Chapter 45

Chapter 45 – Aren’t We Having a Ball?

To say that my pack was furious with the outcome of the meeting with the King and Queen today was an understatement. My mate was livid. For a brief moment, his eyes turned black, and dark veins appeared around his eye sockets, much like Caspians’ when his mother mentioned Rule of Seven.

Darius roughly yanked me into his arms and bury his nose in my neck, breathing in my scent to calm himself. He held me close the whole time during our pack’s brief discussion.

The coronation is going to put Caspian’s and my life in danger. Anything can happen tonight or sometime in the near future. Their initial reaction, especially Darius’s and Genesis’s was to fly us home or take us somewhere else where we would be safe from danger. Caspian and I disagree. Running away is not the answer. The danger would still exist and they would still be hunting us. We are the hunter, not the prey. We think this is the perfect time to hunt down the enemy and to flush out the traitor.

I’d like to think that this is a good way to pave a safe pathway for Caspian and his erasthai when the time comes.

We also can’t afford to risk Queen Sophia unleashing the Rule of Seven and have lives destroyed because of it. Man’s greed for power is an ugly thing.

In the end, everybody reluctantly agreed to go through with it. The plan is to stay close and to be on guard at all time.

I could feel my mate’s intense frustration, anger, and fear for my safety through our connection. I could feel his inner struggle with his lycan wanting to snatch me and take me away.

After the discussion, he pulled me in for a quick aggressive kiss, then left with a barely contained fury. He’s tightening the security. I hope he’s calmer tonight. A lot calmer.

*****

The six of us walk down the massive, grand hallways to the ballroom in silence. The beautiful dress feels heavy on me. The collective uneasiness of the pack is like an ominous black cloud following above our heads. I might sound brave when I pleaded my case to stay and fight this afternoon, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared. We are surrounded by abundance, opulence, and riches yet I feel like bolting. Caspian tightens his hold on my arm as if he can sense that I’m considering making a run for it. Well…maybe it’s not that hard to guess since my eyes keep straying towards the doors or the windows that we pass.

I keep imagining myself jumping out the window to freedom. I’d be dancing on the streets of Moscow while the world is burning around me. I could join the circus.

“Not happening, Beany,” Caspian whispers in my ear.

Wait. What? How did he know? Or did I say it out loud? I shoot him the meanest scowl and hear the snickers and fake coughs of my pack mates behind me.

I can hear the sound of live music before we reach our private doors to the ballroom. Two guards are standing by the doors.

Caspian squeezes my arm reassuringly. His face is impassive and cold. I turn slightly around and exchange glances with all my pack mates. They seem ready. I square up my shoulders and hold my head up high. My feelings are nicely guarded.

Guarding my feelings doesn’t mean I don’t feel them, it just means I’m protecting them from anybody sensing them. Unfortunately, that also means it’s hidden from my mate who, otherwise can always feel them through our bond.

I glance at the aloof-looking prince and he nods at the guards.

The music changes tune, the dancing stops, the conversation and laugher hush and all eyes are on us as soon as we enter the room. The women curtsy and the men give us a little bow as we walk past. This happened before in the past when there were parties at the palace. I thought it was cool when it happened the first couple of times. Now it’s something I don’t particularly care for…especially tonight.

I nod once in acknowledgment, then I tilt my head up so I look like I was looking down my nose at everybody. A trick I learned from His Royal Highness Prince Caspian. I let my eyes leisurely skim across the crowded room, looking for a particular one person. The only person I really want to see tonight.

The grand ballroom always looks magnificent and magical. Tonight is no exception…if not more so. The room looks different every time parties are being held here.

Tonight, the decor is deceptively simple, yet very glamorous. The crystal chandeliers gleam and sparkle. The lights bounce off the reflective walls of mirrors. The natural stone tiles shine underneath our feet.

Men in white or light colored tuxedos while women in white or soft pastel colored gowns. The only exceptions are the six of us. Constantine, Lazarus, and Caspian are in black tuxedos, while Serena and Genesis are in beautiful sleek, silky, but different shades of peach and gold and I, mostly in gold.

There has got to be over a hundred people at this ballroom tonight. Sea of elegantly dressed men and women in white and pastels everywhere but I don’t see my mate anywhere.

“He must be busy arranging the last minute security detail,” whispers Caspian very quietly in my ear again. I nod and smile softly. To the people watching, it must’ve seemed like he’s whispering sweet nothings in my ear. The action must’ve looked loving as I see some mated ladies giving us approving, dreamy smiles.

There are chairs for us beside the thrones on a raised podium where we can see everything in front of us clearly.

The arrival of the King and the Queen are announced not long after we reached the podium.

King Alexandros is looking regal and handsome in a black tuxedo with a gold cummerbund and a blue royal sash. Queen Sophia is beautiful in a blue and gold evening gown, more elaborate and more covered than mine.

I stand up and curtsy and raise my head in time to see the queen glancing at me and my gown in satisfaction as she walks past.

The music resumes its original tempo after the royal couple is seated.

