Whenever I closed my eyes there was one moment I pictured. A home, a family. It was all I wanted. As the orphan of the pack, all I wanted was somewhere to belong. When the alarm went off at midnight I smiled. “Happy Birthday...” I whispered to myself and my wolf.
Happy birthday, Maya, my wolf, Aspen, replied in my head.
I closed my eyes and rolled back over, falling to sleep for another few hours, knowing today I was twenty-one and now able to find a mate and the home I had been longing for.
I got out of bed at six and got dressed in my simple clothes for the day of work ahead of me. In the Aurora Pack, everyone was expected to do their part. Because this was a farming community, most of us worked in the fields, planting and harvesting and caring for our crops and livestock. I was one of the unlucky pack members who had the pleasure of working in the fields. We had 900 acres in the middle of nowhere where we raised cattle, chickens, and pigs for meat as well as farming most of the land for food. Our pack supplied the food for most of the surrounding packs, earning us protection and help when we needed it. Not that we ever did. Nobody ever attacked Aurora. We were a peaceful pack that never caused any problems and packs didn’t dare bother us. They thought we were odd and didn’t want to risk losing their food supply.
I walked out of my room in the main packhouse and to the kitchen for breakfast.
“Happy morning, Maya,” Luna Haven smiled warmly as she handed me a plate.
“Happy morning, Luna,” I replied with a smile and a slight bow of the head. I walked to a table and sat down by myself. There were only two others in the pack that actually paid attention to me and they didn’t seem to be here yet.
“Hey, Maya!” Gavin hollered as he walked across the dining hall to me. He sat down with a smile, “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks,” I replied with a grin before looking around. “Where’s Penelope?”
He rolled his eyes, “Fixing her hair or her makeup or something.”
I chuckled when I saw Penelope walk up behind him with a glare before smacking his head. Gavin and Penelope were twins and were my best friends. My only friends, if we were being truthful.
“Happy birthday, Maya,” she winked as she sat beside her brother. She leaned in, “Also, did anyone else notice now exceptionally high our Luna seems this morning?” She mimicked the Luna’s bow and “happy morning”, earning a laugh from the rest of us.
“She’s always been a little bit of a hippy though,” I replied.
“Yeah but she’s extra organic this morning,” Gavin chuckled.
Penelope looked around the dining hall, “So are we taking bets on who your mate is?”
I laughed as Gavin and Penelope began pointing to the hottest wolves in the pack, making guesses about if they were good enough for me. I smiled at my friends, glad I had them.
My parents died when I was just a pup, leaving me alone. I had been taken in by the pack and raised in the packhouse, not really having a family. Even though I was Gamma born, I wasn’t considered much as an orphan. Nobody really cared, until I met Penelope and Gavin.
“We should head out,” Penelope said before standing from the table.
I sighed, “Another day in the fields.”
Penelope and Gavin, as Beta-born wolves, could have had their pick of jobs in the pack. But they chose to work in the fields with me, claiming they didn’t want to be trapped inside all day.
We stood outside as we received our assignments for the day. We worked hard all morning, finally stopping at lunchtime for a break. We sat down in the dining hall again and ate our lunch quietly, dirty and tired from the hard work.
“Gavin, Penelope, mom needs you upstairs,” their older brother Chase said as he walked up to the table.
Gavin let out a groan, complaining about getting up as he stood from the table. I looked up at Chase with a smile. He looked just like his younger siblings, handsome and strong from years of training as a Beta. He didn’t really pay much attention to me, like the rest of the pack, but he was always kind. He looked down with a small smile, “Hey Maya…“ he trailed off as our eyes met.
Aspen was running circles in my head, howling like a fool. MATE!!! We found him!!!!!
My senses were taken over by the strongest scent of sage and I just stared at him in shock, utterly speechless.
“Oh my gosh...” Penelope whispered as she realized what had just happened.
Chase snapped his eyes away and looked to his sister, “What?”
Gavin laughed, “You two?! This is awesome!”
Chase shook his head, “Head upstairs before mom has a fit.” He walked away with frustration as I sat frozen to my seat.
Wait... why is he walking away? Aspen whispered
“I’m not sure...” I thought as I watched him walk out of the dining hall. I stood to follow him when the work bell rang and I let out a huff. “We’ll see him later...”
I went back out to the field for the rest of the day, working hard on the harvest. An hour before dinner we were released for the evening and I let out a long exhale as I walked down the long hallway to the very end where my room was. I opened the door, my eyes tired and skin covered in a layer of dirt.
I showered off the day before making my way to dinner, hoping to see Chase again.