After I was finished being primped and pampered by Aunt Eve and put in the dress that Grandfather had brought, I was ready for the dreaded gathering. Juniper and the others were going to pick me up on their way, it would be easier for me with them there.
When we left my house, which was located in the upper section of the compound thanks to my family's status, or previous status, we headed to the northernmost road. I had lived in the compound my whole life, but even so, I had never actually been to the Alpha's house before. I had gathered with everyone at the clearing where important meetings and events were usually held, unless the weather was too bad. But I had never actually been to the Alpha's residence, and judging by Juniper's response, neither had she.
"This is actually exciting." She exclaimed as we drove up the long, long driveway that led up to the Alpha House. At the back of the compound there was a small road, but this road was actually a driveway. All the houses in the compound stopped before the forest started. All except for the Alpha's. The Alpha House was at the end of a two-mile-long driveway, weaving between the tall, thick trees as the road sloped ever upward. The farther into the forest you went, the higher into the mountains you went. The Alpha House wasn't very high, but it was still impressive to see.
I noticed several strings of lights strung between the trees. I was pretty sure that they had been hung just for the gathering tonight, but how was I supposed to know for certain. Whatever the reason for the lights, though, they gave off a beautiful yet eerie glow. It was strange, we had only left at a quarter to seven, but it looked like it was full dark outside now. The sun shouldn't have set that quickly.
As we got closer to the house, I saw that several men about my age were directing people where to go. Cedar pulled the car to a stop and a man asked who would be attending the gathering as an unmated pack member.
"I will." Cedar and I both said at the same time.
"What is your name?" The man asked me, ignoring Cedar.
"Trinity." I told him, sounding a little confused.
"Last name?" He asked me, a stern tone in his voice. As far as I knew, I was the only pack member named Trinity.
"Whitton." I told him, now feeling annoyed. I noticed his jolt in surprise when he heard my name, I see my legacy is well known among the entire pack.
"Miss Whitton, you are in group number three. You will be having your one on one and group meetings with the Alpha at the gathering in two months' time if he has yet to find a mate by then. Please, use this time to mingle with the other pack members. Should you happen to find a different mate among the pack, the Alpha would consider this gathering to be quite the success." I had no idea what-so-ever what he was talking about, but I nodded my head anyway and Cedar drove to the parking space that the man indicated for us.
We followed the lights further up the path. Soon, we came to a huge stone mansion. It looked like it had been there since the start of the 1900's, but had been beautifully restored and well maintained over time. It was easily 10,000 square feet, if not more. The place was massive. I could even see a tower sticking up in the roof, a tower of all things, like it was a castle. This is like a whole different world.
The gathering was being held outside. That was fine with me. I was overwhelmed just looking at that house, actually going inside it would be too much. There was a dance floor set up among all the dazzling lights. A beautifully decorated, yet somewhat tacky, screened tent was where all the food for the evening was being held. It was beautiful because someone had tried their best to make it look amazing, tacky because try as you might you just can't hide those bug screens.
The gathering was apparently a buffet-style dinner, where we would all mingle, talk, dance, and do whatever. I just wanted to go home already. Granted, the food did smell very delicious.
The party, as everyone around me was calling it, was just getting into full swing. Juniper was dragging me around to all her friends to introduce me. Most of them seemed like they wanted to be friends, but that they couldn't go against what they had been told or taught for years. The end result was every single person I was introduced to sneering at me and asking why I even bothered to show up.
"I'm so sorry, Trin." Juniper was close to tears when the last of the people she had wanted to introduce me to had snubbed me.
"Don't worry about it, Juniper, I'm used to it by now." I told her with a reassuring smile.
"That makes it worse." She almost cried.
"It's really fine Juniper." I told her as I rubbed her arm gently.
"I'm going to go give them a piece of my mind, and you can't stop me." She began, seeing as I was about to try to do just that. She hurried away from me. I knew it would just end in failure for me to try to associate with so many different pack members. I was happy just having the few that I called friends now. It was more than I ever thought I would have.
I didn't want to join the party. Not to mention Juniper would have more fun with Paul and her other friends if I wasn't around. I could just stay out of everyone's way, and Grandfather would never know that I had completely blown off the party and ignored everyone there. It was a win-win for me.
I had just decided that I was going to ignore the party when I caught the faintest trace of that intoxicatingly dangerous scent from this morning. Whoever that scent belonged to, he was here at the gathering, and I definitely did not want to see him!
I ducked under the string of lights and followed the line of trees a little further into the forest. I could tell that whoever it was I was avoiding had been in this part of the forest as well, but the scent was very old so it was not likely that I would run into him now. I found a tree that looked as if it had fallen down in a storm a very long time ago. It was half buried in the forest floor, making it low enough that I could sit on it easily, and the bark had been smoothed down, making it less rough for me to sit on. Feeling confident the tree wouldn't ruin my dress or feel uncomfortable against my legs, I settled in for a long wait.
Unfortunately, I hadn't been there for long before the scent started to get stronger. Much, much stronger. He was coming towards me and he was coming fast.