Light hits her eyes when she wakes up, and she squints to see the time. It’s almost ten, Elke sighs with a smile, a blissful feeling in her chest. Then she remembers how her night ended, and she jerks her head to the side. Then she looks around, no Gabe.
Did she dream all that? Looking at the state that she’s in, she knows that what happened last night was very much real. She looks at her phone again, and notices that there’s a piece of paper lying next to it.
‘Have an emergency. Sorry for leaving you like this. Please call me, let me know how your foot is doing. Xxx Gabe.’ His phone number scribbled down under his name.
He has not just left her here.
After the night they had? After what they had shared?
Elke really thought that what they had was more than just that, sex. She really thought that what happened was special, he was her mate, wasn’t he? He wouldn’t treat her like a simple one-night stand, would he? She shakes her head. He would, she misjudged him completely.
Her phone buzzes, a message appears on the screen. Her sister, again, to remind her of the lunch with their parents and she sighs deeply. That too?
With a heavy heart, the blissful feeling totally gone, she pushes the sheets away, places her feet on the floor and gets up. Time to get back to the real world and forget about everything that happened last night.
The trip to her parent’s house isn’t far, only twenty minutes by subway. Though the difference between hers, and her parents’ house couldn’t be greater. Where she lives in a small, cramped apartment, where the prices for rent are higher than the value of them.
Her parents live in one of those large, expensive European houses in the centre of the town. The closer to the centre, the higher the prices of the houses.
The familiar green door, glossy from a recent, fresh layer of paint looks Grande, and she gulps. She once lived here, but now it seems like ages ago.
The door opens, and the butler, Bernhard appears in the doorway. His smile widens as soon as he recognises her. “Miss Maes, welcome home.”
Inside, he takes her coat, stores it away and leads her into the parlour, where he announces her arrival. “Mr. And Mrs. Maes, miss Elke Maes has arrived.”
“Elke,” her father smiles and spreads his arms, hugs her shortly and gives her a kiss on her cheek. “it’s so good to see you again. You should visit us more often. How can I train you to be my successor when you’re never there?”
Elke forces a smile. Every time she visits her parents, they talk about the Beta-title. Her father can’t wait for her to take over his position. She sighs, she knows she can’t postpone it forever. She’ll have to give in to it one day. “Maybe it’s a good idea to take over the position as soon as Uncle Remus resigns.”
“I think that is a wise decision honey,” her mother hugs her from the side and gives her an audible kiss on her cheek. “Uncle Remus will be delighted when he hears the news.”
“Will he be here?” Elke can’t help but look forward to seeing him again. Uncle Remus Black. Alpha of the Wolvenberg Pack, named after the area they live in. Biologically not her real Uncle, but she doesn’t know him any other way. He has always been there; every birthday, every celebration, her first prom, her graduation from high school, her first day of college, graduating from college, her first car, her first apartment, everything.
“I am already here.” His deep voice sounds through the hallway. “I had to take a phone call. Come here.” He spreads his arms and within seconds she is engulfed tightly in his arms. “Hello little bear, missed me?”
Elke rolls her eyes at the nickname he has for her ever since he was a little kid. “As a matter of fact, I did.” She smiles.
“Did I hear it correctly that you have decided when you’re finally going to become a Beta?”
Elke nods, “I guess so, yes.”
“Good, good for you, Elke. It’s about time, don’t you think?”
“Food is ready,” her mother informs them.
The smell of salmon floats from the confines of the kitchen. Elke feels her stomach churn. She frowns, usually she loves salmon, and the scent never bothered her. Strange, very strange.
As she takes her seat in the dining room table, next to Remus, as she always insisted to sit next to him as a child and the tradition still stays.
A sour taste foils her mouth, as the appetizers with salmon are being placed in front of them by Bernhard. She scrunches her nose and rubs her stomach with her hand.
“Are you okay?” Remus whispers in her ear.
She shakes her head, “My stomach is upset, though I didn’t drink that much yesterday. I wasn’t even a little bit tipsy last night.”
“Did you eat something different yesterday?”
Elke shakes her head. “Not that I know of.”
Remus smiles and his eyes twinkle, “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
“I can’t be, I use anticonception, I’m on the pill.”
“You know what they say, right?” Remus’ eyes twinkle even harder. “The pill isn’t strong enough when it comes to fated mates. Maybe you’re pregnant because you’ve met your fated mate?”
“No, no.” Elke shakes her head, but she feels her cheeks burn.
“Look at me, Elke.” Remus’ voice suddenly takes a different tone.
Hesitantly she moves her gaze to his.
“Your cheeks are red, is there something you need to tell me, Elke?” The twinkle in Remus’ eyes returns.
Elke turns her gaze away and lets her head hang low. “I met my fated yesterday. He – he stayed the night, but when I woke up this morning, he was gone. He ditched me. I feel like such a fool.”
“You’re not a fool.” Remus wraps his arm around her shoulder and pulls her to him. “The guy obviously is, though. You’re not a fool for following your instincts, Elke. It’s our nature that tells us to mate with our fated ones. Everyone does that. Look at your parents, look at Fenna, even I mated as soon as I met my fated. Your mate is the fool here, not you and I’m sorry that you have to go through this. Especially now that Fenna has found hers too.”
Elke peers at her toes.
“Is this the reason why you so suddenly decided that you’re going to follow in your father’s footsteps? You once told me you wanted to wait for your fated, before becoming Beta, so you could do it together?”
Elke shrugs, “guess it has at least something to do with that.”
“Oh, little bear, come here.” Remus comforting and his familiar scent engulfs her as her nose is pushed into his neck.