The Perfect Mate
- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: Essie Neh
I stood there just like everyone else, watching the Alpha as he spoke. I couldn’t help the smile that came over my lips as I perused him. The Alpha was a beautiful man. From his brawny arms to his red hair and his beautiful blue eyes – it didn’t matter that I couldn’t see them from where I stood. I could recognize this man in my sleep if need be.
I couldn’t lie and say that I wasn’t curious about what he had gathered the entire pack to say. It had been a while since that had happened. Actually, the only time it had happened was after he had been crowned Alpha. But I wasn’t too worried about that for the moment. The only thing that was going through my mind was how absolutely handsome he was. The Alpha didn’t tell me a lot, so I wasn’t really miffed about the fact that he had not told me about this gathering even though we had been together that very morning. I brushed the idea off and continued smiling up at him, even though he could not see me.
The smile faltered a little when I saw the long-legged brunette standing next to him. She was beautiful. And she wasn’t someone I had ever seen in the pack. I tried to brush it off and convince myself that, as usual, I was being insecure and overthinking. But there was too much to the picture. She was staring at him with so much love in her eyes, and his hand was wrapped around her waist possessively. God, I couldn’t cry in front of all these people.
His next words made me confirm that what I was thinking was the truth. “Everybody! I know you’re wondering why we’re here together today as a pack. Well, I am here to announce something that we’ve all been waiting for, for a very long while!”
I swallowed. My mind was going through the most trying to convince myself that it wasn’t what I thought, no matter how obvious the scene was. It was probably a pack association. But why would he present her to the pack? Maybe because the pack was very important. Then why was he smiling so hard? Association with her pack was very important, and it made him happy.
I shook my head. Why was I trying so hard to convince myself of the inevitable? Playing all these scenarios in my head was just going to hurt me. There was no point in doing that. The sooner I accepted that the Alpha was about to give me one of the biggest betrayals of my life, the faster I would be out of there and in my house so I could cry with no interruptions. And not in front of people who didn’t make it a secret that they hated me.
Cory… Alpha Cory would tell me if he found his mate, though, right? He wasn’t that heartless. He was one of the few people in this pack who did not have to hurt me as a priority. So, he would tell me this beforehand so that I could avoid embarrassment… right?
“I found my mate, everyone! This is Gail, my mate, and your new Luna!”
Cheers broke out in the crowd, but I was unable to make any movement. I was so shocked I couldn’t move an inch. I wasn’t even thinking of the backlash at that moment. I knew I was going to be the bitter one yet again, the mateless slut who wasn’t happy about her Alpha getting a mate because she wanted him all to herself. But I was unable to make any coherent thoughts at that point. I was going through so many emotions. Shocked… weak… silent… beat down. I didn’t even think I could move my hand.
I was brought out of my reverie by the whispers around me. I looked around, and I wasn’t surprised by the venom people were throwing at me. My relationship – if I could call it that – with Alpha Cory was not a secret. And it wasn’t surprising that nobody in the pack approved of it. I was an outcast. I wasn’t deserving enough to touch their amazing prince. So, now that he had found his mate, they would be able to spit openly at me.
“She’s such a slut. She’s still staring at him.”
“Didn’t you know she had no shame?”
That was their favorite word to use. A word they thought described me perfectly well. I didn’t think I would ever get used to hearing it, no matter how many times they had screamed it in my ears. Slut. For entertaining a consensual relationship with an adult man. Slut for being born.
I held my head high and turned around. I didn’t have to push people to pass. It seemed like each of them had been waiting to see my reaction. They gave me passage as I walked back to my home, the whispers not stopping. I knew that if it weren’t completely forbidden by pack law, they would have already pounced on me like hungry wolves.
I chuckled at my own description and attracted even weirder looks. They didn’t know what that chuckle hid. They didn’t know that my high shoulders and haughty nose were protection stopping me from crying. I couldn’t break my mask and my pride in front of them. My father had brought me up way better than that. Never was I to show my weakness to my enemy.
When I reached my small apartment, I got in, closed the door behind me, and cried, letting out the ugliest sobs I had ever let out in my entire life. I cried until I fell asleep, drowned by an alternative that was not much better than my reality.
I went over the Alpha’s quarters as soon as I could. I had been standing in front of his office for over thirty minutes, trying to convince Karlson, his Beta, that the only thing I wanted to do was talk. And not cause a rift between the Alpha and his newly found Luna. I did not know how to feel knowing that he had such a terrible opinion of me.
“You’re wasting your own time,” Karlson said with a tone that meant he wasn’t going to back down. I swallowed and took in a deep breath.
I had been trying to convince Karlson to let me go in with no success. I wasn’t going to lie. I was on the verge of crying. If he said one more hurtful thing, I was probably going to burst out in tears and run away – the reaction he wanted anyways. I was trying my best to be as strong as I possibly could, though. One of my mottos was not to ever let these people see my weaknesses.
“Please, Karlson, I won’t-” I started, but Karlson’s loud shout interrupted me.
“That’s Beta Karlson to you, you dumb slut!”
