As much as she wanted to deny him, Orpheus refused to take no for an answer. Not even when she tried to use work as an excuse of trying to get out of it. In fact, that had actually turned out to be a mistake.
Since Orpheus had finished with his work for the day, he had settled himself next to her at the library and worked between scrolling through her phone and watching her at work but with him right there, Thea could no longer use work as an excuse, especially since he had seen her send off the work to the client.
So, after that, Thea dropped by to kiss Malik goodnight for the evening before she followed Orpheus out of the packhouse and to his house so they could get ready for the evening.
While she didn’t feel great about leaving Malik alone at the packhouse, even though he was being minded by a few of the pack members and would probably fall asleep soon as it was nearly his bedtime.
“You know how to swim, right?” Orpheus called out from the bathroom while she was slipping into her dress in the bedroom, a little red number she had packed in hopes that of putting to use when her, Anastasia, Justas and Raphael would go out on that friend date that they had planned.
Unfortunately, it appeared that, that wouldn’t be happening anytime soon now.
“Yes, why?” Thea mumbled quietly as she leaned down to strap on her small heels; having been caught off guard by his sudden question.
“No reason.” He murmured quietly and despite her incessant questioning about it, it appeared that he wasn’t willing to give up any details.
Instead, he moved to wait for her at the bottom of the stairs like a true gentleman, not that he would know anything about the word.
“You look absolutely radiant tonight.” He greeted her with a sensual kiss against the back of her hand, appraising her with dark eyes once she reached the bottom of the stairs.
As it had become a habit, Thea refused to thank him and instead, returned the compliment. She didn’t need to lie, either.
Dressed in a tight fitted white shirt and dark dress pants, he was dressed in a simple formal outfit yet Thea had never seen a more dashing or handsome man in her life. Just looking at him made the cavern between her legs warm and almost as if he could read her mind, his lips twitched up slightly at the corners.
Before they could get carried away, Orpheus led her out of the house and into his car which was waiting outside.
“Where are we going?” Thea asked curiously as he peeled out of the parking spot and away from the packhouse, watching it fade into the distance as they continued driving away.
“To dinner.” He stated simply with a shrug, as if he hadn’t been the one to plan the whole evening.
Once they were both done with dessert, Orpheus grinned her and stood up, a knowing glint in his eyes.
“Come on.” He urged her with a sensual smile in place, holding out his hand. “There’s something I want to show you.”
“Like what?” She questioned as she accepted his hand and allowed him to pull her up, unable to hold back the traitorous smile that threatened to take over her face.
“It’s a surprise.” Orpheus grinned while tugging gently on her hand.
“We’re walking to your surprise?” She couldn’t help but question as he steered her away from his car and instead, toward the forest which sat behind the restaurant.
Instead of verbally answering, he flashed a bright smile at her and together, they quickly fell into step as they ventured into the forest.
Again, much to her surprise, Orpheus was ever the gentleman as he lifted branches out of the way, and squeezed her hand tightly when she stumbled over having to walk through the forest in heels.
“Isn’t this the part where you ask me if I brought you into the forest to kill you?” He chuckled as he turned his head to glance down at her.
“Isn’t that kind of cliche?” Thea cocked a teasing brow even though underneath it all, she knew that Orpheus wouldn’t need to use the excuse of a surprise to kill her.
If he wanted to, he could have killed her once he was done with her in the alley all those years ago. It probably would have been simpler for him today but for some reason, he had chosen to leave her alive and abandon her instead.
Despite who they were to each other and the past that they shared, Thea shook her head to rid her mind of such thoughts, wanting to enjoy this one evening.
She didn’t want to think about the fact that he had raped her and that she was deathly afraid of him. She wanted to think of him as two unentangled strangers just enjoying a nice evening together; their first date.
The bubble would be popped anyway as soon as they returned to the packhouse but here – even though they were technically still on pack lands – away from everyone else, he seemed almost normal. They seemed almost normal. Like they were a regular couple and he wasn’t keeping her here against her will.
The negative thought cycle momentarily paused as he lifted yet another branch for her before swiftly following after. Except, this time, it appeared that they had arrived at their destination.
When Orpheus had stated that he had a surprise in store for her, she hadn’t expected that it would include a beautiful river in an exclusive part of the story, the water so pure and twinkling under the light beam of the moon that shone from above.
As her eyes travelled up and she followed the sound of the water hitting the rocks, she was met with the sight of the most magnificent waterfall that she had ever seen.
“So, this is why you asked me if I could swim?” Thea laughed softly as they finally found the clearing that he had been talking about, but not until after she had felt like they had been walking for forever.
“Yes.” He grinned from behind as he came to a stop at the river bank, already working on kicking off his shoes.
“I didn’t bring a bathing suiting.”
“Neither did I.” Orpheus winked at her from over his shoulder, his fingers making quick work on the buttons along his shirt. Before she could fully comprehend what was going on and about to happen, he pulled down his trousers, leaving him in only his boxers.
