"So, when did you get those tattoos?" Gamma Judah inquired while I waited for Sage to step out of her bedroom.
After last night, I had brought Sage back home safely and told her that I wanted to take her out today. Upon arriving at Sage's home, I see that Gamma Judah and Gamma Female Rosemary were also home. When I announced that I wanted to take Sage out on a date, Gamma Female Rosemary's face lit up immediately. She thought it was a perfect idea. On the other hand, Gamma Judah's eyebrows furrowed with wariness. The man was intimidating but I am no longer a boy.
Facing him under these circumstances does not require a silent standoff but a different kind of respect for Gamma Judah. After all, his daughter is my mate. It was only his right to feel this way towards me.
"A year after I left home," I replied. The word 'home' still sounds foreign to me.
"Why did you decide to leave home?" Gamma Judah questioned next.
"I needed to find myself," I said with a shrug.
"Find yourself?" Gamma Judah raised an eyebrow.
I nodded. "Yes. You all were born into a pack. I wasn't. I lived in fear for seven years. I guess I kind of got lost along the way. I just wanted to see what was out there."
Gamma Judah nodded but didn't push on the matter further. I am silently thankful that he didn't. I wasn't ready and if he had pushed I might just have stood up and left.
"You realize that Sage is my only pup," Gamma Judah pointed out.
I nodded. "I do."
"You'll treat her right or I'll make sure you won't be able to see daylight again. Brother of Luna or not," he threatened.
I smirked at his protective instinct. I wished I received this kind of treatment when I was little. Sage was lucky. She was able to have two parents that loved and adored her.
"I appreciate that. If I ever hurt her, you can do whatever you want with me. I promise I will not retaliate," I replied with a nod.
Gamma Female Rosemary smiled then. She turned to her mate who threw her another scowl. Her smile slipped and she pinned him with her own scowl.
"He is a good kid, Jude," Gamma Female Rosemary snapped which left Gamma Judah grumbling.
"That's ok. I understand Gamma Judah's concern. You have the right to protect your pup. I promise I'll try my best to treat her right," I assured her.
"Aw, honey, you do not need to call us by our titles. Since you are our daughter's mate, you can call us by our name," she replied with a warm smile.
I nodded again. "Thank you, Rosemary."
The sound of a door opening catches our attention. We all went silent as footsteps grew closer. I turned in my seat on the sofa to look behind me. What I see made me smile. Sage didn't bother dressing up. Honestly, she was in black skinny denim and a dark grey over-sized V-neck t-shirt. Her burnt umber hair a frazzled cascade down to her mid back. She was beautiful.
"Ready?" I asked her.
She nodded, biting her bottom lips. Her hands were shoved into her back pockets. A pink blush played on her soft cheeks.
I stood up and opened my palm for her. She looked at my hand and then back at me. A second later, she moved around the sofa to place her warm small hand into my very own. I held it tight, secretly relishing the feel of her hands against mine. It felt good. Nothing ever felt this right.
"We will be gone all day but I'll make sure to have her home before nine tonight," I told them.
After saying our goodbyes, I led Sage outside to my bike. I grabbed my helmet before placing it on her. When I clipped the buckle in place and adjusted the cord, my eyes lifted to hers.
"Are you ready?" I asked.
She nodded and I got onto my bike. She got on behind me. Her hand grabbed the side of my t-shirt. I looked down and grabbed her hand before bringing them forward to wrap around me. She leaned against me completely. I could every inch of her pressed against my back.
Clenching my teeth, I started the bike and drove down the driveway and out onto the country road. The place I wanted to take her was a little bit farther out of town. It was a thirty to forty-five-minute drive. It does step outside of our territory by a few miles but not by far.
Her arms tightened around my waist and I feel her body visibly relaxed. I glanced down to where her hands were. They held on tight and something in my chest tightened at the sight. Is it wrong for me to want to stop time and live the rest of my life in this moment? Having her close by and feeling the cold wind whipping past us, I felt calm for the first time ever.
I returned my attention back to the road but removed one of my hands from the handle to place over her hands. I felt her move. She wasn't expecting my hands to wrap around hers. The old apple farm tree appeared with an arrow directing down a gravel path.
Releasing the hold of her hands, I signaled and pulled down the gravel path. On both sides of us were rows of apple trees. She pulled slightly back and I turned my head slightly to see her looking down the rows of apple trees with curiosity.
We pulled up to the dirt parking spot. In front of us was a large red barn that we would need to enter before picking apples.
When I parked the bike and turned off the ignition, she got off the bike first before removing her helmet. I got off right after her.
"We are picking apples?" she questioned while handing me my helmet. Her hair was messy and slightly matted from wearing the helmet.
