So, I feel I owe you guys an explanation. First and foremost, I am so, so sorry that I've been away for so long. I really am, but my life has been so hectic. I'm only telling you guys this because I feel like I owe it to you, you've all waited so patiently, no complaints about my issues updating. You've all left such lovely comments and so here is the truth: For a long time I've been struggling with depression and anxiety, and this past December I tried to kill myself. Now I don't want attention or pity or whatever, I'm just being candid. I was in a mental hospital for ten days, I've spent the last few months getting my life sorted out. I thought I would be back on here sooner, but then my mom got sick and was hospitalized. I had to take care of her and didn't have much time left for writing, but now I do! And I'm back! For good, hopefully. Anyhow, here's chapter fourteen, I hope you guys like it! Sorry for the wait.

Lots of love

-M


"You gotta know, I'm feeling love made of gold. I'll never love another one, another you. Its gotta be love. I said it."-Chet Faker, Gold.

Things don't go back to normal. Well, they do, a bit, but it's a new normal.

Alaia doesn't tell her father about the whole furry business, or the fact that she killed someone, but she does tell him about Paxton. It goes like this.

"Hey, Dad," She starts.

Its early afternoon, and her father has taken the rest of the day off so that they might spend some 'quality time' together (his words not hers). They're sitting on the couch together in front of the TV, watching reruns of some crime drama. (The women are unrealistically attractive, and it is overrun with cis white males, but her dad loves the crap.) He turns to look at her, eyes crinkling slightly with a smile.

"Hey, Allie." He mocks.

She rolls her eyes at his dad humor and shifts in her seat.

"Um, I invited someone over for dinner."

He raises his eyebrows, turning back to the TV.

"Yeah? Who?"

Alaia chews on her lip nervously.

"Paxton...?" She says it more like a question than a statement.

He looks at her sharply. "Paxton? Paxton Llewellyn?" He doesn't seem happy.

"Yep." She squeaks out, popping the 'p'.

(She's a badass werewolf chick, yet she's still afraid of her father. Oh the irony.)

"Why?" He demands seriously.

She tries to phrase it delicately, but ends up blurting, "We're a thing."

He furrows his brow and she winces.

(Word vomit will be the death of her.)

"What kind of thing?"

Shrugging, she picks at the fabric of the couch.

"The 'he's my boyfriend' kind of thing..."

Its stupid but when she says it a thrill goes through her.

(He's her boyfriend! And he has things! The same kinds of things she has! And they do the kissing thing!)

"Alaia he's your boss." She does not like her father's tone.

"I know that."

He puts what she assumes is supposed to be a comforting hand on her knee and says in a gentle tone, "Honey, you're young, and he's in a place of power. I'm...I'm sure he's a perfectly nice man, but these kinds of things happen all the time. He's older, and good-looking and you're still a little naive... Sometimes the guys don't even know what they're doing."

Alaia bristles at his words, and fights to keep her wolf in check.

"And what is it you think he's doing?" Her voice is hard.

"Taking advantage of you."

It takes everything in her to keep her claws from showing. She takes a few deep breaths, but she's still pissed off. Her father's words are so condescending. She can't believe he thinks she could be so stupid. She knows Paxton, better than most people probably. And they've killed for each other, how could he even...? She calms herself just barely and looks at Neil.

"He loves me."

Neil looks even more upset at those words.

"Allie, I know you think you're in love a-" she cuts him off.

"No, I didn't say I love him, and I don't. Not yet, but he loves me. He's in love with me, and he would sooner kill a man than hurt me or-or take advantage of me. Okay? He tries not to laugh at my jokes, and remembers my favorite color, and looks at me like a hung the frickin' moon. So please stop being so condescending and figure out what you're going to cook for dinner, because he's coming, whether you like it or not." She finishes.

(She prays he never finds out about the whole killing-a-man thing. She really doubts that would make him like Pax.)

He looks at her with some kind of awe, and nods slowly. "Okay."

...

Paxton shows up while her father is finishing up with their food (some sort of Chinese beef dish she thinks Paxton will appreciate because man, wolf, beef) and she's pretty happy with his timing because it means she can pull him in for a long, hard kiss without having to worry about parental intervention.

"What was that for?" He asks, a little breathless and flushed nut smiling nonetheless, when Alaia pulls away.

She shrugs. "You dressed up."

He's dressed in a light green button down, the sleeves rolled to his elbows (because he kind of hates formal anything), and a pair of nice, dark jeans. It's probably the nicest Alaia has ever seen him dressed, and it's doing something to her brain, because the first few buttons of his shirt are undone, and his toned forearms are on display and his blond hair is a mess, as usual and he looks absolutely delectable.

(And damn, she must've been Mother Teresa in another life because this man was all that and a tall glass of water.)

"So did you." He points out, and she did.

She has on a floral, short-sleeved dress with a flow-y skirt and colors to complement her skin tone. The cutest items of the evening are her pale pink ankle socks, with ruffled cuffs. With her brogues and her socks and her dress she has to admit she looks pretty cute. And! She actually did something to her hair.

"I like this dress." He says, pulling her in just a bit.

He looks the way she feels, and she can't hide the shiver when he runs a hand up her exposed thigh, rubbing a thumb on the skin at the hem of her dress.

Blushing and short of breath, she mumbles out, "My dad."

Paxton looks at her seriously, before pulling her that much closer and burying his head in her neck. He puts his mouth on the skin there, sucking slightly and whispers, "Later." Its a promise.

