1 1. Mate.

Hazel flipped her hair over her shoulders, staggering on the street as steady as she could manage with several shopping bags in both hands. Her brunette hair with golden highlights at the ends looked a shade lighter in the scorching sun, her flowey dress free of sweat stains despite. Wireless earphones stuck in her ears connected her to a call as she walked in her high heels while looking at the shops with a frown on her face. "Just where is this damned shop you were talking about?"

The person over the phone said something passerbys couldn't hear but Hazel's audible scoff turned a few heads. Some for another reason. She crossed her arms across her chest, unintentionally accentuating her cleavage through the teasing dip of her dress. Some passing boys whistled at her, and her face grew hot with irritation. 

She glared at them before tidying herself again and said to her friend on the call in a hushed tone, "Girl, don't make me angry. People are staring."

The other person said something else, and Hazel blushed so much her entire face turned beetroot. She pressed her lips in a thin line to recollect herself, but the redness continued to spread from her cheeks to her neck. She took a deep breath and said in a mock angry tone, "Shut it! You're useless." After that, she raised her hand with difficulty, pressed the earphones securely into her ears and kept lugging her shopping bags.

She had so many things in her hands that she found it difficult to even walk in a stable manner. Finally, she reached one of the shops she was looking for and sighed in relief. After that, she handed the bags in her hand to the receptionist, "Hi, can you put this away while I browse?"

The receptionist nodded, and she saw his eyes glide over her outfit before looking back up with the gimmering smile staff only used for rich customers. He called out a staff member to take care of the bags. She went towards the party wear section in the shop and asked the front desk, "Where's the lacey dress that I had ordered?"

The front desk lady smiled. "Wait a moment, ma'am." She called a number and talked to the other person for a while before nodding. Then she said to Hazel, "You'll have to wait fifteen more minutes."

Hazel nodded and sat on the couch.

As she waited, someone else entered the clothing shop. This man was dressed in black suit, his hazel eyes sharp and unblinking under the mellow boutique lights. His strong build and sharp jaw made him look like a model that had jumped right out of the TV.

Now if only there were a smile on his face….

Hazel felt somewhat attracted to him. She couldn't help but stare at him for a long time before she remembered she had a boyfriend! She wanted to hit herself. Focus, Hazel!

Just then, she watched the man going toward the receptionist when his gaze flittered to her. They locked eyes, his stare so sharp she felt like she'd been cut. Then his hand hit the desk with a slam that made both her and the receptionist jolt. The receptionist looked at the man with wide eyes as if she had just seen a ghost, realisation swimming with shock. It was apparent that this man would often come here and create trouble.

Hazel frowned when she saw this scene. Before she could react, he heard the man's enchanting voice that made her tremble from head to toe.

"Where's the shop owner?"

A few men burst into the shop with guns in their hands. They weren't masked, which meant there was a slime chance any victims could escape alive. Their cold gazes darted toward the receptionist as they stood around her without any expressions on their faces.

A bead of sweat trickled down her forehead. "Sir, Mr. Harry can't come in today. He's busy with something. W-Why don't you leave a message behin-"

"You think it's that easy to fool me?!" One of the men with guns cut her off, sneering. 

"Call him again. We will take his grave from here today!" The original man snapped, pulling his own revolver out. 

The receptionist trembled, seeing so many men around her. Her eyes swept right and left, searching for an escape. Just when she was beginning to just escape her fate a young female voice called out behind them. 

"Hey, leave her alone!"

At this time, Hazel, who now regretted ogling the man earlier couldn't help but yell those words out of the blue. Her mouth worked faster than her mind, and when she yelled those words at the men with guns, she immediately regretted it. They literally had guns, what would 'leave them alone' do? She could have escaped while the armed men were distracted with finding the shop owner but god forbid critical thinking filter her actions. 

In the moment of pause, her eyes flitted over the guns, widening at their intricasy and obvious ability to take a life. She had only seen these things in the film and pictures. This was the first time she had witnessed so many guns right in front of her eyes. Her eyes were glued to them, fear sliding down her spine as she eyed the loaded barrels. 

She knew that if she weren't seated right now, she would have fallen onto the ground already because of how weak her knees had become. Fear brought devastating imagery to her head, like ways a bullet could carve a hole into her chest and instantly kill her. She held her breath, and for the remainder of the situation her tongue. 

On the other hand, the man had stopped yelling at the receptionist. Others might see him a normal human being, but he was actually a werewolf, an Alpha at that. And the most special quality of werewolves was that they could easily identify if their mates were around them. When these werewolves got a hint of the mate's presence, they would go crazy and out of control in an instant.

Right now, the man's situation was also similar to that. As soon as he entered the shop and stopped right in front of the receptionist, his heart started beating faster and faster, but not for a reason he could identify at the time. His eyes widened as his sharp gaze glanced around the shop before stopping on a certain girl sitting on the couch.

There was silence, real life's equivalent to films' tension building soundtrack, when the wolf within his consciousness screamed in ecstasy. "MATE!"

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