Song - California Love by TupacI pace nervously outside of Professor Miller’s office. I’m twenty minutes early for our meeting but I was too anxious to wait.
“Bea?” She pulls her door open and quirks her brow at me, “you’re early. Come on in.”
I quickly sit down in front of her desk. I need to calm down. I know I’m not in trouble for any reason.
“I have some incredible news! A local family who have been long time benefactors of our program saw your work at the student exhibit last week. Bea, they want to commission a private piece!”
I stare at her, I heard her, but there is no way she actually said what I think she said. No one privately commissions a second year art student. That’s not real life.
“I... yeah, sorry. What did you say?”
She laughs, “they were so impressed by your work they want you to paint their son!”
“Me?” I point to my chest.
I jump up and pace through her office.
“Oh my God. Oh my god! Me? They want to commission me? Do you know what this means Professor Miller?”
She smiles knowingly.
“This means I’m a professional artist. I’ll be paid for my work, like a real deal actual factual artist.” I’m practically screaming.
“You deserve it, Bea. You’re one of the most talented artists to come through here in a long time.”
After she gives me the information to call and set up everything I run to my car.
I need to get to Alpha Porters land, now. My wolf is going insane and I need a safe place to shift.
I call my parents on the way.
“Bea?” My dads voice comes through my car speakers.
“Dad!” I squeal, “is mom around?”
“Just a second.” I hear shuffling, “ok, you’re on speaker, we’re both here. Are you alright?”
“I’m more than alright! You guys are never going to believe this! Remember the student exhibit last month, the one where they displayed our work in an exhibition at the Cantor Art Center?”
“We remember, baby,” mom’s voice comes through.
“Well... apparently, a local family saw it and...they want to commission me to paint their son!”
“Bea!” Mom squeals, “baby, I’m so proud of you!”
“My daughter, the professional artist,” dad says and my chest inflates. Having him be proud of my art is extra meaningful because he’s such a talented artist himself.
“You taught me everything I know,” I smile and I can feel his smile too.
“Are you at Porters?” He asks after a moment and I can’t help but roll my eyes.
I’m surprised he didn’t ask this as soon as he answered the phone. I’ve been here for two years, I’m nineteen, but he still freaks out. The only way mom and I were able to talk him into letting me come here for school is through Alpha Porter. He graciously offered to let me live in their packhouse while I attend school. He never said as much but I think he was hoping I would be mates with his son, Andrew. Definitely not.
“I’m about to go through the gate. I love you both!”
“We love you, baby,” they say at the same time.
“We’re so proud of you, Bea. Be safe and careful out there!” Dad says with his Alpha voice and I chuckle.
“Always am, Dad.”
When I pull my car into a parking spot behind the packhouse I groan. Andrew is sitting outside the door smoking.
It’s not that hes bad necessarily it’s just that... he knows we’re not mates but he still acts like there’s a chance that we are.
It makes me feel gross. I know he only wants me because of my family. All my life wolves have been trying to shove their sons down my throat, hoping they would mate into my family. They don’t want me just my bloodline, my parents, a connection to us.
All four of my older brothers have all found their mates. Everyone’s hopes are pinned on me now. I started to feel more and more pressure as each brother found his. I know my brothers felt it too.
Mom and dad never pressure me. I’m so grateful that they are letting me live my life. I’ll be twenty in six months, most parents send unmated children on pack visits by then. Parading them around the country to help them find their match.
It’s not that I don’t want my mate. I do. My wolf really does. I just don’t want to be dragged around and forced in front of groups of people thirsty for my family. I just want my mate to want me...just because.
“Hey, Bea, you’re late today,” Andrew puffs his cigarette and I roll my eyes.
“Keeping tabs on me?” Why!? We aren’t mates!
“I was wondering if you wanted to go see a movie or something.”
“Oh, sorry, I’m busy tonight! I have a ton of homework.”
“I meant next week, not tonight.”
“I’m busy that day too, sorry!”
I rush toward the door.
“I didn’t say which day!” He calls after me.
“Oh, well. I’m busy everyday!”
I flop down onto my bed as soon as I get to my room and thrash around excitedly. I have a commission.
I write to my brothers in our group chat and they all freakout.
I take out the piece of paper with the information on it and read it over and over again.