Pencil between her teeth, eyes on the clock, and paper spewed all over her desk, Arya patiently waited for the clock on the wall to strike three. The math teacher talked helplessly over her loud classmates and honestly, the noise hurt her ears. They were sensitive, after all, Especially because she was a werewolf.
Arya looked next to her, her golden eyes lighting up when she caught Madhu’s violet glance. She smirked.
“Are you copying anything Mr. B is saying?” She snickered. Madhubala, or Madhu, as all the teachers called her, snorted and tossed a paper wad into the trash. Arya jerked back, just narrowly avoiding the splat.
“No. He’s too busy helping Jaylin anyway. What’s the chance he comes to check my notebook?” She said nonchalantly. Arya rolled her eyes.
“I guess, but it’s still better to write the notes. We have a test on polynomials on Friday.” She said. Madhu grumbled, but still clicked her pen and began to scribble the crudely written notes on the whiteboard.
“If this is how you are in 9th grade, I don’t want to see you in college.” Arya said. She stretched her back on her seat, wincing when she heard a bone pop. Madhu snickered.
“I’ll probably be out of school by college, if I find my mate tonight.” She said. Arya flinched. Every werewolf in the school was excited for one event that night; Moon Mating, the night where wolves gather together for males to find their mates. Arya shivered. She did want a mate, but with her age, she doubted she’d find one.
“What’s wrong?” Madhu asked, noticing her silence. “Do you not like Moon Mating?” Again, Arya flinched.
“It’s not that I don’t like it-it’s okay! I just...who wants a rogue as a mate?” She asked. Madhu clicked her tongue.
“Arya, you’re not a rogue. Omega, sure, but not a rogue.” Arya winced.
“Fine, then who wants an Omega as a mate?” She spat. Madhu hummed.
“I...don’t know, if I’m being honest, but Alpha Greyson always said you’d be welcome in his pack.” She said. Arya lit up at Greyson’s name.
“I know, and I already thanked him for that. But...I can only be apart of his pack if someone in his pack is my mate!” Madhu shrugged.
“There are quite a few unmated wolves in the pack, the Beta and Alpha included. Maybe you’ll get lucky.” Madhu jumped in her seat. “Maybe your mate will be the Alpha himself!” Arya scoffed.
“Yeah right. And I’m the Queen of England.” She sneered. “No offense to the Alpha, but there’s no way we’re mates. I mean, he’s twenty! I’m fifteen! I’m still a minor!”
“That doesn’t matter for wolves.” Madhu hissed, lowering her voice as Mr. B walked by. He glanced briefly at Arya’s paper, and then tapped Madhu’s, his way of telling her to copy more. She snarled.
“Damn it.” She cursed. Arya chuckled.
“I told you.” She boasted. Madhu rolled her eyes.
“Yeah yeah you did, Miss. Smarty-pants.” Madhu leaned onto Arya’s desk.
“Wait...how are you doing limits?” She asked. Arya smirked.
“Remember Monday, when we had that worksheet to do?” Madhu nodded. “Well, I did the odds, but when I came to class, I saw that he had evens too. I didn’t know that there was no homework that night, so I did the whole page. He saw, and gave me the next papers to do. After that, he began to give me book-work to pass the time.”
“So does that mean you don’t have to take the test tomorrow?” Madhu asked. Slyly, Arya nodded, giggling when Madhu threw her pen onto the table.
“Damn you Arya! Damn you!” She cried, not too loudly, just in case Mr. B heard.
“What? It’s called doing more that told.” Arya tapped Madhu’s page “You should try it.′ Madhu snarled, her eyes darkening. Arya rolled her eyes.
“You can tell Myra to stay out of this, you hear Madhu! We’re not allowed to let our wolves out here!” She scolded. Both Myra and Madhu whined, but Madhu’s eyes lightened, and Arya knew that Madhu was no longer in control. She smiled.
“Good.” She closed her textbook and wrote the last answer on her page, looking back up at the board.
“Arya, how exactly is the Moon Mating done?” Madhu asked quietly. Arya turned. She opened her mouth to answer, when instead of her voice, the bell rang. She just barely caught Mr. B’s words before she was peeling her books from the rack underneath her desk and racing out the door, Madhu hot on her heels. She ran past the groups of boys and girls, past the couples kissing in the hallway, to her locker by the gym. She wiped the sweat from her bangs as she began to turn her combination lock.
Where are we going today Arya? Asha, her wolf, questioned politely. Arya grinned.
How about the park? We can chat and do homework with Madhu until we have to go to Alpha Greyson’s pack? Asha yipped.
Sounds like a plan Arya! She agreed. Madhu skidded up to her locker next to Arya’s with a smirk.
“Mind-linking Arya? Didn’t you just say we couldn’t?” She asked.
