To Hate Love

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Chapter 32

“I know this transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different with a new capacity to be beautiful.”

-William C Hannan

It had been a week since the meeting was held, a week of non stop conferences and gatherings and socialising. I didn’t leave Roman’s side once during the entirety of the week, not whilst the other leaders eyed me suspiciously. Roman became my personal buffer, a filter for when another leader asked questions so packed with politics I had no clue how to respond.

I’d only spoken to the King once after the meeting and ever since then I’d avoided him like the plague. Something about his aura just draws you in, like he can extract whatever information he wants from a person by simply glancing at them a certain way. Being careful around him isn’t an option, it’s a necessity, especially after Roman’s little spur on what the Alpha command can do to a person. The King knew that Roman and I were not infatuated with one another yet still, I made an effort to play my part as well as I could when around the others.

Every time I would clutch Roman’s arms tightly, lean into his body or smile fondly at something he said I felt the stare of the King on us with that knowing grin. But some games you don’t get to chose whether or not you play, regardless of how it makes you feel.

There had been no new threats of war on the territories of the world after the incident with the ribbons but the tensions were at an all time high. Honestly I don’t know what the hell Alpha Nicholas I thinking about heading to war when the odds are six to one but the mere fact he has the guts to startles me. Perhaps I underestimated the power and strength of hunters. The wolves in the meeting were definitely scared of them-even if they didn’t want to admit it.

Tonight was the last night before the ceremony to mourn and celebrate the pervious leaders of the pack and Roman and I arrived at the large dining hall around an hour ago. Everyone was clad in black, the decorations mimicking the solemn nature of the event and Roman explained to me that this was the one night allocated for mourning. There was no funeral where eulogies were read and people wept, just a night of acknowledgement and then the following week wearing black was forbidden. Tonight people would mourn in their own way and then before dawn, the wolves would tear free from the black clothes confining them and transition into their wolf form, riding through the sunrise as a pack.

Roman has stayed near silent the whole night, pain evident in his eyes as he mourns his mentor and ally, such as many of the other leaders. I shift in my seat but it doesn’t capture his attention-not like it usually does.

The orchestra has begun to play a melancholy tune, the melody drifting through the air and coaxing emotion out of even the toughest of wolves in the room.

“Care to dance?” Romans absent attention quickly narrows in on the Alpha King standing before our spot on the table with a smile of sorts on his face.

The King of the world. Roman’s King. “My mate hasn’t yet received her lessons,” Romans hand encases my own on the table in a vice grip.

The King raises a brow. “I don’t mind teaching her. It’s been weeks since your ceremony, surely the possessive stage has passed by now,” the King presses and I furrow my brows briefly before smoothing the crease.

Roman clenches his jaw and the King smiles. “Would you do me the honours, Luna?” He says and Roman takes his hadn’t off mine reluctantly, an answer. I rise from my seat, smoothing out the fabric of my black dress.

“Of course,” I say, tearing my eyes away from Roman whose blue orbs swirl with jealousy. I move out of my chair and take the Kings gloved hand in my own, thankful for the barrier of fabric between us lest Romans wrath be truly unveiled. I remember that night I was introduced to his pack, how my touching another male in front of Roman was forbidden and I saw that same response in my mates eyes as I was led towards the sea of dancers.

Tiberius squeezes my hand and my attention snaps away from Roman at the dining table. “Don’t worry about your sad little mate-that is if you care,” he says and I glare at him.

“Why are you trying to provoke him? You should know that touching me in front of him isn’t allowed.” I comment and he smiles.

“Is that what he told you?” He says, resting one hand on my waist and I am pulled into his aura, moving with him to the symphony and placing my trust in his guidance. It’s so effortless the way he draws you in, leads you and I wonder if this is how others feel when they are around Roman.

“Yes,” I reply and he spins me around before drawing me back in.

“Well I don’t want to bore you with the semantics of mating but generally that rule passes once all processes of the bond have been finalised. Which they clearly haven’t. I am amused that the two of you have been able to resist this far without compromise… unless I’m wrong,” He says suggestively and my lip raises in disgust.

“Is that why you asked me to dance? To check in on the bond? You know, your infatuation with my sex life is insanely strange,” I comment and he laughs.

“Your heir is my heir, Luna. Should anything happen to me-goddess forbid-I’d like to know my successor has some secured lineage,” he says and I think back to Roman, his ties to Tiberius and the throne. “But to answer your question, no, I didn’t ask you to dance merely to check in on the bond,”

He twirls my body again, letting the black fabric of my dress swirl over the marble floor. “I asked you to dance so that I could talk with you. You’ve been very skilful at avoiding me this last week,” he points out and I place all my efforts in to regulating my heart beat.

