Roman Violets and Ash chapitre Chapitre 8

“I suppose that leaves us with one last question. Is this something you can handle, Violet?”

“The Cedar Grove Pack has never been my home, and I’m never going back.” I dropped my twinkling smile and let her see how serious I truly was. They’d sooner find me packing a bag in the middle of the night than willingly stepping back into that claustrophobic nightmare.

“Good, then on that note if you could open the bag in your hands, please.”

As it turns out, I’d been wrong. The lacey bra within the boutique bag was my first official test.

“I had my assistant pick it out. She’s an expert with this sort of thing. One look at you and that scrap of polyester you wear, and she knew your size. Elijah should be charged with neglect for allowing you to wear it a day longer, but as intelligent as the man is he truly is horrible with children—and even worse with teenage girls, it seems.” Sylvia waved a hand dismissively, like having her assistant rummage through my clothes was normal. “As comfortable as it may be, it’s the reason your shirt isn’t fitting correctly. If you’d allow me, I can help with the rest of your uniform as well.”

I couldn’t say no, even if I wanted to.

It was more than awkward to have Sylvia’s hands on me, tugging and tucking fabric while also doing her best not to leave me uncovered in any areas. Her fingers grazed the scar on my shoulder when she went to untwist one of the slender bra straps making me jump a foot off the floor.

“Apologies, cold hands are a curse all doctors and scientists must endure.” She tutted under her breath.

It felt strange to say the least. After tearing off my sports-bra and changing into the padded masterpiece Sylvia’s assistant picked out, I realized how horribly stretched my old one had become. I knew very little about actual bra sizes, but the C cups seemed to make my chest look larger and my cleavage more pronounced.

Sylvia purposefully left the top three buttons undone, and while I didn’t mind the glimpse of skin, it peeked at something more. The jagged scar across my chest was by far my worst, raised and pink even though the others were now flush against my skin.

She stepped back and eyed me from head to toe.

“There you are…a proper student at Darkling University.” Her smile was genuine and laced with warmth that filled my veins with a lingering sense of confidence. The feeling was short-lived when she said, “…now all you have to do is survive the other students and you’ll be well on your way to a life of success.”

“I’m sure I’ll be alright. I already love it here. There’s so much sunlight and flowers…I never knew how beautiful nature could be when it’s not covered in feet of ice and snow.” I gushed, threading confidence into my voice.

The last thing I expected was Sylvia’s dry but amused laugh.

“That’s because you’ve yet to meet the Vanderbilt’s. That family is this pack’s equivalent to feet of ice and snow.” She commented with a short shake of the head, her expression full of mirth. “I’ll admit they’ve run me out of town a time or two, only I have the luxury of calling them ‘business trips.’”

From the way she scoffed to the irritated wave of her hand, I gathered the Vanderbilt’s—whoever they may be, weren’t fans of Sylvia. Against my better judgement, I felt compelled to ask. “Who are the Vanderbilts?”

She lifted a sculpted eyebrow at me and scanned my face with her eyes before replying.

“I’m trusting you won’t repeat this—not that anyone would believe your word over my own I’m afraid. The Vanderbilt’s are one of the many families here descended from the original pack, and Imani Vanderbilt is the loveliest of them all.”

“Imani Vanderbilt?” I repeated, feeling each syllable roll off my tongue.

A blush ghosted across my face when Sylvia tutted and said, “Poor thing, you know nothing about this pack.” A flash of annoyance settled in her eyes, yet somehow I knew it was geared towards this mystery woman. “Imani Vanderbilt is as slimy as Lafont’s new water-based concealer. Her loyalty cost twice the amount and only lasts half as long, and much to my dismay happens to be the doting fiancé of Alpha Xavier—my ex-husband.”

Understanding crossed my face in the form of an unattractive cringe.

“Don’t make that face. You’ll get wrinkles and ruin those pretty eyes of yours.” Sylvia scolded me gently before clasping her hands together. “Now, I’d say were finished here. You have a few minutes left to yourself before my driver will be expecting you. I’m not positive when I’ll see you next, but I’d like to hear about your first day when we do meet again.” She said with a closed-mouth smile, like two friends who met occasionally for breakfast. “Best of luck, Violet. I do plan on checking in with your progress at the end of the week, so I hope you take what we talked about seriously.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Every organ in my body seemed to seize the moment the blacked-out Mercedes pulled into the University parking lot.

I followed the throng of students down the sidewalk and across the very street we’d stopped at on our way into town. There were eyes burning into my skin, but rather than seek them out, I kept my chin high and head forward.

The only good thing about my pale blonde hair and patchwork of scars was how easy it made me to spot in a crowd. It was all too easy for my assigned escort to find me, and judging from the puckered pout on her face, she wasn’t too happy to see me.

“Violet, right?” She said slowly, lifting a hand to shield herself from the oncoming sun. The second I nodded; she took off. After a rather impatient wave of her hand I followed, stumbling slightly in the clunky Mary Jane’s I wore. “I’m Roselle D’Marco. You probably know my sister, Naveah D’Marco. Believe it or not, but I was in a few of her movies. Only as a background character, but clearly you have no clue how hard it is too secure one of those positions.”

“Movies aren’t really my thing, but I love to read!” I exclaimed. “Roselles are such beautiful flowers, similar to violets in some ways.”

I’d been rather fixated on flowers as a child and remembered a time when all I’d ask for were books on the subject. Countless times I’d scour the forests, collecting any unique plant I found—well, until one of those unique plants happened to be poison ivy.

The rays of light bounced off her chocolate hair, which was curled and gave off a faint scent of musky perfume. The ends of each ringlet seemed to lighten in color until they reached a warm shade of dirty blonde. Rather than venture inside or head down one of the many winding paths like some of the other students, she cut straight across the lawn and veered towards the other wing of the castle-like building.

“Mmm, no. I don’t think Roselle’s and Violet’s have anything in common.” She chuckled through closed lips. “Did you know Cambridge University is modeled after this place? The humans were jealous that the acceptance rate for werewolves was 8%, while only one or two humans were chosen as students every year. That’s why my sister is so famous around here, and why one day I’ll be as well. She got in first, and when she graduated four years later, she completed the final ceremony and was turned.”

I tried not to pause but couldn’t help it as surprise filled widened my eyes. “Your sister was turned?”

Chapter 8 1

Chapter 8 2

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