RubyBefore I know it, I’m standing behind the church doors, waiting to walk down the aisle.The morning feels like a blur. As I stand here now, my heart racing with butterflies in my stomach, everything else feels so small and insignificant. All that matters is right now; the flowers in my hand, the veil on my head, the sweat on my palms.It’s just like my vision.I know that when those doors open, Atwood will be standing at the end of the aisle. Nancy and the other bridesmaids -- Beck is one of them, surprisingly enough -- will be standing off to one side, while Atwood’s groomsmen stand on the other side. The priest will be smiling at me, his robes a vibrant combination of red and gold.Tamara will walk ahead of me, tossing flower petals down at my feet while the wedding guests look at their new Princess in awe.And at the back of the room, the shadow figure will be there. It’s always there, watching, lurking.I will ignore it.I will marry Atwood and pretend that the shadow figure
RubyThe feast goes on for some time longer, well into the night. Some of the guests begin to go home, leaving gifts for Atwood and I, while many others stay and continue to party.“Feasts are always like this,” Atwood says, swirling his champagne around in his glass with one hand and poking at his cake with his fork with his other hand. “On a few different occasions, we’ve had to escort partygoers out of the castle because they simply wanted to party all night.”“It’s refreshing,” I respond, taking a bite of cake. The cake is moist and not too sweet, with buttercream frosting. It practically melts in my mouth. “I’m happy to see people dancing and having fun, especially after what happened at my birthday party.”Admittedly, however, I’m starting to get tired -- and Atwood can tell.“Come on,” he says, standing from his chair and holding his hand out for me. “Let’s sneak out the back here. Everyone is too drunk to notice. I’m getting tired of all the noise.”I nod and take his hand. We
RubyMy heart pounds as I run through the dark forest.I’m not even nineteen yet, still a high school student, but I’ve been forced into a marriage to a man who I haven’t even met, and I don’t even know why.The Lycan King.When the King’s men came to me two weeks ago and told me that I would be married to the King, I was completely distraught.Any girl would feel lucky to be married to the Lycan King, although I feel far from lucky. In my eyes, the Lycan King is a brute, an unlovable man whose family only ever cared for killing all of the hybrids such as myself.The Lycan King is rumored to be ferocious, caring only for his arrogant family’s obsession with purebred wolves and killing all hybrids. I knew as soon as I saw my vision that if I were to marry the Lycan King, he would put my darling sister, Tamara, to death, because she is too human to survive in the werewolf world. There’s no way I could be this brute’s mate, either; we’ve never even met, and everyone knows that wolves ne
Atwood I find it amusing that I didn’t even have to track down my runaway bride. She simply climbed into my car, completely oblivious to the fact that I am the man she was running away from. I admit, I didn’t believe her story about her grandmother. Her story about the wedding gown and the wild dog was laughable, but I kept it to myself. It wouldn’t hurt to take her where she wanted to go just in case she was telling the truth about her sick grandmother, and besides, we could catch her if she tried to make another run for it. I could catch her. Hunting women down is the last thing I want to be doing, truly. I mean Ruby no harm, even though she unknowingly said some awful, untrue things about me in the car. In time, she’ll learn that those things aren’t true. I’m not like my parents. Still, I have no choice but to marry this girl. She’s barely nineteen, three years younger than me, but it’s fate. All of this mess started about a month ago. I was sitting in my study one morning
Ruby I look up at the King and his henchmen. The King shakes his head and gestures for his henchman to rise, then hands Tamara to him. I begin to cry out in protest, but the King simply raises a finger to me and I am silent. “Your sister will be taken care of,” he says softly, then walks toward me. I scamper back further into the corner and raise my hands in defense, prepared for the King to beat me. But he doesn’t. He crouches in front of me and gently takes my hands in his, pressing my fingers to his lips and looking into my eyes. I can feel myself tingle at his touch, but I am unsure as to whether the sensation is fear or excitement -- perhaps both. Although I would let him kiss my hands forever, there is still a part of me that fears him, so I pull my hands away. The King drops his gaze, looking defeated. “Your sister,” he says after a pause. “She smells like a human.” “She’s a hybrid, isn’t she?” he asks. I nod nervously. His scent, so close to me now, fills my senses and
My dreams are full of horrible visions. Blood covers my body. Tamara’s sweet little face in front of me, so close I can reach out and touch her cheek, but then suddenly she is far away at the end of a long, dark tunnel. “Ruby!” she screams. “Help me!” I’m running through the tunnel as fast as I can, but she only gets further away until I can no longer see or hear her. I spin around, looking for an exit, but when I turn around, there is only a brick wall behind me. I turn back toward where I was just facing. Another wall. I’m trapped. The walls come closer, squeezing me. I look up to see the moon far above me. It’s full, and I can hear the howls of wolves. I try to howl too, to call for them to help, but no sound comes out. When I wake, I’m covered in sweat. Where am I? The room is dark, lit only by a couple of candles on the bedside table and a fire burning in the fireplace. I can smell Atwood. A cold hand touches my forehead, and I flinch. As I flinch, pain shoots up my
Ruby I’m not sure exactly what time it is when I wake up, but when I finally come out of my dreams and open my eyes, there is sun shining through the large window to Atwood’s chambers. I yawn and roll over to shield my eyes from the bright sun and stretch, extending my arms above my head and flexing my feet. As my half-open eyes scan the room looking for a clock, I finally find one sitting on the mantle and jump up when I see that it’s already three o’clock. How did I sleep for so long? I throw the covers off of myself and swing my legs over the side of the bed, jumping up. I’m not sure why I feel the need to rush myself out of bed, but truth be told, I feel great There is a soft, purple velvet housecoat laid across the chaise waiting for me. I slip it on over my nightgown -- not taking a moment to consider how Atwood or whoever else had been able to even put me in a nightgown when I was passed out -- and take a second to relish in the feeling of the luxurious fabric on my skin.
RubyAtwood doesn’t reply.There is a knock on the door, and Atwood calls for them to come in.An older, middle-aged woman with salt-and-pepper gray hair pulled back into a tight bun walks in as though she is floating. She wears a long gray dress with a pristine white apron, and shiny black shoes. Atwood turns to look at her and she bows to him, then nods politely to me.“Ah, perfect timing,” Atwood says with an uncharacteristic smile. “Ruby, this is the head housekeeper, Alice. She will be entirely responsible for you and your sister. Whatever you need, just ask Alice.”Alice nods her head to me again. “Lovely to meet you, Miss Ruby,” she says.There is something cold and calculating about this woman. Despite her cordial appearance in front of Atwood, I can tell that she doesn’t like me. There’s a hint of anger and coldness behind her eyes as she looks at me.Once we’ve finished our greetings, Atwood dismisses me to go and prepare to see the doctor.I meander back toward Atwood’s cha