To Love

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Chapter 4

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“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.”

-Dhar Mann

The state of the cells surprise me. The corridors are still eerie with walls made of pure concrete and nothing else but the cells themselves... They look the same as the glass one Teo was held in, most of them smaller but maintaining the same style. And inside...

Overlooking the prisoners that begged when Roman passed or scowled with disdain at their captor, the cells weren’t dingy little holes with no light and a bucket in the corner. Each cell was decorated white at the base, regular beds with a closed off section I presumed was a bathroom and a small area that either held objects or lay vacant. I supposed the better behaved they were, the more inclined they were to receive books or chairs or even televisions in one cases. I didn’t know whether the stark contrast to what I perceived should please me or shock me even more.

April paced two steps in front of us but didn’t say another word to Roman as we walked to her mates cell. Her fiery hair looked bleak under the lights of the halls, that passion she once held now consumed with dread. I’ll admit I was apprehensive too, I had no idea what state Marcus was being held in. All I knew concerning Roman’s father was the pieces of information he retrieved over the past few weeks. How he got that information... A shudder travelled down my spine at the multitude of ideas that popped into my mind, ones I shook off as soon as I could.

The two guards in front of us stop at a junction in the halls and April glanced towards us before looking at the men again.

“You can leave for now. I’ll contact you when you are needed,” Roman announced, his voice sturdy and solid. The two guards turn around and nod, moving past us.

It takes April all of one second to start moving again, her steps fervent. She guides herself to the right, travelling with the guidance of the bond that pulls her to her mate like they are connected by string. Roman and I have to increase our pace, if only slightly to keep up with her eager steps.

The second she halts my heart begins to race and I feel Roman’s hand grip onto mine once more. For his own comfort or my protection I don’t know.

“Marcus,” April whispers, tears running down her face. We reach the cell just as his head snaps to the sound of his mate, shock, longing and guilt washing over his face all at one. His cell is like the others, but completely bare aside from a small stack of books at the foot of his bed.

His shattered attention turns towards us, hardening instantly as he eyes his son, disdain turning to disgust as he notices me. His blue eyes, so starkly similar to his son’s tear from my body and focus back on April, his expression softening.

“You shouldn’t be here,” he says and a flash of sadness crosses her face.

“I had to see you, I kept,” she swallows the pain in her voice, “why are you there? What happened?” She presses and Marcus turns to us.

“Ask our precious son and his mate,” he says and April glances at us too.

“You really want me to tell her?” Roman bites back and Marcus clenches his jaw.

“Why would you bring her here?” He diverts, ignoring April entirely. “Haven’t you made me suffer enough?”

“If you think your suffering has ended after what you did you are sorely mistaken. Mom wanted to see you, she was worried,” he replies and I am glad there is a clear barrier between us.

“Roman,” April scolds, a hand covering her mouth.

“He isn’t our boy anymore, April. Scolding won’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried,” Marcus says to his mate and her expression becomes confused, torn between her child and her mate.

“What have you done?” She whispers, the tightness of her words making Marcus visibly flinch.

“April...” he starts, his hand twitching at his side like he wants to reach out and comfort her, remove that sadness from her voice.

“Tell me,” she demands again, her eyes welling up.

Marcus stands speechless and I think Roman enjoys it. This is probably torture of a different kind for his father.

“She asked you a question, dad,” Roman says and Marcus stills, the silence like the deathly calm of an ocean before a tsunami. It seemed whatever compelled Marcus to think April would side with him when the reasoning of his capture came from Roman had disappeared, logic taking its place.

April remained staring at her mate. “Mark,” she said, her voice so desperate, so full of affliction it made him close his eyes momentarily.

“I was trying to help the pack,” he said through clenched teeth, “trying to save it,” he continued.

“Save it? Save it from what?” She presses and he narrows his eyes at me.

“From her."

April’s lack of response fills the room with a silent void as she mulls over what he means. Piecing together the little knowledge she has acquired until she finally takes a call step back from the cell, looking at Marcus with a mix of fear and unknowing.

“How?” She mutters, her voice so quiet I’m surprised her mate can understand it from the other side of the cell. But he does. From the way his expression falls and he stumbles for words, I can tell.

“It was the only way to save this pack from destruction. She was working with rebels, the hunters, April, the same ones who killed our little girl. I couldn’t let her take out son from us too, no matter his blindness to it all,” Marcus reasons and April turns to me, shock masking her face as well.

