Chapter 33 - Jessica Rabbit and Teddy Bear
She stops directly in front of us with a practiced pose - hip jutting out and legs slightly apart so that the slit of her dress opens all the way up past her hip. I guess you couldn’t wear any underwear with a dress like that. This woman is entirely confident in her sensuality.
Her eyes linger on Caspian before they land on me. Her gaze takes in my appearance appraisingly, dismisses me as unimportant, and goes back to rake over Caspian.
Lord Archer gets up to stand next to the woman. “Your Highness, may I introduce you to my companion, Helen Aristophanes,” he says. “Helen, His Royal Highness, Prince Caspian.”
“We’ve met,” she purrs. “Your Highness, it’s a pleasure to see you again.” She smiles like a cat that just swallowed a canary.
Caspian is sprawling on the chair with his head resting comfortably on the back cushion. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t give the slightest acknowledgment. His expression gives nothing away. His fingertips make a lazy trail up and down my upper arm while his other hand is thrown possessively over my thigh.
“On his lap is his erasthai, Ms. Quincy St Martin,” continues Lord Archer, or rather Gideon with some amusement in his voice. Helen’s eyebrow rises in surprise. “Oh,” she says before the corners of her red lips slope downward.
She blinks and I watch her trying to quickly compose herself. It looks like it’s a shock and a dismay to her that I’m Caspian’s erasthai, so much so that she failed to hide her immediate reaction.
Lord Archer continues with his introduction and I scrutinize her one more time before I cast my eyes toward the others. Everyone generally hides their opinion and feelings very well except for Genesis whose face briefly shows her disapproval before she covers it with that sweet innocent expression. I catch Penny’s eyes and we share a look.
I don’t know if we take a cue from each other to be wary of the newcomer or it’s our instincts that warn us not to get too close...or maybe it’s just the way she’s acting.
“I guess we should get packing and start moving if we’re flying back today,” says Darius. “The plane will be ready in an hour and I’ve arranged the cars to be driven back.”
“Lord Archer, will you and your companion be flying with us?” asks Lazarus.
“Yes, if that’s okay with you. I have some business to attend to in California,” he answers and I feel Caspian’s body stiffened underneath me.
Great! Now I have to see more of Jessica Rabbit! I actually like Gideon Archer but I don’t like his companion at all. I have the feeling that Caspian just wants to be rid of the both of them.
Caspian lifts me up like I weight nothing when he gets up from the chair. He’s so tall, I feel like I’m so far off the ground. He’d carry me all the way to our room if I don’t ask him to put me down. Even after he puts me on my feet, his hand doesn’t leave my waist.
We’re standing by the bank of elevators when Penny leans in and whispers, “She’s like a brunette version of Jessica Rabbit, don’t you think?” Exactly! She so gets me!
One of the elevator doors slides open before I get to answer her. Caspian ushers me inside with him while Jonah, Jorden, Darius, and Penny trail in behind us. Just before the door closes, Helen steps in.
I glimpse Lord Archer still talking to Lazarus and Constantine while waiting for the next carriage to arrive. Serena and Genesis stay with their mates.
The whole hotel is practically empty if not for us and a few of the hotel employees. Two people are sharing one level and Jorden and Jonah stop on the second floor.
Helen doesn’t say anything. She just stands in a corner watching the digital floor numbers going up while Penny stands next to me, watching her with narrowed eyes. Subtlety is not Penny’s strong suit. You never have to guess whether she likes you or not.
I try to ignore the woman. She makes my chest burns. My newly awakened sense or lycan wants to come out and claw her eyes out.
Penny shoots me another look before she steps off with Darius on the third floor. I can tell she’s got something on her mind and she’s holding back from saying it.
Helen gets off on the fourth floor. Just before she walks out, she turns to Caspian and says, “I’ll see you later, Your Highness.” Her voice sultry and suggestive. I surprised myself when I let out a low growl just before the door closes.
As soon as we enter the door to our suite on the seventh floor, I corner him.
“Did you sleep with that woman?”
