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Rejected Mate and Following Fate novel Chapter 18

Chapter 18: Changing Times

After Juan is done making his announcement, the Santos start to file out of the room slowly, in a wave of murmurs and noises as they discuss what was said, and where we go from here. You can feel the tension thickening, the uneasiness, and nervousness, as it sinks in that this is real and life as we know it is about to change dramatically. Colton pulls me aside, tucking us out of the way of the door to let people pass, and grabs a passing male who is very familiar to me.

"Matteo, take Alora to our room and wait for me there. Assemble the pack, I want to talk to you all. I won't be long; my father wants me." He nods out towards the front of the room, where Juan's still concealed by moving people and I instantly feel sick with apprehensive. 

Being left with someone and separated from Colton reminds me, that for all the things I am mad at him about, I still feel secure when with him. He's my safety net, and the only person in the world who cares about me in any kind of way. His strength, his quiet confidence, and air of control, is the calm to my nervous floundering and it only hit's home, that I need his presence more than I want to admit.

"Dude, I don't think that's good idea. Carmen and Alora in the same room…. she will…."

"Are you questioning me?" Colton's tone instantly changes, ha growling snarl in the undertones, irritation fast to show his displeasure and that aggressive air kicking in as Matteo looks away sheepishly. Knowing he overstepped the mark. Questioning of a command never goes down well with alphas of any sort, especially not by one of his own sub pack and it shows me that Colton is way more patient with me than even his closest.

"No, mi alfa, pido disculpas." Matteo responds in fluent Spanish, lowering his head and displaying his regret. Showing the demanded respect, obviously chastised as his leader is Colton, apologizing and addressing him as alpha.

We have one major rule in our world. Never query your alpha, for any reason, and never disobey. I forgot what that was like when living severed from any real pack and only having to follow basic rules in the home. Being here reminds me how it used to be when my family was alive, and we all followed Samuel Whyte, before his family was taken down and never returned.

It makes me rethink Colton's refusal to defy his father and leaves me churning it over in my head, a new angle on a frustrating situation. Reality sinking in, that just because I lived outside of the restraints and rules of our social norm for a decade, doesn't mean he has.

Colton and Matteo, they're a sub pack, a smaller group divided from the main and lorded over by a single dominant. Colton! This is how large packs like the Santos keep everything running smoothly. They're called Beta packs, or Subs, and much like the hierarchy of leadership, even the sub packs rank in order of importance and command. Like smaller units in a bigger army, with ranking officers, and Colton's right up there in the top five. His father's pack of beta second commanders, are number one.

The order is dependent on skill, experience, and how battle worn they are, and Colton's sub pack were of an age to defend us ten years ago. They all tasted real war on our lands. Even so young. It's why they train together every day and are some of our most capable soldiers when needs be. I should never forget, that even though Colton is not yet the Santo Alpha, he is one in his own right, and in his own sub pack, and I underestimate the importance of his responsibilities. He isn't just some nineteen-year-old high school jock with his eye on a future crown, he's already a commander, already performing his duty and caring for his pack.

"Go with him, he'll keep you safe. He's as close as a brother to me." Colton leans in, pulling me to him so he can talk softly, almost nose to nose, that gentler tone waving through me and breaking down my defenses. That sweet look I now know is only reserved for me, and he reluctantly pushes me towards Matteo until a hand lands on my shoulder. An unfamiliar touch and I flinch at the contact but try to hide it.

"The rest of the pack are not going to like this." Matteo points it out, raising a brow at Colton, but is met with a blank stare that I can tell was a move from verbal conversation to mind. Whatever Colton says, Matteo looks away again, and gently taps me to nod towards the door that people are filing out of. He flushes lightly, his face reddening high in his cheek bones and I guess he got a quiet dressing down away from listening ears. To save face, Colton didn't do it outright, showing he cares about his friend, even if he was pissed at his questioning his authority.

I Won't be long. Try and not engage with Carmen. His voice is like a last lingering stroke, giving me tingles as I move to leave him. I nod at him, not anywhere close to feeling as confident as I pretend, before turning on my heel, steeped in nervous energy, and let Matteo guide me with that single hand on my shoulder.


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