"Ari those weren't maids." Gigi's aghast expression was the stuff of nightmares. The sheer terror painted on her face froze me to my core.
"What? Are you sure? They were dressed as maids though?"
"None of the maids look like that. They're all above middle aged and come to think of it, none of them have blonde hair."
"Maybe Alpha Balaj hired new maids?" I suggested.
"We need to go and tell Balaj. Could you please make sure the windows and doors of the first floor rooms are locked, I'm going to go and find Balaj so that we can trace down Anaxi. Once you're done, we'll all meet up downstairs in the living room."
"Gigi, calm down. We'll find him."
I tried to console a near sobbing Gigi. I could tell it wouldn't take much for her to begin to cry, and she had every reason to do so. Anaxi had just been taken for reasons only the Goddess probably knows, and we've no clue where they've taken him or who has taken him.
Gigi took a deep breath in, and placed her hands on my shoulders.
"We'll find him. We're going to get my baby back." She spoke, confidence oozing out of her words. It was these qualities of hers that really pieced her together as a Luna. She managed to pull herself together at times when it was confusing to understand what should happen next.
With that, she ran down the corridor, off to Balaj's office where he likely was. I did as told, I shut all of the doors and the windows of all of the many rooms in the first floor. After that, I started going downstairs into the living room as Gigi had instructed. On the way down, I spotted an anxious Gigi, walking down the grand staircase by herself.
"Ari I don't know where Balaj is! Have you seen him?"
Ironically, by the time we both made it down the stairs, Balaj walked out of the kitchen, munching on an apple.
"Why are we so flustered today?" He smirked and winked at Gigi.
"Anaxi! Has! Gone! Missing! Are you're really trying to flirt with me right now??"
"What?! When? Who??" Balaj finally caught up to the fact that something bad had happened.
"The rogue alarm blared and some maids took him from Ariana."
"What rogue alarm?"
"Ari please explain!"
"I was downstairs, playing with Anaxi, when some rogue alarm began blaring. There were about four maids who took Anaxi from me and tried taking me into some shelter?"
Balaj pinched the bridge of his nose in anger and annoyance.
"Gigi I thought you had given your friend here a tour of the house? There is no shelter. As for the rogue alarm, today was a standard check for the system. I had it recently updated and today was the test run of it. But do you seriously not remember Gigi giving you a tour of the house?"
"Ugh stop playing the blame game, Balaj, now is not the time." Spoke Gigi, frustrated and exasperated and I was glad she wasn't blaming me like Balaj. I had genuinely thought that those were maids.
"Okay okay, just hurry up and describe the women, I've mind linked my Beta to close the pack borders, they can't get far."
"Maid uniforms, two had blonde hair and the others had black hair, and all of them had green eyes."
"Well suck me sideways. Butter my buns and call me a biscuit. Put wheels on me and call me a bicycle. Give me-"
"Balaj?! Have you any idea how terrible this is?? Wake up!! We've lost Anaxi!"
Balaj just chuckled, causing Gigi to give me a shocked glance, I reciprocated her confused glance with one of my own. Even I couldn't understand why Balaj was acting like that.
"Gigi those are my sisters."
"Since when do you have four sisters? Don't you only have one younger sister?" Queried Gigi, who remembered seeing a younger sister of Balaj prance around the pack, back when Gigi hadn't been rejected. Vaguely, I can remember Gigi telling me about Balaj's younger sister, but I'm not sure. My recollection must vary.
"No I've very much always had four sisters. Three of them are older than me, two are twins who are the second oldest, and one is the oldest. As for the fourth, she's the youngest." Balaj explained.
Say what now?
"They didn't look alike though?" I reminded him.
"They're fraternal twins."
"Okay but that still doesn't explain why they took Anaxi. And they knew my full name. How and why?"
"They've always been a right bunch of pranksters. They probably got poor Martha to spill the info about what I'm up to these days. They've only recently found out that I...rejected my mate-Gigi. Which was a grave mistake. So when Martha updated them on how I've brought both my mate and my pup into their rightful place, they probably thought it was best to come and give me a heart attack by taking advantage of the rogue alarm test, and seeing their nephew." Balaj grit his teeth towards the end of his long explanation. At first he chuckled off the actions of his sisters and their friend but now he seemed irked at what they had done.
