I storm into the main room in the pack house only to find my father calmly eating his breakfast right next to my mother.
"Antiope," he replies.
"Are you seriously going to sit there and look at me innocently?" I almost scream and wave the piece of paper I was just handed.
He picks up the napkin he has on his lap and wipes his mouth before he gets up, gives my mother a peck and then beckons at me to follow him up his office.
I do in angry strides, fuming that he will once more make this an official discussion as if I am not his daughter. When he closes the door behind us, he twines his hands behind his back and turns to me.
I look nothing like my father. On the outside at least. He has blonde hair and green eyes, a lean face with elegant angles. But I do take after my Mediterranean mother. All dark and round and I imagine if I didn't train twice as hard as our warriors do, I would be even rounder.
"You will not scream like a wild beast in the pack house, Antiope."
"First of all, you do realize we are werewolves, right? There is a wild beast constantly in the back of our mind"
"Yep," Maximo, my wolf confirms.
"That is no excuse," my father ends the argument.
"While you signing me up for things I don't want to participate to is OK," I say not ready to let him change the subject.
"I thought you said you wanted to take my place as Beta."
"And what does the Mating Hunt has anything to with that?"
"What do you want from me?"
"I will not give you the mantle or my recommendation while you are unmated."
"You were unmated when you became a Beta!"
"It was different," he raises an eyebrow. "I was-"
"A male," I finish the sentence for him.
He goes to the window and turns his back on me. He literally turns his back on me! To say that my relationship with my father is strained would be the understatement of the century. He was quite disappointed that I never grew to be the quiet daughter he dreamt of, the one that can't wait to meet her mate and be in his service forever. That I may look like my mother but I am not too keen on spending my days baking and cooking and doing laundry or serving my father's every wish.
I am not judging my mother. It's what she wanted to do and she is happy with it. That doesn't mean that I need to be happy as well being under a male's protection. I made sure all my life that I do not need a male to take care of me.
"You are of age, Antiope. You are more than of age. Other females are mated and mothers by now."
"Good for them," I let my voice be even. "I want to be a Beta like my father."
"I know that there are no female Betas and Alphas in the Northern packs but that doesn't mean there can't be one."
My father turns to me over his shoulder and his look is serious. His look is always serious. That, I take from him.
"I agree. But I need to know that there will be always someone to take care of you. You need to find a mate. And since your destined is not amongst us or the neighboring packs, you will join the Mating Hunt."
"Do I get a say in it?"
"Of course you do," he comes to me and places both hands on my shoulders.
I notice how he keeps his distance though. He has taken the responsibility of a Beta in the biggest pack in the North Americas far too seriously. But as a father... He has no idea how to behave normally neither to me not even Celia, his beloved one, my younger sister.
Now, her? Well she looks exactly like him and has the psyche of our mother. She is an elegant, delicate flower that dreams of finding her mate and cook for him all day and Father couldn't be more proud.
A smile creeps up my face. I love Celia. I love her exactly because she it that carefree, sweet, innocent soul and I feel the constant need to protect her. The fact that my father openly favors her has not put a wedge between us because I can simply not love my sister. Her mate is a lucky son of a bitch and doesn't know it yet.
"Uh, we were angry a moment ago," Maximo says, always itching for a good fight.
Right. I need to deal with my father.
"Good," I nod my head. "Since you are giving me a choice, I choose not to go to the Mating Hunt."
"Very well," father lets go of my shoulders. "If that is your decision, you are free to take it. But I am not backing down, Antiope. Without a mate, I will not consent to give you my place."
I grind my teeth together but I hold back my rage. Any show of excessive emotions is not of father's liking and will get me nowhere.
"I can be a devoted Beta, father. I do not wish to have a mate or take care of pups. I want to lead and I will lead better if all my focus in on our pack."
There's a flicker of excessive emotion in my father's face right now. Annoyance. He is expecting pups from me and my sweet sister Celia. Though Celia is more on board with this. She is currently traveling the world, trying to find her mate like our mother did and ended up with Mr. Stick-Up-My-Ass here. Patience.
"Besides," I try to lighten the mood. "You are still too young to be a grandfather."
He snaps his eyes back to mine and I swallow hard. Humor is not held in high esteem in our family. Mother and Celia are sweet and father is strict and that is the extent of flavors allowed in the Everstone household. Anything else is not considered entertaining.
"I have made myself clear, Antiope! Find a mate or I will never name you Beta!"
He was appalled when I asked for permission to go to Beta Academy after I finished high school and I am sure he would have never let me attend if it wasn't for his secret hope that maybe my mate is there or I will choose a powerful Beta instead. None of these things happened.
On the contrary, I finished with flying colors, top of my class and with the honors of Alpha King himself. For the first female Beta in the Academy, I did pretty well. Not to my father's eyes that refuses to acknowledge that accomplishment. I was respected by males that looked down at me at first but my own father refuses to even nod in pride my way!
"I am a Beta!" I seethe. "I am the best damn Beta in the States but your backward ideas hold me back. Is it just that? That you are an anachronistic male that prefers women in the kitchen or is it more?"
"Antiope," he warns me but I am too far gone.
"Is it because I finished top of my class and you didn't?"
I shut my mouth when I see my father so angry. He is never angry but right now, he is eyeing me with a heavy look. I know instantly that he will never change his mind. And I need to make my own decisions.
"You will go to the Mating Hunt," he orders.
"I will not."
"This," he points at the paper I am holding, "is an official request from the Alpha King himself. You will not show disrespect to him and spoil my good name. You will attend. If you find your mate and choose to ignore or reject him, be ready to face the consequences."
"Fine!" I say and turn on my heels.
I go straight to my room and I slam the door behind me. I drop on the pillows and scream in them all my frustration. I will go to the damn Mating Hunt just to be away from my father right now.