Daphne’s eyes were full of fury when Shade and I went out of the lounge. “How could you hide it from me, Daisy?” she asked before I could utter a word. “How could you not tell me something so important?”
The tears still didn’t dry out from my eyes, and when she asked that, her eyes full of betrayal, they were renewed. “I’m sorry,” I told her softly, dropping my eyes to the floor.
“I can’t believe you,” I could see from the corner of my eye that she was shaking her head, her lips quivering. “Did you ever plan to tell me we’re only half-sisters? And where are Mom and Dad in this story? How come they said nothing of it?”
I really, really didn’t want to get into all of this. It was my shit to deal with. Damn Eve for sticking her nose into my business. Damn her for hurting Daphne like that. “I’m still your sister, Daf,” I said softly, gazing back at her pleadingly. “It doesn’t matter anything.”
It wasn’t what she wanted to hear, from the flash of anger in her eyes. “Fuck this shit,” she hissed and before I could say anything else, she turned on her heel and left.
Rooted to the spot, I looked at the wall without actually seeing it. I remembered what Snow told me about Webb; how he was an Energy Wielder and part of the Hunters. I needed to look into it now more than ever. I needed to solve this as soon as possible before I talked to Daphne about it. I needed to understand everything first. I needed –
Shade’s hand grabbed my shoulder, shocking me. My eyes snapped to him and he was looking at me, his eyes back to normal after what happened in the lounge. “You need to eat something,” he said, and I could hear what he was really saying. You need to let it go for now.
He was right.
“You too,” I said, and grabbed his hand from my shoulder and interlocked my fingers with his. It was something I did automatically, almost thoughtlessly, but Shade froze, his eyes snapping to our joined hands, widening slightly with... surprise? Apprehension? I couldn’t be sure.
Swallowing hard, I realized it might be too soon for that kind of intimacy – much too soon, in fact – and released his hand. “I’m sorry,” I muttered, flushing slightly at my ridiculousness. Sure, he’d let me hold him, but that moment was gone, and it felt like it was one time only thing. I couldn’t just go and assume he would let me touch him as I pleased.
His jungle eyes rose and our gazes collided. He seemed to think about something, and I felt his knuckles brushing against mine. My heart jumped. Was he going to take my hand back?
Then, realizing what he was doing, he jerked, as though electrocuted, and turned around and without saying a word started walking, expecting me to follow him. Disappointment filled me that he didn’t retake my hand, by I threw back my shoulders and strode after him. I wouldn’t lose hope just yet. We’d made a huge progress today. Baby steps, right?
So, walking with him back to the kitchen, I let myself remember how he let me hold him to compensate for what had just happened.
* * *
Because of latest events, a pile of papers I needed to read, sign, and analyze was resting over my desk at my room, waiting patiently for me to get to them. It was pure bureaucracy, which was one of the many assignments the head healer had.
My face fell at the sight of so much paperwork. I turned to Shade. “You need to find something to do until dinner, because I need to attend to this.” I pointed to the pile.
Shade took his apparently favorite spot at the window ledge, taking his notebook and pencil out. “Take your time,” was all he said before he paid his entire attention for whatever he was writing there. Was it a novel? Taking notes as part of bodyguard duties? Doodling?
Sighing, I plopped myself on the chair and got to work. I’d already eaten lunch so I had enough energies to tackle this all by myself. Unfortunately, I hated doing paperwork. It was the part I hated the most about being head healer.
One after another, I signed and read and discarded of the pile slowly. I didn’t let myself rest of pause, because I knew that if I did, I would never get it over with. Besides, it wasn’t like I had anything better to do now; Shade seemed to need the quiet, and everyone else had their own business, not to mention that Daphne was still mad at me, Eve lost her trust in me, and Claire was now in a practice session with her mate. So even if I wanted to just hang out with someone it was impossible at the moment.
I knew that keeping my secrets to myself was a risk, but it was a risk I’d been willing to take. Everything concerning my father, my birth circumstances, it was mine to deal with. Eve had no right to probe and frankly, Daphne shouldn’t be that mad at me. Wouldn’t we be sisters no matter what? Did the fact I wasn’t from the same father matter to her so much so that she was willing to not think of me as her old sister anymore?
Then I thought of Webb. Snow, may God bless that child, actually found out so much about him all by herself. She wasn’t mad at me for taking her blood; instead she helped me. Honestly, having met both her parents and knowing she’d grown up with an evil Deity, I had no idea how she turned out so good hearted.
