Renato started choking on his coffee as the familiar wolf jumped down from the trees in front of him. When he had it together Zorion spoke angrily “why is my number blocked? I’ve been trying to call you and it went from you just not picking up to it telling me my number is blocked. How could you do that? You needing space I understand, what I did was out of line but”
“No buts, what you did was out of line period”
“You’re not sorry, you keep pushing me and pushing me. You don’t know when to stop Zorion”
“I just kissed your head…I didn’t even mean to. You don’t realize how hard it is for me not to ever touch you. I mean you wont even hug me despite the fact you hug other people”
“other people don’t call themselves my mate and nobody else has ever kissed my head”
“God damn it Renato youre my mate and I know youre human so you can’t even fathom how hard it is not to hold you…once we find our mate it’s painful if they aren’t with you, it’s the worst sort of torture. I’m so sorry, I wont ever kiss you again. You’ll destroy me if you wont even let me be your friend…itll be worse than being right beside you without being able to touch you. I mean it…don’t do this…please”
“You ask me to forgive you as you take the lords name in vain?” Zorion rubbed his face in sorrow and frustration “god doesn’t exist, at least not the one your psychotic parents would have you believe exists. There is nothing wrong with being gay and as much as you deny it you are gay. I see it, you want me too you just don’t realize it because of all the things they’ve done to you but you are gay and you’re the man I’m supposed to spend my life with. Stop letting those terrible people run your life”
“You just want me to want you. I’m not gay, I’m not”
“look…this isn’t even the fight I want to have with you”
“we can’t be friends alright” Tears almost instantly began cascading down Zorions face and his voice broke as he spoke “Renato…I love you so much…you can’t….please” he got on his knees “I wont kiss you again and I wont curse and I wont talk about your parents” Renato wanted to retort but he was too shocked to. He had known this wolf nearly a year and he was always so happy and upbeat, nothing phased him, even when he repeatedly rejected him. Renato had actually thought he could get rid of him with the simple blocking of his number given the fact he didn’t seem that emotionally invested on if they ended up together. He had kept on asking and trying but since he didn’t seem to ever be hurt by the rejections this reaction now was completely taking him off guard. He could easily find another man so why be so upset over him.
“How I wish you could understand, how I wish you knew the ache of not being able to love the one meant for you. Fate is cruel.” Zorion was sad and angry, his wolf wanted to howl its anguish and also bite into Renato’s parents. It was their fault, they had broken Renato, had turned him into something he could never be. “It’s like I’m dying.”
“That’s stupid.” Zorion’s heart twisted and Renato immediately regretted what he had said. “I’m sorry.”
“So you won’t forgive me then? You won’t let me stay as your friend?”
“I didn’t say that, I…” he sighed, “I forgive you, okay? We can be friends, but you can’t do stuff like that, it’s not okay.”
“I understand.” He stood and wiped at his face, the look of pain never leaving his face even as he smiled and held out his hand. “Friends.”
Renato took his hand and could feel him shaking. Was he truly that upset? “Friends.”
Zorion would show him, he would prove to him how crazy this all was, he would make him see the truth. They were mates and nothing could change that, not his parents and not a god. It was the way things were meant to be and he would do everything in his power to make his see. “I have to tell you one last time, Renato, that I love you more than you can imagine and that will never change.”
“That’s the last time I’ll say it until you ask me to hear it again.” He gave Renato another smile, but it still didn’t light up his face like Renato was used to.
“did you run here?” Renato asked Zorion who nodded, still looking heartbroken though he was obviously trying to perk himself up. Renato was about to offer him a ride home but now had to ask “Zorion…has my rejection always been so hard on you?”
“This time was worse because I felt like I was loseing you all together but yes, it feels like a dagger to the heart every time. I know that sounds over dramatic but it’s true Renato”
“I’m sorry it hurts…you’re a good guy and I wasn’t trying to be a jerk by blocking your number…I honestly thought you’d just move on to another guy” Zorion had already said he’d quit saying it so he just looked into Renatos eyes. The sadness in his face was enough to tell Renato everything and he turned away, unable to look. It hurt to hurt him so much “I’m sorry I blocked your number then.”
“Just unblock it as fast as you can, please”
“I can do it at home. Do you need a ride back to yours?”
“I’d like that if you don’t mind Renato” He could easily go home himself but he wanted more time with his mate. They walked to Renatos car and got in. Zorion didn’t like the feel of seatbelts but he put one on since it bothered Renato when he didn’t. “can we spend time together tomorrow?” Zorion asked and Renato answered “I have a project with my church group, it’s going to take all day”
“I could help right? What is it?”
“we’re going to make some repairs to a closed playground so they can reopen it”
“Thats something I can help with, please”
“alright, they shouldn’t mind you tagging along but please, especially around them, don’t call me your mate”
“I wont use that word anymore. Will you pick me up or should I meet you?”
“I can pick you up, you’re on the way. Can you be ready by seven am though?”
