Twisted Fate

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Chapter 7

-Astrid-

With a racing heart and sweaty palms, I shuffled anxiously on my feet behind the courtroom’s desk. Between waiting and the blank stares of the old wolves and the super professional atmosphere, I’d let the silence of the room eat my thoughts alive and freaked myself out. It’s not like I hadn’t been prepared for this moment my whole life, but now…shit just got real.

I, Astrid Collins, was seconds away from becoming the first female alpha of my pack. All I needed to do was calm myself down long enough for the council to finish signing the documents, which he moved at a sloth’s pace. I grounded my canines at the slow dragging of his pen. I wanted to reach over the desk and sign the damn papers myself.

I mean, seriously, what kind of werewolf takes this long to sign a one-page document- a council member -might I add- who was efficient in the defense and law department. Can someone say retirement?

Any faster, and it might burst out of your chest,” Derek commented in the mind link. I discreetly peered over my shoulder to look at him. He pressed his lips in a thin line and said, “We can hear your heartbeat from miles away, and Jefferson is watching you like a hawk.”

Shit!

Nicole grinned nervously as she nudged Derek with her elbow, her way of telling him to leave me alone because I was nervous enough. At this, I fixed my posture and looked forward. Jefferson stood in the corner with his cold, judgmental eyes instantly on me. I couldn’t let him know I was nervous.

You reek of fear. Calm yourself down.

“I’m trying!”

Well, try harder!” Derek cleared his throat before closing the connection.

He was right. If I continued showing signs of fear, then Jefferson would call me out on it without hesitation. The last thing I wanted to do was give him any satisfaction in thinking I had second thoughts. He wasn’t going to get away with humiliating me in front of my people. Not now or ever!

I exhaled deeply before tipping my chin and shaking the fear away. After all, there was nothing to be nervous about. I got this in the bag!

Jefferson locked eyes with mine, the small smile on my face almost challenging him to try and ruin my moment. Of course, not too much because he still is my superior. Jefferson gave up and looked away, displeased. In the next moment, he angrily walked over to the man sitting behind the desk and grabbed the paper to finish signing it himself. I looked back at Derek and Nicole to find them mirroring my smug expression.

After the council talked about our pack history, and dad gives a speech about his time as an alpha, I am called forward, “May I?” Basil asked me, holding the black dagger. I nodded, offering him my hand to slide the blade across. He grabs my hand and places it over the sacred metallic vessel, which is older than everyone standing in this room. The vessel instantly catches fire when my blood spills inside, hence the name ‘The fire of promises.’ Now it is time for my oath.

“I, Astrid Caroline Collins, daughter of Jonah Collins and Grace Collins, do solemnly swear by the fire of promises that I will faithfully lead the members of the River Ash pack. With the power and strength given to me by our goddess, I will lay down my life, if necessary, for the innocents’ safety and well-being and destroy any evil that disrupts the peace of our world. I will honor those who have gone before me and those who will come after me...”

After I finish my oath, I feel a new sense of power within me, like my wolf is being released of these heavy chains, and beautiful lights of freedom have emanated from my soul. This newfound power oozed from my aura and spread throughout the room. It seems to have washed away all my insecurities and doubts. I’ve never felt more powerful in my life.

Derek and Nicole recited their oaths with the fire of promises before the council ended the ceremony. My subordinates come to congratulate me and shake my hand. I’d finally become the alpha, and nothing could have made me happier. Although as I heard the blade scraping against its scabbard, I nearly squealed with excitement. How could I forget the best part?

“I have been waiting to give this to you since I first saw you pick up a sword,” Dad said, holding the ancestral sword for the last time. All previous alphas in my family have taken ownership of the sword in their lifetimes. It had become the Collins family heirloom.

“It’s all yours,” Dad smiled, sliding it back in the scabbard, the sweet scraping sound of the blade sending a tingle down my spine. I nearly snatched the sword out of his hands, grinning from ear to ear.

“Thank you!” I said cockily, utterly pleased with taking my dad’s sword away. I’d always dreamed of slicing my enemies in half with it, and there was no doubt I’d do it the first chance I got. Even though I am efficient in swordsmanship, that didn’t stop mom from lecturing me about carrying it inside the scabbard at all times because she was scared I’d cut myself.

“I can’t believe it’s finally mine,” I commented more to myself, admiring the engravements on the handle. Our small pack symbol flashed on the blade as I held it up and tested it in the lighting. Dad smiled, “You deserve it, sweetheart.”

“Damn right, I do,” I spoke aloud, causing everyone to chuckle. I couldn’t get over the fact that I’m the first female ever to hold such a powerful weapon. I knew my future within this pack would be bright, and I would finally put all those rumors and lies to rest about me. Others would say I’d never see this day come, and now I could laugh in all their faces.

No one could take this feeling away from me.

This is just the beginning…” My wolf mentally spoke to me with power.

~

I almost slipped in my heels as I reached for my clutch on the way out the front door. I managed to kick them off and jog across the yard to Derek’s car while my dress threatened to flash my panties. We had precisely ten minutes to be at the venue, and if the three of us couldn’t make it there on time, my mother would murder us.

“Step on it!” I demanded when I hopped into the back seat. He drove with lightning speed while Nicole and I finished our last makeup touches. However, Nicole had to redo her lipstick when Derek hit a bump purposely. I had to beg her not to kill him because there was no time. She’d have to kill him later.

By the grace of the moon goddess, the three of us arrived on time. The room came to life with the beautiful chandeliers and the live band playing jazz music. The guests mingled and danced to the music on the large ballroom floor, dressed in the most elegant tuxedos and gowns. I scanned the room, spotting my parents gracefully walking hand in hand, greeting the guests.