Still. I now knew things even Fred couldn’t find out for me about, no matter how many resources he used. I knew he was an Energy Wielder. He’d been part of the Hunters. That was why both Dorian and Kimbringe knew him, obviously. And both of them seemed unnerved at hearing his name. Dorian called him sadistic motherfucker... and he said he wasn’t part of the Hunters, I now recalled.
That made me tense. How come that the info Snow found about him said that he was part of the Hunters, but Dorian, the leader, said he wasn’t? That didn’t make sense. I needed to search deeper into it. Maybe I could contact Dorian somehow?
A soft snort left me and I leaned back against my chair. No, contacting Dorian wasn’t something I should do right now. It was one thing that everyone knew about my trips to the Red Market, about me using Snow, about my father not being my mother’s mate. I didn’t need Eve and Rafe hot on my tail again if I started talking to the enemy.
Shaking my head, I returned my eyes to the papers. I could think about it at length later, when I was alone and done with this shit.
Once I signed the last paper, I stretched my back and arms and rose to my feet. “Do you know what time is it?” I asked Shade, who was still scribbling in his notebook.
His eyes snapped upward at my question and then he checked his wristwatch. “Dinner’s here soon,” he said, closing his notebook and hopping down. “I’ll leave you to get ready and pick you up before we need to go.”
I cocked my head. “Shouldn’t you, as my shadow, be with me at all times as to make sure I wouldn’t run away or something?”
His jungle eyes seemed to see right through me when they locked with mine. “I doubt you’re going to run again,” he said, and his undertone held a different meaning. What was he talking about?
Baffled, I simply shrugged and watched as he sauntered to the door and left, closing it behind him. Then I let out a curse and forced myself to find something nice to wear.
Just as I was slipping on a dress I hadn’t worn in a long time, the air changed. My breath caught, and my knees weakened, making me fall to the floor. My entire body shook as the changes occurred, and my throat turned dry, and my nipples pebbled through the thin fabric of my dress.
Electricity seemed to crawl up and down my veins, making my blood boil hotter and hotter. My skin turned into goosebumps and my stomach clenched as a sudden pool gathered in my panties, my sex becoming wetter than ever.
And I knew what was going on in an instant. The Mating Season was here.
“Shade...” I found myself whispering as, needing to do something, needing to feel some kind of release, my hand traveled down and cupped my aching, pulsing sex. I gasped, my eyes shutting, my head falling back as I began rubbing against my clit. “Shade...” I murmured, gasping when my ever sensitive skin made me shudder.
As my mind came up with a picture of him, looking all sexy and handsome while grinning at me, I shuddered once again, my body aching for him, only for him. And I couldn’t take it. Not caring about anything but the relieving the ache, I inserted two fingers inside me and, panting, began riding myself, imagining the fingers belonged to Shade’s callused hand.
My free hand cupped my breast through the dress, and I massaged it, imagining it was Shade here with me, doing it all to me, helping me with the state I was in. It’d been so long since the last time I had sex, so long since a man touched me, and I needed my mate to do it, needed him to be here for me, to do everything for me.
I felt the orgasm building in the pit of my stomach, building and twisting. My panting turned into moans, and I knew I was about to reach the edge, finally be able to feel bliss, when a faint sound made my tilted head turn, almost as though in trance.
The door was opened, and the object of my thoughts stood there, staring at me. At first, it didn’t compute in my brain that Shade was watching me in this awkward state. But when it did my entire body jerked and my eyes widened in both shock and mortification. My body, frustrated that I stopped moving, was in agony, needing the orgasm for its health, to relieve the fucking Haze, but I couldn’t do it, not when I was caught literally red-handed by the one who should’ve been helping my Haze, but never would, not now, not in our current state of affair.
Then my eyes found Shade’s, and his gaze was unreadable. He was looking at me in a way I had no idea how to decipher. But then he leaned his back on the closed door, folded his arms, and, watching me intensively, he said lowly, “Finish it.”
My body jerked again. “W-What?” I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard.
“I said,” he almost growled, eyes darkening, “finish it.”
Since my body was whimpering for me to finish it, too, I didn’t even try to figure out what was going on. My fingers began moving inside me, but now that Shade’s eyes were on me, on my movements, everything was different. My skin was even more hypersensitive. My nipples were so hard it was actually painful. Small spasms of shocked pleasure lanced through my muscled, and I felt it coming again, felt my wetness like nothing I’d ever felt before. I’d never been so unbelievably horny, and I could feel the heat from Shade’s look on every part of me.
