Miguel was lost in thought the entire day. While he wanted to believe that there was nothing between his girlfriend and the man he couldn’t stand, he couldn’t help but feel like he was being deceived.
He was especially peeved by her nonchalance about the whole thing.
“Dude, what’s going on with you? You’re miles away today,” Danielle commented. She’s one of the people who work with him.
And she’s hopelessly in love with him – something he’s not aware of.
He sighed, leaning forward in his chair. “I’m just thinking about something that happened.”
“Well spit it out so that you can focus already,” she said.
He figured he could trust her, so he told her what he’d witnessed between Xaria and Gabriel that morning. She already despised Xaria, and to hear that she was possibly messing with him made her furious.
“She’s lying to you. Something is happening there,” she commented.
“So, I’m not crazy?” he asked.
She shook her head. “If she claims that they’ve known each other for less than a day, then their chemistry makes no sense.”
“I was thinking the same thing. I mean, I don’t want to tell her who to be friends with, and who to not be friends with, but I’m getting bad vibes from this guy,” he said.
“You are right in your judgement Miguel. What are you going to do about it?” she asked.
He was about to respond when his phone went off. He beamed when he saw who was calling him, something that annoyed Danielle to no end. “Hey babe!”
“Hey! So listen, Gabriel’s extended an invitation to us to have dinner at his house tonight. Cara, Jaime, Angie, and Leith have been invited too. Are you keen?” she asked.
He cleared his throat. “Why is he inviting us over for dinner?”
“He’d like to know more about the people in my life. It’s what normal people do when they’re friends,” she replied.
“I don’t trust the situation Xaria,” he responded.
“Well, the rest of us are keen, so you’ll join us if you want to,” she said before hanging up.
He scowled, looking at his phone. “What’s wrong?”
“She hung up on me. Gabriel’s invited us to his house for dinner tonight, and she couldn’t care less that I’m not bothered to go, or that I find the situation suspicious. She didn’t even beg me to go,” he told Danielle.
“I’m telling you Miguel. There’s something off there,” she said before getting back to her work, leaving him to once again stew in his thoughts.
“What did he say?” Cara asked Xaria.
“He doesn’t trust the situation. I’ll be surprised if he pitches up,” Xaria replied.
“And what about you? Do you trust the situation?” Angela asked her.
“I don’t know. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not having the easiest day. I don’t even know what to think about anything anymore,” she admitted.
“You’re still you,” Cara tried to comfort.
Xaria huffed. “Except I’m still me who has been lied to my entire life. Do I really know who I am?”
“You’re still you Xar. What you are is only a part of you,” Angela argued.
“What about you two?” she asked them.
“I’m your Guardian, so I was let in on this a long time ago,” Cara replied.
“I’m also a hybrid, but a different mix since we don’t share a father,” Angela added.
“I take it mom knew the entire time,” Xaria commented.
Angela sighed. “Sweety, we all knew. We just couldn’t tell you because I guess we were hoping we would never have to.”
“All?” Xaria questioned.
“The two of us, Jaime, mom and dad,” Angela responded.
“So what? You were intending on keeping this from me my entire life?” Xaria asked.
“We were honestly hoping to. What you need to understand is that you’re the rarest hybrid there is. There has only ever been one hybrid like you and she was killed in the most gruesome way, but only because she was still a child. With you having grown past eighteen, it means you’re strong and powerful on both ends since both sides have fully matured, but you’re also very unpredictable because you’ve never been allowed to be in any of your elements,” Angela explained.
Xaria was even more confused as she leaned forward, rubbing her temples. “So what now then? Why did you choose to tell me now?”
“Because Gabriel’s entry into your life is about to change it completely,” Cara said.
Xaria frowned. “Gabe? What does he have to do with anything?”
“You don’t find it odd that you feel so greatly for him after such a short amount of time knowing him? You don’t find it strange that the smallest things he does make you smile, make your heart beat faster, or turn you on? You don’t find it weird that even in this moment, after everything we’ve just told you, he’s the one person you’re itching to talk to right now?” Angela asked her.
She was speechless.
“How do you know all of that?” she whispered.
“Because sweety, he feels exactly the same way,” Angela replied.
“How do you know that?” Xaria asked, this time perplexed.
“You’re his mate babe. I myself found out today. He’s unsure of it because the protection spell on you makes you come across as human to all supernatural’s, and a vampyre and human mating has never been possible, so he knows that there’s something off about you, but he can’t figure it out,” Cara informed.
Xaria was officially stumped.
She sat there, barely digesting what had been revealed to her about herself, and to have more information thrown her way had her mind reeling. She was silent for the longest time, and Cara and Angela knew that they needed to let her have this moment.
