Hybrid Aria by Jessica Hall Chapter 19

Aria’s POV

Wendy and Christine didn’t waste any time; they excitedly did my hair and make-up. I just let them do what they wanted. There wasn’t any point in trying to argue with them, I had more pressing issues consuming me. How were Reid and I going to get along when he had so much anger and hatred towards things that were out of my control? I can’t change what I am, but I won’t stand for him, making me fear him. I have always been submissive to how mine and Lily’s life turned out, taking it as it comes. I’m not willing to sit and take it anymore. I know who I am now. More importantly, I know who I want to become, and that’s not a person who gets pushed aside and walked all over. Only I can control who I am supposed to be, and standing there and taking blow after blow didn’t work in the past. So, learning from those mistakes, I refuse to devalue myself for the sake of pleasing others or fearing the reactions of those who won’t agree. Lily needs to know it’s not normal hiding from everyone, not normal to fear everyone, and the only way I can get her to see her own strength is to display it myself.

I was brought out of all-consuming thoughts after about an hour of Wendy fiddling with my hair and makeup when they asked me to get changed into the dress. The dress fit like a glove, though I must admit I wasn’t comfortable with the length, but they insisted it wasn’t too short. Slipping the black heels on, I stood in front of the mirror. Wendy had curled my long hair and put it half up half down, the curls raining down to the middle of my back. I had to admit they did a really good job. I looked nice. I looked how a Luna should look. Standing there, staring at myself in the mirror, I had a newfound confidence. I was starting to become excited about the celebrations. Today may not have been the greatest in terms of Reid and I getting along, but I pushed those thoughts aside. Even if he chooses to ignore me or not even show up, I will manage on my own. I won’t let the Pack see what a nervous wreck I am on the inside. Just smile, fake it until you make it, I guess.

Walking out into the foyer, Lily comes bounding up to me. She had a pink frilly dress on that went to her feet. Her blonde curls shaping her angelic little face to the middle of her back and white sandals on. She looked like a little princess.

“You look pretty Ari,” she said excitedly, pulling on my curls gently. I smiled down at her.

“So, do you, Lily, just like a princess.” Lily laughed excitedly, spinning in a circle to show me her dress, the bottom flaring out as she spun around. Holding my hand out, Lily took it, and we walked towards the back yard. Beta Zane walked out with Christine and Wendy. The girls, noticing some Pack members, ran to go chat and mingle, leaving me there holding Lily’s hand. Zane stepped over in his black suit putting his arm out for me to take.

“Luna.” He nodded. “You look great, Ari.”

“Thanks, you scrub up nice yourself,” I replied, smiling. Lily, Zane, and I walked over to the end of the patio. The entire yard had been transformed. Fairy lights shone brightly from the trees, making the whole yard glow. There were small fire pits scattered around, the tables were all set up and decorated. Music was playing loudly. There were tables of food. Lily looked excitedly at a group of kids around her age that were dancing on the dance floor that had been set up in the middle of the yard. Noticing her excitement, I nudged her. “Go play, Lily, it’s alright.”

“But what about you?”

“I’ll be fine. I have Zane, and I’m sure Alpha Reid will be down soon,” I answered, not so sure on the last part. I watched Lily run off towards the crowds of people. Every Pack member was here. Everyone standing around talking, dancing, drinking, and eating. The atmosphere was very relaxed and happy, carefree. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

“Ready?” asked Zane.

“Yep, as ready as I’ll ever be.”

Zane led me down the stairs. He introduced me to a lot of people. I could tell some thought it was weird that Zane was showing me around and introducing me to everyone instead of Alpha Reid. But no one said anything. They all seemed excited to meet me, and I was just as excited to meet the other Pack members. After a few hours, I did start to worry that Reid wasn’t going to make an appearance. Pack members whispered amongst themselves. I even heard someone call me an unwanted mate. I didn’t let it bother me, choosing to ignore the whispers. Their opinion of me didn’t matter, and I didn’t care to hear it either.

Letting go of Zane’s arm, I walked over to the bar area and grabbed another drink. The gentlemen behind the bar passed me a flute of champagne. He had red hair that jutted out everywhere, making him appear younger than he was. He had a strong build but wasn’t as tall as most male werewolves. He wore black slacks and a t-shirt that had a picture of a tie on it.

“So, you’re the Luna. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. My name is Damien.” He bowed his head slightly.

“Nice to meet you, Damien. I’m Aria.”

“Where is that Alpha of mine? Haven’t seen him all night.”

