Chapter 39 - A Normal Human, Not
“It is expected of us, Your Highness. It’s your duty.” Lady Celeste’s voice sounds half pleading. “Your mother expects us to be mated before we go back and they expect us to be back soon. You have to do this for our kind.”
“I don’t have to do anything. In case I haven’t been clear enough all these years, Celeste, listen to this, and listen well - I will never make you my mate. Now get out!” His voice is loud enough that I’m sure that every werewolf and every lycan in the vicinity are able to hear him.
“Why do you hate me so? Am I not beautiful enough for you?” She asks him. “Is it that new woman downstairs? You had your fun with her, now it’s time to get rid of her like you did others. She’s nothing but a lowly commoner--- ”
“Enough!” Caspian snarls. “Watch what you say about her.”
“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” she says quickly. “I didn’t mean to anger you but I’m just reminding you of your obligation as the Crown Prince---”
“Again, you’re forgetting your place. I don’t need a reminder from you!”
“Please, Prince Caspian, give me a chance. Just mark me. Keep her if that pleases you. Keep any woman you want. I know kings and noblemen keep mistresses. I promise I won’t complain. I’ll be a good queen. I’ll bear you an heir. I’ll do anything. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”
“I do not want your sacrifice,” he yells. “Why are you still here? Why can’t you get it through your thick skull that I don’t want you? Why are you willing to be my mother’s little puppet? Why don’t you do what you want for once in your life? Why can’t you stop being a thorn on my side? Why?”
“Because I love you!” she yells back.
Silence. The whole house is now silent.
I can sense Caspian’s shock and momentary bewilderment. I think she is stunned by her own outburst.
A full minute goes by before I hear her sobs. “I love you. I love you for so long but you never gave me a chance. I did everything I could to get your attention but you treat me like I was a chewed up gum under your shoe. Am I that ugly to you? What can I do to make you love me?”
It takes a while before I hear my mate’s quiet response, “No, you’re not ugly, Celeste.” His voice sounds almost gentle. His feelings are closed off to me. “I’m sorry you’ve wasted decades of your life trying to do what’s expected of you but this is not what you really want.
“I know for sure that you don’t love me,” he says. “If you truly do, you would have sensed that I’m already mated. She’s my erasthai and she bears my mark. You know what that means.”
“Nooo...” she wails. “I know what I want and I do so love you! I do!” Her cries sound heartbreaking. Now, I feel sorry for her. I know I’d be devastated if Caspian didn’t love me and marked someone else. I think I’d die of a broken heart.
Soon, the wailing becomes louder. It sounds quite ugly that I feel embarrassed for her. As suddenly as the wailing starts, it stops. She sniffles before she says something again but this time her voice sounds steely and determined. “Queen Sophia won’t like this,” she warns. “I’m supposed to be your mate. Me! I’ll tell Queen Sophia and she will get rid of her. It’s my place. I was born to be your queen.”
The warmth in my chest suddenly turns into a blazing fury, engulfing my very soul. The flame so fierce, it’s burning all reason and logic. I clutch my chest as my vision turns pinkish. Instinctively, I know that the fury isn’t mine.
The scorching heat in my chest is so overwhelming that my feet give way. Vaguely, I hear footsteps running up the stairs behind me.
Two big hands grab me by my upper arms and yank me up before I tumble down the stairs. Lazarus! Everybody else is standing behind him.
A loud furious roar from the bedroom propels him to hurriedly haul me up a few more steps with him. The others are following behind us.
We are greeted by the sight of my mate with his hand around Lady Celeste’s throat at the foot of the bed.
“Caspian stop!” warns Lazarus.
Caspian raises his black soulless eyes to us. They’re shiny like polished onyx. Black veins are decorating his otherwise flawless skin. “She’s a threat to my mate,” he hisses menacingly and raises Lady Celeste’s writhing body higher. “She must die.”
“Quincy, stop him,” says Constantine from somewhere behind me. Why?
I stand back to watch. Her kicking and twisting feet are off the ground. Her long nails are clawing frantically at his hand around her throat. Her eyes are turning black and her stricken face is purplish-red. A funny gurgling sound is coming out from her mouth.
