PLEASE VOTE GUYS!!!
“If you’re testing my waters you better know how to swim”
“Alpha Superior I am so very sorry, she didn’t mean that. My mate has a tendency to cause trouble and I take full responsibility for her actions,” I blink open my eyes to see Keira laughing, her mate clutching onto her as she sways around.
“Troubleeee, who YOU callin’ troubles,” she slurs out and he clamps one of his broad hands around her mouth, she must’ve kept drinking after I crashed on the couch. I look over to see Jenna’s twin brother holding Harper in a bridal position as she sleeps curled into him, waiting to be dismissed by my mate.
“There is no need. Both of you take your mates back to your quarters and keep them there. I trust that this won’t happen again,” he says firmly and the two both nod, agreeing with him before apologising and turning from the room once again.
Roman walks over to the multiple discarded bottles of his expensive drink and lets out a sigh before proceeding to pick them up and cluster them all together on the piano. He places his hands on the pianos sleek black edge and I notice the way his powerful back muscles tense; he is clad only in shorts, his upper half shining bare in the darkness. Before I can close my eyes his head snaps to me and his icy blue orbs capture mine.
“Blegh,” I slur out, I don’t even know why I do but I do and his face moves from stern to annoyed quickly, my intoxicated state not sitting well with him.
“Heyyyy, what are you doen here?” I hiccup and then push myself to sit up on the couch, clutching my head firmly to stop the spin, “What time is it?” I add with a yawn and he saunters closer to me, grabbing a glass of crisp cold water, perspiration glistening as it runs down the length of the side.
“Drink this.” He orders and I oblige, gulping down the liquid and noticing my headache begin to dissipate slightly, the painful edge erased. I let the glass fall from my hands and Roman grabs it with his lightning fast reflexes, setting it down onto the table.
“Why don’t I hate you anymore? What time even is it?” I ask groggily but I notice his eyes flash an emotion I can’t pinpoint.
“It is nearly four am. The effects of the mark are gone now,” he replies, ever so formal and I let out a yawn.
“Poof! Time, man, time is funny isn’t it? Did you know that I can’t tell the time anymore look!” I shove my empty wrist in his face with a pout, “they took it off me and now I’m timeless, no more seconds anymore,” I try to get out what I want to say but my words are a jumble and my brain is a twist of confusing thoughts, each whirring past the other with no actual sense of direction. Roman folds his arms and stares at me with a mixture of emotions swirling in his eyes.
“You know what? You are really angry, alllll the time. And mean, you’re a mean mean man and I don’t like you very much. ‘Its my way or the highway’, pffft that is shushes. Nope nope nope nope nope nope,”
“I know,” he mutters softly under his breath.
“You know what I do like? Hurknsoknaib,” I mumble out, my eyes becoming more droopy as the seconds tick by.
He sighs deeply, not wanting to talk to me in my state and mumbles something under his breath before moving towards me and hoisting me up, his hands under my arms. The second I am pulled to a stand I slump down onto the floor and sit down cross legged, folding my arms and looking up at him with furrowed brows.
“Maeve come on, don’t do this. We need to get you to bed, you are going to be extremely tired tomorrow if you don’t go to sleep soon,” his voice is stern but I just shake my head, leaning further into the bottom of the couch.
“I don’t wanna go back up there,” I complain and he lets out yet another sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“You don’t have to sleep in our room, you have your new room that you can go too. Look, you can’t sleep on the floor so just come on,” I curl my knees up to my chest and flop down onto my side to prove a point.
“I don’t wanna go there either,” I say and its true, that place feels like more of a prison cell than his room with its locked down furniture and absence of natural light.
“Maeve.” He says lowly and moves to pick me up again but I scramble onto the large couch before he can reach me. His eyes darken and I let out a small laugh, putting my hand over my mouth instantly. I grab a firm, square pillow and lie down on the couch, the length too great still to make me cramped. Perfect.
Roman walks away and I sit up, my mind back to buzzing now and the prospect of sleep unlikely. I slump back into the couch but jolt up when I see Roman reenter the room with a fluffy duvet and an actual pillow in his hands. He puts the pillow at the end near my head, setting it all up before shaking out the blanket and putting it over top of me, effectively tucking me in like I’m three. He grumbles unintelligible words under his breath and moves over to the windows, pressing buttons on a control panel and letting black blinds close down before shutting off the light and stalking to the exit, sparing one last glance at me.
