Chapter 15 - It Pours
My feet are shaky as I track my way back the counter. So, is he really going to sit there to wait for me to finish work?
“Wait!” says Cat, clasping my arm as I grab a cleaning solution and a cleaning cloth to wipe a table. “You know him? You never told me that you knew him.”
“Uh, I don’t really know him...” I really don’t want to tell Cat anything. I like Cat just fine. I mean, she is cool and all but she’s also nosy and loves to gossip. Telling Cat anything is like announcing it to the whole campus.
“Really? It sure doesn’t look like it. Is he waiting for you?”
“We just need to...uh, talk.” I’m not lying. We do need to talk but if anything else happens...
“Talk? Suuure...or is that what they call it these days?”
“Cat!” I half whisper, half yelling at her. I quickly glance at him to make sure that he’s not listening, but then I remember just how sensitive werewolf’s hearing is, his hearing is probably stronger. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure,” she winks. “Talking. I get it. He’s sitting there staring at you like he wants to eat you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and he’s waiting just to talk. Totally.” She pats my hand gently. “I believe you. Millions wouldn’t, but I believe you.” She winks again. I’m sure he can hear her loud and clear. Oh, my god!
I move around trying to do my job while acutely aware of him watching me. It’s hard to concentrate. I’m a pro waitress, an expert at making smoothies, a master at clearing and cleaning tables. It’s his fault that I can’t take a few steps without tripping over my own feet. Walking gets tricky when someone is watching you. I am not clumsy.
Cat, Alex, and Jenna are also watching. Cat, with amusement. Once in a while, she looks from Caspian to me then back again and not so subtly wiggles her eyebrows suggestively. Ughh!! There’s no cure for Cat.
Alex just watches me quietly. I don’t really know what she’s thinking.
Jenna...well, how do I begin to describe Jenna. She glares at me. She bumps my shoulder a couple of times, it looks accidental, but I don’t think it is. She keeps going over to his table and tries to strike up a conversation with him. She’s very persistent. I don’t even try to hide a smirk everytime she stomps away in frustration when he firmly but politely tells her to leave him alone because I’m petty like that. It's also obvious that he's losing his patience with her because his response gets shorter and terser. Is it bad that I feel smug about it? Maybe it is, but do I care? Not at all.
Three hours. Three longest hours of my life. The longest three hours in history! It’s funny that I’m impatient for my shift to be over, but at the same time, I’m nervous as hell.
Ever heard of an English idiomatic expression “when it rains, it pours”? It couldn’t have described this week better for me. In other words, this week sucks.
My plan for my erasthai was simple: I wanted to wine and dine and woo my princess the old fashion way. I wanted to dazzle her with my extraordinary good look, extremely witty and clever conversational skill, utterly magnificent sense of humor, and downright charming, not to mention captivating personality and charisma. I want to make her drool over my sexiness. I want to make her fall helplessly in love with me so that she has no chance of leaving me when I reveal to her what I really am. See? Simple.
Only nothing is simple when it comes to my erasthai. Why won’t she fall at my feet like other women? It drives me crazy. She won’t even agree to a date with me. One date, that’s all I asked.
I never had to work so hard to get just one single date from a woman. Every attempt I tried, she shot down without a second thought. The last time I tried, she told me to leave her alone. That hurt. Knowing that your erasthai, the one that you’ve been waiting for all your life wanted nothing to do with you hurt. A lot.
I was hurt, angry and miserable for days. I vowed to give her some time away from me. Time for her to realize that she needed me. I wanted her to miss me...like I miss her. I have been as miserable as hell these last few days.
On top of that, I had to deal with Penny and Darius’s drama. Darius is one of the top commanders, one of the best warriors in the Royal Army. Penny, or Beany as I call her is a werewolf and she is Darius’s erasthai. He had refused to mark her and make her his for years. A few days ago, he finally told us the reason why he refused to claim her.
Darius is in charge of a very classified operation that only a select few in the Army know of. It’s an investigation involving the royal family. One of us is working with the rebels to gain power. We have enemies from the inside.
The mates of the previous Commanders before him were killed brutally to stop the investigation. In our world, you destroy the mate, you destroy the lycan. Once the mate is killed brutally, you have to destroy the other before they go on a rampage or killing spree. Darius knows that they wouldn’t hesitate to kill Beany if they knew she’s his. He’s been carrying the burden for years.
He also cautioned that I myself and the future Queen would be in danger as well but right now, the direct threat would be on Beany. To complicate the matter, Beany has also found her human mate a couple of weeks ago. If she choses to be with the human, she’d be lost to us forever.
Well, that's just great isn't it? I have to worry about my princess’s safety on top of her not wanting me.
Just as I was wallowing in my self-pity, feeling sorry for myself, Beany was taken. She was at the park with her human mate when they were taken. She was about to end it with him to be with Darius when they took her. Those sons of bitches stabbed her with a silver knife. A wound like that, made by silver would have been fatal to werewolves. We’re lucky that Darius had already marked her scent and she’s already accepting him. That means she’s already turning into a lycan.
