2. A Night to Forget, and Remember

Chapter 2

A Night to Forget, and Remember

            We had to ensure that all the fighting had ended and that the knights were aware that there was a new king on the throne. Once that was done, everything calmed down quickly and they began preparing for the coronation feast and the public announcements. The body of the fallen king was gathered, stuffed into a wooden coffin, and sent out to the royal catacombs. Some lingered to pray for his soul- even I paid my respects to him. Even though I didn’t know the man, I felt some responsibility for his death since it was my gun that was used to end his life.

Satel caught on quickly that I wasn’t feeling well and was willing to take me home early, but I persuaded him to stay a little longer. I wasn’t sure if I refused as a peace offering for the boy so he could spend his last moments with his former master, or if I was letting Satel have a few more hours to revel in his pride. Despite the fact that Garroe was going to take care of the boy, he still had much to be proud of. He was, after all, the one who taught the boy for most of his life.

I didn’t stay for the festivities, knowing that the new king was only going to find some way to heckle me in front of my mate. Plus, I wasn’t in a celebratory mood. I wanted to wash my hands of this affair, but I couldn’t help but feel as if I had done something wrong. I wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger- but I did take part in placing that spoiled brat on the throne. I suppose if I felt like we were doing the greater good, then I wouldn’t mind having that man’s blood on my hands.

Usually, I would go to Lioa to help sort out my feelings, but since she was still in the homestead, most likely preparing my dinner, I had to turn to someone else. Cegil was also someone I turned to when I was feeling troubled, but he helped in a different way by offering advice or saying nice things to make me feel better. I appreciated his wisdom, too, but most of my problems involved feelings- something he wasn’t that well versed in. However, since my issues involved the inner workings of falucite society, Cegil was probably the better choice in this case.

Since he and Garroe possessed typical falucite features that were uncommon among humans, they chose to watch the festivities from the shadows so they wouldn’t attract attention. Of course, Garroe only had to worry about his pastel hair color- Cegil also had his eight-foot height that made everyone notice him in an instant.

It wasn’t that hard to find him- despite his efforts to stay of out sight, many maids noticed him and frantically whispered about his presence. Instead of lurking in the dark corners of the ballroom, he chose to play sentinel in one of the many halls. He picked out a lovely spot- it was one of the outer halls where one side possessed arched windows so that anyone passing could view the rest of the castle proper.

The height of said hall was exactly eight feet (or so I had heard), so the crown of his head almost brushed against the roof- meaning that he himself wasn’t exactly eight feet. Maybe he was more seven feet and nine to ten inches. Still, he had to watch out for any hanging fixtures and the like.

Cegil had changed a little in the near three years since he rejoined the clan. He was much less stoic than before and learned to control his anger before the elders. He still wore muted colored vests and a black puff tie, but now he tied back his hair in a very loose ponytail with the black tie hanging just below the back lapel of his frock coat.

“You do not appear in good spirits. Is something the matter?” he questioned me as I approached him.

“How do you know that I’m not happy? You’re not looking at me,” I countered half-teasingly. He knew me too well- for seven years he had been my surrogate father, and since I had mated, he became my brother-in-law. It was still a change that I was getting used to, but I was happy enough that he got to stay in my life. Titles were meaningless anyway.

“I need not witness your countenance when you bear such a heavy solemn presence,” he replied in his practiced flowery language before he finally turned his head to gaze down at me. Seeing the gentle smile on his face was enough to make me crack a small grin, but it wasn’t enough to take away my concerns.

“Cegil, do you think it’s a good idea to let that boy rule? He seems too… immature and spoiled,” I told him, wanting to get his view on the matter. I know Garroe promised that he would tutor the boy, but how was he so sure he would listen to him? The boy seemed quite enamored of Satel, so he might dismiss everything Garroe might teach him.

The giant man raised an eyebrow. “What is that saying you humans use? ‘That’s the pot calling the kettle black’?”

I let out a short chuckle over that. Cegil was right- I wasn’t that mature myself, and I knew I had no right to insinuate that I knew how to rule a kingdom. “Okay, I won’t deny that- but it still doesn’t change the fact that the boy might be too harmful to the people before he gets a clue.”

“Tia? Worried about other humans? Are you well?” he queried while hiding a short laugh.

