We walked back to the packhouse slowly. We were trying to talk to each other to make everything feel normal again. It wasn’t. I could still feel the sting of rejection in my chest. Unlike Denny, I didn’t have anyone else waiting for me. And now my only hope of ever having someone just disappeared. I lost a lot today. I knew I was hurting deeply over that fact, but I was trying not to show it. My dream of having a family… How could I have that now? No one in my own pack wanted me. And without the mate pull, what man wanted to be the female delta’s mate? Most males needed to be of a higher rank than their females because their egos couldn’t handle it. And then there was the problem of how I would even meet someone.
I am an officer of the Sulfur pack. There isn’t a lot of free time to be had. Maybe I could meet someone at a party or pack banquet. Yet, I know it would be nothing more than a fling, just like the one-night stand I had before with a guy named Conrad. It would never end up something serious, though. No man would leave their pack to come to mine. It was a tradition for females to leave their pack to go to their new mate’s pack. This was only tradition because the male was usually higher in rank. So, I would have to find a gamma, beta, or another alpha who would want me. And since second chance mates probably didn’t exist, they would be giving up their chance of finding their fated mate. See what I mean? I lost my chance at having my own family.
We walked into the dining room and saw Joey and Jude scarfing the last scraps of pancakes.
“Where were you two at?” Joey said with a mouth full of food.
“Are those my pancakes you are eating?” Denny growled lowly as he narrowed his eyes on the two men.
“We didn’t know whose they were. We just saw a stack of pancakes on the table and divided them up.” Jude shrugged as he looked up. “They would have been cold and mushy by now anyways.”
I could feel Denny getting angry. It was odd of him to get this upset over something like this. But, yet again, we both had been through a lot this morning. And it was only morning.
“I can make you some more. Besides, they will be much better fresh.” I smiled at him and took a step in the direction of the kitchen when I felt his hand land on my waist, gripping into me. I looked at him, surprised, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see Joey and Jude were also taken back by this.
“I don’t want you to have to make them again. You shouldn’t be cooking in the kitchen.”
What was this ridiculousness he was spouting out? I giggled and turned around to face him. “It’s not like you are commanding me to make them. I’m not a slave here. I am doing this only because it is your birthday. So don’t be expecting anything like this again.” The look in his eyes was making me nervous. Why was he looking at me with those possessive eyes? We rejected each other. It was time to act normal again. And yet I felt like I was being burned under his gaze.
“Happy birthday!” Andrea’s voice chimed out as she walked into the dining room with her entourage. Most of the other girls didn’t bother me. I mean, they just ignored me like everyone else. The only one I despised was Taylor. I am not going to mince words. She is a bit.ch. When I became the delta, she calmed down significantly. But now, she was dating Jude with her fake nails and posh outfits. It was like evil barbie came to life. And every once in a while, her inner evil demon would come out. Of course, she would joke it off in her da.mn passive-aggressive tendencies. But I knew better. How I would looooove to spar with her one on one.
I looked at Denny, who seemed a bit startled. He also seemed uncertain of what he should be doing. His eyes flickered back on me before he made his way over to Andrea.
“What are you doing here?”
“I figured it would be okay if a group of your friends stopped over to wish you happy birthday.”
It was the only way Andrea was welcome over at the house if she came with others. Alpha Scott didn’t want her coming alone because he knew of her affections for Denny. But if she came with a group, what could he say? So now, I could sneak away into the kitchen with her here. Which I gladly did. There was some weirdness right now with Denny, and I didn’t want Andrea to pick up on it.
As I mixed up the batter for more pancakes, I reasoned with myself that this is probably normal. We both felt those strange desires and the connection between the two of us. It is still fresh in our minds so as time goes by, the memory of it would disappear. Though rejecting a fated mate was rare, it still happened. Usually, it was an omega getting rejected by whoever was higher in rank. In fact, I remembered an omega female getting rejected not that long ago. However, they both stayed happy with their current boyfriend and girlfriend. So if anything, I should be the one suffering the most through all of this. Not that I am trying to justify who is allowed to hurt more… okay maybe that is exactly what I was doing.
That is utter nonsense. We are individuals who both treat pain differently. I bet he is worrying about me and that is the problem. Because he knows he has someone else. I just need to reassure him that I will be just fine. I may binge Netflix at night and live like a lonely spinster, but I’ll be fine. I might as well start going cat shopping now. The writing is on the wall. I stacked up the pancakes high on the plate and went through with the same routine I did earlier making them.
I took in a deep breath and walked back out with the pancakes. To my surprise or well, I shouldn’t have been surprised but Denny and Andrea weren’t there. I sat the pancakes on the table and pointed my finger at Joey who came over to steal one.
“Don’t you dare, or I am making you make the next batch.” I wiggled my finger at him as he pouted.
“Clover… will you make pancakes for me on my birthday?” Joey gave me a sad pouty face to which I could only smile and shake my head at. Children. I was living with children.
