“Ellie.” Titus said my name with a slight growl.
“Titus.” I responded a little nervously. My heart was racing. My head was pounding, it felt as though something inside me came alive and was scratching at the door that was blocking it from being released into my mind.
“Yes! I knew it!” I could hear Aunt Jane’s voice through the madness that was in my head right now.
“I know! We all thought it, Jane.” Aunt Betty’s high pitch voice came through my muffled brain.
I was struggling to focus on anything other than the green eyes in front of mine and the drumming in my head. I could believe that Titus was my mate, but still, I could not wrap my mind around it. His hand moved, causing my tank top and button-down blouse to rise up causing his hand to touch my skin. The sparks were there. They were electrifying; moving through every cell in my body. If I were standing on my own two feet, I would fall to the floor just by the sheer force of it and I loved every moment of it. I never felt safer in my life, than I was right now. In Titus’ arms.
Titus’ eyes were swirling between green and black as he fought to keep his wolf at bay. It was not as though we had not considered it when we were younger, but not having a wolf discouraged us. Still, Titus did not want me to leave. We had agreed that he would meet me at my house at noon on his eighteenth birthday, the age when all wolves could find their mates. He still had hoped we were fated to be together. My father did not agree to this and chose to leave first thing in the morning. I called Titus as I left, but he did not answer and I had not spoken to him since.
“Happy birthday, Titus.” I said the first thing that came to mind.
“Happy belated birthday, Ellie.” He said in a rough tone, remembering that my birthday was exactly a week before his.
“We need to celebrate! Our Alpha Titus has found his Luna! Ellie Mae Zamora.” I heard Uncle Paul announce to everyone. It had only just occurred to me that the entire deck had gone silent, the music had stop, and everyone was watching us. Suddenly, the crowd around us erupted in cheers and congratulations, causing my anxiety to make its ugly presence known.
“We need to talk.” Titus said to me as he put me down carefully. His voice. Has it always been that deep, that hot?
“What’s going on?” I heard a female voice from behind Titus. I looked past Titus’ muscular body to see who it was. She made her way to him and his arm brought me closer to his body as though he was trying to protect me. As soon as I saw her, my jaw dropped from the surprise.
“Keely!” I gasped. She was one of our friends when we were younger. She was not a ranking member of the pack. Her mother worked in the pack house, but we did not judge or exclude her from our group.
“Ellie!” Keely said in a more disgusted tone, while her eyes focused at how close Titus held me. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry?” I said in a form of a question. Why was Keely concerned as to why I was here? My anxiety was already up as it was. The way she stared at my closeness to Titus and his stiffening of his body told me exactly what was going on. “I was invited to Titus’ birthday.”
“But now it’s a celebration! Titus and Ellie are mates!” Aunt Jane said with a malicious smile and venom in her voice. “I cannot be any happier right now!”
I watched as Keely’s eyes well up in tears and anger as her eyes darted back and forth between Aunt Jane and myself. It was then that I understood why I was here in the first place. My aunts and uncles set this up so they can confirm all of our suspicions. Keely was an obstacle to them, and they wanted her out of the way. The reality hit me like a ton of bricks to the head. Titus had been avoiding me until I was placed right in front of him.
“Excuse me.” I said, working myself out of Titus’ hold and reaching for my bag and keys.
“Ellie, wait!” I heard Titus yell after me, but this only encouraged me to run. I slid the door to the kitchen open and rushed through it not caring if it closed behind me. “Dammit Ellie! I order you to stop.” Titus used his alpha tone on me.
“I’m not your pack member, nor do I have a wolf. Your Alpha command won’t work on me.” I said as I continued to rush out the front door. I struggled with my keys as I approached my little Nissan Sentra. The battery on the remote had been going out, and I had not bothered to replace it. Now I regretted it. Titus reached for my hand that was working on getting the key out of the remote and into the keyhole of my door. There’s those sparks again. “Don’t touch me.”
