Chapter 1 Goodbye
“Wine or beer?” Dave hollers while waving with the menu.
“Depends,” Celine tilts her head, furrowing her brows. “Do they have white wine?”
“Anything you want, my Alpha queen,” Dave grins.
Celine chuckles and throws her long blonde hair back before she winks at Dave. Dave’s grin just broadens. “I swear, if I would be into girls, you’d just have made it into my top 3!”
“You mean into your top 3 of your three girl friends?” Celine laughs. It’s truly a sight to see her laugh so openly. When I got to know her, she was very stoic and serious. She still is, but now when she is with her friends, she is so much more open and relaxed. The last couple of years have been hard for her. She was the only heir to an Alpha and had to prove herself to be worthy of taking over a pack, despite being a she-wolf. Then she found out she was a hybrid, because she is a quarter witch. Her mate – one of my brothers – didn’t want her at first because he was scared of being loved and battling his own trauma, but eventually, he realized what he was about to lose her and came around. That’s a lot to take, but she worked through it and came out on top.
“Well, I can’t help it.” Dave puts an arm each around Annie and Ella. “I just love my girls.” They are the centre of his life, and his oldest friends, we all know that. And Celine certainly doesn’t take it to heart. “You are all my queens. Celine, and my favourite Luna, Annie-“ he presses a kiss to the sweet young woman with the long bob. She was my first friend in college, and the only one not trying to get into my pants. Then I realized she was fated to my oldest brother. “And my fierce Ella,” This time he delivers a kiss to the short-haired woman, Annie’s best friend and Beta. “You are all part of my personal kingdom.”
“Well if that doesn’t sound dirty,” I tease. “What about me!?”
“Oh Finni!” Dave beams. “You know I have a weak spot for you, my cute edgelord, don’t tempt me.” He grins. “I wonder which parts of you aside from the visible body parts are tattooed. Plus, I’ve never had a guy with piercings. I always wondered how it would feel if-“ He puts an index finger on his lips, smirking like the devil he can be sometimes. “You don’t happen to be pierced down there, are you?”
Ella elbows him. “Things we don’t want to know, Dave!”
“You don’t,” he says innocently. “But I do.”
“Sorry, Dave,” I deadpan. “I’m waiting for my mate. She will be the only one to be allowed to discover all my piercings and tattoos.”
“All wolves I met say that,” he sighs dramatically.
“What? That they keep their tattoos and piercings to themselves?” Ella teases.
He chuckles. “No, that they are waiting for their mates.”
“You and Jun really broke it off?” Annie asks sadly.
Dave looks a lot more serious all of a sudden “We all know that wolves are destined to find their mates eventually. And when Jun finds his, he wouldn’t have stayed with me anyway. That’s a reality. I don’t want to be the reason his mate will feel unwelcomed, or like there is unfinished business in Jun’s life. It isn’t fair.”
I’m a bit surprised by how aware of it he is. Dave and Jun, Annie’s Gamma, might have hit it off instantly, but Dave is right… Jun is a werewolf. Once he finds his mate, he will be with them. That’s why we normally don’t have serious relationships before we find our mates. Too much heartache.
Dave grins at me. “You can join my harem though Finn.”
“Wow, do I feel honoured,” I snort.
Our group chuckles and when the waitress approaches us half of us order beer, the other white wine. We have gathered in a Greek restaurant for a change, and especially to Dave who prefers places he already knows, this is quite the adventure.
When I started college a few years ago, I didn’t think I would meet this awesome circle of friends. But Annie literally picked me up like a stray pup and introduced me to her best friends, a fellow werewolf, Ella, and a Human, Dave. Then our group expanded with Celine.
This group was such a blessing for me, and I will cherish these friendships forever. We manage to meet once every two weeks with everyone, which is great considering the positions and ranks some of us are holding.
“Show us the photos,” Dave begs Annie now.
She chuckles in amusement, but angles for her phone nevertheless and shows us the newest photos of her baby twins. My cute nieces. There is one where the babies have thrown chocolate at my brother Liam, everything – their hair, clothes, and also Liam – is covered in it. I laugh. “Send that to me, Annie. That’s going to be my new background image.”
“What did these two cuties do?” Dave grins.
“Let’s say we had a chocolate muffin emergency,” Annie says mock-seriously, and types something on her phone, sending the pic to me. “I wanted to bake something for Liam, and unfortunately the twins got their hands on the chocolate ganache.” She smiles. “Dave, you have to meet my girls soon.”
“I would love to,” he beams.
“I will make sure we find a safe place to meet. I’ll let Liam go through the security standards and then I can either take the babies along to meet you or we’ll smuggle you to the packgrounds,” she smiles warmly. “They need to meet their uncle Dave.”
I listen to their conversation with only half an ear, while looking at the photo Annie just sent me. It’s adorable. The twins are the cutest little beings ever. My strong stoic brother, a Lycan Alpha through and through, looks so happy despite being covered in chocolate. I’m so happy for him to have found his mate, and for all his success. He worked hard for it, and I’m full-heartedly happy for him.
A tiny part of me also feels sad though whenever I see my friends and family with their mates. I want nothing more than to find the other half of my soul too.
