The shrill ringing of her mobile sliced through her dreams. Allie groaned awake, experienced a moment of searing pain when she pried her eyes open and squeezed her lids shut again; she rolled over and buried her head under the pillow. After three rings, the phone cut to voicemail. The blessed silence lasts for maybe a minute. Then it rang again.
Throwing off the covers, she set both feet on the floor, head pounding, vision swimming, and by the time she's managed to rise into a swaying stand, the phone fell silent again. Allie didn't trust it anymore, though, so she clambered across the room and fished it out of the jeans she'd kicked off last night, a carelessly crumpled heap.
Two new voicemails, the phone's screen lit up. The information sat above the preview of a text from Ashton, and why is he even awake when it's, what, seven in the fucking morning?
Then it dawned on her that it's the start of the sports season. Slapping her forehead, she quickly asked him to wait near her building while the omega rushed to the bathroom.
Ashton Lahey, her best friend, was already there, leaning against the side of his car with his eyes hidden behind sunglasses, when she stepped down. They have known each other for six months, and she already feels like they have been friends forever. He was an Alpha wolf, so maybe that's why. She naturally trusted him. He pushed his sunglasses up and strolled over to pull her into a tight hug, no hesitation at all. "Ready to go?"
Allie released a slow breath. "No."
He made a noise, stepping back. "Come on! I'll be on the field, so you can come to me."
Oh yeah, her best friend was also on the football team, but she didn't hate him like others. He was more grounded, never let others feel inferior, and most of all, he's very supportive.
"Sure", The omega quietly mumbled. Not that she needed someones to help to kick ass.
Allie was an athlete, a runner, actually, which was why her application got accepted readily. There are not many beta runners, most of them scared to lose against the Alphas, but she wasn't one of them. Nothing excited her more than seeing their sour faces as soon as she beat them.
She was startled from her thoughts when the door to the locker room fell shut with a dull thud. Runners didn't get a locker room; they were only an accessory in the brochure. Only the football douches had a locker room, whereas other players had to cramp in there. As she felt a presence in the room, her head snapped up, eyes instantly settling on the new person in the room. It took her only a second to realise that he was an Alpha.
"I don't think you should be here", The Alpha mumbled, face indifferent as he let his gaze wander over her form. He had chocolate brown curls that framed his sharp features, pointed nose, jaw sculpted by god himself and bright moss green eyes. Allie swallowed, because the man was rather handsome.
"Are you lost?" He added.
The way he said it made her jaw clench. She was taken aback at the brashness in his tone. "Uhh...no?"
"Then you must know that these are the locker rooms of the Alpha-Beta athletes, yeah?" The attractive Alpha raised his brow as he walked further into the room. He stopped in front of a locker not too far off from where Allie was sitting and let his black Nike bag slide to the floor carelessly. Then he turned around again, facing her with crossed arms.
"I know that", She replied and felt her heart rate picking up. The Alpha was a bit intimidating: he was incredibly tall, he looked as if he wouldn't take any bullshit, and he was an Alpha — that was clear as day from the way he held himself and moved around alone. And as much as Allie denied her true gender, and Alpha hovering over her still did things to her traitorous body. It made her feel inferior, for one. Almost wanting to submit to him. And she hated every bit of it.
"What are you implying?" Allie pointedly asked, crossing her arms together, mirroring him.
"I'm implying that you don't belong here," The Alpha said in a bored tone, not at all impressed with her show of bravery. With that, he turned to the nearest locker and proceeded to strip off his shirt. Suddenly the air inside the room felt hot and stuffy, barely allowing her to look anywhere but at his bare upper body on display. Allie couldn't help but stare at the tattoo that littered his chest. A huge symbol. Maybe a pack symbol.
Shaking her head, Allie turned away, gathering her wits in the process. It didn't matter that the Alpha she was fighting was insanely gorgeous. "Sucks for you, then" The omega replied haughtily, "because I am a star runner of the university. I have every right to be here."
