“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
My eyelids flutter open and the sound of sirens blaring and horns honking break the abyss of sleep I was in. I look over to the open window and slump back into the soft mattress, pulling Oliver’s pillow over my head to muffle the noise.
“Mae, Mae wake up you gotta see this,” I sit up slowly and turn my head over to find Avery standing in the door to my room with a panicked expression. My brows scratch in confusion and I reluctantly slide the warm duvet of my body, looking at the bathroom Oliver is currently occupying.
I reach over the end of the bed and locate my slippers, sliding the fluffy pink fabric onto my foot. “What is it?” I grumble, putting the second slipper on. “Ave?” I look back up to the door to find her gone, the eerie silence filled only by the bustling street and the running shower.
I stretch out my leg muscles and read the alarm clock. 5:00 AM blares at me in red. God this better be important.
My body moves groggily to the main room and I turn to my right to see Carter crawl out of his hobble, his expression mimicking mine. I sleep in but Noah and Carter? Let’s just say ever since my teenage brother in laws have been staying with us their wake up time has been two in the afternoon. Without fail. I’m honestly surprised Avery managed to get them both out of bed, whatever news she has to share better be important.
Knowing Avery, we probably ran out of her favourite Ben and Jerrys ice cream again, a situation that almost indefinitely calls for a household meeting. I’d like to think that the scenario of Avery getting up at five in the morning to eat said ice-cream would be insane but I wouldn’t put it past her.
I rub my eyes and my lips stretch out in a large yawn as I move into the living room to find Noah and Avery both watching the TV with panicked expressions on their faces.
“What is it? Whats going on?” I ask and Avery points to the television and the recently elected President, a younger man who was renowned on social media for his good looks.
“Its the law. They just announced restrictions on movement, we can’t travel interstate as of next week and they are saying that the bans will only move into regional after that. It just feels weird, so random,” she says and I furrow my brows.
“Bans? Why?” I ask, moving to stand near Avery behind the couch.
“I don’t, they said there have been major threats from other nations and it’s a safety precaution but I dunno, it just doesn’t feel right. They said that there are enemies living among us that need to be discovered first and thats the reason for the limit so I don’t know… maybe it’s for the best,” she says and I look back at our nations leader, the man that I elected for his promises of reform and justice, for the better economy we have because of the bills he created in the senate. Because out of all the options on the ballot, I trusted him the most.
“What are people doing?” I ask and she shrugs.
“Online most people are petitioning to listen and most people who need to leave will probably do so before border controls come into effect but I don’t know. This city is a big place, with a lot of people and if there are threats of any kind I bet many people won’t want to stay here but by then…” she trails off and a creeping feeling of dread festers in the empty pit of my stomach.
“Well I don’t know Ave, I guess we should listen to him I mean if its what’s best I don’t know-”
“Boys, go to your rooms and pack your bags. Now.” I spin around to see Oliver coming out from our room, his chestnut hair dampened by the shower letting loose droplets fall onto his shirt.
“Ollie, calm down have you seen the news? There are threats, the president he-”
“The president isn’t who you think he is.” He shoots his teenage brothers a firm look and the two eventually get the message and scurry off to their rooms.
“Oliver, you need to relax a little, the president said that the nature of the threat will be revealed to the public when it is safe for us to know. There is a group out there, a terrorist organisation that needs to be weeded out,” Avery explains and Olivers skin pales ever so slightly, not enough for Avery to take notice but for someone who has spent hours and hours memorising every inch square of his body. I notice.
“Trust me, this isn’t good at all. A terrorist group? Have they even declared the name of this ‘group’, something is very off and we need to be as far away from the masses as we can before it’s too late,” he explains and I have never seen Oliver affected by a paranoia like this before. Oliver looks to the television and reaches for a remote, turning the volume up just as an interview from the country’s largest news source closes up a segment of their support on the measures. A symbol comes up on the screen and the anchor begins describing it.
“New information on the terrorists are to be released by the hour and this here is a tattoo that each member of the organisation must receive on initiation. If you know anyone or see someone with one of these symbols on their skin we urge you to contact this hotline number to make an anonymous call so our authorities can further investigate the individuals links to the threat,” he states and Oliver switches the screen off before looking towards us with a panicked expression and take a tentative step towards him, placing my warm palm against the cool of his cheek.
