Mine

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Chapter 14

Mae

Waking up the following morning, I let out a yawn, stretching my arms above my head. Peeling my eyes open, I realise... I never made it back to my bedroom. I’m still wrapped up in Rex’s sheets... I haven’t slept so well in a long time. I didn’t even have the nightmare that haunts my dreams most nights.

I realise his sheets no longer smell of him, but just the thought of being where he once slept - brings me comfort.

Swinging my legs out of the bed, I slowly stand, groaning – I’m really not ready to be leaving the comfort of this bed anytime soon, but people might come looking for me if they don’t hear me in my room and I don’t feel like trying to explain why I’m in here. I also don’t want the maids to be annoyed - I’ve given them another bed to change, so maybe if I sneak out, it can be just my little secret.

Rex and I used to sneak into each other’s rooms sometimes... just to snuggle, but I’m a pro at getting back to my room now!

Opening the balcony doors, I slowly close them behind me, making sure to make as little noise as humanly possible.

Climbing on top of the marble balustrade, I take in the gap to my balcony.

I gulp, my legs trembling as I gauge the deathly drop below.

This was a lot less scary when I had a wolf! Fuck, fuck, fuck, get it together, Mae!

Stepping forward, I prepare to jump.

Argh, flippity fucks!

I step back again, chickening out.

Come on, Mae! You used to do this all the time. You can do it again.

The jump is definitely doable as a human... it’s just all the scarier! What if I don’t put enough force behind the jump, and I end up just plummeting to my death, y’know?

Stretching my neck out against my shoulders and puffing out some deep breaths, I begin to prepare myself.

Jumping lightly from foot to foot, I shake out my hands, arms and legs. Psyching myself up.

Ok, this is it. It’s now or never. If you don’t do it this time, you may as well go and tell Mindy that you’ve added to her workload… and you don’t want that; she can give a mean scolding when she wants to.

With my mind made up. I crouch in preparation; before uncoiling and springing across the gap in front of me.

My foot hits the balustrade on my balcony… but barely, before slipping off of the edge.

There’s not much time to react before my torso lands, hard, on the marble. The wind is knocked out of me, but my arms are clinging on for dear life.

Kicking my legs, I eventually find a foot hole and haul myself up and over the balustrade, landing on my back on my balcony floor.

I did it! I think, huffing and puffing, holding onto my chest and ribs.

I nearly died… but I did it!

My torso will come out in an angry, black bruise, but it was worth it... even if it was only to avoid the wrath of Mindy!

I can always go back in and change the sheets myself at some point; I’m not that precious that I need someone to change my sheets. I may be a Princess, but chores aren’t beneath me. I will just need to sneak in and get some fresh sheets without Mindy being none the wiser… which might be tricky - she has got eyes and ears everywhere... she’s like a hawk!

Rolling onto my front, I haul myself up and stride back into my room as if nothing has happened.

“Where have you been?” Speaks a deep voice, scaring the seven barrels of shit out of me.

My hand shoots to my chest as I pant, attempting to regain composure.

“Shit, Pops! You scared me!” I scold, frowning.

A knowing smirk spreads across his lips.

“I didn’t think you snuck out anymore?” Idris probes.

“Well… no it… er, was a one-time thing”, I answer, flustered and embarrassed.

I cringe internally, flushing beetroot red when I register that he said ‘anymore’… They were always aware of Rex and I’s ‘secret’ snuggle sessions.

“It’s ok, Mae. I’m not going to tell anyone. I understand. I miss him too”. He replies.

I don’t really respond to his admission. There’s not really anything left to say that hasn’t already been said.

Instead, I have something else on my mind.

“Are you ready to tell me what’s so top secret yet?” I question, folding my arms across my chest.

Slowly, he shakes his head, “Not yet, Mae. Soon though… I promise”. He says gently.

“That’s not good enough. What would happen if I told my dad you’re keeping secrets?” I press, curious.

