“Eve, stop moving!”
Eve groaned as her friend continuously picked her eyebrows. They had landed a few hours ago in Moscow and went to a hotel to get ready. The girls were more than thrilled to be in Russia. They were all for traveling, and while they could not stay for a long time, they were happy to just be around for a little. June was far better at makeup than Eve, so she was the one who did both of their makeup for important events.
“What even is this ball for anyway?” June asked finishing plucking her friend’s eyebrow.
“Oh, it’s my dad’s friend’s birthday or something... I don’t know but we can dress up so that’s fun!”
June agreed and finished her friend’s makeup. Eve went to get dressed in her gown as June did her own makeup. Eve wasn’t the most confident girl in school. Her hair was not curly enough, her face still looked a bit childish even though she was turning eighteen soon, her lips were too thick, her hair was too thin...she had a lot of insecurities that she didn’t fully work through yet. Maybe it was just part of puberty. Eve smiled at herself as she looked at herself in the mirror. For once, she had no doubts about her eternal or internal beauty. She felt like a princess in her long dress and her curled hair.
As she exited the bathroom, June was already in her red gown and her face was all dolled up. Eve smiled and hugged her friend as they both stood in front of the mirror.
“You look really pretty, Eve. Who did your makeup? It’s amazing!” Eve smiled and laughed heartily.
“Oh just this bitch named June,” she joked.
“Are you ready?” June asked with a laugh. Eve nodded and they left their room to go meet her parents in the lobby. June loved Eve’s family; her mom was her second mom and Austin always seemed to make her laugh. She was more than appreciative that they allowed her to come with Eve.
“Oh! Look at my favorite girls!”
June smiled at Jessica’s cooing as she hugged her daughter. Jessica was wearing a black mermaid style gown and her hair was in a classy bun. Austin was in a classic and sleek styled suit. He looked dapper even with his greying hair.
“You two look beautiful. I don’t like how grown up you look,” Austin sighed as he escorted them outside into the cold.
There was a car already waiting outside and the family jumped in the car to head to the party.
Adlaric was going to die tomorrow. He’s accepted it, but others have not, yet. Maybe when his head was laying on the floor, people would finally believe in the reality. Beta Dimitri put on a brave and steady facade, but that was his job; just like his Alpha he had to be strong in times of need. But Dimitri knew he would miss his friend. Dimitri and Adlaric grew up together and now there was a countdown to their time.
It seemed surreal to the King who was sitting in his office with his bowtie undone and a Scotch in his hand. His hand swirled the drink before he took a big sip of the burning liquid. He was sad; sad for his beloved mate, sad for himself, sad because he wanted more from his life. He wanted romance. He wanted to spoil his mate. The King sighed and put the cup down. The knock at the door made him look up and he gave the best smile he could muster. Dimitri gave his dazzling smile.
“Everyone is here, my King.”
Adlaric nodded and chocked back the rest of his drink before standing up and tying his bowtie. “Let’s go out with a bang, shall we?”
Dimitri nodded and grabbed his friend on the shoulder as the two left the dark office. For a moment, the King glanced back at the place he worked so hard in for so long.
“We thank you for coming today. Sincerely we are blessed and thankful for your loyalty and support,” Adlaric announced, his hand holding a firm grip on his glass. “I’d like to thank those who share a different background from my family as well.” That was hidden message to his wolves; there are humans here. Humans were completely ignorant to their existence and Adlaric liked to keep it that way. Humans were afraid of things they did not understand. Adlaric sent another message through his Kingdom link, ‘my pack, I thank you.’
Adlaric smiled at the people who had attended as he raised his glass. “To many more prolific years.”
All Eve wanted to do was go to the bathroom. She was sure a castle– yes a castle –had a few bathrooms here and there, but she was lost in a maze of stone walls and old furniture. When the car had driven up the long bridge, her and June were giddy with excitement. They were going to be princesses for one day! The girls were so thrilled that Jessica had to remind them that they were at a classy event and should act like young adult ladies (which they would be very soon). They sobered up immediately and became elegant young creatures within the castle.
Eve excused herself a few minutes in to go to the restroom. She figured it would only take a little while, but she ended up getting lost.She groaned in annoyance and threw her hands up. She wasn’t even sure she could find her way back.
Dimitri was sitting in the library when he heard the high shrill of someone. From the pitch he could tell it was a young female. He honestly figured she had gotten lost from the party. As he marched out the door, he could scent out that she was human and judging by her look, she was also very lost.
“Do you need help?”
Eve jumped from the sudden voice and echo. Her hand went onto her chest and she quickly nodded, the tendrils of her hair bouncing.
“I’m sorry! Y-yes I do. I need to go to the restroom and I couldn’t find my way...I’m sorry...”
Dimitri’s wolf howled. He wasn’t sure why his second nature was getting so riled up. He stifled his beast and walked toward the young woman. He held out his arm as a gentleman should and smiled.
“I can show you. It’s just this way, miss.”
Eve blushed slightly; she wasn’t used to such chivalry. He led her to the bathroom and even waited until she was finished to lead her back to the ballroom. When they neared the giant double doors, she gulped.
“What is your name?”
Dimitri looked down at her with his dark eyes. “I am Dimitri.”
“Oh! My father has spoken about you! It’s lovely to meet you. Thank you so much for showing me around.”
“Anytime. You seem a bit nervous.”
Eve nodded and glanced at the big doors again. “I’m not used to being in gowns and prancing my way in a ballroom. My parents are expecting me to act like a Queen, but I am not quite sure how too,” she admitted.