“mhm” Renato glanced over at the wolf beside him, he still looked shattered so Renato sighed “what?” Zorion asked “I just…I dont know”
“you can talk to me about anything”
“It just sucks to hurt you so bad. I didn’t know it would be such a big deal and I feel like a jerk. I know you don’t mean any harm. You just freaked me out is all last time I saw you”
“I know, its why I just gave you a call once or twice a day and quit coming over. I figured you needed your time” The rest of the drive felt awkward but when they arrived where Zorions pack resided Renato made his day and hugged him. He tried not to hug too tightly but he went from feeling his heart crumble into a million pieces to his mate finally letting him hug him. When Renato let go and sat back straight in his chair he said “are we even after me hurting you now? I figured you deserved a hug”
“Thank you so much Renato”
When Zorion got out of the car, Renato noticed there were a few wolves lingering around. One of them approached Zorion with a warm smile and started to speak when Zorion shook his head. The wolf’s mouth closed and he frowned, his eyes moving to Renato. Renato’s heart skipped a beat when he saw a flash of irritation on the wolf’s face and he jumped when Zorion let out a growl that had the wolf backing up. “What was that?” Renato asked.
“That’s Camulus, Cam for short, he’s my Beta, one of my seconds. His mate is the other, but she’s on bed rest. Her pregnancy has been hard.” Zorion said as he rested his arms against the window sill.
“Why did he look at me like that?”
“Do you want the honest answer?”
“It’s due to my emotional state over you. They can feel it, Cam especially and it angers him.” Renato opened his mouth and Zorion held up his hand. “Don’t let it get to you, it’s just the way wolves are, especially when they’re part of a pack.” He reached through the window and patted Renato’s shoulder. “It’s fine, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“should I call you when I wake up to make sure you’re up?” Zorion smiled “yes, I’d really like that”
“Bye then, I’ll text you as soon as your number isn’t blocked” Zorion watched Renato drive away and wasn’t surprised when Camulus approached him. Zorion looked angrily at his Beta “Cam you need to be more understanding”
“You’ve been understanding for almost a year now”
“You’ve only heard about his parents, you haven’t met them like I have. You haven’t seen him when they are around. I’d bet my life on there’s even more horrible stories from his childhood he’s even yet to admit to me. He needs understanding and time. I push but I stop when I know I need to because I don’t want to make him think his parents are right about people who are gay. I’ve made progress, especially today but no matter the case don’t you dare glare at him ever again. The last thing I want is for him to be nervous coming here”
Camulus was still struggling with anger but said “I’m sorry”
“You’re a good friend and Beta. I also know how hard it must be to watch your own mate be so miserable” Cam sighed “yes, I just want our pup to come so she can get better. I want my leader to be happy too and it’s frustrating. The two people I’m closest to are miserable at the same time”
“well he’s apparently hugging me now and I’m seeing Renato in the morning. He’s letting me help his church group with a project and it’ll take all day”
“That same group his parents belong to?”
“yeah but I don’t think they help with projects like that. They are getting up there in age and are humans”
Camulus sighed. “I promise to try and not let my temper get the best of me again.”
He patted Camulus on the back. “Come on, let’s go check on your mate.”
Renato didn’t know what to think as he drove home. It was shocking how deep Zorion’s feelings really ran, enough to effect those around him on an emotional level. But why him? Why not someone else? He could have someone who was…Renato’s thoughts trailed off on the word gay and he shook his head. He couldn’t think like that, it was wrong. He did his best to keep those thoughts at bay for the rest of the drive, knowing if he went there he would be punished. Once he was home, he took a moment to unblock Zorion’s number and send him a quick text. He was surprised when he responded almost instantly and wondered if he had been actively waiting.
The thought of that made guilt wrench his heart again because his mind could see Zorions heartbroken face as clearly as if he was still in the passenger seat. He sat in the car, unable to get up. He was too confused and far too sad. He decided to do something else Zorion had always wanted of him and it gave him the resolve to get out of the car. Zorion had asked for a picture multiple times that he could keep on his phone but he had always denied him. He would have just taken one right there but he was in worn, paint stained clothes from a completely different church project. From the time he was able to do things with the church his parents had had him in everything possible. His entire life had been nothing but what god wanted of him or his parents interpretation of it.
That was, until Zorion came into his life. He quickly went in, going straight to his room and finding something to wear since he couldn’t even just look through his phone and pick a picture. He had never liked taking pictures of himself. He hadn’t even liked looking at himself since a particularly bad incident when he was seven. He knew he wasn’t gay now, he had only been a confused little boy but his father’s cruel beating and treatment of him for the months after that one mistake had caused him to hate himself. He wasn’t suicidal by any means but he certainly didn’t like himself enough to be taking pictures and his parents thought photography was a vain thing practiced by the ungodly so they didn’t even take pictures of him.
His church felt the same way so the church didn’t take pictures at projects like most churches would so the only way he could do this for Zorion is if he put something on he liked and took the picture tonight He knew he might lose his nerve tomorrow and he still felt like he needed to make up for blocking Zorions number. He eventually settled on something and took a picture of himself. He didn’t like it but he knew he could take a hundred pictures and not like one so he sent it, hoping it might make Zorion happy.
He then hooked his phone to it’s charger and went to shower. He was too nervous for the response so the shower would give him time to build courage to see what his response was. Even when he got out he couldn’t look, not yet. He put on some boxers and pajama pants then knew he couldn’t procrastinate any longer. He dared to lift his phone and open up the new message from Zorion. He had sent a picture back and it made his heart trip over itself within his chest.
He had to ask, “Why are you shirtless?” and his heart was beating hard in his chest as he waited.
“Wrestling.” Zorion wrote back then, “Hold on.” A moment later another picture was sent with him and four kids ranging from age ten to three. They all shared the same eyes and hair so Renato knew they had to be siblings. “One of my pack members came over to give some things to Cam and Neith. The kids wanted to wrestle with uncle Zorion.”
