The Female

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Chapter 36 - Newcomer

CHARLOTTE

I huff as the sound of yelling downstairs makes its way to my ears, and rub at my eyes as I sit up in bed. My heart drops as I turn and look for Gray, only to be met with the sight of an empty bed. He’s nowhere to be seen, and I frown as I reach out and touch the spot where he usually sleeps.

Cold.

My limbs flail as I angrily crawl out from underneath the sheets and head to the door. He promised me he wouldn’t say anything to Silas about what happened tonight, and I should’ve known better than to trust him to drop it.

I’m humiliated enough as it is, and don’t need him making it worse by trying to fight for my honor. I knew better than to launch myself at Silas so desperately, and can’t believe I let my momentary excitement over the female news cloud my judgment.

At least Silas was kind in his rejection.

His words were hard to hear, but he’s entitled to his opinion. I understand why he wouldn’t want to date a purchased female that’s not even a tenth of his age.

I wouldn’t be interested either if I was in his position.

My heart thumps in my chest as I sneak down the stairs and through the dining room. My bare feet patter quietly against the floor as I move, and I wrap my arms around myself in response to the slight shiver of fear the dark house brings. It wouldn’t kill these men to get some nightlights.

I peer around the corner and down the hallway where the noises are coming from. It sounds like it’s coming from Aziel’s office, and I tiptoe closer as Gray lets out a frustrated shout.

“You’re out of your goddamn mind, and I’m not going to fucking do it.” Gray snaps.

His voice is laced with more anger than I’ve ever heard from him before, the sound of it a bit scary. Gray’s quick to worry and have his feelings hurt, but rarely does he grow genuinely angry. That emotion is reserved for Aziel.

There’s murmuring I can’t quite make out as I continue my slow approach, but the voice is unmistakably Aziel’s. My hands grow clammy at the knowledge that he’s back, but I push away my fear as I peer through the crack in the doorway.

“I don’t care. It’s not going to happen!” Gray scoffs.

My eyes widen as I take in the sight in front of me, my thoughts racing a million miles a minute. What have I missed?

Gray stands in the center of the room shirtless, his back turned toward me as he stares at Aziel’s desk. His body’s blocking the view of the older Demon, but I don’t care much to see Aziel anyway and shift my attention to Silas.

The sight of the Fate has me doing a double-take. He leans against the side wall staring directly at me, a frown on his lips as he watches me peering in on them. His entire face and neck are covered in smeared blood, and he reaches up to wipe away a tiny droplet that drips out of his nose.

What the fuck happened?

I can’t help but note that he’s also shirtless, and sports a large bloody handprint on his side. Maybe he was the one who went and brought Aziel back, causing the Wrath to attack him as he did to Gray before leaving.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. Aziel has a concerning tendency to resort to violence.

“You can come in.” He says, his voice cutting through the arguing between Gray and Aziel.

The room goes dead silent as Gray turns toward me. The livid look on his face softens, and he opens his arms in a gesture for me to come to him. I gulp, my hand shaky as I push open the door and step inside.

The essence in this room is overwhelming to my senses, but I do the trick that Aziel taught me and breathe in slowly through my nose. It helps only slightly, but is just enough to keep me from hunching over.

I happily slot myself in Gray’s arms before turning to look at Aziel, my entire body freezing at the sight.

He sits behind his desk with a fat grin on his face. It’s hard to notice it behind all the blood that coats his skin, and I have only a second to worry about the state of the furniture he sits on before sliding my gaze to the familiar woman on his lap.

I suck in my cheeks to hide the explosive anger that erupts within me at the sight of them. Of all the women to bring here, he chooses Shay?

She smirks and waves in my direction as I struggle to wrap my brain around what’s happening. I was under the impression that he didn’t like her, but suppose I was wrong in that assumption.

“What’s going on?” I ask.

Gray scoffs and velcros himself to my back. I remain stiff as he wraps his arms around my waist and holds me to his chest.

“I agree with Gray. I’m not doing this.” Silas speaks up, ignoring my earlier question.

I crane my neck and look to Gray for answers. He refuses to make eye contact with me, and I scowl before growing desperate and looking to Aziel. Are they seriously just going to ignore me?