“I said you couldn’t let Myra help you, I never said you couldn’t mind-link.” Arya replied snarkily. Madhu deflated.
“Damn, I was so close.” She muttered. Arya laughed. She began to pull books from her locker and stuff them into her bag.
“Do you want to go to the park? We can chat and do some homework while we wait?” Arya suggested. Madhu, after a moment, nodded.
“Sure. I just have to pick my sister up from the elementary school. Mind tagging along?” Arya shook her head.
“No, not at all.” She slammed her locker shut. “How old is Priyanka again?”
“She’s twelve. I asked Shakuntala to pick her up, but she was going on a date with her mate, so Mom asked if I could.” Madhu explained.
“What about your dad?”
“Dad had to help the Alpha prepare, since he’s the Gamma.” Arya nodded.
“Interesting.“She murmured. “I wish I had siblings.” Madhu made a face.
“Eh, I mean, I love my sisters, but they can be a pain in the butt sometimes.” She said. “It’s nice though. You always have someone.” Arya nodded, a sharp pang spreading through her. She’d never known her parents; she’d been told they abandoned her when she was young. It was a bitter memory Arya was forced to carry with her, to explain to every idiotic human soul who asked her. She bit her tongue.
“Y-Yeah...” She replied softly. Madhu glanced at her, then abruptly clapped her on the back. Arya shot up.
“Ow! What the hell Madhu?!” She exclaimed, eyes darkening drastically. Madhu only shrugged.
“Today is a special day.” Madhu said sternly. “And because today is a special day, there will be no moping around. Understand?” Arya blinked, but soon, a smile began to appear on her face.
“Alright.” She agreed. “Let’s head out.”
“How did you and Alpha Greyson meet?” Arya paged the book page she was reading and turned to Madhu, who began to shift in her seat.
“How did we meet?”
“Yeah...I mean, you’re not part of the pack? How did you meet?” A fond smile took over Arya’s features, a drastic change from the tight lipped frown she had just moments ago as she looked for her piece of evidence.
“Well...I didn’t know about the Alpha until I was maybe ten? There’s this little grove in the forest just outside the pack borders that has this beautiful waterfall and nice rocks to sit on and study. I used to go there whenever I was bored, or when I needed to study in quiet. One day, when I went there, I found the Alpha sitting on a rock, looking at the water.” Arya paused to giggle.
“Did he see you?” Madhu asked. Arya nodded.
“Yeah, he saw me. He didn’t say anything though. Neither did I. For one month, we kinda just sat there, a good distance away from each other, minding our own businesses.” She smiled. “We started to talk sometime in April. I was there first, a shocker, when he came. I was drawing something, I think it was the waterfall. He wasn’t looking where he was going, and he ended up tripping on a rock and splashing into the water!” Both girls cackled.
“Really? He fell inside?” Madhu asked. Chuckling, Arya nodded.
“Yeah! Then, when he got up, I remember offering him an Oreo cookie after I asked if he was alright. After that...we kinda just started talking, and here we are.” Arya spread her hands around, gesturing to the bright play park around her. Madhu snickered.
“Has the Alpha told anyone this story?” She asked. Arya shook her head.
“No. He thinks it’s embarrassing!” A devilish gleam appeared in Madhu’s eye. Arya grabbed her hand.
“Madhu...” She warned. Madhu sighed.
“What-Fine, spoilsport.” Madhu grumbled and returned to her math worksheet.
“How do you factorize 2x+4?”
“You take the two out, and in brackets it becomes x+4. Why?”
“Just checking.” Arya watched cautiously as Madhu scribbled her answer down.
“Did you finish the EBR?” She asked. Arya nodded.
“Yeah. I wish she didn’t give so many evidence based response questions.” She said, slapping the paper on the dusty bench.
“That’s Mrs. Mac to you.” Madhu mumbled. “Did you hear about her divorce?”
“No, what happened?” Intrigued, Arya set her paper down and spun on her seat to see Madhu better.
“Rumor has it that her husband cheated on her with some yoga instructor, and now they’re filing for divorce.” Arya wrinkled her nose.
“Okay, number 1. That’s gross. Number 2. Isn’t Mrs. Mac a werewolf? In Alpha Greyson’s pack?” Madhu shrugged.
“Yeah. I guess the Alpha took care of it.” She slammed her textbook shut and stuffed it in her bag. Arya looked at her from the corner of her eye.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m gonna go play with Priyanka on the slides. Come join us when you’re done!” Madhu said.
“Is Priyanka coming with us tonight?” Arya asked. Madhu shook her head.
“No. Shakuntala’s coming to pick her up from here, then Mom said we can go.”
“Okay.” Arya watched Madhu run to the slides, where Priyanka was chatting with a boy perhaps a year or two older than her. Arya smiled sadly, looking back down at her book.
