Chapter One - Oh Happy Day
Five Years Ago
I woke up with a dullness overcoming my senses. Wasn’t a birthday supposed to be that one main day of the year that you’re meant to get excited about? Well, today was mine but I was lacking the excitement. Perhaps it was because of my bruised body, or perhaps because of the weight that was coming with reaching my thirteenth birthday.
Listen to me!
I’m turning thirteen and the first thing I do is talk about burdens like I’m some old woman, but then again, I’m wise beyond my years, or at least that’s what my grandmother and English teacher, Mr Burner, say.
I don’t exactly fall under the category ‘normal’.
After stretching my aching body, I made my way to the window, only to be faced with gray skies and pouring rain - absolutely wonderful if you ask me. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I genuinely tend to look at things positively, although anyone in my shoes would probably have committed suicide rather than live the crappy life I do.
I jumped into the shower and let the water work its miracle on my body. I swirled it around my fingertips before igniting a small fire. The collision of water and fire quickly produced steam and I giggled to myself.
I was in heaven.
You see, only my grandparents know about my elemental abilities. I’ve had them since I turned eight, and they made me swear never to tell anyone. To this day, I don’t know why, especially since it would do my life a huge favor if I could show people what I can do. I still don’t know where my abilities come from though.
I stepped out of the shower and headed to my closet. Being as exciting as I am can only mean that I have a matching closet, which you should’ve guessed by now is absolutely terrible. I threw on a bland dress with even blander shoes.
The only thing I love about myself is my blonde hair. It’s a gorgeous bottle-blonde all over, making most girls envy it. Other than that, I’m beyond average. With my baby fat, you can bet that I’m the center of bullying, which is strange since I’m the Alpha’s daughter.
You read correctly.
I, Juniper Lee-Ann Evigan, am the only daughter of Alpha Dayton and Luna Gail Evigan. My parents are seriously powerful and they’re known worldwide. Our pack, the Litmus Pack, is the second largest and strongest in the US after the Vistas Moon Pack. Their pack has about a thousand wolves, while ours has about eight hundred. My parents pride themselves on their positions and fame, but unfortunately, I’m their biggest disappointment.
As a werewolf, those with Alpha blood shift at the age of thirteen, and regular wolves at the age of sixteen. When you first shift, you are able to scent out your mate, or at least you’re supposed to if they’re close.
If they’re not, then fate will intervene and make sure you somehow meet in any case. Anyway, although you only shift then, you’re still born with the enhanced senses and abilities, and, regrettably, I either wasn’t born with them, or they haven’t kicked in yet.
As it is my thirteenth birthday today, it is also the last chance my body and my wolf, if you may, have the chance to prove themselves. I’m already treated as the scum of the pack, so this is my last chance.
My father has had me training severely for the past three months, but he’s still pissed off at me. I heal at a human rate, which means they can’t break my bones and such, which also means I can’t train to ‘my full potential’. The whole pack looks down on me as a pariah, and after thirteen years, I can only hope that today finally goes my way.
I made my way downstairs, hoping that someone would at least be happy that it’s the Alpha’s daughter’s birthday, but apparently my birthday wishes were missed as not a single person was around. I frowned to myself as I made myself a bowl of cereal. Maybe they’re planning a surprise party for me?
Yes, they were most likely doing that.
Happily eating my cereal, I jumped when I heard a gunshot outside. I quickly got up and went to check it out when I found the whole pack outside, staring at something in horror. I wormed my way through until my parents came into view. On the ground lay my dead grandfather. I gasped, making everyone turn to me.
“You’re awake,” my father spat.
“What happened?” I asked, my voice as small as my body.
He glared at me. “Your grandfather thought it would be wise to defend you today. No one disrespects me! You will fight, and you will turn. If you do not, I swear I will disown you. You’re already a disgrace of a daughter.”
If there’s one thing I know about my parents, it’s that they never wanted me. My father told me that they’d both wanted a son. When they found out they were having a daughter, they asked the pack doctor to kill me, but he stressed that it would be fatal to my mother, so they kept me. They hoped that I would at least be a worthy daughter, but as you can see, that wasn’t the case.
“I’m not ready,” I whispered.
Gasps filled the clearing before the murmuring took off. They were all saying how brave and disrespectful I was (a weird combo, by the way). These people were dramatic if you ask me. I didn’t expect the slap that flew across my cheek.
“You will listen to your father, you useless little thing. You are going to fight with Jacob, and you had better win!” my mother said icily. Tears were stinging in my eyes as I managed a nod.
Jacob Fallon is the boy that everyone loves. He’s got Alpha blood in him since his parents were Alphas, but his entire pack got wiped out by the Vistas Moon Pack, leaving him as an orphan. If it were up to my father, the boy would take my place, but I would have to lose to him for that to happen.
Everyone became excited as Jacob stepped up to the open space. He was in shorts, and, for a thirteen-year-old, he was pretty toned. He sent me an intimidating smirk and I won’t lie and say I wasn’t afraid.
Without warning, he shifted into his black wolf, effectively ripping his shorts to shreds. He’s not as big as an Alpha yet, but he’s still big. He was snarling and began to come towards me as I became numb with fear.
You know, sometimes you can’t help but think that there’s something wrong with the human population. I mean, I get that werewolves are only half human, but still, who enjoys watching someone else’s demise?
Jacob circled me, growling and daring me to do something. I could only stand there and pray that nothing happens to me. It was going great until my father broke the tension and shouted.
“ATTACK HER!” he roared. The earth shook from his Alpha command.
I closed my eyes and awaited the pain I was sure was coming.
I woke up startled, my heart rate shooting through the roof. I was soaked in sweat; evidence of my unpleasant night and morning since it was now afternoon. Noticing where my hand had landed, I winced at the nightmare and memory.
Today is my eighteenth birthday, and, quite frankly, I’m not looking forward to it.
“It’s a different day for us today,” my wolf, Starlet, said.
“How is it a different day, Star? Are you actually coming out? Are we going to meet our mate?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, June. It just feels different,” she replied before shutting me out.
