19- "What's Your Country Song"
“What the fuck is goin’ on?! Anna Beth, how are you in heat?!” Titus’ yelled in seething anger.
“Anna Beth? Hendrick? You two need to tell them.” Lucas advised his sister and friend, before answering his brother’s question since neither wanted to face the wrath of Titus. “They’re mates.”
And there it was, their secret exposed. I honestly felt a bit guilty about not revealing their secret after I found out. Ellie was my best friend and Joseph was my mate. I should have told them and the shock on their faces only made me feel worse.
“How!?” Everyone other than me asked in unison.
As the situation unfolded in front of me, I thought back to the day after Joseph had chased me into the woods. After we returned to the house, he in shorts and I in a t-shirt that the pack had hidden in trees around the property, we showered in our own rooms and dressed for bed. It was still raining, but not because of me. I had managed to calm myself down letting the weather return to its own devices. However, when my head hit the pillow my anxiety about how I would tell my family, their reactions and my place in the coven came at me at full force. Not to mention the stress of school and not knowing what will happen next. I heard the crack of lightning seconds after it lit up my room and I tried to calm myself. When that did not work, I made the decision to go to Joseph. Just being around him earlier had made me feel more tranquil.
He let me in without a second thought. He looked delectable in boxer briefs, still I preferred him naked. However, we were not there yet. To be honest, Davis did a number on me, but in a way I knew Joseph would never hurt me. We laid their talking until the late hours, letting him hold me, giving me that feeling of serenity and security through the mate bond. Being in his arms made me believe that everything was going to be okay.
The next day, there was a knock on my door. When I opened it I found Hendrick standing there. He was tall, like Titus and Joseph and had a muscular build. Very handsome.
“Umm, hi?” I said, confused by his visit.
“Hey, I’m not gonna beat around the bush. I need a huge favor.” He said desperately.
“Uhhh… what kind of favor do you need from me?” My confusion was evident. He turned his neck to reveal a large hickey on his mocha-colored skin. I was confused by the action and responded with, “I don’t understand. You need me to get rid of a hickey.”
“Shit.” He stated. “It’s not a hickey. It’s my mark. AB covered it with make up before I left this mornin’.”
“AB? Hendrick, I still don’t know what you want me to do. Why are you hiding it?” I asked.
“I spoke to Joseph this mornin’ and he said you two had finally talked and you’re givin’ your relationship a shot.” He started. “So y’know that you have to mark each other.”
“That I know. What I don’t know is why are you hiding your mark and the fact that you have a mate. Isn’t that supposed to be an amazing thing?” This was getting annoying.
“Because, AB is Titus’ sister. It’s a long story, but we got carried away this weekend and well… I was wonderin’ if you can help hide it. Y’know with magic. Just ’til AB comes home from school. Please.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“Three years. I found out at eighteen and she was sixteen.” He answered my question. I could not believe that they had managed to keep it a secret that long.
“Come inside.” I said, not really sure what to do, but I wanted to know more. I let him into the room I was staying in and we took a seat on the bed. “You need to elaborate.”
After he explained that Titus was still struggling with Ellie being gone and not finding his mate after two years. He did not want to rub it in, so he kept it to himself at first. Eventually, he let it slip to Anna Beth and she did not seem surprised and was very excited. They had planned to tell their parents and Titus, but when they finally decided to, they chickened out. The only people who knew at that moment were their parents and Lucas. Titus was very protective of his little sister and having been apart from Ellie, with that suspicion that she was his mate, telling him then would have hurt him.
“But now that Ellie is back, why not tell him?” I asked him.
“We thought it would be better to do it together.” He answered. In a way they had a cute story but having to hide the fact that they were mates had to be hard. I could not understand why they did it. Now that they had marked each other, I wondered what that entailed.
