The past few days are all blended together. After spending my first day awake crying in Edward’s arms, the following days were just me going through the motions: waking up, feeling powerless, wallowing in my own sadness, trying to exit the room, not being able to face anyone, visited throughout the day by Amanda, sleep, cry, repeat.
Amanda tried her best to distract me, but I feel so bad for not being able to reciprocate her enthusiasm. She tried bringing movies to watch, nail polish, cute clothes, all kinds of food, but to no avail. Everything she did just reminded me of Grace, or better yet, the lack of her presence, and it was too early to fill that crater in my soul. She never gave up though, and I’m immensely thankful to her for being a good friend during this time. I’ll make sure to return the favor, as soon as I feel able to step outside that door.
Edward, too, tried his best, despite his daily duties. He always consoled me as soon as he could finish his work, we would talk almost endlessly about either my childhood, Grace, or the daily life in the pack, so that I would be at least up to date for when I’m ready to return to my Luna responsibilities. The talks would almost always end with me crying and him holding me tightly, until we went to sleep.
Everyone wishes for me to feel better and wants to help me process my grief. I just feel like the worst person. If anyone was to prevent Grace from dying, it should have been me, the supposed “Queen”. I just can’t help but obssess over the thought that anyone would have done better. I’m just a bad friend and an even worse leader. Were it not for me, maybe the rogue wouldn’t have caught our smell. It was my fault we wandered so far away from the group, me and my stupid issues. She died trying to help me and my relationship. I am too weak to stop even one rogue. And so on and on, the pattern of thinking takes me round and round through the same self-destructive thoughts. I’m not strong enough to escape my own mind, and Accalia is going through the same feelings, if not worse. Her anger is still not quelled, her thirst for revenge growing ever larger. I won’t deny her these feelings, as I feel them too, deep within.
Today, I expected much of the same routine, my thoughts already beginning to wander off, beating myself up over what happened. As I was again on the verge of crying, Accalia finally spoke to me:
“Emily, you have to put a stop to this. Pull yourself together. For the pack, for Edward. Our mood is definitely affecting our mate and hence, the pack.” She makes a good point, but a few tears flow until I’m able to hold back. A few moments pass, then I’m surprised by Edward gently entering the room.
“Hey, Em. Sooo, I managed to shift my responsibilities around for today, did some work in advance and gave some to Michael. Anyway, what I’m trying to say, I guess, uhhh…” His eyes look to the side, as he scratches the back of his head and starts blushing. “You should get dressed, we’re going out.” He swiftly turns and closes the door, but opens it again and mutters “On a date, in case I was unclear”, shutting the door once more.
Awestruck for a couple of seconds, I can feel my heart beating faster, moving instinctively to the bathroom so I could freshen up. Did he just do that? I’ve never been on a date before, what should I wear? I manage to decide on an outfit and get dressed, then begin heading out to find Edward. I reach the door when I realize his plan kind of worked. I had forgotten about my sadness, but, with my hand on the doorknob, everything came rushing back. Gathering my courage, with Accalia trying to gently push me by simply saying “Go”, I manage to open the damned barrier which kept me away from the world for a whole week.
I breathe a sigh of relief and start heading towards Edward’s office, to take him up on his offer. I catch him just as he exits, while thanking Michael, and he looks surprised to see me, for a split moment, but then smiles proudly and says:
“Oh, I thought I’d have to come myself and get you, but here you are. You made it out of the room by yourself, looking stunning, by the way. Let’s go then.” he says, grabbing my hand, as I begin to blush and follow him. I sheepishly ask:
“So, where are we going?”
“Well, as you are our dear Queen and my Luna, I wanted to remind you that you matter, not only to me, but to everyone. As such, we’re first headed to the kindergarten, so you can see that people really do care about you.”
To be quite honest, I’ve never thought of the people in the pack while inside the room. Perhaps they’re also blaming me for Grace’s death. On the way to the pups, we pass by members of the pack, seemingly elated to see me up and about, to my surprise. Edward takes great pride in getting me out, having a smug smile whenever someone passes by and stops to greet us. We eventually make it to the kindergarten, where all the children immediately rush towards me, screaming and trying to hug me. Even Edward is taken aback by their affinity towards me, but I explain to him how I’ve visited the kids while waiting for the ceremony and he looked pleased by my involvement with the pack. We spend a bit of time just playing with them and listening to their wild stories, after which Edward begins telling some stories of his own. The children are really fond of him, the qualities of his leadership extend well beyond his peers. I’m honestly glad that he also enjoys to spend time with children.
Taking up a lot of their time for learning activities, Edward tells the pups to head back inside and promises he’ll be back to play another time. This must be a regular occurence, as they head back inside happily. He gives me a kind smile again, then grabs my hand to continue our date.
“Where to next?”, I ask, not knowing what to expect, but quite eager nevertheless.
“This one’s a secret, you’ll see when we get there.” he says, gesturing with a finger on his l!ps.
However, I notice his smile fading for just a second into a blank, somber look, but we continue walking, hand in hand. We pass by the training grounds and seeing other people fighting gives both me and Accalia a primal yearning. I stop to watch, yet I am unable to move my feet forward, demoralizing thoughts crossing my mind. Edward bumps my shoulder and asks, excitedly:
“I know this sounds like a wild idea, but would you like to have a sparring match? I think it would be fun.”