“She didn’t know about the hunters,” Roman cuts in, looking at his mother, “she didn’t want to be here, you are both wise enough to understand why and the rebels offered an easy way out. What you did father, was almost destroy this pack.”

“Someone just tell me what the hell he did!” April yells, her pent up frustration silencing both men in an instant.

“He tried to kill me,” I announce, my first comment in this family matter and the second I do, all eyes turn to me.

April looks like she’s been slapped straight accords the face. “He what?” She asks before gulping, her eyes beginning too well with tears.

“He tried to have my mate assassinated on multiple occasions,” Roman reiterates and April’s lip starts to wobble.

“No, you wouldn’t,” she says, turning to Marcus for confirmation. But all she gets is his head dipping lower, an answer in and of itself. “You wouldn’t,” she says firmer.

“April there was no choice.” His reply was cut off with the sound of her cry that bounced off the walls of the room.

“How could you?” She asked, taking another step away. “After what you saw it did to me. How could you put him though that? My only child left.”

Guilt begins to work its way onto his face, not at his actions but at his mates response, at the pure agony lining her face. “He’s strong enough, he would have been fine A, I’m telling you,” he continues, still trying to justify what he thought was the right thing to do.

“You told me you were sorry, when you killed my mate you said you were sorry,” she says through tears and Marcus releases a growl.

“He’s not your mate, not anymore,” he says and she shakes her head.

“And neither are you.”

I never thought I’d see the look on Marcus’ face, not when his demeanour around me had only been that of a calculated villain. But he looked tortured, like April had reached into his chest and ripped out his cold, dead heart.

“You don’t mean that,” he said, moving closer to the glass, “April, take it back, you don’t mean it,” he continued but she didn’t have to do anything, not when he was bound by chains and she wasn’t.

April turned and walked, her strides long and fast away from Marcus’ cell.

“April! Come back here, don’t walk away from me! April, please,” he continued and his yells remained sounding on the walls of the concrete prison until we had walked far enough away that they became a faint whisper on the stale air of the underground.

-

The brush painting powder on me swipes across my upper cheek, leaving a faint tint of blush in its wake. Roman still hadn’t arrived, his seat positioned next to mine completely empty.

He’d left with his mom, where he went I didn’t have the time to ask but I knew what had happened down in the cells wasn’t easy for him to see. His father was bordering insanity and his mother wasn’t too far behind. And now we both had to go on live television, acting as though what just happened never did and like the mountain of issues we still really hadn’t worked out were non-existent.

“Are you excited, Luna?” The lady behind me asked, putting down her brush and picking up hair equipment.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” I answer and she resumes her work.

“I’m sure you will do a great job, the people of the pack already adore you,” she says and I let out a dry laugh at that.

“They hardly know me, how can they adore a stranger,” I reply and she shrugs.

“The goddess chose you and she knows what she is doing. But maybe this will change that for you, give the people a chance to get to know who you are,” she says with optimism but it makes my gut sink.

How the hell am I supposed to tell the nation who I am when I don’t even know the answer myself?
I give her a small smile. “Hopefully.”

She finishes the hair and just as she puts in a final clip, Roman walks through the doors. I expected he’d need some serious makeup to fix the exhaustion of the situation but he looked as good as new, no evidence whatsoever that he was anything but perfect.

Behind him, a woman with a clipboard and head set walks in, her steps more focused and her eyes scanning the document in her hand with vigilance. “The production will commence in less than ten minutes, we need both leaders prepped and brought into the set before then, how much longer will you take?” She asks, her gaze only tearing away from the clipboard to connect with the woman behind me, an impatient look on her face.

“The Luna is all set and the Alpha...” she walks away from behind me and towards Roman, inspecting his face closely, “he won’t take too long.”

I’m surprised she found anything wrong with him at all but still, she guides him into the chair next to me and begins to run a comb through his hair styling it. I glance at my own hair and nearly grimace. My hair has been brought back from the front into a high pony at the back, the rest of the strands cascading over my back. I look like a barbie doll, like a glory wife.

An alarm sounds and the woman behind Roman ushers us both up and out of the room, walking two steps in front of us as she guides us to a room, set up entirely on one side with media equipment and people, large cameras pointing directly onto a pristine set of couches.

It almost looks alien, every large lens pointed at the places we are set to occupy like guns. Ready and loaded to shoot at us and broadcast something that could make or break so many aspects of the war. We’d talked all of last night about what we were going to say, or more specifically, what we weren’t. The questions hadn’t been given to us, the media wasn’t obligated to give us time to process them. As soon as Roman’s power was solidified, he gave them back their freedom, seeing how it could lead to problems in the future.

