I woke up that morning with a smile on my face. For once I wasn't woken up early from the screaming of Sabrina or my mother. Tonight, was one of the rare nights where I wasn't woken in a panic by my reoccurring nightmare. I'm sure they let me sleep in as I had no choice but to attend the Moon Ball. The thought of the Moon Ball chased my smile away and instantly made me feel as though my world was already crashing down. I gripped the hem of my oversized t-shirt and tried to take a few calming breaths, but nothing helped the knot of unease that had been settling in my stomach. I couldn't place my finger on what was causing this absolute anxiety, but I knew it had to do with this stupid ball.
I stayed in bed like this for a few more moments, gripping my t-shirt as if it could save me. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed that I could just sleep through the day, sleep through the ball. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if it was only my pack that attended. I knew no one in my pack could possibly be my mate, none of the unmated males had ever appealed to me before. The problem with this ball was that every single pack in America would be attending. Out of all of those unmated males, my mate had to be somewhere in the mix. My eyes shot open at that thought and I grimaced at the ceiling.
Why would the Moon Goddess pair me with someone when she knew how I felt? Maybe I was the exception, maybe I didn't have a mate. Even as I thought those words, I knew they wouldn't be true. Every wolf has a mate, like it or not. I clung to the absurd thought that maybe, just maybe, my mate didn't live in America and therefore I wouldn't meet them at the ball. This desperate thought was what forced me out of bed and down the stairs to the kitchen, where I could smell breakfast being made.
I walked into the dining room in time to interrupt a conversation between my father and Derek. Sabrina and Amber sat at the table with them, listening quietly, curiosity shining through on their faces.
"So, every single pack is going to be here tonight?" Sabrina exclaimed breathlessly, her fingers nervously twirling her curly blonde hair. Her blue eyes were wide and glanced at each of our faces.
"All of them, most of them have actually already arrived. Alpha Dan asked that they keep their distance until tonight." My father nodded, glancing at my mother who was currently bringing out plates full of food. For the moment my attention was drawn to the smell of baked chicken, garlic and potatoes. The savory smell ignited my stomach and I found myself tuning out the rest of my family.
"What- what about the Blood Moon pack?" I heard Sabrina whisper, but at once the entire table was silent. My father's face became unbearably pale as he looked into mine and Sabrina's eyes. My mother froze in the doorway, the plates of food in her hands forgotten for the moment. The tension and fear in the room felt like a thick fog that invaded our minds and clouded our thoughts.
The Blood Moon pack was talked about as if it were a scary rumor. I squared my shoulders and tried to make my expression look indifferent, but my eyes held the same fear present on my family's faces. There had never been a pack as strong as the Blood Moon pack in our entire history. Every other pack tread very carefully when it comes to the Blood Moon pack, and not pissing off its Alpha.
"They're not real- are they?" Sabrina whispered, finally breaking the silence at the table. I couldn't name a single person that had seen the Blood Moon pack or their Alpha in person. It seemed as if the entire pack was some scary story, we told to pups to ensure their best behavior.
"Oh, they're real. And they're every bit as vicious as the rumors say." My father nodded gravely; his eyes locked on my mother as they shared some unspoken words.
"But hardly anyone ever sees them, how do you know they're even real?" Derek asked, his voice stronger than the rest of ours. Even Amber's expression seemed to drop as her face paled and her eyes fluttered between me and Sabrina in pity.
"Plenty of wolves have met the Blood Moon Pack, and most of them were killed at his hands. Alpha Dan has met Alpha Killian Desmond once." My father spoke as a shudder made its way through his body. I felt at a loss for words, I had never seen my father this scared before. If there was anything or anyone to fear more than the Blood Moon pack it was their vicious Alpha.
