A couple days later.
Hannah seemed calm while she went through the letter we received from the school. I noticed her grinning at the words written by our principal, formally sending his praise to those who had been chosen for the tournament. I had zoned out and left the assembly last week when they were announcing the participants but when I received the letter at my door step, I was more than surprised and a little thrilled for getting selected.
“Wow. We got in, again!” Hannah exclaimed, folding the sheet of paper.
I chuckled at the memories of last year and said, “Well, I hope we don’t run out, again.”
“I don’t know about you but I’m going to go to the second round of the tournament this time. Last year, the participants had to do something like hunting the opposite team in their wolf form.” She explained to me.
The tournament had only three rounds, they were placed week after week and at the end, they were only three winners from one of the three teams. The first round was about mind games, finding a way out of a zone around the area without shitting in your pants. The participants were injected with something from the lab that was supposedly used to bring out people’s worst fears inside the zone. If you could get out of the zone in your senses, you could proceed to the second round.
A lot of us in the first round itself lost and gave up, including me and Hannah. The first round lasted for almost twelve hours and if you screamed or cried or begged for help, you’d be lost.
The second round was all about running away from the other members of the team while they tried to hunt you down. And the last round, the worst one, was inside the land of rogues and hyena’s where you had a day to fight and run away from them before they killed you. It was one of the dangerous acts of the tournament and making it alive out of there was nearly impossible.
Last year, one of us was killed by a mindless hyena and a lot others were injured, including Lucas who came in the second place as he was too wounded. Those who won were given a reward along with a high position in the pack.
My Dad—Mr. Barry won the tournament decades ago and was promoted to a Beta since then. It was one of his greatest achievements. He managed through the last round by killing a few rogues and hyena’s without getting injured.
The last three winners were in the process of getting a position in the pack along with Lucas. It was one of the reasons why he returned back to the town.
“How do I look?” Hannah asked, pulling me out of my thoughts. A dress hung over her body and the closet behind her was wide open.
“Yeah, you look nice.” I replied, turning around.
Hannah looked at herself in the mirror and while running hands down her dress, she asked, “You’re planning to go to the ball, right?”
Ah, the ball.
There was a ball held before the tournament, celebrating the end of winters, a new season and the tournament.
I rubbed the back of my neck and shrugged, “I don’t know. I just don’t want to run in the Alpha, especially since the conversation we had the last time.”
A week and I hadn’t seen him anywhere around, not even at the school but I had full faith he was going to be at the ball since he was the Alpha.
“Come on,” Hannah pouted, “We always go together, it’s our yearly ritual before the prom.” She pleaded, jumping on the bed and talking my both hands.
She had been doing that since the past couple of days, trying to convince me to go even when I full-heartedly didn’t. All I wanted to do tonight was roll in the sheets and snuggle with myself.
“But my Dad’s going to be there and if something happens, the night will turn very ugly.” I tightened my hand around hers and replied.
Mom came in through my bedroom door with a bucket of laundry in her hands. “What would happen, Marissa?” She asked.
“Nothing.” I sealed my lips shut at her presence.
Stepping inside, her brows furrowed, “Then why are you afraid? Is there something I need to know? Your Dad’s existence has never stopped you from going to school events and balls like these, so why now?”
I took a moment to gather my thoughts. She knew nothing. “I—I was just uncertain that he would lash out again since I spoke to him rudely at the police station.” I racked up a couple of lies and replied to her.
“He wouldn’t, not in public.” She lowered a hand over my shoulder and gave me a tap. “Go get ready and go attend that ball, it’s not going to happen every year. Your school is finishing, this might be your last one.”
I swallowed with a loud sound and turned my head to Hannah who nodded in agreement. I was worried about my Dad catching me with the Alpha if we did have a run-in at the ball. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight for him.
Hannah snarled, “Come on, you even picked up your dress.”
Mom looked at my closet, “Yeah, you did, last year.” She laughed while shaking her head.
