by Jane Doe
Epilogue (Clara & Mason)
Four Years Later – Clara’s P.O.V.
“Don’t you dare, little witch.” Mason warned in a low voice.
A shiver worked its way down my spine when he placed his hand against my back. Even through the thin fabric of the dress I wore, I could feel the heat he exuded. One of the first things I’d learned about Werewolves was that they ran hot.
Despite how hard I tried, a smile worked its way onto my face. My chest quite literally ached with the urge to cackle, but I couldn’t help it. It’s not my fault Tristan’s expression was absolutely to die for.
Even Lola was having a hard time containing herself, snickering behind her hand as she watched the scene unfold.
Tristan had been locked in place for the last minute in a half, staring at Holly like she had grown three extra heads. No one could blame the poor guy considering he was the only one who didn’t know his mate was pregnant.
“You’re pregnant.” He repeated for the thirteenth time.
A laugh exploded from my mouth seconds before Mason wrapped his arms around me and hauled me into his arms. I wriggled against his ironclad hold, knowing I stood no chance fighting my way out of his grasp.
Good thing I didn’t need strength to overpower him.
I sent a small jolt of magic crackling down my skin, just enough to provoke a reaction. Since Holly and Tristan were being all lovey dovey, wrapped in each other’s arms, the only ones left to notice were Lola and Asher.
“You little cheater, using your magic against me.”
Mason chuckled in my ear, his voice simultaneously rough and silky. There was a softness to it that stirred the butterflies camping out in my stomach.
Dancing out of his grasp, I wiggled my fingers at him. There was a playful tilt to his lips, that when paired with the beard he’d been growing, was devastatingly handsome. His eyes twinkled as he stalked towards me, both emerald and brown depending on the source of lighting.
There was once a time where that playfulness was nonexistent, where his carefree nature was an act he put on for the world. Despite how much Lola and Breyona cared about him, they never truly realized how much he was suffering inside.
I didn’t either. Not for a while, anyway.
Mason’s arms slid around my waist. It didn’t take much to send my mind drifting back into the past, to how our relationship first started. Admittedly,
I’d gotten on his nerves, but I liked to think that he needed the challenge. More than once we teetered on the verge of enemies, but for the most part, we lingered on the cusp of something more.
I sighed when his lips skated along my cheek. His touch was soothing, relaxing in the best way. It was nothing like the otherworldly sparks fated mates felt, but it was close enough.
“You know, I wouldn’t mind seeing you pregnant. Your skin glowing, stomach round with my child, your scent even sweeter than it is now.”
My heart skipped a beat. Hell, it might’ve stopped completely if it weren’t for my magic. In the four years we’d been dating, he had never said anything quite like this. There was so much between us that remained unspoken.
Like the topic of his actual mate.
“Oh, is that so?” I chuckled, craning my head to smirk up at him. The strands of his light hair fell across his forehead tickling my nose. A smile spread across his face as I wrinkled my nose and blew the hair out of the way.
Despite how relaxed I felt around him, how my feelings had long surpassed a simple crush, the thought of Mason’s actual mate was never far from my mind.
Lola herself had warned me ahead of time. Hearing the story of how Mason was not only rejected but suffered through his mate’s death was agonizing.
It was a pain I could never fully understand, but with it came a slew of worries.
Would I ever be enough for him? Would he ever truly be happy with me?
I hid the dark turn my thoughts had taken behind a smile, but no matter how far my cheeks stretched and how brightly my eyes sparkled with joy for Holly and Tristan’s baby, I couldn’t help but notice the mating mark on both of their necks.
Never have I wanted one so badly.
The weeks after Holly’s pregnancy announcement blended into one. Each and every morning I’d venture off to work, spending those precious minutes before my shift with Mason, who never once failed to make my lunch.
Teaching Witchcraft 101, seeing the beaming faces of my students, became something I was wholly passionate about. Never in my life did I think that I’d be teaching the next generation of witches, watching them learn from the mistakes of the past as they grew in power.
Still, even with all this happiness in my life, there was something missing-something I craved more and more with each passing day. Perhaps I was selfish for wanting this when I already had so much, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.
Which is exactly why I called on the one person I knew who could help me.
“I’m actually really glad you wanted to hang out. Gives me a break from the twins.” Lola giggled.
She pulled out a chair at the little café we were at and took a seat. I’d ordered our coffee’s ahead of time, along with an assortment of pastries. Given Lola’s sweet tooth, I figured she wouldn’t have any specific preferences. When a few customers passed, she nodded at them in greeting.
