I could tell the lecture was coming to an end, Professor Thompson's tone of voice always gave her away, so I pulled myself out of my daydream and paid attention enough to get the homework assignment for the class. The composition we were to write would be all too easy for me, again. It had been a little over a month since classes had started and I was still bored. I was taking four classes, and the only one even remotely interesting was the Intro to Criminology class. I hope this gets more exciting soon. I told myself again as I was leaving the room.
"Hey Trin, I see you were spacing out again." I heard a man's voice call out to me from behind.
"Yeah, Astro, can't you keep yourself grounded for a single class?" Another added.
"Ignore them Trin." Juniper sighed smacking the two of them on the arm while the four of us walked to the side of the hallway, so we didn't block anyone walking past us. These were the only friends I had ever managed to make in my entire life.
Juniper and her twin brother Cedar both had light ash blond hair, bright green eyes, and sharp angular features. They were both tall, but Cedar was still half a foot taller than his sister at least, he was well over six feet tall. The other man was her mate Paul. He was shorter than Cedar by a few inches, yet taller than Juniper, with hazel eyes and jet-black hair. They were also werewolves, which meant they were also part of the pack. But they were so low ranking in status that they said they didn't care what anyone had to say. They would form their own opinions about me.
The day I had met them had been both a terrifying and happy one. I didn't know how they were going to react to me, but when they accepted me, it was like one of the biggest victories of my life. I had only known them for a little over a month, but that didn't seem to mean anything to them. They treated me like I was one of them, similar to how my cousins treated me at times, and it made me happy.
"Paul, could you not call me Astro please? It has nothing to do with my name."
"No? I think it's very fitting for an astronaut that spends the entire class floating through space." He guffawed at his own joke as soon as he had spoken it.
"Honestly." Juniper laughed at him as she smacked him again. "Why do I bother to deal with you again?" She asked.
"Because the moon goddess said that we were destined to be together forever and therefore you're head over heels in love with me and find me irresistible." He recited, his usual come back to her exasperated question was very practiced. Probably because she asked it so often.
"Oh yeah. That must be it." She giggled as she stretched up on her toes and pulled him toward her so she could give him a quick kiss.
"Blech, can you wait until I am not around to do that?" Cedar complained. The four of us laughed at our typical daily routine.
"Hey Trin, want us to give you a ride home today, or is your cousin here?"
"No, Carter is probably already
"Don't you mean tomorrow?" I heard Paul and Cedar yell after me, causing me to skid to a halt and turn back to them.
"What are you talking about?"
"The Harvest Moon Gathering." Juniper spoke flatly, like she was talking to a child, or someone slow.
"Oh My Goddess! I can't believe I forgot about that." I exclaimed, slapping my hand to my head.
"Good thing you have such good friends who will remind you, that way you can be prepared at least a little in advance." Paul laughed at my surprised response.
"Har-har very funny." I told him with a biting edge to my voice.
"Ouch, rein it in Astro." I growled at him, half playfully half not.
I ran toward the parking lot, weaving through the throngs of people on my way. I could see Carter standing by his Jeep 4x4 waiting for me. He was as close to a doting brother as I was ever going to get, and most of the time it made me really happy, though I would never admit that to him.
"You're late." He barked as soon as I was close enough for him to growl at me.
"Sorry, I was talking with a couple people after class. Good thing too, because they reminded me of something." I answered, my voice filled with annoyance that was only partially aimed at his impatience.
"Oh yeah? What did they remind you about?" He questioned with a laugh. He obviously thought it was something trivial.
"The Harvest Moon Gathering tomorrow night, I had completely forgotten about it."
"Seriously Trinity, how could you possibly forget about that?"
"Well, it's the first time that we are gathering for the harvest moon, we usually only gather for the hunter's moon, not both. It's not my fault I forgot a break in tradition, especially when I am usually kept out of the loop, anyway." Honestly, could he really blame me? Since my eighteenth birthday, most of the pack acted like I didn't even exist. If it wasn't for the monthly allowance and tuition, I would think that Grandfather had forgotten about me as well, but I guess he could just be having his secretary handle it and not even know what's going on.
"Come on, Trin, let's go." He told me, climbing into the Jeep, a smile on his face, and a laugh in his voice told me that he would always be there for me like any brother I could ask for.
"Why is there a gathering tomorrow, anyway?" I asked him while he was driving out of the city and toward the compound. Now I say compound because that is what the pack calls it, but the truth is, it's actually just a gated community where a large number of pack families lived.
The compound was bordered by the forest on the north and west and backed up to the mountains. A river snaked along the south side of the compound and around the base of the mountain. Using the Elements around us, we had created a literal fortress for us to live in. All but the exiled, those who left by choice or just those who wanted a bit more freedom (typically new adult males) lived at the compound. It was the safest way for us to protect ourselves from the humans and them from us.
"The Alpha has to find a mate, so he has to hold as many gatherings as possible before the year is over. If he doesn't find his Luna in our pack, then he needs to start traveling to other packs to look for a mate there. But since there is the chance that other pairs can form their mate bonds at the gatherings as well, every non-mated pack member has to go. And mated members can go because it is a gathering so it would be wrong to exclude anyone."
"Well that explains why Juniper and Paul are going, they're already mated." I mused. "But, honestly, why do I have to go? We all know that I am not going to be his mate. I don't have a wolf, so I can't form a mate bond." I whined indignantly.
"You don't know that, Trin." He told me automatically. He would always tell me this when I would get depressed when I was younger. Back when I actually got mad at myself, or at my mother, for me not having a wolf. There's nothing I can do now though, so I am just going to do the best I can with my slightly enhanced life.
"I am not human, and I am not a wolf. I don't belong anywhere. Just ask Grandfather." I snapped, a little more anger dripping from my voice than I had intended.
"Yeah well, sometimes I would like to tell ol' gramps where to shove that holier than thou pride of his." Carter snapped, causing me to laugh. He had always hated the way Grandfather treated me the most. Probably because of my two cousins he was closer to my age at only two years older than me, unlike his brother who was six years older than me. They both loved me, but Noah grew up and moved on with his life. He had even found a mate recently, got married and moved into his own home in the compound.
"Still Carter, we both know that no one is going to mate with me, and even if they did, they would just reject me, anyway."
"You can't reject a mate bond, Trinity. You know that." He sounded shocked by my words.
"Oh, I know, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't try to reject me. They'd probably rather go unmated for life. They'd start the first order of Buddhist Monk wolves." I chuckled, laughing at my own joke.
"That's not funny." He growled.
"Actually, it is, and you know it. There isn't a single man in this pack, who would take me as a mate." I told him firmly.