The Female

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Chapter 30 - Names

CHARLOTTE

I stare at Rock as he sits in the corner of my office reading some thick paperback, watching as a shadowy hand pops out of his robe and flips the page. He’s told me his body will gradually begin to materialize as he grows older, and that at some point he’ll be almost entirely solid.

Being a Shadow’s got to be rough, and I wonder if he has a hard frame or if his physical body is hazy to the touch, too. I tried asking Gray, but his only response was to suggest I touch Rock to find out. The glint in his eye as he said it, though, tells me that doing that would be nothing short of a bad idea.

As much as I may want to, I don’t voice my question in fear of offending Rock, but can’t stop my mind from wandering as I watch his blurry fingers reach out to turn another page.

He’s got to be solid if he’s able to pick up and move things around.

He politely ignores my staring as I trail my gaze down his cloaked figure to his feet. He wears shoes, a shiny black pair that look to be awfully expensive. He wore simple, faded brown ones before, and the upgrade has me wondering just how much Gray’s paying him to tutor me.

“Can I help you, Charlie?” He speaks up as I sigh and return my attention to the translator.

The books Silas gave me are surprisingly dense, and are taking me forever to get through. Nothing is engaging in them either, making the task drag. I’ve learned an incredible amount about Demon skincare and the process of childbirth, but nothing at all relating to gender.

It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Silas purposefully gave me books that he knew I wouldn’t find my answers in.

“What do you know about female births here in the Demon realm?” I question, my eyes narrowing as Rock goes still.

He knows something. Does everybody here know what’s going on but me? The thought infuriates me, and I take a couple of slow, deep breaths to calm down. Getting worked up in a tizzy isn’t going to help me any.

“I don’t know anything. You should go to Gray or Silas with those questions.” He eventually responds.

His voice shakes as he speaks, the hesitation and fear of saying too much making me drop the subject. The absolute last thing I want is to get him in trouble. I’ll ask Gray about it again tonight.

I’m hoping he’ll be in a good mood when I tell him I’ve decided I want to be his only source and am okay with him taking from me whenever he needs. Hopefully that good mood will also translate to him giving me the information I want.

I hope it’s just his hunger making him grumpy and uncooperative. I wouldn’t be surprised.

I work my way through three more pages of the anatomy book before giving up and tossing the translator aside. This would be so much easier if I didn’t have to translate every word individually, and make a mental note to come back to this when I’m more fluent in the Demon language.

Rock looks up as I stand and stretch, his body wincing at the loud cracks that ring out from my spine. Shadows probably aren’t able to crack their bones.

“You done for today?” He asks.

I nod with a quiet laugh. “I think my brain’s going to explode if I read one more work.”

Rock’s chuckle sounds nervous, his anxiety making me cackle as I realize he probably can’t tell if I’m being serious or not. I’m sure he was raised believing Humans are these incredibly frail and helpless creatures, their bodies giving out on them at the slightest hint of stress.

I hold back a snort as I tell him I’m joking, my lips twitching at the audible sigh of relief he lets out. We may be small and weak compared to the Demons, but not so much so that we spontaneously combust.

Moving towards the door, I pause as I think about brain aneurisms and cardiac arrest, but with a slight shake of my head decide to keep that information to myself. Poor Rock would probably refuse to tutor me out of fear that I’ll suddenly die if I told him about those.

He hums a tune I’ve never heard before as he follows me out of the office, his shadowy hand reaching out to tousle the hair on top of my head. I laugh and fix the ruined strands as he spins and heads down the hallway that leads to the kitchens.

Bouncing on my toes, I happily turn and face Gray’s office door. I try to hold back a cheesy grin as I gently push it open and peek inside. He’s on the phone, but waves me in with a smile and gestures for me to sit on his lap. I’m eager to do so, and happily sneak inside.

I haven’t spoken to him since our tense conversation this morning, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say he’s been avoiding me. As annoying as I found it, I’m grateful he gave me uninterrupted time to think.

Despite knowing I was purchased for the sole purpose of feeding Gray, somewhere along the line I grew comfortable and started to take back ownership of my body. It felt good having the power to deny him, and even better knowing he would respect it.

With a slow inhale, I remind myself that it’s still my body and I’m the one deciding to let him do this. I’m sure if I change my mind and realize this isn’t what I want, he’ll back off and respect my wishes.

My heart hammers in my chest as I tiptoe up to Gray and climb on his lap. His free arm wraps around my waist while the other continues to hold his phone to his ear.

I try to eavesdrop on his conversation, but the person on the other line is too quiet. With a defeated sigh, I lean into his chest and listen to his heartbeat instead. It thumps rhythmically, increasing slightly as I slide my fingertips up the hem of his shirt and rest them against the bare skin of his belly.

It’s strange to think about how far we’ve come since I was purchased, even if a part of me is still scared I’m being silly with my emotions towards him. I’ve never been in a relationship before, let alone had any sort of interaction with a male that wasn’t my father, and I don’t know what’s normal.

Are the things he’s asking of me reasonable, or am I naive and falling for some trick? My mom would have an answer to that.

He tells me he’s looking for her, and I wonder if it’s also silly for me to believe he’s actually doing that. He seems earnest.

My head spins as I sink further and further down the dark rabbit hole of my insecurities. Gray rubs slow circles against my back as he chats, and after a couple of minutes I hear him say goodbye and set his phone down on the desk.

I remain still as he bends to press a rough kiss to my cheek, his lips lingering for a moment before sliding to my mouth to give me a real one. I’m eager to return it, my mouth softening against his as I crane my neck so he has better access to me.

“You and Rock have a good time?” He asks as he pulls back.

