Chapter 2

I enter the building and find many girls in their flashy dresses accompanied by many men in their dress shirts and slacks, all looking quite nice. Then I join the mix, and people start to glance over. After last year, they probably thought they'd never see me at one of these again. One can only hope.

While trying to get that damn mysterious Alpha out of my head—his image infecting my mind—I search the room for anyone that can help me. These girls must know everything about mates, unlike myself. When my mother tried to teach me, I forced myself to ignore her, not wanting to get excited about something I will never have. Now I just have to make sure, the girls will tell me what finding your mate is like, and my little run-in will turn to nothing after all. It was simply minor attraction to the man. I swear.

Two familiar girls are leaning against a nearby wall, and I slip through the crowd to bother them for a second. Their eyes focus in on me when I get close.

"Can I ask you something?" I walk up and try not to be a bother, but it's inevitable at this point.

They look at each other before the blonde on the left says, "What?"

I smile weirdly, trying to seem less severe. "What does one experience when one has discovered ones Mate?" That was terrible. Dear Goddess, someone stop me.

The girls look me up and down. "Why?"

Then the black-haired girl beside the blonde—possibly named Stacey—asks, "Did you find your mate, Rae?"

She knows my name? Well, probably from my great personality two years ago when I sat in the corner the entire time. "No. I'm just curious."

"Well," the blonde starts, "you just know. It's like a feeling, and then you just know that you're mates."

"I mean, he'll be the most gorgeous man you've ever seen. You might feel suddenly horny too—" Stacey says wittily and the blonde elbows her. "Sorry, it's just what I've heard."

"You're disgusting," the blonde mutters, embarrassed by her friend. "Some of us are actually trying to find our Mates."

I smile, needing to get away from this conversation. "Uh, thanks," I murmur and walk away, not with any particular motive.

Oddly enough, I spot the table in the corner that I singly occupied two years ago, and I take a seat. Everyone around me seems to be having a good time, and I would be internally hating this if I wasn't so distracted.

How do I know if I felt that feeling or not? Sure I felt something, but as I said, it could have just been an attraction. This is stupid; I am stupid for even thinking of a possibility where I, Rae, could be mated to him, an Alpha. He was walking with my Alpha, being all Alpha, expecting to find an Alpha-worthy mate for him to ravish. Obviously, an awkward girl who stumbles and falls isn't his ideal mate. She is no ones ideal mate. That is why she must remain mateless.

My thoughts are jumbled. He has jumbled me.

Leaning back and looking up, I watch everyone move around the room. After an hour or so of sitting and ignoring my pesky thoughts, someone finds their mate. The crowd parts for them. Everyone's watching, visible happy for her, but jealous on the inside.

She's blushing, smiling, she's nervous. He looks happy, most likely because he's found himself a for sure lay. That's terrible, and I shouldn't think that. Mates aren't like that, right? Who am I to know anything about mates? I'm the blubbering idiot who thought she was mated to an Alpha for Goddess sakes. I hope they're happy together, then. I hope she's fulfilled by him, the man she's now supposed to spend the rest of her life with. Just one glance and she's been swiped away for a lifetime.

Frightening, isn't it? I'm glad I don't have to deal with that.

It's obvious, right? I clearly believe that I am mated to an Alpha.

I look across the table and spot the tray of full glasses of wine that the guy in the white tucked-in shirt left for a moment. He went through the bathroom doors just a minute ago. My eyes narrow in on them, the glasses, the elegant, red liquid that is sure to make me forget.

Swiftly, I stand up and swipe two glasses from the tray of six and walk off. I gulp down one like a crazy person and set it on a random table before sipping the other normally. I'm not supposed to be drinking alcohol, but hopefully, I am unnoticeable enough to the point where I get away with it.

I slip through people and at one point even cut through a couple dancing. They glare at me while I continue on my way to nowhere.

My eyes fall upon the main doors as if they've been told to look, and of course, my Alpha, my Luna, and the Alpha are walking inside. I nearly choke on my wine and turn around, quickly heading the other way. I can smell him from here. That delicious male smell that probably fills his bed, embedded into the pillows. It's everywhere.

I down the rest of my wine and place the glass on the tray that I once stole it from. The bathroom looks like a safe place, but then I spot an exit and choose that.

