"Where are you?"
Soon Decebel cringed and looked back at Jacque. "Does she always talk so, so..." He growled as he tried to come up with the word.
"So sailor-like? Get used to it, Don Juan. Whatever she said, I promise you she has said worse," Jacque snapped.
"It just gets worse when she's stressed," Sally tried to reassure him.
"She's asking, 'What the hell does is matter where I am if my damn hairy, flea-infested mate doesn't know me from the next hot blonde on the street?"
"You left out some words, didn't you?" Jacque raised a single eyebrow at Decebel. "'Cause that's pretty mild for Jen."
Decebel snarled. "There's no reason to repeat everything she says. And why does she think I have fleas?"
"She thinks everything with fur has fleas. Don’t take it personally." Jacque's tone was sharp, but she knew she shouldn't be taking her frustration out on Decebel.
"Luna, ease up on him." Fane gentled his words by rubbing Jacquelyn's back. She looked over at him and stuck her tongue out.
"I intend to take you up on that offer later."
"I've created a monster," Jacque told him, rolling her eyes.
"Oh, you have no idea, my love." Fane's smile spoke of wicked things.
Finally Jacque turned her attention back to Decebel, who was looking more and more concerned by the minute.
"Now she isn't responding to me," he told them as his brows drew together and his shoulders grew tense. It was obvious he was trying very hard to hold it together. It was then that Jacque realized that even though Decebel had lost some of his memory, he was still the same man. A possessive, bossy, controlling, dominant wolf. She imagined that the idea of not being able to fix this situation, of not being able to comfort Jen, was driving him crazy.
"Jen, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you." Decebel tried to make sure she could feel the frustration and worry he was feeling.
Finally she responded. "Please stop calling me Jen. Call me anything but Jen. I just can't stand hearing your voice saying it."
Decebel looked at Sally. Sally winced at the pain she saw pooling in his amber eyes.
"She told me to quit calling her Jen; to call her anything but Jen."
"Just because you don't remember does not mean she isn't your mate, Decebel." It was Cynthia who spoke this time. "Do you feel anything when you hear her voice?"
"My wolf stirs at the sound. She brings him peace."
"Try to imagine how she is feeling," Cynthia told him. "She's just found out that the man she loves, the man who has done nothing but protect her, pursue her, and make her feel like the most cherished woman on earth, doesn't remember her. Give her this simple thing. Call her Jennifer."
Decebel tried to reach out to Jennifer again, but she pulled back. It was like a punch to his gut.
"I just need some time, Decebel. Please. Just -" He felt her pain, could nearly feel the tears that streaked her face. "I just need some time." And then she was gone.
Sally, Jacque, Fane, Costin, Cynthia, and Crina all watched in shock as Decebel, big, strong, immovable Decebel, lost control.
Decebel shot up from the ground and with wolf speed was across the room, grabbing chairs and throwing them. They shattered, hitting the walls with such force that the tavern shook. Decebel snarled, continuing to wreak havoc on everything in his path. His howl of pain swept through the building, bringing everyone to their knees as power rolled off of him.
Suddenly the door to the room flew open and Vasile stormed in. His own power filled the room, wrapping around Decebel and pulling him down.
"Settle, Beta." Vasile words were firm, laced with the promise of retribution if his Beta did not get himself under control.
Decebel bowed his head.
"I've failed her. I don't remember her, but even as I stand here I can feel my wolf snarling at me. My own wolf reprimanding me for not taking care of her."
"Are you telling me your wolf remembers her?" Vasile asked.
"I don't know if he remembers her as our mate but he feels a connection to her, wants to protect her." Decebel looked around the room, shame filling him at the evidence of his loss of control. "I will fix this, Alpha," he told Vasile.
"Yes, you will. You can't help her if you can't keep yourself under control."
Decebel nodded but didn't say anything more.
"We will help him," Sally offered.
Costin looked over at her and she blushed at the approval shining in his eyes.
"That isn't necessary," Decebel told her.
"I didn't ask for your permission. We are pack. What's the point of being pack if we don't share each other's burdens?"
"Well said, healer." Vasile smiled at Sally and he could tell she was going to be a very special addition to his pack.
It had taken the rest of the day for Decebel and the others to get the room cleaned and salvage as many chairs as they could. He'd met with the owner and told him he would pay for the damage and buy all new chairs. Thankfully Nicolae was very understanding and took things in stride.
That evening, Decebel looked out of the second story window of the quiet room where he sat. Light from the lanterns flickered, casting eerie shadows across the walls; a fire burned behind him in one of the many fireplaces that occupied the tavern. His back was warm from the heat, but the cold that ran across his face and chest remained. There were beds lining the walls, side by side across both sides of the room. Later he would share this room with the others from his pack, but for now he had told everyone that he needed to be alone. He needed to see if he could get Jennifer to speak to him. He was worried about her, about how she had sounded the last time they had spoken through the intimate bond they shared.
Decebel pulled his phone out when he felt it vibrate. Vasile had sent him a text asking if he was alright. Decebel smiled, amazed at how much Vasile cared for his wolves. Decebel responded and started to put the phone away before noticing a past text from Jennifer. His heartbeat increased as he opened up the text message and his breath caught as he read their playful correspondence.
When he scrolled through it, certain things grabbed his attention. He called her baby, told her she was his. He'd even told her to keep her clothes on. He would have to ask Jacque and Sally about that one. They teased each other and it was evident that there was an easy intimacy between them. His heart began to ache as he read the texts over and over. Before Cosmina's death he had longed for a mate, longed for what he had obviously had with Jennifer. He remembered that after Cosmina had died he had sworn he would never take a mate. Never again had he wanted the responsibility for one's life, or the possibility that he might fail again. Now, reading these texts, he knew he would do anything to gain his memories back. He would do anything to have this woman who obviously loved him, and he her, back in his arms.