I always picked up my dresses for balls and proms a whole year ago and kept them in my closet for these occasions. It was a bad habit of mine but I liked staring at them whenever I was free.
“Fine, fine.” I gave in, snarling a little.
“Good! Go get ready, I’ll drop you two as I have an off. And, Hannah, you look beautiful!” Mom said before turning around and picking up my laundry basket from the ground and leaving.
“Thanks, Mrs. Felica!” Hannah shouted. She snapped her head at me the second my Mom disappeared, “Get your ass off and get ready. We don’t have much time.” Her voice changed quick.
I glanced at the clock, “We have enough time.”
Mom dropped me and Hannah to the ball inside the Elias Manor where most events of the pack were held. The Manor belonged to the former Alpha of the pack, Mrs. Cathy Elias and it was rumoured that she was making an appearance tonight after being disappeared for a whole entire year.
“Take care of yourselves and whenever it’s done, give me a call and I’ll pick you two!” Mom shouted as she steered out of the parking lot.
She was invited to the ball as well but she didn’t come along with us as she didn’t want to run into Dad. Talk about the same DNA.
Hannah and I went to the entrance and handed out invitations to the guy standing at the front. He quickly allowed us in and gave us a little ’good luck’ for the tournament coming up next.
The selected participants, the high ranking wolves, rich families, and a few more students were invited to the ball. There were no children, just a bunch of old people and teenagers mixed together.
Lucas came to us from the corner with a smile of his face. “I didn’t know you two would go for the tournament again after last year.” He gave us a little sarcastic laugh.
Hannah punched him on the shoulder and said, “Last year was different.”
“Oh, yeah, I remember you screaming and running into me after imagining a big spider chasing behind you.” He joked.
“I had a fear of spiders but that was last year. I’m not afraid of them anymore,” She battled her lashes and snapped at him.
“Oh, let’s see. I’m among one of the judge’s assistant so I’ll be watching everything.” He shot a look at me and raised his brows, “Snakes?”
Last year, at the first round, I thought I was under the ground, buried and snakes were swarming all over me. I called 999 that night, in the middle of the tournament and that was how I lost. It was a horrible nightmare but I had grown over that fear.
“Don’t do dirty with me, Lucas, I know what you fought against that night.” I leaned in and whispered.
His face went blank and white, “Okay, okay, my mouth is sealed. I’ve to go catch up with my old buddies but save a dance for me?”
We were getting around to become casual friends than nothing. He had moved on and so had I. It was nice to have a guy best friend around.
“So, what do we get started with first? Drinks or dances with hot men?” Hannah asked, eyeing the group of men standing by a distance from her. I could tell they were around late twenties, quite old for her.
“Ew,” I looped my arm around Hannah and took her away from them. “We aren’t doing that. Let’s go get some drinks before announcements and all those sorts. We can do dances later at the end.” I said to her in clear words. I didn’t want to be alone around here.
The Elias Manor was a large house built at the town’s housing community. It was the only house that stood out from the others and it was also one of the oldest houses around the area.
Ms. Cathy Elias was an old woman. She used to be seen everywhere in such events a few years ago but then something happened and she was out of the public’s sight forever.
She was also the Alpha’s Mother.
“Oh, but I wanted to dance!” Hannah bought the glass to her mouth and wined. After drinking a little, she choked while looking behind me. “Yeah, I’m just going to dance.” She stuttered before she ran off real quick that I couldn’t even stop her.
A cold chill went down my spine and I turned around to face the Alpha. No wonder she ran.
“I didn’t expect you to be here.” He said, his voice prickling and teasing those creatures in my stomach.
I stood stern, acting calm while one of my eyes were all around the room, looking for my Dad. Thankfully, he wasn’t here yet.
“I should go…” I trailed off, aiming to crash with Hannah and the stranger she decided to dance with.
“No, you are coming with me.” The Alpha whispered, wrapping his hand around mine and pulling me out of the ball.
My body temperature rose and my heart thumped hard inside my chest. A few eyes fell upon me but none of them were my Dad’s.
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