Nate King always pictured how he would meet his mate.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Nate isn’t some hopeless romantic. He doesn’t spend his days watching romantic comedies or writing sappy poetry. No, Nate was more of a jock, he would rather kick a football around or run track than waste his time reading about the hero – don’t forget the fact that he is tall, dark and handsome - saving the girl – beautiful and perfect, of course - with that one perfect kiss on the last page. And that kiss, oh that kiss, it would be perfect and it would be full of promise and truth and love, and all faith in the world would be restored.
No, that wasn’t Nate at all.
There was just something about meeting his mate that turned him into a sloppy pile of hope and love on the floor. He wondered about every detail, he thought about how they would meet.
Would they see each other across a crowded room and just know? Would their hands touch accidently, and would he feel that tangible spark of chemistry that told him that this was the one?
He always believed that finding love would be perfect, would be a moment to treasure, to remember forever. That he would run into this perfect girl and spill her books all over the hallway floor, only to look into her eyes and see straight into her soul, to feel that instant connection of love and completeness.
Each full moon his friends would find their mates, and each full moon would come and go and once again Nate was left alone, wondering when his moment would come.
He had grown up hearing stories of those perfect meetings, in fact, his own parents had found out that they were mates on a rainy day in October, and they had literally shared their first kiss under the pouring rain in the middle of the street. He had high expectations to live up to with a story like that, yet, he always believed that his moment would come and it would be even better than the stories he was told as a child.
He thought that meeting his mate would be perfect, but let me just tell you a little secret, it wasn’t.
Don’t cry in the corner just yet though, because even though their meeting wasn’t epic, their love was.
And isn’t that what it’s all about.
Cars were lined up down the street. Each and every one were the same black, classic styled cars that each person had been sent to pick them up from the airport. The street that they were all lined up on was void of any houses or signs of civilisation, the only buildings in the area were protected by the giant fences that the cars were lined up next to. The remote road was surrounded by thick forestry and mountains, they were in the heart of Montana after all.
Nate King sat in the car a few back from where people were being let in. The large gates were open, but each car was stopped by two men wearing black. The men looked like they had come straight out of a James Bond movie, carrying clipboards and wearing dark shades.
Nate had been through this process three times already, so he wasn’t fazed when they finally arrived at the gates and the men asked for his name.
‘Nate King,’ he spoke his name like a title, and the two men quickly nodded and they were let through. The nondescript driver drove them up the large, winding driveway and Nate rolled down his window.
This place hasn’t changed one bit, Nate thought to himself.
The grounds featured four different buildings, each one looked like they had been plucked from an old age university. They were giant, with huge windows and sculptures around them, and Nate had always felt like he had gone back in time when he came here. The four buildings each had a purpose, the first one was accommodation. That building could hold over two hundred people, although it was rare that more than eighty people attended each year.
The next one was academics, where the classrooms and library were. The next one was for combat training and despite its look, it held modern gyms and training rooms specifically designed for this type of training. The fourth and final building, known as the main building, was administration, the staff quarters and the grand hall where most of the meetings took place. Each building separated by gardens and pathways.
The car stopped slowly in front of the main building and Nate stepped from the car, his heavy bag slung over the back of his shoulders. As soon as he stepped out the car started again and the next one pulled up where it had been.
The crisp Montana air hit him and he shivered slightly in his light jacket, even though it was summer the air seemed to still be cool. He was used to it, being from Seattle, Washington himself, and he pulled his jacket tighter around him before following the stream of people who were heading into the main building.
He looked up as he walked in to see a brightly coloured sign. Welcome to Camp Alpha! It read in overly enthusiastic font. Nate huffed under his breath, hoping that these next five weeks would pass fast. He had mastered all of these skills over the years and he felt like this last camp would be pointless, but his father had insisted that he attend the camp.
A man in his early twenties was standing just past the threshold, ‘May I take your bag?’ the man asked.
Nate nodded, shrugging his bag off his back and handing it to the man.
‘Your name?’ the man asked him.
‘Nate. Nate King,’ Nate told him casually, but the man stiffened slightly anyway.
‘Mr King,’ the man greeted him with great respect in his tone. ‘Your suitcase and this bag will be in your room within the next few hours.’
‘Thank-you.’ Nate smiled and kept walking.
