“You’re nervous,” I pointed out.
My mate looked at me, confused, not even noticing me. I didn’t blame him. He always hated the dinners we attended each month. His father demanded it, but I knew Josh would rather stay home. I would never allow him to attend alone, though. If his father was getting on his nerves, then he was going to get on mine as well. We were a couple. A strong luna and alpha couple, and no matter what, his father could not ruin that. We loved each other, and we had loved each other since we were 18. Our families brought us together to meet. They chose us for each other, but that was all right. We learned to work together. We fell in love, and that was all that mattered. I loved him more than I could say, and I knew he felt the same. His love pulsed through our bond, though I could feel his nervous feelings now. They were overshadowing the rest.
“I just… he always… when we are there,” he started, and I chuckled and kissed his cheek before he grabbed his hands. When Josh grew nervous, he would twist the family ring on his finger around and around. It was sort of cute actually, but he would make the skin all red, and so I found a way to calm him.
“I know,” I said and nodded. “I know what he does.”
“He always tries to make it clear that I will never live up to him.”
“And that is his problem. It doesn’t change that you’re the next King of The Wolves,” I stated. “Don’t let him get to you. I know how strong you are. Focus on that.”
Josh smiled, placing his hands on my hips and smiling. “I am focused.”
“No, not anymore,” I chuckled, when I saw something else occupying his mind. “Not now!”
“If we’re fast…”
“Your dad will only get angrier because we’re late, and you know we had something to tell him. It’s not a normal night.”
Josh sighed and nodded before he let his hand fall, yet let one of them run to my flat stomach and placed his hand there. We were both 26, and while a female’s heat came around every year after meeting her mate, we hadn’t been able to conceive until now. I knew, though, his father would be thrilled and, hopefully, it would stop many of those awful comments he often threw at my mate. I hoped it would direct his attention to something more pleasant. I was crossing my fingers, but really, I was happy. I couldn’t describe how happy I was and placed my hand over his.
“You’re going to be a wonderful dad,” I whispered and reached up, stroking his cheek.
Josh smiled and looked me in the eyes.
“Because I have you.”
“Oh, please my Alpha, tell me how much you need me.”
He chuckled and wrapped his arm around me, pressing me closer to him. “I wouldn’t have gotten as far without you.”
I smiled back at him and then pressed my forehead to his.
“I am not going anywhere,” I whispered.
We took a moment to gather ourselves, then we knew we couldn’t postpone it anymore, and Josh grabbed my hand as he led me to his car outside. We drove to his father’s place, and as king, it was the biggest palace you could ever find out there. The king should lack nothing, yet I had fears. What would happen once Josh and I took over? Would we become as pretentious as his father? Would the expensive things around us drive us a little crazy? I tried not to think too much about it. Luckily, his dad had many good years in him.
“We’re here,” he sighed.
“That we are,” I mumbled.
We turned to look at each other, smiling a little before we walked outside. We met at the front of the car, hands intertwining, and then we walked up the stairs. A servant opened the door, and we walked in, before our jackets were taken, and we walked to one of the living rooms, where others were waiting for the food to be served. Josh was not an only child. He had four younger siblings. Despite being younger, they all had mates and at least one child, and we had certainly felt the pressure of that. Especially Josh. I had always calmed him, trying my best to tell him, “it happens when it happens”, but I had my fears too. What if I couldn’t meet the requirements of being queen? What if I was a let down too? Luckily, we had finally succeeded, and I hoped tonight it would only go forward for us.
They all swarmed their brother, and I was pushed a little to the side. It had always been that way. Somehow, I couldn’t be what they wanted me to be. I came from a powerful family, and yet, it wasn’t enough. Something about me was wrong. I hoped by conceiving this child, it would change, yet I had never shown them any evil behavior. I always tried to be nice.
“Josh.” A powerful voice went through the room, and the sibling army split in the middle. His father walked closer. Josh and he were like twins, his dad being the older version, of course, but werewolves did keep their youth far into their seventies. It wasn’t until we were close to death that we started to age. Our great healing abilities gave us many advantages. “You’re late.”
Of course, I thought. That was the first thing he would say. I quickly joined Josh again, hugging his arm, and smiling at his dad, who for some reason, out of all of them, was the one showing me kindness.
“Ah, Summer,” he said. “Always smiling.”
“Always,” I said. “How are you Philip?”
“Good,” he said.
“Got another game in you?” I asked, referring to our many chess matches.
“Of course, any day,” he chuckled.
Josh stayed quiet, and his dad spared him nothing but a glance. I had never met his mother. She sadly died giving birth to his youngest sibling, but I had heard she had quite the power over his dad. It seemed like when she died, the only person able to turn him sweeter had disappeared. That was until I stepped into the picture.
“I can’t wait.”
“Be on time next time,” he reminded Josh. “We’re starving.”
“Of course, Father,” he said, his voice clearly showing how he was shaking with anger on the inside.
Nothing he did was ever good enough, and it made me feel so bad. I waited until the others had walked past us. I knew my mate needed a moment.
“You’re doing well,” I whispered.
“Josh,” I interrupted. “You’re doing well. I’m right here.”
I placed my hands on his cheeks and kissed his lips. “Right here.”
He smiled sweetly and nodded. “Yeah.”
“Let’s try again.”
“We have got this.”
“You’re right,” he said, looking calmer, and I was happy I could help it.
It pleased something deeply within us when we affected our mates in a positive way. I reached down and grabbed his hand, squeezing it.
“Yes,” he answered, smiling now. “Thank you.”
“Of course. You always have me.”
He nodded, and we followed the rest to the dining room.