Fever Claim

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Nine

Rose

So, I'm just going come right out and say it. I don't have dresses. The only thing I have closely related to even a dress is the old school dress that I wore on a field trip to the little red school house and that wasn't going to finish the job for me.

After sitting through a session of Watching Judah Eat, I have wonderfully discovered by the chatters in the lobby that there was going to be a ball tonight.

Thank you, Alpha Ezra, for sending out the memos.

Panic is setting in while I rummage through my luggage. How on earth am I going to be able to go to this thing without a dress? Settling back on my knees, I thought about excuses. Maybe, I can tell them I am sick. That excuse would have done the trick if I wasn't a freaking werewolf.

Please if any spiritual, immortal, legendary being can hear me, please save me.

What happened to Cinderella and her fairy god mother, God knows, I need one right now.

Huffing, I continued to rummage through my luggage until my fingers slid across something plastic. Stopping, I threw the rest of the clothes out of my luggage to reveal my mother's dress and a note from her.

She knew before I did and had packed this for me. She hopes I like it because she wore it when she came here back in the day.

I sat the note back down and picked up the dress. Standing up, I walked over my strewn clothes to the bathroom mirror. Tears stinging my eyes, threatening to spill just at how beautiful it looked.

I knew I didn't have much time. The ball is supposed to start at six in the evening. Everyone is required to attend. Judah is in the Alpha's wing with his friends getting ready.

I'm here alone.

Stripping out of my clothes, I slipped on my mother's dress. Although simple, the baby blue tulle skirt fell beautifully down to the floor. The daringly low neckline gave it a modern look. It revealed a lot of my shoulder and a little of my chest area but hid all the important parts. The top of the dress had a white lace design with three-quarter sleeve. Soft little baby blue flowers covered the lace top.

I swallowed the lump in my throat when I realized she had the time to get this made and fitted to fit me and I didn't even know anything. I knew this because my mother is at least one inch taller than me.

"Don't cry," I whispered, fanning my face.

I glanced in the plastic bag and saw she had also gave me heels, a baby blue flower crown, a silver heart necklace and matching earrings, and some of her makeup supplies because God knows I don't like putting on makeup.

As best as I could, I fixed my hair so that I would at least look presentable with pinning my hair up. The hard part was putting on the makeup, I kept poking myself in the eyes with the eyeliner and let's not even start with the mascara. It's designed to blind me.

Eventually, I was able to put on the makeup without any mistakes. Glancing at the clock on the nightstand, I saw that it was 5:47. Thirteen minutes to rush downstairs and enter without getting yelled at.

Grabbing onto my tulle skirt to not trip or tear my mother's dress, I ran out of the room, down the elevator, and rushed to the grand ballroom which was down the hall and past a few conference rooms.

Soft jazz music can be heard as I near the gold double doors. Right now, I almost feel like I'm in fairytale except I have no prince and I am alone.

I risked a glance at the clock on the wall and saw that I had only one more minute till six. Before the doors lock and I get in trouble. I could run faster if it wasn't for these damn heels.

Growling, I made it to the door just in time. Giving it two knocks, the door opened, and I'm bombarded with chandelier lights, heavy perfume and cologne, jazz music, and people dressed in sparkly ball gowns and jewelry.

Breathing heavily, I nodded at the two guards at the door. They gave me a once over, their eyes widening when they took in my appearance.

"I know, I look horrifying," I said breathlessly, dropping my skirt.

"Actually, you don't," one of them said.

I turned to him and saw that he was around my age. He must be from another pack. A blush touched his cheek and his eyes softened when I met his eyes.

"What is your name?" he asked.

"Rosemary," Judah's voice sternly spoke before me, startling both me and the guy guarding the door.

I turned to look at him so fast that my muscle in my neck strained for a second. Wincing in pain, I gave him an uneasy smile. He was dressed in an all-black tux with a white undershirt and black bow tie. His hair was neatly slicked back. His eyes also did a scan over me. I fought back the shivers that threatened to run through my body underneath his intense gaze. When his eyes met mine, they were masked, and I couldn't tell if I looked horrible or nice from his expression.

"Sorry, it took me so long," I whispered before turning to look at the guy again, "My name is Rosemary."

"Rose..." The guy smiled.

"Let's go," Judah's hand wrapped around my wrist and I felt the warmth spread from his touch.

Surprised, I stumbled after him.

"Gamma Judah, wait," I pleaded, still uneasy with my heels.

He stopped and turned to face me suddenly and I almost rammed into his back. Several people stopped to stare at us. Their eyes scanning my attire and then him. Whispers. I hear whispers.

Are they mates?

Why is Gamma Judah holding her hand?

She's beautiful.

Who is she?

What are they?

Are they dating?

Does Gamma Judah have a girlfriend?

That dress is stunning on her.

Gamma Judah looks upset.

