I press my lips to his. Es takes a second to react, but then kisses me back. He moves in perfect timing with me, kissing me until I’m breathless. His fangs nip my bottom lip playfully and he licks the pain away with his tongue.
The bell rings, signalling the end of lunch and interrupting our kiss. I pull away with a pout.
“Don’t worry, Em, we have all evening,” Es tells me.
I climb off his lap and grab my bag. I have alchemy with Esteban next, and we walk out holding hands.
I hear the whispers as we stroll to class. By now, the students have worked out that The Four must share a mate. I can hear them whispering about me. Some say how lucky I am, some say that I’m not worthy, some ask what I did to deserve such sex-gods as mates.
Esteban raises our joined hands to his lips and kisses the back of mine.
“Ignore them,” he says to me, loud enough so that the students we are passing instantly shut up. He smirks at me. “They know nothing.”
When we get to alchemy class, Sal is already at our desk. He glares at Esteban. My mate reluctantly lets go of my hand.
“Sit with your friend, I can handle some distance for an hour,” he tells me. “But don’t be surprised when I want your attention tonight.”
“Okay,” I reply with a smile. “See you later.”
Esteban takes his seat across the room, and I slide in next to Sal, who is looking at me with an unreadable expression. I know that he doesn’t like The Four, but he seems more than disappointed that I am mated to them. He seems…apprehensive. I’m sensing unease from him, which makes me nervous, too.
“Thanks for the warning, by the way.”
He looks at me with confusion. “What?”
“You totally knew that I was going to be mated to them and you gave me no warning!’
He shrugs, feigning innocence. “I didn’t know anything for certain.”
I narrow my eyes at him. “But you had an inkling. I was totally blindsided. Some friend you are.”
He glares at me. “I’ve got your back more than you know, Emery.”
I don’t know what to say to that, or what he means. The teacher starts the lesson, effectively ending our conversation.
After alchemy, we all have Skills. Esteban walks me to the lesson. My three other mates are waiting for me. Everyone’s eyes are on us as I approach them. I stand with them as the teachers arrive and explain what we are doing today.
Today is all about the hunt. How to better hunt your prey, how to be a better predator. I partner up with my girls. The Four, already knowing all of this somehow, excuse themselves from the lesson.
As we’re practicing the techniques that the teachers explain to us, I shyly tell the girls about what happened with Lucio in the closet and then Mal and Esteban in the drawing room.
“You have had quite the afternoon,” Esme comments. “I’m so proud of you.”
When we get back to the dorm, Esme and Irene sit on my bed whilst I get ready to go see my mates. Honey FaceTime’s Lawrence in her room, she is visiting him at home this weekend.
I dress in another dress; this one is from last year and is deep red to match my eyes in summer. I brush the tangles from my hair and check my make-up.
“You’re ready to go, girl. You look hot,” Irene compliments me and Esme nods in agreement.
“Have an awesome night and don’t forget, we will not judge!’ Esme calls after me as I leave.
I roll my eyes and walk to the junction. The Four are waiting for me. They walk me back to their dorm, keeping me in the middle like a protected celebrity or something.
“We’re having burgers tonight, is that okay?” Oro asks me when we get to their dorm.
I’m sitting on the sofa between him and Esteban. “I love burgers.”
The first part of the evening is really tame. We talk about school, the subjects we all take. We discuss teachers, which ones are our favourites etc.
We eat at the dining table again. The burgers are incredible. I tell Oro that he should be a chef and he just laughs. He says it only makes him happy to cook for loved ones. That makes me ask about The Four.
“How did the four of you become so close?” I ask when I’ve finished eating.
They all share a look across the table.
“It wasn’t one particular thing,” Lucio explains. “Our parents are all members of the extended Royal Family. We were raised together. Our houses were near one another, we went to the same nursery, the same schools.”
“There was no question on whether or not we would be friends,” Malvolio says. “We were all born on the same day.”
