The sun is sitting low in the sky and a cool breeze blows gently through the trees as I watch a couple of the wolves tumble and play in the backyard. I sigh and run my fingers through my blonde hair in frustration.
It's not fair!
Why didn't I shift when I turned sixteen? Heck, why didn't I shift when I turned seventeen even? What makes me so different from them?!
I groan as I tug the end of my shoulder length hair and Jake's eyes snap to mine like I had called him. They are so similar to our dad's, it's kind of eerie.
Jake shakes out his grey fur before trotting over to me and nuzzling his large wolf head against me.
Play with me, Hails. Jake whines through the mind link causing me to roll my eyes.
It's a tease to have the mind link but not be able to shift. It's like having x-ray vision like Superman without the flying power.
I grab a stick from near my feet and wave it in front of his face. In true Jake fashion, he jumps up like a dog and starts wagging his tail and running in excited circles.
He is only eighteen months younger than me, but he always knows just how to make me laugh.
Finally, Jake yips in annoyance and I through the stick as far as I can. He shoots off like a bullet following in the direction it went.
"My son, the giant golden retriever," My mom chuckles before sitting next to me on the steps of the back porch.
She looks at me expectantly, probably wondering why I'm not laughing at her joke.
"What's wrong, Babycakes?" her eyebrows furrow in concern as she bumps her shoulder against mine.
"Nothing," I say quietly watching as Jake joins the literal dog pile taking place on the grass.
After a moment of silence, I glance over my shoulder to see my mom giving me the look.
The one look that says I'm your mother, the one who carried you for months and gave you life so you can't lie to me and dammit she knows me so well.
I love my mom but she was born and raised in the human world. She didn't know about wolves until she met dad, so she doesn't know what it feels like to not be a wolf when you know deep down you're supposed to be one.
But she's my mom and I know I can talk to her about anything and she would never judge me.
"What's wrong with me that I haven't shifted?" I tried to keep my tone even but ended up sounding a little whiney.
My mom wraps her arms around my shoulder and kisses the side of my head.
"Absolutely nothing is wrong with you. You're perfect just how I made you with or without a wolf. It doesn't make you any less special or any less loved." She kisses my temple again before standing and brushing off her jeans, "Now come on, your dad wants to talk to you."
She reaches her hand out and helps me stand before linking her arm through mine and walking towards dads' office.
Before my mom can even knock, the door flies open and my dad stands there looking at her like she hung the moon itself.
"Hey, baby girl," I brush past him, not wanting to witness first hand them kissing like teenagers.
"You need a shave," my mom mumbles, her hand moving across his scratchy jaw.
He leans in and kisses her again and it's cute how in love they are, but as their teenage daughter, there is only so much I can take.
"Seriously guys?" I gag dramatically and both my parents' chuckle.
They both share a look before moving to lean on the desk in front of me. I raise an eyebrow at the overly serious expression that crosses my dads face.
"First of all, I want you to know that I love you, Hailey. You're my beautiful little wolf princess." He says softly and suddenly my nerves skyrocket.
Dad hasn't called me his wolf princess since I was ten and told him I was too old for the nickname.
Whatever is going on, whatever he is going to say, I don't think I'm going to like it. I take a deep breath, trying to steady my rapidly beating heart.
It can't be that bad, I tell myself.
"You turn eighteen in almost a month and you still haven't shifted. Through no fault of your own!" He added the last part quickly before pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger.
"As the eldest child of mine, the Alpha title is supposed to be passed to you, Hailey. But I have to think of the pack and what's best for them." My mom places a comforting hand on his shoulder, offering him support as he continues.
"Given the circumstances, I've decided to pass the title to Jake." He says slowly as if that will help me absorb the news.
Tears spring to my eyes and I jump from my chair like it shocked me.
"What?! That's not fair!" My voice breaks as a tidal wave of emotions crash over me.
"A human can't lead a wolf pack, Hailey." he reaches his hands out for me, wanting to comfort me, but I move away from him and pace the room.
It's not fair! I'm the oldest, I'm supposed to be Alpha! Who cares that I'm human? Mom is and she is Luna! I stop pacing and turn to face my parents.
"For arguments sake, let's say I never shift. Mom is humand and she leads the pack just fine." I state, runing my hands through my hair again.
"She's mated to me, A wolf."
"Exactly!" A light bulb flicks in my head and I jump back into my seat to face my dad.
"What about my mate? Surely he is fit to be Alpha if he is mated to me?" Hope drips from my every word as I search my dads' face for a loophole that I've found.
He looks away for a moment and takes a deep breath. When he looks back, heartbreak is written all over his expression and my heart drops.
"Have you considered that your mate is human too?" he whispers, kneeling down to be eye level with me.
No, I hadn't considered that.
My jaw drops and I'm left gaping like a fish as tears begin rolling down my cheeks again. I stand quickly, needing to get out of here.
"Hailey!" My parents shout after me in unison but I'm already in the hall running towards my room.
I take the stairs two at a time just wanting as just as I reach the final stair, a hand shoots out and grabs my wrist. I nearly fall before I'm pulled into a solid chest.
"Where's' the fire, Hails?" Cade says holding my back against his chest.
I try my best to wiggle out of his grip, but I don't get very far. Stupid Beta strength.
When I don't answer, he turns me to face him. As soon as our eyes lock, all amusement drops from his face and his eyes glow with worry.
"Hey, what happened?" His hands move to cup my face firmly but gently in his hands, "No one makes my best friend cry. Whose ass do I have to kick?"
he tries to look intimidating but it will only work with people who didn't make him wear a princess dress to their tea parties.
"It doesn't matter, Cade." my voice is thick with emotion and he quickly pulls me into a hug.
His hand smooths down my hair as he holds my head against his chest.
"It does matter. It's my job as best friend and future Beta to protect my future Alpha." his voice is slightly teasing but he doesn't realize that he hit the sore spot right on the head.
My vision blurs with fresh tears and using every ounce of strength I have, I push myself out of Cade's arms.
"Then go check on Jake. He's the future Alpha now!" I don't even give Cade a chance to recover from his shock before turning and rushing back to my room as I had intended.