Disguise

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The Mocking Coat from Lost and Found

“I know that you’re worried, Alpha, but this is brilliant!” A voice called out from somewhere beyond the room where I was sitting. It was late morning. More specifically, 11:45 a.m. and Xena had long since left for her interview. Yes, even mangled bodies didn’t stop the girl from doing her job. She’d left me a cute message saying that she didn’t want to wake me up and she felt fine and then added, ‘and I don’t want to step into that room and see something I can’t forget because Reece’s shoes are still here.’

The little devil.

Me on the other hand, I’d woken up to Noori’s hands shining a flashlight in my eye. Apparently I just didn’t respond to them earlier. And when I did respond it was to yell at her to ‘get the hell away from me.’ She was smiling regardless of my less than warm approach.

It took them twenty minutes to unhinge Reece from me, and for me to repeat a million times that I was completely fine. I felt fit as a horse. Or a dinosaur. Apparently I’d slept through from 4:47 a.m. till 11 a.m. like the dead, not responding to anything. Reece admitted to kissing me but I still didn’t respond. I think he was slightly miffed about that and I told him to stop watching Disney. Noori and the other doctor had miserably failed at hiding their cackles.

How they managed to do all this drama with Xena waking up, showering in her room and leaving for her meeting without suspecting anything is beyond me. Frankly, I was impressed.

And now, they had left me alone in the room with threats to not even step a foot on the ground, (as if) while they secretly spoke about me outside. What did they think I was? A child? The other doctor was a handsome man. He was Noori’s brother with both having the same complexion and natural red hair. I only caught his nickname - Nate - before Reece shifted the topic back to me. Ugh.

“She just passed out. You know that is inevitable Alpha, she is only human.” Nate’s clear voice was audible all the way upstairs and past my shut door.

Inevitable? What the hell does that mean?

“Yeah, she will get better at it once you guys mark and mate.” Noori supplied, her tone unabashed and I heard Reece grunt.

Mate? Mark?! How can they talk about our sex life like that? Our nonexistent sex life that is.

Deciding that I was having none of it, I flipped the blanket off me and walked towards the door.

“Or you know, you can alway-”

“No. That can’t happen. Not yet anyway. It needs to be her decision.” Reece’s sudden angry tone interrupted a new voice. Was that Grey?

“I agree with that. Have you even told her that this is a possibility?” Okay that was definitely Sienna.

Reece made another strangled sound and then I heard gasps from each and every one of them. Then I heard nothing. It was as if they just switched their frequency and I couldn’t hear it anymore. Deciding to not shy away, I slammed the door open and walked out and looked down.

It was a weird sight. They were all looking at each other, but their eyes were glazed over. Not one of them made a sound. I spotted Daniella and Hank standing near the foyer entrance as well. The hall was filled with breathing statues.

Whatever they were doing came to an end as they all looked up at my angry face and the truth dawned. They were mind linking about me! They must have heard my footsteps with their annoying ass hearing abilities!

“Why are you out of bed?”

“Why are you talking about me without me?” I shot back hotly.

“We were coming up to explain it to you.” Hank was such a sad liar.

“Have you even told me of what possibility?” Let’s get straight to the point.

Reece slapped a hand to his head, while the rest looked surprised that I’d even heard it. None of them responded.

“Don’t all talk at once.” I commented sarcastically and they had the decency to look ashamed.

“Flora, you don’t understand-” Daniella tried this time and that irritated me even further.

“Then perhaps, you should explain it.” I snapped and she hesitated, looking helplessly at Reece.

“Don’t be so stubborn-”

“Don’t be so secretive!” Honestly. This was exhausting. Who was Reece to call me stubborn?

“Leave me alone.” I warned and went back inside the room and slammed the door hard. By the time my body hit the bed I was visibly steaming. This was what the problem was! The million secrets that always surrounded them all. My stupid stupid ex friends. Why did I think that this time would be any different? Because he knew for sure that I was his mate?

Getting up once more I moved to lock the door. There was something wrong with me and they wouldn’t tell me what it was? What was I? Underage? Stupid possessive wolf species!

Deciding to not stay there for one more minute, I quietly made my way across the room, shuffling my bag for a particular item of clothing. Once my hands hit the distinct material, I took my phone, plugged it to the speaker and started a five hour playlist at full volume. That should be enough to cover my tracks. They could barely hear themselves over all this music. Surely they wouldn’t hear my footsteps. I then changed and grabbed the same lost and found coat that Roran had given me earlier today.

