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Chapter 6: Celebration

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"Mom? Can I come in?" I ask with a gentle tone.

She eyes me from head to toe and then steps to the side so I can enter. Once I'm in, she shuts the door with a nerve-racking thud.

"Where on earth have you been? I was this close," she almost touches her thumb and pointer finger together, "to having guards search the entire pack and beyond for you."

"I left. I went on unclaimed land and—"

"And what? Went rogue? Goddess, Celeste, I can't believe your behavior right now. All of this just because your sister was mated to the Beta and not you? How could you leave your sister right when she finds her mate? You know how nervous she was."

"No, that's not why, and I didn't go rogue. I ended up crossing onto Draven territory and found my mate there. That's where I've been."

"You found your mate?"


Mom throws her arms up. "Where is he then?"

"H-He couldn't come with me."

"He couldn't come with you to meet your parents? Have you met his parents?"

I shift my weight to my other foot. "No."

"So you've been living with a man at the Draven pack, and I don't get to meet him?" she questions, blatantly unimpressed.

I drop my chin and struggle to piece together the right explanation, but I don't think any excuse will satisfy her.

"Right," she scoffs. "Your father will love to hear this."

"Where's Lily?"

"She's on her way here to prepare for her and the Beta's congratulatory celebration tonight. She's been here every day going about things the right way; I'm sure she'll love to hear about your big adventure."

I nod and force a tight smile. "I'll be in my room. There are some things I want to pack and bring back with me."

"So you're living there now? Under Alpha Draven? Perfect."

His name from her mouth tweaks my nerves. "Why wouldn't I? Lily has gone and moved in with the Beta, hasn't she?"

"We know the Beta. We know Lily's alright," she defends.

"Well, I'm here now telling you I'm alright."

"Are you at least going to give me his name?"

My words catch in my throat. "His name is — is Theo."

My mother's expression is still. My neck heats as I wait for her response, praying she doesn't know more about Alpha Draven than I think. She says, "Hm."


"I just can't believe this is how things turned out with you. Running away, risking your life, hiding your mate—"

"I'm not hiding him. He couldn't come," I repeat, teetering into anger.

"You've said nothing about his rank."

"Okay," I surrender, "I'll be waiting for Lily and packing upstairs."

Mom questions, "How long are you staying?"

"I'm leaving tonight, don't worry." I head for the stairs. "You won't have to look at your low-ranking, disappointment of a daughter for long."

"Dear Goddess," she mutters and walks the other way into the kitchen.

I inhale through my nose and fill my lungs completely as I yearn to scream and argue and tell her exactly what's happened, and if Theo's reputation makes her angrier — perfect. But I can't; Theo's made that very clear. Instead, I bottle up my rage and go to my room where I'm likely to find peace. I shut the door and rest against it, contemplating whether or not I should run back to Draven territory right this second.

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