I'm back with the revision! A lot has changed, but the main core and most of the story is the same! I hope you like it!

Just as a warning, this story is rated M for detailed "spiciness" in later chapters.

N Dad: Born: 1802 Age: 211

C Mom: Born: 1828 Age: 185

Noah: Born: 1847 Age: 166

Darren: Born: 1850 Age: 163

Cady: Born: 1867 Age: 146

Maggie: Born: 1926 Age: 87


The Oath of a Watcher:

To protect day and night is the service of a Watcher.

I will risk everything I have for the safety of my Charge,

Even if it means to sacrifice myself to save their lives.

From dusk to dawn, my job is never done.

From hell to heaven I will fight for the freedom

And the right of my Charge to live.

I will stand by them when no one else does.

I will defend them when no one else will.

My Charge is all there is and I vow with my blood

To do protect them no matter the circumstances.

Her back slammed against the wall, but it wasn't because she didn't want it to. Arousal flooded through Cady as the man's warm hands smoothed over her back, spreading fire. Her fingers threaded through his chestnut brown hair, gripping tight. He moaned and lifted her so her legs could wrap around him. His Carribbean blue eyes mesmerized, storms of ecstasy swelling in them. His lips descended on her and she melted further into him. His strength steadied her mind and she knew with all her being they were meant for each other.

He trailed kisses down her cheekbone, nibbling as he reached her neck. She moaned, loving how he tantalized her. He nipped harder, then licked over the affected area. She gasped as his teeth sank into her neck. When she tried to push him away, he pressed closer, suckling even more from her. Kicking and thrashing, she finally tore away from him, falling to the ground. Clutching at the gushing wound, she looked at her attacker, and, instead of finding those startling blue eyes, she found the black pools that had haunted her the last four years. He smirked, licking his lips. "I always knew you'd taste good."

Cady snapped her eyes open and her hand went to her neck. When there was no mark she sighed, thankful it had only been a dream. She frowned and turned on her side, sighing heavily again when the clock read one a.m. She'd been having the same dream for a while now, and she really needed to figure it out or she wasn't going to get any sleep. Every time it appeared it left her shaking and sweating with her heart pounding. It had been almost a year since she'd gotten at least half a decent night's sleep and it was only getting worse. She was now faced with the reality that if she wanted to get any sleep, she was going to have to do something about it. And that something was to go see Maggie tomorrow and ask for her help. Maggie always knew how to remedy these things, although Cady wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea. Her one and only friend was determined to get her to go back to work, to her "destiny." Closing her eyes, Cady tried to sleep once more, but all the hairs on her body were still prickling, causing more and more goosebumps to form.

"Dammit, he can't come in. He wasn't invited," she told herself, but her whole being was still alert. Turning away from the clock, she tried again to sleep, but the sensation of fangs in her neck seemed to grow, threatening to become real. Exasperated, she threw the covers off and went into the kitchen. Her nights always seemed like this now, first, an arousal so intense not even expunging it herself could ease it. She could still feel her body vibrating with desire for the mysterious man who sent heat coursing through her. Then, suddenly, it was slaughtered by a fear she had never known, followed by betrayal that he would cause her so much pain. It ended with thick, suffocating fear when she realized the man had changed into one from her past. She knew they were two different people because the second person and he'd never taken time to whisper sweet nothings like Carribbean Blue seemed to do. It had been a chore; clean the dishes, finish paperwork, have sex, brush teeth, read a page or two and then bed. There had been no feeling where the second person had been concerned and at the time she hadn't cared. He'd been stable enough of what little they saw of each other and he'd provided her a place to stay for the while… Now everything was different.

Pushing the thoughts away, she set a full kettle of water on the burner and grabbed the only mug in her home. Her kitchen was almost bare as though she'd just moved in. A single plate and bowl sat on a drying rack with a single spoon, fork and knife. There was no coffee maker, she usually just dipped two spoonfuls wrapped in a filter in her hot water. She took it black, which made more room for air in her almost empty fridge. There was half a table, its broken, jagged side was pressed against the wall. The other half had been smashed and Cady had never bothered to get a new one. There were two chairs, one was metal and foldable, the other wooden with one of its legs from a different chair cut to size. There was no microwave and no other item in the room.

