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My Disabled Mate

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Eighteen-year-old Raleigh Rivercrest's life is uncertain, having been an orphan her whole life. Her caretaker's boyfriend and her caretaker are pressuring her to find a home of her own, but Raleigh is unable to provide for herself. She finds solace in her young principal's older brother, Lucien, but he is not what he seems. Lucien is a werewolf, and Raleigh is drawn into the world of werewolves and Alphas. Despite her disability and child-like behavior, Raleigh falls for Lucien. However, their romance is put on hold when an enemy from Lucien's past returns and seems to have a vendetta against Raleigh. Now, Raleigh must protect herself, her pack, and discover the truth of who she is.

Chapter 1

Raleigh’ pov

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm even human.That’s not a weird question, is it? I mean, at some point, I guess everyone has an existential crisis about their identity.

They begin to question the meaning of life and wonder what their purpose for living is.

I’m seventeen, and hell, I’ve been wondering about my purpose of living since I was a baby!I walked begrudgingly to school with a hunch, pausing every now and then to glance at a flower.

I kicked the rocks that had been laying in my path onto the road, scowling.

The air was thick with humidity, the rain slowly seeping into the cracks of the pavement.“And Lexi asks me why my feet hurt every day,” I grumbled under my breath, adjusting the thin straps of my backpack.

I had wanted to go to the Magnet School close by, but it wasn’t close enough to the elementary school, so Lexi didn't let me go.

It appalled most, maybe even all of my teachers when I told them that I’d be joining my classmates at dinky Woodbridge High.

I guess they thought that it was obvious that I'd be going to the Magnet.Surprise, surprise.The sky was an ocean of blue and the clouds resembled thick foam.

The sun beamed down on the Earth, burning my scalp.

Cars zipped past me on the road like they had more important places to go.

Maybe they did.

I didn’t care.

Kids ran on the street opposite of me, screaming their small lungs out.

It began to egg on me, and soon, I felt like marching over to them and screaming my own lungs out, which made me even more aggravated than I already had been.For the past few days—or maybe past month, I had been feeling antsy— like something was going to happen to me.

It was as if I turned my back for a moment and returned with a knife to my throat.My stomach had been tickling a lot lately.

And not like—I have to go to the toilet tickling.

It was the kind of tickling you got whenever you had a good grade on your essay, or you got asked out on a date.Sure, I got good grades, but I had been so used to them I hardly got a jumpy feeling anymore.As for boys—hah! Forget it! I was a match for nobody.As the towering brick building cast its dark shadow over my approaching frame, I decided that I'd tell Mrs.

Cortes about how I had been feeling.

She was one of the few people who really listened to me, much more than the counselor or any of my teachers ever did.And they call me a teacher’s pet.Mrs.

Cortes was the principal of Woodbridge High.

She was pretty young, I thought.

Nowadays, people are getting married in their thirties, so you really can never tell how old someone is,married or not.She has these dark golden eyes—darker than lightning, that can quickly cloud over if she’s angry, although she’s never had an outburst before.

She dyes her hair pretty often, but based off a picture she has on her desk, her natural hair color is dirty blonde, I think.

She’s pretty slim, unlike the last principal we had.

Also differing from our last principal, Mrs.

Cortes is also one of the nicest faculty members of the school.

When I didn’t have any friends, she was the one who gave the exchange student, Logan, and me the push to become friends.

She was also one out of the three people I could trust, maybe not with my life, but at least with a few of my inner conflicts and existential crisis.Logan is a year older than me, even though she'd be graduating with me this year.

I guessed that she got held back a year, but I never asked her.

She never said anything about it, so it wasn’t any of my business.She has dark black hair, like I do, except she has hers in a short style, like a boy.

It reminds me of black licorice and crushed Oreo cookie crumbs.

She has this very pale complexion like she’s always wearing thick layers of sunscreen and wears dark clothing, no matter what mood she’s in.I guess she’s into the goth aesthetic? Or maybe she’s a vampire!Her boyfriend, Drew, is the complete opposite of her.

