Disguise

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Inhale. Exhale.

“It should be right past that turning.” Xena told me, as we tried to navigate the car through the unpaved road. Let me just put it out there; sedans should never be used as off road vehicles. I could visibly cringe at the sort of sounds the car was making as it attempted the winding uphill climb. Xena was mumbling constantly about how we should have picked the jeep instead and that this car was going to have a fucked suspension. This girl and cars - it was a language I just didn’t speak.

“I said we could’ve stopped at the hotel and switched cars - or taken the general transit they had organised to get the rest of the guests up here.” I spoke up and she rolled her eyes.

“I know you. You’d probably then make a comment about how you are so tired and then just sleep at the hotel - leaving me to come here all alone.”

She couldn’t be more right.

“Why would they keep a midnight feast in such a shady place anyway?” She added with an irritated sigh and I shot her a knowing look.

“Don’t worry, I can already hear the music.” I knew why she was wary of the forest. Anybody would be after yesterday, especially after what we had seen. My phone rang for the tenth time and the blonde groaned. She reached for it before I could and answered.

“We are coming! You need to calm that dick of yours!” I burst out laughing at her choice of words. If she knew he was a King, would she still talk like this? Yes, yes she would.

Xena didn’t care much about social positions. From the other end of the line I could hear Reece murmuring something that made Xena burst out laughing before she kept the call. “I like him.” She said in an approving tone. My curiosity peaked but I knew she’d never tell me what he said. She loved to make things mysterious. So instead I just said, “That’s good.”

The thought of facing Reece made me nervous. It always made me nervous but after what took place in the pool today - there was just so much stuff hanging in the air. I knew he was ecstatic, as was I, but I was trying to be cool about it and failing. Honestly Xena coming and dragging me out was a great escape from the ‘where are we’ conversation. I knew where we were in his head - we were married and maybe had kids. I gulped at that thought - in my head I was still running at a snail’s pace because I was just such a coward.

And the crazy thing was that I didn’t even know if it mattered all this while - did I even have a choice? Was he going to let me go if I had said no?

The road bent into a sharp turn that opened up to this huge clearing. The place had obviously been put to good use. Loud music, colorful streamers and tables spread with fancy food stood ahead of us. There were several people already holding plates and sitting on the mattresses on the grass. A few people were dancing on this makeshift dance floor under a huge set of dizzying lights. Several more chairs and tables had been set up for the people who didn’t want to sit down and eat.

The Wolf staff was smartly, but warmly dressed for the event as they catered to everybody and a host spoke through the speakers between the music to keep the midnight feast an entertaining event.

He stood out like a shiny object among the rest of the crowd, or maybe my eyes just found him easily, but something about him put him apart from those around him. I noticed small things - like how the staff made sure to never get too close to him, or to bother him, but they kept glancing to see if he needed something. Sienna stood on one side of his gorgeous body wearing an elegant black dress. They were both engaged in a conversation with a group of other people (probably customers) as they socialized and made sure that everyone was having a great time. I spotted Grey and Daniella a little distance away, cuddling on the grass. They were much too PDA for my liking, but I realized now how it was so difficult to keep your hands off your mate. All I wanted to do was to have my way with Reece.

Yikes! I couldn’t believe that I just thought that! Bad Flora!

His eyes were on the car the second we came into view - perhaps he always sought me out too. His eyes then went over and focused on something behind us. He gave a subtle nod of his head and then turned back to looking at our car. I checked my rear view mirror out of curiosity, and saw nothing except darkness and trees. Was there a subtle movement within the short bushes before the turn?

My stomach flared at that thought. I moved the car towards a designated parking place and eased into it, all the while I could feel his piercing green eyes at the back of our car, burning a hole through the metal and the seats. Somehow, I felt shy.

Xena was energetic as usual. She was also intuitive. “I’m going to go ahead and umm, yeah.” She got out of the car and walked over to the tables of food before I had even removed the keys out of the ignition. Guess she couldn’t wait. I sat in the car for a moment, feeling a rush of exhaustion run through me. Today had been a long day and it wasn’t over yet. Closing my eyes I took a deep breath before releasing it.

I knew he was standing outside the car door before I’d even opened my eyes. Some sort of internal radar in my body that, had it been plugged to an LED , would be flashing blindingly to alert everyone.

He didn’t knock on the door, or proceed to open it, maybe he knew that I was preparing myself, maybe he didn’t want to rush me. Time and again I found myself in this situation, I found myself trying to keep my emotions at bay and my heart under control. All this restraint, it really took a toll on me.

