This is one of my favourite chapters, you guys! Actually, the next few are even better, but this one... there's just something about Jasper and Zara that makes me want to cry.
If you like this chapter, comment, vote, and grab a box of tissues. You might need it.
Dedicated to @-Mysteries-. You made a really good point and it's definitely something I'll think about more when I write!
I wake up the moment Jasper's phone vibrates. He's got it muffled under his pillow and turns it off almost immediately, but I'm a wolf and a light sleeper.
My thoughts race. Two weeks ago, Jasper's Dad had 'the talk' with him—not that talk, since everyone know Jasper and Zara have been hooking up for years—the mate talk. His dad made Jasper promise to stop seeing Zara, like I'd stopped seeing Jess right before my birthday.
Jasper and Zara are so into each other, that we we're all starting to worry. How would Jasper's new mate feel on his birthday, knowing he's been seeing another girl for years? How would she feel every time she had to pass Zara in the halls, talk to her, sitting next her at meals? And how would Zara feel, watching Jasper fall in love with another girl?
It had to stop, just like my relationship with Jess had to stop. I've actually wished I'd ended things with Jess a lot sooner, and I've told Jasper that, too. Right after my birthday, when Jess first started walking around like she just lost her favourite puppy, I told Jasper to end things with Zara. I told him, again and again, that what he's doing is way worse than what happened between me and Jess. Jasper and Zara have been dating for years and they think they are in love; Jess and I were just hooking up, and look how that turned out.
I really didn't expect him to go see her again tonight. His birthday is tomorrow morning, for the Goddess's sake. It's bad enough he's been sneaking out at midnight every day for the last two weeks to see her. I mean, two weeks ago, I thought he was saying goodbye. Even yesterday, I thought he was saying goodbye. Today, I don't know what to think. I know it's not easy for him. He's drawn to her like I'm drawn to my Saffron. The difference is that Zara isn't his mate and tomorrow he'll leave her for another girl.
"Jasper," I whisper urgently. "Don't do this."
I hear a sharp intake of breath from his side of the room, so I know I've obviously startled him. He was expecting me to be asleep, the way I've been pretending to be for the last two weeks.
"Do what?" Jasper feigns innocence. "I'm just going to the bathroom, man" he adds, though he's clearly lying.
"I know you've been sneaking out to see her," I tell him, sitting up and turning on my bedside lamp. "It's only going to make things worse."
"I know," Jasper groans, all pretence gone. He runs his fingers through his hair. "What am I supposed to do?" He climbs out of bed, heads for the door, then stops partway.
"You can just not go."
"I can't." Jasper groans. "I have to see her. I have to say goodbye."
"You should have said goodbye two weeks ago." I shake my head. "You should have said goodbye yesterday."
"I know," Jasper's voice breaks. "I...," he pauses, searching for words, "I have to see her. Please."
If he goes, you can see Saffron. My wolf takes my Beta's side. I think back to the way Saffron's lips felt against mine. I need to feel that again, not in the bathroom—I don't have some weird fetish or anything—but somewhere comfy. Not against a wall, but maybe on a couch, or better yet, in my bed.
The need for my mate almost drives me to tell Jasper to go, and hurry, so I can satisfy my own need. I don't, though. I'm Alpha and it's my job to do the right thing. I can demand Jasper stay. I can order him not to see Zara, as his Alpha, and he'd have to obey me. He knows that if he disobeys a direct order from his Alpha, I might start looking for a new Beta.
Jasper watches me, his eyes filled with desperation, but I don't let that sway me. I need to make the right choice for my pack, for Jasper, and Zara and Jasper's future mate. Before I've come even close to making a decision, Jasper jumps to his feet and starts pacing the room like a caged animal. He crosses it, again and again, back and forth, driving me insane.
What is the right thing? Should I keep him and Zara apart? Will it really make a difference, now that he's already taken things this far? Will one day really change what happens tomorrow morning? So what if he saw Zara the night before his birthday, when he'd already been doing that for the past two weeks?
I look at Jasper, and there's an energy about him... like he needs to do this as surely as he needs to breathe, as surely as I need to see my Saffron. I can see that being away from Zara is slowly destroying her, that tomorrow, whatever happens, Jasper and Zara's life will never be the same.
So I make my decision for Jasper. I don't let my need to see my mate affect me, don't let it sway me. If I really want to see Saffron, I don't need Jasper distracting Zara to do it. I can march down there, wake her up, and kiss her. No, when I finally decide, it's because I remember that Jasper is my Beta. He's my most trusted adviser. He'd be there for me, even if it meant life or death. He trusts me, just like I need to trust in him. So I do the only thing I can do.
"I'm leaving it up to you," I tell him. If he wants one last chance to say goodbye, so be it. "You're my Beta, Jasper. Do the right thing. Not just for you, but for Zara."
Anyone else feeling just a little heartbroken?
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I think I need a hug.
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