DON'T FORGET TO VOTE :)
"You can't talk butterfly language with caterpillar people."
I ended up with a long black dress and a semi-friend to talk with for an hour that felt much longer than it was. Adhira was sweet, in fact it almost seemed impossible for her to do anything even slightly wrong and I admired it. She was intelligent too, a woman with a mind more complex than she portrayed to the world-a lethal brain hidden behind a malicious smile.
We talked about issues greater than which dresses looked the most appealing on me and it was interesting to find her opinion on humans to not be as full of hate as many of the wolves I’ve encountered thus far. Although no matter where conversation wandered, she always managed to pull the topic back onto mates. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel interrogated at times and I often wondered if her girly charm was part of an act to draw out truth surrounding my relationship to Roman. What the world thought of us… if the news segments and radio clippings had been any indication-most of the globe was convinced that we were a smitten couple, still enthralled with the emotions of the bond.
Perhaps it was like that for a reason. I wouldn’t put it past Roman to ensure that the worlds perception of us stayed as a peachy perfect couple even though the reality was much different. Still, when she asked about how in love we were I played the part of happy Luna as best I could, smiling and telling her all the answers she wanted to know. Its not that I personally care about what people think-I couldn’t care less if they knew of our true relationship, but its deeper than that. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to understand that for wolves, the stonier the relationship between an Alpha and Luna, the stronger the pack.
Which to some merit hasn’t exactly been proven as of yet but still, if keeping up appearances makes the pack seem stronger and in turn the proposals I put forth more legitimate then paint my lips red and call me Marilyn. So I talked about how much I enjoyed my mate moon and skilfully dodged the suggestions of sex with questions on shoes or jewellery and I managed to avoid the knowing stare of Sam as I did so.
If it wasn’t clear before how Sam felt about me then the little expedition today only clarified it. I don’t know whether he resents me for my lack of love to his Alpha or because of what happened that night. I do know, however, that manipulating him with whims of a sore ankle simply won’t work and he’s not stupid enough to take his eyes off me for a second. None of them are.
It sucks for me, royally, but I can’t say it’s surprising. When you fail as badly as I did with my pitiful attempt at an escape, you have to deal with the consequences.
“Tell them to double down on patrolling and send some men from the Eastern bases over to further the protection, it may be something small now but if its not contained it could become problematic… yes, I want all involved left to Elijah-unharmed. Good, I expect a report in my office tomorrow and have the Beta’s contact me for a conference on the issue alongside it.” Roman pulls the phone from his ear as he walks back from the balcony and I have so many questions but the only thing that my mind can think to ask is.
“I thought you could mind-link, why bother with a phone?” Those blue eyes pierce mine before roaming over my body, clad in a midnight blue gown, laced with golden embroidery at the neckline.
“Not over such long distances-well I probably could with some effort but receiving a response would be unlikely,” he explains gruffly, moving over to a dresser and fishing out a tie that matches the shade of my dress.
He slams the dresser shut and moves in front of the mirror, his body stiff. “What happened anyway?” I ask, pouting to the balcony.
He looks back to his reflection as he fastens the tie and I notice his clenched jaw. “A few minor issues in one of the packs, it’s nothing to be concerned over,” he says, his tone clipped.
“Just say it,” I announce and his hand stops on his tie, lingering for a moment before he rests both of them on the dresser, letting his muscles move with the action.
“Say what Maeve?” He responds sarcastically but I don’t budge.
“Whatever it is that’s making you act like a stubborn child just say it and get it over with,” I huff and he stands up from the dresser, his body even more imposing when sheathed by a mask of anger.
“Don’t pretend you care to listen to what I have to say. You never have and you know what? Thats completely fine, if you want to live under some deluded cloud of reality then go ahead Maeve but I’m not going to pretend that I’m okay with it. It is insanely hypocritical of you to call me childish when you stomp your foot at every struggle life throws at you,” he says, his words tight and he moves past me, picking out some cuffs from a draw and putting them on. Edward Scissorhands couldn’t cut the tension that hanging in the room.