Inching towards the window on the right, there was an emergency exit that I quietly eased into. I made sure to drop Xena a message about my possible location.

The narrow fire escape was well lit along with plenty of natural light. The last time I was in here, it was to escape from a large, ferocious wolf who was fighting Atticus. I shivered at that memory. That was a horrifying day.

I reached ground level within moments, and headed for what helped me clear my head best. The swimming pool. Neither Jose nor Roran were in sight, probably because it was not their shift right now. Alyssa gave me a small but curious smile as she saw me come up through the fire exit and I nodded back. No point being bitter to people who weren’t creating problems for me.

I had an approximate maximum of half an hour before one of Reece’s cronies spotted me and reported back. I also figured that swimming was not the right succeeding action to passing out but the rebellious side of me couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that right now. Also, how would I know what the right succeeding action was until one of them told me what was even wrong with me? That ’s right. I did it because of them. To cool down seemed like the rather literal solution to it. Reece had asked me something about the water yesterday night, but today there was not a peep about it. Almost as if he had gotten his answer to that. I guess it was just a malfunction yesterday. I’m sure they fixed that already otherwise the pool would be off limits to the guests for safety purposes.

Here went hoping that Alyssa didn’t report me to the King. In a democratic time I lived with a ruler. Had Reece even told all the werewolves here that I was his mate? I doubted that because Roran was very surprised yesterday.

Walking towards the farther end of the pool I found an empty lounge chair and hastily dumped my coat and my slippers before diving into the pool in that scandalous bikini, all the while being aware that I was just making it worse for myself with the tempting and simultaneously participating in strenuous physical exercises.

They did say ‘don’t let your feet touch the floor.’ Well, that was exactly what was on the itinerary as I set out to begin my first lap. The distraction was welcomed. The water was barely warm and that was perfect. If it got too hot then swimming wasn’t as much fun. I got into the rhythm easily, my body loving the exercise already. I needed to work out more, I was losing my spunk. Turning for my fifth lap, I made it halfway across in one breath before coming up for air.

That’s when I spotted her. She was sitting just before the water, right in front of me. She blended in well, even going to the lengths of putting on a swimsuit, and from the way her body was glistening, sunscreen. April sat leisurely on the chaise lounge, her hand was holding a magazine, but her eyes were trained on me. To my credit, I didn’t falter in my stroke. I continued swimming, reaching closer towards her with each breath. If she would act nonchalant then so would I. She gazed down at me, keeping her magazine aside. She knew I knew she was here, but before she could say anything I shot off from her side of the pool to start a new lap.

Unfortunately she was still flipping through her magazine when my lap ended. Tired and needing to catch my breath, I had to stop. April’s eyes didn’t once stir away from me.

“Being rebellious, my Queen?” she asked me politely and yet I felt reprimanded. She had no idea why I was acting the way I was. I didn’t bother explaining it to her.

“Are you going to tell him where I am?”

She looked thoughtful for a second. At that moment, I began to wonder how old she was. Was someone as young as her even allowed to be a bodyguard? Didn’t she have a life of her own? Friends? College?

“I have obligations to my King.” She supplied, but something was going on in those blue eyes of hers. “But I only need to tell him if he asks me, right? Till then you’re free.” I sent a prayer up to the gods above for this wonderful woman in front of me.

“How old are you?” I couldn’t help myself. “Uh- I mean, aren’t you too young to be here guarding me?”

Her laughter was rare, but in this moment it was there. She had a trilling laugh, a very enriching sort. It made me smile along with her. Then, only confusing me further she said, “We werewolves have a long lifespan Luna, don’t you worry about that. ”

“I’m getting really tired of the Queens and Luna’s being thrown at me.” I mumbled, mostly to myself while turning away from her, ready to start a new lap now. “Unfortunately you must start to adjust to it, and not rebel.” Her voice startled me from behind. I let out a snort. Of course she heard me. No human would have ever been able to hear that over all the noise in the background.

But her words were running in my mind throughout the entire lap. When I reached back to my starting point, my mind was nearly bursting to speak. “I can only adjust when I know everything. If there’s so many secrets, what else can I be but wary?” She seemed to take my words into consideration, even dropping the magazine to her side. “Maybe it’s not secrecy but ease. Maybe it’s so that you don’t run away?” Her soft voice was nothing but a whisper, but in her words I could hear the fear. Did they really think that I was still scared of them? Of the whole concept?