All of the students were walking to the grand hall. Each of the people around him differed in ages from fifteen to seventeen, and most of them were guys. Each of them had this sense of power and superiority around them. Nate wasn’t surprised by the smell that filled his nostrils, the smell of not only other werewolves, but the smell of Alphas. It was stronger than the other werewolf scents, and he had to take a few breaths to keep his senses from overloading.
Looking around the large hallway he was in, he could see that some of the younger ones were looking stressed out. It was a natural reaction to all the Alpha’s they were around, and he remembered his first time at camp when he was fifteen. He had ran to the bathrooms in the first five minutes of arrival just to get a break from the overpowering scent. It had taken a day or two, but once his inner wolf knew that these other Alpha’s were no threat he was fine.
He entered the grand hall and he couldn’t help but lose his breath for a second. It looked old and classical, high ceilings towered over the teenagers standing below. Classic features and fittings added detail to the hall. On the back wall were photos of the current USA Werewolf Committee members. The committee had ten members from the ten biggest packs in the whole of America and their decisions impacted the lives of each wolf in even the smallest of packs. They were the glue that held the packs together, that ensured the safety of not only the wolves, but the humans who were never to know of their existence.
‘Nate!’ The smell of Alpha suddenly hit him hard just as arms wrapped around his middle and a face was pressed into his chest. He had to push back his first instinct to push off the other Alpha to protect himself.
The arms retracted and soon his view was filled with a bright, smiley girl with giant green eyes. Her red hair was wavy around her face and fell in long waves down to her stomach.
‘Long time no see, Lucy.’ Nate smiled at his friend.
‘Long time? I haven’t seen you since last camp! I feel like we are basically strangers now!’ Lucy joked, her plump lips forming a smile.
‘I know, I know,’ Nate told her. ‘I will make more of an effort to see you once camp is over.’
‘You better, this is our last camp. I will be the alpha of my back in only three months!’ Lucy smiled.
‘You found your mate then?’ Nate asked.
‘Yep,’ Lucy smiled, pulling a cell phone from her pocket. She held it up to show her wallpaper. It was a photo of her standing next to a taller boy with his arm around her and a smile on his face.
‘Good job Luce, I’m jealous,’ he joked.
Lucy looked concerned. ‘You still haven’t found your mate?’
Nate tried to not let her see how much the answer to that question really affected him. ‘Nah, not yet, but I will.’
‘Of course you will,’ Lucy assured him with a sincere expression, ‘and she will be beautiful and perfect, I just know it.’
That perfect meeting popped back into Nate’s head and he felt that hope in his perfect moment, in meeting his mate. Too bad it wasn’t going to happen his full moon, seeing as he would still be on camp. He cursed the fact that you were only able to tell if someone was your mate over the full moon. It meant that he only had two more full moons until he was eighteen and was expected to become the Alpha of one of the biggest packs in the country.
Sure, he was an Alpha now, but once he was instated he was an Alpha. A full blown, powerful leader and he once he had his mate by his side he would be ready to take his father’s place. Well, that was what was expected of him, anyway.
‘When’s your birthday?’ Lucy asked.
‘Just under three months, so only one more full moon left at home.’
‘The Moon Goddess knows what she is doing,’ Lucy assured him. ‘Try not to stress too much, your girl will come.’
He tried to remind himself that Lucy was right, that sometimes things happened for a reason. That even though you are able to find your mate from fifteen, some people go years without finding their mate, even if they go to the same school or live in the same town, it was just how the Moon Goddess worked, and there was no point in trying to change fate.
‘Hey Guys.’ A deep voice sounded from next to Nate and Lucy and they both turned to see Kayden standing next to them.
Kayden was the usual Alpha. He was strong and thick headed and powerful. Kayden, with his broad shoulders and tall stature, looked like he could face a field of warriors and still come out on top.
‘Kayden!’ Lucy threw her arms around him in a hug and he gave her a small smile and half returned the hug.
‘So, the gangs back together again,’ Nate commented happily.
‘It’s been too long,’ Kayden told them.
‘Everyone,’ a loud voice supported by a microphone rang out from the stage of the grand hall, ‘please take your seats.’
Kayden gestured to one of the rows in the middle of the hall and the three of them made their way to the seats. Around them, many other people were finding seats and finishing up conversations, but after everyone was seated the room fell into silence.
The man who stood at the front of the grand hall was a man who Nate knew quite well. His name was Michael Woods, and he had been running the camp for over thirty years. He had come to Nate’s house quite a few times over the years for meetings with his father, and the man had never been anything but nice to him.