“I’ve been busy, it is a hard time for everyone,” I say glancing at Roman as we spin, at the restraint in his eyes.

“I suppose I should tell you that lying to your King is treason,” he says darkly and I pull my attention back onto him, my stomach spinning. “Though perhaps you are right, these are devastating times for us all,”

“You don’t seem very upset,” I quip as we glide and he shrugs.

“I’ve seen enough Superiors pass to learn how to not let it affect me.” His age should be evidence enough of that but even then, the man has known only death since the moment he was a child.

“What is it you wanted to talk to me about anyway? I can’t imagine you want to chit chat,” I say and his eyes glint with amusement.

“How Roman has dealt with your nerve I don’t know, has no one ever told you to watch your tongue around an Alpha?” He asks and I meet his steely gaze, the pure power rolling off enough for me to swallow my pride for a moment.

“Forgive me your majesty, it’s hard being a naive little human girl in a world full of wolves,” I say carefully, giving sass in small dosages.

He raises a brow. “Don’t you like the power you have?

“No.” My answer is solid, firm.

“I bet there are many naive little human girls out there who would kill to have the position you do-the power you do,” he says and I fight the urge to roll my eyes.

“Power corrupts people, someone of your age surely understands that by now. Give someone a slither of power and they think they rule the world,”

He flashes me a toothy grin. “I guess it is better when you know for certain you do,” he says. King of the world.

“Does it not get lonely up there at the top? Power might be entertaining but does it make for a good companion?” I ask and his face breaks for a spilt second, almost too quick I don’t notice it.

“I’d say it’s a better companion than a hunter, wouldn’t you?” He asks and the colour drains from my face, making his smile widen and he pulls my body along to the dance, breaking me from my shock. “I know all about your husband, Maeve. I’m guessing it is the reason you and Roman have remained abstinent for so long,” he says and I gulp, unable to form words. He knows. Did Roman-

“Your mate didn’t tell me,” he answers and I stare at him with confusion before he leans down and whispers into my ear. “That face of yours is far too easy to read.”

“What does it matter to you?” I blurt and he pulls away from me.

“It matters because clearly Roman hasn’t informed you well enough. So I am going to tell you what he is too afraid to, Luna, and maybe one day you’ll thank me for it. Whatever feelings you thought you held for your husband are as good as a whisper in the wind and if you ever want to live contently then you should accept that.”

“That seems like a very biased perspective considering you just told me about how Roman and I being together benefits you,” I point out and he spins me one last time.

“I’ve dealt with hunters-many of them and if my experience amounts to anything I can assure you that they are not to be trusted. Just like power corrupts people the curse corrupts hunters and sooner or later you’ll realise that love between a man wired to kill you isn’t meant to be.”

I furrow my brows and just as I open my mouth to reply, the King turns to face the stage and my gaze follows, finding Alpha Superior Michika stood, proudly shirtless.The music settles and all attention falls onto him.

“The time has come for us to celebrate the life of my mother and father, the leaders of this pack who brought us from pain and suffering into a new world where we can shed our skin without fear of retribution. Let us run together as a unified pack under the moon so that they can watch down upon us and guide our sorrow into dawn’s arms.”

The crowd doesn’t clap or cheer like I expect. They all simply begin making their way to the ballrooms large doors which extend into the midnight air. A pair of large hands wrap around my waist and I lean back into the sparks that erupt, turning my head to Roman whose eyes still glint with jealousy. I open my mouth to speak but he shakes his head slowly, pulling me tighter into his embrace as we follow the masses.

The swarm of dark bodies move with a morose sort of grace, no one seeming at all out of place-well besides me, but I do well to cover myself from attention by latching onto Roman. The second we are out under the stars and the glowing orb of the moon the crowd begins to disperse and Roman guides me away from them.

“Everyone will be preparing for the run now,” he says quietly as he continues to pull me away.

He leads me through the crowd and past the point where people can see us until we are in a secluded area. The second we are on our own he twists me around and burns his face in my neck, making me gasp.

“Roman,” I say breathlessly and he places a kiss over my mark, making my body shudder as pleasure shoots to my core.

“His scent is all over you,” he growls huskily into my ear as he runs his hands through my hair, drawing me into him.

“Roman,” I say a little more firmly, the words of the King relaying in my head. Is that why he put his scent all over me? To make Roman jealous and prove a point? As if to answer me, Roman trails kisses along my jawline, his tender lips colliding with my skin and sending my emotions into mayday.

