Twisted Tails Ch. 04

byJaisen©

""I tried to hold back the full shift, but the wolf had other things in mind," he said. "And there's something I need to talk to you about."

"Okay." Vivien sat down next to him. "If it's about birth control, I know we hadn't talked about it, but I'm on the pill at the moment, so our little oops there shouldn't be a problem."

"Alright. Glad to hear that. I hate wearing condoms." Andrew took her hands in his and looked her in the eyes. "The wolf and I have been talking. I know how we feel about things, and I need to ask you something."

"Yes?" asked Vivien, thinking she might know where this was going, but not 100% certain.

"Will you consider becoming our mate? In all ways?" he asked softly. The wolf whimpered, wanting to touch their mate.

Vivien looked at Andrew. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes. While deep down inside she was worried that things were moving too fast, her heart was screaming "YES". She took a deep breath and when she realized she couldn't talk, she nodded her head.

"Is that a yes?" asked Andrew.

"Yes. Yes it is," she said.

Andrew stood up and wrapped his arms around Vivien. "Then I have a present for you." From his pocket, he drew a delicate chain with a tiny charm at the end where the loop enclosed the sliding chain. He looped it around Vivien's neck and set it against her skin.

Vivien knew what this was, having seen Meg's and Angie's. She looked at the fine chain and intricate links and then the small charm at the end. It was a book. "Oh Andrew. This is beautiful."

"I'm glad you like it. I've been working on it when I could and finally settled on a book for the end."

"It is lovely, but how can I reciprocate? Meg and Angie could go to you for a chain. Where am I suppose to get you one?' she asked.

"Well, I had Becky go through the display case and stock in the back room. She picked out five that she liked and thought that you might like. I haven't seen which ones she picked. So, you may pick one and give it to me if you like. Or, you and Becky can go through the rest of the inventory on Monday." He reached down and handed her a shoe box sized case.

Vivien took it over to the counter next to the stove and opened it up. Inside were chains of different thicknesses. There was a very shiny thick one she set aside right away. Next was an antique one that interested her. It had a moon on the end. One had gold and silver mixed. She set that one with the thick one. The last two were very similar. One had a wolf's paw on the end and the other had a stylized mountain. Vivien looked at the three and hefted each in her hand. She set the wolf's paw down. Looking at the last two, she picked the antique one with the moon. She put the others back in the box and held the one she chose behind her back.

"I've found one I like," she said.

"Alright."

Vivien held it out to Andrew. What she didn't expect were the tears that began to roll down his face. "What's the matter? Have I done something wrong?" she asked.

"No, no you haven't. And neither did Becky by sneaking this one into the case," he said. He gave it to Vivien to put around his neck, and when she did, it lay there as if it were made for him.

"What is it Andrew? Why the tears?"

"This chain belonged to my father, Alexander. He made it for his mating to my mother Jelka. The charms or fobs on the end are often made to reflect the mate or the occasion. This is why your's has a book, in that I hope that you will find your writing skills and publish."

"And the meaning of the moon on this one?" asked Vivien.

"Jelka. My mother. It means moon in Croatian. So, for you to pick that one out of all the others makes it very special." Andrew gathered Vivien in his arms. "My mother would have loved you for who you are. In a way, it's like she's giving her blessings."

"Oh," was all Vivien could say. They stood there hugging one another for a long time.

*

"I can't believe there are so many things to get ready for a supper party," said Vivien. She was exhausted. Angie and George had come down to the city to help Andrew and Vivien with the party. They'd both been so excited when Andrew called and told George.

"I remember when Meg had hers. She was overwhelmed too. She had Ginny helping her and Luc bugging her every five minutes. At least we can shop without the guys slobbering over every detail," said Angie.

"That's only because we sent them shopping for other items. Otherwise they'd be right here with us and throwing more meat than I can store in the cart."

Angie nodded. The four of them had divided up the shopping list. The men got the paper goods, chair and table rentals and the liquor store. Vivien had checked the menu with Ginny and Meg, as both of them had the fussy eaters. Originally, they had thought of having an adults only party, but Luc wouldn't leave the twins alone and no one would babysit Ivan, Joe or Sara. So far the guest list included most of the immediate pack and family in town, Meg's mom Anne, who was in town for the weekend, Sam and Lewis, and Rose, Andrew's sister. They weren't sure if she'd get the invitation, let alone join in.

