We all sit in silence, Phoenix is staring at me, waiting for an explanation. Miles and Dannon look at the floor uncomfortably.
I clear my throat “so, my uncle is alright. He got arrested on purpose because Alex has gone missing and he was trying to find him. My aunt has the money to pay his taxes and he will be released tomorrow.”
Phoenix runs his hands through his hair.
“I’m glad your uncle is alright. We will talk later about your little field trip. What I set up would have helped your uncle, but the soonest I could make it happen was next week, so, he’s better off, for now, being released tomorrow. I went to see a friend, and ally in the security office, which looks pretty crispy by the way.”
We all let out a small laugh. He’s still too tense to really enjoy the joke.
“He is going to be placing guards at the prison that will allow us access without question. At night, when there is little chance of being disturbed, Mercer is going to go in and remove their collars. After the first procedure he was able to figure out a way that is actually pretty simple. He won’t need to take anyone to the lab anymore.”
“Really? That’s amazing.” I feel so guilty that I scared him so much when he was out trying to set up something so important.
“Can we have a minute?” I ask Miles and Dannon who bow and exit quickly.
“I’m so sorry I scared you. I just needed to make sure he was ok. I knew whatever you were doing was important and helpful but I just needed to see him.”
“You have no idea how panicked I was when I came home and you were gone, then, when you weren’t with Celine...”
“In hindsight, a note would have been nice.”
He pulls me into his lap and kisses my forehead, “a note would have been great.”
The little black box Celine gave me catches my eye. I forgot all about it after the events of last night. I reach for it and hold it in my hand, nervous to open it. Knowing that Queen Helene left this for me leaves me with an aching feeling in my chest.
“Open it,” he whispers.
I pull the box open to reveal a ring with a very large ruby encased in diamonds.
I gasp and look at the ring.
Phoenix chuckles, “we had to have it reset in white gold, it used to be silver.”
“Really, when did you do that?”
“Right after I took you to meet her. She loved you right away and wanted you to have that. It was her mothers, and her mothers before her.”
“H-How did you know that I would need you to change the silver?”
“My mom knew as soon as she met you, Noelle. She told me that night…”
“You knew, all this time? I… how...how did she know?”
“She said it was something about your eyes, she could just sense it, she also knows about a group that is training wolves to beat the silver test. She thought you might be one of them...” he shrugs like it’s not a big deal.
“I wanted to tell you for so long. When you call me your beloved, I want you to know that this goes beyond just love for me. You are a gift to me from the moon, sacred. I can’t believe you know about the silver training...” my mind is blown,
He presses his lips to mine in a passionate kiss before breaking away.
“Alex told me that he told you not to say anything. He was afraid that I would act irrationally if I knew about you,” he chuckles.
“Wait, he knows that you know?! Do you know where he is? How do you know each other? I saw you when I took you to meet my uncle, you definitely already met…”
He chuckles and presses a kiss to my cheek, “I hate secrets but there are some things that I can’t tell you right now. Not because I don’t trust you but because I’ve been asked not to. You will see Alex soon.”
I nod, understanding that I don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to keeping secrets.
"I know that you're eighteen, not seventeen, too," he smirks at me.
I blush bright red. I am such a big fat liar.
He stands suddenly, leaving me on the bed. He locks the bedroom door then pulls the curtains closed.
“Will you show me your wolf?”
“S-show you...my wolf?”
I’m so nervous. Shifting while someone watches is nerve wracking.
“I can step into the bathroom?” He offers. Without waiting for my answer, he steps into the bathroom and closes the door
When I’m alone I pace for a moment. He wants to see my wolf. I’ve wanted this for so long. Before I can work myself up by overthinking, I quickly pull off my clothes and shift. I walk over and scratch at the door lightly.
When he opens the door he smiles and bites down on his lip, “you’re beautiful, I knew you would be.”
I have to keep partial control over my wolf, she’s so excited she’ll accidentally maul him. We sit for a long time, he rubs my fur while he talks to me about...everything. He tells me what he knows about the silver training program, which is actually less than I know. He doesn’t know my aunt and uncle run it. He tells me about his goals for his reign and what kind of world he hopes we’re building. His dreams for us, for our family.
I slowly fall asleep to the soft sound of his voice.