(day 1)

"That the best you got?" Dillan smirks at me as I throw another tragically aimed punch towards him.

I'm suppose to be taking private lessons with Dillan daily until I'm strong enough to participate in regular training and fitness classes. One would think that after four years of high school athletics along with my natural werewolf abilities I would be in excellent shape. Apparently not.

I didn't sleep more than five minutes last night. For starters, I was still in shock that I had run into Brian. My wolf refused to calm down, and she desperately wanted to go comfort her mate-to fix my wrongdoings. It didn't help that Brian came back to my room at least once every hour. He never came in, just paced in front of my door until someone convinced him to go back to bed. Of course, he always returned.

Once I gave up on sleeping, I snuck out of my room during a small period when Brian wasn't around. I didn't really think about where I was going, but when I arrived at the track I figured now was as good a time as every to do some running. Which is what I kept doing until Dillan approached me an hour and half later, informing me that it was time to start training.

I roll my eyes at him. "Well maybe if you taught me something instead of sitting on your lazy ass I would do a little better!"

Dillan chuckles, shaking his head. "Okay, well, for one thing, you're trying too hard. You've got the power, but you're overthinking it. Slow it down, and think it through. Try again."

I sigh. My thoughts are being consumed with guilt and my desperate attempts to focus on something other than Brian are failing. I throw another punch and this time I actually manage to make contact with his face. He stumbles back, surprised, but gives an approving nod.

"Better. But can you handle..." He paused momentarily, and catches me off guard by flipping me around and pinning me to the wall. "This?" He finishes with a smirk.

I huff and am about to fire back a less than lady like comment when a sudden growl causes both of us to tense up. Without turning around I already know who it is. The intoxicating scent of my mate is evidence enough.

Dillan pulls back and bares his neck to Brian. "We are just finishing up her first lesson." He says formally.

Brian relaxes and the faint glow of his eyes dim as he finds control over his wolf. He has such gorgeous eyes. I could just loose myself in them...

"Ahem." Dillan coughs awkwardly and I feel my face heat up. I completely zoned out. Brian smirks proudly. Clearly my attraction towards him was obvious.

Well he is your mate, my wolf tells me.

I inwardly shake my head. I can't fall into this trap. Yes, he is insanely handsome. Yes, he is the other half of my soul. But no, I can't do this.

"I was just stopping by to let you know that there's a business meeting my father would like you to attend, Meredith." He speaks smoothly. God, I have chill bumps at the way my name rolls from his lips, which are so full and kissable...

Meredith, snap out of it!

Blinking my eyes I fumble for words. "Oh um, yeah of course. Sure. Right now?"

He grins and gives me a small nod. "Yes, if that's alright."

Fabulous. Just fabulous. I nod my head and walk swiftly pass him. I hear him turn and start to walk behind me, and I can imagine Dillan giving him a thumbs up as we leave.

We take a different turn than I expect, and I open my mouth to ask why when Brian cuts me off. "The meeting is actually in the parlor today, so we won't be going in his office."

A simple "Oh." is all I can get out. I can't think straight with him this close to me. It takes all my strength to not wrap my body around him and pant like a stupid puppy.

"Not much of a talker, are you?" He comments.

"I am. It's just due to the awkwardness of the situation, I'm being rather reserved." I say formally. I have to approach this as a business matter. Not a relationship.

"It doesn't have to be awkward. "He glances at me and winks, sending a thousand butterflies into a full frenzy within my stomach. "I am your mate, after all."

I gulp, there was that word. The 'm' word. "Brian..." I start, but he cuts me off again.

"No, you agreed to give me a week to win you over. No talking about how you won't accept me, at least not until later." I hear, no, feel the pain he's experiencing by saying these words and it hurt me just as much.

"And right now, my one week starts." He says as we stop at the closed doors of the parlor.

"You're first attempt to win my heart involves a business meeting?" I say disbelievingly.

He flashes his mischievous smile. "Well...actually I lied. There is no business meeting." Before I can react he opens the parlor doors, revealing a beautiful room. Crystal chandeliers hang, very expensive furniture and china cabinets decorate the space, and a gorgeous balcony tops off the scene. Oh, and I can't possibly forget about the vast arrangement of fruits, Belgium waffles, bacon, eggs, and every other imaginable brunch food sitting along the wall.

It is breathtaking. Both the room, along with its delectable food, and just the fact the Brian lured me into a date by making me think I was going to a business meeting. I am slightly annoyed that he lied to me, but only slightly. It melts my heart that he thinks enough about me to do something like this.

