Gwenas POV

The night started out slow for me, working the graveyard shift at the town grocery store. Martys is your all-around average store, which includes the very boring and silent graveyard shift. I ended up stuck with this shift after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. My co-workers wished me good-luck as they clocked out for the day and I pulled out a used book I borrowed from my school library.

Ringing pulled me from the story. My phone vibrated and rang from where it sat beside me. I glanced up, not seeing any body in the store, before answering.

”Hello? ” I answered.

”Hey, Gwena, ” Clay, my adopted dad, greeted. ”I wanted to know what you wanted for your twenty-first birthday party. Lucy thinks we should go all out, but Dylan said youd prefer something small. ”

Clay had adopted me when I was twelve from the orphanage Id lived since I was abandoned at four months old by my birth parents. Him and his wife, Lucille, had welcomed me with open arms. And so had their two kids, Dylan and Lucy. He was thirteen and she was nine when I entered their family.

I chuckled. ”I don care. Ill be happy as long as everyone I love is there. ” The list of which wasn long. It included Clay, Dylan, Lucy, and few others. ”Also, why are you up so late discussing this? Its 3 a.m. for Petes sake. ” Clay didn answer. ”Hello? ”

”Oh, whats that, Dylan? ” Clay said, voice far away. ”Yeah, hold on, Im coming. Listen, Gwena, I have to go. Dylan needs me. ” The end-tone rang as I mused what he was up to. It was obvious he was planning something he didn want me to know about. Whatever it was, he had three days to get it done.

Shrugging, I turned back to my book. The bell above the door jingled indicating someone had entered the store. ”Hello, welcome to Martys, ” I greeted reflexively without looking up. Thirty minutes later, a man approached, setting his things on the conveyor belt. He was absolutely gorgeous with coffee brown hair and electric blue eyes, which burned into me. I shifted uncomfortably. It had been awhile since I had a release and my eyes gravitated to those sculpted muscles under his tight shirt. My wolf, who usually stayed quiet, stirred.

”$41.32 is your total, ” He handed me his card and I completed the transaction. After bagging everything, I said, ”Have a nice night, sir, ” and watched the god of a man walk away. Too bad I was working. I had strict rules about work and social affairs. They were kept separate. If I saw him again, I won pass the opportunity up again. My wolf agreed. I shouldn pass him up again.

An hour before the sun came up, I was relieved of my shift and drove home to take a two hour nap then go on border patrols. I worked more than five patrols a week along with four shifts at Martys. While Lucille had disliked my double jobs, Clay always encouraged me to push myself and grow stronger. But when Lucille passed away two years ago, Clay didn encourage me as much before. Sometimes he ask that I do less. I couldn do that. I had to on par with the rest of the pack. I wasn unwelcomed, but people always whispered about me when I was adopted. I couldn show any weakness.

There was also another, secret reason, that I never shared with anyone. Not even with my closest friend, Maybelle. I had to stay strong so that I didn lose anyone else. Lucille had been a bystander in a rogue wolf attack and fell victim to their violence. That day, I promised myself that if I stayed strong, I wouldn lose anyone and no one would leave me. Patrols were quiet and boring, except when Maybelle joined me.

”It feels like its been forever since I last saw you, ” whined Maybelle as she pulled me into a hug.

”I know, ” I replied, giving her a good squeeze. She was my closest and only friend. We had met when I first arrived here. All the other kids had stayed away from me, probably because of their parents, but Maybelle didn . She found me on the school playground and asked if I wanted to be her friend. Very straightforward and confident, the total opposite of me.

”We should go out for your birthday! ” she exclaimed.

”Clay is having a party. ” As we talked, I kept my other senses tuned to the environment around me.

”I meant the two of us should do something. ” She paused, biting her lower lip. ”I know! We should go clubbing! ”

I laughed. ”I don think Clay would approve. ”

She smirked. ”How about Thursday night? ” she suggested. ”Thats the only day Im off this week. ”

Maybelle worked at her mothers hair saloon. Her boss was strict, even though it was her own mother. Thursday was the night before my actual birthday, the day Clay planned the party. I mulled it over. I should have enough time to sober myself up and make it back home in time.

I smiled. ”Lets do it! ”

⇐O⇒

When Thursday rolled around, I was in dire need of a release. It had been a whole nine days since my last hook-up, the longest Id ever gone. That night, Maybelle stayed over under the guise of a sleepover. When the light went off in Clays room, Maybelle and I got to work. She did the makeup while I worked on clothes. For Maybelle, I chose a body-fitting, all-black dress that stopped mid-thigh. The back dipped low, almost low enough to show booty. The front was a portrait neckline, which, with the right push-up bra, showed off her large breasts. Her outfit was completed with her smoky eye, bright red lipstick, and black slingback heels.

For myself, I chose a two piece crop-top and mini-skirt in a dark sangria. Maybelle had bought it for me years ago, claiming purple made my eyes pop. The crop-top had a halter neckline, with an elongated oval cleavage window, and corset ties in the back. Maybelle colored my eyes in black eyeshadow with purple glitter and nude lipstick. Matching platforms and a black clutch completed the look.

”Wow, we look hot! ”

Maybelle and I were gazing at our reflections in the mirror. She was right, we did look hot. Almost unrecognizable. I smiled, giddy and excited, my wolf matched my emotions. This would be my first time clubbing. Maybelle had turned twenty-one three months prior and had already been more times than she can count.

”Alright, so we have to be back by five, ” I said. ”Clay wakes up at six to start my birthday breakfast. I want to be early in case he has something planned, or comes in to check on me.

Maybelle took out her phone and set an alarm. ”This will ring at four. An hour should be enough time, don you think? ”

I nodded. Cracking open the door, I made sure all lights were off before tip-toeing down the hall, Maybelle behind me. There was a lamp at the end of the stairs that gave off just enough light to see where the stairs started. A door creaked.

”Gwena? ”

Shit. Dylan was awake. ”Yeah? ” I saw him blink, trying to make us out in the dark.

”Where are you going? ” he asked.

”Promise you won tell Clay? ”

”Yeah. ”

”We
e going clubbing. ” I held my breath, waiting for his disapproval. He had always been protective of me since I met him. I wasn sure if hed let me do this or not.

He sighed. ”Promise me you won drink too much, okay? I don want your hangover to get in the way of the party tomorrow. ”

I smiled, though he couldn see. ”Thank you so much, Dylan. ”

”I remember when I first turned twenty-one. I don want to keep you from experiencing the same awesome things I did. ” He paused. ”Also, don do any drugs. I did my first time clubbing, and well…lets say that night is a blur. ”

I laughed. ”Well be back by five. ”

Maybelle and I continued down the stairs and out the front door. She got in the drivers seat, put the car in reverse, and sped down the road. My wolf was excited, which was weird. She never got this excited about anything.

”So, where are we going? ” I asked.

”My favorite club: D3. It stands for dance, drink, and dragon heart, the signature drink. Its rum, mezcal, and blood-oranges. Its really good. ”

Music could be heard as Maybelle park

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