“Oh knock it off!” I snarled as I crossed my arms. Though he was right to be ‘concerned’ about my behavior- I may have come a long way in accepting myself and some of humanity, but I wasn’t really at that stage to care about their general well-being. I suppose I was just worried about the consequences. I already felt that the other king’s death was partly my responsibility. If that boy should destroy more lives, then it would be on my hands, too, wouldn’t it? I was scared of feeling that overwhelming guilt again.

“If young Jeruseth should act in a manner that defies us, then we will simply replace him with someone who will take the role of king seriously. He is in no position to treat his subjects poorly or fall victim to greed, lest he wishes to share the same fate as the king before him,” Cegil finally added to reassure me.

Oh, was that his name? Bleh- too ‘noble’ for me. Far be it for me to not trust Cegil, but I couldn’t stop that lingering thought that we might’ve made a mistake. Maybe Jeruseth could grow up as a fine king and hopefully Garroe could control him enough to prevent him from harming others. But what was wrong with the man who had to die?

“I’m not trying to criticize the practice of your people, but is it so bad to let one human king rule without your help? How is this any different from what the Fates do?” I inquired, hoping that I wouldn’t offend him. I already knew one difference between the falucite and Fates in that the falucite are actually enforcing their rules. But they were still telling humans what to do just like the immortals.

“It is not so much that we wish to control the throne- we merely want to establish order. Had the former king set his sights upon helping the less fortunate, we may have left him alone. We had to intervene because he was only focusing on the wealthy. If this were to continue, a revolt would be a likely result,” Cegil explained, still sounding calm. I was relieved that I hadn’t upset him- he hated the Fates so much that I worried that my comparison wouldn’t have been taken lightly.

“I see… I suppose it’s for the best then,” I mumbled as I glanced out at the sights. I wasn’t briefed too much on the inner workings since I was trying to avoid being part of the mission. Had the elders not declare this a ‘family’ problem, I probably would’ve escaped it. Then again, if I had a falcie, then I suppose I would’ve been excused like Didra was- not that I wanted to bear children any time soon.

“Are you still not convinced?” the lavender haired falucite inquired after my response. I still sounded depressed, but I was more or less satisfied that we had done the right thing- at least in the sense of removing the other king. I was still skeptical of the boy, but that was out of my personal dislike of him.

“I understand and I agree with what you’ve said. …I guess I just don’t know why I’m feeling this way,” I admitted before I allowed my eyes to drift down to stare at the royal purple rug that lined the hall.

“You always act in this manner when you witness a death- perhaps you are feeling guilt?” Cegil guessed before he finally moved to face me fully. “Maybe you need to speak with Miss Lioa to sort out your feelings. I can take you to her if you wish.”

Cegil was still something of a father figure to me even though he was my brother now- and Lioa has become something of a mother figure to me. I found it a little amusing how they both seemed to work together in helping me. If one couldn’t solve my problem, they would send me to the other.

I managed to smile again before I shook my head. “No thanks. She must be busy right about now. Besides, I don’t want to leave Satel during his proudest moment.”

Of course, what good was staying around and moping? Surely Satel couldn’t enjoy himself with me around- but he was the type to drop everything for me. I had to firmly insist that I was fine at times to ensure that he finished his obligations to the clan.

“I do not believe that he views this day any less gratifying than the last. From what I understand, he had lost interest in Jeruseth shortly after meeting you. He had, thankfully, spent a great deal of time to teach him beforehand, but I do not believe his ascension to the to the throne matters to Satel,” the tall man commented after reflecting on my words.

“…No but it did bring him some bragging rights,” I muttered with a rueful grin. There was no question that the blond man was lording it over everyone when it was decided that his pet would become king. Neglect aside, the fact that Jeruseth was chosen was a reflection of his own success in training him.

“That is true,” Cegil assented, “But it should not last- after all, Garroe was the one who made the ultimate decision. That alone takes away some of his delight.”

I hadn’t thought of that- with Garroe ‘bringing it upon himself’ in a way, Satel could only pick on Maetira over the choice. Unfortunately for him, she didn’t give a damn. Maybe his act was more for me so I would notice and praise him. Heh- yeah right. He should know better…

“Still, I feel that I should stay for his sake. I don’t want him worrying over me all night when there’s nothing he can do about it,” I replied while inwardly wondering why I was so keen on staying. I really did want to go home, but something was holding me back.

“Don’t be silly, ‘Tia-dear, I’d always worry about you when you’re not happy.”