“This is Tiberius-” I start and the growl that erupts from his chest is vibrates against my chest due to our close proximity. But mention of him works, although I see the jealousy simmering in his eyes even as he steps back, his power radiating of him in full force.

“I’m sorry,” he says, running a hand through his hair. “I shouldn’t let it get to me, not when he’s trying quite clearly to provoke me,”

“Is it really that hard?” I say softly, glancing at his eyes that clench shut.

“You have no idea,” he answers with a dry laugh. I should have told you before but I wasn’t exactly counting on males lining up to touch you, especially not the king,” he says and I fidget in my spot.

“Why does it bother you so much?” I ask and he shrugs.

“Its a wolf thing, we become territorial-possessive, even- when it comes to our mates and when the bond isn’t secure our instinct to make sure others don’t pose a challenge heighten. I know it sounds weird to you, feeling emotion on a scale like this is strange for me too but I’m an Alpha in the end of the day and we don’t like others putting a claim on what is meant for us. I’m sure the bond would trigger you to feel similarly were the roles reversed-perhaps not to the same level but to a degree nonetheless,” he explains and I go to question him further but howls of wolves cut me off and I stare into the distance it comes from.

My body jerks back a little at the sound, the idea of the furry creatures with their sharp teeth and claws not sitting well with me. As if sensing my terror, Roman takes my hand in his and stares at me intently.

“They won’t hurt you,” he says.

“Aren’t you supposed to be over there-with them?” I ask and he retracts his hand, giving me a slightly cocky smile.

“I can catch up,” he says and then looks at me with a glimmer of sadness. “It pains me that you won’t be able to run alongside me,”

“I’ll be fine here,” I say, shoving away the idea of my bones breaking to transition into a beast.

Roman raises a brow. “You aren’t afraid of wolves are you?” He says and I shake my head, laughing nervously at the prospect.

“Pffft, no,” I respond but the second he begins to unbutton his shirt my face goes pale and my hands fly to his chest to stop him.

“You are,” he points out with an amused smile before it vanishes. “You’re afraid of me.” I don’t know what causes the pang of hurt in my chest, his revelation or the damage in his tone.

“Its just- a wolf. Are you even, like are you even there when your a wolf?” I blubber and his hurt diminishes somewhat, easing my pain.

“Its the same ol’ me. Just with fur and four paws,” he explains and I nod, watching warily as he takes off his suit jacket. “I tell you what,” he starts, moving further away from me and into the clearing.

“If you become scared of my wolf then you can just walk right around that corner and there will be a door and on the other side of that door will be some guards who will take you as far away from me as you want to go,” he reasons and my heart begins to accelerate.

Meeting his wolf. Well him, but as a wolf.

I nod tentatively and he takes another step back, giving me a soft smile. “You might wanna close your eyes for this, love,” he says and I do. My hands cover my eyes instantly and even though my palms provide a barrier to my vision, I still clench them tightly, not allowing a slither of light in.

I have no clue how long it takes to transition and so I stand there, like a child watching a horror film until I hear a low howl, soft and friend-whiny, even. Slowly, I peel my hands away from my face and lift my lids to meet the enormous beast that was a man mere moments ago.

I take a tentative step back and the wolfs ears-Roman’s ears, flatten on his head and he sits down before laying on the ground with a thud, peering at me his same blue eyes. Sat in wolf form, he reaches my height with muscles that are clear and defined.

Roman stands up on four paws carefully, like he is the one who is prodding around a gigantic beast that could rip him in two and not the other way around. I stand stiffly as he nears closer to me and before I know it, his large head is pressing against my palm and a wolfish whine escapes his mouth.

He wants me to pat him.

I run my fingers through his soft fur and watch with amusement as he meets my stroke. The howls of other wolves causes his head to snap around and he looks back at me with longing. “Go,” I say, taking a step back and he whines making me laugh.

“Go,” I repeat and he turns around, glancing back at me before taking off in a powerful leap, morphing into the night and letting out a howl of sorrow that stays with me well into the dawn of the next day.

-

I open the beige folder on my countertop, skimming over its contents to check that everything is there and in order. Solving the issues that plague the world is truly taxing, especially when you are dealing with a group of beings that are difficult to negotiate with. Its frustrating-to say the least, to have the burden of fixing problems for people who created them whilst also convincing them that the problems need to be solved full stop.

I let out a shaky breath and the door opens, revealing a shirtless Roman whose body is smeared with dirt and grime. “What happened to you?” I ask, not only referencing to his body but also to the fact that he never returned last night and its almost mid day.

“The run lasted longer than expected,” he grumbles, his throat scratchy from a night of howls.