Sometimes, on nights like these, she would almost feel lonely. Almost wish she had someone who could comfort her. She stared out her kitchen window, which showed the alley behind her apartment. She grunted and went into the living room while she waited for the water to heat. There was no point in wishing for a man. Despite her work, she personally had never been marriage material and she was fine with that… Wasn't she?

The chair that was tucked in the corner was worn and lumpy, but her cat, Colonel, curled in it nevertheless. She went to him and scratched his head. "At least one of us can sleep," she sighed and scratched his chin. "You're the only man in my life, aren't you? You're okay with that, right?" Colonel yawned and rubbed his head against her hand. She smiled, but looked out her living room windows. She could reassure herself over and over again, but the fact was she was getting lonely, and not what she assumed was a normal kind. She could feel a hole widening the longer she shut herself off from the world. She sighed again. "I really am going to have to see Maggie tomorrow…"

Until then, she turned to the center of the room where a punching bag was situated, rendering the rest of the living room useless. There was no point in sitting around and hoping sleep would take her, she'd had that dream enough to know that it wouldn't come. So she aligned herself and began to practice the basic fight techniques. Maybe if she tired herself out quick enough, she'd be able to catch a little more sleep.

It took her an hour and a half, but eventually sleep came again and this time there was no hint of the dream. As morning dawned, Cady was dressed and finishing her coffee. She sat in the wooden chair, sipping at it, staring off into space. She sighed for what seemed like the millionth time that morning. What was wrong with her? Ten years ago she wouldn't have given the slightest care to the world that she was alone. In fact, she would have prefered it that way. So why did she now feel like she was missing something important? Colonel sat on the table, watching her. The cat had been her companion since before her solitude and she was glad for him. He eyed her coffee and after a minute, she sighed and set it in front of him. "Fine, have it. I was finished anyway." She stood and ruffled the fur on his head. Colonel dipped his nose in the mug and began to lap up the liquid.

Grabbing her purse, she headed out. It wasn't really a purse, it was a bag and the only thing girly in it was her wallet and her cell phone. The other items were essentials, a couple wooden stakes, a cross, a can of mace, and a couple good sized rocks. As she hoisted the straps over her shoulders, she looked at the sky, the last strands of night clung to the earth as the sun battled for its return.

She stopped and watched this phenomenon for a moment, breathing in the cool morning breeze. She could almost feel herself relaxing, but all of that was ripped from her as she was hit from the side. She tumbled to the ground and as she tried to catch her breath, the pain intolerable, she was picked up. He pinned her back against him, an arm around her waist and the other across her chest. He squeezed tight. "Good morning, Darling," the voice pooled inside her like frozen water. Her heart began to beat like a hummingbird's and she struggled against him. He held her tight, he chin nuzzling her jaw. "Miss me? I can feel your body tremble just by knowing I'm around." He kissed her shoulder.

Jerking, she swung her bag, hitting the man in the head. His grip loosened and she flung away from him, waving her arm haphazardly behind her. She felt the power flow through the tips of her fingers and knock him away from her to the middle of the grassy yard. Quickly trying to catch her breath, she glared at the man who'd haunted the second half her dream.

"You haven't changed a bit," he laughed, rising to his feet without using any limbs. "You're still the same useless puppy. I can't believe I thought that was cute."

Annoyed, she huffed and crossed her arms. "Are you going to try to kill me or are you just going to keep talking? I'm running kind of late as it is."

He frowned. "You still haven't learned to respect your elders."

She laughed, her mocking tone all too clear. "I hope you don't mean you! You may have risen to the top overnight Todd, but you're still a pup. Okay, we've done the verbal sparring, can we move along please?"

He eyed her. "You're not being very hospitable," he shrugged. "You were always uncivilized though. I could never take you anywhere in public, you always said the wrong thing."

"And you never shut the hell up, pretty boy." Okay, so she was slightly egging him on, but she needed to get this over with.

Finally, he lunged for her. She dodged, sweeping her hand to send him flying away from her again. He hit the side of a car and crashed to the ground. He got to his feet and attacked again, jumping at her, fists swinging. She blocked easily, raising her arms and stepping away from him. He kicked and she blocked again, keeping her distance. Soon, he took advantage and swung his fist hard, hitting her ribs. She stumbled backwards and he jumped on her, knocking her to the ground where he grabbed her neck. She tried to pry it away, but he only tightened his grip, his body sinking onto her hips. "Finally, a position you're used to," he sneered and punched her hard. "Just something to remember me by," he said as he swung his fist a second time.

