It was finally the day of the ball. I waited impatiently for this day to come. I had every reason to make sure of its success. The future I envisioned for my people depended on it. If it was my destiny to be an Alpha and a Queen, I wanted to accomplish something that will make my mother proud of me.
I wanted to be more involved in the preparations if my not-so-dear counselor wasn’t burying me under mountains of paperwork. I huffed in annoyance as I reviewed and approved another stack of forms and applications. I was failing to see the benefits of a complicated bureaucratic system. Besides, I had a growing conviction that many procedures can be simplified.
A knock on my door interrupted my deep thoughts about administrative reform. After I told them to come in, a guard stepped in and greeted me formally.
“A female at the gates is requesting to meet with your Majesty. She claims to be from the Millennial Pack even though she is without a wolf.”
“What’s her name?” I inquired, my ears perking up.
“Hannah Rinaldi” He replied after checking through the pack link.
“Let her in!”
I couldn’t wait in my office and I went downstairs to meet my friend with open arms. I engulfed her in a hug as soon as she was within reach.
“I missed you so much! You should’ve visited sooner.” I told Hannah after we settled in a sitting room.
“I wish! My Boss/Mentor won’t give me long vacations.”
“He will after I have a word with him.”
“It’s not a he.” Hannah corrected me.
I thought she was talking about the new Alpha of her pack. Was she referring to the Luna as her Boss? If I’m not mistaken, that would be Melissa but she couldn’t be her mentor. My nemesis was merely one year older than us.
“Who is she?” I questioned.
“I’m not allowed to say.” Hannah started to look uncomfortable and the mystery of her mentor’s identity was growing.
“What are you doing here so early? The ball won’t start before the evening.”
I said changing the subject. Even though I wanted to be the sole reason for this unexpected visit, I knew there must be something else.
“I came to ask for a favor.” My friend looked at me with puppy eyes. I nodded for her to continue. “I need to see the list of guests”
“Does this have something to do with the Moon Temple?”
“I really cannot say.” She replied with an anguished look.
Hannah was keeping her lips sealed, but she didn’t deny it. Which means my guessing was correct. In the short time that I knew Hannah, she became the best friend I ever had. I trusted her and believed she wouldn’t misuse the information she was asking for. I didn’t need long to voice my approval and ask a guard to take her to Garret who held the list.
“Hannah!” I called before she left through the door. “Is he coming?”
Time seemed to slow down as I counted the minutes till the start of the ball. Hannah didn’t give me a straight answer concerning her adoptive brother’s participation. I had to wait and see. I tried to focus on getting ready instead of looking at the clock every two minutes. Cassie picked a halter-neck backless dress for me to wear. It wasn’t my style because it showed a lot of skin, but the final look with the cape and the long gloves was satisfying.
It was a little before 9pm, when Cassie had finished the last touches of my hair and makeup. Escorted by my guards and followed by my lady-in-waiting, I made my way downstairs to the antechamber of the throne room. I couldn’t contain my excitement and my beating heart at the importance this event represented and the prospect to see my mate.
The double door was opened and I took in the faces looking at me at the announcement of the Alpha Queen. Everything seemed to freeze as I held my breath for what felt like minutes, when it was only a second. They bowed in front of me and I allowed myself to breathe again. I felt elated that they accepted me as their Queen. It was the real consecration of my position.
Keeping my head high and my back straight, I took measured steps, not too fast, not too slow. I remembered my princess training and focused on keeping my face neutral, not smiling and not scowling either. I took the few steps leading to my throne on the elevated platform and turned around to address my audience.
“May the first mating ball begin!” I declared and lifted my hand for the music to start playing.
The guests returned to their chatter and dancing and I tried to relax in my seat. I scanned the crowds repeatedly, looking for Victor to no avail. I felt my eyes prickle with impending tears and I took deep breaths as I looked up to hold them back. It was out of the question to show weakness no matter the circumstances. If he decided to ignore my calls and forget about me, I have no other choice but to move on with my life.
What was I doing here? I can’t believe I let Steven talk me into doing this. He wouldn’t trust me to go alone and commanded the pack members to escort me to my destination. I don’t blame him. My coming here felt like a bad idea, and I would have turned around mid-way if I could. More than anything, I was too proud to crawl back to her asking for her to take me back.
I let the others go to dinner without me because I was too nervous to have an appetite. Luckily for me, I found my car exactly where I left it the last time I was here. The key was still in the ignition and my phone was on the dashboard. I thought the device was dead, but it came to life as soon as I plugged it in the charger.
It took me a while to look through all the missed calls and texts. It was a good way to kill time. Most of the voicemail was work related until I heard something different.
“It’s me. Call me.” Hearing her sweet voice saying those simple words, made something stir inside of me. It was something rooted in me that I pushed deep down but I couldn’t ignore it anymore. My beast was coming to the surface and it wasn’t because of anger or bloodlust. Her voice made my wolf waggle its tail like a lovesick puppy.
The more I listened to her messages and the more I needed to see her. It gave me the confidence to go to her and accept the olive branch.
A knock on my window made me snap my head to the side. A guard was gesturing for me to lower the glass.
“No offense Alpha, but it’s disrespectful to arrive after the Queen.”
I haven’t realized how long I have been locked in my car. It was my queue to come out of hiding and face my feelings.
As soon as I stepped inside the throne room where they were hosting the ball, I felt the unmistakable pull. I felt the presence of my mate before I saw her. As I made my way through the crowd I caught a glimpse of her. She looked regal and magnificent sitting on her throne with a crown on her head. She seemed to change her posture as if she felt my presence in the vicinity.
When I got closer, our eyes locked and I was driven to her like a hypnotized man. I finally reached my mate, only for her guards to stand between us. With a sign of her hand they retreated and I stepped forward. For the first time since I met her, I couldn’t read her expression, but it was now or never.
“May I have this dance?”