“Happy Birthday, Ryan.”It was Ryan’s 18th birthday and the whole house was filled with different emotions. Excitement from Ryan, anxiety from Alistair and fear from Sofia. It was a Saturday and as planned Ryan’s girlfriend- Yvonne, was going to be coming over. “Did the cake arrive already?” “It did already, mum,” Ryan answered, taking a seat next to her. “You’ve asked like a dozen times already. Are you that excited about my birthday or is it just the cake?” “You can say I’m excited to have some sugar in my system,” she said then laughed nervously. It wasn’t true. With the table and family set to see Yvonne, she had only gotten more anxious. Talking and asking irrelevant questions were the only ways she could calm her nerves a little bit. “Okay great,” Ryan got up from his seat to go over to meet his dad who was in the kitchen. “Oh! Yvonne just texted me. She’ll be here in about ten minutes.” “Ten minutes?” Sofia rose to her feet. “Oh, great. Alistair, honey!” Ryan watched his mum dash into the kitchen as he recalled his steps. The house was tidied to look neater than usual. The dining had little decoration- few balloons lurking around corners and ribbons dangling. The table was filled with mouth watering dishes, his birthday cake being the highlight placed in the middle. He smiled as he heard a plate crash from the kitchen. His parents were definitely very anxious to meet her and they were doing a bad job at hiding their anxiety. The doorbell rang and Ryan didn’t need a second thought to know who it was. Adjusting his checked shirt and using his palms to wipe his dark ripped jeans, he quickly made his way to the door. “Hey babe.” “Hi,” Yvonne’s response had a hint of nervousness in it. “Happy Birthday.” She leaned forward to give him a hug to which she quickly hugged him back. The hug lasted longer than usual and he immediately knew what was up. He pulled away and smiled at her. “You’re nervous, aren’t you?” “I am,” she gushed out honestly. “What if your parents don’t like me? What if they think I’m just a spoilt brat or something?” “They won’t,” he brushed her hair. “You’re not a spoilt brat and you’re like the most amazing person ever. Anyone would be insane to not like you.” “You do know that there is a probability your parents won’t like me?” Yvonne asked, her head rested on Ryan’s head. “No, that probability doesn’t exist,” he replied, full of confidence. “I’m very certain.” “I’ll be betting on your confidence then,” Yvonne finally smiled then handed him a paper bag. “Happy birthday, babe. Your gift.” He smiled, collected the bag then put his arms around her. “Let’s go.” “Mum, dad, meet my girlfriend, Yvonne.” “Good morning, ma’am, sir.” “Oh hi dear,” Sofia said walking to meet Yvonne. “It’s nice to finally meet you." “It really is,” Alistair joined in. “Glad to finally meet the person behind those Ryan’s sneaky smiles.” “Oh,” Yvonne smiled shyly. “Nice to meet you both too.” “Call me Sophia,” Sophia pat her on the back and smiled. “No need to be all formal with me. You’re my son’s girlfriend after all.” “Okay ma- Sophia.” “That’s more like it,” Sophia smiled at her. “Come on, let’s go to the dining and cut the cake. Time’s ticking, birthday boy.” They all walked to the dining in smiles and on getting there, scattered themselves around it. Yvonne sat next to Ryan, in front of the birthday cake and Alistair sat next to his wife, opposite them. “Make a wish.” Ryan closed his eyes, made a wish and blew out the candles. Sounds of cheers were made as he cut the cake. “What did you wish for?” Sophia asked, smiling at her son. “Don’t ask,” Alistair quickly added. “It won’t come true then.” “But I tell you mine whenever you ask-” “I wished for Yvonne and I to stay together for a very very long time,” Ryan finally stated his wish, interrupting his parents attempt to bicker.The dining fell silent as everyone was shocked at his wish. Sofia and Alistair exchanged glances and looked at their son whose gaze was fixed on Yvonne. “Why aren’t you saying anything?” Ryan asked Yvonne who was stunned to speak. “Don’t you want to be with me for a very very long time?” “Of course, I do,” Yvonne said in a whisper, a drop of tear slipping from the corner of her eye. “Oh my, what is this?" “Yvonne-” “Don’t,” Yvonne quickly laughed. “You made your wish already. Let’s just cut the cake now." “Okay,” Ryan replied her, his gaze not leaving hers. He