Waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs stood Beta Ash. Not her husband. Dressed in a black tuxedo, he offered his hand when she reached him, which Ria was initially reluctant to accept but later reconsidered. He hadn’t betrayed her yet. She couldn’t count on him, although there was still time to change the events which later unfolded where he played a part. Or at least give it a try. If the Beta supported her at the Alpha Council when her request for a divorce would take place, everything could go smoothly.
“Nice dress.” He gave her another compliment, to which she rewarded him with a brief smile.
“Thanks.” They were walking towards a car that was already waiting for them, and she frowned when she realised it was a limo. Meaning she would have to ride with her husband and Roxy. How unpleasant.
“This is not what you usually wear,” the Beta said, and she looked at him, slightly shocked that he had noticed.
“I am in the mood for some changes, Ash.” Riannon smiled and tilted her head a bit, noticing the werewolf’s eyes get darker. Well, this was new.
He opened the car door for her and helped her inside, holding the train of her dress and placing it gently at her feet. Maybe she overdid it a bit? Dancing in that could be problematic. Not that she planned to dance much. Tonight held a different purpose.
She glanced briefly at Brayden and Roxanne, who sat way too close to her liking. She even managed to hold back a grin when she saw the omega wearing the tacky peach dress covered in sparkling rhinestones. The colour did not suit her red hair at all and made her look a bit too orangey.
“Luna,” Roxy greeted her awkwardly, clinging to Bray, while he carefully removed her arms off his and showed her to keep them at her knees. At least he was trying not to be too disrespectful in her presence. If one could say that, of course.
“Ri,” he offered, not even managing a smile. “You look breathtaking.”
“Thanks.” She managed her own fake smile without any trouble, “Ash has already told me that.”
Heavy silence lingered over all of them as the car drove off.
“Luna,” Roxanne probed. She just couldn’t shut up. “The dress you are wearing, It’s truly exquisite.”
“Thank you.” She spared her just one glance. “I guess I do have good taste. Yours is nice too. I hope you enjoyed picking out your outfit first.”
“You got to choose first?” Brayden sounded surprised. This wasn’t what the omega told him about the dress-picking process. She had mentioned that Luna was kind enough to give her one of the dresses that no one wanted. Which was fine, of course, since she didn’t have to give her anything at all.
“Didn’t you know?” Riannon shot her brow up, “Roxy was so emotional when she saw the racks of clothes. I thought it would make her happy to pick whatever she wanted before anyone else since it was her first time and all.”
The Alpha looked at his plus one questioningly, but the girl pretended not to notice.
“I did not see this dress, though!” she exclaimed innocently, trying to point out what Ria did.
“You did not look well.” Luna’s lips curled into a smile as she continued, “You just wanted to take the one I had in my hands without bothering to look at the rest. So I let you have it, and there you go.”
They all looked stunned. Ria turned toward the window and pretended to enjoy the passing scenery.
They arrived at the Opal Star pack in a few hours, by which time Riannon was fed up with Roxy’s tales of her hard life. She was beaten, she was starved, and she had to work as a slave in her previous pack, where even the kids were bullying her. Every man she met wanted to take her, yet by some miraculous coincidence, she still remained a pure virgin. That last one she kept repeating over and over. So much so that even Ash snorted at some point. Brayden seemed to be the only one willing to listen intently to all that and with a very serious face too. While he was at it, he should shed a few tears as well. Ria wanted to roll her eyes. None of it seemed realistic at all. Even rogues were not that cruel in their groups. She could believe that someone would pick at an omega, of course, but Roxy’s entire story was questionable. In her past life, she tried to fact-check it. However, everything matched up. The more she thought about it, the more she came to the conclusion that perhaps she hadn’t looked thoroughly enough after all. Making just a simple query as Luna of her own pack, she had reached out to Roxanne’s pack. The Alpha admitted way too readily that Roxy was indeed mistreated. Why didn’t he deny that? No one needed that kind of a reputation.
“Luna.” Ash offered her his hand again, and she realised they had finally arrived at their destination.
They entered the mansion and moved through a very basic security check. As they were about to enter the hall where the party was taking place, Ria turned to the Beta.
“Ash, I forgot my clutch in the car,” she mentioned and smiled at him softly. “Would you be so kind as to bring it to me? My phone is in it, and I do not want to miss any important calls in case anything happens while we’re away.”
“Of course,” he nodded and ran off quickly back to their limousine.
This was not a coincidence, as she had totally done this on purpose. She did not want to enter the room with her own plus one. She needed the shock and pity factor her arrival without her Alpha, and chosen mate would bring. So, when omegas opened the doors before Brayden and Roxanne, she made sure to follow right behind them, keeping her head held high.
A Luna betrayed by her husband. A Luna who had nothing to be embarrassed about. A Luna who knew her worth. Brayden and Roxanne were already at the bottom of the grand staircase while she waited for a bit at the very top of it with a vague smile on her lips.
She could hear growls here and there in the room. And whispers. So many whispers that it was slightly overwhelming to hear at first.
Yet, she soaked in the attention, descending slowly, when one growl overpowered them all.