I stare at him with narrowed eyes. He doesn’t get to play stupid with me. “Jessica Rabbit!” I ground out.
“Ughh! Gideon’s companion, Helen whatsit. Did you ever sleep with her?”
“So, he’s Gideon now? Since when?” Suddenly he’s towering over me. “I told you he’s interested in you. For everyone’s sake, don’t get too close to him.”
“Don’t change the subject.” I push his broad muscled chest. He barely moves. “We’re talking about Helen whatshername and you.” I push him again, harder this time. It’s hard to appear threatening when you’re almost a foot shorter but I’m very pissed.
“Did. You. Ever. Sleep. With her?” I ask him again when he remains silent.
He takes a few steps back and runs his fingers through his perfect hair, messing it all up. He looks very upset and very reluctant to utter the next word. “Yes,” he says almost inaudibly. I knew that already but my heart constricts painfully to hear him actually admit it. My lycan wants to get out and tear everything around us to pieces. “But that was a very long time ago and it doesn’t mean anything.”
“How very long time ago?” Why am I asking these questions? I must be a masochist. The worst kind.
“A very long time ago..way before I met you.” I glare at him and he quickly adds, “Maybe like six or seven years ago.”
“Was it any good?” Ughhh...I should stop. This red hot jealousy in my chest needs to go away.
He groans, looking like he’s in pain. “I don’t remember anymore, that’s how unmemorable it was, okay? Can we please not talk about this anymore?” He steps to stand directly in front of me. His golden hair is all messy now. “Look, sweetheart, I was stupid, okay? I did a lot of things I’m not proud of and I would undo all of them if I could, but I can’t. I’m sorry. So, can we just not talk about the past and concentrate on the future instead? I promise you, I want no one else but you.”
I put my hands on my hips and stare up at him. He’s been around for hundreds of years and to be who he is and to look the way he does, it’s stupid to expect him to live like a monk. Besides, it happened before we met. It’s not something he can change so I have to deal with it. Still, it hurts.
Suddenly I find myself thinking of Trey, my ex-boyfriend and two other human guys, Ben and Liam who I went out with after Trey found his mate. Not that I went much beyond making out with Ben and Liam but they weren’t mere fun for me. I truly believed I had feelings for them. Ben was my rebound to get over Trey and Liam was my rebound to get over Ben.
I’m sure my experience is nothing compared to Caspian’s but I don’t think it’s a good idea if he found out about those guys while we’re still here. Nope, not good at all when I’m feeling this violent toward Helen Whatsit. I don’t want him to go after Trey or the other two.
I start pulling out a couple of duffel bags from inside the closet. These aren’t mine. They look too nice and too expensive to be mine. Where’s my tattered old bag? I need my raggedy old bag.
“What are you thinking, sweetheart? Please, talk to me,” he says, following me around as if he’s worried if I’d jump out of the window or something to get away from him. Right now I don’t want to think about him all tangled up with that woman in bed. Ugh!
“Let me get this straight. We don’t need to talk about our previous hookups and sexual experience or anything like that with each other, right?” I place one of the bags on the bed.
“Uh...right.” He’s now watching me warily.
“So, no talking about ex-boyfriends or anything.” I unzip the bag and start throwing things in it. “Good! That’s very good.”
“Wait! What ex-boyfriends?”
I go to the bathroom and start gathering the shampoo, the conditioner, and the shower gel that I used this morning. I like their smell. They smell like freaking vanilla and fvcking rainbow and unicorn sh!t. I feel like swearing so much I doubt my goddamn swear jar could handle all the money I need to put in it.
I turn around and he’s right behind me, blocking my exit. “Quincy, what ex-boyfriends?”
I duck underneath his arm and once again standing by the bed. “We’re not talking about that, remember?” I remind him as I release everything in my arms into the open bag. These things are nice but I still need my old bag.
“Where are you going?” he asks me as soon as my hand reaches out to grab the doorknob.
“I have something to do real quick,” I tell him, tugging the door open.
“Something like what?” He pushes the door close. He’s standing very close to me now that I can feel the heat of his body against the side of mine, his scent invading my nose, affecting my ability to think clearly.
