Twelve | Terrin
Syn was gaining ground. I hated to admit it, but I was beginning to look forward to whatever he had planned for us. Syn was always the one to request and plan our dates. I just couldn't ever get myself to ask him even when I wanted to do things with him.
It was after five weeks of this dating game that I fully came to terms with how much I enjoyed Syn's date ideas. I stopped telling Heidi about our dates because she always cracked masculinity jokes at me after. It got to me more than I'd like to admit. I didn't think there was anything wrong with them or wrong of me to like them. Syn's dates were just part of living. It was like he was inviting me to experience life with him rather than him trying to gain my affection through romantic cliché activities.
Sometimes we would watch the pups Cahtta and Sasha together, playing with them by joining in on their games of hide and seek and tag. The four of us would make lunch or sweet snacks and just have a good time. I had priceless images of Syn because of these moments. Like the one where he was covered in flour when Sasha had turned on the beater all the way high before Syn had a chance to put in the eggs. The sudden movement had sent flour exploding everywhere, but mostly on Syn and Sasha. And another when Syn has gotten stuck in his hiding place because he had tried to fit into a space that was too small for his massive size.
When I had told Heidi about them she had laughed at me, telling me Syn had just used me to get out of having to watch them alone. She told me babysitting couldn't be counted as a real date. To me it wasn't babysitting though, it was spending time with my family.
We had also had more cooking dates and I had learned a lot about Syn's food preferences. He didn't like fancy things and he didn't like using sauces. I had asked him one day noticing that it had been the third time he had prepared a sauce just for me, having never intended to try it himself. His answer was very simple. He liked balance and the natural flavor of things. He liked to use salt because it enhanced the flavor, and other spices to add some variety but he didn't want one thing to overpower everything else.
My favorite dates were when Syn would take me to the best quiet places on sunny days and just nap in the sun with me. I knew the first time he had taken us to do so that he had caught me doing this enough times to know it was something I needed and adored. Syn still didn't touch me, he didn't disrupt our nap by cuddling close. He kept his distance and gave me my space which told me he knew me on a deeper level than I had originally thought.
As always though, Syn ended every date with a farewell kiss that always replicated the one from our very first date. I had come to expect it and sometimes I was tempted to respond or grab ahold of him so he couldn't pull away so quickly but in the end I just took his kiss for what it was.
And while our dates of cooking, napping, gardening and watching children may have seemed like something a man couldn't enjoy, as Heidi had pointed out several times as if to mock Syn for knowing nothing about me, I genuinely looked forward to those activities with Syn.
I was upset that Heidi would think less of me if she knew I secretly liked doing those things. I didn't see them as activities exclusively for females. Why couldn't a male like to spend time with kids? Why couldn't a male like to cook and plant? It wasn't like Syn was forcing me into the housewife role. I knew he enjoyed these things too and Syn was every ounce a male.
He made me feel safe to like doing those things. He didn't laugh at me and say things like, "See? Look how well you fit into the role of my submissive mate."
I knew Heidi didn't mean anything by it, that she was really laughing at Syn more than me. She thought she was miles ahead of Syn but the truth was he was steadily gaining on her.
The time I spent with Heidi was much greater than the time I spent with Syn and truth be told, sometime I was suffocated by her. Syn waited a couple of days before asking me to accompany him again while sometimes I would spend several entire days in a row with the female. I could only take so many picnics and walks through town before needing a break.
I was pulling away from Heidi and gravitating towards Syn. He was an ever present companion, there if I just reached out to grab him when I needed, whereas Heidi never left my side. She was in my subconscious now, always perched on my shoulder wherever I went, whispering into my ear and making me question my thoughts. She was becoming the little devil and angle on my shoulder.
She was getting clingy, sensing I was drifting from her. And now she was getting desperate.
Today she had tried to guilt me into cancelling on Syn to spend time with her. She had 'forgotten about my plans with Syn' and had 'accidentally' made and extravagant dinner for the both of us.
I had been upset and disappointed in her antics, telling her that trying to make me feel bad was not okay. I had then went on to remind her how Syn and I hadn't seen each other in almost a week and I had spent nearly every day with her. She had pouted and then cried when I scolded her. It had taken me two hours to get her to calm down, which by then I was very late for my date with Syn. And when I saw how quickly those tears dried after I made a comment about the time and how Syn had probably given up on waiting for me, and was probably pissed off I had stood him up, I knew her goal had been to make me miss my date.
I had walked right out that door without another word, fuming at her childishness.
By the time I had made it to the bar Syn had told me to meet him at, going there on the off chance he was still there, I still hadn't cooled down from my fight with her.
I slammed the door shut with more force than necessary, causing heads to swivel in my direction. I was relieved to see one of those heads was Syn's. I quickly made my way over to the bar, claiming the seat beside him. "I'm sorry," I told the lycan who was fingering his shot glass with a clenched jaw and dark eyes. "Heidi held me up, she was crying and I couldn't get her to stop. By the time I realized it was just a ploy..." I sighed and shook my head. "Never mind, you don't want excuses anyway."