Shy, reserved, quiet.

Drew and Logan have been dating since freshman year, and according to Logan, it was love at first sight.I had always been the third wheel to them when they were together, which was fine with me,but that didn't mean it didn't hurt.

The painful pang in my chest only seemed to increase whenDrew and Logan announced that they were to be married after high school.

I didn't exactlysupport that—I mean, they really should go to college first, but what else could I do? It’s not mylife.Brushing those dark feelings away, I quickened my pace around the wide building, searching forthe door I used to shortcut my way through the school.

I should be happy for them, I kept thinking.

I should be proud of Logan for finding her other half, yet I couldn't help but feel like avoid was being created deep down in my chest.

Like a part of me was missing, was taken, andchipped away."Good morning, Raleigh," a lively voice chirped.

Usually, a high-pitched voice calling my name without a body would have frightened me, but I was too tired to even flinch.

I knew who it was, anyway.Yawning, I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and waved at the figure leaning on the brick wall.

Mrs.

Cortes was always early and always at school, no matter the day.

It was like she lived inher office.

Or maybe there was a secret door somewhere in her office that led to a room shestayed in!"Morning, Mrs.

Cortes." I yawned.

"Still early?" Mrs.

Cortes smiled apologetically at me andnodded.

I groaned and threw my head back.

"Ugh!""Don't worry about it, Raleigh.

All this proves is that you're diligent, not lazy," she pointed out.I bobbed my head up and down, barely conscious of what she was saying.

"Yeah," I muttered.She looked at me again, studying me, then gestured for me to follow her inside the building.

Herkeys jingled in her dress pocket and her hair kissed her shoulder blades as she walked.

Herstrands were curly, unlike my stiff, straight locks.I followed her to a locked back door closest to the entrance to Rahway Park.

With a loud crack,the lock snapped open and she yanked the door wide, helping me up the stone steps to the backkitchens.We walked down the quiet hallway to the main desk.

She beckoned me inside her office and handed me a stack of fresh paper.

I sighed and dropped my backpack on the chair behind herdesk, beginning my morning tasks.When I was a freshman, I would regularly be early to school because Lexi had to take the littlekindergartners to school, and their classes usually started way earlier than mine did.

I remember I would be waiting outside in the cold, bored to death, until Mrs.

Cortes saw me one day andinvited me inside, giving me some simple office work to do to buy time.

At first, it was a lot, butover time it became really fun.

Mrs.

Cortes's office wasn't as big as I used to think it was.

Just a small wooden desk sitting in the middle of an old red carpet.

Behind her were shelves filled with books, magazine clippings, and awards she'd won.

I never had much time to take a good look at the awards.Helping her remove her books from her desk, I swept my gaze over Mrs.

Cortes' frame again,noting the constant movement and glowing aura surrounding her."You look excited today, Mrs.

Cortes," I began tentatively, wiping the desk with a stray napkin.Mrs.

Cortes beamed.

"Yes! You see, my older brother is coming from his town to pick me up tospend the weekend with him," she said, bouncing on her desk.She has a brother...she has a family… I wanted to cry on the inside, but I didn't.

Instead, Iplastered a fake smile on my lips and nodded."Oh? Does he look like you?""Kind of?" She laughed gently.

"We often joke that he got my father's genes, which is both ablessing and a curse." She paused suddenly, a dark shadow passing over her face, and I decidednot to ask about that certain joke."Can I see a picture of him?" I asked cautiously.Immediately, Mrs.

Cortes perked up.

She reached behind her desk and pulled a dusty old photofrom her drawer, handing it carefully to me.

The picture looked fairly new, which was why I wasskeptical as to why it was so dirty.

Probably just the frame.I could immediately recognize Mrs.

Cortes in the picture.

She wore her blonde hair down and had on a beautiful, if not, revealing sundress.