How she dealt with the constant string of admirers was beyond me, but that’s why she was the one in charge.
I smirked, brushing the crumbs from the croissant I’d been picking at off my la*p. “They tiring you out already? Those terrible two’s sure are something, aren’t they?”
“Oh, you don’t even know the half of it.” Lola huffed, snatching her coffee off the table. She scooped the dollop of whip cream off the top and plopped it into her mouth. “Actually, you might considering you’re a witch too.”
“Go on, lay it on me.” I encouraged her with a smirk.
“I wish there was some guide for raising twin tri- brids. It’s a blessing in disguise that only Ramona can use magic, because I’m not sure what I’d do if it were both of them. At least with Maven it’s the blood drinking I have to worry about.”
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. “He’s two years old and already worried about blood?”
“Are you kidding me? He loves the stuff. Loves it more than people food, which is a bit concerning. Tristan and Giovanni say this is normal for a Vampire child though.” She huffed, her shoulders sagging with relief.
“Well, it’s not unusual for witches to display their magic this early. Especially if they’re powerful.” I couldn’t help but add. Lola had so much on her plate already. Adding two magical children to the mix was bound to cause some additional stress. “If you ever need some time away, I’d be more than happy to watch them. You know I love your kids.”
“Ramona has been asking about her Aunt Clara and Uncle Mason.” Lola chuckled. After taking a deep drink from her coffee, a speculative look crossed her face. “Anyway, how have you been doing? You looked a bit distraught at Holly’s gender reveal last week.”
Even though Holly knew her unborn baby was a girl, Lola and I still went through the motions of hosting a big get together. Holly had little to no normal experiences, and this was one we decided she couldn’t do without.
“That obvious, huh?” I muttered, my stomach twisting into knots. On second thought, coffee was probably the last thing I needed during a time like this. I pushed the steaming cup closer to the center of the table, focusing my nerves on a blueberry muffin topped with thick granules of sugar.
With a frown painting her face, Lola leaned forward and reached out for I my hand. The ridiculously long strands of her ebony hair fell over her shoulder, inches away from the cinnamon bun with it’s sticky coating.
“Hey, what’s wrong? Things might be different now, but our friendship hasn’t changed. If you need anything, you know you only have to ask.”
I took a deep breath before forcing the words past my lips. Hesitating would only prolong the torture, and I’d put myself through the ringer enough times this past week alone.
“I was just wondering if-if Werewolves could put their mark on anyone, even if that person wasn’t their Goddess given mate.” It took a great deal of effort not to cringe at myself. Anyone with two ears and a working brain would know who I was talking about.
“They can, but why would they want-” She stopped in her tracks, and this time I did cringe.
Understanding flashed in Lola’s eyes, making her unnaturally bright blue tone’s even brighter.
“Mason never marked her… just so you know. Clara, he’d be a fool not to mark you. I’m sure if you asked him, he’d leap at the chance.”
My stomach dropped. Suddenly, the blueberry muffin I’d been picking at no longer seemed appetizing. “I can’t just ask him that. What if he thinks I’m trying to replace his actual mate? What if.. what if he doesn’t want to?”
“Look, all I know is that he’s changed since you came into the picture. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this happy before. I think you should take the risk and ask him, Clara. I think his response will surprise you.”
Lola spoke with such confidence that it was hard not to buy into it. It filled my chest, mingling with the mouthwatering scent of roasted coffee beans and flaky pastries. I took a deep breath and nodded. “Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll ask Mason to mark me.”
“Good. I can’t wait to see his mark on your neck.”
Lola winked, beaming at me from across the table.
She took another gulp of her coffee, making a sound low in her throat as she gazed at it almost lovingly. “Actually, there was something I needed to ask you in return.”
“Oh.” I replied, just a tad surprised. “ls it about the Magisterium? You already know there’s a spot open for Ramona once she becomes of age, but I wouldn’t mind starting some basic training with her once she’s able to walk and talk”
“It’s not that, but I’ll definitely take you up on that offer. This is more about Mason and whether or not you think he’d be interested in…a job of sorts.”
My eyebrows lifted on their own accord. Mason was a warrior by nature, but he didn’t have a set job here in the pack. He’d run patrol with some of the other’s when he was on call, but that was about it.
“What’s the job for?” I asked.
“Well, Asher’s Beta is retiring. He’s getting up there in age and his mate is pregnant with their fourth.
Pretty soon he’s going to have a pack of his own to run.” Lola said with a giggle. “And well, Asher was wondering if Mason would take his place.”
