disclaimer: French readers- just correct me like I know I surely f*ucked up, blame google translate
“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
Five days pass in a blur, the continuous cycle of work, eat and sleep merged into one unchanging loop. Roman and I spent time together, in fact we spent nearly every second together but I made it a priority to keep our interaction on a purely platonic level. Every morning we would wake up and go to the beach, he would swim and I would sit on the shore and read before we went to work in the office all day, ate and went to bed.
I’ll admit my time of the month coming and going probably had a lot to do with my disinterested mood and I think that Roman was able to discern that but it was for the best. In five days I was able to finalise a large amount of the education element of the new human laws and arrange a meeting for the board next week. Roman, amidst his other duties, took care of appointing and monitoring one of his gammas to the construction of schools and hospitals and as far as I am aware the building plans are being finalised. Getting fair paid jobs out to humans and balancing the opportunity that they have through things like equal education is just one of the first, smaller steps but a step nonetheless.
I know there is a million more aspects that need to be considered and worked through and that is before the results of how it works within each individual pack come back. It’s enough to make pain slice though my temples in a steady, endless throb.
I roll over onto my stomach and stare at Romans bare chest, thankful that his size blocks out any of the mornings sunlight. My eyes flick up and I inspect Romans face, the lines that usually form over his unblemished skin are smoothed out aside from one tiny little furrow between his brows. His eyes clench together for a second before releasing along with a deep sigh and I wonder what is going on in his unconscious mind, what stories splay out behind those thick lashes. I’d never thought about Roman dreaming until now. The notion just seems too human, too normal for someone like him.
Maybe his dreams aren’t full of rainbows and a world in which I don’t flinch at the thought of intimacy with him but instead plagued by terrors. Or maybe he has dreams that are neither here nor there, random fragments of his life merging together to make stories that follow no path.
Roman’s icy blue eyes break me from my thoughts and just like that, his soft face becomes hard and he stares back at me with confusion. “What are you doing?” He asks softly, his voice deep and husky from sleep.
“Just thinking,” I reply and he grunts in response, moving his body so he is lying flat on his back, his muscles tensing with even the small effort, showing the prominent lines of his back and chest.
“Care to indulge me?” He says, lifting his palms to his eyes and rubbing on them. He’s tired but he isn’t deprived. Not like before, I visibly see the effect of me merely sleeping beside him has and my own body feels immensely better than it did thriving off pills.
“I was wondering what you dreamed of,” I mumble back, pulling the duvet up over my shoulders and sinking myself deeper into the soft mattress.
“What I dreamed of?” He says, in his seemingly perpetual disbelief.
“Yeah,” I reply, my words muffled by a pillow.
“I was dreaming about being out on the ocean, stuck on a surf board with nothing but endless sea in the horizon and a depth of unknown beneath me,” he says and I look up at him, his chilled jaw clenching as he stares at the roof.
“Sounds more like a nightmare than a dream,” I comment and he chuckles, his hard face breaking into a smile.
“It was far from a nightmare. In fact it was actually pretty peaceful, out there on the open waters with no one to bother me and the steady drift of the current to keep me company. I liked it,” he says and if he could shrug in his position I imagine he would.
“Its all nice until the waves become as large as skyscrapers or the crows start to eat your shrinking sun flayed body up, or a shark comes along-” he breaks off my logic with a hearty laugh.
“Gee, you have a habit of always seeing the bad in things you know Maeve,” he comments and I furrow my brows, not sure what to really make of his words, “If I dreamed that I woke up in the middle of a raging sea storm I probably would’ve classified it as a nightmare but I didn’t,” he justifies and I let out a hmpf, burrowing myself further into the bed.
“We should probably get up if we want to go to the beach before we begin work,” I say and he sits up with a groan but the smile on his face doesn’t leave.
“Actually we have other plans for today,” he says and my brows meet on the bridge of my nose.
“What do you mean? I thought you said we had new developments coming in today,” I say and his smile lessens.
