After Dad gave me the necklace, I retreated back to my bedroom.
Viktor tried to hide it, but I watched his eyes flicker to the golden jewelry hanging from my neck.
Something flashed in his obsidian gaze.
Awareness? Caution? Surprise?
I wasn't sure what the emotion was, but I was almost positive that Viktor had seen this necklace before. I wondered how familiar he was with this piece of jewelry. Did he know it's full potential?
Many of the Royal families began to arrive today, but were required to stay in the nearest hotel.
While many were unhappy with this fact, none would dare openly disobey my Dad.
Erik and his family would arrive tomorrow, the day of my birthday.
My stomach twisted into knots at the thought of Erik arriving.
Ever since I was a child, everyone was sure Erik and I would be mates. I used to think the same, now I wasn't so sure.
How could I be Erik's mate when my infatuation with Viktor existed? Would it miraculously disappear the moment I realized Erik was my mate?
My head was swimming with questions and doubts. The one thing I wanted to sooth the storm within me was Viktor.
Much like my previous birthdays, Shannon and Caroline stayed the night in my bedroom suite.
Viktor had no choice but to attend, watching ever so quietly. I was all too aware when it came to Viktor's presence.
"Are you excited to see Erik again?" Caroline squealed, layering the rose pink nail polish on her toes.
I shrugged, both looking forward to it and swimming in reluctance. "I suppose so."
"I heard that he's super hot now that he's become Alpha." Caroline giggled, and Shannon shook her head.
"I don't see how you have so many connections, Caroline." Shannon shook her head. She was painting her own toe nails a gorgeous shade of yellow. It wasn't a bright lemon yellow, but more of a sunset yellow. The color complimented her deep espresso skin perfectly.
Caroline shrugged, "I get around."
Shannon and I snickered at her comment, causing Caroline to gape at us.
"I never knew that about you." Shannon laughed, and I joined in.
Caroline's face turned red, "I didn't mean like that!"
That was how we spent the majority of the night. At one point, one of the servants brought up a cart full of ice cream and toppings.
"I have a message to give you from the Alpha King." The servant smiled as she set the cart against the far wall.
Caroline and Shannon immediately headed for the ice cream, "Lay it on me." I smiled back.
"He wanted me to tell you not to stay up too late. The stylists will be here in the morning." She smiled and left the bedroom.
"You could've just mind-linked me, y'know." I chuckled.
I could feel my Dad's laughter on the other end, "I didn't want to bother you, so I figured I'd send my message with some ice cream."
"Caroline and Shannon got your message loud and clear." I giggled and ended the mind-link.
The three of us went to bed quite early that night, only awakening by the patter of a knock on my door.
Caroline's sleepy head popped up from the couch, while Shannon groaned and sat up from the bed.
"Looks like the stylists are here." I sighed sleepily.
A separate knock sounded from the door that connected mine and Viktor's room. My heart jumped and I steadied my voice as I called out, "Come in!"
Viktor glided into the room looking as amazing as ever.
My breath once again caught in my throat as I looked at my deliciously handsome body guard.
He was wearing a pure black suit along with a black tie. The only pop of color on him was the thin gold stripes on his black tie, his porcelain skin and his tousled dark chocolate hair. The all black look suited him perfectly. An immaculate combination of god-like looks and the deadly aura that emanated from him.
"He's looking as incredible as ever." Aela practically swooned.
I shook my head, "He is, but chances are we'll be finding our mate today."
I flopped out of bed and trudged to the bedroom door, letting the parade of stylists in.
Dad was always kind enough to include Caroline and Shannon when it came to getting dressed up for gala's and parties.
"Happy Birthday, Arabella." My Dad's amused voice flooded through my mind.
"Thanks, Dad." I chuckled.
"Don't keep the stylists waiting too long." His voice rumbled with laughter.
I rolled my eyes, "Of course not."
Viktor stood off to the side, his obsidian eyes glued to me, as I forced Shannon up and off the bed. Caroline was easy to wake up. She took one look at the stylists and jumped from the couch.
"Princess Arabella." A thin red head smiled politely at me. Her brown eyes flickered between me and my friends and I felt like I was being observed under a microscope.
I smiled back at the woman, "Good morning, miss. What happened to Renee?"
Renee led her own team of stylists and tended to me and my friends for many years.
The woman with the flaming locks gave me an understanding smile, "She had to visit some family last minute. I assure you, you're in capable hands. Renee set me to the task herself. My name's Anastasia."
I smiled back at Anastasia. If Renee trusts her, then so do I.
"Lead the way, Anastasia." I grinned.
Anastasia took no time sending her team setting up around the room. Strange looking recliners were brought in along with totes of supplies.
"The three of you, hop in the shower. We'll be staring on your skin and nails, then finishing with your hair and make-up." Anastasia gave us a smile, and turned to help her team set up.
"I got you guys covered." I chuckled, digging through one of my drawers until I found three bikini's. I also grabbed three sets of shorts and t-shirts for when we had finished.
While nudity was something Lycan's were used to, it was again different for royalty.
It was considered disrespectful to look on a Royal after they had shifted back into human form. It was another form of submitting and showing your respect.
The three of us went into the bathroom and turned our backs on eachother as we changed into the bathing suits.
