Chapter 23

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After finishing his exercises and instructions with his team lead trainers, Dante looked around for Jade. She didn't seem to be anywhere in sight, so he walked around the ground to see if he could find her. Once he had reached the far side of the grounds, he was about to mind link with Peter, to see if she was back at the pack house, but was interrupted by the blonde.

"Glad to see you're back in action, Alpha" she said. "It's good to see you back out here, working with us again. It's been a while."

"I've had a lot on my plate, Jennifer" he said somewhat dismissively.

"So we've all noticed" she said knowingly, with an eyebrow raised. "So, where is the lucky lady?"

"She was here a little bit ago, I'm not actually sure where she went" he responded, still looking around for Jade.

"Can't be bothered with trivial pack business, huh?" Jennifer asked. "She got better things to do?"

"Is there something I can help you with?" Dante said to her, tired of whatever it was she was trying to insinuate.

"Nope, just making conversation" she said cheerfully. "But you know where to find me, if you need to blow off some steam" she said, with a suggestive raise of her eyebrow. "And I know where to find you, alone most nights in your office or the gym, and not with your mate" she stated knowingly, as she walked away.

Dante frowned to himself. He did know where to find her, and knew exactly what she was trying to suggest. It annoyed him that she knew about his evening habits and that he wasn't spending nights with Jade. He had kissed Jennifer a few times in the past, she had been at the top of his list when he was considering choosing a mate for his Luna, before he had found Jade. But everyone knew how seriously he took the mate bond, which is why he had never actually gone forward with choosing a mate. He had always felt that he had a mate out there somewhere, and he knew that he wouldn't want to have to make a decision in the future, if he had a chosen mate and then found his true mate. Jennifer knew exactly where he stood on the matter, and she should have known that since he found his mate, and had let the pack know, that Jade was who he would choose. It frustrated him that Jennifer was still flirting with him, even though she knew that his choice was already made.

Did Jade come back to the pack house? He communicated with Peter via mind link.

Yes, Sir. Came Peter's response. About 20 minutes ago, seemed kind of upset. Looks like she's coming down the stairs now, probably headed to the gym. Did you want me to give her a message?

No, just wanted to know where she was. Thanks was Dante's reply.

He was curious about why she left. She had seemed very interested in coming with him, and had also seemed very interested in the obstacle courses. He was going to suggest she try one out, if she had still been there. But, he figured they could do that another time. He wondered if she knew anything about fighting. It had never been a topic, but it's not as if they really had any conversations yet. Dante groaned to himself. He wanted her completely and wholly, but he also longed to be able to speak to her, to hear her thoughts and have a real conversation with her. Part of him couldn't help but wonder if that day would ever come.

Jade went down to the gym after she had shed all the tears she had. She was determined to make herself worthy, or die trying. She wanted to be with Dante, craved him, and wanted him to want her. After meeting the blonde, she was sure that she must have been someone he had a relationship with. Probably one of the she-wolves he had told her about, that he was considering choosing. Jade was determined to fight for what was hers.

Jade spent several hours in the gym, and even skipped lunch. She wasn't interested in eating right now. Her adrenaline was pumping, and she was motivated. She knew it would take time, but she also wanted to keep getting stronger and fixing herself, as she considered it, so that Dante would want her. Peter let her know it was lunch time, but she brushed him off. She was a little surprised that Dante never came to check on her, but she figured he probably had better things to do than keep tabs on his weak embarrassment of a mate. And thinking things like that, just fueled her to continue.

She even joined in a little sparring with some of the pack members. She was tired and very out of practice, and didn't last very long against any of them, but she enjoyed being included and it was great to get to interact with so many more pack members. She was starting to feel at home among them.

When she couldn't exercise any more, spar anymore or lift any more weights, she trudged up the stairs and headed to the kitchen. She hadn't eaten since breakfast, and she was starving. She made herself a sandwich and headed up to her room to eat it, and then take a shower. After she was dressed, she sat in front of the mirror and practiced speaking. She had been working on it every time she had a chance, and was beginning to feel comfortable talking again, even if just to herself. Her voice no longer sounded broken and scratchy, and putting the words together to express what she was thinking was beginning to flow once again, now that she had been making an effort. Now, she was just trying to think of what she would say, and when she would say it, and that pressure she was putting on herself was making it that much more difficult.

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