That's how long it's been. 2 years since my soul had been sold to the devil. 2 years since my parents abandoned me and my pack sold me to the demons they swore to protect me from. 2 years of pain, suffering, and praying for death. Of course, my wishes were never complied with, but that's just my life, I suppose.
The endless motion of the broom by my feet distracts me from my impending doom, sweeping away my tears with the dirt and grime. I'm not supposed to be crying, but I can't help myself. The dust is drifting to my eyes, torturing them and making me weep. I'm not usually a crier. I've been taught to keep my emotions to myself and not bother anyone with them, because that's the easiest thing to do. It keeps me safe, and away from my Alpha's whip.
There are footsteps approaching the kitchen. They sound like heels, I think. They're loud and obnoxious, and the pool of dread that's been stirring in my stomach rushes to my heart. I clutch the broom tighter to my chest and keep my eyes down. If I meet their eyes, I'll start laughing, I know, and if I start laughing, it won't end well for me.
Two girls enter the room, and just by their shoes, I immediately recognize them. They're Darcy and Amanda, the Luna's daughters. I suppress a groan. I find them so annoying and irritating, but they take just after their father, the Alpha. Spoiled, bratty, and so overly irritating, although the Alpha would kill me if he knew I said that about his two favorite daughters...well, maybe not kill me, since he "needs" me, I guess.
"Did you make brunch yet, Anvi?" Darcy asks, butchering my name so badly that I almost don't realize that she's calling me. I hesitate to look up from the floor, trying to keep my mouth from trembling. Once I've composed myself, I look up into her dark blue eyes, her lips twisted expectantly.
"Well, Anvi?" She snaps.
"Yes, ma'am," I mutter. "Would you like your tea hot or cold?"
"Cold, as usual," Darcy says.
"I'd like mine hot," Amanda commands, sitting on one of the chairs. She steps into the pile of dirt I've created, smearing the mess around the floor I spent nearly an hour cleaning.
"Oops, sorry," she says, but she doesn't really sound sorry.
"That's...okay," I grit out, handing them their food. As I set the mugs of tea beside them, Darcy lets out a loud, unlady-like screech, startling the cup from my hand and smashing onto the ground.
"You gave me the wrong tea, you bitch!" She screams, shoving me back. I stumble back against the counter, falling on my bottom, and both Darcy and Amanda glare at me, their eyes glowing.
"I'm sorry," I mumble, although, just like Amanda, I'm not really sorry. They and their overly bleached hair deserve it, but again, I can't say that either, no matter how much I really would like to shove reality into their faces.
"You should be, you ungrateful girl!" Darcy screams, sticking her tongue out. "Look what you did!" She points to her tongue, which is only slightly reddened. "I can't feel my tongue anymore! What if you burned off my taste cells?"
"Taste cells?" I repeat, frowning. "Ma'am, I-!"
"What's going on here?" Alpha Banastre's commanding voice booms through the kitchen and immediately, my blood runs cold. Darcy and Amanda both smirk victoriously at me.
Alpha Banastre has been my Alpha for 2 years. He bought me from my old pack, and I've never liked him. I have good reason to. He's extremely unkind, not only to me, but to his wife and pack. If anything, the only people he loves are his daughters. He doesn't even show any compassion for his son, his heir.
Alpha Banastre is a tall man - maybe seven or eight feet. I haven't met anyone taller than that yet, and doubt I ever will, but his height is only part of what makes him so frightening.
He has these dark blue eyes, just like Darcy and Amanda, but they remind me of a blade. They aren't icy, but they radiate this cool, calm before the storm aura that scares the shit out of me, excuse my language. He's pretty pale, but has a touch of color, and his hair is all brown and spiky. He never smiles, and always seems to find a way to punish me, even if I haven't done anything wrong. I'm nothing but a slave to him, which is illegal under Alpha law, but Alpha Banastre doesn't care. He's good at hiding me from the inspectors that visit every year and takes the most of pleasure in testing his torture devices on me. I've had many chances to kill him, but I've only held back for the sake of my life and my Luna, Hailey. If she wasn't his mate, chances are that Alpha Banastre's body would've been buried in a ditch by now.
"Anvi did it, Daddy!" Darcy wails, pointing to the broken glass in front of my sprawled frame. It seems that all of a sudden her tongue isn't burning anymore. "She heated up my tea when I told her that I specifically wanted it cold on purpose! She burned me, Daddy, and she broke the glass!"
