I wake up lying face down on the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. I can feel myself sinking into the plush pillows and blankets, and I sigh in contentment. I’d never felt such comfort before. Compared to my bed, this one was complete heaven. Then, I realise something. It’s not my bed.
I bolt up, my back searing in pain as it reminds me of its injury, and I nearly bang my head against Jace’s, who was leaning over me and looking at me in fascination. He swerved his head just in time to avoid a head on collision with mine, yelping in surprise. I raise my eyebrow at his weird behaviour and twist around so i can see him properly, catching sight of his sheepish grin as he looks down in embarrassment.
“Jace, what were you doing while I was sleeping? We’re you watching me?”
I watch as his head shoots up in surprise, his blonde hair flying backwards and flopping back down on his forehead. He huffs deeply, trying to get it out of his eyes, but to no avail. Then he realises I’m waiting for an answer and slightly blushes.
“Uh...m..maybe? I mean, it didn’t sound so bad a thing to do since you had been seriously hurt and weren’t waking up. I was beginning to think you were dead you’d been out for four days and because of all the blood loss from your wounds your bastard of a mother and her dumbass boyfriend gave you and Cole was going to order his pack to find your mom to rip her apart-”
“Slow down Jace! Jesus, at the speed you’re talking at it’s like you have a gun to your head! I just asked a simple question. Okay? Calm down,” I roll my eyes at his blabbering talk. Then I freeze when I remember something. Or, well, several things Jace said.
“Hold up. I was asleep for four days?! How?! And who is Cole, and what the heck do you mean by pack? And how do you know about my wounds? And where are we? Is this your room? Jace, your room doesn’t look like a normal room. More like a boring businessman’s one. And how did-”
“Now who is the blabbering one?” Jace asks in amusement as I realise I’ve done the exact same thing he did.“I’ll answer your questions one by one, okay? Okay. First, I want to know, can you remember anything from four days ago?”
“No, not really. All I really remember is coming home after I skipped out at school and went to a park, then my mother beating me up and kicking me out of the house...” I trail off slowly as I realise I just shared one of my deepest secrets with him. But for some reason, he doesn’t look surprised. In fact, he just looks Ange. Very, very angry.
“Okay. First, I think you can’t remember because off the blood loss. But we stitched you up and you should be okay in a bit. Wolves can-”
He stops himself abruptly and gulps nervously. I watch as his blue eyes slightly dull and lose concentration and his body goes still. Then he’s back. He jumps up quickly and digs in his pockets for his keys, knocking down the chair he was sitting on, before scrambling to upright it and looks down at me.“Right, I’ve got to go. You can save your questions for Cole. He’s coming in now so I’ll head home. See ya later Jade,” he says, kissing my cheek and rushing out the room, before I can ask who Cole is or why he had compared me to a wolf. His strange attitude has me wondering if he should really be driving in his condition. But I don’t have time to ponder over this before the door is again opened and someone walks in, immediately triggering my brain, seeing weird signals to my heart and stomach, making them flutter.
I’m really confused as to why my body is reacting to this man this way, but I gulp in a nervous breath when he looks over at me, his gaze hot, as if piercing right through my chest.
The strange, hot guy walks slowly to where I lay, taking in every inch of my body. Or, really, my back, since I’m still laying face down. I feel his eyes on my wounds, and I start to roll over, trying to get away from his intense gaze. His eyes shine as blue as the sky outside, and I watch as they darken slightly as he quickly runs to my side and lays me back down on my back.
“Wait! You have to stay off your back so your wounds can heal properly,” he says, but I hardly hear him when I feel his large hand on my back.
Immediately, I pull away as fast as possible, his touch sending fear and nervousness throughout my body. I whimper when his touch moves from my back to my uncovered hip, my fear taking over any sense of sensibility left within me.
“Who..who are you? Where did Jace go?” I ask, trying to wriggle out of his touch. He growls out in annoyance, and my eyes widen in remembrance as I remember who he was. My mind flashes back to tje last night I remember, and I get glimpses of a light filled street, Jace and the man before me fighting, Jace holding my body as I tell him about my mom and finally, me falling asleep in Jace’s arms with this man whispering ‘mate’. I gasp out and look up at his curious face.
“You! Your the guy who was fighting Jace! What did you do to him?” I struggle to turn and face him properly, my pride and anger digging my pain. The man waits for me to stop struggling, but when he realises that I’m nowhere near being relaxed, he growls out at me,” STOP! YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME AND STAY STILL. I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE HURT, I WILL NOT BE DISRESPECTED BY ANYBODY, ESPECIALLY MY OWN MATE!”