“I’m not living under a deluded cloud,” I state defensively and he pauses for a moment before resuming getting ready.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” he mumbles and I furrow my brows.
“I’m not.” I reaffirm and he turns around at this, pure annoyance covering his features.
“If you can honestly tell me you don’t still believe that you’ll escape this bond that traps us both together then my mistake,” Any retort I have gets lodged in my throat and I gulp watching as his snarl depends and he turns back around and mummers, “Didn’t think so.”
“Theres nothing wrong with having a little hope,” I state and I flinch as he slams the dresser shut, his rage rolling off him in tidal waves.
He turns to me, his face pursed in anger. “Don’t say things like that to me, Maeve, if you want to think them then go ahead but don’t say it to me. My tolerance with your disrespect is running extremely thin, we aren’t fully mated and I am still an Alpha, your Alpha. If I wanted to I could force you to stay by my side and stop tormenting me with words of your hate but I don’t because I believe you should have choice in a world that takes so much of it.”
I take an unknowing step back, “Force me?” I mummer and his eyes harden at my fear, the small movement triggering him even more.
“Its called an Alpha command, I won’t bore you with the magic because I’m sure you know of the term by now. I am simply giving you a heads up. When you say things like that, poke at our connection and belittle the bond so sacred to my kind it not only hurts me, it angers me. I can respect your opinion on the matter, I truly see why it upsets you but you need to do the same for me.”
I go rigid. Alpha command, “I-I don’t believe you.” But I do, I’ve seen others, wolves who rejected the request of their Alpha in the town square only to be pulled in line with a second command, one full of more force.
“Go sit down on the bed,” he commands and the colour drains from my face as his words ricochet inside my very bones.
My body urges to move but I refrain, holding my grounding despite the ever increasing drive my body has to comply. “Don’t,” I warn, narrowing my eyes and all it takes is a direct stare and my body is moving, moving towards the bed where I sit.
The second I feel his power lift I shoot from the bed and twist to face him, anger masking my emotions. “What the hell?” I spit at him and he shrugs.
“You wanted to know and now you do. If you want a shred of respect from me Maeve then give some in return because as awful as you think I am you have no idea just how bad it could really be,” he explains and I go rigid.
“So you have power over me, no matter what?” I bite back the sadness that threatens to lace my words, “No matter how equal you claim us to be, you’ll always have control?” I push and his eyes darken.
“Not no matter what,” he replies, finishing fidgeting with his second cuff. “If you accept the bond, accept me and let nature run its course then my ability to use Alpha command on you will cease to exist. It is harder to enforce you to comply but not impossible, not until we are one.”
“So I don’t even get a choice in whether I am your subordinate?” I question and he narrows his eyes.
“If you want to fuck me and take the power you’ll get from it then by all means Maeve, use me. It might not be ideal but I’m certainly not objecting,” he says and my gut twists.
My words dry up in my throat at his suggestion and I put all my effort into quelling the desire his statement sparked deep within me, sourced from the bond we share and nothing else. I take a deep breath and reassess him, stood with that annoyed scowl that would send most sane people cowering and clench my jaw.
“I’m sorry,” I say through gritted teeth, the words feeling like poison to spit out. His scowl vanishes completely and is replaced with brief shock. “I’m sorry,” I continue, clenching my hands at my sides, “for making you feel that way. It’s not my intention to wound you through the bond or whatever and I get that you don’t really have many choices either. Everything is just fucked up and wrong and it annoys me, but I can’t help that and neither can you,”
He blinks and I let the silence in the room sink in. “Just don’t use that power on me, I won’t give you a reason too, but don’t. I already feel so controlled and if it isn’t you then maybe its the bond but either way its a shitty thing to go through, just like you are hurt and angered with my rejection I am hurt and angered by my lack of choice.”