There was the rustling of clothes, and she was quite sure that he was stripped of his skinny jeans, about to change into his shorts. Not that she was about to check if her assumptions were true.
"Star runner of the university? But you are an omega, right?"
Dread settled in the pit of her stomach as those words rolled off. Her eyes widened as she felt his eyes behind her. With a calculated breath, Allie turned around and met his eyes. Shit! That was impossible; he couldn't know. There was no way! Could the Alpha smell her? Did that fucking pill fail? Was her dream supposed to be over before it even really began? Damn no! Or maybe he's just trying to corner her.
"What makes you say that? I'm a Beta!" Allie protested as soon as she found her voice. The omega wanted to finish off with an incredulous laugh, to undermine how ridiculous his words were, but the idea that it would come out as nothing more than a scratchy, breathless sound held her back. That would only make the omega seem suspicious.
Out of the corner of her eyes, Allie could see the Alpha move until he suddenly stood in front of her. She had no other chance but to look up at him.
"Oh, I don't know. It's the way you look, mainly. You are dainty. And you have the face of an Omega, pretty and delicate," The Alpha shrugged.
Allie made an offending sound and glared at him. "Gee, thanks! Is this how you judge people? Based on their looks? So stereotypical!" If she sounded bitter, Allie figured she did a good job. Feigning offence was always an excellent way to get people to back off. And also make them guilty.
The Alpha had a furrow between his brows, and his lips were pressed together. She wanted him to go away.
"I didn't mean to upset you," He sounded a little stilted, his voice still unsure.
"Then you can apologise" Allie daringly met his eyes as he picked his cleats.
Instead of that, the Alpha shrugged and walked away as nothing happened. She already hated him.
After the practice, she met up with Ashton and her roommate, Rachel, in the cafeteria. Allie got a smoothie to go along with the sandwich to celebrate the end of her run. That's when two Alphas entered the cafeteria. One of them was the guy who lectured her in the locker room. She noticed multiple people change their sight towards those Alphas, who were walking straight to their table by the way.
"Why is everyone staring at them like that?" She arched her brow, turning to Ashton.
As much as Allie loved her university, she didn't keep up with the gossip. She was also absent for better parts of the month, too busy doing her other activities.
"Because they are celebrities here. Duh"
Rachel slapped her arm. "How do you not know them?!"
Allie refrained from rolling her eyes at the roommate and focused on Ashton instead. Maybe he can answer it for her.
"The one on the left is Nate Harper. He's the football Captain and an Alpha Hellhound. His family owns Harper Stadium, and they are also sponsors of Liverpole, the biggest football team. And beside him is his best friend, Chris Parker. His father is the trustee of this college, and he's also in the team. They are the richest guys of this university."
Rachel dreamily sighed. "And they are also hot."
Ashton snorted. "If you say so."
"You just lack taste" Rachel teased him.
Just then, Nate and Chris stood in front of them, their eyes focused on Ashton. Allie tried not to board at the Nate guy for the way he acted in the locker room. It didn't matter.
"Ashton, why the hell are you sitting here?" Chris spoke up, narrowing his eyes.
Ashton sighed, "Allie over here is my best friend, and I'm catching up with her and Rachel, her roommate."
Both the Hellhounds looked at Allie, who was simply munching on her sandwich, not bothering to spare them a look. She didn't want to associate with the popular guys, except Ashton.
"Oh, I know you."
Nate leaned his elbows on the table to get a closer look at the omega.
Allie opened her mouth to speak, but Nate was pulled back by Ashton. They stood eye to eye as her best friend gritted out. "Seriously, Nate, she's my friend. Stop with your sleazy pick-up lines here. Allie is off-limits."
The Alpha gritted his teeth, his eyes turning dark, but Allie quickly interrupted. "We already met, Ashton."
Nate wriggled his brow. "In the locker room."
Ashton didn't look impressed at all. Her best friend was also shielding her from Nate, which made her wonder. What could be a reason to shield Allie from an Alpha like Nate?