We walked back to the bonfire, holding hands. We agreed that people could know we were dating, just not that we were mates.
"So werewolves can have just boyfriends and girlfriends?" Annalise asked as we got closer to the bonfire.
"Yeah," I said. "Usually it's just teenagers but sometimes adults who haven't found their mate do. It's a way to not be... lonely I guess."
She nodded. As soon as people saw our hands, they started to cheer. Annalise blushed and stepped closer to me. I laughed a little and Ivan passed us each a hotdog.
"Cheers," I said and she laughed.
"Cheers," she echoed.
We sat down on a log, forcing ourselves to talk to people. I wanted to be alone with her again. I have been for the last week. But we stayed until the end. While everyone filed to the cabins, Pierre and Walter sat on the ground in front of us.
"Walter has filled me in," Pierre said quietly. "What do you guys want to do now?"
"What do you mean?" Annalise asked.
"I've been getting a separate level ready for you guys," Walter said. "But you're acting as if you haven't completed the ritual - or marriage as you'd call it, Annalise - yet."
"We haven't," I said quietly and Annalise looked at her lap. "We're also trying to keep this from getting out."
"Do you think it'll be possible?" Pierre asked.
I shrugged. "We've been successful so far with my true identity; surely we can do it here, too."
"What will you tell people?"
"Everyone's been freaking out because I don't have a mate," I said. "We'll tell them that she and I are dating."
Walter nodded slowly. "Yes, that could work."
"I'm sorry you went through that trouble," Annalise said in a high voice. "I'm just not- I don't know enough and-"
"It's okay," Walter said quickly. "I know you're probably very overwhelmed right now. It's been a while since a human and werewolf were made to be together."
"Can we have some time out here alone?" I asked. "Just an hour?"
"Yes," Pierre said and they both left.
I had Annalise sit on the ground and hesitantly put my arm around her. The fire was slowly dying and we watched it.
"Tell me what's on your mind," I said quietly.
"You already know," she sighed. "But why did they expect us to... have sex right away?"
"It's the way of the wolves," I answered. "Most are so ready to have found their mate that they don't question it."
She blushed. "Have you been wanting to this whole time?"
I cleared my throat. "Have sex?" I asked and she nodded, her face redder. "No. But I have been wanting to be with you. I tried to repress it but, over time, it was getting overwhelming. The day Orvil touched you...."
I sighed and was surprised when she leaned into me.
"I thought I just had a crush on you," she whispered and I smiled a little. "Is it possible for a human to know right away?"
"Anything is possible, Annalise. Do you want to go back to the cabin?"
She shook her head, her hair covering her face.
"Can we just stay here for a little while longer?"
She leaned in more and I rested my head on hers, watching the embers start to die in the ash.
When we went back to the cabin, the twins smirked at us. Suzanna was glaring at Annalise but I knew she was used to it by now.
"So," Kelly said and Annalise rolled her eyes. She giggled. "I told you so."
"Oh, shut up," Annalise grumbled but she was smiling.
"Is that why you two disappeared during the bonfire?" Jamie asked when Annalise went into the bathroom to change.
Part of the reason.
"Yeah," I said. I looked over at Suzanna and sighed. There were tears in her eyes. "Hey."
I sat on the bed but she crossed her arms.
"Look, I know you're hurting," I began but she interrupted me.
"She's tricked you, Logan," she whispered. "I can't believe you fell for it."
I shook my head. "She didn't trick me, Suzanna. Please. Just accept this. You and I are roommates, nothing more," I repeated.
Suddenly, she was kissing me. I pushed her off.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Annalise hissed and I looked over.
She was glaring daggers at Suzanna. The fairy stood up and glared back at her.
"You tricked him!" she yelled. Her wings were exposed and she flapped them angrily. "I can't believe you'd do such a thing!"
"Don't you ever touch him again!" Annalise snapped. "And I did not trick him. It's impossible for a human to trick a werewolf!"
