Chapter Twenty Four
I am looking at the phone every other second and I am getting more and more pissed. Why the Hell do I long to hear his voice? And most importantly, why the Hell he hasn’t called yet? Yesterday he called. Twice. One during breakfast and we practically talked for almost an hour and then he called by the end of the day, here at the office. But today it’s almost lunch time and he hasn’t...
“Luna?” I hear a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I recognize Astrid’s voice.
“Am I interrupting, Luna?”
“No,” I actually smile at her. “Is everything ready for Sonja’s party?”
“Yes, I was thinking if you would...”
“Of course, I will,” I say and get up.
I am their Luna and this is an orphan who lost her father because he defended his pack. The least I can do is be at her birthday party.
“We are what now?" Max purrs in delight.
Shit. I did acknowledge myself as Luna. This is bad. And combined with the fact I actually miss Magnus for some mysterious reason that is beyond the grasp of reason this is really, really bad.
I walk down the main hall of the pack house, a big, spacious, well-lit area that is filled with people and excited children that run around. There are ribbons hanging and a banner with Sonja’s name one. A table has a big, giant cake and near a thousand more little snacks. The moment I step in, every adult turns to me and bows their head.
Astrid and Thane walk with me through the room and they introduce me to everyone. And they all seem happy that I am there, no hint of judgement in their eyes. The respect and acceptance I get from them is touching. Wish I could stay.
“They like you,” Thane says in my ear.
“You seem surprised,” I hiss.
“Give them time,” he chuckles. “They still don’t know what a pain in the ass you are.”
“Well, I won’t be here for long,” I mutter.
“Don’t let them hear you say that,” Thane comes closer and his look turns serious. “They’d be crashed. Things have changed since you came.”
“Alpha Magnus is more... Well, less Alpha and more Magnus.”
I frown and I am ready to ask more convincing myself that it’s not that I care about Magnus but to gain more insight to finally free myself but I don’t get the chance.
“Luna!” I hear an excited voice and as I turn, I see a blonde girl run to me.
I drop on my knees and she stands before me. She is pretty, in her light blue dress and she regards me seriously.
“I like your hair,” she says in broken English and caresses my black mane.
“I like yours too,” I smile and put a lock behind her ear.
“You are pretty,” Sonja says.
“You think so?” I smile wider.
“Aha,” she nods.
“I think you are right, härlig,” a deep, husky voice booms in the room.
“Mate!” Max leaps up in joy.
I swallow the stupid smile my love-stricken wolf has forced on my face and I get up. Magnus is standing there in his snug jeans and a white t-shirt that is clinging to his torso. And he looks good enough to eat. His eyes are focused on me and he has a soft smile on his lips. I almost miss the days he was a scowling motherfucker. These smiles lately are my undoing.
“You are back,” I keep my voice dry.
Congratulations, Captain Obvious.
“I am back,” Magnus takes one step closer.
For those few seconds, he drifts closer and his scent fills me, there is no one else around. Just the two of us in a confusing haze. His eyes are the only thing I see and I let my eyes fall on the lips he licks. Get a grip! I order my own self but it’s impossible.
I am consumed by the burning fire Max has been stoking tirelessly ever since Magnus claimed us. He says nothing but in his eyes I can see the same fire in them. A fire that explodes when he touches my cheek with the knuckles of his hand.
“Mamma, Alpha är här," Sonja says excitingly and we are snatched up from the bubble we were in.
Astrid smiles at us both and that is the signal for everyone to welcome the Alpha back. He is guided away from me, lost in handshakes and back pats and I can finally breathe.
“I hate you, Max.”
“You seem so sure this is aaaall me,” Maximo retorts.
My look drifts to Magnus as he is given a beer by his warriors, his broad back to me. But as I let my look travel south, to that delicious ass, I see him shift and when I look back up, he is eyeing me. Then he says his goodbyes and walks up to me. He has walked like that to me before, when he claimed me as his mate.
I haven’t changed my mind. He looks like a Viking god that is not resting until he has conquered all. But this time? This time I wouldn’t mind being conquered by him. Magnus stands close to me and without a warning, he buries his nose in my neck.
“I missed your smell,” he purrs and I swallow.
“How... How did it go with Gunnar?” I lean away.
“It was like you said,” he catches me to keep me close. “He was scared shitless and even bared his neck to me.”
“Good,” I try to wiggle away but he pulls even closer.
“Damn right, good. I was going nuts being away from you,” his fingers go in my hair.
“Did he know anything about the attacks?” I am struggling to keep this professional but his breath on my skin is making it impossible.
“Tomorrow at the council, Luna. Today is Sonja’s birthday.”
“And since it’s a pup’s party, how about you keep it kid-friendly?”
Magnus chuckles and leans away. Thank Goddess! He searches my face and then he goes down my heaving chest and the tightened fists. He knows what he does to me. He knows that if he pushes a bit more I’d-
“A toast for our Alpha and Luna,” Egil holds up his beer and I am thankful for this interruption.
Everyone raises their drinks and they turn to us. When Magnus finds my waist and pulls me to him, looking down at me with a wide smile, I am going crazy inside. Max is leaping around in my head and I can’t stop a smile that is on my lips. But there is a scorching image in my head that sours the moment: Celia in silver chains.
And it does two things at the same time. It makes me want to kill him and it pins me on the floor and into his arms. If I publicly deny him, he will hurt my sister. But making me stand like an idiot and pretend all is well is making me furious.
No, I lie. Not furious. Confused. Cause as Magnus smiled down to me, I forgot about Celia. And I wanted it all to be true. All of it.
I like it here. They value my opinion, I am making decisions that no one questions, I get credit. I am contributing and I feel worthy. And the way Magnus looks at me? I like that too, damn it. If it wasn’t for the reason I was brought here, I would have raised a glass with true joy in my heart and not wuth that guilty confusion.
Damn. Just... damn.