A knock sounds at the door-a saving grace and I don’t give Roman the opportunity to reply, moving past him and waltzing into the hall lined with warriors ready to kill.
The ball passed in a blur and I dodged Roman’s heated stares the entire evening. We played our parts and we played them well, smiling when needing to smile, laughing when needing to laugh and looking infatuated with each other when needing too. We danced, formally and the bond guided our rhythm, letting our chemical love drive each step. It felt nice, just like it always does, to be pressed against Roman and feel the rush of the emotions I didn’t know I was deprived of until it was given. It felt nice to be able to take that form of escape and justify it-at least to anyone watching- under the guise of pretending.
We’d been sat now at a large table, lined with a feast worthy of the gods and I think Roman was finally starting to catch on that I wanted to leave. Alpha Michika was honestly ten times the host he was this morning, acting like a true leader and providing a professional level of hospitality. Whatever Roman said to him in their “meeting” must’ve worked. It was honestly strange, thinking back to the shadow of a man he was this morning and the kind, warm leader now.
Roman let out a roaring laugh at something the Beta said and my attention snapped back to the group. Another joke was told in a language I didn’t understand and Roman chuckled again. I gently placed my hand on the top of his thigh underneath the table and he tensed ever so slightly but his gaze on the others didn’t falter.
“Well I’d love to stay and hear more of your jokes but Maeve and I have a big day ahead of us tomorrow,” Roman announces and I smile as attention turns to the both of us. Adhira pouts, her face forming frown lines but she offers a sweet smile.
“Please do come by if you get the chance tomorrow Luna Maeve, I’m sure my details are easy enough to find,” she says and her mate laughs.
“Or just listen out for someone barking orders for the next big gala,” he says and she looks playfully scorned.
“Very well, I will see you at tomorrows meeting Alpha Roman, thank you both for offering a night of laughter in a time like this,” Alpha Michika says gratefully and Roman rises, taking my hand in his.
“Until then.” Everyone does that wolf thing where they nod at a certain angle, a sign of mutual respect and we depart the room, meeting with four guards who I haven’t yet seen in the corridor. I suppose they follow some shift regiment. Roman doesn’t let go of my hand and I don’t make him, not even as we move closer and closer towards the section of the building we reside in.
Roman’s hand tightens around mine. “About earlier,” he says and I avert my gaze to the patterned carpet in front of me. It didn’t seem to bother him that we were with the company of others. “Some of the things I said were out of hand, I should know better than to let my anger get ahold of me, regardless of if I’m provoked or not,” he says and I nod, the subject hitting an awkward knot.
“It doesn’t matter, like I said, there’s nothing either of us can do about it.”
“I want for us to grow closer, Maeve, of course I do but I’m okay with us simply tolerating each other until both of us are on the same page about the type of future we want to have,” Tolerating. Tolerating is fine- good even and I am willing to do that no question.
“We don’t have to be friends to rule alongside each other but your company isn’t entirely insufferable-at least not on a professional level. I think when it comes to matters outside of our control we should just try to…” I let out a huff, rubbing my temple as we move before confessing, “I don’t really know. Just something different to what we are doing now,”
“I agree, I care about you Maeve and I want for you to be as happy as you can be-” Roman cuts himself off and I turn to him with furrowed brows just as Sam and four more members of the Umbra come walking down in perfect union.
“Alpha, Luna,” he says, lowering his head and submitting to both of us as we halt. The guards he brought circle around us and stand stationed-extra muscle.
“What brings you here, the Luna and I have retired for the evening.” Roman says in a clipped tone, his entire demeanour shifting from the understanding man to a domineering Alpha oozing with power.
“There has been an incident.” My attention narrows in on the wolf in front of us, not faltering once. Roman doesn’t need to ask and simply provides his attention as an example.
