The rest of the evening went horrifically slow. My Uncle's words replayed in my head on a constant loop along with Viktor's two powerful words.
"Fuck power." His deep and rough voice combatted my Uncle's words with fury.
I found it strange for someone like him to say "fuck power". Someone so huge and much faster than a normal Lycan. He seemed to be swimming in power.
"Shouldn't we put ourselves first for a change?" Aela frowned.
I sighed, wishing it were that simple. "Aela, we're going to have an entire Kingdom to look after. Sometimes it's much bigger than that."
"It's not as hard as you're making it out to be. Our mate was paired with us for a reason, they'll help us." Aela was confident.
"If we ever meet him." I sighed.
I could only imagine how Aela was feeling. Humans and wolves were vastly different when it came to dealing with things. Being the daughter of the Alpha King, Aela's instincts are to protect her people by any means possible. But, she's also bound to our future mate. She couldn't betray him if she tried. Her own nature was in conflict with itself.
While I wanted nothing more than to protect my people, was I prepared for what would happen if I gave up my mate? A lifetime of living with someone who didn't truly make me happy. Sleeping with them, bearing their children, building a life together. It felt like a half life to me, a false life.
If my Mom were alive, she would have scolded my Uncle for putting those words in my head and the responsibility on my shoulders.
I wasn't sure how long I sat on the balcony, enjoying the silence and the cooling breeze that lifted my hair. I watched the sun dive behind the clouds and the garden below darken, absent of it's light. The sun would peek from the clouds and scatter hues of orange and yellow across the garden. My eyes remained on the garden, and Viktor's eyes remained on me.
"Arabella?" A soft voice called out from behind me. One of the servants peeked their head out of the balcony doors, giving me a small smile.
I peeled my lingering gaze away from the sun-lit garden and looked at the servant, "Yes?"
I smiled at her, she seemed new and wary of working in the mansion.
"The Alpha King is awaiting you in the dining room, miss." The young servant girl gave a small smile as she bowed her head.
I stood from the chair and realized how stiff I was. How long had I been sitting here?
"I'll follow you down." I nodded, closing the balcony door behind the three of us.
We walked silently down the wide corridor and I found myself thinking more about my situation.
"So, what's your name?" I smiled down at the girl. She had to be no older than fourteen.
I needed to soothe the conflicting argument in my head, and talking to Jules helped.
Her earth colored eyes widened and a relaxed grin fell on her lips, "Julie, but you can call me Jules."
"How long have you been working here, Jules?" I smiled back.
"Just a couple days now." Jules let out a shaky breath.
I chuckled at her frayed nerves, "There's nothing to worry about. I apologize ahead of time for all of my future messes." That earned a giggle from her.
"I've just never been around so many Lycan's before. I'm home schooled so I don't really get out much." She shrugged sadly.
I nodded, "I understand, I don't get out much either. The Lycan's around here aren't too bad. Just let me know if anyone gives you any trouble."
We walked into the dining room and I locked eyes with Dad.
"Thank you, miss." Jules grinned as she turned and left.
I sighed and sat down at the table. I wasn't feeling too hungry, so I picked around my food.
After a few minutes of silence my Dad cleared his throat, "Arabella, what's wrong?" His dark eyebrow was raised.
I rolled my eyes, he always knew when something was wrong. Now I just had to decide if I wanted to throw my Uncle under the bus or not.
I shrugged, "Just thinking over some things."
"What things?" His eyebrow was still raised. My Dad wasn't one to let things go.
I frowned, and tried to think of a way to express my thoughts without exposing my Uncle.
"Well, I know other rulers are coming to my birthday to try and win me over." I frowned, "I was wondering if I should let them."
My Dad coughed and took a gulp of wine. "Let them?"
"Yeah." I frowned, "Be with one of them. They'd have to come to our aid and it may take some of the stress off of you." I couldn't help but notice how tired he seemed lately.
Dad's silver eyes grew darker, "Your Uncle talked to you didn't he?" He growled.
"What?" I forced a confused frown on my face. "No he didn't talk to me."
"You came to this conclusion all on your own?" He said sceptically.
I shrugged, "Of course. What you both said at dinner yesterday stuck with me. If I can help, shouldn't I?"
The more I thought about giving up on my future mate, the more my stomach twisted into knots. I wasn't sure how other Lycan's did it. How did they muster up the strength to reject their other half?
"Arabella, this is not your fight." My Dad's voice was stern, the tone of the Alpha King.
I went to speak but he cut me off with a wave of his hand.
"Yes, I know you will take my place when I step down. But I have not stepped down yet, therefore this is my fight." Dad's voice held my undivided attention. "You will not sacrifice your only happiness for a war we can handle on our own. What would your mother think?"
His words stung, but he was right. I still couldn't let go of the fact that him and my Uncle weren't telling me everything.
"She would think I'm crazy." I huffed, taking a glass of wine for myself.
Dad shook his head, a small smile playing on his lips. "No, not crazy. Just confused."
"Thanks Dad." I smiled back at him.
His smile lit the room up and I couldn't name the last time I saw him smile like that, "Anytime, Bella."