The door opened - my time was up and he couldn’t wait anymore - and his handsome head poked in. Worry marred his handsome features and I immediately found myself relaxing so that he could.

Well, as relaxed as I could get.

Slowly, lazily, a large smirk crossed his lips and that made me hyperventilate even more. He was always up to something! He leaned a little further in and I found myself automatically moving away from him, my face a large red tomato. It was so unfair that he didn’t suffer from the same tongue tied disease that I did. Why did he always seem so calm and collected?

His smile grew linearly with the shade of red I was becoming.

And to make it worse, he leaned forward and whispered, “my mark looks so hot on you.” And one of his nimble fingers tugged at the scarf to reveal it.

Not being able to take it anymore, for the sake of my steaming face, I muttered a small ‘shuttup’ before pushing his well defined chest out of my way. Reece didn’t put up resistance but the large smile on his face remained, almost proudly.

I stepped out of the car, narrowly avoiding body contact with a certain hunk and almost made it to the rear of the car before his hand wrapped around my wrist and yanked me back.

The next second his lips were on mine and my back was on the car’s. Reece had trapped me very very tightly between himself and the glass window of the backseat.

Not that I could even think about that with his hands all over me. The desperate kiss seemed to only get worse as both of us went at it. My previous control broke and his hard chest pushing against mine did nothing to restore it.

I knew why I was shy, because this feeling was uncontrollable. I didn’t like how easy it was for him to reveal how I felt with just a touch of his lips - it was embarrassing!

I wanted more of him and I wanted it now. I just wanted him all the time and it was driving me crazy how wanton I could behave. He seemed to enjoy bringing out that side of me, reminding me how strongly and urgently I was tied to him. He took pride where I took embarrassment - because this was just not how I behaved.

“It’s because you hate not being in control.” Reece whispered suddenly, breaking away so that we could breathe.

“W-what?! How did you even-” even out of breath my voice conveyed enough shock.

Reece shot me an innocent smile, “I can read your mind now, Flora.” He said it like it was a small deal.

“I was wondering how long it would take for it to sink in. Guess it has.” He added while I stood frozen. Frozen and open mouthed.

“I- wha- okay wait -”

“It’s fine, get your thoughts in order.” He grinned, giving me a mischievous wink and that just made my head muddle up worse.

“How do I-”

“You can’t shut it off”

Shit. What! No way!

“Yes way!” He leaned, and I swear that in that moment I could have punched him.

“Punch my pretty face?” Reece’s puppy dog expression didn’t have a single drop of innocence. He was smiling cheekily, enjoying my struggle.

You know when someone tells you not to think of something, you automatically think of it? So when I knew he was reading my mind, what were a few thoughts that I just had to avoid? Yep, you guessed it right, hot steamy scenes between my mate and I.

His expression got darker with the flashing images in my wanton mind. I blushed looking at his expression and it only worsened the situation. Realizing that this was the worst idea ever, I looked away from him, and immediately began to walk, my focus suddenly only on Xena, she was piling a mountain of food on her plate while chatting animatedly with Sienna - the two of them had bonded rather well.

I had gotten six steps away before I heard a groan and his hand snatched my wrist and tugged me back into his chest gently. I shut my eyes and immediately focused on my breathing, not giving anything away because there was nothing but two words in my mind.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inh-

“Alright alright! I’m going to show you how to block it.”

I smirked, that was easier than I thought it would be.

“Are you sure? I quite like you squirming here, reading my thoughts and getting all hot and bothered.” I teased, enjoying his eyes turning shades darker. “I’ll enjoy it more when it’s not just in your thoughts, Queen.” he told me darkly, making me swallow hard.

Ha! That’s what she said.

I really needed to get my head out of the gutter.

“I could listen to you all day.” Reece’s voice brought me out of my thoughts and once again my cheeks burned. I just didn’t have the strength to deal with this today! I was so tired!

“So, here, just think of a small shield...”

“What? No way!” Came a third voice from a little afar. We both turned to look at a surprisingly relaxed Hank, a little distance away. He looked like he was in a good mood and that surprised me. Reece just gave me a small smile, before turning to Hank and grinning like crazy.

“What?” ’I asked him, confused and he gave me a sly smile.

“I made Zia wait four weeks before I told her how to switch it off.” He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.

Hank has a mate? Why didn’t I know about this?

“I can’t wait to see her!” he continued, not waiting for any of us to respond. His eyes got a faraway look before he gave us both a showy bow and walked off.

“That was... weird.” I surmised and Reece let out a laugh, moving to hold my hand in his. His large warm hand was a perfect fit in mine. I looked at our intertwined hands before gazing up at him.

