Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 83: New Mexico

“Hey, Hey, wake up.” Carmen rouses both of us from peaceful sleep and I can see the daylight is
turning dim as it gets close to sunset already. We both passed out and must have been unconscious
for hours after their little argument.

“Where are we.” I rub my eyes, stifling a yawn and stretch out like a cat, uncurling my limbs from the
awkward position I’ve been in.

“New Mexico, you better call Sierra as we crossed over a while back and I headed for Deming. That’s
where Meadow said, right?” Carmen clicks her head from right to left to stretch out her neck and I can
tell she’s exhausted from being the driver for so long. There are dark shadows under her eyes, and I
can’t be sure, but there’s a telltale rosy glow across her cheeks, and nose, that hint that she might have
been crying at some point. She seems fine now but my stomach lurches in sorrow that she chose time
alone to cry out some of the pain she’s carrying and never woke us up for company.

“Yeah, I did.” Meadow stretches, yawns and balls a fist in her mouth as she wakes and uncurls properly
beside me, a mirror to what I just did, and I giggle at her. “I’ll call Sierra and tell her we need more
specifics. We made good time!”

Meadow yanks out the cell, blinking at it groggily before she blanches and rubs her eyes before facing
the screen to me. It’s a text from Sierra, as though she knew exactly where we were and a more
specific location to continue our journey onward. Spooky but then again, she is a seer and she had to
know roughly around what hour we would hit New Mexico.

The location is a road, in Deming that’s near an address, but she’s told us the house is only an anchor
point and once we get there, we would have to find her ourselves. To stay alert and watch for signs.
Whatever that means.

Meadow furrows a brow as she repeats it all again, confused at the vagueness, but texts her back with
a thanks anyway. There’s not much else we can ask her for if that’s all she knows.

“She must be tracking us with the locator spell, keeping tabs.” Meadow shrugs as if that’s the only
possible answer to her knowing exactly where we were at this point in time and I smile softly. Warmed
by her attentive care even when we have travelled far from home.

“She’s a seer…. she has gifts we don’t know about and maybe she just knows where we are…
instinctually.” I shrug, forgetting for a second that she mentioned she no longer has visions since she
awoke, but I’m sure she has other skills that might still be working.

“About that…. one of these days can someone please explain all the witch stuff, and gifts, and all that
crap to me. I only know what I heard and what was shared in mind link. It still kind of freaks me out
knowing Colton and Sierra are witches. And you’re……” Carmen flushes red and turns away hastily,
eyes averted quickly with heat spreading to her forehead and I know it’s not a shy response. Its
emotion, to the part of me she sees as the enemy, the part of me that is responsible for her mother’s
end. It’s the same response I had when I found out what I was. That underlying hatred for being any
kind of link to those monsters that did that to people I cared about.

“When this is over, I’m sure Colton can tell you himself.” I smile gently, throwing in as much charm and
honest softness as I can, and Meadow throws me a look that says, ‘you’re insane’! I know she doesn’t
get why I would insist my man and his ex would interact, but she is overly jealous on her best days, so I
don’t expect her to get it. Being Luna, it makes things different in how I feel about wolves in my pack. I
trust Colton, I know he would never betray me, and he sees Carmen as only someone in his pack that
he’s responsible for now. The sooner I normalize her being around him in our home, then the sooner I’ll
get over my past with her and the insecurity I still have when she’s near him.

“We’re not that far from Deming and this location is right on this outer edge of that town.” Meadow has
pulled up google maps on her cell and shows it to Carmen, giving her new directions in where to head
as I direct up at the sky and point out the obvious. Slight unease coming over me as I see how much
duller it is now.

“It’s getting dark, shouldn’t we think about getting somewhere before the sun sets and lay low?” I ask in
hesitation, but Meadow pats the dash with a smile, almost lovingly.

“The vampires couldn’t get into the homestead; I doubt they can get into this little beauty. If we keep
going until we get there and then we can’t get a lock on any real location to where to go, we’ll sleep in
here, wherever we end up. Who knows, maybe the fates will bless us, and we find the witch before sun
down.” She seems a little too sure that our metal chariot is as safe as can be but I am not so sure I
want to put it to the test in the dark. We barely got through he wolf attack unscathed and we were
moving. Besides, the wolves seemed too dumb to figure they could hurl boulders and trees at us, I’m
sure vampires will have the sense.

“Hmmm, shouldn’t have brought along the walking curse if you expected a smooth trip.” Carmen smirks
in a self-depreciating manner but Meadow doesn’t miss a beat, or an opportunity to put her back in her

“I brought you as a distraction, quick vampire snack if we need to make a run for it.” She clicks her
fingers to emphasize the point and again they lock eyes and have themselves a short simmering visual
battle. I give up trying to stop this with those two and look at the road ahead instead, internally sighing
at this constant war and try my best to ignore it.