“Something like...uh, I need to talk to my cousin, Jorden real quick,” I say, trying to pull the door open again but he’s pressing against it so it won’t budge.
“Talk about what?” He has both hands on the door now, caging me in. “Are you trying to get away from me? Or is it about your ex-boyfriends?” Something flared in his vivid green eyes.
Oh, god! Why are we even talking about my ex-boyfriends now? I’m still hurting....and pissed off about him and that Helen woman...especially because I know she still wants a repeat with the prince. My prince.
I want to stop thinking and talking about it now because if I didn’t, I might do or say something I might regret later. I know I’m being irrational and stupid but right now I can’t help how I feel. To know that he slept around previously didn’t bother me before but to see the woman he had actually been intimate with is something else. Now I can’t stop picturing them together. I suddenly feel like a trapped beast, wanting to hurt something or somebody.
I hate that I’m feeling this pissed and irrational and out of control.
“What I want to talk about with Jorden is really none of your business,” I snap at him suddenly.
“Of course it’s my business. You’re mine! Everything you do is my business.”
“Stop saying that I was yours. I’m not! I don’t belong to you. I’m my own person!” I’m yelling at him now. He only stares at me, the glint in his eyes is defying what I just said. Ughhh! “I’m tired of this...this bond thing. It’s too...It’s suffocating! I need to get out of here...away from you!”
He freezes at my words. A look of hurt flashes in his features. I didn’t mean it. I really don’t. I want to tell him that I don’t mean it. But then the wounded look is gone. His eyes glitter underneath his golden eyelashes. He looks cold and distant. The words died on my tongue.
See? This is why I have to get away from here now. I might not be able to hurt him physically but words could hurt just as badly.
When I pull the door open this time, he doesn’t stop me.
Why do I feel so bad walking down the hallway toward the emergency exit stairway, away from him?
I take the stairs to the roof, which is just a couple of levels up. There’s an unspoiled jungle of pine trees on one side of the hotel. I stand on the ledge. For a second or two, I contemplate running off into the woods. I imagine surviving on wild berries and hunt rabbits for dinner.
That’s just a fanciful thinking, though. Running off is not what I want. The cold wind blows my hair across my face and I shiver. It is freezing up here but the fresh air does make me feel a bit better. I take a long deep breath before I walk back inside to find the elevator.
I need to see Jorden.
Jorden has decided that he wants to join Jonah in California. I think he’s sad to be leaving his mom and Joelle but he’s also excited to be seeing new places. I’m glad that he decided to get out of Loup Noir Pack. If I have anything to do with it, my cousins will be seeing a lot of me whether they want to or not. I’ll be annoying the hell out of them both.
I ride the elevator down to the second floor and knock on several doors to figure out which one is Jorden’s. He opens at door number five.
Jorden looks surprised to see me. “Hey Q, are you ready to go?”
“No, not yet,” I tell him.
“Are you okay?” He opens the door wider, looking at me closely now.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” I fight the urge to scratch my suddenly itchy head. Darn stupid unable-to-lie scalp. “Hey J, do you remember that old bag I used to carry around with me? I brought it back with me to the pack house. You don’t happen to know where it is now, do you?”
Jorden grins at me. “Are you seriously still attached to that old thing?”
“Shut up! I just want Oliver back.” I stuffed Oliver in the bag before the men from Loup Noir Pack took me.
Jorden just rolls his eyes. “Don’t you think it’s time for you to give him up?”
I look at Jorden in horror. Give up my teddy bear? How could he even suggest that? I know I’m too old to be attached to a teddy bear but I have him for as long as I can remember. Oliver is old and ratty but he’s the only friend I had when I was being bullied every day at the pack house. He’s a good listener and a phenomenal keeper of secrets. He’s one constant thing in my life when everything else is changing. Most of all, he represents my life with Nana, the simple innocent times I’d never get back.
“Never! I can’t imagine my life without him,” I tell him.
I should’ve left him in California. Layla would have made sure he’d stay safe.