“There has been a slight setback, the engineers need to look over the plans again and then send them through. Besides, what I have in mind is both fun and work in a way,” he says and at first I want to decline the offer and debate that there is too much on my plate for me to go on some silly adventure but my exhaustion stops me. A little but of a break won’t hurt anyone, surely.
“Alright,” I answer and he smiles, getting out of the bed and stretching his arms out, his powerful back muscles flexing before he walks around the bed and to the bathroom.
“I’m going to take a shower in a guest room and you can use this one if you want, we’ll leave in about an hour so no rush,” he says and I nod, watching as he leaves before I bury my face into my pillow for five more minutes of rest.
“Do you always have to ride in such style,” I joke, looking at the classic red mustang Roman drives around to the front of the house with a grin on his face and his eyes blocked by shades.
’Don’t you like it?” He says with a grin, knowing full well that I can’t say I don’t. It is a really pretty looking car.
“Are you going to tell me where we are going? Or is it some kind of surprise?” I press, walking around to the passenger seat of the convertible and sliding into the car.
“We’re going into town,” he says with a smile and I go to speak but the rev of his engine cuts me off as he zooms out of the driveway.
My hand shoots out to the car door gripping on for dear life as he changes the gear and presses his foot down onto the pedal without remorse. I look at him with shock written on his face and his smirk makes me smile. So this is pay back then.
I raise my brow at him and laugh when he revs the engine once more as we speed through the French countryside. Endless fields and grand houses fly past us on one side, the stretching beach on the other and we reach a large town in no time.
Roman isn’t travelling a thousand miles an hour now, obviously, and the slow pace lets me truly admire the town, built with limestone and decorated with splashes of colour and copious amounts of happy people walking around. Heads turn towards us as we roll down the street like they can sense the power we hold and I shrug it off as the car but turn my head to Roman when they don’t stop staring.
“Did you tell these people we were coming?” I ask and he smiles, looking at me with his toothy grin.
“No, I’m sure they recognise us though, we are their leaders after all,” he says and we continue the drive through town until we reach a large house that looks like an old courthouse, a middle aged man stood with his mate I presume waiting on the steps to the entrance.
“Why are we here?” I ask as Roman pulls into a parking lot.
“This is one of our packs on the continent of Europe, these leaders were at your marking ceremony but you probably won’t recognise them. Back when you first brought up the outlines of human reform I took the initial draft that I’d made and had it implemented here as a trial run if you will. As your changes have been made, they have tried to keep up but the human rights in this pack were probably at the best standard before regardless,” he explains and I furrow my brows, soaking in all the new information as it comes.
“Is this the only pack that has been put on trial?” I ask and he shakes his head.
“No, a few others have been put on trial but they had to be in these territories because of the Alpha’s leadership, its probably too long winded for me to explain it right now but basically because the territory was handed straight over to me, my authority over what happens here is much larger. They are essentially an extension of the pack grounds in which we live on except I chose to keep the running Alphas in their positions, it’s easier that way,” he says and I nod slowly, continually soaking in his words as they come.
“And this is the surprise? Showing me around the trial town?” I ask and he nods his head to the side.
“Yes, its a surprise for us both really, other than emailed updates I haven’t fully seen the scope of the progress so it will be interesting to see how today goes,” he answers and I look behind me at the Alpha and Luna of the pack, both discussing something with a third person.
“What are we doing here?”
He follows me gaze and takes the keys from the ignition. “There are some things that need to be talked through with the Alpha and I, and you of course, before we can take a look around.” I nod and give him a close lipped smile.
We exit the car and walk up to the two leaders who smile broadly, their infectious grins rubbing off on me as we enter their vicinity. “Bonjour Alpha Superior, Luna Superior, “ The Alpha says with a smile, nodding to both of us. “Nous sommes ravis de vous voir visiter notre pack et espérons que vous avez passé un agréable séjour jusqu’à présent. Veuillez entrer,”
Roman smiles and they both shake hands before we fall into step with them, entering the large building. “Notre séjour a été très agréable, les plages sont superbes à cette période de l’année et la Luna et moi avons beaucoup apprécié notre voyage,” the French falls from Romans tongue effortlessly, his accent mimicking the French mans perfectly.
