4 - "Somebody Like That"
It did not shock me, when the men took their clothes off, leaving their boxer briefs on. Werewolves were no strangers to nudity. However, I could not help but gawk at Titus’ shirtless tattooed torso. His left arm was covered in various designs completing a full sleeve up to his left peck on his chest and down his rib cage. While his right side of his chest and upper arm was bare, his right forearm had the beginning of a sleeve. He swam towards me, as I stood with bent knees in the water and one tattoo caught my attention. It was two sunflowers with leaves and a skull on the inner part of his upper forearm.
“Like whatcha see, darlin’?” Titus asked in a deep seductive voice, putting on that Texas drawl extra thick.
“Why the sunflower tattoo?” I asked eyeing the beautiful flowers, even if he added the skull for a more manly design.
“Do you have to ask, Ellie Mae?” He answered with another question, causing me to roll my eyes.
“Yes. That’s why I asked.”
“Because it’s your favorite flower.” Titus’ smirk had my heart racing and my thighs clenched, this had to be the mate bond, I thought. I was surprised by the answer. I have always loved sunflowers. In fact, the tattoo on my spine had two sunflowers on a stem. I had chosen the design because my love for them comes from my mother’s obsession. I remembered going down to the sunflower fields with her and my dad every summer.
“You remembered.” I smiled up to him. “But why? Why would you get a tattoo to remind you of me?”
“You were a big part of my childhood. I missed you.” He said as he inched his way closer.
“Titus. You’re saying all the right things, but your actions tell a different story.” I called him out, this man confused me. He finally closed the distance between us. I stood there watching as he leaned in to whisper into my ear.
“I have plenty of actions in mind to make up for it.” I could feel his breath down my neck. “For one, marking you, claiming you as my Luna. As mine.” He breathed in my scent, as he placed his hand on the back of my neck. The sparks were debilitating. They radiated from his hand down to my core. I could feel the bond working its magic and wondered how it affected him. I could feel his lip against that spot between my neck and shoulder, where I would wear his mark.
“Hey! None of that in the pool.” Joseph hollered at us, from behind Titus. His words did what they were meant to do. Titus reluctantly took a step back, meeting my brown eyes with his green ones. I watched in awe as his eyes swirled with black, seeing his inner turmoil as he fought his wolf for control.
“I take it that Atticus is excited?” I asked out of curiosity.
“Yes, he wants me to take you over my shoulder and away from everyone, to make you ours.” Titus answered truthfully.
“Not before I learn more about you.”
“Ellie. You do know me. I’m not that different from the boy you left behind.” Titus stated.
“You were my best friend then. Everything is different now. I am not the same person you knew. I imagine you’re not either.” I explain to him. “I’m human, Titus. I need dates, flowers, and all that comes with it.” I smiled up at him. Titus breathed heavily, fighting some urge I cannot determine.
“You’ll have to help me there. I’m not built that way. My instinct is to take you as mine, mark you, and love you until my last breath.” He said to me in that deep gruff voice of his. My heart fluttered with his words. Oh, that voice.
Hendrick and Joseph had been slowly creeping up on Titus. I supposed they wanted to see if they could get the drop on him. Of course, he was not fooled. Unfortunately for our conversation, I could not respond to his statement. He turned around and dunked Hendrick in the water. A second later Joseph tackled Titus, both causing a huge splash as they fell in. I took his distraction as an opportunity to get out of the pool. I took my button-down shirt off and left my white tank top on. It would be my luck to be wearing a white top with a black lace bra. My only option was to find some dry clothes or lay in the sun before it set in an hour. I chose the latter and laid on the lounge chair.
All my life, I was told how the mate bond worked. This instant connection to the person who held the other half of my soul. The sparks. The need to always be with them, at all times. Your mate was chosen for you because you balance each other out. When a wolf finds their mate, their instinct is to protect their mate, be loyal to their mate, and to love their mate. For many wolves, the feelings are there immediately. They mate and mark each other within a day or two. Yes, one can choose to reject their mate, but I would never. I spent five years thinking I would not have one, because I did not have a wolf. Of course, some wolves have human mates, like my parents.
In my five years as a human, I never had a date. I have been kissed and I have had a high school boyfriend but dating in high school was going to the park and hanging out with friends or going to the movies as a group. Even then, that boyfriend only “dated” me because of a bet.
I was bullied because of my glasses, my braces, my weight, my love for reading, and my lack of a mother. I did not seem to fit in. I had learned to play sports here in the pack, so I tried out for the volleyball and softball team and managed a spot on the teams. I worked hard to lose the weight. I eventually had the braces removed and convinced my father to let me have contacts by senior year. That was when I started dating my “boyfriend” if you can call him that. I did all I could do to keep him, including giving myself to him. After two months he broke up with me. It was Selena, my best friend, and roommate, that found out that it was all a bet. It left me completely broken. I could not trust any guy again. So, I was bullied for falling for the bet, I was called a slut. I was made fun of for not knowing how to use make up or do my hair. This is where YouTube and my Tia (aunt) stepped in, as I entered the university in San Antonio. Still, I did not date even though I was asked out all the time. Many of the guys who asked, were the same ones who tortured me, but I needed to protect myself.
TV, Netflix, and books are the reason I wanted the human experience of dating and falling in love. There is something romantic about falling for someone. The dates, the long walks, the flowers, the learning about each other and finding common interest, and the first kiss. I wanted that. Granted, I also wanted the mate bond.
The mate bond pulled me to Titus. I felt the sparks and the attraction. However, I did not feel the immediate love that followed. I knew that Titus was feeling it full force. For me, even with feeling all the telltale signs of the mate bond, I could not help but see Titus as anything other than my best friend from childhood. The boy who chased me around with worms in his hand when he was teaching me how to fish. The kid who would come with my father and I to shoot guns at the gun range, although as an alpha werewolf he had no need for the skill. The guy who would pull tricks on me just to get a good laugh. He was the one I talked to about anything and everything. He comforted me when my mother died.
He did not keep in touch when I left. He stayed away, doing as my father asked. It was a hard revelation to swallow, but after what Titus had explained my father’s reason was, it made sense. However, I could have used his comfort when the police came to the door after my father’s fatal car accident. I moved to Houston four months after. Still, he did not show. Instead, I came here only to find Keely and him in some kind of relationship. He claims he knew I was his mate, and he got a tattoo for me. Yet, I could not help but wonder how many she-wolves he has been with, if he knew I was his. If only Anna Beth was here for me to ask.
“Hey y’all!” I heard a female yell from the deck, yet I remained on the chair lost in thought.
“Anna Beth! Lucas! I thought you weren’t coming?” I heard Aunt Jane holler into the crowd as she rushed towards the twins. At the sound of their names, I bolted up into a seated position excitedly.
“Luke mom, please. No offense, but when we heard Ellie Mae was gonna be here, we couldn’t miss it. Where is she?” Lucas asked her.
“Did we miss anything?” Anna Beth immediately inquired. I got myself up from my seat and rushed to get my socks and boots on in order to run up to her. It was as if I had summoned her, which I knew I had not.
“Yes! Titus and Ellie Mae are mates!” Jane said with nothing but pure excitement.
“No! Really we missed it!” Lucas yelled out loud.
“Anna Beth!” I screamed as I rushed to her. “Lucas!” Anna Beth was down the steps in seconds and crashed into me with open arms! “Oh, I missed you!”
"Somebody Like That" by Tenille Arts