I woke up the next morning, eager to see Judah. I got ready for school in a hurry, knowing he would be here to pick me up. By the time I made it downstairs, he was already waiting for me. I heard him talking to my mom in the kitchen.
When I appeared in the doorway, Judah looked my way. My heart palpitated immediately when I saw one corner of his lip lift into a half-smile. It was rare to see Judah smile. He didn’t smile. He never smiled at me. Now, I could count on two hands how many times he had smiled my way since last night.
He had a piece of bacon in his hand while leaning against the counter, a plate of food in front of him. My mom must have made him breakfast while was waiting for me.
“Oh, Rose, you are finally down. Gamma Judah said he will be picking you up and taking you to school from now on.” My mom’s smile was so obviously filled with happiness and delight.
Judah and I ate in silence but silently exchanged furtive glances back and forth. Whenever his eyes collided with mine, I couldn’t stop the surge of butterflies that fluttered all throughout my stomach before looking away.
My eyes did a sneaky scan of Judah’s outfit. Judah has never dressed like a teacher. In fact, he dresses like how he dresses everyday—a black V-neck t-shirt, black skinny jeans, and his silver dog tag chain hanging low on his neck.
It seems like him and I have similar taste in clothes. We wear what we are comfortable with. I usually go for dull, loose clothing. He goes with anything that is black.
Judah finished his breakfast first and even washed his plate. He waited for me to finish before he thanked my mom for breakfast.
I grabbed my backpack that was sitting on the round table in the small dining room before kissing my mom on the cheek. It feels strange, but oddly it also feels like Judah and I have done this for a very long time. We walked together side by side, our shoulders brushing lightly as we approached his truck that was parked in our small driveway.
Once we were inside his truck, he leaned towards me. I pressed myself back against my seat in surprise and uncertainty. I had thought he was reaching for something but that wasn’t the case. His olive eyes did a slow sweep of my face before dropping to my lips and remaining there. I gulped, and my body shamelessly started reacting to his close proximity. Then I heard something click and I blinked to see that he had put on my seatbelt for me.
“Thank you,” I murmured, thinking he would return back to his seat.
However, he remained there, in front of me. Even if I tried looking away, it would be useless. His face was mere inches from mine. Staring into his eyes was like staring at a green valley filled dandelions. You could get lost staring into them. He moved an inch closer and I took in a sharp inhale, my eyes dipping to his lips.
“Judah,” I breathed in a whisper. I looked up to see him looking at me already. His eyes were darker now.
“Rose,” he whispered my name huskily, and it was like he had awoken a powerful force inside of me. I wanted him. I needed to feel him, the sparks, and the bond.
My lips started to tingle and the urge to kiss him became overpowering. I licked my lips while one of my hands moved to slide around one side of his neck. As if reading where my thoughts were heading, he closed the rest of the gap between us. His lips brushed mine innocently and a faint memory triggered in the back of my mind.
It felt familiar, as if he had kissed me before and I just didn’t realize it. I skimmed my lips against his in the same way he just did a second ago. He sharply inhaled before parting his lips and slowly bringing my bottom lip in between his, a guttural rumble vibrating from his throat. My insides twisted and bounced all over the place, my heart rate picking up uncharacteristically. I couldn’t resist the innate need to bring him closer.
Both my hands slid around his neck and I parted my lips, allowing him admission. He deepened the kiss and I kissed him back just as fervently. An almost feral growl vibrated from him again before he tore his lips away from me and flew back into his seat. He released a ragged breath before shoving his hand through his hair.
“No, don’t be sorry, Rose. I liked it. I liked it a little too much, but you and I both don’t know how much you and I can take.”
I bit my bottom lip before nodding my head. I saw how his eyes followed my upper teeth scraping my bottom lip. I saw how his olive eyes darkened before he closed them and looked away.
He turned on the ignition and pulled the truck out of the driveway. Together, we drove in silence which was fine. It wasn’t uncomfortable. It was actually really comfortable.
He wanted to go public and I said yes. This meant everybody would see us at school together. This included school faculties and students—werewolves and humans.
I had a feeling it won’t just be the humans who will be shocked. Our entire pack members will start questioning us. Gamma Judah dating a pack member without a rank. I am a nobody. I rarely speak to anyone.
It is not that I care what others think. I don’t. It is just that I don’t like the constant eyes that are on me. It heightens my anxiety.
The truck came to a full stop in the school parking lot. Judah had parked in the faculty parking lot. He turned off the ignition and turned my way.
