Fane followed them both upstairs and they went down a long hall, passing several doors. “We'll give you the full tour tomorrow,” Mr. Henry told Fane.
That was fine with Fane. He was very tired, but his brain was going ninety to nothing thinking about what he had just discovered. The wolf inside was restless knowing that his mate, who he possibly could've had to wait an eternity for, was just across the street.
Finally at the end of the hall, at the last door on the left, Mrs. Henry stepped aside and said, “Here is your room. We took the liberty of decorating it a bit, but you are welcome to change it anyway you like. So we'll leave you to it. Sleep tight.”
“Mulţumesc,” he stated formally. The Henrys looked at him quizzically. “Oh, that means ‘thank you’ in Romanian. Sometimes I forget and start speaking my native language, forgive me.”
“Oh, no. That’s great, Fane,” Mrs. Henry said. “I would love to learn your language and culture. Please feel free to use it anytime you want.”
“Well then, mulţumesc and noapte bună – which means good night,” Fane told them.
With that, the Henrys turned and walked away, leaving Fane to explore his new territory.
He walked into his room and immediately felt at home. They had inadvertently decorated his room in winter tones with wolves as the dominate theme. How fitting, Fane thought. The walls were painted a white that glistened like snow and one had a mural of a winter forest; in the distance there was a wolf on a snowy hill, his head tilted to the sky in a lonely howl. The bed was a full-size with a thick blue comforter and lots of pillows.
To the left of the bedroom door was another door. Fane opened it, and walked into a huge closet with built-in drawers all along one wall. The back wall had a clothing bar across the top. Along the right side of the closet were various sizes of shelves from floor to ceiling. All in all, it was quite a sight – there was even a built-in shoe rack along the bottom of the closet all the way around the perimeter.
Fane stepped out of the closet and turned right to go into the other door and walked into a spacious bathroom with a glassed-in shower and separate bathtub. There was a long marble counter top with a deep bowl sink. The mirror that hung above the sink was antique-looking with a large curved pewter frame. The floor was stone tiled, and the light fixtures on the wall were old-world style lanterns. The hanging light fixture featured electric candles in a metal circular frame. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Henrys were quite wealthy.
After checking out all of his new territory – even in his human form Fane couldn’t help seeing things as his territory or not – he decided to take a shower and wash off the smell of crowded airports and unfamiliar people. He took his time enjoying the hot water and finally decided he was ready to go to bed.
His final thought of the night was of Jacque's emerald eyes. He couldn’t see the color of her hair because he had never gotten past her eyes. The shock of who and what she was had distracted him. Still, those emerald eyes led him to sleep.
The morning sunlight shone into Jacque’s room as she yawned noisily and stretched her limbs. She glanced over to where Sally and Jen had fallen asleep and saw they were snoozing soundly. I’ll let them sleep while I get a shower, she thought. She still had things she needed to process from her encounter with hottie from across the street.
“Thanks, Jen,” she muttered under her breath. Now she couldn’t think of him as the foreign exchange student because Jen had so eloquently named him the “hottie.”
Jacque would have to watch herself and make sure not to introduce herself by saying, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you, hottie.” Yeah, that wouldn’t be embarrassing at all.
She gathered up some clean clothes, and as she stared in her closet she realized it was taking quite a long time to pick an outfit to wear to meet the hottie – grrr...the exchange student. Jac, she thought, say it to yourself. Ex-ch-an-ge student.
Finally she chose a pair of jeans that had holes in various places along the legs. Of course, they weren’t there through any fault of hers; they were $125 jeans made to be ripped up…go figure. She picked a baby doll tee that said “I’m not stubborn, my way is just better.” Better to let him know up front that I'm sarcastic, Jacque thought.
She headed to the bathroom to take a hot shower, hoping it would help settle her nerves. She didn’t really understand why she was so nervous about meeting the exchange student – way to go, Jac, you didn’t call him the hottie – but she was very nervous. It could be, she thought, because he might have spoken to me in my head.
“I’m mean, what the heck,” she muttered.
Jacque took her time in the shower, finally getting out when the water started to get cold. She dried off with a towel and got dressed, then took her time fixing her hair. She couldn’t decide if she should wear it up or down. “Good grief,” she told herself, “you never have this much trouble getting ready.” She just couldn’t shake the feeling that something major had happened last night when she'd locked eyes with that handsome stranger.
Settling on wearing her hair up – it was summer in south Texas, after all, which basically meant frying eggs-on-the-side-walk hot – she headed back to her room to see if Sally and Jen had decided to join the living.
Sure enough, they were both sitting in the floor. Each had bed-head and looked a little dazed.
“You’re up bright and early…and dressed,” said Jen, sounding surprised.
“Well, I woke up with just a few things on my mind and knew it would be impossible to go back to sleep. Also, I need to go talk to my mom about us going over with her to greet the hot...I mean exchange student. Thanks to you, Jen, I will probably introduce myself to him by calling him hottie.”
“Well if you do, I will be sure to do you the honor of laughing my ass off.” Jen said graciously.
“Oh, thanks sooo much,” Jacque retorted.
“Okay, kids. Let's play nice. We have plans to make, so let’s not waste time competing over who can be the snottiest sista,” Sally said in her best motherly voice.
“Okay, okay. Why don’t ya’ll take turns getting a shower. I will go talk to my mom about when she plans to head over to the Henrys'.”
“Sounds good,” Sally answered.
“Go team,” Jen said with fake enthusiasm.