I'll keep this short as possible.
This is my first story, and I'm super excited. It is inspired by another story, but it is completely original in its own unique way...or so I hope.
It is indeed still a work-in-progress so I do hope that you remain patient with me, and bless me with some polite feedback. I do love comments and reviews and thoughts and helpful suggestions.😊
I do hope you enjoy the story and feel free to comment. I do try to write as much as my busy schedule will allow me, but sometimes I forget, but I do get notifications so feel free to remind me if I'm taking too long. I aim to update at least once a week. Also please realize my dear beloved character Kaden is not Prince Charming. At first he is in fact a total asshole, but that's the glory of character development! You start with hate and end with love!
Anyway, I have to write this on my phone so forgive any mistakes, and feel free to call me out on them. I'd really appreciate it considering I'm a big grammar freak.
That's all for now. Now sit back relax and enjoy!
P.S. Publishing this was rushed and I didn't really have time to come up with too great of a title, chapter titles, or a great cover so feel free to send me some covers and suggestions.
P.P.S. I published this story completely unaware that there was another story named "Alpha Kaden" until after I published it. This story is not related to that story, nor does it copy it in any way. I just really like the name Kaden.
It was seven thirty-eight in the morning on a Tuesday, and I should already be in class, listening to Mrs. Zambrano explain Edward Allen Poe's dark poem. Instead I sat with my legs crossed on my bed, glaring across the room at the stupid dress hanging off my closet door.
I was furious, but more than anything I was terrified. Today was the day my whole life would change. Today was the day any ounce of freedom I had left in my miserable life would be taken away from me. Today was the day the Elders would tell me who I would be forced to spend the rest of my life with.
Today was the day I would meet my mate, and I hated it.
I hated that my kind, the werewolf kind, had managed to evolve, and accept the new way of life along with the ever changing humans, and yet refused to ban such ridiculous traditions.
But there was nothing I could do. Not many agreed with me. If I wanted to live, it would have to be by the rules.
At least until I could leave.
Today, another bland Tuesday, was the day the Elders decided to introduce me to the man they had decided would be the best match for me. Why the werewolves decided to still listen to crabby old men tell them who to marry and have kids with was beyond me, but it was something that had been done for ages, and a sacred tradition still widely respected. At least by everyone, but myself.
The choice of when, however, you had to get a mate, had been the only thing that had evolved as times changed. You used to have to get a mate at the young age of thirteen, but as times changed, and humans frowned upon childhood marriage, we had to change to avoid human confrontation.
So now you had until the age of thirty. Or at least the males did. The females, however, would receive a mate at whatever age their parent or guardian thought was best.
For most females, their parents would let them turn eighteen, and by then the girls could decide themselves when they'd receive their mate, also until the age of thirty, but there were always some unlucky girls, such as myself, with the most cruel and old-fashioned mothers to still roam the Earth who would force their daughters to receive their mate before the age of eighteen.
Which was how, only two months before my eighteenth birthday, my mother had told the Elders to choose my mate. Only three days later, they had called us to inform my mother that I would be meeting him today on this rainy, dark, and depressing Tuesday.
I was supposed to be there at nine o'clock in the morning, and my mother had made sure to wake me up bright and early to get ready. Instead, I sat there on my bed glaring at the stupid dress.
I stood up from my bed, walking around as I tried to bring everything to memory. I would miss my bedroom, my safe haven from my crazy mother through the years. I would miss creak of the floorboards, and the two tall and worn bookshelves full of books I had re-read countless times from top to bottom. Hell, I would even miss the hideous peeling pink paint my mother refused to change.
I wouldn't have to move out immediately. Traditionally mates waited a few weeks or even months before moving in together, but it still saddened me I'd have to leave my poor room behind.
I started to walk over to my closet, to the dress, then quickly changed my mind, and walked over to the only window to look outside.
My mother's sedan sat in the driveway with the space where my father's beat up truck usually rested was empty. He had been unable to call off work to bid me a proper goodbye. He'd only given me a sad smile, a hug, and a quiet "you'll be alright" before going to bed last night.
The sky was dark, and pouring. The news had said a thunderstorm would roll in around noon. Everything was wet, gray, and sad, and I wondered if the sky knew the tragedy that today was.
I walked back over to my bed, this time hiding back underneath the covers, and silently crying into my pillow. I could taste the salt of my tears.
I didn't want this. I didn't want any of it. I didn't want to have a mate, least of all right now when I was getting ready to leave for college. It was exactly why my mother had done it. I had shown her my acceptance letter to a college in Virginia, and she had freaked, realizing that when I talked of getting a college education, and getting a good job I was being serious.
All these years she had thought I was being a silly girl, thinking like a stupid feminist human who thought girls could do more than just stay at home to raise the kids.
She panicked, and ruined my life with a single phone call to the Elders, demanding a mate who would turn me into an obedient housewife.
I had tried to run away, more than once, but each and every time my mother managed to convince Alpha Darren to send the best trackers after me, and I'd return home to my crazy mother before I could get too far.
