After several more deep breaths he was beginning to calm down. He closed his eyes and tried very hard not to slip into Jacquelyn’s mind to see if she was okay. It took all of the manners his mother had beat into him not to listen to her thoughts. Instead he laid there, humming the tune of one of his favorite artists. Believe it or not Fane, a Romanian, was a Willie Nelson fan. Who knew? It was a song that he wanted to share with Jacquelyn because it described so well how he felt. Soon, he thought. Not tonight. Tonight she didn’t want to be with him, but soon.
Jacque lay in the tub her two best friends had filled with hot water and bubble bath. She felt bad for walking out on Fane like she did, but she was hurt, scared, and worried. No amount of telling her she shouldn’t worry was going to make it better. Tears ran down her cheeks as she imagined all the horrific possibilities of what could happen at the challenge. He expects me not to worry. As if, she thought.
She stayed in the tub until the water became cool. As she dressed and combed through her curls, she was trying to decide if she should go to Fane or just go to bed. If she were honest with herself, she would do what every bit of her was craving to do. To crawl up in his lap and let him hold her, to spend as much time with him as possible. It really truly was a no brainer, as much as she loved Jen and Sally, a hot Romanian prince and, as fate would have it, her soul mate was waiting for her. She knew what Jen would say, something along the lines of, “If you don’t go to him, you better believe I will.” Yep, mm-hmm, that’s what she would say. Okay, decision made. She winked at herself in the mirror as she turned to leave the bathroom.
Before she went down to Fane, Jacque stuck her head in the door of her bedroom to tell Sally and Jen thank you and let them know she would be downstairs. But before she could even open her mouth to speak, they were already answering her unspoken thoughts.
“You’re welcome, we love you, you love us, we’re the best friends ever, and all that sap,” Jen said without looking up from the magazine she was flipping through.
“Yes, we’re okay if you go down to Fane. No, it won’t hurt our feelings, and we all know if you don’t, Jen will,” Sally said with a wink.
“True dat,” Jen threw in there for good measure.
“Ok, you two are the best friends ever. I mean that. I’ll be back in a little while,” Jacque started.
“Don’t hurry on our account. You know we'll want details, and if you come back up here with nothing juicy, I might just throw you out the window. Any questions?” Jen said, again without looking up.
“You haven’t looked into that medicine we’ve talked about, have you?” Sally asked her sarcastically.
“Details, ok. Got it,” Jacque said as she turned to go.
As she got to the top of the stairs and began to descend, she heard Jen yell, “Don’t think I won’t know if you’re lying. I know how many bases you’ve been on, you red-headed puritan. I will be able to tell fact from fiction.”
“Oh, shut up already,” Sally scolded.
Jacque laughed and shook her head. She knew that what Jen was really trying to do was lighten the mood. Jen knew how hot-headed Jacque could be, and if she went to Fane already upset it would be hard for her to calm down and be reasonable. Being reasonable just wasn’t one of her stronger attributes, much to Jacque's frustration.
As she walked into the living room, she saw that Fane was still sitting on the loveseat. His arms were stretched out on the back of the seat, and his head was resting back. His eyes were closed and because his breathing was so slow and even, it was hard to tell if he was awake.
“I like the smell of your shampoo,” Fane said suddenly.
Startled by his unexpected words, Jacque tried, without success, to suppress the squeak that emerged from her. Fane had not moved, nor had he opened his eyes. He just continued to sit there all calm and collected. Jacque rolled her eyes and went around to the couch to sit down.
Fane slowly raised his head and pinned Jacque with those piercing blue eyes. Her heartbeat sped up and her breathing got a tad bit more shallow. She had to look away from him before she made a fool of herself by drooling. Yeah, that would be so cute, Jacque snorted to herself.
“Does being near me repulse you, Luna?” Fane asked her
Jacque knew she must look confused, because, frankly, she was. How could he possibly think he repulsed her? If anything he should be the one repulsed.
“Why would you ask me that?” she asked him.
“I know no other reason why my mate would choose to sit away from me instead of by my side,” Fane told her, sounding so formal and old fashioned.
“Oh throw me a bone, Fane,” Jacque said in exasperation. “Did it occur to you that maybe I just needed some space because it’s hard for me to think when I get close to you?”
Fane grinned, obviously pleased with her comment. He stood up slowly, rising to his full height so that Jacque had to tilt her head back to look up at him. He walked around the coffee table that separated the two couches and sat down close – revision, Jacque thought – he sat down very close to her.
“So are you having a hard time thinking now?” he asked her softly.
With a shuddering breath, all Jacque could do was nod her head.
“Why did you come back down here, meu inimă? I didn’t think you wanted to be around me,” Fane told her.
Jacque tried to scoot away from him, but it was in vain because he just scooted with her. Dang stubborn werewolf.
“At first I didn’t want to be around you.” Jacque noticed his head lower at her words and quickly explained, “I didn’t want to be around you because I didn’t want to hear you tell me not to worry or that it was going to be ok. Then I realized none of that really matters, what matters is being with you, spending time you. I hate when we are apart. I’m sorry if that sound desperate, but it’s the truth.”
Fane wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him.
“Thank you, Jacquelyn. You have no idea how hard it was to sit here on this couch and not come to you, and even harder not to seek out your thoughts. I love you. I’m sorry if my words upset you. I’m here if you want to worry, not worry, or anything else. I’m here,” Fane told her in all sincerity.
Jacque closed her eyes, soaking up the feel of him against her, the safety she felt with his arms around her, and the warmth pouring through her from his words. She didn’t know how she had gotten to be blessed to be Fane’s mate, but she was thankful beyond words.