Raine lifted her head from the bunny on her laps to look at Calleb and grinned. "Yes the time passes very quickly." She reiterated Calleb's words.
"You know what? The first time I saw you, even the bunny on your laps is braver than your old self." Calleb nodded at the white bunny that munched the carrot carelessly. It sure got a little bit fat under Raine's care.
Raine chuckled when she heard that. "Yes, I think you are right I don't even dare to see people in the eyes."
"You have worked hard to become better." Calleb patted Raine's head.
Raine, without doubt, was his Luna, but Calleb always saw her as his little sister, who died two decades ago because of rogue attack. They have the same timidity when it came to socialize with stranger.
"Thank you for always takes a good care of me." Raine said it gratefully.
Though they would always squabble over trivial things, like siblings, but Calleb was the second person, after Torak of course, who always made her comfortable to have him around her.
"Gah! What with this mood!" Calleb threw his hands in the air and grumbled. He clearly didn't like a melancholic situation and heart to heart conversation, as it didn't suit his style. "Have you seen the building and all those fancy decoration for your birthday?" Calleb changed the topic.
Raine slightly cringed when she heard Calleb's question.
It had been four days since the news with a big headline; Torak's woman, broke out and it didn't cease down even a little bit after days, then tomorrow as a respond for the big news about Torak's woman, Torak actually would announce the birthday celebration for his woman, a girl in this case.
Instead of denying the news, Torak validated it as the actual fact.
Of course this news tomorrow would shake all the media online and offline, and even sent bigger waves of shock to all the people in business and entertainment industry.
The preparation for Raine's birthday party was still under process and the extravagant of it had already been caught by the media, yet they still didn't get clear information regarding the purpose of the party was held.
"No." Raine shook her head. "I leave everything to Torak to make decision." She slightly down when Calleb reminded her about the upcoming celebration.
Raine left everything for Torak to handle because she didn't even know what she wanted or expected for her birthday celebration.
The original plan was for having a simple dinner with Calleb and Raphael after that, Raine would ask her 'gift' from Torak. Actually it was a request to be precise.
"You should see the place by yourself. You will surprise!" Calleb said it with enthusiasm, but when he saw Raine grimacing, he took back his words. "Or maybe not."
"I am sure, I will surprise." Raine said sarcastically.
"You will get used with all the attention of those people, like how you had overcome your fear, this one is only another obstacle." Calleb said those words wisely, it was such a rare occasion.
"I don't need those people when I can get Torak's, I will be more than happy." Raine stated cheerfully.
But, Calleb laughed out loud and startled the bunny in Raine's laps as it jumped down and scurried away.
"I am sure Torak's wolf will wiggle his tails ecstatically if he heard this." Calleb uttered between his laugh.
"You scared the bunny." Raine slapped Calleb's shoulder with annoyance. "Calleb, can I ask you something?"
"What is it?" He asked after his laugh ceased down.
"Do I look beautiful?" Raine blurted out her insecurities. She didn't have a female friend to talk about man like how all the girls in the orphanage were always gossiping about their crush.
And the only person, who was close enough for Raine to talk about this, was Calleb. So Raine didn't have a choice except to ask him as her insecurities started to bother her.
"Of course you are beautiful, it is impossible for you to become handsome." Calleb joked and got another slap on his back.
"I am serious" Raine almost cried because this was embarrassing enough, to ask something like this, without Calleb turned it into a joke. "I mean do I look attractive in man's eyes?" Her voice was getting small in the end of the sentence.
Calleb raised his eyebrows when he saw Raine's cheeks blushed. "You want to ask if you look attractive in Torak's eyes?" He simplified Raine's question and pointed out the most important part.
Raine nodded her head and bit her lips, she really felt embarrassed now, but at the same time she also wanted to know Calleb's opinion. "Yes."
"Of course you do look attractive, you are his mate, who else Torak will put his eyes on?" Calleb stated the matter of fact and tilted his head as if saying; why do you ask the obvious?
For some reason Calleb's answer turned Raine even gloomier, it felt like the feeling that Torak had for her wasn't sincere and the mate bond was like a shackle for Torak to be with Raine.
Raine shook her head, she knew she was only being demanding for no reason. But deep down, the fact about the mate bond, bothered her.
There would always be 'what if's' in Raine's mind
She couldn't help but remember the question that Serefina and Aeon had asked her about her relationship with Torak without the existence of the mate bond.
What if there was no mate bond between Torak and her? Would he still feel the same? Would he kill Raine instead for being so weak?
"What if there is no mate bond between us?" Raine asked Calleb unsure how to explain her own feeling in this matter.
"Why are you questioning the impossible?" Calleb furrowed his brows and added. "The fact that you have to concern now is; you are Torak's mate and no one will be able to say the other way. Don't bother yourself with something meaningless."
