As Luck Would Have It Ch. 03bybeat_andthepulse©
Sorry for the wait! I hope you enjoy.
Thanks to my editor MizzWolfe. I changed this around a bunch on the poor thing, so any editing issues are my own.
"Explain to me how you know I am your mate?" Audra could not deny the pull that she felt to him, but she wanted to know more. What exactly was she getting herself into?
Connor cleared his throat and looked at her, trying to choose his words wisely. "Well, my love... Werewolves mate for life. Every wolf has one true mate. The wolf inside recognizes the mate instinctively. When I was jogging that morning and stopped to look at the house, you opened your window and your scent called out to me. My wolf recognized you immediately. In that moment, I knew with you in my life, I would be complete. I'll admit, though, I was worried because I sensed that you were human and I didn't want to scare you away. I could feel my wolf inside growing more excited with each passing second, so I had to leave. I went home to talk to Graham."
His fingers traced her jaw as his eyes explored her perfect face. "That's why we showed up at your house that night. Sophie and my mother baked muffins and made up a basket as a welcome gift so I would have an excuse to introduce myself to you. I know this sounds crazy, but please do not be frightened. I would never hurt you and I will spend my life protecting and loving you. Not only does my wolf recognize you as our mate, but I do, too. We fit perfectly together. You can't deny it." Connor finally stopped and his eyes met hers, his body tensed as he waited for her to respond.
"I know there is something intense between us. I just need some time to let everything sink in. I know how hard it must have been for you to be that honest with me. And I'm not completely freaking out, so that says a lot for the connection I feel with you." Audra pulled herself closer to him. "You just need to be patient with me."
Connor leaned to kiss her forehead, and whispered, "All I need is you near me. You are here now and that's all that matters." They settled in a comfortable embrace as both were silent, lost in their own thoughts.
Audra's alarm went off, surprising both of them. Audra grabbed her phone to turn it off and noticed she had a text from Sophie from the evening before. "Happy hour tomorrow?"
Audra had completely forgotten about Sophie. She looked up at Connor, "I think that's about all the information I can handle for the moment." She gave him a reassuring smile to let him know she wasn't afraid. "I hope you don't mind that we wait a little longer to, uh, you know..." Audra blushed at the thought.
Connor leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly against her, sending a wave of heat through their bodies. "Love, I can wait. I've just made an ancient myth a reality for you. You have had to suspend your disbelief more in the last hour than most people do in their whole lives. Really, it's fine." He smiled gently at her.
"Thank you." She looked into his warm brown eyes and felt her stomach flutter at the warmth and affection she could clearly see. Starting to rise, Audra said, "Well, I think we better get up and get moving. I have some things I need to do before I go to happy hour later."
Connor tensed up, with a sudden wave of jealousy. "Happy Hour? With who?"
"Relax, it's just Sophie. She texted me last night." Audra laughed, handing over her phone to let him to read the text.
"Ohhhh." Connor laughed and couldn't help but feel relieved. Not only was she taking all of this information in stride, she was also rapidly integrating herself into his life. His confidence with his new found mate soared.
Later that evening, Audra drove into town to meet Sophie. As Audra pulled up to the bar, she could see Sophie getting out of her car. Sophie looked as classy and as fashionable as ever. On this evening, she was wearing skinny jeans with black knee high stiletto boots. She wore a modest black blouse with a plum pashmina wrapped around her. Her hair pulled back in a sleek bun, and her makeup, while minimal, was perfect.
"Audra!!! Hello, doll!" Sophie called out, waving frantically.
Audra smiled, suddenly at ease. Sophie was a ball of excitement, warmth and kindness. It was impossible not to share her mood when she was near. Suddenly, Audra found herself wrapped up in a tight hug.
"It is great to see you too, Sophie," Audra said, laughing.
"Let's go inside, I have a feeling we have LOTS to talk about." Sophie linked her arm through Audra's and guided them through the entrance of the bar. She was relieved when Connor called her earlier to let her know that he told Audra that they were werewolves.