“Ollie, we have nothing to worry about. None of us are in some secret terrorist group, you’re in the military for gods sake and this could be a good thing for you, the government will need you back to help now so your leave might get shortened,” I explain, staring softly into his emerald eyes and seeing the flash of guilt glimmer so quickly through them I almost missed it.
“I wasn’t put on leave Mae, I left,” he says and I take a step back, frowning. A simmering feeling begins to arise, a feeling that I know all too well. Betrayal. And the thing about betrayal is that is hurts so much more when it comes unexpected, from people you love.
“What are you trying to say?” I look back at the strange marking on the screen and then back to Oliver. I have seen his body countless times and never once has a tattoo suddenly appeared.
“The government started issuing us to do things that weren’t right, looking through peoples personal information, arresting civilians who’s only crime was to question a statement made by the president, things that I couldn’t do any longer. Mae I need you to just trust me on this, things aren’t as they seem and they are only going to get worse.
“People have already started turning on one another, we’d get calls from people ratting out their enemies whose only crime was being a bad neighbour but it didn’t matter. Any and all suspects were detained and questioned, that was the rule.” My hands start to shake and I look to Avery whose eyes are just as wide, the both of us now sharing in our newfound panic.
“I don’t- that doesn’t make any sense, Ollie I don’t get what you mean. This government hasn’t done one thing wrong since election,” Oliver takes my hands in his and looks at me with soft eyes.
“Maeve, trust me when I tell you that they are the enemies. They always have been and they always will be, their kind-the corrupt and cruel always hide behind faces of trust and we can’t be naive enough to trust a single on of them,” he explains and as he describes them I can detect the hate in his words, the deep rooted vehemence he holds for their kind and it makes sense.
Oliver has always been against the evils of the world, he would whisper tales to me at night of the evils in the world and why they must be eradicated so justice and happiness can prevail. I always passed it off as his hero complex but I can tell it goes further than that. Whatever he’s seen, whatever he’s been exposed too in his line of work must’ve stuck.
“I don’t get it, why should we leave our home, everything we have. Surely we are safer here,” Avery comments and he shakes his head.
“No, there’s a place I know we can in the country. It’d take one person to say something against you and then who knows? Anyone you know could turn on you, a jealous colleague, an ex, a paranoid shopper at the mall. Anyone,” he reiterates and chills run down my spine.
“So what are we supposed to do?” I ask quietly, pressing myself against his solid chest and wrapping my everything in the security his warmth provides. His firm grip tightens around my waist and he rests his head atop of mine.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep us safe Mae just pack your things, the essentials and don’t trust anyone who isn’t currently under this roof.”
I step off the plane and don’t have the energy to admire the serene view that graces my vision. The only ounce of sleep I actually received on that god forsaken flight was when I used Roman’s body as a human pillow and I only did that in fragments. On the bright side, the small seated area we were crammed into behind the cockpit had a little desk which Roman and I both used, our papers covered the entire thing but I managed to go through some more of the files Beta Elijah had given me at least.
I lift my arms above my head in a large stretch, the feeling of my taut muscles loosening only serving to make me more tired. A car pulls in front of the plane and I turn around to see Roman holding both of our bags, making his way towards me and the car. The drivers seat opens and a young woman comes out and opens the door to the backseat, standing straight and looking through her shades absently, professionally. I give her a smile which she doesn’t reciprocate and slide onto the smooth leather seat, closing the door behind me and slumping into the chair which is so much more comfortable than the tiny one I had to share with Roman.
It only takes a second for Roman to enter the other side of the car and sit down with a huff before looking towards me in exhaustion. “I don’t know about you but I am sleeping in tomorrow,” he comments, resting his head against the back of the car.
“I’ve got lots of work to do,” I reply but my words come out in a yawn and his lips raise slightly in a tired smile before he shoots me an amused look.
“We’ll see,” he says and I narrow my eyes but the action forces me to close them briefly before blinking them back open. I will not fall asleep yet, not until I get into some kind of bed and change out of these clothes and shower maybe and god I am just making myself more tired.
