I refused to let Viktor interrupt my daily routines, one of which included sneaking through the kitchen to steal one of Sheila's famous muffins. I was almost a hundred percent sure that Sheila and Shannon we're witches in their past life, because it was nearly impossible to get anything past them.
That just made my antics even more fun.
I crept into the busy kitchen, instantly noticing that Sheila was busy ordering some of the other cooks around. I smiled to myself, she was definitely distracted.
I crept up to the counter where a plate of her muffins sat steaming. An audible groan left my lips as I turned to see Viktor sticking out like a sore thumb.
"Do you not know how to be stealthy?" I groaned at him, my eyes keeping track of Sheila.
In a move that surprised me, his dark eyebrow lifted and his obsidian gaze remained locked on me.
I glanced at Sheila, and figured this would be my only chance. I snatched up one of the muffins and shot a glare at Viktor.
"Now hurry up before I get caught." I hissed, taking off in a jog as I headed to the patio doors. I only stopped running once I was sure I was far enough away from Sheila's wrath.
I didn't need to turn to know that Viktor was following me, the aura that surrounded him gave him away instantly.
I stopped to eat my muffin, not daring to do it in Shannon's presence. She would definitely let her mom know of my thievery. I ran my fingers over the delicate petals of each vibrant flower, taking a large bite of the muffin.
I was so absorbed in my muffin and my own thoughts to notice Viktor staring at me. Once again there was that strange shift in his eyes, but it was so distant I couldn't understand what it was.
"Sheila makes the best muffins but I hardly ever get any, so I steal them." I smirked at Viktor and his unwavering gaze.
I let my eyes wander to the gazebo in the distance, and I could just make out Shannon's figure as she sat waiting for me.
"I have to finish it now though. Her daughter is my best friend and she'd rat me out in a second." I huffed.
I know it probably seemed strange. I was talking to a silent and very deadly man without receiving even a single response. It was hard to explain, but I felt like he was waiting for an explanation for my behavior.
After I practically inhaled the muffin, I turned to continue walking but a leather-clad hand stopped me.
I froze as I felt Viktor's large hand tap my shoulder. Turning in absolute confusion, I looked up at the giant who towered over me.
"Um, what?" I scowled. What made him think he could touch me, but I couldn't do the same?
"He's your body guard, duh. That is, unless you wanna touch him." Aela smirked, sending all kinds of naughty pictures into my innocent mind.
I felt my eyes lock in on his own and I froze when his hand reached towards my face. In a move that should've been too gentle for someone his size, he let his pointer finger touch my cheek. It was so quick that I hardly had time to register what happened.
When he pulled away I finally realized why he had done that. A gooey chocolate chip sat on the tip of his finger. My face heated up as I wiped at the spot, getting rid of the evidence.
I felt smug at the fact that Viktor had touched me, it felt like a start. "Thanks." I smirked up at him, turning around to continue my walk.
I contemplated a few things as I walked down the garden path, my silent protector behind me.
My father had done all that he could to sheild me from boys. Dating was almost unheard of for Lycans, especially Royals. There was no telling who your mate would be, and dating only put innocent hearts at risk. The closest thing I ever had to a boyfriend was Erik. Erik was the heir to another, much smaller Kingdom. He would often visit with his family and spend a few days in our mansion. While we only ever held hands, Erik was who everyone assumed my mate would be.
As completely inexperienced as I am in those kinds of matters, I had plenty of confidence. I didn't feel shy or critical about my body, or what I wanted. Sure, like all people I still had my moments of doubt but for the most part I wasn't afraid.
I ran up the steps to the gazebo, plopping down in the empty chair next to Shannon. I tried to ignore the stunned look on her face as she took in Viktor. I'm sure even as a human, she could sense the danger radiating from him.
As usual, two servants brought out a silver cart only this time it was full of little sandwiches and other appetizers.
"So, that's the body guard?" Shannon giggled, but her eyes remained wide. Viktor stood off to the side, his large arms crossed as they looked down on us. Sometimes his eyes would move, scanning our surroundings, but would quickly return to me.
His outfit was formal. A typical black button down with black slacks. The black mask that covered the lower half of his face melted in with his shirt, almost making him look like an extremely large ninja.
I nodded, munching on one of the little sandwiches. "That's him alright."
"Why's he wearing a mask and gloves?" Shannon asked, and I wished I knew the answer to that myself.
I shrugged, pushing the plate of sandwiches towards her, "I have absolutely no idea. He doesn't really talk either."
"Caroline's going to love that." Shannon chuckled, her eyes flickering to my body guard. His presence was absolutely impossible to ignore.
I cringed at the thought of Caroline trying to flirt with Viktor, not liking the sour taste it put in my mouth. "I wish her the best of luck with that." I chuckled dryly.