The small look of the bar on the outside was deceiving. The inside was expansive; with a large bar to the right of the entrance and a little lounge area close by for those who didn't want to sit at the bar. The left side of the bar was made up of little alcoves in the wall that contained booths. Each alcove had a heavy velvet curtain separated and tied to the sides to offer more privacy when needed. Audra's cheeks warmed at the thought of what must go on in those alcoves.
Audra's thoughts were interrupted and Sophie pulled on her arm, leading them past the lounge toward the back of the bar. Audra suddenly felt nervous, as if all eyes in the room were on them. Sophie noticed Audra's apprehension, "This is pretty much an all Were bar. Everyone is either a Were or know what we are, and they are simply curious when a new person enters. That curiosity has escalated now that you are here with me, the Alpha's sister. Don't worry, you'll be fine." Sophie squeezed Audra's arm reassuringly.
Audra relaxed slightly as Sophie led them to the largest alcove that was in the back corner. It was set apart from all others and was very private. Audra noticed the booth was marked "Reserved" in the corner. She raised an eyebrow at Sophie, giving her a curious look.
"Yes, we have our own table. We do own the bar, after all." Sophie laughed and continued, "Just one of the many perks to being part of this family. This place gets pretty packed on the weekend nights. It's one of the few hotspots we have in this area, so this little table comes in quite handy when we go out."
Audra took a moment to continue looking at her surroundings. The bar looked like one of those trendy places she used to frequent in downtown Los Angeles. The decor was cool, with dark, rich mohagony tables, black leather seats in the booths. Audra noticed steps in the other corner that led to a dance floor. There was soft lighting that kept the place fairly dark, but each booth had candles that added to the intimacy. There were about 30 others in the bar, a pretty even mix of men and women. She couldn't help but notice most of them glancing over to their booth and whispering.
"So Audra" Sophie started, motioning for the cocktail waitress, "tell me everything. Connor says that you know about us. How are you dealing with this sudden news? Are you ok?"
Audra could see the genuine concern in Sophie's eyes. "It's certainly a lot to take in, but-" Before Audra could finish, a woman's irritated voice interrupted.
"Who's your friend Sophie? I can't believe you walked right past me without introductions." The voice was apparently trying to maintain a cool, unaffected tone, but it wasn't working too well.
"Oh? I hadn't even noticed you were here," Sophie replied abruptly, causing the woman to flinch.
Audra noticed the tension building, and Sophie had a strained look on her face. The glare she was shooting the other woman became as cold as ice. She followed Sophie's glare and looked up to see a beautiful blonde woman standing next to their booth, her icy blue eyes watching Audra curiously. She decided not to let her nerves get the better of her in this situation and she reached out her hand to the woman, "Hi. I'm Audra, I just moved into the area a couple days ago. Sophie was sweet enough to welcome me to town and show me around. And you are?"
The woman struggled to see if Audra was telling the truth. "Kirsten," she replied briefly shaking Audra's hand before sharply pulling away.
Audra couldn't help but feel this woman would be no friend to her. Audra was excellent at reading people; she knew whom to befriend and whom to stay away from and this woman was definitely trouble.
"Yes, Kirsten. Now if you don't mind, we were in the middle of a conversation." There was no mistaking the command and dismissal in Sophie's tone. Kirsten quickly stepped back, her eyes never leaving Audra. After what seemed like an eternity, she turned on her heel and stalked back to the bar.
"That woman is bad news, Audra. Unfortunately, this isn't the last you will be seeing her. I need a drink. Where is that waitress?" Sophie sighed, motioning again for the cocktail waitress.
"Oh, I am thrilled, really. I just can't wait until we cross paths again." Audra responded sarcastically. She tried to perk up and decided to revert back to their original conversation. "So, yes... Sophie, I can't help but feel that all of this was meant to happen. Am I completely crazy?"
"No, of course not," Sophie replied. She glanced up as the cocktail waitress appeared at their booth. "A bottle of Pinot Grigio please," Sophie said looking to Audra for approval. Audra smiled and nodded and the woman walked away. Sophie continued, "As I was saying, no you aren't crazy. The bond between mates is incredibly strong; the fact that you feel it so strongly as a human only means it will be that much stronger when he officially mates with you." She paused for a moment and smiled. "Oh, Connor must be thrilled! I'm happy he found you! He has been a total bore these past few decades, and with you around, things are changing. For the better, I might add." She put her hand on Audra's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
"So what exactly happens when we mate? Does it hurt? What about turning? I mean, if that is what I choose to do." Audra's head was swimming with questions. She knew she could ask Connor, but she missed having girlfriends around that she could seek advice from and talk to. She felt that Sophie could invaluable in that area and she was grateful.