“Stop!” I blurt out and his dark shadowed figure pauses in the doorway, waiting for me to continue, “I want to sleep,” I mumble and his head turns to the side, I can’t see his face but I can imagine his disappointed look at my reasoning for stealing more of his precious time.
“So do I,” he quips back.
“No, I can’t-” I let out a shaky breath, “I can’t sleep without you,” I confess and his muscles tense again.
“The feelings mutual Maeve but I need to at least get some rest and so do you,” he responds and I don’t ponder over my next words before hurling them out.
“Stay with me.”
“Maeve,” he says lowly, his body turned around now.
“Roman please, just for tonight. I want to sleep so bad,” I plead and he hesitates before moving to the couch and pausing.
“Are you sure Maeve?” He asks and I nod, pushing my body to the back of the couch so that I am laying sideways and giving him room. He stands for a minute contemplating before sliding under the covers, the warmth from his body calming me instantly. My eyelids become heavy and he lets out a large sigh. Naturally, I move my body so that my leg drapes over his and his warm chest becomes my new pillow.
I move my hand onto his abdominal muscles and they tense under my fingers, his chest becoming harder before relaxing and the sparks that shoot up my forearm ceasing into a dull tingle. I bury myself closer into his side and breathe in his heavy, calming scent of rain and the forest, my breaths becoming slower and more regulated. His long fingers glide into my hair and he massages my scalp, making me even sleepier until I eventually fall limp and close my eyes for good.
I feel a slight nudge to my head but ignore it, burrowing my face deeper into my pillow. Why is it whenever I get a decent amount of sleep some moron decides to wake me up? The moving stops for a second and I get ready to fall back asleep before it happens again.
“Maeve, wake up.” My eyes flick open and I stare at the hard chest of Roman, the living room tv in the background. I quickly untangle my legs from him and try to push off the couch only to end up straddling the burly man whom I basically used as a sleeping pill last night.
I look down to Roman’s icy blue eyes and they darken considerably, looking up at me with pure lust. The second I feel something harden underneath me I scramble off him, landing on the ground with a loud clammer and look up to see a very annoyed looking Roman. A furious blush rises to my cheeks and he stands up and adjusts his shorts before storming past me to the exit.
“W-where are you going?” I ask, filling the awkward air that floats between us.
“To have a cold shower,” he responds, his husky morning voice sending chills down my spine, “There should be clothes in your new room, I’ll come collect you for breakfast soon so don’t dawdle.”
He doesn’t wait for my response and quickly leaves the room, leaving me flustered on the living room floor, embarrassment and shame hitting me like a ten tonne truck. Last night... I really shouldn’t have done what I did, any of it. None of what ensued would have occurred if I turned down Keira’s offer of alcohol but then where would I be if I hadn’t? More depressed and pent up than before? I just wanted the pain and the emotions to get buried for a moment but the cost of my relief is coming at me hard now. When something good comes along in my life it drags with it sacks of sorrow and there is no way to detach the two.
I feel so reckless and foolish for even considering sleeping next to him, for proposing to sleep next to him. And yet, I want to do it again. I want so desperately to get a good night sleep every night and it makes me livid that I can’t get that without him. There is no shame in not wanting to be sleep deprived and I try to convince myself of that but its like my mind just chews up the idea and spits it out then instantly regrets it and wants more.
He should never have accepted a drunken proposal, he can try to mask it, play it off as helping me and accomodating my needs but he wanted it just as much-if not more so. As exhausted as I am he must be doubly so and I don’t know if I can fully blame him for accepting an offer that will only come around once in a blue moon.
I stand up from the floor and mope back to my new room with a sluggish effort finding a set of jeans, a jumper and a thick black belt set out waiting for me. It looks nice, like something I would’ve worn if I were to choose back when in had that liberty which makes me dislike it all the same. I slip on the fabric in under five minutes, not bothering to shower.
Roman opens the door to my room, not even bothering to knock, and stares at me with an extremely pissed off expression. He can’t seriously still be mad about this morning, its not my fault he can’t keep it-. It dawns on me suddenly that he has just been back to his room and found the little present that I left at the door.
“Before you ask, I don’t regret it. Quite frankly, I find it weird that you would have an imaginary portrait of us painted,” I say and he narrows his eyes slightly before letting out a deep breath and removing the look of anger on his face to be replaced by mere annoyance.