"Yes!" Amanda adds, even though I haven't done anything to her. "Who knows what she could've done to me. She could've burned my tongue too, Daddy! She did it on purpose!"
"What? No I didn't!" The words blurt out of me before I can stop them, and internally, I smack myself. Alpha Banastre stops gazing at his daughters and turns slowly to me. I gulp. His eyes have darkened and he's giving me a look I'm all too familiar with. It's the same look he's given me every time he's ready to beat me up - that same cool, calculated stare that lets my heart and stomach know that I'm in deep trouble.
"Speaking without permission and intentionally harming my daughters?" Alpha Banastre clicks his tongue, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Darcy and Amanda smirking at one another, scampering out of the room. I hiss a curse at them under my breath, but when Alpha Banastre takes a step closer to me, I quickly mask my expression, hoping he didn't see my glare.
"I-It was an accident, sir," I mumble, looking down. "I didn't intentionally give my lady the hot tea, sir."
"And speaking?" Alpha Banastre asks.
"T-That was an accident too, sir," I stammer, swallowing thickly. My heart is pounding quickly. It's hard to breathe, he's getting closer. "I...I wasn't able to control myself..."
"Hm..." Alpha Banastre is quiet for a few moments, thinking. I make the mistake of looking up at him, thinking that he's about to leave, when he grabs me by my neck, slamming me back against the countertop.
I almost yelp, but don't. Making any sound will only tick him off even more - I'll be indulging him in his torture, and he knows that. He presses my neck tighter, hoping to force a sound out of me, but I'm used to his methods of pain by now. I know that if I just stay quiet, he'll leave me alone.
Or, at least, that's what I thought, but it seems that Alpha Banastre is feeling cruel today (honestly, though, when is he not?) He slams me again against the counter, and this time, my head hits the cabinet. It's so sudden that I scream, writhing in shock, and that's when I know that I've made a mistake. I've submitted to his authority, and that's my mistake.
He smirks. He also knows what I've done, and he knows that I know what he'll do to me now that I know. My heart just about stops.
"Please...please, Alpha..." I beg, helplessly hoping that there's a shred of empathy left in him, but when I see his eyes glint and completely morph over into the jet black color he's so fond of, I realize that it's of no use. The story continues to use the same ink. I try to stay strong, he tricks me, I beg, he hits me. It's never going to change.
This is my life, I think, curling into myself as the blows come. Blood splatters out of my nose and dribbles down my chin, dampening my shirt. It's the same, depressing thought that comes to me every time this happens - every time I think I'm going to die. Sometimes, I wish I could. I wish I could just leave and go to my parents, but I can't. Alpha Banastre needs someone to torture, and he knows how to keep me alive just enough that I can continue to be that punching bag. He keeps anything I can use to kill myself away from me and if I need to use them, it has to be under supervision.
"There," he kicks me in my stomach one last time, unmoved as the blood trickles out of my mouth. The pain from his beating numbs me, just barely allowing me to breathe, but just as always, I'm still alive. I'm like a ragdoll. No matter how many times you rip its arm, you can always stitch it back on. That's Alpha Banastre's way of thinking when it comes to me.
"Maybe now you'll finally begin to consider doing your job right and controlling that pathetic mouth of yours," he hisses, glaring down at me. His wolf has given up control, but that does very little to change Alpha Banastre's temperament. His fangs are bared at me as I look up, bleary eyed, from the pool of blood I'm drenched in.
"Y-Yes Alpha," I manage to say, coughing. Alpha Banastre stares at me for a moment longer, pensive, then kicks a shard of the glass I broke closer to my face.
"Good," he growls. "Now clean this mess up and yourself and go help my wife get ready for the ball tonight. We'll go over the rules in the car later."
"I-I'm c-coming with you, sir?" I ask, pulling myself up with all of the strength I have leftover. I keep my gaze centered on the red brooch Alpha Banastre has clipped to his tie. I won't look into his eyes - I'm not in the mood for a second beating today.
"Yes," he says, as if that was an obvious fact. "You'll be keeping my wife company while I create agreements with the nearby Alphas." He gazes down in disdain at me. "That way you or her won't ruin anything...again."