Sometimes, she wished she knew who her parents were. Why they left her when they did. Did she have any siblings before her? Were they still even alive?
Arya ripped a water bottle from her backpack. Quickly, she downed a couple of gulps and sighed heavily, wiping her mouth. Her thirst quenched, she gazed back at Madhu and Priyanka, the two girls squealing and chasing each other across the park.
“Seat taken?” Arya jumped, looking up at the owner of the voice. Danny grinned down at her. He was a human, a very persistent human, much to Arya’s dismay. Biting back a crude response, she bit her lip and nodded, sliding over on the bench. Danny smiled, taking the seat Madhu once occupied.
“What’s up Arya?” He asked.
“Nothing, you?” Arya asked, trying very hard to be polite. Danny grinned.
“I’m doin’ fine, thanks. Just got off babysittin’ my little sis for my ma. Whatcha up to?” Arya rolled her eyes.
“Studying.” She said shortly. Danny frowned.
“Did I do something?” He asked.
“No. I’m just concentrating, sorry Danny.” Arya said. Danny nodded.
“I know how that feels. I love my sis to death, but she irritates the hell outta me sometimes, you get what I’m sayin’?” Arya shook her head.
“I have no family Danny. Remember?” She spat. Danny flinched.
“Sorry doll, I forgot.” Arya stiffened.
“Doll?” She asked. Danny shrugged.
“Ya remin’ me of a doll. Beautiful, slim, attractive.” Arya’s eye ticked.
“That’s all a doll has?” She asked through gritted teeth. Danny faltered.
“I mean-Yeah? What else does a perfect girl gotta have?” He asked, trying for a laugh.
“Well, she’s gotta be kind and have compassion, that’s for one.” Madhu said harshly, intereviening. She poked Danny roughly on the chest. “You bothering Arya, Danny?” Danny rapidly shook his head, hoisting his backpack and staggering to his feet.
“No! I...I gotta go!” Like a shot, he was gone, the only indication that he was ever there his trail of footprints. Arya sighed.
“Thanks Madhu.” She said. Madhu shrugged.
“No probs. Shakuntala just picked Priyanka up. You wanna start heading to the pack?” Arya nodded.
“Yeah. Help me put my stuff away?” Madhu and Arya quickly backed their book-bags, eager to get to the pack before the sun set fully. They both raced to the woods.
“We could take the shortcut across the river. It would get us to the border patrol.” Arya suggested. Madhu’s eyebrows shot up.
“Since when are you a master of topography?” She asked, astonished, Arya blushed.
“Alpha Greyson taught me sometimes.” She said. Madhu smiled.
“You guys are really close, huh?” She asked. Arya shrugged.
“I guess? I hope he finds his mate today. He said he might.” Madhu grinned.
“That’d be really nice. It’d be good to have a Luna.” They continued on into the beginnings of night, the chilly air poking and prodding at their exposed arms and legs. Arya shivered, brushing a thick vine away from her face.
“It’s chilly today, isn’t it?”
“Yeah...it’s probably because of the Moon Mating.” Madhu said. She stepped over a stray root.
“Well, thank the Moon Goddess for the dramatics.” Arya grumbled. Madhu chuckled.
“We’re almost there, right?” She asked. Arya looked up and sniffed the air.
“Yeah, I can smell the river.” Madhu made a face.
“We’ll have to cross said river, won’t we?” Arya nodded, smiling at Madhu’s enthusiasm.
“Don’t worry. There are some flat rocks we can step on.”
“Aren’t they slippery?”
“No...not usually.” Madhu groaned, and the two girls continued. They jumped over dead roots and crunched dry leaves as they walked, the mud latching like slimy leeches on their shoes. Madhu winced.
“How much longer?” She asked. Arya turned back to her and grinned.
“We’re here.” She said. She pulled a curtain flower garlands aside to reveal a soft stream. On the other side, the Fire Pack Patrol was chatting and marching, flattening the grass under their feet. Worrying their bottom lips, Arya and Madhu hopped the stones across the river, jumping once they reached the brink of the stream.
“Hello Arya. Madhubala.” Victor greeted cordially. Arya smiled at the adviser of the Alpha.
“Hi Victor!” She said. Victor turned his smile to her, his eyes traveling around the two girls.
“Hello Arya. The Alpha was looking for you.” He informed. Madhu and Arya shared a look.
“Really?” Arya asked. Victor nodded and gestured to the large pack behind him.
“Go ahead.” Arya looked at Madhu.
“Go. I’ll head home and meet you by Miss. Margaret’s stall.” Madhu said. She shoved Arya gently, and Arya smiled. She looked back at the patrol, then began to run to the pack house.
Arya had dark black hair with a blue ombre, something she was surprisingly born with. She kept her hair loose, her bangs braided. She often wore shirts and skirts, or jeans. She had light brown skin, just like her ancestors from Pakistan.
