Annalise had been asleep for almost ten minutes before someone knocked. I had been stroking her face, memorizing each feature, and sighed. I pulled on my swim trunks, tossing her bikini into the hamper with the blanket that had her blood on it.
I opened the door and Walter walked in with a large box. I made sure Annalise was covered completely then pointed to my dresser, putting a finger to my lips.
"Did you mark her?" he whispered and I nodded. "She will be in pain for several days."
"My father told me," I whispered back. "I know how to take care of her." I shook my head. "I'm not leaving her side, Walter. She is mine and I am hers. And I made a promise to her mother."
He nodded. "Okay. Here is everything. The picture she requested is there." He glanced at her. "We have two suspects."
"Suzanna Evergreen and Garth Long," he said and my jaw dropped.
"It's got to be Suzanna," I breathed. "Garth would never do something like that to Annalise."
"We don't have anything concrete yet, but I'll keep you informed. The kitchen is stocked with everything you need." He went to the door and paused. He looked at me sadly. "I wish I could say have a happy honeymoon."
"I'll make sure we do," I said and he smiled a little before leaving.
Quietly, I unpacked everything. They brought her underwear and I stored it with mine. I changed into a pair of boxers and sweatpants. I got one of her bras, some panties, my sweats, and loose sports t-shirt.
Being as gentle as I could, I dressed her. She stirred a couple times and I sighed, knowing she was going to wake up with a nightmare or two. But I'd be there. I'd always be there.
I didn't sleep that night. Annalise woke up twice from a nightmare and I kissed her, reminding her that I'd explain when she woke back up. When she finally did, she winced and put a hand on the back of her neck.
"It'll hurt for about two days," I said. "Normally the pain goes away instantly but you're a human so it'll take longer." She nodded then cringed. "Tell me about your nightmares, baby."
She frowned. "The first one I was in the woods," she said slowly. "I was running and panting. I could hear something behind me; something large like a bear. It pounced and bit into my neck." She shuddered. "It was awful. The second one was...." She was struggling to remember and I waited patiently. "The second one I was in a banquet hall. There were a lot of people around me but I couldn't see their faces. They were all watching me, though. I was in a fancy dress and I looked at the plate in front of me." She squeezed her eyes shut. "It was your head."
I kissed her a few times as she cried some more. I wiped her tears away.
"Each nightmare has a meaning," I whispered. "The first one: That was the pain you experienced when I marked you. The second...." I smiled a little at her and she looked confused. "It means you must love me."
She blushed. "How is dreaming that I'm about to eat your head in front of a bunch of strangers confirmation that I love you?"
I got back under the covers and rolled onto my back. She moved over so she could put her head on my chest. I rubbed her arm with my thumb.
"The strangers are my pack," I explained. "You will be the pack mother when I ascend to alpha, hence the fancy dress. At any dinner, you always try to have some of your favorite thing, don't you?" She nodded. "My head was on your dish because I am your mate, your husband."
"Will the nightmares happen a lot?" she mumbled, putting her hand on my stomach and I held it.
"No, sweetheart. They'll only happen that one time. Any other time you dream of us it will be beautiful." I kissed her head. "Just like you."
"Did you dress me?" she asked.
"Yes. Walter came by with our things." I showed her my nightstand and she laughed a little. "I figured you'd like to wake up this morning to a man you love."
She smiled at the picture.
"Two men I love," she whispered and I stared at her.
She was staring at my stomach, her cheeks pink. I took her chin and made her look at me.
"Do you mean that?" I whispered and she nodded. I smiled and kissed her again. "Good. Because I love you, too."
She smiled and closed her eyes. I knew she was still tired.
"Did Walter say if they found anyone?" she asked.
I sighed. "Two suspects," I said.
"Suzanna and...." I clenched my jaw. "And Garth."
Her eyes shot open and she looked at me.
"No," she said. "Garth wouldn't do that. It had to have been Suzanna."
I swallowed and she kissed me deeply. I wanted her again but I was sure she wasn't up for it. To my surprise, she ran a hand behind my neck and I moaned into her mouth, pushing my tongue into it. She gasped as I massaged her breasts. Eventually, I came and kissed her neck. She ran her hand into my hair and I kissed down to her collarbone.
"I don't know if I should," I whispered. "I don't want to hurt you."
She shook her head. "I'm too sore anyway."
I blinked at her. "Then why did you-?"
"Because you needed me," she interrupted and smiled a little. "It's the best I knew to do."
I sighed and wrapped my arms around her waist, getting back on my side to face her. I brushed my nose against hers and she let out a long sigh. It was then I realized she desired intimacy more than sex so I got comfortable. I tucked her in on the back and kissed her cheeks and lips. I kept my arms around her waist.
She let out another sigh as I kissed just under her chin. She inhaled sharply and I smiled to myself, knowing I just found her soft spot. I kissed to her ear and nuzzled her neck.
"Lean into me, my love," I whispered and she did so immediately. "Shit. That wasn't supposed to be an order."
"I know it wasn't," she yawned.
I smiled down at her lovingly as her eyes slowly closed. I ran my fingers through her hair and she smiled in her sleep.
"That's right, baby," I said softly. "Smile and sweet dreams of us. Escape from the nightmares of life for now and sleep."
I kissed her lips one more time before closing my eyes, too. Marking her had been as exhausting as her receiving it.
There was usually more that happens between the two wolves. It was rougher and there was more sex. My father warned me, though, to be gentle with her when the time came.
"She is a human," he said while we sat by the lake. "You do not want to harm her more than you have to."
"How will I know to stop?" I asked.
"You will," he said. "I cannot describe it to you. Each wolf experiences something else. You will be fine, my son."
The second I heard the sob building in her throat I knew it was time to stop. I couldn't bear the thought of causing her enough pain to sob. The howling wolf wasn't just a mark of my pack. It was the mark of an alpha's mate. Once they saw that, everything would be in the open.
If it isn't already.