Guys, this is it! I can't believe it! I actually can't believe it! We are at the end of the book! I just want to say before you read this that I throlougly enjoyed writing this book. It felt different from things I normally write (it's a lot slower for starters).
And so for the final time, I hope you enjoy this chapter.
The towering castle stood before me. I was in complete awe at the sight of it. It was magnificent.
I was left in awe at the sight before me. I had never been to a castle before, let alone one that was as beautiful and alluring as this one.
Lazarus held his hand out, offering to help me out of the limousine. I gratefully took his hand, sending him a thankful smile.
I was nervous, to say the least. When Lazarus had first suggested visiting his home, I didn’t take him seriously. But when he kept bringing it up, I realized he wasn’t fooling around.
He wanted me to meet his family and see where he lived. I had to admit, I was worried about meeting his family. I had already met Layton and Leah but I hadn’t met his parents or Layton’s wife. Self-doubt was a pain in the a*s.
Lazarus eventually noticed what was holding me back and reassured me they would love me.
After some time, I relented.
Now, as I stood before the castle, I felt my limbs trembling. In just a few minutes, I would be in the same room as his family.
“Don’t worry, mi amore. They’re going to love you,” He whispered into my ear, soothingly. My eyes momentarily fluttered closed in peace.
With my heart thundering in my chest, I stepped forwards.
Inside was even more gorgeous—if that was possible. I couldn’t help but gawk at the interior and exquisite furniture. I was afraid to touch anything—it all looked so expensive.
I kept my eyes glued to my side and let my eyes roam around the entrance. A set of stairs were situated in front of me. Above my head was a large and bright chandelier, made out of diamonds.
To my left and right were big wooden double doors, leading to more stunning rooms.
It was all even more beautiful than I could imagine. I couldn’t believe this was where Lazarus grew up.
“What do you think?” Lazarus asked, his eyes burning into my face. He was watching my reaction with interest.
I couldn’t find the right words. This place looked otherworldly. In a way, it was as well. It was for a supernatural kingdom, one that was kept hidden from people like me.
Thousands of verbs crossed my mind. Yet, all I could manage was, “It’s nice.”
Nice. It was more than nice. It was like heaven. I’m sure even Buckingham Palace wasn’t as stunning as this.
Just nice? He said through the mind link. I jolted and snapped my eyes to him. I still wasn’t used to him talking to me in my head. It always managed to surprise me.
I sent him a sheepish look. I’m sure he could feel the tsunami of nerves in me.
Multiple pairs of feet clinking on the marble floor caught my attention. I whipped my head to the left and waited in anticipation as the doors were swung open. With bated breath, I hesitantly set my eyes on his mother and father.
His father –Lennon Ward—wasn’t an extremely massive man—not in size at least—but the aura around him was so powerful, my poor knees threatened to unbuckle. The sheer power was so intense, it made anyone question if he was even half-human.
Even Layton didn’t have that much power surrounding him. Perhaps it was because he was a young King. He still had much to learn.
His father had jet black hair, just like Lazarus. However, his eyes were stormy grey. A few wrinkles were around the corner of his eyes, proving he wasn’t a young King anymore. Centuries on the throne had aged him.
On the other hand, his mother—Joy Ward—looked the complete opposite. She had light brown hair that was tied into a neat bun on the top of her head. Her jade green eyes were so pretty—they were without a doubt, her best feature. They held the same kindness I had often seen in Lazarus’s eyes. She was tall and carried herself with elegance. There wasn’t a single wrinkle present on her face. She looked not a day over twenty-five.
Regal. That was how I would describe her mother.
Neither Layton nor his mate was present yet. They must be off somewhere, do important business.
Joy plastered a charming smile on her face and approached me gracefully.
She stopped in front of me and scanned my face in a motherly manner. Hesitantly, she lifted her hand up and gently placed it on my cheek.
“Hello,” She greeted, softly. “It’s good to finally meet you.”
Somehow, she had entranced me. My throat felt so dry. “Y—You too.”
Her smile grew. “How was your trip here? I hope it wasn’t too long.”
“It was okay. I enjoyed the drive.” I answered, politely.
Her mate stepped forwards. “Come dear, I don’t think Celeste will want you hovering like a mother hen.”
To my utter surprise, she pouted slightly but relented. “Of course.”
She must feel comfortable in my presence to have her guard down. I imagined when they were with anyone else, they would be acting seriously. They wouldn’t do anything that seemed childish or foolish.
“We are so pleased you came here, Celeste,” Lennon commented, sincerely. Lazarus threw me a ’you see’ look.
“I’m glad to be here,” I chirped, feeling more at ease at his words.
They both grinned and turned their attention to their son. His mother hugged her son, tightly. She was close to tears. It made my heart burst with guilt that I had kept him away from her for so long.
“I missed you,” She murmured into his ear. Love flowed through my body. It was from the bond.
“I missed you too, mother,” Lazarus replied, burying his head into her hair.
