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“What do you mean you’ve never been kissed? Braelynn, you’re twenty-two years old, for fucks sakes what have you been doing?” Although Sydney was one of my closest friends, she could be a little judgmental. Hence why I hadn’t trusted her with my darkest secret sooner. I knew she would judge me, and I was never in the mood to handle that shit. Not all of us throw ourselves at any wolf that looks our way. Although saying that may be a little harsh.
Sydney was the type of girl fascinated with the idea of falling in love. Not being in love but falling in love. She thrived off the honeymoon stage, where you want nothing more than to ravish each other and spend every waking moment together. However, as time went on and those emotions started to settle, she found herself bored and left.
The process was always the same. She would put on those awful pink polka dot pajamas and cry while eating buckets and buckets of playdough ice cream as if she really didn’t understand what went wrong. She expected things to stay lively the entire time, and that’s not how relationships work. People grow comfortable, and those crazy whims die down with them. Well, unless you find your mate, that is.
“I can help you with that,” Fletcher says, draping his arm over my shoulders. “It doesn’t even have to count. Call me your little experiment.”
Fletcher is my best friend and the only person I trust around here. Sure, Sydney hangs out with us, but I wouldn’t consider her trustworthy. The girl has a big mouth. Fletcher, on the other hand, I would trust with my life.
Yes, he can be a bit of a man whore, and he’s constantly trying to get into my panties. But he’s harmless if you know which strings to pull. I can either mess with his head until he forgets the topic at hand or simply point him in the direction of the nearest short skirt. Both are effective in throwing him off my scent.
“Oh, Fletcher. You couldn’t possibly handle me. I’m a biter,” I say, chomping my teeth as I lean closer to his face.
“Mm, I like a feisty girl. Keeps things interesting,” he hums, wrapping his hand into my hair and pulling me until our noses touch.
I look into his amber eyes and smirk, knowing that he doesn’t have the balls. He’s been playing this game with me since grade school and hadn’t gotten any closer than a kiss on the cheek in fifth grade. After which, I kicked his ass into the following week. He knows that I’m waiting for my mate, but he’s always been convinced that one day I would cave to him like every other she-wolf in our pack had.
“You sure about that tough guy? I promise my bite is a lot more threatening than my bark,” I state, running my palm up his cheek before running my fingers into his hair.
“Baby, you have no idea what I can handle,” he says in a low tone that even I find sexy.
I’m reasonable enough to be to admit I could see what other women see in him. His unkempt orange hair is a neon sign of his fierce personality, and the stubble on his face is a sexy touch that makes it impossible not to imagine how it would feel as he kissed you between the thighs. But the hardest thing to ignore is amber eyes. They’re warm enough to melt you to your core and sensual enough to get you to take off your panties without being asked. Well almost.
His touch is warm and comforting, always making me feel wanted and safe. He has always been there for me when I needed him, even if he were with another girl. He would drop everything and come to me no matter what. He’s the one person I can turn to and count on without judgments or asking if my father approves. I didn’t have the easiest childhood, but all that stuff didn’t matter as long as Fletcher was in my corner.
At times it was only too easy to imagine what my life would be like if I opened up and gave him a chance. We could get married and have the perfect pack wedding that is expected of me. Then, we could run off into the sunset, as we had discussed as kids. We would tour the country, staying close to forests when the full moon came, to force our shifts—at the same time, taking off to tropic isles throughout the rest of the month.
We’d eventually return to the pack to make our contribution having perfect little redheaded and brunette babies that would chase each other around listening to the same myths we’d grown up listening to. I would try my hardest to accept him the way he is, but eventually, we’d split just like Sydney and her many boyfriends. Because as comfortable as I am with Fletcher, he’s still not my mate.
I quickly take hold of his pinky finger, pulling it backward and bringing him to his knees. I almost feel bad for him as he yelps out in pain. But honestly, he knew what he was in for. We’ve been playing this little game for years, and he should know by now what the consequences are.
“God damn it, Brae, I think you might have broken it this time,” he hisses as he sucks his pinky into his mouth.
“Oh, don’t be such a baby. You knew it was bound to happen, and you should be healed by the time you stand up anyway,” I say, rolling my eyes and crossing my arms across my chest.
Sydney, who I had forgotten was still here, laughs so hard, she slips out of her chair and nearly falls to the ground. I have to admit it’s always pretty funny to see a big bad boy like Fletcher brought down by the likes of little ole me. But it makes sense seeing as I’m the daughter of the Alpha. The blood in my veins works wonders in the strength department.
“Shut up, Sydney, you’re just mad I wasn’t trying to kiss you,” Fletcher bellows, tucking his pinky in and flipping her the bird.