She ran her hands through her hair and ruffled the roots. Such a small careless act but was so damn attractive. I nodded before placing the helmet on the seat.
"Have you ever gone apple picking before?" I asked.
She shook her head before smiling sheepishly. "My dad does the cooking in the house."
"You don't cook?" I raised an eyebrow.
She stuffed her hands into her pocket and shrugged. "I can cook."
I smirked, "You don't cook."
She scowled immediately when I catch her on her lie.
"So?" she said defensively.
I turned my back to her and walked towards the barn. She followed me. I can feel her glaring eyes boring holes into my back.
"So, what? I don't cook but this is a new age. Not all women believe that cooking is a necessity."
"It is a necessity. If you don't cook, how can you eat?" I questioned back.
"Why is that man believe that cooking is a women's job?"
"Why are you getting defensive, Sage?" I turned to look at her while walking backward. I stuffed my hands into my own jean pocket.
"I am not getting defensive. Whatever you say doesn't matter to me." She shrugged me off with an indifferent look.
I chuckled before turning back to the entrance of the barn. We entered the inside. It was a barn that has been renovated to be the main building for the farm. All register and pay through here before entering their farm. A few employees were talking behind the desk when the bell chimed.
We walked inside and up to the front desk. The male associate glanced between us but I noticed the way his eyes lingered slightly on Sage. Of course, Sage was still seething from our earlier conversation to pay the male associate any attention.
I paid the fee before they handed us both two buckets. "You'll take the dirt path to your right when you walk out of here. Once you reach that path, walk down a few yards and you'll see an arrow pointing to where you can start picking."
They also told us that we can eat a few apples and not to worry about their apples because they were a hundred percent organic. We walked back out of the main entrance. As soon as the door closed behind us, I intertwined my hand through her. She looked down to where we were holding each other's hand but she didn't pull back.
"So, I am guessing your kind of woman is one who stays home and cooks for you?" she questioned as we entered the fields. Some apple barrels were filled slightly to the top.
I turned my head to look down at her. She was looking ahead but I can see the look of irritation flash across her face. She was definitely irritated with me.
I chuckled. "I don't care if you cook, Sage. We can live off on frozen food or processed food for the rest of our lives for all I care. All I care about is that you and I stick together through thick and thin."
Her head snapped up and a surprised look appeared on her pretty little face.
"What's the matter? I stunned you speechless." I teased. I don't tease but with her-she was an exception.
She scoffed before looking ahead again.
"Good because I am not that kind of woman," she muttered.
"I know you aren't," I replied.
We spotted the sign as the male associate directed. We turned and head down that dirt path. Sage stopped us both when she spotted an apple tree with a ton of apples hanging off from it. She reached for one and picked it from the branch.
"Grandma will love these apples," she said and looked up at me with a smile on her face.
I forgot about her grandma. Catalina was a well-known baker within the pack. She does make delicious apple pies.
"Do you think she'll make us some apple pie?" I asked.
She laughed and her eyes sparkled with hope.
"I hope she does," Sage replied.
We continued to pick a few more apples off from the tree and moved farther down the path until the dirt path turned into grassy bedding with red apple trees on either side of them. Sage picked an apple from her bucket and took a bite out of it. Her eyes lit up and she turned to face me happily.
"These will be perfect for apple pies. They aren't too sweet." She showed me the half-eaten apple.
I took hold of her wrist and guided her half-eaten apple to my mouth. I took a large bite out of it. Her eyes followed my mouth with clear interest. The burst of sweet and sour filled my mouth. I shrugged my shoulders.
"They aren't bad," I replied.
She cleared her throat and brought her hand back down to her side when I released her wrist. She took another bite of the apple where I had previously taken a bite from. When she finished her chewing, I pinched her chin and lifted her face so I can taste her lips.
Her lips parted willingly as soon as I touched them. They were so succulent and juicy with the hint of the apple taste. When I pulled back, she looked slightly daze. Then she blinked and I can see her struggling to control her thoughts.
"Do you have a habit of kissing people randomly?"
One corner of my lips lifted and I threaded my fingers through her hair while I scattered kisses down her jawline.
"I wouldn't know," I replied.
"W-what do you mean?" she whispered huskily.
I pulled away from her before dropping my hand back to my side and continuing my walk between the rows of apple trees. I heard her jogging to catch up.
"Have you ever kissed another woman before?" she asked.
I did. I remember kissing a female pack mate back in high school. It wasn't anything important. It was just a kiss.
Sage saw my answer because her eyebrows instantly furrowed. She stopped in her footsteps. I stopped and turned to face her.
"Who is she?" she asked. The flare of jealousy in my kitten's eyes excited me.
