Even though the night before was an emotional roller coaster between the joy of my first shift and then finding out that even in wolf form, I still had to wear a prosthetic, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. I had pleasant dreams of a raven-haired man with aquamarine blue eyes and him saying that he could not wait to meet me soon.
Even though I was at peace because of my dreams, my wolf was restless and was pacing in my head. For some reason, she wanted me to hurry down to breakfast; maybe she was super hungry after shifting for the first time last night. I obliged and decided to head downstairs, figuring I could help mom and the other Omegas with breakfast anyway. Normally, my mom does not cook meals or do much cleaning, but when we have guests of honor she is usually one of the ones recruited to help out because of her hospitality.
No one was downstairs yet, so I just hung out in the kitchen with Calliope, one of the omegas who always seemed to be at my mother's side.
"The Prince and Princess are just so nice! I know they are royalty and all that, but I've never met a royal that kind and polite. They didn't have to choose our pack to visit-but they did!" Calliope gushed. I think she was crushing on the Prince. I had met the twins when I was younger at some point, but it had been years so I did not really remember them. I typically don't watch the news or anything, so I doubt I could even point them out at this point if I were to encounter them in a crowd. However, if they were as generous as everyone said, maybe we could go the extra mile for them.
"I have an idea!" I said, rushing away from Calliope to rummage through the cabinet where we kept our best plates that were hardly ever used.
"Mama, did you want me to set out these special gold-lined plates for the Prince and Princess? I know you said they insist on not receiving special treatment, but Calliope said they were so kind to her yesterday, so I want to show them how much we appreciate their-" I was walking out into the dining area trying to find my mom when broke off as I caught wind of a scent that instantly attracted me and made me feel relaxed. I saw Mama talking to a male wolf, who I turned to acknowledge at that moment. For some reason, Mama was giggling under her breath, looking back and forth between me and the guy that I guess was my mate.
"Mate." We both said in unison as we stepped closer together. We took a moment to take in the other's appearance. He was definitely handsome, with thick raven-colored hair and aquamarine eyes. Wait...was this the guy from my dreams? He was tall with a body that looked like he spent all of his time in the gym, and I had to tilt my head up to meet his eyes. He was checking me out as well, and his eyes continued to look down to take in my legs when I suddenly exclaimed "wait don't look!" and moved to hide behind Mama. I was absolutely terrified that if he saw my legs, he would instantly reject me because I only had one real leg.
"Sadie, what is going on? Prince Rylen, is my daughter really your mate?" Mama asked, looking between us in confusion. This was the Prince? I thought as my stomach dropped.
"This is your daughter?" The guy asked with a smile.
"Prince Rylen?" I asked at the same time.
"But yes, Ms. Magda, she is my mate. I picked up on her scent upon entering my room last night. When I was commenting about the homey smell to Rosie, thinking it was some kind of air freshener that you used in the guest rooms, she pointed out that I must be smelling my mate because she did not smell anything. That is why I came down here so early, to try to find whoever she was so that I could meet her." He explained as Mama's smile returned and grew wider for some reason. "Why are you hiding, dear?" Rylen asked, looking at me and reaching for my hand gently, "You are very beautiful, and I would like to continue to look at my mate." I could feel a small blush creeping up my cheeks, but I kept hiding, trying to delay the inevitable for as long as I could.
"Sadie, sweetie, Prince Rylen is a very kind man and he clearly wants to get to know you. I don't think he will judge you, I think he will accept you for who you are. Step out and let him see what you are trying to hide." Mama said, looking back at me with a kind-hearted expression. Luckily, the Prince had no idea what she was alluding to, but I sure did and I wished she would stop.
"Let me just tell you now, I do not care at all about ranks. You could be a rogue for all I care and I would still accept you and treat you like the Princess you are. I will treasure you even though you are an omega; in fact, I value all of the skills and input you could bring to the table when you become my Princess." Prince Rylen commented. As I met his eyes, I could see that he was trying to telegraph his acceptance through his words and facial expression. I sighed, wishing it was as simple as being about ranks or status. I decided to tell him before my mom spilled the beans, making everything that much harder.