“Can you tell me about your tattoos, why there were so many of them?” I ask and he lifts his head like it carries a weight to look at me.
“They each represent a life I have taken in the name of the goddess. There are one or two that have come with my ranking as it changes but mainly they are for the people who’ve died at my hands,” he explains and an eerie feeling creeps up my spine.
“You’ve killed a lot of people,” I point out, gulping and he shrugs, an action that makes me shudder unknowingly.
“Yes, I have. But not in the way that you think, I don’t go out hunting in the forrest on a full moon, feasting on the blood of little girls or whatever. It’s more than that,” he says, a twinge of annoyance in his tone because that is along the lines of what I suspected he did for pass time. How else would you accumulate such a tally of deaths.
“What way is it then?” I press and he looks at me with eyes clouded in guilt.
“I don’t think you’d really understand, Mae, it’s a wolf thing,” he says and the words cut me deeper than a knife wound but I try not to show it.
“I think as a leader of wolves it’s well within my rights to know, even if I don’t understand it,” I snap back, letting him feel an ounce of the pain that he gave me. Petty, I know, but from the way his hard stare softens I know it worked.
“I take the lives of mates who are dying in the name of the goddess,” he says and I scrunch my brows, watching as he gulps like its a shameful thing.
“Why?” I ask, his words of murder leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
“Mercy. When a mate under my rule dies at my hand their mate won’t suffer and die along with them. They still feel a gaping hole of pain but it’s something that I don’t enjoy doing or talking about really,” he explains but his latest information has already spiked my curiosity beyond repair.
“So you kill mates if they are going to die to spare the other from the same fate?” I ask and he nods.
“Yes, if they request it.”
“Is that something that all Alpha’s can do?” I ask and he glances at me, his tired eyes blinking slowly.
“No,” he grumbles out, “It is a gift given only too Alpha Superiors for the packs beneath them and the Alpha King for us,” he says and I try to not make a show of my newfound knowledge, the key to what could kill him but he catches on and narrows his eyes.
“If I were you I wouldn’t get too excited. The Alpha King doesn’t partake in such practices, he feels it goes against the moon goddesses true wishes and regardless, asking him to murder me wouldn’t do you any favours,” he says in annoyance and I can tell the topic agitates him through the way his once relaxed muscles.
“I find it hard to believe you’re invincible. Silver doesn’t kill you, the Alpha king won’t kill you but I’m sure there is something out there that does,” I comment and his head snaps towards me, his eyes darkening.
“What? You?” He taunts, his grip on the door handle only tightening.
“Maybe,” I respond, shooting him an equally dark look, the scowl on his face only deepening before disappearing all together.
He lets out a dry laugh. “You seriously want to know how to kill me?” He asks and a gross feeling sprouts within my stomach, a pain different from poison. I fight it and nod meekly.
“You can’t,” he says quietly and I scoff.
“Bullshit,” I say and he laughs jovially but the only thing he finds amusing in this is my reaction no doubt.
“The only way an Alpha Superior can die is of old age unless he has a secured an heir in which case his life is open to the same threats of a regular wolf. I suppose decapitation could work if someone was able to get close enough but I can assure you that it is an unlikely scenario and that even when I become exposed to the threats a regular wolf faces of silver my skill set and strength as an Alpha Superior will still stand,” he explains and gives me a look through darkened eyes. “If you want to try and kill me and thus yourself then by all means Maeve, humour me, but if you try and fail then you won’t like the outcome,” he warns and my stomach sinks.
“I don’t want to kill you. I’m not pining for this system to collapse until I can guarantee that there is some form of safety net to stop people from dying because of it, you have made your point on that clear enough. I’m simply curious and besides, maybe it could help in the fight against South America,” I respond and look out of the window, not bothering to feed into his animosity at the idea of me murdering him.
I dislike the guy and I suppose I wear the brand of murderer myself now but Wren… I hope she is the last person that I ever kill. Its not a nice feeling, its not a moment of strength that I wear proudly on my wrist and led by the anger that I was I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to that power. But I was and I can’t honestly say that given the chance I wouldn’t do it again because that woman lit a fire in me that isn’t so easily quelled.