“Well, even Queens begin as Princesses. Everyone is kind, I assure you; there’s nothing to fear. I never asked your name, fair lady?”
Eve smiled at his eloquence. She brightly glanced at him from under her eyelashes. “My name is Eve.”
“Well, Eve, a princess is always a princess when she feels like she is one.”
Confidence is key; that’s what he meant. She nodded and took a breath before pushing the doors open. Her confidence left the window when she saw hundreds of eyes staring back up at her from the stairwell. She swallowed thickly as she looked around. Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at the man sitting on the throne all the way across the large room. He was handsome; his hair was dark, his eyes were deep, and he looked older. Not the, oh you have aged look, but the, I have wisdom and knowledge look. He was in a neatly pressed suit and his hand had a firm grip on the arm of the throne.
Adlaric’s wolf yipped as the girl entered the ballroom. He had no understanding of why, but he pushed it aside; his wolf has been more anxious lately. He could no longer trust his wolfish instincts. She was beautiful, however. Her dress hugged her supple curves, her hair framed her face, her blush displayed her innocence. Everything about her called to him. If it were any other day, he would have walked over to her and touched her because that’s how you know who your mate is. But today, the day before his death, he knew there was no possibility. He has felt this feeling countless times before and it always faded. It was never his mate.
Adlaric was the first one to look away and Eve felt a little hurt by it. She had hoped, in her crazy and fantasized world, that he would sweep her off her feet like prince charming. She hoped that of all the girls, he would choose her. She hoped prince charming would fall for Tiana. When his eyes left hers, she quietly walked down the rest of the stairs.
Her father pulled out her chair and she sat down beside June.
“You okay,” June whispered.
Eve nodded and took a sip of her water. Eve couldn’t help but steal glances at the man on the throne fit for a King. He looked mean, but for some reason, she wasn’t scared. She longed to be next to him and she was not quite sure why.
“Take a picture it would last longer,” June joked. Eve blushed and looked down at her plate. She missed Dimitri smirking at Adlaric. She missed Adalric staring at her.
Dinner was served and then dancing had started. When a young boy was making his way toward her, she looked at June for help, but she was already dancing with someone. Eve stood up and walked through the crowd; she was bad at dancing. She didn’t want to embarrass herself.
Dimitri couldn’t shake the unsettling feeling in his stomach. For some reason he felt connected to the girl in white. She wasn’t his mate– he would have felt something when they touched –but she was something...he couldn’t shake the feeling his wolf was giving him.
Adlaric couldn’t take his eyes off her. Well, he could, and he had, but every time he would look away, within a few minutes he would look at her again. His wolf howled deep within his conscience. Adlaric tucked his finger beneath his bowtie to loosen it. When she stood up, his eyes followed her. His instincts took over when someone stepped on the train of her dress and she went tumbling forward. He was in front of her before he could understand what he was doing. His wolf only took over like that once before and that was when he killed the prisoner.
She yelled out but was shocked to feel a hand wrap around her waist. Her hand grabbed his large bicep through his suit. Eve picked up her feet and stood up straight again. She gasped when she realized it was the man on the throne.
“I-I’m so sorry,” she stuttered, embarrassed. His wolf was clawing to get out. Adalric had to swallow to control himself. He had not touched her skin, only her dress and she only touched his suit. He knew it was impossible but...
Slowly– almost painfully –he brought his hand up to her cheek. Naturally, Eve nuzzled her head into his hand. Eve gasped as she felt soft tingles against her cheek, but it wasn’t enough to make her want to pull away. She wanted him to never leave her. She could feel something deep within her snap and suddenly every thought of hers was consumed with just him. She could cry when she realized she would have to go home and he would pull away soon. Her hands found the lapels of his suit and she hung on for dear life; she wanted him to stay.
Adlaric was shocked. Unlike Eve, he knew what his feelings were and he felt them even stronger. For once, his wolf went completely silent. He found her. He found her after three centuries of looking. She was young, he could tell. She was innocent. She was pure. She was everything he was not. Suddenly it wasn’t just him; it was her. He would protect her. He would cherish her. She was everything he ever needed. She saved him from death.
Eve’s eyes furrowed when she saw a tear fall from his eye. Her hands moved on their own accord. Her palms went to his cheeks and her thumb wiped away the tear.
“Is everything okay?” She asked lightly.
He could burst at how delicate her voice was. He understood, now, what people felt when they found theirs. She was by far the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. Her touch made his stomach twist. Her eyes could calm a storm. He was hers. Now, he just had to make her his. He smiled, brightly, for the first time in years. He was more than okay.
“I’m happy,” he whispered. When she smiled, his heart stopped and for a moment, he thought he would die right there. Eve’s eyes moved from his to the people standing behind him and she blushed. She looked down at her feet, embarrassed. “I’m afraid I started a scene.”
Adlaric knew his pack was awed at the scene. He knew that they could all feel his connection with his mate. Goddess, he loved that word. He loved having a mate already.
Adlaric saw another girl come to his mate’s side. June gulped at her friend. She knew Eve did not like being the center of attention for long. Eve glanced up at June as she tugged at her arm.
“Come get water with me?”
Eve didn’t have time to respond as she was being pulled away by her friend. Eve looked back at the man one last time.
“Wait what is your name,” Adlaric asked.
Eve smiled happily. “I’m Eve.”
Eve. Beautiful. Just like her.