“Yes, on your birthday, I will make you pancakes. Happy?” I giggled as I grabbed the empty juice pitcher on the table. I know I didn’t have to, but it felt natural to refill it and help out. I didn’t like calling for a maid for every single thing that needed to be done. I turned to walk back to the kitchen when I felt a leg come out and kick my foot knocking me off balance in mid-step. I knew who it was. And I don’t like to use this word, but it was the c word. The word that rhymes with bunt.
I tried to save the pitcher from landing on the ground. If it hit, it would smash to pieces, which would mean more work for the maids. So, I turned my body slightly to allow myself to hit the floor. I, unfortunately, gripped the handle too hard, and it ended up smashing anyways. This is what happens when you use real crystal. The cheap stuff would have persevered. The moment before my impact, I felt arms grab my waist, lifting me up into a warm chest.
I tilted my head to see Joey looking down at me with concern. And that was when I felt the stinging sensation on my hand and arm. I had a glass shard wedged into me. Perfect! I had a mental wound so let’s just add a physical wound to it. Sounds about right. Thanks, world. You never let me down.
“Taylor what the hell!”
I listened to Joey roar out. I thought the words were my own for a split second because I was thinking it. Joey is a mind reader. Those were my exact words.
“What is going on?!” The door flings open, and Andrea comes in with messed-up hair and a flushed face. Yep, I know what was going on there. Right behind her Denny walks in with slightly tousled hair as well. His eyes land on me and then on Joey. His eyes grow dark as he stares at Joey’s hands on me. I am not imagining it, right? He is definitely more upset right now that I am in Joey’s arms.
“Taylor tripped Clover. And look at her hand!” Joey growled out.
“It was an accident. Wasn’t it, Taylor?” Jude said, patting the girl’s shoulders. Taylor was putting on a show with waterworks instantly.
“I would never trip her on purpose. I can’t believe you think like that about me.” Taylor whimpered and turned her nasty fake plastic body into Jude. Did I mention that I hate her?
The whole situation was more than awkward. Joey and Jude were in an intense stare down. Meanwhile, I am still in Joey’s arms and Denny is shooting possessive eyes my way. Which how dare he? It’s okay for him to go and do gods knows what just now but it wasn’t okay for me to be in another man’s arms. Even if it is completely innocent.
I looked at my hand still oozing thick sticky red liquid. I’m a werewolf. It will heal soon enough. But I needed to get all the glass pieces out. And unfortunately, I was going to need some help since I wasn’t as coordinated with my other hand.
“You can set me down, Joey. I’m alright. I just need to get these glass pieces out so I can heal.”
He looked down at me as he gently eased me to the ground. He grabbed my arm so he could look over the wound better. I watched him shoot another angry glance over at Taylor.
Don’t let it bother you. It isn’t worth starting a fight over. This is Denny’s big day. Let’s not let anything ruin it. I quickly mind-linked him before he started another scene. It really wasn’t worth it. Taylor was going to lie, and Jude was going to defend her. Andrea would defend her friend. I could see the annoyance in his eyes over letting it go.
“What happened?!” The unmistakable commanding voice of Alpha Scott filled the room. I glanced up at the towering man. His eyes scanned over the room before they landed on my bloodied hand. “Well?” This time he was directing his question at me.
“The juice pitcher broke. I have some glass in my hand I am going to go and get it out now.” I didn’t want to elaborate more than that. I just wanted out of the room and away from the situation. So, with my head lowered, I made my way towards the door. I had to pass Denny, but I kept my eyes on the ground as I quickly moved past him.
“Wait for one second, Clover.” Alpha Scott said with his commanding voice. I inwardly winced wondering what he wanted. Then, I turned to look at him as his eyes landed on his son.
“We will not be having the alpha ceremony tonight.”
I could feel the tension in the room immediately after he said that. Oh gods, Denny was banking on this. Why would he postpone the ceremony?
“The northern packs are all gathering to go over territory lines and resolidify treaties. It is best for them to see a familiar face here. After the gathering, we will proceed with your ceremony.”
I looked over at Denny who only nodded his head slowly. Andrea though was fuming, and it was apparent. Because now she would have to wait even longer before becoming the official luna.
“Denny, I of course expect you to come to the meeting as well as your officers. This will be a good learning experience for all of them. Clover, go on and take care of that hand.”
His voice sounded kinder as his gaze met with mine. I’m not sure why but alpha Scott never mistreated me. And even though he could be firm he was always fair and kind to me. Which I know made Andrea bitter. I turned back around and walked away. Maybe this was actually a good thing. After the whole mate rejection, Denny could use some time to get his head right again. And so could I. During his ceremony is when we also get our official titles. I need to make sure things still weren’t weird between us. If they are… there is no way I can continue to be his delta. For both of our sakes. Yes, this delay is a good thing.