“Our parents, my mother especially, are convinced that the powers that be made a kind of platonic mate bond between us. Our lives are linked, but not romantically,” Oro informs me.
The rest of them nod in agreement.
“We always know what each other are thinking,” Esteban adds. “There is a brotherly bond between us, despite not being genetically closely related. But you are our greatest link. There is nothing that holds us closer than you.”
They all look at me and I feel shy under their heated gazes.
“You complete our bond. You are the fifth part to us; you are made to join our souls. Without you, we are nothing.”
I’m breathless from the heavy words. The importance they have placed on me is staggering and yet, I understand it completely. When the five of us are together, I feel more powerful. I can feel our energies thrumming between us, moving through our bodies from one to the other.
There is, quite literally, an invisible force drawing us together. It’s no wonder that I got caught up in staring competitions with them when I first met them. Our souls had recognised each other before our bodies had.
When the moment passes, we clear away the dishes. We all insist on Oro taking a break whilst we clean the kitchen for him, it’s the least we can do after he cooked for the five of us.
It’s snug, trying to fit Oro, Malvolio and I on one sofa. I end up with my feet on Mal’s lap and my body laying across most of Oro’s lap. Lucio and Esteban are reclined on the other sofa, talking casually.
After an hour, I move over and sit with Lucio and Es instead, not wanting them to feel left out.
“I drew something for you,” Es tells me. “Do you want to see it?”
I follow him to his room whilst the others watch with interest, wondering what their brother is showing their mate.
Es goes over to his desk and picks up a sketchpad. He folds back the pages until he gets to the right one. Our fingers brush against one another as he hands it to me.
The drawing is beautiful. It is a pencil sketch of a wolf with shaggy fur and glistening eyes. Standing next to it, is me. I never thought of myself as beautiful, but I look beautiful in the drawing. It’s the way Es has drawn me.
“That is Castaño,” Es tells me. “He is a wolf that I have bonded with. He lives in the forest and has chestnut coloured fur, that’s where his name comes from.”
“Can I meet him?”
Es’ eyes light up. “You want to?”
“When we go hunting this weekend, you can meet him.”
We both look up as his three brothers enter his bedroom.
“Es was showing me his beautiful drawings.” I hold out the sketchbook to them.
Lucio takes the pad from me. Mal and Oro stand on either side and they admire the drawing. Esteban comes to stand behind me. He places his hands on my hips and rests his chin on my shoulder. I savour the contact.
“This is incredible,” Lucio says appreciatively.
He puts the sketchbook down on the bed and approaches both of us. Oro and Mal flank him on either side. They come to stand directly on my right and left. I swallow hard, squared in by the four of them.
One is on each side of me, penning me in. My whole body is humming with anticipation. My skin practically tingles under their heated gazes. So many different coloured eyes looking at me like I’m the most tender thing in their world.
Es sweeps my hair to one side, exposing my neck. He kisses the most sensitive part of my throat. His action sends a shiver down through me.
Mal closes in on my left and grasps my chin. He makes me look up and meet his cyan eyes. He leans in and my eyes fall closed as our mouths meet. He kisses me softly at first, but the kiss builds into something more.
Lucio’s hands, I recognise them because of his strong touch, cup my breasts over my dress. He teases my nipples through the fabric, making them tighten.
Oro’s hands are the last to touch me. They sweep under my skirt and up my thighs. He doesn’t go straight to between my legs. He massages my inner thighs, teasing me.
I can’t think straight. Having all four of them touch my body at once is intense. I can’t even begin to focus on anything but them. My senses are overloaded, and I feel as though I’m on the verge of orgasm without really being touched.
Oro strokes his finger over my thong and my body quakes. He pushes the material aside and dips his finger inside me to get it wet. Once lubricated, he drags it up my folds to my clit and circles it slowly.
My phone starts to ring in the living room.
We all freeze.