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Not My Territory - Chapter 17

A Cocoon, Justine's Parents and Understanding Julia.
He takes my lips and I restrain from pulling him onto the table and having him...

He growls so loudly, my jaw trembles when our lips collide. Instantly a light, chilling feeling travels down my spine and settles between my legs. I’m lifted from my seat to the edge of the table, my food no longer a concern.

He pushes down to my neck and my nails dig into his back, urging him nearer even as my head tilts back. His growl amplifies when I pull on the elastic of his sweats tempted to reach in and-

"Youth we are entering," his grandfather makes me freeze in my tracks as my face grew red, "all clothing should be on when-"

"Pops," Emerson scolds laughing slightly above me as I slide from the edge of the table.

"What?" his gentle spirit envelopes the room when he walks in, sitting next to me, with Julia close behind, "in my day, this close to De Ortu, you’d be lucky to find me dressed."

Chance, Cody and Gavin cheer just as Aubrey and Chelsea make faces walking in as well, "Pops is my idol," Gavin muses.

"Dad that was too much information." Chelsea complains going to the refrigerator.

"He’s not lying," Julia’s face turns red and I analyze the first emotion other than utter distress and hate.

"Ew mom." Aubrey covers little baby Matthew’s ears, he looks up at her confused before his eyes land on me. I smile at him and he laughs wiggling away from Aubrey and rushing over to me. I take him readily kissing his chubby cheeks as he settled in my arms.

"He really likes you," Emerson muses looking down at us both.

"I really like him too." I say to Matthew and his eyes twinkled in delight, a small hand reaching out to my face, "He’s so small and perfect." I hug him close.

"You’re finishing that," Emerson states out of nowhere, pointing to my full plate on the other side of the table.

"But it’s cold-"

A second doesn’t pass when the food is slid in the microwave and heated, "And you’re eating it all this time."

"But your portions are so huge!" I sigh, "I couldn’t eat all that even if I wanted to."

"Fine," He puts the hot plate before me a similarly sized plate next to it, "Put what you can’t eat in this plate."

I smiled at my victory, removing two humongous pancakes and half the sausage links and bacon strips.

"Are you serious?"

"Matthew could eat more than that," Cody adds to Gavin’s complaint.

"Is this normal doc?" Emerson jokes at Chance.

"Considering her BMI, yeah, it looks about right."

"Ha!" I stick my tongue at Emerson eating my meal with ease, despite the resting Matthew in my lap.

Chelsea opened her mouth to speak when Charice walked down the stairs, humming happily to herself, Anthony followed slowly behind her, not particularly as chirpy as his mate. I looked up at Emerson and creeped into his mind, Does she have his scent?

He huffs at my question but responds mentally, "You ask her," He sipped his coffee.

"Come on," I pout at him.

"Finish that plate and I’ll consider it."

Matthew looks up between Emerson and I as if he heard each word of our silent conversation. I turn to look at Charice, hoping she'd drop me a hint but then Julia speaks, "Is it easy for you to communicate that way?"

Her question was for me, and I’m suddenly more aware of how I present myself before her, "It’s pretty easy, I do it a lot so it’s become second nature to some extent."

"Normally takes a long time for humans to master volitantem," Gerard nods looking over at us, "Years even. And you do it so easily, just from curiosity," He pushes further, "Do you need to make eye contact? Or be in the same room?"

"No," I think it over, "Not usually," I relax just a bit, "I mean it's like ‘walking through a door’," I wasn't sure if that made much sense so I push further, "like imagine a hallway between both our minds I just walk down the hall and open the door and… there he is." I sound ridiculous.

"Makes sense," Julia stuns me by saying, "And your acclimation to our way of life? How was the transition?"

"A bit abrupt," I respond truthfully, "But considering I spend more time with werewolves than humans it got easier."

"What was the hardest adjustment you think?" Aubrey questions with honest eyes.

I take a moment to think, "I know the answer," Emerson gloats from beside me.

"No you don't," I glare at him.

"It's hunting," He crossed his arms accepting the challenge, "remember the first day I brought you out on a hunt?" My face got red.

"What happened?" Kenyon's eyes were humorous.

"She cried, called me a murderer, kicked me in the gut, then refused to talk to me for the remainder of the day," he sipped his coffee victoriously.

"In my defense," I say amidst the building laughter, "you didn't tell me we were going on a hunt and it happened so quickly."

