I felt like this should be my happily ever after, but it wasn’t. I could go into lengths and argue that my life from here on out was easy as pie, but it wasn’t. There were nights I still woke up in a sweat, not knowing what had happened. There were days where I would fall back into a state of silence. Learning to be a person was not an easy obstacle to get over. I needed to confront my demons one by one. I needed to relearn what was important.
In all honesty, this was my beginning. Before Sage, it was just me. My world was in a constant plane. There was no beginning. There was no middle. There was no end.
Since meeting her, I felt more alive than I had ever been.
Standing in front of everyone, I could feel my anxiety threatening to spill, but I held it back.
She was worth it.
She was worth everything.
I held the air in my chest and kept my eyes toward the front entrance of Alpha Hunter and Katya’s home. Any minute now, Sage would walk through those doors. Seconds ticked by. Excited voices of seated pack members in the air.
Soft piano music whispered in the background and it was as if the animals and creatures of the nights were celebrating with us. They sang their songs melodiously with the piano, the moon shining brightly above us. Guiding us. Watching over us on this beautiful night. Everywhere I looked was covered in fairy lights and torches.
Resisting the urge to stuff my hands into the pocket of my trousers, instead, I settled for busying my fingers by adjusting the lapel of my suit and tugged at my tie. If I could, I would run my hands through my hair but Katya would probably scold me endlessly. So instead, I rubbed at my shaved chin. Apart from the new look my chin had, my hair was cut and trimmed for tonight.
Suddenly, the piano stopped playing just as the front door opened. Little girl pups stepped out first, dressed in lovely white dresses. In their hands were glass bottles of fireflies. The first little pup released her fireflies into the night air and we watched as they fluttered and lit up the night. Subsequently, the second and third female pups did the same. Their ages ranged from little to at least a juvenile age.
Increased volume of excited voices averted my eyes from the small pups back to the door. Sage stepped out from the door with her arms wrapped around Gamma Judah.
Instantly, the breath I held in my lungs evaporated. She was stunning. Her typical unkempt hair now neatly curled and tied back with a large starry hairpin. The dress she had chosen was a starry night wedding dress, almost see-through if not for the protective layers underneath the large layers of tulle. A sweetheart neckline was embroidered with 3D flower beadings, sequins, and lace, drawing my eyes up her body.
Her lively olive eyes found mine and I was certain I had never seen anything more beautiful than the woman before me.
Any anxieties and worries from earlier disappeared along with the air in my lungs. I had forgotten how to breathe. Drifting towards me like an angel gliding in the clouds, it was precious. An unforgettable moment for me.
Stopping before me, Gamma Judah gave me her hand and the moment I felt her fingers in mine, I knew everything was going to be okay. The familiar sparks reminded me that everything was real. She was real.
She leaned close to me and I could smell her sweet scent wrapped around me. I felt her cheek brushed against mine.
“Breathe, Liam,” she said cheekily.
My face broke into a smile. When she pulled back, she was also smiling.
“How do I look?” she asked, looking down her gown and then back at me.
“Ravishing and beautiful,” I replied.
Her smile grew before we returned our attention to the mating ceremony again. The formalities of the mating ritual were explained through an elder of the pack talking about trust, loyalty, binding, and love.
Before we all knew it, the ceremony ended with both of us saying ‘I do’ and exchanging mating marks.
Relief filled me when I was able to pull my mate into my arms and kiss her. It was passionate as I embraced her openly in front of the pack. Her lips melted against mine as I held her against my body and made sure she felt how turned on I was right now. She was irreversibly mine. Forever.
Cheers echoed loudly around us but it fell on deaf ears because she was the only thing that revolved around me. One hand cradling her jaw, I meshed my lips with hers and claimed her every breath. Sage’s breath hitched and I felt her hands slide up and around my neck.
Kissing her was a high and I’ll never get enough.
Pulling back, her eyes were glassy with passion and desire and her lips were swollen and thoroughly kissed. Satisfaction filled me as I turned us both to look at the pack members and the cheers grew louder.
My eyes found my sister in the crowd. Shrouded in a soft pink dress, her hair was cut short to her shoulders. Katya smiled at me and clapped furiously while Alpha Hunter nodded his head while smiling when I looked at him. Then I ran my eyes through the rest of the crowd, past the Beta couples, to Sage’s parents, and her friends. They all were smiling with joy. They were family. They protected me.
This was love.
I felt Sage’s arms wrap around my waist. Standing on her tiptoes, she kissed my jaw, while her other hand rubbed my chin gently.
“I miss your beard,” she said with a soft chuckle.
“Should I grow it back?” I grinned.
“You should, but you look handsome like this too,” she added.
I leaned in and pressed my lips firmly on her forehead before sweeping her up into my arms and carried her down the steps. Immediately, her arms wrapped around my shoulders. It was time to take her away and worship her like the way she deserved.
Once we walked to the clearing, I placed her feet back onto the ground. Nodding my head towards the edge of the woods, I looked her way.
“Run, Kitten,” I whispered and stepped behind her. Grabbing her waist, I pulled her backside to my front so she knew how much I wanted her. Leaning towards her ear, I growled my promise.
"When I catch you, I won’t ever let you go. I’m going to thoroughly make love to you into the early morning.”
She shivered before pulling away. I let her go because I knew, without a doubt, that I would find her and I’d make her mine.
My eyes never left her as she kicked off her heels. Her laughter filled the air just as she removed her hairpin and threw it on the ground. Slowly, I watched her run towards the edge of the woods until she disappeared.
I’d give her an hour and then I’d find her. It wouldn’t be hard. She was the most beautiful creature out tonight. Spotting her was like spotting the moon in the sky.
After thirty minutes, I began my search. Catching her scent immediately, I could immediately visualize the way she went. I could see shadows of her everywhere. She was smart to try and throw me off but I knew which direction she went.
Instantly, I avoided her traps and headed that way. Running through vast planes and heavily wooded areas until I climbed a mountain and found her scent drop off at a cave entrance.
I knew this place. Memories flashed across my mind. She chased me here.
Slowly, I walked towards the cave entrance. Unbuttoning my jacket, I tossed it onto the ground before entering the cave. Once inside, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and her scent immediately invaded my senses. She was definitely in here.
I started removing my black tie just as I caught sight of pearls sparkling under the moon. I looked to my left and found her standing there barefoot. Her dress half stripped off. She held it up with one hand on her chest. Her hair falling around her like a wild woman.
The run did her some good. Her eyes were bright and her smile was wide with exhilaration.
My tie loosened and I pulled it off from around my neck. She arched an eyebrow just as I began unbuttoning my shirt.
“You found me,” she said in a ragged whisper. She was clearly still out of breath which meant she knew I would catch up quickly.
“You wanted me to,” I replied with a smirk and walked in her direction.
My beautiful mate dropped her dress as soon as I made it to her side.
That night, I did as I promised her.
I loved her all night long.
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