I sighed, reluctantly getting out of bed. I went on with my morning routine. Nothing has changed since I was thirteen, except the fact that I don’t have parents anymore. I got dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, not really caring about how I looked.
When people already treat you like your existence is a waste of space, you get used to it and you don’t bother anymore. Once again, the only thing I bothered with was my hair as I curled it into delicate and wispy curls.
I got downstairs to find the kitchen clock mocking me, showing me just how much of a sloth I was, as it indicated the time - 14:46. Well then, there goes more than half my day. The smell of chocolate pancakes wrapped itself around me and I smiled to myself.
My grandmother has to be the most incredible person in my life. She took me in when I had no one left. Her son hates her for that, since she’s defying him, but after killing my grandfather, my grandmother couldn’t care less about what my father has to say. He just doesn’t have the heart to kill her for that.
She beamed when she saw me. “My baby girl is awake!”
“Nana, I’m not a baby anymore,” I giggled.
She wiggled her eyebrows. “Of course! My eighteen-year-old princess; look at you!”
I shook my head. “There’s something wrong with you.”
“No, honey. For as long as your father lives, I stand to be classified as normal,” she scoffed.
“Aha, nice one,” I said as I high-fived her.
“Sit. I want you to eat your favorite pancakes in the entire world,” she said proudly.
I narrowed my eyes at her. “What are you up to, old lady?”
She was being unusually chirpy.
She rolled her eyes. “Pfft, what makes you think I’m up to anything?”
I crossed my arms. “You’re bribing me, so out with it!”
“Okay, fine. My feet hurt and I need a package from Tabatha. I need you to fetch it for me,” she said sweetly, adding an innocent smile for effect.
I knew it.
I frowned, taking a bite of the chocolatey goodness. “Wait, isn’t Tabatha the one with a grandson who went to Europe?”
“She is. His name is Royce and he’s a nice young fella. I think he’s three years older than you. He came back two days ago, now that you mention it. You’ll be able to go and see him now,” she said suggestively.
“Uh, no! I’m going to fetch your package, and then I’m coming straight back here,” I told her.
You see, ever since my parents kicked me out of their house, I’ve lived at my grandmother’s. I’m pale from the lack of sunlight and I haven’t been outside in five years. As it is, my grandmother is going to have to write down the directions to Tabatha’s house.
I’ve managed to stay away from people for so long and I intend to keep it that way.
“Oh child, how I wish you could step outside and just see the world,” she sighed.
I smiled sadly. “The world wants nothing to do with me, remember?”
“You’d be surprised,” she said with a wink.
She left the kitchen before I had a chance to say anything else, leaving me to stew with my thoughts. Honestly, it’s not like I haven’t thought about going outside. I would love nothing more. I’ve seen how things have evolved in the past five years alone on TV and it’s incredible.
I would love to travel the world and see all the amazing places. I honestly enjoy life and I would love nothing more than to live it to the fullest, but that’s a mighty stretch for someone like me. Hell, I’m nervous about going to simple old Tabatha’s house.
My grandmother came back with her directions and I took them from her. I put on my sneakers and hoodie and left the house. The sun was hidden behind storm clouds, which was another thing that was strange about my birthday.
My birthday is in summer, but it storms every year on this particular day. My grandmother believes it’s got to do with my emotions, which I don’t understand since I’m never, or have never been upset enough to cause a storm.
I started my walk towards Tabatha’s house, earning strange looks from everyone I passed. While I didn’t shift when I was thirteen, I did gain Starlet and my abilities, so I could hear the people around me asking themselves who I was. I wasn’t shocked to learn that they genuinely couldn’t figure it out. I may look like my mother, but I’ve been gone for so long that I’d be surprised if they did remember me.
I turned into the street and was faced by a whole group of teens my age. They just so happened to be standing outside the house next to the one I was headed to, meaning I would have to pass by them to get there. I tugged my hoodie on tighter; making sure it was covering me.
“Who are you, freak?” one of the guys said.
And here I thought I was inconspicuous.
“I just want to get through,” I said lowly, still not looking up.
“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you look at us?” a girl sneered.
I just kept my head down, until it was violently pushed upwards. When I met those familiar blue eyes, I was sure I would pass out from disbelief. He dropped his hand as quickly as it had touched me, disbelief in his own eyes.
“Let her pass!” he said with authority, or was that the Alpha tone? I’ve been away for so long, I don’t remember.
Besides that, it doesn’t affect me for some reason.
“Thank you,” I whispered before basically running to Tabatha’s house.
Being as unfit as I am, when the door opened to reveal a model, I was panting like a starved dog and completely out of breath. I didn’t miss the sexy guy in front of me though. He was looking at me with concern in his eyes. His arm shot out to catch me as I almost passed out right there and then.
“Whoa there! Let’s get you inside,” he said, carrying me in. He laid me on the couch and patiently waited for me to catch my breath.
I blushed once I was back to normal. “Thank you.”
He chuckled. “It’s a pleasure, although I’ve never seen a panting werewolf before, or at least not one panting from a short run.”
I shrugged. “Yeah well, there’s something wrong with me.”
“Care to elaborate?” he asked as he raised an eyebrow.
I shook my head. “Nope!”
“Okay! How can I help you then?” he asked.
“I’m here to fetch Selena’s package for my grandmother,” I replied.
“Ah yes! That means you’re Juniper, right?” he smiled as he got up.
“Yep, that’s me!” I smiled in return. I could suddenly hear Raven from That’s So Raven, saying the same thing.
“Well, here’s your grandmother’s package, but I will only give it to you on one condition,” he said with an evil glint in his eyes. The package was actually a small box, no bigger than a typical jewelry box.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “That is not what I was told, Royce.”
“Too bad,” he grinned.
I sighed. “Alright, let’s hear it.”
“If you come and have ice cream with me, you can have the package,” he bargained.
“No way! I don’t do public places. It’s my first time outside in five years and I’ve already experienced enough,” I refused.
He frowned. “It’s your first time outside in five years? Were you a prisoner or something?”
