~This chapter has an unedited version with a sexually explicit scene, which can be read for free on Radish Fiction, or on Wattpad in The Nitty Gritty which can be found on my profile~
I was still trying to catch my breath when I heard Titus's voice coming down the hall. I had barely made it in time. After making sure the cake was mostly in one piece, I stood in front of the doorway to wait for him. Hopefully this worked out okay.
"Aden, I'm back," he parted the curtains and sniffed the air. "Something smells really good."
I hugged the black werewolf. "Happy birthday."
He shifted to human and kissed my cheek. "Ah, thank you. At least, someone being nice to me today. Darius is seriously on one." Titus went to his stack of clothes and grabbed clean shorts. "The hunt didn't go so well, and of course he blames me." My mates shook his head. "It's been awhile since I've seen him that uptight, but my dad did chewed him out for slacking on his responsibilities." Once dressed, he stood up and straight and flashed me a grin. "So I can guess what was in the box."
Grabbing his hand, I led him over to the desk. "Surprise." I waved my hand over the cake covered in crumbled up bacon. It looked alright for an ameature frosting job. My mom would have been proud.
"Aden." He pressed me to his side. "Thank you. This is really sweet of you."
"Blow out the candles and then we can have some."
I picked up the box of matches my mom had sent and struck one. The wick lit above the number four, before I lit the number two.
"24," Titus breathed. "I'm getting old."
"Tell me about it," I said dramatically. "I married an old geezer."
He pushed up behind me and draped his arms over my shoulders. "Hmmm... I did luck out and score myself a sexy twink."
My mouth fell open, and I peered back at him. "Where did you even hear that word?"
Titus laughed. "I'm more verse in human gay culture than you think." He winked at me.
I glanced at the candles. "You better blow them out before the wax drips."
"Are you going to sing to me?"
My face flushed red. "It's weird to just do it by myself."
"But I want to hear that fun song we sang at your birthday."
"Fine," I breathed.
I did a horrible rendition of Happy Birthday, muttering through some of the parts. Titus was enjoying himself, though. He had a huge smile on his face throughout the whole song. Once I finished, he leaned down and blew out the candles.
"This is so fun," he chuckled. "I love how humans celebrate things. I've been wanting to try blowing out candles since your birthday."
Seeing how happy he was made today worth it. Titus might be 24, but he was still an overgrown pup, who got excited about the simplest of things.
Opening the package of paper plates and silverware, I cut up the cake and dished us each a slice. "I did vanilla. Hopefully, it's not too sweet."
He gave me a quick peck on the lips. "I'm used to it, since you're so sweet."
I rolled my eyes. "You're so cheesy."
Titus beamed at me. He was a little too proud of himself.
We went to side on the ledge around the bed. The bacon actually tasted good mixed with the cake. I glanced at Titus to see his plate nearly empty. Thank god, he liked it. I knew he wasn't eating it out of pity when he went to cut himself another piece. Finishing mine, I set it to the side and went to get the present from my parents and the one I did for him.
Kneeling on the bed in front of him, I held them up to Titus. "My parents wanted me to tell you happy birthday. My mom also wants you to call her when you get a minute."
He took the package covered in green wrapping paper. Tearing it off, he flipped the box around, but there wasn't a picture on the outside. A claw grew from the tip of his finger, and he sliced through the tape. Reaching into it, he pulled out a really nice duffle bag.
"Oh wow," he opened it up. "This is made from so quality stuff."
"It's a come visit us now gift," I sighed, shaking my head. "My mom's not very subtle."
"Nothing wrong with that," Titus replied with a shrug. "I will be personally thanking her for the awesome present." He put it to the side and took the other present from me. He carefully unwrapped it and held the small wooden box with rounded edges in his hand.
"I hope you like it," I said, rubbing my hands on top of my thighs.
He ran his finger over the T and A caved on top. It had taken forever to get those to look decent, and not like a pocketknife hack job. A simple mountain scene ran around the sides.
"There's something inside," he said, when something clanked against the wood. Lifting off the lid, he smiled.