I jumped before I whirled around to face Satel. He was no more than three feet away and was carrying a flute of white wine in his right hand. He must’ve just shown up- if he had been lurking then I would’ve sensed him already. The über hat man soon gave me the glass before he draped his arm over my shoulders and pulled me close.

“I’ve had my fill of this place, so I don’t mind taking you home. Besides, we’re still expected to show up for dinner- might as well take the time to change and freshen up,” Satel added to further reassure me that it was okay to leave.

Every night, the entire clan almost miraculously fit into a humongous dining room with a very long table. The elders agreed to hold off for us since we were expected to return a little later. It was actually quite the sight to see since there were so many clan members- it was even more shocking that it was possible to hold a conversation despite the crowded table.

“Have you said your farewells to Jeruseth? He does seem to look up to you, so he may appreciate some acknowledgement before you leave his life,” Cegil inquired as Satel began fidgeting with the netted veil that I still had hanging over half my face.

“Mm-hm…” He sounded like he was confirming, but Cegil and I both knew he wasn’t paying attention. He was more interested in moving as much of my veil out of the way so he could see my face.

“Satel!” the lavender haired man barked gently to attract his attention.

“I apologize- did you say something?” my mate asked pleasantly as he turned his eyes away from me and to his brother.

Cegil let out a sigh before intoning, “At least pretend that you care about your noble- should he discover that Tia was the reason you have neglected him, he may resent her.”

…Something told me that the boy already knew, or at least suspected it- it would make sense given his behavior towards me.

“There’s nothing more I can teach him, so I have no reason to worry over him,” the blond responded with a scoff. He then cradled my chin with his free hand and gazed at me with a smirk. “Besides, Jeruseth is nowhere near as beautiful or interesting as my sirsa.”

I didn’t like the little snot, but that was cold- then again, Satel was a falucite with little to no interest in humans outside of his missions. I was apparently the only exception to his little world. The boy was most likely not the first he had dismissed in this manner.

I had mixed feelings over his declaration. Some part of me worried that he would one day dismiss me as well should his feelings for me wane. Another was a little disturbed by how he was acting as if I was some priceless jewel in his possession. But I did have a tiny feeling of happiness that he consistently picked me over many other people in his life. He always had a way of making me feel important to him.

However, I was still feeling two negative emotions over one, so I twisted my head away from his careful hold. “Knock it off.”

I then took a sip of the wine to further dissuade him from more intimate contact. Of course, my other excuse for my cold behavior was because Cegil was still here. There was no way I was going to allow public affection in front of him- I’d die of embarrassment. Whether he was my father or my brother, he liked to tease me.

“Don’t be that way,” Satel chided sweetly before he pressed his thin lips against my cheek. I don’t know why I even bother to push him away- he’d just ignore my attempts and kiss me anyway.

“Sorry,” I muttered as I tried to move away from him. He kept a good grip on me, preventing me from getting far- not that I really wanted to escape him that badly. I was actually apologizing for my behavior, but my actions made it seem like I was just refusing him again.

“Tia is merely melancholy and tired- you should take her home,” Cegil insisted, also seemingly pushing me to accept Satel’s offer. I was being rather stubborn- I did want to leave, but there was just something inside me that was just begging to stay. I didn’t understand it, but it was almost as if I was experiencing someone else’s feelings. …But that was just crazy. I am me- there’s no one ‘else’ inside me.

Suddenly, my eyes caught sight of the moon. It was just rising over the horizon and was at the first quarter. For some reason, I couldn’t look away- though I suppose I always had some difficulty pulling away from its beauty. I must’ve completely zoned out because the next thing I knew, Satel was shaking me gently to get my attention.

“Well, she didn’t say ‘no’,” the blond said jovially to his brother before he faced me, “We’re leaving.”

He must’ve asked me a question and I was too out of it to answer. I still wasn’t completely there as Satel gave Cegil my wine glass and then tipped his hat to him. Before I knew it, he teleported us away and back to the homestead.

But sometimes I wonder if those strange feelings were the first sign of what’s to come. Something was trying to get my attention and guide me back to Elit.

********************

Almost immediately after appearing in our bedchambers, Satel whirled me around so that our chests were touching. He then plucked the hat from my head before loosening my hair with his magicks. When he was satisfied, he practically draped me over his arm as he kissed me deeply.

