"You are willing to spend your entire existence spiraling further into darkness because you are afraid of failure?" Cynthia asked, unable to hide her disbelief. "You would pass up something that others consider precious and an honor? Not only that, but you would doom her to live with only half her soul. Really? That's what you are willing to sacrifice?"
Decebel was growling at Cynthia when she finished.
"You don't understand. You aren't a male of this species; you aren't an Alpha. Have you any idea what's like to watch the one you loved and were bound to protect die in your arms because you didn't get there fast enough? DO YOU?" Decebel snarled.
"Decebel." Vasile didn't raise his voice, but his words were full of power.
Decebel backed down but his body shook with anger at Cynthia's words, knowing they were the truth.
"This is what I would have of you, Beta." Vasile faced Decebel, making it a formal command. Anything less wouldn't get Decebel's cooperation. "You will be part of Jen's security. If you don't want to pursue this possibility, fine. I suggest that you wait and see if she finds her true mate at The Gathering. If she does not, then you will take part in seeing if she's your mate through the methods this document has shed light on. You will not leave Jen to the fate of being only a shell of what she should be. Do you understand?"
Decebel growled but nodded his head. He finished formally, "As you say, so shall it be."
Decebel turned to leave, but Vasile spoke up before he could make it out the door. "Decebel, you are choosing this. If you so much as breathe on another wolf at The Gathering because of Jen, you will suffer the consequences."
"Understood," Decebel acknowledged. He walked out of the room, leaving with not only more questions but complete and utter confusion.
Decebel knew that the moment he saw another wolf put his hands on Jennifer he would not be able to control his wolf, yet he had stupidly agreed to guard her. He was doing the very thing he wanted to avoid. He was her protection. Damn his Alpha and his meddling.
Jen paced her room like a caged animal. She couldn't believe what a fool she had made of herself, but at the moment all she had been able to think about was getting away from a certain wolf.
She was so screwed. How had she gotten to this point? She'd been telling herself over and over that he wasn't an option. She might as well have had a license plate made as many times as she had repeated it to her heart. Yeah, well her heart was doing its own thing because it didn't give a royal, flipping, fat pig that Decebel was supposed to be off limits. Something in her reached out to him. Every time he was near her she just wanted to rub up against him and curl up in his lap. Can we say coming unhinged, boys and girls, Jen thought.
Back and forth she paced. "Okay," she said to the empty room, "Mate Fest 2010 is the answer. I have to really, really try to find my mate." Once again her heart piped in its two cents while Jen was telling it not to waste its money. Decebel is our mate, it told her. "Nope, not happening. I'm not listening to you. La la la la la la." Jen plugged her fingers in her ears and closed her eyes. It was at this point that Sally walked in.
"Who are you not listening to, exactly?" Sally asked, looking around the room.
Jen swung around, dropping her hands quickly. "Hey, Sal. What's up?" she asked, reaching for calm but falling five thousand feet short.
"Yeah. Well, about that..." Sally folded her arms and raised a hand to tap her chin with a finger. "What's up? Hmm. See, you jumping up like you were sitting on a fire cracker and then bolting out of the meeting like said fire cracker was trying to bite your butt…yeah, that's pretty much what's up."
Jen cringed at the picture Sally painted. "Okay, so it wasn't my best moment," she muttered.
"Ya think?" Sally asked, her eyebrows rising.
"You don't know what it was like..." Jen's voice was reaching that high-pitched point when she would normally have thrown something at someone else using it. "Sitting there next to his furry hotness, his eyes doing that smoldering thing, his voice deep and soft, his hand being all handy. I mean seriously, Sally, it was either jump and run for the hills or crawl up in his lap panting like some desperate wench."
Sally laughed. "Did you just say desperate wench?"
"Shut up, Sally."
Sally held her hands up in surrender. "Hey, don't shoot the one pointing out your dumb metaphors."
Jen rolled her eyes at her best friend as she plopped down on the floor, leaning her back against the bed.
"So, what's the -" Sally started to ask but was interrupted when the door to the room flew open.
"I'm here!" Like a turbulent wind, Jacque came rushing in. "I'm here," she panted. "What's the plan?" Her head snapped back and forth between Jen and Sally.
Jen nodded her head in Jacque's direction. "What the bloody hell is wrong with her?" she asked Sally.
"I'm beginning to think it's the s-e-x," Sally spelled, covering the side of her face so Jacque couldn't see but speaking in a loud whisper. "All the lack of oxygen from the panting, heavy breathing, and what not is killing her brain cells."
Jen busted out laughing, "That would be even funnier if my brain wasn't trying to fill in the what not."
"Could we please refrain from talking about my sex life," Jacque ground out.
"No, there will be no refraining because then you would want me to talk about the attraction I'm trying to ignore to the wolf who is still not an option even though neither one of us can seem to stay the hell away from the other." Jen took a deep breath and barreled on. "If we cease talking about your sex life then you two hyenas will expect me to tell you how when I'm near him I feel like electricity is running over my skin. You would want me to explain how my heart speeds up and my breathing becomes erratic every time he whispers in my ear. You would force me – against my will, mind you – to describe to you the many times I have daydreamed hearing his voice in my mind, seeing marks cover my skin, seeing his marks change. So, hell to the no. Request denied. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. In summary, we cannot stop talking about your sex life."
Sally was standing with her jaw dropped open and Jacque was staring at Jen like she had sprouted wings from her butt.