With that was being said, Calleb dusted his pants as he stood up and stretched his stiff body. "Let's get inside, this almost the time Torak will return."
Raine didn't satisfy with Calleb's answer, probably she had become so demanding on this matter, instead of being grateful for what she had now, yet she couldn't help but think about this over and over again.
"So, why Torak has not marked me yet? Isn't that something that mate will do?" Raine pestered Calleb to go out of the greenhouse, passing two Lycan warriors on their way to the main house.
"How will I know? I am not the one who will mark you." Calleb face- palmed himself, as a Lycan without mate, he was also clueless about that matter. How he suppose to know? All the thing that he had said to Raine at that time was based on what he had heart, not from his experience.
"It bothers me" Raine whined.
"Then asked him." Calleb suggested.
"I have a plan to ask him to mark me as my gift birthday, what do you think? Is it alright to ask something like that?" Raine was nervous if her request would make Torak's upset or felt unease.
Calleb stroke his chin as he gave some thought about it. "I have never heard giving a mark as birthday gift, but you can try it." He said carelessly, later on, he would regret his words that had no knowledge in them.
"You think so? Do you think Torak will upset with my request?" Raine kept asking when the main house was a few meters away.
"Why would he be upset? Marking your own mate is only natural thing to do." Calleb said rightfully. "At least in my opinion. If you want to know more about this all confusing things, you can ask Raphael, he has more knowledge than me." Calleb suggested.
But Raine rejected it directly. "No, I am okay with your advice." Raine didn't think she could ask something like this to Raphael.
They were in good terms, but Raine was not that close to Raphael as she was with Calleb to ask something personal.
Calleb shrugged his shoulder, didn't even bother with whatever Raine's decision would be.
As tomorrow came, the announcement about Donovan's company would hold a grandiose celebration, in the most luxurious building in the city, hit the day even before the sun rose from the east.
The uproar and comments online had created many speculations even before the real news was released by Donovan Company's public relation.
Torak's name with his mysterious woman filled the top of all the searching engines in the country.
This was also the first time that business magazine and gossip magazine has the same topic at the same time.
The impact of this news were so great and almost out of hand as many woman, especially Torak's big fan, started to fan the news became a gossip trash about how the young girl had seduced Torak Donovan and she had used dark magic to charm the perfect bachelor.
For some people it sounded ridiculous, but there would always people who found the theory interesting and talked about it with enthusiasm.
That was only one of hundreds speculation that circulating on line before the real information would be published in this afternoon.
The announcement alone was taken five famous television stations to air it at the same time and would be also broadcasted on digital billboard at the busiest street in the country.
Torak didn't hold back when he announced the birthday celebration of his woman, this was also as he had publicly declared that he was no longer single and shut all the chances that any woman has upon him.
When he first wave of the comments hit that day, even Raine didn't dare to open her phone and turned on the television because it would always the same news that appeared.
Raine wouldn't have thought this would turn out this huge.
She was almost pleading for Torak to cancel it if she didn't remember how Torak had asked her sincerely that night to let all people knew that Raine was his woman and for all the creatures to know that Raine was his mate.
Raine was very nervous to face her upcoming birthday that would be in three days from now.
And two days before the significant day, Belinda came from the Raven village to accompany Raine.
Torak had seen how all of this commotion had taken a toll on Raine and made her speak less to him. Raine was nervous and it was clear to see for everyone.
And because Raine didn't have female friends or anyone to speak rather than Calleb, that Torak thought wouldn't get how distressed his mate was, and also because Raine wouldn't talk about what she felt about it to Torak, after all, it was Torak's plea for her, thus Belinda would be the best person that Torak could find to accompany Raine.
And Torak's judgment was right.
Once Belinda came, Raine was slightly better and been more cheerful than days before.
Now that Belinda was there to be with Raine, Calleb could come to the company and helped Raphael to deal with most of the media as everything went so abrupt there were a lot of things to be handled. Not to mention public's reaction was almost getting out of their hands.
This fact made Raphael concerned.
"Torak Raine will be the center of attention for months, do you think she will be all right?" Raphael asked, when they were going out of Torak's office room to heading to the second floor, where they would hold the announcement in multipurpose room about the forthcoming extravagant event.
"We can't keep this secret any longer." Torak stated fact. "This bound to happen sooner or later."
"Yes, but should you make it this big?" Raphael asked.
A little bit information that they had leaked to the public this early morning had made a big fuss, not to mention when they admitted openly about this.
"Yes." Torak replied curtly. "This should be big."
"You will attract all of your enemies to attack Raine." Raphael voiced out his concern. "Not to mention she will be a college student, there will be a lot of human who will hate her and creatures that seek for revenge to you through her."
