I jump slightly as the sound of Cole slamming his car door echoes through the the garage, and turn to watch as he stalks towards the front door of the pack house, not even bothering to lock the door. I wince, knowing this is a sign that he’s completely pissed.
After the whole fiasco with my dad and his plans had been sorted out, and Jace had gone home with new orders that I had no clue about, since Cole had locked me in the car, he’d driven at an alarming speed, muttering incoherently to himself while I shifted in my seat uncomfortably, just itching to turn on the radio. The silence wasn’t a comfortable one, and I knew there was something troubling on Cole’s mind.
But Cole had made it very clear that he wasn’t in the mood to be disturbed, nearly biting my hand off when I stretched my hand out to turn the knob. I guess his shitty mood extends to me too, though for what reason, I’m in the dark about.
So I take it upon myself to ask a pack warrior to ensure that the car is locked up and make sure there wasn’t any permanent damage to his door or window, and walk into the pack house, sighing in relief of a done day. Honestly, I just can’t wait for the last few weeks to be over. Even though I am a stellar student, if I may say so myself, I hate uni. It’s just a reminder of all the shitty guys in the world and annoying, bossy teachers and bitchy girls. The day I graduate from uni is the day I decide to never look back at my education part of my life. The only good that ever comes out of it is being with Jace.
“Good afternoon Luna,“speaks a soft voice, effectively breaking into my deep thinking. I look down and I’m met with the cutest sight ever. A little boy, about five years old, is standing in front of me, his grey eyes pools of silver, his mouth surrounded by what looks to be chocolate stains. My heart melts.
“Hi there little man,” I said softly, crouching down so I’m at his level. I brush some strands of his wild, curly brown hair out of his eyes, and realise that he’d be a very big heartbreaker in his later years. Much, much later, I hope. “What can I do for you?”
“My mummy told me to come downstairs and get her a piece of cake, but..I ate it instead,” he replies, biting his bottom lip worriedly. I inwardly laugh at his adorableness, but I try to remain serious for him.
“Oh no. Why did you eat the cake if your mummy wanted it?” He nervously twists his fingers round and round.
“Because the cook lady said that there was only one slice left, and I wanted some cake as well.” My heart melts into a pool at his feet.
“Okay, don’t worry. I’ve got a secret. Come here,” I gesture to him. His curiosity gets him to take a few steps closer, his ear angling to my mouth to here my secret.
“I know where we can get some cake. But you can’t tell anyone, alright?” His eyes snap to me in wonder, enlarging as his curiosity envelopes him.
“Where? The lady cook said it was all finished. The big men ate it all,” he pouts, referring to the pack warriors. I giggle and stand up, holding his hand, and lead him to the fridge. His dark eyebrows scrunch in I confusion, and he looks at me questioningly.
I open the fringe door and rummage around for a minute before pulling out two pieces of chocolate cake. He squeals in happiness, and reaches for the slices.
“How did those get in there? And how come there’s two?” He asks me. I lean down and whisper my dirty secret,“Because your Luna is a very greedy person. She wanted to eat two slices of cake. But it’s better if I give them to you and your mummy. What’s your name honey?” I ask, genuinely wanting to know this little angel boy.
“Adrian. But my mummy calls me Drew,” he says, scrunching his nose in distaste. I laugh and say,” Okay. Go give one piece to your mummy and you eat the other one. Tell her the Luna said hi. And if you ever want to play, come find me. I think we’d be very good friends.”
He nods and runs off, presumably in the direction of his mothers bedroom. I stand up and sling my bag onto my shoulder and walk off to Cole’s room.
It’s funny. The way I’ve just become so at home at this place, even though it’s only been about three months. My life’s changed so much since I met Cole. I’m so much more happier and I never have to think about my parents again. Last I heard, my mom and Simon has been thrown into the most secure and most disgusting prison known to werewolves. All packs use it, and it’s where the worst of the worst are put. Though, knowing that, I wonder what my mom and stepdad are doing there.
