"I found the text messages between us." Decebel pushed his thoughts as hard as he could against her shields. He felt bad forcing his way into her mind, but not bad enough not to do it. He felt empty, alone without her presence in his mind.
"Jennifer, please talk to me," Decebel pleaded.
"And what exactly would you have me say? Hey there, I know you don’t remember me but I love you more than life itself and can't stand being without you. I can barely breath from being away from you. I'm hurting and scared and pissed. Is that what you want to hear? Do you want to hear how my heart is breaking and my soul feels like it's been ripped in two? Or maybe you'd like me to tell you how all I can think about is the last time you held me in your arms, the last kiss you gave me, the last time I heard you speak to me with recognition. What should I say, Decebel?"
Decebel closed his eyes as he soaked up her pain.
"I know I've hurt you and I'm sorry. I can tell from these text that I loved you,"
Jennifer interrupted him before he could say more, and the catch in her voice nearly brought him to his knees, "Loved – past tense. Wow, that is rich. That's the icing on the proverbial cake, fur ball. Thank you for that."
"JENNIFER STOP!" Decebel roared through their bond. "I'm not giving up on us. I'm not going to stop until I find you and until the curse is destroyed. No, I don’t remember you, but everyone tells me you are precious to me. Something in me tells me they are right. I will find you, but until then... just let me court you all over again."
"Um, news flash, Dec. You never really courted me in the first place. You pretty much told me I was yours and nearly killed any other who breathed too close to me." He could hear her sarcasm and took that as a good sign, like maybe he had gotten through to her.
"And how exactly to you plan to court me, B?" she asked him
"For Beta. Although I reserve the right to use it to call you a female dog when I deem it necessary."
Decebel grinned. She was a feisty one, that was for sure.
"Well, I've got all night. How about we get to know one another again?"
He waited to see what she would say and didn't even realize he was holding his breath until he released it when she responded.
"Before we go any further, I need to know, are you safe? Is anyone hurting you?"
"I'm safe. I'm hurting, but only because I fell into a deep hole in the ground."
Decebel decided to wait to address that. First he would deal with her emotions and help put her at ease.
"I'll start." Jen began. "And I've been meaning to ask you this for a while, but things got a little hectic recently and before that you were being a butt head. What's your last name and how come you never use it?" Jen closed her eyes as she lay on the table. She had been wondering what his last name was, that was true, but right this moment she would listen to him recite the alphabet over and over just to hear his voice. Yes, yes, I am that pathetic at this moment, she thought.
"My last name is Anghelescu. It simply means son of Anghel. Anghel was my father."
"Who was your father?" Jen asked.
She almost could hear him take a deep breath before he spoke.
"He was the Alpha of the Western Romanian pack." Decebel waited for her response. He figured she probably didn't know that at one time the Romanian pack was divided.
"When was your father Alpha?"
Decebel's brow furrowed. Wasn't she going to ask him about the pack being divided?
"After the werewolf wars. The previous Alpha was killed during them. I think his name was -"
"Gavril," Jen finished for him.
Decebel couldn't believe she knew this. It wasn't something that was ever talked about in casual conversation. How could she know?
"Yes, Gavril. My father was his Beta.” Decebel paused uncomfortably.“...My father died in 1905 after my mother, Eveline, was shot and killed by poachers. They'd mistaken her for a wild wolf. I was only 20 human years old, making me one of the youngest Alphas in our history."
This time he did feel her surprise. So she hadn't known that he had been an Alpha.
"You were an Alpha?" Jen knew the awe she felt filled her voice.
"So what happened? Why are you not one anymore?" Decebel could feel her interest, her desire to know more about him. For some reason that made him feel proud. His wolf was strutting, like a young pup trying to catch a female's attention.
"When my sister Cosmina died I lost it. I went into a fit of rage that became dangerous to all those around me. I remember Vasile coming to me, I remember dissolving the Western Romanian Pack and declaring a merge, but after that I don't remember what happened. I do know gave up my last name. I had disgraced my family by not protecting my sister – I didn't deserve to carry my father's name."
Jen could feel Decebel's pain at losing his sister, and the shame he thought he should carry. But she knew better. Even Alphas couldn't save everyone.
"Decebel, Alphas aren't infallible. You should not be ashamed of what happened that day. No one could've predicted what some idiot wolf would do. You are an amazing man, and when you claim someone as yours you do everything in your power to protect them. But you aren't perfect and no one expects you to be."
"You speak as if you know me." Decebel couldn't hide the emotion that her words evoked in him.
"I do know you." Jen's voice was soft as she responded to the emotion she felt coming through their bond.
"I wish I knew you that well."
"You will," Jen promised. "I won't give you up, Decebel. Sorry, but you are stuck with me."
She could feel Decebel's joy.
"Sally showed me pictures of you on her phone," he mentioned suddenly.
Jen stilled at his comment. Her eyes flew open and met the ceiling she laid beneath, tracing along the wood beams that ran horizontally across the room. Her breathing increased and right then and there she planned to kill Sally as soon as she saw her.
"Did she now?" Jen asked carefully. "And what did you think?"
"I hoped that one day you would be bonded to me so the sheet was no longer necessary."
Jen felt blood rush to her face, the heat of embarrassment washing over her. Yep, Sally was a dead gypsy healer.