(Excerpt of Sororate Chapter Four)
Just then all of the Tribal Elders stood up, which prompted the bridal couple to stand too, as did everyone else.
“You have the blessing of the Lokoti Wolf over your union. You may leave us to start your new lives together. Go with the blessing of your Tribal Elders.” Chiron announced.
Declan held me close, as we stood back and waited for everyone to finish congratulating the ‘newlyweds’ before we could. I caught an expression of longing on his face, as we watched from afar the dressed-up couple greet the tribe together. I started to wonder if it wasn’t just that he missed out on having a Joining Ceremony, but maybe it’s because he still felt like an outsider sometimes?
My mate stuck out with his blonde hair and blue eyes against the majority of the Lokoti, with their black hair and brown eyes. There were a couple of members of the tribe who had black hair but whose eyes weren’t brown because they weren’t full Lokoti; like I wasn’t either.
I inherited my dark blue eyes from my maternal grandparents. My English grandmother had wavy, chestnut brown hair and bright blue eyes. My grandfather was three-quarter Lokoti, as his grandmother had also been Caucasian; so he had the strong Lokoti Werewolf build and black hair, but he too had blue eyes. Although there was a multi-cultural element to our tribe, Declan’s blonde hair still stood out.
Smilingly, I turned to my tall, strong, blonde-haired mate. “You look very handsome by the way, in your suit.”
“Really?” He looked on, pleasantly surprised.
“Yup.” I grinned. “A fancy black suit, suits you.”
“Yeah well, too bad my wife won’t let me wear a tie with it.” He jested.
He was referring to the fact that every time he tried to put on this fashion accessory, I was quick to remove it. With his thick neck thanks to his muscle bulk, it didn’t look right. I also told him to keep his top button undone because if he didn’t, he could look like he had no neck in a collared shirt.
“You didn’t need a tie baby,” I leaned in to say in a sultry voice. "You’re all man, so much so that the tie is jealous of you.”
A snicker escaped before he growled playfully, “Keep talking like that and you may find you won’t need clothes anymore, either.”
“Ah here we are, Uncle Declan and Aunt Bianca.” A male voice interrupted.
The middle-aged but strong appearance of Wade Elm, came to stand before us. He was a Lokoti Werewolf like his late grandfather, Stuart Elm had been. I was close to the Elm family, not just because I was once married to one. But because Grant’s older brother Ian, had been best friends with my father.
He complained, “Look at you two; your relatives are born, marry and die of old age and you continue to look like you belong in a fitness commercial.”
“Wade.” My mate greeted curtly, as he didn’t appreciate the Elm family humour. “Why aren’t you dead yet?”
Hastily, I moved along, "How’s it going, Wade?”
“Oh you know…” he sighed tiredly, “…my wife is elderly and my kids are having kids of their own and turning me into a grandparent. Just as I think I’ve got one set of childrearing done, my kids hit me up with looking after their own.”
“It’s a hard life.” I joked along.
“Tell me about it!” He rolled his eyes. “Meanwhile, look at the two of you. You’re both still strong as the youthful couple everybody envies, as Mr. European Werewolf and Mrs. Circulator.”
“I’m aging.” Declan said simply. “My wife isn’t.”
“Yes and isn’t it convenient that she just happens to be YOUR wife, Uncle Declan?” He ribbed. “When we’re on the hunt you don’t like to share your kill. And it just so happens you've also claimed the forever young female of the tribe.”
“Who said he picked me?” I joked back. “Maybe I picked him?”
“Hmm, let’s see...” Wade pretended to think about it, “…Aunt B has her pick of anything natural or supernatural in the world, let alone the tribe, and who does she choose? The meanest Werewolf both has to offer. Admit it Aunt B, he clubbed you over the head and dragged you back to his cave.”
“I’ll frickin’ club you, in a minute.” My mate snarled, bad-temperedly.
Wade laughed in good humour as he came to stand beside as he too, watched Maia and Forrest thank their well-wishers.
He spoke again, “Tell me, what’s it like seeing that 21 year old girl whom you helped raise with your endless babysitting duties, now embark on one of adulthood’s greatest trials such as marriage? Do you look on and think that in nine months, she could be enlisting your services to help her raise her kids?”
I watched the 19 year old
shake Forrest’s hand before he kissed his older sister on the cheek. He behaved so maturely, it felt surreal to
see. Mind you, with his girlfriend
standing nearby, I wondered if it would be his turn next? Brandon
“They grow up so fast.” I sighed sadly.
Declan agreed, "It seems like only yesterday we cooked for them, cleaned up after them and broke up their fights.”
“Maybe that’s where you went wrong?” The aging Werewolf mocked. “If you had just stepped back and let them kill each other; you wouldn’t have to worry about them reaching the age of procreation.”
Right at that moment, Wade’s grandkids Stioux and Maxine, ran in front of us and ceremoniously pushed the other onto the grassy ground.
“You see?” He shrugged. “I could break them up or I could save myself the grief. By letting ‘em kill each other before it’s too late, they’ll never grow up and produce litters of their own.”
Next, we saw a tired Julie walk over and pull up her kids by the scruff of their necks.
“Dad, a little bit of help, please?” She glared, before she chastised her children, "Look at the two of you! You’re getting dirt all over your good clothes!”
Wade let out a sigh as if this was asking a lot, before he looked our way; “thank fate that you don’t have any kids…really.”
With that, the grandfather tiredly walked after. He took hold of his grandson, as Julie dragged his granddaughter and all four of them rejoined the Elm clan.
Declan and I exchanged raised eyebrows as we both thought the same thing.
“OK…” we shifted uncomfortably.