Chapter 1: Bethany
My door burst open with the help of the thing I dreaded most in the mornings. “Bethany, get your butt out of bed or you will be late for school.”
I have the world’s worst alarm clock ever. I can never snooze or unplug it, and if I don’t do as it says, it throws water at me. I also know it by the name of Mom. The next thing I hear is “C.J,” in a sing-song voice that echoes up the stairs and through the hallways. That is my mom’s favorite way of waking up everyone else in the house, followed by 4 loud bangs on the wall. My father installed a special panel in the wall where she can let loose her werewolf strength and it won’t crack the wall or supports. If you ask me, she could do the same thing with a punching bag and still get the same effect. She is a very strong werewolf, despite being female.
Through the pack’s mind link I can hear simultaneous groans and assume they are doing as I am now, hiding my head under a pillow. I hear people shuffling, trying to get comfortable again in their beds. That is until we all hear the sink turn on and a bucket clink against the stainless steel in the kitchen. The next few minutes are utter chaos as Mom grabs the full bucket and a cup and begins soaking everyone to get them out of bed.
“I warned you all. Now. GET. UP.” She roars. I make my usual mad dash to get to the bathroom first and thankfully succeed in my attempt to be first to use the bathroom. I close the door just as Aiden makes his first appearance, peeking his drenched figure out of his room. Although we have more than one bathroom, my favorite one to use is right next to my brother’s room. It is the largest and has a working heat lamp, in addition to plenty of counter space and a full size shower. I look in the mirror grimacing at my bedhead and the dark bags under my eyes. I immediately turn on the hot water and heating light to keep the bathroom warm after I get out of the shower. Werewolves are naturally warmer than humans but I have always loved hot showers and hot weather. It doesn’t bother me as much as most wolves because my fur is thinner.
I soap up my body first with my favorite body wash. It smells of burnt brown sugar and cocoa butter, my favorite scent. I then scrub my hair clean and condition it so it will be soft as silk. I enjoy a few extra minutes of the water beating against my skin as I think about today, and better yet tonight. Why you might ask? Because today is the day I turn 18 and every wolf knows that at 18 you find your mate, or you are supposed to at least according to legend. An unlucky few find that their mates are younger than they are or are already in a relationship, those get messy and complicated, not to mention how rare mates are if you are lucky enough to find yours in the first place. If I don’t find my mate, I can go to one of the Alpha’s Banquets where I might meet them.
After my shower, I get dressed. I decide on a pair of faded dark blue skinny jeans, a tan and cream cowl neck sweater, tan fur boots, and I leave my hair down in its natural way; slightly curly and wavy but not frizzy. It always reminded me of a lion’s mane, only a dark auburn color instead of brown or tan. I apply mascara and put my contacts in, along with a little bit of tan eyeshadow. Grabbing my bag on my way out of my room, I then head downstairs for breakfast. I may be small, probably the smallest adult female in the pack, but I can easily out-eat most of the males. I sniff twice as I jump off the last two steps and smile widely as I smell my favorite breakfast being prepared.
“If anyone touches my bacon I will rip out their stomach, take my bacon back and make you eat it again!!!” I shout as I run and slide into the kitchen.
Much to my surprise, there is a huge plate of bacon in my place at the table complete with eggs, toast, some orange juice, and a blueberry muffin.
“Happy Birthday Bethany,” my family chimes.
My brothers and sister and parents are all standing around with huge smiles plastered on their faces.
“Thanks you guys, what did you do to my food?” I ask cautiously as I sit at the table at my usual spot.
“What makes you think we did something to your food?” Erin asks with a wicked grin on her face.
The only person I trust to make my food is me and my mother, and it was Erin’s turn to cook breakfast that morning. When I was younger my brothers tried to give me their version of “spaghetti ″ which was earthworms mixed with cow-pie meatballs and ketchup mixed with dirt as the sauce. Not a pleasant experience though thankfully I was smart enough not to eat it after I smelled what was on the plate.
“I have decided I will be nice and share with all of you, since you all worked so very hard to make this special. Here have some,” I say as I push the plate towards the middle of the table,” take a bite.”
“But we made it special just for you little sister, you’re finally old enough to find a mate and you shift for the first time tonight, you need all the strength you can get,” Aiden says seriously.
“I’ll take a bite!” Ricky reaches and grabs a handful of bacon and a slice of my toast before immediately starts scarfing it down.
Okay so maybe the food is alright to eat. I completely forgot about finding my mate and shifting tonight, and that suddenly makes me nervous. For about 2 centuries, mates have been extremely hard to find, and people began to give up hope until the Goddess was found and people began to find their mates left and right again. That’s when people began believing in her once more and we also learned about her guardians. Some people are still skeptical, however, and there was no huge change in people finding mates, maybe one or two more than usual. I choose to believe that this girl Stormy is the Goddess and that her guards are real as well.
I eat my food and we all trudge out the door to our cars and drive to school. I climb into my Navy Blue Ram 2500 crew cab truck with C.J and Ricky and we began the 10-minute drive to the Wolf Academy.
“How does it feel knowing you get to run with us now?” Ricky asks.
“I always run with you, but now I will be on four legs instead of two,” I say.
C.J, having claimed “shotgun,” turns on the radio and our favorite song is playing. One by one we all begin singing at the top of our lungs and by the time we get to school we are all laughing so hard we can’t breathe. I pull into our parking spot on the north side of the massive building just as C.J lets out the biggest, most nasty-smelling fart we have ever heard or smelled. Both Ricky and I make a mad scramble out of the truck onto the pavement gasping and grabbing at the sky dramatically, seeing our siblings arrive as well.
“Air, I need air!” Ricky says, laughing so hard he can hardly stand up, let alone breathe.
