Beloved

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Sleep On the Floor

Song - Sleep On the Floor by The Lumineers

“Leo! Seriously, I AM FINE!”

He’s been treating me like glass for the past two days. Jack told him I am healed but he’s put me on bedrest anyway, and not the fun kind.

I’m trying to cook breakfast but he’s fussing over every little thing I do. He wouldn’t even let me cut the vegetables for our omelettes.

Now he’s insisting on carrying my plate to the table.

“I’m just carrying it for you.”

“My arms weren’t even injured,” I can’t help but roll my eyes.

“Just... please, let me take care of you. I almost lost you before I even got to have you. I still can’t believe that you don’t hate me and we’re actually sitting here, together, having breakfast,” he sighs.

I take his hand in mine, “I don’t hate you, quite the opposite, really.”

“I’m just having a hard time after... after you... you know,” he whispers.

“Well, you’re going to need to relax. School starts on Monday, you’ve got to ease up by then.”

His eyes go wide, “school? You can’t go to school until they find April and Tommy. They helped Chase abduct you! They might still be after you!”

“I can’t miss school, Leo!”

“Can I come with you?”

I freeze, I’m not actually sure.

“Let me email my student advisor. You might be able to shadow me, even though I’m not actually sure if I will be able to paint while you’re watching.”

“You’re very good. I haven’t seen your paintings but you can definitely draw.”

I quirk my brow at him, “how do you know that?”

He gives me a small smile before walking into the kitchen and opening a drawer. He pulls out a piece of paper and sets it in front of me. It’s the drawing I made before I got taken, when he was out.

“I really like it. I think you see me as better than I actually am,” his voice is soft.

“Would you let me paint you?”

“You would want to?”

“I would love to,” my heart pounds in my chest. It would mean so much to me to paint him.

“I didn’t get rid of the stuff you had set up here... the night we met.”

A huge smile takes over my face.

“Can we paint your birthday portrait? The one I was hired for?”

He groans but stands and walks toward the closet by the door, gesturing to all of my supplies when he opens it.

It takes us about forty minutes to get everything set up. I’m bouncing on my feet, I’m so excited to do this.

We spend the next several hours listening to music, talking about everything and painting. He asked me to make the background a kind of matte cream color, his eyes really stand out against it. I’m not using oil paints so we don’t have to wait as long for each section to dry but I still need at least two more days.

“We can break for the day,” I say nervously, I haven’t let him look at it yet. I hope he doesn’t hate it.

He looks... shy as he stares at it.

“You’re incredibly talented, Bea.”

My cheeks burn.

“I’m serious, this is beautiful,” he turns to me with a mischievous smile.

Before I can even quirk my head he’s on me, with a glob of paint in his hand. He spreads it across my neck and chest as he pulls me in to kiss him.

I gasp as the cold paint makes contact with my skin.

“You’d better run!”

I grab a handful of paint and chase him around the house. We eventually end up covered in paint, chasing each other around. We laugh until my sides ache as we play like children.

He grabs me and pulls me into him, moving some strands of hair stuck to the paint on my face.

“I love you, Bea,” he whispers before attacking my mouth. His lips are everywhere, kissing all over my face and neck. I whimper breathlessly, reveling in the feeling of his arms around my body.

“I...”

A loud knock and the sound of the door opening makes him tense momentarily before he realizes who it is.

I recognize her scent immediately.

His mother steps out from the foyer. Her expression is critical as she takes in the sight before her. I’m grateful for the paint on my cheeks, at least she can’t see how deeply red I am.

“I was told that you not only admitted to finding your beloved, publicly, but that you marked her. That appears to be true. You never thought to call your mother?”

Her tone is cool and neutral.

“I marked her and she marked me,” his voice holds much more emotion. Mainly, annoyance and defensiveness but I also sense pride.

“Why am I the last to know? I asked you flat out if she was your beloved and you said no!”

He links our pinkies together before sighing.

“You know how I felt about her kind. I was fighting against it.”

“Felt?”

“Yes, mother. Felt. After spending time with her family and her pack I realized how wrong I had been about them.”

“You’ve met her family?” She finally shows something other than composure. Shock and hurt flash across her face quickly before she can stop it.

“I did. She comes from good people. Her family was very welcoming.”

The tone in his voice sounds like he’s making an implication. I got the impression before that they aren’t close but this is much worse than I thought.

I step forward and extend my hand to her, paint and all.

“It’s really nice to see you again. Can I get you anything?”

She looks genuinely surprised as she slides her hand cautiously into mine.

“Why are you both covered in paint?”

“Oh! Come see!”

I lead her to the area where the painting is hanging, half finished.

She gasps and steps forward.

“Bea,” her voice shakes, “this is... perfect. It’s really going to be something when it’s finished.”

“Thank you.”

“He looks just like his father in his portrait,” she says quietly.

“I’m trying to have it done by friday. It should be dry by late Saturday, if you want to pick it up.”

She turns to face me after dabbing her eyes quickly, “he looks more at peace now than I’ve seen him in a very long time. I suppose that’s due to you.”

She turns to face me fully, studying my face.

“A lot of people are counting on him. I can’t be the head of our kind forever, I’ll need to pass it to him eventually.”

“I have so much to learn but... I will do whatever it takes to be the kind of support he needs, to help him and be what your people need. A Queen and a Luna are definitely different but...”

“She’s everything I never knew I wanted in a beloved. She’ll be the kindest, most compassionate and benevolent Queen we’ve ever had,” Leo walks in behind us.

His mothers sharp gaze falters slightly at the clear dig.

“She’s already quite revered. Word is spreading quickly about how she saved your life. I always knew that delinquent Chase would get you into trouble.”

He only nods before pulling me back to rest his head on my shoulder. I blush beneath the paint at his disregard for his mothers presence. My parents are openly affectionate, his mother hardly seems so.

She looks uncomfortable before turning toward the door.

“I’ll be going now. I can send for someone to retrieve the painting.”

“We’ll bring it to you,” I offer and Leo groans behind me.

Number one on my to-do list, repair their relationship, as much as can be. I know she want it, I can see it, she just doesn’t know how.

“That would be very nice. Call first, Leo, I’ll have tea prepared.”

When she leaves he pulls me toward the bedroom, “I know what you’re doing and it’s not going to work.”

“Hmm, we’ll see,” I lean forward and connect our lips, “I can be very persuasive.”

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