‘Open the window, something isn’t right! Help me Ava!! PLEASE!!’ I have two days left until the Observance and if this is how I feel, I’ll never make it through.
‘Oh for goodness sake Stella, the more intense the pain, the stronger your wolf.’ Ava was like my big sister, and so pragmatic. She opened the window and a gust of the cool evening air circulated my bedroom taking the edge off my burning body. Inside and out I was on fire and it was taking all my energy not to scream. Ava touched my forehead with a wet cloth and proceeded to wipe the beads of sweat from my brow. ‘To be honest honey, this does seem a little harsher than usual?!’ Oh my god, it must be bad for Ava to show the slightest concern! ‘I’ll go and make you a nice cold drink, back in a bit.’ Her face changed, she had one of those looks, you know the swan like look, where the part you see is graceful up top and below the water the legs are going a mile a minute. She tucked her short brown bobbed hair behind one ear and her petite nose wrinkled beneath her big brown eyes and left the room.
Just 24 hours ago I was celebrating my big birthday. My coming of age. My 18th.
My mother passed away whilst giving birth to me and just four years ago my father, the Gamma of the Arcadian Pack died in the War of Triad. That was the day I felt like my world ended. Alpha Sloan and Beta Barron were incredible and still survived the war, keeping the land separated into three with a treaty signed by all Alphas, this war was to be the last of its kind for as long as the blood of the three Alphas remained living on this earth. My father had true purpose that day but it didn’t seem that way to me, he left me alone in this world, he called me his blessed child. He used to tell me I was born for great things as death in child birth was extremely rare for werewolves. It is a sign that a true and higher power had been delivered and the dead mother was a mere sacrificial vessel for said power. What a crappy deal! I’m sure my mother would have preferred to raise me the way my father so fondly described she would. I still blamed myself for my mothers death as the expectation everyone had of me was so high and I’d achieved nothing to write home about so far, just a regular, normal, blending in lifestyle. When was this great power going to show up?? I felt my mother died for nothing!
My 18th birthday was so close to perfect. Beta Barron and his wife Ellie took me in when my father passed and they treated me as one of their own. Ava was 21 and a future Luna. She was mated to Alpha Sloans son Silas. Then there was Axel, 19, clever, quiet, always learning new things and obsessed with Pack laws and legends, a real geek but a great step brother to me.
The party started out as humble as it could be with just a few friends, but living in the Beta home everyone that was anyone turned up to wish me a happy birthday at the Pack Hall. I lost count of how many times I heard the words ‘Your father would be so proud / I wish your father could see you like this’ yet every time it hurt as much as the last time it was mentioned. He really was a legend around here, his nickname was The Great Gamma, the strongest and most loyal Gamma a pack could have. Missing him was a thought I could do without this evening.
I styled my long golden hair down over my shoulders, the dark green silk floor length slip dress complemented my green eyes and the Smokey eyeliner finished the coming of age look I was going for, or so I thought. Ava gave me a nod of assurance from across the room and it brought my wandering mind back to the party at hand.
Suddenly Alpha Sloan hushed the music and raised his glass. ‘To Stella’.
‘To Stella!’ A chorus erupted turning to cheers and the music began once more. Alpha Sloan approached me with a wide grin on his face, ‘How was my speech?’ he winked. He was enormous and intimidating with black hair sleeked back and scarily deep Blue eyes below his furrowed brows. To to me he was just Uncle Sloan, dad’s friend.
‘Fabulous, a true wordsmith! I must admit, I almost shed a tear’ we shared a look and just laughed out loud. Softening his hardened features. It was nice to see him so relaxed. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out an oval shaped stone on a gold chain necklace.
‘It’s moonstone..’ I gasped not taking my eyes away from its beauty ‘it was a gift from your father to your mother on her Observance… The night they found each other.’ He let out a deep and heartfelt sigh, dropping his shoulders. He missed his friends and it showed.
This time the look we shared said a thousand words, I threw my arms around his neck and tried my hardest not to ruin my make up. I could easily turn into a blubbering mess here! I’ve cried for my parents so much these past years and the waves of grief are sometimes all consuming. Like now.
‘Thank you so so much, this is…’ I couldn’t continue, my eyes started to fill and I legged it to the nearest bathroom.
It was at this point of the party that it truly hit me. My family are never coming back. After 4 years you would think this had sunk into my stupid skull that I was the last of the Jackson line. I looked into the bathroom mirror and tried to compose myself, deep breaths Stella in and out, dry you eyes and stop being a d**k!
I clasped the necklace at the nape of my neck, adjusted my hair and looked once more into the mirror. The elongated oval stone sat just above my cleavage, complimenting my above average sized breasts, now my outfit was complete! I looked good, ok I looked more than good, I looked f*****g hot!! I decided that once I left that room, the quiet girl that felt sorry for herself was not coming with me into adulthood. Any way of grief I would turn to strength, in fact, I’m going to own every emotion and use it wisely. ‘I am a strong, confident, attractive, funny, self assured woman and nothing and no one will take away my pride in that!’ My new mantra.
Reaching for the door I took a final breath and turned the handle…