Chapter 30: Mistakes
My eyes flutter open to find Natalia nestled up by my side, her head resting on my shoulder and her
nose buried in my neck.She drapes her left arm over my chest while tucking her left leg over my thigh.
To my right, I feel Kota curled up under my arm, snoring lightly in his sleep as he clutches his little wolf
tightly to his chest.
For a moment, I remain perfectly still, afraid the mirage would fade away if I moved.
The sparks tingling across my body from Talia’s touch, however, make me realize I’m not dreaming at
all, both my mate and our pup nestled safely in my arms.
This must be what heaven feels like... I tell myself as my heart beats uncontrollably in my chest.
It feels so natural to hold them in my arms, as if they were always meant to be with me.
Kota suddenly stirs, sitting up on his knees and glancing around the room in confusion.
Messy hairs stick out from his head and his pajamas are all rumpled and crooked.
He wipes his tired eyes and looks up at me with a grin.
"I’m hungry," he yawns, stretching out his little arms.
He lays his head on my stomach and gives me puppy eyes.
"Can we make waffles, Zane?"
I smile at him, afraid to move and disturb Talia in her sleep.
It to me and then roll her to her side to free myself from her grasp.
My heart beats frantically as she stirs before she settles into her new spot comfortably, sighing
contently in her sleep.
I help Kota brush his teeth and wash his face before we head into the kitchen where I spend a couple
of minutes watching videos on my phone on how to make waffles.
Kota is practically dancing on his toes with excitement as I gather ingredients for his breakfast.
"Can I help you?" he asks eagerly, picking up a whisk with a cheeky grin.
"Auntie Gwen lets me help her.Can I please help you?"
His puppy eyes make it incredibly difficult to say no and I put a chair against the counter for him to
stand on before placing the mixing bowl in front of him.
I hand measuring cups filled with ingredients to Kota, the little boy happily pouring them into the bowl
and repeating the measurements out loud to me.
Placing my hand over his, I guide his little hand through the motion of whisking the ingredients together
until we have a nice batter.
I pull out the waffle iron, staring at the infernal contraption until I finally figure out how to turn it on.
"Can I pour?" Kota asks as we both look at the iron.
I give him a measuring cup with some batter and steady him up over the counter while he pours.
"Oopsies..." he gasps as some of the batter spills over the counter.
"I'm sorry, Zane." a beating and a week with no visits from Mom.
The little boy hides his batter covered fingers behind his back, unsure what my reaction will be to his
mistake.I never want him to be afraid of me...
"I-It's o-kay," I smile, closing the iron and sitting Kota on the chair.I cup his cheeks, not wanting him to
feel like he is in trouble for making a mistake.
"A-a-accidents happen. We j-just ha-have to c-clean it up, o-okay?"
I hand him a towel and help him wipe the counter, high-fiving him when the mess is all gone.
As I flip the waffle iron over to cook the other side, Kota taps me on my shoulder.
"Zane," he says timidly, looking up at me with his large blue and brown eyes.
"Are you my daddy?"
My entire body stiffens but Grayson is more than willing to respond.Say yes, he grumbles.He belongs
to us just as much as Talia.He’s ours.
The question, however, can only be answered by Talia.
"I- l-like you and your m-mommy very m-much," I reply with a nervous smile.
"B-but I don’t know what I-I am to you yet."
"I know what you are," He giggles.
"You’re a wolf."
He bursts out into a howl.
"Can I be a wolf like you?" I don’t want him to be a wolf like me...
A wolf who struggles to speak, a wolf who makes too many mistakes, a wolf who will inevitably always
"And y-you will be a wolf e-even great-er than m-me."
He gives me another howl and settles back into his chair, resting his head on the counter.
"Waffles..." he hisses, watching the steam rise from the iron.
Soft footsteps suddenly make their way down the stairs and I look up to see Talia walking towards us,
her arms stretching out tiredly as she yawns.
Even in her sleepy state, she looks incredibly beautiful, my heart nearly skipping a beat at the mere
sight of her.
"Mommy look! We made waffles!"
Kota squeals, climbing out of the chair and rushing over to greet his mother.She raises an eyebrow at
me in curiosity as she lifts her pup in her arms, kissing his cheeks softly.
The timer on the waffle iron goes off and I hurriedly remove the hot waffle out of the iron before it burns.
Spreading butter and syrup on the waffle, I place it on a plate in front of Kota who smiles proudly at it
and shoves the plate to his mother.
"Mommy, taste our waffle," he beams at her, poking his finger into a pool of syrup and licking it off.
A small smile curls on Talia's lips and she timidly takes a bite, my heart sinking when she swallows with
great difficulty and smacks her lips to remove the taste from her tongue buckle from the pressure of her
"That is...That is an interesting taste," she gags, taking the plate and throwing the waffle in the trash.
"What umm...What sugar did you use?" She asks me, the soft smile still on her lips.
I point to the white powder in a jar sitting on the counter and she sticks her finger inside to taste it.
Her face scrunches up as she bursts into laughter, the sound making my heart soar.How could a laugh
sound so beautiful?