Mr. Woods was nearing sixty, with greying hair and a slight slump to his shoulders, but he spoke confidently and clearly to the large group of people. ‘Good morning everyone and welcome to the annual Alpha Camp.’
The room clapped loudly, the sound echoing around them.
‘This year, as always, we have new Alphas, people who have left their packs for probably the first time in their lives to come here and prepare for their future.’ Nate looked to the front of the room where younger looking Alpha’s sat, they looked half scared, half excited. He saw a younger version of himself in their half smiles and nervous demeanours. ‘We also have the seventeen year old Alpha’s who are almost ready to go back out to their packs and lead.’
Nate smiled at Lucy, it was their last year, their last camp. She smiled back as well, obviously as excited as Nate was.
The man continued, ‘We hope that everyone has a great time at camp these next five weeks. You will find your schedules in your rooms, which must be followed. One more topic to cover is that, as always, there will be a full moon in the second week of the camp, and we all know that it can be a bit hard for everyone to stay calm, so just like always, there is a four o’clock curfew for everyone on the full moon day, and anyone caught fighting or staying out after curfew will be penalised.’
Nate smiled to himself, knowing that every year he had snuck out on the full moon to drink with friends. It was always the most fun, the point where your instincts were at their most sensitive point and you were just itching to let loose. A party in the forest was always the best trick.
‘We hope that you all are thankful for this opportunity. There are only three different Alpha camps in America and this one is the oldest and most known for its past Alpha’s.’
‘We are once again blessed to have one of the council member’s sons’ with us this year.’ Nate rolled his eyes, not this again. It happened every year. ‘Most of the council member’s children have been through this camp, and we are quite humbled to have another future council member in our midst this year. Nate King, would you come up onstage please?’
Nate sighed and got up from his seat. Lucy patted him on the back and Kayden sent him a knowing smirk that said have fun with that buddy.
He walked through the centre where there was a break in chairs. He could feel eyes on him as he passed row after row. The only sound in the entire grand hall was the sound of Nate’s shoes on the floor and the tiny thumps of the heels of his shoes seemed to echo around him as he walked. He could almost feel the pressure of his father’s gaze on him from the back wall, even though it was only a photo.
He took the few steps that lead up to the main podium.
Mr. Woods seemed extremely happy to have Nate standing next to him and the man smiled at Nate. ‘Welcome to your last year at the Alpha Camp, Mr. King, is there anything that you would like to say to the other campers? Any inspiring messages?’
Nate sighed internally. Just because he was the son of a council member didn’t mean that he was all philosophical and worldly, he was just another teenaged Alpha. Nate smiled, and he could see Kayden raising his eyebrow from one of the middle rows, obviously recognising the rebellious smile that had graced Nate’s lips.
Nate leant towards the microphone, ‘Let’s have a great camp everyone! It’s a beautiful summer, we are camping with some beautiful people,’ he said before winking at the audience, ‘so let’s get wild!’ he screamed the last word and the crowd erupted into cheers and whistles.
Nate grinned widely as he looked around the clapping audience full of teenaged Alphas. Everyone was on their feet and actually looked excited about camp. Everyone was smiling at him except for one guy. He was sitting in one of the front rows, a disapproving look on his face as he looked up at Nate, and for some reason Nate couldn’t tear his eyes away from the boy. He had short dark hair that was pushed back away from his face and the greenest eyes that Nate had ever seen. His smile dropped as he stared at the boy who was obviously staring back with that disapproving look in those big green eyes.
Mr. Woods was evidently not pleased with this turn of events, as he coughed under his breath and motioned for Nate to step to the side. Nate tore his gaze away from the other guy and stepped back from the microphone. Mr. Woods got before the podium and spoke in an obviously forced calm voice. ‘Make sure that you are ready for classes tomorrow. You are dismissed.’
Nate walked down the side steps of the stage and into the crowd of teenagers who were all hurrying to see their rooms and talk to their friends. He spotted Kayden and Lucy who were standing to the side of the room, talking to each other and probably waiting for him. He was walking through the middle of the chairs where the gap was when a hand curled around his arm. His eyes dropped to the hand which had a tight grip on him, and his eyes travelled up the arm to see the tattoo sleeve of whoever it was.