Now that we were finally alone, I allowed myself to relax in his embrace. I wasn’t sure what was making him this aggressively amorous, but it was quickly making me forget my depressive mood from before. I could say that I wholly appreciated the comfort he gave me- and it didn’t have to lead to sex for me to feel better. I simply liked the comfort of being held by him.

“So my sirsa…” he uttered between short kisses as he made a line down to my throat, “What is ailing you? Was it the mission? Or did my pet cause you distress?”

“No- at least I don’t think so. I’ll tell you when I figure it out myself,” I replied, knowing that he would accept that. Satel understood that sometimes I just felt things that I couldn’t explain. Unlike him, I didn’t have falucite instincts or anything to guide me. All I had was Lioa to help me sort out my feelings, but I was certain that I wasn’t going to be able to see her now- not while Satel had me in his grasp anyway.

“Is that so? Well that’s a pity because I’m about to make you forget everything,” he told me as he suddenly shifted to stand behind me. “Your attire is driving me utterly mad.”

Oh. So that’s why he was acting as if he couldn’t control himself. I wasn’t sure what about my clothing that was putting him in the mood. Was it the skintight top, or the fact that I was wearing ladies undergarments for once in my life? I had fought valiantly against wearing a hoop skirt and a corset, but he’d somehow manipulated me into them. That conniving bastard…

Of course, it might’ve been the fact that I was wearing my clothes like a proper lady instead of showing off my trousers like usual. He’d often pay thrice as much attention to me when I was in a full dress or a buttoned-to-the-hem skirt- not that he didn’t approve of my preferences.

Instead of using his magicks, he chose to unbutton my blouse with his fingers and worked at an agonizingly slow pace. I had to shake my head to break free of the building heat he was creating so that I wouldn’t allow him to go too far. “Don’t forget that we still have dinner to attend. We don’t have time to mate.”

“I know,” he purred when he reached the last button and began parting the thick velvet fabric. “But I fear that I don’t particularly care.”

“Satel!” I growled to show that I wasn’t going to let him miss our nightly obligations to the clan. I didn’t particularly care if we disappoint the elders by showing up late, but I was starting to feel hungry.

I only earned a chuckle from him as he pulled off my top layer and revealed my white camisole and the upper half of the corset he managed to get on me. Actually, it was Lioa who dressed me after I was convinced that it was important for me to put on those contraptions. She was kind enough not to tie the corset tightly- she only did enough to where it fit snugly against my skin and molded well enough so that it wouldn’t be seen under my tight blouse.

But even though it wasn’t as tight as it should’ve been, it still did enough to push up my breasts and make them seem larger- maybe that was why Satel was going crazy. Ugh, there were too many theories…

“Don’t fret my dearest. I’ll try hard not to go too far. We will make it to dinner on time and then resume our fun later,” he vowed against my ear before he planted even more kisses against my cheek and jaw line. When he trailed down to my shoulder and pushed down a wide strap of my camisole, he paused. “Oh? What’s this? Have you been hurt?”

It wasn’t until he trailed his fingers over the mildly tender area when I remembered the minor injury I had sustained. The pain had mostly faded so I had forgotten about it. “It’s nothing- Maetira grabbed me when she wanted me to lead her earlier. Speaking of which- remind me to wear armor the next time I’m paired with her.”

I could feel him relax upon hearing my explanation before he leaned down to lick the sore area. Had I mentioned anyone other than a clan member, Satel would’ve gone off to kill or seriously maim them. But since it was Maetira, all he could do was talk to her- and it wasn’t likely he would be taken seriously since he’s the younger brother. All he could do was quickly heal my wound with his saliva.

But it wasn’t long before his mouth began to work more sensually as he went back to what he wanted to do with me. I felt a shiver of delight as he pushed down another strap so that it rested above my armband tattoo and then used both hands to cup my breasts and lower the material until I had a lot of cleavage showing.

With a smirk to his lips, he moved forward so he could kiss my chest area while his hands drifted lower to rest on my belly. I lifted my chin so he could have more access as I my hands came to rest on his. It wasn’t long before I felt shifting down below before I realized that he had loosened the top part of the skeletal hoop skirt so that it would slip past my hips and fall to the ground.

The next garment to be removed was the lace half-slip that covered over the crinoline. Satel had used his magicks to undo the lone button in the back so that it would fall instead of having to lift the hem over my head. When that was done, he then used his magicks to free the line of silver buttons down the front of my skirt so that it would join the rest of my clothing.