“Something like that, but the point is that I’m not going anywhere with you. All I was supposed to do was pick up this package and then go back home and enjoy my eighteenth birthday in the safety of my grandmother’s lounge!” I blurted out in one go, feeling rather breathless.
You know that moment when you’re talking and someone doesn’t only listen to what you’re saying, but they genuinely seem interested and fascinated by what you’re saying? That’s how I felt in this very moment as Royce intently took me in. He seemed to be analyzing my string of rambles before a bright smile overtook his features.
“It’s your eighteenth birthday? Even better! Let’s go,” he said, rushing out the door.
It took me a few seconds to register the fact that he had the package in his hands, meaning I would have to run out after him. I found him waiting patiently by his flashy car as the kids in the street eyed him in awe.
When they saw me, they sneered, while the girls looked at me with slight envy. I realized then that I had my hoodie down, meaning they could clearly see my perfectly golden blonde hair.
Royce already had the passenger door of his car open for me. I narrowed my eyes at him and he just shrugged. I sighed, rather dramatically, might I add, before getting into the vehicle. That alone brought so much joy to Royce that a laugh from me was inevitable.
“We’re going to give you the best birthday ever, despite this weather,” he said, looking up through his windshield.
I smiled. “It’s always like this on my birthday.”
“Seriously? That must suck for you,” he said compassionately.
“You make it sound like I just told you that I lose a puppy every year on my birthday,” I told him, giggling a little.
“Well, bad weather on your birthday amounts to such sadness,” he argued.
“Who said I’m sad about the weather? I absolutely love it!” I squealed, making him laugh at my surprise outburst.
“Are you sure? I wasn’t able to tell,” he teased.
I smacked his arm. “Hey! It’s a good day, okay?”
“I’ll take your word for it,” he said, laughing at me.
“So? Are we actually going to move?” I asked when I realized that we were still stationary.
He wiggled his eyebrows. “Oh? So you do want to go out then?”
I rolled my eyes at him. “Just start the car and move, Royce.”
“Whatever the lady wants,” he mocked. I stuck my tongue out at him.
“So, I see you’re quite the quintessential idol here,” I commented as we made our way to our destination. There was a lot of attention on his car, making me wonder just who I was with.
“You really don’t know who I am?” he asked in surprise.
“Nope! First time outside in five years remember?” I reminded him.
He frowned. “You were actually serious? Where have you been this whole time?”
It was my turn to play his card. “You really don’t know who I am, do you?”
“Nope! All I know is that your name is Juniper,” he said before biting his lip.
“How many Junipers do you happen to know?” I asked curiously.
My name isn’t as common as, let’s say, Britney.
“Uhm, one! She was this girl from this pack; the Alpha’s daughter. She didn’t shift when she turned thirteen and no one has heard from her since,” he explained, still not catching on.
“Uh-huh, and how long ago was that? How old would she be today?” I hinted.
“Well, since it was her thirteenth birthday then, she would be turning about eighteen today...” he said, drawing out the last part slowly as it finally dawned on him.
“Juniper Lee-Ann Evigan. It’s nice to meet you,” I declared. When I was met by silence, I was afraid he was about to reject my company.
“It was wrong,” he suddenly said.
“Huh?” was my lady-like response.
“What they did to you, it was wrong,” he said angrily.
I smiled inconspicuously to try and calm him down. “Hey, I’m still alive aren’t I?”
“I know, but for them to reject you like that? Now I understand why you haven’t come out. I promise we’ll just get you ice cream and be gone so that no one hassles you,” he said sternly.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
His reaction honestly surprised me. I haven’t had anyone else care about me since my grandfather. My grandmother has been the only other person to care, so Royce’s compassion struck an unexpected nerve. I thought I was void of all emotions, but I guess not. At my surprise, the weather turned worse. There was thunder echoing through the sky even though the rain hadn’t started pouring down yet.
“If this was a weird world, I would think that this weather has something to do with your mood with how quickly it changed. Are you upset?” Royce asked, bringing me out of thought. His words had my heart thumping and I was sure he could hear it.
He couldn’t possibly have connected the dots, right?
“I don’t know what you mean,” I laughed nervously.
“Come on, June, I know you do. The weather is like this every year on your birthday. I mean it’s strange that right in the middle of the hottest summer days your birthday has a storm and then the season continues like nothing happened,” he observed.
I couldn’t say anything to that.
At my silence, he continued. “I’ve heard them say that it’s the curse of keeping you around on the pack lands.”
“Do you believe them?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“We wouldn’t be in the same car if I did,” he replied with a warm smile. I immediately felt at ease, but something else took over my mind.
“Show him,” Starlet suddenly spoke up.
“The elements?” I asked her, unsure.
“Yes! I can feel something good about him. He’s going to play a great role in our life,” she explained. I decided to trust her.
“Hey, Royce?” I prompted.
“Hmm?” he replied.
“Can you find us a spot where no one is going to see us?” I asked him.
“You want to have your wicked way with me?” he teased.
“Something like that,” I said, rolling my eyes.
He chuckled. “Alright! I’ll let you ride the Royce train just this once.”
I shook my head with a smile. “There’s something wrong with you.”
Funny, I never thought I would get the opportunity to say that to anyone else but my grandmother and my reflection.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
Don’t even think about judging me...
He took a dirt road that I was sure would lead us to a clichéd waterfall, lake or cave; somewhere soppy like I’ve read about in novels. What I didn’t expect was a house, and not just a house, but a mansion. Huh! I guess even clichés are overrated these days.
“Is this like the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel?” I joked.
He smirked. “Well, why don’t you come in and see?”
“He said, creepily,” I commented, making him laugh.
After opening the door for me, I walked in and gasped at how beautiful the place was. Stone marbled floors gleamed in the sunlight and I found the golden stairway facing me to be the most attractive thing that had ever caught my attention. The intricate design that simply swirled up the barricades was too magnificent for words.
“Where are we?” I managed to whisper in awe.
“This is my place,” he responded, pride dripping in his tone.
I scowled. “Just who are you?”
“Royce Fallon,” he replied.