I hadn't noticed that my mouth was hanging open. Closing it and straightening my shoulders I say, "Well I guess I should've suspected something when Dillan didn't come with us." I turn to Brian, who was sporting a triumphant look, and roll my eyes.

"This is nice. But I'm not hungry." I cross my arms and give him a serious look.

Just my luck, however, that as the words leave my mouth a very loud growl rumbles from my stomach. Great, just great. I sigh and look down, then glance back up to see Brian with an eyebrow raised and a smirk.

"Ladies first." He says motioning me to walk in. I guess I don't really have a choice. I did say I would give him a week.

He places his hand on my lower back, guiding me forward. He really must be trying to kill me, I almost faint.

After filling our plates with heaping amounts of food-another fun fact about werewolves, we have an insanely large appetite- we sit on the balcony. I immediately dig in and am halfway through my first waffle when I notice his gaze fixated on me. For a normally confident person, I feel unnaturally insecure and vulnerable in front of him.

"There's no need to feel that way, love. You're by far the most beautiful creature I've ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. You are truly perfect, in every way,"

I blush and look down. I forgot he now has full access to my thoughts, and I his. After a few silent moments, I manage to choke out the words,

"So, um, are you gonna just stare at me while I eat or say something?"

He does nothing but grin and sit back in his chair, while continuing to look at me.

"What? Do I have something on my face? In my teeth?" I drop my fork on my plate and huff.

He just keeps staring at me. I know this is pointless, he is going to keep doing it until I give him what he wants.

I roll my eyes and sigh. Reluctantly, I open up the mate bond and reply to him using our mind link.

"Fine. You win this time. I'm talking, or rather thinking, to you. Happy?"

"Very much so." He answered out loud. Leaning forward, he takes a few bites of his food before saying, "So, Meredith, tell me about yourself."

I debate on whether or not to answer his question. I don't want to get to attached to him, or vice versa. Then again, we'll have to get to know each other sooner or later.

"I'm an only child. I can't stand cats, but dogs don't bother me. I'm allergic to strawberries. My favorite color is blue, like sapphires." Like your eyes, I add silently. "I have a deathly fear of chickens." I finish, blushing at the last note. It's something I typically get made fun of for.

I'm expecting a smart remark, but instead Brian just nod.s "Note to self, don't bring any cats or chickens around you."

I show him the slightest hint of a smile. "What about you?" I ask, taking a sip of orange juice.

He pauses to think for a minute before replying. "Favorite color is red. Me and other animals don't really get along. I'm not allergic to anything. I had a brother, but he died when he was five, almost six."

He looks down and I instantly feel his loss. "What happened?" I ask softly. "I mean, if you don't mind be asking."

Brian sighs before looking back at me. "His name was Matthew, and he was five when it happened. The Spanish Alpha brought a few wolves along with his daughter, Carmen, to visit us a couple of years ago for business matters. She was just three years older than Matt, but they were both old enough that their wolves knew they were true mates. He went mad when both my father and his told him he would have to wait until they were older to claim her, so he snuck in her room and marked her one night. Someone caught him, and he ran for it. Fell in the pool and drowned while he was trying to escape, and since he marked Carmen, their lives were tied together. She died along with him." He pauses. "Needless to say we're no longer on good terms with that pack."

I instinctively reach my hand forward and placed on his cheek, and he sinks into my touch. I want to regret this, but my wolf is too pleased that she was able to comfort her mate.

After what seems like hours, but probably only seconds, he looks back up at me. I pull my hand away and look down, unsure of what to say.

Brian clears his throat before speaking, "It's alright, no need to dwell in the past. He's in a better place. So, you said you like to read? What kind of books do you like?"

"Oh, just the normal sappy stuff...like romance books and dramas. Not really into supernatural books, though." I give a small laugh at the irony of my last remark.

"Not very accurate, are they?" He chuckles.

"I mean come on!" I groan, "Werewolves aren't really like what you see in Twilight movies, people!"

We continue to make small talk, and get to know each other. I find out that he likes to write too, and I even agree to show him some of my works later on. Also, we both want to travel and see the world. He tells me about his trip in Italy, and how there's a small restraunt on the countryside that has the best food. I tell him some of the adventures me and Maggie would go on in our small town in South Carolina, and he tells me stories of him being a ridiculously stupid pup and always getting into trouble. I am slightly jealous that I haven't grown up in a pack like him. I ca tell by the way his face lights up when he talks about some of his pack mates-especially Dillan-that he is very close with them.

