"So you mean to tell me none of you can surf?" Callie asked the next morning in the kitchen. She drank her coffee and looked over the other Heirs. They frowned at her and shook their heads. "Seriously, have you ever even seen anyone surf before?"
"I live in the woods." Luke looked up sinking his teeth into a piece of bacon. She watched him eat and shook her head sadly.
"I can air surf." Roman commented, "But thats with the use of wings."
"Oh, I can snowboard." Remi offered.
"No way." Callie stood up. "Carmen, Talon, lets show them how felines do it."
She marched off to change and within half an hour everyone was out on the beach in the late morning sunlight. Callie looked down at the sleek board Talon sank into the sand at her feet. Carmen looked at her blatant challange in her eyes. The waves were prime today. "Oh it's on sister dear." Callie laughed and yanked the board up darting for the ocean. She paddled out into the deeper waters, Talon half a step behind her, Carmen behind him. They moved around one another until they were far enough apart. She then turned her gaze to the approaching waves, a perfect one crept towards her so she turned and paddled to stay with it. It lifted and the roar of the water filled her ears. She hooted and slid her feet up under her, sliding into a perfect position. Then she twisted her legs and the board slid down into the wave, she rode it and slid throught he funnel with ease.
Callie lounged in the water as Carmen took her turn swimming. Her eyes were on Talon as he watched Carmen surf. It was the same way she herself had watched him days before. She frowned as she watched, confused. Was he in love with her? That was impossible after mates were established. Her mating with him was incredibly one sided, now she was certain she'd made a mistake as a child. She looked at the sky and her emotions welled up. "Father, what did I do?" She asked the sun. "I need you to tell me what to do."
"Callie?" Talon called, she looked at him her eyes glassy. He paddled over and sat back on his board.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"I'm fine." She wiped her eyes and nodded. Talon reached over and looped and arm around her.
"It's okay, I know I havent been the best mate this whole trip." He breathed into her hair. "I'm sorry, I should be trying to support you as best as I can."
"Talon, it's just-" She started, then she stopped. If it was true and she was mated to Luke, then pulling away from Talon would shame his clan. She had resolved herself to let nature take its course. But looking into the face of the lion she'd loved forever she couldnt bear to hurt his family. So her eyes traveled to Carmen who was studiously not looking over here. So Callie sucked it up and settled into her leader pants. "I know about Carmen, it's always been Carmen, even that day wasnt it?"
Talon jerked back in shock, his eyes wide. She looked at her sister, who had refused to look at Talon after the mating, even if he might potentially be a mate to her. She might have thought Callie a fool as a child, clinging to him. She wasnt being true to herself, her tiger didnt want Talon to mate with, she wanted him to be a family with. A brother if anything. "You were always watching her, even before then, you've never looked into her eyes, but you want to. I know." Callie said again. "I looked into Lukes, and my tiger wants him, I want him. But I cant bear to shame your family."
"Callie-" Talon started.
"So look into Carmen's eyes and confirm what we both know to be true. I will ensure you get to be with her and not shame our families." Callie vowed. "Now go." She kicked his board so it faced Carmen. He looked at her with fear in his eyes but she nodded. She then turned and paddled out to catch another wave. She spied it and rode it into the shore. Once there she changed shape and bound off into the trees, her human heart breaking even while her tiger heart rejoiced at the freedom. She heard shouting behind her. But she was already running, tearing through the jungle until she found herself at a small river pond. She waded in and changed shape, her shoulders shaking with the sobs. She'd let go of childhood love. She knew she only wanted Talon as a brother but why did it hurt so much?
She heard noise behind her and twisted a snarl ready to form, only it was Luke, his wolf form sliding from a bush easily before he took human shape, worry in his eyes. He'd followed her, all the way here. He had come for her, as if he always would. She knew then that he was always meant for her, she just never knew it. "Luke..." She breathed, he started forward in a rush, splashing into the water to reach her. His palms cradling her face, as he kissed her gently. All pain seemed to vanish with him, she breathed him in and he pressed himself closer to her. He was her mate.