“Fallon...” I trailed off, wide-eyed.
“Yep! According to this pack, I’m their future Alpha,” he scoffed.
“Wait! I thought Jacob was an orphan,” I said confusedly.
“They thought he was. When our pack was attacked, I wasn’t home. I’d gone to visit an old acquaintance, and when I came back, my home had been ravaged. I looked through the dead bodies and found my parents, but not my little brother. I looked everywhere before it dawned on me that he may have actually escaped. I called in a favor and found out that my little brother was being showered with attention in another pack. I got here on the day of your birthday and witnessed what happened to you. I never saw you again, as much as I wanted to. Your father met with me and realized that I have more potential than Jacob, especially since I was originally meant to be the Alpha of my pack, so he instated me over Jacob. Needless to say, my brother and I are not on speaking terms and these people actually think I want to be their Alpha,” he finished off with a disgusted face.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
He smiled at my reaction. “Really? After all that, that’s your response?”
“I’m sorry, but you are so mean! These poor people are so deluded, it’s not even funny,” I sighed, wiping away my tears. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.
He shrugged. “After seeing how they treated you, I want nothing to do with them.”
“So, why are you their Alpha to-be?” I questioned.
“Your mother had me instated in my sleep because I refused to do it while I was awake,” he said, looking genuinely confused.
This just caused me to double over in laughter.
“I always knew there was something wrong with that lady,” I said breathlessly.
“You’re her carbon copy though. The only difference between you two is that she’s taller and has a nasty personality,” he said thoughtfully.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I look nothing like that woman. As much as I hate her, she’s absolutely gorgeous. Many women envy her, and I’m nothing like that,” I admitted.
“You’ve been hidden for five years June. You clearly don’t realize just how perfectly you turned out,” he countered, making me blush.
“You don’t have to lie to me, Royce. I’ll still be your friend,” I shamefacedly stated. He just shook his head at me.
“So? What is it that you needed to be in a secluded area for?” he asked.
“Oh yeah! Uhm, do you have a room that you don’t mind dirtying, or preferably a backyard?” I asked.
He looked skeptical. “I’m worried.”
I laughed. “It’s nothing bad, I promise.”
“Hmm, okay! Let’s go to the backyard,” he said, still sounding very unsure.
We moved off to the back of the house and it was vast. There’s a pool big enough for the Olympics, an entertainment room, a bonfire pit and a clearing. The clearing leads off into the forest. This must be great for him every time he shifts and goes for a run.
“Okay, show me or whatever,” he said excitedly.
“Just a minute ago you were skeptical,” I said, raising an eyebrow at his excitement.
“Until I realized you can’t harm me,” he said confidently. I slapped him with a gush of wind, leaving him breathless.
“Did you feel that? This storm is becoming violent,” he complained, rubbing his cheek.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, maintaining a straight face.
“That gush of wind!” he exclaimed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said innocently before hitting him again.
“THERE IT IS AGAIN!” he shouted, making me laugh so hard that sound wasn’t even coming out of my mouth anymore.
“Wait, that was you wasn’t it?” he groaned at his own stupidity.
“Well done,” I giggled with the tears still in my eyes from laughing so hard.
“Oh man, that is so cool!” he said enthusiastically.
“Royce, how old are you?” I asked curiously.
“Twenty-two,” he replied proudly.
I could only do so much to keep from laughing again. “And yet you’re as excited as a little boy?”
“Hey now! It’s not every day that a person meets someone who can manipulate the wind,” he defended.
“Not just the wind,” I said as I held out my palms. On the right was a flame and on the left was a blob of water. The ground had risen to form a ring around me.
“This is too cool,” he said in awe, reaching out to touch the flame.
“Wise people would reach out to touch the blob of water. I’m just saying,” I giggled.
“Yeah, but awesome people would rather touch the flame,” he argued.
Who could argue with such a valiantly brainless point?
“How long have you been able to do this?” he asked.
“Ten years to the day and you’re the third person to find out about it, so please don’t tell anyone. For some reason, my wolf and I trust you a lot, and that doesn’t happen easily for me,” I told him shyly.
His eyebrows shot to his hairline. “Your wolf? You got your wolf even though you didn’t shift?”
“Yeah! I gained my supernatural abilities and senses that I originally didn’t have, as well as my wolf, Starlet,” I smiled.
He beamed. “So they’re all wrong in their thinking? You are the Alpha-to-be of this pack.”
“Uh, no I’m not. One, I still haven’t shifted, and two, I wouldn’t be the Alpha of this pack if you promised me all the riches in the world. I want nothing to do with these people,” I confessed.
He chortled. “You and me both sister, you and me both.”
“So, why don’t you just hand over the pack to Jacob?” I asked curiously.
“Honestly, not even I would wish that kind of doom on anyone,” he sighed, fingers on the bridge of his nose.
“Gee, your brother must be something else if you won’t even leave these evil people in his capable hands,” I giggled.
“If only his hands were capable,” he joked.
“I see! Anyway, what now?” I asked.
He beamed. “Now, we go and get you that ice cream.”
Shaking my head, I followed him out back to the car. This time the car ride was filled with music. I learned that Royce loves all kinds of music, if the eight genres in his disc changer were any indication. I heard some popular songs, as well as some music I didn’t even know existed.
It’s safe to say that Royce Fallon is an odd twenty two year old.
We got to the mall, and again all eyes were on his car. When he held out his hand for me to take, murmurs erupted like a volcano as I stepped out of the car. The familiar questions wafted through my ears, but the one that surprised me was, ‘Is she our future Luna?’
I’m pretty sure that Royce and I aren’t mates. In fact, I can’t have a mate, or at least my grandparents told me so. They said they were told by a greater power that I don’t have a mate, so I believe them.
I wonder if he does, or did. Who knows? Oh I know - he does! I guess I would ask him about it. I wasn’t paying attention as I blindly followed him with his hand wrapped around mine, pulling me along. You can imagine my confusion when we landed in a clothing store.
“I know I haven’t been outside for some time, but I’m pretty sure they don’t sell ice cream in clothing stores,” I pointed out.
