VI: a werewolf in my home
Without much protest, they sat in a room. Willow was too distracted by her thoughts to realize that she now sat on a room with navy blue walls and in front of her were white expensive couches, a mahogany coffee table, white glass cups with delicate designs, maids standing by the door and guards outside of it, and the King and Queen who claimed to be her biological parents were across from her.
If someone would have come up to her a year ago before she left the Gene Pack and told her that she would be sitting in King Silas Griffin’s castle, she would have laughed at their faces and told them to get out with all their ridiculous notions.
Her eyes snapped up from the tea cup in her hands to the King and Queen. “Hmm?”
Sasha gave a small smile. “I understand this is overwhelming—”
“Oh, it’s more than overwhelming,” she replied, placing the cup back at the table and clasping her hands together to stop herself from fidgeting. This was more stressful than being the alpha of her own pack. “If anything, it’s over, overwhelming. Too overwhelming that I think it’s reached the Goddess herself. Honestly, have I done something bad to the Moon Goddess and Sun Goddess that they’ve placed me in this position with this predicament?”
Adrik had chuckled, eyes filled with humor. “You ramble like your mother. I guess you and Adelaide took that from her.”
Willow didn’t find any of it funny at all.
“Yeah, okay,” she drawled. “Can you just tell me what you want and then prove to me how you know I’m your daughter? Besides the fact that I can literally mind-link with you two and I’m basically a carbon copy of—get this: The Queen.”
Without further talking about trivial things, the two royals nodded.
“Tell me what you know about the Jude Pack,” Sasha questioned.
Running her hand through her dark hair, she racked her brain for an answer. “Jude Pack, one of the top-ranking packs in all time along with their rival League Pack, was run by Alpha Ian and Luna Serenity. They had a daughter Savannah Jude. They said that they were at war with the League Pack when Alpha Ian and Luna Serenity died. Future Alpha female Savannah Jude was in college and was not in the war. The opposing pack won and the loss of members along with the Alpha and Luna caused Savannah to fall into depression and was not able to salvage the pack. She died a year later.”
Sasha shook her head, scoffing at what the history book said about the past. They always made it seem like it was her fault for not being able to get her pack back.
“I really was in college when the war happened. Adrik was visiting and touring around the country when we found one another. After the war, I came back to the pack after hearing that my parents died and I was ready to take over. They were pretty accepting with the plan—build the community again, repopulate the pack, everything that was needed. It all fell apart when Adrik came to the territory and I had announced that he was my mate.
“No one liked the idea that I had a vampire king for a mate. They were too traditional. They mentioned some things that my parents would shame me for having to accept him as a mate. They wanted me to reject the bond and choose someone else to lead with me but then, they learned I was pregnant. And that’s when they stripped me off of the title and forced me out.”
The memory that they entailed to her was causing her to be angry. Willow always believed that it didn’t matter what your mate was, it didn’t matter who you wanted to have a relationship with. Traditions were silver chains that allowed people to treat one another badly.
Just because they grew up believing a lot of things, doesn’t mean that it’s right.
“Your mother had a hard time with you,” Adrik continued. “She was sick a lot and there was a possibility of miscarriage. We didn’t want to take any chances so I bought a house that I thought was safe enough for us. There were guards posted all over and Sasha had a personal doctor to take care of her. Traveling back to Russia wasn’t an option so we stayed.”
Sasha smiled at Willow. “You were such a beautiful and strong one. They had fears that you would be born weak and frail and you wouldn’t survive a day but I knew that you would live. When you were born, you were a werewolf. Your heart was beating and instead of crying, you did something more miraculous that it all seemed like magic. You growled.”
“That seems unlikely,” she furrowed her brows. “I thought werewolves only shift at four years old. I shifted at that age.”
“No, you shifted just three days after you were born,” the King told her. Her mind was jumbled as she searched her wolf for answers to the questions that were arising. “All of it will be cleared. You just have to listen.”
And so, Willow did.