“Caspian!” yells Lazarus again. “You have to stop.” In answer, my mate makes a snarling sound. His upper lip lifts up to show his sharp white teeth and canines. It’s a cross between a furious snarl and a menacing grin of a naughty child.
I know his eyes are on me when a sharp sound of cracking bones reverberates through the spacious bedroom. Her body goes limp. He snaps her neck like a twig.
“He’s not listening to us and we don’t want to fight him. Quincy, only you can stop him,” says Constantine as we watch Caspian bury his fingers into her back. Blood blossoms in the fabric of her white dress to slowly dripping down her legs. I find it fascinating. “Please stop him.”
“Why should I?” I ask Constantine defiantly. My mate’s anger is seeping in through our bond that now his fury feels like my own. Now I want her dead.
“Quincy, believe me, you don’t want him to kill her,” says Lazarus. “This could result in more bloodbath. Stop him. Please.”
He’s digging his fingers in deep, ready to pull her vertebrae out. The only way to kill a lycan- severing their spine from their body.
I sigh and reluctantly say, “My Prince, please stop.”
He raises his eyes to me in question. He’s pleased that I call him “My Prince” but there’s not enough conviction in my voice telling him that I really want him to stop.
“Don’t do it, Caspian. You have to stop” I tell him in a more forceful voice. I sense his disappointment. My mate is still very angry that the woman threatened to get rid of me. He’s eager to destroy her more than a little kid dying to unwrap a gift on a Chrismas morning.
His dark eyes stay on mine as he casually tosses her motionless body like a ragdoll at my feet. Like an offering. A gift for me to do to her as I please.
I must be sick for finding the gesture sweet and him so hot at this very moment. He is very strong. So much stronger than I am. I admire his control over his raging lycan. I love that he’s willing to kill at the mere suggestion of a threat against my safety.
“I’m sorry, my dear Quincy,” says Serena. “This should have been one of the happiest days of your life.” She squeezes my shoulder gently.
We’re sitting in the den, drinking tea as Rita, our marvelous cook keeps bringing in sandwiches and cake. The younger cook, Anya doesn’t seem to like me much. It doesn’t matter. As long as she didn’t spit in my food or poison me, I’m fine with it.
We watch the lycan doctor descending the stairs after he finished treating Lady Celeste. The nurse who came with him will be staying on to continue looking after her.
“I’m sorry he didn’t finish her off,” mumbles Penny.
“Penny...” says Genesis with a warning note in her voice.
“What? It’s not like you’re not feeling the same way.” She glares at Genesis.
“Okay, so maybe I was thinking the same thing but at least I’m trying to be polite by not saying it out loud,” protests Genesis. “I’m polite, see?”As if to prove her point, she lifts her teacup and sips her tea delicately.
Serena sighs in defeat.
“That’s it, I’m outa here,” I tell them before I get pulled in their crazy banter.
“Pffftt...polite people don’t go around bragging about being polite.” I hear Penny continue to argue with Genesis as I slip out through the back door. Those two are crazy as well as hilarious...not that I’m much better.
I find Jorden in front of the massive screen tv in the pool house. The door is wide open, so I walk in without knocking.
He looks at me when I drop myself on the sofa beside him, then he turns his head back to watch The Flash on tv without saying anything. A minute later, he still ignores me so I huff loudly. When that fails to get his attention, I lift both my feet up to lay them across his lap. He rolls his eyes but he still doesn’t acknowledge me. Well, at least he doesn’t push my feet off his lap. That’s good, right?
I huff again and fight this urge to kick him before he finally clicks the remote to pause the show, then turns to give me his full attention.
“Are you waiting for an apology?” he asks me.
I shrug my shoulders. “Am I getting one?”
“Look Q, I’m sorry if you felt betrayed because I was being nice to the enemy. When I talked to Lady Celeste, I wasn’t trying to betray you or anything. I was just trying to be nice because she has no one here. No matter what, you’re my family,” he says. It doesn’t escape me that it’s not a real apology. “I know she’s not the nicest person. She’s rude to everybody, especially to the maids---”
“And to me!” I remove my feet from his lap and plant them back on the floor. “Especially to me. Did you not hear her threatening to get rid of me so that she could have my mate? My mate!”