"I've never even heard of your other sisters..."
Gigi trailed off, sounding a bit surprised that no one had ever mentioned her mate's sisters to her.
"Let me give you a break down of them. The oldest is Dua. She's about four years older than me. Then there's my twin sisters- Leyla and Maeve. They're both a year younger than Dua. And the youngest is called Hazel. Hazel is sixteen." Balaj explained.
"Why doesn't anyone ever talk about them?" Gigi asked.
"Dua was supposed to become Alpha, but she doesn't believe that anyone on this earth- werewolf or human- has the right to take another life. She doesn't think it's a decision we should make. Rather she believes it's up to the Moon Goddess. Her pacifist views left the responsibility of being Alpha to Leyla, who is older than Maeve by a minute. Leyla turned down the offer, because she didn't want to be Alpha and leave her twin. Even though they aren't identical, they're still very close. The same happened when Maeve was urged to become Alpha. None of my sisters wanted to become Alpha, so the responsibility became my own." Balaj cleared.
"If you don't mind me asking, where do your sisters live? I've not seen them around here even once."
"Well Dua is happily mated, although at first she disagreed with her mate a lot. Her mate is an Alpha and since they both have Alpha blood, they were constantly disobeying and annoying each other. None of them wanted to bow down to the other. But now that the mate bond has worked its magic, they're happily mated."
Balaj paused to give us time to let all that information sink in, before continuing.
"As for the twins, they travel around every now and then, they visit different packs speaking about the importance of letting women work etc. They're more activist-y. As for Hazel, she's just recently had a trip to the human world. She finds them a fascinating but rather irking species."
That...was a huge plot twist. I was not expecting that. Don't get me wrong- I'm beyond glad that Anaxi is probably in safe hands but there's always a part of me that assumes the worst. I try and focus on the good, but a portion of me always reminds me of every worst case scenario possible. It does help in some situations. But mostly, it makes matters worse. So all in all I can tell that the three of us are really relieved.
"How will we get Anaximander back?"
"I know where they are."
Balaj walked us over to his hummer and as the three of us buckled in he began explaining that his parents had bought his sisters a house in their pack lands. It was a grand size, and decorated in such a cute and artsy way. It was modern yet also riddled with the history of the Nebula Pack, with photos and artifacts being displayed here and there apparently. His parents had it renovated when his sisters were born. It was refreshing to see a pack where the leaders weren't complete misogynists. Usually a first born girl isn't treated well. The Alpha heir is traditionally viewed as a boy. If you're a Luna and your first born child is a girl...good luck for you and your kid, you're going to need it.
We left the car and walked right in. All Balaj had to do was fish for a key in one of the cute, little, pastel coloured gnome flower pots and voila - we were in.
If the house was stunning on the outside, wait until you see the inside. It gave strong cottage core vibes from the outside, but from the inside it was completely modern and futuristic. From where I was standing in the hallway, to the far left of me was the kitchen. Granite stone covered the counter tops, fox grey cabinets were all lined up, there were magnolia tiles in one section and a mild grey flooring in the other. I could describe their house for days but I was stopped when Gigi ran over to the living room, where Anaxi was sat on their furry mauve rug. The four of Balaj's sisters sat around him, making silly faces and placing newly bought, chunky Lego blocks in front of him.
She scooped him up in his arms and kissed him all over. Anaxi, too, seemed overjoyed to be seeing his mother. He babbled in delight and pointed over to his aunts.
"You must be Gigi! I'm Dua-"
One of Balaj's sisters began introducing herself before she was interrupted by a fuming Gigi.
"I don't care. What the hell made you think it was okay to abduct my child??" Gigi lashed out, although I could tell that her wolf was partially responsible for her anger. Wolves don't take it well when someone does something like this to their pup. Gigi's anger was just her and her wolf's maternal instincts being angered at what Balaj's sisters had done.
