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Prologue

Rosemary - Eight Years Ago

The boy shifter in front of me shuffled on his feet nervously while he awaited my answer. In front of him was a piece of hot pink paper cut into a heart-like shape. His hands displayed the note for me to look.

My eyes dropped to the scribbles on the cover.

To: Rosemary

From: Sean

I like you a lot <3 <3

I returned my light russet eyes to his antsy face. Sean is a nice boy. A year older than me and has helped me carry my books home from school every day. Although I rarely talk to him on the way home, I often found him blabbering away. Talking about my hair, asking me about my day and how my mom doing—but that was just it. Sean was a nice boy.

I often wondered if I have any feelings at all. My mom often tells me that I am too cold for people’s liking. The way I stare at them seems to make them nervous, but that’s just how I look. If I can’t look at them when I talk to them, am I supposed to stare at my feet?

“Please accept this,” he offered it to me again shaking the damn paper in front of my face.

“Um, thank you,” I took the paper into my hands. He stood there on the sidewalk, looking at me. Waiting.

“Is there something else?” I asked.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” he sounded almost hurt.

I tucked a piece of my strawberry blonde hair behind my ear before opening the heart-shaped letter.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I think you are cute,

I hope you like me too.

A long silence passed between us. I folded the heart back in half before stuffing it into my jacket pocket. I opened my mouth to say something to him, but before I could he shoved something back in front of me. I blinked once. Twice. Then I looked back down at his hands.

In his hand was a miniature wolf carved from wood. He had painted it grey with markers. It actually looks cute.

“For you,” he replied.

“Um, thanks,” I grumbled before accepting his gift.

He smiled big, showing two big adult teeth. His dark grey eyes sparkling with happiness. A blush touching his cheeks. His auburn curls falling over his forehead as the wind blew past.

“I really do like you, Rose,” he announced, “do you like me too?”

This is where it gets awkward as I watched him watch me. There was a long quiet silence before I nodded once.

“Great!” he shouted and jumped on his feet, clapping his hands. What is he? Five?

“You are my official girlfriend,” he announced proudly.

Girlfriend? Oh no, this is not happening.

“Goodbye, Rose. I’ll see you tomorrow at school. My mom wants me home soon.” He waved his hand at me.

I watched him run down the sidewalk before hopping into a van. I turned and collided into a hard chest, falling flat onto my butt. My hair flew all over my face. Smoothing it back, I turned my face up to look at who it was. My book bag fell onto the sidewalk. His textbook that he was carrying in his hands falling onto the ground before me.

He crouched down to pick up his book, snapping it shut. He looked at me with piercing olive eyes. His face turning into a scowl.

Rolling my eyes, I turned to pick up my books and stuffing them into my backpack again. Judah is a long-time weirdo. He is always standing in some kind of corner, glaring at me. It got to the point where I can physically locate him without looking at him.

We rarely speak because he is of higher rank and we are not in any kind of social group together. He hangs around the popular people, which is the Alpha’s kid and Beta’s kid. He is always wearing dark clothing. His burnt umber locks were cut into a buzzcut that clearly reveals a natural high cheekbone and sharp jawline even with the little baby fat on him.

I finished stuffing my books back into my bag before getting up and turning to look at him.

“Watch where you are going,” he snarled.

There are a few things I would like to verbally say to him but I pushed them away. He is insignificant. Just another little brat who thinks he can step all over everyone. Rolling my eyes once again, I turned away.

He grabbed onto my wrist and turned me back to look at him. The fake pearl bracelet that my mom gave me was digging into the skin of my wrist. His lips were pinched thin and his eyes were threatening.

“Look at me when I am talking to you,” he ordered.

I did as he ordered. I looked at him straight in the eyes and for a moment his composure faltered. He blinked once before he blinked again and the look of surprise disappeared. I gave him an almost bored and indifferent look. It must have reflected in my eyes how unimportant I found him.

“Why won’t you talk? Cat got your tongue?”

No, I would just rather not talk to you.

“Jude!” Ace shouted from the other side of the sidewalk alongside Hunter who is the Alpha’s kid. They were both carrying a basketball and wearing backpacks.

Judah released my wrists. Annoyed with him, I sped away the second he lost interest in me. Running on my feet, I ran all the way home. Slamming the door closed, I ran up the steps to my bedroom. I can faintly hear my mother calling out my name but that didn’t stop me. Once I was inside, I closed my door. Tossed my bookbag onto the ground and opened my bedroom window.

On the pack territory, there are over a hundred houses surrounding the pack territories. We are all not together in one spot but spread out through the grounds. In the middle of the territory is the pack house, where several other pack members lived along with the Alpha’s family. I like living like this. We have our privacy from our leaders and can still experience the feeling of freedom through the woods.

A fresh woodsy pine smell flooded my room. I inhaled and stuck my head out the window like a dog enjoying a good breeze. Breathing in through my nose, I focused on not getting my temper up.

After a long while, I settled back on my bottom on the floor. The window still open above me. I cradled my legs in my arms. When my right hand grabbed my left wrist, I noticed that my pearl bracelet had fallen off.

Another thing to add to my crappy day. I lost my favorite bracelet and it was all due to Judah who can’t seem to walk even with his eyes open. I was there standing on the sidewalk before him. He had no right to walk into me and then tell me off for not walking properly. Curling my fists, I dug my fingers into my palms.

There was no denying it, Judah and I, are anything but friends.

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