happening without me even knowing?
“What did the doctor say,” I whispered.
“That the cause is not medical in nature. No change in diet, or medication, is gonna change anything. My general good physical shape, resilience, and the strength of my wolf has helped me, but I’m gonna have a much shorter lifespan. Most would not reach forty, but given my capacity, I might be able to reach that, maybe even fifty, if I’m lucky. But not to expect any more than that.”
Tears were falling down my cheeks and the only thing I could think of was to get up to give him a hug. I landed on his lap hugging the crap out of him, crying. He hugged me back, but didn’t cry. I felt he was comforting me more than me him.
“Why didn’t you try to find someone? At least to have a pup? You don’t even have an heir and you could be on a countdown.”
“It sounds pretty horrible to use someone just for procreation. But I can’t say I haven’t thought about it. But it’s hard to get invested with someone. It fucks with your brain. I could lose it before I die.”
“What can be done to stop it, or slow it down?”
“Nothing. Once I start getting organ failures, I’m not healing from that. I could easily live without a kidney, but if the heart fails first, then I’m going to go faster. But finding her could stop this. Though, I’ve been warned about rejection. My body could be ill-equipped to face it. It’s a fifty-fifty chance. Only if I give it time to heal from all those years first could it be a safe or safer option.”
“You could completely heal?”
“I’ve been told it’s a possibility. But I’m a bit of a rare case. It’s hard to know anything for sure.”
“Bites me. Maybe I’ll know if I find her.”
“That’s why you’ve been looking so hard?”
“Mostly.” He wiped one of my tears. “Don’t tell the girls please. I don’t want everyone to look at me like I’m on my death bed. It would suck for everyone.”
“I told you because most people find their mate close to home, but not always. Like you. You have to think about what you’re okay to live with and accept, and what you’re not willing to accept. They say that we gain a lot from a mate, which is why we lose so much when away. I guess everything has a price. And now you have to think what price you’re willing to pay. But don’t hurt yourself unnecessarily. Try, or stop it, but don’t stay indecisive, going nowhere. It will only hurt the both of you.”
I nodded. “Thank you for telling me.”
He checked his watch. “Well, we’re leaving in fifteen, so—”
“Don’t scream in my hears,” he complained.
“Oh, no. I have to talk to Darren.” I rushed outside in a frenzy.
When I stormed the corridor, I saw Darren resting against the wall next to my door.
“I’m sorry,” I told him. “I lost track of time.”
“It’s okay,” he said, but he looked a little down.
I opened my bedroom door and invited him in. At least I didn’t have to run all over the place to find him.
Mads had cleaned up my stuff, my suitcase closed, everything inside, I presume.
I sat on the bed, and he sat next to me.
“It’s just that I needed to sort a few things out,” I explained.
I looked at him. “I’m not gonna do the long distance thing,” I told him frankly. “We can take a few weeks to sort things out, but long term, I’m not gonna do that. Not to you, not to me. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to leave home, but if you wanna do this give me a week to think about it.”
“What if I’m the one who leaves?”
“You’re seriously thinking about this?”
“Would you regret it?”
“I’m not necessarily saying moving in together. But getting closer … is different. My family and pack are my only strings attached, and I think I could deal with the separation. Actually, I thought about this before I met you, I just never thought of any place in particular to go to.”
“Yes. But I want it to be clear before I move. Will it be just fooling around and having fun, or are we trying something more serious?”
“Well, it’s hard to say what will come next, I know so little about you.”
“No, I know. I’m not asking for certitude, just for what our aim is to be. If we don’t have the same, one of us is gonna get seriously hurt.”
“Oh! Right. Okay. Serious.”
He blinked. “Okay. You sure?”
“You don’t want that?” My eyes widened.
“No. Yes. I mean, that’s not what I meant. I’m okay if you’re okay.”
I smiled. “I am if you are.”
He smiled back.
“Will you need help? Moving, finding a job?” I asked.
“Your brother gave me a contact to move my internship. A job closer to you.”
“He did? You met him? When did this happen?”
“Yes, yes, and last night.”
I just hugged him and it’s like a mountain of stress just slipped off my shoulders.
“Remind me to kiss my brother.”
“Eh… I’m not sure I want to do that.”
I giggled and pulled away. It was hard, so hard. He smelled so sweet and his warmth was like the most comfortable things in the whole world, like everything would always be okay, no matter what.
“Why are your eyes red?” he asked me.
“Oh! I cried.”
He looked appalled. “Is it because of me?”
“No, no. I just had a bad news.”
“Anything I can do?”
“No.” I smiled at him. He already wanted to help me. And he was already ready to uproot everything for me. I might have gotten myself a good one. “But, thank you.”
He smiled at me again it made my stomach do a Cirque du Soleil routine. So I just kissed him.
It was slow at first, but the kissed deepened quickly. And I got lost in the movements, the exploration, my movements somewhat in sink with his. He pressed my body against his and it emboldened me. My hand began to roam against his. I wanted to feel everything.
Someone knocked twice and cleared his throat.
I disentangled myself from Darren a little shaken, and I felt him tense up and freeze.
At the door stood my brother, one shoulder against the doorframe, looking at Darren very intently. Next to him, a little behind, stood Mads, also looking at us.