Mine! Part Two Chapter Fifteen
“Sit down right now and let me look at you.” I grimaced, but I didn’t argue. Mom could pinch an ear and make you listen, if you didn’t the first time. One time my dad had told me a story about how the older werekin’s ears were so long because their moms had pulled on them so much as a kid, and I’d believed him.
The next time she’d grabbed me by the ear, I’d accused her of trying to make my ears longer than ole Mr. Constance’s. That earned me an extra yank when she asked what the heck I meant—and then she let go because she was laughing too hard to stay angry at whatever I’d done that day.
The happy memory, once that included both my parents, was bittersweet. I could tell the moment she got close enough to catch the scent on my skin. She faltered, and her face paled. “You found… him?”
I nodded. “Brought him back. Deke’s taken him and one of the others we managed to capture. The convocation will be tomorrow, the next day at the latest.”
“Ritch, will you go get my first aid kit from the front hallway closet? Big red bag.” Most werekin households had large kits, at least, all the predators did. Claws and hormones didn’t always make great combos.
“How’s he doing?” my mom asked quietly after Ritch stepped out of the kitchen.
I kept my voice equally low so he couldn’t hear us. “Good, but he needs more confidence. I want him, Mom; he’d already be mine if I wasn’t afraid of scaring him.”
She reached up and cupped my cheeks. “I’m so glad both my boys found someone to make them happy. It gives me peace of mine.”
I didn’t like the way that sounded, but I couldn’t say anything because Ritch was almost back. “I kissed him.”
Her eyes were sparkling and she was smiling when Ritch came back into the room. He hefted the bag up onto the table. “There you go, Lydia. I didn’t expect such a big bag.”
She shrugged. “Hazards of the species.” She opened it up and pulled out the disinfectant. I fought the urge to hiss and lost when she poured it over my wounds, but I had to admit everything felt better once she was done and had rebandaged them. The little bits of grit inside the wounds had been irritating me as my body tried to heal over them.
“Do you want to go over to Park’s house?” I asked her when she finished putting away the medical tape.
Mom paused and then started picking up the gauze wrappers and other mess. “I… I don’t think so.” She wrapped her arms around her chest, and I scented her distress.
I stood and pulled her close, squeezing her in a tight hug. “It’ll be okay, Mom.”
She sniffled and nodded. “I know.” She wiped the tears away with the side of her hand. “You boys head home to rest. I’ll make you some food and bring it over in the morning.”
“Thanks, Mom.” I leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Come on, Ritch.” I was surprised she didn’t ask for more information, but maybe she was at her limit. I’d heal, but I was worried about the wounds to her mentally.
Ritch was still quiet when we walked in the front door to my place. I shut and locked it behind us. We’d only been gone a few days, but it felt like forever. “I need to clean up.” I was grimy and sweaty.
“Your mom just changed your bandages. You’ll get them wet.” Ritch made perfect sense, but I wanted the scent gone from my skin.
“I’ll clean up with a washcloth then.” Anything to be clean.
“Okay. I’m going to take a shower.” Ritch stopped at the door to his room. He put his hand on the knob and then stopped. “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yeah, but I don’t think I can go right to sleep. Want to watch a movie with me?” I was tired, but more than that, I wanted to see if Ritch would snuggle up on the couch with me. I could grab the comforter off my bed. He’d be cocooned in my scent.
The primitive side of me was very satisfied with that idea. I finished before Ritch did, so I threw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and then dumped it in a bowl. Two cups of milk topped off the snack. If that didn’t help us sleep, nothing would.
Ritch was just coming down the stairs when I pulled open the cupboard with the DVDs. “Do you want to see anything?” He came up close, and I inhaled. He was using my spare bottle of body wash and was wearing some of my old clothes from back when I was a teen. I stared down at him.
He plucked a movie off the shelves and looked up. He frowned. “What?”
“You’re looking at me funny.”
“Am I?” I shut the cupboard. “What did you pick?”
“Oh, I like this one. The first one is the best, but I have all three.” I put it in. “I put popcorn and milk on the coffee table.” I put them on the center of the table, close together, and my blanket was over the back of the couch. Ritch sat down first, and I sat down next to him. Not so close that we were touching, but I could feel the heat of his body alongside mine. He smiled nervously.
I pulled the blanket over us and nestled the bowl between our thighs. The movie started the play and I let go of all the stress and worry and just enjoyed being with Ritch.
When he leaned sideways and rested his head against my shoulder, I knew he was enjoying it too.
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