He then finally removed the corset with a simple flick of his wrist. I had a feeling he deliberately whisked it off quickly so he could see my breasts bounce from the sudden lack of support. I was now only clad in a camisole and a thin petticoat that came to my knees. Well- I call it a petticoat, but there were actually ‘pettipants’. I never knew the exact terminology of my clothing until I had joined the clan and was exposed to more women in my life.

Satel soon grew bored with standing behind me and whirled me around so he could kiss me on the lips again. My body was flush against his and I could feel every button and fold of his frock coat. I could almost swear that I could even feel the weave of the coarse material though my thin, cotton top.

I soon felt his tongue tracing my lips and I eagerly opened up for him. Not long after that, I promptly forgot about dinner. I was more interested in slipping past his aggressive tongue so I could explore his mouth. I was so distracted that I barely noticed that he was backing us up to the bed until the back of my legs felt the plush quilt. His arms had been firmly placed at my back, but soon his hands slid up to my shoulders as he guided me to sit at the edge.

I immediately spread my legs when his knee nudged between my thighs so he could rest it against the edge. His hands were soon placed at my bottom as he effortlessly shifted me back so that we were more comfortable on the bed. I fell back when our lips met again and despite all of the protesting I had done earlier, I was actively responding to him with little mewls of pleasure.

By the time I was aware of what I was doing, I found that I was trying hard to wrap myself around him with my calves trying to cross around his back and my arms clinging to the back of his shoulders. I cracked open an eye and noted that his über hat was still on his head. He was tempting me- he had to be. My mate knew full well how much I loved his hat and how I liked to steal it on occasion.

I ended up placing my hands on the sides of his head to resist the temptation and simply held him still to ensure that he didn’t pull away any time soon. But it wasn’t long before I realized that I was stripped down to my underwear while he was still fully dressed. That was hardly fair.

Without breaking the kiss, I shifted my hands to his chest and pushed as a silent request for him to get up a little. He complied without any protest and soon hovered over me on his elbows, giving me enough room so I could start unbuttoning his frock coat. I couldn’t get very far in the position I was in, but it was enough to reveal his crushed velvet burgundy vest so I could start liberating that from his person.

But first, I had to attack that dark red ascot he always wore. Once we parted for air, I hooked my finger inside the tie and pulled it away from his skin until it came undone. He let out a satisfied growl from my actions before he kissed me again and started to wander back down to my chest area.

I let his loosened ascot hang from his neck as I let my fingers trail down to the buttons of his light grey shirt and carefully pulled them apart one by one. I took my time and made sure to trace random patterns on his skin as it was slowly exposed until I reached his vest. I was about to proceed further south by parting it as well, but I paused when I realized that he was slowly pushing down the top hem of my camisole and was kissing a trail to one of my breasts.

My fingers began to grip his clothing as I awaited that electric sensation of his teeth against that extra sensitive part of my skin…

…But then he pulled away and gazed down at me with a mischievous look in his eyes.

“We better stop here and get dressed- it’s almost time for dinner.”

Almost instantly, I tried to pull him back and growled for him to keep going. It was ironic that now I wanted to stay and forget about the elders. Satel chuckled as he teleported out of my arms and next to the dresser. I could only sit up in frustration and disbelief as I stared at him.

I felt him when he was pressed against me- there was no way he could just leave this and risk being seen in front of his family members. I watched him as he removed his frock coat and started rearranging his disheveled clothing. When he briefly faced me, I could even see the slight bulge in his trousers. No- even with the fact that he was falucite, he was just playing with fire. No man had that much control after being aroused.

The blond bastard let out a smirk once he was done making himself more presentable and walked back to me. He then reached out to me and pulled me up.

“Now, now- don’t sit there with that angry face and tempt me to ravage you,” he began in a teasing tone before he rubbed noses with me and then let out a growl. “You know how much I love it when you’re angry.”

He then pressed himself against me and I was severely torn from violently pushing him away so I could get dressed, or pushing him down on the bed and try to have my way with him before he came to his senses. Urgh- why did he have to put me in this state?!

I made a compromise in my decision by grabbing his ascot to pull him down slightly and forcibly kissed him for a second before I shoved him away.

