For the next few days, Orion slept on the sofa whilst Seth took the bed. The whole pack was buzzing with the excitement of Vincent and Spiraea’s Luna ceremony.
Since Seth and Orion were staying at the pack, and were also invited as guests to the ceremony the pair decided that they should probably get some better clothes to suit the occasion. They had nothing befitting an occasion; when Vincent had given them new clothes by proxy, he had only given them the necessities they needed.
So together the two ventured out into the pack. It was the first time that Orion had ever seen a pack in motion before, she had never seen so many people before bustling about, she found it fascinating.
The community was vibrant, alive with friendly chatter and bright coloured stores and stalls. The people who passed them were warm, cheerful and polite. It was nice to be around so many people, especially having spent the last 17 years with Seth alone.
One redhead lady in particular was kind enough to suggest for them to go to the packs tailor since they were looking for some nice clothes.
Orion loved the atmosphere, it surprised her to know that she wouldn’t mind getting used to a community like that. She wondered if Seth’s pack would be the same.
The tailors shop was called ′Forest Fittings and Things’, it was quaint and cute with a forest and nature vibe to it. The shop owners were just as lovely as their shop; a warm motherly figure called Mama D’Leau, a her husband Papa Bois.
“Afternoon,” Papa Bois smiled as the pair entered the small shop. His 5′11 frame stood, leaned comfortably against the main counter. The warm smile on his face accentuated by his bushy facial hair. His hair was white just like Orion’s, but unlike her free curls, his hair was neatly groomed beautiful dreadlocks.
“I ain’t ever seen y’all here before, where yuh come from?” Mama D’Leau watched them with a curiousness. Though her question was both forward and somewhat intrusive, Seth sensed no hostility from the woman.
“We’re friends of Alpha Vincent and Luna Spiraea. We’re staying with this pack for a while, and we need something nice to wear to the Luna ceremony.” Seth scratched the back of his neck.
“Ah, y’all are wild folk.” Papa Bois spoke after regarding them with a certain look in his eye; a deep understanding as if he knew what it was to be truly wild.
Neither of them had to say a word, there was a connection in the air. It was like a light breeze, one that moved the colourful leaves on the ground in autumn, one that makes you feel as if the universe itself is in motion around you. It felt just as right to Seth, as standing beside Orion.
“We gon’ take good care of allyuh.” Mama D’Leau grinned, her own eyes misted with nostalgia as she looked to them. “Come with me child, I’ll get you something to wear.”
She took Orion by the hand, nodding towards Seth as she looked to her own mate. The two shared a meaningful look before Mama D’Leau shook her head, smile growing before walking away.
She took the girl to a small space behind a curtain encouraging her to stand on a small podium before taking her measurements. They then sat down together to talk about the design.
“I’ve never worn clothes like this,” Orion sighed as her eyes glanced around the small room that also held some dresses on display. To her the sea of chiffons and silks, of sweetheart and halter neck dresses was far too much to comprehend. She would gladly choose her furs, and a bow and arrow over this stuff any day.
“Don’t you worry sweet face, me and papa Bois gonna fix you and your mate up.” Mama D’Leau assured her warmly, her tone calming the girls stormy, tumultuous mind.
There was something about the woman that provided a haven for Orion that she had never found anywhere else, even with Seth. Maybe it was because she had such motherly vibes, or because she was casual and friendly. Or perhaps it was because she looked much like Orion did— dark skin, curly afro, pouty lips and dark eyes.
“Now you don’t strike me as the kind of person that would want to wear anything like this.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I am either,” Orion admitted. Though part of her wondered what it would be like to wear one of the long flowy things? The fabric reminded her of water, and she did love to swim, so perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. Her curiosity however, was not enough to encourage her to change her mind.
She watched as the older woman beside her sketched a design in her sketchbook, explaining as she went. Orion was amazed more by her explanation that her drawing. Now the drawing was good, very good, it was after all a huge part of the woman’s craft...but there was something about the way she spoke that seemed to tailor a picture in her minds eye. Fabric sewing itself together with each lilt of the woman’s strong island accent.
“This looks great,” Orion thanked her as Mama D’Leau finished up.
“Just wait til you’re wearing it.” Mama D’Leau smiled, her gaze taking in the girls frame. Her eyes travelled to her hair, lingering slightly before she reached out to touch one of her wild curls. “I don’t think Papa Bois is done with your mate just yet, what yuh say I take care of your head?”
Orion furrowed her brow until she realised the woman was talking about her hair. She didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to have someone who actually knew what they were doing to look after her hair.
In the wild, she couldn’t do much with her curly afro and Seth didn’t know how to deal with it either. It was soothing to find someone who could show her how to take care of that part of her.
It took another hour and a half before Mama D’Leau was finished with Orion’s hair, though to the girl it felt like an eternity.
Mama D’Leau had gotten her to sit on a cushion at her feet, whilst the woman cut, brushed, oiled and cainrowed the girls hair. She had even tried to teach the girl what to do, guiding her hands to plait her own hair.
After a few tries Orion could make the shape, though it was nowhere near neat like Mama D’Leau’s was. The older woman assured her it would take practice before she could cainrow her own hair neatly.
Papa Bois had measured Seth for a suit, and it hadn’t taken long at all. He had drawn it up, though he knew his wife would have to put together the actual thing.
