For the past twenty-four hours I’ve been covered in goodness knows what. My hair has taken on a life of its own and the clothes I started out with are now unrecognizable.
The pans are naturally piling up and the temperature in here is steadily rising, which is causing my face to have a permanent flush.
Alpha has sent some of the servers down to help me just like he promised, but I find that explaining what they can do takes up just as much time as doing it myself.
I’m a one-woman show now and the curtain goes up very soon. I just hope it all comes together.
Currently, I’ve still to cook the meat and make the purée for the starter, and my crème brûlée hasn’t even set yet.
With two hours to go, I’m cutting it rather fine and it’s fair to say that I’ll be sleeping like the dead tonight. I’m absolutely worn out and I’ve not even started the main stretch!
My brother has come down a few times to check on me, no surprise there, but what does seem strange is how nervous he is, much like the alpha was last night.
I know why I’m nervous, but what’s up with them?
He keeps looking out the window above the sink and “checking if the back door has been oiled.” He’s not fooling anyone and my curiosity is killing me.
After his third visit, I ask one of the serving boys, Derek, if they know who is arriving while I’m browning the lamb.
If I get this wrong it could dry out the whole dish, but I’ve done it enough times to feel confident about multitasking.
His face lights up with shock when he realizes that I still don’t know, and I either take it to mean that fresh females are coming or it’s someone really important. Both would explain Owen’s behavior.
“Alpha Orion of the Blood Moon Pack is coming! Rumor has it that he took over the Crescent Rose Pack by force last year, and he’s notorious...”
His voice dies down to a whisper as a door closes upstairs, and a chill runs down my spine. Taking over another pack by force is one of the lowest acts an alpha can do in my opinion.
The Crescent Rose survivors must have been terrified and my heart goes out to them. I’ve never heard of a takeover like that going smoothly and I just hope it wasn’t one of the more severe cases.
“Notorious for what?” I hesitantly ask.
I know it’s not the best idea to listen to stories while in the middle of a tight deadline, but I want to know as much as possible to prepare myself.
Then again, if the pack was at risk, our alpha would have warned us by now, wouldn’t he?
“Let’s just say that the last alpha to refuse him something lost a head…and a few other parts before he was done.”
Derek’s face pales while retelling a few more examples and for the first time in hours, I feel the heat in my cheeks fade as well.
How does he know all of this? How have I not heard of this Orion before? I actually feel sick from some of it.
I’m suddenly glad that I’m not expected to take my usual place by my father’s side tonight.
I’ll be serving along with the others to make up for Betty’s absence, and I’ll make sure to nab their side of the table. Not because I’m scared, but because I refuse to serve such a creature.
“I can’t believe that Alpha has invited him here,” I say, unable to hold in the comment and knowing that others will be thinking the same.
Derek hesitates before speaking again, probably wondering how much he should say in front of a beta’s daughter. Not that I’ve given him much reason to fear me.
“Apparently he wasn’t invited, it was at his request.”
In shock, I drop the tongs used to manage the meat and splash myself with oil in the process. I’m used to burns by now but this is so not the time to be getting sloppy and I mentally scold myself.
If it wasn’t by invitation, then why is he coming here? I think suddenly before shaking my head. No, I can’t think like that, not right now. I’m too distracted and I can’t afford any mistakes.
I wipe my arms with a tea towel and turn back to Derek with a calm face. “You better run along then. You have a stain on your jacket and Alpha will want us looking our best tonight.”
I point to the flour now covering his sleeve from where he was resting against my work table.
He jumps up at the sight, probably with no clue how to get rid of it on such short notice, and I laugh at his reaction while running the cold tap.
“Rinse it under here before it turns into a dough and then Camilla should be able to help you scrub off the rest.”
Goddess, if I had a penny for the number of flour stains I’ve had over the years, I’d have my own restaurant by now. Sadly, that’s still just a dream and our pack isn’t going to feed itself.
“Thanks, Emma,” he grins, and I wave him off while turning back to my work.
If the Blood Moon Pack is as infamous as Derek implies, I don’t want to be giving them any reasons to complain about the food.
But at the same time, I wonder if it would have been better to try and fly under the radar this time. If it’s not too cocky to say, I do tend to get a lot of compliments on my food.
The thought of having one of them come down here to ask for the chef has my stomach doing flips, and even my wolf joins in, which is unusual for her.
She must be nervous about there being another alpha around and I can’t say I blame her.
He sounds absolutely horrible and I’ll be counting the minutes until they leave.
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