“Up, Daddy! Up!” I giggle as my father smiles lightly and lifts my small body up. I give him the tightest hug I can give as my mother brings in cookies from the kitchen. The mouth watering scent fills my nose and forces my mouth to salivate.
“Those smell yummy!” My father places me on the couch and plops down beside me. My older brother, Derrick, is quick to grab a cookie as soon as our mother puts them on the coffee table.
“Pace yourself, boy.” My father growls. Derrick swallows loudly and bows his head in submission. I pat his head lightly in hopes of comforting my brother.
My mother clears her throat and sits on the couch arm where my father put his hand on her back. The fire in front of us spits lightly and I can’t help but take in the amazing decorations.
The tree is full and lit with white lights. My father cut it down from the forest surrounding our territory. Old and new ornaments dot the branches.
Our fireplace is big and brick. My father takes pride in it, so it’s cleaned regularly during the winter. Our stockings are hanging on the side instead of the mantle. We learned that lesson last year.
As I finish my milk and cookies, my father places a small present in my lap and Derrick’s. My smile widens as I rip through the wrapping paper. I squeal with delight.
“No way!” Derrick exclaims. We both hold up brand new IPod with matching cases and headphones.
“Thank you guys!” My brother and I jump on our parents with glee. My mother giggles as Derrick hugs her tightly. He and my father have a strained relationship, so they just exchange knowing looks.
"Now, off to bed kiddos!" My mother smiles, "You'll get to play with these tomorrow after you open your other presents."
"But Mama!" I whine, "Daddy has to tell us a bedtime story!"
"She's right.." Derrick winks at me, "It's tradition."
My father scoops me up in his arms and clears his throat. My mother sits on the opposite side of the couch with Derrick in her arms.
"Tell us the history of the pack!" I exclaim, "Please, Daddy?"
"Oh, honey, I don't think-" My father puts his hand up to stop my mother's words. She simply nods.
"Long ago, way before your mother and I were in charge, our pack ran within the Celestial Realm." My father smooths my hair and continues, "Our wolves were worshipped by the humans outside of the Realm's borders for protection. Our wolves always found their mates with the humans or each other before the day of the Fates."
"Who are the Fates?" I stuff a cookie in my mouth.
"The Fates are the ones who separated our wolves from the Celestial Realm, sweetie." My mother smiles, "They are above every God, Goddess, and Celestial. We are their subjects in a sense."
My father continues, "Every thousand years, one of the Fates die. This would tip the even balance of eight around their table. So, our first Alpha made a deal with the Fates in order to have the ability to visit the Celestial Realm whenever we wished."
"What was it?" Derrick asks impatiently. I feel a small growl escape my father. My brother cowers in submission.
"Every thousand years, the Fates would have a banquet with our pack." My mother comforts Derrick while glaring at my father, "One of our males with the chosen wolf would replace the Fate who has died."
"I would hate to be their mate." I say innocently, "To be so far apart.."
"That's why it's against the pack ruling to mate with the male who is chosen." My father says, "Any female who mates with a Fate is to be executed. If not, her wolf would have to be ripped from the female in order to sever the bond."
"That sounds cruel." I sigh.
"It's for the betterment of the pack and Fates, Princess." My father stands with me in his arms and hugs me lightly, "You don't have to worry, though. No female has ever been the mate of the chosen males."