SHOUTOUT TO THE GHOST READERS WHO DON’T VOTE I SEE U, BOOGIE MAN HAS BEEN CONTACTED.
“You know what it takes to make a star shine? A shit load of fucking darkness.”
You could hear a pin drop in the deathly silence that filled the room. No one dared move an inch after the words left the foolish Alpha’s lips, the only movement was my hand clasping over Romans quicker than a flash of lightning. His steely gaze fixated solely on the man opposite him with a deadly glint, there is no telling what the territorial brute will do, no giveaway that I can decipher. Please, I beg mentally, over and over and over as if relaying it enough will make the transmission send into Roman’s thick skull. I stared at Roman with assiduity as he and the other Alpha stared each other down.
From the way the other Alphas sit on edge, I can discern that this kind of comment about a wolfs mate doesn’t usually blow over well. There is no telling what Roman will do but something tells me that Alpha Nicholas’ head rolling on the hardwood floor is plausible and as far as diplomacy goes, that doesn’t seem like a great start to international relations.
“If it is a challenge you are after Alpha, then say no more, it’d take me seconds to rip that ugly little head clean off your shoulders. Speak that way about my mate again and I’ll have no reservations to taking your life and your title.” A shudder travelled down my spine at the veracity of his words.
“Is that a threat?” Alpha Nicholas presses with an arched brow.
“Its a promise. If you so much as look in my mates direction the wrong way I’ll rip you apart one limb at a time.” To my complete astonishment, the South American backs down, averting his gaze from Roman whose hand manoeuvres to rest onto of mine in a firm hold.
“I think we should conclude the meeting for today,” the Luna of Africa suggests boldly, an action that I couldn’t muster the guts to do but someone needs to dissipate the tension in this room. My human instincts are screaming at me to retreat closer to Roman, the only one of the lethal beasts in this room they trust.
“I agree. Spend the night further reviewing the information I have given you and we will resume where we left off tomorrow once you have all had the chance to confide in your associates. Matters outside of the human topic can be raised once we have reached an agreement,” Roman confirms and the Alphas begin to pack up their belongings, the room erupting into quiet chatter as people move from the room.
A few mummer things too Roman or give me a nod of approval, an action I don’t brush over, and within minutes they have flanked from the room. The second they are gone Roman turns to me and his hard eyes soften at the dejected look I must be giving him.
“That didn’t go so well, did it?” I ask and he places the folder in his hands onto the table to give me his undivided attention.
“It went better than I expected honestly. That bastard Nicholas may prove to be a problem after all but if he gets in the way we’ll deal with him,” he spits out, his lip raising into a snarl at memory of the man whose words affected Roman much more than they affected me.
“He’s just trying to get under your skin, Roman, I’ve been called far worse and survived,” I tell him and his blue eyes snap towards me. It’s true though, stupid human whore is hardly a massive dent to my self esteem, I’d like to think I’m a little stronger than that.
“He went after you, Maeve, directly insulting the Luna of a pack holds more meaning than you might think. Regardless, the spineless pup won’t yield on this is, that much has become apparent and if we are going to change the world for the better he will be an issue.” I nod my head and bite my lip in thought.
The suffering of humans in South America isn’t a new concept and the fact that things have only become worse for the people appalls me. I’d wager good money on saying that the human oppressors have had no problem shifting their allegiances to Alpha Nicholas, leaving the same class to fend for themselves yet again.
“I suppose it was uncalled for, at least we won’t have to deal with him until tomorrow,” I comment lightly.
“That’s if he doesn’t attend dinner tonight.” I slowly retract my hand from underneath his and naturally recoil into the hardwood back of my chair.
“Dinner?” I pry with a gulp and the wall between us builds itself up brick by brick, each second of hesitation plastering another layer of concrete down.
