Five

As he walks out of the town centre and back into the woods, I raise my head and gaze over to where my house is; the last time I see my grandmother, she is quietly sobbing in the shattered doorway of our hut, as the leader of the beasts carries me off into the woods and an uncertain future. 

I continue to fight despite the fact that it appears to be accomplishing nothing except exhausting me; I groan and, for the first time, attempt to communicate with the beast that is holding me captive.

“Do you believe you could help me walk by putting me down?”

“NO!”

So, since that didn’t work, I’m going to try something new. “When you claimed I was yours, what did you mean?”

“You're Mine!”

“You already said that... Where are we going?”

“Quiet!”

“NO!”

This appears to surprise him, as he stops for a second, leading me to believe that he has never been told ‘no’ before. He then keeps moving, and I smile since I’m getting on his nerves, so I keep going.

“Why is everyone wearing a collar except me?”

“Do you want me to put one on you?”

“No...” I’m not sure what they do, so I’m not going to let him put one on me. 

“Well then, be quiet!”

I make an effort, but he now has my curiosity. “Is there a name for you? Or should I just refer to you as Beast?”

“Zachariah,” he sighs.

I’m genuinely surprised he responded, and I flush as I ask, “Why did you kiss me?” 

“It’s because I can, and I’ll do it again!”

“Really, I’ll have to let you get close enough to accomplish that again.” I snap at him. 

He then suddenly comes to a halt. He lets me slip off his shoulder, but I’m still encased in his arm. He places his hand on my cheek, his eyes locked with mine, and just to back up his claim, he bends down and kisses me once more. I can’t help but reciprocate his kiss, which causes him to growl deep in his chest and tighten his arm around me, deepening the kiss at the same time.

When he pulls back, I can feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment, and I lower my eyes from his, but not before I notice the sly grin on his lips. When he moves and scoops me up this time, I don’t resist because he does it bridle style rather than flinging me back over his shoulder. Not long after, the exhaustion of fighting and fleeing from him finally catch up with me. I allowed darkness to consume me with one last glance at the intriguing and attractive beast holding me. 

When I first wake up, I stretch and am startled to see that my wrists are no longer bound. I swiftly move my hands to my neck and breathe a sigh of relief when none of those collars were present. I carefully sit up and examine the room, and I’m truly astonished by what I see.

The room is massive, beginning with the bed, which is exceedingly comfortable, and the silk sheets feel amazing on my skin. As my bare feet reach the chilly floor, I discover that I am no longer wearing the plain dress I was wearing yesterday, but instead a floor-length red silk, spaghetti-strapped nightgown. I blush at the thought of the beast... No, Zachariah, changing my clothing, but he didn’t seem to do anything else since I am alright except for a little soreness from the fighting and fleeing and his bite on my shoulder.

I notice a red silk dressing gown thrown over the back of a chair off to the side of the bed, so I take it up and slide it on, tying the string around my waist carefully. I then resume my examination of the room, still looking for the bathroom. It was not a place I expected a beast to reside in because it was decorated in colours of crimson, black, and gold, and it looked incredibly gorgeous with the antique furniture spread out perfectly about the room.

It takes me a while to locate the bathroom, but once I do, I’m in wonder as I walk around the stunning room, which is adorned in crimson, black, and gold, to match the bedroom. I’m taken aback by the size of the bath, which resembled a small swimming pool, and the shower, which could hold at least twenty people. I walk over to the toilet, use it, then proceed to the sinks to wash my hands. As I go to dry them, the shoulder of my dressing robe falls down my arm, revealing the spot where Zachariah bit me the night before.

I tried to go closer to the mirror, but there was no way I could get near enough to take a proper look without actually sitting on the counter. Figuring there must be another mirror in this room somewhere, so I exit the bathroom and return to the massive bedroom. I eventually find the closet, which has a lot of men’s clothes on one side, but the other side is full of dresses, blouses, and skirts, which makes me sigh, yet another place where I can’t be myself. 

It shouldn’t bother me, but seeing these women’s clothes alongside what I’m assuming to be his makes my heart drop, thinking that he must already have a girl or woman in his life and sharing his room. Walking farther into the closet until I find a full-length mirror that I can approach. I take a step closer, pausing barely an inch away from the mirror, allowing the sleeve of my dressing gown to slide off my shoulder once more. I examine the bite, expecting to find an imprint of his teeth, but what I see astounds me.

It’s like a tattoo: a wolf sits howling at a moon, but this moon is shaped like a double crown. I startle as two arms wrap around me from behind, locking my arms at my sides and preventing me from moving. I gaze in the mirror, but my attention is drawn to who is behind me as he kisses the back of my shoulder and murmurs.

“It is exquisite, exactly like you.” 

I fight a little, but this just causes him to tighten his arms around me even more, as he continues, 

“You’ll get used to me...”

“What if I’m not interested in you? What if I just wish to return home?”

As he responds, I can feel and hear a deep growl vibrate from his chest. 

“You’re mine, and here is your new home... Therefore, get used to it!!” 

He then catches me off guard by releasing me and exiting the room. Even though I wasn’t aware of how tense I was, I exhale and relax. I take a look at the outfits and choose a blouse as I move down the aisle, but there is no way I’m wearing a skirt. He didn’t take advantage yesterday, but that doesn’t mean he won’t today, so I go through all the drawers searching for any type of pants. It takes me a while, but I ultimately locate a couple of pairs of old faded denim jeans, which I do as I recall the healer returning from a supply run with a pair. She handed the seamstress a huge roll of denim fabric and a few stencils so that she could produce some. 

I fell in love with them, and since I could fight and function much better in them than in dresses or skirts, which were the more appropriate and customary attire for us females. I had requested that the seamstress make me a few of these pants, which she dutifully did, but it simply served to further distinguish myself. After I finish getting dressed and then exit the closet, continuing my investigation of the room. I walk up to the windows, pull back the drapes, and gaze out the window.

All I see are trees for miles and miles. I go around the windows and discover that just one is unlocked, which is the balcony doors. Opening the doors, and walk outside to the railing, where I peer over the edge and evaluate the situation. I chuckle to myself as I figure out a means to get down from the balcony to the ground; all I had to do was make sure I timed it well, so I didn’t get caught. 

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