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Chapter 6

The day of the ball.

Where Lords and Ladies and everyone in between plaster on fake smiles all over their smug faces. I don’t trust the Lords and Ladies that have earned their title through wealth; they are the ones that are the most likely to stab you in the back any chance they get; because, let’s face it… that’s how they got their wealth in the first place.

That’s a big reason that I can’t stand balls, the falseness. They’re all wolves in sheep’s clothing. All just waiting for the perfect opportunity to fuck each other over.

For this reason, I need to have my wits about me and keep my guard up. Just in case anyone is planning anything. It might sound like I’m overreacting a little, and maybe I am… but being the weakest link to the pack could mean I would be the first to have a target above my head.

Some of the maids are on hand this afternoon to help me do my hair, makeup and shimmy into my dress.

They have chosen a smokey eye, which really makes my light steely silver eyes pop and a neutral lip. My hair has expertly been put up in a beautiful up-do; I have a couple of strands at the front hanging loose to frame my face.

I have to admit it, I feel beautiful.

Just as I’m giving my thanks to the maids, there is a knock on the door.

“Is it safe to come in?” My dad calls out from behind the door.

“Yes, dad!” I respond.

He pops his head around the door and stays for a while with a frozen expression on his face.

“Errr, dad… you ok? Are you having a stroke?” I question.

“Wow, Mae-Mae… you look incredible! Where did my little girl go?” He says, straightening up and beaming with pride.

Mustering up a small smile, I say a small thank you.

“If any of those dirty mutts try and lay a hand on you downstairs, you just come and find me, ok?” He says playfully with a wink.

My mind immediately flashes to Jasper. Unfortunately, it is highly likely he is going to be in attendance tonight as he is an unmated wolf, still searching for his mate.

The thought alone is enough to riddle my stomach with nerves.

“Now come on, your mum and brothers are waiting for us to make our entrance as a family”.

I nod and link my arm through his own before he leads me to the rest of my family.

All of the men in the family are wearing the same ensemble, a velvety black blazer, crisp white shirt and gold bow tie.

My mum, on the other hand... looks sexy as hell in a long shimmery golden slip over with a long slit up to the thigh. Her chestnut hair cascades down her back in loose - but precise waves.

Dad moves to be with my mum and leans down to kiss her tenderly. My heart swells watching them.

“Wow, look at all of you. You all look amazing”. I compliment.

My brothers move my sides; Ozzy has his hellhounds heeled closely to his free side. They both offer an arm and look down at me with a cheeky wolfish grin. I link through both of their arms and smile to myself internally. My family really are great.

As we walk to the top of the grand staircase that leads to the ballroom, the music and chatter of guests get louder.

All of a sudden... everyone is hushed, as our entrance is announced. To the extent, you would be able to hear a pin drop.

“Presenting, the King of all Alpha’s - King Ezekiel, our Queen Luna - Queen Olive and their children, Princess Mae, Prince Hunter and Prince Ozzy”.

My brothers and I are stood in front of our parents. As we begin to descend the stairs, my heart rate soars. Sucking in a deep breath, I imitate their posture, standing tall and proud, radiating royalty.

Though it’s all a ruse, I don’t feel confident right now; I’d much rather go and hide in a corner somewhere, drinking my fears away.

My brothers give me a gentle squeeze on the arm, letting me know they’ve got me and it’ll be ok.

I try not to pay attention to the faces all looking up at us in wonder and fascination. Though it’s not every day, the palace hosts the Moon Ball for unmated wolves. This will be the first time a lot of these wolves have been within a mile radius of the palace, let alone inside.

Even Ali and Anya’s eyes are shining up at us in admiration, giving me thumbs up and beaming at me like two proud parents.

They’re wearing elegant black velvet dresses with sweetheart necklines, the dresses are tight around the body, only flaring out into a small train from the knees down. Although Ali and Anya don’t usually wear the same outfits, there are occasions like these; when they love to play the twin card, as it usually gets them more male attention.

