Cameron was lying on his right side in Shiloh’s bed while she lay on her left facing him. They had spent hours talking and getting to know each other. Nothing was too insignificant or boring, everything was vital. Shiloh was still reluctant, but Cameron could feel how much stronger their bond got. He knew that she felt it too, albeit not as much as he did.
They shared everything that ever happened to them. Shiloh told him everything about the losses in her life, her parents and grandparents, and promised to tell him more about the Real Nigel, as they now referred to, in the morning. She also told him about her business and how some people called her ‘The Merchant of Death’. The term soon became a household name in the world of war, despite it not being accurate at all. Everyone of importance knew who Shiloh Andrews was, and while some applauded her initiative to reduce casualties, others despised her. In many ways, she destroyed them with her new approach to warfare.
Cameron listened to her, and after getting to know her better, he tried to reassure her that those people were just jealous and money-driven. Sure, she built and sold weapons, but she also created defensive devices and advanced medical equipment. Even her nanobots were revolutionary and he needed to make her see that the part of her that made weapons was smaller in comparison to the part that saved lives.
Wanting to share some of his battlefield experiences with her, Cameron explained how he dealt with rogues but didn’t go into too many gory details. He didn’t want to scare her or disgust her, not when they made so much progress. He told her about his Alpha duties, about regular meetings with other alphas, about alliances and possible conflicts. He wanted her to know every aspect of his life because for the first time ever he felt like he didn’t need to meet anyone’s expectations. She listened to him quietly, asking questions when she didn’t understand or offer a suggestion to improve something when she felt his approach was too stubborn.
When the topic of exes came up, Cameron followed his mom’s advice and came clean about his escapades. He told her how depressed he was that he didn’t find her and how he thought he just wasn’t worthy to have a mate after his mom made him see his own mistake.
It made Shiloh jealous to hear about the girls he had been with, but on the other hand, she was not so innocent herself. What really bothered her was how he beat himself up over it.
“Cam,” she said, and he looked at her with a small smile. “Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone has a past. I have one. Might not have been as extensive as yours, but I don’t see why I should hold it against you,” she told him truthfully as she caressed his cheek. He leaned into her touch and closed his eyes.
“It’s different,” he replied with a heavy sigh. “You didn’t know about mates, I did. I just chose to be a jerk.”
“Cam, come on. Look at me,” she urged him. When he finally opened his eyes, Shiloh held her breath. They were so mesmerizing that for a moment she forgot what she wanted to say.
“Babe, are you alright?” he asked her.
Over the past four hours since they returned from her lab to her bedroom, their names evolved from Shiloh and Cameron to Shi and Cam or kitten, babe or baby. Cameron’s favorite, that Shiloh used for him, was big, bad wolf. While she had made a joke at first, it kind of stuck and Cameron didn’t mind. When she asked why he kept calling her kitten, he explained that she reminded him of a little kitten, shy and attention-seeking, but once she came out of her shell was the most adorable, cute and loving little fur ball. Shiloh laughed at his explanation, but didn’t ask him to stop. Hearing her laugh was music to his ears. He wanted to spend the rest of his life making her smile and laugh and just make her happy. Nothing in the world was more important than his mate. He finally understood his father. He made a mental note to talk to him and ask for his advice, because hard times were ahead for them, and Cameron didn’t know how to handle them.
“Hm?” Shiloh hummed, finally out of her trance. Cameron grinned at her, and kissed the tip of her nose.
“You were someplace else. Where were you?” he asked, amused.
“Just thinking,” she answered, trying to force back the blush that was slowly forming.
“About?” he insisted.
“That I don’t like to think of you with someone else, but I like it even less when you blame yourself for something that happened a long time ago. We can’t change the past, and I think, if given the choice, we shouldn’t,” she told him truthfully.
Yes, she had thought of the past for a long time, even wondered what she would have said or done to stop her parents from going on their romantic weekend or her grandfather on his hunting trip, but in the end it wouldn’t have mattered. Shiloh believed in a deterministic universe, which meant, while people had their free will, they couldn’t escape their fate. That was also the reason why she didn’t put in question the fact that she was Cameron’s mate. She didn’t like it, because she was slowly dying, but she realized that one way or another it didn’t matter. One way or another she would reach her destination and her life’s choices would only determine how fast she would get there.
If she would have chosen a simple life, she might have still found Cameron one way or another, but perhaps it would have taken longer. Or worse, he could have come into her hometown just as she had passed. She couldn’t escape her fate just as much light couldn’t escape the gravitational pull of a singularity.