“Idina.” Her name left a bitter taste in my mouth. She still looked the same, youthful, as most female werewolves do, curly black hair like her son’s and sparkling mysterious eyes. Her upper lip curled when I spoke to her with the same malice she did when she had addressed me.
Her long fingers tightened around the handle of a dainty tea cup when I stepped closer, allowing my expression to show the pure hatred I held towards her. My eyes flickered towards the table, where a kitchen knife rested beside the plate I had slammed down.
Subtly angling my body, I swiftly took up the knife with one hand and folded my arms behind my back, feeling the sting of the sharp blade as it nipped my palm.
Shrewd eyes lowered to my neck. “Can’t stay out of trouble, can you?”
My head tilted. I had showered since this morning and had made sure to wash away all of the blood. However, I knew there was a long bruise and maybe a bit of swelling on my neck.
“Who invited you here?” Those words were flung from Flynn, who marched into the room, immediately coming by my side. In the hallway stood a tensed Penelope, one hand placed on her slight bump.
Idina didn’t respond for a few seconds, allowing her gaze to linger on me. When she faced Flynn, her smile creased the corners of her mouth.
“By Arthur Swiss, of course.” Her voice had dropped to a low purr. “I was looking forward to seeing you here, Flynn.”
Penelope and I exchanged a long look. Was this lunatic really trying to flirt with Flynn whilst his mate stood only a couple feet away? Penelope’s throat cleared loudly and I ducked my head, smirking.
“You can stop with your lies, woman. Arthur didn’t invite you here.” Penelope spat, inching forward. Her green eyes shone dangerously and Flynn placed a hand on her arm.
Idina’s beam dropped away, smoothly being replaced with a frown as she stared down at Penelope. They once had been very close, so I knew Idina was startled by her attitude.
Idina jerked forward abruptly, her movements slow and I found it difficult to read her intentions. The need to stop any possible harm towards my friend blossomed and I swung my knife around, pressing the tip of the blade on her belly in warning.
Pink lips peeled back to reveal ivory teeth but I did not pull away. Anger consumed her, hardening her expression and stiffening her shoulders. I moved my arm further when she didn’t back down, continuing to maintain eye-contact.
It was Flynn who finally decided to break our stare down, shoving his hand forward and pushing away Idina. We watched as she stumbled into the furniture, plopping hard onto a sofa.
“What makes you think I wasn’t invited?” Idina said after standing back up to her feet, arms folded across her chest. My jaw clenched tight when she smirked at our silence. I had assumed that Arthur knew the tension between Xerxes and his mother, so I was confused as to why he would have asked her to be here.
We all swiveled around to see the man who had spoken. I frowned deeply, taking in the rumpled state of Sinclair. It seemed to be a norm for him, to have his clothes a bit untidy. His face twisted into a sneer when his gaze swept to me. His mouth opened, probably to send a couple insults my way, but I waved him off, looking towards Flynn instead. His eyes dodged mine as I sent a questioning look towards his mate instead.
Penelope sighed, whipping around and walking to the doorway. “I’m returning to my room.” She glanced at me. “Could I speak with you there?”
I hesitated, shooting one last withering glare to Idina and scowled at Sinclair. I releases, the knife, allowing it to clatter to the tiled floor, inches away from Idina’s foot.
“Sinclair was invited to come here by Arthur,” Penelope told me once we reached her room. Her hands played with the edge of a soft looking pillow as she sat cross-legged on the bed, her back pressed against it’s headboard. “And Arthur must’ve told him that he was free to invite one person...which unfortunately happens to be Idina.”
She grimaced when she finished off her last sentence. Her hands ran through her thick red hair, her eyes closing tight as if in pain. “There will be chaos when Xerxes finds out she is here.”
I was silent, arms folded behind my back as I stood at the foot of the bed. So Arthur hadn’t invited her. I shook my head. I knew that more than likely, Idina’s intentions were to stir up trouble, or to disagree with any of the plans that Arthur and Xerxes wanted to enforce. Idina has many supporters; many of them agree with her beliefs. She had once been a Luna and many werewolves had and still admire her.
I retreated to my room and as minutes ticked by, I slowly became restless. This house and all the expensive electronic gadgets that were in it couldn’t keep me entertained, so I left, deciding to stroll through the gardens behind the house.
A soft, melodic hum could be heard as I advanced towards a gazebo, my bare arms brushing against some of the tall, wet bush, the perfume of the Stargazer Lily flowers intensifying. My bare feet made quick work through the small pathway, avoiding any painful looking pebbles.
Memories of my childhood flooded my mind as I walked. My mother once had a beautiful, large garden. Not as extravagant as this one, not so many various flowers either, but it was still beautiful. As a child I would often go wandering around, playing with the butterflies as my mother watched from a distance. More than once I had fallen, leaving my skin with a few cuts. But more than often, I would ignore them and go on chasing any creature I could find, knowing they would heal sooner or later.
My mind drifted back to the present at the noise.
Destiny was stirring a spoon in a bowl, the green thick liquid squelching softly with each movement of the spoon. Her black eyes lifted up to me as I approached cautiously, taking in the jars laid out on the table, each filled with an odd coloured liquid.