I stared at him, wide-eyed in shock. It had been obvious he had never liked me. But for the most part, throughout my entire relationship with Cory, Karlson had been cordial. It seems he had been looking for what would make him pour out all his dislike for me. And now that our new Luna was around, he had seen the perfect opportunity.
“I’m sorry, Beta,” I said a little meekly. “You can stand to watch at the door if you want. The only thing I want to do with him is talk to him.”
The last part was said with a bitter smile. Did he really think I was that kind of person? The entire pack knew Cory had a new Luna. There was no way on earth that I would advance toward him. First of all, I wasn’t that kind of person. And the mate bond was a little too sacred to me for me to disrespect it like that.
“Let me tell you one thing, Denise. Whatever you are going into that office to achieve, you won’t. The mating ceremony is already in the works, and Cory will soon mark our Luna. The only thing I need is for you not to be a thorn in their flesh. That’s why I’m letting you in. Get your fucking closure, leave and never come back! Understood?” he bellowed.
I nodded, then I walked into Cory’s office with a lump in my throat. I had never aspired to be Luna. I knew it was futile. But damn, hearing all these things about myself – things I didn’t know either – thrown into my face was really hurtful. I tried to swallow the lump, though, and I got into Cory’s lair with a brave smile on my face.
Cory was on the phone when I got it without knocking, and his eyes shuttered immediately. I didn’t need anyone to tell me that this meeting that in my head was going to go as peacefully as possible would be a strain on my mental health. I could feel it.
“Parker. Let me call you back. My one p.m. is here,” he said, then he dropped the phone into its cradle carefully.
“Denise. What do you want?” was all he said. I had never heard Cory speak so coolly to me. I widened my eyes a little, but I didn’t let that disturb me.
“Hello to you too, Cory,” I said with a wry smile. I never expected him to welcome me with a hug and a kiss on the forehead, but damn, a little more warmth would be nice.
“You can play these games with someone else and under different circumstances. Tell me what you’re here for.”
Ouch. That one hurt. Cory was speaking to me exactly how everyone else in the pack spoke to me. Not that I expected him to give me special treatment, but he was one of the only people in the pack who actually respected me. So, to hear him talk to me like that really hurt.
But I wasn’t here to analyze what hurt and what didn’t. So, I pushed my reaction far away and turned toward the window.
“I had thought I would get a little bit of warning, you know. Not a sprung-up announcement like the whole pack got,” I said, then I turned toward him with a very fake smile on my face.
If anyone had told me last week that Alpha Cory would hurt me, I would have put up a vehement refusal. Look at me now.
“It was very sudden,” was all he said.
I wanted to ask him for more. I wanted to reach behind his desk and shake him, ask him why it was so easy for everyone to hurt me and move on with their lives and ask him why I was always an afterthought. But I knew none of those questions would ever be answered. Instead, I knew in my spirit that he was going to ask Karlson to send me out, and I was going to be humiliated once again.
“Denise, you know how finding your mate is. You know how exhilarating it can be and how much you want to scream to the rooftops that you have found your mate. I couldn’t stop myself from telling the entire pack that I had found her. And honestly, I have no regrets. I wouldn’t do it any differently if I were to redo it.”
No apology. No trying to understand my feelings. Nope. The tears. I had held them in so much that I was sure I was going to be able to do that anymore.
“I understand,” I said, blinking rapidly. I needed to get out of her. “Goodbye, Alpha. Thank you for receiving me.”
As I made to leave, the door opened, and Alpha Cory’s perfect mate stepped in. She was the true definition of a Luna. Beautiful, confident, nice. I had heard lots of nice things about her.
“Oh, hello,” she said with what looked like a genuine smile on her face. “Karlson told me there was no one in here.”
There was curiosity on her face, and I knew instantly that she knew who I was and that Karlson had not told her anything about there being no one here. But I pretended I believed her and forced a smile on my face.
“Hello, I’m Gail,” she said, advancing toward me.
“Denise.” I couldn’t see the look on Cory’s face, but I knew he was glad to have avoided the awkwardness that would have resulted in him introducing us.
Introducing your ex-lover to your mate? Having them in the same room was awkward enough. Gail came toward me, and like it was customary for wolves, we sniffed each other on the neck, then stepped away from each other. I knew she could smell her mate on me, and some perverse part of me hoped it drove her crazy.
With that fake smile still on my face, I said, “I will leave now, so I don’t interrupt your moment any further. Thank you again for receiving me, Alpha. It was nice meeting you, Luna.”
“Hope we get to talk more some other time,” she responded with a smile that was just as fake as mine. There was a possessive arm wrapped around Cory’s midriff, and he looked just as uncomfortable as the atmosphere in the room felt. I didn’t envy whatever discussion she was about to have with him.
She’s not pure, something was whispering to me, but I ignored it. Too focused on leaving the room and getting to my cocoon of an apartment so I could cry without facing judgment or ridicule from anyone. I reached my apartment, and the feeling of being worthless enveloped me until I cried myself into a dreamless and restless sleep...