They had essentially done nothing all day. It was Saturday – so no lessons. Jen had been forced to endure Sally's endless reassurances that she wouldn't leave her side at the event they'd deemed Mate Fest 2010. They had also opted not to venture out after Jen told them about Decebel's declaration to always be with her when she left the mansion.

Sally had asked, "And how did you respond?"

"I told him the only place I would go with him was to the vet," Jen said innocently.

"We all know that there was more to your comment than that, Virginia. So go on, share the rest of what I'm sure was a most enlightening statement for Decebel," Jacque prodded.

"Fine. I added that he would be going to the vet to have my foot pulled from his ass. I didn't see his face but I'm sure he felt, as you said, enlightened."

Sally had been taking a sip of water at that exact moment and spewed it everywhere.

"I'm interested to meet these other unmated females," Jen told Sally. "I'm hoping they're cool. Ya know what I mean?"

"If in 'cool' you mean non-psycho, jealous, female dogs – then yes, I know what you mean," Sally retorted.

"Man, Sal. I have seriously rubbed off on your once sweet, innocent disposition." Jen chuckled. "And by design, Sally dearest, they are female dogs, they can't help it."

Sally looked at Jen out of the corner of her eye. "You really crack yourself up. And by the way, maybe the real Sally is finally surfacing after years of repression."

"Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that, Sigmund. While you're at it why don't you explain to us the theory of conditioning," Jen teased her best friend.

"I'm just saying."

"Once again you prove that I have clearly influenced you." Jen's eyebrows rose as she glanced at Sally. "I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I mean, truthfully, most people would seriously benefit from a personality adjustment compliments of Jen Adams."

Sally snorted. "Does it get heavy?"

"Does what get heavy?"

"That big head you lug around 24/7, 365." Sally patted Jen on the back. "It just seems like maybe your neck or back would begin to hurt at some point."

"Wow, Sally. I'm impressed you aren't just going for a psychology degree! Right now you seem to be running for mayor of 'I think I'm funny' town."

Sally laughed at Jen but quickly stopped as they walked into the meeting room. Chairs lined the walls and were also lined up in rows in the middle of the room. The room wasn't full yet but it was quickly becoming so as people filed past them.

"Guess we should snag some chairs," Jen muttered as she walked into the room, heading for the far right corner.

"Why are we sitting way back here?"

"This way we can see the whole room and do some recon."

"Great, here we go with the black op lingo. Were you a Navy SEAL or some special forces officer in a past life?" Sally asked.

"It's a gift. It comes so naturally that you think I've had formal training." Jen winked.

"Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking. And, by the way, Hogwarts accepted you and is awaiting your arrival."

"Ha ha, good one," Jen said dryly. "You have my vote – you'll be mayor in no time."

Sally rolled her eyes as they both continued to watch people enter and sit in the large room.

"Ooo, ooo!" Sally smacked Jen's leg as she spotted Jacque and Fane. "There's Simba and Nala."

"Nice," Jen laughed, then hollered to get their attention. "Hey, princess! Over here."

Jacque spotted them and pulled Fane in their direction.

"Hey, why are you guys sitting way back here?" Jacque asked.

"Here we go," Sally murmured.

"We're doing recon," Jen explained.

"Recoooon, riiiiight," Jacque repeated, one eyebrow raised dubiously.

"Oh, shut up and sit down."

Fane chuckled and sat down next to Sally, pulling Jacque onto his lap. Jacque looked back at him and smiled.

"This way we are sure to have enough chairs for everyone," he explained with a grin.

"Oh, right. We definitely want to make sure there are plenty of seats." Jacque smirked.

"Well, as long as we are being so conscientious," Jen cut in. "Sally, why don't you go climb up in Sorin's lap and I'll," she pointed as a guy walked past her, "grab that hottie and pull up a lap as well."

Jen felt a hand rest at the nape of her neck as a voice spoke softly next to her ear. "If you need a lap to sit on, tinere de meu inima (holder of my heart), mine will be the only available to you."

She watched as Decebel sat in the chair next to her and felt her stomach drop as he winked at her.

"I better stay in this chair. It has a tendency to walk off if left on its own." Jen hated how breathless her voice sounded and was mentally kicking herself for letting him see how he affected her. By the smug look that slid across his face he was indeed well aware of it. Damn werewolf, she thought to herself.

Sally looked over at Jacque and grinned, obviously loving the play between Decebel and Jen.

Jacque leaned over and whispered in Sally's ear, "I give it two days before he lays one on her."

"You're being generous. I say less than twenty four hours."

"Is that a bet?" Jacque asked, eyebrows raised.

"Better believe it," Sally answered. Her lips eased into a crooked smile.

Jen leaned around Sally and glared at her two best friends. "What are you two betting on?"

"Good grief. What, does she have eagle ears or something?"

"No, you dork. Your whisper is just you talking in normal volume but making your voice raspy. Really, you sound more like a chick who's been smoking for thirty years." Jen shrugged. "I'm just throwing that out there. You can take it and apply it at your leisure."

Fane was chuckling at Jen's words when Jacque elbowed him, causing him to cough.

"You don't get to laugh, wolf-man." Jacque turned back to Jen. "Thank you for that observation, Sherlock."

"Always glad to help a friend in need, Watson." Jen grinned at Jacque's irritated look.

Sally rolled her eyes. "Will there ever be a time that I don't have to send you two to opposite corners?"