Nate’s gaze snapped up, where his gaze was caught by emerald green eyes. The smell hit him next, Alpha, it told him, not like he was surprised, it was a camp for Alpha’s. The guy just didn’t look like your typical Alpha, he wasn’t tall or bulky like Nate was, he was of medium height and his arms looked like they had muscles but nothing compared to Nate’s.
Nate looked at the guy with a confused expression, coffee coloured eyes meeting emerald green and his inner wolf wholly aware that another Alpha had his hand on his arm quite tightly. He was ready to fight, to push this guy off of him, but the eyes caught him and he just stood there, a question on his lips that he didn’t get to ask because the guy let go suddenly.
‘Maybe you should take your responsibilities more seriously,’ the guy said in a velvety voice, looking at Nate with a firm expression, a pierced eyebrow slightly raised.
‘Maybe you should mind your own business,’ Nate retorted, the threat clear in his tone. His Alpha side was showing in his voice, and even though the other guy was an Alpha as well, he knew that he could take this guy down in a fight, and so did his inner wolf who was basically begging him to growl at the guy.
Green eyes backed off suddenly and turned to the other direction, walking off.
Nate had to shake off the strange encounter as he collected himself and walked over to where Kayden and Lucy were standing. Who was this random guy to tell him to take his responsibly more seriously? This kid sounded like his father. Nate huffed under his breath, right, cause he needed more of his father’s ideals forced into his life.
‘You alright?’ Lucy asked as Nate approached them.
‘I’m fine, let’s go find our rooms,’ he told them and the other two shrugged, following him out of the grand hall and into the lavish hallway outside of it. As they walked Nate could only think of one thing, who was that guy?
Lucy pulled her phone from her pocket the moment that they were outside of the building. She turned to the boys. ‘I’m going to call my mate. I’m sure I can find my room on my own, I’ll meet you guys at lunch?’
‘Yeah sure,’ Kayden responded and Nate nodded, giving her a smile as she dialled the number and headed off towards one of the many park benches that were placed in the garden that they were now near.
Nate and Kayden walked together through the garden, following the footpath that they knew would lead them to the four story building where they would be staying. The garden around them was lavish, full of patches of flowers and large trees were randomly placed in the grass, people already using them for shade from the warm sun. One of the bigger trees was already being used as a play thing by some of the first years, the fifteen year olds were high up in the tree, just sitting and talking. Nate smiled at them and gave them a wave, he supposed that Alpha powers must be fun for them.
An Alpha’s extra powers such as strength and senses were improved at around the age of fifteen, and Nate remembered climbing every tree around his pack house and running for hours on end, finding constant amusement at the fact that he had to run for so long before getting actually becoming exhausted. He would always win in the races against his little brother, but since his brother was fifteen now, the two would soon be evenly matched.
All of the Alpha’s children were Alpha’s themselves, but any second children usually never had a chance to actually lead the packs. They were usually second in command. Nate felt a little sorry for his brother, who would have loved to lead the pack one day, but he wouldn’t get the chance.
Well, he will if I never find my mate, Nate thought, but pushed it back.
An Alpha could be instated as the ruler of the pack as soon as they were eighteen and had a mate, otherwise they had to wait until they found their mate, and Nate truly hoped that he would be instated on his birthday like his father before him, and his father before him.
‘What’s it like, having a mate?’ Nate asked Kayden as they slowly walked along the concrete path. Nate didn’t know that he wanted to ask the question until the words were already in the air.
Kayden looked at him for a second like he had just asked him how much the sun weighed or something, but then he seemed to remember something and looked at Nate with concerned eyes. ‘Haven’t you found her yet?’
Nate shook his head, looking down slightly. There wasn’t any embarrassment in not having at mate at seventeen, yet, Nate still wondered if people would look down on him for not finding her yet. He knew that some people didn’t find their mates until they were in their twenties. He hoped that he wasn’t going to be one of those people. ‘Not yet.’
Kayden nodded understandably, patting Nate on the arm in a gesture that was supposed to be comforting but came out a little more awkward. He withdrew his hand. ‘It’s the most amazing thing in the world, my mate is everything to me and every second that we are apart is like the worst type of torture,’ Kayden admitted and Nate was quite surprised to hear such emotion in the voice of someone who looked like they were the hulks older, more serious brother on the outside.
‘Is it really that hard? How do so many people do it when they come to camp?’ Nate asked, the cool wind blowing through his brown hair and pushing some onto his face.