I heard my bedroom door open, and then a heavy sigh that I quickly identified belonged to my mother. I couldn't remember a single day I hadn't heard that sigh. When I was kid I used to wonder if she'd ever sigh enough to run out of air and die.
"Elise, get up. It's getting late. You still haven't even taken a shower. You're not going to have enough time to eat."
"Maybe I'll be lucky and starve to death," I mumbled incoherently into my pillow.
I felt the blanket be ripped away from me, and I turned to glare at the woman responsible for both giving me life and ruining it through my tears. "Why do you hate me?" I asked seething. " What did I do to make you hate me so much?"
"Oh, grow up, Elise," she hissed. Too often she reminded me of a snake. Her green and yellow eyes definitely resembled one. "The world doesn't revolve around you. You should be grateful your father and I waited so long-"
"Don't bring dad into this because you and I both know he never wanted this!"
"He never said otherwise," she countered.
"Because my poor father is terrified of you. You bully your own husband to get what you want, and now, now that I'm finally getting out of
here to live my own life you're marrying me off to some stranger!"
"I do not 'bully' your father, and stop being so ridiculous! You've known your whole life this day was coming."
"It's supposed to be when I want it to come."
"No, it's not, darling," her voice was laced with fake pity. "You're just a stupid girl. You don't know what you want, or what you're supposed to do with your life, but I do. You are going to be a young man's wife, and you're going to be kind to him, and clean your home, and cook meals he loves, and give him a family he'll love to come home to and provide for. Because that is what women do. That is our duty."
I shake my head at her, disgusted, angry," What the hell is wrong with you?"
She grabbed my arm tightly, too tight, and I tensed up with fear as her nails dug into my skin, awaiting the strike of her palm against my cheek. Surprisingly, it didn't come.
But she leaned in close, so close her hot breath fanned my face, and I cringed. "I'm not going to mark your face, Elise, but you are going to take a shower, and get ready. Because like it or not, you're still a minor, I'm still your mother, and you are getting a mate today."
She let go of my arm, and I forced my eyes to stay glaring down at a spot on my blanket. From the corner of my eyes I saw her give a sickening smile as tears pooled in my eyes and continued to stream down my face.
"It's so exciting, isn't it?" she chirped, and then left the room, leaving the door open behind her.
I looked back outside the window. Lightning flashed across the sky, and thunder roared quickly after it, sound always trying to catch up with light.
I took my time taking a shower. Probably because I couldn't stop breaking into horrible gut-wrenching sobs that made me gasp for air.
But in the end I did what my mother told me.
I supposed the only good thing that came out of this was that I would soon move out, hopefully far from my mother's evil grasp. If my mate was a member of my pack, I would be terribly disappointed, still forced to see her every day, but fortunately it often didn't happen. The elders liked to move people around.
I washed my hair, and shaved, and washed my bare skin with my favorite body wash. I smelled like strawberries and vanilla.
After my shower I stood back in my bedroom, clothed only in a robe, my wet hair wrapped in a towel on top of my head as I stared at the dress my mother had chosen.
Tradition made the dress a beautiful light blue, and short. I hadn't yet tried on the dress, but I knew it would reach right below my knees. It was strapless, with minimal bling. A simple, but pretty thing. It was meant to make the girl look pure, and innocent like every girl should be. At least that's what mother always told me.
I dropped the robe and the towel from my hair, first dressing in one of my less attractive underwear sets. I might have no choice in getting a mate today, but there was no way I was giving anything else up, which meant there was no reason to impress anyone.
Unfortunately the strapless dress meant wearing the only strapless bra I owned which was such an uncomfortable thing, but it was yet another thing I knew I'd have no choice over. I put it on, and then the dress before walking over to my bed to put on the matching heels of pain my mother had bought specifically to wear with the dress.
I stood shakily at first, but then slowly walked over to the bathroom where I blow dried and then straightened my hair. Once I was finished I walked back over to my bedroom, standing in front of the mirror behind my bedroom door to stare at the girl in front of me.
I didn't know if I was ugly or pretty. It was natural for every person to be unable to judge their own looks unbiased. Some days I felt pretty, some days I felt hideous, and I didn't get enough comments on my looks to know from the words of others. All I knew was I looked like me, and people didn't runaway screaming when they saw me so I guessed I was okay.
The heels made me taller, and I hated it. I hated the way they made my knees shake. My long and thick black hair was not the natural waves I had learned to love, but instead the fake pin-straight I had forced it to become.
The only thing I didn't mind was the dress. Had it not meant what it did, basically a traditional werewolf wedding dress, I might've liked it, and worn it somewhere else. I looked more dressed up than I usually did in my skinny jeans, but it did nothing to mask the sadness in my dark eyes. They reminded me of eyes that belonged to one of the lonely puppies you see in the animal shelter commercials.
Suddenly my mother barged in the room, almost hitting me with the door. She looked frantic. She saw me and disappointment crossed her face. "You haven't done your makeup? Ugh, there's no time! We're going to be late! Grab my makeup bag from the bathroom, you'll do it on the way there. Now let's go!"
