IX | A Precious Jewel

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Slipping on Kaleb's clothes was every bit as perfect as Kaia had imagined it. She wasn't sure what bliss felt like, but this must have been pretty close to it. The sweater smelled so strongly of Kaleb it was like he'd just taken it off and wrapped her in it to keep her warm on a cold day. It was soft. She felt snug in it, so perfectly comfortable. She didn't want to question why it made her feel so safe.

She'd almost forgotten about her injuries the moment she felt his dark clothes against her skin. Honestly, they'd healed strangely quickly. Rosy had mentioned something about lycanthrope-related ability to heal, something about saliva and science jargon...but Kaia did not want to go down that road. 

Kaleb's clothes were too big. That wasn't a surprise, though, considering how tall and muscled he was. They were huge on Kaia, the dark pants significantly too long and the shirt and sweater falling far past the tips of her fingers. She didn't mind, though. It kept her hands warm.

And besides, it wasn't like she could walk around the building wearing her hospital gown. That'd be ten times as embarrassing as wearing clothes a bit too big for her. Kaia sighed and looked at herself in the mirror; she'd realized that there was a bathroom connected to the room she'd been staying in and taken advantage of it to make her appearance somewhat more bearable.

She hated the thought that Kaleb had seen her with her hair so disheveled. But he hadn't seemed to care when she'd touched him and felt what he'd felt. That was something else that she wasn't sure she wanted to question, but couldn't help it. Why was it that she could feel what others did, see their memories? Was that normal around lycanthrope? She wanted to believe that but was worried that it was just one more thing that made her unusual. Or, just maybe, it had to do with her being human yet still somehow mated to Kaleb?

Mated to Kaleb...wow. She was a bit weirded out by the thought but still didn't know what it meant. It felt bizarre. Why was her whole world suddenly flipped upside down and turned inside out?

Once she'd asked one question, though, she'd opened the gate a crack. The pressure of the million other questions she had was enough to force it open the rest of the way.

What did it mean to be Kaleb's mate? Did it matter that she was human? Or didn't it? How could she break a rib and be fine the next morning? How did this whole lycanthropy thing work? What was the Pack like? Would she survive that pressure of being introduced to them all? And what about her dad? About Cole? Were they worried about where she was and if she was ok?

Kaia watched as the line between her eyebrows got deeper with each question she asked herself. She pressed her fingers to it, making it disappear. All Kaia could do was focus on what was happening. So she brushed her hair and her teeth with what she could only assume Rosy had brought her and splashed some cold water on her face.

Face it, Kaia. Your world is insane now. Accept that fact and move on.

So she did. And she eased open the door to her room. She peered out into the hallway, which was lengthy and adorned with impressive abstract art. Doors lined the walls in between the paintings. A long red carpet ran along the entire length of it like a velvety tongue, and crystal chandeliers hung overhead. Fancy. 

"Kaia."

She jumped sky high, her heart beating. "Jesus!"

"Name's Lionel. Hurt that you forgot me, though," he said, smiling and leaning forward.

Kaia placed a hand flat against her chest as she defended herself, "I didn't forget, you just scared me."

Lionel winked, "I know. Also, you don't need to call me Lionel. My friends call me Lion." He started down the hallway, but Kaia just stared after him.

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