TAMING THE ZOOKEEPER - Werewolf

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Chapter 26

Conner

What the hell was happening?

In a matter of a day, everything I thought I knew about the world we live in has changed. Everything seemed the same, yet it felt very different.

Suddenly, a whole new world existed, filled with werewolves, vampires and who knew what else. And on top of everything, they informed me that I have been assigned to a ‘mate’, who I am supposed to spend the rest of my life with and if I failed to do so, she would suffer tremendously or be executed.

What kind of a messed-up world have I been forced into?

I never wanted this.

Sure, if you asked me a day ago whether I would consider taking some serious steps forward with Melena, I would have eagerly replied with a YES PLEASE! But now? Now it felt like I didn’t have any other options. Either I accept her, or she dies.

What kind of game were they playing?

After I left the Alpha’s office, I just kept walking. My mind was racing, and I didn’t know what to do or what to think. All I knew for sure, was that I needed to put some distance between me and Melena because seeing her would only cloud my judgement even more.

I needed to think with both my heart and my mind. I needed rational thoughts, something that seems to evade me whenever I was close to her.

I made my way outside and just stood on the porch of the extremely large, four-story building, surrounded by forest.

How the hell did I let myself end up here?

Because I didn’t know where to go or how to get home, I just sat down on the last step of the building and stared ahead of me. I needed to get a grip on myself and decide what my next move should be.

“Hey, man,” I heard a somewhat familiar male voice saying and I looked up to see who it could possibly be.

Anthony, Fran’s non-boyfriend.

I should have known.

I didn’t greet him back and turned my face away from him, not wanting any company, especially not from another wolf.

“Uh, does anyone else know you are here?” Anthony asked reluctantly.

I glared at him momentarily and tried to focus on something else in the distance.

“Oh, she told you?” He asked, sounding a little uncomfortable.

“No, your Alpha told me,” I bit out in anger.

Anthony’s eyes widened and he opened his mouth to say something, but after a while just closed it again and sat down beside me.

“Where is she now?” He asked cautiously.

I just shrugged but when I turned to face him, I saw his eyes change slightly. It became dull and murky for a few seconds before they cleared up again and he flicked his gaze towards me.

“What happened to your eyes? Just now? It changed.”

“Oh, yeah, well, since you know what we are, I might as well tell you. When you are part of a pack, you can communicate with anyone else in the pack through thoughts alone. We call it mind-linking. If you and Melena ever mated, she would be able to mind-link you too.”

“Mated?”

Anthony pulled his brows up slightly and awkwardly scratched the back of his neck. “Oh, uh, right. They didn’t tell you much, did they?” He asked clumsily.

“Nope,” I growled out and clenched my jaw in annoyance.

“Well, when you find your mate, Melena for you, in this case, you are free to mark that person as yours. This is usually done by biting into the person’s neck and leaving a bitemark there. If a female is marked it wards off any unwanted attention from rival males and vice versa. The bite, or mark, if you will, is sacred and opens up the mind-link between the pair and also acts as the first step of the mating process.”

“The first step? How many steps are there?” I interjected.

Anthony chuckled slightly at my horrified expression.

“Only two,” he said with a smile.

I huffed, “what is the second step?”

“Sex,” he answered with a wink.

Just great, people telling me I needed to bite and have sex with Melena to ‘mate’ with her. Talk about strange damn rituals, if I could even call it that.

“But I can’t bite her.”

“Oh, right, human,” Anthony replied unskillfully.

I pulled a sarcastic face at him and we sat in silence for another minute or two.

“What will happen to her if I don’t accept her as my mate?” I finally asked gravely.

Anthony looked unsettled, but gave a shrug and answered, “Melena is a very strong wolf, I have high hopes that she would be able to recover and make it through. Besides, she has me and Fran to support her.”

I pulled my hands through my messy hair and exhaled loudly.

“You shouldn’t base your decision on what you think you should do; you should base it on what you want to do. Don’t just accept her because you think it is the right thing to do or because you feel sorry for her.”

I knew Anthony was right.

“Besides, nothing is forcing you to make a decision right now, you have all the time in the world. Her wolf should be fine just to be near you, whether you have decided to accept her or not. The wolf only falls into despair once she feels rejected, and you haven’t done that.”

Anthony was right again. I haven’t rejected her, but I also haven’t accepted her either, which means that her wolf might be very confused and doubtful at the moment, especially in the state I had left her in.

“Is Fran around?” I asked without making eye contact with him.

“Yeah, she is just about done training. Why?”

“Would you link her and ask her to check up on Melena?” I asked wearily, “I might have hurt her when I just took off.”

Anthony gave me two brief pats on the back, “sure, I’ll let her know. Don’t feel bad, man, they dropped a bomb on you, what did they expect?”

“Thanks.”

I started to fiddle with my one remaining shoelace, not knowing what else to say.

“Come on, you look like shit,” Anthony said as he got up and extended a hand towards me. “You can grab a shower at my place and something to eat.”

I looked up at him unconvinced.

“Don’t worry, I will bring you back to your precious step once you’re done,” he replied sarcastically, gesturing to the step I was sitting on.

Then he grabbed my hand, pulled me up and we entered the large building behind me once again.

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