Noxx woke from his nap to the sound of his phone going off and he sat up from where he was resting in the grass and fished it out of his pocket. His heart jumped when he saw Ruby’s name. He quickly answered, worried she had had a panic attack or nightmare. He was generally pretty vigilant when it came to her. “Is everything alright?” He asked as he got up.
“Yeah, sorry, did I wake you up?”
He felt relief flood through him. She didn’t sound distressed. “Yeah, just taking a short nap. Do you need me?”
She went silent for a moment and he waited patiently. He wanted very much to go to her, but wanted her to ask. “Well, I need to ask you a favor.”
“Well, my parents are going out of town for the week and I was wondering if maybe…you know if you’re free…if maybe you’d like to stay here with me?”
“Ruby, we’re mates, you never have to ask. If you want me there, I’ll come running, rain or shine.”
“I know, so will you?”
“They’re leaving tomorrow morning, but do you think you could come and stay the night tonight?”
“I…I love you Noxx.”
He could hear the embarrassment in her voice and smiled. “I love you too.”
Ruby’s heart was hammering in her chest when they finally hung up. A week, alone with Noxx? She knew it shouldn’t make her as nervous as she was, but she couldn’t help it. She knew he would never hurt her, but there was that small part of her that was still trapped there with that monster and she hated it. “So? Is he coming?” Her mother asked.
“good, we didn’t want you to have to be alone and there’s nobody we trust more” when Carli finished her dad added “Yeah, just knowing you wont have to be scared is enough for us to want him over while we’re away. I know he tends to pay for things when he’s around but if you run out of money don’t hesitate to tell us”
“Okay dad, I hope you have fun. Please don’t worry about me.” Now that they knew Noxx was coming they went to finish packing for their trip. Ruby didn’t want to be a bundle of nerves from over thinking how this week would go so she decided to start making some home made cookies for him. They had all she needed for both sugar and peanut butter cookies.
Noxx arrived before the sun was completely down and he gently pulled her into his arms when she opened the door, still careful with her. “You smell sweet.”
“I made you some cookies, maybe too many.”
He rubbed their noses together, causing her to blush. “You know I’ll eat every single one if you want me to.”
“Please don’t, you can share them with the rest of the pack.”
He could hear and smell that she was anxious and he pulled back. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, um, we were just about to eat. Would you like to join us?”
“May I have a kiss first?” She nodded and he brought their lips together, slow and gentle. He felt that same electricity run through him and his wolf urged him forward, wanting more. He shoved the animal down as parted their lips, smiling at her red face. “Thank you, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
She moved out of the way so he could come inside. He took his bag to her bedroom, setting it down by her closet then joined his mate in the kitchen. “Hey Noxx” her mother said happily “Hello Mrs Stewart, are you excited about your trip?”
“yes, especially now that I know you’ll be here with Ruby.”
“I’ll take good care of her. I’m excited just to get to be here so long” Ruby blushed and her mother chuckled. The next morning came quickly and soon her parents were off, leaving her alone with Noxx. “should we take some of those cookies to my pack? Maybe after I can take you out somewhere, anywhere you want to go”
“sure, is one big container good or should I do it in a lot of containers?”
“A single container is fine.” They went back inside, packaged up the cookies then got into Noxx’s car to take them back to the pack. Noxx was so happy as he drove he felt like singing so he hooked his phone up to his car and found the playlist he had for when he was with Ruby.
Noxx was happy when he got her to smile and he reached over and took her hand, bringing it to his lips. “I love you sweet Ruby.”
“I love you too.”
A lot of the pack were hanging around when they got there and the children who were visiting came running as soon as Ruby and Noxx stepped out of the car. “Miss Ruby!” One little girl said excited as she wrapped her arms tightly around Ruby’s waist.
“Hello Max.” She gave the little girl a hug. “Are Eliora and Emrys here?”
“Come on love.” Noxx said gently.
“Can I have a shoulder ride?” Max asked Noxx.
“Of course sweetie.” He lifted Max onto his shoulders then took Ruby’s hand. “What do you want to do after this?” He asked Ruby. “I’ll do anything with you.”
