It was a masquerade; a tradition to which I am to take off my mask when the Alpha announces me the Luna of the European continent himself during his grand speech.
There was a large ball room located somewhere in the pack house, enclosed behind a looming door.
The Alpha had pulled my mask out of his pocket without saying anything, refusing to meet my eyes as he delicately placed it on my face and reached around to tie it behind my head.
It was black with intricate red swirls and I peered up at his concentrated face with wide-eyes.
Not once since the Solstice Moon have I taken a minute to gawk at his attractiveness, but found now is the perfect time while he is preoccupied.
His dark hair is tousled in a way that was supposed to be effortless, but I can tell he spent time working with it. Eyes the color of icicles during harsh winters are surrounded by long lashes, and his skin is dark, darker than mine.
The Alpha’s suit was black with an adorning red tie, matching my dress in color.
So, just like that? You’re gonna extol at his beauty? You know he can see you....
I blinked my reverie to the back of my mind and pulled away from him, sparing him a confused look, though it was meant to be a glare.
I can’t be developing anything for him...
Nova had an off-white mask, a stick hanging down from it as she held it to her face.
The Alpha stared down at me for a couple of seconds then shook his head, reaching for my arm, “What are you doing?” I exclaimed as he attempted to grab it again.
“It would look unprofessional for me not to be holding you while they announce us.”
I scoffed, reluctant to oblige.
“I don’t care how we look, I can not stand your touch!”
His response was snarling and forcefully looping his arm through mine, clutching my back and causing me to jump in fright as his touch.
“I have tolerated your disrespect thus far, but no more. You are my mate, you will love me, and you will let me hold you!” He roared in my face.
I blinked rapidly, briefly looking over at Nova and Nicolas who found the floor to be a lot more suitable to look at than us.
“I hate you,” I whispered, my eyes shining in sincerity.
He clutched at his heart briefly, staggering slightly. But, he did not relent on his hold of me.
I had obviously hurt him, but I don’t care.
The tinge of guilt you feel begs to differ.
And then, before I could prepare myself for it, the doors opened.
I couldn’t hold back a small gasp at the bustling people inside of the huge ballroom.
Fabrics were swaying as werewolves danced in glee, laughter and bright music filling the room.
Nova and Nicolas entered first, and not so much as a glance was spared to them by anyone in the room.
But, when The Alpha and I entered everyone’s line of sight; they stopped what they were doing, the music immediately ceasing.
“Alpha Luka Romano and Luna Mya Collins of the European Continent!” An oddly dressed man announced our presence as we stepped into the room.
The man stood to the right of the stairs leading to the dance floor.
I kept my composure, though I was completely terrified on the inside.
A slow applause roared through the crowd and some wolves howled their happiness; showing how feral they are.
I couldn’t estimate how many people are in the room, but it seemed like thousands upon thousands.
The Alpha and I joined Nova and her mongrel of a mate’s side. Luka stood next to me and seemed to be pouting at my words from earlier, his lower-lip stuck in a downwards position.
I simply ignored him because I couldn’t care less if he was hurt.
“Stop!” I chided myself, causing Nova to look over at me with a questioning look.
Nicolas led her away to the dance floor and I watched with an appalled face as they danced romantically close.
As more people entered the room, I couldn’t help it, though I didn’t want to, I leaned in close to talk to Alpha Luka because of the loud noise, “Who are all of these people?”
Alpha Luka smirked for me acknowledging him, then in pride as he observed his pack behind keen eyes, “Our pack.”
“But-” I looked around again, “That’s thousands.”
“Exactly, little mate.”
“I’m not your mate,” I muttered underneath my breath, causing him to let out a low growl and clutch me to him tighter.
I didn’t bother to tell him he is crazy if he thinks I’m going to lead along side of him; I’m sure he already knew.
Many whispers flittered throughout the mass crowd, the chittering immediately riling back up as Luka led me to the bottom of the steps.
“Care to dance?” He suavely asked me.
It was hard to decipher any voice with all of the noise, so I portrayed my rejection through rolling my eyes.
Many wolves looked hungry to cut in and talk to one of the most important people here, Luka.
And I was all too happy to give him to them.
I smirked behind my glove-covered hand as his retort was washed out by a group of wolves rushing over and bombarding him with questions, me successfully sliding through them and away from Luka.
I’m alone, finally.
But, I couldn’t help but note that no matter what corner I looked at, a guard was always watching me.
There’s no where to run.
"Want a drink, luna?” I gasped as a chillingly familiar voice filtered out beneath a mask.
Glancing around, no one seemed to notice the only human amongst the crowd of wolves.
I graciously took the champagne glass out of his hand, taking a small sip then setting it down on an empty metal tray held by a server.
“How are you-” he put his finger to his lips to shush me, and held out his hand for me to take.
With meticulous care, I placed my hand into his warm one and allowed him to plant his hand on my waist and whisk me off to the dance floor.
“Hello,” I said civilly, though civil was the last thing I was feeling.
“You look ravishing,” the masked figure said, I knew he was laying it on thick for show, or for jealousy.