I’m not stupid, and am fully aware that another woman on Aziel’s lap doesn’t look good for me. He’s the only thing standing in the way of Lust, and without his claim I doubt the Incubus will wait long to swoop in and try to steal me away to spite Gray.

Aziel seems eerily calm as he watches me look for answers between all three men.

“I didn’t realize you were back.” I say to Aziel.

“Just got back tonight.” He responds, gesturing to the Demon in his lap. “This is Shay.”

I nod, trying to hide my growing annoyance.

“We’ve met.” I politely state between clenched teeth. “Or have you forgotten, Aziel, when she tried to kill me?”

There’s silence on Aziel’s end as he stares at me through narrowed eyes, the muscle in his jaw jumping as he looks me head to toe. I cross my arms over my chest to hide my exposed body, unappreciative of his wandering eyes.

Shay turns to glare at him before shifting and readjusting herself on his lap. I refuse to look at her, not wanting to provoke the Demon into attacking me again.

Aziel sucks in a sharp breath before shaking his head and plastering a wide grin on his face.

“Yes, well, that was just a misunderstanding. We’ve decided to take her as our bonded female.” He explains, speaking slowly as if addressing a child.

I gulp, my mind going blank. Just hours ago, Gray was tucking me into bed and whispering sweet assurances into my ear, and now he’s planning on bonding another woman?

My body stiffens as I angrily step forward out of his hold.

“We haven’t decided on anything. I don’t fucking want her.” Gray snaps.

His arms return to my waist a second later, pulling me back into his protective hold as he continues to stand off against Aziel. My throat runs dry as I look around the room for further clarification.

What the fuck is going on?

I didn’t even know Aziel was back, let alone with some female he intends to bond. I hope my facial expression and body posture don’t give away just how frightened and crestfallen I am.

It was stupid to have thought for even a moment that they’d genuinely consider me. If Silas’s painful and humiliating rejection of me earlier wasn’t a sign enough, then this sure is.

I should never have let Gray get into my head with his whispered compliments and promises.

I sniff and turn to Silas when he clears his throat. He seems stressed as he lifts his hand to run through his hair, the slight tremor in his arm shocking. Did he and Aziel get into a fight or something?

It would make sense considering they’re both covered in blood. I didn’t take Silas as the type of person to resort to physical blows, assuming that was more of a Gray and Aziel thing.

I clearly don’t know these men at all.

Silas refuses to look in my direction as he steps forward and rakes his gaze down Shay’s form. I try not to be hurt by it, and purse my lips as I watch him adjust and do the same to Aziel.

“You’re embarrassing yourself.” He simply states.

Aziel frowns, his full lips tugging down at the corners before he shrugs and the negative emotion vanishes.

“I most definitely am not. I saw Shay in the pits a few days ago and just knew that she was the one for us. She was so scared down there all alone, weren’t you?” He coos, directing the last bit of his sentence in her direction.

I resist the urge to vomit at the sickly sweet voice he uses.

“Yeah. I went down to apologize but was taken by some other Wraths before finding him. Aziel saved my life, and we found a connection as he’s taught me how to fight and protect myself in the pits.” She’s quick to spew out.

Gray practically growls as he drops his chin on my head and yanks me even further into his arms. Even Silas takes a step toward me in response to Shay’s words. I’m surprised by the reaction, but don’t question it.

I’ll take all the support I can get at the moment.

Aziel hardly seems to notice, or care, as he eagerly launches back into an explanation.

“She’s the perfect female for us. Shay’s strong, intelligent, high-bred. I’m willing to wait for you two to come to your senses, but let it be known that we will be bonding her sooner rather than later.” Aziel lowly states.

Gray scoffs, and Silas shakes his head.

“We don’t want her.” Silas argues. Gray’s quick to give his agreement to the statement.

Shay seems to take offense as she straightens up and shoots the Fate a dirty glare.

“That’s not what two you were saying when you were taking turns fucking me all those years ago.” She snaps.

I bristle within Gray’s arms, but do my best to keep my face flat and void of any strong emotions. Acting like the unhinged woman that Aziel so clearly thinks that I am isn’t going to get me anywhere. I still need his protection.