“Yes, our guests have been dining in the main hall and we really should be attending for breakfast as well but for now dinner will suffice. It wont last long, there will just be some entertainment and food then we can leave, nothing as major your ceremony celebration, or what it would’ve been,” he mumbles and I feel a headache threaten to pulse through my skull. I already have so much on my plate as it is and between saving humanity
figuring out how the hell I am going to escape I don’t exactly have time to keep up appearances.
“Frolicking around, as fun as it sounds, isn’t really a priority for me at the minute. Besides, if today is any indication as to how your wolf friends feel about me, I’m sure they won’t miss my absence,” I snap, annoyance bubbling up deep in my chest.
He shoots me a firm look, “I also have many things I’d rather be doing tonight but we can’t not show up to our own function. Things like this may seem unimportant to you but if we are going to implement change then we need to win over our guests and leaving them at dinner sends a very clear message,” he comments and I mentally yield. As infuriating as it is he may have a point, I may not be the best at making friends but at least standing by Roman as he does it could be influential.
Roman stands up from the desk and pushes his chair back into its original position. “I have to continue with my work and so do you, it would be helpful if we both did it in our office but I understand if you want to take your readings back to our quarters,” he says and I feel a pull tug at my chest, a need to rid him of his pain.
“What difference would it make to you?”
“It would help me in many ways. Considering we no longer sleep in the same quarters spending as much time as I can near you during the day calms me,” he states in his same business voice, no hints of desperation coating his words. None that I can decipher anyway.
“If it’s that imperative then fine,” I answer before even considering the weight of my words but once they have been uttered into the universe an invisible pressure lifts from my shoulders. Though I’d never admit it out loud, part of me wants to stay near him for the same reason he wants to stay near me.
“Good, we have a few hours to work and then we’ll have to go and prepare ourselves for tonight,” he begins moving through the wooden doors that lead into our- his- office and I follow suit. “Your Beta females are at your disposal as well I should mention. They seem willing enough to indulge in pack politics but I personally think it’d be better for them to concern themselves with your former duties as Luna of the pack. My inferiors work on a different system so organising the women may take some time and adjustments but they are at your disposal,” he informs me and I place my notes down onto the desk adjacent to his before sitting.
“Does this include the Gamma females?” I question, my mind thinking to Avery instantly.
“Yes, although again it may take time for some of them to adjust to their new roles. Plus many of the males may not be as inclined to accepting the change if their mates are pregnant or caring for a family. It’ll take time to put things into full swing but I have no doubt you can accomplish it.” He opens up his laptop and begins to type and my eyes flick to a folder that lays sprawled open on his desk, a small picture of Wren clipped to the top right.
Seeing her face makes my breath hitch instantly and I try to shove down the memories of that night but they only return with a blazing fury. When Romans gaze flicks to me- as it does from time to time in his not so sublet attempt to assure himself I’m still there- he closes the folder with a harsh snap.
“We need to talk about that,” I say firmly and he ignores me for a second, the cogs in his mind turning.
“No, we don’t,” he responds and the certainty he speaks with sends my stomach churning.
“Yes, we do,”
“Maeve if you think I am going to give you any access in regards to the rebels than you are extremely naive. Your impulsive actions haven’t been forgotten and until I can trust you enough to know you won’t leave me again this part of our ruling will be dealt with by me and only me,” he snaps, the raw honestly in his words showing just how not over it he really is. I didn’t expect him to be, not after everything. Trusting me would be a stupid mistake on his behalf but its a mistake I rely on him making in order to gain my freedom.
“You can’t just do that!” I burst out but his expression doesn’t falter.
“Yes I can.” Three words, three words that hold so much truth and so much power.
“What’s the point of trying to be better if you are just going to throw it all away now? This isn’t how you earn somebodies love.”
“I’m not trying to earn your love, I agree with the points you have put forth as a leader and as Alpha I am going to do what I see fit for my nation. That little stunt you pulled would’ve resulted in the deaths of so many innocents not to mention anarchy, I won’t be letting it happen again and I most definitely won’t let it go by unanswered.”
