“What do you mean you’ve never been kissed? Braelynn, you’re twenty-two years old, for fucks sake. What have you been doing all this time?” Although Sydney is one of my closest friends, and she could be a little judgmental at times. Hence why I haven’t trusted her with my darkest secret sooner. I knew she would judge me, and I was never in the mood to deal with that shit. Not all of us throw ourselves at any wolf that looks our way. Although saying that may be a little harsh.
Sydney is the type of girl in love with the idea of falling in love. Not being in love, but falling in love. She thrives off the honeymoon stage—the beginning of every relationship, where you want nothing more than to ravish each other. You spend every waking moment together, never growing tired. However, as time went on and those emotions started to settle, she found herself bored and moved on to the next guy.
The process is always the same. She’d 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 expects things to stay lively the entire time, and that’s just not how relationships work. Well, unless you find your mate, that is. Only then could you live your whole life with that flaming love.
“I can help you with that if you want. It doesn’t even have to count. Call me your little experiment,” Fletcher purrs, putting his arm around my shoulders and pulling me closer to him.
Fletcher is my actual best friend. Yes, he has man whore tendencies, and he is continuously trying to get into my panties. But overall, he’s completely harmless if you know which strings to pull. All I need to do is either mess with his head until he forgets the subject at hand. If that doesn’t work, I simply point him in the direction of a short skirt, and he instantly forgets the issue was ever even mentioned.
“Oh, Fletcher, you couldn’t possibly handle me. I’m a biter,” I say, chomping my teeth as I get closer to his face.
“Oh, but I like a feisty girl. Keeps things interesting,” he slips his hand into my hair and pulls my face to his until we stand nose to nose.
I look into his amber eyes, giving him a wicked smirk. I know he doesn’t have the balls to take it any further. He has been playing this game with me since grade school and never got any closer than a kiss on the cheek in fifth grade, after which I kicked his ass into the next week. He knows I’ve been waiting for my mate. Only he has always been convinced that one day I would cave to him, just like every other she-wolf in our pack.
“You sure about that tough guy? I promise my bite is a lot more threatening than my bark,” I run my fingers up his face and into his hair, showing him the calm before the storm.
“Baby, you have no idea what I can handle,” he hums in a low sexy tone.
I’m reasonable enough to admit I could see what women saw in him. His 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 all over your body. But the hardest thing to ignore has to be his amber-colored 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, even if he had been with another girl first. He would drop everything and come to me no matter what. He’s the one person I’ve always felt like I could turn to, he is extremely dependable, and I’m quite sure there isn’t much he wouldn’t do for me. I didn’t have the easiest childhood, but all that shit doesn’t matter as long as I have Fletcher in my corner.
At times it was only too easy to imagine what my life would be like if I opened up to him. I could easily pucker up right here and now and give him a fighting chance. I could picture us getting married, having the perfect wedding, then run off into the sunset like we had discussed our mates as kids. We’d tour the country, staying close to forests when the full moon came, while taking off to tropic isles throughout the month. Eventually, we would 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 hearing. The only problem is he is not my mate.
I quickly grab 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 I would do. We’ve played this little game often enough. He really should see it coming by now. He knows how I feel about finding my mate, and I know his feelings for me. Though somehow, we’ve always made our friendship work.
“God damn it, Brae, I think you might have broken it this time,” he roars, shaking his hand back and forth.
“Oh, don’t be such a baby. You know it’ll heal soon enough,” I roll my eyes and cross my arms over my chest as he babies his wound on the floor.
Sydney, who I have forgotten is still here, holds her abdomen, laughing like a hyena. She slips off the chair she’s sitting in, nearly falling to the ground. I chuckle along with her watching a big bad wolf-like Fletcher brought down by the likes of little ole me even if it isn’t exactly a fair fight. I have Alpha blood running through my veins, and Fletcher isn’t exactly known to be a fighter.
“Shut up, Sydney your just mad that I wasn’t trying to kiss you,” Fletcher growls, cradling his delicate pinky.