I quietly open the door to Cole’s room in case he’s in there, but all I am met with is his fading scent. I realise he hasn’t been on here since this morning.
I can faintly hear shouting and loud banging coming from upstairs, and I know it’s coming fro wherever Cole is right now. I can feel his pain through the bond, his frustration almost making me feel the same way from its strength.
I quickly drop the bag down on the bed and run back downstairs to the kitchen, where an older woman is starting up on the dinner. A group of women are behind her, as if her personal army of cooks. When I walk in, they all turn and quickly nod their heads down in respect. I smile at them all and walk over to the older woman.
“Hi, what’s your name?” I ask her shyly. Her plump, round form looks comfortable and her rosy cheeks made me smile.
“Rosalie, Luna. It’s nice to meet you,” she replies, her voice soft yet formal at the same time. “What can I help you with?”
“Do you know what Cole’s favourite food is? Or what he likes to eat as a snack?” I ask her. She smiles at me and says,“Yes. He’s always coming down here and asking for chocolate brownies. The Alpha absolutely loves them. His mother used to bake them for him as a child, but he always says that the ones we make never taste as good as hers.”
I’m slightly shocked that Cole has a sweet tooth for chocolate. One of the most feared Alphas in the world loves to eat anything chocolaty. I giggle and inwardly coo at how cute it is that his mother used to bake them for him. Maybe one day I’ll bake them for him.
“If there’s any left, can you put some on a small plate and make two mugs of hot chocolate please? I think Cole has had a really tiring day today,” I ask politely, and she nods. She turns to two women, and asks them to get a start. Within five minutes, two steaming mugs of hot chocolate and a small plate of large brownies are being juggled by me as I thank the ladies and slowly walk up the stairs.
I make my way to his office door, and stop, wondering how I’m going to knock with my hands full. While I’m waiting, I hear a loud growl sound from the other side. Cole.
“I don’t really give a fuck about the ceremony right now. If I can’t keep her father away, there will be no female to make Luna of this pack. It will just have to wait,” he growls out. The stress is evident in his tone, and I strain to hear the reply.
“Yes, I’m aware of that Alpha. But there are rumours that some are saying she’s a freeloader, that she’s not really your mate. If we postpone the ceremony any longer, there will be an uprising. We have to do it tonight,” comes the reply, and I gasp out loud. All noise ceases on the other side, and I realise my mistake.
The door swings open and an angry Cole stares down at me. But once he registers that it’s me, his anger fades and is replaced by a small, brave smile. But it doesn’t reach his eyes, doesn’t make his dimples pop.
“Come in love. I’m just wrapping up a few things. It will only take about an hour,” he murmurs, his eyelids slightly sagging. I huff. He won’t last another ten minutes. He’ll fall asleep on his feet.
I push past him, careful not to spill the brownies and the two mugs. I look around the spacious room and see the Gamma, a young man named Nick, Ryder and a few older men. They all peer curiously at me, except Ryder, who winks playfully at me. I just smile in return.
“All of you need to leave. Your Alpha needs to rest. He won’t last another ten minutes talking with you all. You can resume all this tomorrow,” I order, and they all now slightly, filing out one by one. Ryder walks past me and quietly whispers,“Good call. He looks as if he’ll fall in a heap on the floor in thirty seconds.” I laugh and shove him out. Cole’s too tired to even growl at the proximity between us. Instead, he leans his head on his desk, not even protesting as they all leave.
As the door shuts, I walk over and spin him around to face me. He groans as he pitches forward, and I deposit the snacks and mugs on the table before sitting him upright. “Hey big guy, wake up. I want you to eat something before you sleep. God knows when the last time you ate was.”
He shakes his head to and fro quickly, trying to wake up. When his eyes have brightened slightly, his heart racing faster, I hand him one of the mugs. He takes a sip and smiles in appreciation. I grin back and take a sip of my own.
“Thank you, my love. This is just what I needed,” he said, kissing my lips softly. They taste like chocolate. As he pulls away, I reached for a brownie and shove it into his mouth.