She giggles, pushing the jar towards me.I nervously taste the sugar and nearly choke on my own
cough when I realize the jar of sugar actually contains salt.
Talia can't hold back her laughter, the sound contagious enough to make Kota and I join her.I throw out
the salty batter while Talia locates the real jar of sugar for us to use.
"Let’s try this again," she teases, measuring out the proper amount of sugar and handing it to me.
Our fingers touch in the exchange, sparks tingling up my hand.
A blush creeps up on Talia’s cheeks as she pulls her hand away to tuck some hair behind her ear.
"K-kota," she coughs to clear her throat.
"Come help me with the milk and butter."
Kota happily skips over to his mother who sets him on the chair for him to see over the counter.
The two of them whisk the wet ingredient together, Talia counter.
My hands shake as I sift the flour and baking powder together, suddenly feeling very self-conscious
about messing up again.
The overwhelming thoughts of failure collide in my head, making it hard to concentrate.
Don't forget the salt, Grayson teases, and I shove him away to the recess of my mind.
As I reach for the jar of salt, I accidentally knock over my bowl of dry ingredients, a cloud of flour puffing
in the air.
I stare blankly at Talia and Kota, afraid to move an inch.
"Uh oh, Zane," Kota gasps, breaking the silence.
"Uh-oh.Clean up time!" he sings.
He climbs out of his chair and scurries into the closet to grab a broom.
Kota struggles to maneuver the tall handle, wrapping both arms around it as he pushes the broom in a
Unfortunately, the helpful little tyke only spreads the flour all over the floor, making an even bigger
"It’s okay Kota,"
Talia chirps, taking the broom from him.
I hide my trembling hands behind my back and remain in the corner, not wanting to make any more
"It’s okay, Zane," Kota says, tugging at my hands.
I force a smile on my face and look over at my mate, nearly jumping when I realize she's right in front of
me hand.I flinch involuntarily and she stops, a look of sadness in her eyes.
"You have flour in your hair," she whispers, carefully reaching into my hair and ruffling it up, another
cloud of flour filling the air.I blink at her, my cheeks flushing in embarrassment at my own weakness.
She stands on the tips of her toes and kisses me on the nose, resting her head against my
forehead.She's not Dad, Grayson sighs.She’s not him...
"You’re okay with me," she murmurs, warm sparks tingling up my arm when she timidly places her
hand over mine, tugging me over the counter.I almost pull away, fearing my hands might disgust her,
but she doesn’t let go.
My hands stop trembling with her soothing touch and my racing heart finally calms down.
Just as suddenly as she touched me, Talia pulls her hand away and smiles nervously at me.
"ll get you some more flour," she whispers, her own heart pounding in her chest.
"I trust you'll find the sugar this time?"
She teases me, my cheeks burning bright red.Our third attempt at waffle making finally bears fruit, Kota
smiling giddily as Talia serves him up his breakfast.
Agnes makes her way to the table and I proudly serve her a very fluffy waffle.
"I see you and Talia are getting along much better,"she signs,yet?" she chuckles, "Stop talking,"
I sign back, groaning audibly.
"Everything okay?" Talia asks, raising an eyebrow at me curiously.
I nod my head, Agnes teasing me relentlessly with her kissing signs and wiggling brows.
Luckily for me, Talia doesn’t seem to pick up on the meaning, but of course, curious Kota wants to find
"What is Agnes doing?" he asks, micking her sign.
"She’s speaking with her hands," Talia replies, holding up her hands to demonstrate.
"Like this." She spells out his name for him.
"What did you say?" Kota asks, attempting to replicate her signs but failing.
"I said KOTA," Talia replies, grabbing his hands and folding his fingers to make the four letters.
"K, O, T, A. See? KOTA," she smiles.
Kota tries his best to sign but very quickly forgets how to fold his fingers and shrugs.
"What did Agnes say?" he asks his mother.
"I don’t know," Talia shrugs, my face turning bright red.
"What does this mean?" She asks, pinching her fingers and bringing her hands together so they touch.
I shake my head at her, shoving a large chunk of waffle into my mouth.
Talia narrows her eyes suspiciously at Agnes and I but breakfast despite Agnes’s best efforts to
embarrass me and Agnes goes off to the Main pack house to take care of baby Emile.
Talia is off today from working at the clinic, leaving the three of us with nothing to do.
It’s a particularly hot day so Talia suggests we go outside for some fun with water.
We walk down to the pack drugstore where Talia purchases a kiddie pool and some sunscreen for
She notices me staring at a bag of multicolored balloons attached to black sticks in the seasonal toys
"Don’t tell me you've never played with water balloons before," she laughs, her smile widening when
she realizes I haven't.
"Well, we'll just have to fix that." She grabs five packs of the balloons and pays at the register, Kota
jumping excitedly at her feet.
Back at the guest house, I coat Kota in a thick layer of sunscreen, his pale skin very sensitive to the
sun compared to my darker complexion.I dress him in a pair of shorts and flip flops, Kota very excited
for a chance to play with water.I don't have a bathing suit so I opt for a pair of shorts, a black tube top,
and some sandals.
