Centaur's Reluctant Mate Ch. 04byAMY_Monaco©
Rose paced the longhouse. Occasionally, she looked toward the doorway, straining to listen for Thayer's return. It had been more than an hour and still the centaurs hadn't returned. Now with each passing minute, she got more nervous. Thayer was going to be furious.
She lay on the cushions that made up their bed. Their bed. When did she start thinking of it as being hers, too?
The doorway lifted as Thayer entered. Rose immediately sat up, eyes wide with worry. Thayer met her gaze silently and held it for a long moment before he turned to take off his armor. Outside she could here soft voices of others returning to their homes.
Thayer's silence only made her more nervous.
"I had to do it, Thayer."
She saw his jaw tense.
"Then why did you come back?" He asked curtly.
"I'm not exactly sure." He didn't look at her, nor did he answer. His back and shoulders were stiff and his dark eyebrows were drawn together in a frown. Nothing but the crackling of the fire filled the silence. She watched him take his time unlacing his wrist guards, then lay down his weapons on hooks on the wall. "Are the slavers gone?"
"We made sure they did not move further into our lands. You must be disappointed that my brother found you before you could reach the village."
"And what would you have done then? Marry a human man, give birth to his children and then turn your head the other way while he ravishes his mistress?"
"Not every man is like that." Was her retort.
"I have witnessed enough to know what goes on."
"Well, obviously I'm not in my village. I'm here. So what you said isn't going to happen."
"Yes, and how unhappy you are." He said, his voice oddly devoid of emotion, so she was unable to tell if he was still angry.
The comment made her stop. She wasn't unhappy. She was...she shook her head. She wasn't sure what she was right now. She shifted under the furs. Thayer stood where he was, his back slightly to her, lost in thought.
"Go to sleep, Rose."
"A-aren't you coming to bed?" She asked in a small voice.
"I will join you later."
Almost reluctantly, she settled under the covers and closed her eyes. And waited. But a minute later, she heard the flap of the doorway lift. When she turned her head, Thayer was gone. ***
Once outside, Thayer let out a shaky breath. The relief of seeing her safely at home was a great weight off his shoulders. Callum had informed him of her safe return, but Thayer had to see her for himself. The fear he'd felt of her possibly being captured by the slavers had been overwhelming. Thoughts of her being raped, beaten, starved -- by the gods, he was grateful she was safe.
What was he going to do with her now? All centaurs had trouble with their mates in the beginning, but Rose seemed determined not to accept him. A part of him wanted to march right in there and make love to her, possess her until she was soft and warm against him, sighing his name as she was doing earlier. Just the thought made him hard.
Thayer cursed. Didn't she know she held so much power over him? Just a single thought of her aroused him.
He'll give her time, he decided. Let her adjust to this life, adjust to him. If a few days of celibacy meant gaining her affection, then so be it.
"Oh, this will look lovely on you." Laura said with a bright smile. The dark haired beauty and wife of Thayer's cousin, Xavier held up the silky white robe Rose was to wear for the ceremony the next evening. "With your blond hair in the moonlight, you'll simply glow."
"Is that good?" Rose asked dryly. They were sitting outside of Thayer's longhouse on low stools, making the last stitches to her ceremonial robe. Laura filled their silences with friendly chatter about camp gossip and what will happen during the ceremony.
Laura laughed. "Of course it is. The better you look with it on, the more your mate will want to take it off. I'm sure your anxious for Thayer to do that."
Rose tried to ignore the heat tinting her cheeks. "I guess you'll be there to watch when Thayer...well, you know."
"There's no need to be shy about it. Although, I don't blame you. I was thinking the same thing when I first came here. But it's one of their traditions. It will become more normal for you when you see it happen to others. It's always an exciting event."
"So Thayer just strips me and takes me right in front of everyone?"
Laura made a last stitch into one of the sleeves. "At midnight, we all gather in the center of the camp. Torches are lit and you kneel on the bed Thayer's family has built. As he makes love to you, the elders repeat sacred words drums are beaten. The ceremony is really very simple, so you needn't be frightened or anything."
"Mother!" Xander, Laura's five-year-old son came galloping toward them, a wide smile lighting his face. "Sigard is going down to the river with Jayden and Father said I could go if you said I could. Could I go, please? We're only going to be gone for an hour or so. Sigard said he had something to show us and we'll take a knife with us to protect us, if you want. And Jason says you must answer now or we'll be late!" He was talking a mile a minute, as any boy his age was wont to do. Laura smiled.
"Go then. But be careful."
"Thank you, Mother!" Xander was already on his way, but turned abruptly to place a quick kiss on his mother's cheek before he was off.
"Children are so wonderful." Laura said, her voice just saturated with happiness. And then she looked at Rose with a knowing smile. "Pretty soon you will have one of your own."
Rose shook her head. "Well, no...I hadn't thought to have one so soon...I mean, yes, it's possible..." Laura reached over to squeeze her hand. "Oh, just think how perfect it would be if you are with child now. We could raise the babes together."
Rose's eyes flew to Laura's stomach. "You mean you're..."
"Yes." Her companion nodded. "Xander doesn't know yet, but I have a feeling he won't mind. He's been after me to give him a brother for a year now."
"Don't centaurs father daughters?"
"No, not anymore. They haven't for many centuries. It's a shame, really. Many would like to have daughters to dote on. Now come on, we must finish this and then start to gather flowers to lay at your bed."
He didn't touch her that night. Rose found herself feeling disappointed as Thayer made himself comfortable on their bed. She lay on her side and watched him close his eyes.