"He looks like he can handle himself." Shannon whispered to me, chuckling under her breath.
"He does doesn't he? He's massive, even for a Lycan." I shook my head, taking a sip of water.
Shannon glanced at Viktor one last time and thankfully changed the subject.
"So, are you excited for your birthday?" Shannon grinned and nibbled on one of the finger sandwiches.
I shrugged, already knowing how my birthday would go. "I'm sure Dad's going to make a big deal out of it, throw a huge ball or something."
"You should be excited, it's the best chance you'll have to meet your mate. Guys will be lining up to meet you." Shannon grinned. She loved parties, well she loved any reason to wear a beautiful dress.
Sheila never had enough money to buy Shannon a new dress, but my Dad always ordered one for her and Caroline. I'm not against extravagant parties, I just find it exhausting being the center of attention. The pressure of having to remain poised and talk to everyone was high. It was something that took me many years to get used to.
I frowned, "You're right. What if I don't want to meet my mate?"
"Why on earth wouldn't you? I wish human's had a destined soulmate. Do you know how many times I've had my heart broken?" Shannon shook her head incredulously.
I shrugged and let out a tired sigh, "It just means everything will change. Shortly after I find my mate, Dad will step down. I'll have all of these people to look after."
"You'll do amazing, Arabella. Whether you accept it or not, ruling is in your blood." Shannon nodded positively.
Even if I tried to deny it, I knew she was right. I could feel my father's Alpha blood running through my veins, magnified due to him being the Alpha King.
"Now that you have your body guard, you can finally leave the grounds." Shannon pointed out, causing a wide grin to spread on my face.
I gasped, "You're right! Lets go get coffee!" I chirped, finally feeling like this body guard thing wasn't such a bad idea.
"You and your coffee. There's coffee here!" Shannon chuckled.
I pouted at her, "It doesn't taste the same. Plus their chocolate chip muffin's are almost as good as your mom's." I licked my lips hungrily. I could eat quite a lot, even for a Lycan but my craving for chocolate chip muffins was never satisfied.
"You and your muffin obsession." Shannon rolled her eyes.
I shrugged, "You can't blame me. Their dessert that's acceptable to eat at any time of the day."
"You're right. Well, luckily I'm off work today. I have to help mom in the kitchens later but we can go now if you'd like?" Shannon gave me a smirk.
I beamed back at her, "I'd love to go! Lets get this cart back to the kitchen and I'll let our driver know."
I lugged the cart down the stairs of the gazebo and pushed it in front of me as we walked back to the kitchens. The dark aura coming from behind me was ever so present in my mind. While it felt threatening and ferocious, I had to admit I felt safe.
I pulled the cart into the large kitchen and settled it against the wall.
"Arabella, you should've just mind-linked us when you were finished." One of the servants, scolded me, a small smile playing on her lips. The smile vanished when she locked eyes with Viktor and his menacing aura.
I gave her a gentle smile, "We had to come through the kitchen's anyway."
"Arabella!" Sheila's voice yelled from the massive dining room.
"And you thought she wouldn't find out." Aela cackled in my head.
I felt my face pale as I looked at Shannon in shock, "Crap, we need to leave!" I left Shannon in the dust, running through the house until I made it safely out the front door. I hadn't turned to see if Viktor followed, but I wasn't surprised to find him standing a few feet behind me.
"Dad, Shannon and I are going to the cafe for some coffee." I mind-linked him, letting him know where I would be.
His voice was quick to reply, "Is Viktor with you?"
I rolled my eyes, "Of course. I don't think I could escape him if I tried."
"Do me a favor and don't try, Bella." My dad's relieved voice flooded my mind.
I smirked, "Aw Dad, you think I'm that talented?"
"Actually, I know you're that talented. Behave, Bella." My Dad's stern voice replied, but I could practically see the smile forming on his face.
"Always, Dad." I chuckled, ending the mind-link.
I hopped into the backseat of one of the black SUV's we had in our employee parking lot. Shannon was quick to hop in next to me, shooting me an incredulous glare.
Viktor climbed in the front, flipping down the mirror to keep an eye on the two of us.
"Where are we headed Miss Arabella?" The older human driver turned his head to smile at me, his eyes flickering to Viktor wearily.
I gave him a wide grin in return, hoping to ease some of his anxiety. "Just to the cafe."
As we drove to the cafe, Shannon and I talked about my upcoming birthday and the huge party that was bound to happen. It would be great opportunity to see Erik again. I hadn't seen him since before my Mom died.
I couldn't help but notice Viktor's eyes trained on me through the mirror, watching my every move. I tried to keep my eyes on Shannon, but Viktor's obsidian gaze continued to grab my attention.