Sydney clamps her lips together and turns toward a pack of guys slurping down beers at the bar. As much as she had tried to hide it, we all know about the crush she has on Fletcher. A lot of us wonder if it 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, getting down on his level as if he were a small child. I bring his hand to my lips, leaving a little peck on his bruised ego. I drop it over his knee, giving him a small pat and cocky smirk.
“There you go, buddy, all better,” I ruffle up his hair before returning to my seat and pretending nothing ever happened.
“One of these days, you’re going to want me to kiss you, and by then, it may be too late,” he murmurs, climbing up from the ground, and wiping off his ass. No matter how much progress our friendship makes, it always comes back to this: him chasing me and me trying to point him in other directions.
“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,”
“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 tell us to get us to wait to have sex and nothing more. The sooner you pull your head out of the clouds and realize that the better off you’ll be,”
It’s the same argument we’ve had on repeat since we turned eighteen. We both had our hopes about who our mate could be. We talked about it for hours as children. But when the day came there was nothing. No sparks, no warmth, no mates. For me, it was simple enough to wait for the real thing, but as for Fletcher, he had other plans in mind. Dreams that I couldn’t possibly agree with, doing so would only cheat myself out of fate.
This is about much more than finding someone who would always be there for me. This is about finding the one person who is 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 the one are very slim. In fact, I only know of a handful of people who have actually seen their mates. The rest of the pack partnered off and settled for less. But that isn’t me. I’m patient enough to wait.
Sure, Fletcher could be right, and I very well could end up old and lonely. Forever waiting for a man to come, that would never find his way to me. But how could I possibly give into temptation this early in my life? What would happen if I did marry Fletcher and my mate finally decided to show his face? Could I seriously turn away from my destiny for a second-rate love?
“Come on, Fletch, you’re ruining the mood. Can’t we just talk about this later?” he runs a hand through his wild hair looking off into the distance.
“Yeah, that’s what you always say,” He takes a step towards me, looking deeply into my eyes, pinning me to the spot. I know what he’s looking for, that little spark, the first sign of finding your mate. He’s always so hopeful, checking to see if things had changed. Only, I knew that’s never going to happen. As amazing as Fletcher is, he isn’t the one destined for me.
We’ve been through so much together and grown to love each other in a way I thought I could accept. But the more we have this same fight, the more I fear we may be outgrowing each other. If he can’t understand and respect my hopes and dreams, how could we still be friends?
“Okay, mister grumpy puss, let’s discuss this now, and I can reject you in front of all these people. Or you could suck down that beer you’ve been puppy guarding and take a look at those young hot things in the corner over there. They’ve been sipping margaritas way too quickly, and I’m pretty sure one of them would love to bring you home,”
He looks at me then toward the group of girls as if there was a decision to be made. It isn’t the first time I’ve thrown him at other girls, and it won’t be the last either. One of these times, he is bound to like one of them enough to keep them around. After all, it’s the only chance I have at keeping him in my life. Otherwise, our friendship has an expiration date, and I’m not too fond of the thought of losing him.
“Go on already. Look, that cute little blond one is checking you out,”
With bright eyes and flaring nostrils, he stalks towards me, looking deeply into my eyes once more. He reaches around me without breaking eye contact, snatching his beer off the table and chugging it. He’s nothing but a child in a man’s body, sulking about his withheld dessert. He slams the empty bottle on the table. He turns on his heel and heads for the group of ladies in the back, placing his hands on the skinny blonde’s hips. After a moment, he peeks over his shoulder to check on me. As if it was supposed to make me jealous. I told him to do it for fuck sakes.
“Damn, Braelynn, you could throw him a bone for once,” Sydney says, nudging my shin with her shoe.
“Syd, shut up and drink your beer. I know what I’m doing,”
I’ve grown tired of all these people who think they know what’s best for me. I know what I want, and that’s my mate. If one day, it turned out that Fletcher truly is my mate, I’d run happily into his welcome arms. But that day hasn’t come, and I’m pretty confident it never would either. My mate was coming for me, I’m sure of it.