He smirked. “How sure are you?”
“They do?” I asked, horrified at the discovery.
“Nope, but your reaction was totally worth it,” he said, laughing at my expense.
I glared at him. “Oh, I hate you.”
“You wish you did,” he sassed.
What have I got myself into?
“What are we doing here?” I sighed.
He nonchalantly shrugged. “We’re getting you a birthday outfit.”
I raised an eyebrow. “A what now?”
Before he could reply, one of the store attendants approached us. She’s absolutely gorgeous. She’s got long brown hair that reaches halfway down her back in vibrant curls. Her eyes are a combination of hazel and green. She was wearing a black pencil skirt and a pretty white shirt. Her lips are nice and pink and she’s got flawless skin.
She’s just stunning.
“Alpha Fallon,” she bowed.
“I’m not Alpha yet,” Royce grumbled, making me giggle. There was something in his eyes as he looked at her though. I knew she wasn’t his mate, but it almost looked like it.
“How may I help you?” she continued, ignoring his denial.
“It’s my friend’s birthday and she needs a birthday outfit that looks way better than what she’s wearing,” he informed. I scrunched up my nose at that.
“Certainly, Sir. What kind of look are you going for?” she asked as she turned to me.
I shrugged. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t be here.”
“We’re going with girly, please,” Royce stepped in.
I rolled my eyes. “Of course we are.”
“Certainly Sir,” she replied with a nod before walking away.
“Is this really necessary?” I whined.
“Yes! You’re too gorgeous to be hiding in these clothes,” he scolded.
“But I’m comfortable in these clothes,” I complained.
“So we’ll get you comfortable girly clothes,” he countered.
“You’re impossible,” I groused.
“And you’ll thank me later,” he said innocently as the saleslady returned with several dresses.
“Do you wish to try them all on, or do you just want to pick one from the selection?” she asked me.
“Uhm, I’ll just let Royce pick one,” I responded. Her eyes widened at my use of her dear Alpha’s name.
“We’ll take this one! Could you please finding matching shoes and jewelry for this?” Royce asked her. I don’t think he was aware of her stunned state.
“Certainly, Sir,” she nodded.
If she says that one more time, I’m going to slap her.
“Okay little lady! Here you go! Go and get changed,” he instructed, handing me the item of clothing that had apparently caught his eye.
Knowing better than to argue with this annoying man, I decided to just roll with it. I got into the changing room and stripped down to my lacy underwear. Surprisingly, my grandmother does my shopping for me, but when it comes to my underwear, you would never know she does, what with the lingerie she’s always buying me.
I slipped into the dress as it fit me to perfection. I guess that saleslady knows her job, since she didn’t exactly ask for my size. The dress is honestly beautiful. It’s got a champagne silk strapless undergarment that reaches just past mid-thigh. Overlaying the silk is a tan colored lace that is sleeveless.
Just below the bust area is a green belt. Heels matching the belt were pushed under the door and I stepped into them, surprisingly maintaining balance. Soon, a green bracelet with a matching necklace and earrings also made an appearance under the door.
When I looked up at the mirror, I gasped for two reasons.
One, I don’t remember the last time I looked or even felt this beautiful, and two, Royce wasn’t kidding. I am a carbon copy of my mother. I have everything she has, except for her ears and eyes. She’s got gray eyes. My hair made my whole look even girlier than I thought possible. I actually looked pretty enough for society.
“Are you okay in there?” Royce asked me.
Instead of answering him, I stepped out. The people who were in the store all stopped to look at me. Their faces held shock and wonder. I could practically see the confusion on their faces, but their facial expressions were nothing in comparison to Royce’s. He was absolutely speechless, with his eyes being his only giveaway, as they held a considerable amount of lust. I actually found myself blushing, even if he wasn’t my mate.
“So?” I whispered, knowing very well that the whole store could hear me.
“You’re absolutely radiant!” the saleslady said breathlessly.
Wow, I had an effect on her too?
“What she said,” Royce said absentmindedly.
“Thank you. Can I go change back now?” I teased.
“NO!” was the resounding response around the store. I laughed and that seemed to break everyone out of their trance.
“You look too beautiful for words, Lee,” Royce told me.
I raised an eyebrow. “Oh? We’re using halves of second names now?”
“Uh huh! It’s my special name for you!” he said, quite chuffed at that.
“Look at you owning it,” I teased.
“Well, duh!” he chuckled before the saleslady cleared her throat.
Seriously? Doesn’t she have a name tag?
“Would you like me to ring up the items for you?” she asked Royce, amusedly.
“Please! Oh, and may we have scissors to cut off the price tag?” he asked as he handed her his card. She bowed and walked off to the counter.
“You really do look stunning, Lee,” he smiled at me.
“Thank you, person whose second name I don’t know,” I hinted.
He chuckled. “Jay.”
I frowned. “Just like that? It doesn’t stand for anything?”
He shook his head. “Nope!”
“Awesome! I’m your Lee and you’re my Jay,” I smiled.
“I like that! You’re the little sister I never had,” he said affectionately.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how much relief washed through me from that one statement. I thought he might like me and I don’t feel the same so I was worried. I guess his lusty gazes are a response from his wolf, since it’s natural for unmated males to be easily turned on by unmated females.
I hugged him. “You are the brother I never had.”
I think I surprised us both with the move, but he kissed my forehead soon after, so I guess we’re on the same page.
“So, what now?” I asked when we pulled away.
“I have no clue,” he chuckled.
“You could take her for a manicure? She already has perfect hair and skin, so nothing needs to be done to it,” the saleslady suggested as she returned. She went behind me to cut off the price tag of the dress.
He seemed pretty much on board. “That’s a great idea!”
“Thank you for the compliment! What’s your name?” I asked her.
“My pleasure! My name is Faith,” she said with the first real smile we were seeing from her.
“I love it!” I replied.
She blushed slightly. “Thank you.”
“Are you done bonding?” Royce groaned.
I smacked him. “Have manners!”
