Chapter 21 - Hot Lunch
We stand there staring at each other. Me, frozen in mortification. The four of them, in amusement.
I open my mouth and suddenly words just spill out. “I don’t toy with boys. I don’t eat boys either. I really don’t. I mean, to toy with them and eat them, that would be mean. Just mean. Oh, no, no, no, no...one should never do that.” I wince. That sounds bad. “I mean, I was just kidding. That was a joke. Ha ha...see? funny, right?”
Oh, my god! Somebody shut me up. Like right now!
I hear a choking-wheezing sound behind me and it occurs to me that I should check if Cat is dying behind the counter...after I find a hole to hide in.
“Imma go die in a hole now.” What? Shut up!
“Okay,” says the blond lycan who looks like she’s about to burst into a laughter at any moment. The man beside the redhead turns quickly away. His shoulders are shaking with silent laughter, which is totally a bad thing.
What a disaster.
I cast my gaze up at the ceiling. My face is burning hot. Lord have mercy.
The four of them walk over to a table for four not too far away. It’s not my table but since Jenna isn’t here yet, I should go take their order. Instead, I spin around and make a quick escape to the washroom.
I walk past Cat who really looks like she’s dying, bending over, clutching her stomach with a gasping and choking sound coming out of her. Her face is hidden behind the curtain of her short purple hair.
I walk faster and lock the washroom door with a click.
Great! Just great! So much for wanting to impress Caspian’s pack members slash family slash trusted friends. They must think that I’m stupid, or worse..crazy. They must be wondering how or why the future King of lycans and werewolves is saddled with someone like me. Wait! Why do I want to impress them again? It doesn’t matter. I just do.
I splash water over my reddened face, neck, and my wrists and try to breathe slowly and deeply.
That was beyond embarrassing but I can’t hide in here forever.
My Nana used to say that she’s proud of me because I dance to my own music. She also said that the music was in my own head and only I can hear it. In other words, Nana was proud of me because I never give a rat’s ass about what people think of me...but she also thought that I was crazy. Whatever. The point is, I should just go out there with my head held high because I don’t give a rat’s ass about what they think of me...well, I kinda do, but that’s beside the point. The point is, there’s no point to this little story, I just miss my Nana and I like to think of my Nana when I’m stressed. That’s all.
I wipe my face and my hands dry, check myself in the mirror, and push my shoulders back, chin up, ready to face the world again. Okay, not really. But...whatever.
When I get out, Cat has several cups of steaming hot coffee ready on a tray. She’s not even hiding her amusement. “These are for those gods and goddesses at table four,” she says with a gleeful grin and a wink. They must have ordered while I was in the washroom.
“Oh, goddess yes! You coffee angel you. I need this,” says the redhead who reaches for her drink as soon as I place them on the table. “This is too early for me...cruel...insane morning people...torture..poor me... ” she grumbles incoherently between big gulps of her hot coffee.
“She’s not a morning person,” explains the stunning looking man sitting beside her while the redhead continues to chug down her drink.
“We’re lucky she hasn’t murder us all yet,” says another man quietly before sipping his own coffee. His expression so grave and solemn that I pause to wonder if he was truly serious.
The blond beside him nudges him with her elbow. She is impossibly gorgeous. Her shiny honey golden hair falls in soft waves down her shoulders. Her dress, impeccable and stylish. “Oh, where are our manners,” she says with a soft smile. “Hello, I’m Serena.” She holds out her hand. Her glowing amber eyes are warm and kind.
“This is my mate, Lazarus,” she says after shaking my hand. She touches the arm of the man with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen beside her. His dark curls would have reached his shoulders if it isn’t tied back. I’m not really a fan of men with long hair, but on this magnetic man, it doesn’t only enhance his stern and forbidding exterior but it adds to his allure. His intimidating grim expression never wavers but there’s a gentle and benevolent curiosity in his gaze and the small nod he gives me isn’t unfriendly.
“Hello, I’m Constantine.” Another man who sits across the table from him captures my hand in his large one. I remember Caspian told me that Constantine is his cousin. He doesn’t look anything like Caspian with his piercing silver-grey eyes and dark brown hair. He is less bulky than Lazarus but still very well built. “This is my mate, Genesis,” he says, indicating the breathtaking redhead with flawless porcelain skin beside him. She is now drinking his coffee after placing her empty cup in the place of his.
“Oh, would you like me to get you another cup of coffee? ” I ask them. “Or would you like to order some food?”
“No, I’m good,” answers Genesis. Of course, she’s good. She just had two cups of coffee while her mate, Constantine is left staring at an empty cup in front of him as if wondering when did he finish off his coffee. “Maybe I’ll have a sandwich later,” she adds as an afterthought.
“Why don’t you join us for a minute, Quincy?” invites Serena. Lazarus effortlessly pulls a chair from another table with his foot without even getting up.
We’re not yet busy but we’re not allowed to sit with customers. I’m not usually good at following orders but I’m already in enough trouble as it is. Adam, our manager is putting me on probation after yesterday’s event when I poured water on that woman.
