I woke early in the morning. The sun had yet to fully rise, but I couldn't bring myself to fall back asleep.
My sleep was plagued with nightmares, always surrounding my Mom. The startled look in her eyes as one of the rogues threatened to pounce on me. The scream that tore through her throat as she shifted and saved my life. And finally, the light that left her eyes when the rogue tore out her throat, her black fur slick with fresh blood. My Dad hadn't seen the moment her last breath escaped from her lungs. He was fighting off three rogues at once, fighting to keep us all safe.
I watched the light leave her eyes, and I was almost positive I could feel when her soul had finally left her body accompanied by her wolf, her closest companion. The loss tore a hole straight through me, the ache was a constant reminder that she was gone. She had died trying to save me.
I pulled myself from the plush bed and slipped on a robe as I headed to the bathroom. The chill in the air pressed against the soft robe, spreading goosebumps down my skin.
I turned on the shower and slipped my pajama's off. I let the hot water cascade down my body, washing away the memories of the past.
I hastily threw on a pair of jean shorts and a black tank-top. I didn't bother throwing on shoes, no one but the household staff would be awake at this time. Slipping on a pair of black socks to fight the chill of the cold floor, I plopped down on the couch and pulled out a book.
I lost myself in the words of the novel, only looking up when a faint knock pattered against my door. I opened the door and looked into Sheila's honeycomb eyes. Shannon looked so much like her mom, with her espresso skin, curly hair and light colored eyes.
"Just wanted to bring you up some breakfast, honey." Sheila gave me a warm smile as she pulled the breakfast cart into my bedroom.
I smiled back at her and plopped down on the couch, "How'd you know I'd be awake?"
For a human, Sheila and Shannon had the instincts and intuition of a Lycan. Both of them seemed to know way more than they should.
"I just had a feeling." Sheila shrugged, handing me a glass of orange juice. "I didn't sleep very well either. Too many bad dreams floating around in my head."
I nodded once, taking a gulp of the fresh juice. "Same here, but my nightmare's always the same." I sighed.
Sheila frowned and sat beside me on the couch, her scent was oddly calming. A human nose wouldn't be able to detect this, but Sheila smelled like freshly roasted coffee, and crisp pastries with a hint of light perfume. It reminded me of home, and of my Mom.
"You can't blame yourself for that forever, honey. It wasn't your fault." Sheila shook her head at me. She handed me a warm chocolate chip muffin with a sly smile and I couldn't stifle my laugh as I bit into it.
"It's not your fault, Arabella. Parent's are supposed to make sacrifices for their children." Aela shook her head, also feeling the loss of my mother. Aela was close friends with my Mom's wolf, but wolves handled death differently than humans.
Savoring the incredible muffin, I turned to her. "It's hard. I keep thinking if I had just known how to fight, she would've been alive." I shrugged, fighting against the guilt that had been ingrained in me for so long.
"Parent's are supposed to protect their children, Arabella. Your Mom did her job, and she did it well. Parent's aren't supposed to outlive their children, honey." Sheila spoke with a voice full of conviction, and I could hear the love she had for her own child in her words.
I smiled back at her, appreciating the mother-like figure I had in my life. "Thank you for that, Sheila. You and Shannon always seem to know what I'm thinking." I chuckled.
"We've both known you so long, can you really blame us?" Sheila laughed, pushing a plate of fruit towards me.
I giggled, "Yeah, but I've known Caroline just as long as I've known you and Shannon. Caroline can't read my mind at all."
"That girl has her head so far up her own bottom, it's a blessing she can even hear anything at all." Sheila frowned, shaking her head as if Caroline were in the room with us.
I couldn't help the burst of laughter that forced itself from my lungs.
Sheila stood to leave, "Now, be good for your Dad. I know you don't like this bodyguard nonsense but he's just looking out for you." She wagged her finger at me, but a smile played on her lips.
"I'll be good for him." I smirked, knowing I would still cause trouble and mischief where I could.
Sheila pulled the cart from the room and gave me a knowing look, "But you'll still torment the rest of us. Little troublemaker." And with that she left.
I giggled to myself for a few moments, wondering if Shannon and Sheila were secret Lycan's.
Wishing I had another chocolate chip muffin, I flopped back down on the couch and continued my book.
There was something comforting about reading. Escaping into another world for just a few minutes could really add some perspective in your own life.
When I finally looked up the sun was bright and shining in the sky, an indicator that I had been reading for over an hour. A harder knock sounded on my bedroom door, but my laziness kept me rooted in place.
"Come in." I called out, keeping my eyes down on my book.
I heard my bedroom door swing open and two heavy sets of feet come in. I picked up my Dad's scent instantly, fresh earth and tobacco filled my nose. My eyes were pulled from my book when a scent I didn't identify ran through me. It smelled good, husky like a man but it had complex notes of mint, and apples. It was one of the strangest yet most interesting smell I had some across.
I looked into my Dad's silver eyes and noticed he has his Alpha King game face on. He exuded an aura of confidence and authority. If the man standing next to him noticed, he made no indication. The man standing next to my Dad had his own aura of power surrounding him, but it was nothing like my Dad's. The strange man exuded dominance and ferocity.
