The first thing she noticed about her hand in his, was that it fit. Like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle falling into place; indisputably perfectly aligned. His hand was warm, and as if starting from his hands and travelling through the rest of his body like a current the man began to relax.
Seth’s heart practically skipped a beat. Here he was, a man of 34 acting like a love-sick puppy over a female five years older than half his age. And for all intents and purposes, he was a love sick puppy. He knew that having her, holding her, loving her would complete what he wanted in his life but he couldn’t. He had allowed himself her friendship if only to try to partly fill the void.
“Tell me why it is wrong,” Orion insisted.
Seth did not want to have this conversation, it would only hurt his heart more, yet there he was pouring his heart out to this girl. Even when he feared it would certainly mean the end of his very self to tell her what he felt.
“I watched you grow, I taught you to speak, to hunt. I made your clothes, I looked after your cuts and bruises, I bathed you when you were 5 years old.” Seth sat on the sofa, running a heavy hand down his face as he sighed.
“So you see me as a child? Is that it?”
“I most definitely do not see you as a child.” He looked over to her with a pained sense of admiration. “I have watched you grow into a beautiful young woman, but the way I have cared for you is the way that parents care for a child.”
“Seth, I’m not your child. I never was, and I never saw you as anything other than a friend.”
“And I you, but still, I feel as though I’m wrong to feel like this.”
“To feel like what? What do you feel?” Orion stood in front of him, her heart pounding relentless. The thing was beating so hard in her chest she was certain that Seth could hear it rattling against her ribcage. “Tell me.”
She dared to move half an inch closer, then another until her knees were practically touching his where he sat. A silence came over them, and for a minute Orion felt as thought the temperature was rising in the room.
Seth shook his head, burying it into his hands. He looked like such a man of despair, devoid of all hope and happiness; it saddened the girl so much that she actually felt her heart squeeze painfully. Why was he torturing himself when she was right there? Wanting him in the very same way that he said he wanted her.
Orion took another step forward, her body reacting to her need to comfort him and just be near him. She slid onto his lap, straddling his waist. She felt him tense below her, his breathing quickening to soft pants as his heart rate increased.
“Tell me what you feel.” She urged him, her voice dropping to something just above a whisper. She dared to push her luck just a little further, framing his face with her palms, feeling the rough beard on his tanned skin.
Seth remained still, his heart pounding so fiercely in his chest he was afraid she might hear. What was he supposed to say? There were no words that could be enough to cover the expanse of what he felt- part of him wasn’t even sure what he felt for her.
“Little star...” His words died in his throat as she stared at him, with sad eyes. But it was her sadness that caught him off guard, it was the tiny glint of hope.
“Because I’ll tell you how you make me feel.” She filled the silence when he didn’t, the space between them closing so gradually that neither of them took any notice. “You make my heart flutter and skip by just looking at me. I get breathless when you speak, and warm when you touch me. But I want you the most when you’re gone, because without you I feel empty.”
“Orion,” Seth whispered her name like a prayer.
He wanted her so badly, this chest hurt and the blood in his veins felt too hot. He dared to let himself reach a calloused finger to brush her lips gently.
Orion’s lips parted as the tingles ignited there. Her hands that had cupped his chin had managed to find themselves around his neck, playing with the hair on the nape of his neck. Her forehead leaned against his own.
She could feel his warm breath against her lips, and no doubt he could too. She was pressed against him, and Seth could feel every part of her against him, hypersensitive to her touch.
Was this what it felt like to be mates? Or was their connection only this strong because they had strained their bond by being distant with each other? Either way it didn’t matter, it was like a wildfire had been lit within the man. He was burning with a need greater than he had ever felt before, the need for her.
As if there were magnets drawing them in, their lips seemed to gravitate towards each other. There was no stopping now, they were practically panting with the anticipation of it all.
Orion’s lips were but a hair’s breadth away, and Seth knew that there would be no holding back this time. He let out a soft groan as he felt her lips brush his gently, a silhouette of a kiss.
He heard her suck in a breath; he made up his mind he would go in for the kill and he would have no regrets.
He leaned in once again, his breath catching in his throat. Half a centimetre closer and his lips would be against hers.
A loud knock interrupted them, just as Seth’s lips were about to brush against Orion’s. The girl in question sighed heavily, disappointed that the one moment she had gotten the man to let his guard down, the one moment they may have actually had a moment together, they were stopped.
Perhaps fate didn’t want them together after all.
When Orion didn’t move, Seth lifted her from his lap and got up to answer the door. All the whole his mind was reeling- did that seriously happen? It had been a close call, all he could think about was the way she felt seated on his lap, pressed against him with her lips hovering over his. And the look in her eyes– Goddess, that would have been his undoing.
He hated that for the most part he wanted to go back, to kiss her senseless and find out exactly what they had been missing. However there was another part of him that was relieved.
He still worried that he wasn’t right for her, that the moon had made a mistake– surely she would be better suited and much happier with someone her own age? Just the thought alone was enough to make him angry, but he couldn’t deny the insecurity was there.