When she pulled away, his father briefly wrapped his arms around his body, patting his back. No words were exchanged; none were needed. The hug said it all.
Afterward, his mother suggested I get unpacked in my room. She wanted us to meet again for a cup of tea in half an hour. I agreed, glad to get myself settled.
Lazarus guided me up the stairs, carrying my heavy suitcase with ease.
It turned out I was staying in Lazarus’s room. Not that I was really expecting to stay anywhere else.
His room was luscious. A king-sized bed was located in the center of the room. It looked like it could fit at least ten people.
There was an en-suite attached to the room and a walk-in wardrobe. The room had to be the size of my living room, kitchen, and dining room. It was massive.
“Wow,” The words fell out of my mouth. “This is...”
“Incredible right?” He finished for me.
“This is really your room?” It was like something out of a fairy-tale.
He nodded his head, smirking.
I felt his strong arms wrap around my torso, encasing me in his scent. He rested his sharp chin on the top of my head whilst I relaxed in his comfortable hold.
It was moments like this when I wished we could just stay like this forever. I didn’t have to worry about Bates anymore but that didn’t mean all my problems were solved. I was supposed to set off to college in a few months. I had gotten into Brown, which pleased my mother. However, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. Lazarus was attending college—he didn’t need to. He said he would follow me where ever I went but I felt bad about dragging him around places. He had already lived in Vermont for over a year. I wondered if he missed being at home.
Of course, he would never tell me aloud.
We had so much to discuss.
He hummed in response.
“What would you say if I told you I didn’t want to go to college,” I said, biting my lip nervously.
He stilled and loosened a breath. “I would ask you if you were sure and why.”
All my life, my mother had pressured me about college. She drilled in my brain that if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t find a job. She wanted me to be just as successful as her. Before I met Lazarus, I just accepted that I would continue to study after school. I didn’t have the confidence to stand up to my mom.
Now, though, I felt like I could. College wasn’t my dream, it was hers. I wanted to see the world with Lazarus and help him with his duties.
I could see myself living in the castle. It felt homely.
“The only reason I applied to college was because of my mom. She thinks that if I don’t go, I will have no job and money.”
“What do you want to do?” He queried, curiously.
“I want to travel with you,” I answered, honestly. “And I want to live here and help you.”
He twirled me around and placed his hands on my cheeks. There was an inner turmoil in his eyes. He liked the sound of it but he thought I was doing this for him, not out of my own self-interest.
“Celeste, I’m not sure you’ve thought this through,” He said, calmly.
“But I have,” I retorted in an insistent manner. “I don’t want to go to Brown. Sure, it’s a great opportunity but I won’t be happy. Traveling and living here will make me happy.”
He pinched his lips together and flickered his eyes away from mine, pondering over what to say. Neither of us wanted to fight. But if he refused to accept that I was being honest, then we just might have to argue.
“You know I only want to make you happy,” He muttered, stroking my cheek affectionately. “If this is what you want, then I will stand by you.”
A gigantic smile stretched onto my face, lighting up my eyes. It made the corners of his lips quirk upwards too.
“What kind of work do you do anyway?” I asked, realizing we had never really talked about it before.
Lazarus cleared his throat, “Well, I help go through reports on different packs and read through any new treaties. I used to inspect on packs before I moved to Vermont.”
In all honesty, it didn’t sound too difficult. With some training, I could see myself settling into that job.
“I could do it,” I piped up, eagerly.
He still didn’t seem completely convinced.
“And you are certain about this?” He repeated, firmer this time.
“Yes,” I replied in a dragged-out voice, annoyed he was still questioning me.
Lazarus held up his hands in a surrender motion, accepting it. “Okay, okay. But have you thought about your mother? Are you going to tell her and then move away?”
“I was planning on telling her as soon as I got back. I’d give her a few weeks to accept it and then I’d move here, permanently. Assuming of course that your family will be okay with it.”
Lazarus chuckled at the end part, “Believe me, they will be glad you are moving here. They don’t like members of the family living away from the kingdom.”
My heart warmed at that. He said I was part of his family. I hoped his family felt the same way. So far, I felt like they did.
“Okay, should I tell them today?”
“I think you should tell them tomorrow. I want you to get to know my family first.” He countered.
Tea with the Ward family was eventful. I finally met Alison—Layton’s mate. She was not what I expected either. She had two sides to her, a serious side that was saved for her Queen duties and a funny side that she only let out around her family.
She was very nice. She immediately started asking me about my hobbies and interests. Before she could divulge all the juicy stories about Lazarus, she was cut off by him. She quietly promised to tell me in secret one day. I was looking forward to that day.
I also found out that she was cousins with Dexter. I couldn’t believe it when she told me.
After having the best cup of tea ever, I excused myself to the bathroom. Nobody had given me the tour yet and they all assumed I knew where it was. Lazarus was too busy talking to his father to notice I had left.
Ten minutes later and I found myself lost. There was nobody around to help me.
