You’re going to a ball. You have twenty minutes to get ready. That’s a sure fine way to tell a girl she has no hope of looking presentable, and not just a girl - but a wolf. The Head Guardian is escorting the last stragglers, including myself, to the ball while I hope my hair lying in a mess around my red dress is enough to pass as a messy-fashionable style.
I only had time enough to shave my legs and under arms, choose a dress and do my makeup. So, I still have my crazy-i-was-trapped-in-my-room-for-seven-days hair on.
I didn’t have time to shower with the Head Guardian escorting us to the Grand Tower so soon.
And of course, I was given no prior warning by Baden’s Guardians, probably via his own personal orders.
But, I guess, at least I could breathe some fresh air after seven days.
The Grand Tower before us is tall but it was more so wide and in the very centre of campus. It was grand, as the name suggested, with wolves sculpted into the architecture. Inside the ballroom, there would be the famous marble wolf sculptures. They were always a good topic for conversation.
“Don’t try to leave early - we have eyes watching,” the Head Guardian smiles kindly despite the threat as he ushers us into the entrance.
The place is already packed with a thousand people.
Everyone is dressed up, drinking, socialising and partying in a field sized ballroom. The marble floors were white with black flecks, the ceiling was held up by large marble pillars. While everyone could dance in the middle, hang out by the sculptures or sit at a table around the edges of the stained glass ballroom - my eyes scan to the Alpha section.
One guardian per Alpha, sticks to their designated Alpha’s side.
All Alpha’s generally ignore one another, it was a peaceful event, after all.
As I waltz over to a bowl of punch, I watch as the lights dim with the start of the ball.
Everyone eventually starts to disperse from their designated sections to mingle with others.
A disco ball glitters and I roll my eyes at how corny the Mating event is.
I stick to the edges of the event as I look for Alpha Baden.
It’s not hard to find him - he’s surrounded by cocky men and women. Close friends... no doubt a future pack for him.
I keep my distance, even though many males walk by me, watching me, sniffing around - checking for any signs of a mating bond.
I ignore them while I watch Baden.
I didn’t want to get close.
I hoped I didn’t have contact with him at all, to be honest.
While I wait, I look around at familiar faces - all who pass by without me hunting them down for company.
I didn’t want to interact with anyone. I wanted to figure out my place in all this. I felt so shunned by my own mate and threatened with the lack of knowledge I knew about him, his actions... or his feelings.
In some embarrassing yet rare cases, an Alpha could at first think that their mate was an abomination to their eyes. An Alpha could start off as simply not attracted to their mate - over time, however, things would change when they opened up and got to know you.
Why did I feel like Alpha Baden hated me, potentially - because he thought I didn’t look ‘right’ in his eyes?
Perhaps he had a fantasy of a black haired wolf with deep blue eyes and the perfect curves.
Perhaps finding out I was his mate was the biggest disappointment of his life.
Besides, it wasn’t like I wanted a mate who cared about physical appearance that much.
Hell - it was shallow and stupid.
“Look at all the sour shewolves around here... oh look... another one,” I hear a voice mock me to other laughing male werewolves.
“Lonely - looking for some extra fur to snuggle into,” someone else replies.
I decide to eavesdrop on the rest of their enlightening conversation just behind me.
“Only the ugly ones,” another voice adds.
“That is so true,” the first voice adds in - the deepest... the snarliest. Whoever he was, I could tell he was an Alpha, “Oi, girl.”
Don’t turn, Maia, don’t even dare - I close my eyes to stop myself.
“Hey!” another leering wolf calls out to me.
“Over here,” after someone actually wolf whistles - at that... I spin on my heel, my eyes glaring.
Except - the group of four males, with Chase among them - are looking at a bombshell standing next to me.
A bombshell that is ignoring them.
However, with my dramatic spin and my very red cheeks - all four pairs of eyes finally rest on me.
And of course, Chase had to be with them. I knew his face because I had seen him in pictures in newspapers, always winning competitions or helping out in volunteering events in Nobel Metropolis.
