Disguise

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There Was a Bug

The car ride back was tense. It was a three hour journey, but we hit the main town in twenty minutes itself. The streets were bustling with activity. There were people everywhere, some dressed fancily as they made plans for the night. I was exhausted. Next to me, Xena had woken up in between and then gone back to sleep again.

Reece was sitting shotgun, while Paul (I found out his name), was driving the car at dangerous speeds. He was a talkative chap. Not once did he pick up on the tense atmosphere in the car. He had to assure me, several times, that werewolf reflexes were amazing and that the current speed was in fact, slow.

His words didn’t help me fall asleep. My hand was patting Xena’s head unconsciously, she moved around from time to time but otherwise slept through peacefully. Reece hadn’t said a word since we took off. Paul told me a lot about himself, and I was glad for the distraction. Otherwise those smoldering eyes that kept looking at me from the side view mirror would reduce me to ashes. He honestly couldn’t be so mad at me. I had to do what I had to do. Even he would do the same thing.

I couldn’t believe that he made me feel this way, like I was some irresponsible child who was getting the silent treatment. Well, I’d show him some silent treatment of my own!

“This, right here ma’am is where Miss Sienna studied.” He pointed to a large, medieval building smack in the middle of a royal looking compound. “It’s been standing here since the last 100 years, this building.” He told me and I nodded, taking it in.

“How come Sienna studied at a boarding school while you were with me?” I asked him, silent treatment be damned. Paul turned towards Reece, waiting for an answer as well. I was tempted to remind him to keep his eyes on the road.

“She- she had some issues with authority.” He told me vaguely, and I got the feeling that this was a touchy subject.

Paul however, did not. “Miss Sienna was a wildfire! I remember her from when she was small, such a free spirit! Nothing could tie her down!” There was a fond smile on his face at whatever memory he was playing in his head. I felt myself smile. I had hardly had a chance to know her because she was always away. Reece missed her immensely on some days, not that he showed it. I made a mental note to ask Sienna about it later.

A large hand gently shook my shoulder awake. I mumbled in annoyance and then the hand went to cup my cheek. The small sizzle of current only served to make me more comfortable.

“Flora we’ve reached. Come on now.” he mumbled softly into my ear and a smile made its way to my face. “Hmmmm.” I told him.

“Flo, Xena’s already on her way inside. I told her we would catch up.” He told me again, and I frowned. It didn’t matter. I was comfortable here.

“Why do you always force my hand, love?” He whispered softly and I gave him no reaction. My mind was a soothing haze. I felt one hand go below my knee, while the other one went behind my neck. My smile widened at the closeness.

And then I began to slide. Before my eyes even opened a peep, I was out of the car and three feet in the air. I grumbled in annoyance. The car had been so warm! My eyes peeled open to see a magnificent chest, flexed due to him carrying my weight. My hands lazily slid to the back of his neck as I leaned closer to him, the smile persistent on my lips. Then I realized that we were walking among an entire crowd of people like this.

Instantly, I shuffled, trying to smoothly get out of his grip. My head turned away from his chest to notice other beings and I turned red. Everyone outside was staring at us. More specifically, me.

“Reece, put me down!” I whisper yelled, but his only response was to hold me tighter. I let out a groan. “Reece! I mean it! I can walk, put me down!” I said again, trying to put more weight into my words.

I was in his t-shirt, my hair a sleepy mess, and Reece stood shirtless. What would the people think?!

Did they..did they even know I was his mate? Did werewolves even date other people apart from their mate?

Reece grumbled something like, ‘Oh now she wants to walk,’ but otherwise did not put me down. His steps were unfailing and deliberately slow.

Having no other choice, I decided to hide my face from them and turned to plonk it into his chest. He laughed lightly, igniting the violent spark in me.

Without thinking, I opened my mouth and bit him on his upper chest.

“Oww!” He faltered in his steps, my body was slightly tossed into the air before his firm arms gripped me again.

A victorious smile made its way across my lips as I looked up at him evilly.

But to my horror, he was gleaming. I raised an eyebrow at him and his grin turned wider.

He was almost..glowing.

“Feel free to do that anytime.” He told me, and it dawned on me.

“Kinky bastard.” I swore under my breath, loud enough for him to hear. His grin widened and he still didn’t let me go.

I had to shy my face away from everyone from the entrance of the hotel to the reception, and into the elevator. I could feel several people’s gaze, including Alyssa the receptionist, and Atticus the manager.

He might as well have buried me in a ditch somewhere because I wouldn’t be able to face people again.

“Now, can you put me down? I’m more than wide awake.” I grit out, my annoyance rising all over again.

This man, he wasn’t good for me. He drove me crazy.

He gently placed me down, as if I were a porcelain doll, before moving closer to the doors.

