This entire day was so surreal and passed away in such a blur. Even now, as I packed, no, scratch that, as Hannah packed some of my belongings, I couldn't believe it. I was leaving my home. I could distantly hear Vian creating a ruckus downstairs and my dad telling him to cool it.

"All set, kiddo?" Oliver poked his head in.
I gave him a tight lipped smile. Not only my own family, but even the Strauss's have been my family since before I knew them as my pack.

"You want to pack something else?" Hannah asked me. I ran my eyes across my room but I couldn't use my brain. I felt numb.
"It's okay, if I want something, I'll just pick it up later."

We carried the few boxes downstairs and then Oliver and Hannah started loading them in the car. Olivia came inside letting out a huge sigh. Upon seeing me, she walked over and gave me a tight hug.
"If they try to hurt you, all you have to do is call-" "It's going to be fine, Olive. He's my mate, you don't have to worry about it." I stopped her in between. "Where's Marcus?"
She rolled her eyes at my question.
"He's out in the back, with Vian, trying to get some sense into him."

I felt a fat tear finally escape my eyes. It's one thing to leave your family. But to leave your twin, the person you are accustomed to, like your own shadow, that becomes hard.
"Hey, no tears today!" Dad's voice made me want to cry more, but I let out a smile as he hugged me.

"I'll miss you." I whispered into his chest.
Back at the Price house, when my dad had taken me out to discuss the mating, he had only asked a few things. Whether it was consensual, if I accepted him as my mate, did I see myself falling in love with him, and most importantly, did he make me happy. I had said positive to all of those, but somehow I still felt anxious.
"Adrian called. He said he'll be coming to pick you up. So we might need to transfer those boxes again." Hannah interrupted us.

I wiped off my tears and nodded at her. Then I made my way to the backyard, to look for my brothers. Marcus was coming inside, just as I reached the door to the patio. He hugged me and congratulated me, telling me to go in with a positive mindset. I swear, sometimes, he feels like the only mature person around here. "Vian?"
"He ran off to cool down." Marcus sighed. "It's just that, he didn't expect you to mate so soon and that too, with Adrian. He'll come around."

I nodded, feeling sad that he wasn't here to see me off. "Thea! Adrian's here." Hannah's voice rang through the hall. Marcus smiled at me and placed an arm around my shoulder.
"Come on, let's get you out of here."

I walked out with him to see Adrian talking to my father.

He looked up at me, as I exited my home since eighteen years. His eyes were unreadable for me, and I felt my heartbeat quicken.
"You ready?" He asked me, with almost no change in his expression.
I nodded at him, not trusting my voice.

He nodded back curtly and walked away to his car, helping Oliver in settling my luggage. I hugged everyone and said my goodbyes before getting inside the car. Adrian was already sitting inside and I waved to my family as my mate drove us away.


I glanced at her, sensing sudden movement from the corner of my eyes. Thea was wiping her eyes. A sigh escaped her and she had her face turned towards the window.
My hand tightened around the wheel. I had been going in rounds about everything that had happened between the two packs in the past few weeks. Everything had changed. The members of our packs had changed, what with everyone finding their mates. But mostly, I was concerned about how my equation with Thea had changed.

"We start college tomorrow. I hope you bought all the necessary stuff?" I asked her, trying to make conversation.
"Yes." She answered after a brief silence. None of us would have the luxury of applying to the more prestigious colleges outside, since we had to stay here, where it was safe for us and the people around us.

There was silence for a while, during which I felt a strange sense of satisfaction settle in, knowing that she was going to be with me from now on. But just as I took the turn, leading to my home, I heard her let out a sob.
I couldn't stop the wave of anger that hit me.
"You hate me so much that you don't even want to be with your mate?"

Thea looked at me with bewildered eyes, still filled with tears.
"What- no, Adrian, I just-"
"Save it." I snapped at her. "Whether you like it or not, you are stuck with me. If you were to leave me, I will end everyone you hold close, starting with my sister's mate."
I saw her flinch at my growling tone and even though she tried to suppress the next sob, I still heard it. I swerved the vehicle to avoid a squirrel dangerously.
"Stop crying!" I was getting agitated and I didn't know what to say.