"So what's your answer then?" Charice laughs, "The most difficult adjustment."

"Mating," I say popping some pancake pieces in my mouth as Emerson’s eyes bulged.

"Mating?!" He rushes over to me, "How is that possible? I tried to make the transition as smooth as it could be!" He was panicking.

"And it was, but there are just things that took some getting used to," I smile up at him reassuringly.

"Like what?" His smile was gorgeous.

"Like the fact that I can feel your fingerprints, your emotions, sense when you walk in the room, that happened overnight," He thinks about it for a moment, "And as much as I love it, it scared the living hell out of me consistently for about 2 weeks."

Everyone laughs, but Julia provides me a gesture of respect and I take this conversation to be a success.

"I forget that humans don’t experience those things," Gerard smiles, werewolves enter the world in that state being that in tune with the world around them. Baby Matthew in my lap, probably experienced more in his 9 months of life than I have in 19.

"So are you used to it now?’ Charice asks.

"Not really," I shrug chewing the last piece of sausage, "But it’s not as startling."

"I didn’t know that," Emerson chimes out loud before climbing into my mind, "That means the sex must be-"

I clicked my teeth at him, looking down at Matthew as if he truly could hear what we said. Looking down at the babe my chest felt light such eloquence innocence, coated in an unshakable joy that finds pleasures in life’s simplest luxuries. Yet, such power.

He climbs into a standing position holding onto my shoulder with one hand as I fasten his waist and back.He mumbles chewing on a fist, bouncing up and down to a tune only he was able to hear.

"So Adira darling," Aubrey began speaking, "I have a tiny request for you if that’s okay." I nod for her to continue, "Well tomorrow night on the last dwindle of De Ortu, I’m sure Emerson has made you aware of the states that we’d all be in," I feel Matthew shift uncomfortably as if he too knew what this all meant, "Considering you and Matthew will be the only two individuals unaffected I would really appreciate it if you tucked him in and gave him a bottle and one in the morning."

"Oh it would be a pleasure," I gaze back at little Matthew blowing him kisses that caused an eruption of laughter, with hands tightly clasped before his lips.

"Adira," Carla rounded the corner, wiping some sweat from her brow, "How were you able to get the bus yesterday morning? You didn’t walk through that horrible stench on your own did you?"

I shake my head, the final bites of food in my mouth, "John walked me to the bus stop." I feel a discomfort stemming from Emerson’s side of the room.

"Well I think the Ima will be able to recognize your scent now," She smiles at me tenderly.

"That was quick," Victor started small talk and soon I leaned in to Charice.

"Has the waterhose entered the garden?" I whisper causing her to explode in laughter.

"Roger," She salutes me and I glance over at Anthony who’s in conversation with Chance, "He looks happy."

"He’s being a pouty little baby," She whispers, "Because apparently he had this whole thing set up for tomorrow night, when we’re... not entirely contained and he wanted it to be then."

"But you had other plans," I laugh, "So how do you feel? Was it weird, uncomfortable, awkward? Spill it." With Charice there was no such thing as too much information and she was an open book.

"It... made sense," she says genuinely, eyes lit aflame at the memories, cheeks red and perky, "painful at first but then... the moon and stars help me. That’s something I plan on doing all the time" It was my turn to laugh.

"Alright," Kenyon, Gerard and Victor stood to their feet, "anyone need anything from the grocery store other than the essentials?" A few things are yelled in the air and Kenyon takes note.

"Wait so what exactly happens tonight?" I asked Charice.

"Well, we go to the De Ortu thing and find us some sexy wears to show us a good ti-"

Anthony’s growl melded with Emerson’s like a beautiful melody and Charice and I cheered in laughter. John stalked over to the refrigerator giving my shoulder a friendly squeeze as he pulled out a bottle of water. Gavin and Cody exchanged weird looks after witnessing it, and Charice, got tense beside me.

"How was your night?" John’s question was quiet enough to suggest it was meant for me.

"Fun," I smiled over at him, his skin glowing golden eyes just as bright as he turns to face me.

"Same as human clubs right?" He took a swig from the bottle.

"For the most part," I shrug honestly, "It was a good time."

"You should come to the parties in 'The Divine’ that’s where all the fun is at."

"That’s the name for our world," Emerson whispers in my mind, as if he didn’t want John to teach me anything more.

"Sounds cool," I smile over at him, "How was your night? Pissed anyone else off?" My joke is light but well received-by him at least. Around us the room grew tense.

