He tucked the hem of his dress shirt into his black slacks before zipping them up and buttoning them.
He threw the matching black coat over his shoulders before pushing his broad arms through the holes.
He straightened the suit he had on nicely with his hands before sighing.
He had styled his hair a lot differently then he had in the past.
He styled it neatly - as always - but kept it in its original state, with the ends of his slightly curled dark locks gently grazing his covered shoulders.
His crown was already on his head and he had on a pinky ring that was covered in small golden diamonds - it glistened under the sun rays that peeked into his room through his large windows.
He narrowed his eyes as he took his handkerchief off of his bedside table and tucked it into the small pocket of his coat.
It was a dark emerald green color and he inhaled shakily whenever he looked at it - it perfectly matched the color of Clarices dress.
He could not help but wonder how she would react to seeing how much effort he put into finding something that made them match - no matter how small it may be - even though it only made the beast inside of him hate him more.
It hurt for his two sides to fight for control, especially now when his beast was slightly losing - it only urged it to fight harder.
Today he chose not to pay it any mind, so instead he allowed memories of earlier to replay in his mind - memories of Clarices reaction to the dress.
He had purposely hand picked a dress for her that was the color it was due to her eyes - he could not deny his attraction to that color and he wanted them to pop.
However, he had specifically chosen it for the low neckline, in hopes of the mark he had left in her skin to show - he wanted everyone to see it.
When he finished readying himself for the ball, he left his bedroom and slowly began to make way to Clarices room.
He would have never imagined the ball this way.
Usually he never cared for them and always attended them alone, but today was different.
He had his mate and he promised her he would try, and that he will.
With that he raised his chin and proudly neared her door, her scent lingering in the hall.
He listened in to what was going on inside and heard her low grunting and it made his brows furrow.
He knew Abigail was no longer in the room due to him only detecting one heartbeat, so in response to that he hesitantly twisted the knob and opened the door.
His breath caught in his throat when his eyes glued on her back.
The dress was on her body and he stood by the door utterly speechless.
It had been enough to shock him without her even looking at him and he had to struggle to find his voice again.
His eyes roamed throughout her styled hair and all of her elegantly curled locks that had been tied up into a high ponytail.
Down to her petite shoulders that were showcased due to the way the dress was made and then down the length of her body.
The dress was tight around her waist and it showcased the curve from her waist down to her hips.
Then from the hips down it fell into a long train that flowed a couple of feet behind her.
He took in the way the emerald green ballgown was shimmering under the rays of light that peeked from her window and he cleared his throat.
Her eyes found his through her vanity mirror and he watched as she swallowed roughly - he knew that he made her nervous, and he loved it.
Her lips slightly opened and he watched as her tongue shot out to moisten them - her face instantly scrunching up when she remembered that she had makeup on.
“Turn.” He ordered, yet there was gentleness in his tone that managed to shock even himself.
Her cheeks tinged pink and his eyes remained glued on her even as she gracefully turned, the train swaying with every move she made.
When they were face to face he could feel his stomach churn and he had to clear his throat to make all of his emotions go away.
She looked down his body nervously before gulping and looking up once again - her cheeks flushed red.
He noticed that her wide eyes were glued on his handkerchief and he nearly puffed his chest out proudly.
His eyes sought out what he was mostly expecting to be showcased.
The area above her collarbone where he knew he had laid his claim on her, but his eyes darkened when they were met with nothing.
Her shaky fingers flew to the area he was so intensely looking at, her eyes glued on his before she awkwardly cleared her throat.
“Abigail thought it best to cover the mark. I agreed. I assumed you did not want people to know anything.” She stated unexpectedly making him nearly recoil in disbelief.
He had chosen this dress for the sole purpose of her mark being showed to all of those pathetic wolves, yet she covered it.
His lips nearly opened bared his canines but he held them back before he raised his chin and growled lowly in understanding that he surely did not possess.
“The ball is soon to start. Ready yourself. We will await your presence.” He said making her face fall - he knew his tone was monotonous and back to how it usually sounded but he did not care.
He was angered and his beast was pleased - happy that their mate was covering his claim.
Yet he felt belittled and dumb, he felt she had been embarrassed of him but he did not care - he brushed that thought off before giving her one more hard glare and storming out of her room.
She nodded her head but only to herself because before she knew it he was gone and the door to her room slammed shut making not only the walls shake but her body too.
She walked out of her room with a sunken mood before shutting the door behind her.
Her dress swayed with all of her movements and the train followed her every move gracefully.
She utterly loved it and when she had seen herself in her vanity mirror earlier she knew she looked beautiful, but now, after that encounter with the King, she was not too sure.
Clearly he had been angered by the fact that her mark was covered but she had done that for him - she knew he was not ready for everyone to find out, especially when he had no control over his other side.