I couldn't help it when my eyes roamed the length of his dark lashes, and through his tousled hair. Lost in thought, I found myself wondering what his face looked like under the mask. I wanted to roam my eyes along his jaw line and over his lips.
We pulled up at the cafe only a moment later. There were a few tables outside of the cafe, filled with people. Each one had their eyes locked on the blacked out SUV that just pulled up.
Shannon hopped out and I followed, trying to keep my gaze away from Viktor. I couldn't explain the feeling completely, but I felt the urge to be near him. I had to be completely losing my mind. Like some kind of off brand Stockholm Syndrome.
We got our coffee's and I got myself another muffin, the close proximity Viktor stood at had my hair on end. Goosebumps sprouted all over my skin when the soft fabric of his shirt brushed against my bare arm. I resisted the insane urge to turn and rip his mask off.
We found an empty table outside and plopped down for the time being. Viktor stood directly behind my chair, his strange and intoxicating scent filling my nose.
"Hey Arabella." A cute guy with blonde hair and a baby face called out. I had never seen him before, but everyone in our territory knew my name.
"Hi!" I called out, feeling multiple gazes piercing my skin.
I was surprised when the boy approached Shannon and I, giving a weary glance to Viktor. The guy was definitely cute. His blonde hair had that superman swoop to it, and his teeth were perfect and straight. He beamed at me and Shannon, standing at the edge of our little table.
"I'm Dalton. You haven't been out in a long time." A frown fell on his handsome face, and I felt myself leaning in.
I gave him a breathtaking smile, "Dalton, I like it. Yeah, I haven't been out in awhile. It's not always safe." I frowned, resisting the urge to look at Viktor.
Before Dalton could say anything else, Viktor moved from his place behind me and approached Dalton. Viktor didn't need to say anything to scare Dalton away. He inched closer to Dalton, forcing him to take a step back. Dalton's fear filled eyes flickered from Viktor's's cold gaze and my incredulous one.
"What the hell Viktor!" I growled. The first hot guy to speak to me in weeks and he had to chase him away.
We all piled back into the SUV and headed back to the mansion. I was silently fuming at Viktor. Dalton hadn't done anything wrong, hadn't made any threatening move towards me. It was completely unprovoked. Regardless, I planned on getting some answers from him.
I promised Shannon I would help her and Sheila clean the kitchen before dinner, so my interrogation would have to wait until tonight. I knew I'd have to face Sheila's wrath sooner or later, so I decided to get it done with.
I headed to my room to change into something comfortable, Viktor hot on my trail. He followed me into my bedroom and waited as I changed in the bathroom. I approached him again with wary eyes. He made me feel strange and I was still struggling on if it was a good feeling or not.
My eyes lingered on his untidy chocolate colored hair, wondering if it was as soft as it looked. It seemed everytime I got lost in my thoughts around Viktor, I did something stupid.
As if I hadn't learned the first time, I approached Viktor. He stood there silent and watched me, his eyes remained on my face but they were as calculating as ever.
"Why even bother wearing this mask?" I found myself asking him and despite everything, I almost expected an answer.
I felt my lips part in shock when he rolled his obsidian eyes. Something fluttered in my stomach, and that something urged me to continue.
"What? Do you have a scar or something?" I asked, taking another step closer to Viktor. He raised his eyebrow at me and gave me a look that said, "Seriously?"
He looked even sexier with his eyebrow raised, some strange thought flitting back and forth in his dark eyes.
An errant thought ran though my mind. It wouldn't be such a bad idea to make him as uncomfortable as he makes me.
I kept walking towards him, only stopping when our bodies were an inch apart. His dark eyes looked down at me, and I couldn't tell if they were giving me a warning or hiding something else in their depths.
I raised my hand as quickly as I could, aiming for the black mask that hid the lower half of his face. Again, he was much faster than a normal Lycan should be.
Even at my quickest, he snatched my hand out of the air as if it were nothing. This time, he held onto my wrist. The leather gloves he wore were comfortingly warm as they gripped my wrist tightly. I sucked in a sharp breath as golden flecks swirled in his black eyes. Something was stirring his wolf, and it had to be me. I guess he didn't like someone pushing his boundaries, well he wasn't the only one.
He held onto my wrist as he raised a finger at me and wagged it, a low "tsk tsk tsk" sound rumbled from his chest.
My heart had to be beating at a million miles an hour, and I couldn't help but get lost in the golden flakes that swirled and dipped in his iris's.
As soon as it happened he released my wrist and stepped off to the side.
I let out a final rush of breath and left the bedroom. I needed some air that wasn't swirling with Viktor's intoxicatingly strange scent.
"You no good, muffin stealing, princess." Sheila scolded me, all the while her lips twitched fighting a smile. I had just walked into the kitchen and locked eyes with Sheila.
