Love Stained

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Chapter 6 - The Dinner Party

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” Jayce roared.

He was mad. Cameron winced, he had never seen his Alpha this mad before, which was saying something. Jayce turned, erratically looking around with clenched fists. He needed to punch something, needed to break something. Cameron just hoped it wasn’t him. The other pack members standing at the gate averted their gaze, not wanting to accidentally lock eyes with the pissed off Alpha wolf and risk potentially being his next punching bag.

“I tried to stop her. She gave me an order...she’s the Luna-”

“I’m the fucking Alpha! Fuck! I wouldn’t have given a shit if you had fucking tied her down until I got back”

Cameron shook his head. Jayce knew that he wouldn’t have been able to do that. Not only was Quinn stronger, but she was also the Luna. It would have been treason.
Jayce ran his fingers through his hair and let out a long breath. He needed to regain composure, he knew that. Sure, he wanted nothing more than to find his defiant mate and slap her arse until it was red raw but he also knew that would only push her further away.
If only Quinn knew why Jayce had been away so much recently, part of him was regretting not telling her but he couldn’t tell her, not until he knew for certain that he was right.

“You’re certain that’s where she was going? The Panthera Kingdom?” The Alpha asked, having regained some of his composure.

Cameron nodded.

“Yes. She said it’s current location was about three hours run away and that she would be back tomorrow”

“It’s not safe Cameron. The forest is not safe at the moment. Especially with everything that’s going on”

Cameron bit his tongue. It wasn’t his fault that Jayce hadn’t told his mate about what was going on outside the compound walls and it sure as hell wasn’t Cameron’s place to tell her.
Cameron still thought that Jayce was over reacting, they hadn’t picked up the scent at all this past week. Cameron had played his part, he had kept an eye on the Luna and reported anything usual back to Jayce. He felt sick about it, Quinn was his friend and keeping something like this from her was only going to back fire.

“I need to go after her” Jayce spat, throwing his hands up.

“How? Only a panther can break through the cloaking spell”

“Let’s go find us a panther”


................



Quinn POV

I sat in Onyx’s room and watched patiently as she flicked through the gowns she had hanging in her wardrobe. There had to be hundreds, I’d never seen so many dresses in my life.

“Mum definitely likes you. I knew she would. And dad likes anyone that mum likes. So you’re lucky”

I smiled as Onyx chatted away. She was far from the shy little panther that I had met at the Orcann Pack. She was bubbly and fun, reminding me of an excited teenager.

“Everyone is going to like you! If the King and Queen like you then everyone will. Oh! Yes, this one too” Onyx grabbed another gown from her wardrobe and threw it down on to the bed next to me.

I glanced at Obi, he was sitting in the corner, smirking, obviously enjoying seeing his friend so chirpy and upbeat.

“So who will actually be at this dinner tonight?” I asked, looking at one of the glamorous dresses on the bed.

“Just the King and Queen, me, you, Obi, the prince, maybe a couple of elders...that’s it”

“The prince? You have a brother?” I asked.

Onyx turned slightly, her and Obi sharing a small look before she went back to sorting through dresses.

“Yes” Onyx answered “but he’s a jerk”

“A hot jerk” Obi added, fanning his face.

“Shut up Obi. He’s a dick, everyone thinks so. To be honest, he probably won’t even show up to the dinner. He’ll be off screwing some whore somewhere”

I snorted. Hearing Onyx talk like that seemed funny and far removed from her innocent and child like sweetness.

“Oh! Yes! This one! This is the dress!” Onyx squealed, “this is a dress fit for a Luna”


...........


I entered the dining room and my jaw dropped as all eyes turned to me. This was not a small family dinner. There were at least forty people here.

“Oh, would you look at that” Onyx said, as if the cheeky shit had no idea all these people would be here.

“You’ll pay for this” I whispered under my breath, only to have her a Obi giggle beside me.

Everyone was staring at me. I wondered if it was because of what I was, a multi species tribrid at the Panthera palace; or if it was because of the dress that Onyx had me wearing.
I had to admit it, I looked fucking hot. I’d never worn a gown before, I’d never been anywhere that warranted that sort of attire.

I caught a glance of my reflection in the black Opal wall that covered the left hand side of the dining room. My gown was ice blue, the exact colour of my eyes. I had no idea what the material was but it clung to my body in all the right places. It was completely backless with a thin, jewelled rope that ran from the back of my neck down to the base of my spine; the only thing preventing the dress from sliding off my body. It was a full length gown but with a daring split that went all the way up to my hip bone. I was completely naked under it and I knew that any wrong move would potentially cause me to give the royal family a little more than they had bargained for.