The sun was rising higher in the sky and she watched steam rise from his hand. She smirked. "Watch yourself, Todd," she choked.

He looked at his hand and then at the sky. "I guess it's time for me to leave," he grabbed her jaw and kissed her. "Until next time." He jumped off and ran to a sewer opening, slid into it, and pulling the heavy lid back into place.

Coughing and wiping at her mouth, she eased herself into a seated position. She waited until the sun rose fully before picking herself to her feet. She rubbed her neck before tentatively touching the area under her eye. She winced as it seared in pain, already swelling. She sighed and headed to her car, glad that she'd parked it across the street for once. It was true that she could have fought back harder, but she'd needed him to think her weak, that way, when she finally had her chance to kill him once and for all, it would be a piece of cake. Gently and now achingly, she slid herself into her car and took off to Maggie's.

As she entered Herbs and Essentials, a bell rang about the small shop, echoing hypnotically. If a person really looked, however, they would find no bell. Light instrumental music flitted through the air, calming Cady at once. Her heart warmed as she watched her best friend poke her head out of a back room. Her eyes grew wide and then she smiled. "Well, it's about damn time! Give me a second, I have something for you," as she disappeared, she called out again. "And don't sit on the counter!"

Cady nodded, her light, auburn hair pulled to the side in a loose ponytail to help with the heat. After the fight however, some tendrils had fallen loose. She pushed her bangs out of her eyes and slid herself onto the checkout counter like she'd done thousands of times before. She set her purse next to her and picked up a jar that was on her otherside. It was a remedy for sore throats.

It had been almost a month since she'd last seen her friend and Cady couldn't help but feel guilty. She was Maggie's only friend, even though Maggie was the sweetest and most friendly person around. It had been the two of them for a long time, but ever since her dreams had gotten worse, she'd secluded herself. She knew that once she told Maggie her friend would say the only antidote was to go back to her job and that was an option Cady refused to do.

"I've been having this dream for a month now," she called to the back of the store. "It starts out erotic and ends in a nightmare."

"Erotic?" her friend called back.

"Yeah, I'm having sex with this hot guy with amazing blue eyes, when he turns into Todd who bites my neck and starts drinking my blood."

"Well, that's definitely not the type of devouring you would want."

"It's horrific, Maggie. It wakes me up and I'm sweating and literally afraid that he's there in the apartment. I don't get scared, so what is happening to me? It takes me forever to go back to sleep and it's just getting worse."

"Well, my first guess is that you need to get yourself laid. Specifically from a man with gorgeous blue eyes."

Cady laughed. She should have known that would have been her friend's response. She'd always been good at not pushing subjects unnecessarily.

Coming out from the back, Maggie's thick curls framed her face. The white, knitted, turtleneck fit perfectly against the light floral skirt that stretched almost to her ankles. When Maggie wore it, she looked incredible, but it all made Cady feel claustrophobic. She'd chosen shorts for herself today, along with a tank top she'd bought at a thrift store.

Maggie set a bag of cat food on the counter next to Cady. She smiled at her friend, shaking her head. "Always have to be the rebel."

Cady shrugged. "Well, you know..." she set the jar she'd been inspecting back. She turned her attention to the cat food. "You saved me a trip to the store," she smirked.

Maggie gasped, spotting Cady's cheek. "What happened?"

Cady shrugged, smirking even more devilishly. "Todd still hasn't gotten over me yet."

"What a complete bastard," her friend said. "Here, let me get you something that'll heal that in no time," she muttered something and instantly, various items rose in midair and floated towards them. She frowned, thinking, and then nodded. "Yes, I think I'll send you with supplies and the recipe," she continued before her friend could decline. "I know you don't think you need it, but just humor a friend okay?"

"Fine," Cady sighed. They were silent as Maggie waited for the rest of the ingredients to float to her. Cady lightly touched the tenderness under her eye. "Why do I always get the jerks?"

"What, you want the sensitive type?" her friend asked, smirking. "The kind who bares his feelings for you and cries when his pet dies?"

Cady shivered. "God no, it's just- I dunno…"

Maggie took hold of her both of Cady's hands. They stared at each other's eyes, something that was such a habit that they hardly noticed they did it. "You'd like a guy who's not a jerk, but not a complete pushover. Who's polite and romantic enough to even out your barbaric tendencies, but he also needs to be able to match your brain. He also needs to be able to see through that layer of denial you've collected."