‘It’s like a piece of you is missing, and it’s your job to protect them, you know,’ Kayden told him but he didn’t know. ‘I would be inconsolable right now if I didn’t know that all of my brothers and my father are looking after her until I get back. The idea of being so far away from her, leaving her without protection even though my father’s there, it’s like physical pain.’
Kayden looked so sincere when he spoke and it just furthered Nate’s wonder for how he would meet his mate. Would he feel that kind of love and connection in that first moment? From that first look?
‘How did it feel when you first saw her?’ Nate asked but Kayden just shrugged. He had hoped that Kayden would explain every moment in great detail. Nate wanted to know what to expect, what to look for.
‘I don’t know,’ he said in slight annoyance. Nate knew not to take offence to his tone. ‘What’s with the sudden heart to heart?’
Nate figured that he had reached the amount of sappy that Kayden would handle and decided to back down a little. ‘Don’t worry about it, I was just curious.’
‘Okay,’ Kayden said just as they reached the entrance to the building.
The lobby of the building was a large room which was decorated with cream coloured chairs with wooden backing and elegant tables with large flowers displayed on the top. Elegant desks were placed along the side with camp staff sitting at them. The place looked more like the lobby of a resort than a camp.
One of the first desks was manned by a petite blonde woman who smiled at the boys. Nate stepped up to the desk and Kayden followed close behind.
‘Can I grab your names?’ the woman asked with kind eyes.
‘Nate King.’ Nate then gestured towards the guy next to him. ‘Kayden Parker.’
The woman typed something into the computer, her manicured fingers hitting the keys quickly. The printer next to her started humming. Two sheets of paper slid out of the top of the printer and the woman reached over and grabbed the top sheet.
‘Here you go Nate.’ She handed the sheet of paper to Nate as well as a black, shiny room key. He looked down at it. ‘Your room assignment is on the top corner and your schedule is in the middle. You will also have a buddy this year, their name in at the bottom and you will meet them tomorrow morning.’
Nate nodded and folded the piece of paper in half, slipping it into his back pocket.
‘Here’s yours Kayden,’ the woman said, extending her hand which held the piece of paper and a similar room key.
Kayden reached out and took the piece of paper, but as he pulled it away the side of the paper slid against her hand. She pulled away her hand with a slight hiss, a drop of blood falling onto the desk under it.
‘Are you alright?’ Kayden asked, concerned.
‘Oh, I’m fine, just a paper cut,’ she said, looking at the small cut on her hand.
Nate could smell her much clearer now, omega. Her scent was strong in the air, and just as Nate was about to turn away he heard a loud noise from the side of the room.
‘Laura!’ Suddenly a man was running over from the side of the room, a file that he must have been holding was now abandoned on the floor. He was suddenly standing next to the woman. ‘Laura! Are you okay? What happened?’ he asked, his tone full of love and concern.
She smiled at him, pure love in her eyes. ‘I’m fine,’ she stood up from her desk and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. ‘Don’t worry.’
Nate watched on with fascination. He had seen the same situation happen many times back home, with his friends and his parents, but it never ceased to amaze him just how much love and concern was shared between two mates. These two were obviously both omega’s, but their love was so strong, and it gave him hope.
‘I always worry,’ the man said, pressing a kiss to his mate’s forehead and wrapping his arms around her in a tight hug for a few moments, as if he was assuring himself that she was alright.
She laughed under her breath and hugged back. Then she pulled away and basically pushed him away, fondly that is, and he conceded, walking back towards where he had left the file on the floor.
‘Is he your mate?’ Nate asked, already aware of the answer, and the woman nodded.
‘Best mate in the world,’ she told them, looking fondly at the man who was walking away. Nate nodded and the woman smiled. ‘Head along to your rooms,’ she told them.
Kayden and Nate followed her suggestion and crossed to the other side of the lobby where the elevators were located. Nate pulled out his sheet of paper just as they pressed the up button on the elevator panel.
‘What room are you in?’ Nate asked Kayden.
‘305,’ Kayden told him.
‘Awesome, I’m 303, I must be next to you.’ Nate smiled. He was quite hoping that he would be near Kayden, it would make the next five weeks much easier.
Kayden nodded and they both looked at the elevator as the doors opened. The silver metal doors opened slowly, and it revealed the mirror covered inside and the single person who stood in the centre of it.