“Oof!” Arya flinched, tumbling onto the grass. She looked up at the person she had bumped into while stuttering out an apology. She looked up, her golden eyes held by the pitch black ones staring kindly down at her.
“Are you okay Princess?” Arya blanched. Above her, Alpha Greyson stood, bending over and helping her stand. His dark black hair was tied in a loose ponytail and his bangs filtered onto the side of his face. He was muscular, much like many of the male wolves Arya had met. He had tan skin, and was often seen wearing white T-shirts and jeans. Arya flushed.
“Sorry Alpha! I...I wasn’t looking!” Greyson only shook his head, smiling.
“You don’t have to be sorry Princess. Did Victor tell you I was looking for you?” Arya’s ears burned at his old nickname for her. Swallowing, she nodded.
“Yeah.” She said. “Is everything okay.” Greyson nodded.
“Oh yes! Everything is fine! I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” He shuffled on his feet and Arya smiled.
“You don’t have to worry about me Alpha. I’ll be fine.” She assured. Greyson ruffled her hair.
“I can’t help but worry about you Princess.” He said. He took her hand. “C’mon. Let’s go check some of the fair activities.” Arya, noticing Madhu with the Beta, agreed. She followed Greyson around the fair.
“Are you excited to find a mate?” Greyson asked after a while. Arya shrugged.
“Excited, and nervous.” She said.
“I think any wolf would be lucky to have you as their mate.” Greyson stated. He squeezed Arya’s small hand and she giggled.
“That’s just flattery!” She said. Greyson shook his head.
“Uh...Anyway, how was school?” Arya lit up.
“It was okay. Mr. B gave me separate work again.” Greyson smiled.
“That’s my girl.” He said proudly.
“Are you going to find your mate today Alpha?” Arya asked.
“Maybe. George has been on edge lately, so it’s a possibility.” He said.
“I hope you get a Luna.” She said. Greyson looked at her fondly. Maybe it was just the moon, but he just now realized how beautiful Arya was. Her long cascade of hair and her beautiful brown skin. She was gorgeous. When he saw her frown, it was then that he realized he’d been staring at her for too long. He blushed, she blushed, and they both looked away.
“How about you and Madhu go wait by your special tree for the moon to rise?” Greyson suggested. Arya nodded her head rapidly. She needed an excuse to get away, especially after their starting contest.
“I saw you were talking with the Alpha over there.” Madhu teased as they sat on a dead tree bark. “And holding hands.” Arya scoffed.
“It was nothing serious Madhu. Besides, I’m too young for him.” Madhu raised her eyebrow.
“So?” Arya sighed.
“Nothing.” She looked up at the sky, and suddenly felt as if a wave was crashing into her. Her chest heaved and Asha began to howl in her head. She looked at Madhu, who’s eyes were beginning to darken.
“The Moon Mating!” They gasped. They stood, and as the moon rose higher and higher in the air, the waves in her stomach crashed and fell in her. Her mind felt calm, Asha’s presence dominating.
I smell mate! I smell mate! Asha howled. Arya took a strong stance.
I can’t see him. Wait here, he will find us. Asha commanded. Arya nodded, and looked at Madhu.
“Find yours?” She asked. Madhu shook her head.
“No, I-!” She paused, sniffing the air. The two girls noticed the Beta, Jason, approaching them, or rather, approaching Madhu. He was twenty, same age as the Greyson. Silently, calmly, he slipped the sliver mate bracelet onto Madhu’s wrist, howling. Madhu blushed and Arya cackled.
“Do I have permission to laugh, Beta Female?” She questioned. Jason lifted Madhu into the air, holding her close as a parent would to a toddler. Arya giggled.
“Aw...” Madhu scowled, but then her eyes flickered up. She smirked.
“I wouldn’t be laughing for long Arya.” She teased. Arya frowned, but suddenly, she felt alert. Asha began to howl, louder than she had ever howled before. Arya turned, coming face to face with Greyson’s chest. She gulped, looking up. Her eyes began to haze.
“A-Alpha? Did you find your mate?” She asked. Greyson smiled. He knelt down on the grass and brought a hand up, stroking Arya’s hair. Asha purred, and Arya was coming close to purring as well. Her feelings had heightened, and she wished she knew who her mate was. Unfortunately, only males had that power.
“I did.” He murmured. Arya glanced at his hand, which was still grasping his golden mate band, the Alpha band. She looked around, confused.
“Where is she?” She asked. Greyson gently took Arya’s wrist, slipping the golden bracelet onto her thin arm. The bracelet glowed, then fit perfectly onto Arya’s wrist. She gasped, and around her, the wolves began to howl. Their cheers, their roars, their howls, filled the dark night around them. Greyson picked Arya up into his arms and held her tightly against him.
“She’s right here.”
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