Chapter 1 (Fire & Ice Book 2)
Snow Bennett shuffled from foot to foot, settling on her left, and adjusted her backpack. The books for her Werebeast History and Interspecies Communications, weighed a ton, not to mention cost her a pretty penny. Luckily, her mother sent her some money for her college books as a graduation gift. The brunette sighed and pushed open the door, entering the classroom. She was excited for her freshman year at Monster State University, but she couldn’t help the heaviness that settled on her heart. Cait was away. Far away. No, they weren’t living in different towns. Actually, Snow had just moved into the older werewolf’s apartment just before school began.
Why was she so sad then? It was her mother’s fault. Snow could still remember the fight she and Cait had before the werewolf left. She frowned as the memory settled over her.
Snow had been going through her school checklist when the front door to the apartment opened. She smiled and jumped up, running to the living room to meet her mate. The brunette dove at the werewolf wrapping her legs around the woman and planting her lips on her mouth. Cait responded in kind and deepened the kiss. When they pulled back, Snow grinned.
Cait chuckled. “If this is how you welcome me home then I’ll have to leave more often.”
Snow blushed and slid down off of her mate. “How was school?”
Cait sighed. “Well, it was fine.”
“Just fine?” Snow pouted.
Cait rolled her eyes and pecked the girl on the lips. “Fine, it was abysmal without you. I hated every second we were apart, and I’m never leaving your side ever again.”
Snow giggled and followed the werewolf back to the kitchen where she had been going over what she needed for school. They were stopped however when there was a knock at the front door. Cait looked questioningly at Snow, but the girl shook her head and shrugged. Cait turned around and opened the door only to smile.
“Mrs. Bennett, how are you?” The werewolf moved aside to let Integra enter the cozy apartment.
“Please Cait, we talked about this. You’re by far my senior. I demand you call me Integra. I am your mother-in-law, and I demand the familiarity. You’re family now whether you like it or not. Besides, Mrs. Bennett was my mother. Now, how is my baby girl doing? You haven’t knocked her up yet, have you?”
“Mom!” Snow blushed.
“What? I demand that I should be the first to know such a thing, if and when it happens.”
“Stop it!” Snow covered her face with her hands and Cait chuckled.
“Not that I mind Integra, but to what do we owe this sudden visit?”
“Getting right to business? I like that in a woman. Fine, I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’ve come with a proposition for you Cait. One I hope you will not turn down.”
The werewolf frowned. “What kind of proposition?”
Integra sighed. “I truly hate to ask this of you, but when you were working for my mother, you were one of her best guards. I wish to reinstate you as my personal guard.”
“Not that I’m not flattered Integra, but why so suddenly? Has something happened?”
“Yes and no. I wish to reinstate you so that nothing irreparable occurs. You see, ever since the demise of the dark bloods king there have been several, shall we call them, disruptions. The dark bloods have a special way of doing things. To my understanding, they run on a ranking system and basically the strongest rules. Xavier was, by far, the strongest of his time and he kept them in order. With his death, higher-ranking individuals have begun to rally followers and gain power. These individuals don’t follow the same etiquette that Xavier upheld.”
Cait growled. “What etiquette?”
Integra nodded. “Indeed, but there was a certain set of predictable rules that Xavier followed. The same can not be said for these new players. Some have tried to take land from other monsters, while others have gone on outright killing sprees to prove their power.”
“But what does that have to do with Cait, mom?”
“To my understanding, you were quite the diplomat, Cait. You were a good judge of when to apply tact or force. Not to mention, you have unprecedented battle experience that most of my guard just hasn’t lived long enough to gain. I was hoping you would lead a small elite section of my guard to deal with some of the more disrupting disputes. I could really use your help Cait. If we aren’t careful, another war might break out.”
Cait frowned as she thought this all over.
“Cait?” Snow mumbled.
“Can I have some time to think about all of this, Integra?”
The woman clapped her hands. “Of course. It was quite sudden, but I do need an answer by tomorrow. I would like to begin dealing with things as soon as possible.”
“I understand. I’ll think about it and give you my answer by then.”
“Thank you, Cait. Oh, and here, for my baby girl. Sorry, it’s late.” Integra reached into her purse and pulled out a white envelope with Snow’s name written in cursive on the back. She looked questioningly at her mother. Integra winked. “Don’t spend it all in one place. Now I must be going. Adam is probably bleeding out of his ears. I left him to deal with some very vocal politicians. I hope he doesn’t hold it against me, but a girl’s gotta have her priorities.”
Cait smiled and let the salamander out, closing the door behind her and setting in the lock. She sighed and prepared for what was to come next. The werewolf turned around to see Snow with her hands resting on her hips and tapping her foot impatiently.
