As Renee and I stepped into the main room I was confident. This was it. This what I have been waiting for.
As custom, all unmated werewolves that were 18 and older lined the walk way to the center of the room. The person that was now 18 took the path the unmated werewolves made and looked each of them in the eye. When you found your mate in line you made your way to the center of the room for your first dance. It resembled a human wedding in a way.
“Annie… I really think we should-“
“Nan I really appreciate you wanting to give me a heads up but I really want to be surprised!”
“Oh, you’re going to be surprised all right.”
I didn’t get a chance to think about what she meant because the first person in line had stepped forward, of course it was Sam. I couldn’t help the smile on my face as I looked him square in the eyes and saw the look of disappointment cross his face as he realized we were not mates. I nodded my head at him and kept on a moving. One by one each of the unmated males stepped made eye contact with me as I walked by, and with each one I could feel my stomach sinking. I was almost to the end of the line and I had yet to find my mate. I tried to keep my head up high and not let the tears fall as I looked the last guy in the eyes, he wasn’t the one. None of them were the one! As I made it to the center of the room alone I could hear the whispers start. The Alpha’s daughter didn’t have her mate.
I searched the room franticly for my dad, my mom, my friends, anyone! This party needed to start and get the attention of me, NOW.
“Why’s everyone standing around? Pick your jaws up and let’s eat! Food is in the back of the room, and there’s only 5 dozen of my special cupcakes. First come first served, so you better get on it!” My Oma’s announcement about her cupcakes got people moving. I gave her a grateful look as she started shooing people to the food.
“Annie honey….” My mom wrapped me in a hug. I could see my dad over her shoulder also giving me a sympathetic look. “Just cause you didn’t find him tonight doesn’t mean he’s not out there. We can go to some of the neighboring packs to.”
“Sam is willing to step in to, he would make a great mate Annie and an excellent Alpha someday. We wouldn’t even need to go search other packs. And it would be great to keep the same pack blood, I mean if you have a mate from another pack….. Well who knows what they could bring into this pack. I think Sam is the wise choice here.” I have never been so angry with my father, and he was about to know it.
“ENOUGH! Just stop! I can’t believe you! After what I just went thru, how humiliated I am. You want to shove the most horrible guy I know on me just to keep the same pack blood?! How about how I feel? What about my mate that is out there waiting for me?! Is finding your next Alpha more important to you than your ONLY daughter’s happiness? I can’t believe you! I will NOT mate with Sam. I’ll go Rogue before I would mate with that jerk.” I took off out of the Pavilion to the woods. I could picture the hurt looks on my parents face, threatening to go rogue may have been a little below the belt. Rogues had no family, they answered to no one, and were looked down on by packs. I wouldn’t actually go rogue, I just wanted to get my point across. Or would I?
“Annie we can’t give up, our mate is out there. We just have to find him. Please don’t give up. I’m sorry you had to go thru that, I did try to warn you.”
Nan did try to warn me and I hadn’t listened. “I really should learn to start listening to you huh?”
“Duh. I do know a few things ya know!” My smarty pants wolf Nan…. I love her.
After I cooled off I walked back to the Pavilion, my parents met me at the door.
“Annie, your father and I would like to say something to you. William?”
I looked at my dad curious what they had to say.
“We’re sorry.” I raised my eyebrows at my dad, wondering if he was going to continue. A nudge from my mom made my dad continue talking.
“We shouldn’t have pushed Sam on you or put so much pressure on you. We just see how much potential you have, what a great Luna you will be and we wanted someone that would make a great Alpha. A mate that would make you two an unstoppable force and amazing leaders.”
“But…..” My mom said telling my dad with that one word that he better finish the rest of his speech.
“But, we also know you deserve to find your mate. Or at least a chance to. Your mother and I were lucky enough to find each other, and we know what that mate bond is like. How strong it is, how much it means to be with the one the moon goddess destined you to be with.” He paused and I thought that was going to be the end.
“So that’s why we are giving you the summer to find your mate. Once fall comes you will have to take Sam or whomever else is willing as your mate and start your preparations to become Luna.” What? He can’t be serious, I looked at my mom to see if they were joking.
“I’m sorry honey but we have to think about the pack. You’re 18 now, that’s when the next leader is to start making preparations to be the next leaders. We are already bending the rules a little to give you time to find your mate.”
“A suitable mate.” My father interrupted.
“A suitable mate?! What are you saying?” I didn’t think my dad was saying what I thought he was saying…..
“Annie we need a strong leader for this pack. Your mate needs to be that.” My dad said.
“So you’re saying that if I find my mate, and he’s not ‘suitable’ I have to reject him? Do you know what that would do to me?! To my mate?!” I couldn’t believe this. This could not be happening.
“Mom, you can’t be going along with this? Please…..” I looked at my mom with tears in my eyes.
“I’m sorry honey, what your dad says goes.” My dad kissed her on the forehead and walked back into the party.
My mom grabbed me in a hug and whispered, “I’ll try to change his mind Annie but you know how stubborn he is. I’ll do my best.” She kissed me on the cheek and went to follow my dad.
I didn’t find my mate. I had the summer to find him. And if I did find him, he had to be “suitable” or else I had to reject him.