“Alpha, Luna, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” A tall man, suited to perfection with a gleaming set of white teeth says, bowing his head ever so slightly. Which indicates clearly to me one thing. He’s a wolf. That should alleviate my nerves somewhat but they still linger the same as before, just because the man grew up under the pack regime, doesn’t mean he liked it.

“Likewise,” Roman says, turning to me, “Maeve this is the son of a good friend of mine, Gamma Holt,” he says and I don’t recognise the name but his face looks vaguely familiar.

“Oh right, Gamma Holt,” I comment with a smile.

“Have you ever done anything like this before Luna?” He asks and I shake my head, “Well there is no need to worry, I’m sure your mate has filled you in on how things work by now but in the end of the day it’s just a conversation.”

Just a conversation. Then why does it feel like my heart is going to beat out of my chest? Truth is, this isn’t just a conversation, I am going to sit in that chair, next to Roman and smile and pretend like everything here is fine, like I’m fine and the thought of fighting against him is non-existent. The thought of people seeing me like that, people who knew me and lived through that hell with me... it made my gut wrench.

“I’m sure it will be fine,” Roman replies for me, his hand moving to the small of my back.

“Well if you don’t mind taking a seat we are set to air in just under five minutes,” he instructs and Roman nods, guiding me towards the plush red sofa, lined with golf trimmings. A setting for royalty, for power.

And Roman looked perfect. Like the setting was made for him specifically, tailored to enhance his natural self whilst I looked so out of place it wasn’t funny. A small human girl next to two buff wolves.

I made the set up look weak, which is why I knew the second I opened my mouth I had to be anything but.

“Are you alright,” Roman whispered to me, his large hand resting on my knee as his eyes inspected my face.

“I’ll be fine,” I respond, taking a deep breath, “The sooner we get this done the sooner we can get back to work right?”

He smiles. “Right.”

“And we are set to begin. Everyone set in their positions, camera one focusing on Jerry, and we are live in five, four three, two...” my heart beats with every countdown.

“Hello and welcome to tonights segment. We have a very special evening for you tonight, joining me for the very first time together on national television is the Alpha and Luna superior on a one off tv special. Make sure you stay tuned for all exclusive content, here tonight, on live with Jerry,” I look at the woman with a clipboard as she makes gestures with her hands.

“Welcome, and how are you both this evening?” Jerry asks and Roman leaves his hand on my knee.

“We are very well, thank you,” Roman responds for the both of us and I am glad because the tight lot in my throat would have made answering very difficult.

“And how has life been for the both of you as a newly mated couple?” He asks, getting straight into it, I suppose.

“As well as can be expected. There is no greater gift in this world than finding the mate the goddess has chosen for you. We are both very blessed,” Roman replies looking to me and smiling which I mimic.

“Of course,” he replies. “This all must be very new for you however, Luna. Finding your mate, being given the role of Luna to uphold... I imagine it is a lot to come to terms with,” he says and I nod.

“It is, even now. But I’ve had many great people help in showing me the way,” I reply, my voice coming out a whole lot more even than I expected. Roman’s touch must help in more ways than one.

“Yes, but from what we’ve seen so far from you, you have been helping in showing this pack some new ways. Tell us a little bit about that,” he says and I smile.

“Well I was taught that part of being a Luna was to lead and naturally I saw that and thought about what I could do with that leadership. I spent five years in the transition from the old ways to the new, just like everyone else and my experiences weren’t great. I saw people hurting, the divide between species and the hate that was just out of control and so when I was given the opportunity to fix some of that, of course I took it,” I answer and he nods his head.

“Indeed you did, we have been reporting on some of your solutions to these problems, developing healthcare, opening schools back up for humans, changing the workforce. Much of what you are doing has caused a great lot of people happiness but there are many as well who oppose what you are trying to implement. What do you have to say to them?” He asks and I don’t let myself give off any hidden messages. He could mean anything when he means those who oppose but I have a good feeling his question was aimed at the hunters.

“I think once they see how good everything will be their opinions will change. I understand why people are reacting the way they are, its only natural to oppose change, no matter if it’s ultimately for the best. All I can do is keep trying to show the positivity in it all and hope that others will see it for what it is,” I respond and he nods, turning too Roman.