“Is this my punishment then? Being left to wonder relentlessly what is going to happen to the people who only wanted to give me my freedom?”
“Your punishment will be finding out.”
When it became overly obvious that Roman wouldn’t yield to tell me what he meant I stormed from the office, not before letting out a string of colourful curse words and a few tears of anger. My profanities did nothing to provoke him, in fact I think he enjoyed seeing me get more and more worked up as he withheld information from me. Okay, maybe that’s a lie, his face fell in crestfallen glimmers periodically but like me, he is stubborn as hell.
He is mad, enraged even over my attempt to leave him and the fact that I got so close to undermining him. But he is also torn. After calming down enough to stop myself from storming up into his room and ripping it to shreds I came to that conclusion.
I don’t think that I deserve punishment but to him, I nearly crippled an entire system, a system so may relied on him to uphold. And punishment as a whole to him seems to be some kind of warning. He tried to be different from his father and instead of lashing me he tried loosening his grip more and more, thinking it’d make me accept him when in fact it only gave me the opportunity to flee. So now he’s back to his good old ways.
I think he believes that whatever I see will scare me enough to not think about crossing him again and I don’t think he cares whether it will drive a wedge between us forever as long as its purpose is served. Which is a major problem.
A problem that I have to solve before he decides to go through with whatever he has planned. Tonight provides perhaps the perfect opportunity to do so, if I can make Roman think that his mere threat of punishment has rattled me enough then maybe he’ll decide not to go too harsh on me. Because if I am being honest he has, he has rattled me to the point where I will say or do anything to protect those rebels, to protect Teo.
Which is why I went back into Romans room. It took everything I had to not burst into an explosion of tears, a tightness spreading through me, one that I had never felt before. But I pushed through it, I pushed through and walked into the bathroom, using the amenities that I had been forced to on multiple occasions. I washed away my pride and lathered as much resignation as I could get from a bottle of expensive female shampoo, left untouched just for me as if it had been waiting for this exact moment. I wiped away any unshed tears and stormed into the closet, picking out an evening dress, not sparing one glance at the closets containing jeans and jumpers.
Instead I put on a deep blue dress that hugged my bodice tightly, flowing over my legs like the waves of the deep blue sea. I strapped my feet into black heels and adorned my neck with a simple silver necklace with a blue jewel from the cabinet in the centre of the room, fastening the chain with a shudder. The tear drop earring that matched my necklace hang closely to my ears and my hair rested over my shoulders, brushed neatly, not a strand out of order.
Once I was satisfied with how I looked, I sat waiting in my old armchair, fitting into it like the mould I created never left. When the door opened and Romans imposing form walked in I didn’t miss the flash of sadness that covered over his face but also the relief.
“Are you ready to go?” I choke out, standing from the couch as my hands smooth over the soft fabric of my dress. He looks down at his attire as if checking he isn’t clad in only pyjamas before staring back at me.
“Yes,” he answers and I nod, moving forward without a complaint, without a snappy remark or a sidewards glare. The second I pass by him at the door his hand lifts out slightly and I halt in my step, abiding by his silent instruction robotically to look up at him waiting for his next request. “Maeve,” he begins, a softness overtaking his face.
“Yes, Roman?” I respond monotonously gulping down thickly.
He shakes his head. “Never mind,” his hand snakes its way around my waist and he leads me into the corridor, neither of us speaking a word else to each other until we reach the grand hall that has been transformed to seat a loud group of wolves. My body is pulled closer into Romans side as we step into the room and my eyes instantly transfix on Noah who sits rigidly next to his mate, her hand moving over a slight swell. He looks between Roman and I with a disdainful glare and I don’t blame him. His stupor is quickly broken by a carrot stick flying into his face followed by a laughing Keira whose giggles cut short with a snap as her head jerks to her mate next to her. Roman tugs lightly on my arm and we move through the centre of the room towards our table which is occupied by many of the Superiors already.
