If I was strong I would've stayed. I would've fought for my mate, used the mate bond to bring Atlas closer. I would have found some way to make him see that I was more important than a girlfriend, as selfish as it sounded.
It took me some time to realize how selfish and deluded Atlas had been. He chose Michelle over his mate. His two year girlfriend over his other half. Michelle had a mate out there somewhere. Was she destined to break his heart as mine had been broken?
My world had come crashing down with his words. A part of me buried so deep inside broke, spewing out into the world like an unleashed tidal wave. My wolf was howling in my head, making my ears ring mercilessly.
I gathered the scraps of my ruined book, clutching them to my chest as I turned on my heel and ran. I didn't notice the other students lingering in the halls, the ones who had witnessed the entire ordeal. The human students would have no idea what happened, but the werewolves would. They looked at me with a mix of shock and pity. Their eyes burned in surprise, watching as the rejected she-wolf fled from the hall.
I ran past my own locker, not once slowing down until the front doors of the school appeared. My lungs were burning, my legs shaking with the blow Atlas had dealt. No one stopped me as I barreled out the front door. Hell, I wasn't sure if anyone actually noticed. Being invisible had its perks, letting me leave the building without hassle.
I stopped when I made it outside, wondering what I was truly going to do. The thought of returning to school and seeing Atlas twisted my heart in ways I had never experienced before. I had never come close to death in my life, but I imagined this was what dying felt like. Your entire future, your reason for being ripped away from you without a second glance. Everything spirals down at once, leaving you delirious and confused.
I took just a second to decide where I was going. Left would take me home, right would take me to my Mom's job. Home was a farther run, while the Hospital was close by. My wolf took control, making me dart to the right and down the road.
My wolf Lila, was much like me but with a healthy dose of suspicion. She tried to see the good in people, but was never surprised when they came up short. Lila kept me out of many bad situations, letting me know who my true friends were. She had always been fond of Micah and his honesty. She liked the fact that he didn't press about who we were or where we came from. He accepted our friendship without terms or hassle.
I could feel Lila's pain mixing with my own, turning into one big festering knot. She gave me strength where I needed it, and I tried to do the same.
I barreled through the side door to the Hospital, scanning a little plastic card to open the door. Mom had given me one months ago, insisting I come to her office if I needed anything. The Hospital was small, but it was only one of the three we had. Mom's Hospital was just closer to the Alpha and Luna's house, making it the most popular.
I rushed down the hallway, inhaling the smell of cleaner and sterilization. I had always enjoyed the way a hospital smelled. Weird, I know. I liked the smell of cleaner and hand sanitizer.
"Where's my Mom?" I whipped around the corner, coming to a skidding halt at one of the service desks.
Shelly was one of my Mom's friends. Somewhat plump with curly blonde hair and a brilliant smile. Shelly helped bring Mom out of her stupor after Dad died, reminding her that life could still hold some joy.
"In her office---" Shelly responded with a startled look on her face, "Darlin' are you alright?"
I ran off before I could hear the end of her question, heading in the direction of Mom's office. When I barreled through the doorway, I noticed her immediately. She was clacking away at her computer, her reading glasses falling low on her face. I hadn't actually thought about what I'd do when I got here.
For just a moment I contemplated turning around, running back the way I had come. I could just go home and sleep the day away, forgetting today for just a few moments.
'That's temporary.' Lila whimpered, 'We'd have to face him tomorrow.'
'I don't think I can do that.' My own voice was weak in my head tinged with grief.
'I can't either.' Lila's voice lowered to a hushed tone, 'We could leave, Raelynn. No one would miss us.'
Lila was right. There was a way out, but I couldn't leave Mom behind. I knew she'd never let me leave on my own.
Mom's head snapped up from the computer, her eyes widening as she took in my shaking form.
"Raelynn, oh my Goddess. What happened to you?" She was out of her seat in an instant, her hands gripping my forearms as she looked into my frantic eyes. I hadn't realized I'd been crying until a sob left my lips, followed by a couple tears.
"He rejected me, Mom." I choked, "I wasn't good enough."
Her eyes widened even more if that was possible. Her hands were shaky as she wiped away my tears. That familiar flash of pain formed in her eyes, the one when she thought of Dad.
"Who rejected you?" Mom's voice was hard, harder than I had ever heard it before. "I'll talk to their parents. They can't just reject their mate. Not when their mate's my daughter."
"Atlas--" I flinched, it hurt to even speak his name. I tried to say his last name, my mouth hanging open but the word wouldn't come out.
