Chapter Eight: The Moon Goddess Is All Around Us
Rosary Academy was abuzz with excitement. Preparations were being held for a huge soiree, and the students were just bursting with excitement. My Wolf looked on with maternal pride. She loved this pack and had already claimed it as her own.
I, however, was not bursting with excitement. The party they were throwing was in my honor.
I sighed as I trudged on to gym class with Alyssa by my side. Maybe it was just years of being known as 'Wolf Girl' making me feel this way, but I hated attention. I hated the feeling of everyone's eyes on me. The mere thought of it was revolting.
"It's every she-wolf's dream to have a soiree thrown in her honor, and you're complaining," Lyssa snorted out a laugh and shook her head. "You're one of a kind, Tanaya."
My life had gotten so weird and I had only been here for a week and two days. It was weird to be on the phone with my parents, pretending I wasn't a freak of nature. I didn't know how they would react to the fact that their daughter, not only turned into a giant wolf, but she was also destined to be with the leader of a pack of wolves that were even larger than she was.
I quickly came to the realization that I liked history class. Werewolf history was so much more interesting than the history I was used to. There was so much that happened--wars between Werewolves and Hunters, Werewolves and Vampires, and our uneasy alliances with Fae.
Learning of all this, I saw just how blind so many of Humans were. The folklore passed down from generation to generation was always passed off as fiction, but now I saw that those stories were true. Werewolves existed, Vampires existed. This entire time, I had been walking around in a world where otherworldly creatures existed, and I'd had no idea.
When Lyssa and I exited our last class of the day, Marc was standing there like always. This was his routine now. He would take me to my first class in the morning, go perform his Alpha duties, then he'd pick me up from my last class of the day.
This was the part of the day that I seriously dreaded.
Not because of Marc. No, my Wolf loved to see him. She was beside herself with joy whenever he was around, and I didn't particularly mind gazing at his handsomeness myself. But lately, we had started having dinner with Alpha Cortes, his Beta, his head warrior, and his personal maid--a meek looking woman with mousy brown hair and fearful brown eyes.
Marc clearly disliked this, but he'd told me it was a necessity.
"It's to keep peace between the packs," he'd said when I'd griped about it. "It's how Wolves show respect for one another. If we didn't attend, Cortes's Wolf would take that as a sign we thought him weak and unworthy. The last thing we need is both of our Packs going to war. The Moon Howlers may be the largest Pack in Europe, but the Blue Moon Pack is the largest in Brazil. By the time we were done fighting each-other, the casualties would be catastrophic."
The idea of all of these innocent people dying just because I didn't want to attend a dinner seemed ridiculous to me. Yet, for my Wolf, it made perfect since. She understood and was fawning over Marc's tactical abilities. He was not merely powerful, he was smart, too.
Dinner was awkward as always. Roxanne had stopped blatantly staring at Marc and I, staring down sullenly at her food, toying around with it. Lyssa just shoveled the food in her mouth, murmuring nonsense to me like she always did.
Alpha Cortes just...watched. His eyes were piercing as he gazed between Marc and I, his expression thoughtful.
My Wolf didn't like that. He looked like he was planning something, like he knew that something was coming. The need to protect Marc and her Pack was strong.
Marc's Wolf must have felt her distress, because he took my hand underneath the table. His fingernails were claws and his eyes were darker than normal.
"You know, Alpha Cortes," Roxanne said, speaking for the first time in days. I never actually heard her talk before. Her voice was light, feminine, the definition of soothing. "The Pack is having a celebration to welcome our new Luna." She spared a glance at me, challenge in her gaze. My Wolf's hackles rose, her teeth bared as she accepted the challenge. Roxanne immediately looked away and focused her attention on Alpha Cortes who looked back and forth between the two of us in amusement. "Why don't you come?"
The dread was almost too strong to bear, as I watched Alpha Cortes contemplate Roxanne's offer. The need to launch myself across the table and tear into her neck, wringing the graceful thing between my sharpened canines was both crippling and shocking. I was typically a very nonviolent person.
"You know, that sounds like a wonderful idea," he eventually murmured, stroking his chin and looking thoughtful. "It's been quite some time since I've attended a soiree to welcome a new Luna. I think I will attend. If that okay with you, of course, Alpha Allen."
The look that Alpha Cortes gave Marc was one of challenge. Marc held his eyes, not a shred of emotion on his handsome face, and said, "Attend or don't attend, Alpha Cortes. It's up to you."
Alpha Cortes, looking slightly pissed, just nodded his head.
He looked at me, then, and gave me a small smile. To everyone else, it probably seemed harmless, but I could feel the venom seeping beneath the surface. I was practically suffocating beneath the malice in his eyes as he said, "I have a feeling this soiree is going to be life changing."
The soiree was held that next night. I was kept from classes and showered with numerous glamorous dresses to choose from. There were no shoes, though. Whenever celebrations were held, it was customary to be barefoot. My bath was filled with roses and the floral scent clung to my skin pleasantly. My curly, unruly hair, hung down past my shoulders and a crown of lilac flowers was placed atop my head.
I wore a long, purple dress that was neither too looser nor too tight. It flowed like a purple waterfall, pooling around my ankles elegantly.
The women who'd dressed me--five She-Wolves who never even gave me their names--looked at me in awe, their eyes wide.