She pressed her hands over her mouth and nodded frantically. I ran a hand through my hair, pulling on them in frustration.
"Don't- please don't be angry." She all but whispered. "It's just that I left my family-"

I slammed hard on the brakes. We had reached home. I grabbed her chin to make her look at me.
"And my family, my sister, left me, because your brother threatened her with something." I told her coldly. "So you don't get to cry, Thea. Stop making everything about you like always."

I let go of her and exited the vehicle.
Michael was standing out on the front porch, with his arms crossed over his chest, looking at me with the same look of disapproval. I tossed him the car keys.
"She has brought only a few boxes." I told him, taking off my t-shirt. "I'm going for a run. Settle her in the guest room."

"Yes, Alpha." Michael responded back to my order.

I shifted into my wolf and ran at my full speed, making the smaller animals cower away from my path. As the cold breeze relaxed me, my anger was replaced with the same strange sadness I had been carrying around since she cut off ties with me in our teenage.

I wasn't even old enough to know love, when I was sure that she was the one. I used to love everything about her. Her smile, her hair, her eyes and her personality. But one day, she just stopped talking to me. I tried to get her to tell me what was it that I did wrong. But she wouldn't even look at me. Then I decided to pour in all my efforts to win her back by planning an elaborate scheme to ask her for our middle school prom. Only to be rejected by her in front of the entire school. And she not only rejected me, but she insulted my father, my family, without even having met them, just because her brothers had fed her some stories about me. She told me she hated me and my family.

She hated me.
I was heartbroken.

Kids snickered around me because of the rejection for the remainder of our middle school. But when I saw her in the high school, looking all pretty and feminine, without a care in the world, surrounded by her brothers and her friends, I told myself to rise above her in the social chain. And I did just that.
This one guy had the nerve to ask her out, in freshman year. I punched him thrice in the stomach, before he agreed to stay away from her. And he did stay away from her, because after me, Lucian and Vian had also found him. And Thea never knew that I kept guys from her after that. I just told myself that I was just doing it for payback, but truthfully, I felt as if I was just lying to myself the entire time.

We had a long history of bantering between us. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stay away from her. Sometimes my actions made things difficult for her, when the girls decided to snub her and she was all alone, the majority of our high school. And that hadn't been my intention, so I started staying away from her and ignoring her. And she faded into the background happily. Except a few insults and casual flirting, which I couldn't seem to stop, which started being amusing to the students and teachers alike.

But I didn't realise that I was in love with her. I ignored the nagging feeling in my chest when I saw her phasing in the street. I still didn't realise it when we mated. I thought it was the stupid mate bond. Then we completed the mating ritual. And now I had no way of knowing if this was love or the bond which was driving me crazy.

And that was why I was so filled with sadness that I didn't notice Carrie.

"You're some alpha, dude." She sniggered, making me growl at her in alertness.
She raised her hands in surrender. "I heard about the mate exchange your packs did." She snorted. "Good thing that Lucian wanted Diane, or you would've had to wait longer to get your mate."

I phased back upon listening to her words, not caring if she saw me naked. We both had been the children of wild anyways. This is where we were the same and where we were different from the rest. We had always been more in touch with the wild.
"I didn't want a mate." I gritted out, getting in her face. "Sure you didn't. That's why you were dying to be with her." She laughed.
"You don't-"
"Okay, I don't know, nor do I care. Wanna practice some moves?" She cut him in between.

This was how they were. They spoke less, understood more. Adrian phased back into his wolf and so did Carrie, into her rare golden brown wolf. We started to wrestle with each other and I could already feel my frustration slip away. I had to stabilize myself before I had any hopes to make sense of the situation were in.

Authors note: I know this is small and incredibly boring but this was supposed to be a filler chapter, so suck it up, guys!

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