“Okay, so we head for Eighth Street. There’s apparently a nearby park or forest, she says the locator is
sitting there and that somewhere around is the presence of that witch.” Meadow goes back to the text
to check details and Carmen follows signs as she drives, focusing her attention and relieving me of
their bickering for now. The air is turning colder as night comes in and the atmosphere turns serious
and tense as the end of our journey begins to get close.

We left at dawn, and it’s around dinner now but at this time of the year the sun sets early. We don’t
have much daylight before it sets completely and I’m understandably on edge as we push onward.

“Here!” Meadow hands the cell to Carmen, with a satnav app bleeping away as she nestles it on the
dash where she can glance at it, against the dials and fuel light symbols so she has a clue where to go
without searching for road signs.

“Any idea what we’re meant to do or say to find her? I mean we can’t just walk up to humans and ask
where the witch is.” Carmen raises a brow, looking somewhat skeptical about how this is meant to
work, and I shrug tiredly, also unsure but we have to trust the fates aren’t leading us a merry dance.

“We have her name, maybe we just ask if anyone knows her. I guess someone might have met her or
knows of her whereabouts and we can just say we’re visiting from out of town and want to surprise
her.” I try for helpful suggestions and flinch when the phone beeps in another tone, indicating a text and
Meadows slides it back as I see Sierra’s name pop up.

“Sierra has added an afterthought and said to watch for the birds… she said look for black ravens, that
the more of them there are, it’s probably because she’s close.” She too shrugs, a quizzical expression
taking over her face as she widens her eyes in an ‘okaaaay’ kind of gesture that unifies the fact all
three of us have no actual clue as to how we are meant to find her. I narrow my eyes, exhaling heavily
at this lack of logical help from Sierra.

“That’s weird.” Is the only contribution I have for now.

“So are witches.” Meds points out and I smile at that, breaking the strained moment with a little
affectionate teasing of our kin, and it reminds me of my missing mate. Sierra and Colton do have their
own special charms but yeah, at times they can both be weird. There’s no getting around that fact at

“So, we’re looking for a bird version of a spooky cat lady who has a fondness for living in woods,
despite being right near a town? Is she old, young…. eats children? Do we need to crumble
breadcrumbs along the highway in hopes of accidently falling upon her gingerbread house.” Carmen

quizzes with a deadpan tone and a serious expression that somehow amuses me, despite her lack of
emotion. This time I do laugh out loud, at the girl’s weird dry humor that I never realized she even
possessed. A childhood visual of the old witch from the library Hansel and Gretel book pops into my
head and only increases the giggles I exude.

“I hope not, I’m barely grown, and she might add me to tonight’s menu. I’m too big for an oven!” I point
out between snorts of stupid laughter and Meadow caves and starts giggling too, lightening our whole
mood. I guess the tension and the heavy weight of this journey has us strung out enough, that even a
lame joke like this has enough power to break the strings and have us erupt. It’s needed, between us,
this bonding over awful jokes.

“She’s immortal, and powerful…. if that was me, I would make sure I look forever young, or at least
make enough anti-wrinkle cream to stall time for a few centuries.” Meadow is the first to calm back to a
straight face, wiping her eye where a tear had formed, and she snuggles up beside me once more in
this new less hostile atmosphere.

“Yeah, but three thousand years? I’m sure even the strongest Botox is going to struggle with that
timeline.” I point out, thinking back to Meadow finding an article about Botox and humans preserving
their youth some months back. She was unimpressed with how vain she considered humans to be and
the extreme measures they would take to fight the aging cycle. Easy to judge when wolves literally
don’t age like that and we stay healthy and youthful until we die. We reach adulthood, sort of around
the looks of a thirty-year-old human when we get to that age and then we stay that way.

“Um Meadow…. Luna Alora, um …. look.” Carmen draws our attention up into the sky over our head
with a pointed finger up at the windshield and it’s hard not to miss the unmistakable flock of large black
birds flying level with us, at our speed, even if they are like thirty foot up above us. “That has to be a
coincidence, right?” She murmurs and throws us a highly doubtful eyebrow rise that is matched with
our own falling expressions.

“I don’t believe in coincidences.” I point out, casting my mind back to a certain forest that led me East
so long ago. The fates always find a way and this time, it’s ravens. “Follow them” I command surely, a
wave of excitement tremoring deep in my belly that this has to be a sign that we’re on the right path,
but Carmen looks a little unsure, glancing to me and the window back and forth with hesitation under
that etched brow of hers.

“I don’t think we can! I think they’re following us….. do we stop? What do we do?”

“No. Stick to the route. Maybe they’re just keeping tabs for now.” Meadow at least seems surer and I’m
glad I’m not the only one who is a little freaked out about our escorts appearing as we discussed them.
How did they even know? This has to be in connection to the witch and the fates have to be playing
along. It’s all too coincidental!

