9 - "Lose My Mind"
It was half past ten in the evening when we arrived at the ranch. I had driven back in Selena’s car with her in the passenger seat. She was not pleased with Joseph, Titus, Hendrick, and I making the decision of having her come back to the pack. She chastised me the entire drive until she fell asleep. Although she ignored my many questions about her being a witch. I woke her as we approached the turn off the highway. It was dark but I wanted her to see everything firsthand. She looked around watching for any signs of wildlife. The deer scattered, racoons running out of the way, and when she saw a large animal move through the trees, she screamed at the size of it. I explained that it was just pack members out patrolling the territory and she had nothing to worry about.
I witnessed the shock in her eyes once we approached the paved road through the subdivision in the middle of pack grounds, including a town square with a restaurant and small store as well as the pack hospital. It was not until we parked at the ranch house that she finally spoke.
“That is a huge house!” Selena exclaimed.
“It is. It’s meant to hold the Alpha’s, Beta’s, and Gamma’s families. The ranch hands, who are also pack members, live on the ranch in the large building behind the house. They usually come and eat in the house as well as use the house’s gym and pool.” I explained before exiting the car. Joseph opened the door for Selena and carefully lifted her out of the car.
“Y’all grew up here?” Selena asked looking up at the large ranch style home. It was three stories, white siding with wooden accents and each floor had a wraparound porch. It was truly beautiful.
“Yes.” We all replied at the same time.
“Even you Ellie?” Selena continued to inquire.
“Yes,” I giggled. “My mom loved working with the horses and was a pack trainer. My dad was a bull rider and worked as a foreman on the ranch. So, yeah - I lived here too.” I answered her question.
“Joseph. Why don’t you go take your mate to get some rest? Hendrick and I will unload their stuff.” Titus ordered.
“In a guest room, Joseph!” I called after him. He turned to meet my eyes only to roll them.
“Yes, Luna.” He said to me as a joke.
“Luna?” Selena asked as they disappeared onto the porch while I stayed behind to help Titus and Hendrick. I had only packed my essentials, such as pictures, my computer, tablet, schoolbooks, notebooks, my favorite books, clothes, shoes, my favorite bath products, and makeup vanity along with my cosmetics, not to mention all my hair styling tools and products. I might have gone a little overboard, but Titus did not seem to mind. He wore a smile on his face the entire time as I went through my belongings.
I pulled my spare keys out of my pocket and went to my car to get my phone off the dash mount. The battery was dead which did not surprise me. When I closed the door and turned around, Titus was sauntering over to me. I smiled at him as I put my phone in my pocket and he seemed to eye my hand’s action.
“Is everything alright?” He asked me with an anxious look.
“Yes. My phone is just dead. I just wanted to get it out of the car before I forgot. What’s up?” I asked noting how he placed his hand behind his neck as he thought about the question he wanted to ask me.
“I was wonderin’ if you wanted your own room?” As he spoke, I could hear his hopefulness through the nerves he clearly displayed. It took me a second or two to figure out why he was concerned about what room I wanted to sleep in. As mates, our instincts were to want to be together from the moment we met. Did I wanna share a room with Titus?
I had to admit to myself, I had never been as comfortable as I was last night in Titus’ arms. Yet, I could not help but wonder what would happen between us if we shared a room. I had not known I spoke my thoughts aloud until Titus answered, “We’ll only go as far as you wanna go.”
“Titus…” I began before he cut me off.
“I promise.” He put his hands up as though he was surrendering. “Listen to my reasons. One, you’re my mate. Two, it would be pointless for Hendrick and I to carry the vanity to the guest room on the second floor, only for you to move to my room on the third floor in a few weeks. At least I hope.” Titus argued his points. I thought about it for a moment longer than needed, causing Titus to bow his head in defeat before I spoke again.
“I suppose your reasons are sound, but I have class in the mornin’. Just so you know. And I’m not ready for anything physical.” I stated as I pointed my finger at him. Titus smiled that smile that I was growing too fond of.
“I understand. I have training and ranch work at dawn.” He acknowledged. It was not because I thought Titus would use me for sex and leave. It was that I wanted more than a just a mate bond. I wanted the romance that came with the relationship. I never had that. Being emotionally scarred did not help.
After we had unloaded the furniture, bags, and boxes from Titus’ and Hendrick’s trucks I went through to make sure Selena’s items went to her room and mine to Titus’. Unlike me, Selena opted to leave most of her belongings at the apartment. She only packed a few of her favorite cosmetics and hair essentials, also clothing and shoes. I had gone to check on her and she was asleep in the bed.
