I know I’m getting to see him, finally, but everything about that interaction breaks me open and I roll over into my cushions to sob it all out.

 

Crying in pain, that’s not too dissimilar to mourning my entire family, ten years ago. I feel worse now I’ve spoken to him briefly. This feels as much of a loss as then, even if it seems crazy and not even a comparison. Like something awful is coming and that when I see him, it will only serve to cause me more devastation.

 

A nagging voice of logic and haste in the back of my head pulls me out of my dark depressive state, and reminds me that if I want to get to the forest within the hour, I need to get up and motivate myself. In human form, it's a trek and a half, and I need time to get ready. I’ve been living in my nightwear for days.

 

In wolf form I'll get there in minutes but completely naked, and I haven't yet tried to turn of my own accord. Too preoccupied to even attempt it and wouldn't know how to start without a little practice. I need to shower, change, make myself look half human at least, and hide the dark circles and shadows from pining my days away. I don’t want him to see me at my worst.

 

My body is weighed down with lethargy when I drag myself up, and it takes all my will power to haul ass to the bathroom moments later.

Desperate to find some relief in the meeting, even if the outcome won't be what my heart hopes. Torn in two though, with a little shining light of delusional hope, telling me that maybe what he needs, and wants to do face to face, is mark me as his mate. That maybe we can do this in secret and find a way to be together. Or maybe not.

 

I still cannot seem to get to grips with how this can be. How imprinting on a relative stranger can completely derail everything you knew before and make you so insanely in need of them that you would tie your life up in theirs just to be able to breathe. Pushing that person into the center of everything and craving them with the intensity of severe addiction.

 

I know more about him than anyone in my life and I have barely spoken to him. My mind is a chaotic mess of his life and mine, which once ran separate, yet now coincides and memories blur into one another. I have mental images of him at every age and random knowledge about things most people never know of their mate. I know everything he does, about himself, his life, his family, and I’m guessing the same goes for him too. You truly merge when imprinting and now I see why it's so rare and so potent when it happens. You lose control of everything and the only thing which matters from there on in, is your mate.

 

We are one. In every way possible.

 

I wash quickly, dress, and dry my hair at speed, and attempt to fix my face to hide the blotchiness of my tears. Make up was never my thing, but this sudden obsessive adoration for makes me want to look my best for him, even if our meeting has a tone that doesn’t spell happy ever after for me. I need to have hope.

 

my fingers, as it forms light natural waves. For a moment, my reflection reminds me of my mother, and I swallow a lump

 

miss you, mom. I miss all of

 

to bear the ache and turn to ready myself for getting out of here unseen. The only way I dealt with

 

before, nor ever needed, to but I have a route plan and I think I know how to get by unseen

a book to a secluded part of the garden to hide and read and know she won't bother checking. She doesn't

 

way to a new life, much like Vanka is planning before the month is out. She's been making arrangements to head off and soon this

 

and unless another war wipes out a lot more of us, then I doubt the orphanage will have any new rejects any time

 

It's during class time, so most of the kids are in the rooms of the left wing right now, learning all about our traditions and history with some academia thrown in. For the most part we are raised to live among humans, to fit in and

 

no officials came knocking. Some of the alphas, like the Santo’s too, for their own

 

the cause of repairing our society. Probably because they

forest, I guess, it's easy to access from here and close enough

he will have to go on foot, not use his truck, and the only option for him is to turn and wolf it this way. We can cover ground faster as our true selves and I wonder if I should take him some sort of clothing. Not that seeing him naked is a bad thing, but it might take my focus away

my head at my own stupidity and realize he probably thought of this and will be carrying some sort of bag and attire for changing back,

as using our mind link

Getting used to my new speed and zipping around when you don't want

the courtyard, so I make sure I stay in the shadows against the wall and slide along to the concealed part of the garden, behind the outhouses. Up and over the eight-foot brick wall with an easy leap and I'm free to run for the woods with no one seeing me escape. It’s easier than I thought. Then again, no one expects me to defy rules and go chasing after Santo. I was never this girl before him and yet now, he just has to say the

stopping and dropping behind trees anytime I catch sight of movement or pick up

without trace, through the dense forest that leads to where I want to go. Heart pounding so hard through my chest I’m sure anyone nearby will hear it. I try to calm down but to no avail. I've never been a risk taker

caught, I'll be dragged in front of Juan for breaking the rules set for me. He might be worried about killing his son, but he isn't worried about putting him through a little pain and I’m not one for a public flogging if I can help it. is stronger than me and even if he does feel my pain, Juan will use it to teach us both a lesson. I don’t doubt that cold hearted bastard would do it

to build our stamina so the human side of us can catch up, and I have not been good at building up to this kind of sprint. My legs and muscles are throbbing and feel like my tendons are being torn apart. I collapse behind an overgrown ridge to try and regain some equilibrium. So my lungs don't

the woods, following the worn animal path to the cavern that I know well, I feel a little lighter, and less depressed. Every kid has been here at least once in their life, long before the vampire attacks. This used to be the go-to spot to hang out, play and swim in the lake nearby and the path made it impossible to get lost. Animals walking the link to their watering hole once you reach the

this is why he chose this place. In my memories he would have seen I frequented it a lot with my brother Jasper, as a child. He knows I know it well. No one comes here now; they're too afraid, yet every kid knows the way and

to see what is coming. I dart inside a large hollow log to conceal myself and glance around, heart elevated and breath laboring quickly. Senses kicking

don't be

 

with both relief and something else. That elation at being close to him again, but I wonder why I haven't picked up on his scent or his proximity yet. We're supposed to feel our mates when they're

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