BlueyReads thanks for requesting this one, it was so much fun to write!
I race down the dimly lit hall and bust into Zara's room. I don't bother to knock and once I'm in I run my hand along the wall in search of the light switch. It's only 5am and still dark out, but I've literally waited as long as I could before waking her. I flip on the lights, and Zara immediately groans and covers her head with her pillow. I know she was probably up until one in the morning again, and I feel super guilty for waking her, but I don't have anyone else. My parents died when I was little, I don't have siblings or cousins, and Zara's my only friend. Up until last week, I had Logan, too, but there's no way I can talk to him about this. There's also my roommate, Kaitlyn, but she just doesn't get it. Which really only leaves one person: Zara.
"Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up." I run across the room and jump on her bed, bouncing up and down to shake her awake.
"Go away, Jess." Zara moans and tries to shove me off the bed.
"Zara, please," I beg. "I need you."
There's a slight catch in my voice, and even while half-asleep, Zara doesn't miss a thing. She pulls back her pillow and squints a little at the brightly lit room. "What's wrong, Jess?"
"What if he's not my mate?" I cry.
"He is," Zara, being the amazing best friend that she is, says without a sliver of doubt.
"But what if he's not? What if he comes downstairs, our eyes meet, and nothing happens?"
"It will, Jess. I know it will."
"You can't know that." I wail. "If he ends up with some other girl, I don't think I could take it."
"Hey," Zara sits up and gives me a huge hug, "it'll be okay, I promise. You'll be Logan's mate and I'll be Jasper's, and we'll all live in this pack house and raise our pups and be best friends forever."
"But..." I whimper and it's like a dam breaks.
Suddenly, I'm sobbing uncontrollably. It's the first time I've cried since Luna sat me down and told me my dad died. Sacrificed himself for the pack, not that it made it any better. Since then, I've learned how to hold everything in and pretend the emptiness and the pain weren't there. Even last week, when Logan dumped me out of nowhere, I was able to nod and smile and agree it was for the best. All week, I've been keeping myself busy and counting down until today. Now, that it's here, it's like I can't do it anymore. Not when my entire future rests on this one moment.
"Oh, Jess." Zara squeezes me in a tight hug. "It'll all be over in a few hours."
"That's what I'm afraid of," I whisper.
"You can't think like that." Zara frowns and looks me over. "What you need is a shower. Then, I'll do your makeup so when he sees you, he can't tear his eyes away."
"You're right." I nod. I just need to hold it together until the ceremony. Then, everything will be okay.
Zara gives me one final squeeze and then I head back to my room to grab my shower stuff. I slow down as I get to the door and tiptoe on inside, but somehow, I still end up waking my roommate.
"Were you, like, crying?" Kaitlyn asks the moment she sees my face.
"It's nothing," I mutter as I head to my side of the room. I can feel Kaitlyn's eyes boring into my back, and I finally cave and add, "It's Logan's birthday."