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Sire has been carefully schooled in preparation for this evening.

He isn't a centuries old Alpha having emerged from a watery grave, and I definitely had nothing to do with it.

We are just a normal couple who accidently stumbled into the knowledge that they are mates.

I knock firmly on the cottage door, giving Sire a wary glance.

He isn't concerned about what my parents think of him at all. I'm not either, necessarily, but I am worried that they will uncover an aspect of Sire's past that I would like to keep hidden.

The door opens, revealing the flushed face of my grinning mother.


She sweeps me into a hug so tight it's suffocating. I melt into it, letting myself remember how much I missed her. She smells so familiar, like cherries and vanilla.

"It's good to see you," I breathe, pulling back to look in the light brown eyes we both share. "Has it always been so cold here?"

The ground is crusted with frost and the air is frigid. I'm starting to remember why our Pack didn't expand its reaches out here.

"Come quick," she ushers us in, getting a good look at my mate, who she thinks is my boyfriend, as he ducks his head beneath the doorway.

Unsurprisingly, the ceiling is too low for Sire. He's forced to tilt his head slightly, wincing a little.

"You must be Sire."

He takes her hand in his, shaking it gently. "It's lovely to meet you..."

Her cheeks tint pink as he focuses on her. I don't blame her, his stormy blue eyes are captivating, and his smile is awfully charming.

"I'm Elizabeth. Meara's father, Edgar, is just getting some firewood. We will be in soon," she tells him, hustling over to the kitchen.

"Please don't be weird mother," I mumble, rubbing my arms.

As a child I hated that everything is mostly in the same room, aside from the two bedrooms and the one bathroom. Now, I think the small space suits my parents.

"Look, I made your favourite stew for dinner." She motions into the large steel pot on the stove. "Sire, I hope you eat stew."

He smiles. "I eat whatever you'll feed me."

My mother is an excellent cook. The smell of slow cooked beef, vegetables and various seasonings linger in the air, my stomach growling in response.

"Good man," she praises, pulling some bowls out. "I apologise, I didn't realise our ceilings would be so low."

"Sire is just tall mother, it's fine." I motion to the dining table. "Sit down."

How we are going to eat on this table is beyond me. It's got a pile of father's old books on it, a basket of fruit and a variety of tupperware.

"I would like to be standing upon meeting your father," Sire muses, eyes flaring as if to say, don't ruin this for me.

Mother chuckles, stirring the stew with a massive wooden spoon. "Aren't you old fashioned."

With her back turned, I give him a long, hard look, warning him not to slip up and say anything incriminating. My parents would be accepting, I'm sure, but they would be wary of him.

And the last thing we need is other people finding out...

"Sometimes I feel like I come from another time," he responds easily.

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