"I mean would I truly be myself if I hadn’t?"

"Apparently not," I laugh shortly.

"Remember a couple years back when-" Gavin’s voice held anxiety as he relished the memory.

Suddenly the wind is pushed out of my lungs and the familiarity of a vision envelopes my body. I grip on to Matthew in a fear that I might actually fall and not return, at some point my eyes squeeze themselves close, the blinding light that appeared was confusing in itself, as if I had been reborn. Looking up I spot a woman, with a face that shone so bright I was unable to pick any features from it. But I knew she smiled.

"You’re a messy little monster aren’t you?" Her voice was muffled as she bent down to plant a savory kiss to my cheek, "So beautiful," She admired me with the same compliment I shared with her. I was awestruck.

"I can see you’ve already started spoiling her," A male’s voice enters.

"How can I not?" She chimes, "Look at how beautiful she is." The woman’s hand touched her lips just as a giggle left mine.

"She takes after her mother," the male chimes holding the woman’s face tenderly, delivering a kiss, a possessive hand gripping her waist in a way that was all too familiar. They were mates.

"I just want the best for her you know?"

"I know." They both gazed down at me.

"Do you think she knows?"

"Of course," he snakes his arms around her waist and she snuggles into him, "how could she not?"

Suddenly the world goes dark again and when I reopen my eyes I’m back in the kitchen, muffled voices become clearer and I hear as Gavin concludes his story and laughter erupts around me. In my lap baby Matthew has fallen asleep hugging my body as firmly as I held his, with a pacifier in his mouth.

The room spun and so I pulled him closer, fragments of words from Emerson sliding into my mind, but nothing I could interpret. The sharp pain I’m accustomed to begins at the back of my neck, climbing forward to claim the entirety of my skull. The agony became a living being residing in my mind, pushing against the rigidity of my bones, pleading for a flexibility that I could not provide.

I gritted my teeth together, causing a different pain all on its own. A panicked yell comes from the bond Emerson and I shared, from down the hall, through the door. Why doesn’t he just walk through the door? I feel hands on the back of my arms, moving down to my elbows, taking Matthew’s weight from my loosened hold. My arms give him up and my lips curve into a smile, for whatever reason there was.

Voices were as muffled as if my head was underwater and people continued conversation around me regardless. There’s a cold feeling spreading through my skull, a relieving wave as fingers massaged my skull, my hair falling around my shoulders.

"You’re okay," Emerson’s voice soothes, "Don’t panic, just breathe." His voice was no louder than a mouse’s whisper, but for once I heard him.

"What happened?" I asked mentally.

"I don’t know," His forehead pressed to mine from behind the chair.

"Is this real?" I began panicking just slightly- what if I were stuck in whatever state I had just entered. My environment was still muffled, faces blurry. What if I were underwater.

"What do you mean?" His question was genuine, lacking the condescension I think it deserved.

"I-I," The panic spread. Suddenly he’s before me, knelt between my legs fear in his eyes. Fear of misunderstanding, fear of being shut out, I grabbed his shoulders, "Let’s go to the porch?"

He nods calmly and guides me to my feet, kissing the top of my hand as we excused ourselves. I was basically blinded, the world a big fog, unable to pick out specific shapes or figures as colors and shades melded with one another. Emerson’s hand tightens around mine and though the porch isn’t private, it’s open, open enough for me to piece together what was happening.

"What’s up?" He said as soon as the door closed.

"I can’t see," I whisper in his chest and he pulls away possibly looking in my eyes, the balls of hazel symbolizing his eyes sliding left and right, "Like I can see colors but nothing solid, nothing fixed."

"Okay," He was calculating, "Can you feel?" I nod and he laces our fingers, "And obviously you can hear. How about smelling?" Another nod, a level of vulnerability seeped through my skin, but didn’t settle long when Emerson growled, "No one is touching you but me."

My skin buzzes at the sound, clearing my vision ever so slightly, "Wait that helped," I grabbed him.

"What helped?"

"Me reacting, to you, for a second my vision cleared."

"What does that mean?" His hand falls from my hands tracing their way down my forearm and quickly skipping to my waist, tightening before pulling me in. My mate.

His head pressed to my neck and he purred against my skin, despite my temporary blindness my body yearned, pushing forward, chest-first.

"Is it helping?" His voice sounded in my mind a bit louder now.