"Well, darling, mating is rather delightful in my opinion. As for turning, I was born a werewolf. You should speak to my mother. She will be able to tell you everything. She was a human, once."
Audra was surprised upon hearing this news. "Really?" Audra paused for a moment imagining Connor's mother. "Do you think that would be a good idea? That is such an intimate detail to share with your mother. Won't she be uncomfortable? It's kind of an awkward conversation to have."
Sophie laughed. "Oh Audra, you worry too much. Things are different with werewolves. We are open about sex and those types of things. She won't be offended if you talk to her about it. Quite the opposite, actually. I'm sure my mother would be honored to share her experience and knowledge with you."
Audra couldn't help but feel a bit insecure about talking to Connor's mother about such things, but it would be something she would need to do. "Ok... When can I meet her?"
"Don't be mad, but you can meet her now." Sophie picked up her phone and texted something and then placed it back down. "She has been pestering me with questions since yesterday and I told her she could come meet us here, if you were taking the news well."
"Oh Sophie, you can't be serious!" Audra suddenly became aware of her appearance. She glanced down at her outfit. Skinny jeans, black wedge booties and a sheer black blouse with a modest tank top underneath. She suddenly hoped she was dressed appropriately enough to meet Connor's mother. She smoothed her hair back away from her face, causing Sophie to laugh.
"Oh Audra, you look fine," she managed to say through her laughter. She poked Audra playfully.
A couple minutes later, a woman, who looked maybe 15 years older than Sophie, entered the room. She was graceful and radiated authority. Her hair fell in waves down her shoulders, and Audra could see where Sophie got her fashion sense. Emma wore a simple black dress that was mostly covered by her taupe trench. It was understated and simple, but beautiful. She exuded a Grace Kelly type elegance as she walked toward their booth. It was at that moment that Audra noticed how tall she was. Without her black pumps, she still would have been taller than most women, and some men that were there. Everyone turned to look at her and bowed their heads in respect. The whispers in the room soon caused an excited buzz. There were two women from the Alpha family and one human stranger. If they weren't curious before, this definitely sparked their interest.
Kirsten watched with building fury from the bar. She knew that Audra woman hadn't been completely forthright. She simply had to find out just who this woman was to the Alpha family.
"Oh my goodness!" Emma gasped, as she approached the table. "How Connor didn't immediately see the family resemblance is beyond me. My dear, you are every bit as beautiful as Jane and Elizabeth. I'm Emma, Connor's mother." She slid into the booth next to Audra and hugged her immediately.
Audra couldn't help but return the hug with equal enthusiasm. She felt as if this woman were already family. "I'm Audra, nice to meet you."
Sophie looked confused at first, but then things started to fall into place. "You are related to Jane and Elizabeth!? I do not know how I didn't put this together sooner!"
Emma laughed, "You'll have to excuse my children. The minute the word mate comes to mind, all sense goes out the window." She reached over and squeezed Sophie's hand lovingly across the table. Turning back to Audra, "I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing, Audra. She was a special woman. I so longed to keep in touch all those years, but I didn't want to overstep any boundaries."
Audra swallowed the lump in her throat at the thought of her grandmother. "It's okay, really. She is in a much better place now, with her husband and sister. It's so nice to meet others who knew her. What was she like back then?" She managed a smile.
Emma's hazel eyes sparkled at the memory of her dear friend. "Jane? She was incredible. She was one of the kindest women that our family had the honor of knowing." A memory of Jane caused Emma to chuckle softly. "Of course, she was startled to find out her sister fell in love with a werewolf. She made herself the chaperone for all outings the first week. Even after the day had ended, she would notice Grant sitting outside hoping to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth. She would yell out the upstairs window for Grant to go away, but he would sleep outside, every night. Jane's fear subsided when she realized that Grant wasn't any more a threat to her sister than she herself was. She forced herself to back away and give them time and she finally came around completely when she saw the love they shared."
