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IX: if it makes you feel better

The drive back to her pack caused her to be even more nervous. The driver was silent and so was the King that was on the other edge of the seat. Her eyes were trained at the tinted window, watching people as they passed by. There were moments that she would feel Silas’ eyes on her but she never had the courage to look back at him.

This was the very first time that she was shy and it was unlike her. Even her wolf was nuzzling its snout to her paws, trying to make sense of it all.

When she was being beaten, she never shied away from it. She cried but never screamed; never avoided those who wanted to hit her and never avoided the chance of being an alpha of a pack that she was proud of.

“Are you ready?”

She nodded. “Let’s do this then.”

Stepping out of her cabin, she saw fifty-seven of them staring at her expectantly. Clearing her throat and running her fingers through her hair, she stepped closer to the sun, welcoming it. This was it. The new beginning. “I’m young and I haven’t been here for long but make no mistake, I do have a dedication in keeping everyone safe. It does not matter what species we are or that we are rogues. It does not matter where we came from because now, now, we are here together.”

Shaking her head, she smiled. “I feel like I’m giving a speech to people going to war,” everybody laughed with her and she just continued on, “but I just really want you to know that I will do my best to take care of you all. It is not trying, it’s a promise. I understand if some of you don’t believe me because, like I said, I’m young. But what you don’t understand is that I’m strong. I may not know what I’m doing half the time but I’ll have Russel and Juno as my Beta and Gamma. I’m not here to rule so that I can control everything, I am just here to serve you all.”

And that was that.

They cheered for her a second later and talked to her with her title. They talked to her with pride in their voices and eyes that she was their alpha. It was one of the best memories she ever had in her life.

With him, she felt the need to be reclusive. It wasn’t because she feared that he would hurt her like her old pack did or reject her like Jasper did. It was because she had known this man for only a few hours and in the span of those hours, she had already felt safe. She had felt like she could trust him. It was the most dangerous thing of all.

To trust someone that you just met.

“Willow, I can feel you overthinking.”

“Sorry,” she murmured under her breath, knowing that he would hear her fully well.

“Don’t apologize. Talk to me, ma chérie. Are you afraid that I will hurt them because they’re rogues?”

She shook her head and finally glanced at the man. Those eyes of his pieced her very soul, made her feel things without even touching her. Deep down, she was starting to understand what her mama and papa had talked to her about when it came to mates.

Granted, they were werewolves but she could see how their matebond affected one another.

There was one time when she asked about how mates would feel when they first met and her mother stopped braiding her hair and kissed her temple. “Someday, mija, you will understand. There is no word that could describe a feeling so great.”

She always felt that her mother lied when she saw Jasper. The only way that she knew that she really was her mate was when he smelled heavenly to her but not even his change of scent covered the disgust that she felt for him. When their hands touched to reject one another, there were no sparks—unlike Silas’ touch.

Her mother never lied.

With a sigh, her gaze landed on the crown on top of his head. “Can you not wear that when we go to the pack?” He cocked a brow in question. “There’s no pictures of you in history books. It’s a long shot that the vampires haven’t seen you, yes, but I’d rather take that chance. I’ll tell them who you are after I clear up everything, I promise.”

Slowly, he nodded and obliged, placing it in between them. “I’m pretty sure you were not overthinking about my crown.”

“No, I’m not afraid that you will hurt them just because they’re rogues. I mean, I’m a rogue and you haven’t hurt me. Any snobby royals would immediately turn their back on a rogue if they find out that they are mates with them. Not only that, but I also know you’ve built multiple buildings where rogues can stay there for sanctuary if need be and you placed a law that none shall be harmed if they were inside there. Crimes against rogues in sanctuary are punishable by law.”

He smiled. “You certainly know a lot.”

“I read,” she replied, sighing. “I just… something about you makes me want to shy away.”


She bit her lip, contemplating whether or not she should say it.

His eyes turned a shade darker at the action. Willow released her lip immediately, knowing exactly what the look meant.

Running her hand through her hair, she tried to relax. It didn’t work. “We just met and I felt like everything’s turned upside down. I feel safe with you. I feel like I can trust you with everything.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

He looked hurt. Willow couldn’t physically see it in his eyes so she faced down, avoiding his eyes.

“No, it’s just—” she played with the hem of her shirt, tugging at it, pulling at it on each side. “I don’t understand. I’m open with what happened with my past and I had to be for taking the Alpha position. We just met and I already trust you? I don’t even know you for me to actually feel like that. So, actually, yes it is a bad thing for me. No offense.”

They were silent for a while. She thought that she had offended him, her mate.

It wasn’t until Willow had told the driver to stop because there were no roads leading up to their pack that Silas told the driver to step out and took Willow’s hand from her knee.

The familiarity of the tingles reached her again. She slipped her hand back away.

The King cupped her chin just like what he did back at the castle, forcing her to look at him. There wasn’t much resistance from her. “You can trust me, Willow. You’re right. The bond or my words shouldn’t be your way of confirming that you can trust me, it should be by my actions and I will prove to you that you can tell or do anything and I will still be by your side.”

She smiled. It felt like it was the first time she did it in ages. All the stress of everything had her remaining grim and who would have thought that she only needed her mate for her to actually smile?

The King mimicked her expression. For Willow, his smile was the most enchanting thing that she had ever seen. It wasn’t fairies or sirens that could enchant her like this. It was his killer smile. “You look beautiful when you smile, ma chérie.”

Redness creeped out her cheeks, making her hot.

The King released a hefty chuckle when Willow pulled away and got out of the car from the embarrassment.

They walked together, side by side. She turned and saw that the driver was going back in the car and driving away. “You aren’t bringing your driver with us?”

“Why would I?” He questioned.

She shrugged for the nth time. “I don’t know. You’re the King that is walking outside of the walls of your castle. Being unprotected seems like an unwise decision. Especially since this is the forest and vampire rogues surely will recognize you more than other kinds.”

His smile was small. “Just because I have a crown on my head doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to protect myself, Willow.”

“I never said anything about you being unable to protect yourself,” her arms were crossed as they continued walking. “I only asked for my curiosity. Plus, if you helped my father in his battle against the werewolves who wanted to take me away, I already knew you could handle yourself. There is no record of it because,” she scoffed then, chuckling humorlessly, “Heavens just probably finds it funny.”

They came to a stop when his hand snaked around her arm, pulling her back. His towering height over her caused her to just stare at him as he frowned. “If it makes you feel better, it took them six, seven years to stop grieving. That’s why your sister is much younger than you.”

“No,” she shook her head, pulling away from him. “No, it doesn’t.”

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