Opening the closet door, I come face to face with a crying Dastan. He immediately pulls me into his arms. “You have no idea of how sorry I am, kitten,” he sobs.
I’m flabbergasted as Dastan buries his face in my neck and sobs his heart out; it makes me so sad to see him like this. What do I do, Sammy? I don’t know what to do! Do I tell him? Tell me what to do!
We need to calm him down! Then, you tell him. He feels sorry for what he’s done. Sammy replies quietly, pained to see our mate like this.
“Dastan,” I coo, “let’s go sit on the bed so we can talk.”
His sobbing dies down slightly as he picks me up and moves us to the bed. He lays us down and continues crying, repeating, “I’m sorry,” over and over again.
I just rub his back and tell him that it’s okay and that he needs to calm down. I press kisses to his exposed shoulder blade and neck, hoping to calm him down with those. His cries slowly die down to small whimpers and sniffles as I continue to press kisses to his shoulder blade. “Calm down, Dastan. It’s okay,” I whisper, nuzzling his neck.
“I’m sorry,” he sniffs, lifting his head from my neck to look at me. His face is tearstained, his eyes are red and he looks absolutely miserable.
It breaks my heart to see my mate like this. “I know you’re sorry; please stop crying! I forgive you,” I whisper, caressing his face.
This causes him to break out into tears once more, burying his face in my neck again. “You shouldn’t forgive me so easily! I was a terrible mate to you!” He cries.
I whimper and pull his head back up so he’s looking at me. “Look at me, Dastan,” I murmur, trying to get him to make eye contact with me. “You’re my mate; no matter how badly you mess up, I’ll forgive you because that’s what mates do. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not mad at you for what you did. There was no need to yell at me like you did. I don’t know what I did to make you yell at me, but there was no need. Can you tell me what I did so I don’t do it again,” I ask.
He sniffs and wipes his eyes. “You locked the door,” he answers quietly. “You locked the door so I couldn’t get in; you were gonna run ’cause I took you out in the rain when I knew you wouldn’t like it.”
“Oh, Dastan,” I sigh, “I locked the door because I was mad at you and I wanted to make sure that if Sammy somehow got in control, she couldn’t just burst through the door and hurt you. I also wanted to be alone because showering after being out in the rain is a long and involved process for me. It’s something that all cheetahs in my pack do alone; it’s just how that works.”
“Promise you weren’t going to leave me,” Dastan murmurs, watching me.
I nod. “I promise I wasn’t going to leave you; I will NEVER leave you,” I answer, looking him straight in the eyes. “I already told you this, remember?”
A look of relief passes through his eyes as he nods, before I suddenly find myself being squeezed to death. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!” He chants in my ear quietly.
I giggle and squeeze him back. “You’re welcome, but could you let go? You’re kinda crushing me,” I tell him.
Instantly, he lets go and I suck in a big breath of air. “I’m sorry, mate.” Dastan looks ready to cry again, so I reach out and take his hand.
“Hey, no more crying. I forgave you, so there’s no need to cry!” I tell him sternly.
He nods and wipes his eyes again, blinking away tears. “Right. Now, can I ask you a couple of questions so I can better understand some things?” he asks.
I nod my head. “Of course, my Angel. What’s your question?”
“Why do cheetahs from your pack always take a shower by themselves after being caught out in the rain?” He asks. “That’s what’s confusing me at the moment.
“Well, when cheetahs are out in the rain, they feel extremely unclean. Cheetahs pride themselves for being clean, and when rain falls, it usually brings dirt and pollution from the sky down with it; there’s also usually mud that gets all over them. So, when a cheetah feels extremely unclean, they don’t want to be around anyone…it’s a cheetah thing that I can’t explain. So, they go shower and clean everywhere in their human form, then they shift and allow the shower water to wash over them in cheetah form. It’s a ritual that all cheetahs are born with and if you disrupt it, you could end up getting hurt. I didn’t want you to get hurt, but I didn’t have time to explain to you,” I explain all in one breath.
“Okay; I know now, so we shouldn’t get in anymore fights over that. Just, please don’t lock any doors if I’m not in there with you; it puts me on edge and I might end up snapping at you,” he tells me.
I nod and peck his cheek. “Done deal. Now, let’s get you cleaned up and then we can go eat something. I’m starving!” I exclaim as I feel my tummy rumble.
Dastan laughs and sits up, pulling me with him. “That sounds like a lovely idea,” he answers. Standing up (with me still in his arms), he carries me back into the bathroom and sets me down on the toilet before stripping his shirt off.
“What are you doing?” I shriek, covering my eyes as his hands go to his pants.
He chuckles. “You said that you wanted to clean me up,” he answers.
“I mean washing your face!” I exclaim, peeking through my fingers to see his hands gripping his unbuttoned pants.
“Like what you see, kitten?” He chuckles, staring at me.
I immediately close my eyes. “How do you want me to clean you up?” I ask, regretting asking that almost immediately as he stares at me with a heated look.
“Well…I have a few ways…” he trails off.
Oh goddess, what have I gotten myself into?