“Maeve!” My head turns towards the source of my name and I am met with an exited Astrid who leans into her mates body with a large grin. I give her a forced smile back, stretching my lips out as authentically as I can. Roman stops in front of his Beta and naturally, so do I.
“How are you?” I ask, my voice absent of any malice I may feel.
“We’re great actually! We both had some really important news we’d like to share with you,” she says excitedly and I notice the way Jayce doesn’t interject and instead holds her tighter looking onto her with beaming pride as if she is mother Mary herself.
She doesn’t wait for my response and her beady eyes flick to Jayce’s before her grin becomes larger. “We’re pregnant,” she beams and I feel my heart begin to thunder in my ribcage.
“Congratulations,” Roman untangles himself from me and clasps hands with his Beta before they embrace in a bro hug. I don’t miss the pure happiness that seeps from his face at the news and it doesn’t nothing to settle my nerves.
He attaches himself back to my hip and looks down at me lovingly to which I smile. “Isn’t this great?” I gulp before turning back to our Betas and say the one thing I know will impress him the most.
“You are both so blessed.”
Astrid reaches out and gives me a tight embrace and we say our goodbyes with a smile before turning and walking up to our table. Pregnant. A word that I want as far from Roman’s ears as humanly possible. In fact, if I could erase the word from the world right now I would, I’d do anything to get the idea out of his head.
We take our seats side by side and I lift up my fork when the food arrives, eating every last drop from the porcelain plate despite my stomach being repulsed at the idea of eating. It’s worth it, it has to be worth it because if he doesn’t trust me, if I don’t act like I should then people who don’t deserve to die are going to die and I can’t have that on me. I won’t.
“You look magnificent Luna Maeve.” I turn my head to follow the British accent, my eyes landing straight on the European Luna whose name I have forgotten and face I wish I had.
She is dressed in an off green gown that quite frankly could pass as the colour of an ill dogs shit and I want to bark that back in her face, to ignore her comment and tell her to shut the fuck up and never speak to me again.
“Thank you, so do you,” I respond curtly, but not rudely, trying to hint that I am not in the mood for a conversati-
“We missed you today at our high tea, such a shame. Us Luna’s that attended did have a splendid time, you really outdid yourself with the planning,” Cameron and Astrid outdid themselves with the planning you stupid dainty fool, I wouldn’t waste a moment of my time fussing over what cakes you’d like to look at the best.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I say with a smile and she smiles back.
“You will be joining us tomorrow though won’t you?” The Australian Luna pipes in and I turn my attention to her, still taken aback by her sheer beauty. By all of their beauty, I stick out like a sore thumb amongst these people.
“No, I won’t be. You are all more than welcome to come along to our meetings however, the invitation doesn’t just extend to your mates.” I mentally curse myself after the words exit my mouth, stilling beside Roman who doesn’t turn to send me a look or reach his palm out to warn me.
The women don’t respond to my comment and instead fall into their one conversations as if the words I had just spoken held no weight to them. At least their attention is on bothering someone else, even if they are subconsciously ignoring the patriarchy in their own systems.
“Worth a shot,” Roman mumbles next to me and my heart stops again. He’s being jovial, joking and I don’t have a witty comeback to throw in his face-well that’s a lie, I have many I just refuse to say them.
Instead, I give him a small smile and occupy myself with staring across the room as the wolves around me break into different conversations. My eyes land on Keira who sits next to Harpers mate, making silly faces to Harper behind his back earning a sly grin from her. Her thumbs stick onto her temple and her fingers outstretch as she wiggles them in the air, her tongue jutting out and her eyes crossed.
Harpers mate turns around swiftly, catching her in the act with a snarl, shooting daggers with his gaze. She holds her hands up in surrender, claiming innocence to which he begins rebutting like they are small children. He finally turns back around to his mate, crooning over her once more, his hands roaming as they see fit. I don’t know whether I am holding back a laugh or a sob as Keira picks up a napkin she has folded into a small creature and places it so lightly onto his head that it distracts Harper from her pain and leaves the bulking brute sat looking like a moron.
