She was a pretty little thing. Pretty and charming. She had long blond hair that was silky and thick and flowed over her shoulders and bounced on her back when she walked. Her eyes were deep brown, warm and dark. She was tall and curvy, and knew how to use her hips. Her wolf form had golden fur, dark eyes, and a fluffy tail that teased the males. When she smiled, dimples appeared on her cheeks, and her laugh had made all the men in the area turn toward her. She had a way about her like that. A way that allowed her to capture male attention with little effort.
That might be, perhaps, why she chose Tyler.
Tyler knew her, of course. He knew everyone in the pack. And it was hard not to notice her. Even if he wasn’t necessarily attracted to her, he could still appreciate that she was indeed beautiful. And even if he couldn’t, he heard enough about her from the other males of the pack. She was young and eligible and had yet to choose a mate. All of the unpaired males were trying to catch her eye, as they had for the past year.
Tyler had never given her any reason to chase after him. He never showed her any interest. He was polite to her in the start, as he was with all the members of the pack, but he cleared stepped back from the silent courting competition and let the other males have their fun. Yet she adhered herself to him. The more time passed, the more he was sure she was interested in him because he showed no interest in her. He was a challenge, barely looking at her while the other men drooled after her. He tried to make it clear that he wasn’t interested, but she never seemed to get the hint. It didn’t take long for it to get on his nerves.
He stopped being polite to her, and instead, he made an effort to be plain rude. It didn’t seem to work. The more he brushed her off, the more she came at him. She was everywhere, following him, batting her eyelashes, brushing against him during the shifted runs, clinging to his arm in their human forms. His only sanctuary was his apartment, but it didn’t take long for her to come looking for him there too. He stopped opening the door when she came knocking. Meanwhile, the other men of their pack started to resent Tyler. They glared at him, shoved into him as they passed, sneered at him, and growled that he didn’t deserve her.
He couldn’t agree with them more.
She was a pretty little thing. He knew that. He could see it plainly. But the fact of the matter was simple: Tyler liked men.
It had taken him a long time to realize it. Being gay wasn’t something that was easily accepted in his pack. In fact, it wasn’t accepted at all. The pack saw things simply: males and females mated. It was the way of nature. It was the way of the wolf. It was the way of man. When he had been young, he had seen a couple shamed and outcast, chased violently out of the town for coming out as gay. These were adults that had been in the pack for years, yet the pack so easily turned against them. It was a scarring thing to witness for a young boy who was beginning to realize he had a crush on some of his male classmates.
So he tried to deny it. For years, he tried to convince himself that he liked women. He only was interested in men for friends, he told himself. Yet he highly preferred their company to any of the women. He had a few girlfriends in his lifetime. None of them lasted very long. They were short affairs, and he always found a reason to break up with them after a couple months. He never let them last long enough for the women to question why he wasn’t very sexually interested in them, as many of the other men might be. He earned a reputation for being mysterious and aloof, unsatisfied by relationships and very picky about his lovers. He was fine with that. Over the past couple years, he had stopped trying with the charade. He hadn’t taken a lover in ages. Not since he admitted to himself that he was, indeed, gay.
Since then, it was a struggle to accept himself. Once he became comfortable in his own shoes, it was a whole different matter to be comfortable being out. He knew his pack wouldn’t accept him, but he also knew he couldn’t keep living the lie. Especially now that he was of an age where social pressures were trying to get him to choose a mate and start a family.
He knew he should leave. He had known for a while. But knowing and doing were two completely different things. He hadn’t been born into this pack, but it had raised him. His parents had been two lone wolves, but they had died in a car accident when he was barely three years old. He didn’t remember much of them. He hadn’t had any known family to come forward and claim him, but his parents had close friends in this pack. They had come to his rescue and had brought him to the pack. They lived on a plot of land outside of town that spanned a couple miles. In the center was the large pack house, and around the house was several smaller, one room apartment houses. The pack lived together. As an adult hiding a secret, it was very stifling. As a child with no parents, it was an amazingly welcoming home. They all took care of him. It was a huge family that taught him everything he needed to know about being a werewolf. He never wanted for anything and never feared anything… except for his sexuality.
So he knew he should leave, and part of him wanted to, but leaving was easier said than done. The majority of him was attached to this place and these people. They were his family and his friends. More than that, they were his pack. They knew what he was. He ran with them. He had a home full of werewolves, and while he had to hide his sexuality, he didn’t have to hide what he was. Was he really willing to trade hiding one secret for another?
That was the question that haunted him at night.
Even after months and months of dealing with Becky’s increasing pressure in her courting, he didn’t have a solid answer. She made his quiet life difficult. She made people question why he didn’t choose her, the most eligible young female in the pack, when she so obviously had chosen him? What was wrong with him? What was wrong with her that would make Tyler deny her? People started paying attention to him, but he tried to ignore it. He was convinced that it would blow over eventually. She would eventually get tired of the chase and settle down with someone else. She had to. Then he could put this all behind him.
But she didn’t give up. Instead, she went to the Alpha. Or, as she liked to call him: dad. She was the daughter of the pack Alpha, just another notch in her eligibility belt. Strong, young, beautiful, healthy, and with an impressive lineage and pedigree. She was guaranteed to breed an impressive pack of pups. Tired of being denied, she went to her dad and convinced him to get involved. He was a strong and intimidating man, but he prized his daughter and his other children above most things. He wanted his daughter to be happy, but he also wanted her to have a worthy mate. Unfortunately for Tyler, he had been approved.
Standing at six feet, Tyler was broad shouldered with a chest and arms to match. Like most werewolves, his body was decently inclined toward muscles. And he spent a lot of time working out, because he could easily do that alone. So his arms and legs were thick with corded muscle and his chest was well defined. His skin was bronzed from all his time in the sun, and his hair was dark, loosely curled, and fell nearly to his shoulders. He might not have been born into the pack, but he was raised here. He was polite and sociable, respectful and kind. He was a strong and quick and healthy. Overall, the pack’s Alpha had no reason why Tyler wouldn’t be fit to marry his favorite daughter, especially since she was so taken with him.
When it came down to the question of leaving the pack, Tyler had been on the fence for years. But his decision was made for him when the Alpha came to him and all but ordered him to mate with his daughter.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is.” Jeremiah said for the hundredth time. He was laying on Tyler’s bed, idly tossing a ball at the ceiling, catching it, and throwing it up again.
“I don’t expect you to understand.” Tyler said through tight lips. He closed the empty drawer of his dresser and opened the next. He pulled out his clothes and started piling them into the half full box.[/emaillocker]