All my female friends are mated to someone either within my family, or very close to me. Like Annie… she is mated to my oldest brother. Celine, the Alpha of Moon Blood, she is mated to my second oldest brother Marius. Ella is mated to Liam’s Beta, Dante. While none of them had it in any way easy, I still envy them a bit. I wish I would find what they have found. It doesn’t mean I’m not genuinely happy for them, I am. I just want to find this person too, the one who holds the other part of my soul.
I will these feelings down though, not wanting to ruin our night out. The evening turns out fun. It’s going to be my last one for a while which is why we all met in the first place. Soon I will take off on my mission to investigate a cruel pack in the north. It’s said to enslave lower-ranking pack members and orphans. Our informant even says that the higher-ranking pack members can call the slaves for any services… sex included. My father and Liam entrusted me with this task, and I’m ready to take it on. I am happy to finally be able to prove myself, and to get my mind away from finding my mate.
“Okay Finn,” Annie takes a deep breath before handing me a little box. “This is from all of us. We know you can’t take much with you on your mission, but we wanted you to carry something as a good luck charm.”
My eyes widen slightly when I open the box. It’s a necklace out of platin, a bit like one army guys wear, but it’s definitely handcrafted and has a wonderful design. It seems like my friends got together and had it ordered to be handmade. On the tag, they have all their names carved in.
“Whenever you look at it you will think of us now,” Dave beams.
“And it’s not a typical design, so you can wear it safely,” Ella explains.
Celine nods. “She is right. You can wear it while investigating Blood Snow pack without raising any suspicions.
I flush a bit, happy and touched by that beautiful gesture. “Thank you, guys. I don’t even know what to say. Just… thank you! It means the world to me.”
“Come home safely,” Annie says into the silence.
Annie drives back to her pack with Ella, who as her Beta is also responsible for her safety. These two are a pretty dope combination. Ever since the recent threats died down and Annie went through her pregnancy safely, Liam felt a bit more relaxed to let his Luna leave without being surrounded by ten guards.
Celine drives back with one of her warriors.
That leaves just me, Dave, and my own guard and Beta, Anders. As royal Lycans, we are used to having a Beta assigned to us at a younger age. It’s usually someone we chose ourselves. If we don’t trust anyone enough, like my brother Marius for example, we might not choose anyone at all. But for me when I was young, I immediately felt a bond with this older boy. He was the son of a couple that immigrated from Ireland, he was calm and composed and nothing like me. One day he protected me from a bunch of bullies when I was seven or eight years old. Ever since he has been at my side.
“Finn,” Dave starts after a while. “You will find your mate.”
I look at him surprised, and a bit horrified that he caught on before. “You noticed!?” I turn to Anders who just shrugs helplessly.
No one else did, my Prince, he promises.
Anders always addresses me formally, despite us being pretty close. Our relationship is hard to explain. He doesn’t feel like a brother to me – I have plenty of them already – he also doesn’t feel like a friend, more like a… guardian, someone who is always there when I’m in trouble. Someone to rely on.
I turn my attention towards Dave again. “How did you notice?” I ask again.
He shrugs. “I am the only Human within our group, and I know how it feels to be different. I personally don’t mind, but I just noticed the situation might be similar for you.” He pauses in his track to look at me. “Okay, I might not understand your entire world as wolves, but… I know one thing. You are a Lycan prince, and despite that, you treat a gay Human guy like your equal. You treat your female friends of any rank with so much respect – you did so even before Annie was mated to your brother, when she was still an Omega. You support your siblings whole-heartedly, and your friends. There was never once a moment you didn’t help any of us, and you never asked for anything in return. You are just a genuinely good person, and the reason I didn’t hit on you for real is because I know I would have fallen head over heels for you if I did.” He pauses. “Do you really think your moon goddess will leave a man like you without a mate?”
I let his words sink in, before I take a shaky breath. “Thank you, Dave,” I say, because I can’t trust my voice to say anymore. “That’s exactly what I needed to hear.”
We walk in silence for a while. “So, what are you up to now?” Dave wants to know.
“I’m going to head home and get some sleep. I have to meet Liam tomorrow for a meeting, and then I’m meeting my whole team.”
“How are they getting along?”
I tilt my head, sighing slightly. “Let’s just say, I have quite the challenge waiting for me.”
“Annie’s brother is coming too, right? And one of Celine’s top warriors?”
“Well, these two won’t be a problem,” I chuckle. “But I have two sets of crazy twins accompanying me, and they already hate each other. Now that’s going to be interesting.”
Dave laughs slightly. “I’m sure you will be able to handle it.”
“I hope so.” I pause. “What about you, any plans for tonight?”
He winks at me. “Absolutely, big plans. I’m meeting with Jun.” Before I can say anything, he raises his hands. “Just as friends. We will hit a pub and maybe he can play my wingman. There is a regular in the pub, who is kind of cute.”
I smile. “Have fun.”
“I will.” Dave clasps my shoulder. “Stay in contact with us. Annie has opened that WhatsApp chat for a reason. Try to write as often as possible so that we know you are alright. And please try to stay out of trouble.” He looks worried all of a sudden. “Celine, Ella, and Annie don’t talk much about it to me, but I know the pack you’ll be investigating is pretty shit, so please be careful.”
“I will Dave,” I promise. “Now go and have fun!”
He grins and waves me goodbye before hurrying away. I watch him leave before continuing to walk side by side with Anders. We don’t talk about anything, just enjoying the silence of the night. Tomorrow is going to be busy enough, and I’m glad to have some peace for now.