The girls walked around, stopping in the nearest boutique they found. Marianne chattered animatedly, and seemed genuinely excited to be out and about in the pack. From Orion's brief observation of the woman, she seemed to be extremely carefree, and incredibly extroverted. There was just something about the way she smiled and talked that was almost contagious, especially for Spiraea.
The Luna, was far more reserved, and whilst she seemed to enjoy the company and conversation, Orion found that there was a noticeable difference to her now than when she had first saw her with Vincent and her infant. There was something about her disposition that just seemed to change whenever she was around her mate; Orion wondered if she was the same with Seth.
The girls carted her around, showing Orion different outfits, picking things on and encouraging her to try them on. They showed her all kinds of different things- jeans, shorts, hoodies, t-shirts- so many! They also took her to a special shop for something they called lingerie; all the things in that store were either see through or barely covered any skin... Orion didn’t really see much point of the things in there, nonetheless they managed to persuade her to choose a few things that she liked.
Orion found that she quite liked the warm comforting things like jogging bottoms, hoodies and yoga pants- they were the most comfortable, she could see herself wearing them all the time. However there was such a wide array of types, styles and colours of clothing that Orion couldn’t but feel as if she wanted to collect them all.
They discovered her favourite colour was anything bright and pastel- the colours reminded her of the flowers that would grow around their cottage. She was so excited to wear some of her new clothes that after she had bought some she went straight away and changed into a pair of blue mom jeans and a pastel purple sweater.
When they all began to grow hungry, the three women agreed to pause to get something to eat. There was a lovely diner that they all went to, Spiraea explained it was one of hers and Vincents favourite places to eat if they were eating out.
The sat around a small table next to a window, it was well lit just like the rest of the diner. There was a relaxed bustle around the restaurant that fascinated Orion. All the waiters running back and forth, the cooks whom over the barstool counter was entirely visible, slinging away at the grills. The whole place just seemed alive in a way that the woman had never experienced before, it was lovely, if not slightly overwhelming; in the back of her mind she wished Seth was with her to experience it but she was also somewhat glad to be away from him.
With the way that their relationship had started to progress, she was beginning to feel conflicted. She had always wanted him to love her, and now that he had, she was beginning to realise that a lot more came with his love. She worried about him, the burden he carried as an Alpha, and though she knew it was selfish she wondered what that meant for her as his mate.
A waiter stopped by their table, forcing Orion away from her thoughts. She listened, and wasn’t afraid to ask the man to explain what some of the dishes were. In the end she decided to go with a ham and cheese toastie and a mug of hot chocolate. Spiraea ordered herself a chicken Caesar salad and Marianne a mushroom and halloumi toastie, they also ordered tea and hot chocolate respectively.
There was something about them that Orion couldn’t help but feel was similar to herself, she didn’t know what it was, and though she was curious it didn’t really matter to her. All that mattered was that she felt right with them, in a similar way that she felt when she was around Seth.
“So Orion, how are you liking the pack?” Spiraea smiled warmly, as the waiter left from having brought over their food.
“It’s nice. I often wonder if Seth’s pack will be the same.” She admitted quietly. There was a part of her that was growing attached to this pack, this land and it’s kindness. She knew such kindness wasn’t a guarantee anywhere else; perhaps she knew how dangerous and unkind the world might be when it was time for them to leave. For now, this was sanctuary.
“Well it might not be right away, but I have no doubt that in time you and Seth will create a beautiful pack.”
“Me?” Orion looked down at her hands, partly surprised and for the first time in a while, partly insecure. “What am I meant to do?”
“Once Seth becomes Alpha, you will become his Luna.” Marianne explained, “Didn’t any of the guys explain it to you?”
Orion shook her head; Seth had never told her that she would have any kind of roles or titles- or maybe he had and she just couldn’t remember... maybe she hadn’t even been paying attention. Orion mentally berated herself knowing that she had a tendency to get caught up in Seth instead of paying attention to him- she really had to fix that.
Spiraea could see it on her face, the underlying fear and doubt. She knew exactly what that was like, to feel unworthy and unsure, to not know where her place was or if she could truly be a human leader among wolves. Her hand reached out for Orion’s, her smaller hand offering a warm, comforting pressure.
“I understand how you feel, and it takes time to figure things out. Vincent and I had it rough at the start too.” She smiled wistfully, her mind taking her back to a time when she was an empty shell of a woman, but as quickly as it came she shook the thought away. “The truth is, you have to know and trust your mate for things to really work- both your relationship and your leadership. I’m only here because I had help from someone else in my position too.”
“Luna Leora.” Orion put the pieces together.
“Yes. I owe her a great deal.” Spiraea trailed off quietly as if lost in her own thoughts, though Orion was much too curious to let her stay there.
“How did she help you? And what about this Luna business? What do I have to do?” Orion fired her questions; her curiosity and energy practically tangible around them.
“Let’s just say she got both me and Marianne out a difficult situation to where we are now.”
Spiraea’s face had a look about it that Orion knew not to press. It was the look of someone haunted, trying to forget the past. Orion knew the look well, she saw it on Seth often- hell she had worn it herself for a long time whenever she would wake up dripping sweat from nightmares about her parents. They still came some nights.
