"No, not there.” Xerxes’ low voice sounded by my ear, his hand firmly on my back as he walked behind me, directing me away from the door which I had assumed we would be entering. I huffed, rolling my shoulders as I limped further down the hallway. The throbbing from my legs had yet to calm; my teeth grinded hard together as I fought back grunts of pain.
The door which we eventually arrived at was opened hastily by Xerxes and without much thought I sat on the bed, my sigh of exhalation long and soft. I gently prodded the bandages wrapped around my lower legs and ankles, unable to stop the hiss of pain which escaped my mouth.
Xerxes frowned at the noise, taking my hands and drawing them away from the gauze.
“Lie down, if you wish,” He rumbled, stepping away after allowing his silver eyes to dance over me. “Or if you’re hungry, I will inform Greta to bring you a meal.”
My brows furrowed. “Why can’t you do that?”
His smile was soft. “I have to discuss what happened today with Flynn and a few others. It will only take me an hour or two.”
I nodded and scratched my cheek. I was very hungry. But I also wasn’t certain that I wanted Greta, the woman who has murdered countless birds to cook for me. I was thankful when Sissy entered the room, her eyes going wide when she saw me.
“Are you okay?” She asked, skipping to the bed. I glanced up at Xerxes, who had began to turn towards the door. The gentle smile which I had seen just moments ago had been replaced with a dark scowl, his expression, to be put lightly, terrifying.
“Becca?” Sissy asked as her older brother slipped through the door. “What happened?”
My explanation was brief. “Could you be a little doll and make me some pancakes?” I batted my eyelashes. She rolled her eyes, giving a giggle.
“Only because you’re not feeling good.” She told me over her shoulder as she left.
It was only then did I take in my surroundings through tired eyes. I instantly noticed the many thick coats hanging in a closet, which I knew belonged to Xerxes. Inhaling, I picked up his scent on the sheets draped over my lower body, on the soft pillows beside me.
My eyes darted around the room, quietly assessing each item in here, confirming that this was his bedroom. I had imagined that his room would probably have a table or two with stacks and stacks of paperwork. I had learnt throughout the months that Xerxes could be a bit of a workaholic and would sometimes leave a mess behind whatever he did.
But this room was clean, not a single paper in sight. The walls were bare, a plain light color which brightened the room. Everything was neatly placed, not a speck of dirt or dust on the furniture. I snorted. My bedroom had been quite the opposite of his.
“Does Greta come up here and clean?” I asked Sissy when she returned almost half of an hour later. She wrinkled her nose as I mentioned her name.
“No,” She told me. “She just works downstairs, cooking and stuff.”
I laughed at her expression, lifting one of the partially burnt pancakes. They tasted horrible, but I still ate them, not wanting to hurt Sissy’s feelings. She had watched every bite I had taken from the food she had made, her eyes sparkling when I swallowed.
“I know it was bad,” Sissy told me when the plate was empty and I had somehow managed to eat the pancakes without gagging at the bitter taste. “But you wanted some food and Greta is outside somewhere so you gotta take what I give ya.”
I scoffed at her smirk. “Why thank you.” I muttered, handing over the platter. She placed it away, resting it on an oak table and crawled onto the bed to rest by my feet. I winced at the sight of crumbs sprinkled on the once clean table.
“How about some movies?” Sissy murmured absentmindedly, her hands reaching for a remote.
“Don’t you have school?” I said after the first movie she had chosen had finished and another one was beginning to start. She shook her head, eyes glued to the television.
“I’m homeschooled. The tutor is coming later this evening.”
I drifted off to sleep soon after she spoke, uninterested in the movie being shown. When I awoke, she had left the room. The television was still on, raised to a high volume. The room had darkened and after I took a quick peek outside, I noticed that the rain was falling.
I stayed in the bed for what seemed like a long time. When I eventually chose to move, I rapidly came to regret the decision. Pain flared with each step I took as I crossed the room, licking dry lips. I could do with some water.
The tiled floor felt impossibly cold under my feet, an uncomfortable feeling creeping up my spine at the queasy sensation. My fingers clutched tightly at the handrails of the spiral steps as I walked down gingerly, being careful not to apply too much pressure on my right foot, the one which was blistered the most.
I had just made it to the last step when a door slammed. Eyes widened when I saw Xerxes approach, his strides fast and annoyance crossing his features. “What are you doing?” He demanded, glancing down at my feet. “You should be in bed.”
