The Female

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Chapter 38 - Breakfast

CHARLOTTE

I stab at the eggs on my plate while the three men continue arguing amongst themselves. There’s not one good reason why Gray dragged me here for breakfast, and I sure as shit don’t appreciate him forcing me to be around everybody.

I’m still recovering from Silas’s painful rejection, and now I’ve got to sit here listening to Aziel and Shay coo at one another like fucking birds. It’s nauseating, and I don’t understand how Gray and Silas have put up with him for the past hundred-something years.

“Is your plan just to sit here and glare at me this entire meal?” Aziel calmly states.

I glance up from my plate to see who he’s speaking to, my eyes widening as I realize he’s speaking to both Gray and Silas. Lifting my head, I turn to look at both of them, a slight smirk playing on my lips at the sight of their angry stares.

Both men sit on either side of me, thanks to Gray who forced me between them, and look just as miserable as I feel inside. Even Aziel and Shay look stiff and uncomfortable, their backs straight and knuckles white from how hard they’re gripping the silverware. Gray scoffs and readjusts in his chair, his arm brushing up against mine in the process.

Good. It serves them right to be miserable.

Shay turns and makes eye contact with me in what feels like a challenging gesture. I return the stare, angry, before thinking better of it and dropping my gaze to the table. These people aren’t my family, and I’d be stupid to go around acting all cocky. While my mother and father might have gotten angry and yelled, these Demons are quick to blow past all reasonable responses and jump straight into fighting and murder.

I’m smaller and weaker than them, and at the end of the day need to stay in their good graces. Especially if I want Aziel to continue protecting me. My goal is to remain as inconspicuous as possible in the hopes they simply forget I’m here and leave me alone.

It worked when my parents were arguing, and I hope it works on these men, too.

Silas reaches over me to grab another hashbrown, and I hurriedly lean back to avoid bumping into his arm. Other than some very uncomfortable glances, we haven’t spoken to one another since his painful rejection. I’m more than okay with that, though. The last thing I want is to hear him explain in more detail why he doesn’t want me. I got the memo last time.

He remains silent as he pulls back and drops one of the larger hashbrowns on my plate.

I stare at it, my eyebrows pulling together as he gruffly tells me to eat.

This man’s giving me whiplash. I try not to look too annoyed as I reach down and shove my fork into the potato heaven. I’m only doing this because I love hash browns and wanted another one anyway.

“How domestic.” Aziel comments.

I frown, but stay silent. Despite what Gray’s said, I hope he’s wrong and Aziel leaves again soon. It’s only a matter of time before he finds himself irrationally angry about something and storms to the pits. Maybe next time he’ll come back with a better attitude.

I want Aziel and his mean Demon witch out of here.

My original hope for today was to badger Gray for more information on the females and learn all about their plans to help my gender, but now I fear I won’t get the chance. It’s hard to get any information out of these men on a good day, and already know I won’t get even a crumb when they’re angry.

Nonetheless, the slight bit I learned from Silas is enough to have me bouncing on my toes. I just hope they let me participate in whatever it is they’re doing.

I may not be the most educated person out there, but I’ve sure got spirit and am willing to put in the work.

I’d try to pull some more details from Silas if I hadn’t embarrassed myself so much last night. He doesn’t seem eager to tease or hold it over my head, though, so hopefully it’ll be forgotten in a couple of days and we can go back to normal.

The silence in the room is deafening, the only noise being the quiet scraping of silverware against plates and the occasional sigh. This is potentially the most uncomfortable, melodramatic meal I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through.

Although maybe now that Gray realizes how awful it is, he won’t drag me to another. I’d much rather eat in my room or office.

“This food is actually pretty good. Do the Humans eat this all the time?” Shay chirps out.

I glance up from my plate, frowning as I realize she’s looking directly at me.

“Some do.” I state.

She hums before stabbing an egg and lifting it curiously in the air. The food dangles dangerously before slipping off and landing on her plate with a wet slap. I cringe at the sound.

“Well, I can honestly say I’m surprised. I was under the impression you guys ate nothing but trash. Gray and I used to crack jokes about the Human slop.” She snorts.

Aziel chuckles at her joke, but otherwise she receives no response. How am I supposed to respond to that? Thanks?

Shay turns and beams at Aziel, visibly happy that he found her words funny. It’s hard to tell if he actually likes her or if he’s just doing this in an attempt to hide his slight feelings for me. Although at this point I’m no longer confident in my earlier assumption that he has any softness in his heart for me.

And to think I was going to apologize to him.

For all I know, he’s striking up a deal with Lust or reaching out to the auction houses to try and get a quote on me. Gray promises he won’t do that, but I’m not so sure. Aziel hates me for absolutely no reason. I’ve never done anything mean or hurtful to him, and am simply just existing in his space.

I’m probably worth a pretty penny since I’m still a virgin, too. I should give in and fuck Gray just to spite him.

You can sell me, but you sure as hell won’t get back any of the money you paid to buy me.

“Gray, remember when we were drunk and you licked eggs out-” Shay starts, but is interrupted by Gray before she can finish.

“How long do you plan to keep this little charade on for?” He snaps at Aziel.

Aziel frowns, looking confused.

“What charade?” He asks.

I jump as Gray slams his fists against the table and jolts all the silverware. The tension in this room is unbearable, and I have trouble understanding why Gray even insisted we all eat together in the first place.