I remembered what my Dad said about my personal body guard, and how he was arriving today. I locked my jaw to keep it from tumbling to the floor at the sight of this stranger. He had the same massive build as my Dad, only this man had a long scar running from his neck to the line of his shirt. Tattoo's ran down his arms and his dark eyes analyzed me as though I were a target.
I kept a look of indifference on my face as my eyes roamed this god-like stranger. The lower half of his face was covered in a black mask, and I couldn't help it when curiosity came roaring to life inside of me. A full head of dark chocolate hair sat tousled on his head. The top of his hair was long and untidy while the sides and back were shaved short. Dark eyebrows and long eyelashes framed his obsidian eyes. I dragged my eyes from the mask that covered the lower half of his face, to the black gloves that covered his hands.
"You can pretend all you want, but he's gorgeous." Aela purred, taking in the man before her.
I rolled my eyes at her, "I'm not pretending anything. Sure, he's gorgeous but can't you feel how deadly he is?"
"Oh I feel it, but he's going to be the one protecting us." Aela purred again, obviously attracted to the god-like man.
The strange man's obsidian eyes met my own and I couldn't read anything within them. They simply peered at me, absent of emotion.
My Dad cleared his throat and my eyes jerked over to him. I squinted my eyes at the two of them, feeling more reluctant than ever to accept this man as my body guard. You could feel how deadly this man was just by standing in the same room.
"This is your body guard. He'll escort you everywhere, and will staying in the adjoining room." Dad gestured to the door on the far wall of my suite. I held back the urge to roll my eyes, knowing he wouldn't appreciate me disrespecting him in front of someone.
I nodded once and turned my gaze to the stranger that would serve as my body guard. "What's your name?"
The stranger simply stared at me, adding to my discomfort and irritability.
"He doesn't talk much." My Dad pointed out with a quick look in his direction. "His name is Viktor."
As my Dad registered the defiance in my eyes, he made a hasty retreat. "I have matters to attend to. Sheila wanted me to inform you that Shannon is waiting in the garden for you, and that Caroline will be returning tomorrow."
And with that, I was completely alone with my terrifyingly handsome body guard.
I shifted on my feet, feeling strange under his obsidian gaze. "Erm, I'm going to get changed."
Nothing, absolutely no response or any indicator shown that he had heard me. He simply stared at me with his unwavering gaze.
I let out a loud huff and pinched the bridge of my nose. Walking over to my dresser, I snatched up a thigh length floral dress and trudged to the bathroom.
I muttered silently, promising myself that I would deck him if he even attempted to follow me into the bathroom.
Much to my dismay, he simply remained where he stood. His eyes followed me as I approached him. I slipped on a pair of white sneakers, keeping my eyes locked on his own the entire time.
"So, are you unable to speak?" I found myself asking him, wanting to hear just a taste of his voice.
My eyes widened, "No." That was the only word that emerged from his covered lips. His voice was deep and rough, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it appealing.
"Are you a warrior?" I mused, keeping my eyes peeled for any emotion hidden in his obsidian gaze.
"No." The word was short and crisp as it fell from his masked mouth.
I squinted my eyes at Viktor, "Is that all you can say? No?"
"No." Viktor replied in his deep monotone voice. I glared into his dark eyes and resisted the urge to face palm myself.
My annoyance and irritability made me feel needlessly bold. Viktor was hired to be my personal body guard, he wouldn't harm me. Right?
I approached him, fighting the knot of nerves that settled in my stomach. The entire time, his obsidian eyes kept themselves on my face. Void of emotion, they watched me as I approached him.
The curiosity that had formed when I first met him was bubbling, and I acted on it.
I was standing only a foot away, his strange yet intoxicating smell was much stronger as was the dominate and ferocious aura.
My fingers twitched, and I couldn't stop my arm as I reached for the thin black cloth that hid the lower portion of his face. Why would he need something like that?
For just a moment, I thought he might let me remove the mask. His obsidian eyes remained indifferent and portrayed no emotion as my fingers reached towards his face.
In a motion that was faster than any Lycan I had met, his glove hand was clasped around my wrist. He held my wrist in his hand as though it were a fly that had dared to come too close. His grip was firm enough to keep me from slipping away, but gentle enough not to hurt me.
"No." The same irritating word slipped from his lips for the fourth time. His voice held just a taste of something, something I couldn't quite pinpoint. The way in which he had said "No", was different from the others. Regardless, I felt like a child being scolded for touching something they shouldn't.
His gaze remained on my own for a few more seconds, long enough for me to notice the nerves and butterflies swarming in my stomach, colliding and merging into one big mess. Finally, he released my wrist and I let it fall lifelessly to my side.
I nibbled on my lip, and turned away from him. As I walked down the hallway, I could easily feel his presence behind me. Close enough to protect me, and far enough away to keep me from trying to touch him again.
The more I thought about it, the more clear my insane decision had become.
I wouldn't behave, I wouldn't change anything about myself. But, the curiosity that had awakened in me was growing at an alarming rate.
I wasn't sure when or how, but I would see his face. And if I was lucky, I'd get him to have an actual conversation with me.