The strength in my body felt like it was quickly leaving me. I swayed a bit, nearly falling. Reece tightened his grip on me, holding me steady.
"We are finished for tonight. I thank you all for coming. Be safe my friends." Reece dismissed the crowd. I could see Aunt Eve, and the other, my entire family, smiling at me with love and respect in their eyes.
After the crowd dispersed, the only ones left were Reece, myself, Noah, and my guards Vincent and Leslie. Reece let go of me and started speaking to Noah. Without his support I felt, again, just how much strength had left my body and how weak I was becoming from the night's events. I swayed again, more so this time, nearly falling. Vincent rushed forward catching me just in time. Noah and Reece turned to look at us in shock.
"What's wrong?" Noah asked.
"The heat that rushed through me from the marking, it was so intense, so draining, that I feel weak now." I told him. Reece growled at my response.
"I still have some work to do. Will one of you carry her back?" He asked.
"I will." Leslie volunteered eagerly.
"No." I said instantly. I did not want him touching me right now. Reece and Noah looked at me with suspicion.
"I will do it." Vincent offered, silently lifting me into a bridal-like hold, cradling me in his arms and resting my head against his chest. "Shall I call someone to help her change when she is back in her room?" Vincent asked.
"I will call someone." Noah answered firmly, taking out his phone.
Vincent walked quickly. Off the platform, across the clearing, and through the trees. Before I knew it, we were already entering the house. I was surprised that I had not fallen asleep yet, my body just felt so very weak, but I guess I wasn't actually tired.
Vincent walked quickly through the house and to my room. He shifted me quickly in his arms to hold me one handed so he could open the door. As soon as he was inside, he quickly shut the door, basically slamming it in Leslie's face.
"Hey!" I heard Leslie shout from the other side.
Vincent carried me to the bed and laid me gently in the middle of it.
"Rest here and wait for whoever is coming to assist you. I will stand guard at your door."
"But I am not under house arrest anymore." I reminded him.
"This is not to keep you in, Luna, but to keep other people out." His voice was strained as he was glaring at the door. I looked at it as well, thinking of Leslie standing on the other side.
"Thank you, Vincent." I said, putting all my emotions into the few words.
"No thanks necessary, Luna." He insisted, dropping to one knee and bowing his head just like the crowd in the forest had.
"You're the best guard I could ask for." I told him honestly.
"Thank you, Luna." He smiled, flipping that gratitude around on me.
Vincent stood up then and left the room. I could just barely make out the conversation from the other side of the door. That alone told me that Vincent and Leslie were both speaking with slightly raised voices.
"You can go now." Vincent barked.
"No, I'm her guard the same as you." Leslie whined.
"She only needs one to guard the door."
"Then you leave." Leslie demanded.
"She would prefer to have me guard the door." Vincent countered.
"Why? What makes you so special?" Leslie questioned him.
"Because you make her uncomfortable." Vincent told him flatly.
"That's ridiculous." Leslie scoffed.
"No, you overstepped your bounds. You need to back off or you will reap the consequences of your actions. I will not tell you again, Leslie, go home." Vincent commanded him.
"Fine, but this isn't the end." Leslie declared.
"Then make sure you change your attitude and behavior." Vincent told him.
"Yeah, yeah." Leslie grumbled.
The hallway became silent after that. After a few moments, the door opened yet again. Peter, the elderly butler-like man that usually brought me my food entered with my Aunt, Nikki and Vincent, he was also carrying a tray.
"Good evening Luna. I have brought you some juice and a plate of cookies. The sugar will help you to get some quick, temporary energy back."
"Thank you, Peter." I said as he placed the tray on my table. He then inclined his head in a quick bow before leaving the room.
"Are you alright?" Aunt Eve asked me.
"The marking has taken a great deal of energy out of her. I'm sure you ladies remember the fire that rages in the body from the marking. Well I would gather that the fire might be more intense when marked by the Alpha." Vincent answered for me.
"Yes, the fire was so painful." Nikki agreed, nodding her head.
"What do you need?" Aunt Eve asked, looking at Vincent.
"We called you back here to ask if you ladies would be willing to help the Luna prepare for bed. She is not capable of changing on her own tonight."
"Oh! Yes, of course." Aunt Eve answered with a hint of shock.
"Thank you, ladies." Vincent bowed his head before leaving the room.
Aunt Eve and Nikki got right to work. They each went to untie one of the gladiator-style sandals. Then they worked together to unbutton and slide the dress from my body. Nikki hurried to the bathroom to fetch a washcloth while Aunt Eve took the hair combs from my hair.
"Should I take the braid out as well? I know you used to leave them in quite often."
"You can leave it. It keeps the hair out of my face." I said with a slight giggle in my voice. Nikki came back then and started gently washing the make-up from my face while Aunt Eve went to my dresser to find something for me to sleep in.
I truly hated being doted on like this. But I knew I had no other choice. I could barely move on my own.
Once I was dressed, and thoroughly embarrassed, they helped me sit up in bed. Aunt Eve brought me the juice and cookies that Peter had brought for me.
"Here, drink up." She told me. "You need your strength."
"Thank you." I filled my voice with as much love and sincerity as I could. "For everything." I looked between them both. They look confused. "Both now and back in the forest."
"We weren't going to let anyone talk about you like that." Nikki declared.
"That's right. You're my niece, but you might as well be my daughter. I will not let someone disrespect you, or indirectly the Alpha, that way." The love in their eyes filled me with joy.
"Get some rest, I'm sure you're going to need it." Nikki implied, wiggling her eyebrows at me and laughing when she saw the shocked look that filled my face.
She had just reminded me of what follows the marking. I was expected to consummate my mating with Reece tonight. Oh my Goddess! Now I understood why they had chosen my only sexy looking nightie. It was baby blue with thin lace straps, lacey embroidery around the bottom and at the low neckline above my breasts.
"Love you, see you later." Nikki called.
"I love you sweetheart." Said Aunt Eve smiling at me as the two of them left the room.
I was sitting up in bed about a half an hour later when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. I knew immediately who it was.
"You may go home now." I heard Reece's voice.
"Yes, Sir." Vincent responded immediately. I heard his light footsteps retreating immediately.
"Trinity?" Reece said with a slight knock on the door. I was feeling better now, so I walked quickly to the door and opened it immediately. I saw him standing there still wearing what had been at the ceremony.
I remember how soft the fabric of that shirt had felt against my hands, it felt just like the shiny silver material of my Luna dress, but it was pure black. The long-sleeved shirt was buttoned almost all the way, but the top two buttons were left open, exposing just the barest glimpse of his chest. His black dress pants and black boots combined with it almost made it look like he was trying to appear intimidating, but the idea had been to make him look like that night sky and me to look like the moon that completed him.
He looked sexy. His body, his face, his whole aura, all of it mixed together to make a man that was near irresistible when I looked at him. I don't know if all women respond to him like this. I said to myself. I could feel my heart pound, my stomach flip, and my mind go blank all at the same time, it made me feel dizzy yet happy.