“Are you still willing to go public with me, or are you having second thoughts?” he asked, not to goad me, but to make sure I am comfortable before we exited together.
For a minute, I looked at him. I really looked at him. This powerful, high ranking male werewolf shifter is my mate. It is a fact that I have accepted even before I knew I did. If I told him, no, I will be turning away my fated soulmate. The one person who is destined to be mine.
Silently, I shook my head, and one corner of his lips lifted.
“Is that a no or a yes?” he pressed further.
A shy smile appeared on my face before I answered him, “I still want to go public.”
“Are you sure?” He lifted a hand to cup my cheek, his thumb caressing it as he held my attention. He has a tendency to want to look into my eyes when he is asking for affirmation.
I nodded again. He sighed before leaning forward and brushing his lips across my forehead. It was intimately sweet, and my heart was performing Olympic jumps in my chest.
He was the first to step out of the truck. I watched him round to the head of the truck and wait for me. I glanced at school where students were already looking our way and then back at him.
My hand slowly inched forward, and I opened the door before slipping out of his vehicle. Thankfully, today I dressed in a looser light grey t-shirt and black skinny jeans. I also let down my strawberry blonde hair. Hooking my backpack over one of my shoulders, I walked over to him.
I didn’t look up which is why I noticed his hand sticking out with his palm up. I looked up at him and he looked back down at his hand. He wanted to hold my hand. I exhaled an unsteady breath before tucking one strand of hair behind my ear and slipping my hand into his warm calloused hand. My hand is so much smaller compared to his big ones.
We walked down the sidewalk. Students began whispering. I can hear them. He can hear them. We both had superhuman hearing.
Some faculty members stopped to watch. Most of them were pack members but a few were humans. They looked at us too but not with judging eyes. They were basically curious. Our pack has been here for the longest time. There have been many mating pairs in the past before us. I am sure that many of them are not surprised at this point even if they aren’t fully aware of who we are. They can probably sense how powerful Judah is but they don’t know that we are inhuman.
As we neared the school entrance, my grip on Judah’s hand tightened terribly, to the point where his wolf instinct was to pull me closer to his side. He shielded me with his body as much as he could.
I was comforted by his kindness. He didn’t need me to tell him how uncomfortable I was. He knew it and tried to keep me away from all the attention we were receiving.
Once we were inside the school, he walked me to my locker where Scott stood waiting for me. His eyes widened as soon as he saw me with Judah. Judah dropped me off by my locker.
“I’ll see you later?” Judah asked.
I nodded and couldn’t stop the smile that appeared on my face. He smirked before releasing my hand and disappearing down a hallway to his office.
“I can’t believe what I had just witnessed,” Scott said in awe.
I rolled my eyes and turned to open my locker. Scott grabbed my shoulders and turned me to face him.
“You and he are together? You and he are making this public? Oh my god!” he exclaimed.
“Shh!” I placed a finger to my lips.
“Girl, there is no need to shush me anymore. Everyone must know by now,” Scott laughed.
“Can we not talk about it?”
Just then, Bethany rounded the lockers with Dana. She narrowed her eyes at me.
“So, b*tch did want our Gamma.” Bethany leaned against the locker next to mine.
“Mind your own business,” Scott growled.
Bethany’s eyes drifted to Scott and she gave Scott a quick once over.
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
Protective instinct taking over, I slammed my locker shut and turned to face her. She turned her attention back to me, and I can see she was trying to push my buttons. She reeked of jealousy and hatred. My wolf is prowling in my mind, threatening to be freed and kill her competition. Any female wolf interested in her mate is a threat to her.
“Aw, it’s cute. She’s trying to be intimidating,” Dana leered next to Bethany.
“You know what I think?” I took a step towards her, Bethany refused to back down. She glared right back.
“I think you’re jealous that Judah likes me.”
She snorted, “He doesn’t care about you. He’s only using you. Who would want you? Have you taken a look in the mirror lately?”
“I have, and I don’t give two shits what I wear. I don’t need to cake on makeup to look good. In fact, I don’t care how Judah looks at me but I do care if you talk a lot of shit about people who are close to me.” I replied calmly back but I was anything but calm.
The rage shimmered throughout me. My heart was thumping fast in my chest because all I wanted to do was finish what I started the other day. I took another large step towards her.
“You’re just a good fuck to him. He’s just trying to get into your pants. Otherwise, you aren’t shit. I wouldn’t be too cocky, because once he is done with you, you won’t have anyone backing up your ass. And when that time comes, I’ll be the first in line to tear your throat and first to warm his bed for sure.”
