Chapter 5

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 -6:02pm 

You ready for the ball?  

Brandon -6:03pm 

Been ready. Mom wanted me ready three hours early, don't know what for though. 

Me -6:04pm 

Hazel attacked me with makeup and a curling iron, I think I have it worse. :P 

Brandon -6:05pm 

Don't be so sure it's beautiful. Want me to head over to your place? 

Me -6:06pm 

Nah don't bother, Hazel won't be ready for a while now. We'll just meet you at the ball by the entrance.  

Brandon -6:08pm  

Sounds good to me gorgeous, see you there! 

I plopped my phone back on the bed and continued chatting with Hazel. She was explaining how she hoped her future mate was from a different pack so that she could finally move away. Of course, she would visit me and Brandon, but she had been tired of this pack for a long time. I couldn't help but agree with her on this front. This pack in particular seemed to want its women to be servants, constantly obeying their mate. I couldn't fathom why anyone would want a mate who sat quietly and always agreed with them. Wouldn't you want a mate who actually helped you? One who voiced their opinions? 

Finally, Hazel emerged from the bathroom in her ballgown. I made a show of widening my eyes and dropping my jaw at the sight of her, even though I already knew she would look gorgeous. The baby pink dress she wore cascaded to the ground in a sea of pink silk. The low neckline highlighted her large bust while the lower portion of the dress hugged her small bottom. Her shoulder black shoulder length hair was skillfully curled and half of it was pinned back by a silver clip embedded with crystals. The subtle pink eyeshadow on her eyelids made her brown eyes stand out against her olive skin tone.  

"You look amazing!" I beamed at her, determined to not ruin her night.  

"Psh, I know, but thank you anyway!" She beamed back, giving me a quick wink.  

Hazel glanced at her phone quickly and by the look of utter excitement, I knew it was about time to head to the ball. Stifling a groan, I stood up and collected my phone in the small hand purse Hazel had gotten me. I looked between the two of us and knew my mother would not approve of these dresses, but she likely wouldn't complain due to me being forced to attend either way. 

Me and Hazel walked from my bedroom and down to the living room instantly noticing my mother and father gushing over how beautiful Sabrina had looked. I glanced over to the sofa against the wall and saw Derek and Amber snuggling. At the sight of me and Hazel, all heads in the room turned our way. 

"Woah, you guys look beautiful!" Derek exclaimed, giving me a huge smile. Even Amber looked supportive and lacked any jealousy. I was sure I could hear Derek whisper to Amber, "But no one looks more beautiful than you". 

"That's the dress you chose?" My mother sighed, her eyes glued on my slight cleavage and the fact that my shoulders and entire neck were exposed. I noticed my father hadn't said anything, but he usually doesn't need to, mother seems to cover all of the bases. 

"Yup, figured if I'm being forced to go, I should wear what I want." I shrugged indifferently, turning my head to my younger sister. 

Sabrina's curly blonde hair was pulled into an up-do and dotted with small pearls. Her long, cream colored dress covered most of her body, but actually seemed to flatter her slim figure. 

"You look beautiful brina." I gave my younger sister a small smile, using the nickname I had made up for her years ago, when we had been close. I watched as some emotion flashed over her eyes, but she gave me a small smile in return.  

"I don't think your parents would approve of that dress Hazel." My mother scolded my best friend, looking at her cleavage in disdain.  

"Why don't you leave it to them to tell me then." Hazel quipped sweetly, her eyes shining slyly. I watched as my mother shot Hazel a quick glare and sighed at the two of us.  

"Well, there's nothing we can do about it now. Let's get going then." My mother sighed again and began to lead Sabrina out of the house, my father followed quickly behind her. 

"Best of luck to the two of you." Derek smiled our way, his arms wrapped around Amber as if she were a part of him. He quickly looked into her eyes and it was as if they were having their own private conversation. You could feel the energy in the room and it was as if the only person keeping him alive was Amber. The feeling made me uncomfortable, having that kind of trust in someone. I could see in their eyes that they couldn't live without each other, if something happened to one, the other wouldn't survive very long. Letting someone have that kind of control over you terrified me. 

"Sure." I pouted, linking my arm in Hazel's we rushed out the door.  

We hopped into our large sedan and pulled away from the house. With each minute, the knot in my stomach continued to grow. Describing it as a knot was no longer accurate, it felt like a thick sticky substance that coated me from head to toe in unease. I couldn't shake it no matter how hard I tried, no matter what lies I told myself about tonight.  

I could tell we were getting close when the typical street lamps on our road stopped and these white, flower covered lanterns appeared. 

"Is the ball outside this time?" I asked curiously. The previous years the Moon Ball had been held inside, then again; the ball had never been held at my pack's territory before. 

"Oh, you'll see, the girls spent weeks setting all of this up. It's absolutely beautiful." My mother nodded her head in approval but kept her gaze on the road.  

