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| B R A D E N|

The door was slammed in Braden's face as soon as the soft-spoken word fell from his lips. His jaw dropped slightly. At first he thought it was his shy little mate who had reached out and closed it. The angered hollers of the mother told him otherwise. He tried knocking again, but no one opened the place up.

     Braden waited an hour on the doorstep, wringing is hands, pacing back and forth, knocking on the door a couple of times.

In fact, he waited there all night in the cold. Waiting for someone to let him in. He couldn't just abandon his mate. He didn't even know he was going to have a mate until a couple hours beforehand, but he did know the basics.

Mates are different between different animals. Some, like wolves, have bonds so strong with their mates that they can not physically go on without one if they lose them. They don't feel these bonds to their mate until after their 18th birthday, usually. Other animals, like many in the feline family, form bonds with their mates after going through with breeding with another. Then there were some weres that didn't have mates. An example of this is animals with only a small amount of males at the head and a multitude of females that they mates with all at once. Like cattle and lions.

There were, of course, many other types of mate interactions, but these were the most common. There was also the whole male were carriers that were able to bear children, but that was complicated. It was a genetic mutation that was quite rare, but ran in families. Braden wasn't too educated on it, but he knew the were pack he was doing business with had a mate who was a carrier.

All that information was besides the point. Braden was mostly in shock, trying to comprehend how he had a mate... He wasn't prepared for it at all.

Throughout the entirety of his life, he knew he would be used to breed with other cattle in herd to make more. It was his main job. He wasn't even supposed to be the so called 'leader'.

He never expected to have an actual soulmate to call his own and to care and love for. He never expected to love one partner and one partner only. Cattle were all closely knit with polyamorous relationships. He had always been okay with it as a young boy, but now things were different.

      How was he supposed to support his herd now? Their population was going on pretty strong, but they only had a handful of males who were fertile. Braden was expected to be the prime contributor to having their population grow. With his new, fresh faced mate in the mix, even the thought of touching another being revolted him.

He wanted Conner. No. He needed Conner. Without him, he just... he didn't even know.

    So he waited until morning, not getting a second of shut eye. He stared up at the house. It looked more like a town home that was being rented, but it was still fairly nice.

    At some point, he contemplated breaking in and just kidnapping Conner. Then he realized he was actually going insane without seeing his mate.

     Members of his herd called him many times, but he never answered. He just sent a quick message in the group chat that he fine, just busy. He didn't want a stampede of angry cows to come tromping through and tear down the small town that mainly consisted of werewolf shifters and humans.

     At approximately 7:20 am the next morning, the woman Braden identified as his mate exited the threshold of her home. When she saw Braden, she let out a frightened scream, clutching her purse to her chest.

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