Never Ago (Book 1)

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Peel Off Faith

"What do you call it when you love someone you have never met?"

Lily's hands glided smoothly over the countertop, her delicate steps echoing in the spacious kitchen of the packhouse. Smiling inwardly at the mocking tone, she started dicing the vegetables.

"I guess it's called...long distance relationship?" She teased Marie who was propped on a stool, very unladylike.

Marie snorted and rolled her eyes. "Yes, non-existence relationship. You haven't just met, you've never seen him, never heard of him. Is that how shy girls work?"

Lily frowned, "I'm not shy."

Marie popped a slice of carrot into her mouth. "You don't talk much. Am I right or am I right?

"Not talking much," she slapped Marie's hand away from the bowl of carrots. "...doesn't mean you're shy. It could also mean you invest your time and energy only in certain important people, not everyone."

Marie pouted and rubbed her hand. "I don't feel very important right now."

"Eat the full meal, not the ingredients."

Marie jutted her chin out. "I'm the beta's daughter. I can eat whatever I want..." She trailed off when she saw the look Lily threw at her. "But I also respect the cooks here, so...later, huh."

Lily gathered all the vegetables and added them to the different pots on the stove. "Why do you even come to the packhouse for dinner? Your mom is a wonderful chef."

Marie shrugged. "Mom doesn't cook anymore, she has hired a maid. Besides, I love the food here. You have a problem, Mrs unknown?"

Lily giggled, ecstatic with the thought of meeting her mate. Will he love the meals I make? She briefly wondered.

She had been the cook of the packhouse along with a few others ever since her parents passed away. The money was good and she loved cooking. It was like a second nature to her. I'll spoil him rotten, whoever he is.

"Lily!" Marie snapped her fingers. "Can you keep your bedroom thoughts limited to your bed, please?"

Lily laughed, "Jeez, I'm not that forward with my imaginations."

Marie raised her at her when she turned around after securing the lids on the pots.

"Your shifting course is in ten minutes. I'll tell Abigail to look after the kitchen. Go, change."

Lily walked up to Marie and hugged her with all the sisterly love she could muster in that moment. "I have only one regret and that's not meeting you earlier. You never left me thinking how a sister would be. Thank you. You're a blessing in my life."

Marie stood up, still hugging her and sighed dramatically. "I'm the punishment for all your sins and I don't plan on leaving any time soon so you better get used to it."

Lily pulled away and shook her head in amusement. Before she could further the gratitude of having Marie help her through the painful process of shifting, Marie almost threw her out of the kitchen.

Werewolves were very unique in their ways. They were born humans but their prime identity was being a werewolf. The primal awakening took a lot of patience and endurance because it was a painful process. Few never made it. Hence, the shifting course to ensure the survival of the new pack members when they took their true form for the first time.

Lily wasn't the only one. Seven other girls and four boys were going to shift that night. They were under surveillance during the entire process in the woods. Lily, however, was more than eager to shift despite the challenging pain she was in.

After two hours of agony and feeling her bones move inside her flesh, she made it. Her grey wolf lied exhausted on the forest ground, hardly breathing but finally free and satisfied.

"Look at you," Marie gushed as she kneeled beside Lily. Stroking her fur, she gently checked for trigger points. When there were none, Marie signalled the two guards. "I'll take it from here. Check on the others."

They bowed and left Lily gazing up lazily at a very enthusiastic Marie.

She was squealing with excitement. "I can't believe you're gray, like, I thought you're going to be white, which are usually the more introverted ones. Or black, the broody ones but you're both!"

Lily didn't have the energy to shake her head.

Marie helped her begin with her gait slowly, it was her first full shift so things were going to take a while to fall into place. Lily stood up on shaky legs and made her way to a nearby cliff. Her mind was a haze. She was seeing things she already saw yet everything felt new.

"You know, if you found your mate soon, all this will be a piece of cake. Mates make the healing process faster. Since you're dying to lose your virginity I'm absolutely sure the day is round the corner when your unfortunate mate will succumb to your sex-drive."

Lily growled at Marie then quipped her jaws shut immediately. Never in her entire life had she ever made that sound. Marie howled with laughter when she noticed the quizzical look on her wolfish features.

The rest of the evening was spent on the cliff. Marie was patient and Lily giddy. It wasn't long before Marie shifted too and taught her the basic pattern of connecting with your wolf. All along Lily had one dominant thought swarming her mind. Mate.

"Okay, I think it's time we head back." Marie threw her a shirt out of her backpack and started undressing in front of a preplexed Lily. She laughed when she saw her waddling behind a rock to shelter her body.

Marie was famous in her circle since her rank was high. She had friends of all sorts, ages and species but Lily was the only one who struck her hard. She was a gem covered in mud. Simple, caring, warm, welcoming and a naive modest girl. She was different in a sense unexplainable. She wasn't interesting in the first glance, not even the second. But there was something about her, that kept pulling you closer and closer once it took a hold of you.

For Marie, it was her heart. After losing everything a girl could possibly have, her home and her family, she was still pure and strong.

A lone survivor.

-

"When am I going to learn mind-link?" Lily asked as Marie helped her lie back in her bed.

Marie pulled the blanket over her. "For now, get used to the presence in your head. Learn what makes her comfortable and what not. Mind-link is not hard to learn. We just need to make sure it won't be too much when you allow hundreds of pack members to swim in your head all day."

"Marie," Lily grabbed her hand before she could move away. "Can I go to college tomorrow?"

Marie raised an accusing brow. "You are aching from head to toe and you want to go to college?"

Lily blushed. "If I could handle it, that is."

Marie crossed her arms. "Why, pray tell, is college so important all of a sudd- oh."

Lily didn't know if it was possible to blush any harder than she already was. She felt so desperate, it was embarrassing.

"Your mate?" Marie sassed. "You think he's going to be at college?"

Lily bit her bottom lip and glued her gaze to her hands atop the blanket. "I feel like... He's going to be there. Someday."

Marie gave her a look then sighed and rubbed her face. "Okay, I mean there are no rules about house arrest after you shift. Just don't get disappointed or disheartened if things don't work out the way you want it."

Lily tried hard to hide the excitement dancing in her eyes. "I won't. Thanks."

"I still suggest you give it a rest for a day or two. The pills will keep your wolf half asleep. She's going to be in pain, if she's fully awake then you'll feel the full force of what your body went through. In this state, meeting your mate or even feeling his presence will wake her up."

"I'm completely fine. It's going to be okay. I'm sure."

Marie waved it off and instructed her to sleep after giving her medicine to help with the pain. Either the medicines were perfect or Lily was too distracted to notice the plea of her bones. The only thing strong enough to pierce the bubble of her dreams was the urge to get up and look for her other half because something in her believed he was near her.

"I'm going to meet you, tomorrow." She whispered before she dozed off.


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