I wake to an intoxicating smell of sandalwood and cinnamon. I stand, comb my hair with my fingers and straighten out my cardigan to feel a bit more presentable.
It's our mate! You must go to him now. Storm says, excitedly.
I know. Let's go. I say.
Running downstairs and down the hallway, the scent gets stronger. It leads me to the bedrooms belonging to high-ranking pack members. I become nervous and less excited.
We’ve never been in this hallway before. I tell Storm.
There! That room! He’s in there! Storm says.
Standing in front of a large brown wooden door, I’m about to knock, lose my courage, and take a step back.
He’s in there. Knock! Storm yells.
I can't do it. I say.
Turning to walk away, the door flings open, and I make instant eye contact with Alpha Tate.
‘Mate!’ I say, in a trance.
I hear a chuckle a door down. Someone is there.
‘You’re kidding me? Hope is your mate, Alpha Tate?’ Beta Sam asks.
I shake my head and break the trance between us. He snarls and growls at Beta Sam. I step back, out of fear.
‘This can't be right,’ I whisper.
‘No, it's not right. You’re not fit to be Luna or my mate. I can't accept this curse from the Moon Goddess,’ he says, and I take a step back.
‘I, Alpha Tate, of the Blackwood pack, reject you, Hope, as my Mate and Luna!’ He spits, and we fall to the ground in pain, and my eyes well up with tears that run down my face.
Alpha Tate holds himself up against the wall, clutching his chest, enduring the pain. Everyone comes out of their rooms to see what is going on. They’re shocked the Moon Goddess has mated us, but pleased I’ve been rejected.
Everyone smirks and laughs as I try to stand. I lean on the wall, and flee down the hallway, back to my attic.
I burst into tears and lay on my mattress.
Our mate rejected us! Storm says, sadly.
This is our fate now. We will never be anything more than a slave to this pack. We will never know what it’s like to have a mate and be loved. I cry.
A few months pass, and new members who have just joined our pack, torment and abuse me, as much as the other pack members; especially Ava, who is sleeping with Alpha Tate. Every time they have s*x, my chest and stomach hurt intensely. I haven't spoken to anyone since the first time I felt it.
Since being rejected, Storm has been quiet. I don't blame her. If I could hide away, I would too.
Not being able to shift into my wolf form gives the pack another reason to beat me and bully me. They say I’m a freak of nature because I can't even shift.
I’ve just finished scrubbing the floors when Alpha Tate and Ava walk past, hand in hand. Ava kicks the bucket of dirty water over, and snickers. Alpha Tate glares at me.
‘How you ended up with this slave in our pack bewilders me,’ Ava says.
‘Well, you see, she was such a freak and an abomination that her own parents abandoned her as a baby in the woods to die. My father was Alpha at the time. A pack member found her and decided to keep her as a slave,’ he explains, and Ava laughs.
‘Fancy being so hated your own parents don't want you,’ she says.
I continue to mop up the water, and try my best to ignore their hurtful words. Tears flood my face as I sob.
‘Oh, the little slave is crying!’ Ava says, with a chuckle. Alpha Tate laughs and then slips on the dirty water, and lands on his back. Alpha Tate screams out in agony after we all hear a loud snap.
‘My back! My back! I think it's broken! I can't move!’ He yells.
‘Alpha!’ Ava screams, getting down on her knees, and hovering over him, before looking in my direction. ‘Don't just stand there! Do something! This is your doing!’ She yells.
Dropping the mop, I run to Alpha Tate’s side and gently slide my hand under his back to feel around. He flinches at the sparks from my touch, and yells out as I press a broken bone.
‘It's definitely broken. It will heal, but it's a bad break. It will probably take a couple of days to heal,’ I whisper.
‘I can't stay like this for a couple of days!’ Alpha Tate yells. I pull my hand away and he cries out in pain again.
‘What did you do to him?’ Ava snaps.
‘I didn't do anything,’ I whisper, keeping my eyes down. Beta Sam pushes me out of the way, and I go flying into the wall from his force. Alpha Tate growls and we all pause in shock for a moment.
The pack members slide Alpha onto a board and take him to his room. I mop up the rest of the water.
I walk outside to tip the dirty water out, and come back in, but Beta Sam is there, blocking the doorway.
‘Alpha Tate has requested your presence in his room,’ he says. I drop the bucket in surprise, and take a step back.
Beta Sam roughly grabs me by the arm and drags me inside down the hall. We enter Alpha Tate's room and Ava glares at me, and the pack doctor smiles.
‘I will leave you to it,’ the doctor says, leaving the room.
Beta Sam pushes me towards the bed and down into a chair next to Alpha Tate.
‘You can go now Sam. You too, Ava,’ Alpha Tate says.
‘I’m not leaving you alone with her,’ Ava says.
‘Get out now,’ he yells, in his Alpha tone. Sam and Ava leave the room and it’s only him and I. I’m shaking and have no idea why I’m here.
‘I suppose you want to know why you’re here,’ he says, and I nod.
‘The doctor said I’ll heal much quicker with my mate here,’ he says, and there’s an awkward silence between us.
‘I don't want you here and I know you don't want to be here, but I need you to put your hand under my back again. Your touch lessens the pain,’ he explains.
Nodding, I stand, and slide my hand under his back. He flinches and his eyes briefly turn black from the sparks between us. Relaxed, he exhales. I feel him staring at me but I keep my eyes down.
‘Look at me, Hope,’ he says.
I stiffen and he notices. I shake my head, declining. I haven't stared into his eyes since I found out we were mates.
‘I want to see your eyes,’ he says. Why does he want to see my eyes? Why does he want to look at me at all? I slowly look up, and make eye contact.
We stare into each other's eyes for a moment silently, and something strange happens; a warm energy flows through my arms and I start to glow.
‘Your eyes. Why are they glowing silver? Why are you glowing? What’s happening?’ He asks, shocked.
I can't stop what I’m doing. I’m not even sure what I’m doing or what’s happening. My hair flows upwards around me despite there being no wind in the room.
My arms glow like I have a light inside of me. The warm energy flows through my body, out the palm of my hand, and into Alpha Tate's back.
There’s a crunching sound, Alpha Tate cries out, my hair falls down, my eyes are silver and blue again, and the glow disappears. Alpha Tate is pale, and his mouth is slightly open in shock. He sits up in bed and looks at me.
‘You healed me!’ He says, in disbelief.
Taking a few steps back, I look down at my trembling hands. How did I do that? Alpha Tate is instantly standing in front of me, and staring intently into my eyes.
‘Mine!’ He declares, pulling me into his arms against his chest. Beta Sam and Ava run into the room and see Alpha Tate miraculously standing.
‘Alpha! How did you heal so quickly?’ Beta Sam asks.
‘What are you doing Alpha? Why are you holding her in your arms?’ Ava asks.
Completely oblivious to Sam and Ava yelling at him, Alpha Tate stares at me in awe. I squirm and wriggle free from his grasp and fall to the ground. He holds his hand out to help me up, and I stare up into his eyes, very confused. He rejected me. He hurt me. Why is he looking at me with desire in his eyes? Why is he helping me now?
I run past Sam and Ava and hear Alpha Tate growl angrily as I flee the pack house to the small lake where I can be alone.