"Ahh yikes...about that- we've been pestering Balaj for updates about you. But he's not been telling us much. So we asked Martha and when we found out that he brought you back we were overjoyed!" Said Dua. She was really pretty, as a matter of fact, all of Balaj's sisters were pretty. Their family had a nice gene pool. Dua had silky blonde hair and green eyes. She was wearing a tiger print silk dress and had her hair tied up in a clasp.
"And then when she told us that you guys have a pup together and that Balaj brought back you and the pup, boy oh boy, we went mad with happiness. So we tried asking Balaj once more to see if he'll spill the truth but he didn't." Another one of Balaj's sisters spoke. This one had black hair and green eyes. All of his sisters had green eyes, but their hair colours did differ. Two had blonde hair and two had black hair.
"Leyla, I didn't want to upset my mate. Ironically that's exactly what you four have done." Calmly uttered Balaj, anger oozing out of his words.
"It was my idea! I swear!"
"Maeve don't take the blame for me, it's okay. It was my idea, Balaj. I'm so sorry." Maeve and Leyla both had black hair, which meant the only other blonde was Hazel.
"My point is, that it was trash of you guys to have done something like this. If you wanted to meet my mate and my pup you could have asked."
Balaj spoke, crossing his arms across his chest and using his Alpha voice, which didn't work on his sisters as they were all of Alpha blood.
"We did! We tried calling your Alpha offices so many times but you'd never pick up, we tried coming over to the Alpha house but Martha wouldn't let us in!"
"Balaj, it's okay. Anaxi's their nephew, they had every right to see him. Although obviously not in the circumstances they saw him, but they can see their nephew if they want to." Gigi rubbed a soothing hand over Balaj’s tense biceps and it seemingly worked in calming him down.
"Aww what's his full name?!" Questioned Hazel, bouncing up and down on the spot in pure excitement and glee.
"Anaximander." Gigi smiled which was followed up by 'awwwws' by Balaj's sisters.
Balaj looked pleased at the interaction between his mate and his sisters. He was happy at the fact that they liked his pup and his mate. It was so obvious, the guy was smiling so much I just know his cheeks feel like they're about to fall off.
Although the interaction between them was heart touching to watch, I still felt like I was intruding. This was a private moment and my presence would only make things awkward and strange. So I signalled to Balaj that I was going back to the Alpha house. Balaj responded with a point towards Gigi and an angry face, likely proving she'd be angry at me if I left. But I assured him I'd be fine, and had packing to do.
The walk back was short yet peaceful. Since high school, when I'd get late for the bus to school, is when I began speed walking. Using Lena for stuff I could easily do myself didn't sit right with me, so I only used Lena and her abilities when I really needed to get somewhere. On days I had math first, I'd work slower than Lycan-ly possible. Those days were fun. Thinking back to those days makes me tear up- they were such easy and stress free times. Well excluding the stress of exams and all, but I'd rather have to stress over an exam rather than over my unborn pup, who I'm supposed to be raising completely by myself.
I went upstairs and made sure my packing was finished. Gigi had placed many little bags of shopping for me and for the baby, and I didn't know how to thank her. Yes the sentiment was really sweet, but how was I supposed to carry all of these with me to where ever it is I'll end up going?
Too busy stressing over packing, I was almost deafened to the tumultuous growls of my famished stomach. Dinner was set exactly like it was before Balaj's sisters came and whisked Anaxi away, so all I did was warm up a plate and dive in.
After eating a great deal of food, I went back to the guest room to sleep. Tomorrow I'd leave this place. Tomorrow is when I'd start my new life with my unborn pup. Tomorrow...gave me anxiety but tomorrow...also gave me excitement. All I can do is hope that better days lie ahead of me and my pup.
Morning came by quicker than expected. My day started with me rushing to the toilet and vomiting insane amounts straight into the commode. After brushing my teeth, brushing my hair and freshening up, I made it downstairs for breakfast, where Maeve, Hazel Leyla and Dua were busy feeding Anaxi, with Balaj proudly smiling down at Gigi and rubbing her shoulder. Things were quite visibly working out between Balaj and Gigi and I couldn't be happier for them. The Moon Goddess needs to keep them together this time.
