Chapter 18 - Not All Silence is Golden
“So, what have you been doing today? Apart from ignoring me?” he asks, as he accelerates and effortlessly merges into the busy highway.
I refuse to answer him. I glare at the view outside the window pretending I didn’t hear him. I’m sitting back in the red leather seat of his car with my arms folded across my chest. In case you’re wondering what I’m doing, I’m giving him the silent treatment.
“Still ignoring me, huh?” I see the corners of his lips curl up into that maddening, knowing smirk.
I don’t usually give people the silent treatment because it ends up torturing myself more than the other person. They might enjoy the peace and quiet. Heck, they might like it too much that I’m not talking and not talking is torture. I can’t have that when I’m pissed off at them.
However, I feel like the situation calls for it at this moment. I yelled at him earlier about how it is not okay for him to spank me and kidnap me just because he feels like it. He said it’s not kidnapping because I’m his mate and that I belong to him to do as he pleases. I argued I’m still not his mate since I never agreed to it. He insisted that I am.
Whatever I said didn’t seem to register in that thick skull of his, so now I’m giving him the silent treatment.
“Are you hungry?” he asks. Of course, I’m hungry and he knows it. I haven’t had dinner yet. He kidnapped me before I had the chance to eat Layla’s delicious stew!
I steal a glance at him from the corner of my eye. He’s frustrating, but damn, the man is beautiful. Just looking at him does something to my insides.
On top of trying not to talk to him and being hungry, I’m also trying not to let on how aware I am of our close proximity in the small space of his car. His hand on the gearshift is right next to my thigh. The crackles of electricity between us. The magnetic pull. The crazy beat of my heart whenever he is near. Am I really his mate? I still can’t wrap my mind around it.
“I was thinking that we could stop to get a pizza or something,” he says, after a while. He waits for me to say something again. When I remain silent, he continues, “There’s this place called Jon’s Pizzeria. It’s a hole in the wall place but it serves the best pizza in town. The family’s mouthwatering secret recipe sauce, the light delicious crust, the warm gooey cheese that melts in your mouth, all the toppings you could choose from...ahhh heaven.” My mouth water just listening to him.
“Oh, well, since you’re not hungry, I guess we’re not stopping,” he continues with an exaggerated heavy sigh. But I am hungry darn it! See? This is why I don’t normally give people the silent treatment. I’m only hurting myself.
My stomach growls. Oh, this is torture! Somehow I don’t think this is working for me.
I give him a side glare but he seems to be blissfully oblivious. He has this smug but highly amused smile on his handsome face.
He then leans down and fiddles with his radio station. A moment later, Brian Eno Ambient 1 starts to play. Oh, my god! Seriously? This song can even put a hyper monkey all hopped up on sugar and caffeine to sleep!
I want to throttle him and yell, “Sure, kidnap the girl, slap her butt, starve her, then kill her with elevator music, why don’t you?” but I can’t because I’m not talking to him.
Urrghhh! Nope! No! No! There’s so much a girl can take. I lean down and angrily jab a button to cut off the slow, sleep-inducing music.
A strangled noise that sounds suspiciously like a muffled laugh escapes out from his mouth. I send him a death glare and he coughs into his hand. Then he flashes me a charming innocent smile, showing off the straight even white teeth. I’m not fooled by that smile. How can somebody so beautiful looking be so evil?
After that, he drives in silent and I wonder where we’re going. He’s also driving at a normal pace for once, almost obeying the speed limit. The further we go, the harder it is for me to keep my mouth shut. I’m dying to know where he’s taking me. I catch the glimpse of the ocean behind the trees and several beautiful houses that we passed. The sun is sitting low on the horizon and the sky is turning pinkish purple and orange-gold.
It’s getting dark by the time we pass a beautiful mansion with a long circular driveway. From there, we turn into a smaller road that goes uphill until we come to a fence with a sign that says “Private Property” but he keeps driving through the open gate. The trees grow denser, the higher we go until there’s nothing but trees around us.
Is he taking me into a forest so that he can kill me and get rid of my body? But I am his mate, my brain keeps reminding me. What if he doesn’t want me as his mate and he’s getting rid of me? Oh god, Quincy, you have to learn to reel in your crazy thoughts. You’re only scaring yourself.
Okay, I can’t take it anymore. Keeping quiet and giving people silent treatment is just not working for me.
“Where are you taking me?” I demand to know.
“Oh, she talks!” he says in mock surprise. Ugh!!! I could kill him.
“Shut up! Where are we going?”
“Uh, sweetheart, you have to make up your mind. Do you want me to shut up or do you want me to tell you where we’re going?”
Oh, god! How hard is it to kill a lycan? “Tell me!”
“Somewhere we can talk,” he answers me.
“Why does it have to be deep in the woods?”
“Why my little precious? Are you scared of the big bad wolf luring you deep into the woods where nobody can find us so that I can have my way with you?”
