Chapter 2: Off-White
I can recall years ago, exactly to the day I met him and we hit it off. He was outgoing and I was the typical shy girl finding her place in high school. For him, high school was a social experience where he made friends while he also learned. To him, I was the shy girl who some people knew and he wanted to know me, he wanted to make another friend. We become best friends, doing everything together from talking in the hall to having crazy experiences that we would laugh about for years to come. He was my muse. He broke the shell of the shy girl and devoted most of his time to me. But friends is all we ever could be. The night I turned seventeen and found that he was my mate, I was broken.
How do you tell your best friend that you love them more than a friend? It’s hard. It’s nerve racking...especially when you know they don’t have eyes for you in that way.
I stand in the hallway, the school busy as chatter is all around me. Countless stores from prom night still are talked about, some of the couple’s still together as they smile and laugh. One couple has caught my eye in particular, the couple that is breaking my heart and have no clue about it. What does Molly Moore have that I do not? She has my best friend and my one true mate, Augustus Brown.
I tear my eyes away as they walk down the hall, knowing that they will stop by me and have a small conversation. I know what will happen tonight for them. Augustus told me. He told me he was taking her to our favorite local restaurant. Grabbing the handle to my locker, I open it up and put a few books inside, wondering if I could just avoid them and leave for the day. Maybe I should. But if I cannot make it through this day then I cannot make it through the last two weeks of school. I have two weeks and then the summer begins. Once the summer is over, I plan on leaving and never looking back. I cannot live in a town where my mate is with someone else. Hell, I cried myself to sleep last night and prom night all because I cannot even reject my mate without him knowing I am not human.
I make my decision, heading for my next class and skipping the talk with Augustus and Molly. I have to get away from them at least. I cannot do that kind of torture and put on a happy face. Wearing masks will only hurt you at the end of the day more than you wish.
“You’re going to have to face him sometime,” I mutter to myself, passing Flynn and his future Beta, Cole, on the way to my first class. Even though Flynn’s date dumped him two nights ago, he’s already got a girl back by his side. She’s werewolf, from our pack, and in the drama club here. I recall her being a sweetheart, but Flynn seems to bring out the worst in all of these girls. “Just think of the two weeks remaining and you’ll be fine.”
I enter my math class, taking a seat in the middle as no one is even in here. It’s a ghost town and I have a good reason to be here, twenty minutes early. Molly is in this class as well, a straight A student with no teacher ever finding her a torture to teach. She’s someone you cannot hate. She’s someone, that although she has my mate, I could never hate her. Why? Because she has done nothing to me, hell, she only knows me as Augustus’ best friend and nothing more. To her I’m just someone to get along with because she is dating my best friend for all she knows. She’s with the man fate has paired me up with.
The minutes fly by and soon, after everyone has taken their seats, the room quiets down and a chair scratches across the floor. I already know who it is by their scent and the fact that we do this every Friday. “Run tomorrow morning before the sunrise? It will be fun,” Flynn asks, putting his backpack down as he takes his seat beside me. “We’ve missed you lately.”
I shrug. “Things have changed.” He nods, knowing what I am referring to, how I don’t like shifting that much. Every Tuesday morning a group of ten of us would meet up at four in the morning by the pack house and we run and watch the sunrise. The last time I took part in the event was four months ago. Four months ago when Augustus told me that he was in love with Molly.
“Your loss, Amory,” he mutters just as the whiteboard is filled with Calculus and we spend the next hour taking notes. Every now and then Flynn will write something on my paper and have a small conversation. It mostly consists of school topics or pack business. You might be thinking why the future Alpha and I girl like me have conversations for, after all, the majority of werewolves at this school question it as well. It’s as if there’s some unspoken rule that if the future Alpha associates himself with an individual of the opposite sex, that they must have some tie to them. What’s my tie to Flynn?
None. I simply joined his group of friends two years ago for early morning runs and we hit it off. I’ve seen him break up with countless girls, one in particular that caused him to knock on my window one night and just stay the night as he was heartbroken. She tossed him away the second she found someone else. She was a bitch and I agreed with him.
As the class ends and I leave the room as fast as possible, who awaits me the second I make it to the staircase causes my heart to skip a beat. Augustus stands there, hands in his pocket, his eyes upon me, and a smile on his face. “Amory!” I offer him a weak smile. “Where were you this morning?”
