They were both killing me. They had been spending the last four days teaching me about etiquette and how to behave and what to say in front of the pack and reporters.
I had been taught about the council and the pack history. Today was about me as the Luna. What was my role? What was I supposed to do and what these traditions were all about.
I was so tired that I didn't hear the first part of Everly's speech. "Rieka!" She slammed the pointer against the table in front of me.
"I'm sorry! I'm listening!" I squealed. I had almost fallen asleep. "This is important, Rieka, " Everly said and sat on the table. "I know, " I complained. "I just haven't been sleeping much lately..."
"Just this last time, " she continued. "This is the most important part." I stretched my arms towards the roof. "Fine..." I promised. She nodded and got up again.
This room was too dark. I knew that they didn't want the maids to figure out what we were doing but it tired me out every fucking day. So much that I hadn't slept with Shay since the meeting with Harvey. I could feel my body aching. Longing. It was also part of the reason that it was so difficult concentrating today.
Shay was standing right there. Looking more handsome than ever. I would've jumped him if Everly wasn't here.
But she was and she was counting on me to listen and understand so I was going to do my best. "... So you will learn to lead one of these scouting groups, all members that you pick yourself, and scout the forest four days a week."
My mother had told me about the scouting. That was when she met my father for the first time. When he saw her transform.
It actually sounded kinda nice to be able to run around the forest. I knew that I had to be aware and look around but still.
"You will have to share some of the council duties with Shay, but not as his beta. That's Elan's job."
"Then what duties will fall to me?" I asked. Shay took over. "We will have to talk about that with Elan. He has a lot of things to do and I am sure that he will be pleased if you could help him a little, " he smiled. My God, even his voice...
"Furthermore, you will have to be by my side when I have to travel to another pack. You will be the face of our pack and it is, therefore, crucial that you are there. It will show strength and stability."
"But what if my future job denies my request to travel?" I asked. They looked at each other as if I had said the most ridiculous thing in the world.
"Rieka..." Everly started softly. "This is part of the 'this is going to be hard for you to understand' that I was talking about." I wasn't following. So far, I had been able to understand and agree to what was to be expected from me.
"This will be your job. This is part of what is expected of you. That you will be 100% invested in the pack and your duties here." She ended her sentence and waited for my reaction.
"So, what you're implying right now, is that I can never reach for the job of my dreams? I can never be a designer?"
Everly was about to answer but Shay cut her off. "I know that this is going to be difficult at first. I wasn't keen on it either back then but the pack grows on you and soon you will realise that this is not so bad after all. Besides, you can still draw and design in your spare time. I promise that we can make that happen."
I couldn't say anything. This was already too much. I hadn't missed the fact that Everly had referred to this as only part of what was to come.
I could hear her breathing heavily. "Spit it out, Everly. It can be much worse than this..." I said clearly. I could feel myself getting a little annoyed with her but I suppressed it. I couldn't blame her, she was just trying to help me understand what was to be expected from the Luna.
Then her face started to do these weird contractions. She only did that when she was about to tell me something that I definitely didn't want to hear.
"Everly?" I had to know now. "It will be expected..." She couldn't finish the sentence quite yet. Shay had tugged himself into a corner.
Everly looked up and locked with my eyes for a second before she shut them. "...that you and Shay will start expanding the family sooner than later!" She almost shouted the last part.
I stood up so fast that I pushed the chair to the other side of the room. "WHAT!" I shouted. "They expect us to make a baby right away!" This was definitely worse than not being able to get the job that I've always dreamt of.
Of course, I wanted a family at some point but I was only 20! There was so much that I wanted to see and experience before that part of my life started.
"No! They cannot make me do that! That is not their decision to make!" I shouted again. Shay came closer and tried to embrace me but I threw him off.
"Rieka. This is a major part of being the pack leader. We want a young, strong leader but also someone who understands the pack and what it means to be a leader. That will only be achievable if the Alpha and the Luna will have their first puppy early. That is why they expect us to try so soon."
Shay was trying to rationalise this. I didn't see any rationality right now. It was just so wrong.
Then it hit me. Everly had already mentioned this to me once before. The time that I told her about my not pregnancy. I must have repressed it.
I had to get out of this room. I had to get out of these clothes and into some of my own comfortable suit. I had to feel that I still had something of mine. Something that was still me.
I stormed towards the door and opened it. "Rieka!" Everly shouted. "Let her go, " I heard Shay say to her before she could run after me. "This is something she has to deal with herself first."
Damn, right it was.