“Did you just smack my hand like I’m a five-year-old?” he asked in disbelieving amusement.
I shrugged. “You’re acting like a five-year-old.”
“You guys are funny,” Faith giggled.
I fluttered my eyelashes at Royce. “Can Faith come with us, pretty please? She’s the first female to be nice to me and, since you want me to be normal, BFFs are mandatory in every female’s life.”
He raised an eyebrow at my antics. “Isn’t she working?”
Faith looked like she was struggling to keep in her laughter.
“Uh, aren’t you the Alpha-to-be who wants to give me, and I quote, ‘the best birthday ever?’ Hmm?” I played his words at him.
“This is called manipulation, just for the record,” he said, deadpan.
I shrugged. “You shouldn’t make statements like that and not expect me to take you seriously.”
“Alright fine! Faith, where’s your manager?” he sighed.
“That lady over there! The name’s Linden,” Faith replied, pointing to a lady who looked like she eats poor children for snacks.
“Call her over,” Royce said, unsure, probably thinking the same thing I was. Faith did as she was told and soon the lady approached looking flustered.
“Alpha Fallon, what an honor to have you here!” she exaggerated. I watched as Royce cringed at the title.
Choosing to ignore it, he continued. “Linden, I need to borrow Faith for the rest of the day.”
Again, I wasn’t sure if it was an Alpha command or not.
“Of course, Alpha! Anything you need.” Linden agreed quickly. Faith and I bit our lips to keep from laughing at how obedient she was being. She doesn’t look like someone who’s easily ordered around.
“Alright then, that’s settled. Let’s go,” he announced, leaving the store.
“Idiot doesn’t even wait for me to get my stuff,” I mumbled, making Faith laugh.
“Here you go! I’d already packed them into a bag for you,” she smiled.
I grinned. “Yep, you’re my BFF.”
She mock gasped. “And I don’t even know your name.”
“You mean you can’t see the resemblance I bear to anyone?” I challenged her as we walked out of the store. Her eyes widened in realization.
“No way! Juniper?” she whisper-yelled. I giggled as I nodded. Royce looked very bored waiting for us outside a salon.
“I thought you were dead!” Faith admitted.
I smiled weakly. “I know! It’s my first time out since that day.”
“No wonder you have such perfect pale skin,” she noted.
I frowned as we reached Royce. “You think it’s perfect?”
“Uh huh! Many would kill for it. I think it’s the one thing that sets you apart from your mom. Your skin is flawless, enhancing your purity. Everyone knows that her beauty is tainted by her cruel personality,” she explained. I was shocked.
I’d never heard anyone speak so boldly about my mother before.
“Don’t let her hear you,” Royce said before he winked.
Faith blushed. “Got it.”
“So, what are we doing now again?” I asked.
“Manicure,” the two replied as we entered the salon.
Immediately, all the attention turned to the Alpha male in the room as the women practically drooled over him. I guess no one could really blame them. He is quite the sight with his styled blonde hair and captivating blue-gray eyes.
He was wearing perfectly fitted jeans that hung low on his hips with a navy long-sleeved top that clung to him. While I wasn’t as entranced, I wouldn’t deny that he’s exceptionally good looking.
One of the beauticians stepped up, her cleavage threatening to disappear to give the world a full view of her melons.
Where is the self-respect these days?
“Uh…” Royce was speechless, and not from the melons.
Faith took over the reins. “We’re here for a manicure for this lovely lady.”
“Who are you?” the beautician asked.
“How’s that relevant?” I asked. She looked shocked that I was the one to reply.
“Just get it done,” Royce eventually instructed.
The whole salon came to life as I was made a top priority. They even did my toenails, keeping to a simple, yet classy, French manicure and pedicure. By the time I was done, I felt like a princess.
Apparently, Faith and Royce weren’t done with me as they took me to a cosmetics store. While I was being pampered, they decided that they were taking me clubbing, so I had to ‘look the part’. After Faith did my make-up and Royce bought me expensive perfume, I was good to go.
“You guys don’t look the part,” I teased them.
“Hmm, you’re right! Let’s go back to the store and get Faith and I something,” Royce replied.
“I was only teasing,” I groaned.
Faith smacked my hand, making Royce laugh. “Don’t groan! It’s very unladylike!”
“Geez, did you feel this belittled?” I asked him.
“Yep!” he chuckled as we re-entered the store.
“Alpha Fallon! Is there a problem?” Linden panicked upon seeing us.
“Not at all, Linden. Faith and I are just here to get outfits,” Royce informed her.
The woman beamed with unmistakable pride. “Oh! Well you can look for me if you need anything then.”
He nodded. “Thank you, Linden.”
Faith went on to choose outfits for them. For him, she chose dark jeans with a black button up shirt and black dress shoes. For herself, she chose a tight fitting green dress that went really well with her eyes, as well as a pair of matching heels.
After asking Royce for his permission, she got some jewelry too, since he was paying for everything. They got changed and I was impressed when they stepped out. Royce had that look in his eyes again as he drank Faith in. She blushed under his gaze and I suddenly felt like a third-wheeler.
“Ahem!” I interrupted their moment.
Faith turned to me. “So?”
“You both look stunning. I believe we are ready for the night!” I said excitedly. It was only quarter to seven.
“We have to have dinner first though. The clubs only open at ten, so we have three hours to play around with,” Royce suggested.
He paid for their clothes and they cut off their price tags before we headed to his car. A new arrangement had to be made. We followed Faith back to the pack house so that she could drop off her car before heading to the restaurant. While at the pack house, I had to duck so as to not be seen by any of the pack members. That would’ve not gone down well.
“What are we doing here?” Faith asked when we reached the restaurant.
Did she not want to be here?
“A buddy of mine owns this restaurant, and quite frankly, he’s a major flirt, so watch out for him. He’s my best friend and the Beta to be, but don’t tell him that,” Royce sighed.
“Eddy?” Faith giggled.
“You know him?” Royce asked with a hint of jealousy in his tone.
“Yeah I do. He’s my brother,” Faith smirked. I guess she picked it up too.