“I’m still thinking about what I want to do. I’m sure this will take awhile anyway. I don’t want to rush off and be rude”
“yeah, stay, we miss you guys. Ruby doesn’t come a lot”
“I’m sorry Max”
“it’s okay, we just really like you” Emrys and Eliora greeted them each with hugs “it’s so good to see you two” Eliora said “are those cookies” Emerys asked, his mouth practicly watering. If he was in wolf form they all knew his tail would be wagging. Eliora giggled “lets open those up”
“I went into a little bit of a baking frenzy. I hope everyone enjoys them”
“they always love your baked goods. Thank you so much” Once they all had cookies Eliora asked “so, what’re you two up to?”
“Noxx is staying with me for a week” Emrys smiled “really?”
“yeah, my parents are out of town…we don’t know what we’re doing today yet but Max here wants us to hangout awhile”
“we could all go swimming, I’m sure you’d fit into one of Eliora’s suits”
“Okay.” She looked to Noxx.
“You don’t have to ask me, Ruby, you know I’ll do anything as long as I get to do it with you.”
“I just don’t want you to feel forced.”
“Nothing you ever do, could make me feel that way.” He gently pulled her into him, smiling at her blush and erratic heartbeat. “I just want to be with you, no matter what.”
“I want to be with you too.”
“You two are too cute.” Eliora said. “Come on, let’s go get changed.”
Noxx changed with Emrys while Ruby went with Eliora and once they came out, he couldn’t help but admire his mate. She was so beautiful and the wolf urged him forward. She looked embarrassed and he gently tipped her head up. “You look amazing Ruby.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I’ve never seen a more beautiful creature.”
“Would you two like us to go on ahead.” Emrys teased, causing Ruby to turn a deep red.
“No, sorry, we can go together.” Ruby replied.
“Are you sure?”
“Emrys, be good.” Eliora said, nudging him.
“Sorry, I’ll stop.”
The couples held hands and walked out with young Max who soon began inviting a bunch of the other children to join them. More kids coming had more adult wolves coming but Ruby had long since gotten used to being with the pack. Emrys was an amazing, kind hearted leader and she had learned everybody in his pack had a kind heart. He wasn’t the sort to even tolerate wolves with ill intentions for anybody. As they arrived at the nearby lake Ruby took a deep breath in and out, determined not to be nervous about the fact she was in a swim suit. She was going to have fun, her past be damned.
She followed Noxx into the water, allowing him to gently pull her along until her feet were no longer touching. He stayed close to her, and she enjoyed how surprisingly warm the water was. “Ruby!” Max yelled as she jumped on her back, almost dunking her under.
“Easy Max.” Noxx said as he pulled Ruby closer to him and wrapped his arms around her.
“Sorry, the others want to know if you’ll play Marco Polo with us. You and Emrys are the best at being it, so will you play?”
“Do you want to play Ruby?” Noxx asked.
“Are you sure?” He stroked her cheek. “I might have to grab you and I don’t want to scare you.”
“You won’t, I’ll be fine.” He was always so gentle with her, so sweet and considerate. She trusted him completely.
“Alright, may I have a kiss?”
She moved enough to kiss him, losing herself in the moment until Max said “come on! Lets play” It was shorter than what Noxx longed for but he was just happy she was this comfortable around the pack at this point. The pack was all careful as they played, always thoughtful when it came to Ruby’s past. They all played in the water until pups became hungry. “are you guys staying for lunch too?” Max asked and Ruby nodded “I think that would be fun” Noxx smiled when she looked at him then hugged her “I’m glad you’re having a good time”
“This is much more fun than being home alone with my parents gone. I’m really happy you and the pack have time for me”
“No matter what, I always have time for you” a male wolf named Cassyon couldn’t help but chuckle at the mush so he walked quickly away, not wanting to get swatted by Emrys. Ruby was excited as they all went back to dry and redress. She loved how this pack was a little community and that they would all eat together.
Half way through lunch, Noxx and Emrys were called away by some of the younger males who wanted to wrestle and Ruby told him to go and have fun, that she would be okay. He kissed her cheek and then followed Emrys. She smiled warmly and Eliora nudged her, causing her to blush. “So, a week with Noxx, that’s a big step.”
“He deserves a big step, after everything he’s done for me.” She sighed. “I shouldn’t feel so nervous, he’s stayed over before, we’ve been alone before.”