I unclasped the necklace from around me, frowning when the strange buzzing sensation left my skin.
I tucked the necklace deep in one of the bathroom drawers.
We all hopped into the steaming shower and I laughed as Caroline and Shannon marveled at it's size.
"I could fit my whole family in here." Shannon shook her head, her wet curls bouncing with the movement.
Caroline snickered, "I would have so much shower sex."
I grimaced at my friend and fake gagged, earning an amused gasp from her.
"You can't tell me you haven't thought about it." Caroline rolled her eyes as she rinsed the shampoo from her blonde hair.
I shook my head, "I actually haven't. You know I can't just do what I want with guys."
Shannon shook her head, "Some of us here are innocent, Caroline", Shannon teased.
Caroline rolled her eyes, a smile playing on her thin lips. "I don't see why you can't do what you want. All that save yourself for your mate stuff is bullshit if you ask me."
"It's more of a Royal thing than anything else", I shrugged. "No snobby Alpha is going to want a mate who isn't a virgin."
"From what I hear, some of them snobby Alpha's already want you." Shannon smirked, her honeycomb eyes bright with unspoken knowledge.
I shook my head, "Best of luck to them."
We hopped out of the shower and dried off the best we could. I slipped my necklace back on and noticed Caroline's interested gaze.
"Ooh, what's that?" Caroline's blue eyes traced over the golden jewelry that adorned my neck.
I shrugged, "Just a birthday present from Dad."
While I wanted to spill what he had told me, his words still played in my head. An ominous warning.
If the necklace was truly a weapon, there would be plenty of Lycan's who would love to get their hands on it.
Shannon's golden eyes flickered from the necklace to my face. I could see her physically bite back the words that threatened to pass her lips. No doubt she would say something she shouldn't have known.
"She definitely knows something about our necklace." Aela shook her head.
I shrugged, "Can you really be surprised?"
Shannon gave the necklace one last weary glance, and the three of us turned back around to slip on the shorts and t-shirts.
I nearly slammed into Viktor as we left the bathroom. He was standing only a few feet in front of the bathroom door, his fist raised as though he were going to knock.
My gut twisted in my stomach as I stood only a few inches away.
His obsidian eyes burned holes into my own, and my fingers twitched as the urge to touch him ran through me. His black mask blended in perfectly with his dark suit.
"Everything is fine, Viktor." I murmured, stepping aside when the urge to touch him became too overwhelming.
Anastasia was quick to direct me, Caroline and Shannon to the three odd looking recliners that sat in my bedroom suite.
The three of us laid back in the recliners and let the stylists get to work.
They started by putting a slimy face mask on us, while another team set to work on our nails.
"Loving this dusty rose color." Caroline grinned, glancing at me gratefully.
I grinned back, "See, no beige." I chuckled.
"Dusty rose." Shannon scoffed, a smile on her face. "Mine are gold, and I already know I'm gonna love my dress."
I chuckled and leaned back, glancing down at my own nails. They were a beautiful shade of emerald green, accented with little gold swirls and designs.
"Now back to what I was saying last night", Caroline began and I sighed. "What are you gonna do if Erik is your mate?"
I shrugged, not wanting to have this conversation with Viktor in the room. His gaze was stronger than ever, and it felt wrong talking about such things.
"I don't really have any options." I sighed.
Shannon shrugged, "I don't think Erik's your mate."
"What does your weird psychic sense tell you?" Caroline giggled, and my stomach tightened.
Shannon shook her head, "No, ma'am. My mouth gets me in trouble enough. That's not my business to be butting in on."
While I was grateful Shannon kept her knowledge to herself, I really did want to know what she thought.
Caroline carried most of the conversation for the rest of the morning. We only stopped to talk when one of the servants brought a cart of fresh fruit and finger food in the bedroom.
The stylists set to work on our hair while we chatted and ate a light lunch.
I enjoyed the minimalistic approach when it came to my hair. The stylist was more than happy to receive my suggestions, and I was ecstatic with the outcome. My raven hair fell in long waves down my back. The stylist had taken the two front pieces and twisted them behind my head. The stylist then connected those two pieces with an elaborate hair pin.
The pin was golden and resembled thin twigs, just like the chain on my necklace.
The make-up was always the hardest part for me. Sitting still for that long while a fluffy brush tickled my nose was the equivalent of torture.
I must've twitched, giggled, and sneezed at least a dozen times.
Once everything was finished, it was well into the afternoon. Our dresses were brought in, covered by long garment bags.
"Everything coming along?" My Dad's voice ran through my head.
"Sure is. Were all about to put our dresses on now." I replied.
I could almost hear chatter in the background, as if Dad was talking to someone. "Good, good. Come to the dining hall in an hour and you'll be escorted to the ballroom."
"Of course." I replied, already knowing the drill.
The ballroom was essentially another wing of the mansion. It was typically blocked off when it wasn't in use. The rest of the house was blocked off from the visitors and other royals.
I ended the mind-link and was surprised when another flooded through my mind.
"Happy Birthday, Arabella. There are many things to look forward to today. It will be a night for history." My Uncle's voice called out in my head and I chuckled at his words.
"Thank you, Uncle." I replied, ending the mind-link.