I was sweating profusely and feeling my muscles burn at the gym. A strong atmosphere was produced by the sound of weights clanking and music booming in the background. With each rep, I pushed myself harder, wanting to meet my fitness goals.
As I looked about, I noticed that others were working just as hard as I was, all for the same reason: to get stronger, fitter, and healthier. Despite the physical hardship, I felt a sense of success and pride in myself for going to the gym and making the effort.
The gym where my best friend and I were exercising was large and well-equipped. It had a variety of workout equipment, including treadmills and elliptical, as well as weight machines and free weights.
Mirrors were used to line the walls, giving the space a bright and open atmosphere. The air was nice and fresh, with fans circulating the air and keeping us cool as we sweated. The music was upbeat and motivational, which contributed to the energized environment.
Other people were working out around us, but it wasn't too busy, and we still had plenty of room to maneuver. My best friend and I were encouraging each other through difficult sets and cheered each other on when we accomplished our goals. Overall, the gym was a terrific place for us to work out together, with all of the necessary equipment and encouragement.
I KICKED the sandbag ahead of me. My straight brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and I'm dressed in my typical workout attire. I'm frustrated because my birthday is the day after tomorrow, and I'm quite scared.
I am a werewolf, a creature capable of transforming into a wolf.
I am a member of a pack, which is a big number of werewolves on a single territory led by an alpha. Back to the source of my annoyance. Our 19th birthday is always a big deal for us. This is the beginning of our becoming more sensitive, as well as our opportunity to locate our spouse. And everyone is going insane trying to discover their soul mate or fated partner. An opportunity that everyone wishes to have.
But I'm having the opposite reaction. I'm terrified and nervous. I am terrified of rejection because there are so many what-ifs. I'm afraid of falling in love with someone I don't want to spend my life with. Someone tapped my shoulder, and I jumped in fright. Kaiden laughs so hard that everyone else in the gym turns to stare at us.
“Jerk!” I spit it out.
“You look very solemn, men. If only you could see your face!” he exclaimed in the midst of his laughter.
Kaiden has been my best buddy since we were little. His father is our current alpha--the pack's leader, as I mentioned--and Kaiden is the first in line to take over. Even at our younger ages, he is pretty well built. His physique is extremely impressive. Kaiden has a great face, and he is talented and brilliant. Our goddess, Luna, can be so cruel at times.
“Are you still concerned about finding your soul mate?” “You're still young, and you shouldn't make a big deal about it,” he tried to console me.
We both sat on a bench outside the gym, drinking protein shakes.
“Can't help it,” I said, and he sighed.
“Seriously, if you marry a werewolf with a bad attitude, I will kick his a$$ for you. And if you are mated to a human, we can make him our supper next month,” he offered, disgusting me.
“Ew! What in the world is that?” I spit in an attempt to avoid this type of talk.
The reality about that mate thing is that I don't want to be mated to anyone else since I've only ever loved someone else since the moment I laid eyes on him.
We were both kids at the time, and I recall him offering his hands as I stumbled on the ground. Yes, I am in love with my best friend, childhood pal, adversary, and savior. To me, he is everything.
“I have to go; there is still a pack meeting, and I must attend.” Do you want me to accompany you home?” He offered, and I politely rejected it.
“No, I can manage.”
He's left me here, and all I can do is watch him ride his bicycle. Clayland is a small rural town where we live. With a population of only 20,000 people, about half of whom are werewolves.
This town grew more human-friendly. There are schools, establishments, and other human-made structures here.
The Mystic Forest is the only thing they can't touch. Our pack's domain. Speaking of which, I need to return home. It is becoming dark, and despite the fact that I am more than capable of caring for myself, I am still being babysat by my family because I am the only girl in the house. I likewise left town and went directly to the wilderness. I shift into a werewolf to move faster and more efficiently in the dark and in this type of environment.
My wolf form is covered in brown fur and has greyish eyes. I'm not sure why, but I'm quite popular among werewolves my age. Particularly those boys who attempted to pursue me.
“You are late,” my father, who was reading the newspaper in the living room, said.
My mother died three years ago, leaving me in charge of my father and three obnoxious big brothers.
“It'll only take five minutes, Dad. Where are the others?” I inquired. I intend to take a bath before cooking our lunch.
With a contemporary house, we essentially live in the heart of the forest. Some of our comrades went on to work as engineers, architects, and other professionals. As a result, this pack region functions similarly to a simple human community. We also have running water and power.
“You brothers are in charge of scouting and guarding the territory. There is a rumor that renegades numbers are increasing at an alarming rate across our regions.”
Rogue are werewolves that have lost their logic and capacity to think clearly. They are werewolf monsters with ferocious bloodlust. They annihilate everything in their way. Werewolves went rogue after swallowing any form of human blood and devouring their victims. Some of the rogues are mateless, having lost their other half.
“Stop worrying about those assholes-- they can protect their own lives now,” my father remarked, still unmoved in his seat.
“They are your sons, you know,” I remarked wryly. He barely responds. You could argue we're getting close to the point where I can be so casual with my father.
“Your birthday is approaching. What is your plan? I'm planning a modest gathering with your brothers. Perhaps you can discover your mate--” I stop him from going any further.
I despise the thought of people being overjoyed for me to discover my soulmate. I'm not pleased, and I'm terrified. I don't want to love anyone else. I don't believe those stories.
That when a werewolf meets his or her fated pair, they will simply sense that special cord that connects them. I can smell the beautiful pheromone scents. But I'm terrified. I'm terrified about mating with a stranger.
“Dad, I do not wish to be mated just yet.”
My father's face softens. Perhaps he sensed my anxiety.
“No one can prevent it from happening. Everything will be OK after you've found your soulmate. Believe in the process.”
I certainly hope so.