Suddenly, I could see their point of view. For me, it was a few friends, a boyfriend. For them it was a Queen, a leader, a ..wife. I gulped at that last word. Of course I was scared. But even more scared when I didn’t know something. Why couldn’t they see that? Why did we protect people?

I realized that April was waiting for a reply. She didn’t show it as she casually gazed at me from the top of her sunglasses but her body leaning forward told me that this answer was very important to her. What was the best way to answer a question?

“Why would I run away?”

By counter-questioning the question.

She narrowed her eyes slightly, it looked like she was shying away from the glare by the Sun but I knew the truth. She was focused on analyzing my expression. Seeing what I thought of her words. “It’s funny how you don’t need a mind-link. You’re as expressive as a Ronaldo fan watching Portugal play.” My face flared at her words, and I hoped that the swimming exercise covered it well enough. Frowning, I turned away from her to start my new lap. “He’s coming, Queen.” She made sure to stress on ‘Queen’ and my stroke faltered before picking up again.

I made it back to April just as he showed up. He didn’t say anything, but it was evident that he was fuming from the corner of my eye. I floated at the ledge, not looking at anything in particular except perhaps the sky. Yep, I was a coward.

Like a graceful cat, April got up and walked away from me. She left the magazine she was reading on the chair and disappeared into one of the areas nearby. In her place came another - Daniella.

“You sure are a spitfire. That’s never going to change.” Her tone almost had a hint of pride. I looked at her with a frustrated laugh. “You guys drive me to it.”

“Are you planning to come out anytime soon? Preferably before he comes in? I can guarantee you that you don’t want that. Alpha mates can be very very possessive.” She then looked me over once floating in the pool in a striped bikini, “And you’re giving him plenty of reason to be.”

I snorted. I wasn’t afraid of Reece. It’s a public space, what could he possibly do? There were tons of other people in the pool-

Wait. Where did everybody go?! Why did this always happen?! Could he control things to this extent? Daniella read my mind. “You remember that day he asked you out to senior prom? You were shy that time too, and so he managed to get the entire hall empty so that you weren’t a public spectacle?”

That was a good day. I remembered it clearly. It was a few days before the dance and although we were dating, Reece had still not asked me out to it. I remember being confused and upset until he had set a very elaborate plan in motion. There were so many people in the room - all my classmates and people from our year, and every single one had left the room for that amount of time. I always assumed it was just my luck that we were alone. And that Reece wanted it to be very public.

“He made them go away?” the surprise in my tone was barely hidden. Daniella smiled coyly, “With our help, of course.” She was almost pouting at that. I turned to look at the pool once again. Not a soul in sight.

“There’s nobody to disturb us.” My head spun so fast I almost got a whiplash.

“Reece! Where did Dani go?” She was here a second ago! He chuckled darkly, looking away at something in the distance. It was then that I noticed that he was shirtless himself. All he had on was a pair of swimming trunks that weren’t that high to begin with. I could see the hard muscles of his chest, the tempting V that disappeared under his trunks.

“Since you don’t plan to come out, I’m going to join you. After all, it’s a free country.” I couldn’t get out of this, and so, I acted cool. “Sure, go ahead.”

With his eyes on me the entire time, he got into the pool with no splashes, like a silent predator stalking his ignorant prey. But I wasn’t ignorant - I couldn’t look away from his burning gaze. It raked all over me, checking me out from head to toe. It was a miracle that my body could stay afloat. Reece swam closer and my mind snapped back into attention. The bikini on me was suddenly not enough. I felt like it was shrinking with every second and I eyed my coat behind him, lying on the chair, mocking me.

I debated shooting forward, away from here, but he would love the chase. Wild animals often did. And there was no doubt that he would catch me, his bulging leg muscles and biceps were proof that he could reach me within microseconds. But something told me that he was enjoying it already. The tension, my reaction, the way I couldn’t breathe easy, the way I looked at his abs, the way I stole glances at my possible escape routes. He was enjoying my squirming.

Despite the heavy situation my body was turned on. He wasn’t being gentle or careful, he was being challenging, and it was turning me to liquid. I would soon be one with the chlorine water. Both of us were waiting to see, would I run first or would he pounce first?

“If it’s a free country, I’m going to go ahead and start my lap.” My tone was loud, making sure he heard me. My voice was seconds from faltering. Reece shrugged casually, “If it is a free country.” I didn’t believe him one bit. He was up to something, but having no other choice, I turned completely around and pushed off from the pool wall.