Reece placed a key card on the elevator panel screen and the basement buttons lit up. He pressed the third one.

I could tell that he was still fuming. I knew that I hadn’t been wrong in what I did. And hence, I fumed as well.

The tense atmosphere made a vengeful return as we stepped into the flat.

Xena was sitting on one of the couches, staring blankly ahead.

My attention immediately shifted to her. I wondered why she didn’t wait for me to wake up and come with her. I knew now.

“Xena?” She turned her head to me, her eyes with unshed tears. I flew to her right, bending down and landing on the couch right next to her.

Immediately, she moved her arms around me and broke into a huge sob.

Never had she held me so tightly.

I held her for a minute or two, waiting for her to calm down on her own. My own arms tightened around hers in an instant, wanting to shield her from whatever it was.

“Did s-she survive?” Was the first question she asked me, and suddenly, I understood. Xena fainted the moment these people got there. She probably thought that the woman...died.

I pushed her back to look at her and said immediately, “No! No Xen, she’s gonna make it!” I looked behind me to confirm it with my mate and he nodded immediately.

I was surprised at how calm Reece was. He stepped forward, unhindered by Xena’s breakdown and kneeled in front of her.

Xena watched him carefully, but her eyes were expressive just the same.

“I just got a message from my men that they’re treating her and she’s going to be just fine. You both saved her life.” That was apparently the right thing to say because a tiny smile lit up her face. I gave her another squeeze and she let out a shaky breath.

“I thought-”

“Yeah, I understand.” I told her.

“You can meet her soon if you’d like.” Reece told her and she looked taken aback.

Then, she hesitantly leaned forward and said, “yeah..”

Reece got up and started walking towards the door. “I’ll let you guys be now.” I think he sensed that Xena needed to be left alone with me.

Xena gave him a small nod while I actively avoided his gaze.

Our conversation is not over yet.

I jumped right off the couch when I heard his voice in my head. Looking behind, I saw him smirking at me in both amazement and pride, with a tinge of anger.

Before I could open my mouth and demand an explanation, the doors shut and the elevator began to move up.

Xena eyed me with alarm, “What happened?”

“I-I thought there was a bug,” I replied lamely.

An hour later, the two of us were in the middle of an episode of Brooklyn 99, when my stomach let out a huge growl. We’d completely forgotten about dinner. I could hear Xena’s trilling laughter at my expense. She took a minute to compose herself again before asking, “Want to go out or order in?”

She was much better now. Reece had messaged me that the woman should gain consciousness anytime tomorrow and that had considerably brightened her outlook. We’d decided that we’d stay in for tonight, both of us exhausted and in our pajamas. It was an early night kind of a day. I had worn matching shorts and top set while Xena just chose to wear track pants and a loose t-shirt.

I debated on her question. I was tired, and I would have to change, also, it was nearly 11 p.m. Paul had driven us back home in record time. “Let’s order in.” I concluded and she nodded immediately. We were both so lazy. I paused the episode and moved to grab the menu on the side table, scanning through the restaurant options.

In the end, we settled for a simple dinner of pizza, none of us wanting to get creative with our food. It had sure taken us a while to work up an appetite. The concierge assured us that even such a late night order would be catered to. We continued our episode.

Twenty minutes later we heard the familiar ding of the elevator. My heart rate sped up and I immediately understood why. We had an uninvited guest. Xena, oblivious to his identity, loudly yelled, “Come in!” Eager to devour the pizza.

The smell of the pizza hit us first, and then Reece walked into the spacious hall a large smile on his face. He was holding the square box in front of him, on the tips of his fingers like a skilled server might hold a tray full of glasses. Xena skipped the pleasantries and snatched the pizza box right from his hand. He gave her a playful chuckle.

“Looks like the monster is hungry.” He said, stealing the box back easily. She tried helplessly to take them from him once. Twice. Each time being too slow for his reflexes. Not once did the box slide off his fingers. Xena whined like a helpless child, and my smile grew wider. He gave her the box after a little while, when she huffed and sat in the corner petulantly.

I wasn’t a fool to notice that he hardly held eye contact with me. I knew he was still angry. Fuck that, I would enjoy my pizza. We sat in silence, with Reece occasionally swiping through Netflix. Xena would pause eating to comment on pretty much everything he chose, discarding most of the options. The girl had married Netflix. I stayed quiet most of the time, not because I was passive aggressive or anything, I was beyond that. I was simply enjoying watching them banter. Eventually, after much debate, we decided on watching a political thriller called Ms. Sloane. The three of us settled on the sofa, with me sitting in the middle and Xena and I sharing a cozy blanket.

