I walk into my apartment, exhausted. My job forced me into a double again. I drop my keys onto the end table and plop on the couch. I turn on the TV and flip through the channels. I stop at the local news, and they
e covering the disappearances of two young women. They say they disappeared without a trace and have no reason to leave their lives behind. Its like they just dropped off the face of the Earth.

I flip through them some more and pull the couch blanket over me. Its softness lulls me to sleep in almost no time.

I wake up to the sound of birds in the trees. Once my eyes adjust, I look around. Im in the middle of some kind of forest surrounded by trees. It seems like its the middle of the day, and theres no sign of people.

How did I get here? Did I sleepwalk?

I shake my head; I don sleepwalk. I pinch my arm to see if this is a dream. ”Ow. ” Its not. I stand up and start walking towards a faint sound of water. ”Hello? Is anyone there? ” I call out.

Theres no answer.

After walking for an eternity, my feet start to ache. Must not be long since I worked. As I press on, I find a lake with sparkling blue water. Ive never seen water so clear and beautiful. I bend down and dip my fingers into the water, its cold. I wonder if its fed through an underwater spring.

I take a long cool sip of the water. As I look up, I see a young man in the water. He might even be the same age as I am, but he has short spikey gray hair. Scars cover his back, glowing against his dark skin.

It takes me a moment to realize that he is naked and bathing in the water. I quietly move away as fast as I can, hiding behind a tree. My heart races, and it feels impossible to breathe. Did I just see a naked man? For the first time? I take a few deep breaths and peek out from behind the tree.

The lake is empty.

”I don like being spied on. ” A deep husky voice says from behind me.

As if on auto-pilot I scream in terror.

He turns me around and lifts my chin. ”Id never hurt a female, theres no need to be afraid. ” He comes close and sniffs me.

I push him off. ”Ew! Don sniff me, you pervert! ” My heart races as he looks me up and down.

”Weirdo? ” He asks. ”What clan are you from? ”

”What do you mean clan? Where the Hell am I? ”

He grabs my shoulder tightly. ”Hm. ” Holding me in place he sniffs me again. His breath grazed the nape of my neck.

I get goosebumps from his touch.

Something catches my eye and as I look up at it, I notice their wolf ears on top of his head. They
e just as gray as his hair with a small amount of white fluff inside.

I snap out of my trance and find him staring at me with dark gray eyes.

Hes very handsome for as young as he looks.

I feel my cheeks heat up just as our eyes lock. I notice another scar just across his face. Its small and crosses over his right eye.

”I don know what clan you
e from. You smell different from others. ”

”Thats concerning. ”

”Where are your spouses? ” He looks around, then back at me.

”Spouses? ” I ask confused.

”Do you know anything? ” He asks irritated.

I take a step back, looking for an escape route.

He grips my wrist harder and yanks me toward him.

I lose my balance and my hand touches something unfamiliar to me. I think it was his leg. I regain my composure and almost stand right up. I look up and see his hing right in front of me. My whole body freezes and my heart skips a beat. ”You
e uh, naked, ” I whisper.

”You do remember that you interrupted my bath right? ”

”Right. ” I right myself and look away from his gaze. How could I not realize that he was naked? Am I even okay with that? My mind races with over a thousand thoughts and questions. No answers in sight anywhere.

He sighs heavily. ”Im not leaving you out here by yourself. You
e coming with me. ” His body changes from human to wolf. His wolf form is huge, his fur is gray just like his hair. His gaze meets mine and he gestures for me to hop onto his back.

Reluctantly I climb onto him. His fur is soft, almost like my blanket at home.

He moves slowly at first and then runs faster than the wind.

He slows down to a stop as we come to a small village.

Everyone looks at us as we walk by. They whisper amongst themselves and stare.

”Who is she? ”

”Damien has a mate now? ”

”Shes beautiful. ”

Damien, I like that name. ”Why are they whispering? ” I whisper to him.

He huffs. ”Its a village, they all talk. ” He doesn seem to be comfortable with the subject.

”Okay, I won push it. ” I sink into his soft fur as low as I can.

”Well, well, is that my sweet Damien? Are you finally going to mate with me? ”

I look up and see a tall dark blonde woman standing in front of us.

”No. ” He pushes past her, clearly irritated.

She huffs. ”No one says no to me for long. You will come crawling back to me. Begging to mate with me. ”

”I don care, just leave me alone. ”

We leave the village and come to a large cave.

”Here. ” He changes back to his human form, holding me close. He takes me inside the cave and sets me down on a smooth rock. ”Ill be right back, we need to make a fire. ”

”Okay, would you like some help? ”

He shakes his head. ”No, youll only get in the way. And I don need you getting hurt. ”

”But- ”

”No! All females are weak, they need to be protected. Stay put, and Ill take care of this. ” He leaves me alone on the rock, in silence.

