“How is she?” Ignus asked from outside the room.
“She’s fine… just… quiet,” Lucien answered as I buried myself underneath the sheets.
“She hasn’t had any of those ‘episodes’ right?”
“No. She’s been doing fine – though if it’s because of a lack of sleep or because she’s- well, shutting everyone out… I’m not sure. Have you tried to talk to her?”
“She shut me out too… I’m afraid you and Dante are the only ones that can talk to her for now. And yeah, I know you can hear me!” Ignus said, yelling that last part. I heard Lucien chuckle before I heard a clap- they probably shook hands. They’d gotten pretty friendly over the past few days – but who could blame them. Ignus and the others had been running non-stop, supposedly covering their tracks. Even Katherine and Desmond seemed to be better off with them. I’d hear them make jokes and talk over dinner – and though everyone has been more than kind, empathetic even, I couldn’t bring myself to go out there just yet.
For some reason, every time I thought of Aurelia… my mother… I could see her so vividly, even hear her at certain points, and it made my heart ache in a way I had never felt before.
The door opened and my thoughts disappeared as I listened to Lucien’s footsteps padding against the wooden floor. As soon as he got close to me, I reached my hand out and he took it, pressing his lips against the back of my hand before he took a seat by me and I brought myself out of the covers.
“Any chance you’d like to have dinner in the kitchen today?” he asked and I shook my head. He sighed before taking my hand and massaging it.
“What’s she like?” He asked.
Lucien knew about what I’d learned. It was hard not to tell him. Not when he walked in on me staring at a bunch of photos all over the room of her. Tears would fall from my eyes without my control. I vaguely remember Ignus and Hera’s voices trying to tell me something – but I shut them out. Not because I didn’t want the comfort or the explanations they might’ve provided, but because I couldn’t think and I didn’t want to. My dad cried too, but I think he was more surprised when I began sobbing. I didn’t know where it came from – it just washed over me.
“Auden?” Lucien called and I sighed as I sat up. Lucien then moved to sit beside me and I rested my head on his shoulder. “Feeling any better about things?”
You think? I asked earning a chuckle.
“Well, I was wondering if you wanted to join me- for a run.”
Not really in the mood for exercise, Lucien. I said as I lifted my head off his shoulder.
“Then let me just show you something-“
I don’t wanna put on-
And maybe it was something about the way he said it, but I timidly got up, my feet feeling the cool floor for the first time in three days. I looked at him before I climbed onto his lap and pressed the tip of my nose gently against his.
“Okay,” I said, my voice low and hoarse. Lucien smiled before he gave me a quick kiss.
“Go change. Quickly.”
Considering how cold it still was, I shoved my body into the thickest clothes I had. Lucien had gone earlier, I walked out of the flat, watching the mist from my breath as I heard the panting sounds of Lucien’s wolf – or really the giant golden hued husky in front of me. He came to me and pawed at the clothes that were neatly stacked on the ground. I rolled my eyes and picked them up as he lay on the ground waiting for me to climb on.
I sighed as I climbed over him, embracing his warm furry body for balance.
Try not to drop me. I joked.
Of course. Lucien responded as he got up abruptly, making me latch onto his back, wrapping my arms as far as I could. He barked in response and hopped around, making me squeal as I frantically held on for balance. Before I could say anything else, Lucien reared his body back and pushed forward. I did my best to bury my face beneath my clothes to keep warm as Lucien darted through the forest. Just as I thought Lucien had peaked his speed, he pushed even harder when we got to an uphill spot. My eyes could barely even stay open as I buried myself lower against his fur, eventually finding myself listening to Lucien’s pants and his fast beating heart as he sprinted upwards.
Still alive back there?
Thankfully. I responded and Lucien would’ve barked if he had the energy – but he kept on pushing forward. I don’t know what he was such in a hurry for – but I kept silent as he continued. The cold wind blew hard over my body and I struggled to keep hold of Lucien’s damned clothes. Just as I felt them almost slip out of my reach – Lucien slowed down, allowing me to take them back into my grasp (I had been keeping them against my stomach while I held onto Lucien for dear life).
When Lucien finally came to a stop, his tail brushed against my back and I playfully swatted him before he barked.
This is our stop. I giggled before I climbed off of him and handed him his clothes. He took it with his mouth and nudged me with his snout until I turned to face the other way. I stopped.
The sun was setting behind a set of tall snow-covered mountains. It took me a few moments before I realized that this was a view that Lucien had showed me when he first took me to Umbra territory. I smiled and took a deep breath. I stretched my arms out and moaned as I did so. I felt the warmth radiating from Lucien’s back as he stood silently behind me.