They broke apart and Cady frowned. "I'm not that barbaric. I just look it compare to you."

Maggie shrugged, smiling.

Cady smiled and moved her bangs from behind her ear to cover up the bruise. She turned her attention to the bag of cat food once more. "What's with the bag?"

"Oh!" Maggie said as she double checked that all her ingredients had in fact landed on the mixing table behind the counter. "I almost forgot! I enchanted it for Colonel. It will never empty and the flavor will change depending on what he desires."

Cady's eyes grew wide, impressed. "Wow. Thanks."

She nodded. "Now you can afford to buy a new table and chairs, and maybe even some food."

Cady stuck her tongue out at her friend. "I like my home the way it is, it has character."

Maggie nodded, the curl in her lips exposing her fight not to laugh. She began to mix the items together in a bowl. "So, have you thought anymore about about your calling?"

Cady glared in the direction of her friend. "No, we've already given it enough thought."

Maggie sighed. "You're a Watcher, Cady, it's who you are, you can't walk away from it. I know you're still reeling from what happened four years ago, but do you think he would really want you to stop?"

Anger bubbled inside her rapidly. "He would have been sixteen, Maggie. Zack would be alive and back with the monks if I'd done my job properly. He would have had a life and I took it away from him."

"No," Maggie said more firmly than Cady had heard her in years. "You did not take his life. It was taken from him by forces you could not control."

Wanting to yell, Cady looked away, watching people walk by the store, dressed for the summery day. She wasn't going to argue with her friend. Maggie was the only one she had and the only one who knew what had really happened that day. She was the only one Cady had been able to tell and they'd both agreed not to share it with The Order.

She heard Maggie sigh as she crushed what looked like dried leaves. Her shoulders drooped and she suddenly looked exhausted. "I'm sorry Cady, it's just that you're an amazing Watcher and they need you. They recognize how you were affected by what happened, but they feel that if you get back into the business, you'll remember what if felt like to help someone and you'll come back to them."

Frowning, Cady looked at her. "What do you mean?"

Maggie added a few more herbs. "They feel that if you had a Charge to protect, it'll help you remember what it was like and then you can move on…"

"I remember perfectly what it felt like, it was amazing and extremely rewarding, but it's not for me anymore… Maggie…" she said slowly, watching how meticulously she was avoiding eye contact. "Have they assigned someone to me?"

Maggie pointed to the counter. "The file's in there. Just look at it, okay?"

Cady's heart pounded rapidly against her chest. She scanned through it, but began to shake her head as she got deeper into the documents. "Maggie, I can't do this," Cady looked at her friend who was now scooping the paste into a jam jar. "Why would you let them do this?"

Now it was Maggie's turn to frown. "I didn't let them do this, Cady, they had a meeting and then made the decision! I'm just the messenger. Besides, before they even gave me the file, they made sure I couldn't lie or tell them no. They had a psychic tell him when the best time to meet you would be. He's on his way here right now."

Cady slid off the counter. "Okay, well, I'm sorry for blaming you, but I've got to go… Things to do, people to avoid."

"Hang on," Maggie said. "You can't abandon him. He asked specifically for you. And he's also your Charge now and under your protection. You'd be going against the oath-"

"I don't care!" Cady snapped. "I don't care if he's the sexiest man alive, I'm not-"

The bell gave it's melodic jingle all around them. They turned to see the man that entered. He was a tall, tanned man whose blue eyes sparkled as he took his sunglasses off, looking lazily from Maggie to Cady. He smiled at them, his perfectly white and straight teeth sparkling. "Morning ladies, I'm here to meet my Watcher, Cady Ardel," he said, his voice wrapping around Cady like a warm blanket on a cold winter's day. He wore a light blue button-up shirt that fit perfectly, allowing a small peak at his toned form. His jeans were worn and slightly muddy, but they fit around him more perfectly than his shirt. His brown hair was short, but long enough to grip if the passion rose. His square jaw and strong cheekbones made his mouth even more entrapping as he smiled.

Neither of them taking their eyes off him, Maggie leaned into Cady and whispered. "How about a man as sexy as that?" A small, playful smile spread across Maggie's face. Cady rolled her eyes and looked away, crossing her arms. Maggie turned her smile to the man. "I'm Maggie. This is Cady, your Watcher."