While Hazel and Sabrina chattered excitedly about what their future mate would look like, I pressed my head against the cool window of the sedan and tried to steady my breathing. The coolness of the window felt good against my heated skin. The last thing Hazel would want is for me to walk into the ball tomato faced.  

We pulled into an enormous dirt lot and managed to find a space wedging the sedan in between two other vehicles. I looked around confused, there wasn't a ball in sight. I used my sensitive hearing and I could in fact hear music playing, people chattering, glasses clinking.  

We all hopped out of the sedan, and Hazel was quick to make sure I lifted my dress as I walked to make sure no dirt would dare ruin her masterpiece. We walked across the giant lot and up to the forest that stretched on ahead. Somewhere along the tree line I spotted two more flower covered lanterns, leading further into the forest. Walking down the path, following the lanterns, we came to an even bigger clearing. This clearing had to be three times the size of the dirt lot. The first thing I noticed was that there happened to be solid flooring where everyone stood, the second thing I noticed was the huge canopy tent that hung over the entire clearing. I couldn't help but look up in awe at the white flowers that cascaded down the canopy and sometimes were intertwined with vines. Rustic white lanterns were scattered throughout the area, even though there were large lights attached to the tops of the tents.  

"Woah." Was all that came from Hazel's lips as she looked on in awe. I could see my mother flash a smug smile, as she had a strong hand in designing the layout for the ball. 

"They all did an amazing job." I confirmed, nodding my head as my eyes trailed on at the rest of the decorations.  

I looked at the huge crowd of people, only seeing a few mated wolves there. I felt myself gulp as I looked on at the vast number of unmated males and females. The words I had spoken earlier were lost and forgotten. Out of all of these people, I would be extremely lucky not to find my mate. The entire clearing was larger than a human football field. The number of unmated wolves in America astounded me, and sent fear coursing through my veins.  

Tons of long buffet style tables lined the outskirts of the giant tent, a plethora of food set on the tables called to me seductively. There were also round, glass tables scattered throughout in case anyone had wanted to sit. As I gazed on at the sheer number of people, I couldn't make out a single face. I knew our pack wasn't one of the largest, but I had no idea how large some of these packs were.  

Hazel and I shared nervous glances and linked arms as we walked into the tent and into full view of the crowd. As we walked into the tent, I couldn't help but notice the sheer number of males that turned our way. Some grimaced, as if they were concentrating. Some smelled the air, as if hoping for some unseen cue to come our way. For a moment, I let my curiosity get the best of me as I looked head on at the crowd of unmated men and women, wanting to see if I could find one of the members of the Blood Moon pack. I assumed they would be scarred, disfigured, or generally vicious looking compared to the rest of the crowd. Hazel and I nearly jumped at the sound of a familiar voice.  

"Well, hello there beautiful." Brandon winked at us, looking us both up and down. A small part of me felt relieved that I wasn't the only one here who didn't want a mate. For whatever reason, Brandon didn't want one either and that meant I had someone on my team.  

I couldn't help but notice that Brandon looked quite good in his suit. His typical unruly sand colored hair was styled and the green in tie made his eyes standout. I wasn't sure if Hazel had a hand in what Brandon wore, but I wouldn't be surprised.  

All around us people laughed, chatted, and swayed to some upbeat music that was playing. I looked over at Hazel with wide eyes. Her face was twisted in a strange grimace as she smelled the air around us.  

"I- I think my mate is here." Hazel spoke in an incredulous voice. I resisted the urge to laugh at her. This entire time she had been wanting to find her mate, and now that she knows he's here, she's frightened. I resisted the urge because I happened to be frightened as well.  

Once again, I caught Brandon giving me that strange look, as if he were waiting any moment for something to happen. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know what was up with him. Another familiar voice rang through the air as an old friend approached us.  

"Claire! Brandon!" Jake exclaimed with a smile as he practically ran up to us. I turned to find Hazel, but she was nowhere to be found. I didn't think much of it though, I knew she would be looking for her mate.  

Jake happened to be an old friend from a neighboring pack. Each year when I was forced to go to the ball, Jake and I would often sneak away and spend the rest of the time in the woods or letting our wolf take control. I had never found myself attracted to Jake, or most others for that matter. I completely closed myself off after what had happened to me, and I can't say I regret it. Jake had always been handsome, but something about him had changed this year. His face had lost the roundness it used to have and now was angular and strong. His body wasn't as lanky anymore and his arm muscles seemed to show through his suit. His black hair had been cropped short, almost military style. 

"Hey Jake!" I smiled up at his tall figure. 

"Didn't think I'd find you here shorty, thought you would ditch." Jake smirked down at me. In a movement that was extremely fast, Jake lifted me off my feet and encased me in a bear hug. A startled squeak left my mouth as I felt my feet no longer touching the hard floor.  

"Jake put me down! You know I don't like that." I grumped, kicking my feet so he would get the picture.  

