She Wolf will not find her mate; I curse the Spring that came too quickly. I won't fall in love!
My arrival home was met with an explosion of preparation for the up and coming Summer Solstice festival. But how could I think about that after the day I had spent with Caelestis. I had learnt so much about him. In one short day when Lucius just happened to be tired, things had changed.
And I wanted to tell Ryan all about it.
I followed his scent through the mansion and out into the courtyard. Wolves were everywhere preparing for the festival, today during the heat they were painting signs, everyone sharing the work to make signs and posters for stalls and for the festival itself. I treaded carefully around them. The Luna was also crouched down, Sharpie in one hand giving advice for the designs of the posters. Everything was always a big community effort with werewolves. So I knew that I would find Ryan here. The paint fumes were a little overwhelming but they were nothing compared to the immense amount of colour that covered the ground.
Ryan was painting the end of a banner pink. I grabbed a big paintbrush and sidled up beside him.
“Oh Varinia, how was school?” He said, not even looking up from his work.
I launched into just about every detail I could remember about my day with the Prince. Beaming all the while. We had finished painting the entire banner pink by the time I was done.
We moved onto the next banner and started to paint flowers all over it.
“Sounds like you had an amazing day,” He said.
“Oh yeah I did,” my cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling so much.
“Well I must say it seems like Caelestis is much better than those usual wolves you spend time with.
I snorted, “Just about anyone is.”
“Then why do you do it,” He finished perfecting a hibiscus.
“I don’t really know, they just have this hold over me. I want to do better though.”
Ryan looked up at me, “Then do better.”
And I would have liked to. I really would have. Lucius made it difficult. He clung to me like a koala until the summer holidays. I just couldn’t shake him, during class outside of class. Though Caelestis was there and was friendly I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to with him. Lucius made sure of that. Maybe the idiot finally had a sleep schedule for the sole purpose of getting in my way.
Tests were coming up quickly though as the last few days approached. The wolves were only now studying. Lucius demanded my notes in most classes. With him distracted it did give me a little time to talk to Caelestis.
So I fortified my notes and turned to the prince.
“What are you doing for the summer break?” I asked.
He thought for a second, “The vampires don’t really celebrate… anything. But I assume the Hirasawa mansion will be doing something for midsummer.”
“Oh I see, my pack always celebrates the solstices. So that’s what I’ll be doing. You’re welcome to come,” I offered, keeping my voice hushed from Lucius. I hadn’t invited the Amanes.
The Prince smiled, “I’d like to but I doubt my mother would let me leave.”
“Oh I see… she is the Queen so you better listen to her,” I tried to keep the disappointment out of my voice.
“Besides there has been some rather strange occurrences at the Hirasawa mansion with Crimson so we are probably going to have to be extra careful,” Caelestis looked at me, he looked inconvenienced by this.
“What happened with Crimson, last I heard she attacked a bunch of people?” I probed.
Caelestis sighed, “She escaped, left her weird siblings,” He eyed Ephvangeline and Katsu, “and is somewhere out there now.”
“With the myth hunters?” I asked, keeping my voice low.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” he looked back down at his work.
Now that was concerning. A werecat out there in the wild, dangerous and angry. This was something I needed to tell the Luna about, though perhaps she already knew.
I put my hand over Caelestis, his skin was cool to the touch. His fingers were long and slender with sharp nails at the ends, “Come stay with me if you ever are in danger.”
He looked up at me and smiled, “I hope I don’t have to take you up on that.”
I felt a tug on my elbow and turned to Lucius.
“Varinia can you help me with this question?” He asked.
Caelestis chuckled quietly as I turned around and helped Lucius.
Somehow Lucius was just stupid enough that I spent the rest of the lesson teaching him what he should have already known. Before I knew it the bell had rung and Caelestis was walking away with the vampire girls.
“Varinia, you gotta help Rome and I study during lunch,” Lucius pleaded with me.
Lucius only liked the more nerdier side of me when it suited him. Why was I surprised, dude was more toxic than Arsenic.
“Sure,” I begrudgingly agreed and allowed him to pull me to where the Amanes had congregated.
It was far more painful being with them now. Rose had her new boyfriend, Arlen. So I was stuck with the male Amanes, the worst ones. I almost regretted giving Rose relationship advice, though she did seem happy with her new boyfriend. To be honest it was good for her to get some distance from her brothers as well. Even if that meant they swarmed me.
With the amount I had to teach them it was a wonder that they came to school at all. They might as well have skipped class for all they learned during them. Though in the back of my mind I considered that it could have been an elaborate ruse to keep me from Caelestis. The Amanes must have been desperate to keep me if they had resorted to studying.
Rome put his arm around me, “So the mortals pay taxes to the King?”
I pushed it off, “No, for the most part in the mortal world monarchies are a thing of the past.”
“What’s a monarchies?” Rome asked and his brothers all perked up, likely not knowing the answer either.