Renato couldn’t get over the big goofy, almost boyish grin on Zorion’s face and the even goofier faces the kids were making. His eyes shone with happiness and Renato swallowed at the sudden burn of tears in his eyes. What was wrong with him? He quickly wiped them away and sent back, “You look happy.”
“They’re a lot of fun. What about you? You dressed up for me didn’t you?”
Renato’s cheeks burned. “No.”
“Liar.” It was strange, but even though he was just reading his words, he could hear that teasing tone in his head. “Either way, you look good. I’m sorry if I look a bit messy.”
He knew he had not twenty four hours ago blocked this mans number but as he looked back at the pictures he found himself wanting to drive back over there right now instead of waiting until the morning. He knew he was welcome anytime, Zorion had made that abundantly clear many times but he couldn’t. He had no excuse to and he didn’t think that would be very fair to Zorion. Now that he fully realized how emotionally invested this wolf was he didn’t want to play with his feelings so he needed a reason to see him, especially in the evening so he kept his wants to himself.
He laid down, tears falling again. He wiped at his face hard, wondering if maybe he just needed some sleep. His dreams were nightmares and though they often were tonight was worse. He dreamt of that little boy he had mistakenly thought he had a crush on and of course, relieved that horrible beating that nearly killed him. He had been too ashamed of himself by the time his parents took him to the hospital so in the dream, once again he went with his parents lies about what happened to him. When he woke with his alarm he was dripping with sweat so he changed his sheets then showered, pulling himself together in there before coming out and getting dressed. He called Zorion to make sure he was up and his wolf answered before the first ring even finished. They talked a few seconds but Renato rushed the call to minimize the chance of him hearing any signs he had been distressed.
He ventured looking at himself in the mirror but quickly looked away. He was a sinner, a constant disappointment with his struggle to be true to the lords wants. He just put his shoes on and grabbed his keys, turning on happy music in the car so Zorion wouldn’t ask him what was wrong. He seemed to always know when he had bad dreams. Rarely, he’d actually divulge one to him but last nights dream was off limits forever so he didn’t want it coming up at all. He wasn’t gay and his mistake as a child would only bring Zorion false hope they could be together.
Zorion was waiting for him on the front porch when he pulled up and he was smiling brightly. Renato could imagine his tail wagging. He approached the car and pulled the door open, but paused halfway in. “What?” Renato said and Zorion moved closer so their noses were nearly touching. “Wh…what’s wrong?”
“Trade places with me.”
“I want to take a detour.”
“Do you trust me?”
Renato’s heart skipped a beat and he felt his face heat. “Um…well yeah.”
“Then out, we’re taking a detour and I’m driving.”
“Okay.” He got out and Zorion smiled warmly at him as they passed each other. They got in, Renato buckling up and Zorion pulled away from his house. Renato wasn’t sure what to expect as Zorion drove and he was a little surprised when he pulled into the Baskin Robbins parking lot. “What’s this?”
Zorion reached over and rested a hand on his arm. “Your eyes say you had a bad night and even though I’m sure you won’t talk about it, I thought maybe ice cream would help you feel better.”
He shouldn’t be surprised but he was all the same and it had him just staring into Zorions sweet, truly caring face “no matter how hard I try I can’t fool you huh?” He could say so many things but he promised to stop proclaiming his love all the time so Zorion simply said “lets get that ice cream. I’d love to buy it for you too if you’ll let me”
“Okay, but something small. We need to meet everyone” They got out of the car and got in line to order, soon holding small cones. They sat at a little table, Zorion daring to sit close to his mate. Renato often let him be closer when he had nightmares. “how much longer did you play with those kids after I quit texting?”
“Maybe a half hour. I wanted to be rested for you today”
“Nothing makes you tired though” Zorion smiled “still, you never let me help. I didn’t want to screw up the first chance you gave me”
“Is Camulus’s mate okay?”
“she will be, the great thing about the pack is they have lots of help so she can rest as much as she needs” Renato kept talking, trying not to let there be silence until they were done and able to get back in the car. It didn’t seem like Zorion was going to try and make him explain the dream but he had to be sure it wasn’t going to come up. By the time they arrived where they were supposed to be the two of them were twenty minuets late but the people in charge of the project didn’t seem to mind. “I brought him to help. I hope that’s okay”
“Of course it is, welcome, what’s your name again?”
“Zorion, well, Renato knows what he’s supposed to be doing so just do what he says”
Zorion’s smile was charming, but there was something about it that wasn’t quite genuine to Renato. It was almost like the predator was peeking through, silently baring its teeth, but to his fellow churchgoers, it was just another smile. His eyes only softened and his smile only warmed when he turned his attention back to Renato. “So, what are we doing?”
“Um removing the old wood chips so they can be replaced with sand.”
“Well, hook me up with a shovel and I’ll get to work.”
“Oh, right.” He took Zorion over to one of the trucks and they both grabbed shovels and buckets so they could haul the wood chips to the garbage.
Zorion hummed as they got to work and seemed to be in better spirits even if he was doing manual labor. His humming turned into singing and Renato’s heart danced in his chest. Zorion’s eyes jumped to his face and Renato blushed. “You alright?”
“Yeah, just didn’t realize you could sing is all.”
“I can do a lot of things you didn’t know about. Sing, play a little guitar, helped the pups build a tree house, I have a few skills.” They continued shoveling wood chips until their buckets were full then they took them and dumped them. After a few trips they were both sweating and Zorion pulled his shirt off out of habit and tucked it into his back pocket.