The surprise is clear in his bright blue eyes, as he tries to keep it all in. I laugh as he chokes slightly on the brownie, swallowing audibly.
“What was that for?” He pouts, his plump bottom lip jutting out, begging to be kissed. I lean in and kiss it, biting it playfully. He growls, playfulness gone. I slowly back away, snatching a brownie up and shoving it into my mouth, chewing and swallowing in a matter of five seconds.
His jaw drops as he watches, the brownie completely disappearing. “How in the world did you finish it that quickly?!” He asks. I just shrug, inching further away. I know exactly what he’s trying to do. Distract me. Well, I’m not going to let him.
He lunges at me, reaching his arms out and practically throwing himself at me. I squeal and dodge him, running around the table, letting it separate us.
He stares at me, never breaking contact with my eyes. I can almost hear the gears turning in his head. That’s when I decide to tap into our bond. I’m suddenly overwhelmed with a load of thoughts, none of them mine.
Cole’s eyes widen, as he too receives all my thoughts and feelings. Love, happiness, belonging. He looks up at me, and straightens, no longer in the prey-predator game.
“Come here Cariño, I want to hold you,” he whispers. I slowly walk over to him, letting him wrap his arms around me. He nuzzles his face into my scraggly hair and inhales deeply.
“You smell like strawberries my love,” he groans out, backing us onto the couch. He flips us over, so that I’m under his chiseled chest, his weight supported by his strong forearms on either side of my head.
“I love you so much Sweetheart. Don’t ever think about feeling anything less than wanted and welcome here. This is your pack too,” he whispers, looking down at me with such love and passion, it nearly shatters me.
A thought suddenly comes to my mind, and I voice it out, my voice thick. “But, the pack. I heard Ryder, Cole. I’m not wanted by them. They don’t think that I’m your mate,” I whisper up to him.
His eyes turn dark with determination. “I know, Jade. That’s why we are doing the Acceptance Ceremony tonight. Then you will be formally known as Luna Jade Summers of the Silver Creek Pack. My mate.”
I smile at the thought of being fully accepted. But for now, I just lay my head back and observe how handsome my mate is. Weird time to do it, but from the best spot.
His jaw as sharp as a knife, his plump, light pink lips and his beautiful blue eyes that I just can’t get enough of, staring back at me with a look of love and absolute awe.
“Cole, let’s get some sleep before the ceremony. I don’t know what to expect, but I think we both need a few hours of sleep to be able to get through it. What time does it start?” I ask him softly.
The dazed look in his eyes fades as he looks down at his watch. “It’s four in the afternoon now. It starts at eleven tonight,” he replies. He flips us over, so that I’m laying on top of him. I try to wriggle off, but he snarls and traps me to his chest.
“Okay okay. I’ll stay. We’ve got plenty of time. Let’s just sleep,” I mutter, already fighting to keep my eyes open. But I hear the light breathing behind me, and let myself drift off with him into a peaceful slumber.
“So guys, how do I look?” I ask, turning away from the mirror to face three faces, all smiling, their eyes shining.
“You look like a goddess, Luna,” replied Ebony, grinning as she clapped her hands happily. Gabriella just nods her head, her mouth gaping open. Tempest was the one to squeal and run to me, throwing her arms around me and proceeds to squeeze the life out of me.
“Oh! Sorry about that Luna! It’s just, you look so good!” She squeals again, nearly bursting my eardrums. I cringe a bit. Boy, she has a very strong set of lungs on her.
“Careful Temp,” Gabriella pipes up suddenly, a smirk gracing her ruby red lips,” you don’t want Jasper thinking you bat for the other team.”
We all giggle as Tempest huffs and moves away to reapply her lipgloss. It’s about 9 pm now. The ceremony is scheduled to start in half an hour, and, according to Cole, who is preparing in the adjacent room, will go on for at least three hours.