I hadn’t realized my eyes had fluttered close until then, and my cheeks got red. He sensed my embarrassment and pulled back to gaze in my eyes, that perfect smile painted on his more-than-godly face.

"It helped," I say truthfully, unable to look away from him, "But things are still foggy."

"This is unusual," He said hands roaming lower than my waist, "Did you have another vision?"

I barely understood his words as they squeezed me closer, "I did, but this one was different."

"Tell me about it," His nose traced lines on the crook of my neck before his lips covered the skin, biting tenderly, then soothing it with the trace of his tongue.

"I don’t think I can," The words stumble from my lips.

"Yeah?" His voice was nothing less than bestial, "Why not?"

"Your... your," I wasn’t even sure what my intended sentence was supposed to be.

"My?" He sings humorously nibbling my earlobe as he spun then lifted me to sit on the wooden fencing on the porch.

Pulling away I gaze at him and see him for the first time, and if this was the only thing I’d get to see for the remainder of my days I’d consider myself luckier than the rest. His long dark lashes fanned his cheeks easily covering his wheat hazel eyes, smeared with blue here and there. Moving down I analyze the full area of his lips, seemingly dry because his tongue peeked his way out to soothe it.

I gulped before him, the way his hair curled atop his head, freshly shaved at the sides bundling on top in a way that made him look irresistible. How could one man be so beautiful? As if he wasn’t of this world, of this day and age. His origins must’ve been somewhere in ancient times, when sculptors would shape gods from stone and surely he served as an inspiration. Despite myself I felt my fingers itching for a paintbrush, for the keys of my piano, for a melody that I could sing my soul out to, for him.

My heart stopped in my throat when he inched closer, gripping at my thighs. I’m sure he heard my heart accelerate, particularly after I felt him. I bit on my bottom lip fiercely, to stop any sound from pushing through, especially since a car pulled into the driveway. I should have backed away respectfully, telling Emerson his uncles- among them the Alpha of one of the most powerful packs in The Divine- and his father were approaching and seeing us in this state wouldn’t be acceptable. Should have done so much.

But I shouldn’t have tightened my legs around him, nor should I have pulled him deeper into my atmosphere. Running my hands slowly up his chest was wrong, more so when I laced my fingers in the coils and twists of his hair. I knew he would react in the only way his body knew how, with a growl so tortuously deep, stimulating in the most thrilling of ways that it caused me to smile on his humming lips.

Footsteps shuffled up the wooden steps, no sound as I stared in his eyes my hands running down the sides of his midsection gripping through the cotton shirt. He stepped closer, if that was possible and I pulled his lips to mine. His growl made my jaw rattle but I only pull him nearer, hoping somehow the clothes would just dissolve from our skins.

There are a couple comments from further away one from John then an uproar of laughter, but I could barely hear anything. Emerson's teeth bit into my bottom lip and I feel the fabric of his shirt scream beneath the carnage of my fingernails.

Another comment, I felt as though I was being watched, just privacy please. Emerson agrees with my thought and as if by miracle or strength of the moon a tightness unleashed itself from within my chest, through my back and stretched around to envelope both Emerson and I. He froze on my lips as a similar feeling rummaged through him. Pulling from each other, we watched as beams of light wrapped themselves around each other covering us both from head to toe. Beyond the light I watched as Gavin shielded his eyes by cupping at his brow. Looking up I see the lights intertwine in a circular pattern, like vines wrapping around their prey.

"Well this is new," Emerson’s voice echoed in the space we had made for ourselves, "Newly mated couples don’t normally cocoon."

"Cocoon?" I question.

"It’s an ancient ability form when our ancestors were in their most bestial state, when we weren’t at the top of the food chain and hunted by predators who would rip their families to shreds. Cocooning at that time was the only safe way to reproduce without attacks from the outside world."

"So they can’t see us?" I looked behind him as Julia and Kenyon admired our handiwork.

"From what I’ve been taught they see a huge ball of light, they can’t hear us and if they come too close a magnetic field will push them away."

Complete privacy, "So how do we stop it?" I gazed at the beautiful strips of light that continued to slowly coil and wrap around itself. I had so many questions but when he placed his head at my neck, they all seemed to vanish in thin air.

"Once we no longer have a use for it, then it will fade." His words come out muffled even as he pushed my hair from my shoulder, for a more intense conversation with my neck, "Can you see now? Feeling better?"