His eyes swept over her and he smiled. "Hello, I'm-"

She waved her hand as though swatting a fly. "Noah Lawson. You're a werewolf and have just been declared Alpha of your pack which makes you a target for vampires, not to mention that you get more vulnerable the closer you are to the initiation date, the next full moon, which is coming up very soon."

Noah's brows rose. "You certainly keep up with the news."

"Or I'm a good at skimming."

Noah laughed and it caught Cady off guard. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Maggie's smile widen and knew her friend was enjoying this. She looked at him, frowning again. He kept smiling. "They never told me you had a sense of humor."

"That's because they think it's disrespectful." Maggie answered, the laughter in her voice very plain to Cady.

He nodded, his eyes sweeping over Cady. The playfulness of his smile made her insides flip-flop, no one had ever smiled at her like that before. "I think it's a good thing to have, especially with a job like this."

Cady set down the folder and looked at him, all business now, trying to push away the butterflies that were about to flutter around her stomach. "About the job, I'm going to have to decline."

Noah frowned and the world seemed duller. "I was told you were the best of the best."

She frowned at him. "Did they also mention that I'm not in the Watching business anymore?"

"Yes, but it doesn't matter. I need someone good. There is no one else who could do the job I need done, except for you."

Cady was beginning to get angry, she stood to her full height, meeting him at eye level. She'd always been taller than most women and it had always made men falter. "No. I'm retired."

It hadn't phase him in the least. "You're only twenty-five," he walked over to her, stopping so there was only a small gap between them. She could feel his body heat radiate from him and somehow, it was as though she'd found something she hadn't realized was missing. He voice was gentler than it had been. "I've read your file, Cady, I know you had an accident four years ago, but that doesn't mean you should stop, you have to keep on fighting."

She could see that Maggie was growing uncomfortable and normally, she wouldn't continue. She didn't like to make her closest friend feel that way, but she was too angry to care. "I'm willing to bet they didn't mention that the person who died was a twelve year old boy. Bet it didn't say that I had warned the Order that I needed at least two more Watchers, but they flat out refused and because of that I was overpowered and the boy was killed. Bet they conveniently forgot to put that in there." Noah's lips thinned and she smirked. "You see, Mr. Lawson, the Order doesn't like to sully their name, which is why I've walked away. If they'd cared to give me two more Watchers, Zack would be sixteen and safe. I'm sorry, but I can't help you."

Noah's voice was clipped and as irritated as hers. Apparently their height similarity had only leveled the playing field. "I'm sorry they did that to you, but I don't care about the Order. I just want you. You're the best and that's what I need. I won't take no for an answer."

"And I won't babysit a jackass," she spat at him.

"Cady!" Maggie gasped.

They were all quiet for a moment and then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He looked at her, more calmly now. "I'm sorry. I was attacked a few days ago and I've been on edge ever since. You're absolutely right, I was being rude."

She nodded, eyeing him. Her first instinct was to keep him safe at all costs. It was what had made her a Watcher. She was, after all, itching for some action and if there were vampires involved, that would be exactly what she'd get. He smiled kindly, making her heart patter against her rib cage unexpectedly. She frowned and stared at him. She didn't know if she wanted to be around someone who so easily swayed her emotions. All he had to do was smile and her heart raced and warmed. She didn't know if she liked that, but his genuinely kind manner made her want to kiss him. It was true it was against the rules not to get involved with a client because it kept her from making the hard decisions if she had to, but she'd never been one to follow the rules. That didn't answer why she was acting like a schoolgirl though. Like now, the very subtle scent of his cologne caught her, threatening to dry her mouth. She swallowed, suddenly too close to him.

She extended her hand, putting it between them and severing the strange, sudden, animalistic attraction she had for him. "On one condition, if there's any sign of danger, you run like hell and let me do my job."

He nodded. "I have a condition as well," at this, she retracted her hand as if it'd been burnt. His smile widened a fraction. "I need around the clock protection, so you would stay at my home and accompany me everywhere I go until this is all over with."

She frowned. "I'm not a nanny, Mr. Lawson."

"Call me Noah. I'm not asking for a nanny, Cady," her name sounded delicious when he said it. She had no idea a plain name as hers could sound so exciting. "They've been stalking me and I'm just going to get weaker the closer I get to my coronation. I just need the protection until then, which will be no more than two weeks."