I jump in fear and mild surprise, shrinking back and staring at him. I’d never expected this man to yell at me the first time we actually talk. It makes me feel a little more cautious of him. I manage to whisper out,“Why did you call me your mate? What does that mean?”
His eyes soften as he hears the fear laced in my voice, and he sits on the edge of the bed, running a hand through his long, luscious black hair, and I get a strong urge to put a stray lock into place as it flops back over his left eye. But unlike Jace, he just leaves it where it is, probably knowing all too well that it’s impossible to keep back. Wanting to touch him scares me. I wonder why I want to touch him even though we just met.
“Okay. I will answer your questions, but I want you to keep quiet until I’ve finished explaining everything. Okay?” At my nod of consent, he sighs again.“A mate is a person who is bound by an unbreakable bond of love to another person. When they first meet, their wolves immediately know that they’ve found their mate, and that’s why they feel such a close connection at first sight.”
He watches my face to see how I’ll react, but to be honest, I’d lost him the moment he mentioned wolves. So that’s what I ask him.“What do you mean by wolves?”
He replies slowly, as if explaining a simple concept to a prep student.“Jade, I’m a werewolf, Jace is a werewolf and so is everyone down- stairs. Or, mostly everyone,” he says, cocking his head sideways as he adds on an afterthought. I scoff in disbelief, not believing that this guy thinks that I’m going to believe him. He looks down at me, trying to gauge my reaction.
“You..want me..to believe that there is such thing..as werewolves?!”
He slowly nods his head, as if trying to discover if what I’m asking is a trap or not. When he realises that I’m totally in the dark as to him being serious, he says,“Yes. We are werewolves. I’m not sure about you though so I guess we’ll find out in time.”
I look up at him, and I see that his face is as serious as ever. And although I don’t know him well enough to tell if he’s this good at lying or not, my gut isn’t exactly sure. So I do the next best thing at cracking out the truth.
“Fine. If your a werewolf, prove it. Right here, right now,” I say in a somewhat aloof voice, expecting him to give up and accept defeat. But imagine my surprise when he stands up, walks over to the walk in closet in front of me, takes out a pair of shorts, and faces me, His cool calm look never faltering. I stare up at him from my position on the bed and watch in fascination. There’s no way I saw this coming.
“Okay. Are you ready? After I turn back from a wolf, remember that I’ll be naked. So unless you want to see m-”
“I’ll make sure I’m prepared thanks,” I say sharply, shuddering at the thought of what he was going to say. He sees my expression and smiles softly, looking at me with an expression that makes me avert my eyes and shift on the bed uncomfortably.
He must’ve realised that I was feeling uncomfortable, because he clears his throat and takes a few steps back so he’s standing in the middle of the huge room, and looks me straight in the eyes.
I suddenly hear cracking and popping noises, his body twisting and turning in different directions, bending his back into an arch and his face growing longer and furrier. As his body slowly, crack by crack, changes from a human body to something else, I watch in mild horror as his whole body crouches and stays still for a minute.
Then a huge, black wolf is standing in front of me, his head cocked to the side, much like how Cole does when he’s deep in thought. The wolf makes a purring noise from deep in his throat, and I gasp out.
“Cole? Is that you?” I’m still shocked when he nods his head, even though I was sitting right here as he transformed. I try to get up so I can pet him, but he growls lowly and makes his way over to me, and nudges his nose into my side, motioning for me to lie back down. I do as I’m told, but I reach a hesitant hand out to rub his head. He sees what’s coming, and pushes his head into my touch, a deep noise coming from him. My breathing becomes ragged as my brain tries to comprehend what just happened. But thinking about it more just makes it harder to breathe.
“Holy shit I’m dreaming. There can’t be such thing as werewolves in this world. It’s impossible. I..I can’t do this right now Cole. It’s way too much for me. Can you please change back? Please?”
I plead with him, my breathing coming out in huffs and puffs. He’s already nodding and retreating to the centre of the room. I look down when I hear the same cracking sound, and I wait until he calls out,“You can look now Jade.”
I lift my head and my eyes widen. My jaw almost drops as I stare at his tan chest, my eyes skimming over his defined, solid six pack, his chest covered in some writing that’s too small for me to see properly. His arms are muscular and tight, and I think to myself that it was no wonder he was able to lift me up so easily. A throat clears, breaking me out of my trance, leaving me hot and flustered. And very embarrassed.
“Done?” he asks, a small smile making his lips curl up, drawing my attention. But I quickly resist before I’m drawn into the temptation of staring at him again.