“Uh…” Renato said, his heart hammering in his chest as his mouth dropped open a little. He realized the others had started looking their way and snapped his mouth shut. “Zorion, your shirt.” He said under his breath.
“Your shirt, could you put it back on please?” His eyes flicked to the others and Zorion looked over his shoulder.
“Oh,” he chuckled, “sorry about that, I wasn’t thinking.”
He smiled even as he put it back on. He could sense the affect his shirtless body had on his mate. It always made him feel better when he’d get small reminders that Renato truly was gay, he just had to make him realize it. He had to undo whatever his parents did to make him bury it so deeply within himself. The subway truck arriving signaled it was time for their lunch break. Zorion hoped they would end up sitting on their own but they had no such luck. As soon as they sat down two other people working on the park came to sit with them. “How’ve you been Renato?”
“You were just volunteering at the orphanage yesterday right?”
“You’ve always been the busiest bee of us all. Gods so proud of you, I know it.”
“We don’t do these things for gods praise Leah, we do it because we should for him. This is his work’ The man that had come to sit with them said. It took great restraint and love for Renato not to roll his eyes. He truly couldn’t stand the people in Renatos church but he loved his mate more than these people annoyed him. Zorion shifted, discreetly moving himself so he and Renato were touching. They didn’t seem to notice. Renato didn’t even seem to notice the contact or he simply forgot he was supposed to care so Zorion counted his small blessings. These pests may talk his entire break away but he was eating with his mate and they were sitting so closely their bodies were touching.
When they were all done eating it was back to work. When they left the project for the day Renato said “thank you for coming to help”
“instead of just dropping me off will you come spend time with me? We could play video games or just hangout with the pack”
“I’m sweaty and gross, are you sure?”
Zorion shrugged. “Shower at my place, I mean we’re pretty much the same size so you can borrow some of my clothes.”
“Shower at your place?”
“What, you don’t trust me? I thought we’d made some progress, but I guess not.”
Renato thought he saw a flash of hurt and felt guilt creeping in once again. “I’m sorry, I do trust you, I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t. Let’s go, a shower and video games sound perfect.”
“You could stay for dinner too if you like, I’m a mean cook.”
“And you’ll finally get to meet Neith.”
“Do you think she’ll want to meet me, I mean…” He frowned. After everything he had unknowingly done to Zorion, how could any of them even want him near their alpha.
“Of course, I talk about you all the time so I’m sure she’s looking forward to it. Be warned, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.”
“Okay” he could handle harsh words, it was what he was more accustomed to. They drove straight to where Zorion lived with his pack and parked. Renato actually getting out there instead of driving off caught the attention of a few wolves right away but Zorion wordless told them they needed to wait. He wanted his mate to get showered and comfortable before his pack tried to interact with him. First they found him something to change into then Zorion helped him get the water to a comfortable temperature “take your time, there’s no rush at all”
“Okay” He felt like he had said okay a lot on the drive over and now but he was so nervous. Zorion gave him a small, warm smile then left the bathroom. He proceeded to pick up a few things that were out then stepped outside “Guys” he said, in an amused, lightly reprimanding voice. “He’s here, he never stays”
“as I said, I am making progress with him. I don’t want him smothered alright and be nice. He’s a good person, just a conflicted one. I’m going to introduce him to my betas first. I’ll try to get him to hangout with everyone else a little too but I just got him to come over so if he doesn’t want to he doesn’t want to.” They seemed to understand so he went back inside to figure out what he was going to do for dinner. It wasn’t near time yet but he wanted to get an idea in his head. His mate was here, in his home and he didn’t wish to waste any time thinking about dinner when they could be together. When Zorion heard the water shut off he went to his room to fetch himself something to wear then turned on the television to a channel he knew his mate liked so he’d have something to do while he waited.
Zorion’s smile when he finally came down nearly stopped Renato’s heart. Even as messy as he was, he still looked amazing. “Feel better?” Zorion asked.
“Yeah, thanks.” He was incredibly nervous standing there in Zorion’s clothes in his living room.
“Why don’t you come and relax while I get cleaned up then I’ll take you to meet the Betas.”
Zorion chuckled. “Don’t look so nervous, the others are busy outside and Cam is upstairs with Neith so just take a seat, watch some TV and if you get thirsty there’s plenty in the fridge. My home is your home.” He moved closer to Renato since all he was doing was nodding. He reached out slowly and took his hand, guiding him over to the couch. Goosebumps crawled up Renato’s arm and he felt his face heat up. “There, relax.”
“okay” he inwardly kicked himself again for the overuse of the word but he was still too nervous to help it. Zorion left him, planning to be as quick as he could. Renato sat nervously on the couch. He tried to get into what Zorion had thoughtfully turned on for him but he couldn’t so it was a relief when Zorion reentered the living room. “are you ready to meet my Betas? I’d really like you to. All the wolves here are like family to me but its different with an alpha and their betas, we’re closer”
“sure” he answered then said internally thank god you didn’t say okay again He was completely self conscious and confused as to why. He had shown Zorion the door many times and the wolf had repeatedly shown him nothing could make him go anywhere. Renato followed Zorion to a bedroom, waiting there as Zorion knocked. The wolf from yesterday answered the door, his expression friendly this time “is she awake”
“I am, come in, you brought Renato right? We could sense him here” Renato heard a female voice that must have been Neiths. He stepped into the bedroom with Zorion to find a gorgeous woman with beautiful red hair and light blue eyes. Even being rounded with pregnancy and obviously unwell she glowed, putting him at ease with her smile “welcome, Its good you finally came.”
