He couldn't be bothered.
He gave his hands to Delphine. She held them and like James, her skin glowed. Shimmers of light bubbled and withered under her skin like light reflecting off water. She flinched. Ah. This was when the pain came in. James always looked like he was in pain. Eric eased on his grip, but Delphine tightened her hold.
However, where tears ran down James' face, Delphine smiled. She laughed. She let go of Eric's hands and her laughter ripped through the room. It bounced around every corner, against every wall to the point where she was tearing up. She keeled over in laughter. "This is the best day of my life!" She sobbed, though she seemed perfectly amused. She banged her fist on the table, bellowing a bigger laugh.
Eric sat upright, wondering if he should be insulted.
She looked up at him, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. "You are my favorite person in the entire world. I can't believe this," she wistfully sighed into another giggle. "This is brilliant! What face was James making? Hm? Did anyone get a picture? I would kill to have seen his face!" She squealed before convulsing into another laughing fit. She slammed her feet on the ground like two jackhammers. "I absolutely love my life!"
"What is it Delphine?" His Majesty asked, taking a step towards the table.
"Sorry, sorry," Delphine controlled herself and raised her hands. "Eric Silva, you have already met your mate." She grinned wickedly, sliding her gloves back in place. "You must remember him, he's twenty-one, an up and coming matchmaker-"
"Freckled. Very handsome, a bit of a talker. Stubborn, but you already know that-"
"You're joking," he said.
"I most certainly am not Mr. Silva. Your mate is James Connolly. Congratulations," she stood, "but you'd better catch him before he boards a plane to Mexico. If I know that boy and I think that I do, he's running for his life right now."
Eric stood, the whole day racing through his head. It wasn't possible. There was no way. Eric would have known. His wolf would have done something. He would have known the second he met James. He would have been able to know just by his... smell. James had no smell. James cut off his smell.
That was why...
No. He wouldn't believe it until he had proof. His own proof.
Without a word, Eric stormed out of the room. He heard Delphine's laughter echo behind him. Just wait. He'll make her eat that laugh because there was no way his mate was that freckled ridiculous James.
Eric practically flung himself at the front desk. He slammed his hand flat on the desk. “Excuse me? Has James Connolly checked into his room, yet?” He was breathless. Eric Silva didn’t lose his breath. He was an Alpha. He could the length of mountains and back and still be ready to go on the hunt again.
The receptionist bit her lip. She didn't even look at her computer, but she still said, "no. He hasn't."
Without a word, Eric's face tightened into a scowl as he waited for her to crack. She smelled like human like sweat and laundry detergent. He sniffed and continued to wait. He didn't get awkward. He didn't get uncomfortable. He had two natural switches: angry and impatient. Typically, they worked on the same circuit.
She shrunk "well, he's not in his room, but-"
"But?" He raised his brow. See? So easy.
She flinched, "He's in Mrs. Kelley's room."
"And what room is that?"
"412." She pointed up, "three floors up."
He nodded and went straight for the elevator. He'll go up there and demand the truth. Demand to know what James saw and disprove it. That Delphine person had never even met Eric, how could she know who he was destined for? This was why he hated magic. Magic complicated everything.
He walked down the hallway, past door after door. He banged his fist right over the brass numbers 412 and waited. He could hear breathing on the other side, but no movement. He knocked again and again, no response came. He didn't have time for this. He was twenty-six years old and the time to play these childish games were over.
He banged harder this time. "James! I will knock this door down! Don't think that I won't, if you don't let me in right-"
The door opened, James was there, ready with a glare. "Calm down."
Eric didn't answer that. He let himself in and surveyed the room out of habit. Well, James hadn't had time to construct a bed sheet rope for a desperate escape. He was ready to let James have it, but of course James just had to get the first word in, "I think you should count to ten first before we talk about this and I'd like to say that I'm very angry the front desk lady told you where I was, because of course they did. What did Delphine say? No. I don't want to know."
Eric could feel the temperature in the room rise. He rubbed his face, wishing he could manually wipe the anger from existence. "James," Eric bellowed. "Let me smell you."
That shut James up.
"That's how I'll know. That's how I can prove this is nonsense and there's no way you're my mate," Eric explained and as soon as he said it, he felt the pang of regret. He didn't mean for that to sound so harsh. Maybe he did need to count to ten.