“Uh..y..yes. Sorry,” I stutter, ducking my head in pure embarrassment, my cheeks feeling as warm as fire. I hear the soft padding of feet on the carpet, and the bed dips next to me. I look up when I feel a hand in my hair. I flinch on instinct, and Cole immediately removes his hand, an apologetic look gracing his features.
“You don’t need to apologise for anything Jade. All of this,” he says, gesturing to his tanned torso,” is yours, and yours only. No other woman’s. Okay?”
This statement makes me blush even harder, and I quickly nod my head, hoping he’ll change the subject. When he doesn’t, I look up and see him staring at me intently, his head cocked to the side, as if trying to solve a difficult puzzle. I clear my throat nervously.
“So...you’re a werewolf. Great. Cause that makes so much sense...”
“Hey, look, I know that it’s a lot to grasp, but trust me. Okay? I’ll answer any questions you might have,” he says, placing his hand next to me on the bed, as if to reassure me.
“Earlier..you said that I might be a werewolf? How is that possible? Wouldn’t I be able to turn into one like you?”
“No. A female wolf does not turn or have any sort of werewolf abilities until she has found her mate. When they meet, it will activate her werewolf system, which will take a while, and then she can turn,” he explains. I nod my head in understanding. He sees this and continues.“So with you, we don’t know for sure because we don’t know who your father is, or if your mother is a werewolf or not. So now, all we can do is wait until the signs come up. Then we’ll know for sure.”
“How long does it take for the signs to start to show? And what exactly are the signs?” I ask in curiosity, as he fiddles with a stray piece of string coming from the bed. I have a feeling he really wants to touch me in some way, but I frown.
How can I trust him? I’ve known him for a total of a few hours. And even though he’s being polite and caring, there’s no way I trust him to not harm me.
“It usually takes a week or so to start to show. And some symptoms could be extreme hunger. Well, it’s not extreme, more like you’re more hungry than usual. Uh..females also feel restless. It’s usually a sign that their wolf inside them is waking up, and is eager to start moving around. There is another symptom, but we don’t really need to talk about that now. It’s the one that comes last in order, so we’ll cover that later,” he says. He’s fiddling a lot more now, and I wonder what it is he’s not telling me. But there’s one thing he’d said earlier that’s been picking slowly at my brain.
“Umm... earlier, when you were explaining about mates and wolves, you said that mates are two people- I mean wolves- bound together by a strong bond. Is that... is that what we are? Is that why you called me ‘mate’ last night?”
Cole looks over me and keeps quiet for a second, before nodding his head slowly, his expression serious. “Yes. We are mates. I felt it last night. The bond. Your scent. It threw me so much that I couldn’t move for a second. I’d never thought I’d find my mate late on a random night, at a fight,” he says softly. His eyes cut to mine and I nod, wondering exactly what’s in stall for me now.
“Oh..okay. Can I ask one last question?” At his nod of consent, I speak up.“What if your mate is human? How does the connection form if there is only one wolf?”
“Okay. See, every person craves love. Right? So even though one of them is human, the bond is still somewhat there, because it connects with the basic need of the human to be loved,” he explains. “If your mate is a wolf though, the bond is said to work faster, but I don’t believe that. I think it depends on how fast the couple actually fall in love.”
I shuffle around, trying to get into a comfortable position, when I feel a stinging pain in my back. I yell out as I arch my back, trying to get rid of some of the pain. Cole stands up and starts to pick me up, but the pain intensifies and I scream again.
“No! Don’t! It hurts even more if I move. Cole, it hurts,” I sob, tears streaming down my face, as I look up to see his distressed expression. His eyes dull quickly and turn back to normal in a flash.
“It’s okay. The pack doctor is on her way. Just hold on a little longer, Sweetheart,” he says, and I slightly register the small form of endearment before the bedroom door slams open and a short, blonde woman rushes in. She quickly sets up her gear, pulls out a pair of scissors, and cuts the back of my shirt off, leaving my scars bare for her and Cole to see. I hear him draw in a sharp breath, and I look up, seeing the pain in his eyes.
I try to smile reassuringly at him, but the pain intensifies as I twist to meet his gaze. I yelp and turn around, closing my eyes to brace myself. The doctor clear her throat, a nervous look on her face. I can tell it won’t be good.
“Alpha, Luna. I’ve checked her back, and there is a problem. Her injuries are starting to heal, but there is something in there that we need to take out before it reaches her spine. If it does reaches her spine, then she’ll never be able to walk again.”