A gentleman approached us, I looked at his attire. He had to be a waiter or butler.

“Please. Follow me. I will take you to your seats”

The room was silent. I followed the butler to the far end of the long table, walking past everyone as they stared at me. I kept my head up, swaying my hips, making sure they were enjoying the show.
The butler stopped at the end of the table where the King and Queen sat. I nodded and smiled at them politely. The King rose from his seat as the butler pulled out my chair. Everyone else stood too and sat back down as I took my position at the table.

“You look mesmerising Luna” the Queen said.

The butler filled my wine glass with a sparkling white and I thanked him.

“Please just call me Quinn” I said, “and thank you, you look lovely too”

It was pretty obvious that the Queen could wear a potato sack and she would still manage to look glamorous.

After a few moments everyone started talking amongst themselves and the waiters began bringing out food. I finished my wine and thanked the butler again as he topped up my glass.

“So, Quinn, do you really think that it would be possible to have panthers and wolves living in harmony?” Onyx asked.

Everyone stopped eating and looked at me. Onyx coughed, nearly choking on her wine as Obi nudged her under the table.

“Let’s not talk politics tonight” the King interjected, clearly seeing that I was uncomfortable, “we can discuss more on this topic tomorrow, there’s no rush”

I smiled in thanks and took another sip of wine. I hadn’t yet told the King and Queen that I was planning on returning home tomorrow but I had no intention of having such an important conversation around a dining table with forty other people that I didn’t know or trust.

I spent the dinner partaking in polite small talk. The people sitting around me were respectful and friendly. We discussed weather, food, hobbies. Never once did anyone pry into my personal life, it was turning out to be quite an enjoyable night.
I thanked the butler again as he topped up my glass and turned to Onyx, who sat next to me.

“Do you know all of these people?” I asked quietly, as everyone else around us carried on their own conversations.

“Of course. It’s my duty as princess to know everyone in the kingdom. Sure, I know some more than others but there isn’t a face in this village that I don’t know the name that goes along with it”

I sipped my wine and nodded. That was impressive. I hadn’t yet got my head around all the names of the Fern Creek pack members, maybe I should be making more of an effort.

“Tomorrow, after breakfast, we will be joining the King and Queen to discuss matters. I know you were planning on returning home tomorrow but would you consider staying an extra day”

I bit my lip and had another drink. There was no way of me communicating with Jayce while I was here. If I was to stay longer I would need to be able to get a message to him.

“I’ll think about it. I would need to get a message to a Jayce if I did though”

Obi laughed and Onyx kicked him under the table.

“What?” I asked.

“He just knows that I’ll send him again” Onyx answered.

I looked down at my plate. Pushing the soufflé around with a fork. I felt guilty. The adrenaline of doing something that I knew would piss Jayce off was starting to wear off. I hadn’t thought about the fact that he would be worried about me too. If I could mind link him to tell him I was safe then I might have felt slightly better but for now I just felt lousy. My treatment towards Cameron had been shit too, he had only been looking out for me and I’d thrown him in front of the bus for sure.
I dabbed my mouth with my napkin.

“If you’ll excuse me” I said politely to the King and Queen, “I haven’t quite adjusted to this humidity yet, I’m just going to get some fresh air”

“Of course darling” the Queen smiled, “feel free to use the terrace”

I rose from my seat, as did everyone else, and walked to the far end of the dining room where a beautiful terrace ran along the length of the room and extended out into the garden. I breathed in the fresh air, a welcome reprieve from the stillness of inside. I walked over to the the edge of the terrace and looked out into the gardens.
They were beautiful. Everything so green and lush, lit only by the soft light of the moon. I looked up into the sky, the stars were spectacular tonight. I wondered if Jayce was standing outside, looking up at the same stars as me.

I smiled. The last time we had made love was just before he left. It was night, I had walked with him after we left Dominic’s and made our way slowly back to the pack house. The stars were bright. I tilted my head up to look at them and Jayce cupped my face. He kissed me. It was a slow kiss, a sensual kiss. The memory of his tongue in my mouth, slowly stroking mine, making love to it.
I shivered, feeling my nipples harden under the soft material of my dress.

Shit.

I crossed my arms over my chest and looked back out into the gardens, happy that I was not in the line of sight of any prying eyes.
I was flustered. I missed my mate. I was standing here in the most beautiful dress I had ever seen, in the most romantic setting...and Jayce was nowhere.

I inhaled deeply, trying to focus on something else, anything else...and that’s when I smelt it...

The scent.



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