Some days it seems like every wolf in my pack is obsessed with finding a mate. But not me. I’m not like other werewolves.
My name is Max Remus and I’m a member of the Elite Pack. The biggest pack on the East Coast.
I like to draw. My favorite food is turkey meatballs. I don't like heights and I’m deathly afraid of spiders...like crazy terrified.
I just turned 16. And while everyone else my age is busy daydreaming about the wolf they’re going to spend the rest of eternity with, I’m busy dreaming about becoming an artist.
Oh yeah, because I forgot to mention, the best thing––hell, the only good thing––about being a member of the Elite Pack is that our territory is home to New York City. Cultural epicentre of the world.
For a teen wolf who’d rather sketch boulders in Central Park than pick out wedding china like me, New York is the place to be.
In fact it’s the place I was supposed to be an hour ago!
“Oh crap!” I wince as I push my way through the tourists blocking the subway car doors.
“I’m late! Again!” I dodge and weave through the crowds on the platform trying to find the closest exit. “Katie is going to kill me!”
The thing is...the only thing I like more than drawing is sleeping. And it was past midday when I finally came to today. My eyes nearly bugged right out of my head looking at the time on my phone.
I was supposed to meet Katie on the red steps in Times Square at 2 o’clock and from my house in the suburbs it takes at least an hour to get into the city.
There was no way I’d make it even if I moved like the goddam Road Runner. Meep meep! But I had to try.
So I threw on a shirt and jeans and ran for the station.
Finally, I find an exit and begin bounding up the steps two at a time.
This wasn’t the first time I’d overslept and kept Katie waiting.
We’ve been besties since we were pups––our mother’s went to school together––so she’s pretty used to the mess that is my life.
But she’s also my favorite person in the world and I hate letting her down.
Plus I worry one of these days the cuteness of my constant tardi-ness will wear off.
The bright summer sun hits my face as I finally emerge at street level.
Outside the 42nd Street station the streets of Manhattan are packed as usual. For a second I’m overwhelmed with all the sounds of the traffic and the smells of the pretzel wagons. Being a wolf means having heightened senses which is usually a good thing.
Like when you’re trying to have some alone time in your room and your mother pops in to see if you have any dirty underwear. With wolf hearing you can usually sense her coming with just enough time to slam your laptop shut.
But it can also be a whole lot to take in.
I pause for a second to readjust.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Eventually, the honking of car horns, the sirens, the constant chatter from all around drifts into the background, becoming a dull hum in the back of my mind.
I flare my nostrils and find I can pinpoint the exact source point of every strange and exotic scent coming my way.
Want to know what three day old hotdog water smells like? Ask a New York wolf.
Finally, I feel ready. I open my eyes.
Squinting through the glare, I take off down 43rd St. If I’m fast I’m only a minute away.
My phone is buzzing in my pocket so I try and pull it out while I run.
I texted Katie from the train telling her I’d be a few minutes late. But obviously a few minutes was up about half an hour ago.
Katie: 2:53: Where are you?
Katie: 2:54: Did you oversleep again???
Katie: 2:56: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaax?????
I continue to run, trying to type a message saying I’m just around the corner at the same time when…
I hit what feels like a brick wall and stumble backward.
Tripping over my feet I fall to the pavement. My phone slips from my hand and, as my ass hits the floor, I watch as it shatters.
Wincing, I sit up. Pain radiates in my ass and spine as I squint up at the thing I ran into...only it’s not a thing. It’s a person. A guy.
“Watch where you’re going? What are you some kind of bonehead?”
“I’m...I’m sorry,” I say, grimacing through the pain. The sun is backlighting the guy, which makes it hard to see his face. But he’s tall, wearing a black blazer with a white t-shirt underneath, black skinny jeans and shiny boots.
And from the sound of his voice he doesn’t sound much older than me.
“You should really be more careful.”
“I said sorry,” I say, starting to get annoyed as I collect the pieces of my smashed up phone.
Sure, I wasn’t watching the footpath but I’m the one on the ground and this jerk didn’t seem to even register the impact.
The least he could do is apologize as well.
“Here,” the guy says and sticks out his hand to help me up.
I give him a dirty side eye but still take his hand.
The second we touch it feels as if time has slowed down. The birds in the sky are flying in slow motion. The pedestrian traffic has become a blur. The sounds of the city are muffled like I’m underwater.
As if I weigh practically nothing the guy pulls me to my feet. I stand face to face with him and his features come into view. My breath catches in my throat.
His eyes are a piercing emerald green, contrasting with his dark, angular brows. His face is narrow and symmetrical, black hair swoops across his forehead perfectly framing his devastatingly handsome features. He has cheekbones that could cut glass and just the faintest hint of freckles across his cheeks. His lips are the perfect shade of peach…
He looks like some kind of dark angel. Or a boy from a painting.
And his scent…his scent hits me like a tidal wave.
All I can smell is a mix of mint, lemon and something else...is it cherry blossom? I take in his scent. And it’s the most intoxicating thing I’ve ever experienced.
I feel a tingle behind my knees and my legs start to feel weak.
I’ve never felt this way before. What is this? This feeling...what is it?
Is it because of...of him? But he’s a...a guy!
“You okay, bonehead?”
Suddenly, the world snaps back into realtime. People push past us, the traffic roars like the ocean, the sun is bright and blaring.
And this jerk just called me a bonehead! For the second time!
“Don’t call me a bonehead!”
“Why not...bonehead?” he says cooly.
“You broke my phone!”
“You ran into me.”
“Doesn’t seem like I did too much damage to you. I’m the one who ended up on my ass!”
Whoever this jerk thinks he is it doesn’t give him the right to speak to anyone like that. No matter how clumsy they may be.
For a second he looks like he’s about to say something else but he’s interrupted by a gust of wind blown up through the grates from the subway.
A dark, questioning look colors his expression.
For a moment we stand there silently as he stares daggers in my direction.
And then without saying another word he steps past me, like I wasn’t even there, and continues walking.
“Hey! You jerk, you can’t just walk away! What about my phone?”
“Whatever,” he says, without turning back.
But he doesn’t wait and he doesn’t respond either.
He just keeps walking.
As he finally disappears into the crowd clogging up the sidewalk it dawns on me.
His scent...that weird feeling. Something else… Was he...a werewolf?
“Ouch,” I say as a broken piece of glass pricks the skin on my palm, bringing me out of my paralyzed state of confusion. I didn’t realize I was clenching my fist so hard.
But my broken phone reminds me…
The longer I stand here the later and later I become.
I look back down the street one last time but I can’t even see that ridiculously-good-looking, possibly-a-werewolf, but totally-a-jerk anymore.
I turn and start running again.
Who was that guy? And why does he think he can act like such an asshole!?