“Where are you going?” Roman asks me as I turn down the hall to his room, halting me in my step to turn around and face him.
“To bed,” I respond with a slight sigh.
“I thought you might like to come and watch a movie with me. Its not too late and there is a new one premiering soon about human mates but we have early access,” he suggests softly and I gulp down my remark, taking a step closer to him.
“Yeah, okay sure that sounds, that sounds great,” I lie and his face turns stony once more.
“Don’t do this Mae,” he says softly and I scrunch my brows.
“This,” he gestures to my body with his hands in frustration. “The dress, the attitude- I mean come on Maeve, you’re going to let me make a suggestion about watching a human mate movie without a single protest?” He questions and I grow mildly angry. So he was testing me then, go figure.
“If it’s what you want,” I respond truthfully and he purses his lips.
“It’s not what I want. I want you to stop doing... whatever it is that your doing. What happened to the girl who stormed out of my office after calling me a conceited prick with a stick shoved so far up my arse-” he stops himself short as if the memory hurts him to repeat and I let out a scoff, my facade lasting less than a few hours.
“You wanted to scare me and it worked Roman, okay? It worked. I’m scared, I’m terrified and the thought of even stepping foot outside this damn castle fills me with so much dread it hurts. If it takes giving up who I am to stop you from hurting those people then I’ll change, I’ll change into whoever you want,” I admit, tears rolling down my cheeks as the sincerity of my words seep in.
His face falls and I see the pain that he stares at me with, the sheer anguish. “That’s not what I was trying to do, I’m not my father Mae, I shouldn’t have said what I did,”
“What else could you have been trying to do? You said that it’d be my punishment,” I respond and he looks at me like I’ve just stabbed him in the chest.
“I know, I know I said that and I’m sorry, I was angry. Every time I think about what you did it just makes me so scared, so infuriated and I lashed out because of it. Those rebels will face what they will face regardless of you, your behaviour won’t impact their fates because it wasn’t your fault they decided to do what they did. I only said that because I know that you will hate me for it anyway and I thought-” he stops himself short and I wipe away the tears in my eyes.
“Please don’t hurt them, Roman. I’ll take your punishment I don’t care I just want them to be safe, give them a warning or a second chance and I’m sure they won’t make the mistake again,” I plead and he stares at me through conflicted eyes.
“Maeve I can’t do that,”
“You can’t or you won’t?” I dispute and his face hardens.
“I can’t and if I were given the choice I probably wouldn’t. They broke pack law, they went against their sacred bond and knowingly put your life in jeopardy not to mention mine. I know you think that they had your best intentions at heart but they didn’t, all they care about is seeing me and every other wolf die a miserable death.”
“That’s not true,” I argue and he gives me a sad look.
“They’d be no better at ruling, humans- especially hunters- never have been. Those who wish to overthrow me will oppress their fellow humans once their purpose has been served just like they always do. They’ll fight and squander over money and land with their best intentions at heart and nobody will bother to think about who suffers because of it,” he argues and I stand in eerie silence.
“The moderated conditions of humans living under my rule are still ten times better than that of what millions more used to before I took over. If you hate me because of everything I’ve done then you hate them too.”
My knee hurts. Oh? Not the most pressing issue after another cliff hanger? sorry not sorry. I nearly got struck by lightning the other day and to those who may not believe me someone from my town ACTUALLY did like wth. No kid, a tree like three steps (maybe more it was a hectic moment to recollect) away from me got hit and burst into flames (well sparked and then started burning but you get the point)
so yeah, if one day the updates stop and I disappear then you can presume I was struck down by lightning.
Thoughts on the chapter?
What do you think about what Roman has to say about our current society? (not an essay question lol just curious)
Love ya loads,
PS: Im not evil and if you want to reach out then do it