It was Layla’s eighteenth birthday but it didn’t feel like she should be celebrating. She hadn’t mentioned it knowing how everyone was feeling since the passing of Alpha Marcus and she was okay with it. The pack was mourning and her friends were hurting badly. When she woke in the morning her parents smiled brightly as she walked into the kitchen of their home.
“Happy birthday baby!” Layla’s mother said cheerfully as she handed her a pancake with a candle in it.
“Thanks mom,” Layla smiled before blowing out the candle. She opened the few presents her parents had bought her; some lotions and perfumes and a couple of new outfits. The last gift she opened was an envelope that held insurance papers. Layla looked up at her parents in confusion.
“Did you mix up my card with one of your bills?” Layla joked as she held out the papers.
“It’s not our names on those is it?” Layla’s dad asked with a smirk.
Layla’s eyes widened as she looked at the paperwork that had her name on it and slowly her mind caught up.
“No... you didn’t...” Layla said quietly as she ran to the front door.
She opened it to find Jace standing outside her house in front of a brand new car.
“You didn’t!!” Layla yelled.
“Nope, the car was all them,” Layla’s dad replied.
Layla sprinted to her friend and jumped into his arms, “Jace! I can’t believe you!”
Jace embraced her tightly, laughing at her excitement.
Layla stepped back to look at her gift, “Guys.. this is too much. I can’t accept this.”
Jace laughed, “Well, now that I have a mate I can’t be driving you around everywhere and soon Hunter will find his and you’ll be stuck walking.”
Layla shook her head with a smile, “Where is Hunter?”
“He’s on his way, he got held up doing something. He was supposed to be here for the big reveal. It’s from both of us,” Jace said, squeezing Layla’s shoulders.
Just then Hunter’s black Jeep pulled up.
“You’re late!” Jace hollered as he stepped out of the car.
“I know, I know. Layla I’m so...” Hunter stopped dead in his tracks. The smell of honey clouded his whole mind.
“Mate...” he whispered.
Layla stood frozen as she saw her friend. His scent overwhelmed her and she knew. Her wolf was going insane.
Hunter lunged forward and pulled her close, crushing her lips in a fiery kiss.
They were interrupted when Jace laughed. “Well that was fast,” Jace teased as he slapped Hunter’s back.
Layla turned back to her parents who watched in shock, stunned and speechless. She hadn’t seen this coming, that Hunter could have possibly been her mate. She assumed he’d find some pretty she-wolf from another pack like Jace did.
“I can’t believe it,” Layla said quietly.
“I hoped it would be you,” Hunter smiled.
Layla smiled back at him, happy she would get to spend the rest of her life with her best friend.
“Get your head in the game Layla,” the lead trainer yelled as he watched her spar.
Layla had been distracted now that she had found her mate. She shook the thoughts of Hunter out of her head and continued with her fight. It ended with Layla on her back.
“Tomorrow I expect you to have a little more focus,” the trainer said as she walked back to her things. Layla gave him a nod before heading home to change before lunch.
When she walked into the the pack house she was surprised by her friends in the kitchen. “Happy Birthday!!” they all yelled before presenting her with a giant lunch buffet and a cake. As they sat at the table eating and enjoying each other’s company Layla looked to her friends with a smile. “I’m surprised you guys came up with all of this, I hadn’t expected much.”
Hunter took Layla’s hand and kissed it, “We all needed a happy day. Your birthday was the perfect opportunity. Besides, we wanted to spoil you a bit, you deserve it after putting up with Jace.”
Jace half-choked on the bite of food he was eating, “Hey! In my own defense, she was super irritating in the beginning.”
Layla laughed, “I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to make fun of the birthday girl.”
“WHERE ARE THEY?!”
Everyone’s head shot to the kitchen to find Luna Tasha rushing through the kitchen. Her eyes met Layla and she smiled brightly. “There you are!”
She ran up and pulled Layla in for a tight squeeze, “Happy birthday hun! And I’m so happy you ended up with one of my boys!! I knew how much Hunter loved you.”
Layla smiled, “I didn’t know how much.”
“He wanted you as his mate from the moment he met you!” Tasha chimed.
“Mom! Stop!” Hunter blushed and smacked his forehead with his hand.
Layla grinned widely, “Oh reeaaally?”
Jace laughed loudly, “Well the secret is out now, better just own it!”
Hunter approached his mate and pulled her close, “I may or may not have been praying daily that you were my mate. I knew there had to be a reason I was so drawn to you.”
Layla kissed his cheek, “Let’s go for a walk.”
Hunter gave Layla a smile before taking her hand and walking outside.
“So, it’s all a lot to process isn’t it?” Layla said as they walked down the path.
“It is, but I really am glad it’s you.” Hunter replied.
“I’m glad it’s you too, Hunter,” Layla said before reaching up and placing a soft kiss on his lips.
She had been afraid it would be weird, kissing her friend like that, but it wasn’t. It felt right and she loved everything about it. His smell, his taste, his touch. He was taking over her senses and she could feel her body stir in response to her mate.
Hunter pulled Layla close to him as he kissed her. The taste of her lips and the feeling of her in his arms was intoxicating. He had never been more happy than he was in this moment with his future in his arms.