Once I was finally set on my feet, I noticed the grimace that fell over Brandon's face. Typically, he and Jake got along just fine, I couldn't figure out what the issue was. 

"So... Do you want to go dance Claire?" Jake asked in a rush, throwing a quick glance at Brandon.  

"Sure, why not. Wanna join?" I asked Brandon, a smile on my face. Brandon let out a sigh, but said he needed to go keep an eye on his younger sister. I frowned as I watched Brandon stalk away, his shoulders handing ever so slightly.  

"Doesn't take a hint, does he?" I heard Jake scoff; his eyes locked on Brandon's back. 

"Um, what?" I turned to Jake; confusion evident on my face. 

"He likes you Claire..." Jake trailed off; his eyebrow raised at the dumbfounded look on my face. 

"Well yeah. Him and Hazel are my best friends." I retorted, feeling the blood rush to my face as I fully grasped what Jake was implying.  

"Not like that, he likes you Claire." Jake emphasized, smirking at my bright red face. 

I grimaced up at Jake, "If that's even true, he can tell me himself. Are we going to dance or what?"  

With nothing more than a shrug and another glance in the direction Brandon took off in, we made our way onto the dance floor in the middle of the room. 

When I had first begun high school, I was a completely different girl. I wasn't so fearful of the world and the people around me. I never did drugs, or drank alcohol or anything like that, but I also wasn't afraid to be myself. I had changed so much because of one event that happened a year ago. Who knew one thing, one day, could make you question everything about yourself and your life?  

As I danced with Jake to some upbeat song that was playing, I made sure to keep my distance from him and some of the other people around me. I couldn't help but notice the way some of the guys and girls danced. Most danced extremely close, some a little too close. Jake made no move to pull me closer, but I could see his eyes straying to those couples that danced a little too close.  

After a few more songs, I excused myself from Jake. I told him I was going to grab some food and something to drink, but really, I just needed a moment to myself. I made my way further and further from the entrance, trying to find anywhere I could go to spend a few moments alone. I finally noticed a clear table close to the back of the tent, another large table full of food and drinks sat next to it invitingly. I grabbed myself a soda and a small plate of some colorful pastries I had snatched up, and happily sat down at my empty table. For once, no one's heads turned in my direction. I could sit here and try to sort out the war that was raging inside of me. The unexplainable anxiety I felt at this ball, I hadn't felt this year after year of being forced to attend.  

Just as I began to bite into one of the colorful pastries, I smelled it.  

Sandalwood with citrus notes. The smell of fresh earth and grass after it rains.  

I could feel my body stiffen as the scent battered me. While my mind screamed and my heart raced, I could feel myself taking deep breaths of this intoxicating smell. I couldn't name a single thing in my life that smelled better than this. While my brain tried to rationalize what this smell could be, my heart already knew. I could feel Sierra losing her mind, pacing and panting, urging me to find out what was happening. I mustered what strength I could, but the most I could force myself to do was stand and face the crowd of people that seemed to be in their own world. 

I watched on, frozen in horror, as the music fell silent and people began to look around in confusion. Breathing in this strange scent deeply, I watched as the crowd were forced back in fear, as someone made their way to me.  

I had never seen this man before in my life, but the knot in my stomach knew without being told.  

"Mate. That's our mate!" Sierra rejoiced while my entire world had finally come crashing down.  

Alpha Killian Desmond made his way through the crowd of terrified bystanders. Each face in the crowd looked on at me in absolute horror, as if they were preparing themselves to witness my death. 

I looked on at the rumored Alpha Killian as he came to a stop a mere five feet in front of me. I could finally see where all of the rumors had come from. While I stood at a whopping 5'3', Alpha Killian had to be well over 6' tall. Not only did he tower over me in height, but the frame of his body was enormous, with hands as big as my entire face. I resisted a shutter as I thought about how easily he could crush me, and end my simple life. Taking a deep breath, I looked up into the face of my mate, and felt my mouth open. 

While the rumors described him as this vile monster, he looked anything but. His dark hair was longer on the top, but shaved short on the sides. Tattoo's made their way up his neck, and down his forearms. He wasn't wearing a typical suit like all of the other guys. He wore a deep blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and a pair of black slacks. I found myself staring at his face incredulously. A sharp yet chiseled jawline, framed by full eyebrows, lips and a set of deep grey eyes. I tried to read the look on his face as he stared at me. His face seemed cold, expressionless, distant. He didn't seem pleased. Maybe he didn't want a mate either. Some small glimmer of hope fluttered into my stomach, maybe he would let me go.  

That hope was extinguished when he finally spoke to me.  

"Mine." His rough voice announced in a feral growl.  


Comments (62)
goodnovel comment avatar
Marrie Mitipelo
goodnovel comment avatar
Cindy Craven
Wow my heart is broken for her friend
goodnovel comment avatar
Janice Choate
I hope Alpha Killian treats with gentleness.

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