Well, I guess this week would only keep getting worse, wouldn’t it?
I shouldn’t be surprised by this turn of events, with my luck.
Each male werewolf slowly shares knowing, amused looks with one another... until the smallest one - the one with a creepy squinty gaze, comes towards me.
“Fancy a dance, miss?” he asks, smiling.
“Go, Lincoln!” Chase hoots after him and laughs with his mates while I just shake my head.
“No, thank you,” I try not to be too rude as I quickly turn and stalk away.
I don’t look up as I push my way past too many bodies.
The first pillar I cross - an arm snakes out and pulls me into a hot chest.
I look up, expecting Baden.
Baden is next to him, sipping some red wine as he looks me over. He scrunches up his nose - sneezes... and then he shrugs at my appearance.
He doesn’t say anything.
“Sorry,” Corey whispers, apologising for pulling me in too fast into his chest.
“It’s okay, Corey,” I nod, backing up, keeping my words to a minimum, “Friends?” I ask Baden, wondering where his group went.
“I dragged him away,” Corey admits, “To find you.”
“We found her,” Baden speaks up, in full dick mode again, “Thanks, Corey,” Baden turns to walk off but Corey reaches out and grabs his elbow, growling something incomprehensible into his ear.
As Baden slowly turns to face me, he looks very, very annoyed.
“Dance,” Corey slips his hand to Baden’s, forcing him to hold it out towards me, ”Dance with her,” Corey has to snarl when Baden gets a disgruntled spoilt look on his handsome face.
I didn’t know it was possible for me to hate my mate anymore than I had all week.
Suddenly - I despised him almost ten fold.
“Sounds wonderful,” I couldn’t sound anymore sarcastic as I hold out my hand and Baden takes it.
He pulls me onto the dance floor and roughly swings me around to face him so he can grab my wrist and my waist. He leads, while glaring into my very soul.
“Happy?” Baden asks, tightly.
“This is the worst night of my life,” I whisper back while smiling.
“At least we can agree on that,” Baden’s cocky words and rough dancing are too much for me to cope with. I step in closer and make sure my high heel catches his big toe. As he winces, he slips his hand around my waist and holds me tightly against his chest, ”Happier?”
“You’re right, the worst night of my life just... oh wait, it’s still the worst night of my life,” I hiss back while Baden leans in until we’re nose to nose.
“What the hell is your problem?” he asks which consequentially makes me speechless.
Did he really just ask that...
“Y-you... you... I... I can’t-” I gasp in a breath and slam my hands onto his chest as I pull away abruptly, I shake my head, turning to leave.
However, I’m intercepted by two very pretty wolves. They’re taller than me and both block my escape.
“Wolf lost her tongue?” the blonde one with strawberry lipstick asks.
“It’s best you go get a drink, find some friends, Baden’s busy,” the brunette, equally sharing the same strawberry lipstick, stands aside and waves a graceful hand through the air for me to leave.
“Don’t talk to her like that,” Baden snaps and steps forward... protectively?
Again, I’m speechless as Baden grabs my elbow... and he starts dragging me away.
I follow... but I am thoroughly confused.
Baden takes me all the way to the edges of the ballroom where the outside balcony is only partially full of dancing young adults. Baden takes me all the way to the railing, to look out over the moon lit Half-Moon Academy.
As Baden faces me, leaning against the balcony - I purse my lips back.
“Change of heart? I’m starting to think you’re bi-polar,” I whisper, cruelly.
“Darling - I’m just a hard man to catch,” Baden winks as his eyes flick over me for a moment.
As I dare to turn around...
I see two things.
I see Chase.
I also see one of Baden’s ex-girlfriends.
Chloe - she’s flirting with Chase.
When I turn back to Baden, I hold up a finger in recognition.
“Wow,” I speak, “You’re using me - aren’t you?”
“For what?” Baden shrugs, pretending to be oblivious.
“You really think I’m stupid, don’t you?” I don’t yell even though I want to.
