"Don't be embarrassed, Jennifer. I think you are beautiful."
"Yes, well, I didn't exactly expect the first thing shown to my mate who doesn't remember me to be me in a sheet."
"I'm not complaining." She heard laughter in his voice and she soaked it up as if it were the last drop of water she would ever feel on her skin.
"I'm sure you're not."
Decebel grew serious. "Jennifer, how did you know who Gavril was?"
Jen didn't know how much she was allowed to tell Decebel. Rachel and Gavril had stepped out, not concerned about her leaving since she couldn't walk. But how could she keep anything from Decebel? Whether he remembered her or not he was still her mate.
"Jennifer?" His voice sounded more and more like the Decebel who loved her.
"I don't want to put the ones who have rescued me in danger."
"I understand that and you can trust me. How did you know?"
Jen took a deep breath and let it out. She decided there was no way she couldn't tell him.
"I knew who he was because he and his mate Rachel are the ones who saved me from the cavern I was in. I'm in their home right now."
Jen winced at the alarm that rushed through their bond.
"How? How can they still be alive? No one has seen or heard from them in centuries."
"I know. Rachel explained everything to me."
"Then explain it to me," Decebel demanded.
"I can't yet, Dec. I don't know what they are comfortable with me telling."
"I’m your mate. How can you keep anything from me?"
"Oh, now you want to claim the mate card? Well you can just cram that back into your back pocket, buddy, because not long ago you were like, 'blah, blah, I don't remember you, blah, blah I should remember my mate'. So loddy freaking da!” Jen growled at him.
"I may not remember, but I do believe that you are my mate. Jennifer, you will submit to me in this." Jen could feel the shock that filled him when she laughed at him through their bond. "Are you laughing at me?"
"Yes, my furry mate, I am most definitely laughing at you. 'Submit' – man that is classic Decebel. Makes me want to kiss you."
Jen heard the door begin to creak open.
"Hey, Dec, I gotta go. They're back and I need to talk to them."
"Don't you dare block me out, Jennifer." Jen loved the bossiness in his voice; it made her feel like nothing had changed between them.
"Sorry, but the connection is kind of getting fuzzy, Dec, you're cutting in and out. May some...can't...got to...talk...late..." Jen broke her words up with silence in between to mimic a bad connection on a cell phone, then quickly slammed a wall up between their minds. It hurt to be separated from him, but Jen trusted Rachel and Gavril, and she needed to know what to do about letting her friends and mate know about her rescuers.
"How are you feeling?" Jen heard Rachel ask.
Jennifer laid on the bed with her eyes closed, smelling the cool, crisp air that had swirled in when Gavril and Rachel entered their home. While they had been gone Jen had tried to get a look around the room. She'd observed that the bed she occupied was in the area where a breakfast table would be. The kitchen was right next to it. The floors were wood and the island in the middle of the kitchen was wood with shelves all along the base of it that housed all sorts of different bottles with names written across their labels. Above the island hung a round wrought iron pot holder, but instead of pots, plants and herbs hung from it. The counter that ran on either side of the kitchen was the same wood as the island and the cabinets about it were open with no doors on them. It was a very cozy room. The smell of burning incense permeated the air and the crackle of the warm fire that she couldn't see around the corner warmed her.
Jen's mind returned to Rachel's question when she saw her standing over her bed.
"Weak," Jen answered honestly. She figured she had no reason to lie.
"I'll make some more tea for you. "
"Thank you." Jen cleared her throat before she continued. "So, Rachel, I need to know what I'm allowed to tell Decebel, my mate, about you guys. He and I were talking through our bond while you were gone and I've found out why he felt so weird to me."
"He's lost his memories," Rachel finished before Jen could reveal it.
Jen's mouth dropped open. She closed it and shook her head. "How do you know that?"
Rachel handed her the tea and Jen took a sip. Gavril came and stood beside his mate.
"There are eyes and ears everywhere in the forest," Gavril told her mysteriously.
Rachel nudged him. "Don't try to scare her, you oaf."
Gavril gave his mate a mock snarl, but there was humor in his eyes.
"Gavril and I went to see the woman I told you about, the one who helped us all those centuries ago," Rachel explained. "We knew she would know what was going on. And it's not good. Not good in the least." Rachel walked over to Jen and placed an arm behind her shoulders as Gavril took her ankles gently in his hand. "You need to sit up for a little bit. All that lying on your back could cause pneumonia."
After Jen was all settled, the pillows behind her propped against the wall, she looked up into Rachel's worried face. "So lay it on me. Don't sugar coat it and please trust me. I trust you guys and don't want anything to happen to you."
Rachel smiled. "Thank you, Jen. The first thing you need to know is that you need to be here. Only I can heal you and keep you from getting sicker."
"Why would I get sicker?"
Rachel ignored the question and continued on, "Second, the witch I was telling you about is indeed the one from so long ago. She is powerful and she wants a healer. She will stop at nothing to find me. I need you to understand how horrific it would be if she got her hands on me. I have to prevent that at any cost."
Jen began to feel her head get foggy. She wasn't sleepy but she felt off. And then she felt it. Her bond with Decebel snapped in half. It was so bizarre. It was as if she could see the cord that led her to him – like a string being pulled too tight it snapped. Jen took in a gasp of air at the sudden loss of connection. Her eyes shot to Rachel.
"What have you done?" Jen growled.
Gavril stepped forward, a protective stance in front of his mate. As if Jen was in any shape to do anything.