Malcolm had insisted Eden join him for breakfast. She sat with him in one of the various sitting rooms scattered throughout the elaborate castle. Breakfast foods laid out before them.
Eden gingerly placed a berry into her mouth. The sweet taste exploding on her tongue. She still had yet to understand the absurdity of the situation she was in.
Malcolm was a werewolf. Meaning he had a mate. When he found his mate he would completely abandon Eden in all ways. Just like what happened to her sister Genevieve.
“Malcolm,” she said. She was tired of avoiding the inevitable, she needed to rip the bandaid off.
“Yes, love?” He answered distractedly. Slowly putting down his book, tearing his eyes off the page and meeting hers.
“Where is your mate?” She asked. Her entire body tensing as she awaited his response.
Various conflicted emotions flashed across his eyes. Making it impossible to tell how he was really feeling.
“I do not have one,” he said softly.
Eden’s brow furrowed. That wasn’t possible. Sure she had heard of some wolves who never had the chance to meet their mate. Or even being rejected. But every werewolf had a mate.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Eden insisted.
“You would not believe me if I told you,” he replied frankly. Turning his attention back to his book.
Eden sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest.
“I would rather not.”
Eden exhaled loudly in frustration.
“Did they reject you?” She pressed. Not caring if she was being rude.
Malcolm almost smiled.
“Did they pass away?” Eden asked. Her voice softer.
“In a way.”
Her eyes widened. And she wanted to laugh in triumph.
“So you do have a mate!” She accused.
“Eden I cannot even begin to explain the complexity of the situation. So just forget about it,” he said sharply.
Eden knew she had struck a nerve. But now she was even more confused than before. He claimed he had no mate yet then implied that he did.
“I’m going to put in my resignation papers tomorrow,” she said.
Malcolm’s eyes snapped up to meet hers.
“What?” He said. He looked as if he had just broken something.
“I don’t know what the hell I am to you or what you feel toward me but I’m not going to let my emotions get played with anymore,” she explained.
Her legs started to tremble under the table from the way he was looking at her.
Malcolm stood up.
So did she.
Eden winced at the slight pain in her feet. From a few nights before.
“Do you not know how I feel about you?” He asked. His voice laced with hurt and regret.
Eden’s heartbeat began to pick up.
“I don’t know what to think Malcolm. All I know is that werewolves choose their mates over anything. And I don’t want to be around when that happens.”
Malcolm ran his hands through his hair in an expression of frustration.
“I do not have a mate, Eden.”
She laughed bitterly.
“Now you’re just lying to me.”
Eden stared at the man before her. He looked as if he were falling apart and trying to put himself back together at the same time.
“How could you not have a mate? Every werewolf has a mate.”
Malcolm looked at her with fire in his eyes. He opened his mouth as if to say something. Before clamping it shut once more.
“I cannot do this right now. We will discuss this later.”
Eden wanted to scream. At him. At herself. For everything, she felt.
Instead, she stared at him. A certain hurt fixture to her gaze as Malcolm walked out of the room.
When Eden woke up the next morning she noted that it was still dark outside.
She groggily climbed out of bed and looked out the window.
It must have been five in the morning or so.
Her fatigue vanished almost as quickly as the cuts on her feet had. Her soles were now as good as new.
Eden did not know what to do. She felt restless. Thoughts of the greenhouse fluttered into her mind. She wondered how beautiful the sunrise would look from the high glass dome filled with vegetation.
A smile stretched across her cheeks, and she was already out of her room and on her way upstairs.
She was careful to be quiet. She didn’t want to awake anyone at this hour. The heavy wooden doors opened with surprising silence, and she slipped into the greenhouse.
Eden walked along and through rows of plants she didn’t recognize. They must have been from Malcolm’s own hand. She picked up a potted plant. It bore a heavy fragrance and resembled the scent of sickly sweet honey.
The pot was cradled in her palms as she continued to walk through the magical place.
She froze in her tracks when she heard someone mutter something to themselves.
The deep tone was one she knew well. Malcolm was in here.
Eden knew that she should leave. She knew that this place wasn’t open to visitors and that Malcolm would likely not want her near after their argument.