“Dude, remind me to never let you drink milk again! You’re going to make my truck smell like sour French fries and bacon for a week!!!” I yell between bouts of laughter.
C.J stands there laughing at me and Ricky who is dry heaving behind a bush nearby.
“Damn what the hell died!!!” said Aiden as he drove up.
That only made us laugh harder.
“Nothing died, C.J farted,” said Ricky when he finally got his color back.
“You guys are so immature! Why was I stuck with siblings that don’t know how to behave in public?” Erin complains with a completely straight face.
I could see the laughter in her eyes knowing that she was thankful that she didn’t have to suffer the same fate we did, but still fully believing all of us were childish nonetheless.
“My dear, to balance out your seriousness, you must have a minimum of 4 younger siblings and those siblings must be classified as either hooligans or dork-wads or masters of shenanigans,” Aiden said, trying to sound as if he were a professor.
He completed this by holding his hands behind his back and pushing his glasses up on his face higher. He was just missing the well-groomed beard and pipe.
Ricky took Aiden’s glasses, hiked up his pants, and then in the nerdiest voice he could muster added “I find it highly probable that this will happen MANY times in the future, but I know I won’t be the one saying ‘Did I do that?’ because we all know it was C.J.”
The comment coaxed a smile from Erin.
“Come on dorks were going to be late to class” she shouts over her shoulder as she begins walking towards the main entrance of the building.
We are all busy laughing at Ricky trying to pick out his self-inflicted wedgie as we walk into the building. At the moment he resembled more of a goose waddling down the sidewalk, rather than a werewolf.
The Wolfe Academy was unique to say the least. It housed three pack’s children as a school from pre-k all the way through college courses which is what my family and I attend. I am a freshman in college this year and super excited to be on my path towards a veterinarian.
Animal Biology was the first class for me and my best friend Minnie who is in it with me. We have been inseparable since our freshmen year of highschool. She is also a werewolf who was from the same pack as my family and we are only 2 weeks apart, her being older.
“Bethany! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLY!” Minnie shouts at the top of her lungs running like a mad woman right at me and flailing her arms. She is just as much of a dork as the rest of my siblings. More so, she is like a sister to me. She is tall with curly blonde hair, hazel-colored eyes, and freckles that danced across the bridge of her nose and cheeks. I run and jump, landing in her arms and bat my eyes playfully. When it comes to weird and awkward there isn’t anything we aren’t comfortable with.
“Hello lover,” I say.
I circle my arms around her neck and cross my legs over one another as she catches me in her arms.
“Well hello love muffin.” She says winking playfully, then drops me. “Come on, we will be late.”
This is the last day before a three week winter break and I am stoked because today, we both move into the pack house together which is where most of the single wolves live. Tonight we are celebrating my birthday and having a small barbecue. One good thing about a small pack is that everyone celebrates every birthday because everyone knows everyone. The Wolf Academy is shared between our pack and two others. My family and Minnie’s family were Omegas and have been family friends for decades, dating back to our parents childhood.
After my biology class I go to my zoology class, then calculus, and drawing which I have with Melissa. She is an upper-pack kid but is always nice to everyone, and is the only one of the higher-pack members who doesn’t manage to piss me off on a daily basis unlike her sister Stacy. The upper pack kids have a primally alpha air about them. They are all completely arrogant, self-centered, and inconsiderate. How their parents could deal with them I have no idea.
“Happy Birthday Bethany, I hope you don’t mind if I stop by tonight to hang out with you for a little bit.” Melissa says, flashing me a smile.
She is the sweetest, and I hope she finds her mate soon. She had come of age months ago and still hadn’t found him yet.
“Sure as long as you bring the ice cream. Minnie, Erin, and I are going to watch movies and I would love for you to join us. Kind of a sleep over in my new room.” I say, smiling back at her.
“That sounds great!” She exclaims. I know she is dating the alphas son and thought if he never found his mate either that they would be a great alpha couple. She would make a great Luna.
At the end of class we said bye and I headed off to find Minnie, and by lunch time I am so anxious I am ready to just pack up and leave. I feel like I have butterflies swarming around my stomach. I see the upper pack kids and they are all smiling and laughing in their usual circle with Damon, the Alpha’s son, in the middle. He suddenly stops laughing and sniffs the air, then turns to look right at me. Our eyes met for only a second. “Oh no, I have to go.” I tell Minnie. “I am so sorry.” I say. The last thing I need today is the attention of the higher pack kids.
“MATE” he says, and everyone seems to go completely silent and still, looking straight at him. I stop long enough to see him recover from what he said and then left hurriedly.
“What was that honey?” asks Melissa.
They had been dating on and off since neither of them could find their mates. He looks back at her.
“Oh, nothing important. I will deal with it later.” I hear him loud and clear.
I found my mate. My stomach lurches and I feel a tremendous pang of sadness, and anger. I decid to hide out in my truck till my last class, pilaties, which was of course with Damon.
Realizing I don’t have time to run to get myself together in my truck, I spend the rest of the day avoiding everyone and especially Damon. During class I can feel his eyes on me and every time he tries to talk to me I quickly changed the subject and go to do something else. Thankfully I run faster than anyone else in the pack and easily outrun him when we are doing laps for cooldown. When class ends I quickly make my way back to the women’s locker room and changed back into my clothes. I peek out of the door to make sure no one is around and high-tail it as fast as I can to the truck. Damon is just coming out of the men’s locker room and I duck just as his hand reaches out and he tries to stop me.
“Bethany please wait!” he yells, but I just keep running without looking back.
I wait in the truck for C.J and Ricky. The boys hop in a few moments later and Ricky is in the front seat this time. He has the radio blasting with us singing again before we even leave the parking lot. This time Minnie was with us too and just like the best friend and family they are, they know how to get me back into my party mood without even trying.