“It’s good to meet you guys”
“we wont bite so stop hiding behind Zorion” Renato moved a bit closer and she spoke again “I better see you here more. It’s not very fair to Zorion that you make him go to your home or out somewhere. He should be able to host you here with us too.” She had this motherly tone but hers, unlike his own mother didn’t scare him though she still made him feel bad “I get that…I’ll come more”
“good, Zorions a really amazing guy. I hope you know that” Her mate took her hand and something went unspoken between them but obviously communicated and she stopped fussing at him. “want to feel my babies” she asked since his attention was on the little feet kicking her stomach. He walked over and mindfully put his hand on her stomach. He had never touched a pregnant womans belly and was afraid of hurting her. It startled him a bit when another kick hit his hand and she laughed. He blushed again and Zorion said “well, I just wanted you all to see eachother really. He’s staying for dinner, please eat with us. I’ll let you know when it’s ready”
“Okay, It was nice to meet you Renato, truly. I want to see a lot more of you” When they were back downstairs he said “I told you she speaks her mind. I hope it didn’t make you uncomfortable though”
“No, I just see again how I’ve been a prick”
“It’s nothing to worry over as long as you come hangout more than just today”
“if she really didn’t make you uncomfortable the other wolves would like to meet you too. I wont be hurt if you don’t want to, we can go ahead and play games instead”
“I’d love too, I mean I should right? If I plan on visiting more.”
Zorion smiled warmly, had to keep himself from pulling Renato into his arms. He was obviously still very nervous and self conscious. “You don’t have to.”
“I want to, really.”
“Alright, come with me then.” Renato followed him outside and jumped when he let out a loud whistle. The wolves that had been waiting outside came running over and Renato had to keep himself from backing up. There were adults and pups and they all looked eager to say hello. “Everyone, may I introduce Renato, Renato this is part of my pack.”
“Hey, everyone.” Renato said nervously. They all said their hellos and a few of them started asking questions. It was a little overwhelming, but he answered what he could. One of the younger members tugged on his shirt. He smiled down at the little boy. “Hello.”
“Are you uncle Zorion’s mate?”
“He’s my friend, little one.” Zorion said.
“Oh, can we be friends too?”
“Of course we can.” Renato said.
It touched Renato that he couldn’t see any signs of them not liking him. These were obviously incredibly kind wolves but, they were of course part of Zorions pack. Zorion had such a big heart and was an incredibly fun person to be around. Renato found it hard to imagine he’d let anybody unkind remain in his pack. They ended up staying outside a long time, Renato not even noticing hours pass he was enjoying their company so much. This time with Renato only made him long for them to be together more. He fit in so perfectly with everyone, he truly did. Zorion could tell the members of his pack weren’t just being kind out of respect for him, the genuinely were liking the man they finally got to meet.They could be so happy if Renato would just realize that he was gay and that he did want this relationship too.
He almost felt like prying into his past, pushing Renato to tell him more so they could work through whatever caused him to shut down but he worried doing that might make him leave and not come back. It was only hunger that made Renato check the time “wow” Zorion smiled “want to go in and have dinner?”
“Yeah, I can’t believe it’s after seven” They walked in and Zorion could already smell something cooking. Camulus was in the kitchen “My mate is hungry so I started cooking. It’s cool you lost track of time, we were glad to notice Renato having so much fun”
“let me help form where you are then, what should I do?” Zorion asked and Camulus gave him direction. “Renato, why don’t you go hangout with Neith again while we take care of this” Cam added.
Neith was reading when he came in, but smiled and marked her spot then put it down. “I could hear you having fun outside. The pack seems to like you.”
“Yeah, they’re all really nice.”
“And accepting.” His heart tripped over itself and she patted the edge of the bed. “Come and sit, there’s no reason to stand in the doorway.” He crossed the room and dropped down on the edge of the bed.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better for now. How about you?”
“Me? I’m fine.”
She gave him a knowing look. “Are you really?
She reached over and patted his hand. “Now this may just be the expecting mother in me, but your eyes tell a whole other story. You don’t have to say anything, no one here needs an explanation, but it might make you feel better if you talked to someone.”
“I mean, there are people at my church who…”
She shook her head. “I mean someone who will actually listen, who will be honest with you. You’re too sweet to look so sad and scared.”
“I’m not that sweet.”
She laughed. “Stop telling lies or I’ll call Zorion up here. He wouldn’t stand for you talking about yourself like that.”
“truth be told I don’t know what’s wrong with me most the time”
“what do you mean?” He sighed, struggling to put it into words “Zorion just, he’s shaken up my world and I dont understand my own feelings most the time.” He wasn’t even sure why he was telling her this much. She just had this motherly aura, that nurturing nobody had ever given him before and it made him just want to spill his entire life to her. “Help me understand, maybe give me an example” He just looked at her, that calm, understanding expression on her face. She truly seemed interested and not like she was just waiting to judge him. It was like some sort of flood gate was opened and he just began rambling about different moments over the year he had known Zorion. He only found pause when he almost told her about his dream, his absolute worst memory from childhood. She had long since sat up, stroking his hair as if he was her own pup she was comforting into talking to her. “You aren’t done, talk to me”
“I can’t, not about that”
“and why not Renato”
“because…I don’t want to hurt Zorion more than I already do”
“you make Zorion incredibly happy”
“sometimes but you know I hurt him too and telling him about when I was a confused little boy would definitely hurt him”
“Well you’re talking to me, not Zorion. You can trust me Renato.” He felt pathetic but a tear already streamed down his face. Just thinking about telling anybody the real reason he had spent a week in the hospital caused him so much pain. He didn’t want to share it, he wanted to continue to keep it buried but at the same time, talking to her about all this felt so good.
