Khaos dropped my suitcase on the small bed that was evidently brand new - everything in this room had the shiny, clean look, fresh from the store. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask where I was supposed to sleep but I slammed my mouth shut as soon as it was open. It was best not to draw attention to myself, even sleeping on the floor was a better alternative than what Grey had planned.
Khaos straightened up and looked around the room, clearly struggling with what to say next. The air was thick with tension as we both continued to stare anywhere but at each other. I ran my tongue over my suddenly dry lips, noticing how Khaos followed the movement as though hypnotized by that small action. His eyes raked over my face, connecting with mine with a spark that electrified the distance between us. His own eyes widened and I knew he felt the same pull I felt.
He opened his mouth and closed it again, his fists clenching at his side as he struggled to find the words. I had no intention of helping him out. He wanted to pretend that he had no idea who I was, then let him try and explain the chemistry that crackled around us whenever we were in the same room. I turned away from him and crouched in front of our sleepy son, raising his arms above his head so I could change his clothes ready for bed.
I had performed this action a thousand times over, barely even thinking about what I needed to do. Yet tonight was different, my movements were heavy and clumsy as I sensed eyes on me, following every move I made. I began to grow angry, hating that he could still have this effect on me, hating that he made me feel inadequate and silly when usually I moved swiftly and gracefully.
I pulled back the covers and lifted my sleepy boy onto the soft mattress, tucking him in tight and placing a kiss to his forehead as I brushed the dark hair off his face. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow, the exciting day having taking its toll on him.
I turned to Khaos, placing a finger over my lips to warn him to stay quiet and pointed at the door, not giving him a choice over whether or not to follow as I stormed on ahead and waited in the hallway, my arms folded and my foot tapping impatiently on the floor.
He closed the door softly behind him and stood in front of me, mimicking my movements by folding his arms and tapping his own foot. He looked so ridiculous I had to bite the inside of my cheek to stop the smile that was threatening to spread over my face.
He noticed my struggle and raised an eyebrow at me, sighing dramatically as he tapped his foot quicker. I pursed my lips tightly, though I knew I was lost to his charm, as I always was.
"Was there something on your mind, little one?"
The smile that I had been helpless to hide just moments ago immediately fell from my lips and I stared at him open-mouthed. Khaos looked as shocked as I did, confusing flaring behind his dark eyes.
"What did you just call me?"
"Ahh, Violet, there you are!"
Grey and I spoke in unison as he rounded the corner, almost as if he had been waiting for just such a moment to interrupt. I looked between them both, noticing how Khaos fell back into the dormant, loyal Beta role. Call me crazy, but I was almost beginning to believe he wasn't the same man I knew all those years ago.
"Where else would I be, except here with my son?" I finally replied, dragging my focus from Khaos.
"He's asleep? You could have let me say goodnight his first night here, considering you've denied me that pleasure all these years." The nerve of this man! Was he seriously expecting happy families after everything I knew? Forgetting the fact that he abandoned his baby, that act alone was unforgivable, did he seriously think Khaos hadn't told me about his kidnapping and raping Nyx? I hated that woman with every fibre of my being but I wouldn't wish that on anyone and I certainly wasn't going to let someone capable of something so heinous have unlimited access to my son!
"With good reason, as you well know. Having the title "grandfather" is a privilege, not a right. You've yet to prove yourself to me, Grey."
"Eros seemed impressed enough to me, isn't that all that matters?"
"Eros is impressed when a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, but like your little act here, it's all smoke and mirrors isn't it?"
Instead of reacting, he turned to Khaos with a smile and addressed him as though I wasn't here. "She's a feisty one, isn't she? I always did love the wild ones, it's so much more fun when they're eventually broken. Have no fear, Violet" his tone dropped as he turned to me, "I will break you. You will fall in line. My Beta here may have protected you earlier, but you'll soon learn for yourself that every action has a consequence. Speaking of which, you know where to go, Khaos. In the meantime, I need to have a little chat with our new friend here. Alone"
Khaos inclined his head, leaving without another word.
"Where is he going?" I demanded, feeling the aching pull of his absence.
Grey dismissed my question with a sweep of his hand and indicated the office at the end of the hall. "Come in here, I want to explain a few things." My feet wouldn't budge as he sat in his chair behind the desk, his feet comfortably propped up on the table and crossed at the ankles. He smiled mockingly at me, sensing my trepidation. "You can keep the door open if you wish."
I stomped into the room, feeling completely foolish, and flopped into the chair that was as far from him as possible. He simply smiled further and folded his arms behind his head. What exactly did I think was going to happen in this office that he couldn't do anywhere else on the property? He was ruler here, an Alpha didn't need to explain his actions to anyone. I was no safer standing in the hallway than I was in this office.
"First things first, I want to explain your position here. You may not like it, but these rules will not be broken. Your life here can be reasonably comfortable or they can be torture, the choice is absolutely yours. I know which I would prefer so I wouldn't give me that opportunity if I were you." He stretched his arms in front of him, linking his fingers as he strained until each one cracked. "I realise I may not have taken Eros' well-being into complete consideration when bringing him here. He's clearly very attached to you and so for that reason, you will be permitted to visit with him as much as you want, provided he is not busy with his studies of course. He will have around the clock care in the form of maids, tutors, as well as trainers to help with his fighting. We will gradually reduce the time he spends with you until your presence here is no longer necessary."
He paused expectantly but I simply tutted and rolled my eyes at him. He underestimated the bond I had with my son. Sure, I had paled in comparison to the shiny new wonders he had discovered today but they would soon lose their appeal and he'd want his mum again. I went through something similar with Christmas every year, he always wanted his new toys and I would barely see him for a few days but he would soon be crawling into my bed in the early hours of the morning wanting nothing but a cuddle from me. I really had no fear I would lose him over this.
"Anything else?" I muttered, seeing the tightness in his face when I didn't give him the reaction he wanted.
He sat up straighter, his feet now on the floor as he adopted a more business-like manner, his tone more clipped and authoritative. "You will not leave your rooms without an escort. You will earn your keep here by working in the kitchen with the omegas. I realise your wellbeing is important to my grandson and so I will warn the warriors to stay away from you but you will turn a blind eye to whatever you see taking place here. The women know what's expected of them and they are happy enough to service my men at will. Having said that, if ever you witness anything inappropriate in front of Eros you are permitted to bring that to my immediate attention and it will be addressed within moments."
"Fantastic. Anything else?" I knew that he could hear the sarcasm in my tone but I couldn't help myself. Okay, maybe he thought he had won because things thus far had gone exactly as he planned but he was an even bigger fool than I originally thought if he truly believed I was going to stay living here without a fight. It was my primary mission to get Eros and me out of here at the first opportunity that presented itself.
"I'll add to the rules as I see fit but I think we've covered the basics for now. Now I'll move on to more interesting topics..."
"I can't imagine you have anything to say that will be of interest to me. So if you'll excuse me, I'll return to my son now." I rose from my chair, heading straight for the doorway until his next words stopped me in my tracks.
"So you have no interest in learning why, or more importantly, how Khaos came to be here?" Damn it. He knew he had my attention. I reluctantly turned back around and sat back in the seat, his smile of victory almost blinding me.
Game on Grey. You might have won this battle, but you won't win the war.