“He is somewhere, I’m not quite sure either.” He nodded in understanding. I could tell by the look on his face that he had heard the whispers. Does everyone think I’m the unwanted mate? As the night went on, I started noticing the women kept glancing or smiling sadly at me. Like they felt sorry for me. I didn’t want their sadness or pity. I wanted to feel like one of them. Everyone was polite but didn’t go out of their way to talk to me. Wendy and Christine came over, finally finding me sitting on a stool at the bar. This time I was drinking red wine. Wendy took the glass from me, taking a sip before she passed it back to me.

“I’ll have that one please, Damien,” she told him. He quickly handed her a glass as well, and she motioned for me to follow her. We sat at one of the tables. Watching everyone, I saw Lily dancing with a group of kids on the dancefloor. Laughing amongst themselves. Zane came over with a huge tray of food. There were various types of meats and cheeses, and we tucked in eating, watching everyone. After we were done, Zane put his hand out for Christine. She happily took it, and they made their way to the dance floor. Wendy’s mate also came and grabbed her. I watched them excitedly. But after a while, I found I was the only one still sitting at the table. I didn’t mind, I was happy just watching. I knew it wasn’t normal for the Alpha not to be at a ceremony he had organised. I tried to reach him through the bond, but he pushed me out.

When Wendy and Christine came back over, they both put their hands out. Gripping their hands, they pulled me up before dragging me to the dancefloor with them. Feeling a bit giddy from the wine, I joined them, dancing with them and laughing at Zane, who was trying to impersonate Mick Jagger’s strut. The whole night seemed to be passing by, but I didn’t care. I was having fun dancing with everyone, dancing with Lily whose face was red with exertion.

After a few hours of dancing, everyone was clearly intoxicated and there was still no sign of Reid. There was a commotion at the end of the dance floor. Zane walked off to go deal with it. When the voices got louder, though, I decided to walk over to see what was going on. Three Pack members were arguing, throwing punches. Zane was trying to separate them. They were too intoxicated and weren’t listening to his commands, caught up in fighting each other. A crowd had started to grow around the idiots that were fighting. I saw Zane mind-link the Alpha presumably, but just as his eyes regained focus, he was punched making him stumble. There was a collective gasp from the crowd. Walking over, I put my hand out to help him up.

“You okay?”

“Yes, Luna, I’m fine. I will deal with this go back to enjoying your night.” I went to walk away when one of the men threw a punch, forcing the other man to stumble into me, knocking me to the ground.

“You fucking twit, show some respect to your Luna. Apologise now,” Zane ordered. Getting to my feet, I dusted some leaves and dirt off my dress.

“Luna? Reid doesn’t want a Hybrid for a mate. He isn’t even here; she is no Luna.”

“Watch your mouth, Tom. She is your Luna. Now apologise.” The man scoffed at me, rolling his eyes childishly. Lily came over wondering what was going on.

“That’s enough, there are children present,” I spoke up, looking towards Zane and the other man.

“See, that isn’t a Luna. She is weak.”

This bloke was really starting to piss me off. One of the other men threw another punch, and it started all over again. Zane was trying to separate them.

Reaching through the mind link, “Reid can you come down here, please. If not for me, do it for Zane. Things are getting out of control.”

Reid never replied. I know he heard me; I felt the connection go through. I could even feel him listening. Zane managed to get them separated. People were talking in small groups, agreeing with the man about my authority or lack thereof.

The man from earlier, the one who knocked Zane down, stopped fighting. Walking towards me, he stopped directly in front of me. I could smell the bourbon on his breath. His white shirt had been torn from the fighting, he had a cut on his lip, and his blue jeans had blood on them from the other man. He had leaves in his blonde hair, which was all matted. Christine was right about one thing; having so many Pack warriors under one roof would be a disaster waiting to happen. The amount of testosterone in the air was ridiculous.

The man smiled cruelly. I could tell he was up to no good. I also knew if I backed down, he would see me as weak and no one in the Pack would respect me. The man started jabbing me in the chest with his index finger. Zane went to walk over, but I put my hand up waving him off.

“You’re not fit to be Luna. Even the Alpha agrees because he isn’t even here.”