I made it a little less than halfway before his fingers curled around my ankle and he jerked me back into his chest. A surprised yelp left me before my back crashed into the hard wall. His arms caged me in immediately, not letting me swim to keep myself afloat. A sense of deja vu ran through me at our position. How did he always have the upper hand? I struggled in his hold, and his arm tightened further. His legs reached the bottom easily, but mine didn’t.

He leaned forward, burying his face in my neck and I froze, my heart sped out of control and I was sure he could hear it.

“But I’m the King. It’s my country.” He whispered into my ear, making me shiver in anticipation. He kissed my neck softly, making me gasp and nearly vaporise at the feeling. “Now don’t you move, my Queen, I have things to do.” He warned promisingly, as he proceeded to leave a trail of kisses on my neck. I almost let out a moan. What was he planning to do?!

To my horror,my body was angling my head away, giving him more access to my neck. I could feel him smile against my skin as he continued his assault. It was then that something hot and moist scorched my skin. Gaaaah! He licked me! Oh my god!

“Re-eece..” I was nothing but a stuttering fool now. “Shhhh..” Reece acted as if it was okay and continued to lightly taste me. Each contact was sending me to the brink and getting me back. I shuddered at the torture. I was supposed to be mad at him! This delicious torment was not on the agenda!

Shivering in his arms as he squeezed me tighter still, I tried to turn around, but he didn’t allow me. “I like this position better,” he whispered huskily, and his voice started flips in my stomach. “I-I want to turn.” It was becoming a task to even breathe out. I couldn’t take this teasing anymore! Let me kiss him!

Gaaaahh!

And then out of nowhere, his hand cupped my breast.

GAAAAAAAHHHH!

If it wasn’t for his firm hold on er, it, I was bound to flip out of the pool. Nobody knew how he managed to secure me in one place with the things he was doing to me. The water around us was definitely steaming. My eyes, which had been shut in a tortured bliss, were now wide open in shock and gratification. How could just a simple touch make me feel so eager? Slowly, ever so painfully he began to knead it, and I lost my shit. He wanted me to go mental! The moan I was holding back made its way to my lips and this seemed to edge him on. He began to knead it further, faster, harder, before his hand left it and went to the other one.

And I took that chance to turn and kiss him hard on his lips. Reece responded immediately. A part of me knew that he eased the grip on me purposefully, but I was too busy to delve into that as I kissed him senseless. I would give him something to remember too. His hands cupped my waist to hold me afloat while his legs kept us above the surface. Taking the lead, I controlled the kiss. It was a different kind of thrill, the big bad wolf at the mercy of my lips. He groaned and I smiled against him. That’s right. I hold some cards too.

Then, gently as ever, he pushed me away. He was still holding me afloat, but we were no longer in an embrace. My wide eyes were open to his exploration. I could feel him scanning them for answers, his lips tilted up at the redness in my cheeks. I turned away from him, my wet hair slapping my face with the movement. What had I been thinking?! I was supposed to remain angry at him!

“Don’t be like that.” He cooed, and I turned to face him again. I’m not sure how my expression looked, a cross between self loathing and embarrassment. And a pinch of horny. Was I a pretty picture? Reece brought me closer again, ever so slowly. “Do you trust me?” He asked, eyeing me with no hint of what he was thinking. My calming heart rate sped up as I fumbled around in my fried brain for an answer.

“I-uh-”

“It’s a simple question, Flora.” My name from his lips was messing with my cognition. I opened my mouth to answer and then shut it without giving one. I was now only an inch away from him, but thankfully I wasn’t throwing myself at him this time. His hands stayed in their own boundaries too.

“Is my face too distracting?” He asked me cockily and I- well, I nodded. And then I realized what I did and my face bloomed into a tomato. His loud guffaws did nothing to help me. And then I was struggling in his hold again. It was such a roller coaster with him. I didn’t know what to expect! And not just from him - but from me as well.

“I don’t trust you.” I said scornfully, trying to make up for my embarrassment.

“Aww, don’t be like that.” He said again, putting a hand under my chin to make me face him. I did my best to scowl, but even he could tell that it was a failed attempt. The truth was that I partly did.

“I trust you..about my safety, about your loyalty, about friendship, but..”

“But not with your heart?” His voice was a soft whisper. He was trying his best to sound gentle. And there, I knew.

“I trust you with that too. I just don’t trust the secrets between us. They will drive us apart.” I explained, trying to make him see.