“Oh, well I have reviewed some of the human intakes of hospitals and I thought it would be a good idea to show them to the others at todays meeting,” I say and he shoots me an incredulous look, “What?” I ask and he smiles slightly.

“There is no meeting today,” he says and I frown.

“What do you mean? Why?” I ask and he begins walks into the closet, picking out some sweats and a shirt.

“Today is a day of rest, we don’t work until tomorrow and dawn,” he says and I look back at the files.

“But we have all of this stuff to go through, surely there is going to be at least one meeting later on,” I suggest and he sighs. I didn’t notice how drained he looked until that breath left his chest.

“Its kind of a traditional thing actually, it is fine if you want to work but I’m going to take this one day off,” he says and I feel slightly bad for making him think he had to.

“That’s alright, you do your own thing. I guess I need to go over a few things with some of the factory operators anyway,” I say and he smiles before moving towards the bathroom, his muscles tight and prominent from a night of running and I tear my gaze away, looking back to my folder before scooping it all up and trekking all the way to the empty office, flanked by wolves.

I spend the entire afternoon in the office, running though the pay systems that haven’t been fully implemented in certain work areas. It was a given that some places wouldn’t abide fully by the laws if they could get away with it, every system had its loopholes and it problems were bound to arise sooner or later. Honestly, I am glad that Cameron was helping me organise basic issues that arose whilst Astrid took over most of the tasks a Luna traditionally did.

I managed to sort out a few root issues that centred around four key business operators, half of which were humans that tried to manipulate the pay minimums. I guess it didn’t matter in the end of the day what your genetic makeup was, people hungry for money never stopped wanting to eat. What was more of a shame was the fact that it was only early days to the reforms and what appeared to be the honeymoon phase was coming to a close.

Humans haven’t been under the rule of wolves long enough to forget what freedom felt like, the power and dignity one felt when wielding it wasn’t something that could be easily washed away. Sure, they weren’t lashing out-at least not yet, but to be under that kind of rule for so long and then slowly get back rights isn’t easy to adjust to.

And the truth of the matter is I don’t think they’ll ever get their rights back to the same extent as before. The wolves are content-happy, even, at the idea of being led under a regime that humans have viewed as tyrannical for centuries. I suppose if you looked at the rights a wolf had in retrospect to that of what a human once attained you’d realise that particular rights for wolves always have been, and always will be suspended. They can accept that but humans can’t and that is where the never ending problem begins.

The door handle to the office moves and I snap my head to the door as Roman enters, clad in casual wear and push my glasses back to the bridge of my nose. “Hey,” I say and he smiles, walking over to my desk.

“Hey,” he replies, taking a seat in front of my desk on the large wheeled chair.

“What… are you doing here?” I ask and he shrugs.

“I had a sleep and then read a little of that book but I dunno… I guess I missed you,” he says and it is endearing, I’ll give him that.

“Oh, well..” I look back down at my work, entirely unsure of how to respond to that. Did I miss him? No, it has only been a few hours that’d be crazy but I guess he hasn’t seen me properly since last night, when he was a wolf. I’ll admit-though never aloud- it is slightly comforting to have his presence after stressing out on the matters of politics.

“I was wondering if you had any free time later on, around sundown specifically,” he says and I look back at the file I am nearly finished up on.

“Um… it depends on whether or not I finish up here in time,” I say and he nods. “Were you planning on doing something?” I ask and he straightens in his seat.

“I thought about taking you to that place I mentioned a while back,” he says and I pause for a moment in recollection.

“Yeah, sure um that sounds nice,” I reply and he flashes me a smile.

“Are you alright Mae? You seem overly anxious,” he says and I shake my head to which his smile only widens. “If this is about me freaking you out in being a wolf-”

“No! No, it’s not that…” Well, maybe it is. I’ve always been a dog person-not that I ever had one myself, but seeing the guy in front of me grow fur and a snout and paws… it was a little strange.

“I’ve just been super busy lately is all and I have heaps of work to get to,” I manage and he nods slowly, picking up on the memo.

“Right, I should leave you to it, then. I’ll swing by at sundown and if you want to come then cool, and if not then that’s also cool,” he says, standing up from the chair to give me a smile.

’I’ll see you then,” I say, clicking my pen and focusing fully on the task in front of me, trying to make my brain focus on my one true task of betterment for humans and not the man who just walked out the door.

authors note

EXAM UPDATE:

After Sundays update, updates will discontinue for one week whilst I have my school exams. Sorry for those this disappoints but ya girl is low-key failing everything already lmao so I need some study time :)

Updates will continue as usual the following Thursday post exams-or maybe even Sunday, I dunno. Lets just make it a fun game and see how it all plays out.

thanks,

Khalesi

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