What the hell is going on between these two?
“Wait! You’re Fay? Eddy’s twin sister?” Royce asked in disbelief.
“Uh huh,” Faith laughed at him.
“Well I’ll be damned!” Royce chuckled as we walked in. We were immediately ambushed.
“Fay? Roy? What the hell?” a guy with brown hair and gray eyes said as he walked up to us. I’m guessing he’s Eddy.
“Now I know I’m tiny, but you can’t just pretend to not see me too,” I teased with a straight face.
Eddy blushed. “Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
Man, I’m good at this.
“June,” I offered.
“Eddy! It’s nice to meet you June,” he smiled.
“Same to you Eddy,” I said, returning the smile.
He turned to the two. “So, what are the two of you doing here?”
“I just found out that she’s your sister as we walked in. She’s been hanging out with June and I. We’re giving June the best birthday ever,” Royce explained.
“Ah, I see! Well, Fay, now you know my best buddy Roy,” Eddy smiled.
“Yes I do. He even bought me the outfit I’m wearing,” Faith giggled.
Eddy mock-glared at him. “Roy, bro, my little sister is off limits!”
Royce smirked. “Pssh! What are you going to do about it?”
“Damn you,” Eddy chuckled.
“Thought so,” Royce joined.
“So, are we like sitting at any point? I’ve never worn heels in my life and these things have to be the devil’s contraption,” I complained, making them laugh.
“Well, now that you’re an odd number, I think I’ll join you,” Eddy smiled, leading us to a table.
“Business looks good,” Royce commented.
“When people find out that you’re close to the Alpha-to-be, they tend to stick close,” Eddy joked.
“Ah, that’s what this is,” I laughed.
“So June, where are you from? You look really familiar, but I can’t pinpoint it,” Eddy asked curiously.
“Who do you think I look like?” I asked him.
“Luna Gail Evigan,” he replied.
“My name is Juniper Evigan, if that helps then,” I smiled. His eyes widened the same way Faith’s did.
“No way! I thought you were dead,” he said in shock.
I sighed melodramatically. “I was in hiding for five years. I was supposed to still be in hiding, but Royce apparently has other plans for me.”
“Hey! I’m giving you the best birthday so far,” Royce defended.
“Yes, you are,” I replied, pinching his cheek.
“Remind me why I adopted you again?” he asked, deadpan.
“Uh, look at me,” I said, as though the answer was the most obvious thing in the world.
“I’m looking, but I’m not getting it,” the stupid jerk taunted. The siblings were amused by our banter.
“Pssh, you know very well that you get it. You love me, Jay,” I smiled sweetly.
“That I do, Lee, that I do,” Royce chuckled.
“So, you guys aren’t mates right? How come you’re bonding and all? Roy doesn’t do people,” Eddy pointed out.
“She’s different. She’s like the little sister I’ve always wanted,” Royce responded.
I narrowed my eyes. “I’m getting the feeling that I’m the youngest here.”
“You are. The twins are twenty-one,” Royce laughed.
I pouted. “Well, that sucks.”
“Aaaaw, is somebody fweeling a wittle left out?” Royce tormented.
“Yes, yes I am!” I huffed, making them laugh.
Eddy shook his head with a smile. “You are definitely something. I don’t get why people think so lowly of you.”
“There are a lot of things that one will never understand about the world, and that, dear Eddy, is one of them,” I replied.
The rest of the dinner was spent eating free food from Eddy. Of course I tried out all the foods that my grandmother has never made. I was in palate heaven with the different flavors partying up a storm on my taste buds.
Honestly, food is just awesome!
Eddy had them bring out a giant chocolate cake with eighteen candles on it, and the whole restaurant participated in singing happy birthday to me, although I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have if they knew who I was. I was still being labeled ‘the Alpha’s mate’, much to my amusement. I mean, I’m not even intimate with Royce, and yet we’re ‘mates’.
“Right! Next stop is Silver,” Royce announced.
“Can we pass by my grandmother’s place first? I want to tell her where I’m going,” I requested.
Royce nodded. “Yeah, sure!”
We left the restaurant with Eddy leaving his car there. Since it’s his restaurant and he has a tenant living in the room above the building, he was sure that it would be safe for the night. We made it to my grandmother’s house and the lights were dark. My grandmother likes to sleep early. I went inside and found her sound asleep, although she woke up when she heard me.
“I send you out to fetch a package and you come back hours later dressed in clothing I’ve never seen before, and without my package,” she amusedly stated.
I pouted. “Ah hell! It’s back in Royce’s car. Can I get it to you in the morning when I come back?”
She was confused. “Royce? Morning? Come back? What’s going on?”
“Uhm, so I met Royce and we spent the day together. He’s adamant on giving me the best birthday ever, together with these twins Faith and Eddy. They’re taking me to a club, so I doubt I’ll be back anytime soon,” I explained.
“Hmm, I’m glad to see you’re finally living,” she beamed.
I knew she would react this way.
“Thanks Nana. Anyway, I was coming to check in with you. We’re going to a club called Silver, so I’ll see you in the morning with that package,” I informed.
“Alright, baby girl! Have fun will you?” she said before kissing my cheek.
I hugged her. “I promise! Thank you for everything and I love you.”
“It’s my pleasure to do what I can for my one and only grandchild. I love you too,” she smiled.
I went back to join the guys, making a mental note to remember Nana’s package on my way back. We set off to the club and got parked as soon as we arrived. I had my grandmother’s package in hand. I groaned at the sight of the long line, but it appears that riding with the Alpha-to-be has its major perks.
We went straight to the front of the line and Eddy and Royce greeted the bouncers before we were let in. I noticed that no one dared to argue or protest. Huh, I guess Royce really isn’t a people’s person if he’s that feared.
Eddy winked at me. “Welcome to the nightlife, little one!”
To me, the club atmosphere could only be described by using the words stuffy and confusing. By confusing, I’m referring to the lights that I was sure were converting my normal vision to cross-eyed. I was having a hard time seeing anything since my head was spinning. Royce chuckled seeing this and held my hand so that I wouldn’t fall on my rump.
