Chapter 16 - Winter Festiival
It was time for the annual Winter Festival that was a long-standing tradition the White Oak pack has hosted for over a century. Nearly all packs were invited but for obvious reasons each pack only allowed a fraction of their pack to attend each year and alternated in who got to come.
Even Jason was here with a date, Betty. She was a lovely and sweet woman and I instantly took a liking to her. They hadn’t been dating for long but since both of them had lost their mate, they had decided to chose each other as a mate and was planning their mating like a wedding.
I was happy for them and wished them luck and when I went to hug Betty she whispered a secret in my ear. She was expecting a pup and planned on telling Jason after the Winter Ball. A small pang spread through my heart and I felt the pain from losing my pup, I covered it with a smile and hugged her again so she wouldn’t see.
Many in the White Oak pack had expressed their unhappiness with the twins since the news of their rejection had spread like wildfire and offered up either their condolences or cursing them for their idiocy. I appreciated their support but wished that they would find peace in the situation and would eventually accept their Lunas once the twins found them.
Mostly it was the Omegas approaching me and in the process, I also learned that since I had left they hadn’t been treated like before. Omegas were no longer asked to do menial tasks or expected to handle demeaning jobs. Everyone was in charge of their own laundry, food, and cleaning. The only exception was during events like the festival or during pack breakfasts where everyone pitched in, even the warriors.
Everyone was offered the chance to go to college to earn a degree useful to the pack and didn’t have to worry about paying tuition. The dynamics of the pack hierarchy had drastically changed for the better and it was all due to the twins. They had changed a lot since I left, matured and a sense of pride filled my heart.
Leo and I spent the day discovering the festival and went from vendor to vendor, sampling food and drinks. I found the most adorable handmade onesie with a wolf and the word ‘Sweet Little wolf’. I bought it and presented it to Leo who teared up and kissed me on the lips. He was so happy knowing that one day, hopefully soon, I would make him a father.
A vendor brewing Wassail spread the smell of mulled wine and spices throughout the market and we sipped on it while listening to a choir of pups singing on a temporary stage. The pups sang their little heart out and one sang with so much emotion that he was flailing his arms around in dramatic gestures.
Lumen expressed her fondness for the baby onesie and Leo while she went on and on about Pax. We let them run free a few times a week but it seemed that it wasn’t enough for them.
Most vendors had a winter theme and focused on comfort food and drinks but some offered up other crafts as well. It seemed to go good for most as they had customers lining up to purchase from them.
Later that evening I was walking up to the event building where the Winter ball was held. I was wearing a long champagne-colored evening dress with low cleavage and an open back, displaying my many moon flowers covering my body. My six-inch heels matched in color. I decided on modest makeup and letting my curls loose, cascading down my back.
Leo was helping Greyson back at the packhouse and had promised to meet me at the ball when they finished. I couldn’t wait for him to see me in my dress since I knew he preferred me in them due to the easy access to my sweet spot.
Liam and Jameson started the ball out with a speech, welcoming everyone, and then sat down beside the dance floor, watching the other wolves dance. They dressed up for the event which I knew they hated and this was the only day of the year they did it.
Growing up I spent every year getting them ready by forcing them to get dressed and then tying their tie for them. It was a tradition that I came to miss every winter since.
The ballroom was decorated in candles, pine branches, fake snow, and animal fur. It was breathtaking as well as romantic and I couldn’t help but wish Leo would hurry up so he could spin me around on the dance floor.
I nursed my drink and wondered what was taking Leo so long when I saw Greyson swivel Clara around on the floor, looking happy and in love. I thought they might make it after all. I waited for the song to end before I approached them and asked about Leo.
“He needs to hurry, I miss Pax.” Lumen urged me. I chuckled at her and was happy she liked Pax so much. “Patience, Lumen. They’ll be here soon.”
“You two look great.” I hugged Clara. “Where’s Leo?” I directed my question at Greyson.
“He’s helping Amelia get settled, and then he’ll be here,” Greyson promised. “Don’t worry, she just had a lot of bags for someone just staying a week. You know how she is, shallow.”
“Greyson can dance with you while you wait.” Clara offered with a smile.
“Thank you but I’ll be ok. I’ll just wait for him,” I promised and let the couple dance away from me.
Suddenly I felt someone lightly touch my elbow, rosewood and vanilla permeated the air and I knew Liam was behind me. I spun around and found him standing there in a black suit and a champagne-colored handkerchief in his pocket which was matching his tie.
Liam followed my gaze to his handkerchief. “We got them to match your dress,” Liam admitted and motioned toward Jameson who stood to the side. He reached his hand out. “May I have this dance?”
I hesitated because I didn’t want Leo to come in and think I was indulging the twins. “I promise it’s just a friendly dance, no ill intentions,” Leo promised and then stretched his hand further towards me.
Not wanting to cause a scene, I took his hand and let him pull me closer to him. His scent enveloped me and I started to reminisce in old memories. I remembered all the sweet moments between us, all the touches, and the promise of love. He swirled me across the dance floor, staying a perfect gentleman the entire time.
We didn’t speak but let our bodies convey what we felt, I missed him regardless of the pain he caused me. When the dance came to a close he leaned down and gave me a chaste kiss on the cheek. He bowed, thanked me for the dance, and walked away.
Jameson approached and pulled me to him. “Please.” I nodded and let him spin me all over the floor much as his brother did. The smell of green apple and lemon surrounded me and my heightened senses yet again sent me down memory lane. Jameson’s laugh and playful nature caused me to smile as I remembered how he always made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe.
The song was halfway through when my mate mark started to burn, the heat increased to the point that I couldn’t stand it anymore and I rushed out of the ballroom before I drew the attention of all the people.
I made it to the lawn, fell into the grass, and started dry heaving from the pain. A stabbing pain in my heart caused my breath to hitch and I thought I would die. Jameson and Leo kneeled by my side and offered comforting words while caressing my back and holding my hair back.
“What is wrong, Oliva. Let us help you.” Jameson urged. “We’re here for you.”
“My mate mark, it burns.” I grabbed at the mark but felt no heat in my fingertips. I couldn’t process what was going on but I knew something was very wrong with Leo, I just hoped that he was ok.
“Olivia,” Liam exclaimed. “It’s gone, your mate mark isn’t there anymore.”
Greyson and Clara came running outside. “Oliva, what happened?”
“My mate mark is gone and I feel like I got stabbed in the heart.” I cried out in between sobs and clutched my stomach from pain. “Is he hurt, is he dead? Why is this happening?”
Clara gasped and I knew she could tell me what was happening to me. “Clara?”
“Where’s Leo?” She asked Greyson.
“I told you, with Amelia. Why?” Greyson replied and ran his hand through his hair.
Clara let a single tear flow down her cheek as she looked between the men in a panic.“It appears that he had found his mate and marked her.”
Everything went dark as I passed out from the pain in the twins’ embrace and let Lumen take over my body.