Syn grunted in affirmation and ordered another drink before pushing it my way. The bartender leaned over the counter looking between the two of us. He eyed me up and down, quirking a brow before saying, "you're bigger than I thought you'd be. And more muscular. And, well, manlier."
I shot a glance at Syn who just rolled his eyes. "Just because I'm small compared to you doesn't mean you should make everyone think I'm some shrimp!" I grumbled, taking a drink of whatever Syn had ordered for me, hoping it wasn't poisoned because he looked pretty irked right now.
"Oh, Syn never told me what you looked like. Just by the way he talked about you and some of the stories I've heard, I expected you to be well...a twink." The werewolf didn't even blink as he spoke his mind.
I glared at him. "What the hell did Syn say that made you think that?" I was livid Syn would tell others about our dates, tell people I liked tanning, and cooking, and gardening.
"It's just that usually the smaller, delicate, pretty ones are the drama queens. Speaking of which, I haven't heard any good stories from you in a long time," he said shooting Syn a pointed look.
I breathed a collective sigh of relief, relaxed now that I knew Syn hadn't said anything about my secret hobbies.
"That's because we've been getting along for once," the lycan commented dryly.
"Oh come on Syn, since when have you been so tight lipped? I'm basically your relationship counselor, it's been so boring without your frequent visits and tales of woe." Syn only gave him an unimpressed look in answer.
I laughed at the bartender's wounded expression before filling him in on our current status. For the rest of the night Syn, the bartender, whose name I learned was Landon, and I talked. Landon and I did most of the talking, Syn throwing in his own opinion and two cents here and there.
Despite the rough beginning, it turned out to be one of my favorite dates even though I was really embarrassed when Syn gave me our parting kiss and Landon whistled calling attention to us.
I scrambled out of there as fast as I could, flustered with my heart pounding in my chest. I found myself smiling the whole way home, only to forget my good mood when I saw Heidi sitting on my doorstep.
She shot up when she saw me, pulling at her fingers nervously as I slowly approached. Her face was only half illuminated by the light of the street lamp the other half of her face cloaked in shadow. "Terrin," she began but I waved her aside, inserting my key into the door. "Terrin, wait. I know you're angry and you have every right to be, but please just hear me out."
I stopped, my forehead thudding against the door. The broken plea made it impossible to ignore her. I waited for her to give her excuses, but made no move to further acknowledge her.
"It was wrong of me to pull that stunt," she started nervously, "I never should have used my tears to trick you, not when I know how much you care about me. I shouldn't have played dirty or tried to take away your time with Syn. I know you give me a lot more attention but every time you're with him I just get so jealous. Jealousy makes me an ugly person, Terrin. I never want you to see me that way again."
"Why are you jealous Heidi?" I asked. "As you said I spend more time with you."
"Because I don't like sharing you Terrin! I only agreed to this because I didn't want to lose you. This way at least I still had part of you! And in the beginning I was fine with it because I never believed Syn actually stood a chance but now you're pulling away from me! I can feel it Terrin. You are so distant with me most of the time it's like you aren't really here! That's why I'm holding on to you so tightly, trying to get you to stay with me, but all I'm doing is suffocating you!" She broke down into sobs. I was hesitant to trust her this time, but was unable to help myself from stealing a glance.
The small female was wiping desperately at her tears, trying to stop them. Her makeup was smeared all over her face and she looked as miserable as she sounded. My heart twisted at seeing her this way.
I guess this was all my fault anyway. I asked them to share, how could I expect them not to get jealous? It just showed that they truly cared about me. I didn't want a mate who was comfortable letting me run around with others.
I retreated back down the steps and cupped her face, brushing at her tears while trying to calm her with shushes. "I'm sorry too Heidi. I don't like how you used your tears to trap me but I understand."
She hiccuped as I stroked her cheek with my thumb. Then she grabbed onto my wrist and pressed her cheek into my palm, wanting the warmth. "I'm just so scared Terrin," she whispered hoarsely, "I am scared you are going to pick him over me. How can I compete with a lycan mating bond? It's like I'm trying to go against Lune. How am I supposed to win against a goddess?" She croaked looking up at me under her lashes. "And he also has your pack on his side. It was stupid of me to think I was ahead in the game. I'm so far behind, but I didn't even realize it until now."
"Don't worry about my pack Heidi. They just have to meet you first. Once they get to know you they will all love you, I promise." Which got me thinking, tomorrow was the pack dinner, everyone would be there and it would be the easiest way to introduce her. I wanted my pack to approve of course, mostly I valued Cleo's opinion, but I didn't want to be an outcast in my pack again. I needed them to like Heidi as much as Heidi needed them to.
"Hey," I said softly catching her attention. She sniffled and looked up at me and I returned a gentle smile, "why don't you attend the pack dinner with me tomorrow?"
"Really?" She breathed.
"Really," I answered and kissed her meaningfully. I pressed my lips to hers, giving her the kiss she needed to let her know she was not out of the race yet.