Emma paused again, her heart full with grief as she thought of her son and his mate. She quickly recovered and continued, "Jane was fiercely loyal to her sister, and extended that loyalty to us by association. She opened her heart and was very accepting of Elizabeth's new life. Even after Elizabeth died, she stuck around to make sure we were all okay. She was a constant presence at the compound; teaching the young ones how to read and write, sewing and mending clothes that were hard to come by in those days. She was truly a wonderful woman, in every sense of the word. We all knew she wasn't meant for our pack, though. Her loneliness was apparent and after a couple years, she decided to return back to Los Angeles, to her family. We wrote back and forth a couple times, but after she married, we drifted apart." A wave of sadness passed through Emma as she recalled those times when she wanted nothing more than to contact her old friend. "Ah... but such is life. Things change and you move on."
Audra loved hearing about the side of her grandmother she never knew. Her grandmother shared very few details of her life before Elizabeth's death. She smiled gratefully at Emma, "Thank you. It's so nice to hear about her life before she came back to Los Angeles."
Emma smiled back at the girl who had won her son's heart. "Oh my dear, I have plenty of stories to share with you. Another time, though. I know you must have other questions for me. Tell me, are you adjusting well to the news? You must have more of your Aunt Elizabeth in you than you realize. She was much calmer to the news than your poor grandmother."
"I think I am handling it well enough, but it's possible it just hasn't sunken in yet." Audra managed a small smile and took a moment to think about what she should ask first. At once, all her questions just came spilling out. "Emma, I don't know where to begin... Sophie told me you were once human. What happens when you mate? How does it feel? Everything is happening so fast, but it all feels so..." Audra's voice trailed off. If one woman could understand what she was going through, it would be Emma.
Emma gave Audra a knowing smile. "I think the word you are looking for is 'natural' and yes, that's how it happens. I met Jack when I was 20, and we fell in love instantly. It was a whirlwind romance, and within a week we were mated." Emma paused and smiled at the memory. "As for the mating, all Connor needs to do is bite you right here when you are making love and you will turn on the next full moon." Emma pulled back the collar of her blouse, showing Audra the twin crescent scars on the graceful curve of her neck. "Once you have turned, you will need to mark him the same way, making him yours and that will be it. The bond will be complete. While turning is slightly painful at first, it will ease over time and after your first few shifts you won't feel any pain at all. It will become second nature."
As Emma finished explaining, their bottle of wine arrived at the table and the women were each given a glass.
"That's incredible," said Audra, clearly awestruck.
"It really is. You will see it as a gift, my darling. Just wait." Emma's kind, confident tone helped to sooth Audra's final worries.
"Isn't Connor the leader of the pack? What if the pack doesn't accept me as the Alpha's mate? I have no idea what I am getting myself into." A concerned expression returned to Audra's face.
Sophie perked up, seeing that she could help in the conversation again. "Oh don't worry; we will prepare you for everything. You'll meet everyone at the barbecue on Saturday. I can't wait to show you off. You'll be the talk of the party."
Audra's body flushed as she thought of the barbecue. She had completely forgotten about it. Her nerves must have been showing because both women at her sides looked at her with confidence. "You will be fine." Emma said, smiling warmly.
The women chatted for another hour or so. Their kind words and advice gave Audra more confidence as she slowly got used to the idea of becoming the Alpha bitch to a pack of werewolves. Suddenly, her phone rang, interrupting their conversation.
"If I know my son well enough, that will be him. He must be feeling anxious not having you near." Emma grinned. She was delighted. This bright, kind woman would be perfect for her son.
Audra glanced at her phone and laughed. "You know him very well indeed, Emma. Do you mind if I take this?"
Both women nodded for her to take the call. 'Mom, isn't she great?' Sophie smiled with pride, talking directly into her Mother's mind. If her brother had to pick someone as his mate, this was the perfect choice. She wasn't pretentious or snobby, she was modest, gentle and not to mention beautiful.
'Yes, Sophie. I am so incredibly happy for Connor. I can't imagine she will receive a warm welcome from everyone, though'. Emma had a feeling someone in particular wouldn't take too kindly to this sudden addition to Connor's life.