“Well now you know, I’m sorry that you’ll never get rid of me,” he grumbles and I fight the urge to let out a dry laugh because one day I will. I don’t know how or when but I won’t be trapped forever, I refuse to be.
“It’s not your fault,” I mumble out in response and I don’t turn to look at his reaction and instead focus my attention on the passing country side outside the window.
It’s not his fault. He is probably to blame for numerous things sure but our bond isn’t one of them. The goddess is the only one who should be apologising and something tells me she doesn’t change her mind so quickly.
In the span of one day six people accessed Noah’s room for services out of whom three have become primary suspects. A woman in her late forties, a human mate who has been working for the palace for nearly twenty years and is of higher ranking amongst staff. A wolf plumber in his mid twenties who was the second last person by appointment to be in the room but due to a lack of proper recording the time of his arrival there is unknown and a male human staff member who has apparently proven himself a skilled handyman and loyal server to his colleagues that went to fix a faulty light.
Three people. The others were ruled out due to the fact that they serviced the room in the morning and there is proof of it meaning it’s now down to the last three who at this point all claim to have not seen or noticed any necklace on a pillow. I went through their cases, trying to find some gap or crack that maybe I could understand but it was fruitless. I’m not a detective so for now all I can do is try to work on finding out what the Hunters could possibly be planning including Noah. Which I can’t exactly do on my own.
“Did Beta Elijah give you any more information on the case yet?” I ask Roman from across the office in his extremely oversized, insanely gorgeous chateaux.
He looks up from a financial review he’s been working on and his blue eyes meet mine. “He sent an email not long ago about adding a few more detectives on the case which I forwarded to you. I’ve made the suggestion to employ some human detectives onto the case in a trial run as well so we’ll see how that pans out,” he tells me and I open my laptop to find the email thread there, the content the same as he described.
Both of us slept through the rest of the day yesterday when we arrived mid afternoon and woke up sometime this morning. Roman seems to be dealing with jet lag a lot better than I am but I wouldn’t let it stop me from getting back into work in the office. Honestly I imagined a trip to France to be full of holding and fun, relaxing by the beach and exploring the countries exquisite beauty but instead I’m in an office working on world issues.
“And has there been any advancements on the issue of hunters? I’m still trying to make sense of the situation with Noah,” I tell him and he opens his laptop, clicking around as his eyes skim across the screen.
“Yes, actually but it isn’t too constructive on your case I’m afraid. I sent out a group a couple weeks ago following a lead on a rebel base but by the time they arrived all documents were burned beyond repair and whatever was in the location had either been destroyed or moved. They have resources, that much is clear we just don’t know how much or what they plan on doing with it,” he tells me and I nod, more scattered pieces of the puzzle falling loosely onto the heaping pile of random information.
“Do you think they pose a threat to the implementation of human rights?” I ask and I see the cogs in his head turning as he ponders.
“It’s hard to say. I wouldn’t think so honestly because Rebel infiltration in packs hasn’t yet become an issue aside from the minor uprisings they spark like the one you were involved in. However, I think that once they see the positive change enforced they may stop with the idea,” he explains but I’m not so convinced.
Once humans have developed a victim mentality the idea of forgiveness is near impossible and in many cases, rightfully so. Moving on from what has happened over the last five years won’t be easy and a lot of people are going to feel entitled or want apologies or hold on to the hatred they feel for the other race and there’s not much that can be done about that.
Wolves feel they deserve something because of their treatment from humans and humans feel they deserve something because of their treatment from wolves. And around and around and around it goes like some sick twisted circus because no matter what, at some point there is always someone else to blame and moving forward becomes so much harder because of it. I know because that’s how I felt, against every wolf no matter what their standing was and it was only made worse by the fact that wolves felt the exact same way towards me.
Everyone in this world holds some sense of entitlement and that won’t ever go away, it’ll just come back in different forms. Do I want the people of this planet to live in harmony and peace for the rest of eternity, regardless of their species? Of course, but I know that is a hopeless dream and so instead I’ll have to just settle for as close to it as I can get. Perhaps that’s a part of my being here if fate or the moon goddess has a hand in it, to balance the imbalance out.