“You’ll do just fine.”
“I think even if everything that happened, hadn’t happened, you’d still be nervous, it’s normal.”
Ruby didn’t know why, but it made her happy to be called normal. There were still people who treated her like she might break at any second, so she appreciated Eliora saying something like that. “I really love him, you know, and I want to give something back, even if it’s just one big step.”
Eliora smiled “Noxx is a sweet guy, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Even if you want to try something small he’ll be happy. He just wants to be near you.”
“This really is perfect…having a week alone with him I know I can be brave at some point” They wound up spending their entire first day with the pack but it had been fun. Nobody tried tempting them to stay the night, knowing it might be good for the young couple to have a place alone tonight. They certainly knew at least Noxx had to be excited about it. “so, we could rent a movie…I mean, it’s not that late…unless you’re tired” Noxx suggested and Ruby smiled, making his heart stutter “sure, from Red Box or do you just want to browse Amazon so we can pick anything”
“Have you seen Searching or The Meg yet, those are both in Red Box”
“Searching is finally in Red Box” she sounded excited “yeah” he answered happily then changed their course so they’d be heading to a shopping center that had one.
“Do you want popcorn and candy?” Noxx asked as Ruby rented the movie.
“We can make it like an actual movie date.” Noxx smiled, causing Ruby to blush.
“Come on my love.” He laced his fingers through hers and they went inside, Noxx making sure she picked out her favorites. The wolf was excited as they headed back to Ruby’s and Noxx couldn’t help but agree with the animal. He was happiest when he was with Ruby.
When they got back, Noxx got the popcorn started while Ruby set up the movie. She felt arms wrap around her from behind and Noxx pulled her into him, burying his nose in her hair as he did so. She relaxed into him and he let out a contented sigh. “You alright?” She asked.
“I’m just happy to be here with you.” He pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I miss you when I’m not here, so much so that my wolf begs me to come here.”
“I miss you too.”
The microwave beeped and he actually gave a little whine that had her laughing. “Sorry, I can’t help it.”
“Go on, then come cuddle me my sweet wolf.”
He quickly went into the kitchen, poured the popcorn into a large bowl then returned to his mate who seemed to be paying close attention to a commercial “does that one interest you?” He asked as he set the bowl down on the coffee table and took back the spot he had before getting up. “They’ve been on a roll with movies lately”
“I’m happy to wind down every night watching a movie with you if there’s enough you want to see. We can even go to the actual theater, my treat”
“I like it when it’s just us” He smiled, holding her a little tighter. They watched in silence until the movie was over then Ruby said “so…if you’d like to actually sleep in my bed with me…you can” He wasn’t sure he had heard her right but in hopes he did he asked “do you mean it, I can hold you tonight?” she nodded and Noxx said “and it’s not because you feel any pressure right?”
“right, I want us to sleep together during this week. I know you want me to live with you, that I can as soon as I’m ready and I think a good step in that direction is this week.” Noxx hugged her “thank you, this makes me so happy”
“I know…you’re the sweetest”
Noxx could feel and smell how nervous she was as they got ready for bed and the moment she stepped out of the bathroom, dressed in her pajamas, he pulled her into his arms. “Are you sure? I can change into a wolf if you like.”
“I want you like this.” She rested her hand against his bare chest and blushed when she felt his heart flutter.
He gently tipped her head back. “Remember at any time, you can change your mind.”
He nodded then lifted her, carrying her over to the bed and getting with her under the covers. Her skin heated as he snuggled closer, his nose pressing into her hair as his arms pulled her flush against him. “Ruby.” The way he said her name was full of so much love and admiration that it nearly had her tearing up.
“I love you Noxx.”
“I love you too.” He let out a contented sigh. “May I have a kiss, my love?”
“You don’t have to ask, I mean it. I know you worry about me, but I also know you would never hurt me, so you don’t have to ask.”
He slowly moved in to kiss her, keeping it gentle and brief before going back to simply enjoying laying with his mate. The two of them fell asleep easily which meant more to Noxx than Ruby could understand. It warmed his heart to be this trusted by her. The next morning Noxx woke alone which surprised him “I must have slept pretty hard” he noted since he hadn’t felt Ruby leave him. He found her in the kitchen, she was making home made biscuits. He could tell since he had seen her do it before “good morning Noxx”
“You should have woke me to help” she shook her head “I wanted to do it for you…as a thank you. You’re always so sweet and patient with me. I know it isn’t hard but…I really appreciate you Noxx. I love you so much”
“I love you too. Let me start the eggs and sausage to go in the middle alright?”