“Fine, next time you disapprove of something however, I would appreciate you telling me so I can have it removed. There’s no need for dramatics,” he responds and I roll my eyes, an action that elicits a firm look on his face.
“I disapprove of you,” I mumble out with sass, folding my arms across my chest. It’s not as if he has given me any reason to believe that he’d be so kind as to do more than consider my requests.
“Let’s just go, there are some things I wish to discuss with you over breakfast and after last night I think it’d be best if you got some food in your system.” I don’t bother to reply to him and simply walk out past his imposing frame, into the absent corridor.
It feels weird not to be met by swarms of guards waiting to confer with Roman that I am allowed to be moving past the threshold. It is a feeling I welcome with open arms although something about the slight freedom scares me. Maybe it’s the allusion that its all a sick joke, that I am going to walk around a bend and see the Umbra waiting for me with scornful gazes. Or perhaps it is the change that sends my gut wrenching with discomfort. I’ve spent so long surrounded by them that it has been instilled in me that I need them there for whatever reason.
Roman appears next to me and I follow him, picking up my pace considerably to stay in sync with his long strides. He led us through the hallways and we drifted out into the foyer, taking one step at a time until we reach the dining room with the usual array of foods set up at the far end.
“I didn’t think we’d still have to partake in this silly little tradition,” I comment cooly and he moves in front of me, pulling out my chair for me and disregarding my snarky remark.
He takes his seat and I look at the food on my plate, the light fluffy eggs next to crispy bacon and a slice of toast slathered thickly with butter. Although my appetite isn’t exactly high when in the presence of a certain somebody, I know the food will do me good and an argument over something so trivial is not what I need right now.
“Many of the Alphas of our pack will be leaving today, aside from your brother and his family of course. Today most of our guests will either be departing or relaxing after last nights festivities so our meetings with the other Alpha Superiors will commence tomorrow. I figured that you and I could use the time to get into work straight away but I think it’d be better if you get some rest, it’ll give my mark some time to heal,” he informs and I just shove another spoonful of food in my mouth before I can say anything I’ll regret.
“I have also contacted Doctor Matthews to bring you a sleeping serum and he said he would like to see you at some point in the next few days and that an ointment with instructions will be brought to your room as well for my mark,” he sounds as though he is reciting from a drilling manual, everything so composed and professional.
There isn’t a happy edge to his tone but his words spike my interest nonetheless. “A sleeping serum?” I ask and he looks at me briefly.
“Last night was a mistake. It won’t be happening again,” he says firmly and my brows scrunch together.
“I was under the impression that you wanted me to sleep with you,” I say back and he takes a bite of his own food, swallowing it before continuing.
“I do, in fact I have no problem with the two of us sharing a couch again but we both know that you do,” he says it as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world, like he is pointing out that grass is green or the sky is blue.
“Why the sudden change in heart?” I push and his head turns to look at me then, those blue eyes holding my gaze and not faltering.
“Because I don’t want you to hate me anymore than you already do. Plus, when you decide that you want to share our bed again I want it to be on your terms, I want you to be willing,” he replies and I fold my arms, scrunching the sweater as I pout. He wants me to go back on my own terms so I can’t hold it against him as much as I want to.
“And if I were you I wouldn’t go looking for alcohol again. Not only because it is extremely unhealthy to indulge in habits like those but because Luna’s don’t drink away their problems. If you want to have fun and let loose a little then you are more than welcome to have a few glasses of human drink with our dinner. You are not to get blind drunk again, is that understood?”
“I’m not making any promises,” I rebuke and his lip raises up in a snarl but before he can open his stupid mouth to lecture me some more I add, “I won’t be stupid about it, I may be a lot of things but a drunk is not one of them,”
He doesn’t pick apart my argument but he doesn’t agree either, just lets my final words hang in the air and put an end our conversation. The nature of my drinking is not worth getting into at this moment in time, not when there are so many other important things mulling in my mind. I take a sip of the orange juice that sits next to my plate and he takes the opportunity to spark up conversation once more.
“Anyway, this next week will be very hectic for the both of us so I suggest you take today to relax and recover from yesterday,” he adds, looking directly at me as if to scope out my response.
“Not to be rude, but hanging out with you all day isn’t relaxing at all,” I lie, because truth is there are some-albeit annoying-calming aspects that come with his prescence.