“And how has it been for you? To see your pack change before your eyes must be interesting to say the least,” Jerry asks Roman who doesn’t look fazed in the slightest at the loaded question.

“I was hesitant at first, like many pack members are now. But I trust the goddess and I trust my mate, I am beyond thankful to have met someone with the ability to open my eyes to future possibilities. It is an honour to get to work beside her each day and see what she’s doing in person,” he replies and I rest my hand over his, still on my knee.

“On the topic of work, your plates must be very full with everything that is going on. Reforms to implement, laws to change and a suspected conflict on the horizon. How do you both plan to deal with all of this?” He asks and I try not to look too overwhelmed by it all, by the fact that we are going to publicly address a conflict that means so much more to me than the public realises.

“We already have systems set up to operate the necessary arrangements for reforms. As most of our aims have been established, the work load has become much more organised and easier to oversee. It is hard work but rewarding and with the right help from the leaders of this pack, it is manageable,” I reply, satisfied with my response.

“And as for the suspected conflict as many watching tonight may have noticed, there has been a need for tighter security and rules as of late. These changes are not linked to the reforms as many believe, we have a formal release scheduled should tensions escalate but as of now, things are as complicated as they seem. The media has been touching on the issues of our relationship with Alpha Nicholas for a while now and just know that as soon as we can, we will be informing the public.” Roman says and the mention of conflict makes my skin bristle.

I don’t know much about international relations-especially-when it comes to wolves but I do know that conflict is a minor term to describe what is happening right now. I suppose many of the wolves thought the hunters weren’t a problem anymore, ever since their takeover the threat of the cursed beings dissipated for them. But it never went away. And when it comes down to it, a war might very well be the only way to end everything.

“I have full faith that you will both be able to lead us through whatever issues come our way. There has been speculation of the Alpha King making a visit to the pack to run his operations from here, why is it that he is choosing New Moon as his base location?” Jerry asks and if the news shocks Roman, he does a good job of hiding it. It is just like the King to spring something like this up, to make us squirm.

“If this conflict does escalate, the King would of course be on the front lines with us. Considering we border with Alpha Nicholas’ pack, it would be the most logical option to run his affairs from here. Of course, our doors are always open for his majesty, whenever he see fit to walk through them.” A calculated response. A jab at the liberties the King has decided to take up in waltzing in here whenever he pleases.

I know Roman would rather have the doors boiled shut at the sight of the man approaching, but sometimes a lack of response is the best response to someone trying to get a rise from you.

“Of course, now our time here is running to a close and there is one thing I would like to discuss before we leave,” Jerry says, shifting slightly in his seat. “We have received information from an undisclosed source regarding the Luna’s allegiance. As you have shown here tonight, your interests lie with the pack and betterment of the people however the news of you having a husband previous to meeting your mate is quite alarming to many people. Are these rumours true? And if so, does that impact the bound loyalty you have to our Alpha Superior?”

My gut sinks in my chest and I notice Roman’s body still beside me in the way it does when that quiet rage curls up inside his skin. I don’t have an answer, of all the questions I should have prepared for this is the one that I thought over again and again. I knew it would come up and yet every time I considered how I could possibly respond I shoved it to the bottom of the pile and let it go unnoticed.
And how I wish I hadn’t. I swallow.

“The rumours are true,” I confirm, and I can imagine the gasps of surprise from viewers watching this unfold live at home. “I was married before I met my mate and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make accustoming to my situation here harder. But the only bound loyalty I have is to the people of this nation and the duty to create something positive in this world, to help those who aren’t as fortunate as me. I am loyal to the cause the goddess has given me and I am grateful to have the Alpha here doing it with me,” I reply, the most politically driven answer to anything I have given to anyone, ever. Jerry sits back in his chair and I can see in his eyes something I didn’t before. A glint that says he knows so much more than he is letting on and this conversation is very much in his control.

“Well, considering your ex-husband has known ties to the very rebels that threaten the safety of this pack and its people, is it wrong for people to see your past relationship with him a major conflict of interest?”

authors note

So I didn’t update twice this week, as you may very well already know. Truth is, I have been super busy and overall depleted as of late so I might be cutting back from time to time on updates. I thought that I would have this ready the day after I was planning on releasing it but it just didn’t happen.

On my part, I will endeavour to post on socials more to let you guys know if I am going to be late/missing an update and I’ll try to post more on instagram etc. Let me know what kind of stuff you want to see on there as well, I’m always open to your thoughts!

Sorry,

Khalesi <3

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