The scent of various herbs filled my nostrils when I finally stood above Destiny who tilted the bowl, allowing me to see the content.
“This is a concoction,” She explained, resting the bowl down once more after I had taken a good look at it. She lifted a hat from a chair near her and I sat down.
“It can be used to stop any stomach aches or pain.” Destiny said. She peered up at me. “Would you like some?”
Immediately I declined. “I’m fine, thanks.”
She nodded slowly, but continued to peer up at me with her wise dark eyes. “I have something for that.” She pointed a finger towards the rising bruise on my neck. Swiftly she stood before I could say anything, capturing a jar between her thin hands and prying off the lid. Immediately a foul stench filled the air and I jerked away as she approached.
Her nose wrinkled. “Yes, the smell is bad. But this helps heal the bruise quickly, as well as lessen the swelling.” She dug two fingers into the mush and lifted them. “May I?”
I said nothing at first, hesitating. I sensed no ill-intent from Destiny and lifted my braids, so they wouldn't be in her way. Her two fingers drifted to my neck and I shuddered at the surprisingly coldness of the concoction. The feeling of her fingers against my skin was soothing and I felt my back muscles slowly slacken, my head tilting further to the side.
“I heard about what happened this morning.” Destiny spoke softly as she gently stroked more of the mush against my swollen bruise. “Is this the result of the fight?”
Destiny sighed. “Not all of us view humans the way you think we do,” She told me. “Many of us believed for a long time that what had been going on in the past wasn’t right.”
Her fingers paused when I spoke, “If so, then why didn’t you all do something about it? I hadn’t heard anything about werewolves coming together to protest about what was going on.”
The jar clicked as Destiny retrieved more of the concoction. “Well, we didn’t go out marching and protesting. We spoke with Xerxes and Idina several times whenever we had the opportunity to do so. The Alpha was more willing to listen than his mother and I knew that we were slowly getting through to him.”
I was silent as she rubbed the last set on my skin and straightened. “How does it feel?” She asked. I cocked my head, still feeling an ache from the bruise, but not as painful as before.
“It’s good.” I said, watching as she wiped her hands in a brown rag. “Thank you.”
Her smile was gentle. “You’re welcome, dear. If you manage to get in any other scuffles with any more pretentious werewolves, and end up with some aches and bruises, you come find me.”
I sat on the window seat, staring through the glass panes. Arthur had called home and asked if I wanted to come to the meeting. I had reluctantly agreed. I was curious to know what exactly they were talking about.
When I told Arthur that Idina was here, he said that he would have little choice but to deal with her once he arrived back home. It was important that he be present during the many meetings.
My eyes blazed with anger when I saw Idina and Sinclair leave minutes before Penelope, Flynn and I did. They clearly wanted to cause a scene, or had some plan that they wanted to carry out.
Once we arrived at the building where all of these events and conferences were going to be held, Xerxes had already confronted his mother, who cowered behind Sinclair’s large body. Her eyes were wide, darting around, as if seeking help from someone as her son lambasted her with rage-filled words.
Arthur stood by The Alpha’s side, lips pulled into a frown. He swayed back and forth slightly, a soft hum rumbling his chest.
“Calm down, Xerxes,” Sinclair hissed, his face flushing red as persons began to stare. “She is your mother, have a little-”
Xerxes vicious snarl echoed and my stomach clenched. “Leave.” He demanded. Sinclair bristled.
“I was invited here.”
All eyes turned to Arthur, who released a long, breathy sigh. His fingers lifted to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Idina has to leave, Sinclair. You can stay, but she will be escorted off the property and will be taken to the nearest airport.”
Idina suddenly became brave. “I left my luggage at your home,” She spoke smugly, as if making that little announcement would magically make her able to stay in the country.
“Then your luggage will be dropped off at the airport as well.” Xerxes spat before Arthur could speak. His body shook with barely controlled rage and I glanced at him worriedly.
Sinclair straightened as men weilding cameras pushed through the murmuring crowd. His smile was secretive as he noticed them, one of his hands slipping into his pocket. Idina did the same and immediately Xerxes stalked closer, fingernails becoming claws.
Gleaming rings sat on their ring fingers when they lifted their fisted hands high above their head, the symbol with the two dark helmets and circle glittering against the lights above. The crowd became silent as the two began chanting, their voices piercing and strong,
We will prevail! We will prevail!
I cringed at their words. So cliché.
They were immediately grabbed by security guards and although they struggled, the words continued. My eyes caught Harold standing near the back of the crowd. I didn’t miss the way Harold clapped a hand on Sinclair’s shoulder, his head nodding slightly as if in agreement with his words.
“Rebecca? Are you okay?” Xerxes voice whispered by my ear. I could feel his strong build beside me and I exhaled slowly. I needed to tell him about those rings, about the suspicious way Harold was behaving.
I met his silver eyes, seeing anger there, but knew they were not because of me. His hand touched my waist when I faced him,
“We need to talk,” My eyes drifted to the buzzing crowd and then back to him. “Somewhere quiet, preferably.”