“Relax, dude. I just need some water.” I waved him off. He frowned at my nonchalant attitude, his expression darkening.
When I moved to take the next step, I was quickly stopped, his hand grasping my arm in a firm hold. I stiffened, locking eyes with him, feeling awkward as he towered over me.
“I will get that for you.” Xerxes said tenderly, although I could see that he was still irritated. “Just...go back to bed. Please.”
It made no sense arguing with him, so I shuffled back up the stairs slowly, feeling his gaze on me until I was out of his line of vision.
I grumbled under my breath as I sat back upon the bed. Although it was very comfortable, I was easily becoming restless from staying in one place for such a long time.
When Xerxes entered the room, he handed me the glass. I sipped at it slowly, watching as he rolled one of the sleeves of his shirt upwards, a strong forearm on display. He crouched before a fireplace, muttering something about it being cold inside the room, adjusting some kindling and beginning to light a fire.
“Xerxes?” I called. His head tilted, waiting.
“Do you know of any empty houses available? That I could move into soon?”
There was a spell of silence. The flames crackled and I shuddered at the memory of what had happened earlier today. Xerxes stood, back muscles stretching against the material of his cotton shirt.
“You do not like it here?” He asked, finally facing me. Silver eyes were narrowed, but I knew he was not angry. The bond said otherwise. His jaw was tightly clenched as he looked down to push up his other sleeve before meeting my eyes once more.
“That’s not it,” I quickly reassured him. “I just don’t want to be an inconvenience or whatever.”
“You do not need to worry about that.” Xerxes told me. He sat down in one of the chairs nearby, never breaking eye contact. “I’d prefer if you stayed in my home. It is safer here.”
He nodded. Heat from the fireplace was beginning to warm my cold body and I sank further into the bed. His bed.
“With everything that has been going on, I’d feel better knowing that you are living in this house.” Xerxes said. “Not many people will venture out here to harm or harass you, because of the heavy security enforced.”
My fingers played with the duvet as I considered his words. This area was indeed safer than most. Persons who lived in this gated community were wealthy and more than once I had seen uninformed individuals patrolling outside.
“I’ll need to get some clothes though. And a whole bunch of other things.” I blurted.
“I’ll have Greta or Penelope buy what it is that you’d like.” Xerxes gaze went to my covered legs. “It’s best that you keep off of your feet for some time.”
And then there was silence. Xerxes never moved from his position, sharp eyes following each little shift I made with my body as I attempted to settle back on the bed. Restlessness quickly kicked in once more and with an exasperated sigh, I threw off the duvet.
“What are you doing?” Xerxes followed me as I shuffled around the room, trying to ignore the mild pain. I smiled softly to myself when I finally reached a handle of a door in the room. Pulling it open I stepped into the bathroom, turning to respond to Xerxes. I yelped in surprise when I saw how close he was, my face almost colliding into his chest.
“Ah.” A playful smirk from him had my eyes widening. I still hadn’t become accustomed to his smiles or grins.
“Would you like some assistance?” His smirk was quickly widening, white teeth showing as he stepped closer. I didn’t miss the huskiness in his voice, the way those silver eyes began to darken alluringly.
My laugh was high, almost shrill. Ears burnt as I placed my hands on his chest, pushing him out the room. Or rather, he let me push him out. “I think I’ll be fine.” I chirped. “I’ll call if I need anything.”
The door swung closed after I gave it a hard yank. I stripped quickly, stepping into the shower. I watched as the water sprayed, steam rising. I frowned, wondering how I was going to shower without getting the bandages wet.
I jumped at the sound of the door clicking open. “Get out Xerxes!”
Someone scoffed. “I am not The Alpha.” Greta snarled. I peeked out from behind the shower curtain.
She dropped some clothes upon a marble counter. “Xerxes asked for me to give them to you.”
I studied the shirt, which looked way too big to be able to fit me properly. “Isn’t that his?”
Greta rolled her eyes, taking one of the towels from a cabinet and leaving it on the counter beside the clothes. “Yes. It is. I would give you one of my dresses but I don’t like you very much.”
I blinked. “Um. Okay.”
She huffed, wiping her hands against an apron and strode out the room. I bit back a laugh. Her bluntness could be very rarely, amusing.