“Just what are you trying to pull anyway?” I inquired in a near bitter tone as I stormed over to the dresser. “I know your people are open about mating, but isn’t there some moral rule about facing your elders in a half aroused state?”

If public affection made me nervous, the idea of showing evidence that we fooled around to Satel’s family didn’t bode well for me. The falucite trailed after me and placed his über hat on the stone bust before his hands reached out and gripped my hips.

“Well, if you want, we could finish up now. The elders and everyone else will understand once they smell us,” he offered, leaving me to wonder if this was his plan all along. He must’ve been trying to bait me so I would agree in mating now before dining with the clan.

But then the rest of his statement registered in my mind- they would smell us regardless of what we did. Satel wasn’t just risking his arousal from being seen- I had my own scent that would give me away in an instant.

I let out a squeak as I broke away from him and ran to the bathroom to clean up and hide as much evidence as possible. His evil laughter followed after me- that jackass!

********************

Satel had successfully managed to turn my previously glum features into a dower scowl. I was left unsatisfied- I had to wait to release the pent up energy he caused with his actions. I knew he deliberately did it in hopes that I would cave in to his seduction and agree to miss most of supper. It was out of sheer stubbornness that I managed to pull on some clothes and insist on leaving.

I cleaned up the best I could and even changed my underwear to be safe, but even with the safeguards, I was paranoid that they could still tell.

I still couldn’t fathom how he could still plaster that smile on his face and act as if he wasn’t on the verge of losing control. I had some satisfaction in knowing that he was just as uncomfortable as I was- I knew that grin was one of his false ones. I’ve been around him long enough to tell, after all.

When we arrived, Garroe and the others had just returned and were already at their seats at the long table. The head elder, Makhis’ra, welcomed us and informed the other branches of the family of our accomplishments today. It wasn’t until I had heard his speech when I remembered my reluctance in leaving that kingdom before. Strange- it was gone now and I was back to feeling as though I didn’t give a damn about them.

I still felt some guilt over the death of that other man, but my concern over the people and that boy were long gone. Maybe I was simply tired and was being contrary to myself- it made some sense that I would be back to normal now that Satel… woke me up in a way… Damn him…

My mate pulled my seat out for me and I made sure to pass him a particularly nasty glare as I sat down. While there was no arranged seating, many of us liked to sit in particular groups according to generation. I always made sure to place myself between Satel and Cegil since they were the two who were most important to me. That wasn’t to say that I didn’t like Garroe, his mate, or even Maetira- it was just that I knew Cegil the longest and I was most comfortable with both him and my mate.

Cegil raised a brow when he glanced down at me and I had a distinct feeling that he somehow knew how frustrated I was- I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was chuckling on the inside. He mentioned before that we reminded him of himself and Oria back then- of course I heard from Didra that they rarely argued or annoyed each other as much as Satel and I had. …I hope our antics weren’t causing him to have painful memories of his mate.

Maetira, Garroe, and Didra sat across from us- the table was wide enough so that our feet wouldn’t touch, but close enough so that we could easily converse with them. This was the only time I could see Maetira wearing something other than her Oracle robes. She didn’t put on anything too fancy- it was usually just a white dress with a long sleeved over dress in whatever color her servants picked out for her.

After about two years of carrying, Didra finally had her falcie several months ago. With the long lifespan of falucite, the baby boy would stay in that newborn state for a good year or two before he could be old enough for extended periods of separation from his mother. As powerful as adult falucite were, their falcie were extremely vulnerable as their protective powers didn’t manifest until they were around seventy to eighty years old.

Little Aared was dozing carefully in Didra’s lap, placed in a way so that he wouldn’t fall over and so she could have at least one arm free to eat. The falcie looked like any babe and could even pass off as a human if one didn’t look closely. Apparently falucite didn’t start off with blue eyes like everyone else- instead he already inherited his mother’s bright green eyes and there were traces of Garroe’s lavender hair in his eyebrows and in the faint fuzz on the top of his head.

Aared should be grateful that he didn’t get Didra’s pink hair instead. I knew it was possible and acceptable if a falucite boy possessed that shade, but I couldn’t break past my own human views of how …sissy that would’ve been.