I looked at everybody before looking at him. Uneasiness sets in and I don't like it. I don't like standing in the middle of everybody. I don't like whispers.

"Can we go somewhere else?" I asked, turning to look at him, biting my lips nervously.

"I thought you told me to wait," he replied, unfazed.

I leaned forward, taking a step closer to him so that my lips will be closer to his wolf ears and his alone.

"I don't like the attention we are getting. Can we please go somewhere other than here?" I pleaded in a whisper.

I didn't realize how close we were until one of his arms moved to wrap around my waist, bringing me closer to his side. He pulled us away from the wandering eyes and whispers. Warmth spread all over my body and I noticed how perfectly I fit in Gamma Judah's arm.

We weaved through the heavy crowds until we emerged in front of Alpha Hunter and Beta Ace. Together with the three of them sort of shielded me away from everyone else and I was able to comfortably breathe better.

Giving a big sigh of relief, my uncomfortable face transformed into a relieved smile.

"Thank you. I feel so much better," I said.

Beta Ace smirked, and Alpha Hunter chuckled.

"You don't like crowds? Are you claustrophobic, Rose?" Alpha Hunter asked.

"It is not the crowds. It's the eyes. I don't like it when too many people look at me," I admitted.

"Yet you have three very powerful people standing before you and you don't look at all nervous," Beta Ace commented.

I frowned. He's right. I am not nervous about them.

"I guess, you guys are my pack members. So, I feel safe around you all."

"Us or Gamma Judah?" Alpha Hunter cocked an eyebrow at me.

"I-I-" I stammered. My eyes flew to Gamma Judah who looked at me again with those masked eyes.

"Of course, you all," I replied.

Alpha Hunter and Beta Ace chuckled in front of me before Alpha Hunter excused himself to attend the Alpha corner where all Alphas were at. Beta Ace looked around the room before his eyes landed back on me.

"How about a dance?" Beta Ace asked.

"Dance?" I replied.

He laughed, "Yes, you do know how to dance, right?"

"No," I shook my head.

Beta Ace's smile slipped and he huffed, "Ok then. That means I can't take you because I don't know how to dance too."

"But why did you ask-"

"Because I thought you can teach me," he interrupted.

I couldn't stop smiling along with him. We shared a laugh together. Beta Ace looked very handsome today too. He has dark midnight hair and tan color skin, a lip piercing to his lower lip. His eyes were dark shades of blue. Very dreamy.

"How about Judah? Can't you take her?" Beta Ace shot a look at Gamma Judah.

Gamma Judah's eyes widened and he looked my way. Instantly, I had a feeling he did not want to do it. I turned to Beta Ace and started to shake my head only to be surprised when Gamma Judah took hold of my wrist and dragged me to the dance floor.

I couldn't stop him in time. Before I knew it, we were standing in the middle of the dance floor and I felt exposed once again. Uneasiness sets in and my heart starts beating rapidly in my chest. I can't look up. Heat crawled up on my cheeks.

His fingers pinched my chin and he lifted my face up to look at him.

"Only look at me. It is just you and me," he whispered to me before I felt one arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me close to him.

The other hand moved to place my other hand on his shoulder and then the other in his hand. I gulped and inhaled deeply before exhaling. I fought back the shakiness in my limbs and looked into his eyes. They were soft.

They were soft like the day he chased after me when I ran away in a rage for the bet. Instantly, I'm drowning in them. My heart rate slowed down and all I could see was him. Everything around me disappeared. The people. The whispers. The music. It was just him and me.

Together, we twirled around the dance floor. My steps mirroring his exactly. He didn't need to tell me what to do and I'm surprised because I am following his command without a single direction from him.

I'm caught between what's reality and what's not but I didn't seem to care. My lips parted; feeling breathless underneath those warm olive eyes.

I don't know how long we danced for but he stopped dancing. We should pull apart but he made no move to pull away and I couldn't bring myself to pull away from him either. His arm still wrapped firmly around my waist. My hand still in his. Looking into his eyes, it felt like I'm laying down a warm bed of grass and the sun is shining down on me, warming my skin.

However, the spell broke the second someone shoved me into his chest. His arms wrapped around me instantly to steady us both. I turned to see who it was but saw no one. I pulled away from him. Took a large step back. Finally, I'm gaining back some ground in sanity.

"Thank you for the dance," I whispered before tearing away from him.

I'm terrified.

What I saw in his eyes—no, what I felt in his eyes, it terrified me. My heart is doing something unheard of and I can't allow it not with Gamma Judah.

I didn't wait to see if he followed me. I walked away from him and ran to the women's bathroom. I ran into the stall and closed the door before leaning against it and breathing heavily. My palm pressed against my heart. I can feel it thump against my chest in an erratic beat. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing.

He's not my mate. He's not my mate. He's not my mate.

I chanted those words in my head until I memorized them by heart.

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