“The doctor called you a phenomenon,” the Queen grinned, eyes shining bright from the memory alone. “She was with us in the early stages of your life. I was still weak after giving birth so she helped me as much as she could. At three days old, we both witnessed you shifting. You were such a small pup and so beautiful. Your eyes are lavender, your fur is the same color as your hair, you had no spots, only a different color on your tail which was green.”
All she said were true. She did have lavender eyes and her fur was what she described. There were no wolves with green fur. She was the only one. It’s why her parents had told her not to shift in front of people that weren’t family. They told her that she was unique and that people may think that she was a freak, a werewolf that deserved to die because she was different.
Willow didn’t say anything. She only contemplated as they continued on.
Adrik released a sigh, the tone of it was filled with sadness. “What we never expected was that we would be betrayed. The doctor was a traitor that was feeding information to the Jude Pack. Once they learned that you were a werewolf stronger than any other wolves because of your early shift, they wanted to take you away. They planned an attack one night. It caught all of us off guard and to keep you safe, we had to give you to my second-in-command, Mikhail, who searched for werewolves that would take you.”
Her parents. She knew then.
“It wasn’t the League Pack or your mother’s inability to lead that made the Jude Pack disperse, it was me. What they did was far greater than war and I had to make sure that they suffered. We couldn’t hightail it out of the country. You were a pup that was only ten days old. The air pressure of the airplane flying and landing could have left you deaf. If we stayed with you, there was a chance that you could be taken for their own greed. We didn’t want to take that chance so we did the safest thing that we could have done.”
“You gave me away,” she supplied.
The two royals had a look of sorrow as they nodded.
“And me shifting at age four?”
“That one, we sought the help of a high-ranking witch that your father knew. She had enough resources to find you and suppress your wolf until you were of age of shifting, making you seem normal. We wanted to come get you, Willow, but we couldn’t take that chance. After the Jude Pack was no longer, the witch told us that some would still want to come after you and if we wanted to keep you alive, we couldn’t look for you.”
“Wow,” was all she was able to say.
There were no doubts in her mind after they finished. Her wolf made no sign that she was angry about them lying. She was only resting, urging her to believe them. Even without her wolf’s encouragement, she already believed them the second that they told her what she looked like in wolf form.
Maybe even before then.
She stood up, combing her hair again. “I-I have to go.”
“Wait, Willow, you can’t leave—”
She interjected the Queen before she could say anything else. “I believe you but I just need time to process everything.”
They were silent for a few minutes.
Then, the King nodded, clutching his wife’s hand within his comfort. “Okay. When will you come back?”
“I don’t know. Possibly—”
The door opened. Everyone had turned to the man that stepped inside, his dark hooded eyes trained at the King of all Russian kings and queens. He hadn’t seen Willow but it was the opposite for her. She saw how beautiful the man was. His skin, like any other vampire royalty, was white as snow; his lips were pink and thin; his cheeks were hollow; and his nose was long and defined. He sported a stubble that showed off how defined and strong his jaw was.
He wore a crisp, blue suit. It was lighter than the uniforms of the soldiers. On the top of his head sat a gold crown with sapphire gems. His dark curly hair was short and so there were some sticking out of his crown. Disheveled or not, the man was beautiful in her eyes.
King Silas Griffin. That’s who he was.
The room suddenly smelled of honey.
“Adrik, I heard there was a werewolf in my home. What the hell are you doing with a werewolf that’s not your beloved?”
At that end of question, she decided to step out of her parents’ shadow. His dark eyes zeroed in her and for the love that was holy, her heart started hammering against her chest. Suddenly, the smell of honey made sense. It was him.
Her wolf barked and waddled her green tail.
“Oh, shit,” she shouted, hands in her mouth.
Sasha and Adrik looked back at her and saw the horror in their daughter’s eyes as she and the King stared at one another. Their heads were snapping from left to right, trying to make sense of it all.
Whatever Adrik was yelling at them, Willow couldn’t hear. All she heard was her own heart and all she saw was him.
Silas released a breath. It felt like a breath of fresh hair to her. “Beloved.”