I nodded numbly wanting to take advantage of our seclusion, "Much," my fingers reach down to the hem of his shirt, lifting it from his body- an inspiration for sculpting the Gods. He obliged and I took a second to take him all in, my mouth began moving, before I could stop myself, "Another reason that mating with you was such an adjustment," I tossed the shirt to the side and watched as the cocoon spit it out in distaste, "was because you are single-handedly the most magnificent, alluring man I’d ever seen. So beautiful that it was hard to believe, hard for me to accept that you were truly mine, forever."

His face went red for a minute, and I decided to step on dangerous ground, "And I know we agreed to talk about this later, but to know that you’re mine," I pulled on the elastic of his sweat pants and he stepped out of them easily. It was spat out, Emerson returned to my neck, hands raising underneath my shirt reaching up to my bra, "Then find out that was being put into question, I-I-"

"I know baby," His voice was animalistic but held concern weighed in guilt, "And when I saw your face, when you shut me out," He tried to control his breathing, "For the first time I was blindsided, I couldn’t hear your thoughts, I had no access to anything you felt and it was my fault." He threw my shirt to the side loosening the waist of my pants allowing it to be spat out, "And since then, I just want to make you feel that I never doubted us, ever."

"Feel?"

"Feel everything." He hoists me back on the fence taking me without warning, in a gloriously feral frenzy.

It may have been the fact that we were laying naked on the porch, or that we were wrapped in a cocoon of light, unseen by the world around us but I felt lightweight. My body seemed to shimmer, and Emerson lazily traced circles against my waist my head resting on his sweaty chest. In this instant my body felt unearthly, felt as though I had been completely detached from the world I’d become accustomed to.

"I learned the alphabet," I say softly, "Both writing and sounding them. I think I’m going to start children’s books." It should have been embarrassing to admit but not even a slither of discomfort entered me as I hoisted my chin on his chest, looking straight at him.

"That was quick," He smiled, "And you sure you don’t want my help?"

"When I need it I’ll ask you."

He nods, "What happened in your vision earlier?" I explained what I saw as detailed as possible, "Do you-" He stopped himself mid thought as though what he had to say would be life-shattering, but he pushed forward, no more hiding things, "Do you think these visions are memories? From your childhood with your mother?"

I wasn’t surprised for it, "I was thinking about that, but some of it wouldn’t make sense."

"Like what?" He turns to face me, his nose scraping mine.

"Like the elements of it relating to wolves, the mating, the locations, it doesn’t add up."

"What do you think we should do about it?"

"I’m not sure, because they’re getting more realistic, a little scary."

"We can do some research and find a solution to all this." He was already calculating.

I nod and glanced around us, at the light, "I like this," His arms tighten around me and I roll on top of him straddling his waist, stark naked looking down at my mate.

"You’re so beautiful," He says tracing a hand down my waist. I shiver under his touch.

"I thought you said it would disappear when we finished," I say down at him.

"I said it would disappear when we no longer had use for it," he sat up pulling me in by the waist, "And I still have a couple uses."

I laugh as his lips meet mine the cocoon shimmering a bit brighter at the sound.

Completely dressed and feeling as intact with myself- and Emerson- as possible I watched as the cocoon disappeared from around us. The vines of light separate from each other with the same mesmerizing eloquence of their forming.

"Will the scent ruin your night?" I ask looking up at Emerson who was staring above at the unraveling of our hideaway.

"Firstly," his hands hugged me tight, "having your scent could never ruin anything for me. Ever."

I smile at his thoughtfulness but considered the occasion, "But aren't you supposed to have some sort of freedom in these events?"

I remember my shock when Victor explained that couples who'd been mated for decades would go their separate ways for these few nights, to be with someone else, someone new. It grew in popularity and when I asked him if he and Chelsea ever did that he told the story of their first and last attempt.

"Victor almost killed the fellow for offering me a drink." Chelsea laughed at the memory.

"Would you prefer if I used that ‘freedom’?" Humor laced Emerson’s smirk. The idea of him with another woman made my blood boil and though I tried to mask my emotions he saw right through me, "That's what I thought. Plus," the cocoon had completely disappeared and the brisk beauty of the world around took my breath away, "After being with the most beautiful woman in whole world," his exaggeration made me laugh, "I couldn't even think of another woman even if I wanted to.