“As for being a Luna,” Spiraea continued, suddenly reminding Orion of where she was. “Well that takes a kind of figuring out too... The truth is, being a Luna isn’t the same for everyone. Leora would sit beside Adam in meetings proud to be there, but I couldn’t do that because it isn’t me. Instead I support and council Vincent when we’re at home, I work with the people in our pack and look after the little ones. Those are the things that are important to me. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“Yes, I think so.” Orion nodded. She had seen exactly what Spiraea had meant; she had seen how different the dynamic was between Leora and Adam, and even Spiraea and her own mate. She was certain that played a part in how they managed to leaders together.
Orion didn’t know what kind of Luna she would become, but she knew what kind she wanted to be. The realisation struck her like a white hot beam of lightning. She was hit with the sudden overwhelming feeling that she was in the wrong place.
“Lets finish here, then we can take you to where you need to be.” Spiraea smiled, recognising the change in the woman before her. She was wrong, perhaps they were not that much alike after all. She was so sure, she burned so bright like a guiding star in the night sky; Spiraea had no doubt that she would grow to become a Luna as fierce as the wild that she came from.
Seth sat opposite from Vincent who was seated at his desk, currently on the phone. The man had arrived early enough, and Vincent was more than happy to receive him, though got distracted when his phone rang.
“Yes, I see how that could be an issue.”
He was quiet as the other person spoke. Seth with his advanced hearing could hear the entire conversation though didn’t want to seem as if he was purposefully eavesdropping so he tried to distract himself by thinking about his mate. Not that he had to try so hard, she was always at the forefront of his mind, especially when they were away from each other. There was no such thing as getting used to being away from her he realised.
“Don’t do anything rash. We have Seth with us now so its just a matter of waiting him out until Seth is ready.” Vincent assured the person on the other end of the line.
That caught Seth’s attention, his ears perked up as he looked over to Vincent in silent question. Vincent did his best to send an encouraging look back; considering all the practice he had with his mate, he did a pretty good job.
“I don’t know Vince, this guy is testing my limits and I don’t like it. That road is important for the trading my pack does with Willsden Brooke.”
Seth supposed he was talking about Damien, the ever present, perpetual thorn in seemingly everybody’s sides. It made him wonder, how had one man been able to do so much damage? Deep within him, he felt a small sense of responsibility- this was his pack, and his uncle. Maybe if he hadn’t run away none of this would be happening.
But if he hadn’t run away, he never would’ve found Orion, or any of the allies he had made now. Knowing he had felt guilty in the first place only made him feel guiltier, he didn’t want it to feel as though her wasn’t grateful for everything he had now.
“My pack will help support yours if the worst comes to pass, that gives us time.” Vincent grunted into the phone. “Has Adam been updated on the situation?”
“Not yet, I’ll give him a ring now.”
“Alright, thanks for letting me know. And Killian, I promise you, we’re going to get this son of a bitch.” Vincent finished the call with another grunt, letting put a sigh as he put the phone back over the receiver.
“What trouble is my uncle stirring now?” Seth asked, somewhat wearily. He was tired of all this conflict already, and he had only really been apart of it for a couple months, if that.
“One of the main roads off Willsden Brooke passes by your pack.”
Seth nodded, he knew it quite well. In fact it was the same road that he had found Orion on- his mind flashed back to that night in a split second; the engine steaming, the trunk open with its contents spilled, the scent of death and Orion- like a dying star among the wreckage- frail and scared, knowing her parents were already dead.
It hurt his heart to think about what she had went through that night. He had forgotten that Vincent was speaking, so lost in his memory. He shook the past away, focusing back on the words that Vincent was speaking.
“Apparently, Damien has hijacked the road so to speak- he doesn’t want anymore humans leaving his pack. We would never have caught wind of this if it wasn’t for the fact that Killian’s pack also uses that road for trade with the human town.”
There was a moment of quiet that passed between them, the need to have this situation finished hung over them both. Only, Vincent didn’t want to put any more pressure onto Seth, and Seth didn’t want to wait anymore.
“How long do you think I need?” Seth broke the silence. “How long until I can take back my pack?”
“Well, you missed an entire year of training, and you also need to be physically capable. It’ll probably take a few more months until you’re ready.”
“Can we afford to wait that long?” Seth urged, hinting at their earlier conversation.
“I think we can, I’m sure Adam will see it necessary to hold a meeting between the Alpha’s concerning this new information and I think he will say the same.” Vincent scratched his chin, his stubble making a crackling sort of noise. “I know you’re worried, but the reason we have an Alpha’s alliance is so that we can all support each other in the ways that we need to.”
“Okay.” Seth relented, his mind solely fixed on honing himself to become a better leader. “I’m ready to start my training.”
“Great! We can start wi-”
The door fell open, like the jaws of some great beast awakening when least expected. Vincents words died on his tongue as his mate strode in with Orion in tow beside her.
“I’m sorry to disturb you both, but I think there was someone else who needed to be here.”
Orion stood with her head held high, she was nervous about what Seth might say but still confident in her decision to come. It was the strangest mix of conflict, though she supposed she had felt stranger before.
Vincent looked between Seth and Orion, recognising the conflict there; even if it wasn’t volatile, and regardless of Orion’s decision he knew that they probably needed a few moments to speak, just so that they were both on the same page. They would have to learn to work together, and this was basically a good first lesson; plus it would give him time to catch up with his own mate.
“Spiraea baby, lets talk outside for a moment.” Vincent stood from his seat, going over to his mate. His hand like a magnet, drew itself around her waist as he placed a chaste kiss on her lips. “I’ll leave you two to also have a quick chat, when I get back we’ll start training.”