She had an arm wrapped around a large man nextto her, her smile wide and playful.Speaking of said man...I averted my brown orbs from Mrs.

Cortes to the tall man.

He was handsome, incredibly so.

Hisshirt pulled taut on his chest, and I could only assume he was muscular.

His arms certainly showed something to look at.A dark, wavy tattoo swam its way down his arm and snaked around his wrist.

He had a smallcrescent and star tattoo on his cheek, right above a neatly trimmed beard.

His hair was just likeMrs.

Cortes's, only much shorter and unruly, probably to look stylish.

It was brown, fading toblonde with a light neon blue stripe down one of his bangs, just like Mrs.

Cortes's bangs.I don't know why, but looking at her tall, obviously handsome brother who was most likely wayolder than I was, sent a shot of heat coiling through my heart.

Butterflies erupted in my stomachfrom looking at him and I handed the picture quickly back to Mrs.

Cortes.Unfortunately, I’ve been told that I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and when my cheeks feltwarm, I knew I was blushing overtly.She smirked.

"Handsome, isn't he?" She asked.I faltered for a moment, debating what I should say.

My breath left me in a harsh panic before I managed a short nod of my head, reluctant to disagree with her.Mrs.

Cortes laughed.

"Don't worry, sweetheart, I know he's good looking.

Everyone says that."She then sighed and traced her fingers gently over the figure.

"I've missed my brother.""You'll see him today though, right? I'm sure he's missed you just as much."She smiled.

"Yes, him and my husband.""Oh...nice…I guess,” I mumbled.

I looked down at my hands, then back up at Mrs.

Cortes, whowas still tracing over her brother’s picture.

“Mrs.

Cortes?”“Yes?”“Um…I’m sorry if this is an invasive question but…how old are you?”Mrs.

Cortes smiled.

“Not as old as you think I am,” she replied, winking at me.

“I’m twenty.”“Twenty?!” I gasped.

“But…wait…how are you even the principal? Shouldn’t you still be incollege?”“Well—!”Unfortunately, the bell chose to ring at that moment—a minute before it was supposed to ringand startling the stack of papers from my grasp.Mrs.

Cortes shook her head in amusement as I shoved the stack back into the copy machine andprinter, slamming the latch shut.

I grabbed my backpack hastily, neglecting to zip up the remaining portion of the biggest compartment.

If the bell rang early to start class, then surely, itwould end early too."Bye, Mrs.

Cortes! See you later!" I called, walking as swiftly as my little legs would carry meout of the room so that they wouldn't give out and I would take a tumble in the hallway.

I heard her chuckle and wish me goodbye as well before I had managed to shove my way out ofthe office doors and into the hallway.Pushing my way through the couples making out and students chatting about their weekend plans, I walked towards my locker, which was all the way by the girls changing room for the gym.

Logan was already there, kissing Drew goodbye.For the love of cheese…why now? I groaned.I coughed to make my presence known, smirking at the way Logan and Drew jumped away from each other."Raleigh!" They exclaimed, relieved.I snickered.

"You'd better watch out for Ms.

South.

She doesn't take to making-out couples as lightly as Mrs.

Cortes," I warned.Logan glared, opening her mouth to retort and Drew dashed off to the gym before I could scoldhim too.

I snickered again and leaned down to twirl my padlock.Logan held some of her books tightly to her chest, looking down at the book she had dropped tohide her glare."Nice to see you too, Raleigh," she muttered.

She scooped her book from the ground and slammed her pink locker shut.

One thing I'll never understand is if Logan liked black so much, then why the hell was her locker pink? I thought she would keep with the black aesthetic, butwhen I'd asked her once, all I got was a shrug in return."How was your night?" I asked.Logan shrugged.

"Alright.

I learned that my cousin, Aldric, is coming to visit." She said, laughing nervously.I frowned, slamming my locker shut in the process.

