When she's ready

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Leo takes a sip from his beer. He sits on the porch in front of the Packhouse. It’s dark, almost everyone is already asleep. “I thought you were on a strict diet, something with eating and drinking the right things to make sure the body is in balance.” Thymen walks over to the porch and takes two steps at once to reach Leo’s level.

Leo nods. “You’re right. Alcohol and sugar are poison for a man’s body. Protein and vitamins are what a man needs. But every once in a while, the circumstances make a man want to break his own rules.” He lifts his bottle and takes a big gulp.

“My brother? Or my sister? Or both?” Thymen asks while he takes a cigarette out of its box in the chest pocket of his shirt

“You’ve heard?”

Thymen puts the cigarette in his mouth and lights it. “There’s nothing else they’re talking about at home. Thought I’d come and see you, see how you are. Not so good apparently, when you are breaking your own rules.”

Leo sighs. “I feel like crap. I’ve let your brother down, screwed up with your sister.” Leo shrugs. “Made her being sent away, while I am the one who should be sent away. Elianne did nothing wrong.”

“For once,” Thymen grins and inhales deeply on his cigarette. “She’s quite something else. She would’ve been sent away sooner or later, no matter if you’re her mate or not. She’s not really the well-behaved girl that always listens and does what she’s been told.”

Thymen takes a seat next to Leo and taps the ashes off his cigarette with his finger. “Danny will come around eventually. He’s just a bit shaken up. Or maybe he’s just angry because you kissed his sister. He’s kind of protective over her.”

“As he should be.” Leo stares into the distance.

Thymen takes another drag of his cigarette. “He has no idea what Elianne has already been up to. She was only four years old when she started pulling on the ponytails of her friends.” Thymen shakes his head while blowing out smoke. “And when she was like eight, she used to always steal my pencils so I couldn’t do my homework. She has switched the sugar pot with the pot of salt so many times, my mom never understood why we didn’t like her cookies.”

Thymen smiles and points with his cigarette to Leo. “You better prepare yourself if you ever get to live with her. That she doesn’t hide your underwear when you come out of the shower or steal your cigarettes.”

Leo smiles too. “Don’t worry, I can handle her. You’ve seen me working with her. Besides, I have a brother just like her. Nicholas used to prank me all the time when he still lived here. He took advantage of me being younger than him way too often. I just hope she still wants me when she comes back.”

“Well, I don’t know, honestly. She has had some flings, but nothing serious. I don’t know what she’ll do now, if she’ll save herself for you now that she knows you’re her mate.”

Leo shrugs. “We’ll see.” He runs his hand through his hair and gets up from the bench. “I’m going to try and get some sleep, not that I’ll be able to, but yeah.”

“Sleep well, brother.” Thymen pulls in his legs to let Leo pass.

Leo pats Thymen’s shoulder when he passes by him. “Night.”

The next morning Leo wakes up early. He had a rough night. He couldn’t sleep, he kept overthinking everything that has bothered him.

He gets up and gets dressed, it’s time for a workout. Maybe that’ll keep him distracted for a while. It’s raining outside, so he heads to the inside gym. Just a few early birds are there, he greets them with a nod.

After an hour of warming up and doing some weightlifting, Leo hears the door open and close again. He doesn’t have to see who entered; he already knows. The scent is intoxicating, making him forget everything he is doing. He tries to focus on his exercise, he doesn’t want to show her how much he feels for her. He looks up when a shadow comes in his eyesight. “Captain?” Her voice is soft, it’s like music to his ears.

“Harris.” He breathes, his weights suddenly feel like weighing like lead. “What do you want?”

“Can we talk?” She runs a hand through her loose hair nervously. “Please?”

Leo softly continues to do his exercise. “I’ve got ten more to go, just give me a minute.”

She nods and takes a seat against the wall.

When he is done with his exercise, he gets up and grabs his towel to wipe off the sweat on his forehead.

“You look tired,” Elianne states when he reaches her. He reaches out his hand to pull her up from the floor and she grabs it.

“That may be because I am.” Leo says dryly, and he walks through the door of the gym.

“Didn’t sleep well?”

Leo shakes his head. “I think you’ll be able to guess easily what was on my mind last night.”

“I got an idea, yes.” Elianne reaches for his arm to stop him from walking.

He stops and turns around to look at her. He places his hands on her shoulder. “Elianne, what do you need me for?” His eyes are like a smouldering fire. Heated, hot, he looks ready to devour her. “I’ve just worked out, so I’m wet from sweat, I need to shower urgently. I’m probably stinking.”

“I’m sorry for kissing you, for tempting you, the other day.” She looks down. “Danny explained how hard it is for you, I’m terribly sorry. I should’ve taken your feelings into consideration. You won’t be tempted for too long anymore though, I’m leaving tomorrow.”

Leo’s gaze changes from hot, to sad instantly. “I’m sorry that you have to leave because of me. I’ve suggested that I leave instead, but Chris doesn’t want to hear it.”

“I don’t have to leave because of you only, Captain.” Leo gestures with his hand for her to stop talking. “You can call me Leo now. You’re no longer under my command.”

“Well, Leo. As I was saying, my dad and I aren’t exactly getting along very well. It’s been like that since ages. Don’t worry about it, I’ll be fine. Besides, it’s not the end of the world or anything, and I can come back when I really want to.”

Leo shrugs, “Still, I feel responsible.” He looks at his shoes for a minute, before looking back at her. “Can I- can I give you a hug, as a goodbye? I don’t know if I’ll see you again before you leave.”

Elianne nods and he moves closer to her. His nose in her hair, he inhales deeply, closing his eyes and enjoying the moment. His arms rub her back softly, he feels tingles everywhere they touch. She pulls back with her head to look at him and when he notices, he looks her in the eyes. He raises his hands and holds her cheeks with both hands. As she closes her eyes, his thumbs softly caress the skin under her eyes. She wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him down.

“Elianne,” he whispers. She blinks.

“I want to kiss you, just one last time before you leave.”

“Then kiss me already.”

He wastes no time and places his lips on hers softly. His lips devour hers. As their kiss continues, the kiss gets heated, their kiss deepens. His eyes close, he is determined to enjoy every minute. Tingles fly around, the warmth he feels within him spreads, makes him want more.

Leo growls contentedly, the corners of his mouth start to raise. He pulls her closer, leaving no space between them. He feels her arms around his neck, her chest against his.

Suddenly he pulls back and takes a step backwards. “Sorry, have to stop.” He whispers out of breath, his chest heaving up and down. “Otherwise, I won’t be able to stop anymore.”

Elianne nods. Her eyes shine like a million stars. Leo gazes into them, almost getting lost. “Do you feel something? Like anything at all?”

“I- I,” Elianne sighs and closes her eyes for a second, gathering her thoughts. “When you hold me, I feel safe, I feel like I’m where I belong. When you kiss me I feel- I feel hot. I get excited.

But that’s about it, it’s nothing like a magnetic pull, like sparks fly when you kiss me. I don’t know if that will change in a couple of years, though.”

Leo nods. “I understand. I think I’m just looking for some reassurance. A clue that will tell me that you will come back to me. That there’s hope, or not. Something that tells me that I have to move on, or that I have to wait.” He sighs. “Don’t feel guilty over this, you can’t help it.”

Elianne nods, “I wish I could though. I need to go.” She takes a step backwards. “I’m going to say goodbye to my family.”

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