I glance to look at Cat who is trying to look busy by wiping the spotless counter. Alex is typing away on her phone and Jenna is not yet here. I know Cat and Alex wouldn’t have cared but Jenna would have reported me to Adam even though she herself is always late to work.
“We won’t take a lot of your time,” promises Genesis.
Oh, well...Jenna is not here, neither is Adam.
I take the seat and look at the beautiful people around me. “Does Caspian know that you guys are here?”
“Not a clue,” says Genesis.
“He’s out practicing very early this morning,” answers Serena. Her tone becomes sober when she says, “We’re leaving for Russia soon...tomorrow, actually. We thought we’d see you before we leave.”
The heaviness in my chest returns. Uneasiness settles deep in my bones once again at the mention of it. “Is it going to be dangerous where you’re going?” I ask them quietly.
The four of them turn to look at me at the same time before they look at each other. Something changes in the air between them. It’s very subtle yet somehow I can feel it. Not a second later, there’s a flash of some sort of mutual communication or understanding between them.
“It can be,” answers Lazarus carefully. “But there’s nothing to worry about.”
Constantine nods his head. “We have a very tight security.”
“Besides, it’s hard to kill a lycan,” Genesis adds in a whisper. “So, how’s it going with the prince?” I know she’s trying to change the subject but...wow, she doesn’t mince words.
“You’re being very subtle, sweetheart,” says Constantine.
“Oh, thanks, honey,” replies Genesis with a proud smile before she turns to gaze at me with an expectant look.
I open my mouth to tell her that I think he meant she's being the opposite of subtle but then I figure, it’s not my place, so I close my mouth. Then I open my mouth again to say something, but then I’m not sure how to open up to them because I don’t know these people.
“Uh, right now I’m still thinking about the whole mate thing,” I tell them finally. “I’m still deciding...”
“Oh, how cute. She thinks she has a choice,” Genesis murmurs to Serena who hides her smile behind a paper napkin. If somebody else said something like that about me, I’d be pissed but her tone carried no malice and I feel no anger.
“Honey, go play somewhere else for a few minutes, will you? We girls need to talk.” She pats her mate, Constantine on the arm. “Oh, take Lazarus with you.” She pushes Lazarus off the chair. This time Serena lets out a soft laugh.
Lazarus’s face remains serious even though he shakes his head as he stands up. I don’t miss the look of amusement in his eyes.
Constantine looks at his mate with a raised eyebrow but he rises from his chair. Then he leans down and kisses the top of her head. “Behave,” he tells her, then he turns to me and says, “Don’t worry, Caspian will be fine in Russia.”
We watch as their long legs carry the two men out of the place before both of them lean in close to me.
“We don’t want to scare you off or anything, love,” says Serena. “But he’ll never let you go no matter what you decide.”
Genesis nods her head in agreement. “Believe us, we understand. We went through the same thing with our mates.”
“You two weren’t born lycans?” I ask them in a hushed voice.
“Nope, we were both werewolves,” answers Genesis quietly.
I sigh. I guess they’re the best people to talk about this since they’re mated to lycans and strangely I feel very drawn to them. There’s a certain ease that I feel with all of them that I’ve never felt with anyone else. “So are you telling me that I should just give it up now and let him mark me?”
“Oh no, that’s not what we’re telling you at all,” says Genesis quickly and vehemently.
“You do what feels right to you, love. Don’t let him bully you into doing anything you’re not ready to do.” Serena pats my hand.
“In case you haven’t figured it out yet Quincy, Caspian is used to getting what he wants,” says Genesis. “He’ll go all possessive and would claim you like a neanderthal if you let him.”
“Well, you can let him. There’s nothing wrong with that,” suggests Serena. Genesis shoots her a disapproving look. “But that just means you could claim him right back,” Serena adds.
“Yeah, make sure to bitchslap any bitches who overstep their boundaries,” says Genesis. “Don’t be shy, feel free to bitchslap him too if he flirts with them.”
Serena stops and stares at Genesis.
“What?” asks Genesis.
“I don’t know if bitchslapping anybody, especially a human is a good idea,” answers Serena. “Especially after she becomes a lycan.”
“Pffttt...Penny does that all the time. Just a little tap will do.”
“That little tap knocked them right out, remember?”
“They’ll live.” Genesis shrugs her shoulders. “By the way, Penny is another one of us.”
“Oh, yeah, Penny. I met her yesterday,” I tell them.
“What?” Genesis almost jumps out of her seat. She turns to Serena and says, “That woman...darn, she’s tricky! Do you remember what she told us the other day when you said you’d like to meet Quincy?”
Serena laughs softly. “She’s sly,” she agrees. “She said we’re being nosy.”
“I can’t believe she’s already one step ahead of us.” Genesis shakes her head but she’s smiling.
“Yeah, well...I splashed water all over her friend too,” I inform them. “Penny was here with her mate Darius and that woman overstepped her boundary.”
“Attagirl!” Genesis exclaims with approval.
Serena laughs. “Poor Caspian,” she says but she gives me a proud smile. “I think you’ll do just fine.”