Sydney clamps her lips together and turns her attention towards a pack of guys slurping down beers in the corner. As much as she has tried to hide it, we all knew about the crush she has on Fletcher. A lot of us actually wondered if that was part of the reason none of her relationships had ever lasted. She’s like a sad puppy hit in the nose with a newspaper, and I can’t help but go to her rescue.
“Awe, did the tough guy get a boo-boo? Come here, baby boy. I’ll kiss it better,” I coo, leaning down to his level as if he were a small child. I bring his hand to my mouth, leaving a small peck on his bruised ego.
“One of these days, you’re going to want me to kiss you, and by then, it may be too late,” he murmurs as he pulls his hand away from me.
“Fletcher, come on. When will you learn that’s not going to happen? I’m waiting for my mate. You know that. We’ve only been over this a thousand times,” I groan as I stand up and make my way back to my chair.
“And what if that never happens? Are you seriously going to risk growing old and alone, hoping that one day this magical being is going to walk into your life and love you no matter what? That shit is a fairy tale our parents feed us, so we don’t have sex too early,” he scoffs, leaning back on his hands.
It’s the same damn argument we seem to repeat over and over again. It’s the only drawback to having him as my best friend. He just doesn’t understand it as I do. I don’t know how to explain it, but something tells me that guy is out there waiting for me. He’s just too busy to make himself be known, that’s all.
Besides, this isn’t about finding someone to stand by my side. If it were that easy, I would have found the one in second grade. This is about finding the one person in this world who was literally made for me. I’m not an idiot. I know the odds of finding my mate aren’t great. There are thousands of werewolves spread across this planet, and the odds of finding one are very slim. So slim that I only know of a handful of people who have found their mates. The rest of the pack partnered off, figuring that because they couldn’t find their mate, they must not exist.
Sure, Fletcher could be right, and I very well could end up old and lonely waiting for a man to come that would never find his way to me. But I also couldn’t’ give in to temptation this early in my life either. What would happen if I did marry Fletcher and my mate finally decided to show his face? Could I really turn away the person who was meant to be with me just because I decided to settle first?
“Stop it, Fletch. You’re ruining the mood for everyone here. Can’t we just talk about this later?” I ask, holding my hand out to him and hoping he’ll let the topic go.
“Yeah, that’s what you always say that,” he groans as he turns away from me.
“You’re acting like a toddler,” I sigh as he pushes my hand out of the way.
He quickly gets back to his feet, taking a step towards me, so I have to look him in the eye. I know what he’s looking for. That little spark that twinkles when you find your mate. He is always hopeful, checking to see if things had changed. Only, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. As impressive as Fletcher is, he isn’t made for me.
Yes, we were meant to find each other but just as friends. Just to get each other through to the next stage. We have gone through so much together and grown to love each other in a way that I thought I could accept. But the more we have this same fight, the more I wonder if we are outgrowing each other. How can we remain, friends if he can’t respect my hopes and dreams?
“Okay, mister grumpy puss, let’s air this dirty laundry in front of all these people. Or you could suck down that beer and take a look at those young hot things, who happen slurping margaritas at an alarming pace,” I say, pointing to a group of girls in the back corner.
He looks at me for a moment longer before having a peek at the drunk girls behind him. His look is guilty as he ponders his decision as if he thought I would be upset at him for leaving. I just told him to go for Goddess Sakes. It’s not the first time I’ve thrown him at girls, and it won’t be the last either.
One of these times, he’s bound to like one of them enough to keep them. Or at least I hope. The fact of the matter is, we can’t keep going like this. Either he finds someone else to fall in love with, or we can’t be friends. And he means too much for me just to let him go.
“Go on already. Look, that cute little blond one is checking you out. I’m sure she’d love to go home with a fine hunk like you,” I say, turning him towards them and giving him a slight shove.
He whips back towards me, looking deeply into my eyes with a hardened expression. He reaches over my shoulder, snatching my beer off the table chugging the rest of it. All the while never breaking eye contact. He’s a fucking child in a man’s body sulking about his withheld dessert.
When the bottle is empty, he slams down on the table before, taking his beer and stalking towards the group of ladies in the back. Without saying a word, he places his hands on the skinny blonde’s hips and spins her around to face him.
His eyes look at me with a smirk before he dips her and places a heated kiss on her lips. As if that was supposed to make me jealous. I told him to do it for fucks sake. Mate or not, this man is going to be the death of me.
“Damn, Braelynn, you could throw him a bone for once,” Sydney says.
“Shut up and drink your beer. I know what I’m doing,” I growl, shoving my now empty bottle to the side.
I’ve grown tired of the people in this pack, thinking they know what’s best for me. Sydney isn’t the first person to tell me to give him a chance. It happens pretty often. The two of us can’t seem to go anywhere without someone telling us how great we would be. It’s probably the reason he refuses to quit trying. If only they realized he isn’t the man for me. My mate is out there, and I’m going to find him.