He walks me back to my room after it becomes clear that I am very tired from not sleeping and training most of the morning. "So," Brian grins once we stop at my door, "Will you let me take you to dinner tonight?"

"Wow, two dates in one day? Not scared you're over doing it?" I tease with a smile. Although, technically, there's is no such thing as overdoing it when it comes to dominant werewolves and their mates.

He rolls his eyes playfully. "Oh come on. At least let me walk you down the the pack dinner tonight. I'll save the actual dinner date for tomorrow." He winks.

"Fine." I give in, but I don't mind his overbearing nature so much. I'm not going to get to enjoy it much longer, anyways.

"Great," he smiles. His eyes softened, and he looked at me in awe. I love how he looks at me, it makes me feel so treasured and beautiful.

"That's because you are," he says through our mind link.

I raise an eyebrow. "Eavesdropping now are we?"

"It is my right," he shrugs. "Can I ask something of you?"

I nod, ignoring his little comment, and he continues. "I want to leave my scent on you. So other males will know that you've been claimed. May I?"

"How do you plan to do this?" I ask.

He gives a sly smile and leans forward, his breath tingling my neck like little sparks. He blows softly on the spot where I would bear his mark-if I accepted him, that is.

I close my eyes and struggle to not let out a moan of pleasure. This is something that to any ordinary human, would seem strange. But to a werewolf, there was just something so beautifully intimate about having your mate's scent on you.

He moves his lips to my ear and whispers, "Like that."

My eyes snap open and I look at him. He had another triumphant look on his face, and I'm mildly angry with myself for not staying in control.

"I never said yes."

He shrugs, "Are you telling me you would have rather I not done that?"

I open and close my mouth a few times, feeling quite flustered. I'm still overwhelmed by how great he smells standing this close to me.

"Thought so." He smirks. He gently lifts my hand and presses a soft kiss on the top.

"I'll see you tonight, " he says with a smile, then turns and walks away.

I quickly slip into my room and lock the door behind me, desperately trying to catch my breath. I have to remain strong. It's for his own good. For my own good.

For my own good? Who am I kidding, I'm in love with this guy. I want him, I want to love him, to hold him, to complete the Blood Rites. How can I ignore him? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I accepted him...

I shake my head hard at the thought. I'm not caving, but maybe I can allow myself to indulge just a little. Enjoy the time I have with him now before I cut him off completely. That isn't fair, though, to him. Why am I even doing this?

"Someone is drooling." Maggie sings as she walks in. I blink my eyes rapidly, trying to collect myself. I finally manage to send her a somewhat convincing glare. Maggie laughs.

I throw myself back onto my bed. "Maggie, he's gorgeous. There would be something wrong with me if I wasn't drooling." I say.

"So just drop this whole feminist act and you can drool all you want." She replies.

"It's not that simple."
"Yes it is."
"No its not."
"Okay, whatever you say."

"Okay." I roll over onto my stomach, allowing my thoughts to wander to the land of what could be. I can so easily picture myself wrapped in his arms, snuggled close, his scent washing over me as he kisses the spot where he's marked me...I see him kissing my round stomach that carries his child inside. I moan, this is antagonizing.

Amidst my thoughts, I didn't notice that Maggie had placed herself beside me. "Meredith?" She prompts.

"No." I reply keeping my eyes closed.

"Yes," she says softly, "everything will be okay in the end. I'll stick by you regardless. I think I know why this is so difficult for you, and I'm here in anyway that you need me. Best friends 'till the end, right?"

She didn't have a clue. There was no way she would, she wasn't there the night I declared that I would never take a mate. I give her a tiny smile and nod my head. "Best friends 'till the end," I agree and push my guilty conscience to the side .

Maggie places her hand on my forehead, sending gentle waves that calme my wolf, but only slightly.

"What am I going to do?" I mutter weakly. Exhaustion is consuming me, but my mind won't shut off until I finish thinking this through.

She pauses, then says, "What do you want to do?"

"I don't know..."

"Yes you do. Don't lie to me, I know you better than you know yourself." Maggie speaks sternly, but with love. She is just trying to help me, I remind myself.

"He's mine." I whisper.

"Then be with him." When I don't reply, she gives me an exasperated sigh to let me know how she feels.

"I was going to tell you to give him a chance, but that's bad advice. You're already doing that. You already know that you love him and that you want to spend the rest of your life with him. So no, I won't tell you to give him a chance. Give yourself a chance."

I don't say anything in reply, but I let my brain ponder on those last words as I slowly drifted off into a deep, dreamless sleep. My last thought is of the future I could have with Brian.