“I know...that was pretty messed up.”
“Messed up, J? Messed up is when we spared her!” I tell him, jabbing my finger towards the main house.“I should have killed her when I had the chance.”
We stare at each other in silence for a beat. There’s like an invisible line separating us now. I don’t like it. Jorden is more than a cousin. He’s the only brother I know when I was growing up. He might not stand up for me when I was being bullied, but he’s always on the sideline, making sure that I didn’t get too hurt. If I was, he was always there to pick up the pieces.
“You’ve changed,” he finally says, softly. “You’re not the same Quincy I grew up with.”
“That’s because I have changed, Jorden. I am not the same. I don’t feel the same.” It’s time to admit that I am no longer a human. The old Quincy would’ve never been able to kill Old Maddox in cold blood as I did, no matter what he’d done. The human Quincy would’ve never internally cheered on as Caspian snapped Lady Celeste’s neck so casually. She would have freaked out instead of tempted to finish off what he’d started.
“I like...no, I love the old Quincy,” he says.
Does that mean he doesn’t love me anymore? That hurts. “What do you want me to do? Once upon a time, you’re proud of me because I never took anything lying down.”
“Once upon a time, you’d fight back but you would never have hurt anybody.”
“Well, too bad because I can never go back to being a human again. This is irreversible,” I tell him as I briskly walk out of there. My voice sounds raw as tears clogged my throat.
My God, I didn’t even touch the woman!
“Quincy!” he calls after me. “Quincy!”
It’s a full moon again. The tides are high. The silvery moonlight is reflected in the ripple of the ocean.
I need him. Our connection is like an invisible thread taking me to him. My bare feet carry me silently across the soft sand to where he’s standing, facing the ocean.
He is a few feet away from the edge where the waves are lapping the beach. Tall and graceful. Even when he’s standing still, he’s elegant.
His golden hair shines under the moonlight. His long sleeves are pushed up to his elbows and his pants’ legs are folded up. His feet are bare and his hands are deep in his pants pocket.
“You’re sad,” he says quietly, turning to look at me. “I can feel your sadness.” His hand reaches out for me. His green eyes are intense on my face. The air thickens and feels charged whenever he’s near.
I take his warm hand and watch his long fingers enveloping mine. Our connection sings through my veins.
“I feel like I’m losing him, Caspian. I don’t know what happened. I feel betrayed. Am I wrong? If he really loves me, he’d be on my side, right? He’s my family.”
“He’s not taking anyone’s side, my love,” he says soothingly, bringing me closer to him. He wraps both arms around me and I bury my face in his powerful chest. “You know your cousin better than anyone else. Jorden wouldn’t be Jorden if he didn’t try to make everybody around him feels better when they’re miserable. You know he’s a nice guy. The champion of the underdogs.
”As for your relationship with him, be patient. He just needs some time to come to term with you being different. He’ll come around.”
“No, it’s not just him, Caspian. It’s more than that. I feel it. It’s like...there’s a gulf between Jorden and me now. Why do I feel that way?”
“Because you’re different now.” He sighs and rests his chin on top of my head. “I can’t relate since I was born a lycan, but I’ll try to explain this to you the best I can,” he says. “When a werewolf turns into a lycan, their wolf becomes a lycan.
“It must be harder for you as a human since you don’t have a wolf. In order to turn into a lycan, a dormant part of you had to be awakened...a powerful, darker part of you. Unfortunately, when that part awakes, a part of your human side dies.
“When you lost that part, you lost the anchor that held you to everything you were as a human, including your prior relationships. That’s how a lycan manage to claim an already mated werewolf or a married human. Once their erasthais turn into a lycan, those other connections will lessen, and finally, melt into nothing.”
“It must be hard and confusing for you to go through all the changes while having to deal with Lady Celeste.
“You’ll get it all figured out soon, I know you will, but right now, you’re still adjusting. Your emotion is all over the place - I can feel your confusion, agony, and sadness. Yet I feel the kindness in you too. It’s so strong that even the darkness and the death of part of your human side didn’t manage to take that away from you. I feel your strength and your light. It makes me love you even more than I could imagine.