From the beginning Raphael disagreed with the idea, as this was too risky.
"I can understand your concern." Torak replied as they entered the lift. "But, with Lucifer and Andromalius already knew that Raine is my mate and also a few minions out there with the same knowledge, it is only a matter of time before the thing you worry about happens."
Both of them arrived at the second floor and were greeted by the employees as they bowed their head politely when Torak and Raphael walked past them.
Because of the crowd, Torak resumed their conversation through mind- link.
[In the end, the overcome would be the same.] Torak halted as he thought about something before he continued. [I prefer to strike first and set everything within my plan, so I can control the situation, rather than to wait for them to attack Raine first and not ready enough to know what steps we should take.]
Raphael thought about it for a bit longer and as Torak's words repeated in his head, he knew that his words made a lot of sense, afterward Raphael didn't mingle with that topic as they walked into the conference room.
At 1 p.m sharp, a large number of reporters had already gathered at the press conference room. Amongst the multiple shutter sounds Torak and Raphael stood at the side calmly.
Torak didn't need to make an appearance for this press conference, but he simply wanted to make sure everything was running as he had planned. He wouldn't tolerate any mishap for this.
The place where Torak and Raphael were standing couldn't be seen by those reporters neither they could see them, but Torak and Raphael could see the public relationship manager and his team on their seat in front of many cameras and reporters as this announcement would be aired live.
At 1.15 p.m the press conference officially started. The staff maintained order as the reporters were given 15 minutes to ask question.
At the same time too, many people stopped what they were doing to look at their cell phone to stream on the news on line or stopped walking to follow the news from the digital billboards that were located in the busiest streets of the city Red River city and the Fulbright city.
From the roof top where Aeon had resided, he could see the big picture of the digital billboard that broadcasted the press conference live.
He gritted his teeth and the shadow around him turned darker as if he could swallow the whole building into the nothingness.
"Don't you want to see the live press conference that Torak holds for you?" Belinda was holding her cell phone as she accompanied Raine inside the green house, feeding a little white rabbit.
At first Belinda was surprised because Torak had allowed this little creature to reside here, but since it was Raine's request, it seemed possibly.
Raine was holding the white bunny while squatting down beside a sunflower, her white dress touched the ground and became a little bit dirty, but she didn't seem mind it as she put all of her focus on her pet that munched spinach from her hand, as if there was nothing more important for her than to fat the little one.
"No, I don't want to see it, it will only make me more nervous about my birthday." Though Raine had never celebrated her birthday for eight years, but this was the first time she feared her own birthday.
The thought of becoming the center of attention was so nerve- wrecking, not to mention her days ahead when she entered the university, she would be starred by many people, without doubt.
That wasn't because she had committed crime or got a noble prize, but because she was simply Torak's woman.
"Don't be so nervous, the Alpha will handle everything." Belinda tried to cheer Raine up, but only got a slight nod from her as she continued with what she was doing, oblivious with the fuss outside this house.
Even Raine could feel that the human guards looked at her differently, as if trying to see what was good in her until someone like Torak Donovan became so infatuated with her.
While the Lycan guards didn't show any surprised as if they had expected it from their Alpha, and treated her politely.
"I know he will" Raine replied after a few seconds had passed.
All she had to do was be safe and followed Torak's instruction, right? Like a good girl
Two days and the day of her birthday arrived in a blink of an eye.
Her birthday celebration would start at 7 p.m, but since 5 in the evening the hall had filled with many guests from influential people that Raine had ever seen in the television or she had never seen at all.
The place where her birthday was held was the most expensive five-star hotel in the city, where Torak was the second largest shareholder there.
That fact didn't ease the nervousness that started to building up in Raine's stomach.
It was a good thing that Belinda and Calleb was there to accompany her before she entered the ballroom.
Raine looked so exquisite in her white dress, she glowed like an angel basking in the moonlight, so pristine and calm, with her long straight black hair cascaded down her shoulder and back casually.
Belinda had helped her to apply a simple make up and now he was staring at Raine as her eyes twinkled with admiration by what she was seeing, made Raine bashful.
In the other hand, Calleb's reaction didn't help either, he gawked at her as if Raine had grown the third hands and has two head.
"Stop staring at me like that" Raine whimpered, she wanted to scurry away, or better, went home and forgot about this party.
"Don't be like that you are so beautiful." Belinda caressed Raine's cheeks and took her to the front mirror, so Raine could see herself.
Raine stared at her reflection on the mirror and had to admit that she was beautiful, at least for tonight, in this dress and make up.
Her mood had been not good since this morning and only turned gloomier when she watched a parade of luxurious cars that came into the hotel one by one, they were all her guests, or to be precise, Torak's guests as Raine had never met them even once.