Cady looked at Maggie who smiled and nodded, encouraging her. She looked back at him, automatically swiping at her bangs, annoyed that they were in her way.

His eyes fell on her left cheek and he frowned, his lips thinning once more. He lifted his hand to her cheek, lightly grazing the edges. "What happened?" his touch was so gentle that it took her completely by surprise. For a moment, she considered letting him continue, loving the absolute warmth of his skin. She fought back this urge and pulled his hand away. It had been a mistake. Heat, loving, calming, accepting heat seeped from his hand through her entire body. She could almost feel him pulling her to him and kissing her passionately, exactly how she prefered her kisses. She could almost feel herself melting into him, trusting him completely like she had always wanted to do, but had never found the right man. She could feel him wrapping his arms around her and keeping her safe without ever trying to control her.

Snapping back to reality, she pulled away. He was watching her intently now, his eyes bearing down into hers as if he was seeing something for the first time. She glanced at Maggie whose eyebrows had risen all the way, a small curve at her lips the only indicator that she found this amusing. Cady cleared her throat, replacing her bangs over her eyes. "I- I had a run in this morning," regaining her composure, she squared her shoulders back. "It's nothing, Maggie's already fixed a remedy, it'll be gone by tomorrow."

"Yes," Maggie said, forcing a polite smile instead of a mischievous one. "She just needs to keep a thick layer on it and it'll be gone in no time."

"Good, you're too beautiful to be scarred like that," he said, his eyes warm and caring. She stared at him, at loss for words. He'd called her beautiful? Only her mother and Maggie ever called her that and she'd never really believed them to begin with. He smiled. "So, we have a deal then?"

"Fine," she said and turned away from him, facing Maggie. When her friend's wide smile and knowing look came into view, Cady glared at her. Maggie quickly went to work, ringing up the total for the healing remedy, still smiling. "Ten dollars," she said.

Cady frowned. "There is no way all this cost ten bucks, Maggs, the ingredients alone costs that much."

"It's fine, Cady, just take it."

Shaking her head, she pulled out twenty- five dollars and set it on the counter. "Keep the change," she said, winking. She patted the bag of cat food. "Will you please take care of Colonel while I'm gone?"

"Of course," Maggie smiled. "Take care of yourself Cady." There was concern in her friend's voice.

Leaning over the counter, Cady took her friend's hand in hers and squeezed lovingly, letting the flow of magic and knowledge flow through them like always. "I will. I'll see ya later, Maggs."

The two parted and she left the store. As they stood in the sun, she turned to him. "I'll need directions to your place."

He shook his head. "I'll follow you to your place and you can follow me back, remember, I said around the clock. That starts now."

She shrugged and headed to her car. "Whatever, they pay me a hundred bucks an hour to watch over you."

Noah joined her at the walkway in front of her apartments. She glanced at the place where she'd fought with Todd this morning and inwardly sighed. As they entered her apartment, she headed straight for the balcony, opening the curtains. She smiled at the cat that dozed on a cushioned chair around the sun table.

"You don't really settle down, do you?" Noah asked, examining her apartment.

"I never saw the point, I was always travelling," she said, opening the sliding glass door. She knelt by the cat, petting him. "Okay, Colonel, I have to go and tend to my Watcher duties." The cat's head rose and he looked at her. "I know," she said. "Let's hope it doesn't end badly, huh?" she scratched the cat's chin and it seemed to reassure the animal. She continued. "I'll be gone a while, but Maggie will come by and make sure everything's okay," she leaned in close and whispered. "She has a surprise for you that I know you're going to love." The cat yawned and stretched, laying its head and paw lazily on her arm. She smiled and pulled it out, scratching his head. "Good, I'll see you later."

When she came back inside, Noah was smiling wide. "I didn't take you to own any animals."

"I don't- I mean," she sighed. "Colonel wasn't always a cat… He used to be human."

His brows rose. "What do you mean?"

She hesitated. "We used to date, but he meddled with the dark arts and paid for it," she indicated the cat outside. "I call him Colonel because he'd been trying to cheat his way to the position when it happened."

"And you take care of him now?" Noah asked.

She shrugged. "He's a good cat."

He laughed and she tried not to seem too startled by it again. She hadn't heard a man laugh at her jokes in ten years. She turned abruptly away from him to her closet where she grabbed a suitcase. It was almost completely wrapped in duct tape and at one point, she was sure it might have had a handle. She hauled it into her room and opened it to pack. She began to unload her dresser, which was empty in one armful. When she went into her closet however, it was overflowing with dresses, with a small section designated to shirts. She grabbed them off the hangers.