"They're not coming tonight, a-are they? They never c-came b-before?" Sabrina stuttered, her gaze locking on my own in a look of panic. While I met her eyes with a blank expression, I could feel my blood run cold at the thought of being in the same area as the Blood Moon Pack. I remembered the stories I was told in school and by friends, stories of the Blood Moon pack torturing rogues, humans and other wolves. Some of the stories were too farfetched to be true, but until now I had always assumed, they were nothing but a rumor. The Alpha couldn't possibly eat other wolves, right? He doesn't kidnap unmated females to satiate his lust for blood, right? Every story I heard over the years replayed in my head. As blood, carnage and other vile images flooded my head, I resisted the urge to shudder in absolute fear.
"The Blood Moon pack will be attending the ball tonight." My father nodded, his face pale and shiny, as if there were a thin layer of sweat coating his scarred face.
"B-but, what do we do? W-we can't go!" Sabrina gasped.
"Of course, we'll have to go, we can't embarrass the pack." Sierra muttered in my head.
"You both have to go. You're old enough to meet your mates, and we cannot pass up this opportunity. You are the daughters of the Beta, you must attend. Avoid the Blood Moon Pack at all costs tonight." It was my mother's turn to chime in, her voice hard and cold, but her eyes showed the fear she felt for her two daughters. Even with my mother's disapproval of how I acted, I knew they still cared about me in their own way. From the tone of my mother's voice, the topic of this conversation was over.
The six of us ate in silence, the events for tonight running through mine and Sabrina's head with lightning speed. Every now and again a glance of pity would be shot our way followed by the sound of silverware on glass. At one point I locked eyes with Sabrina and saw a look of fear written on her face. As I picked at my food, my hunger fully forgotten, I tried to stifle the absolute horror I felt. My family was basically throwing me and Sabrina into a pit of rabid wolves. Would the rest of our pack attend, or would they be too horrified to show their faces? No, they would all attend... They wouldn't embarrass Alpha Dan by skipping the ball. My stomach churned and I was grateful when a knock to the door cut through the nervous silence.
"I'll get it!" My mother chirped, but her tone sounded forced. We sat in silence as the front door opened and closed and Hazel's smiling face came into view. At once she took in her surroundings and the tense looks on each of our faces. Being the amazing best friend that she is, she saw fear clearly in my eyes and took the opportunity to pull me away.
"Let's go up so I can get started on your makeup! I have so much work to do." Hazel gave me a playful smirk and sent a wink my way.
"Go ahead, have fun girls!" My mother called out as we made our way up the stairs, but again the carefree tone was forced. I could hear the worry for me and Sabrina clear in her tone.
"Okay, so what the hell was all that?" Hazel asked dramatically, gesturing to my closed bedroom door. She turned her back to me and proceeded to dump the contents of her makeup bag all over my bed. I watched her sort through small tubes of lipstick, eyeliner, and eyeshadow while I took the time to make sure my voice would come out clearly.
"The Blood Moon pack. They're coming to the ball tonight." As I said the words, they came out clear and even, but the fear still lingered in my body, causing goosebumps to spring up on my arms. I watched as Hazel tensed, her back to me, and stayed that way for a few moments.
"They're coming?" Hazel turned to me, an incredulous look in her eyes. I watched as her hand flew up and messed with a strand of her medium length black hair, something she did when she was rarely nervous. She looked into my eyes for a few moments, trying to find some shred of humor or laughter in my gaze, something that would tell her this was all a big joke. From the frown that fell on her face, she didn't find what she was looking for.
"What- what are we going to do?" Hazel asked me, her own voice sounding unsure.
I took a few seconds, mulling over the chances of any of the unmated males or females possibly finding a mate in the Blood Moon pack. As selfish as it sounded, I was only concerned for me, Hazel, Brandon and Sabrina. The chances of any of us being one of their mates, was extremely slim. I let this possibility flow throughout my body, chasing away some of the fear. I wouldn't let rumors of a pack terrify me. I had never wanted to go to this ball to begin with, but there was no way I would go reeking of fear. I took a few deep breaths and shoved my fear down so deep I felt comfortable it wouldn't surface.
