"Are you ready?"
Jessica looked at Christian who was sitting in the front passenger seat looking back at her with understanding and encouragement shinning bright in his eyes. Jessica shrugged and gave him a brave smile before turning to look out the window as they rolled to a stop in front of Nick’s house.
In the front yard people were mingling and helping themselves to the refreshments as they waited for her arrival.
Almost as one, they all stopped what they were doing and turned their gazes towards the SUV. Jessica placed a hand against her stomach, trying to calm the butterflies that were flapping like crazy.
Just then, directly in front of her, the crowd parted to reveal him standing there.
Was she ready?
In answer she reached for the door at the same time that Nick strode forward. He reached the SUV as the door swung open and he held a hand out to help her down. "Thanks." She murmured with a smile that she was sure stretched from ear to ear.
"You look beautiful." He told her when she stood in front of him.
Jessica could read the sincerity in his eyes and she could have sworn she felt the butterfly’s in her stomach do a couple of summersaults. Looking into the twin, hazel colored pools that were his eyes she felt herself going under one more time.
Like always, everyone and everything else disappeared but him.
"I missed you." He murmured.
"You saw me yesterday."
"An eternity ago."
She threw her head back and laughed, making him smile. "Laying it on a little thick aren't you?" She immediately knew the question had been a mistake when a gleam of mischief appeared in his eyes.
"I definitely want to lay something thick -"
Jessica covered his mouth with her hand before he could say anything else. "SSShhh!" She looked around her nervously and was glad that along with their great hearing abilities, the people around them also possessed great manners.
Everyone acted like they'd heard nothing.
She blew out a breath of relief and removed her hand from his mouth.
"Come one everyone is dying to meet you." He took her hand and stepped forward but Jessica didn't move. "They are going to love you." He murmured close to her ear and gave her hand a tight squeeze.
His assurance was all she needed. She threw her shoulders back and raised her chin, with a stronger sense of self confidence running through her veins she kicked up her smile and dared them to dislike her. She told herself that she would win them over if they did, she could do anything as long as she had Nick by her side.
He led her through the crowd up the steps of his home and she didn't miss the curious glances that were sent her way. Standing on the front porch, he took a deep breath and as he released it she felt a ripple of power and command radiate out of him and pass through the crowd.
"As you know, we've gathered here today, like we have many times before to welcome a new member to the pack. I have taken a mate-or she has taken me," He added with a mock grimace as he rubbed his side that Jessica had just elbowed. The light banter between the Alpha and his mate had everyone chuckling and Nick added. "Greet Jessica Smith. You’re new female Alpha."
The declaration was met with loud cheering and applause.
Nick grasped her hand and together they descended the steps into the waiting crowd. Jessica was nervous, she didn't know what to expect -or if anything was expected of her- but she drew the necessary confidence from Nick who never left her side. Everyone welcomed her with soft words, some with hugs and to her dismay; others grabbed her hand and rubbed it against their cheeks.
She swore to herself that if anyone tried to lick her, she would run.
"They are showing you respect and their subservience." He explained to her in a low tone when he noticed her discomfort.
Jessica nodded her understanding and the greetings continued until she was welcomed by everyone. After meeting her and exchanging a couple of words, their interest slowly returned to their food and drinks and when it was just the two of them, Jessica looked around for her family.