Even though she had been giddy all day due to the thought of seeing her parents again after so long, all of this with the King put a damper on that and she could not do anything to change it.
Her hands were intertwined before her whilst she walked, her heels were already cutting into her feet and she slightly grimaced but held back from it.
A proper woman should never grimace when she wears heels - Abigail stated earlier.
When she reached the top of the staircase, she began to walk down but was stopped by a hand that swiftly circled around her small forearm.
She gasped in shock.
“It is I Clarice, Marcello. I am only stopping you because we do not get to the ballroom this way.” He stated gently, she turned her head and faced him.
He was already smiling and that made her frowning lips etch upwards - she did not want him to question why she was suddenly so upset.
“You look marvelous.” He said politely making her cheeks turn slightly pinkish before her eyes took in his dark red suit.
“As do you.” She replied softly before he stood beside her and motioned for her to walk forwards.
“But this is the way to the Kings room.” She mentioned whilst they walked, he chuckled.
“Yes, but it is also the way to a shorter path to the ballroom.” He replied before they stopped by a door and he swiftly opened it.
Her eyes widened in shock when the door opened to reveal a large hall that trailed downwards and was attached to a grand staircase that overlooked everything below it.
Her heart began to beat rapidly when she heard loud chatters of a bunch of overlapping voices.
Marcello sensed her sudden anxiety and chuckled, “do not fret Clarice, it is going to be much better after you get situated with everyone.”
She inhaled deeply before nodding and straightening her posture, she watched as Marcello walked in first and furrowed her brows.
“You walk in, but do not go down. Wait.” He stated making Clarice raise a brow in confusion.
“Whatever shall I wait for?” She asked while chuckling, as if his statement was utter comedy.
“You will know.” Was all he said before he left her and walked down the the large staircase - joining the crowd below.
Her heart plummeted down to her stomach before she shrugged to herself and slowly made way towards the staircase herself - stopping behind the round railings.
She placed her forearms on the top of the railings before leaning forwards and with a raised chin taking in the scene before her.
From where she stood she looked absolutely angelic - like a proper queen and she had yet to realize it.
Her bright eyes took in each talking face that she saw and sough out familiar ones.
But the second she felt that familiar presence behind her, her back leaned deeper into him almost instinctively.
Her heart was hammering against her chest when she felt him nuzzle his nose into her neck from behind before he inhaled deeply - her stomach erupting into a bunch of tiny butterflies.
She did not care that if anyone looked up they would see such an intimate moment.
“Everyone!” Avons familiar voice echoed in the large ballroom making Clarice jump, but the feeling of the Kings hand on her waist calmed her down.
He had pulled his nose away from her neck and she longed once more for the feel.
“His Majesty. The King.” Avon stated before everyones gaze snapped up.
Clarice had been thankful for the Kings undeniably fast speed because in a second they had stood on the top stair before anyone even noticed where they were earlier.
Clarice gulped nervously, her brows furrowed and her wide eyes glued on the King who stood gracefully beside her with his shoulders squared and his head raised proudly - he was in his natural habitat and he owned it.
“Relax.” He whispered to her, and that was all she needed to hear for all of the tenseness in her body to ease.
She exhaled in relief.
Everyone watched them in confusion and wonder but they did not dare make a sound.
Slight classical music played in the background and she nearly flinched when his large hand pressed against the small of her back and he motioned with a subtle bob of his head for them to walk down.
And they did.
With the music playing in the background they took their first steps into the crowd together.
Her long train slowly following behind her and covered the stairs with no mercy.
She raised her own chin when she felt all the gazes move from him to her and kept her strong gaze on the crowd.
This felt good.
It felt good for her to be beside him.
Once they reached the bottom staircase and everyone realized that the pair had yet to pull away from one another their eyes widened and Clarice knew what they were questioning.
The King had opened his mouth and tightened his hold on Clarices waist but before he could say anything a familiar voice interrupted him by yelling out Clarices name.
He growled lowly at the disrespect but could not do anything, even when Clarice absentmindedly pulled away from him and sought out where the voice had come from.
“Daddy?!” She cried out when his body emerged from the crowd, she took in how utterly broken he looked and held back the tears that formed in her eyes from falling and ruining the makeup that took ages to complete.
Seeing her father hit harder than she could have ever imagined and the second his arms flew around her shoulders and pulled her in for that familiar hug she had been longing for, she could feel her resolve slowly crumble.
She knew everyone was watching curiously but she did not care.
She was finally in her fathers arms and Goddess did she miss it.
“Clarice baby.” Her moms voice echoed in her ears, she could hear her disbelief and Clarice felt her stomach churn.
“Mommy.” She whispered to herself before ripping out of her fathers hold and running to her mother, not caring that they were putting on a hell of a show for everyone.
Clarices mother nearly fell but the hands that circled around her - that belonged to her daughter - instantly held her up.
Goddess how she missed them.