“I guess we would get to eat together faster”
“and you’ve already done most the hard part. The eggs and sausage are easy my love”
Noxx focused most of his attention on Ruby as he cooked, soaking up the warmth being close to her offered. She wrapped her arms around him once she had the biscuits in, her head resting against his back and he gave a little sigh of happiness. “I really do love you, Noxx.”
“I love you too.”
“And I know it must be a little frustrating sometimes, you know.”
“Not at all, my love, I don’t mind going at your pace, I’m just happy to be here with you.”
“It’s just sometimes, I guess I feel like I’m not doing enough, that I should be normal.”
He turned slightly, his arm sweeping behind her to pull her around and into him. “Ruby, you never have to worry about me. Even when the wolf whines and begs, I am still happy and content. You’re my mate and you are all I need, no matter how I get you.” He kissed the top of her head. “No more worrying, just take your time.” Ruby nodded and let him go to check on her biscuits while he grabbed plates and put eggs and sausage on them.
They soon had their breakfast sandwiches made and were sitting at the table. “thank you so much for making these. I love your home made biscuits” Noxx said appreciatively. She smiled, feeling warmth swell within her. She was glad there were some things she could do that semi made up for the fact she couldn’t let him make love to her yet. They had slept in the same bed in his human form though, baby steps she told herself baby steps. They finished their breakfast and had a day in her home to theirselves. They played video games, talked and simply enjoyed just being near one another.
It had been such a wonderful day she felt like making another step with him. This was Noxx, nobody made her feel more safe than he did. “Hey Noxx” she said softly “yeah sweetheart?” She fidgeted nervously and he expected to be asked to shift into a wolf which he would do without complaint but he had been so looking forward to actually holding her again. “I think I want to try to take my shirt off for you if…if you’d like that”
Noxx stood there staring at her for a moment, unsure if he had actually heard her right. Her heart started beating harder and he realized he had just been standing there like an idiot. “Sorry,” he took her hands in his, “are you sure my love?”
“Yeah, I mean…do you want me too?”
“I want whatever you will give me, Ruby.” He brought his hand up to caress her cheek. He was excited at the prospect of seeing more of her, of having more of her against him, but he kept those feelings pushed down, not wanting to frighten her. “If you’re sure, then yes.”
“I am.” She swallowed and stepped back, grabbing the bottom of her shirt. She could do this for him, she wanted to do this for him. She loved him. She took a deep breath and pulled her shirt up and off, tossing it to the floor. She was too nervous to look at him, so kept her eyes averted. Him not saying anything only made it worse. “Um…well?”
He had been standing there admiring her, his eyes moving slowly over her, taking her in. His wolf urged him forward, but he kept his feet firmly planted. This was such a huge step for her and he wouldn’t ruin that. “Ruby, may I touch you?” He asked.
“ye…yeah” he felt like asking if she was sure might only make her more nervous so he carefully moved forward, just enough that his hands could reach her. Noxx placed a hand on each of her sides and slowly moved them up, stopping just under her bra “I love the feel of your skin Ruby” he said as he gently ran his fingertips down her abdomen, stopping just before he reached her pants. She was blushing as he took his hands away to gently grab her face. He brought her head to his lips to kiss her forehead “I love you Ruby” He wanted to keep touching her but he wanted to be careful at the same time not to take too much.
“thats all you want to do?”
“I’m scared of scaring you” she seemed a little shakey as she unfastened her bra for him “hey, did you want to do that? I mean it Ruby, don’t push yourself too much for me.”
“You can touch more of me Noxx…I’m not going to be taking anything more off tonight but…I…I want us to be able to do more. What happened to me was so many years ago now. If I don’t push a little I’ll never be normal with you and I love you too much to keep you waiting forever even though I know you will”
“Ruby, you have no idea how much I love you, how much I need you. You have no idea how happy I am, I love you.” He let his hands run down her neck, his fingers lightly brushing over her skin. He kept himself tuned into her. Even though her breathing and heartbeat were fast, there was no distress coming from her and he allowed himself to get lost in her. She let out a little gasp when his hands found her breasts and he pressed a kiss to her lips. He lifted her and laid with her on the bed, a thrill of excitement running through him when she let out a little moan. “Do you want to touch me too, Ruby?” He asked softly.