adjusted in his seat and grabbed the table knife with his right hand, his left hand going under the table to hold Yvonne’s. Feeling his hands around hers, Yvonne looked up to him. He was smiling at her as he cut his cake. When he was done, he cut a tiny piece and faced her to feed her. Watching him, she opened her mouth to feel the sweetness of the cake on her tongue. She chewed slowly, still unable to take her eyes off him. She could feel her cheeks flush as she read his lips when he mouthed, “I love you.” --- “Do you think she’s his mate?" “How am I supposed to know that?” Alistair faced his wife. “He’s the one in question here not me.” Their small birthday party had ended about thirty minutes ago and Ryan was off to drop Yvonne at home with the promise that he’ll be heading straight back home. “He hasn’t even shifted yet,” Alistair continued. “So how can he tell if she’s his mate or if he’ll even ever get a mate.” Sophia sighed in response. “What is going on, Alistair? Ryan clocked eighteen already and he still hasn’t shifted.” “I’m just as worried as you are.” “Will he ever shift though?” she held unto her husband. “What if he skipped the gene?” “I’m beginning to think so too,” Alistair replied. “Cause honestly, it has been too long. It should have happened over five years ago and it didn’t happen so maybe it’s just never going to happen. We fled our packs to live like normal people, didn’t we? So maybe the moon goddess decided to answer our prayers through our son and decided to make him a completely normal person.” “Maybe?” “He never exhibited any werewolf characteristics,” Alistair continued. “And he has been living a great life here. He has us who love him unconditionally, great human friends and a human girlfriend who also loves him. Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe he’s just destined to live a normal human life and we’ve just been worrying for nothing.” “I hope so,” Sophia sighed then hugged her husband. “I really hope so.” “Yeah,” Alistair nodded. “Let’s just put all that behind us and live like normal people. Our son too.” --- One year later... “Happy birthday, Ryan!” “Thanks, mum, thanks dad,” Ryan replied, through the screen. “Gee, you both never forget my birthday.” “Of course not why would we?” Sofia replied through the phone’s screen. “It’s bad enough that we can’t make it home to celebrate with you so why would we forget it.” “Don’t be dramatic,” Ryan placed his phone on his table as he walked over to his closet. “You spend my birthday with me every year. This is the first year you’ll be away so stop being so dramatic.” “We’re not being dramatic son,” Sophia chuckled. “But don’t worry, we’ll be taking the very first flight back home tomorrow morning to meet you.” “Oh my God,” Ryan laughed. “This is obsession. How long are you guys going to keep this up? I’ll be off to college next year so what are you going to do when that happens? Fly in every time it’s my birthday?” “Why not,” Sofia sneered to which Ryan purposely shuddered. “Creepy much,” he shook his head. “Anyways, bye. I have other things to do.” “It’s midnight!” Sophia yelled from the screen, making Ryan quickly reduce his phone’s volume. “What could you possibly want to do other than sleeping?!” “Gee mum,” Ryan hesitated. “Yes, the thing I have to do is sleep. I need to sleep.” He bit his lip knowing he was lying. It had being a year since his parents met his girlfriend and they didn’t have a problem with them being together ever since. Though they were cool with them dating, he doubted them ever allowing him sneak over to her place at midnight to celebrate his birthday. Though it wasn’t initially his idea, he loved it and agreed the moment she offered it to him. Her parents were out of town and it was going to be just her alone at home. It was also going to be his birthday so he suggested him coming over so they could spend it together. Luck was on his side. His parents were out of town for a business trip and were supposed to be back the previous day but due to some reason he could barely remember, their return got delayed and he was finally able to go over to her place. “Good night mum,” he finally said after being able to convince her that he was going to just sleep. He ended the video call, slid his phone down his pocket and grabbed his car keys to go. The drive to Yvonne’s was normally about a thirty minutes drive but he was able to