I nod, always enjoying my study sessions with Rock. He’s kind and easy to be around, and I’m learning a lot more than I thought I would.

“What’s his real name? I feel awful calling him Rock.” I admit, laughing as my face warms in embarrassment.

Gray chuckles and tightens his hold on my waist. I cozy up to him, enjoying the warmth his body emits. I’ve noticed lately he’s been allowing more and more of his essence out when I’m around, and am excited that it’s not affecting me nearly as much as it once did.

If I think about it too long I’ll grow aroused and fidgety, but it fades into the background for the most part. Silas’s has been getting better, too, but I struggle with it a lot more. His makes me uncomfortable, my body wanting to submit and be small.

I can’t imagine what I would do if he evoked the same lust that Gray does.

I pull back with a gasp to stare at Gray as a shocking realization comes over me.

“Your real name isn’t Gray, is it?” I accuse him.

Instead of responding, he laughs and he digs his fingers into my sides in a sad attempt to tickle me. All it does is hurt, and I grunt and wiggle until he stops. He’s been trying to figure out how to do it since learning that Humans are ticklish, but hasn’t quite figured out that just jabbing his fingers in between my ribs isn’t how it’s correctly done.

Not that I’m going to correct him, though. I hate being tickled, and am very happy with him not knowing how to do it.

“It’s not, but I’ve grown to quite enjoy the name.” He lowly whispers as he brings his lips to my ear. “I associate it with your screams of pleasure.”

My body warms, but I refuse to give him the upper hand as I pull back and pretend his words aren’t affecting me. Cheeky fucker.

“What about Silas and Alex?” I probe.

Gray shrugs, his smile growing as a result of my interest in his friends. He practically beams as I scowl at him, my lips flattening in a straight line and eyebrows pulling together.

“Alex’s name is a bit different, but the translation we’ve given you is pretty close. Silas is truly Silas.” He explains.

“Why didn’t you just tell me your real names?” I ask, feeling guilty for having made them change it to something I’d understand.

Every time I feel like I’ve got them figured out, they turn around and hit me with another bombshell. I’d be more than offended if they decided to call me something else because my name was too hard for them, and hate that that’s what I’ve been unintentionally doing to them.

“They’re foreign to your kind. We picked new ones when we decided to go to the Human auction to purchase our female. We thought it would make her more comfortable.” Gray explains, his chipper mood remaining despite my rapidly souring one. “It’s really not that big of a deal. We’re old, and sometimes it’s fun to change it up.”

He rolls his eyes when I demand he tell me both his and Alex’s actual names.

“Alex is Aziel, and mine is none of your business. I like Gray. It’s both a color and a description.” He states with a proud smile.

“Aziel,” I repeat, fumbling through the letters.

Gray holds in a laugh at my pronunciation.

“Not quite. Say it with me: ay-z-ale.” He slowly explains, over-enunciating each part of the name.

My face is warm as I struggle my way through it a handful more times, my confidence growing as I get to a point where I can say it smoothly all in one go. Gray beams, his eyes soft as he shakes his head and denies me when I demand he tell me his too.

“Aziel’s going to cream himself when he hears you saying his true name. You’ve got a cute accent when you speak our language.” Gray confesses, his voice going low as he runs his hands up the length of my thighs.

I hum, a bit wary about how much that idea intrigues me.

“I came in here for a reason, you know?” I tease, changing the subject. “I wanted to ask you about female births.”

Gray hums, but doesn’t look surprised.

“Silas mentioned earlier that you were asking about it.” He murmurs.

I force myself to keep my expression flat as he shares this. Silas wouldn’t have mentioned anything if they genuinely weren’t hiding something from me. It wouldn’t have been a big enough deal for him to bother.

“I know you’re keeping something from me.” I state.

Gray’s eyebrows lift in surprise, his body language matching.

“What makes you say that?” He asks.

My jaw clenches at his question, unsure how to answer. There isn’t anything concrete I can point to that backs up my accusation. It’s just an inkling that something isn’t right.

“There were so many women at the party, and the men didn’t look at all surprised.” I eventually settle on.

Gray sighs, his hands sliding from the tops of my thighs to my hip bones. I wiggle slightly on his lap as he wraps his fingers around my sides, his large palms encompassing them completely.

“Yes. We’ve been lucky with female births recently. Would you rather we leer at and molest our women just because they’re rare?” Gray retorts, his eyes surprisingly hard. “Our customs encourage us to treat our females well, especially in Lust. You continue to compare us to the Humans and hunt for signs that we are lying to you, but we’re nothing like them.” He continues, his grip tightening.

I blink slowly as I absorb this, an uncomfortable feeling of guilt seeping into my bones. He does make a good point. I have been hammering them with endless questions without ever truly considering that maybe they’re just trying to be good people.

“Stop fretting, my love.” Gray whispers as he pulls me close and presses a soft kiss to my forehead.

My chest expands as I suck in a deep breath, and I relax with a slow exhale, deciding to trust in what he’s saying. He hasn’t given me a reason not to believe him.

“Have you had a chance to think about our conversation this morning?” He prompts, changing the subject.

I return my hands to their spot underneath his shirt, enjoying the feel of his smooth, muscular skin. He’s so soft, and I can’t hold back my smirk as his body reacts to my touch. The growing appendage in his pants digs into my butt as I continue my exploration, but Gray remains patient and holds still for me.

“I did.” I eventually whisper, pulling back so I can look up at him through my lashes.

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Read the completed book 1 (50 chaps) & ongoing book 2 (15+ chaps) on Patreon! patreon.com/inviwright

Also, ya girl finally made an Instagram so I can share character aesthetics & fun updates with you all. Username is inviwright!

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