Chapter 26 - A Broken Patience
Banehallow Palace, Russia
I hear the commotion before we reach our wing. Constantine and I are just coming back from a boring, lengthy, and totally useless meeting with the King and the Boyars, powerful and privileged nobilities who rule lands and werewolf packs.
“How dare you! I was sent by the queen herself!” I hear the shrill, annoying voice echoing across the massive hallway. Constantine’s and my own footsteps are muffled by the thick gold, cream, and red carpet that adorns the whole entrance way. “Are you deaf? Get out of my way now or she’ll be hearing about this!”
I groan and pinch the bridge of my nose. This is just what I need.
Constantine slaps my back and gives me a rueful smile. “Good luck, cousin.”
“What? You’re abandoning me now, cousin?”
“I’ll risk my life and follow you to war but... you’re on your own on this one.” He is smirking. Smug bastard.
He turns to escape into our media room where I can see the rest of our pack mates are resting...or hiding.
I follow him in. I need a little time before I have to do this again. I've had to deal with Lady Celeste too many times these last few days. My patience with her and everyone around me is wearing thin. I know the reason for this. Quincy.
The distance between us is driving me crazy. My friends and I should have gone home almost a week ago but we have to deal with some things after the massive attack on the palace by the rebels. Some of us were injured during our fight too. We do heal faster than humans and werewolves but with broken bones and gunshot wounds, we still need at least a few days to recover. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening.
There isn’t an hour in the day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I’m barely sleeping and barely eating. I’m still joking around with my pack but my bouts of anger are getting longer and more frequent and my lycans are getting harder to control. My lycan was on the verge of coming out to murder everyone a few times during the pointless meeting this morning. It’s just getting worse until I see her again. I think my pack mates are aware of all this but they’re waiting for my move.
I stroll into the media room behind Constantine as if nothing is bothering me.
The center of our media room is dominated by a mega-sized sectional that allows ample room for twenty over-sized Lycans to lie down very comfortably. A screen covers a whole wall in front of it.
Lazarus is draped on one side near the wall, close to the fireplace. Darius is lounging not too far from him. Both are recuperating from various injuries from our last fight with the rebels. They are both talking quietly to each other as if they’re oblivious to the high pitched yelling coming from the hallway that can be heard clearly even from here.
Penny has a broken arm from the fight and she is sitting close to Darius, scowling at the screen. She looks like she’s ready to murder somebody. The only reason she’s not out there killing someone is probably that she has her mate’s hand rubbing her back, calming her down.
Serena and Genesis are sitting next to each other, right smack in the center of the sofa, sipping their drinks and pretending to be watching the movie. Genesis brightens up as soon as her mate, Constantine settles down next to her. He grabs her face and proceeds to kiss her like they haven’t seen each other for years instead of just a few hours.
The yelling continues yet none of them is addressing it or making any attempt to stop it.
“Cowards,” I tell them.
“Cowards?” yells Penny, aiming her pissed off glare at me. “Her ladyship has been doing this all morning.” She spits out the word “her ladyship” as if it’s a dirty word. “Believe me, you’d rather have me sitting here than out there ripping her spine out and ramming it right down her throat!”
Well then. I guess all of them are tired of having to deal with her.
“Oh Beany, you’re cute when you’re mad,” I tell her and watch her sputter to say something. She loses her ability to talk when she gets very mad. “Who told you that you’re not allowed to do all that?” I add.
My words are met with raised eyebrows and amusement by the others and wide-eyed, open-mouthed silence by Penny. I’m sure she’ll come up with various creative ways to commit murder after she gains her speech back.
I leave my pack mates to go to where the noise is coming from.
François, my trusted assistant is standing stoically in front of the closed doors of my private bedchambers with his hands folded behind his back. In front of him stands a very angry looking Lady Celeste. Two guards are standing not too far away from the two.
“Let me in or you will be sorry! Don’t you know who I am?” she yells. Her face is almost turning blue from all the screaming. François’s expression remains impassive and his posture dignified, not at all bothered by her antics. “Imbecile!” she screams in frustration.
My assistant nods his head when he sees me. If he’s relieved that I’m here, nothing in his demeanor indicates it.
“Y..Your Highness,” says Lady Celeste, finally aware of my presence. “Your Highness,” she repeats in a more steady and confident voice. She steps up to me and grabs my arm. “He’s being incredibly rude to me. I want you to fire him immediately!”
She wants me to fire my assistant? I raise an eyebrow and stare down my nose at the woman in front of me without uttering a single word.
I do not appreciate such impertinence. Nor do I tolerate anybody treating any member of my staff in such a manner.
The longer we stand there, the more uncomfortable she gets.
I watch as her confidence falters and uncertainty enters her eyes. She furrows her eyebrows and after a while decides on a different approach. Really, this woman is persistent and I admire persistence but admiration isn’t the feeling I have for her now. I’m losing my patience and I want her out of my sight.