“Ellie. Why are you here?” Titus said from behind me as he managed to take the keys from my hand. “You’ve been back for two years, and you just now decide to show yourself.”
“My uncle invited me.” I turn to face him. “I thought… I thought that I hadn’t been invited before because you couldn’t forgive me for leaving.”
“Goddess! Fuck!” He said with his eyes widening. Not many words could be exchanged to understand that we had both been under the impression that we were upset with one another. He turned around wanting to punch the vehicle behind him but stopped himself. “Why now!? What compelled you to come here?” Titus turned to face me.
“I don’t know.” I had not felt the tears before now, while he stared straight at me, quiet. We stood there for a moment, while we thought about the next words that will come out of our mouths. “I wanted to see you.” I whispered.
“I fucking knew it was you. That you were my mate.” Titus said to me in the same whisper like tone. “Your dad knew. That’s why he had both of you leave before I could see you.”
“Titus. We all thought it, but then…” I could not think of the words to say to him. “I think I knew too.”
“You still left.”
“I called you. My father had us ready to go before I was fully awake.” I responded. “What was I supposed to do Titus?”
“I called you back, but your father didn’t let me speak to you. He told me he wasn’t ready to lose you too. That I should just leave you to live your life as a human. So, I did.”
“Why didn’t you come to me after he died? After my eighteenth birthday? After I moved here?” I asked, the tears becoming more frequent.
“I wanted too, but I couldn’t take you away from your life. He wanted you to be human and that was what I was trying to do. I was afraid.” He answered.
“That doesn’t make any sense. You were afraid? And instead, you find someone else to spend your time with. Someone who wasn’t human.” I reach for my keys that he had in his hands, but instead he threw them across the yard. “Are you fucking serious, Titus? Those were my car keys. My apartment keys were on the ring!”
“It’s been five years, Ellie. I’m not letting you go now.”
“You cannot be serious.” I turned in the direction he threw my keys and found that we had an audience consisting of my aunts, uncles, Hendrick, Keely, and a few others. Joseph had also appeared although I had yet to see him until now. “Don’t just stand there! How about looking for my keys!”
“Yes, Luna.” Several omegas answered, which threw me for a loop. While Keely only stood there shaking with anger.
“Stay with me. Please?” Titus pleaded, placing his hand to on my forearm. Letting the mate bond do its work. “You cannot leave me on my birthday, again. Please?”
I looked down not wanting to look into those beautiful green eyes that I had loved my whole life. I stare down to my cowgirl boots that I paired with shorts and a short sleeve plaid button down. You could see my tattoo on my thigh which went up my hip to the side of my tummy. I thought about our childhood together. It would be unfair for me to come all this way and not spend time with my family. I could not abandon him on his birthday yet again.
“That is not fair, Titus. Using guilt and the mate bond to play me like a fiddle.”
“Is it workin’?” Titus smiled at me.
“I didn’t bring a change of clothes. It’ll get chilly in the evenin’.”
“You can wear my sweatpants.” Titus offered.
“My keys are lost in the grass. How am I supposed to get home? y roommate Selena is supposed to be out for the weekend.”
“I have a spare key to your apartment! Remember?” Joseph yelled across the yard as he searched the grass for my car keys.
“I can drive you to your apartment tomorrow and you can get the spare key to your car from there. Can you really say no to crawfish and catfish?” Titus smiled.
“What about Keely?” I asked as quietly as I could, knowing she was watching us.
“You’re my mate. She and I are done because I belong to you.” He said to me, not caring whether she heard or not.
“What about me not having a wolf?”
“A conversation for another time.” He said to me with a smile.
“There’s a lot more we need to talk about at another time. I’m only stayin’ because I don’t have much of a choice and because I want to spend time with my family. Also… because it’s your birthday.” I explain to him, hating how easily I am giving into him.
“I’ll take what I can get.” Titus said, putting his arm around my shoulder.
“Mercy”- Brett Young