Forty : Induction
“I don’t think I can do this,” I whispered to Eros. My fingers tightly curled into the back of his white dress shirt as I hid behind him.
Eros’ broad shoulder was facing me. He stood in front, blocking me with his taller frame from the crazy crowd that had gathered before us.
Today was supposed to be my induction day into the pack, where I will be officially introduced as the Alpha Female to everyone, and I can’t be any more nervous than I already am.
Most of the people gathered here knew about my involvement with the government, and I doubt they actually want me as their Alpha Female.
I tried to get Eros to push the date back as much as I could but, unfortunately, the day has come.
And, hopefully, it won’t be as disastrous as what I think it will be.
For the most part, I am content being a person that stood in the crowd, immersed and hidden in the sea of people.
But, somehow, the gods had other intentions for me when they decided to ‘gift’ me with this magical womb and granted me an Alpha mate.
I’m not complaining but it would be nice to get a little break from all this action and drama for once.
Taking a sharp inhale of breath, I finally sidestepped from Eros’ shadow to stand beside him.
I could barely look at the crowd of people when he reached out a hand towards me. His small gesture was enough to anchor me back to safety and reality. My heart slightly calms when I slipped my own hand into his, weaving our fingers together into a tight hold.
I really hope he doesn’t mind my sweaty hands because when I get nervous, my hands sweat.
From the corner of my eye, I could see Eros’ lip twitch in response to my thought as if he found my predicament amusing.
Which it’s not if you ask me.
“It’ll be okay. I’m right here, Emira,” he murmured reassuringly, leading us further to the front until we stood facing the crowd of people in his pack.
Just knowing that Eros is here manages to calm most of my nerves, along with the urge to flee like a frightened animal.
I gritted my teeth and stood my ground beside him.
He said some things to the crowd that I completely overlooked as I tried to calm myself down.
If not, I think I will throw up in front of everyone.
Wouldn’t that be a great situation to be in?
Not only will I be the laughing stock of the entire pack but I will also be the first Alpha Female to throw up all over herself while being inducted.
Note my sarcasm.
“As everyone knows, Ziron-e has been created in order to defend our pack from Hunters and it is all thanks to our Alpha Female that we are able to recreate this substance.” Eros’ voice boomed across the room as I literally froze in my place. “Everyone welcome Emira Hall, your Alpha Female.”
I’m Emira Hall now?
Albeit I knew that this is one of the outcomes of us mating, it still didn’t help the astonishment that colored my face from actually hearing my name change.
Not by seeing the change of name on a piece of paper sent to me by a governmental agency but actually hearing it come out of Eros’ mouth solidified the fact that we are in a permanent union of some sort.
This feels like marriage and we haven’t even stepped foot into the church.
At Eros’ words, everyone, willing or not, knelt down before us.
It was an entirely out of body experience when I watched the wave of people come to their knees until I could only see the tops of their heads as they bowed their loyalty to us.
From there, the entire induction ceremony passed on like a blur. I couldn’t even remember what all we did on that stage when Eros led me back down to earth.
Before I could say anything to him, Beta Toran and two tall males approached us with some important pack stuff that, I’m sure, required Eros’ attention.
“I’ll call Rora over,” Eros said, reading my mind once again.
I should get an award for being the most understanding mate of the month.
“Okay,” I told him when Eros softly kissed the corner of my mouth, transferring his warmth and a shimmer of sparks across my face.
He left with Toran right after, leaving me with Rora while being surrounded all around by his—our—pack members.
I’m still quite curious about the whole induction ceremony, because I knew that there was a lot more to it than just this.
From what I knew, there was an introduction, a blood ritual, a tribal marking, a chase, and a mating in the middle of a forest where anyone can walk in on you.
I don’t find any of that exciting, but who am I to judge the traditional practices of others?
Out of all the above, I was only introduced and that was it.
I originally thought that the induction ceremony was going to be a lot more lengthy than this.
But, it wasn’t.
Perhaps this pack’s ritual is different from others.
I’m not too sure.
“Hey Rora, is this process the usual induction ceremony for the Alpha Female?” I asked Rora in curiosity.
“Not quite. There is a lot more to it.” She glanced in the direction that Eros had left before saying, “Alpha Eros decided to cut it short and tossed away a lot of traditional steps in deference to your humanity. He did not want you to be uncomfortable and had announced this in advance so that no one would question it.”
At her words, I could feel my throat tighten and my eyes burn with unshed tears.
I almost cried knowing that he waived all of his traditions in order to appease me, but I had to hold it back in case I might start sobbing like an idiot in front of the entire pack.
It’s not like I haven’t looked like a total mess in front of them before, but I didn’t want to make Eros look bad with me as his Alpha Female.
If I had known about this, I would have told him that I would be willing to do it for him, no matter how uncomfortable it would make me.
He’s given up so much for me, the least I could do was give some effort in our relationship.
It made me feel bad because I felt like I haven’t contributed anything.
He gave and I took.
Almost like a parasitic relationship where I was the parasite.
I know that Eros doesn’t mind but I do. And I really wished that there was something that I could do for him, something within my capability, of course.