Embarrassed, I peered into several unlocked rooms, praying one of them was the bathroom.
Rounding the corner, I wasn’t concentrating where I was going and collided with a thin body. Wobbling on my feet, I used the wall for support.
My eyes lifted upwards to the person I fell into. The first thing I saw was a mop of platinum blonde hair.
And then my eyes connected with two crystal orbs. Ones I could never forget.
My jaw nearly hit the ground in shock. What was Raegan doing here?
I could recall a conversation I had with Marianne in Chemistry a year ago. Marianne claimed Raegan had sent her a letter, telling her that her dad had disowned her. She was officially out of the pack. Raegan was left to fend for herself. Apparently, she was in Minneapolis, working in a diner.
My eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
“Raegan?” I said, wondering if this was real.
Her cat-like eyes widened and her plump lips parted. She looked just as stunned.
I didn’t know how to act. The last time I saw Raegan, we parted on bad terms. That was over a year ago. Could she have changed?
“Celeste,” She eventually said, in a cool tone. She crossed her thin arms over her chest and straightened her posture, attempting to look bigger. “Long time no see.”
“I—,” What on earth should I say to her? She had tried to take Lazarus away from me. She hurt Georgia. “I thought you were kicked out of the pack.”
I didn’t mean to put it so bluntly. The words just spewed out of me before I could stop them.
She almost flinched, her eyes flashing in pain. Yet, she managed to keep her strong façade up, acting as if it didn’t affect her.
“I was,” She told me, coldly. “But I befriended a fellow pack and became a warrior. I’m only visiting them.”
I blinked. Part of me was pleased she wasn’t alone but another part of me wanted to get away from her. So far, everything between us was civil but it could all change. She was unpredictable. I doubted she was over Lazarus.
“So, you are finally meeting the parents, huh?” She questioned, raising her eyebrows. “How’s that going?”
I kept my composure and trod carefully with my answer. Marianne was manipulative. “It’s going well.”
Silence ensued. Neither of us knew what to say. The small talk was never going to last for long. We were two completely different people.
“I should go,” I stammered, ready to leave.
As I stepped forward, her hand shot up and grabbed my upper arm. Coming to a halt, I darted my eyes to hers uncertainly.
“I have one more thing to say,” She announced, avoiding eye contact with me. “I don’t usually do this so you should feel honored that I am.” A frown marred my face. Where was she going with this? “What I tried to do was wrong. I was jealous and possessive. I thought I was in love with Lazarus but in reality, I was in love with the idea of him. I should have never tried to keep you two apart.”
“Are you apologizing to me?” I asked, getting straight to the point.
She pursed her lips together and rolled her eyes, “Yes, I’m trying to.”
“So, yeah, I’m sorry for doing that. I am trying to be a better person. The pack I’m with is very kind and considering. They are teaching me. It’s taking time but I think I’m getting there,” She explained, awkwardly. Not wanting to keep this uncomfortable feeling, she wrapped it up quickly. “You don’t have to worry about me trying to steal your mate anymore. I don’t want him.”
That was the strangest apology I had ever heard. At least I now knew she wasn’t going to try and take Lazarus away from me. As if I’d let her.
“I forgive you,” I whispered, delicately.
Her eyes enlarged and she nearly did a double-take. “You do?”
“Yes,” I nodded my head, sending her a small smile. “I can see you are trying to be a better person.”
For the first time ever, a genuine smile slipped onto her gorgeous face.
“I am,” She agreed.
“I should go,” I declared, inching away from her. She let go of me and dragged a hand through her luscious hair.
A few steps away from her, I realized I had one more thing to say to her.
Spinning on the balls of my heels, I called her name. She froze and glanced over her shoulder warily.
“You should see Marianne before you go. She really missed you.” I remarked, speaking only the truth.
Raegan’s crystal eyes glinted under the lights with happiness and hope. Despite the tough exterior, she loved her sister dearly. They deserved to have another chance at their relationship.
A week later, Raegan returned to Minneapolis and died fighting off a group of rogues. She was saving a young girl from being raped.
Marianne was devastated when she found out the news. A year later, when I asked her about her chat with her sister, she said she was glad Raegan spoke to her before her death. They managed to patch most things up.
When I returned to the lounge after finding the toilet and curled up next to Lazarus on the sofa. His parents were playing a board game in the corner of the room whilst Dexter and Marianne were playing a game on the television. Alison and Layton had gone on a stroll together.
“Everything alright?” Lazarus asked, tucking me under his arm.
I tilted my head up and grinned brightly. “It is now.”
So just a quick fact: this is by far the longest book I have ever written. Like, wow. I can't believe how long this is.
Secondly, I will post a bonus chapter of Patreon soon. Patreon's will be able to vote for who they want the bonus chapter to be about.
Thirdly, if you haven't already noticed, I finally posted Saving Amber. Albeit, it's only the introduction but I will be posting the first chapter on the 30th of December. I have already posted the first chapter on Patreon.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Lydia RoseWrite a Review