Before her face even had the chance to start heating up, Orpheus dived into the water, the water splashing over the edge of the river bank onto her from the impact, and she couldn’t hold back the laughter that bubbled up to the surface.
If he was human, she would have been worried about him being able to breathe under the water, especially when he didn’t rise back to the surface for a while. When he finally did, Orpheus sputtered quietly as water streamed down his face and he raised his hands up to push his hair back, looking like a runway model as he swam over to the edge of the river, his eyes beckoning her to join him.
“You’re not going to join me?”
Despite her mind telling her to turn around and make a run for it, her heart couldn’t resist him. Closing her eyes briefly, Thea inhaled and exhaled before her fingers inched toward the bottom of her dress, refusing to think on it too much. The more she thought about it, the more confused she was and even though she knew deep down that all of this was so, so wrong, it didn’t translate all that well on the surface level.
Opting to allow herself this one carefree moment, she stripped down to her underwear and joined him in the water, laughing as she splashed him with a wave in the process.
“That wasn’t very nice of you.” Orpheus murmured dangerously low as he swam over to her, his hands instinctively bracing themselves on her hip.
“Well, you’ve done quite a few things that weren’t so nice.” Thea snorted back in response, hating the way her body reacted to the simplest of his touches; leaning in, almost as if she craved him.
“That’s putting it mildly.” He winked at her but before she had the chance to feel disgusted with the insinuation behind his words, just as he had insinuated earlier that morning, Orpheus was quick to pull himself away from her and change the subject.
“I used to come here all the time as a kid.” He hummed quietly, relaxing his body \so he could float on top of the water.
“You don’t come here anymore?” She asked quietly with a small frown on her face, still struggling to shrug off the double meaning behind his words.
“Not as often.” Orpheus murmured the denial. “In fact, this is the first time that I’ve been here in 6 years.”
Even though Thea knew that she would probably come to regret this later, she just had to ask.
“Why did you bring me here then? If this is your special place, what made you want to share it with me?”
Turning his head to glance at her, he made sure to catch her eyes before responding, almost as if he needed her to trust him.
“Because you’re mate.” The admission was barely above a whisper, yet Thea felt shivers run down her spine.
Unable to help herself and almost as if she was under a trance, she slowly swam her way over to him, her mind already screaming at her to stop while she still had the chance.
“What are you doing?” He hummed lowly as she approached him, pushing himself up from the water so he was now standing instead of floating aimlessly around, watching her from under dark, hooded eyes.
“I don’t know.” Thea admitted honestly, her eyes unwilling to look away from him. “But don’t ruin things.”
Almost as if hanging off her every word, Orpheus kept his mouth shut as she pressed her body against his, eliminating any space between the both of them. Almost as if he was afraid that one wrong move from him and she would run away, his hands fisted by his sides and he clenched his jaw, just staring down at her as he anticipated her next move.
Blinking up at him, Thea didn’t see a rapist but rather, she saw the beautiful future that they could have had. Could have, being the two keywords.
Closing her eyes, she circled her arms around his neck and raised herself up on her tiptoes to brush her lips against his.
Regardless of everything, she licked her lips slowly as she pulled away from him, gazing up at him from under clouded eyes, not sure what she was doing but going with it as it felt good.
When he made a show of dropping his head lower, his eyes fluttering closed, Thea could no longer hold herself back.
Pressing her lips harder against this time, she raked her teeth against his bottom lip and sucked it into her mouth, wanting nothing more than to delve deeper but it appeared her mate could muster up some serious self-control when he wanted to.
It was only when she slipped her tongue into his mouth and wrapped it around his teasingly that his resolve crumbled and he was able to hold himself back no longer.
Orpheus growled from deep within his chest as he wound his arms around his mate, pulling her body flush against his, bending his head to devour her mouth, nipping and sucking deliciously between each kiss.
When she felt like she needed to come up for air, she couldn’t help but moan as his mouth moved suck and he began sucking gently on the smooth skin of her neck.
It was only when she pushed back against him slightly that Orpheus backed off, though the way his chest moved up and down with each heavy pant made her want to throw herself back into his arms and devour his mouth all over again.
Not really sure what to make of the moment that they had just shared, Thea pushed herself away from him before splashing some water in his face, having not been able to think of what else to do.
Thea knew that it was all so wrong yet she couldn’t resist him, and it was only when they decided to head back to the house as it had gotten dark and cold, that everything came crashing down on her. On the ride home, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything and when he finally asked what was wrong, she just stated that she was tired.
To keep up the act, she slipped out of the dress and into her pyjamas and buried herself under the sheets, forcing her eyes closed. Even though he could sense that she wasn’t really asleep, Orpheus didn’t say anything and instead, she was forced to listen as he moved around the room before hopping into the shower. She upheld his act until he had slid into the bed behind her, nuzzling his face against the back of her neck like he always did.
It was only when his soft snores sounded aloud that Thea knew she could finally let it all out; that she didn’t have to pretend anymore.
Unable to feel anything but hate and disgust for herself, Thea squeezed her eyes shut and cried herself to sleep.
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