"Secondly," People were walking down the stairs, possibly coming outside, "Cocooning doesn't leave a scent. For tactical purposes considering if it did our ancient predators would track us just as quickly."

I definitely needed to study Werewolf ancient history. It sounded amazing.

"So I don't smell like you?"

He shakes his head and picks up my jacket throwing it over my shoulders leading me inside.

"Look at who decided to join the party," a voice I didn't recognize yells from the kitchen. Emerson rolls his eyes in the most annoyed of ways, so much so that it made me laugh. His eyes shimmered when they met mine and I squeezed his hand as we walked to the packed kitchen.

"Human?" A woman I didn't know says in utter surprise, "How is that possible?" Her head filled with full brown hair turned hastily to Victor who seemed as annoyed as his son.

"Well we don't choose who we mate," Chelsea laughs making up for her husband’s behavior.

"And thank heavens for it," Pops laughs, "Because otherwise Emerson would've never gotten someone as amazing as Adira."

Gavin and Chance laugh heartily at the joke and Pops throws me an encouraging wink and I take it with appreciation.

"Couldn't have said it better myself Pops," Emerson smiles turning to the woman who began analyzing me, "Hello Mrs Blade," He bows respectfully at the man, "Sir."

Blade? Wasn't that Justine’s last name? Are these her parents then? My anger boiled quicker than it ever has just at the thought of that-

"Adira, are you hungry honey?" Chelsea asks from across the room, "I have some fruits here."

It takes a second for me to find my voice, "Sure I'll take some-"

"Humans don't cocoon." The man says with a kind smile but an evil spark in the same grass green eyes as Justine.

"I don't like him," I said indefinitely to Emerson through our mental connections.

"Join the line," Emerson sighed.

"If he makes a smart comment don't let me answer," My warning held truth as I went over to Chelsea.

"How's the stock market Gregory? I feel like it's been awhile since you bored me to death with the information," Gerrard jokes diverting attention as I walked over to Chelsea, who handed me a bowl of raspberries, strawberries and grapes. All my favorites.

Matthew spotted me and waddled over, I scooped him up being careful to hold the bowl as I attacked his cheeks with kisses. His laughter was contagious and I smiled down at the babe. He smiles up at me mumbling-words of genius I'm sure- as he chewed on his fist.

I popped a grape in my mouth as I focused on him alone, "How old are you my dear?" The woman smiles, an obviously insincere gesture, as she faced Matthew and I.

"19," I return the genuinity of her gesture with a tiny smile. I wasn't sure what exactly bothered me about them but trust me I was boiling mad. My skin felt itchy under her gaze.

"So young," She cheesed, "And where are you from?"

I tensed but held her gaze as she compared me to another individual. Who? I was unsure but the process was definitely taking place. Whether it was to Justine or any other werewolf out there I didn't care, Emerson was mine.

I must admit, she did take an expertise route to her questioning. My past was the most imperfect of all my characteristics but it could be averted in conversation.

"Around the area," I smiled at Matthew then her, "And we haven't been formally introduced," I take a step forward with my hand outstretched, "Adira."

The woman shakes my hand, anger masked by a full smile. I refocus on Matthew and journey to the refrigerator where his smashed carrots await.

He begins jumping in my arms excited but my grip is firm, I buckle him into his high chair as I went to the refrigerator. I set up his food in a bowl and settle before him feeding his one spoon at a time. He ate it all hungrily, smiling with each spoonful I provided. Now, I made the sound of an airplane and flew him spoon to his mouth, he laughed heartily, slapping his tiny hands together as he chewed then swallowed.

I laughed with him and prepared another bowl, "You work well with children, dear." Mrs. Blade commented as I reached into the refrigerator, "He completely adores you," I turn to face Matthew again, ready to thank her for the harmless compliment but she continues, "Do you have any of your own?"

My head tilted to the side, unable to process what I was just asked, "Are you asking me if I have children?"

The room fell quiet and even Gavin and Cody shut their humored commentary, "I believe that was the line of questioning yes," Mr. Blade jumps in.

I gulp and felt Emerson getting ready to jump into my mind, but the words started pouring out, "I do not actually," I smile gently, "Do you have any grandchildren? Great grands?"

I hear someone coughing on their drink and others are suppressing their smiles, the couple looks at me heinously, "That isn’t an appropriate question to-"

"To ask someone you’ve just met? I agree, my apologies." I smile softly bowing as I returned to baby Matthew. Conversation over.

