It was a week since I arrived. Jackson and I were slowly making things work. Tonight, he would let me sleep in the bed with him. People were questioning our sleeping arrangements, and that they hadn't smelled our scents merged together. I didn't want to sleep sleep with him.. But, I was getting kind of lonely sleeping alone.

"I'm not asking you to sleep in bed with me... It's more of a demand, considering they can smell that we aren't sleeping together." Jackson whispered to me while I was helping set up for one of the big dinners.

"Oh." I stopped setting up.

"Do you have a problem with that, Claira?" He sounded hurt.

"No..." I shook my head. It was still a demand. I had to obey either way. I was still crying myself to sleep about Ren, but it was something that I would have to get over.

"Good. I'll see you when dinner is being served." He squeezed my shoulder, before going away.

Jackson had been a little more gentle with my feelings about what I had lost. I respected the fact he was giving me space. It let me get my feelings together. Also, all the little kids and toddlers running around made me uncomfortable around Jackson, because I wanted my own.

"Come on, kids! Dinner is ready!" I called, setting the plastic plates down at the kids table. There were sixteen adults, five teenagers, and eleven kids and toddlers.

"Thanks, Claira!" The kids all thanked me, sitting down, and instantly devouring the food that was set in front of them by their parents. I went into the kitchen to go make my plate. The men barbecued burgers and hot dogs, though I wasn't big on meat. That's what made me strange. I liked veggies more than meat, but I learned to eat it, and not complain.

"I see you're not hungry again tonight." Jackson looked at me as I made up my plate of a salad, and a bare burger with cheese, and mustard.

"Not really. I don't eat a lot anymore." That was such a lie. I would endlessly eat, and eat, but since the bonding, I wasn't really hungry.

"You're lying to me." He piled up his plate. "I can hear your stomach growl." I sighed, and put some fries on my plate, and went to go sit down.

"It doesn't matter wether I eat a lot or not... I don't feel like eating." I stuck a fry in my mouth.

"You're getting thin, as well." I was always thin. But, not thin to where my bones would show a bit.

"Okay. I'll eat later if I get hungry. Please, let it go." I just went quiet after that. Dinner never seemed to end. Kids went to their homes, and the adults and teenagers mingled around. We followed our own rules, but if the teens wanted alcohol, they had to get it through us. They were allowed nothing stronger than Schnapps. I just settled on the sofa with my glass of wine, being quiet.

"Hey, you're really quiet. Somethin' bugging ya?" Shay asked, sitting next to me.

"Nah, just tired." I sipped my glass.

"You still haven't slept with him." I almost choked.

"Shay! You're sixteen! Stay out of your brothers, and I's sex life!" I hissed quietly at her. She shrugged

"It's not my fault.... But, you know everyone is suspicious. If you're not sleeping with him, then something is going on between you two." She told me.

Shay knew.

"This was an arranged mating, that I had no intention of being in." I told her quietly. "After commanding me to seal the deal... I can't." She looked at me, and pinched my nose.

"So? My brother isn't a bad man. You had to do it anyways, or the elders would have killed you without a second thought." She let my nose go.

"You're not the first person to tell me that." I muttered, fingering the rim of my glass.

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