I knew it! He’s going to kill me and get rid of my body somewhere in here.
“I think you’ve got your fairy tales all mixed up there, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. But seriously, aren’t we trespassing?”
“Relax, the property’s mine. My pack...I mean, my friends and I come here for training,” he explains. “Besides, we don’t hide dead bodies.” He flashes me another wicked grin. “We burn them.”
“Ha, ha, ha, very funny,” I tell him. Somehow I’ve got a feeling that he’s not lying.
“You don’t have to worry, though. I’m not going to hide or burn your gorgeous body. I have other plans for it.”
“Wow, that doesn’t sound creepy at all.” I really don't want to know what his plans are...or do I?
He stops the car where the tiny road ends. There’s no house in sight. I think we’re in the middle of nowhere. He helps me out of the car then he moves to open the trunk while I look all around us. It’s dark and we’re high up on a hill. The road that we traveled through is just a small trail, big enough to fit just one car. We’re surrounded by nothing but tall trees. When I look up, I can see the stars littering the dark sky.
The weather is a bit chilly and I hug myself and rub my arms.
“Here,” he says, and he drapes a black pea coat over my shoulders and I get a whiff of his rich wonderful addictive smell. I want to bury my nose in it to take in his scent.
I feel, rather than see him takes a sniff of my hair. Then all of a sudden, his fingers dig into my upper arm and he buries his face in my hair and takes a deep breath as if he can’t help himself. Oh, god! The feel of his nose and lips pressed on the back of my neck, and his warm breath dancing on my skin are sending shivers down my spine. After a couple of minutes, he loosens his hold on my arm, then he slowly lets me go.
He takes my hand and leads me through the wood. He’s carrying a dark, rectangle bag that he took out from the trunk in his other hand.
“Are you leading me to where you’re finally going to slaughter me?”
He chuckles. “We don’t kill our mates,” he says. His hand tightens around mine as if he’s worried that I was going to take off running into the dark wood by myself.
My heart stutters and my stomach flips at the reminder that I am his mate.
“I know what you are,” I blurt out.
His steps falter and I almost stumble into him. Then he continues walking, not even turning his head to look at me.
It takes almost a full minute before he casually but quietly asks, “Is that why you were ignoring me today?” He’s still not looking at me.
Somehow his question tugs at my heart, makes me feel bad about it now. Like I hurt him. “Partly,” I admit because I want to be truthful.
We continue walking in the dark. Once in a while, I stumble on tree roots and small rocks protruding from the ground. He’s there to support me and make sure that I don’t fall flat on my face. His warm hand holding mine makes me feel safe and protected. It also sends that sparks up my arms and warms up my whole body.
Not long after, I see lights coming through the gaps in the trees. We slow down and finally stop when we reach a clearing overlooking the skyline and the city below.
“It’s beautiful,” I breathe.
He doesn’t answer me. He just nods and quietly goes to spread a red and white checkered blanket on the ground. Even when he’s moving, he seems to be deep in thought. He reaches out and leads me to sit on it, facing the view before us. He unfolds his long legs and sits on the blanket as well. We’re not touching but I can feel the heat from his body next to mine.
He unzips the bag he’s been carrying and suddenly the delicious smell of pizza sauce, melted cheese, and pepperoni fill my nose.
He pulls out a big box that says Jon’s Pizzeria on top of it. Then he takes out a smaller box and places it next to the bigger one. Next, he unzips another compartment in the bag and produces several cans of chilled drinks.
He opens the boxes and offers them to me. The big box contain pizza and the smaller one has Mozzarella sticks. I pick up a slice of the pizza.
It’s still warm and oh, so good! So good! I moan around my first bite and his body stiffens, his movement stilled. I hear him exhale heavily as I take another big bite, then he quickly crams a mozzarella stick into his mouth. We both eat in silence.
He surprises me with another box before we even finish the pizza, and this one contains éclairs. It’s been ages since I last had one. My Nana and I shared the love for éclairs.
This man really knows the way to my heart. I forgot why I was mad at him by the time I finished my first slice of pizza. By the time we finished the whole pizza and Mozzarella sticks, I sigh in contentment and bliss. Halfway through the éclair, I’m buzzing with happiness. The éclair is that good. The choux pastry is crisp and light, the crème pâtissière oozes divine creamy goodness with every bite.
“Thank you. That was the best pizza I’ve ever had and the éclair was amazing,” I tell him.
He just nods without a word and opens a can of root beer for me. Then we sit, sipping our drinks while watching the city lights below. The silence between us is not awkward but it’s kind of strange to have him sitting beside me without saying anything annoying. He looks very thoughtful, sipping his drink very slowly.
