I sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing my temples. This trip had definitely taken an unexpected turn. Finding a mate was not in my plan. I was mostly upset because I didn’t plan on staying for any longer than I needed to. And now I was staying for two extra days. My wolf growled, impatient that he wasn’t near her.
I got up to shower and dress, throwing on a pair of jeans and a collared button-down shirt. I walked downstairs, following the smells of breakfast. As I turned the corner to the kitchen I heard talking and laughing as the Jennings family gathered waiting to eat.
“Good morning, Alpha,” Max smiled as the rest of the family turned to face me.
“Good morning,” I replied cooly. There was Leah, Max, Addison, and two others I didn’t recognize. As if knowing this, Leah chimed in. “Alpha Slade, you've obviously already met Addison. This is our son Jack and his wife Michelle.”
I nodded hello with a tight smile.
“Shall we eat?” Leah broke the awkward silence as she walked over to the table with the last tray of food.
Breakfast was filled with joking and laughing and small talk - all of which I wasn’t the biggest fan. But I hadn’t eaten like that in a while. I had meals cooked for me, but I had to admit this food was delicious. “Thank you for the meal,” I said, leaning back a bit. “Do you need help with any arrangements today?”
Leah spoke first. “Addie and I are going to spend the day packing up all her things, I think we’ve got it. You could help Max with all of the formalities, I bet he would appreciate it."
“I hate paperwork…” Max said leaning back in his chair.
At the mention of Addison’s name, I looked up at her across the table. I realized I hadn’t actually taken a good look at her. She was surprisingly beautiful. Her deep, chocolate hair curling around her shoulders. Her bright turquoise eyes were framed by long, thick lashes. Her full lips and shapely body. My wolf growled. “Shh,” I hissed in my head. “It's just a girl, calm down.” But I couldn’t deny I had enjoyed the fact that all during breakfast she had done everything she could to avoid eye contact. But when we finally did once, she blushed and I could hear her heartbeat quicken. That didn’t help calm my wolf at all. I needed to get away from this girl.
The rest of the day was spent with Alpha Max, filling out forms and paperwork and brainstorming more ideas about relations between the two packs. Especially now with my mate being the daughter of the Alpha.
Before dinner, I wandered around the common area a bit before settling in a chair on the back deck looking out over the lake. It was calming. I needed that, considering all I could think about for half the day was that girl blushing and looking up with her bright eyes, her lavender scent taking over my senses.
I needed to chill.
The day was spent packing. I couldn’t believe that all of my belongings had fit into such a small amount of boxes. The room looked empty. It made me sad, but I was determined to be strong about this. My mom, on the other hand, was a hot mess. She had been crying on and off for the whole day. We were so close, it was hard to not just sit and cry with my mom and tell them that I was staying whether they liked it or not! But I didn’t do that. And I knew I really had no choice. The mate pull is strong, and now that we had found each other there was no way we would end up separated.
That evening the pack had a BBQ outside as a going away party. It was loud, happy, and the perfect send-off. Everyone was so happy for me that I almost forgot I was leaving, until I bumped into the wall of a person. I knew who it was though with his scent of amber and musk. It was intoxicating.
I used my hands to push off his chest, immediately pulling them away when the warmth radiated through my palms. As I looked up at him I caught the stare he already had glued on me. My cheeks blushed as I looked into his golden-brown eyes. A half-smile flashed across his lips, gone just as soon as it appeared.
“H-hi,” was all I was able to breathe out.
“Addison,” Slade said, stepping forward, closing the distance I had made between us. I stared up at him for a moment before snapping back to reality. “uhhhh… enjoying the party?” I asked, trying to fill the silence with literally anything.
“It’s loud. Are you all packed up for tomorrow?” He muttered.
I sighed, “Yes, I’m all ready. Just enjoying one last hurrah with my family. Thank you for staying an extra day.” I gave him a shy smile. I was trying to be strong and I was hoping he couldn’t see through my bravado.
“Mhmm.” Was the only response I got from him before he walked away.
As he left I finally released the breath I had been holding. He was extremely attractive and I was having a hard time trying to act like I didn’t notice. Slade was tall and fit, extremely hard and muscular. I was pretty sure his biceps were bigger than my head. His button-down shirt was pulled across his chest and it fit in all the right ways. Same with his jeans. His tanned skin and dirty blonde hair made it look like he had literally been kissed by the sun. And those eyes. Golden brown and rich like honey. He had a rugged handsomeness and a strong jaw. But that didn’t stop me from being slightly irritated with the fact that he had barely spoken three words and then just stalked off. Apparently, he wasn’t as affected as I was by the mate bond.
That wouldn’t stop me from enjoying my last night. There was dancing and singing and so much food. The night ended all too soon and I found myself walking back up to the house with my parents on either side of me with their arms around me. We sat on the couch in the family room of our living quarters and talked into the night, my parents giving encouragement and advice.
“Don’t be stubborn in letting yourselves fall for each other,” my mom offered. I knew I had a stubborn streak and my mom knew it would get me into trouble. “Don’t fight the mate bond. The more you fight, the stronger the pull will be. Let yourself learn to love him.”
My dad interrupted, “And show him just how amazing you are! Because I swear if he hurts you I’ll kill him.”
As I gave my dad a teary smile I wondered what the future was going to be like. I was about to be a Luna, to a pack I'd never met, with a man I'd barely spoken to. As I went to bed those thoughts wouldn’t leave me until my wolf whispered comfortingly, It will work. He’s our mate. And with that thought, I drifted to sleep.