With the rising sun, I marked another day from the calendar. Three days and I'd be 18. The age where I'd find my mate, and my place in the pack. Each morning I woke, overwhelming amounts of excitement ripped through me. I couldn't wait to shift for the first time, but mostly, I looked forward to experiencing all my firsts with Nash at my side. The boy who has my heart.
Reaching for my phone, I frowned at the text displayed across the screen.
Message Received From Nash: Be by later, busy helping dad today. Feeling better today?
Message Sent To Nash: Ugh, bummer. I miss you. Yeah, probably just ate something bad.
Chewing my lip as I waited for his reply, eventually, I walked away from my phone since his typing bubble went away. With no plans for the day, I tied my Deep brown hair up into my classic sloppy bun. Sitting down at the desk that held many of my unfinished drawings, I let out a heavy sigh. Some were just barely past the sketch stage. Art has always been a part of me, where I could freely express myself when words just weren't cutting it.
Hours had passed and I was nearly finished with one of my works when the cramping had come back. Groaning, I moved to the bathroom for a warm bath. That seemed to help matters last night. I tried pushing the thought away, but I always circled back to it: Shifters don't get illnesses.
With another pained groan, I heaved myself into the scorching hot water. When the intense cramping had finished, I let out a slow breath. What is happening to me? Mom chose that moment to tap on the closed bathroom door, "Come in" I spoke as I got comfortable in the water. Mom slowly shuffled her way in, "More cramps?" Her features conveyed motherly concern. I nodded my head as a small sigh slipped past my lips, "They're getting worse. Is it my wolf?"
It was Mom's turn to sigh then, " I don't know baby, do you want me to call the pack doctor?" Weighing the option, I chose not to. "No, I'm sure she's busy. I'd hate to pull the only doctor from those who need her more, just for a bad reaction to food. I'll be okay." I reassured her as I gripped her hand. Mom's fingers tightened. " Promise me if it gets any worse, you'll see the doctor." With a small nod, "I promise mom."
Not too long after Mom had checked on me, I was slowly climbing out of the tub and drying off. Making my way to my bed, I plopped onto the mattress with the hopes of sleeping.
My body was so exhausted. Whatever this is, it wasn't getting better. In fact, it was worse. So much worse than before. It had to be hours now, of cramping, and tossing and turning to find a position that would alleviate the pain. I threw the covers back to cool my heated flesh, and quickly wiped the tears away. The t-shirt I was sleeping in was clinging to my body, drenched in sweat.
Wrapping my arms around myself, I winced with a sharp hiss. My midsection was extremely tender to the touch. With a sob, I reached out for my phone. My shaking fingers made contact with the device, only to lose my grip as it clattered to the floor.
Now equal amounts frustrated, pained, and terrified, I called out to my mom. "Mom" My pained voice was just above a whisper, but I know with my parents being shifters, could hear my voice miles away.
My bedroom door creaked open not long after I called out, " Everything okay baby girl?" Dad asked through a yawn as he rubbed at his tired eyes. Mom was soon pushing her way past him, "What's the matter?" Her eyes frantically flew over me, her hand made contact with my stomach in an attempt to console me, and I cried out. Through hot tears, I could see Mom reel back. She gently lifted my shirt, " Cam, turn the light on."
The lights flickered on, and Dad moved to the side of the bed next to Mom. Immediately, a ferocious growl left his chest. Mom looked like she was on the edge of bursting into tears, while Dad looked as if he was going to murder someone.
"What's happening to me?" Their reactions said it all, this wasn't good. But I needed to know. Silent tears rolled down my mother's face, "Cam, get Edith here immediately." Dad silently moved out of my room as Mom gripped my hand lightly. "I'm sorry baby girl, nobody deserves this. Especially not you."
Grabbing onto her, "Mom, please. I need to know what's happening to me." Another tear rolled down my cheek as the cramping intensified. Clenching my fist, and inhaling short breaths through the pain my Mom's sad voice grabbed my attention, "Your mate has scented you. But this-" She waved over me, "Whoever he is, he's chosen to try and break the destined bond." Her features flashed from sorrow to pure anger.
My stomach flipped, threatening to empty out on my bedroom floor. My mate, he was trying to break the destined bond before I even shifted.
Waking up to the happy streams of the sun coming through my window, I rolled over with a grunt. I should be happy too, but I just felt so detached. Edith, the pack doctor, came over right away last night and confirmed my parent's claims. And that broke my heart. The most she could do for the pain is recommend herbs.
Mom continued to bring cup after cup to me, but honestly? The damage was done. Happy fucking birthday to me. At any moment, my wolf could demand the shift. That's if she didn't choose to bury further inside of me, opting to not come out from our mate's obvious rejection.
A deep sigh left my lips as my phone danced a vibrated pattern on the bed. Glancing over, Eloisa's name was lighting up the screen. I had no energy to even talk to my best friend. What was I supposed to say? Nash continued to text throughout the day, but the conversation was stiff. Neither one of us had more to say than a few words. He didn't know how to help apart from the same sympathetic words I received from everyone else. In the back of my mind, I tried to see it from his side, I could only imagine how disappointed and upset that this confirmed we weren't mates. But I just needed time to process everything, to pick myself up and move on from this nightmare.
The same picture looped in my head on repeat. Painfully I'd shift in front of the entire pack, just to be outright rejected in front of everyone. I knew it was coming now. I hadn't even met him yet, and already I was deemed unworthy of being his mate.
The cramping stopped sometime last night, but that didn't cease the heartache drifting in its wake. Enough. This wasn't me. I needed to get my shit together, and face come what fucking may. I am the daughter of the Beta couple of the Red water pack. I am Rovena fucking Reede, and I wasn't going to hide away in my room any longer, like some shamed coward. No, I was going to shift effortlessly like Dad had talked me through, and with the grace and demanding poise like my Mom, I'd face his rejection head-on. Because he isn't worthy of me.