"I do have one little tiny thing to ask you." I gave him a sheepish grin.
Dad lifted his eyebrow, recognizing this particular expression. "Mhm, and what would that be?"
"So Caroline invited me to this party tomorrow night. It's nothing big, but she wanted to know if I could come." I pushed my lower lip out in a pout. This expression hadn't worked on him in a few years, but there was no harm in trying.
Dad sighed and I continued, "Viktor will be with me the entire time! And you know I don't drink like that. We'll only be there for an hour or two, promise."
Dad remained silent as he lost himself in his thoughts, "Very well, but if anything happens you mind-l**k me. Understood?"
"Yes Mr. Alpha King." I beamed at him, ignoring his chuckle and eyeroll.
Once dinner was finished, I spent the rest of my time in my bedroom. After a couple glances in my direction, Viktor went to his own room.
I felt relieved when I noticed the bathroom had been cleaned and the door was replaced.
I actually managed to wake up on time for a change. Just as I slipped my tank-top off and put a deep purple bra on, Viktor knocked on the adjoining door.
"Come in!" I called out, trying to keep the excitement and amusement from my tone.
Viktor stopped in his tracks when he noticed how underdressed I was. I was wearing my favorite purple bra and matching underwear.
His obsidian eyes slowly drug themselves down my body, igniting a trail of heat with his eyes. He then closed his eyes and turned his head, as if he were scolding himself for momentarily losing control.
My lips twitched into a smirk at his wandering eyes and I enjoyed the jolt of excitement that ran down my spine.
Viktor continued to look more attractive each day I spent with him, if that was even possible.
My curiosity had started out as a harmless game, but now it was a constant itch that clamored in the back of my mind.
If I kept my eyes on his tousled hair, my fingers would twitch with longing.
I slipped my clothes on and headed down to the gazebo. I felt relieved when both Shannon and Caroline greeted me.
I started my usual routine of eating breakfast in the gazebo. I could vaguely hear Caroline and Shannon chatting, but my attention was on the blossoming flowers that surrounded us.
Many of the flowers had begun to fully bloom, and swirling around the gazebo was a cacophony of colors and scents. Insects fluttered from flower to flower, enjoying the bright sun and gentle aroma of flowers.
"Earth to Arabella! Hello?" I was jerked from my thoughts when Caroline waved her hand in my line of sight.
I shook my head, "What?" I looked around for a few moments and frowned when I realized Shannon had left.
"Where'd Shannon go?" I frowned, plopping a grape in my mouth.
Caroline rolled her eyes, "She's covering for someone at work and had to leave. If you weren't so wrapped up in your own head you would have heard her." Caroline chuckled.
"Oh crap." I sighed. That was another quality I received from my Mom. We would both get so lost in the world around us.
Caroline shrugged, "She knows how you are, she didn't take it personal."
"I'll send her a text later." I sighed.
"Before you go getting lost again, what did your Dad say about tonight?" Caroline's high-pitched voice wormed into my head again.
I gave her a smirk, "He said yes, but only for an hour or two."
"That's plenty of time to get us both boyfriends." Caroline smirked, her eyes flickering to Viktor.
I rolled my eyes, "I'm not going there to find a boyfriend."
"Is VIktor going to be coming?" Caroline smirked, playing with a piece of her hair as she gazed at him.
"Duh, he's my bodyguard." I laughed.
Caroline stuck her tongue out at me, "Wear something cute. Short dress and heels, no exceptions." She pointed her finger at me and I laughed.
I had learned to successfully wear heels at the age of fourteen. While they weren't my favorite footwear, I actually kind of liked them. They elongated the legs and made any girl who wore them sexier and more confident.
"You wanna borrow something from my closet?" I raised my eyebrow at her. While our body types were completely different, I had some stuff that could fit her.
Caroline gave me a grateful grin, "Thank you! Plus we wear the same size shoe's so I'm gonna raid your shoe collection."
"That works for me." I teased her. She had been obsessed with my shoe collection for years.
"Be ready at 10 p.m. I'll meet you out front." Caroline chirped, "And don't be late!"
"Yes ma'am." I laughed.