get there in about twenty minutes. It was midnight and there were barely any cars on the street. He knocked on the door, patiently waiting for a reply. He rubbed his palms together as he felt the cold night air surge through him making him wish he wore a hoodie instead of the black t-shirt he was putting on. He was in a grey ripped jeans and had the nike sneakers she got him for his last birthday on. He could hear her steps as she fled the stairs from inside to come open the door. “Hi!” she was extremely excited as she opened the door and jumped on him. He quickly hugged her back pulling her closer to inhale her unique scent which was a mixture of her perfume and her natural scent. She was putting on an oversized sweater with barely visible shorts. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail and she had a fancy purple headband wrapped around her head. “I’ve been expecting you!” “I know,” he smiled in return. “I could literally hear you jumping on the stairs.” “You could?” she ran her hands through her hair and laughed. “Gee, all the way from outside here? I can’t believe I was that loud.” “Well, you were,” he slid his arm around her waist and placed a peck on her lips. “Let’s go inside.” Smiling at him, she shut the door behind them and led the way inside. It wasn’t his first time at her house but that time, all the lights were out making it harder than usual to find his way around. “Why do you have all the lights turned off?” he asked as they walked, his hand in hers. “Just felt like,” she shrugged. “Just felt like?” “Yeah,” she nodded and pointed at an open window. “Look, the sky looks so beautiful and the moon looks so full.” He looked at the white big ball in the sky, illuminating. The moon was truly full. Fuller than he had ever seen. “And the way it lights up the house,” she continued then turned to look at Ryan. “Isn’t it so romantic?” “Of course it is,” he smiled seductively at her. Recognizing that smile, she let go of his hand and led the way alone. “Silly. Let’s go.” In no time, he got to her room. It looked beautiful with her laid and tidied. The bulbs were out, the only source of illumination being the tiny fairy lights strung around her bed coupled with the moon shining from the opened window. One the floor was a small cake alongside red cups containing appetizing liquids. “Oh babe,” Ryan softened on the sight. He took a seat on the floor watching her sit next to him. “Thank you.” He blew out the candles, cut the cake and in a few minutes the cake was almost completely eaten. “You have icing on your face,” Ryan said, pointing at his girlfriend’s face. “Look at you, how clumsy.” “It’s all the person who fed me’s fault,” she pouted. “Oh, so I’m to blame,” he playfully said in response. “Fine then. Stay still, let me wipe it off.” She froze as he moved closer to wipe the icing off her face. He leaned even closer , watching her eyes flutter then used his thumb to wipe the icing off. “Done,” he said, seductively licking his thumb. “All done.” “Oh,” she watched him lick his fingers again. Smirking, she leaned closer and dug her fingers into the cake then smeared her lips with it. “Oops,” she bit her cake stained lips. “I have cake on me again.” Wickedly licking his lips, he leaned forward and lifted her chin with his right hand. Watching her breath quicken, he wiped the cake off her lips and licked it. He moved even closer, this time taking a seductive tug at her lips. “Just a little bit more,” he whispered to her. Aware of her already shut eyes, he placed his palm over her eyes and proceeded to lick her lips with his tongue. “Ryan,” she whispered. He could feel her eyes open as he felt her eyelashes brush against his palm. She held his hand and took it away from her face to place it on her thigh. Exhaling one more time, she shut her eyes and leaned backwards, giving Ryan the full permission to hungrily place his lips on hers...