“It’s…it’s just…” He started crying a little harder.
“It’s okay, take your time.”
He wiped at his face. “When I was little, there was this boy and I…I thought I had a crush on him. I kissed him and my parents saw and my dad he…he beat me. He just kept hitting me and kicking me and screaming at me. I was confused, I made a mistake.”
Neith swallowed. “Oh Renato.”
“It was my fault.”
“No it wasn’t. You didn’t do anything wrong, your parents did.”
“But I was wrong, what I did was bad and now…Zorion, but I can’t, it’s wrong.”
She took his face in her hands and made him look at her. “It’s not, they are wrong.” He tried to shake his head, but she forced him to keep looking into her eyes. “You are not wrong and if you truly believed in the things they beat into you then you wouldn’t have a single doubt in your mind, not one, but deep down you know what they did was terrible. No one deserves to be treated that way.” They heard footsteps heading upstairs and Renato glanced worriedly at the door. “Renato, you need to talk to Zorion, he’s your mate and if you let him, he will help you through this.” Neith said as she dropped her hands to his shoulders. “He deserves to know why you’re so afraid.”
It was her mate, Camulus that entered the room. He looked concerned that Renato had obviously cried “everything’s okay, don’t worry, I wasn’t mean to him” she assured her mate so he said “dinners ready, Zorion is serving plates while I come get you two” Renato got out of their bed so Camulus could help his mate up. They went down and Zorion noticed it too. Renato explained this time “I’m okay, we were just talking and I got emotional” Zorion hugged him, hoping it was still alright. It made him feel a bit easier about him crying when Renato accepted the hug then took a place at the table. Zorion sat beside him and then the two betas sat. After dinner Zorion asked “are you ready for video games?”
“I think I should talk to you first”
“is it bad?’
“I don’t know”
“we’ll give you two some privacy” Neith said as she tugged her mate so they could go back to their room. They were left alone in the living room, Zorion looking scared and Renato struggling to talk to him. Zorion cautiously took his hand, tugging Renato to the couch so they could sit together to talk. He kept his hand, hoping he wouldn’t pull away. “a lot came spilling out of me when I was talking to Neith”
“Like what Renato?” Renato was realizing even the way Zorion said his name tugged at his heart. “One of my worst childhood memories came up…one I told myself I’d never talk to you about but she insisted I should…since…since you’re” he wanted to call Zorion his mate but he still couldn’t, he still had so much self loathing. “well, when I was seven I thought I had a crush on one of my friends…it was a boy and I kissed him. My parents saw me do it and” his voice cracked as he struggled to keep telling him what happened. “My parents took me home and my father just kept beating me and screaming at me. When I blacked out I didn’t even think I was going to wake up…..eventually they had to take me to a hospital I was is in such bad shape…they” he was crying too hard now to talk so Zorion pulled his mate against him, wanting to hold him. Renato was surprised at how hard Zorions heart was beating. It was slamming against his chest with intense anger. There it was, the reason Renato couldn’t admit to himself he was gay and it was much worse than anything Zorion had imagined.
His parents had actually savagely beat a little seven year old boy because they couldn’t accept he was gay. Zorion comforted Renato until Renato was calm enough Zorion knew he’d understand his words. He pressed their foreheads together and said “you are gay, you knew it early on and you have to accept it now. It’s not bad, your parents are the bad people. All I want to do is make you happy Renato and I swear if you stay here with my pack and I nobody would ever hurt you again. If anybody tried they’d rip them limb from limb to keep you here with me. Please let me kiss you, let me show you that you can kiss me and nothing bad will happen after. No god will smite you, no larger person is going to rip you away and send you to the hospital and even if there is such a thing as hell I never plan on letting you die.
“Okay I can kiss you?”
“mhm” Zorion didn’t waste a second, he gently took his face in his hands and kissed him. He lovingly moved his lips against Zorions, deeply desiring to plunge his tongue in his mouth but trying to be slow, knowing he needed an easy transition into accepting this. When Renato actually started kissing back Zorion wrapped his arms around him, gently sliding a hand into his hair behind his head while the other wrapped around his body. They kissed like this a few moments before Zorion dared to tug at Renatos bottom lip with his teeth, begging him in his mind to let him deepen the kiss.
Renato let out a little whimper as he gave into Zorion, his heart beating with fear and excitement when Zorion’s tongue pushed into his mouth and clung tightly to him, afraid he might run if he didn’t. He was breathless when Zorion parted their lips, his face flushed and body hot with desire. “You okay?” Zorion asked as he brushed his lips gently over Renato’s.
“Yes, I…I think so.”
Zorion chuckled as he took Renato’s face in his hands and gave him another kiss, overjoyed when he instantly responded. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I…I’m scared and excited, but I don’t know what to do. I’m so confused, but I want you.” He felt himself starting to tear up again. “How stupid, I feel like such a baby, I hate this.”
“You’re far from a baby, you’ve been through something that no child should ever have to go through.” He ran his fingers through Renato’s hair and down to his neck, trying to sooth him. “I love you and need you more than you could ever know and I will be here with you every step of the way. I just want you to stay with me and know that you are safe and loved and that you never have to be ashamed of anything.”
