Chapter 3

“What do you think your wolf will look like, Zara?” Sylvie turns around and asks, her brown eyes sparkling in the evening light.

“Oh, I hadn’t even thought about it.” I put my finger to my lip, contemplating the idea. Mom’s wolf is dark russet brown and Dad’s wolf is a dark gray, “I guess she will be a dark color, but I’m not worried about that. I just want her to be nice.”

“Don’t worry, Z. The Moon Goddess chooses the wolf that’s right for each of us.” Liam takes my hand and kisses it reassuringly. “Whatever she looks like, I’m sure she’ll be as beautiful as you.”

My concerns about yesterday and this morning fade away as we get closer to Emerald Mountain pack territory. I can’t believe after six years of dating, we are finally on our way to our pack’s Mating Gathering to find out if we’re destined mates. There’s no way we’re not. I can’t imagine being with anyone other than Liam.

“Z, in less than three hours, you’re gonna be eighteen. How does it feel?” Mark looks back at me, trying to put the incident from earlier behind us.

“Will you guys ever let it go that I’m the youngest?” I try to sound offended, but I can’t help myself and laugh.

“No!” They all respond in unison and laugh playfully.

“And we’ll never let you forget that you’re the shortest, either.” Sylvie winks at me.

“Or the smartest, Miss Valedictorian.” Mark holds up his finger in the air like he has an idea.

“Or the hardest working, Miss Full Ride Scholarship.” Liam leans in and nudges me.

We continue chatting for the half-hour walk to the gate. The guard checks our names off the list and lets us through. He points to a path through the woods that is lit by pretty little twinkle lights and soft music playing in the distance. Combined with a gentle warm breeze in the late July evening, it creates a romantic ambiance.

Mark and Sylvie walk ahead of us, playfully pawing at each other, laughing, and giving each other little kisses. Liam and I walk hand-in-hand, in comfortable silence, until we reach a large meadow with tables set up under hundreds of twinkle lights. Sylvie and Mark wave us over to their table.

“Smile you two!” Sylvie says, holding up a Polaroid camera. Before the picture fully develops, Liam picks up a pen and writes in the little white space: ‘destined mates. can’t wait to be w/ u forever’. I look at the developing picture. I’m looking at the camera, but Liam is looking at me. He takes a picture with his phone and sends it to me as a text.

“In case we forget to come back for it later.” Liam whispers against my ear. “Who knows what will happen at midnight?”

I can’t stop smiling at the picture until Liam pokes me in the side and points to a stage where Alpha and Luna Williams are standing. Everyone else takes notice and quiets down, giving them our full attention. 

“Hello Everyone, welcome to the Emerald Mountain Mating Gathering. With the kickoff of this event and with the blessings of the Moon Goddess, we are looking forward to the beginning of fruitful mating season.” Alpha Williams greets us with a warm smile. He and Luna Williams give us instructions on where to stand when dinner finishes and tell us all what to expect at midnight when the moon is at its peak.

As they are addressing the audience, I think back to everything Mom told me about how it will feel when the moon’s rays reach me once I turn eighteen. I’m already feeling the warm flush she described, and it is really distressing. I wave my hands in front of my face and try to pull on my dress to get comfortable.

“You okay, Z?” Liam asks, handing me a glass of water. “You don’t look too good.”

“I’ll be okay. Mom said I would feel different when it gets close to midnight.” I use a low tone with a little cringe.

“Okay. If you say so.” He gives me a little kiss on the cheek and pulls back quickly. “Wow. Zara, you’re burning up. I can ask Luna Williams to come over.”

“Oh, Goddess no, Liam. I’ll be fine,” I say, taking a napkin and wiping my brow. “The last thing I want is Luna Williams worrying about me.”

“Zara, please let me get the Luna.” Liam takes me by the shoulders and looks at me. “There is definitely something wrong.”

I shake my head at him and wipe the sweat off my brow. “No. I’m fine. Let’s go into the meadow.”

Liam gives me one more concerned look, but leads me into the open meadow, anyway. I feel better when he places his hand on the small of my back. We make our way through the crowd, waving at our friends, until we find Sylvie and Mark.

The crowd starts a countdown to midnight like New Year’s Eve. I close my eyes and smile, holding Liam’s hand tightly.

Everyone yells “ONE!” and cheers. I open my eyes and see the iridescent liquid light of the full moon pouring out of the giant orb flowing down over us. People around us ooh and ahh at the beautiful sight. 

When the first rays of moonlight cascade over my skin, a heat inside me turns into a burning fire. I gasp and look up at Liam. He’s already looking at me with wide, surprised eyes.

“Mate.” He murmurs and squeezes my hand tighter. It isn’t a comforting feeling. There are no sparks like people describe when they touch their mate. Maybe it takes a few minutes to develop.

I grin and try to admire Liam, but I don’t want to say it back. Nothing feels different. I still love him, but he’s not the one. Liam is looking at me, but it isn’t a look of true love. It’s lustful and carnal.

I feel a pit in my stomach as reality sets in. Liam isn’t my mate. How can this be? And how was he able to call me his mate if he’s not mine?

“Zara,” a woman’s voice says in my head, “my name is Lavender. I’m your wolf and you’re in grave danger, my dear. You need to run. You need to run now. Your life depends on it.”

“My… wolf?” With everything that happened the past couple of hours, I forgot she was waking up. “L-Lavender, what’s happening? What do you know?”

“You are a sigma, Zara. All these male wolves are about to smell your pheromone. If you stay, they could frenzy and attack you.” Lavender repeats her order. “You need to run as fast as you can. I’ll help you. Once you’re safe, I can explain more. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, sweet girl.”

Comments (5)
goodnovel comment avatar
Bella Jersey
Yeah I’d run too we don’t want a gang rape to happen
goodnovel comment avatar
one uup
instead of asking questions why don't you listen to her wolf first and then ask the questions later if something happened and that's on her because she didn't listen she no old dude isn't her mate so why she still there with him..
goodnovel comment avatar
Helen F Rayford
Ok author if Zara is the Sigma then who is the reluctant mate for we was believing that Zara was it. So now since you have burst that bubble i guess we will continue reading to find out

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