"Wake up, Scarlet!!" My eyelids fluttered, then flew open as I sat up with a sharp intake of breath. My sister, Sylvia, was standing at the edge of my bed with a huge smile on her face. "Happy Birthday Red!!!"
I groaned as I rubbed my eyes. "What time is it? And why do you always have to yell?"
"It's 6:30." She replied, beaming. "You're going to find your mate today. I can't wait to see him."
With a gulp, I jumped up from my bed as if it had burned me. Her words had suddenly jolted me back to reality. Today was my eighteenth birthday and I would find my mate.
"Get out of my room," I said, pushing Sylvia to the door. "I need to get dressed." When she exited the room, I heaved a heavy sigh.
The thought of finding my mate, feeling the mate bond and his desire for me, caused me to tremble. I didn't know how to feel but I knew I needed to look good because today was the most important day of my life.
I studied myself in the mirror, frowning at my bundle of messy red hair. I wondered if my mate could reject me based on my looks alone.
When I was born, my mother was frightened by my red hair and refused to look at me for hours. As I grew up, I endured a lot of bullies because of my hair color which was very unusual for an omega like me. I felt the fear of my wolf, terrified that my mate might not like us.
I could sense my mate already and it seemed like he was so close to me. His scent was everywhere in my room, like a familiar fragrance that I had been craving for so long. My wolf seemed to be distracted, filled with the desire to find and claim my mate. Whoever he was.
I couldn't help but get excited although I was incredibly nervous. For years, I had dreamed of this day. My sister and I had started a countdown six months ago, my stomach rustling with bubbles of excitement each time a month went by. As someone who was barely noticed in the pack, it was my day to feel wanted, to feel desired by someone. Anyone.
I quickly had my bath, drenching myself in my favorite body wash. I put an extra effort into my hair, hoping I could get it to look less messy.
I was torn between wearing the dress my mum got me for my birthday or just going with my usual hoodie and jeans. In the end, I settled for a tank top and white jeans because the dress was too short. I styled my hair into a curly wave and for the first time, I was impressed with the way I looked.
"Hello baby," my mum said, as I trotted down the stairs to the dining room. "Happy birthday darling. Are you excited for today?"
I plopped down on a chair. "I don't know. I'm so anxious that I want to throw up but I'm also excited."
"I know," she replied, handing me a plate of strawberries, waffles, and yogurt. "I can remember how anxious I was on my own day as well. Trust me, it's going to turn out great."
"What if he doesn't like me?"
"That's absurd!" My sister chipped in as she walked into the dining room. "Who wouldn't love you? You're the prettiest girl I know."
"Yes, that's right. It will be a shame if he doesn't fall head over heels for you." Mum added. I couldn't help but smile a little.
After forcing down yogurt and some waffles down my throat, I grabbed some strawberries and headed out to campus. Before leaving, I promised my mum I would call her if anything went wrong.
On my way to college which was a fifteen minute walk, I spent the entire time contemplating on who my mate could be.
Could it be Daniel from my art class? No. He smelled like aloe vera and cheesecake-nothing like the scent of my mate that lingered in my nostrils.
Was it Jacob from the Humanitarian club? I didn't know what he smelled like but he had once winked at me during lunch.
By the time I made it to campus, I was sweating profusely and my heart was hammering against my chest with intensity. My wolf became restless the moment I walked into campus. She was fighting to be let out, to take control and salvage our mate.
I took long strides as I walked through the hallway to my locker. The scent was stronger now, and my mate smelled awesome. I knew he was close and I trembled with excitement and desire.
I followed the scent, completely giving in to my nostrils. I could vaguely hear the bell ringing for my first class but I couldn't focus on anything except the scent of my mate.
My nose led me to the front of the boy's changing room. Then suddenly, I found him. Brad Wilson was my mate and I knew the second I laid my eyes on him.
He was just leaving the changing room with a backpack draped on his shoulder. He looked majestic, like he was molded from a different cast.
Just like every other girl in school and in our pack, I was electrified by his looks. Brad was the next Alpha of the Breakstone Pack and he was quite popular in school. My inner wolf howled with joy and nudged me to stake my claim on him immediately. But I had one thing on my mind-Brad Wilson had a girlfriend, and not just any girl but the most beautiful she-wolf in our pack.
I froze at the entrance of the locker room, staring at him. Then, he turned toward me and our eyes met. Caught off guard, I waved at him wearing a nervous smile but immediately regretted my decision when he started to walk toward me.
"Hello," his low, masculine purr stirred my wolf intensely. "You're Scarlet, right?" I stiffened, bracing myself, then looked up at him.
Brad's incredible good looks still hit me like a fierce blow. He was even more gorgeous than I remembered. He was tall, around six foot two, with broad shoulders and a hard muscled body. His green eyes were electrifying against his tanned skin and black hair. In spite of my best effort, Brad left me tongue-tied.
"Are you going to say something?" My cheeks turned pink when I realized I hadn't said a word for minutes.
"Hi," I swallowed nervously. "Yes, I'm scarlet."
"Follow me," he said gruffly, and swiftly began to walk to the back of the cafeteria. I followed him, my feet working faster than my brain.
A thousand thoughts were flitting through my mind as I followed quietly behind him. Brad was my mate and he knew that. But was he going to make me his? Would he break up with his girlfriend, Valerie, to claim me?
He halted close to a small tree at the back of the cafeteria and I did as well. My heart was thumping hard as I waited for him to speak, to choose whether he wanted me or not.
"Gosh, this is so embarrassing." He whispered, running his fingers through his hair. My heart dropped as I heard him. I didn't know if he was embarrassed about being my mate or even speaking to me at all.
"You're an Omega, right?" He finally asked, his eyes completely cold and distant.
"You should obviously know who I am," he said and I nodded. "Good. Since you know that, you should also know that I have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill. I am going to be the next Alpha of our pack and I need to have a strong Luna."
I already knew where our conversation was heading to and I felt nauseous. I wasn't prepared for it, I wasn't mentally ready to be rejected. A tear escaped my eyes and dropped to my feet.
Brad sighed and pulled me closer. "Look, you're beautiful, no doubt. I can feel the connection between us and you would be a wonderful mate. But.." But? I waited for the words that would crush my heart. "But I have already chosen a Luna and I love her. Valerie is perfect for me and my father believes she would be a great Luna."
My wolf cried out in pain and my soul cracked to its core. My vision blurred as hot tears filled my eyes. "What does that mean? Ar–are you...."
"It means that I can't accept or claim you as my mate." He leaned away from me. "It means you have to forget about me and find someone else to love you. I've made my choice and it's not you, Scarlet. I'm sorry."