Just as Eli expected, the gathering was hell.

Not like he didn experience a similar hell before, it was a hell he was comfortable in. A hell he was so familiar with that he just stood there unperturbed listening to small talk and people trying to study him as they pretended to be interested in whatever he had to say.

Maybe he was being a tiny bit unfair. After all, it is normal to be a bit curious about something new, and hopefully these people get used to him quickly, but he couldn help but be sick of it all.

There was a woman speaking to his mother from what he could see, and they were laughing at something one of them said before both of their heads turned to him.

Pretending not to notice, Eli looked away coolly as he sipped his drink and wished he was old enough for it to be alcoholic. Too bad life doesn work like that and he never was sneaky enough to be able to get an actual drink.

Guessing hed have to wait a few years before he could drown his headache in drinks, Eli looked up with a strained smile as the woman got too close for him to pretend he still didn notice her. Ignoring her would be impolite, his mother raised him better than that.

”You must be Eli. ” The woman said as if she didn just speak to his mother. Yes, it is him. Eli. Obviously she knew that, but his snark will not be appreciated if he opened his mouth now. ”Im Anna, the luna of this humble pack we got here. ” She laughed gesturing at her humble pack.

Okay, Eli knew where this was going. He dealt with it before. And this woman is a liar because her humble pack is probably one of the largest ones around. A luna of a seriously powerful pack is trying to be all humble and shit, yeah no. Not working.

She knew she was a bad bitch, and Eli almost spit his drink when she said she was the luna.

Looking at her a bit more closely, she was around his mums age and beautiful as hell. He should have guessed. Still, he wasn that thrilled to be talking to her.

”Hello. ” He responded lamely and she smiled looking at him as if she was studying him.

”It is nice to meet you. You
e our first omega here. ”

Not surprising. ”I am happy to be here. ”

”Thats so good to hear. I was simply delighted to hear about you. ”

It took a tremendous amount of willpower to not make a face because he knew what she was thinking of. It happened so many times every time some stupid gathering starts and he attends. Eli met so many lunas and their alpha sons, and while he admits that his brain is hard-wired to find alphas hot, he just doesn appreciate being shoved towards meeting their sons.

So he just smiled shyly at her and looked away trying his best to act all bashful.

Ah, please kill him.

”Anyway, ” The luna sighed feeling like she wouldn get much out of the conversation. This was surprising. It was as if she cared. ”If anyone decided to be funny or cause you any discomfort, please tell me. I aim to make you feel as welcome as possible. ”

”Thank you so much, luna. ” He bowed his head politely and she smiled giving him a gentle pat on his shoulder. She was nice and all, but yeah.

He kind of wanted to be alone and was not interested in alpha sons. Thankfully she didn even mention it and actually did leave him alone.

Luna Anna is his favorite so far.

He enjoyed a few moments of solitude just standing there ignoring people before another person approached him. Holding back a groan, Eli turned to whoever it was but was immediately taken aback as he felt his jaw drop.

A soft shy smile greeted him in a face that brought all his insecurities to surface.

The guy in front of him actually made his heart throb a bit and he couldn help but admire how beautiful he was as he shyly looked at him. Soft strands of golden-brown hair fell over hazel eyes as he gently moved them back behind his ear. Even his movements were so enchanting and lovely, and there was something elegant about him.

”I saw you standing alone so I came over. ” The guy told him fully unaware of just how captivated Eli was by him. ”I am Aurelius, but please call me Ari. ”

”Ari. ” Eli blinked dazedly before he shook it off with an embarrassed laugh. God, Eli wished so much to be someone like Ari. ”Im Eli. We kind of have similar names, huh? ”

A slow smile appeared on Aris face. ”We do, yeah. ”

If Ari was an alpha, Eli would be head over heels. However, alphas are usually tall and powerfully built, but Ari was only an inch or two taller and he had a lithe figure not too dissimilar to his own. Everything about him was gentle, graceful, and beautiful. Infuriatingly, it was all natural and effortless. Even with the way he spoke.

”I really want to be your friend. ” Eli blurted out unable to contain his feelings. He was interested, but it was nothing romantic. As attractive as Ari was, betas just didn affect him the way alphas did.

Ari looked at him with slight surprise before he laughed pleasantly. ”I would love that, sure. ”

”Really? Because wow, I have to say… You
e just so… ” Eli blushed wishing he thought a bit more before he spoke, and now Aris attention was on him listening curiously waiting for him to say something. ”I don know, I just think you
e very pretty. ”

The smile Ari gave him was worth the embarrassment, and there was a pink tint on his cheeks as well. ”I am not saying this to return the favor, I think you
e pretty adorable, too. ”

”Me? No way. You
e just saying stuff. ” Eli waved his hand in dismissal feeling pretty flustered at having someone like Ari say that. Because look at him.

Surprising him, Ari took his hand in his with an earnest look and laughed. ”No, really, you are. ”

”I- ” He looked at their interlocked hands feeling his face get warmer all of the sudden. Having an unmated beta just touch him so casually meant something else to him. An omega. Noticing this, Ari quickly let go and took a step away.

”I am so sorry; I sometimes do things without thinking. ” For some reason Ari looked nervous as if Eli would suddenly hate him for that or something, but really it wasn his fault. He was probably the first omega he had to deal with. They shouldn get too comfortable with each other. This is why it was so hard for him to get friends…

”No, it is fine. Really. You don deal with omegas a lot, which yeah, understandable. ”

”Right. Yeah. ” There was still a distance between them that made things a bit awkward, but none of them attempted to close it. ”I didn think. ”

”I did like the part where you thought I was adorable, though. ”

Despite the recent awkwardness, Ari couldn help but let out a muffled laugh.

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