"You're going to need something nice for a party," he said, leaning against her door frame.

"What?" she asked, laughter edging her words. "You're kidding," she asked, but when she looked at him, she sighed. "Okay, you're not kidding." She pulled out a few dresses. "What kind of party is it?" she held a dress out for him to see. It was a white, puffy, wedding dress. "A wedding party? Don't worry, I only played her double for her protection."

"Good, it'd be a shame otherwise," he said smoothly.

Taken off guard, she stopped and frowned at him a little. She put it back, deciding to ignore the comment altogether. For whatever reason, knowing that he was happy she was single made her insides whirl in excitement, something that had never happened before. Clearing her throat, she continued. "Or it is a-" she said, grabbing a dress that was strapless and stopped at mid-thigh, it had rips in it."-club dancing party?"

He chuckled. "It's called dance club and neither, it's a birthday party in the country."

She looked at her other dresses, a frown slowly increasing on her face. "Okay," she said. "A dress for a country party…" she glanced at him. "And by the looks of your clothes, it's casual, but not too formal... I don't think I have anything like that... The closest thing I have…" she reached all the way to the back, pulling all the dresses to the other side of the closet. There were a lot, but a bright, pink dress with ruffles, caught his eye, its skirt covering two layers of petticoats.

Noah burst out in laughter and pointed. "Where did you wear that to?"

"Huh?" she saw the dress and smiled, blushing for the first time in her life. "Oh, one of my charges was getting married… I was a bridesmaid…" she quickly turned away, feeling like a silly girl for blushing so easily. She busied herself with trying to find the dress.

He smiled. "I see…" but stopped short as she pulled out the dress she'd been looking for. It dipped low in the front and back, just enough to show a little cleavage. It fanned out at the skirt, but nothing like the pink dress. She held it up to her body, it stopped just below her knees. Noah stared at her, his eyes traversing over the dress and then her. She fidgeted under his stare. "It's a little too fancy and the shoes a little too tall for what we're going to, but it's the closest thing I've got…"

His lips slowly spread in a tantalizing smile which make her heart thump in her chest and her legs quiver at the thought of what secrets it held. "It's perfect," he said, his voice lowering an octave.

She nodded and, unlike her other clothes which she'd haphazardly stuffed into the case, she folded it gently and set it carefully on top. There was just enough left for the shoes that matched the dress. "So, you're the next Alpha? How did that happen? Your pack hasn't had one in two hundred years." she asked, zipping her bag up, but several of the teeth were missing and she had to unzip it and rezip it multiple times. She could feel his gaze on her and it was distracting. She could normally get it zipped in three tries, but now she was up to six.

"Our Elder had a vision of me marrying a very powerful woman and our child would save the world. So, they're making me Alpha because I have the potential."

She snorted. "Lucky you," she leaned all her weight on the top and squeezed each side of the zipper together. "A piece of advice when it comes to handling very powerful children, don't ever let the power go to their heads. I remember the only time I tried my dad made me fight him. He whooped my ass pretty good. If I remember correctly, I had about three broken ribs and a broken leg," she laughed.

"How is that funny?" he asked, frowning.

She smiled. "I heal faster than the average person, but it taught me a lesson and I've kept humble ever since." She was halfway through closing her suitcase now.

He looked at her intently now. "Just how powerful are you?"

"Not that powerful," she said quickly. She finally managed to zip her bag all but two inches and decided to call it good it. Straightening herself up, she tucked her suitcase under her arm and went to leave the room. But she stopped as she neared Noah, who wasn't moving from the doorway. "Excuse me…" she whispered, her voice quieter than she'd have liked. His light cologne wafted to her once more and she felt her skin prickle with excitement.

He stepped to the side, but he didn't leave her any breathing room and forced her to squeeze past him. She set her suitcase on the table and went to collect her things from the bathroom. Carelessly, she shoved them into her bag. "Alright," she said coming into the living room. She stopped in her tracks and stared at him. Noah was holding her suitcase, tucked under his arm more effortlessly than she had. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"I'm carrying your things for you," he said simply.

"I can carry it," she persisted.

He moved past her. "I'm fully capable of doing that as well."

She frowned and followed him to the door, locking her apartment behind her.