“Babe — ”
“I’ll think about it? What is there to think about! Of course, you’re going to say no.”
“But babe — ”
“It’s too dangerous, not to mention who knows how long you’ll be gone running errands for my mother. This is probably another one of her ploys to separate us. She’s always been on the fence about how fast our relationship is moving — ”
Cait cut off her rant by smothering it with a kiss. She trailed her hand slowly along the girl’s spine making her arch into her and moan when their tongues met. Snow buried her hand in the werewolf’s hair tugging it to deepen the kiss. Cait had to use every ounce of her willpower to pull back. Snow had her eyes closed and pulled her bottom lip between her teeth when they separated.
When she opened her eyes, they were hazy with something other than lust. “I don’t want you to go Cait. I can barely handle being away from you when you’re at work. How will I survive you being states or even countries apart from me? It might really kill me.”
Cait sighed and rested her forehead on the brunettes. “I know babe. It’s the same for me. I always feel like a part of me is missing when we’re too far apart, but your mother wouldn’t have come to me unless she really needed the help. No matter what you say, she is a proud woman and doesn’t like asking for help. This must really be bothering her.”
Snow pushed away from the werewolf and felt her anger bubbling up in her gut. “So, you’re just going to leave me?”
“Snow, it’s not like that, and you know it.”
“Then, what exactly is it like? I’m failing to see your point.” Snow felt a cold power building up in her chest, and Cait could feel the temperature of the room suddenly drop.
“There could be innocent people dying at the hands of dark bloods.”
“What about me?”
“You’re always my top priority, Snow.”
“You’ll be safe here. Remus’s pack will be around to protect you, and you have bodyguards that your mother denies she has watching you day and night. But these people, the ones that the dark bloods are killing for sport, don’t have anyone. You’ve never been in a war; you don’t know what it’s like.”
Snow’s face flushed bright red in hot anger. “Well excuse me for being a big baby!” She spun around on her heels and marched off to their shared bedroom. Cait followed and attempted to grab her hand, but the brunette shook her off, time and time again.
“Go ahead and tell my mother that you’ll work for her, and ask for a bed to sleep on while you’re at it because you’ll need one!” Snow turned around once she was in the bedroom and slammed the door in her mate’s face. The look on Cait’s face, a look of pure sadness, stayed with her all night. When she woke the next morning to apologize, Cait had left a note saying she went to accept Integra’s request. Snow could vaguely remember the soft touch of lips and a whispered goodbye while she was half asleep.
Snow still didn’t know why she got so angry. She just had this feeling of pure fear that if Cait left, she might never see her again. Because she wasn’t able to express that feeling, she just got so angry that the woman she had dedicated her heart and soul to would leave her so easily, even if it was to save lives. Snow knew she was being selfish, but Cait was hers’, and she didn’t know what she would do if she ever lost her. The brunette could still remember holding the woman in her arms as she turned more and paler after their fight with Xavier. At one point, Cait had stopped breathing, and the girl had thought the woman she finally realized she loved was dead.
No one should ever know the terror of holding their most precious person, dead, in their arms. It is an agony beyond words. Cait may be battle worn, but she wasn’t immortal. Sure, werewolves lived a long time, but they did eventually die of old age and could be killed through sickness or battle. Snow just didn’t want to lose the love of her life in some stupid dark blood dispute for land.
Snow sighed. When she had called her mother the next day, she was informed that Cait had already left on a mission and wouldn’t be back until the end of the month. She would never forgive the woman for leaving like that. The werewolf should have talked to her more about it, but even Snow knew she would have just gotten more angry, and spiteful. Maybe, it was better this way, for both of them. No goodbyes, only welcome homes.
“Is this seat taken?”
Snow looked up from where she had been scribbling on some notebook paper, to see a girl with long black hair and pale skin, smiling down at her. The brunette felt a chill of fear run down her spine when her own brown eyes met the red of the other girl’s. She was a vampire, but was she a dark blood? Probably not. She was probably a blue blood, like her grandmother, if she was attending Monster State University. Snow forced a smile on her face and shook her head.
“You can sit there if you like.”
“Oh good. I was worried I wouldn’t get a seat in the front. I have bad eyesight, but I refuse to get glasses. It will clash with my look if you know what I mean.”
Snow nodded politely before turning to stare back out the window to her left.
“I’m Dian by the way.” The girl looked expectantly at her.
The brunette relented, and answered, despite her better judgment. “Snow.”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you. Feel free to ask me any questions about this class. It’s my second time through.”
Snow frowned. “What happened the first time?”
Dian smiled tightly. “I got sick, but I’m better now, and I’m a fountain of information just waiting to be tapped into.”
Snow couldn’t help the reluctant chuckle that left her throat. “I’ll keep that in mind.”