The next thing I know, I'm in the bathroom, puking my guts out. Natalie is there in a second, holding my hair out of my face. I mentally thank her, unable to do so out loud.

"Are you okay?" Natalie asks me hesitantly.

I shake my head, closing my eyes. "Oh my god" is all I can say.

"Hey it's okay, Brynn. You know... finding Asher is the best thing that has ever happened to me," Natalie explains as I pull myself away from the toilet.

"But you... you were raised a werewolf. You knew that this would happen.  You knew you had a mate. It wasn't dropped on you like a bombshell," I say, flushing and going over to the sink to clean up.

Natalie sighs, leaning against the doorframe. "I know this is a lot to digest, but you should give Braxton a chance. I know that you barely know him, and he is probably pretty infuriating at times... but he loves you. You're everything to him.  I think that I mean a lot to my mate, but Braxton is an Alpha.  The feelings he has for his mate are multiplied by like a million."

I don't know what to say, I just stare at Natalie with wide eyes.

"Braxton is 22," Natalie tells me and my mouth falls open in shock.  I honestly thought he was older than that.  "Most werewolves, especially Alphas, find their mate when they are 16.  He has waited six years, and let me tell you... he was so annoying during those six years.  Always complaining about the fact that he hadn't found his mate."

I giggle at her words, imagining Braxton acting like a child who yells 'ew!' whenever their parents kiss or say 'I love you.'

"He was so elated when he found you.  I've never seen him so happy.  I can tell that it hurts him that you don't feel the same way.  But trust me, he wouldn't give you up for the world.  Just give him a chance to make you fall for him.  You guys are mates, you're meant to be."

Her words make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and I look down. "I get that but... I just... I don't know. I don't know how to handle any of this."

Natalie looks at me with understanding on her face. Then, she slowly smiles. "I know what would make you forgot about all this for a little while and make you feel a whole lot better."

"What?" I ask, looking up at her with confused eyes.

"Have you ever had vodka?"

~*~

It took approximately 10 minutes of begging Braxton to let us go over to Asher and Natalie's house for him to cave in and agree. Well, 10 minutes of Natalie begging while I stood behind her, that is. During this encounter with Braxton, I refused to make eye contact with my alleged mate, despite feeling his eyes on me almost the entire time. He finally gave in, although Natalie did not once mention alcohol, which tells me that he does not know about it, and most likely would not approve.

"Does Braxton know that I know he's my... mate," I ask Natalie, as the two of us walk down the dirt driveway towards her house.

Natalie looks over at me and nods. "Yeah, I asked him if I could tell you after I started telling you about mates."

"Okay," I breathe. Honestly, I didn't really want him to know that I know, maybe because I could try to avoid reality for a little longer if he didn't. Then, I realize that something Natalie said didn't add up. "What do you mean you asked him? You were with me the whole time."

"Yeah, I was. Werewolves in the same pack can communicate through what we call a mind link. Basically, you can talk to anyone in your pack without being near them or having to speak out loud," she tells me.

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