“Prince Caspian,” she says, giving me a coy look from underneath her eyelashes. “I’m only trying to please you...I wanted to wait for you in your room as a surprise---”
“Never,” I grit out through my clenched teeth. “Enter my room without my permission.” No one, except for myself, my pack mates, and François himself is allowed to enter my bedchamber. Even the cleaning and dusting is done by François.
“But Caspian, we’re going to---”
“Did you not hear what I just said?” I interrupt her again, noticing that she has a mink coat on. I’m very sure she doesn’t have much on or anything at all underneath it.
“Do not enter my bedchamber without my permission,” I repeat. “Do not talk to my assistant the way you just did. Do not call me Caspian. Take your hands off me and leave now!”
“Fine, I’ll go now...” she says but her eyes are now filled with determination. “But Queen Sophia will not be happy about this.” Of course, bring my mother into this. It has always been her arsenal. “You and I are going to be mates. Queen Sophia will make sure of that. I will make sure of that,” she announces. “When I become a queen, I will have him fired!” She points her finger at François.
François remains cool and dignified. He doesn’t look at all impressed by her threat.
There is no way in hell would I get rid of my trusted assistant. François has been with me since I was just eighteen. He comes from a long line of Royal butlers and personal assistants. True, he is paid very handsomely for his service but it is more than that. Being an assistant to the Crown Prince is a great honor. His position holds a certain power that commands respect. When I become King, he will be revered even more among the palace’s staff and among the lycans and werewolves out there.
She opens her mink coat to show me what I’d be missing but François signals the guards to usher her away before she manages to and I hear her huffing and protesting loudly as they marched her away.
“François, pack my bag,” I tell him. “I’m flying back to California early tomorrow morning. Inform Beckett and arrange our transportation.”
“Right away, Your Highness.”
I don’t care if mother forbids us from going back there. I can’t stand another day apart from Quincy. My thoughts are consumed by her. Every second away from her, I feel myself drowning and sinking further. I need her like I need air to breathe.
When I get there I’m going to claim her whether she wants me to or not. If she gets mad at me for it, I’ll spend my whole life making it up to her.
It doesn’t make sense to wait any longer when we both know we belong together. We all know that I will kill anybody, human, werewolf, faery, or any other creature whoever tries to take her away from me.
She’s only allowed to be with me. She’s going to be my mate, my wife....whatever you want to call it. Any future children she has will be with me. That’s right, she’s only ever allowed to have my children. That’s that and that is all there is to it.
I feel a ripple of excitement in my pack bond and for once since I got here, my smile feels genuine. I think my pack knows we’re flying back tomorrow.
On the stage, Alpha Maddox is talking. Behind him stand his second and third in command, Beta St. Martin, and Delta Roche and also his father, Old Mr. Maddox.
I don’t know if they gave me more drugs but my head feels fuzzy and heavy and my movement sluggish and lethargic. I find myself studying the stage as Alpha Maddox’s words are barely registering in my brain. The stage is made of crude and uneven stones, making it looks like it’s a part of an ancient ruin. For all I know, it might have been. The fires are roaring in two stone fire pits on either side of the stage. The gathering crowd forms a half circle in front of the stage. I’m standing away from everybody else, near the stage, next to one of the raging fires.
Earlier on, they bathed me, washed my hair, and scrubbed me clean. Then they dried me and rubbed lavender scented oil all over me. They brushed my hair till it shone and woven tiny white flowers in it like a coronet. They dressed me in a white chiffon gown with the lace edge that reaches my knees. The sheer lace sleeves flare out to my elbows. They slipped my feet into white satin ballet flats. I feel like a virgin sacrifice to be offered at the altar of the monsters.
The moon is hidden behind thick dark clouds. The cold wind is picking up speed, blowing and whipping my hair around, seeping through the thin material of my gown.
I stare at the scene in front of me like I’m watching my own worst nightmare unfolds. I feel strangely detached like I’m watching someone else, standing in the middle of the woods, surrounded by werewolves. Monsters who hate me. They are all watching me. Some surreptitiously. Some blatantly. Some with clear hate in their eyes.
As much as I want to believe that this is just another nightmare I could wake up from, the crackling and the popping sound of the burning woods, the sparks flying up into the night air, the thick, musky smell of smoke, the heat of the fire on one side of my body, and the cold night air biting at my skin on the other, all seem too real.
My eyes slowly scan the crowd. I encounter several openly hostile eyes but I keep looking. I only want to find Jorden. I haven’t seen him since our last conversation.
Where is he? I know my cousin wouldn’t leave me here all alone on purpose. Even if he couldn’t help me, he’d be here in the crowd just so that I’d have a friendly face to look at.
Did they do anything to him?