Mom's eyes fell when she registered who my mate was. There would be no talking to the Alpha and Luna. Their son was future Alpha, free to do as he pleased.
"Did you accept the rejection, Raelynn?" Mom murmured, her eyes burning into my own.
"No, I couldn't." Another sob wracked through me, the tears falling steadily. "I was too weak--I should have, but I couldn't!"
"Shh, it'll be okay." My Mom murmured, her thin arms wrapped around me. She smelled like the Hospital, clean and sterile. I could still smell a hint of her tea-tree body wash and some light perfume. The scent was calming, but did nothing for the pain inside my heart.
The sound of my strangled sobs filled her small office, but she continued murmuring to me. Her arms never left my body, not when the sobs slowly ceased. I cried out everything I could, my eyes feeling like sandpaper. No matter how much I cried, the pain wouldn't go away. My soul felt fractured, incomplete without my mate.
"I can't stay here." I shook my head, my voice cracking as another sob tried to take over. "I can't stay here and look at him everyday."
"Honey--" My Mom pulled back to look at me, concern on her face. "He could change his mind. We can't just leave."
"He won't." I shook my head, I was sure. "He picked her, Mom. He picked Michelle."
I wasn't sure what hurt worse, being rejected by your mate or having him pick another girl over you. Both hurt horrendously.
Mom was silent for a few moments, her light eyes reading my own face. Whether she liked it or not, I had made up my mind. I would never leave my Mom behind, but I couldn't stay here anymore. I'd leave her behind if it meant escaping the pain, escaping Atlas Andino.
"Alright." Mom nodded, "Let me talk to the Alpha and Luna. I'm sure they'll give us permission to leave."
"Don't tell them what happened." I shook my head, my voice sounding lifeless.
"I won't." Mom frowned, stroking back a piece of hair that clung to my damp forehead. "Can you wait until my shifts over, or did you want to leave right now?"
"When does your shift end?" I sniffled, trying and failing to block the pain.
"Two hours." Mom promised, "I'll go straight to the Alpha and Luna when I'm finished."
"I can wait." I nodded, "It'll give me time to pack some things. I'll grab some stuff for you too."
"Alright, sweetheart." Mom frowned, pulling me into a tight hug.
I took deep breaths of her scent, but it didn't have the calming affect it usually had. Instead I thought about Atlas, and what he might smell like.
"Everything will be alright, Raelynn." Mom soothed, but we both knew that wasn't true. "I'll--It'll be alright, I promise."
She was trying to convince the two of us, trying to tell me I could live a happy life without my mate. Maybe someday the pain would fade, but I would never be whole again. I would live a half-life, always wondering what could have been.
Mom offered me a ride home, which I reluctantly said no to. My face was red and puffy, aching from how much I had cried in her office. I needed time to think. Being trapped in a car with my Mom would only bring on the tears, and I didn't want any more of those. My body groaned and ached with fatigue, but I trudged home anyway.It was a fifteen minute walk to my neighborhood, giving me too much time to think. The entire scene in the hallway replayed in my head a million times. I thought of every possible thing I could've said, everything I could've done differently.Y'know how something happens to you and after it's done you think of everything you could have said? That was what I was going through. I could've pleaded, I could've simply stepped into his arms and used the mate bond against him. I didn't though, I didn't because I was weak. This fact was beginning to dawn on me, how I lacked true strength.When I made it home, I ran inside and grabbed a noteb
Mom drove through the center of town, turning into one of the residential neighborhoods. Every house nearly looked the same. Small and identical, ideal to fit the most amount of people in a small space."It's not as big as our old house." Mom grinned sheepishly, "But it's the best I could get on short notice. The landlord was friends with my Dad.""It's not a problem." I chuckled, my eyes tracing over the small square windows.My eyes were elsewhere. They were trailing over the porch's peeling blue paint. A low whine left Lila's lips as she recognized the similarities. That was one thing that needed to be changed.Mom parked on the curb by the house and popped open the trunk. Her arms were filled with bags as she wobbled down the sidewalk. I must've packed more than I thought. Her arms were overflowing with bags as she tried to carry everything at once. She could hardly see where she was going, nearly bumping into someone."Woah--" A man's voice c