"Since we can't wear them very often. Rings and being a werewolf doesn't really work," I laughed hesitantly.
"Thank you." Grabbing my chin, he pulled me to him and pressed his lips to mine. "I'm really lucky my mates is so talented that he can make things like this for me." He stood and went to put the box with our wedding rings inside on the shelf with all the wooden figurines I had made over the years.
I felt a little self conscious when he tucked the box between the two wolves and positioned them evenly on either side. He was being really sentimental today.
Fidgeting, I brushed my hair to the side. "Um... so I have one more gift, well it's sort of a gift."
His head fell to the side, and he looked at me confused. "What would that be?" he laughed.
"Titus," I rubbed my forehead. "You're killing the mood."
"Oh," he said dramatically, wandering over to me. "That kind of gift."
"Don't make this even more awkward, please."
He knelt beside me and kissed my neck. "Birthday sex, this is new."
"It would be," I said in sharply. "This is your first birthday we spent together."
His fingers curled around my biceps, sliding up toward my mating bite. "Why are you so nervous?"
"It's your birthday," I exclaimed. "I just want to make it special and all this shit is whirling around in my head." I looked over my shoulder at him. "You have no idea how hard it is to find eggs in this pack. Thank god for River."
He chuckled in my ear. "The little egg bandit." His other hand wrapped around my waist and traveled upwards. "There's nothing to be nervous about, Aden." Titus removed my shirt before laying me down on the bed. "I'm going to love you thoroughly, you can be sure of that."
Stretching my arms over head, I glanced around the room. Titus was missing along with the rest of the cake and his two gifts. Wasn't my most ideal situation to wake up to, but there had been much worse.
Climbing out of bed, I shifted to human and searched for my clothes. My mating bite was still tingling after Titus had reclaimed me. I ran my fingertips over the small pink marks. He mated with me and then ran off.
After pulling on my shirt and slipping into some shorts, I entered the hallway. I started for the main chamber, figuring he had went to show his parents what he had gotten for his birthday.
A few werewolves were scattered about the entrance to the eating chamber. I had slept longer than I thought. No wonder Titus had ran off. His attention span wasn't the greatest when he started to be even slightly bored or hungry. I walked down the hallway to the alpha's room and could hear a familiar voice.
I peeked around the corner to see Titus with the alpha and Rose sitting on the mounds of furs in werewolf form.
"Aden," said Rose when she spotted me. "This is stunning." She held up the box.
Titus reached out a hand to me. I went to him and sat down at my mate's side.
"I was kind of paranoid that he might lose it," I said with a weak smile. "The chain thing wasn't working out when Titus goes full wolf."
"Full wolf," scoffed Titus.
"You know, on all fours," I exclaimed.
He shook his head with a grin. "I know, I just thought it was funny that you put it that way."
Yelling blared down the hall, causing me to jump.
Rose clutched her chest. "Good heavens, what is going on?"
Cursing and howling soon followed.
"Darius," muttered the alpha. "One day I hope he grows up." Xavier stood and matched from the room.
I sucked in my lips. "Should you go with him?"
"Oh no, my dad can handle Darius," Titus assured me. "He's been doing it since we were pups. He's a pro at it."
"A little too good," sighed Rose. "We had a piece of your cake, Aden. Xavier even had a couple bites. He was very relieved that it wasn't chocolate."
"He's had some of my mom chocolate pie at thanksgiving."
"That's not pure chocolate," stated Titus. "Otherwise, he won't have eaten it."
"You guys are so picky," I rubbed my forehead.
Rose chuckled. "I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so. I've had to deal with them constantly complaining when it comes to trying something new for years."
"Yeah, I'm so looking forward to that," I said dryly.
Titus shrugged. "I like what I like."
The shouting started up again. This time the alpha's voice joined his son's.
"Maybe you should go check on them," said Rose. "The last thing the lower rank need to witness is a fight between those two."
"They've seen it plenty of times." Titus stood and grabbed my hand.
I took the box from Rose and picked up the duffle bag.
"I put the rest of the cake in the fridge, so just come get the key when you want to eat the rest," she said as we left the room with a wave.
