"Hailey," A voice croons softly, disturbing my sleep.
I groan inwardly as I bury my deeper into my pillow. I don't want to get up, my bed is too comfortable and gets lonely without me.
I can't leave it to be lonely, can I? I'm not heartless.
A warm hand presses gently onto my shoulder and shakes me gently.
"Come on, Hailey." I peek through my eyelashes to see Jake getting ready to poke me between my eyes.
I flip quickly whack him with my pillow, laughing at his stunned expression. He narrows his eyes at me and I roll out of my bed quickly.
Jake tilts his head to the side with a smirk playing on his lips. Slowly he stalks towards me.
What have I done?
He has wolf speed and strength. I just have some of the senses but haven't actually shifted.
Wait, no. I did shift, didn't I?
I shake my head and back away from Jake. Right as I'm about to apologize he stops and smiles softly. Something in his calm expression has my fear spiking.
"Jake..." I say in a warning tone, but he just smirks before moving towards the door.
"Mom and Sam made breakfast for your birthday, Everyone's waiting so hurry up." He closes the door behind him, leaving me with a confused expression.
My birthday? No that can't be right. It's not my birthday.
I try to think of what Jake is playing at. Why was he so calm?
Mom and Sam made breakfast. That's what he said. Mom always makes bacon on our birthdays. Jake is going to wat my bacon.
But it's not my birthday.
I run from my room quickly. not caring that I'm on in a pair of shorts and a tank top.
I swear if Jake eats my bacon I will make sure when he meets his mate, she will see all the pictures of our princess tea parties.
Mate? My heart thumps painfully at the thought but I can't figure out why.
"Happy Birthday!" I jump at the sudden cheering as I round the corner into the kitchen.
My mom is the first to hug me tightly, whispering about how she can't believe I'm eighteen over and over.
Confusion sweeps over me as I look to my dad, pleading with him to help me.
"Happy Birthday, Princess." he kisses my forehead and pulls my mom into his arms.
I start towards the open stool by Jake when the most amazing smell hits my nose. It's like oranges and old spice mixed together and it's calling to me.
I stop in my tracks, my nose in the air like a wolf as I try to find the source.
Sam and my mom both wear excited faces as they watch me search for where the smell is coming from. They practically are bouncing on their feet but I don't pay them any mind.
Something in me is screaming to stop. To not follow the smell, but a larger part is demanding that I find it.
"Eat all the bacon, Jake, and I will kick you where the sun doesn't shine," his chuckles echo after me as I leave the kitchen.
No, Hailey. Stop.
But I can't stop. I feel like the Looney Toons skunk that floats after the perfume of his girlfriend in a daze.
The smell carrying me through the house and I'm hardly aware that I'm even moving.
The door at the end of the hallway is open a little and I slow my steps as I approach.
My heart beat increases as the voice yells at me to turn around, but the smell fogs my brain.
"Happy Birthday, Beautiful." his voice, like rich velvet, sends a shiver up my spine and goosebumps to my arms.
"Cade," my own voice is barely above a whisper as I take in the sight of Cade dressed in jeans and a tight fitted black v-neck with red flannel unbutton over it.
My mind is in overdrive and I feel like crying. Is this what he felt on his birthday? The urge to kiss and mark him is overwhelming, how has he resisted for a month?
Something isn't right.
"Hailey, you're everything that I wished for in a mate and even things I forgot to wish for. You're my best friend and my soul mate. I have loved you for so long and it felt like this moment would never come." He walks slowly over to me and my heart speeds up with each step.
His smile takes what little breath I had away. How can he have so much power over me?
How can anyone be this handsome?
He cups my face in his hands as his eyes search mine. I can feel the tears in my eyes as my mind tries to put the pieces together.
Why does this feel so right and so wrong at the same time?
"Your reaction was well worth the wait." he leans forward and gently captures my lips with his.
The world around us shattered and nothing else existed except Cade and me.
My body molded to his as our kiss deepens. My arms grasp the back of his neck and even though there is no more space between, I try to pull him closer.
He smiles as we pull apart, his thumbs wiping away my tears as they fall.
"Don't cry, love," his warm lips press against my forehead before he takes a step back, out of my reach.
I whimper at the sudden loss of contact. Why would he step away when all I want is for him to kiss me again?
"I'll love you forever, Hailey," he whispers, the words echoing in the void around us.
All the little red flags that I ignored come back to my mind, demanding that I acknowledge what I tried to hide from.
"Cade," I whimper as I reach my hand out towards him, hoping he'll take it.
"All I want is for you to be happy," his voice floats in the air as he disappears into the darkness that is surrounding me.
I try to scream for him to come back, but I'm being held prisoner by the darkness.
Reality crashes around me and I sit up quickly, taking in my bedroom with watery eyes.
A sob breaks free as my mom sits carefully next to me with a heartbroken expression.
"Shh, babycakes. It'll be okay," she strokes my hair softly as she fights her own tears.
How can my mom promise that? Cade is still gone and some other wolf is calling me his!
I felt the sparks and even know I can smell his scent nearby. How did I miss the smell?
No, nothing is going to be okay.
My mom says nothing more as she hugs me tightly while I sob in her arms.