Mom came into my room shortly after, letting me know everything with the school was in order. I would be officially starting school tomorrow, the thought frightening yet exciting.I laid in bed that night, picking my phone up to send Kris a text. I ran my fingers over the keyboard, struggling to figure out what to say. Alyssa and I never really texted. We hung out constantly, but rarely ever communicated over the phone.-Me 10:23p.m.'I'm all set for school tomorrow. What time does it start?'-Kris 10:29p.m.'Cool! Starts at 7, be at my house at 6:45'I had meant to send a response, but my eyes were fluttering warily. I fell asleep on top of the covers, my phone resting on my chest. The next morning, Mom peeked her head in the door waking me up in the process."What time is it?" I grumbled, squinting down at my phone."5:30." Mom responded, "Bet you're regretting not taking me up on my earlier offer. You could've been home
One Month LaterLiam and I had become the closest out of the entire bunch. Nicki and I had also grown extremely close. She loved that I had no sense of fashion, and allowed her to choose my outfits for me. She often paired me with cute skirts and tennis shoes, or the occasional dress but I didn't mind.In the month I had been here, I had grown more confident. I was now telling jokes with Kris and Dustin, or talking about guys with Nicki and Tyra. I'd often hang out with Liam, who wasn't nearly as grumpy as Dustin painted him out to be.No matter how hard I tried, Atlas was always on my mind. The first two weeks in town were horrible. I would awake in the middle of the night screaming, my insides burning with an invisible fire. Every nerve and cell in my body was screaming in pain. My Mom rushed into my bedroom without fail, soothing me with her words as best she could. After a few days, I finally got the truth from her. The truth broke my heart more than words ever
Six Months LaterI often thought back on the talk I had with Beta Ned. He was quite understanding about my situation, clearly seeing himself once in my position. While his words did nothing to lessen the pain, they helped me understand what to expect.I would never feel true happiness--not the way I would if my mate had accepted me. Atlas would always carry a piece of my soul within him, tethering himself to me. Even accepting his rejection would not remove that piece of my soul. Accepting rejection would only dull the mate-bond, making the pain fade as quickly as it had come. There was no taking back that piece of your soul. Once the Moon Goddess picked two mates, they would remain mates for life.Beta Ned asked why I had not fought for Atlas, why I had not tried something else instead of running away. I told him the truth--that I was weak and broke easily. He disagreed of course, but I already knew the truth. Beta Ned told me I might be better off accepting
Tyra and I shifted, darting into the woods behind Liam’s house. Lila was eager to stretch her legs, the two of us nearly bursting with anxiety. I was determined to keep away from the fight. We would provide help with evacuation, but fighting wasn’t in my skill set. I just needed to see my Mom, to make sure she was alright.Our paws thundered against the dry earth, twigs snapping under our feet. My chest burned with exhaustion, but I kept pushing forward. Somehow, I found the strength to continue running, even when my legs cried for mercy. Branches whipped across our fur, feeling like velvet across our thick skin.‘Over here.’ Tyra snapped through the mind link, darting out of the woods and behind one of the buildings in town.The two of us shifted, the warm air lapping against our exposed skin. I had never become comfortable with constant nudity, even after spending my life in a pack. My cheeks burned, but I tried to pay no mind.
I waited twenty minutes before exiting out the back door. Hopefully long enough for Tyra to get the kids out safely and far enough away. Each snarl and growl I heard set me farther on edge. Fear rooted me to the spot, begging me to stay. It would’ve been easier to stay. I couldn’t even bring myself to look out the window, to see what was going on. Six months ago, I would’ve never imagined doing what I did today.Rogue's ran rampant down the street, tackled and killed by our own warriors. Windows in the buildings closest to the fight were shattered, glistening glass laying in the road. Blood splattered gruesomely, running down the front of some of the now vacant buildings. I could only hope everyone had gotten away safely, or were hiding until this mess was over.It was a start—but I forced myself to go out the back door. I crept behind two empty shops, trampling weeds and walking through tall grass. I stumbled through patches o
When I was seven, I asked my Mom for a new bike. I wanted this bike more than anything, convinced it would solve all of my child-like problems. Bright pink with waves of gentle orange, bright streamers dangling from the handles, and a large wicker basket on the front. I had begged and pleaded, negotiated and screamed until I was blue in the face.Mom had already gotten me a bike two months ago, a present for my birthday. She couldn't understand why I needed another; what importance that bike held in my child-like mind. Another month had passed, my begging and pleading only growing worse. Her and Dad were often on the same page, agreeing over just about everything. My begging and pleading had cracked Dad's willpower. He asked Mom if we could get me the bike. Dad understood as he always did. He understood what that bike meant to me, understood my childish reasons behind wanting it in the first place.Mom was solid in her resolve, but suggested a s