“So now you know what a monster I am,” he says quietly. I turn to stare at his profile. The glow from the lights below is throwing the sharp contours of his face into a stark relief in the darkness, like a carved statue. Perfect and beautiful. “Am I scaring you? Are you disgusted by me? Is that why you want nothing to do with me now?” He turns his eyes on me.
“Yes...I mean no,” I stutter. “I’m not scared of you. I mean sort of, but not really...and you’re not a monster, I mean you sort of are, but not really. I mean...” Arrgghh...I’m making a mess of things. Oh god! I put my head in my hands and clamp my mouth shut, stopping myself from talking and further digging myself deeper into a hole that I can’t crawl back out later if I keep going.
I take a deep breath before I lift my head up. He’s sitting facing me now. His sharp eyes glittering in the dark, watching me with intensity.
He is my mate. I keep trying to come to term with that fact. I’m not at all disgusted by him. Far from it. I find him so beautiful, so perfect. If anything, I’m questioning, why me? As for wanting nothing to do with him, what choice do I have? Do I have a say? I don’t know much at all about lycans and about their mate bonds.
I hesitantly lifted my hand and tentatively touch a finger to the back of his hand that’s resting on his knee. I immediately feel the energy passing from him to me, pulsing through my veins, warming my blood and sending tingles throughout my whole body. Just one touch. His eyes follow my movement but he doesn’t stop me. When I trace my fingers up his arm, he tilts his head to the side as if he’s curious but fascinated by my action. His muscles clenching under my fingertips.
I’m just very curious. This pull between us. This attraction. This connection. He should be a stranger to me yet this connection that we have makes me feel like nothing is more right than to be with him. To be touching him feels good.
“I feel this pull but I don’t understand it,” I whisper. “I’m not disgusted by you. Not at all,” I add quietly. “I told you what I am. I held nothing back. All you have to do was ask, yet you told me nothing about yourself. So yeah, I was mad at you for not telling me what you are when you had the chance last night.”
His fingers close around my hand and he brings it up to press it against his lips. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to scare you off. I didn’t want to overwhelm you. I would’ve told you eventually. I thought if you knew what I am right away, you’d want nothing to do with me, you’d run away and today just proved it.”
“I didn’t run away. Well, okay...I sort of did, but I just needed time to think. I want to understand and I also need time to process it in my head, to make my decision. You know when you need time to adjust your thinking to a new reality? Like I grew up thinking that I’d marry a human and live among the humans one day.”
“Wait! You wanted to marry a human?” he asks me, letting go of my hand, sounding offended.
“What’s wrong with humans?” I ask him, feeling insulted.
“Nothing,” he says quickly. Too quickly. He runs his hand through his hair and over his face. “Great, now I have humans as my competition,” he mutters sullenly and almost disbelievingly.
I lift my root beer can up to my lips quickly to hide my grin. Who knew, the mighty cocky lycan could feel threatened by humans...and I’m feeling flattered that he wants me enough to be worried about that.
We still have a lot to talk about, though, so I say, “I don’t know much about lycans. I don’t know much about you. Tell me about you.”
“My name is Caspian Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov. Nikolai was my grandfather’s name. My father’s name is Alexandros. I was born in 1808 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I was---”
“Wait! You were born in 1808? Seriously?” I ask him. “How is that possible? You look like you’re 18...or 20 at the most. I mean, I know werewolves age slower than humans, but...really?”
“Well, lycans live for hundreds of years, moya printsessa. We age like humans until we reach the age of 18 or so, then the aging slows down.”
I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as a realization hits me. “Does that mean you’re still going to look like this 62 years from now?” Something heavy tugs at my heart. My hands are fiddling with the edge of his jacket around my shoulders.
“More or less, yeah,” he answers, looking puzzled by my question.
Suddenly I feel sick. “Then I don’t think this is going to work,” I tell him, pointing my fingers between the two of us. “I’ll be 80 years old by then.” Him looking like an 18-year-old boy and me looking like an 80-year-old grandma, if I was still alive...no. Just no. Us together would look ridiculous. It’s too painful to even think about it.
“Oh,” he says in sudden understanding. “That’s the least of your worries, though, sweetheart,” he says, looking uncomfortable. “I have a lot to explain to you...but first, you have to promise me something.”
“What’s that?” Oh, god, more bad news?
“Promise me you’re not going to run away from me. Whatever you do, don’t run off on me.”
No running away. “Okay, got it.”
He stares at me as if he’s gauging how serious I am, then he takes my hand firmly in both of his and says, “Promise me.”
“Okay, I promise...unless you try to kill me, then I’ll run.”
He shakes his head. “I told you we never kill our mates. I’d rather hurt myself than purposely hurt you, my love.”
I think my heart just melts. This man.
* Over 3000 words. I might have gotten carried away. I'm trying to shorten this chap by half but my brain is not working today. Maybe mostly because I'm hungry (you can tell by how food is being mentioned here). Will post the next chapter before Tuesday.