“Sierra said she’s powerful, right?…. Witches can be seers. Maybe she knows. Maybe she already
knows we’re here and we’re looking for her?” I query and clasp Meadows hand unsurely, nerves
hitching in my chest, my breathing becoming labored as my palms get clammy and I stiffen all over. I
catch Carmen out of the corner of my eye taking a steadying deep breath to reel her own emotions
back to calm. Anxiety filling the air around us as we all fall somber now that we’re faced with the
possible next step of our task. So much is resting on us finding her and I can only prey she is as
approachable and willing to help as Sierra thinks she is.

“Guess we’ll find out soon enough, Chicas. I hope Sierra is right, and this is a friend, not foe. Else we
drove ourselves hundreds of miles, just to become crow food.” Meadow doesn’t seem so sure now
either and I know the witchy side of Sierra and Colton is still something she isn’t sure of. She admitted
to me a while back it unnerves her, makes her mistrust on some level. This power, these abilities, and
she gets nervous around them when they glow blue because it’s just not something she has ever lived
around, even before she came to the mountain. It’s sweet in a funny kind of way but I get it. She relies
on the physical attributes and her steady strong wolf self. Magical, almost mystical powers, freak her

Carmen gasps and jolts us slightly with a swerve as a huge black raven drops right out of the sky
without warning and almost collides with our windshield at the speed we’re doing. She slams on the
breaks impulsively, gritting her teeth and clenching the wheel, throwing us forward in her emergency
stop that almost ends me face bashing the dash and saves the shield from eating crow ass by mere
millimeters. The damn thing just casually lands on the bonnet, turns to us and pecks the glass
nonchalantly before flying to our right and taking off again in some snarky, sassy, crow manner, that
screams of smug attitude. The little asshole practically smiled at us!

We all turn, bug eyed, mouths gawping, and watch where it goes and then crap ourselves and almost
die of simultaneous heart attacks, squealing in unison like feeble girls, as the entire flock of black
ravens shoot right across the truck, like a black swipe. Skimming the roof, blocking out the light, and
windshield, so we’re drowned out by a bizarre loud noise of beating wings and zooming air, impossible
to ignore. Visually we follow it to the right, exposing a very grimy, overgrown and barely visible dirt road
between unkempt trees. Almost obediently we all crane our necks to stare at the dense undergrowth in
stunned silence, poised and watching as we all attempt to calm our breathing and ponder what this just

“I think we follow the birds now?” Meadow points out, clutching her chest and fanning her face to
recover from the heart failure we all experienced. Those damn birds, I swear if I catch one I’ll wring it’s
scrawny neck for scaring us like that.

“I don’t wanna.” I almost whine, all my senses on edge and now I’m the one freaking out with the
insane animal behavior that almost made us crash.

“You come all this way to chicken out now? What kind of Luna are you?” Carmen smirks at me,
seemingly much braver than I am, and throws the wheel to the right as she puts the pedal to the gas
again, pushing us on to follow the dirt track. We start to bounce and sway over the uneven terrain as
she crawls us slowly and the truck groans and crunches in protest at having to mount grass. She slows

right down as we inch onto the overgrown road that might not be all that great for a heavy slow truck
with crap suspension.

“It’s okay. We’re safe in here, remember. The rune symbols!” Meadow tries to ease my worry, catching
my hand in hers and squeezing it reassuringly as I reach out and catch hold of the dash to steady
myself, while I blanche at her.

“It’s HER spell, she wrote it! … I’m sure it doesn’t do shit when it’s up against her.” I point out sternly,
fear lacing my tone with hostility, and even Carmen gawps at me this time. Her eyes widening before
she moves to that familiar eye roll and exhales haughtily.

“For the love of god. Who arms themselves with magical safety nets that were sewn together by the
person they are about to drop in on and might not be happy about it? … We do, that’s who. Masters of
intelligence here! Why did I ever agree to this.” She scoffs, snorting at how stupid this plan seems to be
as she slows down further to hit rough and rocky road under the overgrown grass, and the truck starts
swaying so wildly that it’s impossible to hold on. Getting harder to inch forward at all as the wheels
catch in ditches and spin before kicking us back out amid a spray of flying mud.

“I don’t want to be the one to say this but…” Carmen starts and Meadow finishes

“We have to go by foot. We can’t risk the truck getting stuck here. We have to go back at some point,
so we need this.”