I clicked the lock into place, snapping the latch together."Aldric? A cousin? Since when do you have a cousin? I thought your parents had no siblings?" I asked.Logan looked away, playing with her keychain.

"Well...it turns out they do! And—um—he's coming to visit today?""Your parents' sibling?""No! My...cousin!""...Okay." I drawled, collecting my books.

She usually didn't stutter when speaking, but thenagain, she had just been kissing her boyfriend.

It was natural to be fazed…I think?Logan reached to the bottom of my locker to help me grab a couple of books that I needed andmy pencil case, her dark black skin brushing against my light brown shade.Logan's so beautiful, I thought.

With her blue eyes and dark skin, she could rival Barbie's beautyherself.

She looks way better than I do, anyway.Logan started to chatter before I could think of any description words for myself, eagerly layingout her plans with Drew and how they were going to pick out their wedding venue on Saturday.We walked to class together, giggling about her eagerness to get married and the dress shewould choose, when the best smell I've ever smelt hit me like a ton of hot bricks.

It was likefresh cookies and pine, a weird combination, but it smelled divine to my nose.

It reminded me of

a candle Mrs.

Cortes once had lit on her desk from one of her family members...maybe the brother she kept mentioning?"Uh...Raleigh? You okay girl?" Logan asked.I blinked, realizing I had blocked the doorway to English class when I had paused to get a bettersniff of smell, as if I had been caught under the summer mistletoe.I turned and smiled sheepishly to the kids behind me even though I knew they wouldn't sayanything to me.

Hustling to my seat, I leaned my cheek on my arm, gazing at the whiteboard infront of us.

Miss Lythis was late...again.

She was always late, yet Mrs.

Cortes had the patience ofa saint, one of the other reasons I respected her."Why did you stop in the doorway, Raleigh?" Logan asked, taking a seat beside me.

"Didsomething happen? Did you hurt yourself?"I flinched at the worry in her voice but shook my head.

"No, I'm fine, but do you smell that?" Iasked.Logan’s eyebrows drew together and she turned to the open window and took a deep whiff, herhead poised just like a wolf howling at the moon."...No.

Describe what you smell." She questioned; her hopeful blue eyes turning to me.I frowned, tapping my chin and gazing at the whiteboard.

"Like, a sweet cookie and pine scent.It just makes me want to cuddle up against something warm...like my blanket or something.""Eh.

It was probably the cafeteria cooking that you smelled," Logan replied, brushing myquestions aside.

"We're opposite them on campus and it's Friday.

Cookie day.""Maybe..." I mumbled, dropping the dark chocolate color of my eyes to my arm, running over the pink incision over the joint between my elbow and arm.

The color of Logan's eyes reflectedonto my own, giving them an aura of blue.D*mn reflection, I cursed inwardly, tearing my gaze from the memory of my weakness to thewhiteboard instead.

The cursive script of the black marker caught my eye.DON'T FORGET! NOTEBOOK QUIZ TODAY!"Huh, I forgot about that," Logan murmured, her voice barely audible.Not the worst test in the world, I thought, leaning against the bar on my chair, reaching underneath my desk for my notebook.

The smooth books slipped under my fingertips as if I weretouching glass.

That made me frown.

Nothing poked my soft pads.

Nothing brought an iron scentto my nose.Panic rose in my chest."D*mn it!" I cursed softly, so only Logan could hear.

I rummaged through my backpack, myheart beating frantically.

I shoved all my books to the back of my backpack, but my yellownotebook remained nowhere in my sight.

For a brief moment, I thought that I had forgotten it athome, but then, it hit me.I had been in such a rush to get to my locker, I had forgotten to zip up my backpack in Mrs.Cortes's office!I jumped out of my seat, startling Logan."Raleigh? Where are you going?" She asked.I grabbed the hall pass from the ledge on the whiteboard and skidded to the door.

My legs trembled in warning as I ran, a caution for me to slow down or I'd fall, but I paid no heed to it,knowing that choice would cost me later."I left my notebook in Mrs.

