It was a serene, peaceful morning. The waves were lapping over each other softly. The calm winds were gently ruffling up Clara’s dark hair. Clara always felt at ease when she’s at the beach. Every day, she would come to the beach to watch the sunrise, and then go for her morning jog.
Today was no different, at least that’s what she expected. As Clara was walking towards her favorite spot, a huge rock shaped like a throne at the top, she noticed that someone else was perched on her throne. (Yes, she nicknamed that rock as her throne!)
She observed him from afar. He seemed to be new in town. (She sure would have remembered that face, if he was from her town!!) He had tanned skin, and blond wavy hair, which was slightly messy (and totally sexy). Oh, and his body! He was chiseled like a Greek God!! (drool!!!) But it was his expression which held her attention. He had his eyes closed and his face pointed upwards, as though he was waiting for the sun to rise and bathe him with its shine. A very pretty and blissful smile was pasted on his face, like he was totally content…..and like he finally belonged, a small voice whispered in her head.
She was bewildered. Where did that thought come from? Shrugging it off, she continued to watch him when he suddenly opened his eyes and looked straight at her. And oh my, but his eyes..they were a wonderful shade of golden. He smirked at her, almost as if he knew she had been checking him out the whole time.
Her face flushed scarlet, yet she stared him down with a smirk of her own and approached him. The moment he was within hearing range, she blurted, “You are sitting on my spot” as though that justifies the reason for her staring.
He just laughed out loud and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know the beaches in Perseus sold even the rocks as properties.” He still had the smirk on, damn!
Flushing once again, she said, “I didn’t mean it like that. Usually I’d be only one here at this time. I was just surprised to have company.”
After a few beats, she asked him, “Are you new in town?”
“Yeah, I moved here just yesterday from Carter City into the old bungalow near the art store.”
Just to mess with him a bit, she said mischievously, “Haven’t you heard? Legend says that anyone who lives in that bungalow gets eaten by huge, furry creatures within a year after they move into it. That’s how the last resident of that house passed away a few years ago and the resident who lived there before him. No one dared to buy that house ever since.”
She didn’t expect him to buy that tale immediately, but she also didn’t expect him to laugh uncontrollably. He laughed so badly that he had to pause and catch his breath.
She was slightly annoyed by that and was about to comment something about it when she realized that it was the time for the sunrise. Noticing her gaze, he became quiet and both of them leaned against her throne and waited for the first rays.
Clara ignored everything around her except the golden ball of light which was peeking from the horizon and making its way into the gradually brightening pink sky.
After the beautiful moment was over, he turned towards her with a smile and introduced himself.
“Just realized that I never asked for your name. I’m Eric.” he said while extending his hand to her.
“I’m Clara” she said with a smile and shook his calloused hand firmly.
They spoke for a few more minutes and then Clara had to bid him goodbye to go on for the morning jog (which she did, albeit a bit dejectedly).
As she had been jogging, she realized that she had been thinking about Eric during the entirety of her jog without even meaning to. She just couldn’t get his golden eyes out of her head, and the way they shined when the sunrays reflected off of them, and his full lips which curved into a sexy smirk every now and then, and…..aargh! She started fantasizing about him once again! Frowning a bit at her new obsession, she purposely pushed him out of her thoughts and focused her mind on her morning chores.
Clara owned a catering service. She went to her shop as usual and set about to opening the shop and cleaning it first, when she heard the bell chime at the entrance. Turning towards her first customer for the day, she was about to greet him when she stopped mid-sentence, overcome with surprise at seeing those golden eyes yet again that day.
Picturing how stupid her expression must look, she immediately stopped gaping and smirked at Eric, “Are you stalking me?”
“Totally. I’ve come to kidnap you and sacrifice you to the “huge, furry creatures” so that they might spare my life” he deadpanned.
She laughed at him and then he continued, “Actually, I’m planning to throw a house-warming party tomorrow evening, once I’ve unpacked fully and settled. I asked my neighbor for a good catering service and he suggested me this shop. I didn’t know it was yours though.”
“Oh! That’s great. Give me a few minutes. I’ll finish cleaning and then we can go over the list of dishes you want to serve.”
Once they finished talking business, Eric offered to take her out for lunch. She narrowed her eyes at him and asked, “Are you asking me out, mister?”
“Maybe I am” he replied playfully.