I had nothing against the falcie, but sometimes I wished Didra would leave the room when he wanted to feed. She started wearing off the shoulder dresses so that Aared would have easier access to her milk. She wasn’t showing anything, as the baby’s head was covering the view, but it made me uncomfortable nonetheless. I just knew the boy was going to start whimpering any minute and ask for his dinner…

There were mineral stones, which were like bread to falucite, spaced out on the table while next to them were actual bread for the non-falucite. Between each display were elegant silver candleholders with candles that lit the room better than most electric lights in existence. After Makhis’ra made his usual pre-supper speech about our blessings and whatnot, the various servants moved to serve us our individual meals.

Lioa soon fitted herself between Satel and I to serve us some kind of vegetable casserole with noodles. She gave us both a private smirk before she set down a glass jar of preserved dark red smilliths with their stems still attached before Satel and then backed away. While in the presence of other falucite… or rather in the presence of Aared, I had to do without meat altogether unless I chose to have some for ‘dessert’.

With falucite viewing meats as something to have as a treat, Didra didn’t want her son to grow up and get the idea to consume as much as he wants because of me. Of course, the clan didn’t gather for breakfast or lunch, so I was free to eat whatever I wanted then.

While Lioa was supposed to be Satel’s personal chef (as well as mine because I was his mate), she also willingly made Cegil food as well. No one really suggested it- she just started serving him one day and it’s been habit ever since. I noticed that she would always give him a little more in the form of nice garnishments and wink at him every time she would give it to him. She once told me that she gave him the special treatment as a way of thanks for the ‘company and wonderful conversations’ …whatever that meant.

I had to assume that they conversed a lot due to their similar roles in my life as surrogate parent figures but …I don’t know. I have my suspicions about them, but no proof. They obviously like each other- to what extent, I have no idea. Heh- they both enjoy tormenting me, so maybe they meet together to think of things to tease me with. …Damn them too.

Dinner began the moment Makhis’ra picked up his fork and the room thrummed with the chatter of voices and clatter of dishes. At first it wasn’t so bad- I listened in as Cegil and Garroe began talking of their individual missions and eventually calmed down to the point where the sexual frustration was becoming a distant memory. Satel was unusually silent beside me, but I viewed it as a good thing. As long as he kept his mouth shut, I didn’t have to listen to his honeyed tone and think of how deep and sensual he could get when whispering sweet nothings in my ear… Damn it!

My fork jammed into my food, making contact with the plate in a loud clank as I desperately tried to forget what I was just thinking about. I caught Cegil’s attention for a moment before he turned back to Maetira, who was now taking over the conversation. Again, the white-blond man beside me didn’t speak a word, even as his sister made a jab at him in regards to one of his territories.

I was once again calming down and was getting close to finishing my meal when it began. I almost jumped when his elbow brushed against me as he reached for the jar of smilliths. Satel gave me a look to make it seem like it was an accident, but I could see that shimmer of mischievousness in his eyes that told me it was a deliberate attempt to get my attention.

His thin lips curved into a smirk when he noticed my eyes on him before he twisted open the jar and fished out a dark red berry by the stem. Unwittingly, I watched on as his tongue darted out to lick at the shiny firm skin before he bit into it, pit and all. After a few chews, he then tossed the rest of it, including the stem, into his mouth. Since he was falucite, he could eat an entire smillith whereas I could only eat the meat of it.

But even though he could consume the stem, he chose to move it around his mouth before letting it drop to his plate. I wasn’t sure what game he was trying to play, but I had a feeling he was trying to seduce me. I sharply turned away before I could have fantasies of his skillful tongue working on my skin instead of his next smillith.

He didn’t seem to take well to my dismissal because the next thing I knew, his hand shifted over to drape itself over my thigh, under the table. I tried not to acknowledge the warmth that radiated from his hand and through the layers of clothing I had put on. This wasn’t the first time he did such an action, but he usually did it to give me comfort. But at this moment, he wasn’t letting that hand stay still- his fingers rubbed firm circles against my covered flesh before they began to trail towards my torso.

My breath almost hitched when he got dangerously close to my center and I quickly stopped him by placing my hand over his. This was the time to mentally curse myself for putting on my usual trouser and skirt combo- I was only giving him easy access this way. My eyes whipped back to him to give him an incredulous look. Was he really doing this in front of his family?!

He really wanted me frustrated for some reason, and he was succeeding! With the way he teased me earlier, I felt those aches in my nether regions and it was just putting me in a sour mood the longer I went untouched. However, I was determined to win this little game of ours. No matter how badly I wanted him, he was going to have to wait until after dinner. I wasn’t about to let him drive me insane and make me demand to return to our chambers early.