Papa Bois invited Seth to sit on a comfortable chair as they waited for their accompanying women to come back.
“Those ladies might be a while still, Mama is very particular about her work.” Papa Bois smiled in assurance as he noticed Seth’s growing agitation. “You must be incredibly close with your mate.”
Though after taking in Seth’s features, the way his fists would clench, or his eyebrows would furrow, the way his eyes would dart to the door at ever sound. Papa Bois knew this was not the look of a man who had solidified an intimate bond with their mate.
“Or perhaps not..”
Seth’s head shot up, eyes meeting Papa Bois with a startled surprise. There was something in his look that was wild, as if part of him was still in the wild.
“Yuh have an unsettled look about you. This isn’t your pack, and you haven’t fulfilled your bond with yuh mate.” Papa Bois watched him, something akin to sympathy filled his gaze but he dared not to let it show too much. “You are a very lonely wolf.”
“I have Orion. I marked her.” He argued, almost desperately, as if trying to convince the man that he was wrong. Or perhaps he was trying to convince himself? If he was being completely honest, he wasn’t entirely sure which.
“Y’all are soulmates, you can’t tell me that’s enough for you. I know it isn’t, and more importantly, your wolf knows it.” Papa Bois cut through his doubt, but it was the knowing look in his eye that really cut Seth to the core. “You just gon' keep getting wilder until your Wolf finds connection. Boy, stop playing de fool before yuh end up in a place that you will find it real hard to come back from.”
“What do you mean?”
“You think yuh could spend a little bit of time around people and the wild goes away?” Papa Bois continued his lecture.
There was a fatherly comfort to his tone, and the ringing sound of experience and sincerity behind his words— for a moment it reminded Seth of his own father, so much so that his throat tightened with his strong emotions.
“I’ll tell yuh now, that wildness is inside— a part of you. If you let it fester, it will take hold of you and you’ll find that you’ll lose yuh self.”
“Rogue, you mean I could go rogue.” Seth’s heart pounded in his ribcage, he was afraid it was so loud that the whole pack might be able to hear it. Oddly he found the painful sensation somewhat comforting, it meant he was still himself— able to process and feel this complex pain.
“Don’t make the same mistake I did, the consequences are heavy to bare .” Papa Bois warned cryptically. The sound of chatter and giggling coming closer meant that Seth didn’t have time to ask him what he meant.
Orion tugged subconsciously on the end of the braids, the rubber band feeling alien to her fingertips. She wondered what Seth would think; her hair was a little bit shorter, and very different to what it was usually like. Part of her hoped that he would like it, but even if he didn’t she supposed it didn’t matter because she liked it.
Seth’s eyes widened as she stepped into the room. For a moment, he felt as though everything around him had died, leaving nothing but her in its wake. His jaw slackened in surprise, and if he hadn’t been holding himself in check it may have dropped to the floor.
“Mama D’Leau fixed up my hair. It’s very different but I like it.” Orion fidgeted nervously, under his gaze. Her cheeks felt hot, but her there was no visual evidence of her shy embarrassment which she was grateful for. ”
“Wow.” Seth had to clear his throat, looking at her was enough to make him choke up. Something about her; maybe it was they way she had grown, or maybe it was how beautiful she was. He didn’t know what it was, but he felt it so intensely in his chest that he had to look away. “You look great, little star.”
The air between them grew thick. Orion, in the short few seconds that he had looked at her, had seen everything in his eyes. It was an intensity that he had never really looked at her with before.
Orion felt he cheeks heat up, lips unconsciously stretching up into a coy cat-like grin. She wanted very much to be shy, to keep blushing and look away, but she also very much wanted to keep looking straight into Seth’s eyes. To see that intensity in his eyes, and to have him see how much she liked watching him, watching her.
“Well, since we’ve finished up with allyuh here, y’all might as well go home and jump each other’s bones instead of heating up the whole room with allyuh staring and pheromones.” Mama D’Leau broke the moment with her bunt honesty.
Seth chuckled, his own face heating up in embarrassment; were they really that obvious? He stole a glance over to Papa Bois who was giving him a meaningful look, which struck Seth like a bucket of cold water. He scratched the back of his neck as he reigned in his emotions, steeling his face back to his usual stoic mask.
“Thank you both so much,” Seth thanked both the tailors with a nod. Orion added her own thanks, particularly to Mama D’Leau for helping her with not only her clothes but her hair too. They stayed for a few moments longer expressing their thanks and goodbyes.
“C’mon little star, let’s go.”
With a final goodbye, Orion waved before walking out the door with Seth trailing behind. Seth’s arm found itself on Orion’s waist, pulling her in closer as they began to walk. Both Mama D’Leau and Papa Bois stood watching them through the window of their shop as they retreated, the older woman going over to place a kiss on her mates head.
“They gon' have some trouble.” Papa Bois spoke to his mate, a sigh escaping his lips. His arm found itself around her waist, flexing gently over her hip where he knew she had a scar that would match his claws.
“Yeah, but dat girl is somethin’ else, and dat boy... well, they made for each other. They will learn.”
“Jus like we did.” Mama D’Leau smiled, Papa Bois giving her one in return before giving her a pat on her behind. “Alright, come on Mama, let’s get back to work.”