Chapter 28

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There wasn't much conversation at dinner. It was as though a shadow had rested over them all, with the impending departure of the Alpha. And even thought Jade didn't know the full reasons behind why he needed to leave, she could tell that it was serious, and everyone was feeling the heaviness of the situation. Jade was frustrated that she knew so little about what was going on, but she rationalized that it was mostly her fault. If she could speak to Dante, she was sure she would have a better idea of what was going on, and he would have more readily confided in her what he had been so focused on.

After dinner, Dante went to his room to begin packing for his trip. His plan was to leave in the morning and return the same day, but he also knew that it was possible things were going to take longer with the Council than planned. If that happened, he likely wouldn't be able to return until the following day, in which case he would need some clothes and toiletries, which he began to throw into a travel bag. As he was doing this, he realized that Jade was standing in his doorway, watching him. He had been so lost in his thoughts about the next day, he hadn't even noticed her approach and had no idea how long she had been standing there.

"Hi" he said, slightly startled at her presence. She smiled at him in response. "Come here" he said, reaching for her as he sat on the edge of his bed.

"I missed you today" he whispered to her, as she sat down next to him, and he put an arm around her. She leaned him, but didn't say anything in response. He was nervous about being away from her the next day. It was only a day, but he consistently yearned for her, to feel her touch and look into her eyes, and he knew that even just one day away would be difficult, especially since they hadn't completed the mating process and he hadn't marked her yet. Even though she wouldn't be leaving his territory, or the safety of his pack, surrounded by wolves who would die to protect her, it still made him nervous to leave her behind.

"I'm sorry I have to go," he said to her, "but it's important."

"What's wrong?" she quietly asked, not moving her head from his shoulder. "Why do you have to meet with the Council?" he hadn't expected her to speak, and certainly hadn't expected her to start by asking questions about his trip to visit the Council. He had specifically not told her about what he was working on, because he didn't want to tell her of his suspicions that it was her uncle that had betrayed her family and her pack. He didn't have any idea how he was going to tell her that. As far as he knew, she probably assumed that her uncle had been killed along with many other members of her pack.

After a sigh, as he struggled with what to tell her, he just said, "I have to meet with them about an investigation I've been focused on. I don't have all the information necessary, but I need to provide them with an update."

Jade wasn't satisfied with that answer. She didn't know why, but she felt like he was hiding something from her. Ordinarily, she wouldn't have pressed and would have been fine with the answer he gave, but the fact that she could tell he was deliberately concealing something from her was frustrating to her. She pushed away from him, and looked him in the eyes questioningly, pleading for more information, but he didn't say anything else.

"Do you not trust me?" She finally asked quietly.

"No, it's not that" he quickly responded, taking her hands in his. "I just" he faltered, trying to find words to say without actually telling her about her uncle, fearing the information would devastate her. "It's very sensitive. I need to talk to the Council first, and I need to sort a few more things out, before I can speak freely about what's going on."

"Ok" she responded, feeling disappointed that he didn't feel like he could share the information with her. She knew she hadn't been there long, and she knew she still had a lot to prove, and that she wasn't ready for any of the duties that came with being a Luna, but she had hoped that she could at least share his burden, that he would feel comfortable confiding in her. And the fact that he didn't, made her feel isolated and distanced from him.

Dante could tell that she wasn't satisfied with his response, and he wanted desperately to confide in her, and tell her all the things that were bothering him, and be able to seek comfort by unburdening himself to her, but he knew he had to protect her, at least for now, from the truth that would crush her.

They sat awkwardly in silence for several minutes. Neither one knew what to do next. There was obvious tension in the air, and neither one had a solution for how to get rid of it, so it just lingered, making it increasingly uncomfortable. Finally, Jade stood up, no longer able to sit there with the oppressive anxiety mounting in her chest. She walked to the door, and Dante didn't say anything, so she left and went to her room. She pulled out the book she had been reading and tried to focus on that, but without much success, and she finally climbed into bed and tried to sleep, not knowing if she would even get to see Dante in the morning before he left.

Dante paced back and forth in his room after Jade left. He questioned whether or not he had made the right decision in not telling her about her uncle. Back and forth he weighed the consequences of telling or not, and finally settled on having made the right choice. At this point, it was still just suspicion about her uncle. There would be no point in opening wounds and making accusations if it all turned out to be wrong. Of course, he was pretty sure he wasn't wrong, but he still didn't want to bring Jade into it, until he was sure.

He hated the way things had been left between the two of them, but he didn't think he could go to her, without telling her what he had been hiding from her. And without telling her, he knew the tension would remain. It ate him up inside, know that it likely wouldn't be until after he returned form meeting with the council that he would be able to make things right with Jade. His frustration was mounting, so he decided to go for a run.

Once outside, he shifted and ran around the territory. He needed to clear his mind and release the stress that had been building. He was gone for about two hours before he finally returned back to the pack house. He took a shower, and then climbed into bed, exhausted from his day. He had just about fallen asleep when his bedroom door crashed open, and Jade was standing there in her long night shirt, trembling and weeping, looking at him with pleading eyes that begged for comfort.

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