"Do you think five rib eye roasts is enough?" asked Vivien. She'd never bought so much meat in one day in her life.

"Well, they are 20lbs each. It should be. We can get a pork roast or two as well. Sandy makes a really good barbecue sauce," said Angie as she added two 10lb pork roasts to the basket.

"What else do we need?"

Angie looked at the list and ticked things off as she glanced into the basket. "I think we need whipped cream, carrots, walnuts and raisins and that's it."

Vivien turned the heavy cart and headed back to the vegetable aisle. They had two salads planned as well as a pasta dish and rice. In that there would be fewer than five or six non-shifters, they'd decided on a carrot cake for dessert. She'd made one for Andrew a few weeks ago and had found that everyone loved it. They grabbed the last few items and headed for the check out. Vivien's phone buzzed in her pocket as they watched the checker ring up the items.

"Vivien here," she said. "Oh. No, we decided on a Syrah, not a Merlot. Oh, okay. Get what you want then. I don't really mind. Oh, and don't forget the Fat Tire Ale. Okay. See you in a bit. Love you!"

"Andrew?"

"Yes. They couldn't find the wine I'd asked for and were going to substitute a Merlot."

"Andrew is a good judge of wines. He'll find a good one. Are they heading home yet?" asked Angie.

"No, they have to drop by the rental place. Seems the order wasn't ready."

"George will be growling if it isn't ready this time," laughed Angie.

"That would be terrifying," said Vivien. The thought of George being angry with anyone was simply too much to think about.

Angie nodded as she paid for the groceries.

George and Andrew were unloading the chairs when the women got back with the groceries. Vivien grabbed a handful of bags and worked her way into the house.

"You got done faster than we did," she said as she kissed Andrew on the nose.

"We found them 'delivered' when we came by to drop off the wine," said Andrew.

"Oh? Did George growl at them?" asked Angie coming up from behind.

"No, Ginny did. I called to ask her the name of that wine she liked and she asked about the chairs. I told her and didn't think that she might call," said George. He had the remaining ten bags of groceries hanging from his fingers.

Vivien laughed. "Oh, I bet that was an interesting conversation."

"It explains why the sky cleared up too," said Angie. That made all four of them laugh. While Patrick had mellowed Ginny, she still had days when she was queen bitch of the universe.

"The roasting pans are on the stove. Ginny suggested that you cook two at a time to nearly done and then set them aside. That way you can reheat them tomorrow and not have the whole house smelling of roasting meat all day," said Andrew.

"And what's wrong with that?" asked George.

"Some of use don't talk so well when we're drooling," teased Andrew.

George reached out and ruffled Andrew's hair as he laughed.

"I think I'll do the pork first as that has to really cook. Then I'll start on the beef," said Vivien.

"Did you two go dress shopping?" asked George as he counted bags and realized that there were nothing but groceries.

"Um... no. I figured I'd just wear my blue dress," said Vivien.

"You are just as bad as Ginny," said Andrew with a bit of a growl in his voice as he stood up from assembling a table.

"Agreed," said George.

"I... I'm... um. I'll," Vivien started to stutter a reply.

"You, will go shopping with either Angie or me. Which is it?" asked Andrew.

Vivien stood there trying to stall. Her bank account had hit the single digit mark earlier in the week and she hadn't told Andrew that she was unable to go shopping. "Andrew, can we talk for a moment?"

"Yes."

"Privately?"

"George, let's go put the pork roasts in the over," said Angie and pulled her mate out to the kitchen.

"What's wrong Vivien," Andrew said a little softer than his tone had been a moment before. He sensed that there was an issue. Vivien's scent had gone acidic.

"I don't have enough money to buy a hamburger, let alone a new dress," she admitted.

Andrew wrapped his arms around Vivien. "My mate, what part of 'what's mine is yours', is unclear?"

"I... I just feel so out of my depths. Angie bought all the food and I don't know who's taken care of the rentals or anything else. This has just all happened so fast and..." she trailed off as she stood there in Andrew's arms.