Yet something pulled at her. Tugging her body forward like invisible strings, urging her closer to where she estimated Malcolm would be.
Her heart pounded. She saw a vibrant illumination of light filtering between large thick leaves of a tree in front of her.
With the potted plant still in hand, she reached up one hand and parted the leaves to see where the light was coming from. Surely the sun could not have risen that quickly.
Malcolm was working on some type of elixir. Materials and scientific equipment were scattered across his work space.
He was floating. He was levitating several feet off the ground, sitting cross-legged in midair. He held a herb in one hand the other cupping a small fire in its palm. The fire seeming to come from his hand itself.
She also quickly realized that the light source was coming from him as well. It shone out of his very skin. His entire body radiated. Rays of sunshine pouring from his hair. His eyes were devoid of irises. Instead, a bright light omitted from his eye sockets.
Eden dropped the plant.
She didn’t even flinch as the terracotta pot crashed to the floor and broke into pieces.
Eden knew that werewolves had powers. Certain abilities humans did not. But this, this was something she knew nothing on earth should be capable of.
The light suddenly vanished and Eden had fallen to the ground in surprise.
She realized she was hyperventilating as the sound of approaching footsteps echoed in her already ringing ears.
“Eden?” Malcolm called out.
He rounded a corner and Eden could only look at him in terror and confusion.
He looked normal now. Just his regular devastatingly handsome self stood before her with a worried expression on his face. His eyes were back to their sea green color and his skin no longer emitted light.
“What the hell was that?”
She tried to sound sharp. Maybe even angry. But her words betrayed her, and she sounded as scared as she felt.
“Werewolves can’t do that kind of thing. Not even alphas,” she stammered.
Malcolm took a step toward her.
Eden instinctively scooted backward.
She wanted to pretend she didn’t see the flash of hurt on his face from her small retreat.
“What are you?” You asked. Her quick breaths matched the pace of her heart beat as she awaited her answer.
Malcolm was silent.
Then he spoke.
“My name is Apollo. Son of Leto and Zeus.”
She wanted to laugh. To tell him he should be a stand up comedian. But the seriousness in his tone struck her to her bones.
“You mean like after the Greek god?” She asked softly.
“Not after. I am him.”
He looked as if he were in agony. As if the truth of who he was pained him in ways she couldn’t even begin to imagine.
“How could you be-? That doesn’t make sense it’s not possible,” she insisted. Silently begging him to agree and tell her it was all a silly joke.
“There was a time when humans did not think werewolves could be real. Or possible. And look at the world now. What makes you think that this isn’t?”
Eden reminded herself to breathe.
“How do I know you’re not lying? How do I know you’re not just crazy?” She squeaked.
“Why on earth would I lie to you? All I do is to protect you Eden. This is not something I would joke about.”
The realization that he was telling the truth settled over her like an ache. Though her disbelief was great his sincerity outweighed it.
Besides. What she had just seen was something she could not explain rationally.
“I was banished by my sister the moon goddess from Olympus soon after the Romans invaded Greece around one fifty BC.”
“You’re being serious,” she whispered.
He nodded gravely.
“I wish to the goddess that I wasn’t.”
A stiff silence passed over them.
Eden noticed that the sun had begun to rise.
“If you’ve lived for thousands and thousands of years and if you’ve met every type of person imaginable...”
Eden mustered her courage.
“Then why do you chose to give your affections to me? Is it just some game to you now?”
Malcolm looked at her long and hard. She swore his gaze would set her on fire.
“Because I am in love with you, Eden Glace.”
The words hit her like tiny needles piercing into her heart. She felt herself bleeding out and knew she couldn’t do anything to stop the throbbing.
His name left her lips like a prayer. She believed him. And relief settled over Malcolm like a dense cloud.
She finally got up from the ground, walking toward him and cupping his face within her hands as she gently stroked his lower lip.
While his complexion bore no signs of old age the color in his eyes was far too rich. The black of his pupils too deep for anyone but someone like him.
For a man that had seen everything he was looking at her like she was the only thing he wanted to look at.