Lola left it to me to reveal the good news, not that I minded one bit. I all but raced home, barging through the front door of our little town house with enough speed to send Mason scrambling in the kitchen.
“Sh!t, Clara! You scared the hell out of me.” His head appeared from around the corner, a lopsided grin spreading across his face. A faint blush stained his cheeks, telling me that I wasn’t the only one planning something.
“Not expecting me back so soon?” I smirked. “Whatcha up to?”
Mason’s eyes widened just a fraction before he disappeared inside the kitchen. There was a series of clanks and bangs that sounded a whole lot like an avalanche of dirty dishes. I crept closer to the kitchen, peeking my head around the corner just in time for Mason to bulldoze his way past.
“Actually, I’m not quite done in there yet.” He chuckled nervously, rubbing at the back of his neck.
No matter how hard I tried to peer around him, he managed to get in the way. With a huff, he guided me by my shoulders into the living room.
“What exactly are you up to in there?” I mused, seconds away from making a break into the kitchen.
That lopsided grin of his returned, forcing my heart to skip a beat. He flopped down on the couch, then grabbed me by my hips, pulling me down on top of him. A laugh flew past my lips as I settled onto his lap, tangling my fingers in the ends of his overgrown hair. He’d spoken about getting it cut a few times in the past, but I actually loved the rugged look it gave him.
“You know how last weekend you and Holly designed your dream houses? Well, I might’ve borrowed a few pages.” He admitted, a hint of emotion twinkling in his eyes. There was obvious excitement, but it was tainted by an uncertainty that bled into his voice. Mason was worried I wouldn’t like what he’d done.
A beaming smile tugged at my lips, the joy that followed filling my heart until I thought it might burst. No one-not a single person in my life had gone to such lengths for me. I smoothed my fingers over the coarse strands of his beard before pressing my lips against his.
When I pulled away, fighting the moisture that gathered in my eyes, my head was swimming.
“When do I get to see it?” The obvious eagerness in my voice made his shoulders relax.
“It’s going to take me sometime to buy the rest of the supplies, and before you offer, I don’t want any of your money going to this. This is a gift for you.”
It had been a sore spot between us that I was the only one with a job. Mason had tried a few here and there over the years, but he wasn’t passionate about them. This was exactly why the position of Beta was perfect for him. Mason loved this pack with his whole heart.
“Hmm, I think I have just the solution you’re looking for.” I hummed; my eyes fluttering shut as he nuzzled his cheek against my own. Each inhale of my scent he took sent a warmth surging lower, one I couldn’t focus on if I were going to relay the good news.
“Oh, really?” Mason chuckled against my neck, grazing his lips and teeth over the sensitive skin. “
You got a job for me, Clara?”
“Not me. Lola.” I gasped. Words were becoming hard and the more he played my body like a finely tuned instrument, the more I found them slipping away. I distanced myself, planting my hands on his cheeks to steady my thoughts.
Mason c0cked his head to the side. “Lola has a job for me?”
“Yes, and the sooner you let me finish, the sooner you can help me out of this dress.” I winked.
Now I had his full, undivided attention. He sat up straighter, his eyes no longer wandering down to my cl3avage. The sudden shift coaxed another string of laughter from my mouth.
“How would you, Mason, feel about becoming the next Beta of this pack?”
Disbelief made his eyes shimmer like amber jewels. They were speckled with fragments of endearing innocence that matched the way his jaw dropped, and voice failed.
“You.. Lola.. this can’t be..” He sputtered, working through the pieces one by one until he managed a strangled, “..are you serious?”
“Of course, I’m being serious. She told me about it earlier today. You were the first person they thought of for the job. What do you think?”
“What do I think? I think you’re amazing.” He stared at me as though I were the one to get him the job, when in reality, it was himself.
Nibbling on my lower lip, I decided to get on with it and voice what had been weighing on my mind for weeks now.
“There is something else…something I wanted to ask you.” I exhaled slowly.
“You know you can ask me anything, baby.” Mason replied, confusion overshadowing his joy.”
Here goes nothing. “I want you to mark me.”
Mason blinked several times, his lips opening and closing, though no words came out. A faint spattering of color covered his cheeks, making me wish desperately that my magic had to do with feeling emotions. Goodness, I would’ve killed to know what he was thinking in this moment.
Slowly, a smile unfurled across his face, one that made my heartrate skyrocket. He rummaged through his pocket, fishing out a black velvet box that made my world come to a screeching halt.
“I’d love to mark you, Clara, but only if you’ll marry me.”
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English