“Nous avons préparé la réunion au bureau des packs et pouvons commencer dès que vous êtes prêt,” The Luna says with a smile and I clutch onto Romans arm gripping it tightly as i smile at the Luna, not understanding a single word she says.
“Donnez-nous un moment,” Roman says with a smile and they both nod, turning away and allowing me to look at him with wide eyes.
“I don’t understand a lick of French, Roman,” I say and he purses his lips, his eyes widening slightly like he didn’t even register this fact.
“I didn’t even think about that,” he ponders for a second more. “This may be an issue. The Alpha and Luna here don’t speak English very well, if at all. I’m pretty sure he can speak a variety of other European languages, do you know German perhaps?” He asks and I feign fake relief.
“Oh yes! Of course, why didn’t I think of that before,” I say sarcastically, smiling as if the world is full of sugar spice and all things nice. “No, Roman I don’t know German. I can say about three words in Italian but I didn’t have the kind of upbringing that suggested I’d ever even travel out of my state let alone go to Europe,”
A cloud of guilt fades over his face, like he could have somehow stopped my childhood from being the way it was and I feel slightly shitty for going too harsh on him. I just don’t get how I am gong to sit through a meeting held entirely in French. Is he going to translate every word he says and they say?
“Look, there isn’t much we can do about it now, I apologise for not thinking about that, it honestly didn’t cross my mind. The meeting will only last around an hour so you can still sit in on it if you want and I’ll ask the Alpha to have his admin translate whatever information he has for us,” he says and I bite down onto my lower lip in thought before turning my head to glance at the door leading outside.
“Maybe I can just go out there and look around the town for myself a little bit,” I suggest, playing with the hem of the cotton bag resting on my shoulder. His face turns serious in a flash and I can already tell where this is going to go. “I’ll be fine, I will just go somewhere nice, read my book, maybe get something to eat. Roman I know what you’re going to say but I really want to go and do this,” I argue and the fact that I am having to even ask irks me.
“Maeve, if you want to read then surely you can do so within this building. Do I have to remind you that there was an attempt on your life? This kind of thing is very serious and galavanting alone around town is far from safe,” he says and I shoot him a look.
“I can’t let one death threat stop me from living my life. I won’t go past the towns edge and I’ll take every precaution necessary,” I say and pure conflict battles in his eyes.
“You can go if you put on some form of disguise. I can have a team ready with a wig and some sunglasses here in ten minutes and if you do go into the town centre I’ll assign people to watch from a safe distance in case anything happens,” he reasons and I can tell that he is wary even then, the pained look in his eyes expressing it fully.
“I’ll do that,” I say and he gives me a small smile. This is hard for him and I understand that, it’s not about him loosing an ounce of control over me its about him loosing me all together. As much as I don’t want to, I have to at least try and look at things from his perspective, I’m his soul mate and although it doesn’t feel like it most of the time, I need to understand it.
“Alright, well just wait here for a moment and I’ll organise someone to come and take you to get put in a disguise.” A smirk plays on his lips and he stops himself leaving for a moment. “You shouldn’t have too much trouble James Bond, you’ve proven to be pretty good at sneaking around.”
A petty jab, but put across with a smile that limits my options of response to a playful punch on the shoulder. Honestly, if I had’ve put power behind the movement it wouldn’t have affected him. “Your so funny,” I mock and he laughs, a hearty, deep laugh before nodding his head.
“I’ll see you in about an hour,” he says and I give him a smile goodbye because in situations like this it feels almost unnatural not to give him a hug farewell like I would any human friend I was departing. But there is no such thing as a meaningless hug when it comes to Roman and mixing signals never ends well for me.
I turn around and pull out my phone from my bad, noting the bank card resting in the case and let out a loose sigh. I guess it’s time to go incognito.
Sunglasses, a brown wig and a scarf situated fashionably above my head along with a change of clothing was the extent to my riveting spy costume. It was underwhelming to say the least, not that I’m complaining but I really thought when Roman said I would need a disguise it would be more… well, more. One of those false skins they put on with layers of makeup to transform someone young into a grandma was more of what I had in mind but oh well. Instead, I just looked like a Hollywood film star transported straight from the fifties up top and an average person in a dress down the bottom.
