Chapter 8

Adley and I left the library only to head to Stella’s Diner once the heat became too unbearable. Stella’s had an abundance of milkshakes, coveted on days like today. The short walk from the Library to Stella’s Diner had the two of us coated in a thick layer of sweat. My damp hair had dried quickly as we walked in the humidity, and now clung to the back of my neck. 

“Your hair looks like it’s on fire.” Adley giggled, tugging at a strand of my flaming locks. 

“Yours looks almost white.” I chuckled, noting how the sun seemed to bring out the platinum tones in her hair. 

“I’d look amazing with white hair.” Adley shrugged, her grin still intact. 

Stella’s was unusually packed, kids from our school crowded in small booths. Platters of burgers, fries and milkshakes cluttered most of the tables. It seems Adley and I had the same idea as everyone else, not that I could blame them. The summers in this town were unreasonably harsh and going to Stella’s meant getting out of the house. 

I noticed Leo sitting in one of the booths, crowded around a bunch of kids we went to school with. I averted my eyes from him, wondering why he had bought me a drink the other day. Leo had never been a close friend of mine, but in a town this small it was near impossible not to know everyone. He looked the exact opposite from Aiden, with his shaggy blonde hair and lanky form, but his smile was kind enough. 

‘Kind enough?’ Rayna snorted, ‘Don’t sound too excited about finding our mate.’ 

‘Leo is not our mate.’ I shook my head, relieved when Rayna agreed. 

‘He might not be, but come tomorrow every unmated male is going to be begging for your hand.’ Rayna grunted. 

While I looked forward to finding my mate and blowing this town, it was easier said than done. The only way to truly detect a mate is by touch. Both parties have to be eighteen or older and have some form of physical contact. Rayna was right, I’d have to touch every single unmated male at the party tomorrow, but there was only one person I was interested in. I knew none of the men in town were my mate, but Aiden I was unsure of. 

Aiden hadn’t contacted me all day, but that happened at times. His Dad would travel out of town to buy some old cars to fix up, and usually dragged Aiden along. The drive there lasted three hours alone, so I resigned myself to seeing Aiden tomorrow. While Aiden’s Mom worked at the Food Mart in town, he often watched his little sisters. Another set of twins in this little town was odd enough, but Aiden’s little sisters were nearly identical. The two of them caused more trouble than I did, and that was saying a lot. 

“Let’s just get our milkshakes to go.” I suggested, noting the way Leo glanced our way. 

The two of us walked to Luna Maria’s house with our milkshakes in hand. Adley had gone with Stella’s newest concoction, a peach milkshake. After giving hers a taste, I decided peach and vanilla ice cream paired well together. I sipped at my peanut butter banana milkshake, enjoying the rush of cold down my throat. 

The Luna and Alpha’s house was cloaked in modern furniture and shiny new appliances. Why they couldn’t extend their good fortune to the rest of us was beyond me. Everyone seemed content living in hovels while the Alpha and Luna lived in luxury. 

‘Just another reason to leave.’ Rayna grumbled in agitation. 

After going over some plans for the party tomorrow, Adley and I walked back to my house. The visit itself was completely pointless, as I couldn’t care less what the color scheme for tomorrow was. I wasn’t worried about the food or the kind of music they played, not that my opinion mattered much anyway. 

Just before bed I gave Aiden a call, staying on the phone with him until the sun had long disappeared from the sky. 

“Dad and I have to run out of town again tomorrow, but we should be back in time for your birthday party.” Aiden sighed, and I could picture the frown that had formed on his face. “The guy who owns the junkyard just got a huge shipment of cars in. He’s giving Dad a good price for them. Once we fix em’ up and sell em’, we’ll give him a cut.” 

“You promise you’ll be there tomorrow?” I grimaced, unable to keep the disappointment from my voice. Adley’s presence alone would make the party just a little more bearable, but I needed Aiden there. 

“I wouldn’t miss it. I know how much you’re looking forward to it.” Aiden snickered, his chuckle low and raspy. 

“How did you know?” I snorted, sarcasm dripping from my voice. “Being paraded around the whole down is a dream of mine.” 

“Maybe we can escape early, ditch Adley, and go somewhere more private.” Aiden suggested, though his voice sounded somewhat nervous. 

My stomach leaped at the thought. Aiden and I had spent countless days alone together, but I could hear the underlying message in his words. 