As I contemplated the options, my eyes shifted from Rora’s form until it landed on this rather tall blonde female who was glaring at me from the distance. She had pretty light blue eyes lined with a thick layer of eyeliner and matted with a dark smokey purple eyeshadow, a tall nose accentuated with a tiny bit of highlighter on the tip, and full lips glistening in a shade of nude. She was rather pretty, if she wasn’t viciously glaring at me.
Since I couldn’t do anything about it, I just shrugged it off and followed Rora.
Rora introduced me to her friends, and I could that tell some of them were still sort of awkward and tense around me.
That was expected.
Some smiled whole-heartedly while there were others whose smile seemed forced and rather strained.
I knew there was still a lot of work cut out for me in order to gain everyone’s trust, but I am willing to put in the effort.
I’m just glad that they tried to remain as neutral as they could with me.
How can I expect them to trust me knowing that I was working for the opposite team?
Even I wouldn’t trust me if I were them.
Well, at least no one has made any comments on my scientist background.
“Oh-em-gee! You’re the Alpha Female aren’t you! I’ve been waiting so long to meet you,” a female’s voice suddenly managed to cut through my engrossing thoughts when I looked up.
“I’m Brandy,” she introduced with a wide grin on her face that showcased a full set of perfectly straight teeth and freckled cheeks.
“I’m Emi,” I reply rather shortly, trying to catch my breath at her sudden appearance.
My eyes trailed from her happy face down to the biker jacket and extremely tight skinny jeans that she was wearing in question of her approach.
Brandy had piercings on her nose, eyebrow and lip. Her hair was a mixture of different pastel colors starting from the root to the end.
From my observation of her, Brandy seemed quite tough and edgy.
“I hope this doesn’t offend you but you smell...thoroughly fucked,” Brandy said with this mischievous inflection in her voice. A rather sly grin imprinted itself onto her lips.
I nearly choked on the spit in my mouth at her statement, and I couldn’t decide on swallowing it down or spitting it back up.
I suddenly noticed that Brandy had a rather uncensored mouth. She spoke what she wanted when she wanted without a care at all the dumbfounded faces she left behind.
And I can’t help but wonder if all werewolves were this blunt like Brandy and Zanthos or were they the only exceptions.
My face was frozen for a split second before I choked out, “It’s nice to meet you too.”
What else was I supposed to say?
“You’re so pretty! I am in love with your skin,” she exclaimed with rather exaggerated hand gestures. Then, she started asking me twenty questions on what products I used and how I take care of my skin. “Like how old are you? 45? 175?”
My eyebrows furrowed together at her question. I started feeling rather offended until I remembered that werewolf years and human years were completely different.
At least I hope she wasn’t trying to make a jab at me.
“30,” I answered rather robotically, unsure of what else to say because it started to become awkward with her continuously rambling on about who knows what and me just standing there.
After about 15 minutes, I started praying that someone would drag her away or distract her enough so that I could make my escape.
Another 15 minutes went by when a tall muscled guy came for her.
Thank the lord.
Any minute longer and she was going to talk my ear off and Eros would never be able to see me again.
I breathed out a sigh of relief when I saw the male put his arms around Brandy’s waist in a rather possessive hold as if they were in a relationship.
Other than the fact that she liked to talk way too much, Brandy wasn’t that bad.
“She talks a lot,” Rora admitted when Brandy disappeared from our sight.
I couldn’t help but nod repeatedly in response.
Brandy sure did.
Rora and I continued to trek across the hall when we walked past that tall curvaceous blond female who has been giving me the stinky eye ever since I noticed her, which was almost 30 minutes ago after Eros left.
And to be honest, I’m not that surprised.
She might be one of the haters because of my background history.
“Do you know her, Rora?” I asked once we were a little further away.
I could still feel her penetrating glare on my back like she wanted to pierce straight through me with her eyes.
“That’s Lia.” Rora glanced slightly at the blonde haired female who was fairly intimidating to the back of us.
“She’s been glaring at me for the last 30 minutes. I almost thought that she was going to grab me by the hair and toss me around like a rag doll when we walked past,” I whispered to her. I duly noted how a smirk seemed to curl on Lia’s lips right after my comment.
She heard me.
Of course, she would.
How could I forget about that superior werewolf hearing?
After hearing what I said, she looked like she wanted to make my words a reality because a rather dark and evil grin blossomed on her shiny lips.
I could even see a hint of her sharp canines that jutted out from the corner of her mouth when she grinned. Shivers immediately wracked my form.
What in the world did I ever do to her?
“She knows better than to do that,” Rora replied when we left the hall and started walking back to my room. “She’s only giving you that ugly face because of Alpha Eros.”
“Eros? What’s this have to do with him?” I reply.
“Lia has been pining after Alpha Eros for almost 300 years, but he never pays her any attention,” she stated with this disapproving look on her face. “She’s far too young for him.”
My face deadpanned for a minute and a half.
If she’s 300+ years old and she’s considered too young, then what am I considered?
I’m not too sure if I really want to know, because now that I think about it, this whole age thing makes Eros quite the pedophile.
I’ve never heard of any couple having an age gap of 900+ years.
Imagine if Eros was all old and wrinkly and shriveled up.
My face immediately scrunched up at the mental image.
I'm not going to think about it that way because it’s kind of grossing me out.
“What’s grossing you out?” Eros asked when he stepped foot into our room right after Rora left minutes ago.
I better get rid of that image of him all wrinkly and shriv—forget it.
He probably saw it.