Chapter 16

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After he had finished his meal, Dante figured he had tortured her enough with his one-sided conversation and teasing, and moved the tray off the bed and set it on the floor by the door, but he didn't leave the room. Instead he stood there by the door, leaning against the frame, watching her again.

"I feel like I need to talk to you about a few things" he said, a serious tone now taking over what had been playful through the meal.

Jade stopped fidgeting, and adjusted how she was sitting so that she could look at him. She was very curious and nervous to hear what he had to say. Was he going to reject her, or hopefully accept her? She was admitting to herself that she wanted him to accept her, terrified of the other option and how it would break her to be rejected, but also terrified at being accepted as well. She could feel the mate bond pulsing through her body, in anticipation of what he had to say.

"I want you as my mate" he began, and a wave of heat and desire flooded Jade's system, and she could feel the blood pumping through her veins. He paused, obviously waiting to see her reaction, and when he could tell that she wasn't angry or upset, and almost pleased, he continued. "I've been looking for you for years, obviously not knowing who you were, but I've always wanted to wait until I found my true mate. But, I think you should know, that before I met you, I had been considering choosing a mate from a few of the she-wolves in my pack."

Jade was not expecting this, and her entire posture stiffened at his words. She fought desperately to keep the tears from filling her eyes, and she looked down at the floor. She knew she really had no place to be jealous. It was perfectly natural for an Alpha to look for a chosen mate, if his true mate hadn't been found. But Jade couldn't help it, she felt a pang in her heart, and couldn't keep her mind from thinking about Dante with another woman, and she felt sick to her stomach.

"Jade" Dante spoke again, "please know, that I want you, and only you" he said.

Jade nodded in understanding, but didn't look at him. It was killing him to see her upset with him, and he if had known he would find her, he never would have even considered choosing a mate from the women in his pack. None of them meant anything to him in comparison to what Jade meant to him. Even without the mate bond, he couldn't deny a deep attraction to her. She was beautiful, and becoming more so every day. He shuddered, thinking about how much he wanted to take her into his arms. How much he wanted to protect her, make her smile, kiss her and make love to her. Every time he was in a room with her, the bond pulled him more strongly and he had to physically restrain himself from taking her into his arms.

"Jade," he continued "will you look at me, please?" he requested.

Jade lifted her eyes to look at him, blinking back the tears. She didn't want him to know how much she wanted him to want her, and how it had stung to hear that he had considered other women before her.

"Will you give me a chance?" he asked. "Please, let me show you I can be a good mate. I know you're scared of me, and that you don't trust me, yet. But I'm just asking for the opportunity to show you that you could be happy here with me, that I will do everything I can to love you and take care of you." He was actually surprised with his own vulnerability. He hadn't meant to say so much, but he couldn't help it. He would get down on his knees and beg, if he thought it would make a difference. Since he had decided that he wanted her as his mate, the pull for her had only continued to get stronger, and he was willing to do anything to have her reciprocate those feelings.

Jade stared at him and considered for a moment. She knew that she wanted him and wanted to be with him. She ached to have him hold her and comfort her as he had gone downstairs in his office. She was even beginning to feel like she had misjudged him and that really could trust him and beginning to love him. But she was afraid of what he would do and what he would think of her, when he found out what a coward she had been. She feared he wouldn't consider her fit to be his Luna, and would then reject her, and she didn't know if she could would survive the rejection, especially if she let continued to develop feelings for him in the meantime, until she was able to communicate with him what she was fearing.

Seeing Jade's reluctance to accept him nearly tore Dante apart. He couldn't bear to think of her rejecting him, and he came up to where she was sitting on the bed, and he knelt before her. He took one of her hands, the sparks shooting through his fingertips, and he placed her hand on his cheek, closing his eyes as he felt the mate bond radiate through him.

"Please, Jade" he whispered quietly.

Jade couldn't fight it anymore. Even at risk to him rejecting her in the future, she couldn't deny how much she desired to be Dante's mate, and the feelings his touch elicited in her. She craved more, needed more, and was unable to deny his request. And when he opened his eyes again to look at her, she nodded her acceptance of his offer, and her acceptance as his mate.

Dante left her, taking the empty food tray with him, letting her know that he would be back before dinner. He asked her if she would want him to bring it to her, and she shook her head 'no' and put her hand on her chest and then pointed to Dante.

"You want to come eat with me tonight?" he asked, hoping that he was interpreting her gestures correctly. Jade nodded a 'yes' to that question, and he said he would come back for her at 6, and he had a huge grin on his face.

Jade decided she needed to try to make an effort, now that she had accepted Dante as her mate, and he was accepting of her, she felt like she needed to prove that she could be a good mate too, and hopefully if she tried hard enough, he wouldn't reject her when he found out that she was a coward.

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