She ran off down the hallway, and I looked sadly at my bedroom. If I did have to move to a new pack, I'd still have to come back to get my things, but this would be last time I'd be in this bedroom still single. Still regular Elise dreaming of getting out of here.
I walked out, closing the door behind me. I walked past the bathroom door, purposely not grabbing my mother's makeup bag. It was bad enough I had to do this, I would not be forced to wear makeup.
As soon as I got in the car my mother flew out of the driveway, and started speeding down the road, despite the heavy rain. Maybe I'd be lucky, and she'd crash and kill us. Well more like me. I didn't want to spend an eternity with the monster in the afterlife.
"Now don't forget to smile at him, and be nice, and whatever you do, don't talk about yourself. Poor guy will probably shoot himself if he realizes what you're really like."
She looked over at me as I stared out the window at the passing houses. Our pack, like most, was pretty small. A small private community where we kept ourselves separate from the human world just a few miles away.
There were quite a few other packs nearby, all small and peaceful, and minding their own business. I wondered if I'd end up in one of those. I wondered if their rules were dramatically different than the old-fashioned ones here in the Tileno pack. I certainly hoped so.
More than anything I wondered if I'd be able to escape far away enough, and if the Alpha would send trackers after me, or let me go.
I'd have to wait and see.
"Elise, don't tell me you forgot the makeup," my mother sighed, hands tightening around the wheel.
I didn't respond. I only stared out the window, a knot forming in my stomach the closer we got.
My mother went back to telling me what to do, and more importantly what not to do, until eventually we pulled in front of the town courthouse. The rain had stopped, so I wouldn't be soaked from head to toe by the time I got to the door.
My mother took a breath and turned to me, grabbing my arm once more. I hated it when she did that. I hated it when she touched me at all.
"Elise, you're not a little girl anymore. You're a woman, and it is your duty as a woman to keep order and stability in this pack by providing your mate a loving home to love and protect, and call his own. Do you understand me?"
I nodded even though I didn't. I would never understand why she was so willing to roll over and please a man for the rest of her life. I just wanted to get this over with.
"Good," she smiled.
As a kid I used to think that smile was genuine. One full of love and kindness. Now I knew that on the inside she was black and rotting. Her smiles meant nothing.
"Now go in there, and make me proud. I'll see you later tonight, or who knows? Maybe things will really hit off, and I'll see you in the morning! The sooner I get some grandkids the better!"
I got out of the car, and shivered as the wind bit me with the cold against my bare skin. With every step I took I felt heavier. I hesitated at the door. I could run, but I wouldn't make it. My mother would make sure I'd never leave unless it was with a man at my side. I'd have to be patient, and wait.
So I opened the door, and walked inside. Outside I saw my mother pull out of her parking space and drive away.
It was quiet. So quiet that the click clack of my heels made me cringe as they echoed off the walls. It was cold in here, and I wrapped my arms around myself as I looked around for any signs to direct me to wherever the hell I was supposed to go.
Pack laws were strict, especially the ones in my pack, so there was no need for a courthouse. The only cases they ever had were the occasional DUIs and underage drinking, most of which were never punished. Only given a warning. Actually sentencing someone to jail would mean more human involvement that could easily be avoided.
With my sensitive hearing, I heard a man's cough come from up the stairs around the corner, and I slowly headed that way.
At the top was a desk and two long hallways. A man, the secretary was writing something down when he saw me, and I recognized him from church, back when I was a little kid and my mother still forced me to attend. His name was Allen or Adam or something similar.
I forced a smile," Hello. I'm here for-"
"Ah, Elise!" he interrupted, giving me a giant smile. At least someone was happy today." Yes, your mother informed me today was your Mate day. Are you excited?"
"Um, yeah," I lied, " I'm just really nervous."
That part wasn't a lie. Even if I didn't want a mate, I was curious. What poor man would have to deal with me for the rest of his life? What man would I have to deal with for the rest of my life? What was he like? Would his family like me?
It was all these questions and more that made me nervous, but inside I was mostly weeping. Weeping that I had no choice but to deal with this now instead of much later like I'd been planning for years now.
"Well, don't stress out too much, sweetie," He grinned so big it made his face wrinkle," The elders know what they're doing. Go down this hall, and it's the third door on the left. The elders will tell you a few things about your mate before he gets here, and explain the situation.
Apparently he's someone important from a big pack, so it's a more complicated process, but you'll be alright."
"Thank you," I nodded before following his directions down the hallway.
Apparently my mate is someone important. That had to mean he had at least some position of power, something that would make most females excited, but only made me worry more. The higher the rank a werewolf had, the less likely he was to be as open-minded about letting me continue my education, and the more running away seemed like my only option.
Allen or Adam or whatever the heck his name was had also mentioned him belonging to a big pack. This meant it was nowhere near here which was at least a bonus. It meant being far enough away from my mother that she couldn't try to visit often. I'd have to find some excuse to tell my mate to not let her come. It would also mean escape was more likely.
I found myself feeling a little lighter than before as I knocked on the heavy oak door.
I opened the door and stepped inside, already thinking of my escape to sweet freedom.