"We're going to the ball, and were going to ignore their pack at all costs." I nodded, my face hard and determined. My voice came out strong and clear, which seemed to relax Hazel in the slightest.
"Should we tell Brandon?" Hazel asked, the corner of her mouth pulling down.
"I don't think we should. It wouldn't change anything either way, and if anything, he'd try to act all protective." I rolled my eyes, but a small smirk came over my face. I watched as the tension left Hazel's shoulders and her mouth pulled up into a small grin.
"Well, I'm not going to let that ruin tonight for me. I can feel it, Claire, I'm going to meet my mate tonight!" Hazel exclaimed excitedly, her small smile widening on her slim face. I tried to match Claire's enthusiasm with my own, but we both knew I was being forced to go to the ball.
Hazel sat me down on the edge of my bed while she worked on doing my makeup. I had no idea what she was using, but I trusted Hazel. If Hazel wasn't the Delta's daughter, there was no doubt that she would be a cosmetologist, or a fashion designer. We made small talk as she did my makeup, and for the most part I played along with her enthusiasm. As usual though, Hazel could see through my mask.
"Claire?" Hazel asked, her tone sounding lighthearted as she did my make-up.
"Hm?" I questioned, doing my best not to move my eyes in any particular direction. I could feel Hazel gently applying eyeshadow, and knowing her, it would be the perfect shade to draw out the blue in my eyes.
"Why are you so against having a mate?" Hazel asked, causing another wave of knots to settle in my stomach. I took a deep breath and prepared myself to say the same answer as always, the lie.
"I told y-" I started, but Hazel cut me off with a pointed look.
"I know that's what you say, but I don't think that's the entire story." Hazel frowned, shaking her head as she wiped something from my face.
"You can tell her..." Sierra's voice rang out in my mind.
"I can't relive that again." I replied to Sierra, my thoughts coming out rushed.
"You'll never heal from this if you don't try Claire." Sierra sighed and I could feel her grow sad.
"Sometimes people don't heal. Sometimes we stay broken." My thoughts whispered back at her.
Hazel's words sent me tumbling back through time, back to when things were much easier. I was shot into last summer, the smell of sunblock and fresh running water raced through my head. I could practically feel the sun's rays on my pale skin and the warmth that spread over my body. The sand beneath my toes was soft and the breeze cooled the heat the sun had brought to my skin. I could hear my name being called, that voice that I had grown so used to, the voice that woke me up like a bucket of ice water. All at once the images came rushing forward. Those eyes that reminded me of moss under the oak tree we would all hang out at. The chipped front tooth that had happened so many years ago. The sly smile that would form on those full lips. The smell of something coppery bursting through the air, as if a dam had been broken. And finally, pain. So much pain.
"Claire? Hello? Earth to Claire?" A familiar voice called me from my downward spiral. I felt my head jerk up in her direction. Hazel muttered a curse as my fast movement caused eyeliner to run down the side of my cheek.
"Sorry." I mumbled, bringing my fingers up to slowly trace over my lips, the memory still lingering on the tip of my tongue. After a few shaky breaths, I gathered those memories and shoved them as far away as I could. I didn't care that I was simply smothering them, I didn't care that I wouldn't face them head on. I wasn't ready for that. I had been so broken, so destroyed, that I didn't think I would survive. Derek had helped me of course, but even he could see I would never be alright again. If I let those memories rise to the surface, they'd consume me, and drag me back into nothingness.
"You're lucky I'm almost done. Then we have to do your hair!" Hazel exclaimed excitedly, while I groaned. I wasn't sure how long I had been sitting in the same spot, but I already wanted to flop back into the safe nest that is my bed.
After what felt like hours, which it could have been for all I knew, Hazel finally stepped away and looked me over. She had spent most of the time curling my extremely long hair. I was surprised to find that my hair actually stayed curled, typically the curls would simply fall out within the first five minutes. I looked in the vanity mirror and almost gasped.