He leaves with that cheery note, his heavy steps clopping down the hallway like an overweight horse. The thought of Alpha Banastre as an overweight horse makes me chuckle, but this time, I make sure to keep my head down when I smile, just in case he's decided to see if I have bled out yet or not.
Speaking of bleeding out, my wounds have already healed, which I would like to attribute to the magic of being a werewolf, but ever since my wolf stopped communicating with me two years ago, my wounds have never healed on their own, not like they used to. I guess it was something Alpha Banastre was holding - maybe his watch? Either way, I'm able to fully stand up now, which is supposed to be a good thing, but I wish I bled out on the floor and died. That way I could haunt Alpha Banastre for the rest of his life and hopefully give him a heart attack, but who am I kidding? Even in ghost form, being ten feet near Alpha Banastre would probably scare the sugar out of me.
Mopping the blood is what I do first. Ever since Luna Hailey berated Alpha Banastre for making me bleed, he's forced me to clean up my mess first so that he doesn't have to listen to his level-headed wife. Why Luna Hailey stays with Alpha Banastre still beguiles me to this day, but I've never asked her about it. Her husband seems to be a topic she isn't too fond of, anyway.
The glass is stained red by the time I sweep it into the trash can. With everything clean and done, and the sun beginning to set, I think my day is almost done, but then I remember that I have to help Luna Hailey with preparing for the ball. I don't know when it is, but from listening to Darcy and Amanda gush about the Alphas there, I think it's a meeting of sorts for all Alphas - regulars, Heads, Lords, and the Alpha King. Just thinking about all the other Alphas that I will probably meet tomorrow sends a jolt of fear that electrifies my guts, but I calm myself by thinking that if I go there, maybe Alpha Banastre won't see me escape. I can finally be free. A rogue, but free nonetheless. Free from the constant beatings and chores. Free from the abuse I've lived through for what's felt like millions of years.
"Anvi?" A horrified female voice says my name from behind me, and I whirl on my heel, my eyes connecting with the warm dark eyes of Luna Hailey. Her cheeks are flushed, probably from the horse riding she had been doing earlier, but her eyes are wide and her pupils are small as they take me in. My heart relaxes and a breath of relief leaves me.
"Luna Hailey," I bow, hoping I'm doing well at hiding the wince that accompanies my movement, but Luna Hailey can see right through me. That, or she's seen the blood that stains my body. Either way, she runs towards me, dropping her things on the ground that I've just cleaned (like, seriously, can nobody just set their things on the table for once?) and taking me into her arms. Immediately, I relax in her embrace. My knees wobble, and I collapse again on the ground, dropping the broom and dustpan.
"Who did this?" Luna Hailey demands ferociously. I look up at her, and with one glimpse of my face, her expression changes into one of fury. "Don't tell me - Banastre?"
"I...I can't say, ma'am," I say hoarsely. My head knocks against her shoulder, once, twice, and she helps me to my feet, keeping one arm around my shoulders. She's taller than I am, and much stronger. Unfortunately, she's not nearly as strong as Alpha Banastre is.
"Oh, Anvi," she sighs sadly. "Why do you suffer through this? Just let me talk to Banastre."
"N-No," I mumble. "He'll take it out on me again, Luna, please. I don't want to come between you..."
"You need to stop worrying about other people and start worrying about yourself," Luna Hailey tsks. She takes slow steps out of the kitchen, stopping when it looks like I'm going to collapse again. She leads me to her bedroom and straight to her bathroom, where she mops my face and arms with a damp washcloth and gives me a cleaner dress to wear.
"I can't help it, ma'am," I say, giving her a small smirk to show her that I'm not completely fazed by Alpha Banastre's beating, even if it has hurt me. Luna Hailey's kindness towards me has always been something that I'm cautious about, but I enjoy spending time with her, especially because she reminds me so much of my own mother.
"Well, you should," she smiles, planting her hands on her hips. "I have a dress out for you already for the ball tomorrow, er, well, tonight, I guess. The meeting house isn't far from here."
"I had no idea about any of this," I say, spitting blood into the sink. "And please, don't worry about my fashion. Alpha Banastre will probably have me working the whole time anyway."
"Nonsense," Luna Hailey says. "I already told Banastre that you'll be with me, and you will wear the dress I have for you." She claps her hands. "It'll look extremely beautiful with your eyes, and who knows?" She smirks suggestively at me. "Maybe you'll find your mate there?"