The girls and I had decided to dress up together, and since I hadn’t seen them for a while, I decided it was the perfect opportunity. They helped me pick out a dress for the ceremony, a deep plum coloured dress with a huge slit going up my right leg, exposing my milky white skin. Gabriella had insisted on doing my hair, curling it and styling it into a perfect bun, strands left purposely out to frame my face, which had been lightly done up with makeup, thanks to Ebony and Tempest, much to my unhappiness. But they all claimed that today was a special day, a day where I should ‘doll up’, as they say.
At exactly 9:30, the door is opened and a warrior entered, saying it is his job to lead us ladies down to the ceremony grounds. As we walk out the pack house and through the woods, my stomach does a summersault, the nerves eating away at my confident stride. I have no idea what to expect from tonight. I just hope that it will all go smoothly.
We enter a large clearing, lit by fire lamps and the three-quarter moon in the sky. A raised hill was laden with a small table, draped with a white silk cloth, a knife and two cups sitting on top.
The pack starts to make noise, some happy, some angry, their shouts mingling, causing me to break out of my day dreaming and my eyes to frantically search for Cole. As my eyes lay on him, I take a brief moment to appreciate the dark grey suit he’s wearing, before I walk up to him.
He watches my every move, waiting patiently. As I walk up to the platform, he holds out a hand to help me up next to him. He then turns to the pack and starts to talk in a loud, clear, authoritative voice.
“Silver Creek Pack! Tonight we’ve come together to acknowledge and formally accept this woman as my mate, and for her to claim her rightful place as Luna of this pack! And after this ceremony we will eat, you will meet her and we will go on a pack run. So let’s begin the ceremony.”
The pack cheers and I take a deep breath. Cole senses my worry and squeezes my hand.
“It will be alright, love. You just have to trust me,” he tells me. I smile at him and nod, showing him that I’m ready.
He turns us to the table and picks up the knife. “I, Cole Winston, Alpha of the Silver Creek Pack, accept and approve of Jade Summers as my mate!” He yells, sliding the knife across his palm, drawing blood. He places his fist over the cup closest to him, lets a few drops of his blood fall into the cup, and moves it away. His wound isn’t big, so the healing process already kicks in.
He hands the knife to me, nodding in encouragement. “Do the same thing I did, Sweetheart. You can do this. I love you,” he says, his eyes staring deeply into mine.
I inhale as I place the knife in my palm, sharp side facing down, and drag it across, exhaling as I do. The sting kicks in after a second, and I hiss softly under my breath. I quickly place my palm over the cup. “I, Jade Summers, mate of Cole Winston, accept and approve of him as my mate, and accept the Silver Creek Pack as my own”, I proclaim in a loud, confident voice. The nerves in my stomach recede at this point. I know that this is what I want. I want to be Cole’s mate. It’s something I’ve always been comfortable about.
Cole grabs the cup that holds my blood, passing me his, and throws his head back, taking it like a shot. I do the same, and I feel the thick, metallic-tasting liquid slide down my throat.
I immediately feel something in me awaken, and I let out a gasp as I feel a bond open. The pack immediately howls and kneels to Cole and I.
Cole looks at me and kneels to me as well, his eyes glowing gold in the night.
“Jade Summers, you are now the Luna of the Silver Creek Pack, chosen to rule beside me till the end. I promise to treat you as my equal, to allow you to take part in all decisions that are made for this pack,” he announces. I smile at him, grabbing his hand and pulling him up beside me. He pulls me to him and attaches his lips to mine, moving them softly. I can feel the gaze of the pack members on us, their approval and acceptance flowing through the bond.
Cole pulls away, pecking my lips again quickly, before turning to the pack and making an announcement. “Now, it’s time to eat! Everybody, go back to the pack house and we will eat together.”
We walk together, Cole and I walking behind the pack, the Warriors walking close to us. Cole’s hand encases mine, his long fingers entwined with mine. “So, you’re Luna now,” he says, smiling down at me. I nod, looking into his eyes.
“I am. I love you Cole,” I say, happiness swirling throughout my body. He grins and replies. “I love you.”