I take a moment to consider his question. He doesn’t wait for my reply and continues:
“To be truthful, I also want to get stronger. What better way than sparring with the Alpha King?”
His energy sends sparks over my body and I nod, reluctantly.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah”, I chuckle, “I just wish I’d thought of it myself. Maybe this would help Accalia get out of her shell and blow off some steam. Let’s do it!”
As we head towards the training grounds, people start greeting us and kneeling, but Edward dismisses them, explaining that we’re here to spar each other. He recommends that they continue their training. However, the members quickly give us the proper space to fight and arrange themselves in a circle on the sidelines, to spectate.
Even though I feel a tad under pressure, I can feel the excitement building up inside myself. So we begin, as Edward takes a defensive stance. I try to probe his skills with some jabs, but he easily evades me, making his way behind me. I react, but he swiftly grabs my shoulders and says:
“Do it like this, lean into it a bit more, so that you can use your shoulder to punch. It adds some strength.”, as he moves my fist forward, while also rotating my body, in order to teach me.
I get taken aback by him correcting my stance and blush, while he gets back in the defensive position once again. I jab as he had just showed me and he guards. I show him more of what I can do, while still keeping in mind his advice. He manages to either dodge or guard as I only get very few hits in, but Edward seems unphased. He sometimes encourages me and tells me how to change my stance and pressure in order to be more efficient. I feel like this has been a good learning opportunity both for me and the pack members watching us, but I also want to get a taste of how powerful Edward is:
“Got it. Your turn now.”, I say provocatively, as I motion for him to come and attack.
In the blink of an eye, he raises his leg and tries to go for my h!ps, in order to make me fall. Seeing me unprepared, he begins taunting:
“Didn’t think I’d be so quick, huh, E-“, but he’s cut short. I am used to expecting smugness when sparring with an arrogant male and thus, my reaction is swift as I swipe Edward off of his feet using mine. He falls backwards, shocked, and hits the ground. Two seconds of awkward silence pass, as he bursts into laughter.
“Guess you were really itching for a fight there.” I smile and extend my hand to help him up. “Those were some really quick reflexes, I’m impressed.” Edward continues the motion, gently side hugging me and starting to walk away from the training grounds. “I think we should continue our walk”. he says. It kind of makes me glad that he said it, as I’m pretty tired myself. The spectators make way for us, some of them congratulating me for the win, others clapping, while we continue our date.
Even after we pass the crowd, Edward says with a big smile on his face:
“That was pretty fun, huh?”
“Yes, I really enjoyed it. Thank you for the lessons.” I reply, feeling a little guilty of actually having enjoyed it.
We keep walking, passing by some more pack members. Everyone we met today was really nice. I missed this feeling of being included and I’m thankful for Edward showing me what being his Luna entails. Our steps get smaller and slower, as we reach our quiet and somber destination. It’s a graveyard.
“I debated a lot whether to bring you here or not, but I decided it best for you to get some closure. I truly apologize if you don’t want to go ahead with it, I’ll respect your wishes if you want us to go back and end it here.”
I can feel tears forming, but I wipe my eyes and reply:
“No. This is good, I need this. Show me.”
“Alright”, he says, moving forward. I can already see a person, and my nostrils let me know that it is Andy, sitting down in front of a beautiful grave, adorned with bouquets of gorgeous autumn flowers. As we approach and he notices us, Andy gets up and starts wiping his face with his hands.
Immediately, Andy gives me a hug and starts speaking:
“Em, I’m so sorry, it must have been so hard for you to go through… that.”
I instantly begin wailing in his arms and through my sobs I manage to mumble:
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t protect her…”
But Andy only hugs me tighter and says, despite Edward’s rumbling chest beside us:
“Nobody could have. Please don’t blame yourself. The doctors told me that the attack was sudden and instant, perhaps even targeted.”
“You’re not mad at me?” I ask him, through sniffling and sobs.
“Of course not! I am cerain that you did your best and that Grace would want us to live on and stop suffering like this, even though that’s going to take a while…”
Edward gives us the time and space to mourn. After spending a bit more time talking together and sharing stories of Grace, Andy leaves, whispering something close to the headstone. Alone with Edward, he explains the toll Grace’s death took on Andy, both physically and mentally, and how he was really lucky that the bond was fresh enough for him not to go mad with pain. He has a dejected look while explaining the last part, so I try to distract him:
“Thank you for bringing me. It means a lot. We should head back, it’s getting pretty dark.”
“Of course.”, he says grabbing my hand.
We share a nice and quiet walk through the village, our path illuminated by lamp posts, making for a calm atmosphere for the end of our date. Arriving home, exhausted, Edward closes the door and turns towards me:
“Well, I hope you enjoyed our date. I’m sorry if- “
Looking into his eyes, I decide to cut his sentence short with a k!ss. He returns it and we hug each other, k!ssing for a few seconds. I pull back, smiling and reply:
“There’s no need for an apology. I had a wonderful time. I hope we can have our second one soon.”
The smile on Edward’s face begins to fade slowly, as he looks towards his feet and scratches the back of his head, a familiar gesture.