“It wouldn’t end well”, he states. His eyes are telling me he is speaking nothing but the truth, sending a cold shiver down my spine.

“For who?” I ask seriously, narrowing my eyes.

Just as Idris opens his mouth to respond, his attention is drawn by a sharp knocking at the door.

I glance to the door. Before sliding my sight back to Idris. Then back to the door.

“This conversation isn’t over, Pops. I want answers”, I say bluntly.

He chuckles, “I wouldn’t expect anything less. I’ll let them in on my way out”.

Idris opens the door to find Mindy waiting patiently on the other side. She gives him a polite bow as he smiles warmly at her. As he gives me one last look over his shoulder, his expression is unreadable. He leaves, leaving the door wide open for Mindy.

“Princess”. She says, lowering her head and curtsying upon entry.

“There is a Caleb of the Red River Pack here to see you”. She states.

My heart leaps with joy and drops with nerves simultaneously. I’m happy he’s here, yet nervous about breaking the news to him that I can’t give him my heart. I’ve let enough people down in my lifetime... I don’t want to let another down.

“Tell him I’ll be right down”.

Just wishing to be comfortable, I throw on some black cycle shorts with an oversized white printed tee. I pair it with some white trainers with thick soles and a pair of round-framed black sunglasses.

I create a middle parting and then scrape my hair back into a low bun, pulling free some wispy strands of hair at the front to frame my face.

Deciding that’ll do, I don’t bother to put on my makeup today and skip down the stairs.

Caleb waits for me at the bottom of the grand staircase; as soon as he sees me, his face lights up, automatically making me grin back at him.

He is looking sexy as hell in his blue linen shirt, beige chino shorts and white trainers.

When I reach him at the bottom of the stairs, he grabs my waist with one hand, pulling me into him and kissing the side of my head.

“You look beautiful”, he states as if it’s a fact.

“I feel like I need to go and change; you look gorgeous!” I giggle.

“No, you look perfect just as you are”, he says, looking me up and down, drinking me in.

Blushing, I quickly change the subject.

“Sooo, what did you come all of this way for?”

“You”. He states, looking at me with intense eyes, forcing me to look away.

Don’t get attached... this needs to end. I remind myself.

“I wanted to come and make sure you were ok… seeing as that…”, his eyes turn fierce as they blaze with anger, his jaw clenching, “That pri-”

“Hey, hey!” I say, taking his face in my hands, forcing him to look at me. “It’s ok. I’m ok! See? Completely fine”, I say, giving him a twirl, showing no harm is done. I guess I’m like my mother in that sense. I don’t like people fussing or worrying about me, even if inside, I’m in turmoil.

His nostrils flare, even though I can see his shoulders are beginning to relax.

“I think some fresh air and a coffee would do us both some good?” He smiles.

I smile and give him a nod, following him to the main doors of the palace.

The town is bustling with activity, the shops are packed whilst the market is thriving with business. Glass ball fairy lights are hung across the street. The buildings are tall, apartments vacate above the shops, small balconies with black metal railings look over the streets.

The buildings are a beige natural stone or have been painted vibrant yellows, teals and peaches. Lively music plays throughout the town, and the scents of fresh baked goods waft through the air. It’s hard not to smile, it exudes fun and life in the centre.

After Caleb grabs us both a coffee, we walk through the town talking and laughing, although my wandering mind still doesn’t to how I am going to break the news to him... that I’d like us to be friends... and only friends, hopefully without hurting him.

Caleb perks up suddenly, “Hey, maybe you can come to my pack soon?”

Sighing a little, I respond, “Caleb, I really need to tal-”

“Princess Mae!” I hear someone squeal.

Turning around, I look for the source; I don’t see anyone until I look a little closer to the ground. There is stood little Lia, grinning up at me with delight.

“Lia! How are you, sweetie?” I say, crouching down to her height, looking over her shoulder; I can see her parents watching on proudly, with warm smiles spread over their faces.

