Please be advised that this is a book for mature audiences (18+). It is a polyamorous romance and deals with some adult themes which may be triggering. Please leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment section! Thanks for reading! I appreciate you!
I remembered having a name. My parents called me Bella. Bella means beautiful, but it wasn’t me. Nobody calls me that now. Mostly I am addressed by a bunch of derogatory slurs, or simply, “girl.”
I awoke in the pre-dawn darkness without an alarm. My body knew it had to get up before the others, or there would be hell to pay. I pulled on the scraps of clothes that barely covered my body. They were bits of clothing that I had taken from the trash and pieced together. I pulled my hair back and tied a scarf over the mess, just to make sure I didn’t get any hair in the food. I remembered what happened the time the luna found a hair in her eggs. I couldn’t walk for a week.
I kicked the door shut to my closet and scrambled to the kitchen. I checked the menu that was posted for the week on the fridge door. I’d never been to school, and I couldn’t read very well, but I taught myself just enough to get by. I pulled out the eggs and other ingredients for French toast. I had breakfast half made before the first omegas came yawning into the kitchen, tying aprons around their waists, and chatting easily with each other. They ignored me, as long as I stayed out of their way.
“Girl, this syrup is not enough,” one of the omegas growled at me. “Go get another jug from the basement.”
I grimaced. I hated the basement. It was dark and musty and smelled of horrible things. When I displeased the Luna she would lock me in the basement without food or water or even access to a toilet. But I had to go; if I disobeyed the omega she would report me. I rushed over to the basement door and held my breath. I flipped on the dull, fluorescent lights and eased my way down the wooden steps. They were slightly uneven and always made me feel like I would fall down. When my bare feet hit the cold cement floor I ran to the back room where they kept the stock of supplies. I grabbed a jug of maple syrup from the shelf and ran back toward the stairs. I was terrified that someone would shut the door by accident, and slide the lock, and I would be trapped down there.
To my relief, I was able to push the door open and escape from the creeping claustrophobia. I could sleep in a closet with no windows, but I could not be down in that dark, airless cellar. I ran back to the omega and offered up the jug. She took it from my hands without a word and poured the amber syrup into glass pitchers. With all the food prepared and arranged, the omegas began serving it in the dining room.
Only the elite members of the pack ate in the dining room. Alpha Berkland and his Luna Amber, their twin daughters, the beta and his family, and a few of the ranking warriors. Usually, there were about a dozen people gathered around the big, formal table. However, I never set foot in the dining room. I was too dirty and disgusting, I would make them lose their appetites.
I went to the sinks to begin washing up the pots and pans. My stomach was raw with hunger, but I would have to wait until the pack was done eating. The omegas would bring back the plates for washing, and if I was lucky I would find some scraps to fill my aching stomach. The full refrigerator was right there, begging me to steal a bite of something, but I’d been caught stealing before, and the beating I had received had kept me on the straight and narrow ever since.
I didn’t know why I kept going with that miserable life. April and Jenneth teased me all the time about it. “What’s it like being a piece of trash that no one wants? Why don’t you just go kill yourself? If I was as disgusting as you, I’d scratch my own face off.” They were just girls, having turned 12 last year, but even they knew that my life was worthless and I was a thing to be degraded.
Once I’d held on to the slim hope that coming of age would change my circumstances, but my eighteenth birthday had come and gone more than a year ago. What did I expect? If there was such a thing as a mate for a creature like me, he would have thrown up at first sight and rejected me right away. I had lapsed into hopelessness, but still, my will to live was strong.
Strong enough for me to swipe the crusts of half-eaten French toast off the dirty plates. I wrapped them in a rag and hid them in my clothes. If anyone saw me eating, they would take the scraps of food away. I crammed a bit of sweet, sticky bread into my mouth, my eyes darting around to make sure no one had witnessed my actions before I picked up the sponge and went back to work. My thoughts had turned inward and I wasn’t really paying attention as I scrubbed at the plates.
I yelped and dropped the plate in my hands. Luckily, it dropped back into the sudsy water and did not break. The luna stood in the kitchen doorway, her hands propped on her hips. Luna Amber was beautiful but cold and harsh. Her red-blond hair was scraped back into a bun, her makeup impeccable, and her pale blue eyes snapped with hostility. “If you break that plate, I will break your hands.” She growled threateningly.
It wasn’t an empty threat. I have had many bones broken in my body over the years. I ducked my head and did not meet her eyes.
“We have visitors coming,” she said, forgetting about the plate. “All the guestrooms need to be cleaned, and fresh linen put on the beds, and all the common rooms will need to be dusted, mopped, and the carpets vacuumed.”
“Yes, Mistress,” I mumbled into the dishwater.
“Everything had better be perfect!” She ordered sharply.
I waited for her to leave the kitchen before I glanced up at the clock. Seven guest rooms and all the common rooms…I would be cleaning all day. But at least I would have a chance to get away from the kitchen. I hurried to finish cleaning up from breakfast before I grabbed my cleaning supplies and headed to the west wing guestrooms.