She sat, thinking back to when she first laid eyes on Gabriel. She knew then that not only was there something about him, but that her life was about to change from the encounter. She just didn’t know how it would.
Just that it would.
Some things started making sense to her, like her nonchalance with regards to Miguel’s suspicions. In the past, she would’ve put more effort into convincing him that there was nothing going on between her and Gabriel, but she found that she didn’t care because it was Gabriel.
She replayed everything they’d said to each other since they’d met, and the feelings she’d felt anytime he was sad or confused suddenly made sense to her. She cared a lot more about him than she was willing to admit before finding out the truth.
He’d already begun to consume her, and she wasn’t sure how she was feeling about that. She wouldn’t deny that she felt good whenever he was around, but with everything she was learning, it was making it impossible for her to see any good coming out of this.
And as though fate agreed, she remembered something she’d come to forget in the last twenty four hours.
“He’s getting married.”
It was Angela and Cara’s turn to be stunned. “Married? What do you mean he’s getting married?”
“Olga Saunders – she’s the reason why he came here last night to begin with,” she said, ending on a whisper.
“Fate is the reason he came here sweety. Don’t let anything else make you doubt that much,” Angela told her.
She stood up, pacing. “He told me that his stepmother and his father are making him get married to Olga because after one thousand and fifty years, he hasn’t found his mate.”
“He’s found you, so that shouldn’t be a problem,” Cara pointed out.
“Everything he told me about a mate, it all makes sense. I feel it in my heart. I was bothered when he first told me that he had to marry someone else. His reaction when I told him that Miguel is my boyfriend and his need to taunt him is understandable,” she rambled.
“Sweety, calm down,” Angela pleaded.
Instead Xaria shook her head, tears rushing to her eyes. “He didn’t look for me.”
“What?” Cara and Angela asked.
She sat down, sighing as she wiped away a fallen tear. “Last night, he sat here telling me about what he was and he explained what a mate is. I asked him if he’d bothered to look for his mate, and he told me no.”
Cara shot her a regretful look. “Did he give his reasoning as to why he didn’t?”
And that’s when Xaria remembered the pain she saw in his eyes when he spoke about his mother. She remembered how unsure he was about being what his mate would want, if he would be enough for her.
“He’s afraid,” she whispered.
“It looks like you are too,” Angela commented.
She shook her head. “Not about this. He’s afraid about not being enough for me.”
“And you believe he is,” Cara said knowingly.
“It’s been less than two days, and I’m going to pin it down to the insanity of how quickly things happen in the supernatural world, but yes, I believe he is. I don’t know what the future has in store for us, but I believe in that much,” Xaria said.
“So what are you going to do about it?” Angela questioned.
Xaria smiled a little. “Is it evil that I want him to fight for me?”
Cara laughed. “No. I actually think it’s a great idea. I basically hinted at him doing exactly that, so we’ll see how that goes.”
“This morning, he said we went to Trachba, his home, but I remember none of it. We left here last night after I’d asked him to take me there, and the last thing I remember was him opening up the portal at his place, before I woke up there this morning. Any ideas about that?” Xaria asked them.
“Honestly, no. Like I said, we don’t know much about you and what you are, so we need to wait for mom to come back so that she can shed some light on that,” Angela said. Blanka McLeod was on vacation with her husband.
“Is Eugene a supernatural?” Xaria asked curiously after her stepfather.
Angela shook her head. “He isn’t, but he knows we exist. My father was killed before I was born, while I know nothing about your father. That’s a part of her life mom refuses to talk about, so she’ll probably tell you now that the truth is out.”
“What about Leith and Jaime?” Xaria asked.
“We’re not sure what Leith is yet, but Jaime’s a werewolf, so the two of them might not get along,” Angela warned.
“That’s a thing? The rivalry between vampires and werewolves?” Xaria asked.
Cara nodded. “A lot of the myths humans have about supernatural creatures are true.”
Xaria could remember Gabriel telling her that much.
“I have to talk to him, but I don’t want to yet. I want to stay clueless and see how far he’ll go to figure this out and win me over,” she commented.
“I don’t know how that will go, but good luck with that. I’m going to go and tell Jaime everything so that he can also control his temper tonight. I’d love to see Gabriel’s reaction to a calm werewolf in his presence,” Angela said, laughing.
Cara and Xaria joined in. “We’re terrible people for this right?”
“Probably, but I feel like no one ever gets to play around with Gabriel, and I mean, who are we to pass up such a rare opportunity?” Cara defended.
“He’s powerful,” Xaria argued.
“I’d love to see him kill someone his mate loves,” Angela countered.