I managed to conceal his mark using a salve I made with aloe vera and herbs then spoke a spell that was meant to cover up certain markings that we make during spells, not really sure if it would work. Luckily for them, it did. On Thursday after my finals, I met Anna Beth. She had kept hers hidden with her shirt and makeup but once everyone went to bed I stayed behind with her and her mom and did the same thing. Although I couldn’t understand why I was hiding it now that they were both here and could’ve told Titus.
“I don’t think this is a good idea.” I told her.
“It’s better than facing my brother’s wrath. We’ve been hiding this for so long, we need to do it without marks on our necks and behind closed doors.” Anna Beth replied, rubbing her hands nervously.
“Maybe he will just be happy for you both.” I advised.
“Anna Beth, Selena is right, you’re being ridiculous. If he has anything to say, he will have me to deal with. Titus is happy with Ellie Mae and will be happy for you two.” Jane encouraged her daughter with a smile.
“I’m his little sister, Hendrick is his best friend. I don’t think he’s gonna just congratulate us and move on. “ Anna Beth countered, attempting to defend her decision.
“You shouldn’t hide marks of true love, but show them to the world. Proud of the fact that you have found your match.” My mind immediately went to Joseph. I said the words but did I mean them? Could I let myself feel that strongly about Joseph?
I had them follow me to my room and did the same as I did before on Hendrick. Anna Beth looked at herself in the mirror and I watched as her eyes welled with tears. If I had not seen those tears I would probably question their motives about hiding their relationship from everyone of their friends.
So, being present when their secret was revealed in front of everyone, filled me with guilt. Not because I had hidden the fact that they were meant to be, but because I knew and did not tell my best friend or my mate about it. Ellie had an odd look of shock and something else on her face, while Joseph looked just as upset as Titus.
“You mean to tell me you guys have been mates for years and you haven’t said anything?” Titus was in a fit of rage. Joseph only nodded along with Titus’ question. “Where are your marks?”
“Titus, we cannot be out here with other unmated wolves.” Ellie pointed out as other werewolves began to approach the house.
“They won’t go near her.” Joseph growled through gritted teeth.
“Anna Beth? Answer me. You cannot be in heat if you are not marked.” Titus was yelling at this point.
“I did it.” I spoke up, instantly regretting my intrusion.
“Selena, you don’t need to protect us.” Anna Beth said. She was still sweating and fanning herself. I could see Hendrick shaking but not because he was scared or angry, more like he was fighting his own strength. I did not know what it meant to be in heat, but whatever it was, was making the men react weird and making Anna Beth uncomfortable.
“What do you mean by that?” Ellie asked me. I told them about the part I played. Joseph huffed at me loudly when I was done. I knew he would be mad, but his reaction made me nervous.
“Why didn’t you say anything to me?” Joseph walked over to me, still upset.
“Or me?” Ellie added. I did not know what to say and only kept quiet. “This is getting us nowhere.” She stated. “Regardless of everything, Anna Beth and Hendrick need to get inside now! I’ll have your food taken to Hendrick’s room until Anna Beth’s heat is done. We’ll discuss this in a few days. Go!” Ellie commanded, grabbing Anna Beth’s wrist to pull on her. Once Hendrick and Anna Beth went inside in a rush, I watched Ellie begin to fan herself.
“Selena.” Joseph said my name, but this time it was not that sweet and arousing tone of voice that made me weak. No, he was firm and short. I met his chocolatey hazel eyes I have grown fond of. By the stiffness of his jaw, I knew he was upset with me and he motioned for me to walk inside with him.
“Darlin what’s wrong?” I heard Titus ask Ellie from behind us. I managed to look over and saw her sitting in a chair covered in sweat and Titus over her looking concerned.
“I don’t know. I’m hot and… and,” she did not finish her sentence, instead she leaned into Titus’ lips. “I think we should go to our room.” She said to him, he picked her up and took her inside behind us. Leaving Lucas alone in his thoughts.
"What's Your Country Song" by Thomas Rhett