When I looked in the mirror, I will admit, I choked on the air I was breathing a little. My Wolf had been telling me that, as we grew into the role of the Luna more and more, we would become increasingly beautiful, and statuesque. She had proudly told me that Lunas were the most beautiful females of the Pack--in both human and Wolf form. But this was more than I had expected. The clearness and vibrancy of my brown skin, the shininess and volume of my hair, the curve of my lips and the buoyancy of my breasts. I was more beautiful now than I had ever been.
Wait until you see me, my Wolf said, howling triumphantly.
A smile played around my lips. My Wolf was a proud one.
It was strange how much I had grown fond of her in the last week. Maybe it was because she was always with me or maybe it was because she and I were one. Whatever it was, I found myself loving this other side of myself. She was fiercer and braver than me, with a deep need to protect both this Pack and her Mate. Never in a million years could I have ever foreseen growing close to the Wolf inside my head.
"Your celebration is starting, Luna," said one of the women. She had blue hair and a nose ring, and looked dangerous, yet she had been the sweetest of the five She-Wolves.
I nodded once and the five She-Wolves led me out of the extravagant room I had been in and down the hall.
As we walked, I thought about how much this seemed like a wedding. It was supposed to be a celebration welcoming me to their Pack, yet it felt an awful lot like a wedding ceremony to me.
My Wolf seemed amused by this, and merely howled. She knew something I didn't.
As soon as we stepped outside, I was surrounded by the entire Pack. It was overwhelming to say the least. There were more than a thousand eyes staring at me. I recognized a few as teachers and students from Rosary Academy, but I had never seen the rest before.
They all stared at me with awe, before they fell to one knee, turning their heads to the side and exposing their necks.
My back arched automatically and I felt warmth surround me. My Wolf purred, her fierceness immediately replaced by the actions of a docile housecat. There was only one person who could elicit this kind of response from the both of us.
I turned to look at him. His eyes were already on me, taking me in with an intensity that snatched my breath away from me.
"Tonight," Marc finally spoke, after tearing his eyes away from mine, "I, not only officially take my place as Alpha, but we welcome my Mate, your Luna."
Heads tilted toward the sky, howling up at the crescent moon. Whenever I looked at that moon, I swear I could see Selene. Her celestial face lit up with maternal pride as she watched Marc become Alpha and me, standing at his side as Luna.
Marc pulled me into him, burying his face into my neck.
"You're mine, Tanaya."
I enjoyed him saying that so much, it was unhealthy.
The celebration continued.
Wolves howled up at the moon. Some danced, others ran around in their Wolf forms, playfully tackling the pups and yipping in excitement. Marc sat on a splendid throne made of gold. I sat beside him on a throne made of gold and adorned with flowers. Each flower was beautiful and matched my dress perfectly.
Throughout the night, many Wolves came up to the both of us and paid their respects to us. All was well until an unsettling feeling shook my Wolf.
Alpha Cortes walked in, his stance was that of an Alpha: tall, strong and proud. The other Wolves didn't dare look in his direction. My Wolf was practically foaming at the mouth. He was a danger to this Pack and our Mate, she wanted to kill him. She worriedly scanned her eyes over all the pups who looked at Alpha Cortes wide-eyed.
"Alpha Allen. It's nice to see you're officially the Alpha of this Pack," Alpha Cortes murmured, standing right in front of us.
"Thank you, Alpha Cortes," Marc said, his eyes saying he didn't trust Cortes either.
"If you ever need anything from me or my Pack, please, feel free to ask."
His words seemed innocent enough to me, but my Wolf took offense. In her eyes, he was calling us weak. My claws and canines extended painfully as she fought her way to the surface, a growl ripping out of my throat. I could feel that Marc's Wolf didn't approve of what Alpha Cortes had said either.
"I doubt we'll need your help, Alpha Cortes," Marc said, his voice friendly although his eyes were black as his Wolf rose up to the challenge of the man who dared to disrespect his Pack. "The Moon Howlers Pack is strong enough to handle anything."
The Wolves of our Pack howled at the compliment from their Alpha. My head tilted toward the sky and my Wolf's howl ripped through my throat.
Alpha Cortes's eyes began to darken, but he nodded and smiled.
"Of course you are." He turned to look at me. "I must say, Tanaya, you make a fine Luna."
I just looked at him, my Wolf pacing back and forth in my head. Her dislike for this man and his Wolf was strong.
"You remind me a lot of the Moon Goddess herself, sitting on her throne in the Heavens. Though, I doubt even she could compare to your beauty. Though I wouldn't know, I've never seen the Goddess myself. What about you, Tanaya? Would you like to see the Moon Goddess."
My Wolf stopped pacing and snarled in my head.
He knows, she said. He's letting us know that he knows.
How the hell was I supposed to handle this situation? It wasn't exactly like there was a 'How-To-Avoid-Admitting-You-Talk-To-The-Moon-Goddess Guide.'
"Yes, I've seen the Moon Goddess," was my response.
The crowd murmured in surprise and Marc snapped his head in my direction. Alpha Cortes raised both of his eyebrows.
"I saw her tonight as I looked at the moon. I saw her pride in us, in this Pack. I see the Moon Goddess in everything I do, Alpha Cortes. Don't you?"
Alpha Cortes looked at me, trying to intimidate me, but I held his eyes with my own.
"Of course, you're right, Luna Tanaya," he said, smiling tightly. "You're right. The Moon Goddess is all around us."