My eye twitches in anger. ”The nerve of this man! ” I kick a pebble further into the cave. It echoes as it bounces off the other rocks.

I decided to sit at the entrance and wait, the cave is rather cold and damp.

After a while, I get bored. So I walk around gathering sticks and I also find some tinder for a fire. I dig a small hole for the pit and layer the sticks as evenly as possible. I find some rocks that create sparks and make my fire.

Damien brings back a fallen tree and some smaller logs. He looks between me and my fire, confused. ”I thought I told you to stay put. ”

”I got bored, and you took too long. And by the way, I am neither weak nor useless. ”

He sighs. ”Somehow I knew youd be stubborn. ” He places the logs down and sits by the fire.

Hes an asshole.

After a while, he gets up and stretches. ”Are you hungry? ”

I nod. ”Do you have anything in mind? I can find some berries nearby. ”

He shakes his head. ”I don like fruit, they taste sour. Ill go hunt for us. Ill be back soon, then we need to talk. ”

”Alright. ”

He runs off, and I wait for his return.

I watch the sunset against the trees. A chilly breeze comes through, making me shiver. I sit closer to the fire to stay warm.

”Hey, I got some rabbits if you
e still hungry. ” Damien comes up behind me.

I turn around and see him carrying rabbits, but they look like medium size dogs. ”Those are rabbits? ”

”Yeah, do they look bad? ”

”No, Im not used to them being so big. ”

”These are normal size. How big are they where you come from? ”

”They are really small. Wait, what do you mean where I come from? ”

”You are not from our world. Its obvious, mostly by your clothes. We can use the hide for your new clothes. ” He starts to skin them carefully.

”Has there been more than me? ”

He nods. ”Yes, only one from what Ive been told. She was executed and her spouses were forced into slavery. ”

I gasp. ”So thats whats gonna happen to me? ”

”Not if no one knows you here. ” He places the rabbits over the fire. ”What I do know is that she didn do anything to harm us. She embraced our culture with open arms and introduced new things to make survival easier. ”

I curl up into a ball. ”What am I going to do? ”

”I wish I could help you, but I don like females. ”

”What do you mean by that? ”

”My body knows it has to be with a female, but my mind hates the idea of it. ”

”Would you rather be with a male? ”

He thinks for a moment. ”That sounds nice actually. I never thought about it. But I would be punished if anyone else knew. ”

”Don worry, Ill keep your secret. My bother is a homosexual just like you. ”

”What? ”

”Thats what we call it in my world. It means that you love males as a male. You have my support all the way. ” I give him a small smile.

His cheeks redden and he looks away. ”So what about you? ”

”I honestly don know. Ive never been in a relationship before. ”

His eyes widen. ”So you
e, a ”

”Virgin, yes. ”

”Males can sense that. A lot of them will try and be your first. Youll probably get pregnant the easiest if you
e a virgin. Youll need to be careful. ”

”What are we gonna do? ” I ask no one.

”Wanna make a deal? ” He asks.

”What do you have in mind? ”

”The village already assumes that you are my spouse. What if we make that true? That way you are protected in a way. ”

”And if we find someone who loves males like you do they can be my spouse as well. That way you two can stay together, and be safe. ”

”You would do that for me? ”

I nod. ”It would be rude not to. ”

”We would only have to mate once. After that, a spousal mark will appear on your body. But, how do I know that I can trust you? ”

I sigh. ”You have my secret remember? If I out you, you can have me executed. ” My heart beats loudly in my chest. Am I crazy?

I take the rabbits off the fire and hand him one.

We eat in silence for a while.

”Was he happy? ”

”Who? ”

”Your brother? Was he happy? ”

I nod. ”He loved his mate. They were the cutest couple in my family. ”

I see a small smile appear on his face. ”I see. ”

As I eat the rabbit I notice that it has good flavor, it just needs some spices.

Once we finish eating, I get thirsty. I want to ask but the words don want to come out.

”Come on. ” He gets up and starts to walk off.

”Wait! At least let me change first. ”

I grab the clothes he made while talking and go to the cave to change. I try to put them on, but they are too big to fit right.

”Are you having trouble? ” He comes in and sees me struggling.

”Yeah, they won stay on. ”

He grabs the top and rips off some of the hides. ”Its too big for you. ” He fixes both pieces and now they fit nicely and snugly.

”Thank you, ” I whisper.

”Of course. Lets go now. ”

We walk out of the cave and I toss my old clothes into the fire. My new life has begun, its time to leave everything else behind.

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