"Good Morning everyone!" I smiled and Gigi ran over to hug me.
During breakfast, which contained all sorts of delicious foods, I explained to Balaj's curious sisters about what had happened to me, and where I was going.
"I have a friend living in the human world." Hazel admitted, causing a confused Balaj to choke on water and frantically question her how she knew anyone from the human world, despite the fact that he knew she had been to the human world in the past.
"Ugh relax, will you? He-"
"It's a he?! Why are you befriending males??"
"Will you listen??" Dua had to jump in to get Balaj to quieten down and listen to what Hazel was trying to say.
“As I was saying, he wanted to study humans and how they interacted with each other. It was just supposed to be for a school assignment, but he liked it so much he never came back."
"And you still speak to him?" Prodded Balaj.
"No, I don't have that much time, but I do check up on him, every once in a while."
"Don't talk to males who you aren't related or mated to. That's the rule." Concluded Balaj.
"Men. He likes men. If anything he probably became my friend to get closer to you. He doesn't like girls, okay? Now get off of his back." Spoke Hazel, poking around at her breakfast. Out of her siblings she had the smallest appetite.
"So anyways, I'll send him a message that you're on your way. The apartment block he lives in is pretty much empty, anyways, so there will be spare apartments for you to move into. He can help you find a job, etc, and settle in well." Hazel smiled up at me and I was both grateful and surprised at her help. She didn't even need to help me, yet here she was, having everything figured out for me.
"Thank you so much Hazel. You know, you sort of remind me of my baby brother Knox. He's the same age as you- wait- how old are you again?"
"Don't mention it, and I'm 16."
"You're a year younger than him, but you really remind me of him." It’s true, both had helpful, sweet personalities and both were the youngest and no doubt spoilt.
Breakfast was over before I knew it, and it was time for the final check over of all my bags. Gigi gave me another, much bigger, brown faux leather suitcase and helped me shift all the stuff that wouldn't fit in my own, smaller suitcase, into the new and bigger one.
Each of Balaj's sisters got a goodbye hug from me, and Anaxi got several kisses on his cheek. He was such a sweet child, I'd really miss him. Maybe when my own pup is born, I could bring them around to play with Anaxi.
Gigi and Balaj came with me to the airport, straight through until the boarding gates.
Gigi handed me a phone, and a purse full of various stuff, I didn't have the time to see or go through.
"Gigi what's all this for? Honestly you've done way more than enough for me, you don't need to-"
"Shh! It's from the both of us. Me and Balaj. And you will need this to stay in contact with all of us, along with the other things in that bag."
Gigi and Balaj were swiped into a hug by me and I couldn't stop saying thank you to express my happiness at their gifts. The two had really gone above and beyond for me. There's no way I could ever repay them, no amount of money or gold or diamonds could ever pay off their massive debt to me.
A squeaky announcement began blaring throughout the terminal, announcing that the final call for the boarding of my flight was taking place.
"Thank you. Gigi and Balaj I can never repay your kindness. You guys have been so munificent and I can't thank you enough."
"Shh! Don't say all that! You're practically family now and I won't let my sister thank me. You'll be a great mum, just don't be a stranger- bring round the baby whenever you can." Gigi hugged me, and I truly felt like she was the sister I've never had.
"Stay safe Ariana, if you ever need anything, the Nebula Pack warriors are always at your beck and call." Even Balaj side hugged me and gave me a nod. He was more of a brotherly figure now, as opposed to him being broody and judgemental to me before.
Whispering one last goodbye, I pivoted directly towards the boarding gate and went straight in. Before turning left, further into the bridge connecting the terminal and the plane, I turned around to wave one final goodbye and made my way inside the plane and took my seat in first class.
This was it. A new life for me and my pup. Yes, I do wish things didn't have to be this way, but they are and I've learnt to come to terms with my destiny.
This is how things are meant to be.