The movie was very very interesting. It would be even more interesting if a certain blonde girl wasn’t snoring at the top of her lungs. Xena had crashed somewhere midway of the movie, passed right out. The two of us looked at her, sleeping half in and half out of the sofa. It looked uncomfortable, her neck would definitely be painful in the morning.

We continued watching the movie anyway.

The tension in the room matched the tension in the story line. I ignored it and paid attention to Ms. Sloane instructing her team about the opposition company. Reece tried to speak something near the end, but I shushed him, pointing towards the screen.

Yep, I was the queen of the cowards.

He was patient, I’d give him that. Every few minutes I’d see him fidgeting and itching to say something. I even caught him eyeing the remote once or twice, I suspected, in the plan of just switching the TV off. But he held his own.

But now, the credits were rolling and there was nothing left to do but switch the television off. I contemplated suggesting one more movie, but it was already half past one. Time to put on my big girl panties.

“So...” I muttered, leaving the sentence hanging. And then ever so slowly, Reece turned his head and his burning eyes met mine. I could see the murky green depths hiding a storm and suddenly the panties slipped off.

I flung the blanket of me, putting my half on Xena and announced a loud, “Goodnig-”

I should have known that werewolf reflexes didn’t recede at night. His steel hand wrapped around my wrist in a flash. I didn’t even make it one step away. I gulped, not wanting to make noise and wake up Xena who was still snoring loudly. Reece didn’t say anything, but his hand only tightened further, not yielding even an inch. I whimpered, my eyes on his hand wrapped on mine, trying to tug it out of his grip. He looked away, still seated on the sofa, his one hand extended to hold mine.

I was screwed.

“Reece-” I whispered, still tugging helplessly, “Let go!”

He didn’t reply to me. Instead, he got up and his other hand moved to grab both of Xena’s feet that were on the ground. He raised them easily, placing them on the couch in the area that we both vacated. Then he pulled her down using them, till she was sleeping straight on the couch, rather comfortably now. I struggled constantly, at the same time watching in awe at how easily he was maneuvering her while maintaining a death grip on me.

“Reece- look. Just let go please-” My words got stuck in my throat as he leaned forward and grabbed the bottom of the blanket, and then proceeded to pull it completely over Xena. He still hadn’t looked at me.

My heartbeat was rising; I was certain he could hear it, but he didn’t give any reaction. I grew more agitated with every second, nervousness clawing at my insides. I wanted to shake him for a reaction. It drove me crazy that he was acting like this. It burned me that he was ignoring me, like someone was slashing at my heart. Finally, he turned to me. I had stopped struggling and was simply staring at him in silence, and he was - at me.

I felt faint.

Then, without warning, he stretched my contained hand to the side with his before bending down. Next thing I knew, we were headed up the stairs, with me getting a fantastic view of his butt. He’d thrown me over his shoulder as if I was a t-shirt! I’d been so surprised that I didn’t even utter a sound.

It was like I blinked once and I could see the floor and his back. Then a flash of stairs and then suddenly my bedroom ceiling. Reece had flung me onto the bed and I bounced once but didn’t fall off. I was livid. He kicked the door shut as I sat up on the balls of my palms, glaring at him.

He glowered back.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” I yelled, not caring that Xena might hear us. I was beyond reasoning now. “Talking.” He answered back hotly, moving closer to the bed like a predator might stalk to its prey. I crossed my legs and pulled my hands to the front, palms open. “You can’t just throw me over your shoulder like some kind of a doll whenever you want!” I yelled, but it seemed to have no effect on him. He stepped closer. He’d thrown me quite the distance. I was surprised but uninjured. I knew he would never hurt me, but right now I wasn’t very keen on testing my beliefs.

“You will never put yourself in such a position again.” It wasn’t a request. “I will do what I think is right!” I boiled, crossing my arms over my chest and glaring at him. “I will not hesitate to control your freedom in this matter, love.” He told me in a steely voice and I froze.

“Is that a threat?” My tone was unyielding and strong. I moved my legs over the side of the bed and stood up. Reece crossed the remaining distance between us, and pushed me behind till he pinned me against the wall.

“It’s a promise, my love.” His breath fanned into my face making my head swirl. I remembered to be angry. Placing both my palms on his chest, I pushed him away roughly, he staggered back in surprise, but a ghost of a smile came over his face.

He stepped closer again, much more this time, nearly pushing me into the wall. I was plastered to him like a second skin, trapped between both his hands and his chest, feeling the hard planes of his front against my own, tender one. I whimpered softly, trying to move out of the airtight space. My face was tilted upward to face his, which was bent down to only allow a millimeter of space between us.

“It’s for your own good.” He spoke softly, trying to get me to listen to him through my struggles. I shook my head in annoyance. “It’s controlling.” I fought back against the urge to capture his lips with mine, even though he was teasing me relentlessly.