“I do want to stay here…I…I want to be your mate” Zorion ran his fingers through Renatos hair again “That makes me so immensely happy Renato. I’ll let the wolves know that if humans approach I need to know right away. I doubt even you think your parents wont appose this and your church is known for protests”
“I’m sorry…I’ve been nothing but trouble to you”
“Finding you was the greatest thing that could have happened to me. I have my other half because I found you. I’ve lived a very peaceful life but I’m more than willing to briefly give that up to keep you. I promise, we will keep you safe from any reaction your parents and church may have. I’m also on good terms with a few other packs should it get that serious. I don’t know what sort of problems they may try to cause for me” Zorion kissed him then asked “may I take you to bed with me? If not to make love, to cuddle?”
“um….cu..cuddling” Zorion lifted Renato off the couch, seeing the lust in his eyes but happy to accept what his mouth was saying. Tonight had ended up more than he dreamed it could be. He had gotten to kiss his mate and now Renato was willing to even live there. He could hold off a little longer to make love to him.
It took Renato a few minutes actually relax. He had spent nearly his entire life believing that loving another man was wrong, that he was tense and scared. Zorion laid there with his arms around him, his fingers running up and down Renato’s arm to help him relax. He even switched on the TV in his room to help distract him and smiled when Renato’s muscles finally loosened. “Good, I was worried you might stay like that until you cramped up.” Zorion said softly, his voice sounding slightly amused even though inside he was still very angry.
“Sorry, I’m not trying to be so tense.”
“You know you never have to apologize to me, especially now that I know why you pushed me away.” He kissed Renato’s forehead and smiled when his mate’s heart stuttered. “Take as much time as you need to get used to this. I know it can’t be easy.”
“You would think after all I’ve put you through I could give you this one thing without acting like my world might implode.”
“That’s enough Renato,” Zorion’s tone was gentle and understanding as he spoke, “it’s okay to be afraid and worried, just know that I’m not going anywhere. I love you, my wolf has never been so happy, and if it takes an eternity for you to settle into a relationship with me then I’ll give you an eternity. In all honesty, I want you more than you will ever know, I crave every bit of you, but I can be patient for you. So just breathe baby, everything’s perfectly fine.”
Renato sighed. “What am I going to tell my parents?”
“Well I’m sure you know what I’d like to tell them.”
Zorion chuckled. “That’s a nice way of putting it.”
“My church wont have me anymore either…I hate that because I love the projects we do.”
“there’s other churches aren’t there? I’m pretty sure not all christians are against being gay. You could also just read that book by yourself”
“yeah, can’t you do your own studies”
“It wouldn’t bother you if I read my bible here?”
“why would it bother me? Because I do not believe in the god of your faith? Listen, I love you and we don’t have to agree on everything. If this faith brings you happiness I’ll help you do what you need to do but only if, in not studying with your parents it wont make you hate yourself”
“why don’t you believe though?”
“I’ve met many gods and goddess and that in itself creates a problem with your faith because he claims to be the only one but we don’t have to argue about this Renato”
“I don’t consider this arguing, I just want to talk to you about it”
“Okay…I guess in this day and age I’d imagine he would have at least shown himself. Maybe he exists and maybe hje’s just that reclusive. Maybe he claimed back then to be the only one because he thought the others would never show themselves and he does exist. I just personally don’t believe in the god you follow”
“You do make good points but I think I do want to continue reading my bible on my own..honestly, I’ve never seen anything in there that actually says from him that being gay is bad.”
“good because there is nothing wrong with us loving eachother, nothing at all” They talked only a little while longer before Renato drifted to sleep. Zorion was still furious about what he had learned tonight but he let the comfort of holding his mate consume him so he could relax enough to rest. In the morning it was Renatos cellphone ringing that woke them both “Hello?” Renato answered sleepily, it was his parents and it scared him awake. Memory flooded back to him, he was supposed to have devotions with them this morning. “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. How late am I?”
“where are you?” Zorion heard his mother snap. “I’m…I” he felt terrified to tell them where he was. Zorion took the phone “He spent the night with me and he’s going to be staying here from now on”
“what do you mean he spent the night with you?”
“He spent the night, in my bed with me holding him and he’s going to spend every night in my arms and you two are never going to hurt him again”
“Put my son back on the phone”
“No, you’re just going to bully him”
“Put him on right now or we’ll come get him”
“You don’t know where I live”
“yes we do”
“even if you do show up here you wont be taking him from me.”
Zorion hung up before they could say anymore and when it started ringing again, he switched it off and sat it on the small bed side table. “They’re going to come here, Zorion, they’re going to make leave.”
“No they aren’t.” He moved so he was above Renato on hands and knees, his face so close their noses were nearly touching. Renato laid their frozen, his heart thundering loudly in his chest. “Look into my eyes and tell me they’re going to take you from me.” Renato shook his head and Zorion pressed a kiss to his lips. “It isn’t going to happen, they’ll have to come straight through me to get to you and trust me, I’ll show them what a real monster looks like if they even try.” He pressed their foreheads together. “You are my mate, Renato, my one and only for all eternity, you belong to me and this pack is your family. None of us will let them hurt you ever again.”
Renato felt himself tear up and Zorion smiled lovingly at him. Not even his parents had shown him such devotion or understanding and here was Zorion giving it to him freely, unconditionally. “I…I love you.” It took a lot for him to say it and Zorion treasured that moment, let it wash over him and fill him with such intense emotion that he couldn’t keep himself from kissing Renato passionately.