“Two Gins, a Chocolate Martini and a Virgin Bloody Mary,” Eddy ordered at the bar while we went to sit down.
“Breathe,” Faith giggled at my state.
“How the hell do people party in a place like this? It’s nauseating!” I complained.
“It’s all about the thrill, Lee,” Royce chuckled.
“I’m sitting here the whole night!” I decided.
Faith frowned. “No you’re not!”
“Yes I am! I’m going nowhere near all those people,” I said as I shook my head vigorously.
“Oh yes you are,” Eddy smirked, coming towards us with our drinks. I took mine down and gulped it, suddenly feeling antsy.
“Whoa there! Although it’s not alcohol, you should still take it slow,” Royce chuckled.
“Something doesn’t feel right,” Starlet stirred.
So, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way then?
“I know, but what is it?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, but we need to find out, June. I don’t like this feeling,” she panicked. Without warning, I stood up and headed for the door.
“Lee, where are you going?” Royce asked, following me.
“Something’s not right! I’m coming back,” I replied.
“But where are you going?” he persisted.
I scowled. “I don’t know! Starlet will lead me there.”
“At least let me come with you,” he sighed.
“NO! I’ll be fine,” I bargained.
I felt like whatever it was, was calling to me alone.
“Are you sure? You’re not going too far, right?” he asked, worried.
“I don’t know, Jay! I’m going wherever Starlet leads me,” I said impatiently.
“Alright! If you’re not back here in fifteen minutes then I’m coming for you,” he warned.
“Got it!” I nodded. He looked me over one more time before heading back inside.
“Lead the way,” I told Starlet.
Something in me was stirring and not in a good way. It’s that kind of feeling you get when the teacher is handing back tests. It’s nerve-wracking and it’s like a swirl of bad emotions balled up into one, settling in your throat, chest and stomach; gradually suffocating you and weighing you down at the same time.
I’d been walking for a while until my grandmother’s house came into view. Fear shot through me like a bullet and I was suddenly numb as I clutched onto the package I didn’t realize I was still holding. I sniffed the air and I could smell different scents, making me tremble as I got closer to the house. I opened the door and the scents got stronger, together with the stench of blood. I flipped the light switch and my life froze.
My beloved grandmother lay dead, her blood pooling around her, but that’s not what made me freeze. No, it was the man and woman seated on the couch next to her body - the man and woman I’d once called mommy and daddy.
“So, this is where you’ve been this whole time, you little runt! You were supposed to be dead a long time ago,” my mother spoke icily. I was too shocked to move or say anything.
“Listen here, little girl, I told you five years ago that I don’t like being disrespected and your grandmother followed in her husband’s footsteps by protecting you this whole time, but now you have no one. So, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re either going to choose to stay here in a prison cell for the rest of your life, or you’re going to choose to be a rogue and we’re going to chase you off of our land once and for all. It’s up to you,” my father said, his voice devoid of any emotion.
The thunderstorms outside were loud and coming closer. I could only stare at them in utter disbelief. They couldn’t have cared less that I was their own flesh and blood, but then again, what did I expect? They killed my grandfather, and now my grandmother without so much so as a flinch.
My mind dawned on what my father had just told me. I could choose to stay here and be an outsider for the rest of my life in a prison cell, or I could become a rogue. Although the answer may seem obvious, it isn’t, since I have to consider things like the dangers of being a rogue, especially me being a rogue. I haven’t shifted yet, so I would be killed almost instantly in any case. On the other hand, I will die if I stay here anyway. My mind was made up and Starlet seemed to agree.
“I choose to be a rogue,” I said lowly. This seemed to satisfy them both as malicious grins took over their faces.
“Run,” they whispered concurrently.
Before I could comprehend anything, four huge wolves jumped out of nowhere and started growling at me. That was enough to get me to spring into action. Flinging the heels off of my feet, I took off as the wolves chased me. They obviously weren’t meant to kill me since I was running at human speed, so to them it was jogging. I guess their job was to make sure I get off the land.
The problem with my parent’s land is that it’s vast, so I was still running two hours later. By now, the storm had begun so the rain was pouring heavily, clouding my vision slightly. The wolves were still with me, making sure I was leaving. I was sure my feet would have blisters and cuts. In fact, I was pretty sure I could smell my own blood as I kept running.
I was so focused on running and actually getting the hell out of there that I didn’t notice that the wolves had stopped following me miles ago or that it had stopped raining. I didn’t even feel my bond to the pack severing. I stopped to take a breath, realizing that I had no idea where I was. The dark forest was unfamiliar to me and it felt like it had shadows lurking in it.
Sinking to the ground, I let myself fall apart. I had lost my grandmother - the only person who believed in me when I had no one. I lost my grandfather on this day five years ago, and now her too. My birthday will never be a happy one again.
I knew I’d just gained friends in Royce, Faith and Eddy, but they could never match up to my grandmother. She was my everything, and now I have nothing left except this package that I never got to deliver to her. I clutched it in my hands as I continued to cry.
I was brought out of my sobbing by sudden whooshing sounds. I sat up, looking around me to detect the source of the noises, but I was coming up short. For the second time that night, fear etched itself into my bones as the leaves before me began to rustle. I was wet and I was sure that I was certainly a mess. My heart was thundering against my chest as three men stepped out, looking very pissed off, might I add.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” one guy asked. I couldn’t see them all that well since my senses were being messed up by my emotions.
“A rogue? Nonetheless, a woman?” another of the guys said in interest.
“What are you doing here, bitch? Do you even know where you are?” the third guy asked.
“I don’t know!” I sobbed. I hated feeling so weak, but after everything that had happened to me, I had no strength left in me.
“Oh boohoo, she’s crying!” the second guy mocked.
“Ever heard of Alpha Mateo Santiago, little one?” the first guy asked. I could only nod.
“Well then, welcome to your worst nightmare, rogue!” the third guy chuckled.
“W…What?” I stuttered.
“Welcome to the Vistas Moon Pack!” they smirked, before my whole world fell into darkness.
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