Vin could tell this battle could get ugly fast. “I don’t plan to be in the middle of a territory war.”
The vampires looked guilty as if just realizing Vin was still in the room while they tore chunks off each other.
“Mate, you can’t be traipsing around campus with those others.” Loren scowled, his handsome face set in adorable lines of disapproval.
Vin wanted to lick his face until he forgot how to frown.
“Vin has a good head on his shoulders, uncle. He’ll be fine at college.” Jess’s firm chin mirrored his uncles.
Vin couldn’t understand how he didn’t know they were related at first glance. Loren was a more mature, more beautiful version of Vin’s best friend. “I’m not leaving school. I’ll spend the weekends here but during the week I’ll be in my dorm.”
He didn’t know how to explain to Loren how Vin watched out for the kids in his hall. They were a bit mixed up but they looked to him for help. Even the giant twins came to Vin when they were having problems with their homework. Vin helped tutor and badger his friends into doing better. If he weren’t there a lot of them might not graduate.
Loren sighed and rubbed at his forehead as if he had an ache. Vin fought the urge to offer a head rub. Any contact with his beautiful mate right then would end with Vin giving into all of Loren’s demands.
“And if I don’t agree.”
Vin gave a stubborn look of his own. “It’s not negotiable.”
“You will look weak.” Another vampire, Mark if Vin remembered correctly wandered in. “They will think you can’t control your mate.”
“Fuck you I don’t need controlling.” Vin’s magic crackled against the palm of his hands. He’d zap the bastard before he took another step forward.
“All mates need controlling. If one isn’t the dominant partner what do you have?” Mark snarled.
“I don’t know…a relationship?” Vin refused to be pushed into a corner. He glanced over at his mate but Loren didn’t argue with Mark’s viewpoint. “Is that what you think too?”
He didn’t try to hide the hurt inside. Every time he’d thought of a mate in his future he’d thought of two people building something together. Not once had he formed an image of being controlled by another man.
“I have my position to think of,” Loren started.
Vin had had enough. He met Jess’s eyes. His friend nodded. Like always his best friend had his back. Vin wrapped his hand around Jess’s wrist and teleported.
They landed with a bounce on Vin’s bed.
Jess ground and threw himself backwards. “I fucking hate teleporting it makes me want to hurl.”
“Sorry I could’ve left you there. Your uncle would’ve brought you back.” He was almost certain of that.
“Fucking uncle. I can’t believe he didn’t stand up for you.”
“Yeah, me either.” Pain lodged into his chest. “Maybe I expected too much from our short bonding. I mean it’s not like he really knows me yet.”
Jess patted him on the back. “Don’t give up hope yet. Those older vamps can be set in their ways. Maybe he just needs his young mate to snap him out of it.”
“Maybe.” Despite Jess’s encouraging words Vin couldn’t move the lump from his throat or the stone weighing down his heart.
They spent the rest of the evening watching the latest paranormal spy show and eating popcorn.
He didn’t hear from Loren.