Xaria smiled a little. “Touché.”
“Anyway, let me get going! I’ll see you both tonight,” Angela said as she got up to leave.
“I’ll send you the details once I have them,” Xaria replied.
“How are you really feeling?” Cara asked Xaria once Angela was gone.
“Really overwhelmed, but also a little excited. I mean, I’m freaking out, but at the same time it’s insane to think that Gabriel is the person I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with according to fate you know?” Xaria replied.
“I totally get it! I’m happy for you Xar,” Cara said, smiling.
Xaria scowled. “What about Miguel?”
“He’s human, so the supernatural gene for me comes from my mom,” Cara replied. She and Miguel share a father.
“How do I handle this whole thing with him? I don’t want to string him along for no reason when I know that our relationship is going nowhere,” Xaria pointed out.
“I honestly wish the answer was as simple as me saying you should break up with him, but we all know that’s not going to work. He fought to get you, and I doubt he’s going to let you go that easily to Gabriel of all people. I don’t know about this one babe. I think you should just let things play out, though I would suggest you hint to Gabriel that you choose him until you have to blatantly point it out,” Cara suggested.
“He’ll kill Miguel if Miguel tries anything,” Xaria stated.
Cara shrugged. “That’s probably true, but what can you do about it really? We all know that Miguel isn’t going to give you up without a fight. I love my brother, but no one can save him from this but himself.”
Xaria knew that what her best friend was saying was true, despite not wanting to believe it. She wanted to be with Gabriel, but she didn’t want Miguel to be hurt in any way because of that decision, even if she understood that the heartbreak was inevitable.
He’d been lost in thought and jumped at the intrusion in his mind. “Niki?”
“He’s awake Gabe. He’s awake and he’s fully healed,” she informed happily.
At her words, he didn’t waste time activating the portal in his office. Zortan was curious and followed him back to the castle where sure as day, King Aurel Jankovic was on his feet, giving orders to the staff around.
“Father,” Gabriel whispered disbelievingly.
Aurel beamed at the sight of his eldest son. “Gabriel, my son! It’s good to see you!”
“You’re healed,” Gabriel said unsurely.
“I am, and I believe it’s thanks to you and your sister. She mentioned that you brought someone to help me. You have to tell me who it was,” Aurel requested.
“You wouldn’t believe me. Shouldn’t you be resting?” Gabriel asked, deflecting the subject away from his mate.
“I have to agree with him Your Highness,” Zortan added.
“My sons, I am fine. Speaking of sons, where’s Skylar?” Aurel asked after his youngest son.
“He’s still in the faerie kingdom doing heavens knows what,” Tonya said irritatingly as she walked into the room.
“The boy cares not that his old man is well?” Aurel asked.
“That’s probably not the case father. He probably didn’t get word yet,” Danica defended. She always defended her youngest brother, something Gabriel never understood since Skylar was such a disappointment to the family.
“Where is that human woman Gabe?” Tonya asked him.
“Human?” Aurel asked his son with a raised eyebrow.
“She’s not human,” Danica jumped in.
“Are you calling me a liar little girl?” Tonya asked.
Danica had to fight from reacting the way she wanted to. “I’m not calling you a liar. You are simply misguided. Xaria is not a human.”
“You know her name?” both Gabriel and Zortan asked her.
She nodded. “She told me while we held hands.”
“Do you know what she is?” Gabriel asked her anxiously.
“Unfortunately no. I couldn’t even guess. The only thing I know for sure is that she’s extremely powerful,” Danica informed.
“So there is a reason why she’s been hidden all this time,” Gabriel relayed his thought to Zortan.
“Is she the young lady who helped to heal me? I’d really love to thank her in person,” Aurel mentioned.
Gabriel was about to reply when his mind link was nudged. “Gabriel Jankovic!”
“What did I do?” was his instant, panicked reaction.
Xaria laughed. “Nothing. I just wanted to rile you up a bit.”
“That’s not even remotely nice Miss McLeod. I’m in the middle of a conversation with my family. My father’s healed,” he informed.
“Gabriel,” Aurel called his distracted son.
“What? That’s amazing! How did that happen? I thought you said you couldn’t find a cure for him,” Xaria said.
“She really doesn’t remember being here or even helping for that matter,” Gabriel told Zortan and Danica.
“How is that possible?” Danica asked.
“What are you talking about?” Aurel asked them.
“I’ll talk to you in a bit. I’m still busy and I can’t multitask conversations right now,” Gabriel told Xaria.
“That’s ok. I just wanted your address for tonight,” she replied.
“Ask Leith. We’ll talk later,” he said before closing the link.