I get it’s in his nature to want to comfort everybody and have us all get along, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. I don’t care who Aziel decides to spend his time with, but I refuse to sit around and play house with the woman that started the drama that almost had me killed.

Besides, her constant glances toward Gray and Silas are grating my nerves. I trust Gray isn’t going to touch her, and believe him when he says that I’m his only female, but I don’t hold that same confidence toward Silas.

The man has already made it plain and clear he doesn’t want me, and given what Shay said last night about him and Gray taking turns with her, I assume that means he’s already fucked her.

If Silas decides to switch sides and agree to bond Shay, I’m screwed. Gray can’t protect me on his own, and I doubt he’d continue to fight them if they start teaming up against him.

“This is really embarrassing for you, Aziel.” Silas mutters.

“What is? The fact that he found a woman who can help lead his people?” Shay snaps, her flirty gaze disappearing into one full of anger. “Your Human will die soon enough, and Aziel and I are willing to wait for you two to come around.”

My face flushes as I drop my gaze to the table. I don’t need the constant reminders that my life is nothing compared to theirs, and I hate how they talk so casually about my death. Even Gray doesn’t seem to be off-put by the topic.

I’m sure when you live for so long your view on death is different, but I’m still uncomfortable with the thought of it. I don’t want to die, and they act as if I’m expiring tomorrow or something. I’ve still got a good sixty or seventy years left in me.

As much as I hate to admit it, though, Shay makes a good point. She would make a good leader, and once I’m gone there isn’t much holding them back from taking her. She just needs to wait it out.

My options here were already limited, and are even more so now that Aziel’s found himself a female. A small part of me was admittedly considering the possibility of becoming the bonded female for the three of them, but Shay’s thrown a wrench in those plans. I thought I already had Aziel in the bag and that Silas would be the one I had to convince, but now Aziel’s out of the picture and Silas is far from interested. I don’t have a leg to stand on here.

Not that I even want one, though.

Aziel can shove whatever thoughts he may have of bonding me far up his ass. He’s a dick, and I’d rather live my sad, short life than have to spend eternity with him. My jaw clenches shut as I secretly glare at him, angry with how much he makes my blood boil. I need to stop letting him affect me so much.

“Are you not hungry?” Gray whispers in my ear. “You want another hashbrown?”

My lips purse as I glance at my full plate, my appetite nonexistent. Gray sighs quietly to himself before reaching forward and pushing a strand of hair behind my ear. I smile at the kind action.

Gray’s a good man, and I should be grateful that I have him. There’s no point sitting here dwelling over what he’ll do after I die. I may hate it, but at the end of the day he and Shay had a relationship that will probably be continued once I’m no longer here.

He deserves to be happy when I’m gone.

Gray looks pained as he watches my thoughts flicker across my face. I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on in my head.

“You’re my female.” He assures me with a soft smile. “That’s not going to change because Shay’s here. Aziel doesn’t even like her, and I’m sure she’ll be gone soon enough.” He says, not even trying to be discreet in his promises to me.

While I usually appreciate them, now is not the time for him to publicly address my insecurities.

“Thank you, Gray.” I mumble between clenched teeth.

If I could shift as they do, I’d be long gone by now. I don’t even know where I’d go, but I figure I’ll be happy in any place that’s warm and free of the four Demons staring at me right now.

Once more the room is sent into a tense silence. It’s painful and makes my skin itch, and I continue mindlessly poking the food on my plate before I push my chair back and jump to my feet. All the attention to the room turns to me as I clear my throat and gesture to the doorway leading to our offices.

“I should get going. Rock’s waiting for me.” I mutter, lying.

Rock doesn’t tutor me on the weekends, but I doubt Aziel or Shay know or that Silas and Gray will call me out. I just need to leave before I blow a casket. Nobody comments on my statement, and with a relieved sigh I turn and run from the room.

Gray stands and follows as I make my escape. I’m thankful he doesn’t say anything or try to stop me, but realize that relief was felt too quickly as I round the corner and am pulled back into his hard chest.

Gray steps forward so we’re out of everybody’s sight before spinning me around to face him and shoving my face into his shirt. I gasp at the sudden contact, continually surprised by how quickly he moves.

He says nothing as he buries his face in my hair and breathes in my scent, and I instinctively tense up before sighing and relaxing once more. I refuse to let myself get upset and cry, and bite my bottom lip to distract myself with physical pain.

“Shay’s nothing to us, Charlie.” He whispers.

I open my mouth, ready to argue, before realizing he can literally smell how I’m feeling and that’s why he keeps assuring me of this. My pulse races. If he can, then that means everybody else probably can too. That would explain Shay’s smirk the entire meal. She probably thrives off of smelling my jealousy.

“I’m not going to eat with them again.” I state, uncaring how dramatic it makes me look.

Gray pulls back and looks down at me before responding, his eyes darting all along my face. My chin dimples and my bottom lip wobbles, but I hold my ground. This place is enormous, and there are plenty of places for me to sit down and eat.

He doesn’t have to join me if he doesn’t want to, but I refuse to suffer because Aziel’s in the mood for a dick-measuring contest with his males.

“Okay, you don’t have to.” He finally agrees with a soft kiss to my lips.

I sigh and lean into his touch, my eyes slipping shut as he tilts his head and deepens it. His tongue grazes against mine as he grabs my thighs and hoists me up onto his hips. I gasp, ignoring his chuckle as he turns and begins walking in the direction of his office.

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Charlie’s a little dramatic but I like it

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