Little Lion Man
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it this time,
Didn't I my dear?
Didn't I my...
-Mumford and Sons (Sigh no More)
The Elder grips at the sides of my face and closes her eyes. Her long nails tap against the skin of my face as she meditates. I study her wrinkled face and wiry grey hair as she contemplates fate's choice. This, I had always thought was completely stupid, but here I was on my sixteen birthday, finding my Fated.
Of course it had been by the urging of my mother that I'd been forced to come. Actually I think the pack would have forced me to come even if my mother hadn't; it was kind of just how the pack was.
All females turned sixteen and it was; 'Happy birthday, here are your presents, blow out your candles, and let's go see the elder so she can tell you who you're supposed to be with for the rest of your life.' Yes, exactly what I'd always wanted for my birthday. Why can't the pack just be normal; you know, just meet people by being sociable instead of having some raving, crazy lady tell you who to be with? But that would be too simple of course.
I wish daddy was still alive; I like to think he would have gotten me out of this somehow. I had always been daddy's little girl and when he died I'd felt lost, and confused. My mother had been devastated and everyone had told me it had been even worse because she'd lost her Fated when my father had died and apparently it was like losing a part of your soul.
It's been around a year and she doesn't seem much better. She cried today because she thought about how my daddy would have wanted to be here for my sixteenth and my Fated ritual. When she'd explained that, I'd cried with her for a while. It had put a slight damper on the party. Luckily Blake had lightened the mood and it had been okay again. Then we'd had to come to see the Elder and I was sombre again.
She is still in her weird meditative thing so I look around. The whole pack is here for this; all the boys are here to see if we'll be Fated and everyone else is here to see me become a woman, and I guess to see who I'm Fated to as well. Even the Alpha, Lupe, is here. He usually doesn't come to these sorts of shindigs. The Elder and I are situated in the middle of a large circle made by the pack. There are torches placed in a smaller circle surrounding us. Luckily, my birthday was in June, so we didn't have to try to fit into someone's house for the ritual. The stars overhead are bright against the dark sky and it is a beautiful night... if it wasn't my Fated ritual I would be having a run in the forest.
I glance into the crowd and my eyes are held captive by a pair of silver eyes. They're piercing and I don't want to look away, but I do so I can see the rest of him. His hair is black and is messily hanging around his face; his jaw is strong and covered in stubble. He's wearing a leather jacket and black boots. He has a small scar on his upper lip that looks like it must have been from fighting. He's tall; he's really tall, and he's staring at me intently. His lips are like a perfect cupid's bow; they're sensual and would make any girl think of dark nights and whispered things. He's older than me by three years and I know him only by his first name; it's Jett.
I've seen him around before but I've never taken the time to appreciate him; to really look at all his potential. It's embarrassing to say but my wolf is reacting to his dominance and not in a bad way. I feel my cheeks go red remembering all the things I've heard the older girls say about him and his exploits. They've described him in detail before...explicit detail. I feel like I know what's lurking under the clothes and from what the girls have described it's quite impressive.
I'm the only female turning sixteen this year and it's quite the event. Every single pack member is here and I can't quite remember if everyone was at Rosa's Fated ritual last year. But I don't think they were because her birthday was in March and I knew I only went to see what it would be like for me the next year. I also know that there weren't as many people because it was at her house and there had also been another four Fated ritual's that year. Rosa got Fated to Tony and they still had two years before they got mated but by the way they look at each other I would say just let them mate already. But that is just my opinion.
I finally look away from Jett and scan the crowd again, moving my head as minimally as possible because it's still in the elder's immobilizing grip. I meet Adelle's gaze and smile. She's three years younger than me but she's still more like a sister than any of the girls closer to my age. Her green eyes sparkle in the lantern lights and she returns the smile. She's still in that lanky stage that some thirteen year olds have. I didn't, I was all curves by the time I was thirteen. Her hair is the colour of hay and I know for a fact it smells like hay a lot of the times too. Her parents are the only members of the pack to own a farm on the property. She's wearing a green long sleeved tee and somehow she makes it seem suitable for the occasion even as a lot of people are wearing suits and dresses; myself included.
I'm wearing a black dress that just hits my knees and has lace attached to the hem. It's got thick straps to hold up my considerably large bust. There's a pretty large V in the front to show some of my creamy cleavage off. The dress has these little designs on the bottom and a waist made of beads. It's a nice dress I just don't understand why I'm wearing it and sitting on an old bench in the middle of the property in the middle of the night. I would rather be in my pyjama's to tell you the truth.