She arched one eyebrow and asked with a sly smile, “What if I already have a boyfriend? You never asked me if I was seeing anyone.”
“Well, a small voice in my head told me that you are single” He said with a straight face. After a small pause, he continued, “Also, I caught u checking me out today morning, remember? Not that I’m complaining” he said with a cute grin.
She didn’t know whether to blush at that comment or feel amused with his confidence. In the end, she laughed lightly and said in a sassy tone, “Yeah well, that small voice in your head is correct. Though, I worry about your sanity, if you keep hearing voices.”
He laughed at that and asked again, a bit nervously this time, “So, will you go out with me?”
Clara found that endearing, and said, “Yeah, I will” with a shy smile.
They decided to go to the nearby Thai restaurant. They spoke for a while and Clara got to know that he’s a tattoo artist. He was actually from the mountain regions, and his family owns a tea plantation, in which he and his brothers had invested together, and is now run by their estate managers. Likewise, they got to know about each other.
When they were about to leave, Clara offered to show him around that weekend, for which he thanked her with a dazzling smile. (Be still, my heart. Why does he keep stunning her like that!!??)
Over the next few days, they managed to meet up at least once a day. Half the days, she spent it with him in his house, which was more like a cabin actually, overlooking a lake. During the evenings, they would spread a blanket, have a small picnic and then lie next to each other swapping stories in front of the lake.
The more time Clara spent with him, the more she fell for him, she realized. That thought frightened her a bit, as she felt it was a bit too soon.
His cocky smirk, his charming smile, his caring demeanor and even his thoughtful gestures, like making her walk on the other side of him and away from the road, made her like him more and more. Though she met him only ten days ago, she felt so at ease with him, as though she had known him her whole life.
She was lost in these thoughts when she heard him move about her kitchen. When he came and sat beside her, he immediately noticed that something was wrong.
“What’s up? You look distracted.”
“Oh, um, nothing. I was just thinking.”
“About? That is, if you don’t mind answering that question” he said quickly, but with concern etched in his expression. Concern for her, she realized.
Again, she was touched by this. She knew him for just a few days over a week, yet here he was, worrying for her.
“I was thinking about us, to be honest. I’m not usually like this. I take a lot of time to open up myself towards anyone, and yet, here you are, making me change that. I mean, C’mon, I even told you my embarrassing school incidents, while I was completely sober! It is a first for me!”
“I get that, baby, I really do” he said. “This is the first time even I’ve become this close to someone. I know what you are feeling is overwhelming, because I feel the same. But, unlike you, I know the reason for this” he said softly.
“Yeah. I’m afraid to tell it to you now, though. I fear you are going to run away from me, or never look at me the same way again and I can’t bear to lose you so soon.”
“What are you talking about? Now, you are scaring me, Eric. Please tell me what it is. I can’t promise you I won’t freak out, because your tone is already freaking me out, but I do promise not to run away.”
“Well, I guess there is no way to beat around the bush here.” He heaved a huge sigh and then blurted out quickly, “I’mawerewolfandyouaremymate.”
“What? I didn’t understand a word of what you said. Try pausing after each word the next time” she said with a small laugh.
““I’m a werewolf and you are my mate, Clara. That’s why you are drawn towards me in a way even you can’t understand. You are the reason I moved to Perseus. I felt the mate-pull strongly over here and knew I’d find you here.”
She just stared blankly at him for a few seconds…which then trickled into minutes. Still she didn’t say anything. Eric grew a bit worried by her lack of expression and called out her name softly.
“Clara? Please say something.”
Suddenly, she just started laughing. “I get it now. You are trying to get back at me for the furry creatures tale I told you, right? Ha, I’m not gonna fall for this.”
Eric just pulled at his hair with frustration and tried to explain, “No baby, I really do mean it. In fact, I can prove it to you. Tomorrow is the day of the full moon. I will shift tomorrow. You can see it for yourself then, but just promise not to come close to me.”
Clara realized that he was not kidding. In fact, he was wearing the most serious expression she had ever seen on him. But still, she just couldn’t believe him, no matter how convincing he sounded. Werewolves, seriously?? Those are just tales….right? Ugh! Why is he confusing her mind like this? She was about to get up and leave when she remembered her promise.
