Fane lunged one final time, pushing his long body to its limit with his hind legs and landed jaws first on top of his prey, breaking its back instantly. The wolf enjoyed the spoils of the hunt and once he had his fill he found a sunny spot, the grass warm from the rays and laid down, rolling to his side. Feeling the warm air ruffle his fur, Fane’s mind reached out for Jacquelyn’s without intending to. It was like his soul needed to feel its other half and if he went too long without that contact, he became bereft and restless. He didn’t say anything to her; he just sort of slipped into her thoughts, enjoying being with her even if he couldn’t physically touch her. Once his wolf was content that their mate was safe he got up, shook off the grass and dirt, and began the run back to the guest house. He would need a shower after his run and he still had his vows to write. He was really struggling with what to say to Jacquelyn, he knew what he felt, but he just couldn’t find adequate words to tell her.

After a shower and sitting and staring at a blank piece of paper, trying in vain to put his emotions into words, Fane decided to take a break. As he was lying on the bed all he could think about was a certain fiery red head and that tonight she would be all his. He had really been hoping that Jacque would be willing to incorporate the human wedding vows into the bonding ceremony, but she wasn’t ready for that. He had explained that their bonding was permanent, unlike a human marriage, but the idea of being married at 17 seemed to make her nervous, so he would wait. Fane was quickly learning that waiting really sucked.

“Wolf-man, we are heading your way, hope you’re ready for this.” Fane heard Jacque’s voice in his mind. He grinned at her playfulness, which was one of the things his wolf really liked about her: she played, something that even wolves in the wild did as a part of the mating dance.

“I have been ready for you since I laid I eyes on you. Be safe, I will see you shortly,” he told her as he imagined himself caressing her soft face. He sent her that feeling as well and felt her shiver in response. That made him smile even bigger.

Looking at the time on his phone, 12:15, Fane got up, deciding it was time to get dressed just as he heard a knock at the front door.

“It’s open,” he said loudly.

Fane’s mother Alina came through the doorway. “I brought you the vows you are to say during the ceremony, and I was wanting to ask you if you had gotten Jacque an offering yet.”

“I actually got her two things. The first is an autographed book she told me she loved as a child but no longer owned a copy of. I hope that it shows her that I listen when she speaks and the things that she feels are important to her are important to me as well. The second I think I should show you.” Fane walked out of the living room and went back to the bedroom, returning with a small black box.

“Fane, is that what I think it is?” Alina asked.

“I know that she isn’t ready to go through the human ritual of marriage. I have tried to explain to her that bonding is more permanent than marriage, but still she wants to wait. Through the bonding ceremony she will have my mark, my scent, and that will tell all Canis Lupus that she is mated, but human males will not recognize this. They will, however, recognize an engagement ring,” Fane explained.

Alina was shaking her head when she said, “Barbarians, all of you. Possessive, bossy, over-reacting wolves.” Fane knew she was teasing because she was beaming from ear to ear. “Well, let me look at it.”

Fane opened the black box to show his mother the ring he had chosen to put on the finger of the one woman who would complete his soul. The ring was a wide platinum band and engraved all the way around the band in Romanian were the words 'finalizarea, absolut, chiar, intreg' (complete, absolute, unmovable, whole), and in the center was a very rare red diamond in a marquee cut.

“Fane, it’s beautiful. I recognize the band as the one that I gave you to hold onto until you met your mate, but where did you get the stone?” his mother asked him.

“The day I spoke with Da and he told me Sorin was coming, I called Sorin and asked him to look in the vaults in the pack mansion for a red stone for the band. I figured with the vast size of the vault and the centuries of things accumulated he could surely find one. I knew the bonding ceremony would be taking place sooner than we originally planned and I wanted the ring to be ready. The day that Sorin took Lilly to her book store he made a stop at a jeweler while Lilly was working and had the stone set. I wanted red for two reasons. One, she is my micul incendiu (little fire), with so much personality packed into such a small package, and two, it will be a reminder of this day when we both shed blood to bind our souls to each other.”

Fane suddenly fell onto the couch, face held in his hands. “Mama, how is it possible to love someone so intensely, so much that at times it feels like it’s going to make your heart explode because you just can’t contain it?” Fane looked up at his mother, his eyes drawn together, mouth tight.

Alina sat down next to him on the couch, handing back the black box, taking his free hand in hers. “I don’t know if there is any way to explain or truly understand the bond between mates. It’s not human; it’s beyond the realm of reason and that makes it hard to believe it is even possible. I know you haven’t known her long, I know you are both young, but you will grow close faster than you can imagine. She will become your best friend and you will become hers. Even now I know you feel it, that no one in this world will ever love you as she will. You were born to love each other and that love will grow stronger as time goes on.” Alina wiped a tear from her cheek as she looked upon the face that she had watched grow from an infant to a strong Alpha male.

“What if I don’t make her happy?” Fane’s voice was so soft, laced with fear and worry.

“Oh, Fane.” Alina began wrapping her arms around her only son, pulling him close. “You will make her happy. You will also make her mad, sad, and annoyed, probably a little claustrophobic at times, but you will make her happy. Your wolf will step in when your human side steps out of line. The wolf only sees black and white, all he understands is that she is your mate, that you must love her, protect her, provide for her, play with her, and make her content. Your human side will fill in the gap of emotions the wolf does not understand. She will make you a better Alpha, a better man. You will give her what no other man ever could: the other half of her soul.”