“Yeah, if it won’t be too much.”
“I want you to, no, I need you to.”
“O…okay.” She let her hands slide under his shirt. He raised up, allowing her to push it off then pulled her tightly against him, causing her to blush at how excited he seemed.
“You’re so beautiful my love.”
She was already growing more comfortable, realizing Eliora had been right. Maybe it had also just been nerves to be this exposed to someone she loved. Noxx had responded so sweetly and it made her glad she had tried this. They laid together a few hours, talking to and caressing one another until they fell asleep. When she woke the next day Noxx was stroking her hair, he knew the moment she was conscious due to her heartbeat so he said “good morning sweetheart”
“good morning Noxx”
“are you still comfortable or do you want me to look away while you get dressed?”
“I’m still comfortable…is that why you’re not touching my skin” she sat up “yeah, you just mean the world to me. I don’t for a second want to be something you fear” he was looking into her eyes as he said those words. She leaned down and kissed him again “I want us to sleep like that every night” He caressed her cheek “you know…” he seemed so nervous as he continued “you’re eighteen…you could come live with me…I wouldn’t have any trouble controlling myself still Ruby. I’d only take what you give me” She could see how bad he wanted her to say yes and could even see the worry in his eyes that he may be asking too soon.
She began to speak and he said “you should answer me after this week is over okay? I want you to be sure of your choice, even if its yes right now I need you to be sure first”
“Alright.” She knew she could answer him now, that she wouldn’t change her mind if she did. She wanted to be with him always, but she would give him the week. She didn’t want him worrying the whole time. She snuggled back up to him and he let his fingers run up and down her back.
“Thank you for this, Ruby, for trusting me enough.”
“You’ve done nothing but support me and you’re so patient. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without you.”
They lay there together for a little while longer, Noxx savoring this moment with Ruby. When they finally made themselves get up, he couldn’t help but admire her, smiling when her skin flushed. She truly was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. He hoped beyond hope that she would want to be with him forever, he needed her. Ruby grew less nervous as the week progressed, the way Noxx reacted to her giving her more confidence and courage. She knew that what she had said was true. Without him, she would have closed herself off from people forever, she wouldn’t have been able to leave the house or sleep at night. He had been such a driving force for her and she couldn’t thank him enough for it.
The day before her parents returned came and she decided after lunch they should talk about what he had asked her. She brought Noxx over to the couch and said “so, will you accept my answer now? I don’t want to wait until they are already here” he swallowed “yeah and I promise, you aren’t going to hurt my feelings if you say you aren’t ready for that yet Ruby”
“I am saying yes, I would love to come live with you. I trust you Noxx and in living together I think I can get braver faster about more intimate things between us. I want to tell my parents tomorrow and then maybe…do you think the pack would help us move right away?” His heart was tripping over itself in his chest “I’ll call Emrys right now”
Emrys was happy at the news and told Eliora who Noxx could hear congratulate them in the background. He let him know to call when they were ready and he would bring a few of the pack members to help out. “Have you asked her about changing?” Emrys asked before getting off the phone.
“I will, just not now.”
“Just know, that if and when she’s ready, we’ll be here.”
“I know, thank you.” He hung up and went back to Ruby who he lifted then sat back down on the couch, cradling her. “He said to call when you’re ready.”
“Just like that?”
“Of course, you know they love you and you’re my mate, which makes you part of the pack.” He let out a little sigh as he pressed their foreheads together. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you, for everything, for loving me, for being there every time I needed you.”
“I could be nowhere else.”
The next day, her parents weren’t surprised to hear she would be moving out, knowing she would be happy and safe with Noxx. They both hugged her tightly, letting her know to call if she ever needed anything and thanked Noxx for helping their little girl heal. They had a celebratory dinner and over the next couple of days, with the help of the wolves, packed and moved her things. Ruby was happy to be finally moving forward in her relationship with Noxx, knowing that together they could get through anything and looking forward to every moment they would have together.