“I got to go.” Aiden sighed, shouting at the twin’s whose giggles played through the phone. “I have to get them ready for bed. I’ll see you tomorrow, beautiful.” 

With a smile playing at the edges of my lips, I hung up the phone. While I still planned on leaving this town far behind, perhaps being mated to Aiden was a blessing in disguise. 

I woke to Adley’s face inches from my own, her body draped across my small bed. A startled wail tore through my throat as I stumbled to my feet and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. 

“What the hell, Adley!” I grunted, a glare forming on my face as she flashed me a cheeky smile. 

“You’re cute when you sleep, but you drool a lot.” Adley snorted, standing from my bed in a cat-like stretch. 

Her platinum hair was curled in light ringlets, smoothed down her back in a sea of gold. Her dress matched the color of her eyes, crystal blue like the streams and ocean’s I longed to visit. The dress sat just above her knee, but hugged her slim figure perfectly. 

“Why were you watching me sleep?” I grimaced, knowing my bad attitude would only make her press harder. 

“I figured I’d let you sleep in, but I got bored.” She shrugged, already digging through my poorly stocked closet. “Happy Birthday by the way!” 

“Thanks.” I mumbled, stalking into the bathroom to wash my face. 

I let Adley take the reins and watched as she curled my fire-kissed hair into delicate ringlets. She hoisted her overstuffed bag onto my bed, pulling out countless palettes of makeup and hair products. 

Nearly two hours later, she spun me around in front of the bathroom mirror. The light eyeshadow she dusted on my lids brought out the golden ring around my eyes, enhancing the green to make it resemble glistening emeralds. 

Out of my limited clothing supply, she handed me a cream-colored sundress, one I hadn’t worn since last summer. The dress was snug, but managed to fit over my full chest and hips. 

Mom’s face contorted emotionally as Adley and I walked downstairs. A camera sat in her hand, and it took all of my willpower not to roll my eyes. Zack, oblivious to today’s events, scarfed down his pancakes gleefully. 

After grabbing something light to eat, we left the house and headed to the old community center in town. The building was hardly used and smelled of stale air freshener. The building was reserved for weddings, pack meetings, and the occasional birthday party. 

Purple streamers hung from the ceiling in various shades, looking nearly identical to how our Senior Prom was set up. Aiden and I had gone to our Prom together, only to ditch half an hour in. 

Plastic tables spanned the room with trays of finger foods curtesy of my Mom and Stella. Cans of soda and cheap wine from the Food-Mart sat on the tables in neat rows. Some upbeat pop song played on the old radio across the room, too low to truly make out the words. 

‘Luna Maria spared no expense for the twins.’ Rayna snorted, and I couldn’t help but agree. 

Connor and June’s birthday celebration were set in the same building, but the interior had been completely remodeled. They even flew out a DJ for the event, and ordered catering from one of the most popular restaurants in the nearest town. I couldn’t exactly blame her, as Connor was the future Alpha, but I could’ve thought of better ways to spend the money. 

I plastered a false grin on my face as Adley and I traveled the room. Not a single person looked particularly excited to be here. Connor and June stood at the end of the room, their usual group of friends circling them. Neither spared a look in my direction, as they were only here out of duty. 

Most of the unmated males approached Adley, hope and unmet expectation on their faces. Each time Adley would entertain their conversation, but hold a look of absolute disinterest on her face. The sight was amusing to watch, as most of the unmated males seemed oblivious to her blatant disregard to their advances. 

“You weren’t kidding when you said this party would blow.” Adley murmured in my ear, a look of distain on her face. “I’m going to get some wine. If you want to make it through this party, I’d suggest stealing a bottle for yourself.” 

“Unfortunately, no amount of wine will get me through this.” I snorted. 

I had lost count of the number of guys I touched hands with. Instead of disappointment, relief flooded through me as I realized none of them were my intended mate. I couldn’t imagine being saddled with someone from my pack, especially if my mate were one of the guys who looked down on me. The thought of trying to build a life in this town made me cringe.

Comments (22)
goodnovel comment avatar
Megan Atkinson
Do you mean town instead of down?
goodnovel comment avatar
Rekiya Adeshina
selfish alpha and luna
goodnovel comment avatar
Ynel Alcala
Love her 💜

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