My extremely long, chocolate brown hair, was curled in large ringlets and flowed down my back in a sea of molten chocolate. She took two long strands from the front of my head and twisted them around the sides of my head, and pinned them back. The hairstyle was simple, but beautiful. I let my eyes wander over my facial features. My eyes had always been too large for my liking, but with the eye makeup she did, my eyes no longer looked like the washed out blue I was used to. My eyes resembled the clear sky, they looked lighter than I had ever remembered them. My full lips were bare, but had some shine from a lip gloss she had applied.
"Now, time for the grand finale!" Hazel exclaimed, beaming so hard I could see all of her teeth. When I gave her a look of complete confusion, she rolled her eyes and shoved my dress in my hands. I mouthed the word 'oh' and sheepishly made my way into the bathroom to change.
Even with the huge knot in my stomach, I had to admit that Hazel did an amazing job. I looked like some kind of model, and that's not a word I would ever use to describe myself. I slipped on my ball gown and looked myself up and down. For once I was thankful for my small waist and larger bottom, as it made the dress highlight those curves. My breasts had never been what I would call large, but they were definitely bigger than the rest of the women in my family. The low cut of the off-shoulder dress I wore showed the smallest amount of cleavage. I couldn't help but beam at my reflection. Hazel did the perfect job of highlighting my natural body whilst still remaining elegant and beautiful.
I stepped from the bathroom and did a dramatic twirl, much to Hazel's benefit, as she excitedly looked me over.
"That absolutely settles it. I'm amazing." Hazel shrugged, giving me an excited smile. It seemed as if, for the time being, all thoughts about the Blood Moon pack had been
If I thought it took Hazel forever to get me ready, I hadn't seen anything yet. I sat back on my bed, careful not to ruin Hazel's masterpiece as she so skillfully called it. Hazel and I chatted back and forth about what her future mate would be like. I was a good sport and tried to be supportive of my best friend."He's definitely going to be taller than me, there's no doubt. Oh, I do hope he has blue eyes though! I love a blue-eyed boy." Hazel cooed from the bathroom and I gave a short breathy laugh."I'm sure he's going to be everything you're looking for, he's your mate after all." I shrugged, putting some carefully placed happiness in my voice as I sent a quick text to Brandon.Me -6:02pmYou ready for the ball?Brandon -6:03pmBeen ready. Mom wanted me ready three hours early, don't know what for though.Me -6:04pmHazel attacked me with makeup and a curling iron,
"You are mine." His deep voice announced, growing deeper with each word.I resisted the urge to laugh hysterically and look behind me, as if he were talking to some other girl. If it was any other man, I would have taken off running on the spot. From the cold and detached look in Alpha Killian's eyes, I was afraid he would enjoy the chase far too much. In that moment I sent a silent prayer to the Moon Goddess, asking her what the hell was going on. Not only did I not want a mate, I was given the most dangerous mate in our history.My heart sank to the floor as I realized my story would not have a happy ending.I watched frozen in place as Alpha Killian closed the distance between me and him. He came to a stop a foot in front of me and looked down on me. It was then that I noticed the two men who had followed him all the way over to me. They looked nothing like what I expected the Blood Moon Pack to look like. In all accounts they were attractive men, bu
Alpha Killian P.O.VI begrudgingly made the decision to attend this year's Moon Ball. Finding a mate had once been at the forefront of my mind, but after years of no luck, I quickly pushed the thought from my mind. Finding a mate had been a strong desire of mine in the past, now it was a simple necessity. If I were to maintain control over my pack, a mate would be crucial to that plan.The trip from the Blood Moon Pack to the Southern Pack had only taken a few hours, so I kept my distance until it was time to attend the ball. I couldn't help but enjoy the frightened glances from the rest of the people who had also attended the ball. Being the feared Alpha was something I preferred. If you were known across the word as the most vicious Alpha to ever exist, who would dare challenge you?Females and males alike were submissive to me, never daring to piss me off.I sat at a large table pushed towards the far wall of the canopy, knowin
