Chapter Four (Part 2)

“I…don’t know…” Oscar pauses again to think. “We don’t normally call him by his name. I’d bet his Beta does, and maybe those closer to him.” He nudges my shoulder playfully. “Let me know when you find out, okay? I’d like to know that too.”

I blush. “I don’t even have a phone, Oscar,” I say. “How would I tell you?”

“You could mind lin – oh,” Oscar stops. His face flushes. “Sorry, I forgot…”

“It’s okay,” I shrug. “It’s a slip even I make sometimes.”

“Yeah…” he seems to not believe me. “But I doubt you’ll be phoneless for long. I mean, that guy practically swims in money.”

I roll my eyes. “I get it, he’s rich. I don’t really care.”

“You don’t?” Oscar’s eyes snap to mine. “B-But, he’s filthy rich! How do you not care? You’re his mate! You’re entitled to everything that’s his!”

“It’s his money, Oscar,” I shrug. “Not mine. He earned it. He can do what he wants with it. Besides, money doesn’t make anybody happy.” I stare down at my hands, studying the marks on them. “I saw what happens when you marry for money. It’s never a happy ending.”

“No need to tell me twice,” Oscar grumbles. I look in the direction he’s staring at. He’s looking at a dark-haired girl with skin that’s so pale it makes me think she’s Snow White reborn. It takes me a while to remember who she is.

Oh…his ex girlfriend, I think. That’s what confuses me about mates. If you have one, why date? Why not wait for that one person?

“Because love is love,” Oscar answers my question as if he’s read my mind. I whip my head around, surprised, and he taps his head, smirking. I groan. Damn the pack link.

“Yeah, love is love, but why not wait for your mate?” I ask.

“Because you can’t control who you fall for,” Oscar explains. “The Moon Goddess may have picked a perfect person for us, but she doesn’t dictate our feelings. Yeah, many wolves do leave their partners for their mate, but sometimes you get lucky and your partner is already your mate. Or others just don’t want a soulmate and want to fall in love on their own.” He shrugs. “There are no rules when it comes to love.”

“I’m starting to realize that,” I murmur. I glance down at our hands, then back up to the painting in front of me on the opposite side of the hallway. It’s dark and foreboding – a log cabin in the middle of the woods in the night. I can feel the leaves rustling and the bushes moving. Something is moving towards the cabin. Slowly. Stalking it.

“But, it’s nice to see who your mate is,” Oscar interrupts my thoughts. “I mean, I know some wolves who have gotten with their old partners and rejected their mate. It does hurt for a while, but the wounds heal and everything goes back to normal. Although, I think finding a mate is less painful…unless your mate is an asshole. Then I’m totally rejecting them.”

I scoff. “You really love to use figurative speech, don’t you, Oscar?” I ask and scoff again. “Hurts to reject someone, yeah right.”

“No, it seriously does hurt.” Oscar’s face goes serious. “It’s because you’re severing your mate’s bond. It’s basically breaking a part of yourself. Wolves actually bleed and get hurt from rejecting their mate. It’s why most don’t and just get to know them. Usually that results in love, anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

“I hope mine results in love,” I murmur, still unsure how to feel about the whole “pain and injury for rejecting your mate” thought, especially since I’m pretty tired of feeling pain. “There’s something I feel with him…I can’t explain it, Oscar.”

“Nobody can really explain their mate bond,” his voice drops and I notice his eyes studying the ground. He uses his free hand to draw a heart in the dust between us – probably the only place that the housekeeping didn’t sweep.

“Except the Moon Goddess, probably,” I say, nudging him back. He looks up and grins at me. Two pearly white incisors jut from the top row of his teeth. His wolf is on alert. Why?

I’m not able to ask him, though, when a head pokes from the wall separating the hallway from the ballroom. I flinch, startled, but my heart calms down when I see that it’s the Alpha King looking at us. His dark gaze goes from me, to Oscar, then to our hands. My neck goes hot. I completely forgot that Oscar had taken my hand! I guess it’s just something I got used to.

Oscar stands, and it takes me a few moments to copy him. He bows to the Alpha King, and I’m unsure whether I should too, so I do so just in case. Through my bangs, I can see his eyes narrow.

“I was looking for you,” he ignores Oscar completely and strides towards me. His arms encompass me in a tight embrace, and my stomach tingles. I huff awkwardly.

“Uh, sorry,” I mutter. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I just…I needed to take a breather,” I finally say.

He nods, concern brimming his dark eyes. “You didn’t seem too pleased with Banastre’s confrontation,” he says, and I’m surprised that he’s even acknowledging it as such. A part of me expected him to just assume that Alpha Banastre was talking normally and I had done the bad part of running away. It makes me smile internally at his perception of the situation, despite probably knowing little to nothing about my relationship with Alpha Banastre, if I could even call it that.

“It…was okay,” I lie, glancing back at Oscar. The Alpha King follows my gaze. His eyes meet Oscar’s and they narrow again.

“Sir,” Oscar bows again, but his eyes are on me. I try to smile at him, but the Alpha King’s apprehension hits me in strong waves. He’s not too pleased with Oscar’s presence, I’m assuming.

He cocks his head to the side, thinking. “You must be Alpha Banastre’s son, right?” He asks finally, breaking away from their glare contest. Oscar rises slowly, nodding.

“Yes, sir,” he says.

“Hm.” The Alpha King hums, although it doesn’t sound like a very approving hum. “What’s your name?”

“Oscar, sir,” Oscar replies obediently, and if I’m not mistaken, there’s a sliver of fear glinting in his eyes. I glance back up at the Alpha King (seriously, what is his name?) but he’s not looking at me. He’s still studying Oscar, like he’s not sure what to make of him.

“Okay,” he finally says. He waves his hand towards the party in front of us. “Can you leave us for a moment please, Oscar?”

Oscar nods. “Yes, sir,” he says. As he walks past me, he touches my arm and smirks.

“Don’t forget to do what I told you to do,” he sings slyly. I laugh, shoving his shoulder playfully towards the dancing crowd.

“Shut up,” I scoff and he laughs, jogging into the mess of people and chatter. I watch him as he goes, but once he’s out of my sight the realization settles in me that I’m now alone…with him.

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