The aftermath of my 'scene', as my father had called it, was actually a lot quieter than I had anticipated. Cage had tucked tail and ran as soon as he saw my father, which I had figured had something to do with the Alpha wrath that he probably set loose on Cage.
Realistically though, my inner mind's screams were louder than anyone else's words. My mother knowingly looked at me, but said nothing. The Elders simply averted their eyes, which I assumed had something to do with this Princess thing I was getting ready to do.
But I couldn't get over Paeris.
Why was he here? How was he here? Why didn't he tell me he was a real person? How was he a real person?
I wanted to be angry at him for not giving me the full disclosure on the dreams we had apparently shared, but then again, I hadn't asked. I should have known that there was more than meets the eye in any and every situation after everything I had learned and been through recently.
Even Paeris didn't say anything about the scene he witnessed, though the look on his face said more than his words ever could.
Thankfully, I had been packed for days. Jonas had assured me that I didn't need to take anything but the essentials: anything that meant something to me. Of course they wouldn't want me wearing clothes that made me stand out any more than I already would or bringing my own bedding with me. Basically, Allie and I were literally swapping lives.
I did opt to take a shower, I figured I had already made them wait this long, a few more minutes wouldn't kill them. Besides, I didn't think they wanted to smell me the whole way to the High Wall.
When I had walked into my room - or what had been my room until today - I was surprised to find a satin purple dress laid out across my bed, a small handwritten note beside it. My cheeks flushed at the sweet gesture, though I couldn't help but wonder if Paeris had left this out for me before he saw me this morning.
I could only imagine the thoughts running through his mind.
I picked the dress up, holding it to my body and marveling the fact that it would fit exactly the way it had in my dream. It made me realize Paeris had been in control of my outfit and the destination this whole time. While I did feel a little tricked and betrayed that he had been in my head this whole time and hadn't once told me, I couldn't help but be a little giddy to know that he was real.
I slid on the dress, running my hands over the thin fabric with a smile. I knew I was putting off facing him, but I wanted to revel in this moment.
I also was having a hard time leaving the home I had grown up in, the room where I had played as a child.
I sighed to myself, trailing my fingertips over the quilt on my bed, remembering the excitement I had felt when my mother had given it to me. It was made of all of my old favorite shirts from a baby all the way up to my 16th birthday. Originally, I wasn't going to bring it with me. It didn't match my new flashy life by any stretch of the imagination, but I decided then that I needed a piece of my mom with me. A piece of my old life to remind me where I came from. Pictures only told so much of my story.
This would remind me where my home always would be.
I folded it up as small as I could, awkwardly tucking it under my arm and hoisting my small bag over my shoulder before going to rejoin the group of people on the porch. I searched through the handful of pale faces for a few seconds before my eyes fell on him.
He was even more beautiful in person, if that was possible.
His lips curved up slightly as I pushed myself toward him.
"So... you're real." I said simply, blowing the hair out of my eyes that had fallen free in the struggle to get my things through the front door. "You didn't tell me you actually existed."
His eyes widened slightly, obviously not taking in to account that his existence may come as a shock to someone who didn't come from within the High Walls. He smiled again slightly as he helped me shift my bag over to his shoulder as Jonas took my quilt from me gently. I hadn't noticed before now how similar Jonas and Paeris looked.
"Well, I guess if I had started with that, maybe you wouldn't have met me in the nude." He responded playfully, laughing at the blush that crept over my cheeks. "Or maybe you would have." He added in a much softer tone, winking at me. My stomach twisted in excitement at the realization that every want I had previously had, could be a reality.
Jonas cleared his throat distinctly behind us, causing my cheeks to heat up further.
"Clearly you two know each other." Jonas said pointedly, shooting Paeris a look that looked both warm and stern at the same time. "But I will introduce you anyway. This is my son, Paeris of Cruor."
My eyes widened slightly at this. Jonas was Paeris' father? For some reason, this made perfect sense. The similar features, the kind and laid back attitude, it all fit together like a puzzle piece. What didn't make sense was the fact that if he was of the House of Cruor, the elemental house of Shapeshifters, how he could share dreams with me. From everything I had learned from the High Wall - which wasn't much - it didn't fit nearly as logically as the father son knowledge.
"So... okay." I started, but stopped short when Paeris laughed softly, clearly finding humor in my confusion.
"My mother is of Penum." He said, as if it would clear up my confusion any further.
"We can discuss this all on the trip." Jonas offered, waving us forward toward the carriage that was sitting beside of the house. By this time, most of the Elders had already mounted their horses, clearly waiting on us. "We can also discuss your... transgressions." He said pointedly, causing me to frown.
I knew my morning wouldn't be forgotten so easily.
I looked back toward the house, hearing my father and mother talking to one another inside the doors. It didn't sound as if they were arguing, but it didn't sound like their normal friendly banter either.
I nodded to Paeris, as if to tell him I would catch up, before peeking into the house at my parents. My mother was standing at the sink, her arms crossed stubbornly in only a way she could get away with, while my father sat at the table with his head in his hands.
"Mom... dad?" I called to them, causing my mother to look at me with sadness, all irritation disappearing from her beautiful face. "I love you." I said simply, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill over.
My father looked up simply while my mother ran forward to throw her arms around me in a warm hug.
"Show them what it means to be a Champion, honey."