The thing I like most about working at the cafe, apart from the location, is the flexible work hours since most of us are students. I finish work at the cafe at 11:15 am this morning because I have a tutorial class at 11:30 am and a study group right after that.
Just as I’m getting ready to leave, I feel his presence in the air that I breathe and his burning gaze on the back of my head. My heart leaps in my chest and my stomach dips. My skin is now burning all over. I can’t believe how his mere presence is affecting me.
“Oh, Quincy! I think your toy...err, I mean your lunch is here,” Cat calls out cheekily. “Hot, hot lunch.”
God! I like Cat but sometimes I swear I could kill that woman.
I sling my bag over my shoulder and walk toward Caspian who is standing near the door with a quizzical expression on his face. “Lunch?” he mouths.
“Don’t mind her. She’s crazy,” I tell him loud enough to make sure that Cat can hear me.
“Hey, Quincy!” yells Cat. “Don’t toy with your lunch!” Her laughter follows me to the door.
Caspian has a knowing smirk on his face. Ughh!! That woman!
I was expecting him to make some kind of a joke about Cat’s parting remark but he’s being very quiet as he walks me to my class. “I’m leaving for Russia tomorrow morning,” he says quietly.
“So I heard,” I tell him. “Genesis, Serena, Lazarus, and Constantine paid me a visit this morning.”
His eyebrows lift up in surprise. “Nosy idiots,” he mutters under his breath but his lips curve up into a smile.
“I like them,” I announce.
“Good,” he says. His smile turns knowing.
When we reach my classroom, he grabs my wrist to stop me from going in. “Will you spend the rest of the day with me?”
I’d love to but I find myself saying, “Uh, maybe I’ll see you after this class?”
He looks disappointed but he shoves his hands into the pocket of his jeans and reluctantly takes a few steps back. “I guess I’ll see you in 45 minutes, then?”
I nod my head. I think he’s really trying to practice patience with me.
“Hey, Quincy!” yells a guy from my class. His name is Brandon, I think. He’s been very friendly. Too friendly and too dense to understand the concept of personal space, sometimes. “Coming in? Be my partner today, yeah?” he says with a wink.
Caspian’s eyes narrow as he stares at the smaller guy. Brandon seems oblivious to the hostile look as he disappears through the door with a bounce in his steps. Happy as a clam.
His jaw tout and I can feel his annoyance. I prepare myself to say something in defense of the poor dimwitted Brandon but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he grabs my wrist and he reaches for his sharpie with another hand. He uncapped the sharpie with his teeth, then scribbles something on my arm. He lets me go, put the cap back on his pen, flashes me a smug grin, then he saunters away.
I watch him disappears around the corner of the building before I bring up my arm to read the words written in big black bold capital letters on it.
Oh, no he didn’t!
I turn right around and stalk over to where he disappears to look for him. I don’t have to search too far. He’s standing near the front step of the library, talking to a short, curvy, blond human girl in a pastel pink dress. The word preppy comes to mind when I see her. Isn’t it cute that she also has a string of pearls around her neck? Ok, I’m being petty, I have nothing against pearls. My Nana used to wear pearls. I think I’ve seen him with that girl before.
I storm over to stand right beside him and his preppy blond friend. He looks at me with a raised eyebrow and says, “Hey, Quincy.” I don’t answer him, instead, I pluck the sharpie from his hand, take off the cap, grab his arm and write: QUINCY’S PROPERTY.
I hear a shock outrage gasp coming from Miss Preppy but I ignore her. Instead, I look up at his face with a smug but defiant smile. He glances briefly at his arm then he gives me an amused, speculative look. Our eyes lock and hold.
“Wow! Delusional much?” says Miss Preppy. Has anybody ever told her that she has an annoying voice? I grind my teeth together but I turn to give her a tight smile. She has a big scowl on her face. Her eyes scan me from head to toe with this superior look on her face. Without a word, I take hold of his other hand and write QUINCY’S PROPERTY. Underneath it, I add, hand’s off bitch! There!
I turn my chin up and give him a challenging smirk. I was expecting him to be mad or at least to show annoyance at my audacity but gazing back at me, his lips curl up slightly into an amused smile. There’s a look of pride, smugness, and fierce possessiveness on his face.
I tear my eyes away from his mesmerizing stare and whirl around, intent to bounce away and skip town. Oh, Lord...what possessed me to mark another person like that? I know he started it but that’s not an excuse.
Nana would’ve flicked me right on the forehead and told me to write that on his forehead instead. Yeah, well...that’s Nana. Like I said before, not everything that Nana said or did make sense.
“Where do you think you’re going?“He grabs my wrist before I manage to flounce off. “After you claim me, you’re leaving me? I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. I’m all yours, baby. So what are you going to do with me?”
* To be honest, I was about to delete most of this chapter. I wanted to get to the action part quicker as I think some of you might be getting bored with the non-action. But then I remember a lot of you asked me not to delete much. The action is coming up in the next chapter =). Have a wonderful week, my dearies!
P/S: Another update next Monday (est.)