The heat of the fire on my side isn’t enough to chase away the chill that creeps to my bone.
I watch Beta St. Martin’s face for a clue of his son’s whereabouts. He wouldn’t be standing there looking ruthless and cold as usual if his son is hurt or killed, would he? Right now, the face that’s staring back at me is full of hatred. Just like everyone else’s...or maybe more so.
I hear my name being mentioned by Alpha Maddox and his father, Old Mr. Maddox steps forward with a smirk on his face.
“I would like to present you, my father’s second mate, Quincy St, Martin,” says Alpha Maddox in a booming voice.
I’m being dragged up the stage by two big men who suddenly appear by my side.
They stand me right next to Old Mr. Maddox’s side who places a possessive arm around my shoulders. I try to squirm away but his grip tightens, his nails digging into my flesh painfully.
“Stop trying to fight me in front of my pack or I’ll mark you and show you your place right here, right now,” he growls in my ear.
I stop struggling and scan the crowd again. I can see better from here. I still can't see Jorden anywhere but I spot Trey, Jorden’s best friend, standing silently in the crowd. He and Jorden helped me escape the last time. He’s staring at me but I can’t tell anything from his face that’s mostly in the shadows.
“If you’re looking for your cousin to save you again, he’s not here,” Old Mr. Maddox whispers in my ear as he hauls me off the stage. “He’s rotting away in the cell underneath the pack’s house until we decide what to do with him.” Then he drags me back to the pack house himself.
“Quincy St. Martin,” he says, turning to face me once he locked his bedroom door. “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to claim you,” he announces as he advances towards me.
“You’re a vile man,” I tell him as I force my heavy feet to walk backward.
Old Mr. Maddox laughs and continues on as if I didn’t say anything. “I remember the first time I noticed you. I saw you with your Nana on our annual Bake Sale Day. Big curious green eyes, red lips, and soft skin. You had red ribbons in your hair. I knew then, what a beauty you’re going to be. The best part is, you’re a human, so there’s little chance that other men will claim you as their mate.”
I remember the day he’s talking about. I was just 12 and he was still an Alpha. I always enjoyed going to the pack’s Bake Sale Day. So many baked goods. But that was the last time Nana ever took me to Loup Noir Pack’s Bake Sale Day. Actually, that was the last Loup Noir Pack’s event that Nana ever took me to.
I look up into his dark eyes and I see it. My Nana knew! He gives me a big sly smile. His lips are quivering behind his thick mustache. An unpleasant chill runs down my back.
I feel my heart breaking all over again. Now it’s lying open in pieces but something else is happening inside of me. “You killed my Nana,” I say as my back hit the wall and I have nowhere else to go.
“Oh, Quincy,” he sighs, stopping not even a foot away from me. He’s so close, I can smell something unpleasant, mix with cigars, and bourbon in his breath. “You’re too clever for your own good...just like your Nana.”
Hatred. Hatred and fury. I've never felt such strong feelings before but I'm feeling them now. It burns in my chest, making the rest of me feeling numb.
“Why?” I ask him. My voice sounds dead.
“Your 18th birthday was coming up, I didn’t have much time, you see. I went to see her and proposed an arrangement that would be... beneficial for all of us. But she outright rejected me. She tried to throw me out of her little house and refused to listen. What was I to do?”
I remember being called to the principal’s office. It was the last day of school. They told me that my Nana is no more. They said it was a heart failure. I didn't get to see her. They took her body away. They said they’d take care of everything. I don’t remember anything else after that except for walking into the house I grew up in, still full of her scent and memory, as they told me to pack my stuff and move to the pack house. My whole world crumbled that day and it hasn’t been the same since. “So you killed her.”
“I moved an obstacle out of the way.” So my Nana was merely an obstacle to be destroyed on a whim. “I moved you to the pack house so I can keep a closer eye on you then wait till you turn 18 to claim you, but then you went and upset my plan by running away. But that’s ---”
“How did you kill her?”
He moves closer and places his big furry paw on my face. “I snapped her neck,” he says casually as he curls his hand around my neck. “You have the same neck as her. So slender and.... fragile,” he adds. The threat in his voice is unmistakable. “Don’t worry, I made it quick. She didn’t suffer much.”
“Too bad I’m going to make your death a painful one,” I inform him.
He breaks into a laughter as if I was telling him a joke. His thumb digs into my throat a little bit like a warning. “A weak little human but so beautiful and fiery. Just the way I like it. I’m going to enjoy breaking you.”
A distant thunder rolls at his words like a bad omen.
“Once I mark you, you’ll be mine. You’ll be tied to me for the rest of our lives. You won’t be able to run from me again.”
Without any more warning, he fisted my hair and angles my head sideways. He swoops down and I feel his teeth and canines sink into my neck.
*My next update will be next Monday. Have a wonderful week, everybody!