“I hope it works out, but who knows,” I respond and he lets out a sigh, looking through the large window the the beach in the distance.
“I don’t know about you but I could really do with a swim later on,” he says and I look over at him once more, dressed casually in a shirt that stretches perfectly over his large chest and joggers to match the comfortable style.
“A swim?” I ask and he flashes me a smile.
“What? This is supposed to be a holiday after all, we can’t work the entire time we’re here,” he says and looks back at the ocean in longing. “It doesn’t look good enough for surfing but if we get out before sunset we might be able to miss the jellyfish that’ll come with the still water,” he mumbles and I raise a brow.
“You surf?” I ask and he looks back at me in a defensive manner yet again.
“I don’t know why you find it so hard to believe I partake in fun activities,” he says and I raise a brow.
“When you use words like partake it makes it pretty easy to believe,” I comment and he holds his hand to his heart in mock pain.
“Ouch,” he says and I let out a small laugh at his antics.
“I might go down to the beach later to then, but I don’t think I’ll swim,” I comment, looking out at the shimmering water on the coast with awe.
“Why not? Its perfect weather and plus, I told the maids to pack you some swimwear just in case,” he asks and I shrug.
“Maybe another day.” A notification pops up on my laptop screen and I open a new email sent to both Roman and I. “Well if we want to go to the beach we are going to have to get back in time for a new meeting,” I say and Roman breaks away from the view of the ocean.
“What?” He asks and I look over to him.
“Yeah, a new meeting has just been announced across the Superiors with the Alpha King,” I inform him and he lets out a sigh.
“Is there a briefing for the meeting attached to the email?” He asks and I scroll down finding no flies.
“No, it’s scheduled for eight tonight,” I respond and he smiles once more.
“We can’t really do anything to prepare so the beach can probably still happen,” he says and I shrug, looking back at my work and then to him.
“Alright well I still have a few things to work through so we’ll go before sunset like you said,” I comment and he nods opening up an envelope on his desk and giving me a smile.
“Sounds like a plan,” he responds and then goes back into his work, his thick brows scrunching ever so slightly in concentration as his blue orbs flick across the page.
I turn my head from him and open a new email from Beta Elijah with a list of potential human detectives for the case along with five other unread ones that I’ll have to work through fast if I ever want to go down to the ocean.
The maids idea of swimwear wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I rummaged through all three suitcases they packed me to try and locate a long sleeve swim shirt but came out with instead a variety of bikini’s and one pieces that were… interesting. I know that Cameron and Astrid are probably to blame for the choice, I can only imagine the other items they had a part in choosing for me. It’s safe to say I decided against swimming for today and decided on some shorts and a shirt with a loose jumper in case the chill comes in.
I walk out of the closet which contains Roman and I’s suitcases still full of our belongings because unpacking hasn’t yet become a priority and into the room we are staying in. The architecture of the entire estate is breathtaking and the whole building is the size of a smaller mansion not counting the other cottages scattered on the property. Our room over looks the ocean with classic French furniture decorating the space perfectly.
Roman walks into the room with shorts and a shirt on, a towel hung loosely over his shoulder and a smile on his face. He saunters over to the bed and sits down, pulling out his phone quickly to check the time before throwing it onto the bed.
“We better head off, if we are late two times in a row the Alpha King won’t be impressed,” he says and I walk over to a dresser to pick up a bag and put in a book that I found packed in my suitcase before grabbing a wide rimmed hat and turning around to face him.
“Yeah, okay lets get going,” I agree and we both walk into the hallway that wraps around an open foyer on the ground level, my side protected by a white railing.
We walk over to the stairs that lead to the front door and Romans hand rests on the smooth railing. “The betas and I used to slide down this when we were kids, it drove our mothers mad,” he says with a laugh and I chuckle at the idea.
“Why don’t you do it now?” I tease and he looks at me with calculating eyes, trying to figure me out almost. “Go on, I dare you,” I say and his smile widens before he looks around and shrugs.
“An Alpha never backs down from a challenge, I suppose,” he says and passes me his towel before jumping gracefully up onto the bannister, holding on and I try so hard not to laugh at the sight but it is difficult when a grown Alpha wolf is clutching on a rail like a little boy.