Though my brothers are not eighteen yet, I’m sure there will be unmated she-wolves eager to catch their eyes.

As we reach the bottom of the stairs, I hear some of the older wolves making comments about me.

“She is beautiful, isn’t she? I heard she’s lost her wolf. Pity. Such a waste”. One woman comments.

“I hear that she is unmated. We must get Edward to speak with her”. Says a man.

Again, they all know the rumours are true that I’ve lost my wolf. What they forget is that I still have the ability to hear them.

I continue on with my head held high; I’ve heard it all before, those comments stopped bothering me a long time ago. Besides, I am my own worst critic anyway.

We stop to the side whilst my parents finish descending the stairs and take the lead in front of us.

As we walk through the large arched doors to the ballroom, the Beta’s - Dinah and Idris and Gammas – Jude, Maria and Hector, fall into line behind us.

I can feel eyes on me from behind, more than likely Hector… unless Idris saw me snooping last night… maybe he’s biding his time to pull me up on such behaviour.

My stomach twists with nerves.

Ugh, can this ball be over already!?

After my dad made a swift speech and thanked our guests for coming, I make a beeline for the bar. My brothers tried to follow me - as werewolves, alcohol doesn’t have the same effect on us as it does humans, so we are allowed to drink from sixteen. However, they were mobbed by a flock of single and very willing females.

Ozzy’s eyes were gleaming with devilish delight, whereas Hunter just looked tortured, unfortunately for him, he has a duty to entertain them to an extent, we can’t just go offending all of the packs by ignoring them.

I sit at the bar nursing a glass of white wine. One by one, I am approached by wolves around my age. They haven’t said anything to me yet; they’re just gathering as if I’m some kind of celebrity… or animal on display in the zoo… so I’m ignoring them for now.

Eventually, I hear someone clear their throat, so I turn in my chair to acknowledge them.

“Princess Mae, I am Lord Eric of the Winter Frost Pack”. He says with a bow. He suits his pack name; everything about him looks icy and cold, his hair is as white as snow, his eyes are icy blue, he doesn’t give off dangerous vibes to me; however, just from his stare alone, a cold shiver runs down my spine.

“Pleased to meet you, Eric”. I respond politely.

He stands awkwardly for a moment; before asking if I would like to dance.

I give him my hand, accepting his invitation. It would be rude of the princess not to dance with any of the guests.

We stand amidst the guests and begin to sway together, not too close, more of a friendly distance.

“You are very breathtaking, Princess Mae. Any wolf would be lucky to have you”. Lord Eric says barely above a whisper.

“Thank you, Lord Eric”. I respond politely.

“If I may be so bold. Are you looking for a chosen mate?” He asks.

“No”. I respond curtly. “I will only mate with my fated”.

“Oh. I see”. He says, disheartened. “Perhaps, if you ever change your mind, you would consider me?”

“If I ever do. I will consider it”. I say, hoping to move on from the conversation. I’m sure I will be having it a lot tonight.

“Thank you, Princess. That’s all I can ask”. He smiles warmly.

“May I cut in?”. Asks a familiar voice that makes my blood run cold.

“I’m sorry, Jasper. I’m having a nice dance with Lord Eric here at the moment”. I state quickly.

He leans into my ear.

“Come on, Mae. It’s the least you could do after setting your brothers on me the other night”. He hisses.

“You know I didn’t ask them to protect me”. I glare back at him.

“You don’t want to make a scene, do you? It wouldn’t look good for the King and Queen now, would it?” He says, knowing full well he has me trapped.

Even if I wanted to... I couldn’t make a scene at such a public event. I can’t embarrass my parents in front of all of the Lords and Ladies in the country.

“Fine”. I relent. “If you’ll excuse me, Eric”. I tip my head to him politely and he returns the gesture.

“Of course, it was lovely spending time with you”, he says; before turning back to his friends, who all look eager to grill him about our time.

Suddenly, hands snake around my waist and I’m pulled flush against Jasper, too close for my liking. I clench my teeth angrily… this guy really has a nerve.

