Chapter Fifteen

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While the whole 'soak in a bathtub to sober up' thing actually worked, it didn't do anything to alleviate the excruciating hangover I woke up with in the morning. It also didn't mitigate the crushing guilt and humiliation I was experiencing either, so f:ck you, Ardor and your fancy magic drinks.

I felt like death or whatever was worse than that. When I managed to pull myself out of bed, on my way to the bathroom I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and I thought it was someone breaking into the room. It wasn't a pretty picture.

Knowing what awaited me downstairs, I took my sweet time as I got ready for the day but it wasn't like I really had a choice in the matter. My body physically would not allow me to move quickly without feeling that ominous feeling right before you are about to yack.

I didn't want to chance it so I went at my own pace, it also offered me a convenient excuse to prolong seeing Matteo for as long as possible.

Once I was finished procrastinating I crept out of the room with my bag in tow, only peeking my head out at first just in case. Immediately when I opened the door completely, light streamed in through the room causing me to wince at the sharp pain the rays created. I looked away from the light and to my side I saw that Amias was just emerging from his room as well and was in a similar position as I was, trying desperately to escape the painful lights.

Fran stepped around the both of us with a roll of her eyes as she flicked her long, dark hair over her shoulder. "Lightweights." She taunted in a singsong voice that was just a little too loud for comfort.

Amias flipped her the bird but his motions were sluggish too so Fran didn't even have a chance to see it. "It's official," He announced as he reached my side and we began to walk down the stairs together, "Last night was the pits."

I quirked my eyebrow over at him, "The pits?"

He nodded and grasped my forearm for balance as he teetered on one of the stairs, "Like an armpit, it sucked."

I couldn't agree with him more. I wanted to spill my guts to Amias and have someone listen to the turmoil that was taking place in my head but I held my tongue. I knew if I told him, I would never hear the end of it so I'd rather just suffer in silence.

As we reached the bottom of the staircase, I saw Matteo conversing with Fran by the front door with their bags set on the floor right beside them. Amias and I meandered through the remarkably quiet foyer of the mansion over to them, Matteo wouldn't look at me.

Fran stared between Matteo and I automatically sensing the tension between us, she tilted her head towards me slightly but I shook my head. I knew it wasn't much but that small questioning gesture warmed my heart, Fran actually bothered to check in on me.

The four of us just stood in silence around the entrance, Amias started letting out an exceptionally large huffs of air to purposely accentuate the awkwardness of the situation. I was about to finally break under the painful quiet and strike up some boring small talk when a door from behind us creaked open.

Alpha Isabel entered the room first. She looked different from last night, stronger and more confident. I don't know what changed overnight but she certainly embodied the traditional regal alpha look now. A half second later, a large guy followed through the doorway right behind her with his hand wrapped protectively around hers.

This must be the mate she mentioned last night.

I couldn't help myself as I looked over at Matteo and he was looking right back at me, not at Isabel but at me. He frowned as I quickly dropped my gaze away from him.

Matteo stepped through us and walked towards Isabel and her mate but a low growl from her counterpart halted Matteo. At first he appeared in shock that someone would speak to him that way but then there was a clear understanding between them that happened silently and almost instantaneously. He nodded once, rubbing his jaw as if he had just been punched. "Congratulations on your bonding." Matteo finally breathed out and unlike last night, his words actually came out genuine.

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