“Thank you,” I said lowly as I leaned back against him. He placed his hands at the sides of my waist and pushed against me, supporting me.
On an impulse, I whipped around, stunning Lucien as I reached around the back of his head and pulled him to my lips. He growled and I felt my stomach turn in delight. I beckoned him into my mouth and Lucien obliged, kissing me deep before peppering softer kisses against my lips and leaving me breathless as he deepened it once more. His hands had traveled up into my hair before he reached down and unzipped my coat, desperate to touch more. I traced his body through the thick shirt he’d just put on and I realized my hunger couldn’t be satisfied.
“Take me… please,” I begged in an almost breathless whisper. Lucien’s eyes turned dark, he growled and radiated so much more heat than before.
“We’re outside,” he said, dangerously low.
“It’s cold,” I whined before I pulled him close to me again, this time by the waistband of his jeans. I kissed the edge of his jaw before I whispered into his ears. “I need something to warm me back up…” Lucien growled louder and before I knew it, he had me pressed against a tree.
“Someone might-“ I didn’t listen, I reached around to the back pocket of Lucien’s jeans and pulled out what I knew would be there.
“I know you’re always ready,” I said, biting my lip as I took the packet and held it up in front of him.
“Sshh…” I said as I rubbed my leg against him. “Please.”
“Please…” I said, pouting as I let my hands wander his body from his neck to his abdomen, down to the V that led into deliciously dangerous territory. Lucien quieted down before his eyebrows furrowed and I laughed. He was warning everyone not to come near and my laughter caused his face to flush a beautiful cherry color. I ran my hands down his face and kissed his cheek.
“I need this.”
“I know you do… God, Auden, your eyes are practically begging,” he said and I smiled before I felt Lucien’s hands against my abdomen. He popped the button of my jeans open and unzipped them. “Turn around.”
Lucien carried me on his back – in human form – all the way back to the pack house. I asked him several times to put me down – the last time, Lucien made a point to sprint forward as fast as he could to show off that he was doing just fine with both of our weights. He seemed happy and to be fair, the main reason I couldn’t handle him carrying me on his back was the fact that – well – I was a little too giddy. Lucien made me feel happy – and although cheesy – I like him. His joy was also pretty clear to me – the mate bond making the two of us high on our emotions.
“So… the plan worked,” Lucien mused and I rolled my eyes.
“Did that plan involve us fuc-“ Lucien jumped and adjusted me on his back and I squealed. He laughed before turning his head to glance at me. I gave him a peck on the cheek.
“Ignus said he needed to talk to you,” Lucien said and I sighed.
“Well, can’t run and hide forever.”
“That and he says its about time to teach you what you can do.” I raised an eyebrow at that.
The sun just about to disappeared when we finally made it back to the pack house – reminding me that although sex feels absolutely amazing and time seems to stop a few times, it didn’t take hours off my day… well, not usually.
When we opened the door to the pack house, the smell of baked brownies filled the air accompanied by some amazing smelling savory stuff. Ignus, Hera, and Dalton were all scurrying around the dining table and I watched as Hera ran off to the kitchen counter to slice up the brownies and arrange them. Lana and Xander sat down at the table happily chatting away while Desmond and Katherine started serving food.
“And they’re finally here!” Ignus announced as Lucien put me down. And they smell astonishingly of each other. He commented in my head and I rolled my eyes.
He’s just jealous because he hasn’t seen his mate for a-
“Ssshh!” Ignus said aloud, interrupting Hera who rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Didn’t know you guys were cooks,” Katherine said as she sliced into some beef. I took my seat beside Lucien at the head of the table.
“Ignus likes cooking – and Dalton’s the same,” Hera said. “My dad was a novice baker.”
“Huh,” Desmond said.
“Not what you expected bloodhounds to do in their spare time right?”
“Where’s dad?” I asked, having looked around for him.
“He said he wanted to go out and buy some things. Should be back some time soon,” Ignus replied as he took his seat. I smiled and laughed along as they all made jokes and stories. None of them touched on the fact that I had practically been a hermit for the past three days – and none of them brought up anything that I’d learned. I was grateful for that. I wasn’t sure I was ready yet – I didn’t even know how to tell anyone what the thoughts were in my head.
It wasn’t even that I was mourning the loss of a mother that I never knew. It was that she was suddenly there. I could see her – almost so clearly that it hurt me to know that I ever forgot she existed. And that couldn’t have happened if I was just a baby when she left.