“I’m great! My new family take real good care of me!” She says, beaming up at me with a toothless grin, one of her front teeth have fallen out, ready for her adult teeth to come in.

“I’m so happy for you! And how are your friends... did we make them really jealous?”

She nods enthusiastically, “Yeah! Everyone was talking about it at school!” She leans in as if she’s about to tell me a secret, “they didn’t vomit, though”.

Bursting out laughing, I ruffle her hair, “I suppose that’s not a bad thing… could’ve ruined your pretty shoes!” I chuckle.

“That’s true! But guess what!” She squeals, hopping up and down.

“What is it?” I whisper.

“I found my mate! When we are old, we are going to get married!” She squeals, running on the spot with delight.

Breaking out into a broad smile at her innocence, I chuckle, “I don’t doubt it for a second”, I say, bopping her on her nose with my finger, which sends her into a fit of giggles.

One of Lia’s parents calls over and tells her it’s time for them to go; she says her goodbyes quickly and runs back to them, taking a hand each before they swing her into the air, her gleeful giggles filling the streets.

We walk to the outskirts of town, where it is a bit quieter; the conversation has quietened down; before I pipe up.

“Do you… do you think Rex is still out there?” I ask quietly, my gaze focused on the floor.

Caleb looks slightly taken aback, “Oh, erm… I’m not sure… but I hope so. Why do you ask?”

“It’s just that, Jasper said… well, he said, some really awful things, he told me he has him… do you think he’s telling the truth?”

Caleb’s eyes flash with anger, his jaw clenches, “Jasper will be dealt with for hurting you, don’t you worry”, he seethes.

Placing a hand on his shoulder, I respond, “It’s ok… he didn’t get me”.

Olive

We’ve been awaiting any news for most of the day; Ozzy lays leisurely over what will one day be his throne, looking proud as punch of himself.

I roll my eyes internally at him. Raven, on the other hand, puffs her chest proudly of her pup.

My attention is suddenly drawn to the doorway where one of the underling demons is rushing through the door, “Master, master!” He says like a snake.

He opens his mouth to continue when one of the Lords grabs him by the back of his neck and hissing as he throws him behind himself.

“Apologies, your highness… some demons, forget their place”, he scowls over his shoulder as the underling cowers away back to the shadows.

“We have found something. Would you come with me, please?” He bows respectfully.

As we follow the Demon Lord to the location, I can’t help but marvel at the immense amount of changes the realm has gone through over the years.

When I fought Asmodeus, the realm held no life. It was bleak, charred and ashy. Not a soul, other than demons, lived here.

Now, it is teeming with life - though, life here looks a little different. The black wood trees hold lush crimson leaves, grass carpets the floor - like a sea of blood. The vibrant orange sky can be seen - now that there isn’t ash filling the air.

I can see small creatures inhabiting the trees and bushes, watching us with their beady little eyes, little fangs poking out of their little mouths. The realm is flourishing without Asmodeus sucking the life out of it.

The hellhounds trot ahead, snouts to the floor when they suddenly stop and circle a location close to the tree line. They look back to Ozzy and yip as if confirming this is the spot we’re looking for.

Ozzy crouches down at the site, pulling up blades of grass, sniffing them and wafting his hand through the air.

“Do you have anything?” I ask.

He looks back to me with a wolfish smirk, so much like his father’s and gives me a little wink that says ‘got him’.

Holding his arms in front of himself; the veins in his arms glow green - as the energy from this spot is sucked into his hands, he breathes a deep breath as he rolls his hands one over the other, slowly at first, before he builds up the momentum, an intense concentration fills his features.

Suddenly, a portal opens before us.

We step through cautiously, Ozzy holding my arm protectively as he expects the worst.

I blink rapidly, taking in my surroundings.

Here? I don’t understand… this isn’t where I thought I would be in a million years.

Worry fills me.

Mae.

“Zeke, find Mae! She might be in danger!”

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