My wolf came rushing to the forefront of my mind. She wanted blood. She wanted Bethany to be on the ground writhing in pain.
I was sure she could see that I was close to losing control because she stepped back. A smirk on her face as if she had finally triggered me and was happy. I watched her walk away, shaking. I wanted to kill her, but I was sure that soiling the school floor with her blood won’t be a pleasant cleanup for the janitors.
Scott grabbed my elbow to get my attention. I took a long, steady breaths before doing a quick scan. Some pack members stopped to look. Once they saw me looking their way, they walked away.
Scott ended up leaving for his first class soon after calming me down. I walked to my first class of the day, Animal Science. Sitting in my regular seat in the back, I took out my textbook, notebook, and mechanical pencil. Our teacher who is another pack member walked in. She was not a high ranking official, but a pack nurse who did part-time teaching here at the school. All the students in this classroom were our pack members.
Class didn’t start for another five minutes, and the classroom was filled with loud voices and chatter. I felt someone slip into the seat next to mine. Normally, I sat alone, which caused me to look up and see Noah, another pack member, slipping into the seat. He gave me a smile when he finally caught my attention.
Noah wasn’t a popular male wolf. He had friends, here and there. We walked past each other but we didn’t peak with each other. Honestly, we had never spoken until now.
“Hey, I’m Noah,” he stuck out his hand.
“Rose,” I replied blankly.
“I know who you are. I saw Bethany approach you by the senior lockers.”
Great, now he wanted to know the gossip. I opened my textbook to the chapter we would be working on today and then opened my notebook to the next clean page.
“I don’t want to know what happened. I just wanted to say, that was awesome. The way you stood up to her.”
I looked at him to see if he was serious, my eyes narrowing to slits. He smirked when he saw my expression.
“Honest truth. No need to be suspicious of me. I don’t like her.”
“Everybody likes her,” I countered.
“You don’t like her.” He pointed out.
He has a point. I turned back to my work, brushing him off again. From the corner of my eyes, I could see he wanted to continue talking to me, but Mrs. Jameson spoke up a second before he could ask me anything else.
An hour later, and I am stuffing my textbooks and notebooks into my backpack. I slung the strap over my shoulder and headed out the door before everyone else. The hallways began flooding with people.
“Hey! Rose, wait!”
I turned around to see Noah chasing after me. I stopped to wait for him. I could keep walking but he would just continue chasing and calling my name. Once he reached my side, he was still smiling.
“Hey, I was wondering if we can be study partners for our finals?” he asked.
“I don’t need a study partner,” I replied.
He chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his neck, “Yeah, but I was thinking, maybe we can hang out sometime.”
“Why are you speaking to me?” I questioned, unable to resist. Nobody ever talked to me.
“Why not? You seem pretty cool. Plus, I think you’re hot.” He grinned.
Suddenly, tingles of awareness spread all over my back. I knew who it was even before I turned. Completely disregarding Noah’s offer, I turned to see Judah walking down the hallway with Beta Ace. His olive eyes were pinned on me until they skimmed over Noah. The sliver of darkness glazed those irises, a look of irritation flashing across his face.
“Hey,” Noah tried getting my attention again.
I don’t think he had heard the rumors yet about Judah and I, or else he would be running the opposite way Judah is coming from.
“Thank you for asking me but I don’t think I can be your study partner,” I turned back to look at him.
“Oh c’mon, is it because I called you hot? Ok, fine, you aren’t hot, but you are nerdy sexy. I dig that.” He gave me another lopsided grin.
“The only thing you will be digging is your grave,” Beta Ace said from behind me. The tingles in my back spread heatedly and I could feel Judah standing right behind me.
Noah looked at Beta Ace with an alarmed face, “I’m sorry, did I do something wrong?”
“The only thing you did wrong is talking to her.” Beta Ace gestured a thumb in my direction.
I covered my face with my palms. Could these two not hover? I could handle talking to Noah.
“But, wait, I don’t understand,” Noah stuttered.
“How about I make it easier for you? Stay the fuck away from her,” Judah growled lowly and inhumanely.
Noah jumped a foot before he nodded and scurried away. Slowly, I felt my mate walk around me and grab both of my wrists. Sparks flew from his fingers to my skin.
“I’ll catch you later, Ace,” he growled to his friend before tearing my hands away from my face and dragging me into his office.