I found Joseph in his office drinking a glass of whiskey while sitting on the sofa that sat at the corner of the room. Joseph was a tough guy, he never let anyone see him this vulnerable.
“She’s gonna reject me, Ellie.” His pained voice was barely audible.
“Shush your mouth. We don’t know that. You’ll just need to work hard to convince her otherwise. I’ll do whatever I can to help you. Today was just a rough day for her, and she probably can’t fathom the thought of losing more of her life- herself. She was with Davis for almost two years. We’ve lived in the same apartment for the same amount of time. Finals are comin’ up. It’s just a lot for her.” I tried to sooth him.
“Ellie. Do you honestly think she’ll leave her coven to be with me? I don’t.” He argued. I continued to talk to him a little longer; suggesting he should sleep in his own room for the night, then I bid him a good night before going to Titus’ room.
Titus and Hendrick were still putting the drawers back on my vanity went I entered his room. My packed clothes and boxes sat in the back of the room ready for me to unpack them. Although, I was too tired to go through them. Still, I located the suitcase that had my underwear, bras and clothes for tomorrow, but nothing to sleep in. I paid no attention to the sound of the door closing. I felt Titus come up behind me, his scent, the heat radiating off him alerted me to his presence.
“Can I help you find whatever it is you’re lookin’ for?” He asked me as politely as he could.
“My sleeping clothes are not in this suitcase. Can I barrow another shirt?” I responded when I met his forest green eyes. He smirked at my request and I could not help but ask why.
“I like the way you look in my shirt.” He said earning him a roll of my eyes. I followed him to his immaculate bathroom. There was a tub centered on the wall to the right and the large shower in the corner of the room. The window above the tub looked out onto the porch. He walked into his closet opposite the shower and returned with a large white t-shirt.
“Thank you. I’m just gonna take shower.” I said as I took the shirt in my hand that held a balled-up pair of black boy short panties. He gave me a smirk and his eyes darkened at the comment.
“Okay.” He answered. His hands reached for the hem of his t-shirt, letting me watch as he lifted it up above his head. Goddess. His muscles rippled and stiffened giving me the perfect view of his flawlessly carved body. His abdominal muscles were defined, his chest was impeccable, and his sculpted arms were large. I studied the artwork on his chest and arms, finding that his own wolf was staring back at me. Atticus was inked onto his right peck while a raven and its wing was pasted on his shoulder and down his arm. Various other designs and artwork were tattooed down his arm finishing out his sleeve on the back of his hand.
Unknowingly, I had closed the distance between us. With little self-control my hand reached up to touch the wolf with the white patch over his right eye, just like the one on my leg. Atticus was a beautiful grey wolf that could be compared to grey skies during a summer storm. I remembered the first time Titus shifted, Atticus ran up to me and licked my face with so much enthusiasm.
My eyes darted to the sunflowers on his left forearm, the ones he got because they were my favorite flower. “That’s odd.” I said aloud not meaning too.
“That you also have Atticus on your thigh?” He voiced my thought.
“Yes, and the fact that I also have sunflowers on my spine. It’s as if we had planned both tattoos.”
“Well, we were made for each other.” Titus’ standing there shirtless did things that had me clenching my thighs together. However, that soft whisper-like voice did things to me that I had not felt before. His hand lifted to touch that spot that will forever make me his. The sparks, combined with everything else he did to me caused a moan to escape from my lips. I wanted nothing more than to feel his lips on mine, on my skin.
Titus has always been a large part of my life. There are not many memories of my childhood that did not include him. It occurred to me that I had always considered Titus as mine and if I had not been his mate, I would have done my damned best to make him mine, which is horrible to think about.
His lips inched closer to mine and I wanted to close the distance, but it was not the time. I wanted the perfect first kiss. A kiss I can control. And this was not it. I knew it did not make any sense. He was perfect, but I could not give up on the notion of wanting the perfect romance. The beautiful flowers; the flawless date; the unforgettable kiss; and that unspoiled moment. I wanted everything I read in books and seen in movies and who better with than my mate.
“Titus. You’re not taking a shower with me.” I pushed him back with my hand that was on his chest before he reached my lips. I gave him a toothy grin, so he knew I was not upset. He sighed in defeat and shook his head smiling that smile I loved.
“Then how about a show?” He argued.
"Lose My Mind" by Brett Eldredge