I save her a small smile, "Aw come on Sheila. You know I can't resist your muffins."
"Flattery will get you nowhere little lady." She chuckled, waving a dirty rag in my direction.
I picked up some cleaner and began wiping down the dozen's of counters. Once we finished sanitizing everything, we moved on to the dishes. I let my eyes wander to Shannon who was holding back laughter.
"I'd make you promise not to do it again, but I know you won't listen." Sheila chuckled, "Consider us even for helping me clean the kitchen."
I gave her a sheepish grin, "Thanks Sheila."
Shortly after helping them, I made my way to the dining room for dinner. I knew my Dad and Uncle had a busy day, but I still hoped I would see them there.
My face broke out into a grin as my Dad came into the room. He looked exhausted, but I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him anyway.
"Busy day?" I smiled at the two of them, ignoring Viktor's presence behind me.
Dad sighed and ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair, "Incredibly busy. Trying to fortify treaties and collect allies as quickly as possible." Dad huffed.
"Which is why your birthday is so important." Uncle spoke up, earning a glare from Dad.
I frowned at the two of them, "What do you mean?"
"Sweetheart, I'm sure you already knew but we're throwing a party for your birthday. Other Alpha's and future Alpha's will attend." Dad gave me a small smile, and I couldn't understand where he was going with this conversation.
"The other Alpha's, their particularly interested in you." Uncle chimed in, and my Dad looked pissed.
I rolled my eyes, finally understanding. "You mean their interested in me cause Dad's the Alpha King and I'm mateless."
"Exactly." Dad grimaced. "Each of them are hoping to be your mate. If that happens, they'll be obligated to come to our aid. Not that we need it." Dad spat, filling the room with a dangerous aura.
Uncle frowned, "Listen, we may not need their help but it's good to have others on our side."
"Not if it means selling my daughter like cattle." Dad growled at his brother, and I wondered how long they had been fighting like this.
I sighed, missing Mom in this moment. She could always control Dad and Uncle, force them to talk calmly. Their angry bickering continued and I felt myself grow impatient. I could feel Aela press to come forward, growing tired of the grown men's bickering.
"Enough." I spat, slamming my glass down on the table. The two men's eyes snapped up to look at me, their gazes full of shock.
"I don't care how many Alpha's attend. If they are not my mate, I have no obligations towards them." I growled, "I will try to play nice and gain us as many allies as I can. In the mean time, stop arguing." I snapped at the two of them, taking a deep breath once I finished.
The two of them gave me a funny look, but I shrugged it off.
"You looked so much like your mother, it was scary." Uncle chuckled, saying more than he should have.
I shot him a firm glare when Dad's face grimaced in anger.
Once that exhausting dinner was finished, I trudged back up to my room. I had almost forgotton Viktor was behind me until I turned around.
Thinking back on the irritating dinner only brought my mind back to what happened at the cafe.
"What the hell was that?" I growled, turning to face Viktor.
His obsidian eyes were glued to my face as always, and his full eyebrow raised in question.
"You know what I'm talking about." I growled, "Why the hell did you chase Dalton away?"
Viktor rolled his eyes, sending butterflies and hot anger into my stomach. Aela growled in frustration and pushed at the walls of my mind. The final piece was when he crossed his arms over his chest and gave me an accusing look.
"You had no right. He wasn't doing anything wrong." I growled, stomping forward to poke him in the chest.
I should've seen the move coming, but his hand shot out and wrapped around my wrist. His grip was tighter this time, but my anger blinded me.
"Don't touch." His rough voice sounded eerily calm, which only added to my anger and confusion. The anger stemmed from him chasing Dalton away, while the confusion was because of how my body responded to him. Every little thing he did sent butterflies to my stomach or goosebumps rushing across my skin. I decided to simply write it off due to his god-like appearance and ferocious aura.
I growled, my eyes widening at the sound of his rich voice. "Oh, so now you talk!" I snapped.
I let a frustrated growl come through my lips as Viktor's headed towards the door that separated our bedrooms.
"I'm not done talking to you!" I snapped, jumping when he slammed the door in my face.
I stood gaping at the door for a few moments, "Stupid, irritating, unnecessary body guard." I grumbled, stomping to my bed like a child.
I was more mad than I should've been, but I didn't care. I had enough to deal with, plus the fact that Dad and Uncle were keeping things from me.
I simply lashed out at Viktor, hoping it would make him talk. It worked, but only for a second. The only reason he talked to begin with was because I tried to touch him.
"I think we need to change our tactics." Aela murmured in my head, completely infatuated with her new idea.
"Hm.." I mused, thinking she may be onto something.
If anger didn't work, maybe temptation would.