"Titus?" I asked, once we were far enough from the alpha cave we couldn't be overheard.
"Why don't you call Rose, mom. Like I know she's technically not your mom, but she still raised you."
He shrugged. "Because I didn't want to forget about mine. Rose knows I love her like my mother, but I just decided when I was a teenager to call her Rose. She understands. She thought it was a great way to never forget about my birth mom."
I took in a deep breath. "Werewolves are so complicated."
"Yeah at times." He hugged me to his side.
The closer we got to the main chamber the louder the yelling became. We arrived and even Jericho was trying to calm both the alpha and Darius down. Both stood in werewolf form, clearly second away from lashing out.
I swallowed hard and held tightly to Titus's hand. "Maybe you should leave them alone. I don't want to spend the rest of your birthday patching you up when Darius finally blows."
"Just wait here." He kissed the side of my head before heading over.
Bouncing my leg nervously, I bit my lip. If Darius hurt my mate, I might kick his ass. It was Titus's birthday for godsake, he could at least be a bit more considerate.
"I told them no! I told them," barked Darius. "Those damn omega won't listen. They never listen! Be the alpha for once, and do something about it."
My chest tightened at his words. Even I knew that speaking to Xavier like that would end in a brawl I hoped to never experience. Titus arrived in time to hold his father back.
"You will mind your tongue with me boy," stated the alpha, pointed a clawed finger at his son. "I am your alpha, and you will respect me."
"The fucking omega don't even respect you," shot back Darius with a sneer. "Why should I?"
"Woah dad," Titus pushed his father back.
"I'm going to kick your ass!" yelled Xavier. "I am your father and alpha, and I will remind you where you stand in this pack."
Forget the middle ranks, I didn't want to see this. With so many sets of teeth and sharpen claws, there was going to be a lot of blood.
Titus traded Jericho places and held his brother by the shoulders. "Darius, breath alright. This isn't like you. You're not going to fight dad over this. It isn't worth it."
"The omega," hissed Darius.
"I know," cut in Titus. "I know, and I'll handle it. Alright? Please, just calm down."
Darius was still heaving, but a little tension left his body.
"See, everything fine. I'll handle the omegas. How about you take the rest of the night off and go relax with Storm, sound good?" He patted his brother on the back.
"Fine." He stormed passed my mate, sending the lower ranks scattering to different hiding places.
I stood frozen as he marched by me. My eyes followed him as he disappeared down the tunnel. Something really wasn't right with him. Hearing footsteps, I turned to see Titus hurrying over. Jericho was seeing to the alpha, while also trying to keep the pack members from panicking. I had a feeling this was something new for all of us.
"Are you alright?" Titus massaged my shoulder.
"Yeah, it's just... wow."
He put his arm around me, and we started back to our room. "Darius will be fine in the morning. He just needs to cool off."
"Let's hope." I glanced over my shoulder to see lower ranks darting around. River was among them. The poor thing must have been terrified. He was extremely timid to being with.
Arriving at our room, I sat down on our bed as Titus put his things away.
"Your brother's kind of scary when he's mad."
"I know," Titus sat across from me. "I grew up with him. I survived his teenage years."
I cocked an eyebrow. "I doubt you were that great of a teenager yourself."
"Better than him, at least."
We laid down, and I rest my head on his arm. Titus softly brushed his fingers along my arm. He seemed a little withdrawn.
"Are you worried about him?" I peered up at his face.
"No, Darius will be fine. He's a hothead. Just look at his fur."
I shoved him back. "Watch it."
Laughing, he hugged me to his chest. We remained like that for awhile, just laying there in silence.
"What is it then?" I said softly.
"My birthday is always a little bittersweet," he whispered. "When you asked about my mom, it just reminded me that today's also the day she died."
"I didn't mean to upset you."
"You didn't. My dad explained it to me enough time that I know she dreamed of being a mother. It's what she always wanted, and even though she gone now, she's still my mom. She always will be."
"The reason why you call Rose by her name," I said in a hushed voice. "You've never told me her name."
"Joyce," he laid his head against mine. "Her name was Joyce."