“Really?” I spin on her and raise my palms in shocked panic, my voice three decibels higher as my
heart suffers a spasm of crazy beats. “Why can’t we go find a place to wait out the night. It’s getting
dark! Who knows how far down this path we have to trek and then still find her and get back again. This
doesn’t seem smart or brave, or needed…. or something Colton would ever approve of!.” I practically
wail it at her. I know I’m the Luna, but with all things tactical, then Meadow is the one I trust most to
decide on a course of action. Colton made her his beta for a reason, but seriously though, right now, I

wonder about the sanity of this Chica. I may have once killed a bear and trekked alone for weeks, but
that was before I became tired, pampered, and scared of fog spells and lurking witches!

“We can hyper speed, get as far as we can and if it looks like the birds are taking us further and it’s
getting dark, we come back and call it off until morning. It’s not like we’re incapable of holding off a
vamp or two. We are bad ass bitches, Chica, we can hold our own for a short stretch of running.”
Meadow seems amused by my reluctance, talking to me as though I’m her child and continues to
squeeze my hand as though coaxing a toddle. I glare at her and try so hard to remind myself that I am
the one who’s meant to be in charge here, braver, fiercer , and I need to stop wussing out.

“Ughhhhh, can we just go. Sitting here isn’t doing anything!” it’s Carmen this time, also looking at me
like she’s disappointed in my fear, and I screw my eyes shut to calm my racing heart and nod.

“Okay…. But if it feels wrong, or it gets too dark…” I plead and Meadow nods before I finish my
whispering, shaky demands.

“I know, okay. I don’t plan on being reckless. I plan on us getting home in one piece to break that damn
curse. Stay alert, if it feels wrong, we come back. I promised Cole I would always protect you and I
don’t plan on letting him down.” The softness in her eyes, the appearance of mist adding shine as
emotion makes her voice tremble, almost ends me. My heart swelling with the mention of him and the
genuine love I see in her face.

“Right. I’ll go first. It’s not like I have anything to go home for.” Carmen jumps out without hesitation, not
waiting for my permission, like it even matters, and we follow using our own door. I feel like I’m
dragging a dead weight after sitting for so many hours, and my apprehension isn’t exactly making me
limber on my feet.

Meadow locks the truck with the keys Carmen hands off and we turn and stare at the trees where the
birds seem to be patiently waiting on us. It’s unnerving and they are all quietly staring this way, all forty

of them, like miniature models of fake birds, with that one larger especially jet black one in the center
and looking like maybe he’s the leader of the bird crew. That little asshole who scared us half to death.
I have my eye on that one for sure.

“You ever seen that movie, Birds?” Carmen asks flippantly, before swiping up a long blade of grass and
wandering ahead first as though this is a casual ramble in the woods between friends. She picks out a
path to lead and we shift and walk behind her, intrigued by this sudden pop quiz of movies.

“No, what happens?” I ask innocently, aware Meadow is right behind me as we walk in a line and she’s
checking behind us every few steps, on high alert and watching for any possible danger.

“They kill and eat people in flocks much like that… peck out their eyes, brains…. organs… it’s kinda
gross. Evil little bastards.” She shrugs, again with the deadpan tone of indifference and I gawp at her
back and seriously wonder what kind of wrong goes on in this girls head.

“Way to make us all feel at ease, Puta!” Meadow chirps in, a tone of ‘really?’ while pushing me to walk
faster with a little lumber shove and Carmen almost gets run over as we start to pick up speed.

“Just saying, watch the little shitheads. Never turn your back on a flock of angry birds.” She seems to
be taking delight in raising my blood pressure to the highest level possible and Meds shakes her head
at her, a low growl of shut up wavering subtly.

“Yeah well, I doubt birds have any real effect on angry werewolves. Now run… we ain’t got all day.” She
snaps at her, trying to end this conversation and I get another aggressive jab to my spine to hurry me
onward. I eyeroll at Meadow’s sudden pushiness and throw her back a snarky glare to tell her to be
less handsy, but yet still obey.

Carmen breaks into a run as commanded, then stops abruptly, and I collide painfully, right into her back
and then Meadow into me, letting out muffled cries and protests as we tumble into an ungraceful heap.
Falling over one another clumsily, and then groaning as I scrap my palm and knee on the rough terrain.

“What the hell.” I whimper and pull a stray thorn out of my finger, casting an angry narrowed frown at
Carmen for her stupid halt.

“Meadow, ravens can’t hyper speed and we are following them…” she points out with that superior tone
that I know will make Meadow want to punch her in the throat, and I throw Meadow back an ‘oh, she
has a point’ kind of look. There goes her fast run plan and getting there and back at speed. I knew we
should have waited in the damn truck and now we have to rely on following birds who can only move at
natural speed.

Almost as if on cue, they scatter from the trees in a clapping of wings, a rustling of leaves, where they
have been waiting and head further back in the direction they are leading before landing on trees in the
near distance. Urging us on and we hesitate for a moment, looking up at the disappearing sun in
almost synchronized unison, sighing that we may not get another chance, and move to follow without