"I need to speak with her," he told them, knowing they'd watched the whole scene on the dance floor.

"Why?" Sally challenged, and it made Decebel's wolf perk up. "So you can tell her how you don't want to pursue these feelings between you? So you can flirt with her only to tell her you aren't interested? So you can tell her not to look elsewhere even though you don’t want her!" Sally was fuming by the end of her speech.

"I WANT HER!" Decebel growled. Everyone around them got quiet and Decebel realized his canines had lowered. He took several deep breaths and pulled himself together.

Fane walked up and looked at Decebel and then the girls. "I think we should step out." He motioned towards the door and all of them filed out.

Once in the entry way Decebel turned to Sally. "I apologize for raising my voice at you, I just -" Decebel didn't want to bare his soul to Sally or Jacque or Fane. He wanted Jennifer. He wanted to tell her that she nearly ripped his heart out when she looked at him like he had betrayed her when he took Sasha in his arms. He wanted to tell her that his skin crawled at the contact of another and it took everything in him not to push Sasha away. He wanted to make her understand that he was going mad seeing her touching other males. But there were no mating signs. The Alphas would consider them unmated and that made them both fair game.

Most Alphas did not allow pack members to fraternize with someone who was not a true mate. They saw it as purposeless. So their argument would be that if he and Jen pursued each other with no signs that they were true mates then they might be keeping the other from meeting their mate.

Decebel hadn't been at The Gathering for twelve hours and already he knew he wouldn't be able to do this.

"Decebel, maybe you should just give her some time," Jacque was telling him, pulling him from his thoughts. But he knew that if he left Jennifer to think on this all night she would not cool off. No, he had to talk to her. Now.

"I'm sorry, Jacque, but I have to disagree. She needs to hear what I have to say." Decebel walked around the baffled Jacque, and past Fane and Sally. He took the stairs two at a time, moving silently towards Jennifer's room.

He didn't really know what he was going to say to her. All he knew was that somehow he had to smooth this over. He arrived at her door and didn't bother knocking, he figured she was used to it by now and loved to see the spark in her eyes when she got irritated with him about it.

However, when Decebel stepped into her room Jennifer was nowhere to be seen. He walked over to her closet and gently knocked on it, there was no response. He pulled the door open to find it full of clothes, ones that even at first glance he could tell he wasn't going to like her wearing out in public, but Jennifer was not there. He stepped back and debated on whether he should wait or go looking for her. He decided he was going to go look for her when her door opened and in she walked.

They both froze when their eyes met, and Decebel swore his heart was going to beat out of his chest.

"Dec," she began.

"Come take a walk with me," Decebel interrupted her and surprised himself by his invitation at the same time.

"What?" she asked, clearly confused by his request.

"Please." Decebel took a step towards her. He thought it a good sign that she didn't take a step back, so he continued to move towards her.

When he reached her side he gently took her arm and tucked it into his.

They walked in silence, neither really knowing where to begin. Decebel led her to the indoor garden room that he was sure she didn't know anything about, but felt she would really like. He opened the door and gestured for her to enter. He wasn't disappointed by her response.

Jen stepped into the room as Decebel held the door for her. She didn't know why she had accepted his invitation to walk with him. Yeah, Jen. Just keep lying to yourself if it helps you sleep better at night, she chided herself.

Jen couldn't help the breath that escaped her lungs as she entered what felt like a whole other world. There were plants everywhere – tall plants full of big leaves, small plants with delicate flowers blooming in every color you could imagine. There was even grass, thick, plush dark green grass. There was a pebbled path that wound through the indoor garden and she lost sight of it as the vegetation swallowed it up. She continued on down the path, curious as to where it would lead. She could feel Decebel's eyes on her from behind as he followed her but she didn't bother to look back at him. Jen felt like a kid in a candy store. Her head turned from side to side, trying to absorb every little thing. She saw that along the right side of the garden a small brook bubbled and water flowed gently down over rocks and plants. She came around a curve and there in the center was a gazebo with a swing hanging in the center of it. There were deep green vines growing all around the gazebo, holding it like a lover's embrace.

She followed the path to the steps of the gazebo and climbed them. Finally she turned and faced Decebel as she sat down on the swing. Decebel slowly climbed the stairs and the look in his eyes made Jen feel like prey. She shivered and noticed his lips quirk up ever so slightly. Cocky fur-ball, she growled inwardly.

He sat down on the swing and the next words out of his mouth took her breath away.

"I want you."

Jen stopped breathing. Not by choice, she just couldn't. It was like his words had flipped a switch in her and everything that required her brain to run just shut off.

"Jennifer." Her name on his lips, the intensity in his voice had her looking up at him. "Breathe, Jennifer."

"I don't understand, Decebel."

"I don't either," he admitted. "I'm sorry if my dancing with Sasha hurt you."

Jen's mouth tensed at the name of the other female on his lips.

"I don't have any right to be hurt." Jen tried to act like she didn't care but then decided she wasn't going to do this. She wasn't going to play games, not with Decebel. "Okay, it hurt." She angled her body so that she was more fully facing him. "In my mind I know that it shouldn't matter who you dance with. In my mind I get that I have no claim on you, okay? Honestly, I do. But damn if my heart could care less what my mind is telling it." Jen knew she was running the risk of sounding like a needy girl, but it was day one of hell week and if they were going to make it to day seven in one piece, then it was time to lay it on the line. She started to continue but Decebel stopped her with a finger to her lips.

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