"Laura helped me make my ceremonial robe today." She said conversationally. Thayer made a noncommittal noise. She inched closer to him, snuggling under the warmth of her covers, hoping to get even warmer if Thayer would just touch her. She missed his arms around her.
"She says that the flowers we gather today will go on the bed and be scattered in our home." She deliberately said 'our home' to see if he would react. He didn't.
"Laura's carrying. She is really excited."
"Xavier told me."
"Oh." Why wasn't he looking at her? He couldn't be that exhausted. She shifted under the furs. Her pillow suddenly felt too lumpy and she tried for several positions to get comfortable in, but to no avail.
Suddenly, Thayer's large muscular arm wrapped around her waist and brought her up against him. Without opening his eyes, he asked, "Is this better?"
She held her breath. Up close, the smell of him became stronger, the heat from his body was better than the furs that covered her. The feel of his naked skin against hers made her want to touch him, explore the hard planes of his chest and flat stomach, to place her lips at the hollow of his throat.
"Yes, thank you." She whispered and forced her eyes to close.
The air was filled with excitement and tension the next evening. It was the night of the mating ceremony. Laura, being Rose's closest relative now helped her into the silky white robe. With a comb carved intricately from wood -- a gift from Thayer -- Rose's hair was brushed to a shine and left unbraided. There would be no adornments on her. Two must unite as one in their natural states, Laura explained.
Her stomach churned in anticipation and nerves as she was led to the center of the camp, where the crowds were already gathered. Four large torches were lit, forming a square. In the center a canvas tent was pitched, with four smaller torches. This offered light enough to reveal a silhouette of the bed inside, newly built by Thayer's family was set.
Rose turned to Laura. "I thought..."
"We are not allowed to mention it until the woman sees it herself. Your accepting what you thought a public mating indicates your willingness to stay."
Laura stopped at the entrance of the tent, pulling the flaps back for Rose to enter. Fresh linens covered the mattress and Rose was told to climb up and kneel on it. As Laura left, Rose exhaled in relief. This was much more preferable than having everyone see her, though their silhouettes would be visible.
Thayer entered and from the height of the bed, she was at eye level with him. Under the glow of the outdoor torches, Thayer looked fierce, enhanced by the fire that burned in his dark eyes.
Thayer stepped forward until their bodies were only inches apart. Rose was breathless now, and the coolness of the night air, the scent of Thayer's body so close became an intoxicating blend to her senses. Her skin became sensitive against the silk of her robe and her nipples hardened.
"Let Thayer claim Rose as his mate for life..." said a voice from somewhere outside. Rose couldn't seem to focus on anything but the centaur before her. The crowds watching them no longer mattered. The beating of the drums seemed to synchronize with the thudding of her heart. Words didn't seem necessary between them.
Thayer lifted his hand to cup her face, caress her as it moved down to her shoulder blade. A finger hooked into the collar of her robe and he tugged. The weightless material slipped from her body, unveiling her pale, flawless nakedness.
By the gods, she was beautiful. His own heart beat uncontrollably, and he'd barely touched her. He closed the distance between them. Her hardened nipples rubbed against his chest and he groaned softly. Tilting her face up, he kissed her, watching her eyes flutter close as she melted into him.
Two days of celibacy had him aroused immediately. His cock was so hard, he felt ready to explode, but steeled himself to concentrate on her. His Rose. His staff stood tall and proud, rubbing itself against her soft stomach. He tasted every inch of her, making love to her with his hot mouth, his tongue; his hands kneaded her tense muscles, urging her heat to fuse with his.
He arched her back as he took one nipple into his mouth, suckling hard, biting gently until she cried out.
"Thayer! Please..." She whimpered. The sound of his name on her lips encouraged him and he worshipped her other breast with equal fervor.
"It is bound in sacred Centaurian law. Let no other centaur make love to his woman..." said the voice, each word augmented by the steady beating of the drums.
Thayer thrust his tongue inside her mouth, his hand going down to her pussy. She was dripping wet for him, her feminine folds already blossomed to welcome his hungry cock. She moaned when his finger slid deep within her.
Her inner muscles suckled tight on his finger and he could imagine with incredible detail what it will feel like to bury himself in her, to feel those muscles close around his staff again and again.
Her small hand cupped his staff by the base and he thrust forward. She broke away from the kiss to look down at what she was doing.
"That's it, yes....ah..." He groaned as her hand moved over him. He closed his eyes, panting. "Enough!" He said hoarsely. He kissed her roughly and then turned around, pushing her onto her hands and knees.
He pushed her thighs apart, exposing her wet slit to him and everyone who was watching. It glistened in the torchlight. Her musk was all he could smell now. Rose turned to see what he would do.
He leaned over her, his erection resting against her swollen sex. "The ceremony will be completed when I take you from behind, as a Centaurian man would a filly." His voice was so deep, it only served to enhance her arousal. She fisted the sheets on the bed, arching her bottom to meet him. She was breathing hard and dizzy with wanting.
"As centaur enters the maiden, she becomes one of us..."
"I am ready to explode, Rose." Thayer said, his breath hot against her ear. "Feel what you do to me. Every minute of every day I long to plant myself deep within you." He rubbed himself against her, but didn't penetrate. She made noises of frustration. One of his handa came around to cup her mound, the other to knead her breasts until she was moaning.
"Take me, Thayer."
He pulled back and this time, he positioned the head of his cock at her opening. She held her breath, waiting.
"Please..." She whimpered.
"Rose," The words seemed to be forced from him. "Rose, if don't want this...I won't take you."
To be continued...