We walk for a minute more, before we all enter the pack house, the maids quickly rushing back to the kitchen to serve the meal they’d prepared before the ceremony.
Cole takes us to the end of the table, to the two chairs that were meant for me and him. He seats me, before he sits himself. Ryder sits to his right, as well as Jasper and the rest of the Warriors. To my left are Ebony, Tempest, Gabriella and the pack members. Mike, Gabriella’s mate, sits opposite her, among the Warriors. The food is payed out before us, and just like before, the pack waits until Cole and I eat something, before they too eat. We eat for about an hour, and I greet several people who come up to me and say hello.
“Hi Luna!” Comes a familiar voice. A smile forms on my lips and I swallow the food in my mouth and turn to to see Adrian. I jump up out of my seat and crouch down to give him a hug. He laughs and squeezes me back.
“Hi there Adrian. How are you?” I ask, brushing a curl out of his face. He smiles, revealing a gap between his teeth.
“I lost a tooth! Mummy says that I’m a big boy now and she gave me two dollars!” He says excitedly. I laugh.
“Wow! That’s cool! You know what Adrian? Can I meet your mummy? I want to say hello,” I say. I really want to meet the amazing couple that raised this sweet kid from heaven.
He nods enthusiastically and grabs my hand. I follow him to a beautiful young woman, who looks exactly like him, down to the curly hair and the grey eyes. When she sees who her son is with, she tries to stand, but is a bit slow with the very apparent baby bump.
“I’m so sorry Luna! I hope my son hasn’t given you any trouble,” she says worriedly, glaring at her son angrily. I smile at her and shake my head.
“It’s okay. Adrian and I have actually met before. We have become very good friends, isn’t that right Adrian?” I ask him. He slowly nods his head, cautious now that his mum stands before him.
“Oh, okay. My name is Tina,” she says shyly, reaching out to shake my hand. I shake it softly. I look next to her, but don’t see a male beside her.
“Where is your mate?” I ask her curiously. She bites her lip and shakes her head softly.
“He died two months ago Luna,” she whispers, her eyes tearing up as she sniffles, trying not to cry.
My heart breaks and I hug her. “I’m so so sorry. I didn’t know,” I say, stroking her back, her baby bump keeping space between us.
“It’s okay Luna. You didn’t know. He died when there was a rouge attack. A rouge managed to break into the pack. He was a warrior, but he was a new recruit, so his training wasn’t done. He tried to hold the rouge off until another warrior could come, but the rouge managed to slit his throat. He,” her voice cracks, her sobs becoming louder,“he’s never going to see this little one. And this one is never going to see its father,” she says, gesturing to her swollen stomach and a wide-eyed Adrian.
Her story has my eyes tearing up and I hastily swipe up the tears. “When...are you due?” I question, hoping it’s not a sore topic for her. She smiles slightly and rubs her belly. “I’m five months pregnant now. Not long to go.”
“I hope you’re okay. If you need any help with Adrian or with your pregnancy, please come straight to me. I want to help you in every way possible,” I whisper to her. I hold her for a minute longer, letting her pull herself together on my shoulder, before she pulls away slightly, giving me a wobbly smile.
“Thank you Luna. I know you are exactly what this pack needs. I know you’ll be an excellent Luna,” she says, before slowly lowering herself into the chair.
I slowly make my way towards Cole, sitting back in my spot.
“Are you okay? Why are you crying?” He immediately asks, concern evident in his gaze.
“I’m fine. I just met a woman. Her mate died about two months ago. He was a warrior and he died in a rouge attack,“I say, picking up my glass and taking a sip of the orange juice.
Cole takes a deep breath and turns to me sharply. “You mean Derek? He left a wife and child behind. Tina and Adrian, and she’s heavily pregnant with a second child. I know. I regularly check up on her, see if she needs anything, make sure she’s alright. I feel like it’s my responsibility, since her mate was part of my Warriors,” he says, looking at me. I smile softly and kiss his cheek.
“You are so caring Cole. It’s one of the best things about you.”