I was starting to think it wasn’t even worth wasting my breath on Baden.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, little wolf,” Baden shrugs, glancing over my head again.
“You’re looking at your ex girlfriend,” I say and he almost doesn’t hear me.
“What?” he asks, before focusing back on me, “What, oh - no, not at all.”
“I’m your mate,” I say the words without emotion, without emphasis. I simply state the fact.
Now - Baden blinks... finally focusing on me properly.
“Yeah...” he trails off, “Maia - who are you?”
“What?” I whisper.
“Reputation wise, who are you?” Baden asks, raising a brow, “Alphas like me - don’t get mated to random Aides. You’re just...”
“What, what am I just?” I ask, feeling my heart pound.
“I don’t know who you are, Maia - you’re practically nobody,” Alpha Baden says the words to shatter a naive hope I had remaining in my chest.
That hope that having a mating bond would somehow make this easier when we started to interact more.
It had to get easier... yet I was sure, I heard him right.
Baden was clear enough.
“I’m Maia - the girl who’s going to die if I don’t stand with you,” I murmur this - but he’s eyes have glazed over as he keeps looking behind me.
I turn towards the ballroom, feeling numb as I watch Corey look so guilty from nearby.
I walk towards Corey and I don’t think Baden even realises I’ve moved away from him, because he says nothing.
I stand in front of Corey as he watches the Alpha he must protect just behind me.
“Oh, Maia, I am so sorry,” Corey apologises quietly, shaking his head, “I’ve never met a more thick headed Alpha than Baden...”
“He’s rude, arrogant and doesn’t even want to make an attempt to know me... before stating that he doesn’t know me, as if it’s my fault. How does that make sense? Does Baden not see nor hear how contradicting he sounds? He’s a rich hypocrite -” I want to explain more but Corey already understands.
“He’s everything you say... however... Maia... I know you won’t believe me - but he’s not that bad. He’s been brought up in wealth and luxury. Everything he asks for... he gets,” Corey nods to Chase speaking with Chloe, “Chloe dumped him four months ago and he’s an Alpha that has never had anything refused to him. Deep down - he’s got a pure heart, he’s -”
“Don’t try and sell me an asshole as a kind or caring mate. My mate, I think, has officially rejected me,” I state, simply and without emotion.
“That’s not true, you have to understand the Royal blood line dynamics. Moon blood is high handed... Baden’s entitled and it can blind him but he just needs to- Baden!" Corey pushes me aside, standing tall and rushing after Baden before he lunges himself at Chase.
They’ve collided - butting heads, Chase taunting his former best friend as he holds Chloe’s hand behind him.
I watch the clash of rivals over the pretty Chloe. She was known to be sweet, with the sweet voice... but she had the rich background.
I guess that’s what she had that I didn’t.
Watching the exchange is like torture.
My mate, so fiercely protective of a random wolf.
“Baden, Baden!" Corey tries to pull him away from Chase and only manages to do so with the help of two other Alphas who are near by. By the time they drag Baden away, Corey grabs Baden’s shoulders, snarling at him, ”Go for a run! Now! Now!"
Baden snarls back as he shoves Corey and the other Alphas off him before gripping the sides of the balcony - and swinging off it.
I hear screams and even as I run to the balcony to look over it... I see him swinging down a metal poll to a grassy incline.
He finds his feet and keeps running.
“Asshole!” I scream at him over the balcony - because now I have to run after him.
I couldn’t be seen away from him.
I turn, watching as Chase catches my eye.
He looks a lot like Baden, with the long brown hair - which is a bit more straggly on Chase, or maybe he just put in too much gel.
As Chase’s eyes run over me, calculating... I think he works out who I am.
But, I don’t have time for being assessed by rival Alphas.
I turn and I run through the ball room, aiming to find the quickest route to Baden’s path into Moon Territory.
This is why I hated my life.
My very existence depended upon staying next to the most entitled, horrible and judgemental Alpha I had ever come across.
His upbringing had moulded him into one of the most selfish people I knew.
Yet I had to be with him - or I wouldn’t exist at all.