It's been over an hour. My mother can't be too upset if I come home now. Surely, the doors are unlocked.

Once I make it back, I wiggle the handle, and thankfully the door opens, letting me in. Most of the lights are off, and I assume my mother has gone to bed. I kick her heels off at the door and walk into the living room, where she happens to be sitting. I stop.

"It's been over an hour so—" I start, but she cuts me off with surprising news.

"A man came to the door," she says bluntly. "What did you do, Rae?"

My throat runs dry. "What kind of man?"

"Tell me what you did. Was it at the party? Did you flip a table? Did you spill something on a girl's dress on purpose?"

"What? No. Who came to the door, mom?"

She stands up, her arms crossed. "A man. He's not from our pack. I know that. He just said that Ms. East needs to be ready by midnight. So tell me, what did you do?"

My heart drops. "I didn't do anything. I-I. . . I don't know what happened, he just walked by and—"

"Who just walked by? What are you talking about, Rae?"

"The man, the Alpha—"

"Our Alpha? Dear Goddess, Rae. What did you do to the Alpha?"

I shake my head, in a panic. "Not our Alpha. Another Alpha."

"What did you do to that Alpha?" She says dramatically, and I have the need to yell.

"Mother, please. Just stop. Just listen for a second. I'm not really sure what happened. He just—the Alpha — Look, I might sound like an idiot, but just hear me out. I might have found my," I've never thought I'd say these words to my mother, ever, "mate. I might have found my mate, and it might be that Alpha, but I'm not sure. It was just a feeling. It could have been anything but. . . " Her face causes my words to drift off. "Mom?"

"Y-You're sure? You think so? An Alpha?" She breathes out. "Wow, um, I'm not sure what—I don't know what to do in this situation. W-Well, I suppose you should be ready, whatever that means, at midnight. Just, um, prepare for. . . "

"I'm not even sure about it, mom."

She nods. "Well, just in case then. Just be ready at midnight, and we'll see what happens."

I nod also, and we stand in silence for a second or twenty before she says, "you know, I knew you'd find your mate."

Feeling very overwhelmed, all I can give her is a smile, and not even a good one. "Alright. I'm going to go upstairs until it's time."

Once in my bedroom with the door locked, I run my hands through my hair and fan my heated face. It's already eleven twenty; I only have forty minutes to figure something out. For some reason, it feels as if he is coming to get me, coming to kill me. I have forty minutes to live, well, thirty-nine now.

There is no way I can do this. I can't face whoever or whatever is going to be here at twelve. It's not even time, and I feel as if my heart is going to fail.

We can't be mates. He didn't even say a word to me. I need more than one glance to be forever mated with someone. I need days, weeks, months, heck; I need years. I need years to process, and as of now, I have thirty-eight minutes.

That's it, I'm going to have a panic attack, and in result, I grab a bag and begin piling necessities inside. For some reason, because I can never react like a normal person, I have the brilliant idea to run away from all of this. If I run away, then I will never have to face that beautiful creature of an Alpha who makes my legs squeeze together. Oh, Goddess watch over me, I'm going to hell.

In the bag, I toss a few warm pieces of clothing, my toothbrush, no toothpaste, socks, a pair of running shoes, and if I have to shift, I don't mind tearing this dress apart. The wine leaves me a dizzy mess as I flail my arms about, my hands grabbing whatever is within reach. At some point, I picture of my father falls in, and I begin to cry.

The clock reads eleven fifty now, and I sit on the floor, tear-stained cheeks, red, puffy eyes, and a wrinkled dress. I at least want to be wearing clothes I like when he comes and kills me, so I slowly get up and replace the dress for more comfortable clothes. Something I would wear around the house. My mother would kill me if she knew I would be wearing this to face an Alpha.

My runaway bag is a mess, my hair is a mess, my face is a mess, my life is a mess. Rae East is a mess who might just be mated to an Alpha. Poor man, mated to a wreck like me. He deserves a beautiful mate, some girl like the ones at the gathering, heck, even more beautiful than them. With a position, face, and body like his, he could get the Moon Goddess if he wanted.

I hear a knock at the door downstairs, the house is quiet enough to hear such subtle sounds, and I swallow.

Kiss life goodbye, Rae.

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