When dinner was over, Ignus immediately called me over. We were both cleaning up, I wiped the dishes and tucked them away as Ignus quickly washed them.
“Our memories are collective sometimes,” Ignus suddenly said out of the blue as he handed me another plate.
“What?” I asked as I wiped it down and placed it up into a cupboard.
“When a certain kind of bloodhound wants to look for something, to know something about someone, remember them – they search through the memories of their group – that’s why you can see her,” Ignus said, smiling at me before he handed me a glass.
“So they’re not really mine? The memories?”
“Some of them are – we’re exceptional memory keepers. That’s why searching through our heads is a great trait – not everyone can do it.”
“And I can do it because?”
“You’re her child, I’m sure you can gather why she couldn’t stay around. There are rules to follow and even she couldn’t break them,” Ignus explained.
“How was she… after, everything…” I asked and Ignus gave me a half-smile.
“Sad. Horrific as our kind may sound to everyone – we bloodhounds mate for life. There’s no one for us after – even if we convince ourselves that that may be the case – moving on is… well, it’s not impossible – but it certainly isn’t easy.” I turned around and watched as Lucien fooled around with Lana. They were playing a game of charades and I could hear Katherine screaming random words at the top of her mouth as Lucien acted out the part.
“You love him, don’t you?” Ignus asked. I looked over at Lucien and smiled. He must’ve instinctively known I was looking because he turned his head to face me and smiled back. “You don’t have to answer that.” I can already see the answer on your face anyways.
Shut up. I replied as I nudged him with my elbow.
“What about you, anyways? Hera going on and on about-“ Ignus sighed loudly. It was only after a long pause that Ignus decided to speak up again.
“I need to go check on Dalton – I’ll talk to you tomorrow – it’s about time we get started.”
“…Okay” I said, watching as Ignus’ shoulders seemed to slump as he walked away.
What’s his problem? I mused.
No clue. Come here. Lucien interrupted, reminding me that really, I wasn’t alone in my head. It seemed like I never was. I made my way towards Lucien who laughed as Katherine puffed up her cheeks and walked around like a chicken.
“Chicken!” Lana yelled and Katherine shook her head.
Have you heard from dad? I asked and Lucien paused.
No, I haven’t. He doesn’t know his way back here – and I gave him a number to contact for when he wanted to come back.
Maybe he got lost? I asked.
But he could still call. Lucien said, pressing his lips into a thin line. Should I worry? I shook my head.
It’s probably nothing. I told him.
After a long night of games and just fun – we all retired to our bedrooms to relax. I had just changed into one of Lucien’s shirts when he wrapped his arms around my waist and nuzzled my neck, peppering kisses up to my jaw and around my back. I giggled as I felt the slight prick of his growing beard hit my back.
“You need to stop,” I said as I turned around and pressed a kiss on his mouth.
“Can’t I enjoy my happy little mate for a day?” He asked and I smirked as he kissed me once more. He lifted me up and I wrapped my legs around him as he brought me to the bed. I caressed his cheek and he leaned into my hand.
“I could really get used to this,” he said as he kissed my palm, tracing his teeth along it before kissing each knuckle.
“So could I, but we need a break – preferably while sleeping,” I said as I lay down. Lucien rolled his eyes before he moved beside me, propping himself on one elbow as he stared at me. I turned around to face him too. For a while, we just looked at each other. My brown eyes staring into his gorgeous hazel eyes that had me squirming from their intensity. He moved close to me and pressed a kiss to my forehead before wrapping his arm around me and bringing me in closer.
“I’m gonna be too warm-“
“Sshh…” he said, smiling and I smirked as I snuggled into him. And we stayed like that until we sent each other to sleep.
I don’t know what it was that woke me – but my eyes opened in the middle of the night. Lucien was still asleep but I felt the need to get up. So I did.
The moment my feet touched the floor I heard a buzz that came from my phone. I looked around the room and eventually found it on the couch. It was from an unknown number. I slid my finger across the screen.
“Don’t look for me,” my dad’s voice rang through the phone, surprising me. He was panting – he had probably been running.
“Stay safe, Auden. She would’ve wanted that. I can’t stay anymore. You’ll understand,” he said quickly and briefly. He was panicked, afraid even…
“Dad, calm down. I-“
“Is that her?” A male voice said, and I heard the quivering breath of my dad’s filter through the phone. The voice itself was enough to freeze me into place, sending nervous shivers down my spine. “Tell her I said hi…”
Before I could say anything – the call dropped... But the feeling of dread in my stomach refused to leave me alone.
They can’t hide you for long, darling...
I’m so close... So... very... close...