I spent the rest of the day lounging about, horrifically bored. I gave Viktor a break with the teasing, fully planning on resuming once I dressed for the party.I wasn't dressing to impress anyone else, just Viktor. I wanted to see if he could keep his emotionless gaze when he saw what I was planning to wear.Caroline knocked on my bedroom door around 8:30 p.m. Viktor stepped inside my room as Caroline entered and leaned against the wall."Um, is he going to stay in here?" Caroline glanced at me, a confused look on her face.I chuckled and shook my head, "As long as you're here, he is.""I'm no threat to Arabella, but you on the other hand." Caroline smirked at Viktor, whose gaze was solely focused on me.I rolled my eyes. Once we got to the party she'd set her sights on some other poor victim and leave my bodyguard alone. "Come on Caroline, pick out a dress."We walked into the giant walk-in closet I rarely used and I pulled my dress
My stomach dropped when each of the men came forward, and I could see the gleam of gunmetal in their hands.I felt like time slowed just for a moment and I wondered what my Dad was doing. I wondered what he would think when I never came home that night.A small scream left my lips when the backdoor to the club slammed open with a loud bang. The metal door crashed against the bricks of the building at the force.Viktor ran out of the club, his golden eyes searching his surroundings rapidly."Just in time." Aela sounded relieved.He locked eyes with me and the aura radiating from him made me shrink closer to the chain link fence. He was beyond furious."That's not normal." Aela was stunned, even she could feel the power rolling from him.He leaped forward and grabbed me by the wrist, his leather gloves scorched my ice cold skin. I stumbled as he yanked me behind him and faced the men coming our way.I was sure they
I got ready for bed that night feeling more emotions than I thought humanly possible.Most of those emotions revolved around my god-like body guard and not the attempt on my life.What was so important about his identity that he couldn't just tell me? Was he worried I'd be scared? I had already seen him brutally murder four men. I wasn't sure he could get worse than that. And yet I couldn't shake the way I felt about him. He was alluring, comforting, and distant all at the same time.Most of my emotions stemmed from the massive guilt I was feeling. I had a mate somewhere out in the world, and here I was teasing and pursuing my deadly body guard.I couldn't help it though. The minute I chose to tease Viktor, it had been like jumping on a roller coaster at full speed. It was dangerous and I may not survive it, but I couldn't get off the ride no matter how much I wanted to.My attraction towards Viktor was intoxicating, but I felt like I was cheating
I woke up in the morning, the exhaustion from last nights events clung to me along with the chill the morning brought.While I wasn't drunk enough to forget last nights events, I knew I hadn't fallen asleep in my own bed. And yet, in my own bed is where I woke up.The blanket Viktor had placed around me was still curled around my fingers, the strangely intoxicating scent lingered on the blanket and gave me a sense of security.Viktor must have brought me back to my bed. The thought of him carrying me sent a shiver down my spine. I wished I had stayed awake long enough to enjoy the feeling of his arms around me.I felt like I was becoming more attached to him, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. My feelings were already ever so present in my mind, and there was no way of stuffing them back down.I hastily threw on some clothes and went into the bathroom to brush out my hair. By
My mind was reeling as I left Dad's office.I wasn't sure what to do with the information I had just found out.Viktor came to my Dad, offering his services as my bodyguard."Viktor knew about us?" Aela sounded confused and unsure."It sounds like it.." Even I was at a loss for words.I was more pressed than ever to find out the identity of Viktor, and the reason behind his mask and gloves.I went to the only person I could think of, my Uncle.He was the only person I knew who was also curious about Viktor's identity.I did my best to hide what I had learned from Viktor, but I wondered if he could feel she shift that had taken place within me.As I walked down the quiet corridor to my Uncle's office, I came up with my stupidest plan to date.I had little hope that it would be successful,
I laid awake until one or two in the morning wrestling with my own nerves.I was in a battle with myself on what I was about to do. My mind had been made up, but that didn't stop my conscience from arguing with me.My idea was downright stupid, and if Viktor wasn't my bodyguard I was sure he'd end my life the second he found out what I did."Are you sure you wanna do this?" Aela asked me.I rolled my eyes at her, "You were all for it hours ago.""I'm still all for it. However, I'm not interested in dying yet. I refuse to let you die a virgin." Aela shook her head and I scoffed."I'm going through with this. Hopefully we live to tell the tale." I shrugged.I slipped out of bed as quietly as possible, knowing his hearing could definitely extend to my room as well.I tiptoed across my floor like my life depended
The days ticked by slowly and my birthday grew closer and closer.Viktor did what he could to avoid me, and I reluctantly did the same. Yet that didn't change the fact that our entire relationship had shifted. I could feel it in the air and in his lingering gazes.He had always stared at me before, but no one else noticed the spark hidden in his obsidian eyes. I could feel his gaze on me when my back was turned and it ignited feelings that I had tried to keep hidden.I couldn't deny how much I wanted him, and he could no longer pretend to be ignorant. It was clear, he wanted me as bad as I wanted him.I walked up to the gazebo with Viktor following behind me. The hair on the back of my neck seemed to constantly raise under his dark eyes.Shannon and Caroline sat at the gazebo waiting for me.These past few days had been quite hectic and busy. My birthday gala was happen
After Dad gave me the necklace, I retreated back to my bedroom.Viktor tried to hide it, but I watched his eyes flicker to the golden jewelry hanging from my neck.Something flashed in his obsidian gaze. Awareness? Caution? Surprise?I wasn't sure what the emotion was, but I was almost positive that Viktor had seen this necklace before. I wondered how familiar he was with this piece of jewelry. Did he know it's full potential?Many of the Royal families began to arrive today, but were required to stay in the nearest hotel.While many were unhappy with this fact, none would dare openly disobey my Dad.Erik and his family would arrive tomorrow, the day of my birthday.My stomach twisted into knots at the thought of Erik arriving.Ever since I was a child, everyone was sure Erik and I would be mates. I used to think the same, now I wasn't so sure.How could I be Erik's mate when my infatuation with Viktor existed? Would it miraculou