After the dance, Stiles denied Derek another.
“I must not dance with the same man twice in the same evening, not before my coming out, at least.”
“I confess I know little of such matters; my sisters are all alpha, and never had a coming out.”
Stiles groaned. “It’s all terribly tedious. The matrons of the Tea Society gave me a book to learn by heart of all the rules set in place. No repeat dances for any gentlemen, no unchaperoned visits. Gloves must be worn at all times to prevent scandal and of course, my scent has been thoroughly overpowered with dried rose petals and crushed blackberries.”
Derek looked to him. “Such commandments you endure! I should thank every star in the sky that neither myself nor my sisters have had to acknowledge such rigid standards.”
Derek leaned in closer. “And the roses and blackberries do you no favors, for even a lesser Alpha can scent you beneath them.”
Stiles pinked at that, before he became curious. “What do I smell of? I can scent others but I’m afraid an Omega’s sense of smell is not like an Alpha’s.”
Derek leaned in even further, his nose dangerously close to the omega’s scent gland.
“Honeysuckle, and the bark of an oak tree.”
Allison found Scott in the Card-Room, losing hopelessly to Mr. Finstock.
“Might I have a word, Alpha McCall?”
He eyed the Omega warily, but nodded.
The two moved towards the fire, where many had vacated due to the already high temperature of the room. Scott would soon be uncomfortable, but the omega would be glad of the added warmth.
“I find it highly disagreeable of you to attend my friend’s parties, invite me for tea, and all the while flaunt your courtship in my face .”
Scott frowned. “I should think you happy to be rid of me; my affections were never returned and, quite often, publicly rejected.”
“I knew not what I felt.”
“And you do now, that envy has taken you so suddenly?”
“I- yo - wha -how dare you, sir !”
Scott moved away, but not before leaning in, muttering softly in the Omega’s ear.
“You should have loved me before you had competition, for now in comparison you appear shallow, cruel, and most disagreeable.”
“You should dance with me.”
Stiles frowned at Jackson. “Good manners say that I must, now that you have offered, but I am surprised that you should offer at all.”
The Colonel smirked. “I do not find you unhandsome; indeed, you are as pretty as your cousin and as charming as Lord Hale.”
The two moved to the floor, where they began to dance.
“He’s terribly jealous of you.”
Stiles looked at the Colonel. “Who?”
“The Omega Lahey. Male Omega are very rare, as I’m sure you already well know, rarer than female Alpha; that he should have any competition, especially one of Honorable status and great wealth, is maddening for him.”
Jackson moved closer. “He complained of your beauty after the dinner at the Estate, once we returned home and McCall could not hear. He thinks it unfair you should be a model Omega of society while he has landed at the bottom of the heap, often regarded more as a Beta. He shall be burning with envy before our dance is finished .”
“And who does this serve? For it does me no good to upset the Omega Lahey; truly, were he not at odds with the Omega Argent I should think he and I good friends, with time and acquaintance. And I could hardly be considered a model Omega, I speak out of turn at every opportunity, and would trade in all the Omega finery in the world for a comfortable pair of breeches.”
Jackson laughed at that. “You are certainly a most unique Omega, and in regards to the Omega Lahey,” Jackson had the temerity to cup Stiles’ face, eliciting a growl from the other male Omega that went unheard by the two. “I have...noticed him, in his time with my mother. He is of good stature, for an Omega, taller than the Omega Argent, even. He is kind and reserved, and I should think myself a far better match than that callow child McCall.”
Stiles glared. “And you wonder why I do not care for you.”
“I do not dislike you, Honorable Omega. I admire your loyalty to McCall, misguided as it is. You must know, he called upon the Omega Lahey a mere fortnight before your arrival, and I dare say the dinner at the Martin Estate had something to do with it, for it was known well by both of our families that Omega Argent would be in attendance this year in hopes of seeing you and Omega Martin, and to aid in the planning of your coming out.”
Stiles gaped, determined to inquire further, but the song ended, and he could not ask for another.
Jackson kissed his hand softly and, unlike the one from Colonel Parrish, there was no heat to it.
“A pleasure as always, most Honorable Omega.”
Derek watched with no short amount of envy as Colonel Whittemore held the Omega Stilinski close and whispered to him during their dance. Socially, he had no right nor grounds to object, for the Omega was expecting a season and apparently had to ensure as many single Alpha to attend as he could, for too few at his coming out and he would be mocked for his lack of appeal.
I would have it that I be the only one there, the alpha thought bitterly.
Peter joined him shortly after the song ended, looking flushed and most unlike his usual composure.
“I see the Omega Martin has tired you out.”
“She has imbibed to the point of near poisoning, I should think, and is quite a ferocious dance partner. I expect she takes after her cousin, in that sense.”
Derek agreed, but said nothing.
“I wish to court her, Nephew, for she is unlike any other I have encountered.”
Derek knew all too well of his Uncle’s affinity for romance and the dramatic, and brushed it off as mere fancy.
He would later learn of his Uncle’s sincerity, and the trouble it would cause.