I woke up in my room to the sound of pencil meeting paper. I squeezed my eyes shut for a few moments, trying to erase the memories of what happened last night, and then reopened them and turned my head.
Sunlight peeked through the open window, and on the the ledge, with a knee up and a leg hanging free, sat Shade. He was fully clothed, as he always was, with gray training pants and a fitting tank top. His attention wasn’t on me; rather, it was on a small notebook in his hand, in which he was currently writing.
With the light illuminating him, he looked almost angelic. His wavy light brown hair flew softly in the wind, and his mesmerizing green eyes looked brighter, more vivid than ever. I couldn’t take my eyes off him; he was truly the most beautiful male I’d ever laid my eyes upon.
And he was supposed to be mine. Fate sure had a good laugh; little mousy Daisy paired up with Greek God Shade. Any woman in my place would’ve felt self-conscious about that.
Because, with how he looked, I couldn’t imagine anyone to be good looking enough to complement him, least of all me. Not that I thought I was ugly or anything; I knew I had my own perks. But seeing Shade now, writing in that notebook with the sunlight making him look like a divine entity... Yeah.
My eyes roamed over his face. While his expression was as unbearably inscrutable as ever, I could see a glimmer of what looked like sorrow etched in his magnificent eyes, and it hurt my heart. Why was he suffering? What secrets did he hide?
Suddenly tensing, Shade paused his writing and raised his eyes to me, locking with mine. I gulped. For a few moments he simply stare at me, and then, he sighed, closed his notebook and hopped off the windowsill. “You’re awake. Good,” he said, putting the small notebook and pencil in the back-pocket of his pants and coming closer. “You’ve been sleeping for almost twelve hours.”
It didn’t surprise me I’d been out that long; I needed to recharge more than usual, because the magic I pulled on Reyna was... unique.
And speaking of Reyna... “How is the little queen?” I asked him, forcing myself to sit up.
Shade leaned his back against the wall and folded his arms. “She woke up a few hours ago, but exhaustion took her and she fell asleep again. She’s completely healed.” There was a question in those last words of his.
It didn’t take a genius to get what was asking. Still, I didn’t want to answer that yet. Why should I anyway? He didn’t tell me anything, so why I had to? “Good,” I said, letting out a sigh. “I’ll go check on her then.”
“Before that,” Shade said, drawing my eyes to him, “Eve needs to talk to you first. She asked me to tell her when you woke up.”
Right. Eve was onto me. I’d almost forgotten that. Almost. “Since when did you become my babysitter?” I snapped, feeling like a child with the way he was talking to me and the words he used.
His eye twitched in irritation. “Since my Alpha commanded me to look after you because we’re mates.” I didn’t miss the way he said that last word. He said it like it tasted of bile, and he couldn’t stand the truth.
Then the meaning of what he said computed. “Raphael commanded you to be my babysitter,” I said, surprised. “Why?”
Shade didn’t answer my question. Instead, he gave me an almost evil look. “I’m going to call Eve now. Stay here.”
I found myself growling. My wolf, apparently, reached the end of her patience. “Don’t you order me around like I’m your fucking dog, Shade. That’s not how you treat your mate.”
He was suddenly in my face, grabbing my chin almost painfully in his hand. His lips were inches away from mine and when he spoke, I could scent his minty smell. “I’ll treat you however I please. Raphael might’ve put me in babysitting duty, but it doesn’t mean I have to play nice. So prepare yourself, Luxford,” his eyes blazed with anger, “because not an hour will pass before you’d want to kick me out.”
With this warning he was off and gone to find Eve. I was left breathless. Now it made sense to me why Raphael commanded him to babysit me; part of it was that he realized I had secrets he might be interested in and needed someone to crack me open. Part of it might also be to keep an eye on me, because of the entire Red Market and using Snow situation. And the most annoying part was that he wanted Shade to mate me by force. Why he cared so much about the latter, I had no idea, but I figured that he needed Shade to be mated to his mate, which was me.
I didn’t like being someone’s marionette. Correction: I detested it. But this time I would have to go along with it. Besides, it might help with my original plan of getting Shade to accept me as his mate and bond with me.