When he steps back, she knows she must look wrecked, but so does he, so she doesn't mind much.

"C'mon." She says and pulls him by the hand into the kitchen.

Her dad is there, with a hand towel thrown over his shoulder, while he dishes food out onto three plates. It looks amazing, and smells even better.

"That smells great." He turns at her words.

There's a long beat of awkward silence before Alaia clears her throat and speaks again.

"Dad, this is Paxton, Pax this is my dad, Neil Mendel."

Paxton holds out a hand, "It's nice to finally meet you, sir."

Neil shakes it, too firmly by the looks of it, and nods politely.

"Want to help me set the table, Allie?"

She nods and grabs cups and cutlery, slapping at Paxton's hand when he tries to help.

"You're a guest." She snaps and he puts his hands up in surrender, simply watching while she sets three places around the table, and gets out a pitcher of sweet tea.

They all sit, Neil at the head of the table, and Paxton and Alaia at either side. It's more than awkward. Neil waits until Paxton has a mouthful of food to speak.

"So, you're in love with my daughter?"

The young man chokes, face going red, and gulps down half his glass of tea. Alaia hides her giggles behind her hand, but Paxton still glares at her across the table.

When he's finally calmed, and cleared his throat he speaks.

"Yes sir, I do."

(Is it bad that Alaia is amused by his formality?)

Neil chews thoughtfully on a piece of broccoli.

"And how do you know that?" He asks.

"Excuse me?"

Paxton is confused. Alaia is horrified. Neil is determined.

"How do you know you're in love with her?"

Alaia wants to crawl under the table and die.

(Why do these things always happen to her?)

Paxton sets his fork down and looks at her father very seriously.

"Paxton," She says softly, "you don't have to-"

He shakes his head.

"It's okay."

She nods and lets him continue.

"Have you ever been in love?" He asks her father carefully.

Neil nods.

"It's a thing that consumes, isn't it? And its terrifying. Some nights I lay awake thinking she'll leave me. I toss and turn thinking what if. What if she finds someone better? What if she never loves me? What if I hurt her?"

Alaia cannot breathe. She can't breathe.

"And if that happens? If she finds someone else?"

(She knows she never will.)

"I'll fight for her, no doubt about it. I'd go to war for her, if I had to. But if I know she'll be happy somewhere else, then...I'll let her go. I'm not going to be that guy- the one that holds her back. I-I just want for her to be happy."

She doesn't know if she wants to scream, cry, or kiss the foolish man she's falling for.

(How did she get him? How?)

Her father smiles then, sudden and big, and slaps Paxton on the shoulder.

"I think I'm gonna like you, young man."

The rest of their meal goes without a hitch.

...

After they wash their dinner dishes, Alaia and Paxton go for a walk while Neil lounges on the couch and watches some college football game.

They only get as far as the next street before she pounces.

Well, okay, she doesn't pounce, but she does stop abruptly and turn towards Paxton. Her heart aches at the sight he makes.

"I love you." She says it before thinking, really.

He doesn't smile or pull her in for a kiss, just looks at her with a pensive expression.

"You don't have to say it just-" She cuts him off.

"I'm not just saying it. I love you, I do. I love you so much it hurts. I killed for you, God, I love you okay? I love you."

She doesn't know why it took him spilling his guts to her father for her to realize, but its

true.

His lips tilt up and he nods, "Okay."

Alaia doesn't know if he's expecting it, but he catches her easily when she launches herself at him. She kisses him with everything she has, licking and biting into his mouth with fervor.

With a hand in his hair and another around his neck she pulls him impossibly closer. He holds onto her hips tightly, sharp nails biting into her skin through the fabric of her dress. She tugs at his hair with the hand still tangled in the gold locks and he lets out a sound that makes something warm curl low in her stomach. He moves his lip from her, and her disappointed sigh turns into a gasp when he licks at her neck.

"You smell so good." He says. "Taste even better." He bites her shoulder, hard enough to draw blood, and her claws dig into his shoulder.

He laps at the blood and she makes a sound.

(It's not a moan. It's not.)

"Paxton, please." She doesn't know what she's begging for.

That seems to bring some sense back into him and he pulls away, just barely.

"You're going to be the death of me." He says with glowing eyes, pupils blown wide.

She runs a claw down his neck and he makes a desperate sound, burying his face in her neck.

"Later." He says it like he's reminding himself. "Later."

And then they walk back.

...

While admittedly, her life is now far from normal, she doesn't mind. She has her smoking hot, sweet as honey boyfriend, her pack (family), and awesome new werewolf powers. She can't complain.

Life is good. It's not perfect, no life is perfect, but hers is pretty damn close. Her dad is still a little ridiculous about Paxton, and sometimes she still wakes from dreams of blood, but for the first time in her life she feels like she belongs. When she sits on the couch at the Blue House, Lowell sprawled next to her, head in her lap, Paxton in the kitchen making popcorn, Leda and Jack fighting over what film to put on, she feels at home. It's the best she's felt in a long time, and she likes this new normal. She wouldn't trade it for anything.

She feels blessed.


So yeah, that's it. This is really the last chapter. I hope I didn't disappoint. However, I'm willing -if you guys want it-to write one more bonus chapter, perhaps with a little AlaiaXPaxton hanky pank time, and maybe some pack fun? I don't know. But if you guys want another chapter, just let me know, and tell me what you'd like to see in it.

Love always

-M