I blush, biting my lip bashfully. "I don't know," I shrug, smiling shyly. "I doubt my mate will be an Alpha, Luna. I mean, who would want me?"
"You mean who would want a strong, intelligent, beautiful young girl?" Luna Hailey asks pointedly.
I flush, looking down at my body and touching my cheek. "I'm not very pretty," I mutter, which I think is true. My face is round and my jaw isn't very defined. I'm slim but also kind of chubby. My arms are like sticks and so are my legs, though. Everywhere I'm littered with bruises and scars. I'm just a broken, disproportionate mess.
"Now, don't go saying nonsense like that or I'll beat you with my flip flop," Luna Hailey threatens playfully. She cups my cheek, pinching me like I'm a child. "You're a gorgeous young woman, Anvi, and any man would be lucky to call you theirs."
"I doubt it," I mumble. She glares at me, and I laugh, putting my hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay! I'll let you know if I see any cute boys."
She grins. "Good." Then, she glances around, leaning closer to me. "And if you do find your mate, Anvi, run. You hear me? You take that boy's hand and you run."
My smile fades. "Luna...you know I can't..."
"Who's telling you that you can't?" She asks fiercely. "Anvi, my husband is going to make the rest of your life hell if you don't leave. I..." she hesitates. "Banastre can fight anybody below an Alpha's status. I'm telling you, Anvi. When you find your mate, you run."
"And how do you know he'll be an Alpha?"
"I..." she pauses. "I just know, okay? I had a vision - a dream."
"A dream?" I deadpan.
She mocks me. "Yes, a dream," she swats me with the bloodied towel. "I saw you with a man. He was an Alpha, I know I've seen his face before. You were both happy, and I want you to be happy. So when you find that man tonight, you run. Leave Banastre and my daughters and run."
"What about you?" I ask.
Luna Hailey rolls her eyes. "Banastre is my husband. As much as he'd like to, he knows he can't raise a hand on me. I'll be fine." She touches my arm. "Anvi, in the two years that we've known you, you've been the closest I've had to an actual daughter, not two Barbie's thinking they own the place."
I snort, then quickly cover my mouth. "Sorry," I mumble.
She shrugs. "Don't be. It's the truth." She lets her hand drop. "I only trust you and my son. I have nobody else."
"Now that makes me want to stay more," I say playfully, but really, her words have touched me. Luna Hailey has been nothing but gentle and kind to me ever since I met her, and after losing my parents, I too thought of her as a second mother, so hearing her call me her daughter (or, well, close to) sent my heart flying.
"Don't you dare," she growls fondly, making me smile. We laugh quietly, so that Alpha Banastre doesn't hear us, and she's going to say something else to me, but his voice cuts hers from outside the bathroom.
"Are you ready yet, Hailey?" He snaps. "It's almost time, and you know I already got in trouble last time for being late with the Alpha King."
"Almost done!" Luna Hailey calls back, and my heart stills. My blood runs cold and my mind goes blank, but I wait for Alpha Banastre to leave before panicking.
"Packing!" I yelp. "I forgot to help you pack!"
Luna Hailey frowns and shakes her head. "No, you didn't," she says, opening the door to the bathroom. By her bed, I can see two fully packed luggage's and an extra bag beside them.
I gape at her. "But...Alpha Banastre said..."
She smiles. "I know," she says. "I knew Banastre would tell you to help me pack, so I did it beforehand." She helps me down from the sink. "I wanted to spend some time talking to you and telling you about my dream and..." she lowers her voice. "And promise me that if you do meet your mate, you'll run with him? You'll live your life the way you're supposed to, promise me that?"
I bite my lip again, looking from Luna Hailey, to the bags, to the open window. The moon beckons me closer, enticing me, pleading with me to escape. I close my eyes. The idea of finding my mate and living a new life with him is tempting, I'll admit, but I can't be sure he won't reject me. He has good reason to, anyway. Besides, I can't leave Luna Hailey. No matter how painful Alpha Banastre's abuse is, not only to me, but also to the entire pack, abandoning them wouldn't be fair.
But Luna Hailey won't take no for an answer, and the guarantee that my mate will be at the meetings, much less be an Alpha, is pretty slim, provided he doesn't reject me.
So, I take a deep breath and close my eyes, pondering for a moment even though I already know my answer.
"Okay," I say, nodding. "I promise."
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