Then, finding myself looking back at my mate and locking my eyes with him, my back bowed and I moaned, the orgasm ripping through me violently. Everything was spasming. I was shaking so badly with the aftershocks. My clammy skin was even clammier. I was unable to breathe.
All energy I had left me once the ecstasy dissipated. Losing my will to sit straight, I fell forward and took my fingers out of my sex. I was still breathing heavily when Shade walked toward me. Everything in me tensed and my mind, finally un-Hazed, screamed at me, “Shade was just watching you bring yourself pleasure without doing anything! What the fuck?!”
He crouched before me and I tried to raise my eyes as much as I could to him. I found myself only able to raise them as far as his crotch. I had no way to see if he was hard or not; he wore black trousers that were somewhat loose at that part. But he must be at least somewhat Hazed. When the Season came, it affected all werewolves whether they liked it or not.
“You feeling better?” he asked me suddenly and I closed my eyes, not knowing what to think of anything anymore.
“Why do you ask?” I inquired instead of replying.
“Because,” he said, voice suddenly turning flat, “it’s the Season now, and I cannot guarantee that I’ll be able to fulfill the part you need me to.”
My spine turned frigid at that. Finally having some power, I arose and stared him in the face. It was blank again. “Explain, please,” I said, trying not to jump to conclusions. My heart pounded loud in my ears.
“I told you from the start I will never be good for you and I meant it,” he said, jungle eyes not wavering from mine. “I can’t give you what you need, especially in the Mating Season. I can’t have sex with you. I can’t bring you to pleasure. I can’t touch you like that.”
My body now shook, this time in horror. Knowing someone was your mate out of the Season was one thing, but having that mate telling you to your face that he couldn’t even touch during the Season when it’s all you think about and your body needs... That wasn’t just cruel. That wasn’t evil. It was a werewolf’s nightmare coming true.
He wasn’t trying to hurt me on purpose. I knew that. My head knew that. He was telling me things how they were. I knew that when he said can’t, he meant it that way. Whether physically or mentally he couldn’t, I had no idea. But I believed him. I believed he really couldn’t. Because Shade wasn’t like your average male werewolf; no, Shade was different. So different that he couldn’t do anything for his mate, no matter how much agony she would be in.
I rose to my feet and fixed my dress in place. I then slid my feet into short heels. Then I walked toward the mirror and, with a blank face of my own, twisted my hear into a ponytail. I then applied heavy make-up. I didn’t need anyone at dinner to see what I was trying so desperately to hide.
Then I turned to Shade, who was on his feet too. “I accept what you said,” I told him, my voice hollow, “I believe you. If you say that you can’t, then you really can’t.”
He looked at me oddly. I couldn’t discern his look. At the moment, however, I didn’t care about that. “What I don’t accept, however,” I continued, “is the fact you have no desire to try to change that.”
His eyes narrowed now. “There are things you don’t understand, Luxford.”
“Perhaps,” I shrugged, “but I know one thing for sure, Shade, and it’s that you’re going to deliberately cause me pain like nothing I’ve ever felt.” And it was a decision on his part; he could’ve fought harder against himself if he truly cared about me, even slightly. He could’ve at least thought about ways to resolve this, if he at least considered me worthy. But after everything, it seemed like my one-woman chase after him was for naught.
It’d been stupid of me to think he would change for me. Sure, I was his mate, but he was Shade, the Gamma of the Millennium. He was the unreachable one, the untouchable. He was scarred mentally and physically in way I couldn’t understand. Fate sure was cruel.
But I wouldn’t break. Even if what I had to do was going to rip my soul apart. “You’re not going to fight whatever demons you have in your head, are you?”
Shade’s inscrutable were on me when he said, “No.”
I nodded jerkily. “Thank you for your honesty.” Then, I walked past him and out of the room. I heard him coming after me, because, as my shadow, it was his duty.
But having him so close, his earthy scent tantalizing my mind and body, was more than I could take right now. I stopped in my track. “I’m going to the toilet. Go ahead without me.”
Without looking at him or waiting for a response, I changed direction. Thankfully, he didn’t come after me.
And once I was in the toilet, I slid to the floor and buried my head in my hands, tears of frustration falling out of my eyes, my sobs choked, and my heart and soul breaking to pieces.
Because just now, I’d done something that was an anathema to me, something that was as bad as a taboo between werewolves.
I gave up on my mate.