“You lost part of your humanity to be with me. I’m sorry,” he continues.
“Well, I’m not. I am not sorry. If I had a choice, I’d do it all over again. I love you,” I tell him. “Besides, I like what I am now.
“I’m just going to find a way to keep my connection to Jorden alive. I want to keep him in my life. I love him. Maybe I’ll just take him with me wherever I go. If he refuses, I’ll just drag him kicking and screaming by his long hair that he refuses to cut.”
“That could work,” he says. I can hear the smile in his voice. “I’ll help you. I’ll knock him out and help you tie him up. Between the two of us, he has no chance.” His wicked grin makes me wonder if he’s looking forward to doing just that.
“Seriously, he loves you too, Moya Printsessa. Penny and Genesis are still in contact with their werewolf family and friends. I know they are struggling to keep it going because of the lost connection, but I respect that they are trying.”
If they can do it, so can I, I decided. “I have another question for you,” I tell him.
“Okay, go for it,” he says.
“What did Lazarus mean when he said that killing Lady Celeste could result in more bloodbath?”
His arms tightened around me as if he’s afraid that he might lose me. “Lady Celeste’s father is one of the powerful boyars- a nobility who owns lands and rules over several werewolf and lycan packs in France and Russia. Killing his only daughter is like declaring war on his family. He’ll retaliate by bringing his packs together to fight against us. He might not care much about his daughter and they might lose, but he’ll do it just to save face.”
I pull back to look at his face. “Yet you’re about to kill her tonight.”
“I lost control of my lycan. I was so angry when she threatened to get rid of you. My only thought was to eliminate any danger against you.
“I swear, I’ll kill anyone who ever tries to take you away from me.“ His voice is controlled but full of fury. It is menacing. It is so full of venom that it makes the hair on the back of my neck stands up. “I’ll kill her if she ever tries anything to harm you.
“You have no idea how important you are to me. I love you so much, I’d give up my next breath for you, my love.”
I wrap my arms tighter around him and press my cheek against his chest. I love him so much it hurts. I’ve never felt so loved and connected to anyone before.
We stand with our arms tight around each other for a long time. I’m happy just to be in his warmth, listening to his heartbeat, breathing in his addictive, manly scent.
“Is it true that it’s normal for Kings and Noblemen to keep mistresses?” I ask him.
I feel the rumble in his chest before I hear his laughter.
I pull back and glare up at him. “It’s not funny!”
“No it’s not,” he agrees though he’s still grinning.
“I’ll castrate you if you even think about cheating on me,” I threaten him.
“Okay,” he says.
“What are you smiling about? I’m serious!”
“I know,” he answers. I see his eyes glitter in amusement even in the pale moonlight. “I love it when you’re jealous.”
He thinks it’s funny while I’m fuming. The thought of him with other women makes me feel violent. I huff and stomp back to the house.
“Wait a minute,” he says as he sprints up the stone steps to catch up with me. “What did I do? How could you be mad at me for something I didn’t do? Sweetheart?” he calls out.
He’s right. My raging emotion is all over the place now. I have to get a grip.
I feel the heat of his body right behind me. “Moya Printsessa?” he whispers in my ear. “Whatever it is that I did or didn’t do, let’s go back to our bedroom so I can make it up to you and ask for your forgiveness properly.” I try not to smile. It’s so hard to stay mad at him, especially for something he didn’t do. God, I’m so messed up!
He takes my hand in his as soon as he senses the change of my feelings.
“I think the bedroom has to wait. It’s time for dinner,” I tell him.
“Goddess, you’re killing me,” he groans.
Everyone, except for Jorden and Lady Celeste is in the great room when we get back to the house.
Constantine, who is standing in the middle of the room turns to face us as soon as we step in. “I know this is not what you two want to hear right now, but we have to go back to Russia. We have been summoned.”
*I was in NYC and Pittsburg last week. It was a nice break, but it’s great to be back and continue painting and writing again.
My next update will be Tuesday (est) next week. Have a wonderful week, everybody!