He shoots me a large grin and lets go of the rail, his body flying down the rail at an increasing speed, his body weight only making him go faster. He lets out a whoop and I smile slightly at the sight as I run down after him, taking the steps two at a time.
“See, wasn’t so bad,” I say breathlessly because running down a set of stairs is apparently out of my fitness now.
“I think I might just take out the stairs altogether, put a permanent slide in there,” he jokes and I laugh at the idea, not missing the twinkle that passes through his eyes. I take it as my cue and start to walk towards the doors leading outside, eager to get to the beach and stamp out whatever twinkles start shining.
“Its been years since I last went to the beach,” I say, more as an announcement to the world than a conversation starter for Roman and I but it comes out and he hears it regardless.
“Do you like the beach?” He says and I want to commend him for the impressive diversion but I just nod and tuck my hair behind my ear.
“Yeah, I didn’t really get to go much as a kid but when I was older I used to take trips whenever I could. The ocean just has a way of calming me, it makes me feel good I guess,” I say and he looks at me with those same eyes trying to figure me out and I laugh nervously, “the sand sucks though, always getting everywhere it shouldn’t and being all annoying,” He cracks a smile and looks ahead as we turn down a stone path that leads directly to the beach.
We fall into a comfortable silence and I take in the salty smell of the ocean, the crisp feeling of the breeze as it floats over the waves and into my nose and feel the effects of the beach begin to work. I let my muscles loosen and smile when my feet connect with the soft sand, curling my toes deep into the tiny remnants of rocks, eroded by time and washed ashore. The sand is still warm, sun-kissed from its exposure to the bright rays throughout the day and it sends shivers up my leg.
Roman doesn’t waste time and moves in front of me, discarding his towel onto the beach and lifting the hem of his shirt, pulling it off the reveal his chiseled chest. I try not to stare but its a hard feat when the body of adonis is on full display right in front of me but I refrain and avert my gaze to the clouds over head.
“You good Mae?” He asks and I look at him, raising my brows and biting down on my lower lip, pretending as best as I can that I wasn’t googling over him. His oblivious expression tells me he didn’t even get the notion that I’d want to and he laughs shaking his head.
“Yeah, yeah I’m cool. I’m just gonna sit here and read,” I say, reaching into my bag and pulling out my book.
“You’re not coming in for a swim?” He asks and I shake my head, wrapping my arms around my waist before sitting down,
“You go ahead, I’m good here,” I reply and he shrugs.
“Suit yourself,” he replies and walks over to the water. I watch as he walks in waist deep and dives under the water, coming up after a few seconds shaking his black hair sending water droplets spraying out over the sea. I open up my book and slump into the sand, getting comfortable as I start my journey into a new unknown hidden within the pages, smiling softly at the brief serenity creeping over me.
I read about a quarter into the book and glance over at Roman who has been sleeping on his towel next to me for the last fifteen minutes before. I put the book onto my sweater and tear my eyes away from the defined muscles on Roman’s back before digging my hands into the sand.
The sun has started setting over the horizon and hues of yellows and reds filter through the sky, reflecting onto the almost calm ocean. I pull up a handful of sand and begin making a base for my sandcastle, digging a moat around my castles edges to start it off.
“What are you doing?” Roman asks, leaning on one hand as he watches me continue building.
“What does it look like?” I retort and he smiles, getting up off his towel to sit on the other side of the castle.
I pull up more dry sand and he starts to dig the moat on the other side, his large handfuls of sand mounting onto the castle in copious amounts, plonked straight into the centre.
“You need to put the sand on the edges of the castle first, if you just plop it all in the middle it won’t be even,” I scold and he chuckles, squashing down the big pile in the middle so it’s more even,.
“We’re too far up, we need to get some wet sand for the bottom, that way it’ll be stronger,” he says and I shoot him a look that says I know what I’m doing that only makes him laugh harder.
I put another bit of sand on the top and it crumbles off the side, not working in my favour at all and I let out a loose laugh. To which Roman smiles wider.
“See,” he says and I narrow my eyes at him.