My amber coloured hair is in big curls that frame my face and my bangs are angled perfectly to show off my amber eyes. The eyes of the wolf, the Elder told me once. Someone told me that it's quite rare to have the same eyes as your wolf, but somehow I do. And I would say that Jett does too considering his silver eyes. I mean normal people don't have silver eyes...do they?
I look back at the Elder and she has a troubling look on her face but other than that small change not much else has changed. She's still gripping at my face and her eyes are still closed. As I'm watching her, her eyes spring open and she gasps audibly. The crowd stirs uneasily at this. From the four of these rituals that I've seen she's never done that before. She's looking at me intently and she seems to have some anger in her eyes.
"The road ahead is difficult for you young one," She says and it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop. She never speaks after her physic thingy except to say the Fated's name. This alone has everyone listening with so much concentration it's a little ridiculous.
She draws a cross on my forehead and that's unusual too. She doesn't do that.
"Your name, it means moon goddess; do it well," She explains. I can't take it anymore she's stalling and I don't know why, I just want to know who it is and why she doesn't want me to know so bad.
"So who is it?" I ask. She looks at me pityingly. Then her demeanour changes and she seems angry again.
"Jett," She spits disgusted.
Three-ish Years Later
"One pack of cigarettes, a wallet, keys, and a pair of Aviators," The prison guard says, putting the items on the counter in front of the boy; now a man. He places the items in the pockets of his leather jacket, and puts the aviators on his face.
He's changed in the last two years of being imprisoned. His ebony hair has been cropped closer to his head and isn't long enough to curl anymore. His chiselled face seems harsher, his body has become more toned, he's grown several inches and his silver eyes have become more cold and distant. He learned how to survive in prison quite successfully. Although, he did not enjoy his stay; he used his time wisely.
He had planned and schemed and finally figured out what he was going to do. He knew exactly how he was going to get back in the pack. It was going to be difficult, but he had hardened during his prison stay and knew quite well that he could achieve it. He had denied the change for two years, even during the full moon, and that took an incredible amount of self control, and will.
He knew because of what he did the pack had banished him, it was understandable, and that's why he had to figure out a way back into the pack. Good thing he had, had all that time to think.
"Follow me," One of the guards says.
The slightly overweight man guides him through the halls of the prison to the exit. There the guard pauses to explain procedure.
"Alright. So, you're expected to report for probation at the," he glances down at the piece of paper in his hand, "Coping's Probation Office. If you do not attend the monthly meeting you can be put back in jail. Your probation will last a year and a half." The guard hands him the piece of paper with all the information he would need to know on it. "You can go now." The guard unlocks the door for him, and walks him to the front gate where some other guards are watching him suspiciously.
He saunters out of the gates smiling wolfishly at the guards on his way. He is ecstatic to finally be free. He knew that he was getting out right before the pack was going to make her do her Chase and he knew he had to be there for it. Because, she was his, no matter what the pack said and he would have her again and he would finish what they had been denied when they'd been together.
He could finally change, and become his true self. No more hiding his stronger side. But before he could change he needed to do something; find where the hell his Harley was.
"I have a bad feeling," I say as I snatch another potato, and place it on my plate.
"Do you, now?" Mom mumbles back sarcastically. I narrow my amber eyes at her.
"Yeah, I don't know... I just feel something off in the air; like times are changing or something," I reason, and then stuff a hunk of steak into my mouth.
"Well, Nix, I am not sensing anything of a bad nature," She argues a scowl on her face.
"Well, maybe what I'm sensing has nothing to do with you," I say acidly. Blake, my brother, snickers next to me. I send him one of my icy glares and hit him in the stomach with my elbow. I wasn't about to be made fun of.
My brother is four years older than me and is beta of the pack. He oozes dominance and strength. His wide shoulders and chest make him one of the biggest wolves around, which he'd inherited from our Dad. His dark brown hair and eyes only help him look more menacing, he is anything but. He is as soft as a marshmallow on the inside, but he has a good head on his shoulders which has awarded him the beta spot.
Mother raises one brown brow at me and bluntly says, "Yes, well that's usually not how things work."
"Well, how do you know how I'm feeling, and whether or not something is going to happen? Are you a physic Mom? No; so how would you know?" I shoot at her, growing angrier by the second. Why couldn't they just believe me?
