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|Blood Rites(Grey Wolves #2) by Quinn Loftis|
Jen glared at her for a minute. "Yeah," she said, waving her off. "I was having a really hard time staying mad anyway. I have to give you serious props for the whole 'Meet Virginia' bit, that was pure genius."
"I know." Sally dusted off each shoulder. "I got mad skills, yo."
"Had I known you were singing that because you had just found out about our perverted little friend's deep, dark secret, I seriously would have peed on myself from laughing so hard."
"So, Jen. You going to fess up to what Decebel whispered in your ear that caused you to stab the poor wolf?" Jacque asked her petulant friend.
"Where's Fane?" Jen asked, ignoring Jacque's question.
"He's sitting on the other side of that door, growling at anything and anyone that comes within a few feet of it," Jacque said, nodding her head towards said door. "Now answer the question, Jen."
Jen didn't answer right away, she wasn't sure how to answer if she was being honest with herself which was a practice that she liked to avoid because it usually lead to being reasonable, and frankly, where was the fun in that? Sally and Jacque waited patiently, not wanting to provoke Jen's as-of-late testy temper.
"I don't really know what it means," Jen told them.
"Well, if you tell us we might be able to help you figure it out. You know we are good at figuring stuff out and what not."
"Oh, yes. How could I forget the mighty Sally and Jacque, super sleuthing divas," Jen said sarcastically.
"Hey, that has a ring to it," Jacque said thoughtfully.
"Jacque, focus." Sally elbowed her.
"He said," Jen began, and much to her amusement her two friends edged towards her, bodies leaning forward, hanging on her every word."You two are like two monkeys waiting for the tourist to throw you a banana peel."
"Jen, you do remember what monkeys like to throw back at those tourists, don't you? Spill it now," Sally growled.
"He dared me to give him a reason to kill someone if the time came that he called me Virginia and it no longer pertained to me." When Sally and Jacque didn't say anything, Jen looked up at them and saw that they were both wide eyed with their mouths hanging open. "Are you going to say something?"
Sally got up and began to pace the room, chewing on her bottom lip and muttering under her breath. Jacque continued to look dumbfounded.
"Hello? This is mission control calling out to all pushy, know it all friends who bullied me into telling them something I didn't understand myself and are now acting like the monkeys earlier referenced."
That effectively got Jacque to shut her mouth and finally acknowledge Jen.
"I'm sorry, I was sort of thrown off for a moment. I just can't believe he said that."
"What does it mean?" Jen asked, her voice uncharacteristically soft.
Sally looked at Jen and then at Jacque. "Does it mean what I think it means?"
"I don't know, Sal. I mean why else would he care what her virginity status was?" Jacque answered.
"Maybe it's a little sister thing, like he feels he needs to be her big brother," Sally said, nodding her head as if that would somehow make it true.
"I've seen him looking at her, and if he sees her as a little sister then Fane needs to beat the crap out of him cuz he looks like he's considering incest."
Jen watched the exchange between her two friends as they communicated as if she wasn't sitting right in front of them.
"Hey, Ricky, Lucy, I'm sitting right here. Would you please stop talking like I'm not in the room."
"Right, sorry Jen." Sally kneeled down in front of Jen and placed her hands on her knees for balance. "Jacque and I think Decebel's being possessive towards you."
"That's your sleuthing in action? Really? Well bloody hell, why don’t you guys go clear up the mystery behind Stonehenge seeing as how ya'll are so good at figuring things out and all."
"There's more to it than just possessiveness, Jen." Jacque stood up and started the pacing that Sally had abandoned. "He's treating you like…" Jacque was motioning her hands as if trying to encourage someone to spit out what she couldn't get her mouth to say.
"It's like he thinks, maybe…" Sally began but then aborted her thought.
"Just spit it out already. He thinks and is treating me like what already?"
"Mate," Jacque blurted out so fast it looked like someone had slapped her on the back to make the words come out. "He's treating you like a mate would."
Jen felt like she had been punched in the gut. She tried to take in air but her lungs wouldn't work. She thought she could hear voices but they sounded muffled, as if coming from the other side of a closed door. Her thoughts were jumping from one image to another like one of those flip picture books making the pictures look alive the faster you flipped them, only this wasn’t a book, this was her life. She saw Decebel coming towards her bed when he asked her if she was alright, flip, he was kneeling next to her looking at the skin on her legs, flip, he was standing in the hall of the hospital all but growling at her, flip, he was laying a blanket over her as she lay in the hospital bed shivering. On and on the images came. There was one common denominator in each image: Decebel was nearly snarling at her in all of them. All of a sudden, she felt cold wetness on her face. She gasped, trying to get her bearings, filling her lungs with precious, life-giving oxygen.
"Crap, Sally," Jen sputtered. "There better be a stinking, world-changing reason that you threw water in my face."
"You weren't breathing and you wouldn't respond to us saying your name. I was going to slap you, but Jacque decided a hand mark marring your skin might not be the wisest thing right now," Sally explained nervously.
"I have found a flaw in your reasoning," Jen said, looking for all the world like they had better agree with her. As Jacque handed her a towel to dry her face, she explained her theory. "Any time Decebel is in the room with me he looks at me like he wants to throttle me. Not once has he ever appeared to be interested in me in that way."
"You of all people should know that a look of intense desire can be mistaken for the look of throttling," Jacque said, matter of fact like.
Jen cocked her head to the side, one eyebrow lifting. "Oh really, do tell, Jac. At what point in your long, full of incredible opportunities, mystifying life have you experienced a guy looking at you where you thought, is this desire for me, or for the throttling he just might be thinking about giving me? Really, please tell me so that I could possibly fan the tiny flame of hope that my common sense is desperately trying to douse with the cold reality that Decebel is NOT AND NEVER, IN MY 'I'M NOT A FREAKING WEREWOLF' LIFE, WILL BE AN OPTION!" Jen cursed the damning tears that revealed the depth of her emotions regarding the brooding wolf who was a constant shadow in her mind.