“The seaweed farms in the Atlantic off the coast of DC have been destroyed. The first responders are on the scene now gathering more intel. Beta Elijah has increased naval security and we will have double shift on patrol for your watch tonight.” My gut sinks and I glance up at Roman who clenches his jaw, giving Sam a firm nod.
“Very well, have the verdict sent directly to my personal phone as soon as it comes through. There is nothing to do until Elijah reports back to me. Have more men stationed at the base of our quarters and keep your eyes on every entrance to our section.”
Sam offers a nod, “Of course, Alpha, would you like us to escort the Luna back to your room?” He asks and Roman shakes his head.
“The Luna and I will both be retiring for the evening. If there are any issues I can deal with them from my room,” Sam nods again, his eyes firm when they flick in my direction.
“As you wish,” he says before turning on his heels and staling back down the direction he came from, leaving double the men surrounding Roman and I. Roman squeezes my hand, as if to acknowledge the new addition of men and I keep my mouth closed as we walk back to our assigned room.
The second the door is shut behind us I put a few steps distance between Roman and myself, fidgeting with my hands. “Why would someone blow up seaweed farms? Why do you even have seaweed farms?” I blurt out and Roman begins taking off his clothes, getting ready for bed despite the clear threat.
“They are a measure against climate change, they help marine life and the carbon crisis,” he takes his undershirt off in one clean swipe, moving into the closet shirtless, “as for why someone would blow it up, I am near certain it was another of Alpha Nicholas’ games. I remember getting into an argument with him many years back now about the importance of restoring the earth to the goddesses haven and he liked to tease me on the subject of farming seaweed in particular,” he explains and moves back in the room, holding his phone tightly in one hand.
“What does it mean for the potential of war?” I ask.
His face hardens but he replies in a cool voice, “It means that war is much more likely,” I gulp and let out a deep sigh, “there isn’t much we can do about it until we receive more information so for now lets just get ready to sleep and if nothing comes in before then we’ll deal with it tomorrow. This could be a chain event, but who knows?”
I give him a grim nod. War. The takeover… it was a war between species of a sort but there was no offical battle, no chance really for humans to turn it into a war. We’d lost before it even began and then it had been to damn late. And if that wasn’t a full scale war then the reality of a real one…
A shudder travels down my spine and I hug my waist. “I’m going to have a shower,” I announce and Roman nods dismissively, turning his attention to his phone as I walk into the bathroom and remove the dress.
I enter the shower and turn the water on to full blast, letting the near boiling water wash over my skin and turn me a shade off pink. My mind won’t let the idea of war escape and it isn’t just bad for the reasons many associate with the dire subject. War changes things, war means that there may very well be an opportunity for escape but ti also means the repercussions of doing that to a society already crippled would magnify.
Leaving when an entire population depends on me… is that really something I could do? War could last years and even without war the chances of me getting out of here-out of the bond could take longer. There is genuinely no time frame that I can look to, no countdown to look forward to outside of the clock leading me towards inevitable death.
I want the threat gone, because the threat winning is an outcome worse than the world now. Humans under Roman may not be ideal but if Alpha Nicholas gained more power-I can only imagine how life for us-them-will look. I can’t let it get too that. Won’t.
Roman is already sat underneath the covers, reading something vigorously on his phone and I scrunch my wet hair in the fluffy towel, moving around to my side and savouring he heat Roman’s body has provided the sheets.
“Any news?” I ask and he turns his phone off, turning to me.
“Not yet,” he answers in a loose sigh, “Elijah is almost there but the damage is apparently pretty bad,” he answers and I make a sudden movement, jerking the muscles in my shoulders made taut by stress as I do. I let out a hiss of pain and my hand whips up to rub it, Romans attention fully focused on me.
“What happened? Are you alright?” He asks, his phone now fully away from his grasp.
