If I was strong I would’ve stayed. I would’ve fought for my mate, used the mate bond to bring Atlas closer. I would have found some way to make him see that I was more important than a girlfriend, as selfish as it sounded.
It took me some time to realize how selfish and deluded Atlas had been. He chose Michelle over his mate. His two year girlfriend over his other half. Michelle had a mate out there somewhere. Was she destined to break his heart as mine had been broken?
My world had come crashing down with his words. A part of me buried so deep inside broke, spewing out into the world like an unleashed tidal wave. My wolf was howling in my head, making my ears ring mercilessly.
I gathered the scraps of my ruined book, clutching them to my chest as I turned on my heel and ran. I didn’t notice the other students lingering in the halls, the ones who had witnessed the entire ordeal. The human students would have no idea what happened, but the werewolves would. They looked at me with a mix of shock and pity. Their eyes burned in surprise, watching as the rejected she-wolf fled from the hall.
I ran past my own locker, not once slowing down until the front doors of the school appeared. My lungs were burning, my legs shaking with the blow Atlas had dealt. No one stopped me as I barreled out the front door. Hell, I wasn’t sure if anyone actually noticed. Being invisible had it’s perks, letting me leave the building without hassle.
I stopped when I made it out side, wondering what I was truly going to do. The thought of returning to school and seeing Atlas twisted my heart in ways I had never experienced before. I had never come close to death in my life, but I imagined this was what dying felt like. Your entire future, your reason for being ripped away from you without a second glance. Everything spiraling down at once, leaving you delirious and confused.
I took just a second to decided where I was going. Left would take me home, right would take me to my Mom’s job. Home was a farther run, while the Hospital was close by. My wolf took control, making me dart to the right and down the road.
My wolf Lila, was much like me but with a healthy dose of suspicion. She tried to see the good in people, but was never surprised when they came up short. Lila kept me out of many bad situations, letting me know who my true friends were. She had always been fond of Micah and his honesty. She liked the fact that he didn’t press about who we were or where we came from. He accepted our friendship without terms or hassle.
I could feel Lila’s pain mixing with my own, turning into one big festering knot. She gave me strength where I needed it, and I tried to do the same.
I barreled through the side door to the Hospital, scanning a little plastic card to open the door. Mom had given me one months ago, insisting I come to her office if I needed anything. The Hospital was small, but it was only one of the three we had. Mom’s Hospital was just closer to the Alpha and Luna’s house, making it the most popular.
I rushed down the hallway, inhaling the smell of cleaner and sterilization. I had always enjoyed the way a hospital smelled. Weird, I know. I liked the smell of cleaner and hand sanitizer.
“Where’s my Mom?” I whipped around the corner, coming to a skidding halt at one of the service desks.
Shelly was one of my Mom’s friends. Somewhat plump with curly blonde hair and a brilliant smile. Shelly helped bring Mom out of her stupor after Dad died, reminding her that life could still hold some joy.
“In her office---” Shelly responded with a startled look on her face, “Darlin’ are you alright?”
I ran off before I could hear the end of her question, heading in the direction of Mom’s office. When I barreled through the doorway, I noticed her immediately. She was clacking away at her computer, her reading glasses falling low on her face. I hadn’t actually thought about what I’d do when I got here.
For just a moment I contemplated turning around, running back the way I had come. I could just go home and sleep the day away, forgetting today for just a few moments.
‘That’s temporary.’ Lila whimpered, ‘We’d have to face him tomorrow.’
‘I don’t think I can do that.’ My own voice was weak in my head tinged with grief.
‘I can’t either.’ Lila’s voice lowered to a hushed tone, ‘We could leave, Raelynn. No one would miss us.’
Lila was right. There was a way out, but I couldn’t leave Mom behind. I knew she’d never let me leave on my own.
Mom’s head snapped up from the computer, her eyes widening as she took in my shaking form.
“Raelynn, oh my Goddess. What happened to you?” She was out of her seat in an instant, her hands gripping my forearms as she looked into my frantic eyes. I hadn’t realized I’d been crying until a sob left my lips, followed by a couple tears.
“He rejected me, Mom.” I choked, “I wasn’t good enough.”
Her eyes widened even more if that was possible. Her hands were shaky as she wiped away my tears. That familiar flash of pain formed in her eyes, the one when she thought of Dad.
“Who rejected you?” Mom’s voice was hard, harder than I had ever heard it before. “I’ll talk to their parents. They can’t just reject their mate. Not when their mate’s my daughter.”
“Atlas--” I flinched, it hurt to even speak his name. I tried to say his last name, my mouth hanging open but the word wouldn’t come out.
Mom’s eyes fell when she registered who my mate was. There would be no talking to the Alpha and Luna. Their son was future Alpha, free to do as he pleased.
“Did you accept the rejection, Raelynn?” Mom murmured, her eyes burning into my own.
“No, I couldn’t.” Another sob wracked through me, the tears falling steadily. “I was too weak--I should have, but I couldn’t!”
“Shh, it’ll be okay.” My Mom murmured, her thin arms wrapped around me. She smelled like the Hospital, clean and sterile. I could still smell a hint of her tea-tree body wash and some light perfume. The scent was calming, but did nothing for the pain inside my heart.
The sound of my strangled sobs filled her small office, but she continued murmuring to me. Her arms never left my body, not when the sobs slowly ceased. I cried out everything I could, my eyes feeling like sandpaper. No matter how much I cried, the pain wouldn’t go away. My soul felt fractured, incomplete without my mate.
“I can’t stay here.” I shook my head, my voice cracking as another sob tried to take over. “I can’t stay here and look at him everyday.”
“Honey--” My Mom pulled back to look at me, concern on her face. “He could change his mind. We can’t just leave.”
“He won’t.” I shook my head, I was sure. “He picked her, Mom. He picked Michelle.”
I wasn’t sure what hurt worse, being rejected by your mate or having him pick another girl over you. Both hurt horrendously.
Mom was silent for a few moments, her light eyes reading my own face. Whether she liked it or not, I had made up my mind. I would never leave my Mom behind, but I couldn’t stay here anymore. I’d leave her behind if it meant escaping the pain, escaping Atlas Andino.
“Alright.” Mom nodded, “Let me talk to the Alpha and Luna. I’m sure they’ll give us permission to leave.”
“Don’t tell them what happened.” I shook my head, my voice sounding lifeless.
“I won’t.” Mom frowned, stroking back a piece of hair that clung to my damp forehead. “Can you wait until my shifts over, or did you want to leave right now?”
“When does your shift end?” I sniffled, trying and failing to block the pain.
“Two hours.” Mom promised, “I’ll go straight to the Alpha and Luna when I’m finished.”
“I can wait.” I nodded, “It’ll give me time to pack some things. I’ll grab some stuff for you too.”
“Alright, sweetheart.” Mom frowned, pulling me into a tight hug.
I took deep breaths of her scent, but it didn’t have the calming affect it usually had. Instead I thought about Atlas, and what he might smell like.
“Everything will be alright, Raelynn.” Mom soothed, but we both knew that wasn’t true. “I’ll--I’ll--It’ll be alright, I promise.”
She was trying to convince the two of us, trying to tell me I could live a happy life without my mate. Maybe someday the pain would fade, but I would never be whole again. I would life a half-life, always wondering what could have been.