Others chime in to resolve the tension, "Adira," Emerson’s voice in my mind gave me peace, even though it sounded as though he planned on lecturing me.

"They pushed." I say to him quietly, "Asking if I’m a mother?! Really?"

There’s silence for a moment and I glance over at him, he’s already looking at me, "I know. You’re right. Try to minimize any further conversation."

"Gladly."

Baby Matthew smiles at me and my heart forgets the blatant disrespect I experienced just moments ago. He reaches out for me, whining when his seat belt stopped him. I smile and put the carrots to the side and took him easily in my arms. He kisses my cheeks, spreading the smashed carrots everywhere. My face was his canvas and his lips were the paintbrushes, He sits back looking up at me, as though considering his art and as I look down at his wide filled face, covered in carrots I couldn’t help but laugh. He did too.

I cleaned us both up and after being burped he rushed over to Pops, who took his youngest grandchild happily. I washed the dishes I’d used and tried to think of what to do, to take up my time. Maybe a bit of studying? Or even some musi-

"Hey," Charice walks over to me, "Want to come upstairs and brainstorm what to wear tonight?"

I completely forgot about De Ortu, "That sounds perfect!" We begin walking, "Is there something specific to we-"

"So you’ll be joining us tonight then?" Mrs. Blade asks me.

I gulped but smiled nonetheless, "Yes Ma’am I will."

"With all those wolves? Doesn’t it scared you?" Mr. Blade asked as though he knew the answer.

"No, it doesn’t," I smile softly, "Plus Emerson will be there-"

"Oh my dear!" Mrs. Blade jumps in, "Let the young man live! Surely it won’t be too hard for his eyes to wander else where for a mere night. He needs some level of satisfaction, from his own kind once in a while."

I wasn’t sure what to say and stared at her for a solid 10 seconds taking calm breaths, I opened my mouth to speak but Julia- yes Julia- beat me to it. For a moment I was terrified that she’d just add to Mrs. Blade’s torture but she stunned us all, "Helen, why do you pester my granddaughter so? She and Emerson are gladly in love, not to mention they’ve mated one another. It’s combination that can only be prayed for in this day and age and I don’t enjoy your desperation nor poking at her waiting for her to explode under your scrutiny."

Everyone was quiet, and I looked over at Julia gratefully, she provided a short nod and I took the gesture happily, "This is surprising," Mr. Blade did not hide his anger, "considering what you did when Pops here loved Rosalina, yet mated with you. Tell me, what has changed since you ripped her throat out?" I contained my surprise, hoping not to provide any room for weakness.

Julia smiles genuinely, "Those were different times, I regret the decision daily- the heartache my actions have caused, "Pops kissed the top of her hand and she looked up at him tenderly.He smiles and she redirects her focus, "But don’t think that if Rosalina was were the results would have been any different. And hold the same truth for Adira here, to you she may seem weak, an easy target. But if the situation permits it no matter what, or who, decided to alter the relationship she has with Emerson, her love and mate, bloodshed will be the result. So stop trying to meddle your little daughter into all this. The girl has obviously mated with someone else. Find that person and leave my family alone." I couldn’t have appreciated a woman more! The silence settled for a while longer than mine did and Julia stood from her seat, "Come on girls," She walks over to Charice and I, "Let’s see what outfits you have in mind."

So we all walked upstairs to Charice’s room.

"Grandma you’re such a badass," Charice chimes as she looks through her clothes.

Julia laughs settled in Charice’s bed as I sat in the chair around her desk, "And what did you think of the discussion?" She faces me.

"I’m more than grateful," I say truthfully, "Thinking over what was about to come out of my mouth I think it’s better than you responded."

She smiled genuinely, "Don’t think it was for you," Her words ached a bit, "That doesn’t mean I don’t find you suitable for my grandson," She stops my panic, "But I believe in showing your keep. I did the same thing when Anthony mated with Charice."

"She dragged him through the wringer," Charice approved.

"And soon your moment of proving to me that you’re worth my Grandson’s heart will come. But in the meanwhile, no one should use their time to jeer at you for situations out of your control," She looked at me, "I know you love Emerson but time and experience has taught me that love isn’t consistent enough. I need to know that the family I’ve fought for- the one I’ve killed for- will be happy, will never be betrayed, and will remain true to each other. That’s all I ask."

It was a fair request, "Understood."
By
Published: 3/12/2018
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