It had been years since Raoul Sanchez's death.
Even though I had never met him, I had learned a few things about him. Raoul was the pack Alpha before Dan. He had built the neighborhood that the whole pack resided on and was the one that gave the neighborhood its name, La Cove.
No one knew why Raoul named the neighborhood La Cove, but this place was so beautiful it wasn't surprising mortals wanted to move here. La Cove might have looked like any ordinary human neighborhood to them, but most were naive to the fact that half-human, half-wolf creatures resided within the whole territory.
La Cove. So many weird things had happened to me here. It all started a long time ago.
When I was a child, I was easily fascinated by the idea of mates. Plainly, it might have seemed like just another love story—how a mate discovered their other mate and they fell in love—but I liked it. Probably because I was always waiting for my own time to come—for the day when I could stare straight into my mate's eyes and let myself fall in love.
It was certainly considered weird of me for liking such things. Little boys did not usually like these kinds of things, but I always waited patiently for my mother to tell me another mating tale.
"Honey," Mom said, "why don't you join your brothers?"
I wondered why she asked that because I knew that my mother knew me so well. She knew I wasn't into video games, soccer or any of the stuff my brother and their friends did.
"No," I said, "I want to know what happened to Estella."
She sat down on the chair in front of me and stroked my ruffled hair back and forth. I looked up to her as she smiled and said, "Where did I stop, sweetheart?"
"Estella. She found her mate—Jared, the beautiful schoolboy? But she hides from him, and things go wrong."
"Yeah," Mom sighed. "Are you sure you want to hear this? This is quite a sad story for you, Jordan."
I could only nod enthusiastically.
"Let me make sure you get this straight," Mom said. "This story is not actually made up. It's your Grandma Stella's, Jordan. She hid from your grandpa before they met."
I couldn't believe this. My grandparents were like the sweetest couple I'd ever seen. Even now, after decades of marriage, they were like young lovers (Mentally and physically—since, immortals didn't really age.)
"Poor Grandma," I said. "But she and Grandpa made it. To marriage, I mean."
"Yes, but she regretted everything she'd done. She even told all your aunts to not do the same because hiding from one's mate has terrible consequences, darling."
I let the silence pass before I asked Mom another question.
"So, is it usually the females who have to discover their male mate first?"
"Depends," Mom answered. "Usually the girls will know who their mate is first. The boys will eventually find out, but they may never know at all."
"But Mom," I sighed, "there wouldn't be much difference even if Grandma Stella didn't come out of hiding, would there? They were still meant to be together."
"No, sweetie. If our mate knows our presence, there will be lots of differences. Once the males acknowledge their mate's presence, the bond will develop. This is how mates are connected. It also depends on how strong the mate bond is between the two. If it isn't strong enough, the male mate may not know at all that the female is actually near him. You know that some shifters are mateless, don't you, sweetie?"
Mateless was a term we used for any werewolf who hadn't found their mate for a very long time. Being mateless was considered the biggest misfortune to befall immortals, especially among the shape-shifters. Since werewolves contained two separate halves in one creature, we believed that we bear half of our mate's soul while our mate held the other half of ours. Some half mortal/half immortals, like half-human half-vampires, held the same beliefs. This also explained the mate bond. Our life would not be considered as complete until we had met our mate who held the other half of our soul. An immortal would also be considered mateless if their mate died. If your mate died, you would never be able to live the same way because half of your soul would be missing.
"So if my mate hides from me…I'd be mateless. Is that true?" I asked.
"It depends on how strong your mate bond is. Most of the time mate bonds cause a strong attraction—a deadly tie to your heart. This bond will usually drive you to find your mate."
I knew then, I didn't ever want to be mateless. Some teen wolves who'd thought they'd fallen deeply in love, believed they didn't need a mate, but Mom told me that the love we felt for our mate would be different. Marriages and relationships were only temporary and could be broken if werewolves had discovered their mates.
I thought about Grandma for days, after Mom, told me about her mating discovery. After that, I decided to never fall in love with anyone but her—my mate, my one true love. She could have been somewhere around the world or here in La Cove. She might even be thinking about me too at the moment.
I promised myself that I would wait for her till the end of time. What if I dated someone and she was actually there watching me? I didn't want to break her heart since she was the one who deserved to be by my side. She was the one who had the other half of my soul.
TO OLD READERS: You may notice that I shorten the chapters after I edit through the manuscript. I find it easier to read short chapters. Chapter titles are also removed.
TO NEW READERS: The raw manuscript of this book is finished and was available on FP before, but I have removed it all and have uploaded the new edited chapters here. You won't be able to find the ending of the story here on this site for now, but you can by going to Wattpad to read the old unedited first draft. Search for Inside Out by evanfranciso there and start reading CHAPTER 17 - FULL MOON after you finished reading Chapter 36 here.