At least she’s now alive and truly has become one of us. She and her smart ass mouth will live to torment us for centuries to come...if we manage to keep her alive that long.
Penny’s human mate, Matthew saw the whole thing; the werewolf phasing, Beany being stabbed and turning into her lycan. The chicken sh*t became hysterical. His mind couldn’t accept what he saw. The reality of his world shifted and he couldn’t take it.
That brought me back to my own problem. My erasthai is a human. What would she do if she knew what I am? What if she knew what a monster I am? She might have already known about werewolves but us lycans are another level of craziness. We’re not beautiful to look at. We kill brutally and without remorse. We’re like your worse nightmare come to life. Will she be able to accept me? What if she acted just like Matthew did? Screaming and cowering, yelling incoherent words one moment and crying about vicious, frightening, abhorrent monsters the next? What if she hated me? Worse, what if she’s scared of me? That would destroy me.
I’m thankful that Beany didn’t get to see Matthew like that. Even though she might have accepted Darius as her mate, it would still hurt her terribly if she saw how scared he was and heard the things that he said about her and about us. I slapped the guy hard enough so that he passed out so she didn’t have to see it...and also because I had been wanting to do that since I first saw him. Enough of his hysteric.
Darius seems to accept that there is no way he can keep her safe at a distance now. I have no doubt, they will mate and mark each other soon. My work here as a meddling cupid is done. There, pat yourself on your fvcking shoulder, Prince Caspian Romanov!
If only my own life isn’t a fvcking mess right now. I’ve been sitting at this cafe for over two hours.
I swipe the screen of my phone to read a message from Lazarus. He’s scolding me for ditching my security detail. I ignore his message. I do pretty much what I want. All the time. This time I don’t want them with me. I don’t want any of them around when I’m groveling at my erasthai’s feet. Begging her just to talk to me. I’ve enough shit to deal with. Having my men and my pack mates laughing at me? Fvck that. Not going to happen.
I check the time again. Two hours and forty minutes. Not that I’m bored or complaining. I’m having fun watching my princess. Mostly. I love watching her move, the way she’s walking around pretending that she’s not aware that I’m watching her every move.
The dark of her hair a stark contrast to her pale skin. Her green eyes bright and brilliant, surrounded by thick, black lashes. Her lips, so red. Everything about her is in rich, vivid color. Striking. She makes everything and everyone else pale in comparison. Black and white. Insignificant.
I love the way she tilts her head and clicks her pen in a nervous gesture when she waits for her customers to make up their minds. I love how she watches me from the corners of her eyes or steals a glance when she thinks I wasn’t watching. I love the way strands of her jet black hair escape from the hair tie and falls over her face.
I hate watching men looking at her, checking her out. I hate how some of them talk about her when they think she's out of the hearing range. I could wring their necks for even looking at her. I can’t stand that the other server keeps coming over to ask me if I need anything or just to chat. I don’t need that. I’m just here to wait for my girl. She really doesn’t need to come over to ask me the same question every five minutes. If I need anything, I will call. That’s how it works.
Quincy. Queen Quincy. My queen. Right now, the future Queen of all lycans and werewolves is wiping tables at a cafe. I have billions of Euros and countless properties scattered across the globe, yet she’s working a job that pays minimum wage. The fvcking irony.
Her friend with purple hair keeps saying stuff that embarrasses my princess. I think I like her, she’s hilarious. I almost laugh at the mortified expression on my princess’s face when her friend insinuates that we're going to do more than just talk. When she quickly glances at me I just pretend to be fascinated with a big wall art on the far wall. An imitation of Andy Warhol; a cuppa cappuccino printed in six panels in different colors.
“Hey,” she says, standing in front of me, fidgeting with the strap of her bag. Finally.
“Hey,” I reply as I get to my feet. “Ready to go?”
In the end, Cat tells me that she’ll finish cleaning up for me and practically pushes me to get my stuff at the back, then towards Caspian who is still waiting for almost three hours.
He steers me toward a flashy red Porsche. I roll my eyes. I can’t help it. How typical. The car fits him. He’s probably one of those spoiled trust fund kids.
“What?” he asks me.
“Nothing,” I answer quickly. He opens the door for me while eyeing me suspiciously.
“I can feel you judging me, princess,” he says as I climb in.
I’ve never been in one of these cars and I have to admit, I’m quite curious despite my outward show of disdain. The smell of leather and mostly of him fills my nose as soon as I get in. The seat is low to the ground and the soft leather conforms to my body.
I become conscious of how intimate it feels in the close proximity of his car as soon as he gets in and closes the door. The air feels heavy around us. He places one hand on the gearshift and another on the steering wheel. I notice how elegant his long fingers are. His nails are perfect. Does he have a manicure? He probably does. Manicure and pedicure...and maybe the whole works. He’s so high maintenance for a man.