He smiles softly and goes back to eating. After about an hour, the pack is finished, and everyone stands.
“Okay. Now we will go on our pack run. Anyone who is feeling tired, or doesn’t feel like coming, thank you for joining us and welcoming your Luna. Good night to you all. The rest of you, please take a spare change of clothes and make your way to the woods,” he says, pulling me with him upstairs.
We enter his room, and he goes to the closet while I take off my heels. I sigh in relief as the killer shoes come off, rotating my ankles a few times to get the blood moving, my bones clicking in their sockets loudly.
Cole comes back out with a pair of basketball shorts having off his arm. He has changed into a more casual pair of pants, and is shirtless. I guess it is a smart idea to change as well. I don’t really want to rip this dress to shreds when I shift.
“Go my love. I’ll wait out here for you. You can bring my shirt of you want. Just take your pick,” he says as he lays down on the bed on his stomach, his tattoo rippling as his shoulders relaxed.
“Ok. I’ll only be a minute,” I reply, walking over to the closet. I strip quickly and pull on a pair of sweatpants and a tank top, leaving my feet bare. I take off the jewellery and grab a hoodie from Cole’s big collection, just in case it might be cold, which would be a better choice over a shirt.
I come back out, and Cole stands back up, approaching me. “You look tired love. Do you want to stay and rest?”
I shake my head. “No Cole. This ceremony was for me right? Plus, I’m the Luna now. I’m expected to attend these things. And I want to let out Tensa. She’s kind of dying to come out,” I admit.
He nods. We move to leave the room. Most of the pack is already downstairs, and I notice that Tina and Adrian aren’t there. I spot Gabriella with Mike, her back nuzzled into his chest, his arms wrapped protectively around her waist. Tempest and Jasper stand off to the side, talking in hushed whispers, her arms wrapped around his waist. And Ebony is talking with a group of ladies.
“Alright everyone, please shift,” Cole says. I put the hoodie on a nearby bench along with Cole’s shorts. I walk over to Cole and shift, the change a lot faster and painless than the first time. I can immediately feel Tensa take over, excited to be in charge.
Cole does the same thing, his huge black wolf towering over my me.
“Hello Tensa, I missed you,” Damien says. He nuzzles my neck softly and nips me playfully.
“Hello Damien. I’ve missed you too,” I reply. “Jade hogged Cole the entire time, and I haven’t gotten to speak to you since,” I pout. Damien nods and replies,“I know. We’ll have to fix that later. Right now, we have a pack run to attend.”
I nod. We take off, sprinting through the tall, green trees, their shadows casting eerie shadows down on us. The moon and stars are lighting up the woods, letting us see every little detail.
I can hear hundreds of footsteps behind us, and I know that the pack is right there. The Warriors and their mates run alongside Damien and I, and I playfully nudge Ebony beside me.
An hour and a half passes before we tire, and I fall to the ground in the clearing, having made a full circle around the pack territory, letting my head loll to the side. Damien crouches beside me, laying half on top of me protectively. I turn my head and lick his snout lovingly. He gently licks my ear in return.
“Shift, love. Then we can go to sleep,” Damien says. I get up and walk to a nearby tree, going behind it and shifting. It’s only after I’ve shifted that I realise that I forgot to take the hoodie with me. Shit.
“Cole? If you can hear me, I’ve got a little problem. I forgot to bring the hoodie with me. Can you please bring it to me?” I blush when I realise that I’ve done the stupidest thing ever.
“Alright Jade. Just hold on a sec,” he replies.
After a minute or so, Cole’s arm comes around the side, the grey hoodie in his hand. I took it from him and put it on in record speed, coming out in front of him. He had changed as well, the basketball shorts hanging low on his hips.
I smile up at him, and let out a loud yawn. He grabs me and picks me up, one arm under my legs and the other under my head.
“Sleep love. I’ll take you to bed,” he whispers, walking up the steps of the pack house. I nod, and drift off, faintly feeling my body being put into his bed, before completely fall into darkness.