Nate had to stop himself from letting out a small gasp as he saw that the person who stood at the threshold of the elevator was in fact green eyes from before. He could see the guy more clearly now, standing head on to him. He was right about him being shorter and smaller than him, but from this angle he could more clearly see his tattooed left arm and the top of a tattoo sticking out from the top of the collar of his white t-shirt. The guy had a gym bag hanging over his shoulder and was looking down at it. Suddenly green eyes looked up and those emerald orbs seemed to double in size. Nate stood motionless as the guy swallowed and then stepped past them, walking back through the lobby.
Nate turned and watched him walk away, curiosity for the guy overcoming him. Green eyes didn’t turn back, he just seemed to walk casually towards the buildings entrance, that gym bag still hanging nonchalantly over his shoulder, swaying slightly with every step. Nate wondered who this guy was.
Nate turned to see that Kayden was already in the elevator, one arm outstretched to keep the doors from sliding shut.
‘Yeah,’ Nate rushed forwards, entering the elevator.
Kayden retracted his arm and the solid doors shut slowly. Nate pressed the button for the third floor and within a few moments the doors were opening again. The hallway which they stepped out into was crowded with people. Nate recognised most of them from other camps, and he got a few smiles and hello’s as the two of them walked the short distance to their rooms.
Room 303 was first and next to it was Kayden’s room.
‘Want to come to my room first?’ Nate asked just as they reached his door.
‘Yeah, I’ll just check out my room first.’
Nate nodded and Kayden took out his door key and opened his door, disappearing behind the slab of wood.
Nate opened his own room door and stepped inside. It was a simple design, a queen bed was pushed against the wall on one side, a large window on the adjacent wall. The bed was dressed in black sheets, white and green pillows propped up on the bed. A plain chest of drawers was pushed up near the door. A small desk was on the other wall, sharing the wall with a small door which he assumed was the bathroom.
Two suitcases were pushed up next to the desk.
That was quick. He supposed there were some perks to being the son of a council member.
Nate sat down on the edge of his bed, and his thoughts turned back to the boy from the elevator. The one with the inhumanly green eyes. The one who just seemed to have captivated Nate’s attention.
Who was he? Why didn’t he remember him from other camps?
His door opened and Kayden walked in, pulling out the chair from the desk and sitting down casually, pulling his phone from his pocket and typing into it.
‘Messaging your mate?’ Nate asked from the bed.
Kayden nodded as he typed. ‘Do you want to see a photo of her?’
Kayden held out the phone, showing Nate a photo of him and a petite brunette. Kayden looked so happy in the photo, like a giant, happy teddy bear, instead of the intimidating presence that he usually was.
‘Cutiesss,’ Nate cooed teasingly.
Kayden scowled. ‘Shut up.’
Nate laughed, poking his tongue out at his friend.
His phone vibrated in his pocket and he pulled it out, reading the text.
Meet me in the cafeteria now? – Lucy
‘Let’s go meet Lucy,’ Nate told Kayden who nodded. The two of them left the room and made their way down to the cafeteria.
The entered the large building and saw that Lucy and a few of their friends from last year’s camp were sitting at one of the larger tables. Nate and Kayden got some food and walked over to meet them.
Lucy was the only girl at the table, two other guys sitting on the other side, facing her. One had fiery red hair and Nate instantly recognised him as Tye, and the guy sitting next to Tye was Jace, a brunette guy who was just a little taller than Tye. The two Alpha’s were from packs only a few cities from each other so they had been friends since childhood.
‘Hey!’ Tye and Jace greeted the two other Alpha’s as they joined the table.
‘How have you guys been?’ Nate asked, biting into an apple.
‘Pretty good,’ Tye smiled.
‘We were just talking about Hunter Lewis,’ Jace told them and there was an undertone to his voice that was slightly sad.
Nate was confused as to why Hunter was a sad topic. Hunter was one of his friends, they had been to the camp together since they were fifteen. Nate was always one of the top students when it came to combat, and so was Hunter, making them the prefect practice partners. They were both about the same size and build, strong and bulky men.
Hunter was as strong on the outside as he was on the inside, having to deal with a lot of problems at the camp. His pack was one of the smallest in the whole country, and because of that, other teenagers from the camps liked to bully him. Hunter was large and intimidating, so it never lasted long, but Nate always wondered what sort of toll the comments took on him. Your pack was your family, your blood, the people you were sworn to protect and to have your pack criticized must have been hard on him. Hunter had never gotten along with Tye or Jace, both of them teasing him endlessly, and so Nate wouldn’t have blamed Hunter for not wanting to come to lunch with the two of them there.
