Chapter 19 - Can You Handle the Truth?
“I want you to promise me something in return,” I tell him. “Promise me you’ll tell me the truth even if you think that the truth is going to scare me.”
“I’ll try to be as honest as I can with you.”
“Not good enough,” I say. “The truth. Promise me the truth.”
His intense glittering eyes search my face before he finally nods. “Okay, I promise,” he says.
He takes my hand in between his again before he begins, “The most important thing you have to understand about us is that lycans are governed by our animal instinct. No matter how cultured and sophisticated we look on the outside as humans, we are first and foremost lycans.
“Our lycan instincts and our souls choose our mates. We call them erasthais, the closest we have to what werewolves call mates. Our souls call out to them and their souls choose to answer. That’s why when we meet our erasthais, we feel the pull, the calling of our souls to them and theirs to ours.
“Our erasthai could be anyone, a mated or unmated werewolf or a faery, a human, married or not, or another lycan. Since the pull is usually always strong and erasthais are hard to find, they are everything to us. Once we found them, we don’t let them get away. It doesn’t matter if they’re mated or married to another. We take them, mark them, and make them our mates. Our mates are the most important part of us. They’re our lives.”
“So, I’m your erasthai?” I ask just to be sure.
He doesn’t answer me but if the intense, possessive way he’s looking at me isn’t an answer enough, the pull that I feel towards him and the crackle of electricity in the air around us more than confirm it.
“What’s next?” I ask, trying to sound like none of those are affecting me.
“We’re very territorial. Once we meet our erasthai, the urge to mark what’s ours is very strong and we don't tolerate anybody else touching what's ours.” Something in the way that he says it makes it sound like a warning. “There are two stages of marking for us. First is marking the scent, which only other lycans who are interested could sense. Then the physical marking, making the mark and mating to bind our souls together.
“By mating, you mean...uh..“My cheeks heat up. “What do you mean by mating?”
A corner of his lips tugs up a tiny bit. “You know exactly what it means. You can say it, princess. I won’t die of embarrassment if you did.”
His eyes are issuing me a challenge I can’t resist.
“Sex,” I say boldly even though I can feel my whole face burning. I must resemble a tomato. “Mating means having sex.”
“Oh, dear Lord. I never! You have your mind in the gutter,” he gasps, pressing a hand to his heart as if I’ve offended him. He’s doing a great impression of a prude old lady. I feel my face heats up even more while fighting an urge to laugh. He’s ridiculous. I bite my smile and glare at him instead.
He clears his throat and schools his features to look serious again even though a mischievous glint is still present in his eyes. “Yes, that’s exactly what that means,” he admits.
“There are lycans who take what’s theirs the moment they see their erasthais. Physically mark and mate with them with or without their erasthais' consent.
“Most of us more cultured and civilized ones tend to try to follow the rules. We mark our erasthai’s scent first so that no other lycans will dare stake a claim on our erasthais unless they’re declaring war or have a desire to die. Then when we try to gain our erasthai’s consent to fully mark them through physical marking and mating.”
“So, I take it that you’ve marked my scent?”
“Yes,” he says. “That second time I saw you.” I remember that day when he cornered me and gave me the hickey.
“So...the second stage. Is that what you’re doing now? Are you waiting for my consent?”
He gives me a strange look. “Yea...waiting,” he says, ducking his head while his eyes wander away from mine. “Seducing, wooing, trapping, whatever you want to call it,” he mutters under his breath as if he needs to clarify that because he promised to be truthful, not because he wants to.
Before I can say anything, he adds, “I have to warn you, princess, I’m not very good at waiting. I need to mark you soon. I need to bind you to me forever.”
“But how can it be forever when I’m going to grow old before you do? When I’m going to die before you?”
“No, you won’t. You see, the moon goddess didn’t give us mates who fit us perfectly like she gave werewolves. But she gifted us the chance to have a mate for life by changing whoever we choose to mark and claimed as ours to fit us. Once we mark and mate someone who isn’t a lycan, the person we mark, be it a werewolf or a human will start changing and turning into a lycan.
“In fact, after I mark your scent, the changing process begins the moment your heart and your mind start accepting me.” His hands tighten around mine.
“Okay,” I say calmly.
“Uh, okay? Are you sure?” he asks me tentatively, studying me closely. Looking worried.
“Okay,” I repeat, feeling strangely calm. “Is there anything else I need to know?”
He starts rubbing the back of his neck with that funny look on his face while his eyes stray away from mine again, looking at a spot somewhere between his black leather shoes. “I...uh..mmm..”
Oh, god! There’s more?
“The truth,” I remind him. I need him to spit it out before my imagination gets the best of me.
“It’s uh...not a big deal...but uh, my father is King Alexandros, the king of lycans and werewolves. Don’t know if you’ve heard of him?” he says. “I’m his only son, so...that makes me the crown prince.”
Heard of him? King Alexandros? The King Alexandros? The freaking King Alexandros Romanov, the lord of the lycans and werewolves? Is he kidding me? And he’s Prince Caspian? No big deal my fvcking ass!
Every werewolf on earth knows who they are. I've heard of them being mentioned and talked about all the time in my old pack. I'm sure Nana mentioned them a few times when I was growing up.
“I know it’s a lot to take in...”
“Can you take me home now?” I interrupt him. I need to get home just in case I start freaking out.
Both of his hands are now clasping mine tightly as if he’s holding on to his life and his eyes accusing. “You promised you won’t run. You promised you won’t leave me.”