“So, maybe we can pick up where we left off?” Jasper states, smirking.

“Over my dead body”. I grimace.

“I can arrange that if that is what you wish. A dark fantasy of yours, is it?” He smirks.

“You really are unbearable”. I say through gritted teeth.

He slides his hand lower, painfully close to touching my arse. My heart is pumping so hard I can hear my heartbeat thumping in my ears. Then, he begins to twirl me in motion to the music, still standing as close as a lover; instead of an enemy.

Scanning the ballroom, I try to seek out some friendly eyes. It could be anyone, anyone at all. I see no one looking in my direction. Jasper shifts our position again, suddenly dipping me backwards. From upside-down, I notice some emerald green eyes watching me intensely, almost curiously.

The owner of the eyes has dark brown hair, almost to the point of it being black, he’s handsome, I’ll give him that... but he doesn’t seem to realise the stress I’m currently under.

Before I can pay any more attention to this stranger, I feel a finger gliding from my neckline to in between my breasts. My eyes widen at Jasper’s audacity. Suddenly standing bolt upright, I glare at him.

“You have no right to touch me like that”. I seethe.

“But I do. Haven’t you heard? You will be mine”. He says arrogantly, as if he knows it to be fact.

“You and I both know that is a lie”. I retort curtly.

“Oh, but it isn’t, sweet Mae. My dad is going to make the King an offer he can’t refuse”. He states, smiling, looking at me as if I’m his favourite little toy.

“My dad would never agree”. I shake my head in disbelief.

“We will see”. He says darkly.

“Yes, we will… until then, keep your hands to yourself”. I frown.

“Is this gentleman bothering you, Princess Mae?” A deep voice growls.

I turn and breathe a sigh of relief… Hector. He offers his hand, which I hastily accept as if my life depends on it. Both males are radiating danger, the tension so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“Please, let’s just go”. I say, pulling gently at his arm.

As I begin to walk away, a hand grips my arm, hot breath fans my ear as Jasper speaks.

“You can’t run forever”. He whispers menacingly.

My whole body runs cold. Previous to the last couple of days, I didn’t think Jasper would be the sort to take someone by force… but now, I’m not so certain.

Hector places a gentle hand at the top of my back, ushering me away, never wavering from throwing icy daggers in Jaspers direction.

We come to a stop a comfortable distance away from Jasper; he takes my hand and starts to dance with me; he is making a show that he means no harm, remaining a safe, friendly distance away from me whilst we dance.

“Thank you”. I say sincerely.

“No need to thank me, he’s a jerk”. He says as his usually friendly eyes are burning with anger.

“I’m sorry”, I say, looking into his big, hazel eyes, which are looking back at me with confusion.

“Why would you be sorry? You didn’t deserve that”. He states simply.

Shaking my head, I respond, “No, for everything else. For hurting you”. I say honestly, my voice full of shame.

He looks back at me, all rage fading away and his eyes softening.

“Mae… you don’t need to be sorry. I’m a big boy, I can handle a bit of rejection”. He says, smiling sweetly at me.

He really is such a lovely guy; he will make someone an incredible mate one day. We dance for about 10 minutes together, Hector scans the crowd, ensuring we aren’t close to Jasper at all times.

“I think I need to get some fresh air”. I say.

“Would you like me to come with you?” He asks.

“No, it’s ok. I need to clear my head”.

He nods in understanding but stops me as I begin to turn away.

“Please, at least take this with you”. He says, placing something in my hand.

I look down to see a whistle… a dog whistle. I look at him questionably.

“I know, I know. My wolf is livid that I’ve essentially called us a dog… but, I know you can’t mind link… and, if something happens, or if you feel uncomfortable, just blow it… and I’ll be there... ok?” He says, stumbling over his words.

I give him a small smile.

“Thank you, Hector, that’s really sweet of you. Tell your wolf that he is one of the best big smelly dogs I know”, I say with a playful wink.

“Careful... he might not want to help you with that attitude”. He smirks back.

With that, I turn and head towards my favourite spot… mine and Rex’s spot.

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