We make our way down to the kitchen where I find Zane hard basketball shorts and a plain white t-
shirt.I can make out a few scars on his legs but pretend I don’t notice them, knowing he is very likely
ashamed of his body.
Zane turns a bright shade of red when he looks at me and he becomes visibly flustered, nearly
dropping the tangerine he’s peeling.
It is incredibly adorable and rather refreshing to meet a clumsy Alpha.
All the ones I had ever met were very composed and domineering, even in the presence of their mates.
Christian himself was usually unimpressed by my efforts to look good for him but on the rare occasion
that I succeeded, he would just look at me like a meal.
Zane, however, always looks at me as if my mere presence were a gift to him, something for him to
cherish always, even if I just rolled out of bed.
I don’t fully understand what it is he sees in me and the very cynical part of me believes one day he’ll
wake up and realize I am not what he wants...
Just like Christian.
The clash of a butter knife colliding on the floor brings me out of my thoughts, Kota bursting into
laughter as Zane stumbles to pick up the knife.I push away my stupid thoughts, reminding myself that I
need to give Zane a chance too.
"Silly wolf," Kota giggles, rushing over to grab Zane’s hand.
"Come on! Let’s go play!"
The Guest House lawn merges with the backyard of the Pack house, creating a wide open space in the
middle of the woods..
There’s a beautiful poolside pavilion with an outdoor fireplace and kitchen closer to the pack house but
for the most part, the off into the surrounding trees.
Kota drags Zane outside, instructing him to bring the kiddie pool and unwind the hose.I grab the
balloons on my way out and join them in the center of the yard.
"Okay Zane.These are self-tying balloons," I explain to him.
You just connect the top here to the nozzle of the hose until the balloons are full and shake the tubes
when you're done."I demonstrate with the first pack, 25 balloons filling at once and falling into the kiddie
He tries for himself, watching in amazement as each balloon swells with water until we fill up the entire
kiddie pool.I pick up a balloon and hold it up to Zane.
"And now we just-" I stop mid sentence and break the balloon on Zane’s head, water exploding all over
"Use it," I grin, daring him to do the same.
Zane stares at me blankly before his brown eyes morph into a golden color, letting me know Grayson is
in charge now.
The wolf smirks at me, bending over to grab the hose still spilling water.I slowly back away, trying my
best to hold back my giggles.
"Grayson, don’t you dare,"
I warn, bending over to grab some balloons for my defense.
The wolf shoves his thumb into the mouth of the hose, spraying me with a fan of water.
I squeal as the cold water hits my skin, throwing the water balloons in my hands in Grayson’s Grayson
chases Kota and I around the yard with the hose, laughing like a child as he soaks us in water.
Kota runs back to the kiddie pool to grab ammunition but ends up tripping into the pool, giggling
hysterically as he pops several balloons on himself.
Grayson fishes him out of the tiny pool and throws him over the shoulder, letting out a howl as Kota
The two of them chase me around the yard with balloons, our screams and laughter echoing off the
Finally, my clumsy ass trips over a rock and I fall, Grayson and Kota towering over me.
Kota holds me down with the threat of two balloons in his hands while Grayson runs off to grab the
I try to bargain with Kota to help me attack Grayson, but the little traitor only grins at me.
Grayson returns with the kiddie pool, the water swishing back and forth as he holds it over his head.
"Don’t you dare!"
I squeal, covering my head with my hands.I gasp in shock as Grayson dumps the cold water and
balloons on my head, Kota bursting into evil laughter at me.
The wolf winks at me as I glare at him, very pleased with himself.
He picks me up abruptly, my legs automatically wrapping around his waist as I yelp and my arms
hooking around his neck.
It feels so natural to be in his arms and even more natural when he leans into me, pressing his lips
against mine in a soft kiss.
My lips take a life of their own, kissing him back with equal eyes looking at me as if I were the most
precious gift to him.
The wind suddenly begins to pick up, Kota’s teeth chattering as he shivers.
"We should clean up," I whisper as Zane puts me down.
"Kota needs his towel."
Zane nods and runs off the house to grab our towels while I instruct Kota to help me pick up the balloon
"We have to pick up all the balloons," I explain to him.
"We don’t want a little bird or an animal eating them.It’s bad for them.We scour the yard for the balloon
pieces, Kota skipping alongside me.As we get closer to the woods, I hear a low snarl that makes the
hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
"What is a pathetic human doing in a pack like this?" A low voice growls.
A tall young man suddenly appears from the trees, Kota holding onto my leg and hiding behind me.
The man is easily over 6 feet tall with dark brown hair and bright blue eyes spitting fire at me.
The domineering stance he holds himself with makes it clear that he is an Alpha so I do my best to look
strong despite the fear bubbling inside me.
"I don’t think it's any of your concern what I’m doing here," I retort, slowly backing away with Kota.
"So you can f**k off-."
The space between us disappears, the man towering over me with a sinister smirk on his lips.
"Looks like someone needs to volunteer."
Before he can take another step forward, a silver blur rushes past me.