If I’d known what I was walking into that day I would’ve skipped school. Changed states. Taken on a new identity- hell, I would’ve done plastic surgery if necessary. Anything to avoid the most humiliating day of my life.
But of course I couldn’t predict the future and so I’d ignorantly gone to school like any other miserable student. Worst mistake ever.
I made my way through streaming bodies, head lowered, attempting to appear as small and invisible as possible. The bell had rung and most people were rushing to class, only a few lingered at their lockers. No doubt planning on ditching class or just basking in a few more minutes of freedom. I didn’t have that privilege, I was more preoccupied with getting out of the hallway. Fast. The place was a battleground when you were at the bottom of the food chain.
And right on cue, a shove from an invisible passerby- one obviously too rough to be accidental- sent me propelling forwards. I gasped, palms raised reflexively. It was useless though, I was going to crash and some poor old sap in front of me would be collateral damage. I winced.
My palms did come into contact with a body. But I didn’t fall.
My fingers curled over the firm wall of muscle, the layer of fabric beneath it didn’t hide an erratic heart beat that mirrored mine. A jolt of electricity ran through my hands, straight down to the tips of my toes. Shakily, I breathed in. Although we were in a crowded space and my werewolf senses have never been that strong, his scent was overwhelming. Pine, grass, a hint of cologne. He smelled like the woods, I thought, even though he didn’t look like he’d been anywhere near them.
He wore black khakis, a clean white T-shirt and sneakers. My eyes went higher, past a clean shaven jaw, crooked nose and finally stopping on a pair of icy orbs. They were narrowed, and they also belonged to Kane Wilder.
The alpha’s son who I’d only ever seen from afar. Who had gone to his uncle’s for a year and was supposed to be back today. It was all everyone in school were gossiping about after all.
I shifted my gaze momentarily. Everyone- or the few left in the hall, were staring. The rabbit had literally fallen into the wolf’s arms, I guess they were wondering if he was going to take a bite out of me or something. I couldn’t find it in myself to care.
But when Kane let go of me, expression blank, I felt my face heat up. Thank the stars my skin was dark enough you couldn’t see the embarrassment or I’d be a walking tomato most of the time. I had been openly gawking at him after he helped me. He must think I’m some sort of clumsy creep. Biting my lip, I searched through my scrambled thoughts for a reasonable apology.
“Mine,” I blurted out.
Shit. Shit. What the hell did I just say?
He raised a brow, and I flushed further at my bold words, snatching my hands away from his chest. He caught one before I could back away.
“Yours?” He asked.
It didn’t sound like a question. He must’ve figured it out as well, because it was becoming clearer and clearer with each passing second. What we were. Two halves of a whole, a soul for a soul, both intertwined by a fate outside anyone’s comprehension. Mates.
He raised his other hand, buried it through my shoulder length braids, pulling at it softly. “Kneel.”
I blinked. “What?”
His fingers curled into a fist. The tug this time was hard enough to make me yelp. Enough to bring tears to my eyes.
“Kneel,” he repeated, face impassive but words coated heavy with dominance.
The kind that lesser wolves couldn’t help but yield to. Submission to larger predators was how the weaker survived in our world, it was ingrained into every molecule of our being. In a flash, before I was even aware of what was happening, my knees were on the floor. Right in front of all those students- human and werewolf alike.
The air erupted in whispers, the snickers a splash of cold ice on my skin.
My body shook, not just from the humiliation, but the urge to expose my neck to him. The customary way of showing you were of no threat to the other wolf, another survival instinct which was nearly impossible to resist. And yet that’s exactly what I did, gritting my teeth against my better judgment so I could look him in the eye and ask.
He sneered. Even then, I couldn’t help the way my heart pounded with those eyes on me, couldn’t help but find him beautiful. A cruel kind of beautiful.
“Mate?” He snorted. “I don’t want a pathetic omega.”
I clutched my chest, at the needles poking through my heart. “You don’t want me?” My voice came out breathless.
He turned, stalked away as if he’d only thrown out the trash and was moving on with his life.
I slumped forward, body released from it’s survival mode but still shaking. My mind drifted off, into a dark misty place in my head where I mourned the loss of something that was never mine. And somewhere in that haze, I heard the laughter. It followed me all the way out of school that day, along with the echo of Kane’s words. His disgusted sneer forever etched into my conscious.
“I don’t want you.”