“I have plenty of work to attend to today. Past breakfast you can do as you please,” he says with a wave of his hands and I raise a brow.
“Me and my swarm of wolf buddies you mean,” I correct with a laugh that is quickly cut short when he scrunches his brows and raises the corner of his lip in a smirk.
“I told you that you won’t be needing them anymore. There is nowhere for you to run that I won’t be able to find you even if you got past the gates. You can try running to your little human force if you please, it would save me the effort of tracking their whereabouts myself,” he states casually and my stomach twists with discomfort.
He is taking off my chains and expects me to let them drop on the floor without bolting for my life. If I do wander around the grounds, unwatched and free from a swarm of wolves directly keeping me from attempting to flee then will I have truly become compliant? So crippled by fear that even to consider leaving and in turn face Roman’s wrath I’ll do exactly as he says?
I suppose neither of us know the answer, which is why he intends to find out. I don’t respond to him and instead grind my teeth in anger, glaring at the plate in front of me.
“I have also gotten you one of these,” a sleek black phone is placed in front of me and I stare down at it briefly before sliding it off and putting it into my pocket, “My number is on there and so are a few others that might be helpful. I’ll carry my phone on me at all times so if you need to contact me then do so through that,” he instructs and I nearly scoff at his optimism but bite down any urge to incite another argument.
“Fine.” I lift another piece of food into my mouth angrily and let my fork slam onto the table, louder than I anticipated but serving my point nonetheless.
“This may be your last day to relax for a while so I suggest you make good use of it. I’ve had the books that Madam Regina assigned you moved into the study so you can occupy yourself with that should you feel inclined.”
I most definitely do not feel inclined to swipe through anymore of those frivolous propaganda pamphlets that old haggis gave me. Until I can get my hands on something actually useful in ending this bond I will not read anymore of their assigned tasks.
“Maybe,” I lie and he accepts it with a nod of his head, placing his fork down and moving to stand up, an action I don’t reciprocate.
“Your new medicines will be brought to your room with your meal tonight. I’ll see you later,” he says and the tension that fills the room is about as awkward as one would expect.
There will be no more goodbye kisses or embraces for him and he knows that, I can tell by the way his blue eyes soften around the irises before hardening again. Before he can give me the chance to respond, or perhaps out of the knowledge that I wouldn’t if given the option, he leaves the room and I wait for a few minutes until I am sure that the deathly silence is void of him lurking around. Then, I let my test begin.
Getting out of the Alpha’s quarters proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. I blame it on my nerves. Every time I would put a foot outside the threshold to the gardens, I would recoil it in fear of a guard pouncing out from around the corner, ready to drag me back into my room. Honestly, I was half expecting Roman to waltz in at any given moment and tell me that I failed his test.
After an excruciatingly long time, I managed to step outside and stand for a minute, pleased to find no sign of warrior wolves ready to devour me and took another step. Then another, then another. Every muscle in my body was tense but as soon as the crippling fear swept away from my bones I was able to venture further and further away. I used my compass before leaving, relief swarming my body when I found it pointing towards my right, somewhere far off on the other end of the campus no doubt.
I just need to walk in the opposite direction and keep going until he senses me? I’m not exactly sure how it all works out, which is why I intend to find out. I had already flicked through the phone he gave me, navigating the old feeling of the weighted brick in my hand with uncertainty. The only apps on the device were those needed to contact Roman, the hospital and the Beta females. In fact, there was a message sent to what I can only presume to be a group chat but I didn’t bother opening it for fear of having to remember how to type, as silly as it sounds.
Unfortunately, the phone didn’t include a map to help me try and find my way around the labyrinth of Roman’s castle. I had to rely solely on my gut instincts to bring me to the edge of the large garden walls and now that I’m here, I run my hand along the edge and walk in the hopes of finding an exit. I haven’t passed by anyone yet and at any signs of noise I make sure to halt in my step and proceed with caution.
I move stealthily past green shrubs and push my way through a dense garden that lines the wall. I seriously regret not bringing a bag of gardening tools with me despite the fact that me sourcing a set of shears would probably prove harder than anything I’ve achieved thus far.