Seth huffed as he pushed the thought away, the visitor presented a welcome distraction to his thoughts and frustration. Behind the door stood the pack Beta- Fletcher- with a large tray in his hands.
“The Alpha and Luna wanted to make sure you both ate well tonight. He also wanted to inform you that he wants to have a short netting with you tomorrow... I’ll see to it personally that you get where you need to be.”
“Thank you,” Seth cleared his throat awkwardly. It was only after that he stood there with the door open he realised how hot, and heavy the air had gotten.
Fletcher was not ignorant of the Rogue Alphas state, he had only to take a look at the flushed cheeks, and the scent of the room to understand he had interrupted something.
“Maybe I should go now. Clearly I interrupted at a bad time.” Fletcher chuckles seat hung his neck in apology, he always seems to have funny timing.
Seth would have insisted otherwise. In fact he was silently thanking the man for the interruption, he had no idea how things would have gone if he hadn’t.
“Well, in any case I’ll let you get back to... whatever love fest you were up to before.” Fletcher grinned with a cheeky wink, handing the tray over to Seth.
Seth shut the door when he left, placing the tray on the table in front of the sofa where Orion was still seated. She hadn’t moved an inch since their earlier interruption.
“Dinner time,” Seth broke her out of her stupor.
They ate together in silence. Fletcher had brought them up two full plates of some kind of rice dish that was surprisingly incredibly delicious.
Both of them could feel the suffocating awkwardness around them. Orion hated it. She felt as though she were walking on eggshells, so that he wouldn’t push her away again. She was afraid that after they almost kissed, he would go back to his usual cold demeanour around her.
Part of her was glad that he had opened up, even if she didn’t understand his worries. She knew that if she could just show him that he had nothing to fear then things would work itself out but she just didn’t know how.
After dinner, Seth helped Orion to work the shower- which she was very much both puzzled and amazed by. She quite enjoyed it, especially the warm water! She was starting to understand why Seth wasn’t too sad at having to leave their wild lifestyle behind, she supposed once they had each other, it wouldn’t be so bad to enjoy some of the comforts this new life might provide.
She changed into some cotton pyjama bottoms and a matching t-shirt. The clothes were too large, but she didn’t mind; there was something comforting in its oversized nature that Orion liked. Seth also helped her into bed, before going to have his own shower, but she found the thing rather uncomfortable- it was much too soft, it felt like she was lying on clouds which she wasn’t too sure that she liked.
So she picked herself up, and decided to lay down on one of the sofas instead. It was much firmer, and though the leather was cold, she didn’t mind too much. Her mind travelled back to not too long prior, she and Seth had almost shared something on that very seat; the thought alone was enough to make her cheeks feel hot with a blush.
Orion knew she had gotten through to him, if not a little bit but she had a feeling that he would only pull away more now. She had been with him for long enough to know exactly what he was like.
Nothing mattered to her more than him. She didn’t know exactly what she felt for him, but she knew she felt it deeply enough that she wouldn’t give up on trying to find out what it was; especially when she knew he felt something for her too.
He had practically admitted it earlier and even if he hadn’t, she didn’t need him to say a word. She felt it, when he was around. It was in the way he would look at her when he thought she wasn’t looking, or the way that he would always hunt her favourite meats, and give her the first pick of anything they shared. It was in the way he would sit for hours repairing torn garments, and teaching her patiently all the things he already knew.
She didn’t need him to say a word, because he did it every day through his actions. Now he just had to realise it for himself too.
When emerged from the haze of condensation that filled the bathroom, he found Orion fast asleep curled up on one of the sofas. He knew that it would take some time for her to adapt to the way things were in pack life, but he was beyond proud of her for how well she had taken things considering how upset and downright angry she was when they had left their home.
He pulled one of blankets off the bed, covering her gently, he didn’t want her to get cold. He also didn’t like the idea of her sleeping on the sofa, because she’d probably ache in the morning but he knew she wouldn’t be any more comfortable on the bed either. So instead he brought her a pillow, and tried to shift her as gently as he could into a position that she could sleep most comfortably.
She snuggled into him, nuzzling his hand as he guided her head on the pillow carefully. The action alone made his heart skip a beat. His fingers played with a lone curl, he hesitated for a moment before placing a tender kiss to her forehead.
After what had happened earlier that day, he knew that it would be much harder for him to control himself around her. In all honesty, he had forgotten the actual reason a long time ago, he just knew it was wrong because he had convinced himself it was. Since he couldn’t remember why, he didn’t know if Orion was right in saying it wasn’t wrong anymore, but he felt perhaps it was safer if he kept her at a distance.
He was a broken man, she shouldn’t have to deal with that. It wasn’t her responsibility, and he didn’t want it to be either. She needed to realise that he was a hard man to love, and the day that she did, she would understand why it was better for her to stay away.
Seth climbed into bed, but even from where he lay, he kept a careful eye on her. He stayed that way right up until the moment that he finally fell asleep.