Some of the Pack members were nodding their heads, agreeing with him. Looking over at Lily, she was scared, worried I was going to get hurt. When the man jabbed me in the chest with his finger again, I grabbed his hand. His eyes widened, and he growled at me. Angry, I started twisting his hand. I bent it back, he tried to manoeuvre out of my grip, but I was stronger. Twisting his wrist until I heard a sickening crack. Snapping his wrist, it hung at a weird angle. Everyone took a step back. I was pissed off. He may be drunk, but that’s no reason to be disrespectful. I could feel my anger boiling bubbling in my veins. I knew my eyes were blazing, my fangs elongated. The man let out a shriek as his wrist broke, clutching it to his chest. He snapped it back into place, then glared at me.

“You bitch.” He sneered, lunging at me. I stepped out of his way. He landed face-first in the dirt. That didn’t stop him lunging again. I don’t know if it was his embarrassment or his ego, but he kept lunging trying to gain an advantage. Trying to land a blow. I was too quick, my reflexes were faster than his. It didn’t help that he was completely shitfaced either. After the third punch he tried to land, I had enough. Gripping him by the collar of his shirt, I shoved him away, making him stumble into someone. Getting to his feet, I yelled at him.

“Enough!! Sit down and shut up.” My voice echoed through the trees surrounding the yard. The man instantly dropped to his knees and went silent. I didn’t realise how much authority I put behind what I said. I used an Alpha voice, one I didn’t know I contained. Only realising the extent of my command when I looked up. The entire Pack was on the knees with their heads tilted to the side, baring their necks in submission. The whole yard had gone silent. Even Beta Zane was on his knees, though he had a silly smirk on his face.

Looking around, I noticed Reid’s imposing frame walking towards me. He looked over at the crowd of people on their knees at my feet. The man my command was aimed at started shaking and whimpering when Reid approached. Reid looked handsome in his navy-blue suit. Placing his hand around my waist, he pulled me into him. He gently placed a kiss on my cheek, his earlier anger completely gone. Now he just looked shocked but proud. Using his Alpha voice, he commanded the whimpering man that was at my feet. “Apologise to your Luna now.” The man quickly apologised, stumbling over the words. Everyone let out a breath.

“You may rise,” he said to the crowd. Everyone started to get up from their positions on the ground. Seizing my hand, Reid pulled me towards the small podium at the front. Up on the podium, Reid pulled me to his side, his fingertips rubbing circles on the small of my back.

“Well everyone, by now you have all met your Luna. You would also have distinguished by now that she is Hybrid. Despite what I have said in the past about their kind, I expect you all to show her the respect she deserves as the Alpha Female. I’m sure she will put you in your place like earlier if you do cross her.” Raising his glass which I didn’t even see him grab on the way to the podium, “To the Luna,” he said.

In unison, everyone replied before cheering. Having Alpha Reid beside me, no one dared to speak out against me, but after the little show earlier, I think they realised my ability, and I had asserted my authority. The crowd sipped their drinks. Alpha Reid waited for the cheers to stop before speaking again. Waving his hand in the air, everyone fell quiet.

“Now Lily, I would like you to please step forward and come to me.” I watched Lily excitedly skip up to the stage. Her pink dress was now covered in dirt and grass stains from playing, but she still looked adorable. The crowd watched as Alpha Reid took a knee, coming down to her height. She smiled happily gazing back at him.

“Place out your hand for me, Lily.” Lily raised her palm up in front of Alpha Reid. He clasped it gently between his own. “Now Lily I would like you to repeat after me.” Lily nodded looking out at the crowd shyly.

Lily repeated after Alpha Reid, her voice was calm, and she didn’t stumble over the words. “I, Lily Violet Blackwood, accept the Blood Moon Pack and accept you, Reid, as my Alpha.” The Alpha took a small knife and sliced Lily’s finger before slicing his own hand down the palm. It was quite unusual to have a child be brought into another Pack. Usually, this was for adult newcomers or rogues that weren’t killed, but a child was pretty much unheard of. If Lily were my child, there would be no need for him to slice her finger because she would have been a Pack member the moment Reid marked me. Children were usually born into a Pack. Since we left ours, this was the only way for her to become part of the Blood Moon Pack. I was grateful that Reid didn’t slash her palm like he did his, though. Lily’s finger would heal quickly with her wolf gene. By morning, it would probably be gone. Lily didn’t flinch when he pressed his palm to her fingertips, but she did gasp when she felt the Pack link merge, linking her to everyone.

The audience all cheered excitedly, and for the first time, I felt emotional not because I was sad but proud of how far Lily had come. She was no longer the scared little girl, like in our old Pack. Here she was vibrant, happy, and everyone loved her. Lily started jumping up and down, not being able to contain her excitement. “We are home now, Ari; we have a home.” Picking her up, I cuddled into her, hiding my tears in her shoulder.