The mark on my neck doesn’t sting unless I jerk my head with too much force or it gets scraped by a branch that pokes out from the bush. Both of which only had to happen a few times for me to be careful enough to avoid it in the future. I want to forget that it’s there, scrub it off somehow and just remove it from me. I don’t know what it will look like once it’s healed, if there will be two punctures visible forever or if the mark will fade int my neck. It disgusts me, makes me so repulsed because no matter what I do, he has staked some kind of claim on me that I don’t want.
The narrow clearing of plants in between the foliage and the wall approaches a dead end, a large green bush blocking off what appears to be an exit point. I stalk up closely to peer through the leaves and find that I am right, beyond the plant lies a large exit leading into the forrest, a dozen warrior wolves rotating around. If I am going to get out before the sun sets today then this might just be my only option.
With a shaky breath, I emerge from the foliage looking like a crazed bush witch with twigs and leaves decorating my hair, capturing the attention of the wolves on guard immediately. They all pause for a brief moment, glancing with furrowed brows at me and the bush behind me before one brave one breaks out the silence.
“Luna?” He questions, his gun tucked neatly at his side as he steps towards me slowly.
“Yes, hi, hello. Um,” I gather myself, standing a little taller and looking at the group of wolves with a little more composure, “I need to be let out of that gate, there are things that I have to attend to,”
“In the forrest?” The guard responds with disbelief but I don’t let his query throw me off.
“Yes. I am going to go for a walk, a friend told me that there were some wildflowers that would look good in the Alpha and I’s room,” I tell him and there is some truth to it, I planned on my way here to find something for Lucy’s resting place, some flowers that were worthy of her.
In the gardens I passed by glorious roses and flowers of all kinds but I don’t want to put something that was trapped here, its beauty captured and left to entertain the residents of the palace like her. No, she deserves something free, something that has grown outside these walls on its own and can still manage to hold its beauty.
The wolf in front of me however, wouldn’t understand my sentiment and that becomes explicitly clear throughout the turmoil that brews beneath his gaze.
“Do you have a pass on you?” He questions and I furrow my brows.
“I wasn’t under the impression I needed one.” I respond, doing my absolute best to look like an authoritative Luna.
“Everyone who exits these gates must have a pass, Luna.” His voice is rehearsed, not a word out of place meaning this is a protocol that hasn’t just been installed specificallyfor me.
“And where would I get one of these passes?” I question with an annoyed glare and I swear a bead of sweat rolls down his forehead.
“I’m sure if you talked with the Alpha he could give you one. Other than that only higher ranking wolves are allowed to distribute them, Luna,” he informs me and I raise a brow.
“I’m the Luna, surely that exempts me from having to ask permission to leave,” I bite back and he gulps.
“Well... yes, it does. But due to the recent attack on you we’ve been ordered to make sure that you don’t cross the border and put yourself in danger, Luna. I thought the Alpha would’ve told you of this,” he replies and an unfamiliar feeling appears in my chest, lingering with a soft hum.
“Well things have changed, I am giving you a new set of orders to let me pass that gate,” I say and his face turns pale, the conflict clear in his eyes that dart around to the other wolves for guidance. Roman wasn’t lying when he said I was of equal status it seems however he has used their nature to protect me in his favour.
Right before he can answer my question a siren sounds and a squad of wolves move through the gate in their four legged form. I’ve seen wolves before, many times actually, but I never can prepare myself for when I see them again. The beasts are gigantic, the ones in the front of the group corded with pure muscle. They move with ease but I know that one wrong move and they could snap your head clean off.
Once they stop moving in, I take a few steps back to let them pass and the second I do a large wolf emerges from the forest, larger than any of the other ones. The wolfs coat is a shimmery midnight black, each strand of fur sitting perfectly in its place as its bright blue eyes snap towards my direction. The second my gaze connects with the furry beast, it halts in its step, its towering form staring straight at me.
So this chapter was supposed to come out a little earlier than it did but I am currently dodging the Hawke eyes of my teacher in order too stealthily utilise school wifi and hence kickstarting my new career as a spy.
I am also running on about three hours of sleep thanks to a series of dreams that made me jump out of bed at all hours of the night to check on my dog. Update: she is perfectly fine and my mind is more villainous than dear Romikens.
Weird rant over and also please lemme know what you think about the chapter anddd DONT FORGET TO FOLLOW THE INSTA.
Ps: my heart gushes from the amount of lovely messages I receive, y’all are tha bomb diggity.
Over and out,