“You will have two guards with you at all times.” He informed me, his voice strenuous from our position. I suspected that me struggling against his front was not helping at all. My restraint broke and I went on my toes to make our lips meet.

His response was immediate and wild. His hands moved from the walls to my hips, squeezing them roughly but not hurting me. I moved mine to the back of his head and yanked him lower, not caring if the action hurt him. He responded by moving his hands lower and gripping my bottom tightly. I let out a gasp and the sly wolf took this as his opening. He pushed me against the wall and thrust his tongue into my mouth, plundering it thoroughly. I barely had time to respond as his hands cupped my butt and raised me up, before flinging me on the bed once more.

Then he was on me like a predator going for the kill. I’d thrown my hands up to stop him in his path but he caught them easily and held them both above my head in just one of his large hands. Suddenly, I was in a very vulnerable position and it both thrilled me and scared the living daylights out of me because I knew he was partly angry. His hot mouth was on mine in an instant while his other hand had snaked around my waist. All his weight was on me, crushing me to his chest and the soft mattress below. I could hardly breath in my surprise. He sure liked to fling things.

I was sure that my lips would be swollen but nothing could stop me. I tried to free my wrists from his hold but his fingers only tightened around them, making me feel powerless and exposed. I controlled nothing, and that was exhilarating as well as impossible. I couldn’t let myself be in such a position. The human instinct in me wanted control, because control harnessed safety and comfort. I couldn’t submit myself to someone so willingly because..

Because I was scared.

It was hard to admit that, but it was true. Reece was challenging me, pushing me to the reasonable limits I’d set for myself. He was asking me to submit to him, and in that, trust him. I couldn’t. Our tongues entangled and gave me shocks of pleasure that touched down to my very core. These sparks, they were sinful. They only made me think of one thing and that was to be connected to this man for every second of every minute.

But I still didn’t completely give in. I wriggled yet so, uncomfortable with our position and his easy access to my entire body, just laid out for him. Not that he tried anything more.

“Stop struggling-” He growled, when my lower body accidentally grazed him inappropriately. Although there was nothing appropriate about what we were doing.

“Let go of my hands!” I huffed back, speaking between rough kisses. He kissed me with more urgency, not letting me get a single word out. Annoyed, I bit his lip and he hissed. We stopped making out, both of us staring at the other. My hands were free again.

“I’m not roaming around with bodyguards all the time.” I told him through gritted teeth. Reece groaned in frustration, dipping his head closer to mine before shaking his head. “Too bad, my queen.” he told me and despite his blatant refusal, my heart leaped at the word ‘my.’

“I didn’t make a mistake going into the forest!” I told him, placing my hands on his chest to push him up. He gave a sharp laugh, “You think that only you bear the consequences of your decision?” He asked, his voice darker than usual. My hands were doing a ridiculous job at pushing him away.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I was getting out of breath.

“It means that if something happens to you, I might go mad. You know what happens when a werewolf goes mad?” He threatened and I gulped.

“Th-he rogue in the forest?” I asked him timidly, my hands at ease but still on his chest.

“That’s nothing darling. They weren’t even high ranking wolves. As a King, I’d do hundred times the damage he’s done.” I shivered under him. He leaned down upon me again, cocooning me in his arms, disallowing me movement. Small things were dawning on me as he spoke. How fragile this world was; how high the stakes were. Everyday I was getting glimpses of how deep the whole scenario was.

“Not to mention that, once mated, the kingdom will be affected by what happens to you, and me. Werewolves share a bond with their royal counterparts. Our pain is their pain.” He added, still embracing me tightly.

I was beginning to understand his point of view. I got where he came from, why his instinct to protect me was so powerful. It was for his entire nation. But I also knew that morally, everyone’s life had the same value, and I was determined to treat it that way.

“One guard.” I told him, conceding halfway. He broke into a grin on top of me.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“And one more thing.”

“Yes?”

“I need a favor.”

“What would that be?”

“Luca Deta. You know him. Xena has an interview tomorrow with him. I doubt she’s even in the head space for it. Is there any way you can get him to take another meeting the day after?”

“Consider it postponed.” He promised me.

I felt better immediately. I knew how important this was for her. I sent her a quick text, in case she woke up late and freaked about missing that meeting while I slept.

Reece pulled the covers over us, ignoring my protests of a wall as he carelessly threw all but two pillows on the floor.

“I know you’re still scared of me,” he whispered, reaching for the light switch.

“I’m no-”

“Don’t bother, love. I understand it from the way you behave.” He cut me off, as he cut the power to the light.

“So let’s start with the simple things.” He continued, and then reached for my midsection, pulling me tightly against him. I decided that I was too tired to fight him on this and shut my eyes.

It would be tough to get some sleep with my heart trying to ram a hole through my chest.

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