“Do you think you can handle the truth then? ” His words were a challenge and I took it readily.

“Even if I can’t handle the truth I would still want to know it.” I meant that truly.

“So you do trust me?” He asked again, just to be sure. I nodded vigorously, my wet hair splattering water everywhere with the movement. Reece didn’t say anything for a while. He just kept looking at me, deep in thought. I let him think without troubling him, but I really hoped that he understood what I was trying to explain.

I needed him to see that secrets in such matters were never good, even if he did think that he was protecting me, or anybody. So much heartbreak could have been avoided beforehand if he’d only been honest. Whatever internal debate he was having seemed to come to an end as his eyes focused again. I shot my first question.

“What is this possible option that Sienna was talking about?”

“You can turn into a werewolf.”

“Okay. Is it an option or a compulsion?”

“Just, okay?” He couldn’t believe his own ears.

“Yep.” I said, popping the p. Surprisingly, I wasn’t freaking out. Maybe deep down I knew that this was a possibility. Reece seemed to accept my answer before continuing.

“It’s on you. Although, once I mark you, you will get werewolf abilities.”

“So I can run super fast and be super strong?” This was getting exciting!

Reece was giving me a funny look. “What?”

“You’re too calm. Something is not right.” He explained and I scoffed. Then I moved my lips to his ear and whispered, “You’re too careful.” He had already stiffened the second I inched forward. I knew I was playing with fire here, but it was just so damn tempting.

“Am I?” His tone had suddenly turned sinister. His hands on my waist tightened and I drew in a sharp breath. “Yes.” I challenged, excited to know where this was going. The pool water was suddenly too cold, and Reece’s body far too hot. Drops of liquid were sliding down his upper chest and I was very jealous of their position. My hands, which were just by my side, had now slid up to his shoulders to hold myself steady.

“So, marking you, is that being too careful?” My breath hitched. Reece leaned impossibly close. My vision was filled with him, his green eyes, his plump lips, his sharp nose and high cheekbones. Was I ready for this? Was this really how far I could go? Could he hear how fast my heart was beating? Did I want him to? Oh god oh god, what did this change? I’d be dating him - permanently!

He looked at me expectantly, holding his breath just as I was. How much time had passed since he asked me that question. How long was he waiting? And then suddenly, I was back to three years ago, the first day I had met Reece. This felt like that, only more intense.

“I think it is.” I breathed finally, raising my eyes to match his. The water electrified with my answer. His lips curved upwards in a full blown smile that defibrillated my heart.

“Are you sure? I’ll know where you are all the time then.” He challenged, and my cheeks turned red. “I was mad at you.” I confessed.

“I know,” he said gently, his one hand reached to move some of the wet hair stuck to my face. “The loud music was a good touch.” he added, making me smile despite the topic.

“I am a genius.” I said loudly, putting on a fake accent, and he laughed his amazing laugh, smiling at my antics. I wasn’t conscious anymore. He was putting me at ease for the marking.

“I’ll be able to read your mind.”

“You anyway do, most of the time.”

“I don’t know if it will hurt. You’re human.” He warned, and I nodded nervously. He leaned impossibly close, his breath was tickling my neck, raising all the hair. His hands came around me, tightening to hold me in place. He placed feather light kisses on my neck, the spot where it met my shoulder and I moaned. This was working. The kisses got more pressure, until eventually he began to suck on the spot gently.

His fingers tightened even more, and I knew. Two sharp canines pierced my skin the next second as I let out a stinging scream. The pain was agonizing. I tried to fight him off me, but he didn’t let me move at all.

Then, slowly his canines receded out of me and I whimpered, tears springing out of my eyes. I felt his tongue swipe across the wound and the pain reduced to minimal. Reece’s hands moved from my wrists to my waist. He looked tormented himself, probably because of what he had to put me through and I tried my best to stop whimpering and smile at him.

He put his one hand on the side of my face, being careful to not touch the punctured skin on my neck.“Reece, I don’t..”

“Shhh.. it’s okay. Sleep.” His voice lulled me but I tried to pry my eyes open.

“I don’t want to..” I complained. I could feel him moving us towards the shallow end. My feet touched the pool floor but they had no strength of their own. Panic flooded through me, “I can’t stand.” I confessed, trying to convey how bad it was.

“That’s okay, that’s normal.” Reece told me and I nodded. Black spots were now covering my vision.

“Oh and Flora, I love you.”

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