"I will not tolerate your insolence, Nix. You will not speak to your mother that way," She says briskly, and then she snatches up her plate and walks out of the dining room to the kitchen. I stare at her retreating back. She's been like this ever since Dad died. It feels sometimes like she'd died with him.
I look at Blake and he is once again snickering.
"What's wrong with you?" I ask throwing a bread roll at him. He grabs it easily out of the air and shoves it in his mouth with a muffled: 'Thanks'. "And what is Mom's problem?"
"She's edgy; you're close to your Chase," He says through a mouth of bread, shrugging one shoulder.
"Honestly, how are you beta? You are so childish sometimes," I say, eyeing my brother as he chewed the bread with his mouth open, while trying to shove more steak in his mouth.
"Me? Childish?" He asks with a raised eyebrow, spitting a mixture of steak and bread everywhere.
"That's disgusting." I scrunch my nose up in distaste. "And seriously why is she so worried about me finding a mate when you're four years older than me and beta and still haven't found a mate or been Fated?" I ask irked.
"Well," He says his mouth still full with steak. "She's not worried about me because I don't have to do a Chase, I just get to choose who I want to be with. And about being Fated; yeah it's bullshit anyways," He explains.
And it's not fair. He gets to choose who he's with while I get to run into the middle of the woods and have half the male population of the pack run after me to see who 'get's' me. I mean how sexist can you get? I feel like I'm getting shoved into an arranged marriage. Well... okay so basically everything the pack does to find one's mate is like an arranged marriage but this, this is worse.
"Then why haven't you chosen yet?" I snap. He smiles easily and shoved more food in his mouth.
"Because I'm having a little too much fun fooling around," He says, wiggling his eye brows at me.
"Ew! Keep that to yourself Blake!" I shriek as I grab my plate to clean it up in the kitchen.
It's sad really to think that I'll have to do a Chase. It's very rare for packs to have to do them at all anymore. And I shouldn't have to be doing one. It's not my fault though. All the other girls my age don't have to, because they've been Fated. Although I thought it was complete bullshit when I understood what being Fated was, I was Fated once, and I was happy with it.
Being Fated is when the village Elder does some physic mumbo jumbo and tells the sixteen year old females who they should be Fated to and then ultimately mated to. I was Fated to Jett. He was my first love and I was happy and thought that maybe this being Fated thing wasn't that bad. He was gorgeous and a rebel and everyone had been appalled when we'd been Fated, especially Mom, but somehow it had worked... well, for me and Jett at least.
He had his own group in the pack that he was leader of and they were like a gang of sorts. They still existed but without him as leader they aren't as...feared? I guess. I mean how can you fear your boyfriend and his friends? I didn't and I hung out with them almost every night. Trust me though; me and Jett never had sex...Thankfully. Because, I mean, he turned out to be a real loser. But it's not because I didn't want to, believe me, I wanted to. He was so seductive and... I don't know just thinking about him gives me shivers. But its pack law that when girls get Fated when their sixteen then they have around three years to get to know their potential mate and choose if they want to be together. However it is strictly prohibited to...ahem, mate during those three years for fear of having pups with someone who might not end up being your mate. So, yes I'm still a virgin. Anyway if you don't choose to mate with your Fated then you have to have a Chase.
I would have chosen Jett, I really would have, but he got banished from the pack when I was seventeen, and he was twenty. No one would tell me why they just told me he'd left and that he was banned. People had gone as far as telling me he'd left because he didn't want to be with me. I'd cried for a good three months after hearing that. I stopped hanging out with his friends after that and I avoided them as best as I could. But now I'm turning nineteen and that means that because I don't have a Fated I get a Chase...yay?
Any male can be a part of the Chase who isn't Fated yet and that is at least nineteen years old. Let me be the first to tell you that all of Jett's friends are over nineteen...and un-Fated. Yeah I've been hearing some pretty suggestive comments from them lately about how they're going to be the ones who catch me and uhh...you know seal the deal. But not with a kiss. That is not how the pack works, we seal deals with our thrusting hips if you get what I mean.
Soon enough I'll be mated to someone I probably don't want to be mated with. All the boys I like as people aren't dominant enough. And everyone else is either one of Jett's friends or someone I don't know all that well. Yes, my life is turning out just how I expected it to...not.