Cortes's office!" I called, my breaths already leaving me, making itharder to breathe.I slid into a quick-paced walk in the hallway, smiling and nodding briefly at the teachers andsafety officers walking past.

They nodded at me, their eyes glued to my wobbling legs, jerkilyswaying hips and bent arms like leeches.

It disgusted me.I smiled at Mrs.

Cortes's receptionist when I reached the main office and she smiled back at me,gesturing to the closed oak wood door.As I neared, I could hear hushed whispers and quiet cackles.

I bit my lip, debating whether Ishould knock or not.

Realizing I'd rather interrupt their conversation than getting an F, I steeledmyself and rapped my knuckles on the door."Come in!" Mrs.

Cortes called, sounding as if she was trying hard not to laugh.

I licked mycracked, dehydrated lips, palms sweaty, and slowly creaked the door open.

I bent my headsheepishly as I entered."Sorry for bothering you, Mrs.

Cortes, but I think I left my notebook here?" I asked quietly.

Ilooked at the chairs by her desk, wondering what student had gotten in trouble this early in themorning.

When I was met with an empty chair, I took a risk and looked up, my eyes catching theimposing figure looming by her desk.Or rather, above her desk.It was the same guy from the picture, only now he looked much more intimidating and taller than before.

His golden eyes bored into me, and the sweet scent returned to my nose at full force.His pupils widened and his mouth parted slightly, turning to Mrs.

Cortes.

She was grinningwickedly at the two of us."Raleigh, I believe I have yet to introduce you," she said, looking very smug.

She gestured to theyoung man (who looked like a college student), whose eyes had glazed over for a moment,muscles contracting ever so slightly.Abruptly, he glanced at me just as I was assessing him.

"This is Lucien, my older brother.Lucien, this is Raleigh, the girl I've told you about over the phone.""Nice to meet you," I said politely, shuffling on my feet and hoping she would hurry theintroductions so that I could get back to class and finish my test.Lucien stared at me for a moment, as if debating why a teenager was talking to him.

Then hesmiled."Nice to meet you too," he said, his voice as warm as milk, yet had a sharp undercurrent ofpower.I watched him closely as his bright eyes ran over my petite frame, the irises darkening as he tookin the crippled girl in front of him.

I waited for the repulsed wave that would crash into my bodywhenever someone new met me, but instead, heat crept like molten lava through my veins and Ibit my lip.

My heart was pounding, struggling to catch up to the pace I had run in.Why does he keep looking at me? I thought irritably.

Can’t he find something else to ogle at?"Here you go!"I jumped and Lucien chuckled as Mrs.

Cortes reappeared from below her desk, the notebookheld high.

I snatched it; my ears tipped pink."Thank you!" I stammered, practically running out of the office.

His smile.

His laugh.

His darkeyes haunting my every step.

Suddenly, it was like his likeness spilled on me, soaking into mybody and unable to get out.I knew deep down in my heart this wouldn't be the last time I met Mrs.

Cortes's brother.And I knew he could never fall for a girl like me.

Chapter 2

Lucien’ POV

I sighed, resting my palms flat on the two sides of my head.

I raked my fingers through my hair and squeezed the strands gently.

Twirling the stripe of blue hair between my pointer and middle,my eyes swiped over the cursive script again and the words tugged a worn smile on my face.Jasmine, my sister, was inviting me to Woodbridge High to visit the wolves in training and prepare them for their pack entry exams as well as complete the last of my inspections.

My wolf,Caspian, howled with delight at the news that our beloved younger sister wanted to see us again.Living almost six hours away, I hardly had time to see Jasmine, and Benedict was driving me crazy about his mate.

That, in addition to the stack of papers that continued to grow on my desk —being Alpha King, wasn't as easy as it sounded.I scanned the letter again, my golden eyes catching a bold name somewhere in the middle of the text.

I narrowed my eyes.Raleigh’s POVThat same name

Heroes

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