I see Caspian beside me exchanging a few words with his parents. They’re very low and I can’t hear what they are saying above the music and the noise around us. He seems pissed. Not long after, he abruptly stands up, gives a stiff bow and snatches my hand. He drags me to the dance floor and basically forces me to dance by twirling me around.

“Uh… aren’t you supposed to ask me to dance first? I didn’t hear you asking,” I tell him as he grabs my hips and sway us around.

“Don’t Beany….just don’t. I need to get away from my dear mother before I thrash this whole place to the ground.” His expression stays cold, aloof and unreadable.

I notice Lazarus and Serena dancing next to us. I’m sure Genesis and Constantine aren’t too far away.

I follow Caspian’s lead in silence for a while but then my curiosity gets the best of me. “What happened?” I ask him.

“Nothing,” he says gruffly. After another moment of silence, he adds, “I was just exchanging pleasantries and compliments with my dear mother over her choice of your wardrobe. What in the blaze is she playing at?”

As soon as the music ends, he pulls me to the side and grabs two wine glasses from a passing server. He downs the two drinks quickly. Sheesh…here I thought one was for me.

“Don’t get drunk, Pookie bear,” I remind him.

“I won’t,” he says as he places the glasses down on the ledge behind us. “I’m just prepping myself for a good time, Beany boo.”

Genesis appears at my elbow and Constantine slaps his cousin gently yet firmly on the back.

“Aren’t we having a blast yet?” asks my best friend, squeezing my arm.

My mate is here. I sense his presence before I see him. I try not to look around for him or show any reaction, but my back stiffens and my heartbeat accelerates.

“Oh, we’ll have a great blast soon,” answers Caspian airily.

“Yes, I can see it coming…right now,” adds Constantine.

From the corner of my eyes, I can see them approaching. Darius and his date.

The four of us turn to face them. Eva is hanging onto his arm. She’s looking radiant in her pale lavender evening gown.

My mate is breathtaking in a grey tuxedo with a matching silk vest and a pristine white shirt with a silver-white silk tie. His shiny pale blond hair is combed back and looks slightly damp as if he just hastily jumped in and out of the shower to get here.

The expressions on their faces are such a contrast. Eva seems all excited and bright-eyed, looking as if she’s in awe of the whole thing. Darius’s face is looking cold and grim. His penetrating eyes are fixed on me and I feel like hiding. His eyes raked me from top to toe and his expression grows darker as he gets nearer.

“If looks could kill,” whispers Genesis with a nervous giggle.

“I don’t think he’s very impressed with my outfit,” I whisper back.

“I’m not either,” says Constantine.

“Neither am I,” Caspian spits out.

“Neanderthal possessive men.” I hear Genesis huffs under her breath.

Constantine flashes his charming grin. “Darius, Eva,” he says, lightheartedly.

“Your Highness,” says Eva, as she curtsies. “It’s so good to see you again.”

Eva’s eyes are shining brightly while my mate beside her looks like he’s about ready to murder someone.

Eva really is unobservant. No wonder Darius brought her over to California with him. My mate also knows that I won’t be jealous of her and he trusts her, I believe that’s why she is here as his date tonight. Besides, she already knows about us.

“It’s wonderful to see you again, Eva. How have you been?” says Genesis pulling her into a hug and exchanging air kisses. Then they start catching up.

“Hi,” I say softly, grinning up at my mate’s furious face. A muscle in his tense jaw is ticking. His firm carved lips are set in a hard line. His glacier blue eyes are now darker and never leaving my face. It’s unnerving. I feel like running off even though none of this is my fault and I know his anger isn’t exactly directed at me.

“That dress….I’m burning it,” he says through clenched teeth.

“Burning the dress….got it,” I tell him.

Both Constantine and Caspian are trying to give us some privacy to talk without leaving our side. I guess this is their brotherhood of possessive men show of support or some crap like that. I feel like rolling my eyes at the three of them. I’ve no doubt Lazarus would be the same if he’s here right now.

He leans in closer and whispers on the side of his face without even moving his lips too much, “I’m very close to carrying you out of here and lock you up so nobody else can see you.”

I feel, rather than hear the grunts of approval from the other two neanderthals near us. This time I really roll my eyes. Well, guess who’s going to be watched very closely tonight.

**********************

My Rant, Vent, Words of Wisdom (Yeah Right) or Whatever You Want to Call it.

Fighting Darius is coming to an end soon. I’m going to try to write more to get it done faster. I’m updating this blog whenever whatever…*cough* tomorrow *cough* even if it’s not the whole chapter yet, it’ll still be uploaded. The finished chapter will be uploaded to Wattpad every Friday.

Anyway, it’s snowing now but it’s only -3 C outside (feels like -11C with windchill). I’m sipping my warm tea as I’m typing away, spewing words of wisdom…or rather giving you an unsolicited whether report of my area…which is of no benefit to you whatsoever. I’m feeling very accomplished tonight. Okay, I’ll be quiet now. I’m going to bed as soon as I finish this tea.

XOXOXO -Nicole♥

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