This is what I was working with. And it was painful. But I pushed through to exam time. I felt that teaching the Amanes had pushed my scores even higher, they covered all three years so I had to as well.
I was exhausted by the end of the exam period but for me, the work didn’t just end at school. The Luna was grilling me on the solstice preparation. It was something that happened every year so it was important that I got everything right, even if it drained all the fun out of the occasion. I sat in the Luna’s office going through her speeches of the past.
“Midsummer differs from Yule in many ways as you know but the extra light makes it a celebration more accessible especially for the pups during the hours of daylight. However after the fireworks display we begin serving alcohol. Of course we can’t completely prevent under age drinking,” The Luna eyed me, “we can avoid it getting the hands of much younger pups this way.”
I nodded and wrote it all down, “Got it.”
“This means ice is going to be needed for much later on so someone needs to be placed in charge of managing ice levels. We have had situations when they weren’t responsible enough and it was a disaster,” The Luna went on.
“Yeah a disaster,” I muttered.
“Varinia you might not think these things are important but the details matter. The Solstices are very important for not only our pack but all of those who live on our lands. It is a beacon of light,” She lectured me and I sat up a little straighter.
With exams and preparation for the solstice I wouldn’t have noticed the summer break creeping close, however the heat every day was a constant reminder. I felt sticky in my uniform. All of the werecreatures were close to just straight up panting in our homeroom on the last day.
“I’m just glad we get a break from the studying you know?” Rome said.
I laughed, “Oh, like you don’t have homework to do over the break.”
Rome smiled at me, “Not homework that I’m going to do.”
“Sounds about right,” I muttered and looked at Lucius.
Lucius’ eyes were trained on the Hirasawas, with which was Rose. She was smiling at her boyfriend Arlen. Lucius was staring at them so intently. I wondered what was going on inside his head but also I really didn’t want to look at the inside of the mind of Lucius.
Rome put a hand on my shoulder, “He’s determined to get a Hirasawa just like Rose.”
“Doesn’t he also hate them?” I asked, whispering as to not break Lucius’ concentration.
“Hate and love are feelings close to each other it seems,” he smiled.
I returned that smile, “You’re not wrong there.”
The bell rang and I peeled myself off the bench and took a sip of water. Lucius zipped straight past me and down to the front of the classroom where the Hirasawas were. I looked at Haven and Rome a little concerned. They only shrugged.
The Hirasawas and Lucius walked out of the classroom and I followed close behind, worried about what Lucius was going to do. My worries were founded too.
Lucius approached the already hot and frazzled Ephvangeline.
She kept walking, “Lucius.”
He followed and grabbed her arm. He yanked her towards him and kissed her on the cheek, he was likely aiming for her mouth. Ephvangeline’s eyes lit up with pure rage.
“I told you to leave me alone!” She screamed.
Ephvangeline was a werecat but she was more than just a shifter, she was a second generation werecat which meant she has special magical abilities that manifested in her hair. It was pure black and ever shifting as it was pure dark magical energy. Usually she would have it shaped into whatever hairstyle she pleased but she was furious. Her hair grew longer in a second and swarmed around Lucius, grabbing his body and throwing into the wall, once, twice.
Lucius was completely defenceless, he wiggled his creepy body trying to worm his way out of that grip but it wasn’t working.
I certainly wasn’t going to step in, he had this coming for a long time.
Ephvangeline slammed him into the wall so hard it cracked or perhaps Lucius did, and he coughed up blood.
The other two Amane boys ran towards Ephvangeline.
“Oh so you’re on his side!” She screamed and knocked them out of the way with the darkness magic.
Mr S ran out of the classroom, “Ephvangeline, let him go!”
Looking at her teacher and at Lucius she decided she had done enough. The hair recoiled back to its normal shape. Mr S grabbed her, “What is with you Hirasawas. You’re a danger to us all.”
I quickly stepped in along with Arlen, “Whoa, Mr S, Lucius was sexually harassing her, and has been since the school year began.”
“Honest,” Arlen added.
Mr S looked into my eyes, his Alpha presence bore down onto me but I wasn’t lying. Mr S let her go, “I will go fetch the healer.”
Mr S walked off.
“Thank you,” Ephvangeline whispered to me.
I nodded in response and looked to Lucius lying on the ground with his siblings around him. I walked over.
“No,” Lucius’ voice was weak, “You’ve picked your side. You always look down on us because of your fancy pack. Now you’re defending the shitty things the Hirasawa do. You’re just as bad.”
I just stood there. There was nothing I could say to that. It was the truth, yet it was their actions that made me look down on them. As well as the awful ways they would talk about those around them. Being excluded, I didn’t feel bad at all. I just felt nothing.
I watched as Mrs Szandor took Lucius away while all the Amanes followed.
There was a cold presence beside me. I looked up to red eyes.
“What happened here?” Caelestis asked.
“I just got rejected by the Amanes,” I replied.
“Rejected by the rejects of society, how do you feel?”
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