On the Other Side
Edward Jamenson was getting old. The creaks in his bones and the heaviness on his heart didn’t stop with each new breath. No, as the years progressed, his age showed in everything he did.
At least to him.
He was way to God damn old and yet only looked thirty-five. Sometimes he cursed the way his werewolf nature took root and made him seem younger than he was. He wanted the world to know how much he’d been through, as much as he’d like for it to all be hidden away like it needed to be.
His family, his Pack, was dying all around him and there was not a thing he could do about it. The war with the Centrals wasn’t going to go away with a prayer to the goddess and the strength of his back.
No, he’d used his strength and it had proved lacking.
Not that he’d tell the other members of his Pack that.
He was the Alpha for God’s sake. He had to be strong and never have a moment’s doubt. That was his role. To show the others that he could take care of them, to show them and teach them how to take care of themselves.
Too bad he was just about out of ideas.
Thank God for his sons and daughter. His six sons and baby daughter were his future. His Pack’s future.
Edward laughed, thinking of his mid-twenty aged baby girl, Cailin, that wasn’t quite a baby anymore. No, she was a full grown woman and would soon find her own mate.
Of that he was sure.
Just as he felt it in his bones, he felt the goddess in his children’s futures. They were falling fast for their mates and Cailin, Maddox, and North would be soon. He couldn’t know for sure when or who, but it would be before the war was over.
He’d always had the ability to sense when things like that were coming. The ability to just know his family would continue on.
What that meant, he didn’t know, but at least his children, and his children’s children would live.
That was, at least, if the Redwoods could defeat the Centrals….and the demon Caym. That fucking demon. Because of Caym, the Redwoods were on the defense, not the offense where they should be.
Edward’s youngest, Cailin, had once asked why they didn’t use magic, well that was easy. Because they couldn’t fight in the black. Only the grey, where the white would fade away into nothingness.
“Edward?” his wife, Alpha-female, and love of his life, Pat, asked as she wrapped her arms around his middle.
He ran his hands up and down her arms then twisted in her hold so he faced her, her head at chest level, her wise eyes filled with worry.
“I’m fine,” he said, even as his voice roughened. He could be himself with her. He could break apart and know the word wouldn’t know that he’d fallen. She’d piece him together the same he’d piece her.
Mates were special like that.
“You’re lying,” she said as he rose on her tip toes and kissed under his chin. He could still remember the first time his wolf had sensed her across the Pack, the way she’d smiled at him and laughed. Even though they’d grown up together, their wolves hadn’t known they were mates until they’d reached adulthood. Fate knew what it had been doing in their case.
He let out a sigh then brushed his lips across hers. Even after over a hundred years with his mate and seven children, he loved the way she tasted.
When he pulled back, he led her to the front porch so they could snuggle on the porch swing. They’d made love countless times out there, the perk of living with no neighbors.
“You always worry, Edward. That’s what makes you a good Alpha.”
Pride slid though him, but he knew he had to say more. He didn’t like words of no consequence, not when the power of them could be used for a greater good.
“We need to do more. The blood bond and the trinity bond are good. I know that. Our sons were blessed with mates that could help us. I know that’s the goddess’s doing. But we’re not done. We need to find a way to break them at the core.”
Pat curled her legs under her and leaned into him. “Yes, I know. We can’t use magic the way they do or we’d be no better off. We’re defended ourselves to the best of our abilities, Edward. Caym can’t even come to the Redwoods anymore. That’s huge.”
He kissed the top of her head, even as the worry didn’t go away. “Physically, we’re strong than the wolves, even with the demon taint running in their blood. But we’re not stronger than Caym. Not yet.”
“We will be. We have to be.”
“Thank you for the confidence, my mate.”
“I know you, baby, you can do it all.”
“Dad?” Jasper asked as he walked up to the house. “What’s wrong?”
Edward didn’t move, but made sure he only showed his normal emotion—confidence. His son couldn’t see every point, even though one day Jasper was the Beta of the Pack and knew things.
“Jasper, son, we’re just talking. What can I do for you?”
Jasper gave him a hard look, yes, he couldn’t lie to his son anymore, but he left it be. “I just wanted to go for a run then stopped by to ask you over for dinner.”
Edward’s mouth watered at the thought of his daughter-in-law, Willow’s food. His Pat could cook like a goddess, but Willow was even better.
Pat gave a playful growl. Damn, his sexy wolf. “You’re lucky I love you,” she whispered. Never could hid anything from her. “Yes, Jasper, we’ll walk with you.”
Jasper nodded, but stood below the porch, knowing his parents would need a moment alone. His children sometimes even gave them that time.
As Pat and he walked back in the house to get their shoes, Pat grabbed his butt.
Edward barked out a laugh and spun his bride around the house. “You’re asking for it woman.”
“Oh really? I guess we’ll just have to see when we get home.” She raised a brow, then sauntered back to put on her sweater.
Edward growled. “You’re asking for it.”
“I love you, my Alpha.” His mate kissed him softly and he sank into her.
“I love you, my mate, my life.”
“Let’s go eat and when we get back, you can prove how Alpha you are.” She giggled like a much younger wolf and Edward laughed as he chased her out the door to their waiting son.
No matter what happened within the Redwood Pack, he’d have his mate and his family. The Alpha in him needed to remember that.
They would persevere. They were Redwoods.
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