Scratch that; it would obviously help with my original plan.
But before I could contemplate everything through, Shade was back with Eve in toe. Once inside, Shade retook his position at the wall, and Even came over to me, her face no longer distorted in absolute rage.
She didn’t prolong the inevitable, for which I was grateful. “Since you saved Reyna, I’m going to let you off the hook about the Snow thing.” She didn’t seem pleased about this decision, and I had a hunch Raphael, the forever cunning, had a hand in that. “I don’t need to know how you used Snow and for what reason. But I do need you to know that if you do that again,” her eyes flashed violet, “I’ll kill you.”
She no longer trusted me. I’d thought we were somewhat of friendly acquaintances. Now that was gone and it was my fault. I knew that. I accepted that. It still hurt. “Understood.”
“But I also have a condition,” she said, grimacing, “I need you to apologize to Snow as well. She’s an innocent in all this. She doesn’t need anyone using her again.”
My hands clenched into fists. “Will do.”
“And one more thing,” she said, eyes narrowing, “you won’t go to the Red Market anymore. And that’s a direct order from your alpha. If you breach that, no one will be there to help you out of that hole. Keep that in mind.” With these words, she turned and left.
And I felt like crying. But I didn’t. Because Shade was here and I needed to be stronger than that.
Glancing at him, I stood up on my two feet and scanned my attire. It was the same one from last night and it was splotched with blood. Sighing, I looked at Shade and found his eyes on my body as well. He looked at it like he was testing something, not in heat like mates should. He was staring like he was searching for something. Frustration slowly crawled into his face, wrinkling it.
Deciding to help him out, I asked, “Do you find my body appealing?”
His eyes flashed back up and collided with mine. “I don’t think there’s a man who doesn’t.” He didn’t say that like a compliment; just as a matter of fact.
I scrutinized his eyes for a few long moments before I said, “I need to shower and change before I go to see Snow and Reyna.”
“I’m under the command to be your shadow,” he said, pulling out his notebook and pencil, “you can take however long you need to shower and I’ll still be here.” I could almost hear what he didn’t say; unfortunately.
But I didn’t let that bring me down. And suddenly, I had an idea. Swallowing a gleeful grin, I nodded seriously at him and went to the bathroom.
He’s already admitted to finding me attractive, whether against his will or not. I could use it to my advantage, and I would.
Finishing my shower, I wrapped an extremely, deliberately small towel around my torso, which barely covered my upper thighs, and let my hair down on my back. Trying not to smirk, I went out of the bathroom.
Shade was writing something in his notebook when I walked into the room, but then something made him look up mid-writing, and he stared. His eyes widened slightly and took in my wet state, gliding from my face to my neck, where heat suddenly flared there, and then that heat traveled south, magnetized to his roaming eyes, until he took his eyes off and clenched his jaw. He was irked, because he didn’t want to find me so attractive as he compulsively did.
Hiding a grin, I walked to the closet and then, very, very slowly, I took the towel off. Without looking at him, I rummaged through my clothes and felt the heat from his stared on my side, on my right boob, then my stomach, the hairy V that led to my sex, my legs...
My skin itched. I ached for him to come over and touch everywhere he’d been looking at. I wanted his hands on my, caressing, fondling, pinching. But he was still where he was, unmoving, not answering to my body’s call.
As if it was easy as that, bringing Shade to his knees. Sighing and trying not to feel deflated too much, I put on some tee and denim shorts and turned to him. “Let’s go, nanny.”
He scowled at the nickname but said nothing as he walked with me out of my room and toward Snow’s. I smiled at that. At least I could tease him. That was a start.
Snow was up and about when she let me in after I knocked. She sat at her desk and, using an archaic quill and ink, scribbled something down an old fashioned parchment. Snow was an odd little thing, and her ways of doing stuff were mysterious to simple commoners such as I.
The girl raised her head when Shade and I walked inside. She smiled and motioned toward her bed. “Take a sit.”