When Zorion could force himself to part their lips he said “I want my pack to know they are coming. If they come in here hostile or with others I dont want someone getting hurt because they didn’t know”
“just…they are still my parents. Please don’t hurt them if you don’t have to” It was a hard request to grant but this was Renato, the love of his life “alright, I’ll make sure they all know your parents aren’t to be harmed if they don’t force us to harm them.”
“Thank you…I know that puts your pack at greater risk but”
“it’s your parents, as cruel as they are my pack will understand. Besides, we’re a tough species, we’ll be okay. I hope someday soon you’ll become a wolf for me Renato so I don’t have to worry so much”
“well…if you want to talk about it after my parents are gone we can”
“Yeah, I mean, You’ve been so good to me…your pack has shown me more love than I’ve ever known in my life and they barely know me because I’ve been so afraid. I want to stay here and I want to truly be a part of this family” Zorion had to kiss him again, this one a little longer than the last. He just wanted to enjoy this morning but alas those bastards were coming so he said “shower and try not to stress too much while I talk to everyone”
“I shouldn’t go with you?”
“I’d rather you stayed inside but if you end up wanting to come out nobody will stop you. It’ll take your parents awhile to get here anyway so you may as well do something while I talk to the pack. I don’t want you stressing is mostly why I’d rather you just shower”
“I love you so much Renato. I promise, you’re staying here with me’ Zorion went to his Betas first and let them know what’s going on “Oh I’m ready to talk to them” Neith started angrily getting out of bed and her mate grabbed her “Neith no, your pregnant and if they stress you into having the pups early or into more complications I’ll rip their throats out with my teeth and Renato will hate us”
“fine but somebody better punch them”
“we need to do this as peacefully as possible for Renato but I promise, they give me a good enough excuse for Renato I will punch one of them” Camulus joined Zorion to talk to everyone else. Most of them went ahead and shifted into wolves, wanting it to be clear to the parents what they were dealing with.
Zorion and Camulus were standing on the porch when Renato’s parents pulled up and walked down into the yard as they exited the car. “Where is our son?” Renato’s mother snapped as she crossed the yard.
“He’s inside, bathing.”
“Bring him out now.” His father demanded.
“No and I suggest you leave.”
Renato’s father tried to move past him, but the other wolves moved onto the porch, the ones who had shifted baring their teeth and growling, daring him to continue forward. “You will give us our son now so we can take him away from this place of corruption.”
Zorion laughed. “My mate will no longer be brainwashed by ignorant, abusive religious zealots like you two.”
“How dare you.” Renato’s mother said and grabbed the cross necklace around her neck. “I…”
“Oh go ahead, please spout your religious nonsense. I’m no demon, not that anything you say could banish one anyway, but please go ahead and try, I’ll be happy to play along. I wonder what kind of mother stands by while her son is nearly beat to death? Did you even try to save him or did you stand there and pray? The only sinful ones I see here are you two. The sin of being shit parents.” It was Renato’s father who gave into his rage first and he took a swing at Zorion who allowed the blow to connect. He then grabbed Renato’s father by his shirt and pulled him close, growling, his teeth bared to show off sharp canines. “Now you listen to me, the only reason I don’t break something is because your son asked me not to, but if you insist on boxing me then I will have no choice but to make sure you never raise your hand to another person again. I want nothing more than to tear the life out of you and it would take one word from me for my pack to rip you both to shreds. Leave now.” He shoved Renato’s father away.
“You can’t keep our son from us, we’ll call the cops.”
“Go ahead I’m sure they’d be happy to know that you attacked me and in front of all of these witnesses.”
Renatos mother shook her head then scoffed “it’s a sad thing to realize even the cops would probably take your side. These are the end days and I hope you feel miserable when you see my son burning in Lucifers flames with you! We were just trying to save him!”
“Go and never come back” They actually got in the car, much to Zorions relief. It was more of mixed emotion but Renato didn’t want his parents harmed and he was glad he was able to respect that wish. Zorion walked back to his bedroom, finding Renato stareing at the television despite there was nothing on it now “baby?” he prompted softly. “they’re gone?” Renato asked and Zorion nodded “it’s what you wanted right? To be safe here with me?”
“Your voice tells me your heart aches over it though”
“I know it’s stupid, I just, I loved them anyway”
“all children love their parents unconditionally, its a hard thing to break. It’s not stupid at all Renato. If you do decide you want to see them all you have to do is tell me but I can never in good conscious let you see them by yourself” Renato met eyes with Zorion “I know….it’s over regardless though. They would only have anything to do with me if I denied being gay and I can’t do that any more”
“would you let me hold you Renato? It might makes you feel better” Renato nodded and Zorion brought his mate up to the headboard so he’d have something to lean against as he cradled Renato. A few months later they performed the ceremony to change him into a wolf so Zorion would never have to lose him. It went perfectly and the entire pack celebrated for days because of it. They were so happy for their alpha they were indefatigable.
It was a big adjustment for Renato but he grew happier and happier by the day. He was living his life truly free and better yet nobody tried to make him feel ashamed for anything. His life had went from a constant hell to being the heaven the people of his church had so often talked about. As painful as it may have been moving in here, leaving his church and not speaking to his parents has been the best decisions he had ever made, Zorion, had been the best decision he had ever made. Renato would never forget the wolfs persistence in pursuing him and he planned to have that same persistence in being the best mate he could to Zorion.
~ The End