“Thank you, may I ask what you are doing here?” It was hard not to notice the judgmental stares glared at me, one very heated one burning a whole straight through my scarlet dress.
He leaned in close for this one, always the perfect height to lean up right into my ear.
“For you, Collins.” I pushed him away with contempt, putting on a good show.
Growing up, we had secret codes for different body movements, it was something we could share that no one else would ever have.
The song gradually came to a close after a couple more minutes of swaying.
“Ah, the dance is over.” I said quietly, yet audibly, brushing his palm as I removed my hand from his.
He winked at me through the mask and disappeared into the throng of people, blending in because of his tall height.
I watched him with a hopeful feeling in my chest.
“Who the hell was that?” Luka asked snidely as he appeared behind my back, his breath brushing against the back of my ear.
Carter Tucker, my savior.
“No one,” I whimsically said.
Rage radiated from the Alpha’s pores, “You seemed familiar enough!” He was holding on by a hair.
I looked at him straight in his eyes, a rare commodity, “He was no one.”
His rage receded and a dream-like state replaced it as he helplessly stared in my eyes.
“It is time to announce you as my mate.”
“Wha-no!” I sputtered, my eyes growing wide as he loudly cleared his throat, causing a ripple effect of everyone to hush once again.
Luka proudly clutched my hand in his and raised them up, a broad smile covering his face, “Luna Mya Romano of The European Continent!” Was all he had to say before the crowd of people leapt into a loud, ferocious roar.
He ripped my mask off and the crowd descended into more of a frenzy, with hooting and shouting; it was barbaric.
They barked and howled their pride for their new leaders.
The music started up again, in tune with the anthem of the boisterous howls resounding throughout the room.
A celebratory dance followed the music, not a werewolf in sight wasn’t moving.
I was livid.
I will never be a Luna.
“Care to dance?” The Alpha asked once more, this time in a soft voice.
I laughed mockingly, ready to shake my head no when I spotted Carter, who was shaking his head yes causing me confusion, but I nonetheless obliged.
Stifling my hate, I took The Alpha’s hand in mine, glad it was covered by the white gloves, for the sparks would blow away the chance of this actually happening.
“Did I tell you how lovely you look tonight?” He airily asked as he led me into a formal dance, the dance-floor immediately clearing for us.
“On multiple occasions-” I gasped as he spun me expertly, leading me right into his solid chest.
I was so tall that feeling tiny against someone was rare, yet he made me feel like an imp as I came to his chest.
His hand smoothed over my shiny black hair, “You cut it.” He didn’t seem disappointed, it was just an observation.
“G-Gwen did,” why the hell was I stuttering?
What is going on with me?!
“It looks nice, you always look nice.” I felt a blush flare to my cheeks at his compliment, I don’t blush.
Before I knew it, the upbeat music we were dancing to slowed and he clutched me closer to him.
I glanced at the people around the room, staring at us in awe and adoration.
We were their leaders.
But, I’m no leader. Especially not of those mongrels.
I glanced back over to The Alpha who seemed content being close to me.
The atmosphere was getting to me, I’m uncomfortable and unbearably hot.
“I don’t feel good,” I whispered, my voice the opposite of the hate-filled tone I wanted to come out.
His concerned eyes checked me over, and my eyes crossed as a woozy feeling washed over me.
“My-a?” His voice sounded far away and it felt as if foreign hands were touching me.
I rapidly blinked my eyes open, it was as if my mind were coherent, but my body wasn’t.
What I heard next chilled me to the bone; the sound of a chandelier dropping to the marble floor, and then a symphony of screams.
The lights turned out and movement was detected to Luka and I’s right out of my peripheral, though I was too drowsy to make it out.
“I got you, mio amore.” He tried to whisper soothingly in my ear, but nothing could soothe my frayed nerves.
Luka had my body hoisted up against him, more and more of it loosing feeling.
‘What the hell is happening to me?’ I thought in unadulterated fear.
And then it clicked, the champagne I drank.
Could Carter have done this?
The thought caused my mind to soar with thoughts, a blinding headache vibrating.
I was dropped so suddenly that my head collided to the floor and starlight burst beneath my eyelids.
Painful groans left my mouth as I tried to grip my pounding head, but couldn’t move my arms.
Snarling and the tearing of fabric were the only sounds I could decipher, no one was touching me as I lay in the dark.
So, this is what it feels like to be on the brink of death.
I could feel the blood leaving my head in rapid speed, matting my hair to my scalp.
A tired sigh escaped me as I closed my eyes.
“Mya baby, stay alive.” I was jostled awake by a sweet woman’s voice.
“C’mon sweetheart, you’re strong, fight."
But, I was so tired.
“MYA!” I heard Luka roar from across the room, how’d he get so far away?
Someone was propping my head up on their lap with rapid speed, prying my mouth open and dropping liquid down my throat from a vial.
“Sleep princess, you will live.”
I desperately tried to stay awake, but whatever the vial contained, caused my sleep-induced state to become even fuzzier.
“Lu-Luka.” I whispered before passing out.