"It's alright. The food is George and Angie's present to us. So is the weekend up at the Bed & Breakfast. Luc and Meg paid for the rentals, as they understand the necessity for the pack and family to be here. I'm nearly 53, and they've all been waiting for me to find a mate. Let's get George and Angie to attend the roasts and get the rest of the food ready while we go find you a lovely dress. Then tomorrow you can finish up the last bits and make the cakes."

Vivien looked up at Andrew, who was smiling down at her. "Alright."

Vivien tried on nearly fifteen dresses before Andrew approved. He'd picked it out on the third or fourth try, but Vivien had felt a little nervous, especially when she saw the price. After all the other dresses, they came back to it. The dress was silk with wrap style neckline that showed off just enough cleavage and the chain with the book at the end. The deep hunter's green set off her hair and eyes.

"I don't think I've ever had a dress like this," said Vivien. "I'm such a flannel and jeans kind of person."

"Well, we can leave it and get you a plaid shirt and a pair of flannel lined jeans if you want, but I wouldn't suggest it," said Andrew with a wicked smile. They'd discussed what was workable before they even started picking out dresses. His only request had been either a dress or skirt/shirt combination. Vivien had finally given in.

"I think I have some flats that will work with this," she said looking at the dress.

Andrew rolled his eyes and grabbed her hand. "Keep in mind that this is as close to a wedding day as you'll get. Would you really wear your grubby flats with a silk wedding dress?"

Vivien stopped, and blinked. "Andrew, I hadn't thought of it in that context. I simply thought of it as a big family get together. I'm sorry," she said.

"It's okay, but I had to put it in to perspective. Shall we continue to the shoe department?"

"Yes. And thank you for being such a wonderful mate," she said as she stood on tip-toes to kiss him on the nose.

By the time they got home, the house smelled of roast meat. The tables and chairs were set up and the extra furniture had been moved upstairs. Angie and George were just finishing pizza.

"Was she as stubborn as Ginny?" George asked with a smile.

"Yes, right up until I reminded her that this was her 'wedding day'."

Angie smiled and after washing her hands went with Vivien to see the dress.

"You really ready for this?" George asked.

"Yes. I couldn't have done it before Ginny settled. Now though, I feel so blessed," said Andrew.

"Good. Your sister called. She said she'd be here in the morning. Sounded like she'd run too much as a wolf lately. How old is she anyway?"

"Sixty-six or sixty-seven. I haven't seen her in probably fifteen years. I'm glad she's coming though. Peter's wife, Lisa will be glad to see her," said Andrew.

"Those two are alike aren't they. My Grandma Ysabel said that Wild Girl's line were always wild."

"Yes, and so is Rose. I never knew with Rose if it was nature or nurture. Mama never got over the war. Never had an idea what she was like before it. The wolf was always just under the skin, ready to run or flee. So many of that generation were that way," mused Andrew.

George nodded. He and Angie had started trying to write down the family tree, which was daunting. So many shifters just faded into the forest. Whenever there was a family gathering, they tried to ask where people had moved or if there were new births. George wanted to pick Rose's memory about his great aunt Marie. That was a branch of the family that seemed to disappear right off the planet.

"You sleeping here?" Andrew asked.

"No, We'll be going to Ginny's. Floor is safe," said George with a bit of a blush.

Andrew smiled. He remembered George going though the floor. "Alright. When they get done ooohing and aaahhhing over the dress then I guess you'll be off."

"I hope so. We've got to be back by 7am according to the slave driver," laughed George. "Angie! Are you done squealing over that dress?"

Angie walked out to the kitchen a moment later. "Yes. Grab your coat and let's go. Beautiful dress Andrew. See you in the morning!"

Andrew saw them out the door and then went to find Vivien who was putting the dress and accessories away. "Happy?"

"Yes. Nervous, but happy. Can we just cuddle tonight?" she asked as they got undressed.

"Always." Andrew dropped the last of his clothes and shifted. He wrapped around Vivien and placed his head on the top of hers.

Wolf sighed contentedly. His mate's curls tickled his nose and made him sneeze. She tried to move them, but he moved his head a little. Wolf pulled his mate closer and soon fell asleep.

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