“No,” I tell him. My voice still very calm and smooth. “I’m not running away from you. I just need to think.”
He studies me for a few seconds. His eyes narrow. “Okay,” he finally breathes out even though he doesn't look too happy.
He turns to gather all the boxes, paper napkins, and empty cans into the bag while I sit there watching him. All my thoughts are jumbled together but the forefront on my mind right now is: he’s Prince Caspian, the Crown Prince and I just had dinner with him, here in the woods. He’s Prince Caspian, and he’s my mate and he’s a lycan.
“Wait,” I tell him, grasping his arm. His movement stilled, then he turns around to look at me over his shoulder. His eyebrow lifts up in a query and surprise.
“Can you...I want to see you,” I tell him. “I want to see you as a lycan.”
He straightens to face me. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Quincy.”
“You’ll be scared. You’ll want nothing to do with me for sure once you see what a hideous, scary monster I am.”
“No, I won’t. I promise I won’t get scared. Please?”
He groans and runs his hands over his face. “This is a very bad idea, princess.”
“Please?” I need to see him. All of him. “I need to know you. I need to know what I’m getting myself into and what I’m going to be if I’m going to do this.”
He sighs and runs his fingers through his silky hair. "You know I can't deny you," he reluctantly says. “If I do this, promise me you won’t run. If you run, I’ll come after you. It’s in our nature to hunt. I know I won’t hurt you but I might mark you...and mate you before you’re ready.”
I take a deep shuddering breath. Am I really doing this? It’s in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods, and I just asked him to turn into...something. Somehow my crazy mind choose this moment to play that scene in Micheal Jackson’s music video, “Thriller”.
“Yes, I promise I won’t run.” Yes, I’m certifiably insane.
He sighs in resignation and nods his head. He stands up and untucks his shirt from his pants. Then he undoes all the buttons and I gulp nervously. I forgot this part...and he looks so sexy doing it. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, he doesn’t take his shirt off. I get a glimpse of his glorious physique between the gap of his open shirt. Then he unbuckles his belt and undoes the button and pulls down the zipper but doesn’t take off his pants either. Next, he takes off his shoes and socks.
He folds his long legs and sits facing me, taking my hands in his again. “Remember your promise,” he says.
I take a deep breath and nod my head.
He looks like an ancient god in the faint light of the city below and the pale light of the moon. The moonlight casts shadows and his hair glint more silver than gold.
For a moment I don’t see any changes, then I notice that his eyes look different. I can’t tell much in the dim light, but they seem like two hard glittering black onyx staring back at me. Then dark veins start to appear starting from around his eye sockets. The veins grow harsher and start to snake down the smooth skin on his face.
His face structure starts to slowly change as well. His browbones, the bridge of his nose, and his jaw become more prominent. More silvery-golden hair covers his brows and the sides of his face.
His whole body is changing before my eyes. His shoulders and chest expand. He’s growing broader and taller, so tall that he’s towering over me even in his sitting position.
I’m scared but I’m thrilled. Excited yet apprehensive. My heart is thundering in my chest and my breathing is hard and fast. I clasp his hands harder until I realize that his hands also feel different. The fingers are longer, the back of his hands and arms are covered with coarse golden hair, his nails are sharp deadly talons.
I try to wrench my hands away but his long strong fingers curl even tighter around mine. I look up and he’s staring back at me with those cold, gleaming, black eyes. He’s gazing at me like he’s mesmerized...and hungry. Like a predator watching a fascinating looking prey.
He still looks like him, yet different. He looks deadly and inhuman but strangely I’m still very attracted to him. Very much so. Excitement unfurls in the pit of my stomach. To me, he’s still very beautiful. My heart aches just looking at him.
I slowly free one of my hands from his grasp and lift it up to his face. His nostrils flare as soon as my hand touches his cheek. Something stirs in the bleak darkness of his eyes.
“Caspian,” I whisper, amazed. His nostrils flare at the sound of his name and the intensity of his gaze increases as I skim my fingers up and down, tracing the veins decorating his face.
"I've found you, princessss..." he hisses. His voice is also different. Deeper and more guttural. I catch a glimpse of his long canines.
I slowly get up to my knees while he watches me with those eyes.
On my knees, my face is almost the same level as his.
His face looks even more intimidating up close. His cold, hard eyes more sinister.
I run my thumb along his lower lip. Then I place my thumb on the side of his upper lip and slowly push it up, revealing his teeth. They catch the light from below and gleam in the dark, sharp and deadly, the canines even more prominent and lethal looking.
"You are my princesss...you are mine." He brings up a hand to grip the back of my head and tilts my head to the side, baring my neck to him.
My heart is thundering inside my chest and I gulp nervously but I'm not running. I’m quite scared but I’m more fascinated and thrilled. Vines of excitement grow and twine along my spine and wrap around my heart. It’s electrifying.
He leans in and rubs his nose and lips on my exposed neck as if he’s marking me. Chills run down my spine and hairs stand on end on the back of my neck. Then he buries his face in my hair, breathing in my scent while his powerful arms wind around me, gathering me into his body. We are chest to chest. His heart beating next to the beat of my heart. He sits holding me like that for a long time and I let him.
*I have very little time to write this week and the next few weeks. Deadlines to my commission work are coming up, among other things, and I take them very seriously. Writing is my hobby, but I do try to update for you on time as promised.
My next update will be next Tuesday - (est.)Canada time (though I will try hard to make it earlier). Have a wonderful week, everybody!