I smoothed out my sweater with my hands and acknowledged the bodyguards who were also dressed casually, lingering in the shadows of my vicinity before walking into a crowded market, holding tightly onto my phone. I surpassed the stalls selling high end items, past the ones that reeked fortune and navigated my way to the back, where simple items were bartered and sold.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out finding a human would be much easier in this section but that the things with werewolves, its hard too tell. I stop in front of a stall that is lined in yellow bunting and filled to the brim with jars of real, authentic honey and my mouth waters.
The old lady must notice the attention I give because she holds out a disposable wooden taster with a friendly smile. “Merci,” I say accepting the spoon and letting the crystallised goodness melt over my mouth.
I close my shaded eyes and my mind takes me back to when I’d found that hive all those years ago and the brief joy it brought us all. It’s weird to think just how disrupted that family now is, the rift that has been flooded between us too great to ignore. It was just us four against the world for so long and I thought it’d be like that forever. I’ve thought about it many times but it hasn’t ever truly sunken in, just how fucked up my life became.
“Would you like to taste another kind?” The lady interrupts and I pull my mind back into reality, nodding my head.
“You speak english?” I ask and she smiles.
“Yes, though it is not the greatest,” she answers and my eyes flick to her bare neck. She couldn’t be a wolf this age without a mate.
“What was this one that I just had? I might have to buy a jar or two,” I say, my tone light and happy.
“Of course, this one comes in two sizes, would you like big or small?” She enquires, her accent heavy.
“I’ll take two of the larger ones, oh and maybe some of that honeycomb there too,” I ask and she hands me over a taste test of another type of honey that makes me want to have an endless supply of the stuff.
“When did you start your business?” I ask and her smile transforms to one of pride.
“It’s be three years ago, I started for some extra money and it grew larger than I could’ve expected,” she says and the nagging force telling me to inquire further doesn’t quell.
“Was it difficult? If you don’t mind me asking,” I say and from the look that passes over her face I know she understands exactly what I am talking about.
“No, at first… things were strange, there was a lot of new ways to understand, new people and uh, the leaders changing was difficult. But other than that everything was normal, only recently though have things been better, problems that were there before are now fixed uh the loup-garou, the wolf, they are now much more… together with us, no more apart,” she says and I nod. Finding her experience so simple in comparison to mine is a lot to take in but I swallow it anyway.
“You say things are better than before? How? Don’t you miss the freedom to chose who leads you?” I ask and she shakes her head.
“Now we have safety, there’s no more worry to walk alone at night, the economy is strong and people are happy, they can live in comfort. I uh, at first I was not happy that my democracy was gone but erm I know now that I can trust those in charge. Before there was corruption, I vote for someone who says one thing but they look out for only themselves and their friends. The Alpha and the Luna want only what’s best,” she says and I try to wrap my head around how simply she sees it.
“So life is good with the wolves?” I ask and she nods.
“Life is good. Like I said, weird at first but now, not so much. The only thing that wasn’t good were the attacks on the pack,” she says and I furrow my brows.
“Attacks? What do you mean by that?” I ask.
“Before we changed to be under the New Moon pack there were many attacks on our land. Humans who didn’t want to change and others, people who hated wolves that led them. They were very brutal and I am thankful that we don’t live with that fear anymore,” she says and her voice strains with the sensitivity of the subject so I go against my wants and refrain from being too nosy.
“What do you think about… about the Alpha Superior who rules you, the one who comes from my country?” I ask hesitantly, worried that one wrong word could make my identity click in her mind.
“Ah, very handsome man, no? I watch him on the news sometimes erm he does lots of good things for the world, I do not like some of them but uh he has good intentions I believe. I enjoy the gossip of him and his new mate, very uh, entertaining,” she says with a sheepish smile and I laugh nervously.
“Yeah, she seems like a funny… funny one,” I blubber, not knowing how to handle that my life is like some kind of reality show for people.