He was still looking at Hank’s retreating figure, a small smile playing on his face as well.

“His mate is coming back from a two week work tour.”

“Oh..” was all I could say. Why did I think that Hank didn’t have a mate?

“She’s really nice. I’m sure you’ll love her.” Reece told me and I nodded.

“I thought you said human mates are rare?”

“Yes, only heard of three people having a human mate. Never even met them.” he supplied, finally turning to look at me with an arched eyebrow, “Why do you ask?”

“Isn’t Zia human?” Wasn’t it obvious? Wouldn’t a werewolf know how to block their mind?

“Aaah. I see where you’re going. No, she’s a werewolf. She just wasn’t brought up like one. She didn’t know she was one till Hank met her. It’s a crazy story.” he explained, clearing some of the air. I nodded, wanting to know more, but there were more urgent matters to attend.

“How do I block my mind?”

“What do I get for showing you?” he asked, a cheeky expression on his face.

“Reece!” I yelled, flustered. At this rate all my secrets would be his!

“And what’s wrong with that?” He asked me, genuine curiosity in his eyes.

“What if I’m planning a surprise birthday party for you?” I immediately quipped, giving him a side stare. Reece let out a short laugh, the sound was like music to my ears, and I tried to keep a straight face.

“It’s not for another four months..” He gave me a faraway look and watched as my face morphed into one of horror. He would not leave me like this!

“REECE!” I tried again, putting on a stern expression. “I’m going to kill Hank!” I swore, looking around for him and when I saw him, I stalked off in his direction. I could hear Reece guffawing behind me. Suddenly, Hank turned around, his eyes moving about before landing on me, and someone behind me - no doubt Reece. And then, giving me a sheepish smile, he ran off.

Immediately understanding what’s going on, I spun on my heel with a resigned smile and yelled, “You mindlinked him!”

Reece’s innocent expression almost had me fooled. Bastard. He edged closer to me, making a show out of it as if I would blast at him any second.

“Maaaaybe.” He whispered cheekily, before taking off on his own, leaving me staring at the dust.

Damn werewolf genes!

You mean sexy werewolf genes.

I gasped, holding a hand to my heart. If someone from the feast happened to look my way, they’d surely wonder if something was right with my head. On instinct, I tried to talk to him in my head, closing my eyes to help me concentrate.

Reece?

Yes, my love? His immediate response made me smile. This was so COOL!

I’m glad that you think that. I could hear him smile in his words.

She’s quite a surprise isn’t she? This new voice made me gasp in surprise. I instinctively took a step back.

Zu-ka...?

Yes, mate.

“What’s wrong Flo? Is your chest hurting?” Xena’s voice broke me out of my thoughts - or was it his thoughts? Or was it more like ‘their’ thoughts? Gaaaah! This was making my head hurt.

“Huh- no. I - no - I just - umm.” Xena gave me a weird look before shrugging her shoulders. “Once a weirdo always a weirdo.” She muttered under her breath, giving me a foxy smile as she glanced at me through her eyelashes.

“Xen!”

“What? I - uh, huh?” she mimicked, making fun of me and I turned red. My hand reached out to swat her on the head but she swiftly moved aside, heartily laughing with me now.

“Now come on! The food is amazing, weirdo.” she said, looping her arm through mine and dragging me to one of the tables. I really wanted to continue talking to Reece in my head, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything if I did that.

We walked to one of the closest tables where the plates were kept and Sienna joined us there. She looked stunning in her black, knee length dress and I knew that it was only possible because werewolves had really hot bodies- literally speaking. It kept them so warm, meanwhile average humans like us needed full pants and a thick sweater to protect us from the cold the high altitude brought.

There is nothing average about you. I heard Reece swear, his tone sounding serious. I rolled my eyes. Where was he? Looking up from the huge bowl of salad, I caught sight of him standing nearly ten tables away, talking to a very familiar looking man.

How he could hold a fluid conversation while talking to me in his head was beyond me, but at the moment he looked rather distracted. A small spark in my head lit up and I found myself tempted to experiment out the idea in my head. Looking around, I noticed that once again, Xena was nowhere near me, she was talking animatedly with some other guest at the party - the girl just networked everywhere I guess.

“Sienna?”

“Yes?” I noticed how members of the royal family never spoke in relaxed English. Never did they say ‘yeah’, or ‘yep’, or whatever.

“Flo?” she prodded, and I turned back to her, a sly smile spreading on my face.

“I need your help.”

“Uh, that expression is kind of scary right now...”

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