I wave my hand dismissively but the grimace doesn’t leave my face, “Fine- I’m fine, I just moved to fast,”
His expression softens but the worry remains, “Let me help, I’ve trained enough to understand your kind of pain,”
“You don’t have to-” I rush out but his hand moves to my shoulder and the sparks that run through our contact ease some of the tension instantaneously.
“I don’t mind,” he says and I concede, the feeling of his touch too good to pass.
I turn around and let my damp hair fall over my chest, nearly letting out a questionable sound as both of his large hands rest on my shoulder blades and begin to knead. He rubs with just the right amount of pressure, meticulously easing points of tension with a softness I didn’t think an Alpha could obtain.
A chuckle rises from deep inside his chest and I feel his mirth vibrate behind me. “Goddess, Maeve, have you been lifting weights in your spare time?” He jokes and I smile, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.
“Spare time? I think the reason my shoulders ache is from carrying the weight of humanity,” I joke back and he simply chuckles, though its somewhat subsidised.
“You know if you feel the workload too much at any point you can always hire someone or give a little to me, don’t feel obliged to do everything yourself,” he says and my instinct is too retort but he only means well and I can logically understand that.
So instead, I mummer, “I know,” and he seems content enough with that as an answer, continuing his task of removing my pain.
“There has been something I’ve been meaning to ask you,” he says and I tense under his touch.
“Yeah?” I ask and he continues kneading my flesh.
“Yeah,” he says and clears his throat, “I don’t want it to come across as weird and I was going to bring it up before… there’s this place I’d like to show you, not far from this estate. Its not for a date or anything like that I just remembered seeing it for the first time when we arrived and it felt selfish to keep you from having that same opportunity,” he says and I notice the vulnerability in those words, the window of opportunity to wound him and twist his words into a dagger and use the weapon against him.
“That… that sounds nice, I guess,” I finish instead, turning around and removing his hands from my shoulder in the process, “aren’t tensions too high for something like that anyway?” I ask and he gives me a small smile.
“When we go I can assure you I’ll have the perimeter ready with warriors,” he says with comfort and I go to respond but his phone flashes and he picks it up.
“More news?” I ask and he nods, opening his phone.
I scrutinise him and notice the furrow between his brows deepen the further on he reads. The dim lighting of the lamp beside him illuminates the crevices of his chest and he tenses before turning the phone off all-together.
“What happened? I ask and he looks back to me before scooping my into his arms, holding me close to his warm body like he does every night before we are about to sleep.
He lets out an exhausted sigh and turns the lamp off beside him, moving to get comfortable for sleep as he answers, “The damage was as I imagined, devastating to the years of hard work but nothing that can’t be fixed with the right amount of work,” he says and moves in one motion so we are laying down. I rest my head on his arm as a pillow and feel a pang of sorrow at the one rectification Roman’s rule did implant being blown to shreds. You could stack a table of cards for years, build a tower miles high and still, all it would take is one breath of air for it to come crashing down.
“It was strange though, I’m honestly not sure what game Nicholas is playing at but blowing the farm up is one thing and to leave it like he did…” I can’t see his face in the dark but I know the confused expression it sports, brows furrowed and eyes clinching ever so lightly at the edges.
“How do you mean?” I question and I feel his chest deflate with the breath that escapes his lips.
“When Elijah got there the ocean wasn’t just left with tatters of what was once the farm. There was a crate, sealed with the emblem of the South American pack that detonated upon his arrival, almost like it was a staged show,” he says and a crease appears in my own brows as I peer up to him.
“A crate? What was inside?” I ask and he shakes his head, almost like he doen’t believe the answer in his mind to be true.
“Enough pink ribbons to dress an entire army.”
Its too damn late again and also again my math results will be sacrificed for the sake of this book and your entertainment aha
But seriously, I have a test tomrrow and then exams coming up after that so pls pray for me, or do a dance, or whatever you think may help
ps: showing some love over to the inkitt fam to Ms_mystery and Deniceachristina for their support and for commenting like all the damn time- I love reading them so much so thank you!