"That's not what she is talking about, although I was worried about that as well," I glumly said as I stepped out from behind Mom. "She was referring to my leg, which I was most definitely trying to hide from you." I finished, knowing that my uncertainty and shame were clear on my face.
"I don't think I understand what you mean," He said, looking at my legs but shaking his head as he noticed nothing out of the ordinary. I wanted to smile and pretend everything was normal, but as I had acknowledged every day since the accident, normal should no longer be a part of my vocabulary. Might as well rip the bandaid off.
"Here," I said before lifting my pants leg, revealing my prosthetic. I will say, his facial expression did not change at all, even to surprise, so he did a good job of reigning in his emotions. I'm sure someone famous that was always being chased by the paparazzi was used to having to hide emotions though. I'm sure it was all an act.
"That's what you were trying to hide? That you have a prosthetic? Why would you think I would care about that?" Prince Rylen asked incredulously.
"Because you are a Prince, so you need your mate to be a perfect princess. I was worried about a regular wolf rejecting me because I am broken, but you especially, you need someone normal." I said as tears pooled in my eyes.
"Sweetheart, I've told you time and time again that mates are specifically chosen for us by the Goddess to love and cherish you. Prince Rylen is extremely kind and I will gladly vouch for him in your case. He has been looking at you with nothing but adoration since he laid eyes on you, and his expression did not change one bit when you revealed your leg. I could not think of a more perfect mate for you, so please give the poor man a chance." Mom said. She had good intentions, but sometimes she just did not understand. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around my mate and never let go, but he could not accept a broken Princess. There had to be someone out there that was better for him than me.
"Thank you, Ms. Magda. Your words mean the world to me and it is truly an honor that you think so highly of me." He responded, bowing respectfully to her. At least he did have manners.
"Please, Prince Rylen, just call me Magda. We are family now, so there is no need for formalities, but even before then I respected you enough to drop the formalities." Mama said, pulling me in for a very motherly hug. That's my mom for you, treating everyone like her own children.
"The same goes for you, I've told you so many times to just call me Rylen. Even if we weren't now family, you had earned that privilege." The Prince replied, hugging her back with the same gentleness. He then turned to me and took my hands in his. "I, Rylen, Prince of the Werewolf kingdom, hereby accept you, Sadie, as my destined mate. ALL of you. Will you give me a chance and accept me?" Officially declaring our acceptance of our mates is not a requirement to establish the mate bond, it automatically forms if we do not reject our mates, so I am not sure why he did that. It made my heart pound with excitement though, I must admit.
Even though I was still afraid of getting hurt, I decided to take a risk. His actions had me smiling and my heart soaring, so maybe there was something to this mate bond thing after all. I gave him a big smile and said, "Yes, Prince Rylen, I accept you as my mate and am looking forward to getting to know you."
Before I could do anything else, he picked her up and spun me around a few times before pulling me to him in a firm hug. When he sat me down, he was so gentle as to not hurt me or throw me off balance. I giggled when he spun me and then hugged him back just as tightly. He was definitely very sweet and caring, I could get used to being treated like a Princess.
People had started to trickle in and gather their plates, trying to figure out what was going on in our little group.
"Sadie and Rylen, why don't you guys go ahead and grab your breakfast, and then you can sit down and get to know each other." Mama suggested.
"But Mama, I still have to help keep things restocked and clean up." I argued. Omegas were fed well here, but it was a silent agreement between all who served that we did not eat until everyone else was fed and things were taken care of. It was something we wanted to do, not that we were forced to do.
Mama waved her hand dismissively at me. "Nonsense baby, you have just met your mate and you deserve some time off to get to know him. Besides, you will be leaving with him, so we will have to learn to manage without you anyway. Now shoo!" With one final push, Magda edged us toward the breakfast buffet.
"Shall we?" Prince Rylen asked, offering me his arm.
"We shall," I responded, trying to sound regal but probably failing, and placing my arm in his. Prince Rylen smiled at me and led me over to the breakfast buffet. This was definitely going to be interesting, but I was also looking forward to getting to know my mate.