"How do you know?" she snapped back. "All you know is how to be a damn damsel in distress! When's the last time you stuck up for yourself here!?"
"Right now if you don't knock it off," she threatened. "I'm tired of your shit!"
Suzanna laughed harshly. "What could you possibly do to me?"
"Come over here and find out," Annalise snapped. Suzanna stared at her. "That's what I thought. Back off Suzanna. If I see you touch him again, I won't hold back."
I walked over to Annalise and put my hands on her arms.
"Relax," I muttered.
"She kissed you," she spat and I chuckled.
"I appreciate your jealousy."
She blushed. "I'm not jealous," she said with a sniff. "I just don't like seeing another woman touching my ma- boyfriend."
My order to make her relax worked, though, and she kissed my cheek before getting in bed. Suzanna was still glaring at her and I saw a strange light in her eyes. It passed, though, and I got in bed, too. I turned to face Annalise. She had fallen asleep already and I didn't blame her.
I couldn't sleep, though. All I wanted to do was watch her forever.
After breakfast, we stayed in the cabin so I could start teaching her what it meant to be, not only my mate, but the eventual Pack Mother.
We sat on her bed, our backs on the wall, and several books spread out around us.
"It's simple enough, really," I said. "There will be a ritual after our marriage. It will be the clan accepting you as my mate."
She bit her lip. "Are we going to have a traditional marriage or is it just the...?"
"We can if you'd like," I said. "In order for us to be considered a true union, though, we have to follow through with the other part."
"When does that happen?"
I held her hand, rubbing the back of her palm with my thumb.
"Whenever you're ready."
She nodded and picked up a book that showed the transformation from man to wolf.
"Will I become a werewolf?" she asked.
"Again, if you'd like," I said.
"When do you stop again? Your dad looked like he was still in his 30s."
I smiled. "When we turn 30. So, for me, in four and a half months."
"Is it painful?" she asked, still flipping through the transformation book.
I put my head on hers.
"The first few times it is," I said. "You get used to it after a while, though."
"When was your first transformation?"
"I was eight."
"Why aren't you naked when you transform back?" she asked. "I thought that your clothes would shred or something."
I smiled again. "Misconception once more. It's more like they disappear while we're a wolf."
"Weird," she muttered. "I'm not used to magic. Well, real magic. The closest to magic I've been to is-"
"Harry Potter," we said in unison and laughed.
"Yeah," she said with a yawn.
"Do you want to take a nap?" I asked.
She nodded. Before I could get up, she put her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. I held her hand again and thought to what my father said about mates.
"You'll know right away," he said.
I frowned. "Then why didn't I know right away?"
"You probably did but repressed it because she's a human. Now that you embrace it, though, you'll notice that everything will come easier. Holding her, kissing her, teaching her will be easier."
I looked away. "And loving her?"
"Will become second nature."
She shifted in her sleep so that one of her arms went around my waist. I didn't know how humans fell in love. We both agreed to teach each other. I was excited to learn more about the humans. It was my father who wanted me to be homeschooled since I was going to be the next alpha. We never got around to talking about humans.
The door opened and Kelly walked in, smiling a little when she saw Annalise asleep.
"I kept telling her," she said quietly, going through her dresser.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
She turned her smile to me. "That you guys were made for each other."
I frowned. "How do you know?"
"I can sense it," she said. "Just like I can sense you haven't been truthful with us."
"I should have told you I liked her, yes, but-"
"That's not what I'm talking about," she interrupted. "You're keeping a secret from us. What is it?"
I stared at her for a long time. She was Annalise's friend which was a shock since Annalise was afraid of vampires.
"I can't tell you," I said finally. "Not yet."
"Fair enough," she said. "Teaching her about werewolves?"
"At her insistence," I lied.
"Well, have fun," she said and left.
I yawned and put my head on Annalise's, falling asleep easily.