She looked at his face and saw that he had a very hopeless expression, as though he knew that he had lost her. It was that look which tugged at her heart. Deep down, she felt the truth of his words. How else would she explain the unbelievable attraction, the way her body relaxed when he was near, as though she knew she’s safe now, and how her body automatically gets attuned to his when he is nearby.
But still, a concept like werewolves and mates is not something someone would accept immediately. She decided to believe him when she saw his other form with her own eyes.
Focusing on his face again, she asked skeptically, “So, are you going to turn into a werewolf tomorrow night? And then what, howl at the moon and then go killing wild animals savagely?”
Breathing a sigh of relief that she at least stayed and did not run away or call the mental hospital, he replied with a laugh, “Sort of. I turn into my wolf form and then run into the wild for a while. Since my wolf comes out only once every fortnight, he needs to exhaust all the pent-up energy. Also, he is an animal, after all. So yes, he needs to feed on the animals, though not in the savage way you are picturing. Also, the howling at the moon thing is not true.”
Clara processed all this, which led to hundreds of questions. But she decided to shoot them at him later, once she’s seen it first.
Once Eric was convinced that she was slowly beginning to believe him, he came up with an idea.
“Spend the night here with me. That way, you can see that I’m not planning for any elaborate tricks………..Also, I like it when you spend the night with me, so it is a win-win situation for the both of us” he said cheekily.
His humor diffused the situation a bit, and she agreed to it, with a bit of hesitation though.
But things were a bit awkward between them after the talk. She shuffled around him for a while and finally drifted off to sleep, thinking about wolves and sharp canines and the moon.
The next morning, she woke up with a huge smile on her face, as she always does when she wakes up with him, until she remembered last night’s conversation. Deciding not to overthink about it, she started doing her regular activities and promised herself she wouldn’t think about it until that night.
Slowly, the sun set and darkness fell. Eric repeatedly told her to not venture outside his house, and to lock the doors and look at him just through the windows.
He wasn’t sure how his wolf would react around her for the first time and he didn’t want to risk it.
Once the full moon rose, he felt his wolf waking. He shed his clothes quickly and felt Clara’s eyes on him. He sent a quick prayer to the gods to protect his human mate from his wolf and also wished fervently that she should not get scared of him and run away.
The shift happened. He could feel the pain coursing through him when his bones snapped and grew. Silver fur sprouted all over him, with patches of black on his tail, ears and snout.
Once the shift was over, the wolf took over and howled in content as he was free again. Suddenly, he picked up a sweet scent, which overwhelmed his senses. He turned his head in the direction of the scent and found a pretty human with dark hair on her head, and with eyes as blue as the ocean. The word “mate” echoed in his head.
Clara felt her breath leave in quick whoosh when Eric, wait no, his wolf form looked straight at her. The eyes were the only feature which made her believe that it was indeed Eric.
The wolf continued to watch her with his golden eyes and whined softly and tilted his head, as though beckoning her to come to him.
Clara didn’t know where she got the confidence from, but she held onto it tightly and opened the doors to approach the wolf. Her wolf, a voice corrected her.
He stood there patiently, waiting for his mate to touch him, pet him and play with him. He had been waiting for many years to meet her, and was very rejoiced to finally be with her. He ducked his head and pushed it towards her outstretched hand. Once she started stroking his head, he lay on all fours and made content sounds when she rubbed him over.
Clara giggled at that action. She thought she would face a big, bad wolf, but here he was, acting like some overgrown puppy.
Once he was satisfied with her attention, he decided to hunt. With a quick lick to her face, he darted off into the wild.
Clara watched him run towards the forest and realized that he had gone to hunt. The reality of the situation crashed into her suddenly. She’s the mate of a werewolf, a species which she thought was mythical only two days ago. Her feet carried her towards the lake as she was pondering about all this, and how to digest this information.
She sat on the edge of the lake, and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she saw the moon’s reflection on the lake. It was bright silver that day, just like her wolf.
Wait, did she think “her wolf”? Just then, she realized that she had subconsciously accepted this whole weird situation, and her role in it. No matter what happens, she knew that she wouldn’t leave Eric, because she loved him. She felt connected to him in a way which felt otherworldly, and surprisingly, she was okay with that. In fact, more than okay with that.
With that realization, she sighed contentedly and smiled at the moon’s reflection, and waited there for her wolf to return to her.