It takes a while for me to realize that we’re not moving. I look up to his glittering eyes studying me. Watching me watching him. Our eyes meet and my breath becomes choppy.
“What now?” he asks, raising an eyebrow. “Again, I can feel you judging me, princess.” His voice sounds huskier and sexy but playful.
From the intense look in his eyes, I know he can feel it. This energy that hums between us. The crackles of electricity in the air that pull us like two powerful opposite magnets. I’m glad he’s trying to keep it light.
“I’m not judging you,” I quickly deny. Yes, I am. I tug at my ponytail, trying not to scratch my head.
His hand drifts up to touch my hair but then he quickly drops it down then curls it into a fist around the gearshift and tears his gaze away.
“What?” I ask breathlessly. I feel like I’m in a daze, staring at his profile now.
He takes a deep breath and laughs. “Nothing.”
“Really? Nothing,” I ask him. I can't believe he's throwing my word back at me.
He sighs, resigned before he mutters reluctantly, “I only have so much self-control, princess. If I touch you now, I won’t be able to stop.” Then without warning, he starts the car and accelerates so fast that I’m thrust back in my seat.
God help me.
He drives like a racetrack driver. Fast.
“Where are you taking me?”
“To a restaurant.”
“At this hour?” It’s already after 11 at night.
“Yeah.” He’s not even looking at me.
He’s totally focused on the road after that. Not speaking. His expression, grim. He looks furious, even. His hands are gripping hard on the steering wheel.
We stop at a small parking lot not long after and he jumps out like he’s on fire as soon as he cuts the engine. What? Now he can’t get away from me fast enough?
I get out of the car before he gets around to open the door for me. I think I slammed shut the door of his expensive car a little too loudly.
“What is your problem?” I yell at him.
I don’t know what is it about him that makes me feel...more. More than I regularly feel with other people. More hurt when he leaves me alone or more annoyed when he opens his mouth, a wreck when I’m not near him, crazy giddy when I see him. Insane jealous when he’s around other girls and I’m not a jealous person. My stupid heart pounds so fast it almost hurt, my tummy swarms with crazy butterflies, and electricity crackles in the air in his presence. Now I’m more pissed off when he seems pissed off and I don’t even know why. My feelings are all over the place. Everything is just...more.
He rounds the car and saunters toward me like he’s stalking a prey. “You! You are my problem,” he says.
I fold my arms over my chest. Well, that hurts. “You came to me, not the other way around, buddy! Nobody forced you to take me out if you don’t want to be near me, you know.”
“You think I don’t want to be near you?” he asks me. He’s towering over me now. His intense green eyes are focused on me. “This thing between us is too strong already. Too much to handle when we’re alone in the car. All I could smell was you. I was about to lose it. Not much longer in there and you’ll be wearing more than just my temporary hickey.”
“What does that mean?”
“Oh, you know what I mean, princess,” he says. His lips curl up into a sneer. His smile almost seems cruel. “Let’s go into the restaurant where there are people around so that I’m not too tempted to...” To what? He leaves the sentence hanging as he takes off. I'm half tempted to leave. Just run off and be miserable again.
He's waiting for me at the door so I know he'll catch me if I try to run anyway.
Maybe I do know what he means but my brain is in denial.
It’s a Russian Restaurant in West Hollywood. It’s surprising that it’s quite busy with a few patrons despite it being late. The walls are painted black but there are mirrors and lights everywhere. It’s not over the top posh but classy enough that I feel underdressed in my old jeans, plain grey t-shirt, and sneakers. I probably smell like coffee too.
Caspian whispers something to the host who respectfully nods, then leads us to our table. I sneak a glance at the people around me as we walk past. I’m not too sure if they’re all humans. Most of them are rather stylish. Some, even dressed in all leather. Quite a few of them are eyeing me with a strange gleam in their eyes. As if sensing my unease, Caspian places his hand at the small of my back. His touch seems possessive as if he’s staking his claim. The feel of his large hand firm on my back also calms me and makes me feel safer that I instinctively move closer to him. The corner of his lips curl up slightly into a smile at my move, even though he’s staring ahead, his gaze following our host.
We are taken to the very back of the room. It’s a booth seating with a clear glass partition that separates us from others. The host slides the glass door closed and leaves after Caspian gives him a few orders in a foreign language, I’m guessing Russian. I can still see other patrons on the other side of the glass partition. It gives us a little privacy even though we’re not alone.
“Now nobody can hear us,” he says as he slides into the seat next to me. His thigh and knee are touching mine. One hand slides to the back of the seat behind me and another on top of the table in front of me, caging me in as I’m pressed against the padded wall on the other side of me. A wicked, sexy smile appears on his lips. “Now are you ready to be devoured, my love?”
*Over 3100 words today. The chapter still needs work. I wish the story could progress much faster but there are things that needed to be explained, esp to new readers. It's a spoiler to those who haven't read Fighting Darius. Ah, well...next update is Thursday again, my dearies.