The fabric of her dress was so soft to the touch and has small crystal around her chest area, with off shoulders and body hugging style and the length of the dress reached her ankle as she wore a nine centimeters high heels, so she wouldn't be too diminutive beside Torak.
Raine wasn't that short, it was only Torak that too tall for her.
"Yes, you look like an angel." Calleb chimed in, but then he realized. "Well, you are indeed an angel, but you know what I meant."
Raine didn't want to hear those words since she didn't enjoy their compliment at this moment.
"Where is Torak?" Raine looked at the door. Wouldn't he come to pick her up? Raine didn't want to enter the room full with strangers alone.
She also had not yet seen her since they had their breakfast together, though Torak called her five times to make sure she was all right.
No, she was anything but all right, but at this point, she wouldn't be able to go back, there was no way to step down from what she had agreed.
This already 7.10 p.m, the party must have been started by now.
"Don't worry, the Alpha handles everything. He will order us to bring you inside at the peak of the event, so you don't need to stay for long time and attend to all the guests that you don't know." Belinda explained.
Upon hearing that, Raine's eyes widened and whipped her head toward Belinda. "Really?"
"Yes, you will be there for an hour at the most." Belinda perplexed. "Hadn't I told you about this?"
Raine shook her head. "No." She would be less nervous if she knew this beforehand, at least she could endure an hour of overwhelming attention.
"Don't tell me that you forget about it!?" Calleb hissed as he watched Belinda grimaced. "That's why she kept asking for Torak, I thought she was just being noisy even though she already knew Torak is entertaining the guests on her behalf."
"What to do? I forgot you know!" Belinda retorted.
"The Alpha will angry if he knew this." Calleb mumbled and stared at Raine, beamed with happiness when he approached her. "Cheer up! Today is your birthday and here my gift for you!"
The Beta fished out something from his pocket and gave something long and slim onto Raine's hand.
When Raine raised it to her eyes level, she furrowed her brows because the thing that Calleb gave her was a beautifully carved poniard, a slender dagger in fifteen inches length.
Raine didn't know what to say when she received her first gift in her birthday. "Hmm Calleb what should I do with this?" She asked gingerly while pulled out the sharp blade and carefully held it.
"To protect yourself of course." He said with proud look on his face. "I got it when I won a bet with an old Lycan who had lived through many dynasties and now live as an ascetic in remote area."
Belinda sneered. "What kind of gift is that? Don't you see, the weapon don't please the Luna at all." She chastised.
"The poniard means to protect her, not to please her!" Calleb retorted. "Look at you, you didn't even bring anything as a gift and now you complain about my gift?"
"You!?" Belinda's temper flared up.
Raine had seen this scene many times so she didn't as panic as the first time she watched Belinda hung Calleb upside down in the air.
"It's okay, I like it. Thank you!" Raine stepped in and hugged Calleb. "Your gift is my first gift that I received after nine years."
"I am sorry I don't bring anything." Belinda cleared her throat awkwardly. "We don't have this tradition to celebrate birthday or give something on their birthday, so I didn't bring anything." She looked regretful now
Raine smiled ever softly, walked toward Belinda and hugged her tightly. "I know and I don't mind, I am very happy that you are here to be with me during these past three days." She said sincerely. "Thank you Belinda."
Raine's words made Belinda feel better.
"Alright, stop with this 'thank you' scene, Torak just asked you to make an appearance." Calleb clapped his hands and separated Raine from Belinda as he assessed her, checked if there was a wrinkle on her dress.
Belinda was so tempted to blow the young Lycan out of this room through the window, but Raine was standing too close to him and she didn't want to ruin her dress.
Together, the three of them went to the main hall, where the celebration of the party had begun.
Calleb and Belinda escorted Raine to the side of the stage where there was a huge eleven tier birthday cake, which decorated in white and golden color and also red roses in every tier.
Only by the sight of her birthday cake alone had amazed her and made her lost in thought for a few moments as she missed the entire speech of Torak.
Only when Calleb nudged her side, Raine's comeback to her senses and heard Torak's last words.
" here is my woman. My angel. My mate." Torak said with his husky voice, one could detect easily the happiness that laced in the way he talked about Raine.
Belinda gave a small pushed on Raine's back so she could take her first step toward Torak.
Once she appeared on the stage, there were thunderous clapped around her and flashes of cameras light that blinded her eyes.
Raine was afraid and was about to stagger back to the backstage, but then she caught Torak's blue eyes and his stretched out hand, he smiled softly as he talked to her in silence; 'come to me my love'
With that, Raine stilled her heart and gathered all of her courage to take one step at time to reach the place where her mate has been waiting for her.