I soon narrowed my eyes as an idea came to me- Satel wasn’t that far off himself and I shouldn’t have to suffer alone. Maybe if I gave him a dose of his own medicine, he might back off.

Unfortunately, no matter how intimate I was with him, I was sorely lacking in the knowledge and execution of seduction. It didn’t occur to me that my next plan would make things worse. I didn’t do light caresses or start off on an innocent area of the body and work my way towards my goal- I was too impatient for such things even though I begrudgingly enjoyed it when he would do it to me.

I moved his hand back to his side before I went straight for the prize. I felt some gratitude that the hunter green tablecloth was hiding everything from the people seated next to us as I boldly cupped the hardness between his thighs. I then let my thumb run firmly over the bulge until I felt the muscle in his thigh tense under my wrist. It was overkill, I’ll admit, but I thought it would’ve been funny to suddenly stop and then go back to eating. He seemed to find enjoyment in it when the role was reversed.

However, my ears picked up Didra’s hushed tone from across the table and I froze.

“Must they do such things at the table?” she whispered to Garroe. When I realized that she was talking about me and that she was well aware of what I was doing, I pulled my hand back like I had been burned. Elit, what was I thinking? In the back of my mind I was aware of the company present, but I was so determined to pull one over on my mate that I temporarily stopped caring.

Before my hand could reach my lap, Satel caught me by the wrist and flattened my hand down against his thigh before he tightly twined his fingers with mine. When I dared to glance at him, he was staring back at me unabashedly with heated features. His cheekbones were becoming lightly flushed and his eyes had gotten so dark with unrestrained lust that they’d turn into a rich dark brown. There was almost no trace of that familiar reddish sheen in them.

“Come now, Didra- they are young. We used to do similar acts… we still do,” Garroe added in our defense, reminding me that everyone was most likely paying attention to us.

“But not at the table,” she hissed condescendingly, deliberately trying to hint in our direction to quit it. Beside her, Maetira just smirked down at her bowl of broth and tried hard not to laugh at our predicament- that bitch.

I was frozen in place, unsure of what to do or say. I was deeply humiliated, despite the fact that they didn’t really care about what we were doing. To falucite, mating was a natural and necessary act- there was nothing to be ashamed about. It was just that Didra didn’t think the dinner table was meant for sensual games when they could be performed elsewhere. Of course, their openness didn’t mean that they mated wherever they pleased- it had to be done in private to reduce the risk of predators attacking during a vulnerable moment. But flirting and bold touches were perfectly acceptable in public if done outside of serious matters.

But that didn’t mean anything to me- I was born and raised a human, so I grew up with the topic of sex being a taboo subject no matter the circumstance. I was soon further mortified when Cegil cleared his throat and diffused the situation.

“Didra, I am aware that you are trying to have a private conversation, but your ability to keep it private is lacking. Either speak your mind to your intended target or say nothing at all,” the tall man began, earning a sheepish look from his sister-in-law. Only he and Garroe could make her look like that…

I flinched when Cegil’s cinnamon colored eyes landed on us. “Satel, Tia does not look well- perhaps the two of you should retire early and get some rest.”

Oh what a polite way of putting it… Cegil liked to tease me, but he never went overboard and he stood up for me when I was feeling uncomfortable. Since he had spent more time among humans than anyone else, he understood my kind better and knew why I was getting so flustered.

“Perhaps that’s for the best,” Satel replied, speaking for the first time since coming. I was shocked to hear how husky his tone had gotten and wondered if I had gone too far. “Please excuse us.”

Before I knew it, he teleported us back to the chambers where he tossed me on to our bed and nearly ripped my clothes off. His clothes soon followed before he pounced on me like some animal. I was shocked at first that I had made him lose control so soon, but then I slowly stopped caring as I responded back. At least my embarrassment was forgotten for the time being- all I could care or focus on was my mate and I didn’t want it any other way.

Damn it… he won again, I realized as we both marked each other with little love bites. I swore in the back of my mind that someday, I’d make him weak in the knees and take full control of our lovemaking. Until then, I happily accepted his attentions and silently thanked him in my mind for helping me forget the guilt I felt over that king’s death.

Satel may aggravate me at times, but he was considerate and always made sure I was happy. …That’s why I love him so much.

To the Next Chapter

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