“I hear she is a very good leader,” she says and I smile as she passes over the bag of honey products and I hand her my card.
“Yeah,” I say, the topic of myself making me awkward as hell.
“Enjoy the rest of your stay,” she says, passing back my card and I smile, giving her a soft wave.
I turn around and walk over to the fresh food section of the market. I could make some food tonight maybe, some pasta would be nice honestly. My eyes scan the markets and I notice a literal stall selling freshly made pasta, the kind that is just too good to be true and I beam, walking over there immediately after buying my other ingredients.
I pay for two packets of the pasta and the mans hand stops mid air as he passes the card back, his eyes trained solely on something behind me, widened with shock. I don’t bother turning around, the goosebumps on my skin indication enough as to who my new company is and I simply take the card from the man and turn around, looking at Roman through my shades.
“Excuse me, I am looking for my mate, she’s yay high, blonde-” I smile at Roman and shake my head, taking the pasta from the table and placing it in my bag.
“I think I saw her walk that way,” I respond, pointing to the exit and he chuckles, making me smile proudly.
“Come, we better get you out of that disguise in case the paparazzi comes, they would have a complete field day seeing me roaming the streets with a woman who isn’t you,” he says and sigh, agreeing with him somewhat.
“I thought the entire reason we came here was to remain hidden,” I say and he smiles.
“Even if someone were to get a photograph of us, it would be taken down from the internet within seconds. I suppose I really just want to see your beautiful face again.” The complement wasn’t intended to be suave, simply an observation but it made my neck heat up regardless. We walk towards the exit together and he peers into my bag, picking out an apple and taking a bite.
“Hey!” I say to which he smirks biting down on the fruit and making his jaw flex with the movement.
“I see you’ve brought some pasta,” he says suggestively, giving me what I can only call puppy dog eyes-as ironic as it is.
“I have,” I respond, playing my cards close to my chest.
“We’re gonna… you are going to give me some… right?” He asks, hanging onto my every action. This man and his pasta I swear.
“Who said anything about that?” I ask, clutching the bag closer to my chest as we approach his car.
“Maeve, seriously, I will actually do anything to have some of your pasta. I’m not even kidding,” he declares proudly and I fight back a smirk as I slide into my seat of the car.
“Anything?” I say and he nods, putting the key in the ignition as I finally break and laugh. “Why do you love my pasta so much? You’ve had it once and you don’t even know if I am going to make the same one,” I ask and he looks at me with a knowing smirk.
“Maybe it is a wolf thing but food cooked by your mate tastes,” he searches for the words, his eyes moving before he lets out a soft moan, a noise that makes me gulp and shift in my seat. “Like literal pure heaven on a plate. I can’t even describe it to you,” he says and I scoff.
“Wow, here I was thinking I was a good cook when really it was just my mate magic,” I say and he laughs.
“I never said that,” he says with a smile.
“You’re right, I don’t think there is any amount of mate magic that could turn pasta riddled with onion skin taste better,” I point out, highlighting his weak culinary skills.
“Oh really?” He says and I think back to the night we made dinner, the one where he could barely figure out what a pot was. My face is answer enough and a look of determination passes over his face.
“Fine then, I tell you what, tonight you make pasta and I’ll throw together the best damn dessert of your life,” he promises and I let out a sigh of thought, comntemplating if its worth sacrificing my precious food. I am kinda curious as to what mate magic food tastes like, I mean ‘pure heaven’ is a big standard to live up to.
“Deal,” I say and he starts up the engine. I look at Roman and think back to his complete lack of knowledge on food and honestly… that poisoned cup seems appealing.
Youtube keeps distracting me from writing and today I went to be all productive and look up some vids on cultural chauvinism for a speech I gotta finish by next Friday (oh god kill me pls-not you crazy killer reader its sArCasM) and anyway, I got stuck down a rabbit hole about male chauvinism which was actually really interesting btw, but super useless for me. So basically what I’m getting at is if you have any idea on what cultural chauvinism is about then hmu pls. (im desperate)
I wish I could use this on past me bc editing makes me just like- ahhhhhh what?!