“Okay, okay...I was just kidding. Well, only partly kidding,” says Jorden. “Cousin, you’re gonna love me for this. I have your stinky bag and all its content with me right now. I saw it in Old Maddox’s room and I figured you would like it back.”
“Seriously? Oh my god, J! I love you!” I fling my arms around him and hug him tight. I might have family members who hate me to the point of wanting to kill me but the ones who don’t, are awesome!
“You’re welcome, Q. I’ll go get it for you now.”
“No, you keep it for me.” I’d rather nobody else sees Oliver. So far, only Jorden, Jonah, and Layla know about my ratty teddy bear. It would be embarrassing if anybody else knows about it. “Tell Oliver I miss him. I have to go now, but please kiss him and hug him for me, will you?”
“Ewww...not gonna happen, Q,” says Jorden, shaking his head in disgust. Okay, so nobody else really wants to willingly hold that scruffy, mangy, and just slightly stinky old thing. Maybe I should wash him sometime.
When I get back to our room, Caspian is no longer there. Everything is gone from the room - my things and his things. The only thing that’s left is a dark grey coat lying on the bed. It’s thicker than the one I had on this morning.
The short breather on top of the building helps me feel calmer and now I’m feeling really bad about the way I reacted before I left our room. So yeah, I was jealous. Nobody ever makes me feel that way before. Jealousy hurts. It burns me inside. It makes me feel violent and out of control.
I grab the coat, walk back out, and take the elevator down by myself. The elevator stops on the fourth floor and Gideon Archer gets in.
He’s all alone and his strange eyes light up when he sees me. “Hello again, Your Highness.” He gives me a little bow.
He’s dressed casually in a white Henley that clings to his muscular body, blue wash jeans, a black leather belt with a bronze buckle, a black leather jacket, and black leather boots. A pocket watch peeks out from the front pocket of his jeans. It’s bronze this time, clipped to his belt loop with a thick bronze chain. How does he manage to make a pocket watch look badass?
“Quincy,” I tell him. “Call me Quincy.”
His lips quirk up into a smile. “Quincy.” He pronounces it slowly as if he’s savoring it on his tongue.
These lycan men. If I wasn’t so obsessed with a certain obnoxious, infuriating, cocky, gorgeous Prince, I’d certainly be drooling over this man.
We ride all the way down to the main floor in silence.
The hotel lobby is completely deserted when we get there so I walk to the sofa where we were sitting earlier. Gideon follows me there and sits on a sofa next to the one I chose to sit on.
He crosses his legs at the ankles, steeples his fingers together on his knee and quietly studies me.
I sit back and return his gaze unflinchingly without saying a word. Suddenly he chuckles and shakes his head. “I can see why you’re destined to be our queen.”
I tilt my head to the side, trying to think. I totally don’t see why.
“You didn’t even blink when I tried to exert my dominance over you.” He’s right, I didn’t feel a thing, just like when Alpha Maddox or Beta St Martin tried to get me to submit. “Most other full-fledge lycans would have cowered. You’re very powerful, Quincy St Martin. Your lycan hasn’t fully emerged yet but I can already feel the strength of your power. I could only imagine how powerful you would be when you become a full lycan.”
I still don’t quite get it. I don’t feel all that powerful right now. If anything, I feel like I’m way over my head. I’m still dealing with my feelings for Caspian. The jealousy makes me feel out of control and I don’t know how to deal with it. “He thinks that you’re interested in me,” I tell him instead.
Gideon doesn’t look surprised. “Well, the Prince is a very intelligent man. I never imagine something like that would go unnoticed,” he says. “I am attracted to you.”
*My next update is Tuesday next week but I think I’ll be able to slip in another (shorter) chapter before then. So, I’m aiming for two updates this week. Wish me luck!
I have to get to the dentist now - regular checkup and cleaning. Ughh! Do you have any suggestions of what to do when your dentist or dental hygienist asks you a question when their hands are still in your mouth? What’s that? bite their fingers? Hahaha.. You wonderful people have a wonderful week!