I knew that voice very well indeed. It was none other than Laurel. She was hesitating to growl back at Adam but it was plain to see that Adam was the top dog here. Or cat.
"I repeat Laurel, what are you doing here?" He said his voice low.
His body heat intensified and it felt as hot as standing near an open oven to be next to him. Was that how you could tell that shifters were pissed?
"I wanted to ask Mia to mind her place. She's just human Adam. She shouldn't be standing next to you. You're a Tsar. You deserve better than a human who isn't even your mate." She spat the words. I could not say that it did not hurt. Yes. I was just human but if Adam did not mind me then I wanted to be with him. I felt out of place somehow.
"She's mine." He said simply.
Laurel gasped and I looked at him quizzically. What did that even mean? Apparently something big. Laurel's eyes filled with tears.
"That's not possible. Ismael told me..." She started to say.
"She's an Aphrodite and now she's mine." Adam answered.
She frowned and sniffed the air. They were doing that a lot huh. I wondered what she smelled by doing that. Surely the place was cleaned every day but it was just a hallway. Why did that even cross my mind? Bite me.
"You didn't mark her." She said finally.
"Not yet but she's still under my protection. She's my girl. I won't let anyone hurt her." He said frowning.
"Then I challenge her for you." She snarled assuming a fighting stance.
Adam growled but Laurel did not back off.
"She's human. Our laws don't apply to her yet."
"What does that mean?" I asked in a neutral voice.
"Laurel wants to fight you for the right to date me." Adam explained.
Oh. Well it was nice. I could never win against her since she was stronger.
"That wouldn't be fair." I said dejected. I hated to admit that I was weaker than her.
"I won't use my claws or fangs. It will be a hand to hand combat." Laurel smirked.
"You're still stronger than me." I said. "Supernaturally stronger."
"What do you do during all those hours at the gym Mia?" She asked taunting me. "Are you fucking the lion instead of working out?"
That bitch. I wish I could growl like them right now. All right. I did follow courses of MMA. Surely I could manage something.
"When is it over?" I asked low.
"Mia..." Adam started.
"Answer me please."
"It's over when one of you draw blood, isn't capable of fighting or give up." He said his gaze hard.
I assumed a fighting stance. If I wanted to win, I needed to finish it quick. She would not expect it.
"Bring it bitch." I said.
She snarled and launched herself at me. I could see that she was not used to fight. While she jumped faster than I could follow, my body was still trained for those situations. I ducked until I was under her and I punched with all my strength directly in her collarbone. I heard the satisfying crack of a bone breaking and Laurel yelled.
She fell with a thud and I resumed my stance. That was the most important thing in a fight. Always be prepared. She looked at me with pure fear in her eyes. She was not expecting me to know how to fight.
Well, there was a lot she did not know about me. I was proud that I managed this move in the dress. Probably I did flash Adam though. Let us not think about it.
I could feel my knuckles throbbing because of the punch. She had strong bones but I was not surprised. I did pack all my strength into it.
"Give up." I said stern. "I don't want to break anymore bones."
She growled and her eyes became a yellow-green colour. Was she shifting on me? Her hands were claws as she launched herself at me again. This time she would cut me with her razor sharp claws.
Adam moved in a blur and caught her hands in his. She snarled and fought but one growl from Adam made her pause. It was a frightening growl to be fair. Adam was not playing anymore.
"You're a disgrace Laurel. You lost this fight. Go and never show your face again to us. The entire community will know what you did." He said.
"You can't." She sobbed.
Adam growled again and Laurel fled crying heavy tears. He then turned to me and his eyes were still pure gold. He took my hand in his and I noticed that I was lightly scraped. Not enough to draw blood though.
"Let's clean this." He said his voice low and closer to a growl than a normal human voice. "I'm sorry you had to do this."
"Are you kidding? I've been wanting to do this for years. Will she... heal?"
"Don't worry. You only broke a bone. She will be healed by tomorrow."
He closed his eyes and I could see him will himself to change back. Was he all right?
"I'm sorry." He said his voice husky. "The fight always brings the beast closer to the surface."
"What do you do to make the tiger go back?"
"Food or sex will do that faster but time works too." He answered focusing his eerie eyes on me. "Taking care of you will appease my tiger too. He's very protective of you. Always has been."
"Will shifting help?" I asked.
He looked at me deep in thought then he nodded. I opened the door to my place and we entered.
"You can shift if you want." I said.
"You're not scared?"
"Of course not. I know you would never hurt me."
He beamed at me and he began stripping. I turned around before the last piece of clothes fell on the ground. I heard the sound of bones cracking and remodeling and before long a heavy breath was the only thing I heard. I turned around to look at a huge orange striped tiger. He was so beautiful.
The tiger Adam had huge golden eyes that were locked on mine. His body was big, I estimated bigger than all the pictures I ever saw of a natural Siberian tiger. He had their fluffiness though. I wanted to touch. Would he let me?
He was sitting patiently, waiting for me to make my move. I decided to ask him. It could never hurt.
"Can I touch you?"
The tiger blinked and I took that as a yes. I moved closer and put my hand on his huge head. The tiger was my size so his eyes were looking directly into mine. I could not help a chuckle.
"We're finally the same size you and I."
He coughed and I took that as a laugh. His fur was rough but nice under my hand. I scratched his throat as I would a normal cat and he closed his eyes purring. That was impressive to hear that sound from him.
"Well if you don't mind, I'll go clean my shallow wound and then I can give you something to eat. What do tigers eat anyway? Meat I suppose."
I retrieved my hand and Adam rubbed his head on my chest like a cat scent-marking their humans. That was cute actually.
I walked to the bathroom and took out some alcohol and cotton. I winced when the alcohol touched my wound but I was no baby. I could endure that much.
Adam did not seem to like it though. He growled low as he looked at my hand.
"I'm all right." I smiled at the tiger. "It's nothing."
I threw the cotton away as soon as I was done and walked back to my fridge. I surely had meat somewhere.
"Is chicken ok?" I asked the tiger.
He blinked again and I took out my chicken. I cut the band around it and put it on plate. Adam plunged long and sharp fangs into it and made quick work of the chicken. That was kind of frightening but I was more fascinated than frightened.
Once he was done, he picked up his clothes and walked to the bathroom. I took this time to prepare two coffees. I was done with them when he emerged fully clothed. Too bad... He had a huge smile on his face and I could not help one of my own.
He kissed the top of my head making me blush furiously and he picked up his cup. Damn. That was smooth.
"You were perfect." He said. "It's rare for a human not to be scared."
"I know it's you so I'm not scared. I trust you Adam."
"It means a lot to me."
"So I'm yours now?" I smirked.
He fidgeted but he still had a big smile on his face. Was that cute or what?