I sat down on the soft mattress, and Shade sat next to me. My skin flushed with his close proximity, and naughty thoughts entered my mind. I brushed them all away, however. I needed to focus on Snow, not on my rejecting mate.
Then, sensing my delicious discomfort, Shade growled a little, stood up, and went to lean against the wall, jaw locking and eyes staring out of the window.
Snow finished scribbling whatever on the parchment and rolled the paper delicately and smoothly. Once she had that wrapped in a black ribbon, she turned to me. Snow was a beautiful girl of sixteen; she had long wavy rich brown hair, like that of her father’s, and icy blue eyes like those of her mother’s. Her skin was pearly white, and she gained some weight since she’d been rescued by her parents. She now looked much healthier than before.
She glanced at Shade’s stoic stance and her face turned confused. “Why is he standing there and not with us?”
“He’s Shade,” I answered her the best I could, “he’s a tough nut to crack. Also, he’s pissed off at me ninety-nine percent of the time. He doesn’t like me much.” I chuckled, but the words made me feel a little vulnerable.
Snow’s ever-knowing eyes came back to me. Instead of speaking aloud, I suddenly felt her presence in my mind. Her mental presence had the same scent her physical scent had; sweet, innocent, yet old beyond her years. He’s you mate, isn’t he? She asked.
I tensed. Snow had a way with knowing things she probably shouldn’t. It linked to her weird magic, or mana, she had inside her. I didn’t bother understanding how her powers worked because anything concerning Snow boggled my mind too much. He is, I replied, but he doesn’t want to be.
Snow didn’t respond to that. Instead, she said softly, Don’t give up on him, Daisy. I have a feeling that if you do, something extremely crucial won’t happen. And it needs to happen.
The girl wasn’t a clairvoyant, but when she had a strong sense about something, whatever it might be, you needed to listen. I’ll take that under consideration, I promised. Not that I intended to give up on him, but I did have my doubts from time to time.
It was time to change the subject to the original one, the reason I came here. I’m sorry, Snow, I told her, taking her hands in mine and looking piercingly into her eyes. I’m so very sorry I used you like that –
Say no more, Daisy, she cut me off, her eyes turning determined, I know. You’ve been taking my blood to the Red Market. I had a hunch about that and one time I even sent one of the sparkles to follow you.
That, I didn’t expect. It didn’t surprise me that she knew about my taking her blood for more than just running tests; I suspected she did. But that she actually followed me, using her magic... I didn’t know she could do that, and I was sure no one followed me every time I went there.
Well, if Gabe and Raphael sent their minions after me and knew about it all along, then, I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me a magically-gifted girl would be onto me as well.
I know you’ve been doing that so you can find more about your biological father, Snow continued, her gaze turning searing. But you don’t need to either take my blood or go back there anymore. I’ve made sure to look for the answer for that mystery myself.
That made me freeze. What do you mean by that, Snow?
She pointed at the parchment. I used my mana, and I found out something about Webb Montgomery that might be of interest to you.
I really couldn’t speak, mentally or physically. I was that speechless. So Snow went on without my needed approval. Webb Montgomery was an Energy Wielder, a human who can wield energy and bend it to his whims. He’d gone to Kimbringe’s academy when he was young, and joined the Divine Hunters after he graduated. I don’t know anything else, but I figure it will give you the boost that you need.
And what a boost it was. No wonder Dorian, the Divine Hunters’ leader, knew about him. And no wonder Kimbringe did as well. It made so much sense, what Snow found out, but it also didn’t.
While I’m thankful that you found all that out for me, I told her, feeling cold on the inside, I need you to stop looking into it. I can take it from here. And please don’t tell anyone about it.
The girl’s eyes were suddenly so much older. I’ll stop and won’t tell. There are things Eve and Raphael don’t need to know.
It disconcerted me that she called her parents by their names and not “mama” and “papa” like she used to call them by now. It also unnerved me that she hid things that made her look tired of this life she’d been handed. But that was Eve’s problem, not mine. And I’d done enough damage as it was.
“Thank you,” I said aloud, squeezing her hands. “For both what you told me and your forgiveness.”
She squeezed my hands back.