"A random female packmate. I don't remember who she was," I replied.
She huffed. "That is so unfair."
"What?" I cocked an eyebrow.
"I never kissed another man before," she snapped.
"That is for a good thing," I replied. Who knows what I would do the poor bastard?
Just the thought was enough to make my skin tingle and my beast waking up. I grabbed onto her arm and yanked her closer to me. Her body collided with mine.
"Don't ever kiss anybody else," I snarled.
She struggled to push me away.
"You kissed another girl," she pointed out.
"That kiss meant nothing. It wasn't even a kiss. Call it a peck on the fucking mouth," I growled.
"Then can I peck another man's mouth?" she taunted.
I slammed my lips against hers. I get her frustration and anger. If the roles were flipped, I don't know how I would handle the thought of another man kissing her before me. Yet the past was the past. I couldn't hold it against her and I certainly wouldn't reject her just because she did. Honestly, I don't give a fuck if she had kissed or slept with another man. What I care about was that she knows who she belongs to now. That there was no way in hell she would get a chance to kiss another man.
She bit my tongue but I refuse to relent. I tangled my hand into her hair and tugged hard. She let out a soft whimper before her tongue slid over my tongue where she bit. The metallic taste of my blood mixed in our mouth. Fuck, my mate was a handful.
I pulled back when we both needed air. The jealousy fire in her eyes had dimmed down a little. I noticed that our buckets of apples were now scattered all over the ground.
"I have slept with one or two women before. I kissed one woman back in high school. The women that I had slept with, I never kissed. You, however, I will continue kissing. I won't stop kissing you. You're different. You're mine and I am yours. I like it when you are jealous but I can't change my past, Sage. I haven't lied to you yet and I don't plan on it. When you're with me, you'll get the truth if you asked for it," I replied huskily while looking at swollen-kissed lips.
"Okay?" I said after a minute.
She nodded, speechless before bending down to pick up her bucket. She walked ahead of me. I bent down to pick up mine but heard her say, "I'll castrate you if you do."
I gave a short laugh while shaking my head. I know she will. There was no doubt about that. We spent the rest of the afternoon re-filling our buckets before returning back to the territory.
At first, I thought about swinging by town for something to eat but I didn't want Sage to feel the questioning pressure from the pack if she didn't want to yet. So, we headed to the packhouse first to drop off the apples.
Catalina was in the kitchen when she saw us come through the kitchen doors. She looked up when she heard us. Most of her staff were taking a break at this point.
"Sage, sweetie!" Catalina stopped kneading her dough and walked around the counter to wrap her arms around her grandchild.
"Hey, grandma. We brought you some apples," Sage greeted and then pulled back slightly to reveal the brown bag I was carrying.
"Apples?" She narrowed her eyes upon us. "Are you two asking for apple pie?"
Sage laughed and I smirked at her suspicious response.
"You do have a pretty damn good apple pie recipe, Catalina," I replied.
It was her turn to laugh. Her eyes lighting up with joy.
"Alright. You two got me. I'll make you some apple pie. In the meantime, did you two eat yet? There are some leftover sandwiches from lunch this afternoon," she said while walking to the big refrigerator.
I walked over and sat the bag of apples on the counter before following Sage to some seating behind the counter.
"Yes. I am starving," Sage replied.
Catalina brought two plates of sandwiches and homemade chips over to us while she got into working on peeling the apples. After Sage and I finished our food, we helped her knead the dough for the apple pie---well at least attempt to. Apparently, we both didn't know how to bake. I think flour ended up more on us than in the dough itself.
When Catalina turned around from peeling her apples, she gasped.
"What on earth?" Catalina shook her head in confusion. "H-how? W-what?"
I looked at Sage and couldn't stop the laughter from bubbling up inside of me. She was completely covered from head to toe. Her cheeks were stained with flour. Her nose and even her forehead. I even saw a dusting of flour above her lips.
Sage glared at me before running her flour covered hands over my face.
"Ok, you two. Get out of my kitchen before you two ruin it. Go wash up and I'll see you two down here in a few hours."
Once we were out of the kitchen and alone, I wrapped my arms around Sage's waist just as she attempted to flee. I wiped my face on the back of her shirt. She giggled when she felt what I was doing. Her laughter made me smile against her back. When I finished and released her, she didn't waste time in fleeing. I watched her run up the stairs to clean up. Shaking my head, I brushed my finger over my nose to see flour dusting on my finger. I chuckled and shook my head before going to get cleaned up too.
I wasn't planning on updating but a deal is a deal. I made a bet with my sister. Now I have to follow up on my end of the deal. Here is a chapter update per my sister's request. Lol