“Oh ha, ha,” I say and I push up off my knees and shoot him a glare before walking off over to the wet sand mumbling under my breath.
I go to scoop up a handful of wet sand and walk back over to find Roman on opposite sides, digging attentively into the moat and a smirk creeps up onto my face. I creep up, the soft sand cushioning my arrival and before Roman can turn around to greet me I rub the wet sand into his hair, laughing as his back muscles still. His head whips around faster than I can account for and his shocked look turns into a smirk quickly as I laugh at the sand dripping from his black hair onto his chest. Getting that out is going to be absolute hell.
I don’t have time to react as he uses his unnatural speed to hoist me up over his shoulders. “What are you doing! Roman, Roman, I’m sorry put me down!” I yell, getting a full view of his backside as he steps into the water.
“No! No Roman stop!” I yell, pushing against his arms but he doesn’t stop and instead continues walking out into the deep.
The golden sunset reflecting off the soft waves comes into view and he moves his hold on me but I don’t have any shirt that I can clutch onto, just sand covered wet skin and he launches me off his shoulder, his strength sending me flying through the air and plunging into the depth of the ocean.
Icy water wraps around me and I swim up to the surface and gasp for air, trying to tread water whilst removing the suffocating hair that is swiped across my face. The heat of Romans body comes into my vicinity and he pulls my body towards his, my legs wrapping instinctively around his waist for support as I use my hands to avidly remove the hair from my face.
Roman’s goofy grin is the first thing that comes into view and I stop for a brief second, looking at the way the sunlight hits his skin, making him glow and the droplets of water on his face glimmer. “Do you know how hard getting this sand out is gonna be?” He asks his grip unfaltering on my waist and I can’t help but laugh because it truly is the perfect crime.
Both of our laughs die down and I glance at Romans lips briefly before staring into his eyes and before I can react his lips crash onto mine. Tingles erupt through my body and everything stops, the only feeling that matters is the feeling of his lips connected to mine. It feels so good so right and nice. I lift my hands and run them through his hair, feeling the grains of wet sand still stuck and he pulls me tighter against his body, deepening the kiss.
My lungs empty and I break from the kiss, letting sweet oxygen back into my system. Roman’s lips connect onto the mark over my neck and pleasure ripples through my body in waves. The mark. His mark. Images of his elongated canines sinking into my skin flash in my mind and I disconnect my legs from around his waist, pushing against his chest firmly making his hold on me drop.
I dive under the water and rush towards the shore, the water splashing at my heels as I wipe the kiss from my mouth and wrap my arms around my waist. I ignore Roman’s calls for me to wait and drag my soaked body to the sunny sand. Guilt pools at the pit of my stomach and my eyes brim with tears. I can’t do that. I can’t just do that what the hell was I thinking?
My feet dig into the sand and I storm up to my belongings, shoving them into my bag angrily just as Romans hand wraps around my elbow, spinning me so that I face him. “Maeve,” he says, his eyes soft and full of guilt. “Maeve I shouldn’t have- please don’t be mad,”
I break free from his grasp and take a shaky breath. “I’m not mad at you,” I rush out, I’m mad at me. “I just- I just want to go get ready for the meeting. I need to get changed,” I announce, not finding the courage to look back into those eyes because I know he feels the full guilt and admitting it takes two to tango out loud might just fuel a fatal blow to my sanity.
I secure my bag over my shoulder and march up the sand, the sunny warmth completely eroded by night, leaving nothing but a cool emptiness in its wake.
I have resigned to the fact that my lovely French readers will probably correct me a million times in the upcoming chapters and I support those corrections too. I am also straight up gonna say that I know now, before even posting this that there are going to be a lottttt of mixed feelings.
Also nobody wins the word count challenge I did on insta (out of the three who entered lol) because this chapter was like 6,680 words. Probably my longest chapter yet and for no reason other than I just felt like it so aha
That concludes my completely underwhelming anticlimax of an authors note after a prettyyy crazy chapter so yeah, comment your thoughts (be nice!) and yeah.
ps: bc some of you may have noticed and I can’t shake it any longer, yes I know that my username for the mother of dragons is spelt incorrectly. It shames me but there’s nothing I can do.