SBAWP | Chapter 17

Start from the beginning

I glance back at coach in time to see him spin around and march toward his office. He takes large, even steps, arms swinging, a habit he hasn't been able to shake since his army days. It's also why he always yells at us, but he's a decent guy so we don't really mind.

I take off after Jasper and all the Wolf kids follow. Zara's their Beta female, so obviously they care about her, too. Still, I know it looks suspicious to the human kids that half their team doesn't bother to change out of their gym clothes or grab their stuff from the locker. It makes no sense for us to be be running out of the gym after Jasper because he supposedly forgot to pick up his little brother.

Gray, stay with us in case we need backup. The rest of you, go to the change rooms and try to act normal, I order. And grab our stuff and bring it back to the pack house.

Yes, Alpha, they all yell and change direction.

"Great game," one of them shouts after us.

"See you tomorrow," calls another.

The human kids join in, so that's one crisis averted.

Jasper, I call after my Beta, as Gray and I struggle to catch up. What's going on?

I don't know, Jasper cries. I don't know!

Instead of running toward my car, the keys for which I belatedly realize are still in my locker, Jasper turns and runs across the street. I spot Kaitlin walking down the sidewalk, texting someone, but she doesn't look up and I forget all about her as I focus on Jasper. I don't know where he's going but I don't bother questioning him. His mate is in trouble, and he's drawn to her. He may not know exactly what's going on, but he knows which direction to take.

We'll get to her, I tell him, even though I have no way of knowing that. How can Zara be dying? I just saw her. She was fine—more than fine—making googly eyes at Jasper and giggling when he said something about condoms. I chose to believe he was talking about health class, since we were still at school, but who knows with mates.

What could have happened to her in the last hour? She was going to head home with Saf and a few of the kids. Did she get hit by a car crossing the street? Step into a bear trap? Get shot by a hunter? What if Saf's hurt too? I mean, what are the chances of anyone getting hurt on the way home from school, but if Zara's dying, what if Saf is too?

I try to focus on my mate, hoping I can pick up her emotions. Only, I've never been able to do that. I don't know if it's because she can't link, or because we haven't accepted each other as mates and bitten each other to seal the deal. Mates always bite each other within hours of first making eye contact, so it's not like I know what's normal for this stage in our relationship. It doesn't matter anyway. What matters is that Zara's dying, and we have to help her.

We jog past the elementary school, and then into the forest of trees. We run along the path we used to follow, before we all got our licenses and started driving to school.

We need to shift, Jasper calls over the link.

Not yet, I tell him. A little further in.

We're can't shift until we reach pack land. If a human saw us, we could be dooming our entire species. Jasper knows it—the lesson is too deeply ingrained in all our minds—and continues to run, sneakers pounding against the grass. I'm impressed that Gray has no trouble keeping pace, and doesn't interrupt or ask any questions. Then again, he's pack, and pack always sticks together.

We run for about ten minutes, but none of us are even slightly out of breath. We're probably moving faster than the cross country team—faster than the sprinters, even—which is why there are no Wolves on either team. It's way too boring, running that slow.

Now, Jasper yells, suddenly shifting in mid-air and tearing his gym clothes to shreds. It's way too soon, too far from pack land. For him to do that—to take that risk—Zara may already be dead.

Before I have time to shift too, a searing pain tears through me. Saffron! It feels like she's right here, with me, but not. It feels as though she's crying out in pain and begging for my help, even though I know she's still far away. It feels like my mate is dying, and there's nothing I can do to save her.

Gray, clean up, I shout, shifting and destroying my own clothes. Gray stays behind to pick them up, because protecting pack is still a priority, while Jasper and I run. A few seconds later, I hear Gray's sneakered feet chasing after us, but their pounding gets fainter and fainter as we take the lead.

We race through the forest as one. I can feel myself drawing closer to my mate, but she's still so far away. Another shot of pain sears through me. She's barely holding on. Then, Jasper howls as if someone's torn out his soul, and I know we may already be too late.


Oh no!


Do you think she's okay?

What about Zara? 

Will Logan and Jasper get to them in time?! 

• You guys, I really didn't like calling Zara the "Beta Female" in this chapter. • It's not like anyone calls the Luna an "Alpha Female" or the Alpha the "Luna Male" Have you seen any other words used instead of Beta Female? Or can you help me come up with one? I want to go back and change it!

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