“Gabriel,” Aurel growled impatiently.
Gabriel frowned since unlike in the past, the power in his father’s tone did nothing to him, but he wasn’t about to address that.
“The woman who healed you; there’s something about her. She has the aura of a human, but we believe that she isn’t. I brought her here and she fainted upon arrival. When she woke up, she asked me to bring her to you because she knew how to heal you. She passed on the knowledge to Danica who then went on to heal you. When I took her back to the mortal realm, she couldn’t remember being here, so she doesn’t even know that she played a part in healing you,” he instead explained.
“And where did you find this woman?” Aurel questioned.
“In the mortal realm,” Gabriel said vaguely.
“This is a waste of time. He’s clearly not going to tell us anything, so we may as well move along with talking about the wedding,” Tonya said.
“Whose wedding?” Gabriel and Danica asked.
“Olga and Gabriel’s of course,” Tonya replied.
The siblings turned to their father. “Father, surely you can’t make Gabe marry that witch! You’re healed now. Doesn’t that buy him more time to find his mate?”
“Preparations are already underway,” Tonya panicked.
“There is no rush anymore,” Gabriel countered.
“You cannot do this! Aurel, you cannot let him do this!” Tonya shouted.
“Enough! All of you be quiet!” Aurel silenced them.
“You can’t let Gabe be that unhappy father. Even you have to have a heart about this,” Danica said lowly.
Aurel sighed. “I agree with my children Tonya. There is no longer a need for Gabriel to be rushed into this, therefore he should still be given the chance to find his mate.”
“He’s over a thousand years old! She’s probably dead by now!” Tonya spat.
“I should still get a chance to find out,” Gabriel countered, internally rejoicing at his father’s order.
“The wedding is off, and that’s final!” Aurel announced.
“Thank you father,” Gabriel told him.
“You are most welcome son. I owe you for saving my life after all. We should have a family dinner as soon as your brother comes back. Do you think you can convince your human friend to join us?” Aurel asked.
“She’s not human,” Danica reminded.
Aurel chuckled. “Whatever she is.”
“You would invite someone you know nothing about into our private space? I think the poison clouded your judgement,” Tonya commented.
“She saved my life, and I’ve just about had it with your commentary woman,” Aurel told her. She huffed before storming out of the room.
“We need to figure out why she faints when travelling through the portal and why she can’t remember her time here. Once we’ve figure that out, I’ll try to convince her,” Gabriel told his father.
“I’ll take that as a delayed yes,” Aurel said.
“Speaking of which, I need to head back to the mortal realm,” Gabriel announced.
“I’d like to come with you,” Danica jumped.
“Why?” Gabriel asked.
“I know she’s your mate,” she linked.
“I haven’t been there in a while,” she said out loud.
“Alright fine! Father, don’t do too much damage. You’ve been sick for two years, so go easy on everyone,” Gabriel told him.
Aurel shot him a dramatic look. “I would never do any damage.”
“Mhmm,” Danica, Gabriel, and Zortan mocked before laughing.
They headed back to Gabriel’s office through the portal and Danica was amazed by all the new changes. As Gabriel had told Xaria, she’s one of the vampyres that hate being in the mortal realm, and she hadn’t been there in over one hundred years.
“My, the times have surely changed,” she commented, looking out at the incredible view her brother’s office had.
“It’s been a while for you, hasn’t it?” Zortan questioned.
She nodded. “One hundred and seventy five years.
“Well then, welcome to the new and improved mortal realm,” Gabriel introduced before the door to his office opened.
“Oh sorry! I buzzed and no one answered, so I was coming to check if you were here,” Leith explained.
“We’ve just come back from Trachba. What did you need?” Gabriel asked him.
“Xaria wanted to know about details for tonight. She told me you told her to ask me,” Leith replied.
“We’re having dinner at seven o’clock at the house. Please mention that they have to dress smart as it is a formal dinner,” Gabriel instructed.
“Gabe, you’re being rude,” Danica commented.
“Right! Leith, this is my sister Danica. Niki, this is my personal assistant and Xaria’s best friend Leith,” Gabriel introduced.
“It’s lovely to meet you,” Leith said to her.
“The pleasure is all mine mortal,” Danica responded. She knew that he had to be an extraordinary human to have her brother’s respect.
“He’s actually not human. Much like Xaria, we don’t know what he is,” Zortan interjected.
Danica was surprised. “Are they the only ones with this situation?”
“I doubt it, hence why I called for this dinner tonight with her, her sister, her friends, and her boyfriend,” Gabriel told her.
“Boyfriend?” Danica questioned.
Gabriel sighed. “It’s a long story.”