I blinked my eyes to shake myself out of my stare so I could see who the brown eyes belong to, when I saw his face I felt my heart sink. This couldn’t be right, he can’t be my mate. I turned to quickly look for Annie who was staring back at me with wide, terrified eyes. I looked back to my mate and started to back away as he stepped forward.
“Well, well, well looks like the moon goddess does love me, I get to be Alpha after all.” I felt myself start to feel sick as I stared at his cocky smile. Why? Why must it be him?
He stepped closer and I froze in my spot as his eyes traveled up and down my body. “Lucky me, you’re even prettier than your best friend. What a day for me, I’m now the future Alpha and my mate is actually a looker.”
I fought down the bile that was rising in my throat as he stroked my cheek, I couldn’t believe this. It could have been anyone but him.
My mate was Sam Baker.
No, no, no, this can’t be happening to me. I tore my face from Sam’s hands and backed away from him, his cocky smirk still in place.
“Why are you backing away from him? He’s our mate, we need to get closer.” I could feel Claire metaphorically digging her paws into the ground of my head but there was no way I would get closer to that monster.
“You don’t know him like I do.” I told her quickly as I turned and rushed out of the hall ignoring all the stares and whispers. I ran down the Pavilion steps and into the woods, only stopping when I heard Annie yell for me to stop. Thanks to my stilettoes I hadn’t made it very far, I looked over my shoulder to see Annie, Ellie, and Scarlet crash through the trees to reach me. Annie reached me first and pulled me into a hug.
“Renee I am so sorry.” I could tell by the sound of her voice she was trying not to cry.
“What will you do?” Scarlet asked me quietly.
“She’s going to reject him of course!” Lily said as she came up to us panting. “I’m glad you didn’t get any farther, I barely made it this far.” She sat down on a stump and fanned herself with one hand, and then rubbed her growing belly with the other.
“Are you? Can you?” Ellie asked. It was a good question, could I reject him? I was the future Luna, I had to have a mate.
“Of course she can!” Annie looked at me brightly. “Remember how my dad was going to make me reject Troy because he wasn’t a wolf and take someone else? You can do the same thing!” She was right, when Annie had found Troy her dad had wanted her to reject him since he was a Merman, not a werewolf. Long story short, I had challenged Annie for her title. Sounds heroic but honestly it was for selfish reasons, I love Annie like a sister and I knew if she was forced to reject Troy she would have gone rogue which meant I would never have seen her again. And if I’m being completely honest, the thought of being the packs Luna excited me. Aunt Luo, her real name was Sue, said I was a born natural leader. I hoped she was right and not just being nice, although Uncle Alph(William Rogers) seemed to be somewhat impressed with my progress also. What Annie had learned her whole life I had to learn in a few years, her parents weren’t ready to retire yet thankfully so even though I was eighteen and could rightly take over the pack her parents are giving me a few years to make sure I am completely prepared to take over.
“What will Alpha say about that though? You know he was all team Sam with Annie.” Scarlet responded.
“Yes he was until he found out that he had broken Annie’s wrist and threatened her, I highly doubt he is cheering for team Sam anymore.” Lily, who was now breathing normally, smiled. She was right there, Uncle Alp had almost forced Annie to take Sam as her mate but when Sam’s true character had been revealed he began singing a different tune. Sam had threatened Annie multiple times and had even broken her wrist. I know Sam had been punished but no one knew what that punishment had been.
“Renee?” Annie put her hand on my arm to get my attention. “Are you okay? You haven’t said a word.”
I didn’t know what to say, tonight was supposed to be the best night of my life. I was supposed to find my mate, fall madly in love, and then the both of us would begin lessons to someday take over the pack together. Only one of those things had happened tonight, I had found my mate and now I needed to reject him. My stomach sank at the thought of the pain I would feel from the rejection, even though I don’t like him it will still sting because he is my mate.
“I don’t understand, why must we reject him?” Claire asked me. My gentle wolf, even though I could tell she was beyond upset with the idea of rejecting our mate she was trying to stay calm and figure out why I am so upset. She hadn’t seen how Sam was with Annie, and she hasn’t met him before tonight. I stay pretty secluded because of all the lessons, and when I’m not in lessons I’m with the girls or studying for lessons. My contact with other pack members has been very limited, and besides that whatever Sam’s punishment had been had kept him busy also, I hadn’t seen him at any of my trainings with the warriors.
“I’ll tell you the whole story later but just trust me when I say he’s not a good guy and would make an awful Alpha.”
“His wolf was so nice though.” She argued taking me by surprise.
“His wolf was nice? Sam doesn’t have a nice bone in his body.” I scoffed.