Now that Nate thought of it, he hadn’t seen Hunter all morning.
‘What about him? Is he here?’ Nate asked. His eyes scanned the people around them, looking to see if he saw Hunter.
‘You don’t know?’ Lucy looked at Nate with a surprised expression. She looked around at the other people at the table as if she was unsure what to say next.
‘Know what?’ Nate asked, looking at Kayden for some back up, but even he looked like a kicked puppy.
Confusion swirled around in Nate’s mind and he wished that they would just tell him what was going on. Fear flooded his veins as his eyes flickered around the table. He saw the looks on his friends faces and knew that it wasn’t good.
‘Uh,’ Tye bit at his lip. His voice was careful and slow. ‘He died seven months ago, a rouge attack.’
‘What?’ Nate’s jaw hung open, and he felt like he had just been punched in the face. ‘How? What?’
‘His pack is really small and vulnerable,’ Lucy explained carefully, her words slow, ‘and last year rouges attacked the pack, killing a bunch of people, including Hunter.’
‘I-I can’t believe this.’ Nate put his head in his hands for a moment. He tried to catch his breath. Flashes of memory came to the forefront of his mind. He saw images of he and Hunter fighting in combat class, he saw Hunter smiling, he saw the last time that he had seen his friend. He had spent three summers with Hunter, and now he was just gone?
Nate blinked back tears. He couldn’t believe that his friend was dead. He couldn’t believe that no one had told him.
‘Are you okay?’ Lucy’s soft voice filled his ear.
Nate blinked back the tears again before lifting his head. ‘Yeah, I’m okay.’
No one said anything about his red, watery eyes.
‘It’s just awful. I can’t believe that Hunter is gone.’
‘I’m surprised that your father didn’t tell you,’ Kayden said.
‘Yeah me too,’ Nate said, and yet he knew that it wasn’t that surprising. His father was only concerned about the larger packs, not the small ones. ‘What’s going to happen to his pack? His father must be looking to step down at some point.’
‘He had a twin brother,’ Tye explained, ‘born only seconds after Hunter, but because the first born is always the Alpha of the pack, this kid has never even been to an Alpha camp.’
‘I’ve got to tell you,’ Jace was saying. ‘I think that pack is going to be gone soon. The new Alpha looks like a screw up, all scrawny and tattoo’s everywhere,’ Jace criticized harshly, his words holding a malicious undertone.
Green eyes, Nate thought, Green eyes must be Hunter’s brother.
‘Yeah I saw him coming out of the elevator today,’ Kayden said. ‘You saw him Nate, the guy with the gym bag and all those tattoo’s.’
‘Yeah, I saw him.’
Definitely green eyes, he thought.
Tye shook his head. ‘They should have skipped over him and gone to someone else, that kid is nothing like his brother. His brother would have at least had chance to protect his pack, but this kid looks like he would be knocked out with one punch. It’s going to be a disaster.’
Lucy shrugged. ‘I don’t know, he is Hunter’s brother, he can’t be that bad.’
Kayden looked at Lucy, doubt in his eyes. ‘Believe me, the kid isn’t going to make it through combat training let along a fight with some real rouges.’
Nate felt a sudden urge to defend the guy, but he knew that this opinion would just be knocked down, especially by Tye and Jace who weren’t ones to back down from what they thought. Arguing with them was like talking to a brick wall, and it wasn’t exactly surprising, they were all Alpha’s.
‘Come on, are you guys done?’ Tye asked, ‘I want to go to the gym, do you all want to come?’
‘I do not, but I will see you all at dinner,’ Lucy told them.
Kayden looked at Nate. ‘We are in, aren’t we Nate?’
‘Yeah,’ Nate nodded. ‘Let me get changed and I will meet you guys there.’
‘Okay,’ Jace said and all of them split their different ways.
Nate walked alone back outside of the building and down the paths which lead him into the heart of the garden. His thoughts were clouded by images of Hunter and Green eyes, and it was then that he realised that he didn’t even know what his real name was.
Nate knew how hard it was going to be for this guy to get the hang of things and knew that the other Alpha’s probably weren’t going to be much help to him, so he decided that he was going to help him. Nate was going to one day be on the council and that meant helping people, so helping the soon-to-be leader of a pack was in his best interests, right?
His traitorous thoughts interjected, Or maybe it was just an excuse to see green eyes again?
No, it wasn’t that. Was it?