Alpha Killian's P.O.VWithout a word I followed Claire's parents to their home. I was thankful for the silence, even though him and her mother continuously exchanged nervous glances. I sat Claire's unconscious body in the passenger seat and buckled her in, making sure my skin hadn't come in contact with her own. The drive to her modest and aging home was short, which gave me some time to think.I couldn't help but steal a glance or two at her peaceful face. For the short time I had known her, I had only seen three expressions on her innocent face. Frightened, embarrassed, and frustrated. Watching her sleeping face, you could truly see her innocence shine through. I took a mental image of the peace on her angelic face, as I knew her innocence would not last long in the Blood Moon Pack. I almost felt sad at the thought of my little mate suffering the Blood Moon Pack, but I quickly set myself straight, expelling all emotion for this little creature
*Disclaimer - Some Mature Content is present in this Chapter.*I spent the rest of my day in the living room with a solemn looking Hazel, a brooding Brandon, and frightened Amber and Derek. Even Sabrina spent some time with us, leaving only to go meet up with her newly found mate. I was surprised to hear the news, Sabrina's mate was the beta in a neighboring pack. I couldn't help but feel happy for my little sister. Finding a mate was everything she ever wanted and it relieved me to hear how kind and loving her mate was. I listened with a smile on my anxious face as she told me all about how smitten he was with her within the first thirty seconds of them meeting. While my future may be unclear, it calmed me to know that my brother and sister were well taken care of.I couldn't keep the smile from my face as Hazel told me all about her mate, Garrett. I could tell as she spoke of him, how she already seemed to miss his presence. One glance at Brand
*Disclaimer - Some Mature Content is present in this Chapter.*I picked Claire up from her home, refusing my Beta's offer to do the task for me. My wolf was anxious at the thought of seeing her again, especially after what had almost happened last night. All through the night my wolf plagued me with thoughts of this little creature. I couldn't seem to wrap my head around how she could possibly be a wolf. When you looked at her you saw this small, fragile little thing.My wolf growled possessively as he laid eyes on the boy sitting much too close to our little mate. He growled, wondering how he had the audacity to sit so close to my mate of all people. The love in his eyes for my little mate was clear, but when I looked into her own I could see she hadn't felt the same, if she even acknowledged the feelings at all.I watched as Claire trudged outside, towing her luggage behind her. I felt a small amount of amusement watching this litt
*Claire's P.O.V*We sat in silence for the next few hours. I was doing everything I could to silence my wolf's perverted thoughts. I couldn't help but find them equally tempting as well. I couldn't stand how the mate bond made me act. I had just met this man last night and I was already willing to crawl into his bed.Something had to change. I wasn't sure how long I would last until I finally caved in.I pushed any thoughts about Alpha Killian out of my head and tried my best to think of anything else. I wondered what Hazel's mate was like, what she might be doing at this time. I wondered where Brandon's mate could possibly be and why he hadn't found her at the ball.My thoughts consumed me for awhile, and I had hardly noticed as we hopped on an exit from the highway."Are we here?" I asked softly, not daring to turn my eyes to Alpha Killian. I didn't want to deal with the feelings his silver gaze would provoke, and my wolf w
It was only another hour or two until we finally made it to the Blood Moon Pack's territory. I found myself scanning the forest through the sedan window, wondering how close we were. The ride was silent, but it was a comfortable silence.We finally made it to the center of some town and I found myself looking around excitedly. Although we traveled for the Ball every year, we never got the chance to actually explore. I frowned as we drove through the town, watching the red brick buildings fade into the distance. We traveled down a wide road that led directly into the woods.The sound of Alpha Killian's voice made me jump, but I kept my gaze on the trees that flew by and the fact that I could see a rust colored wolf easily keeping up with the sedan. After another thirty minutes we drove through an open gate. I looked on ahead in awe. The Blood Moon Pack looked like an enormous town hidden deep in the woods. The giant silver gate at the entrance could easily f