“I wouldn’t lie to you, he was nice and sweet. I miss him already.” Claire whined a little in my head and I instantly felt bad for her. It was going to kill her when I rejected him.
“Hello, earth to Renee.” Ellie waved her hand in front of my face, I smacked her hand and gave her a playful growl making her smile.
“You seriously have no respect for your future Luna.” I shook my head at her feigning disgust.
“Nope.” She smirked, popping the p.
“I guess I better go get it over with.” I sighed as I looked towards the Pavilion.
“You don’t have to do it tonight, you could do it tomorrow, when no one else is around.” Scarlet offered and I liked the sound of that. It was embarrassing enough that everyone saw me run away from my mate, no need to have everyone watch me reject him.
“I know this question is going to sound crazy, and maybe it is but,” Annie paused and gave me a confused look. “Do you want to reject him?”
“Of course she does!”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
“You remember who her mate was right?”
All the girls sounded off their opinions, but Annie’s eyes never left mine. She could sense that I was struggling with the thought of the rejection, not that I didn’t want to, I did, but this was going to cause me and Claire pain. There is also the effect of the mate bond, it started the moment Sam and I locked eyes, even though I knew I was going to reject him a connection was already forming.
“Renee?” Annie gently prodded me.
I took a deep breath before I responded, “I know I need too, he isn’t good for me and he isn’t good for the pack. I will reject him tomorrow.” I felt sadness wash over me and wasn’t sure if it was from me or Claire.
“Lily? Lily, where are you? Lily?” A panicked Eddie came running into our circle, the immediate relief on his face as he saw his mate sitting on the stump unharmed.
“Good grief, I’m fine.” Lily huffed at him.
“Well you just took off, I didn’t know! Something could have happened to you.” Eddie defended himself and I had to try not to laugh. He had a good heart but ever since he and Lily found out they were expecting their first pup he hasn’t let Lily leave his sight, she’s even complained he won’t let her use the bathroom unaccompanied.
“I’m with the future Luna of our pack and the Queen of the Pacific, do you really think they would let anything happen to me?” She put her hand on her hip and gestured to me and Annie.
“Future Queen actually, I’m not Queen yet.” Annie corrected Lily trying not to giggle.
“Honestly.” Lily rolled her eyes heavenward. “Fine. Future Luna, and little miss princess.” She looked at Annie and stuck her tongue out making Annie break out into a laugh.
“Yeah yeah yeah, laugh all you want. Troy will be just as bad when he knocks you up.” Lily reached her hand out to Eddie to have him help her to her feet. I peaked at Annie to see her smile had faded. Only I knew that her and Troy may not be able to have children, with her being a werewolf and him a Merman there was no telling what would happen if they were to get pregnant, if they will even be able too. Troy keeps assuring her that it will happen but Annie has told me in secret that she is worried she will not be able to give Troy a child and heir to the throne. Troy and Annie are set to be taking over for his parents as King and Queen of the Pacific in just a few short months, Annie is hoping and praying she will be with child by then. I’ve told her that Troy will love her with or without a child but I know it’s something that bothers her.
“All right, let’s get back to the party. Maybe there’s some cake left, whose coming?” Lily looked at all of us questioningly.
“Jeremy is probably wondering where I’m at too, I’ll head back with you.” Scarlet looked over at the rest of us.
“Me too.” Ellie said as she walked towards the small group that was forming.
“I’m going to stay with Renee for a little bit, could one of you tell Troy where I am please?” Annie asked and Scarlet agreed that she would. Lily shouted that she would try to save us some cake as they made their way back to the Pavilion.
Annie waited till they were out of ear shot before she turned to me. “Okay, now how are you really feeling?”
I smiled at my best friend, she knew me well. “I don’t know Annie. I have to reject him, he’s an arrogant jerk. He would not make a good mate and he would make an even worse Alpha, we both know that.”
“But….” She said encouraging me to continue.
“But, a small part of me doesn’t want to reject him. Claire really doesn’t want me to reject him.” I fiddled with my hands nervously as I continued. “I never told you this but I sorta had a little bit of a crush on Sam.”
“You did?” She looked at me like I had just grown two heads.
“Yes, but that was before he did all those awful things to you. After I saw what kind of person he was I wouldn’t allow myself to think of him as anything more than the piece of scum he is.” It was true and I had never admitted it to anyone, I even tried to hide it from myself. Sam was hot, no doubt about that, but it was more than that. The way he walked around with his head up, didn’t take crap from anyone, and the way he put everything into training. I used to sneak away early in the mornings so I could watch the training sessions from my hiding spot in the trees, which makes me sound like a complete stalker. I just loved watching him work and train, he was so dedicated and took the correction and criticism his dad and Uncle Alph gave him happily because he wanted to be better.