Although, now that he’ll be bonding Shay, I doubt it’ll take long for word to spread that I’m fair game. Shay may not be from the Lust kingdom, but it’s evident that she’s close with them. I’m sure she’ll be running there to give them the good news the moment she’s alone.

All three men in the room ignore her.

“I don’t see why this is such a big deal.” Aziel is the first to speak up. “I have gone through the trouble of finding a female that all three of us will enjoy. You should be grateful.”

Shay smiles as she looks between Gray and Silas, the cocky glint in her eye infuriating. I may not have a claim on Silas, but Gray is mine.

That’s the only thought rushing through my head as I grab his arms that wrap around my belly and hug them to my chest. Gray’s chest vibrates against my back at the subtle claim, and I take that as a good sign as I dig my fingers into his forearm and grip them tightly.

“I will not enjoy her.” Gray argues.

Aziel laughs.

“You already have.” He quips.

I hope they can’t hear my racing heart as Gray falls silent behind me. Is he considering this, or just no longer engaging in the argument? It’s clear Aziel isn’t going to change his mind, and given that it’s three in the morning, I doubt they’re going to get anywhere tonight.

No meaningful change has ever happened at the hands of three tired, grumpy old men.

“You’re being incredibly transparent, Aziel. While I’ve come to accept that you like to lash out like a child, this is a new low. I will not be taking Shay, so you can either rid of her or rid of us.” Silas steps in.

I gulp, rejoicing over the fact that he’s fighting this.

Aziel appears genuinely shocked for a moment, his eyes widening before narrowing in on the Fate. He turns his attention to Gray for confirmation, an angry snarl spreading across his lips as I feel the Incubus’s head nod on top of mine.

“You choose the Human over me?” He spits.

Silas scoffs. “In a sad attempt to distance yourself from Charlie, you are choosing Shay over us. We have not shifted our stance. You are the one moving it and expecting us to follow.”

“You overestimate my emotions toward the Human. This timing is purely coincidental.” Aziel retorts, ignoring everything else Silas said.

Silas blinks, but doesn’t respond.

Even I have to admit that the shift from not wanting a female, to almost bonding himself to me and running away, and now coming back with Shay is too coincidental to ignore. I would’ve never said it myself, but it does seem like he’s doing this in an unfortunate attempt to hide his feelings for me.

For being old as dirt, he sure does act like a petulant child at times. I suppose that’s just the attitude that comes with being the son of one of the most powerful beings and having not been told no enough as a child.

I feel bad for the female that he ends up with, because after this display it sure as hell won’t be me. I may have considered it in a moment of temporary weakness, but a man this insecure and scared over his own emotions isn’t one I’m interested in.

Gray lets out a loud scoff as Aziel places his fingers underneath Shay’s chin and turns her face toward him. She preens underneath the gentle touch and leans forward to presses her lips to his.

I watch, disgusted.

I can see Silas turn to look at me out of my peripheral vision, but I ignore his stare as Gray turns me around and nudges me toward the door.

“Let’s go back to bed.” He whispers. “Silas will stay and watch.”

My heart drops. “Stay and watch?”

Gray hums, the noise quiet and sad.

“Yeah, to make sure that Aziel doesn’t do anything stupid and trigger the bond.” He admits. “I’m sorry he kissed her in front of you. Wraths tend to be more vengeful than the other breeds, but this is unexpected even from him.”

He thinks I’m upset by this? Admittedly I am, but I refuse to let it be shown as I laugh and wave the concern away.

“I don’t give a fuck what Aziel does.” I’m quick to inform him.

Gray hums and picks me up in his arms. My legs wrap around his waist as his hands move beneath my thighs to hold me in place.

“You know Silas and I won’t let anything happen to you, right?” He probes.

I nod, hoping what Silas said to Aziel was true. I doubt Aziel will follow through without their blessing. The man’s a dick, but I’m willing to bet that he cares more for Gray and Silas than he does fucking Shay.

“When’s he leaving again?” I ask instead.

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I’m sorry! On a happier note- next chapter’s Aziel’s POV

Read 5 months ahead on Patreon! patreon.com/inviwright

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