---It was almost 6am when Ryan felt his eyes fly open. He was laying on Yvonne’s bed with her head rested on his chest. He placed a kiss on her forehead as he remembered the night’s events. Careful not to wake her, he raised her head off his chest and laid her on the bed properly. He pulled the duvet off him and wrapped it around her instead. Getting up, he grabbed his briefs and put them on. He looked up to notice the air conditioner on and wondered why he was feeling so hot all of a sudden. He looked at Yvonne. She was sleeping peacefully with no sign of heat. Slowly, he opened her room door and stepped outside. He walked to the living room and immediately spotted an air conditioner by a corner. As quickly as he could, he walked up to it, grabbed its remote and turned it on. Groaning, he got up after sitting for less than ten minutes. He was still feeling hot no matter how cold the air conditioner blew. It was suffocating as he felt like his whole body was on fire. He had only taken a few steps in the direction of Yvonne’s room when he felt a sharp pain in his legs, making him immediately fall to the ground. “Ow,” Ryan winced in pain as he felt the pain shift from his legs to his spine and then gradually to his whole body. He could feel the pain increasing as he struggled to get up, only to end up falling to his feet again. Covering his mouth so as to not make noise, he crawled on the stairs all the way to Yvonne’s room. He couldn’t understand where the unfamiliar pain was coming from. Still in the excruciating pain, he quickly grabbed his clothes, put them on and fled down the stairs. As quickly as he could, he grabbed his car keys, opened the door and ran out to get into his car. It was barely daybreak. The pain spread through his body, Ryan screaming as he felt it deepening. It was an unexpected, unusual and unfamiliar pain and he couldn’t think of any other thing other than getting home. His ride back home was the most dangerous ride he had ever gotten into. He felt paralyzed at some point, unable to feel neither his hands nor his feet. At those points, the steering wheel was out of his control and he was extremely lucky to not have crashed into any vehicle. His feet came next. He felt his legs twitching and turning resulting in him being unable to control the brake. Amidst yells and groans, he finally made it home and quickly crawled out of the car. Like it had been expecting his return home, the pain doubled as he set his foot into the living room. He fell on the ground, suddenly losing control of all his senses. His bones felt weak, his body feeling lifeless. Yelling, he rolled on the floor. There was a burning sensation on his skin making him yell even louder. His hands roamed his body as he screamed on every part his hands couldn’t reach. It needed to stop. The burning wasn’t stopping and he felt weaker every second. He reached out to hold a sofa to help him get up only for him to fall to the ground again. Groaning, he twisted on the floor in pain. He groaned even louder as he felt the whole pain shift to his left leg. He could feel his arms and legs twisting and turning without his permission leaving him to nothing but a helpless scream. The pain deepened on his left leg. He screamed, holding on to his left leg trying to stop the pain but it was useless. His eyes widened as he stared at his hand placed on his leg. His nails were growing at an unbelievable speed and he could see hair fast covering his hands. “Arrrrrgggghhhhhhhhhh,” he yelled as he felt the burn around his whole body again. Twisting on the floor, raised his hands to see all his nails now replaced with claws and hair fast spreading not only to his hands but to his arms. The burning sensation wasn’t stopping. Managing to get up, he bent and dug his nails turned claws into his ripped jeans. Watching his jeans tear, he dug even deeper until he had completely ripped his jeans off. His t-shirt was next as his claws found its way to it and completely ripped it off. Wailing in pain, he could feel his legs almost leave his body. He watched them move themselves until his shoes were out of his feet. His spine was torture and he could feel his bones finally breaking bit by bit.“RYAN!” He heard his name coming from the direction of the door. He turned to see two figures rushing towards him but he couldn’t move. He was no longer in control of his body. “Arrrrghhhhh,” he yelled for the last time as he felt his whole broken bones assemble together. He was no longer himself. He was no longer standing on his two feet. “Ryan!” Sofia screamed, watching her son shift fully. The moon shone fully on him and instead of her 5ft9 son with neat dark hair and dark brown eyes , it was a full wolf with coal black eyes and fur covering its whole body that was in front of her. “Ryan?” She didn’t get a loud scream of pain in response. In response, she got a loud howl.