“But?” She said again.
“But, I can feel the bond towards him already. I know in my head that he’s a bad guy, but my heart wants to give him a chance.” I couldn’t believe I had just said that, was I completely stupid? I knew the kind of guy he was, I had seen how he had treated Annie and every other female he had come into contact with. My heart sunk as I thought about all the other girls he had been with, unlike me and most other werewolves who wait for their mates, he had been with who knows how many girls.
“I’m stupid to even want that, please slap me and tell me I’m a complete idiot to even be thinking about giving him a chance.” I looked over at my best friend to see the line she got between her eyebrows when she was overthinking or worried. I reached over and pushed on it gently, “Your mate isn’t the only one who knows what that line means Annie, spill it.”
She instantly straitened her brows and took a deep breath, “You aren’t stupid.”
“I’m sorry, my hearing must be going because I swear I just heard you say ‘you aren’t stupid.’” I’m sure the look on my face was one of confusion, Sam had been awful to Annie, how could she say I wasn’t stupid to even be entertaining the idea of giving him a chance?
“You have stupid ideas, trust me, I’ve been on the end of some of the ones that ended badly.” She laughed as she remembered. I had a knack for having ideas and making plans, they worked most of the time but then other times they ended up with both of us in trouble.
“However, I know what it’s like being with your mate. And even though I think he is an awful human being, I also think you deserve happiness. If that ends up being with him, well, I guess it’s with him.” She shrugged. “But I swear to the goddess if he hurts you in anyway I’ll tie him up and feed him to the sharks.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her threat. “Feed him to the sharks? You are such a fish Queen.” I teased her bumping her shoulder with mine.
“Queen Trout is more like it.” A voice interrupted us, I looked up to see Annie’s mate Troy walking towards us. He was an amazing guy and the perfect mate to Annie, as her best friend I couldn’t ask for more for her. “Renee are you okay?”
“Renee? Geez I must have really made a scene if you’re calling me Renee and not mutt.” Troy had always called me mutt, and I called him Trout. If anyone else tried to call me that they would have had a bloody snout, but with Troy, I knew it wasn’t an insult nor was me calling him Trout.
“You didn’t make more of a scene than you usually do.” He shrugged and Annie slapped him on the arm.
“Honestly you two. You would think you were siblings the way you two bicker sometimes.” Annie rolled her eyes and both us, we just smiled.
“Seriously though, are you okay?” He asked. I shrugged as my answer, I didn’t really know how I was. I had found my mate, but he wasn’t what I had hoped for. He was definitely a strong warrior, and could take charge of a situation, but it was the arrogance and downright meanness of him that caused me to be hesitant. People could change though couldn’t they? Maybe?
I was brought out of my thoughts by Annie squeezing my hand, “You don’t have to do anything tonight. Go home, sleep on it, and deal with it in the morning.”
“Do you want to come home with us, get away from here for a little while? You did have my build an extra room.” Troy asked. When he was building their house I had insisted on an extra room for when I or the girls wanted to get away and come spend time with Annie. I made sure to tell Troy that Annie would love it and it was for her, it was really for me so I could come see her and stay with her whenever I wanted.
“That sounds wonderful, but I should probably go back to my party and greet everyone.” I said sadly, I wanted to run away to their house but I knew I had to face the crowds.
“It’s official, you are already a better Luna than I would have been. I ran away from my party.” Annie encouraged me. When Annie had her party she hadn’t found her mate at her party, then her dad insisted she would have to take someone else as her mate, and it just spiraled out of control causing her to flee to her room and hide. I didn’t blame her one bit though, not finding your mate and then being told you have to take someone who isn’t your mate is tough. I wouldn’t have called Annie a bad Luna for that though, people understood. Truth was Annie would have made an amazing Luna, she had been raised to be one. Now she was going to put all that training into being a Queen, and I knew she was going to crush it.
“Oh hush, you did not run away. Besides, once your Oma announced that her cupcakes were up for grabs everyone forgot about you.” I winked.
“Geez thanks.” She said rolling her eyes. “Do you want to walk back with us?”
“I think I’m going to take a few minutes alone then I’ll be in.”
She nodded okay then told me if I wasn’t back in ten she was coming to find me. After they had walked away I sat down on the stump Lily had occupied earlier. I knew I needed to go back to my party but I needed just a few minutes of quiet and thinking. I had two options, give Sam a chance and potentially have my heart broken; or reject him and cause both of us horrible pain and heartache. I feared this would end with my heart in pieces no matter what path I took. Annie was right though, I didn’t have to do anything tonight. I stood up and brushed myself off from, I was going to go greet my guests and enjoy myself. The hard decisions could wait till morning.