“I was late,” I lie, not even taking the time for a pause to occur between the two of us. He simply raises an eyebrow and watches me as I look over my shoulder. I want to go for a run, I want to feel the wind in my hair and my paws hitting the ground. My wolf doesn’t want to. She wants to be locked away. She’s still mourning the loss of a mate. We know we have lost him. “I’ve got to get to my next class.”
“You’ve never cared about being punctual,” Augustus comments, stepping forward as his scent envelops me and my body instantly becomes warm. “Are you okay? Is there something wrong? Did I do something?”
Yes. He did something. He did something without even having the knowledge to know that he did it.
“I’m fine, nothing wrong,” I say, my voice chirpy as I can hear Molly calling his name. “I’ll leave the two of you.” Stepping away, I scurry up the steps of the school, my legs feeling like jelly as I can hear them laughing down below. All I want is for Augustus to be by my side, for him to cuddle me, hold me, confess his feeling for me, and make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world day after day after day. But he cannot. He has someone else and he is in love with her.
“Amory!” I can hear him call out, the sound of his shoes against the pavement allowing me to know how far away he is. Simply, I take in a slow and deep breath, turning around to see Augusts chasing after me, worry in his eyes as my heart swells. At least I know that he cares for me, that he is drawn to me...but as a friend. As nothing more but a friend. It hurts me to realize. It hurts me to acknowledge. “You have some explaining to do. You’re acting like we’re in some fight.”
I see Molly follow quickly behind him, her slender legs covered by a simple pair of jeans, her flat chest covered by a pretty white blouse. She’s the girl that could wear a sun dress any day of the year and no one would question her, for they would not be able to take their eyes off her. She’s not hot, not sexy, but she’s beyond beautiful. She’s the classy beautiful that lets you know she holds herself to high standards, has self control, and cares deeply for everyone. She doesn’t get selfish. Augustus fell for her. He fell for the perfect girl, while his perfect match has been beside him for three years.
“Augustus, please, I’m tired right now and have a migraine,” I inform, Augustus coming to a halt as he stands before me. Molly follows quickly behind, offering me a gentle smile as my wolf growls within me. I haven’t heard from my wolf in hours. “I need to go.”
“What’s wrong, Amory?” Augustus asks. Pain fills my heart as I watch Molly take his hand, their fingers interlocking as all I can feel is pain. Pain. He causes me not only mental pain, but physical. Physical because I cannot reject him, because any moment I try and shift into my wolf, she digs herself deeper into a hole and I feel a pain within my chest.
Unlocking my car, I leave them alone, driving off as my vision blurs. The waterworks occur as I drive, my hands shaking as sobs escape my mouth. Not wanting to go home, I pull over onto the side of the road, right to the entrance of the private drive to the pack house. I used to spend tons of time at the pack house until a year ago when I realized I had found my mate. Now, it is a distant memory, yet a warm one, one when I didn’t feel pain every time I saw my mate. Back then I didn’t have to watch my mate fall in love with someone else.
There’s a knock on my car window. I jump, looking out to see a familiar face. Quickly I wipe away my tears, composing myself as I roll down the window and fake a smile. “Hey.”
“Get into the passenger’s seat, I’m taking you home, you’re in no state to drive,” he announces. Looking over my shoulder, I see his car parked behind mine, a girl looking pissed as she sits in there with no idea what to do.
“What about your date?” I ask. “I can drive myself back home.”
Flynn, shakes his head. “Get in the passenger seat, Amory, I’m driving you home,” he demands, his Alpha voice present as I know he’s serious. Sighing, I climb over to the passenger seat, watching as Flynn hops into my Prius, rolling his eyes at the music playing. Turning off the music, he puts the car in drive and pulls out back onto the street. I look back around, seeing his date driving his car, his most prized possession as his parents spend a shitload on it. “You’re in no state to be driving.”
“Thanks, dad,” I mutter, tone flooded with sarcasm as I look outside to see the trees pass by. “Thank you.”
Flynn nods, meeting my gaze as I know he cares. He wants me to get home safe. He’s doing what every Alpha should do: care for the pack members. Care for them even when they want to push the world away.