Meanwhile, Nicole was first to spot the waiters zooming through the crowd serving cocktails and fancy appetizers. However, neither excited her as much as the open bar. Khloe was quick to join her at the counter.

“Well, my lady, I believe now it’s time to socialize with the others,” Derek said with a fake accent. My lead pack warrior Liam happened to walk by, reaching for a drink from the waiter’s tray and accidentally bumping into Derek, “Back away from me, peasant,” He said with the same accent, shoving Liam to the side. I couldn’t hold back my laughter as he playfully brushed his shoulders off and tightened his bow tie before disappearing into the crowd. I couldn’t blame him for being so full of himself. We deserved this night.

“Here we go,” I muttered to myself before following his lead. Tonight was for celebrating, but we’d be working as well, or so it would feel like work.

At this time, my father made sure I conversed with all the alpha’s and Luna’s present, especially the ones who were our allies. Most of them were good friends of my parents and never failed to show me support in this journey despite my reputation, which wasn’t easy, and for that, I wanted to thank them personally.

It wasn’t easy being a female in a man’s role. The senior officials and representatives were the absolute worst when recognizing gender equality. Many females were denied their titles all because they had a vagina. The very few female alphas here were living proof of this unfair treatment.

Such a shame.’ I thought to myself—Us females are the ones who keep the werewolf population alive. Behind every great wolf, there is a powerful woman. The males would be nothing without us. Fortunately, no one stupidly commented on their opinions on this matter tonight.

Dad and I were speaking with the alpha and Luna Harris when Rachel came up to me, “Alpha” She bowed her head respectfully before saying, “Your guest has arrived. He’s waiting in the patio.” I nearly yelped with excitement as I excused myself and pulled her to the side.

“Did he look mad?”

“No,” She replied, “He seemed to be concerned. He doesn’t understand why you’ve called him to this event.” I smiled mischievously, “He’ll find out.”

I walked into the cold night air, heading towards the patio. I found a dark-haired man wearing an all-black tuxedo, gazing out at the lake. He snapped his head in my direction as he felt my presence.

“Astrid,” He muttered, his blue eyes blazing with intensity. He was pissed at me for forcing him here. He tried refusing, but I’d come hunting him down either way.

“Michael,” I said, using the same tone on him. He turned away from me and slouched over the railing. I knew he didn’t feel like talking about the situation, but I wasn’t going to put up with his nonsense tonight.

“Why have you called me here? My alpha-“

“Save it,” I shushed him with my hand, “Right now, my best friend is at the bar drinking her sadness away. You need to go in there and talk to Nicole and work this out,” Nicole could smile and laugh all day, but only I knew deep down it was all an act. She’s broken on the inside.

Michael stared off into the distance, contemplating his thoughts. There was a glimpse of hope in his eyes though he pushed it away, quicky, “She doesn’t want to see me.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is. Besides, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of her happiness with that wolf,” Michael said, mockingly, his jealousy written all over his face with a red permanent marker.

“Nicole wants nothing to do with him. Last time I checked, you’re the one who carries her mark and scent,” I argued, “She loves you, Michael,” I heard his heartbeats quicken as I told him this.

He took a sip out of his beer, and stubbornly shook his head, “No. If she loved me, then she would have dealt with him a lot sooner. I cannot stay here for someone who doesn’t want to commit. She hasn’t even tried to call me anymore,” He persisted.

I sighed, taking my head in my hands. He was a lot more obstinate than I remembered, but I still wasn’t giving up. I stepped closer, looking him straight in the eyes, “She’s your mate, and I know you miss her as she misses you. Nicole isn’t perfect, but neither are you. You’re both at fault for the relationship falling apart. So be a man and go in there and fix this!”

He stared at me pensively before looking back to the venue. He took a step back, “I can’t,” He said, pushing me entirely over the edge. I was done with his pigheaded ways.

“What are you doing?” He hissed at me as I forcefully grabbed his arm and dragged him inside the building. He tried to pry my hand off with all his might but to no avail. A human against an alpha? I hope he wasn’t expecting to get away from me so easily.

We stopped at the entrance just a couple of feet from the bar. I grabbed him by the shoulders and told him grimly, “If you don’t get your ass over there and talk to Nicole, so goddess help me, I will claw your intestines out and feed them to the vultures!” I growled, pushing him forward.

Instinctively, Nicole stiffened in her seat as she felt the mate pull and turned around with wide eyes, “Michael,” She said, on the verge of tears at the sight of her mate. Suddenly, Michael went back on his words, and in the next moment, he was embracing her.

“I…I missed you so much,” Nicole cried before he shushed her with his lips. Meanwhile, I did a little happy dance at my victory, not caring if my guests saw me. My best friend was finally happy after months of heartache, and that’s all that mattered to me. They soon were leaving the event. She looked over her shoulder and mouthed a ‘thank you’ at me. I smiled, but something felt off inside me. Suddenly, I felt empty.

For a moment, I stood back and watched between the mates. The couples’ slow dancing were so lost in each other the world could come crashing down, and it wouldn’t faze them. Not even Satan himself could tear them apart.

Sometimes I couldn’t help but wonder when my mate would come along. My reason for existing. Was he out there somewhere in this great big world longing for me? Would he cherish and love me as I would him? Was he ready for me?

“Yes,” A feminine voice spoke knowingly from behind me. I turned to face a short woman in her mid- 30’s I’d never seen before. Her hazel eyes studied me curiously up and down before she smiled. The red dress swayed with her hips as she closed the distance between us, “I believe a certain someone wishes for the same.”

Wait. Did she just read my mind?

“Who’re you?” I asked. From her scent, I could tell she wasn’t a wolf or human. There was something different about this woman. It became clear when she closed the distance and stepped in front of me. She is a witch but not just any witch.

She’s a seer.

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